Plural of the Greek word charisma which is almost exclusively a NT word and, excepting 1 Peter 4:10, is peculiar to Paul. It means essentially a free, graciously conferred gift. In the NT it is used sometimes in a broad general sense, but more often it refers specifically to the gracious gifts derived from the(1 Cor. 12:4), manifested by Christians (12:7) according to His will (12:11), in proportion to faith (Rom. 12:6), for the profit of the whole fellowship (1 Cor. 12:7), and for the work of the ministry. Their purpose is edification, not revelation. Two lists of “gifts” occur (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10); also, 1 Corinthians 7:7 refers to an additional gift of self-control making possible the celibate state, and 1 Peter 4:10 describes generosity in hospitality as a charisma. 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 use charisma with reference to the evangelistic gift. The term charismata is being used increasingly of religious movements claiming a restoration to the church of the more spectacular “gifts,” such as healing, prophecy, and “tongues- speaking.” Max Weber has popularized the term “charismatic leadership” to contrast with institutionalized, formal leadership.
See also Glossolalia.