Gifts of the Spirit

Gifts of the Spirit

discerning of spirits

Word of Knowledge

Audio version

The Word of Knowledge is not the following:

It isn’t natural knowledge we obtain by education, reading, studying or seeking in the natural realm. Some people are naturally more knowledgeable than others and some are gifted in knowledge. They are able to retain knowledge and store it up within them more so than others. Although I believe this is a natural gift bestowed by our creator, it is not what is referred to when we speak of the “word of knowledge.

It is not being able to read people’s thoughts or using divination or fortune telling. On the contrary, soothsaying, wizardly and witchcraft are forbidden by the scriptures. If we see someone claiming to exercise the gift of knowledge or any gift of the spirit for the purpose of reading minds or exalting one’s self in the minds of their followers, run away. This is not the gift of the spirit.

I repeat, the gifts of the spirit lead us closer to understanding the will, mind and purpose of God, it does not make us superior to or a lord over our fellow believers. It is never used to control other believers or even unbelievers.

It is not guesswork, cheering people up, and being positive. We’ve all met bubbly people who are so full of faith and just ready to believe God for anything that you give them a prayer request for, and according to them, it is done. Although God will honor any prayer of faith, this is not the “gift of knowledge”, they may be just those that practice exhortation and comfort. They like to cheer people up.  I love these kind of people but this is not the gift of knowledge we are speaking of in 1 Corinthians 12.

It is not just knowing all about God or understanding the bible. Some bible commentators, teachers and theologians really seem to know their stuff and I believe they are gifted and probably gifted from God but still as good as that is, that is not the “word of knowledge” that is listed as one of the nine gifts of the spirit.

It is not a gift of just knowing about everything. Some people are gifted in knowing things. We call them smart. A students, well educated and very knowledgeable even in the things of the spirit but this is not the word of knowledge even if the gift comes from God.

What is the Word of Knowledge?

A divine gift at the will of the Holy Spirit giving someone certain facts from the mind of God. It is only a word and it is supernatural. It can be given by someone who is not very knowledgeable in the natural realm. In other words the person doesn’t have to be naturally gifted in wisdom or knowledge. This gift is supernatural. It is spontaneous and it is not planned ahead of time. We can’t just decide before coming to church that we are going to receive a word of knowledge. It is according to the will of the spirit and not our own will.

How it is given:

a) Still small voice of the Holy Spirit at the right time. This is the most common way to receive a message from the Lord. We must be in a state of readiness and attune to the Holy Spirit. I doubt if anyone could possibly receive a word of knowledge or any other gift if their minds was on a football game or they haven’t prayed for days on end. Of course I don't want to limit God so I would guess that in disparate situations, someone could receive divine knowledge in an emergency situation even if they haven't been praying for a while but it is better to be prayed up and ready for God to use us at any time.

b) Dream – God does speak to some by dreams according to the book of Joel. I will not limit God in any way for He spoke by dreams in the Old and New Testament.

c) Audible voice of the Holy Spirit- This way is less common but again, I will not limit God to my own experience. Jesus spoke to the apostle Paul when he was on his way to Damascus, so its possible to hear audible voices. This is where discernment is needed for there are many other voices that we can hear besides God’s voice.

d) Revelation- We call this revelation knowledge. This most of all requires discernment. Revelation means something unveiled. God would supernaturally open up someone’s understanding of a certain scripture for instance that they did not understand before. Revelation knowledge will not contradict the already written word but may give us a clearer understanding of the word.

It reveals facts about a person, condition, thoughts, circumstances that are not possible by our own natural minds.

a) God may reveal to us that someone is going to be healed of a certain condition

b) He might reveal to us that a person is in need of groceries or money to pay a bill.

Note: This gift is not for gossip or to just reveal people’s secrets. It is for the spiritual good of the body of Christ for edification and spiritual growth or to convince a lost person that they need the Lord. It is not our imagination, assumption or what we call gut feelings. This is supernatural.

So why do we need this gift? 

To do the will of the Holy Spirit. No one knows who needs what, when and where like the Holy Spirit. He needs to be allowed to work among us freely using as many as are available.

To bring the lost to Jesus Christ. Notice that Jesus instructed His disciples not to go and preach the gospel until they were endued with power from on high. They needed the Holy Ghost in order to preach the gospel and teach all nations as Jesus told them to do before He returned to heaven. Without the Holy Spirit there would not be anyone saved or born again for He is the one that convicts of sin and draws that sinner to Christ. The more power of the Holy Spirit that we have among us, the more souls will be saved. He needs faithful vessels that are willing to be used of the Holy Spirit and not trust in their own strength, their own knowledge, training or education or their own charisma.

To confirm the written word. This cannot be emphasized enough. The Holy Spirit will draw people to Jesus Christ and He will never contradict the written word.

To edify the body of believers. Once believers find the Lord and are born again by the Holy Spirit, they will constantly need edified. They will need to be discipled and they will need to continually grow spiritually. They will need to learn about the gifts of the spirit and how to be fruitful in the body of Christ. If they do not get the word, the edification of the spirit and the fellowship of other believers, they will not be fruitful and will not be occupying until the Lord comes like we are supposed to do.

Bible Examples

  1. Acts 10: 9-17 When Peter receives a Word of knowledge as he was on the house top praying.

  2. Acts 9 11-16 – God reveals to Ananias that Paul had become a praying person and was in need of baptism and healing.

  3. Acts 21:11 – when Agabus warned Paul that he would be bound and sent to the Gentiles.

I’m sure there are other examples in the bible but I want to leave open this part for others to search the scriptures and find other examples for the gift of knowledge.

One thing I want to bring out. All spirit filled believers can be used of God in any of the gifts of the spirit although we usually see one person major in one or two and not all nine. The gift though is not theirs as an individual but it belongs to the whole body of believers. This is an area in which we cannot limit God to our own understanding. He may give one of us a word of knowledge and then use someone else the next time He works in that manner. Our part is to yield, to be ready and be available to the Holy Spirit by being spiritually alert.

Another point to remember. We are never to allow the prophet or the one God uses the gift to reveal something to us as a group or as an individual, to control us. We are responsible to God ourselves. If someone reveals something to us and it is truly from God, we still have a responsibility to pray and be directed by God ourselves and not rely on the person that originally gave us the word from the Lord. This is important to remember. We need to confirm if the message is from the Lord before we take action.

If the word was a warning or that something bad is to happen, it is okay to pray, intercede and ask God to change the outcome or to do His will in the matter. That may be why the word was given to get us to take action and avoid a bad situation.

These things are not given so when it comes to pass, it proves that a certain person used of God is a great person that has a right to take over and control our lives. That is not the reason for the gifts of the spirit. That person is only a messenger or vessel of the Holy Spirit. God is still the one in charge.  Jesus is still the head of the church. The Holy Spirit is still the director not the person He uses.


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