“Covet Eearnestly the Best Gifts”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 79–80


The Lord gives us gifts of the Spirit so we may bless, encourage, and strengthen one another in love.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    There are diverse spiritual gifts.

    1. 1.

      The spiritual gifts of God are many; and while not all possess every gift, each gift is essential and forms a part of the whole body of spiritual gifts.

    2. 2.

      Christ is the source of all spiritual gifts, though they come to us by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    3. 3.

      The gifts of the Spirit are not always visible to the human eye or understandable to the human mind.

  • B.

    The saints of God should “seek … earnestly the best gifts.” (D&C 46:8.)

    1. 1.

      We should earnestly seek for the spiritual gifts alloted to us.

    2. 2.

      We should use discrimination as we seek the Lord’s gifts cautiously in order that we will not be deceived.

    3. 3.

      We should always remember why the gifts are given and seek them for the benefit of the Lord’s work and not for our own personal aggrandizement.

  • C.

    Some gifts are more to be desired than others, but all gifts are to be admininstered through charity, or the pure love of Christ.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

1 Corinthians 12-16

Course Manual

Chapter 36, “Covet Earnestly the Best Gifts”

Standard Works

Moroni 10:8-16; D&C 46:13-33. What are some of the gifts of the Spirit?

Moroni 10:17. How are these gifts given?

D&C 46:11, 12. Why doesn’t every person have all of the gifts?

D&C 46:7; 1 Corinthians 12:11-31. What are the purposes of spiritual gifts?

D&C 7:44. If we possess other gifts but lack charity, what is our state?

D&C 50:1-46; 52:1-21. How can we distinguish between the gifts of God and those of Satan?

Basic Library

Teachings, pp. 242-46. Are the gifts of the Spirit always visible?

A of F, pp. 218-19. What are spiritual gifts?

Discourses, p. 34. How will gifts of the Spirit help us detect Satan?

Gos. Doc, pp. 201, 376. What are the purposes of spiritual gifts?

Additional Sources

Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:3-5. An example of the gift of healing.

Joseph F. Smith in CR, Apr. 1900, p. 41. What must we do to avoid being deceived by Satan?

John A. Widtsoe, “The Articles of Faith: VIII, the Unity of the Universe,” Improvement Era, Aug. 1937, p. 477. What motive should we have in seeking spiritual gifts?

Marion G. Romney in CR, Apr. 1956, pp. 68-73. What is the test to distinguish true spiritual gifts from false?

Heber J. Grant in CR, Oct. 1910, pp. 119-20. What are some manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit?

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Spiritual Gifts (Group and Chalkboard Discussion)

  1. 1.

    The teacher could use D&C 46:11-28; Moroni 10:4-22; and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 to discuss a scriptural list of spiritual gifts. This could be done through various methods, such as using a preclass handout or dividing the class into three groups or initiating a class discussion. Each of these gifts could be briefly discussed and scriptural examples used. For example:

    1. a.

      Alma 11:21-25. Discernment

    2. b.

      Acts 2:14-41. Teaching

    3. c.

      1 Nephi 3:7. Faith

    4. d.

      D&C 76:5-13. Knowledge

  2. 2.

    Discussion could be held on the following questions based on 1 Corinthians 12 (answers given are merely suggestive):

    1. a.

      From whom do these gifts come to man? (They come from Jesus Christ through the manifestation and powers of the Holy Ghost.)

    2. b.

      Does every member of the Church have a right to at least one gift? (Yes, and this gift is made manifest through obedience and righteousness.)

    3. c.

      Why are there so many spiritual gifts? (The spiritual needs of men are many.)

    4. d.

      What special purposes do the spiritual gifts of God serve in man’s life? (They enlighten, encourage, strengthen, edify, and prepare man to enjoy the presence of God in the eternal world.) Are there examples that illustrate the above?

    5. e.

      Are these gifts always visible to the naked eye? (No. In fact they seldom are. See Teachings, pp. 242-46.)

The Righteous Use of Spiritual Gifts Is Dependent upon Charity (A Discussion)

Why could we possess many great gifts yet be nothing because we lack charity?

  1. 1.

    What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? (To bless others.)

  2. 2.

    What quality is basic in our desires to bless others? (Charity.)

  3. 3.

    What is charity? (See Moroni 7:45-47.)

  4. 4.

    How is charity acquired? (See Moroni 7:48; Alma 38:12.)

The following diagram could be used:

charity diagram

How Can We Seek Spiritual Gifts? (Scriptural Analysis)

The following scriptures could be analyzed:

D&C 130:20, 21. What must a person do before he may acquire any of the gifts of the Spirit?

D&C 50:26-28. How may a person acquire and use the spiritual gifts with which God wished to endow him?

Moroni 10:24. When these gifts are lost, what is the primary cause?

D&C 46:7, 8. What must we do to obtain these gifts without being deceived?

D&C 46:9. To what end ought we to seek these gifts?

D&C 11:10. How may we obtain our gifts?


The class could be asked to consider the following question: How do I know what spiritual gifts I have?