Gifts of the Spirit

Gifts of the Spirit

discerning of spirits

Word of Wisdom

Audio Version
  • 1Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

The word of wisdom is a little different than the word of knowledge yet it is similar.

First of all we will discuss the misunderstanding of what this gift is and discuss what it is not.

  1.  It is not guessing and making suggestions.

  2.  It is not assuming something

  3.  It is not just getting an idea

  4.  It is not the natural wisdom we are born with

  5.  It is not something learned by the natural mind

  6.  It is not the ability to help people or to give people advice or have spiritual insight

  7.  It is not the ability to memorize scripture to even the ability to understand the word

After one is baptized with the Holy Spirit he or she still has the flesh to deal with and can still be in the flesh and be acting in the flesh rather than the spirit. It takes much time and experience in the spirit to begin to know the difference.

Some of us develop a natural inclination toward wisdom but that is not what we call the word of wisdom that is one of the gifts of the spirit. Saints and sinners alike may be gifted with natural wisdom. It is possible for someone to be used by the Holy Spirit to give forth a word of wisdom and the same person that is given that word may not necessarily show any natural wisdom in his own life in general.

It is not the type of wisdom that may come to us as a result of our upbringing, religious training, education or environment. Some of us are born with the inclination toward wisdom, some of us learn this by the way we grow up and how we were educated. Although these natural gifts may come from God that is not what is meant when we talk of the gifts of the spirit.

There is no way we can develop a spiritual gift but we can develop our natural gifts. A spiritual gift is spontaneous and happens at the will of the spirit. The only way we can stir up the gifts is to stay prayed up and spiritually alert. There is no way to naturally develop a certain gift. We never know when God is going to use us through the gifts of the spirit. This does not mean that we can be lazy and just not do anything. We should be constantly seeking for the perfect (not the permissive) but God's perfect will to be done in every service, bible study and prayer meeting that we have as a local body of believers.

Not learned by the natural mind – We do not achieve this gift by being educated in schools of higher learning even Bible College. The word of wisdom is not something we are taught like in school or college. It does not come by education. It is also not the wisdom spoken of in James 1:5. That is the type of wisdom that is freely given to all who seek understanding. It is not the same as this particular gift of the spirit which is completely a word of the Holy Spirit at a given time.

It is not spiritual insight- although spiritual insight is definitely a gift from God, it is not what we call the word of wisdom. Some are good at understanding the truth of God’s word but that still is not the word of wisdom. We’ve all met people who are gifted with spiritual insight. My Dad was one of them but this is not what is meant by the word of wisdom Paul speaks of. This is where people get confused.

Spiritual gifts are just that. They are by the spirit of God. A sinner or one that does not know the Lord cannot receive a word of wisdom but someone who doesn’t know the Lord can possess wisdom in the natural sense which I believe also comes from God.

It is not the wisdom we gain from the study of the word even though we should desire that kind of wisdom. We should study the word diligently and fervently but we can know this book forward and backward and still not be used by the Holy Spirit in the gifts of the spirit.

It is definitely not Psychology or Psychiatry although some of them possess natural wisdom to deal with people.

It is not psychology, spiritual insight or the ability to say the right things at the right time. These things may come from God and they have their purpose and we should seek these ways to help people but that is not what we mean when we talk of the gift of wisdom spoken of in Corinthians.

It is not something we can develop naturally; neither can we be trained to use this gift. We can develop and train people to use natural talents and gifts but not the gifts of the spirit. The Holy Spirit does the training. Our job is to encourage people to always seek to be filled with the Spirit and ask God to use them and be available by being continually in His presence with an attitude of always seeking His will.

We usually understand what tongues and interpretations are and we never know when that occurs. It is not planned ahead of time. We do not come to church with the thinking, that, "I think I will give a message in tongues today." All these things come by the will and timing of the Holy Spirit. The word of wisdom works the same way. It is at the will of the Holy Spirit. There are other types of gifts that come from God that may be wisdom but they are more natural and with us all the time. The actual gifts of the spirit are supernatural and occur at the right time or the right place.

I repeat again that we must seek these things and stay in a right relationship with God to be available for God to use us in this manner. If we watch TV 24 7, we cannot expect God to use us with a word of wisdom, prophecy or anything else but we still may be able to be used of God to give advice or something we have a natural talent to do.

What is the Word of Wisdom?

  1. The supernatural ability to apply knowledge. How, when and where to do something and maybe even why. In other words, a supernatural knowledge of what to do and how to do it.

  2. It is spontaneous- It is given at the will of the spirit at the right time and mostly it occurs when we are not expecting it to occur. We do not know when the spirit of God is going to bring us a word of wisdom

  3. It is similar to a miracle - If we are used in this way, we will know that there is no way we could have figured this out on our own or come up with this without supernatural intervention.

  4. How does the word of wisdom come forth? Always by the Holy Spirit mostly when He just speaks to our spirit at a given time. It can come by revelation knowledge. Revelation means an unveiling of something that was once hidden. God just opens up our understanding in a miraculous spontaneous way when we least expect it. Occasionally God may bring this through an audible voice, vision or dream. I have never experienced the latter three that I can recall.

  5. The purpose for God using us with this gift or word of wisdom is to keep us from getting ourselves into trouble, to warn us of trouble, to get us out of trouble we are already in, to show us His will, to lead us the way that is fruitful and will cause us to do God's will, to help us make the right decisions and to help us win the lost to Christ, edify believers and probably many other things my mind cannot think of at the moment.

Examples from the Bible

Remember when Paul was on a ship bound for Rome. He was actually a prisoner. The ship was in trouble and the life of every one on board was in jeopardy. I believe Paul received a word of wisdom and instructed all the men to not leave the ship and their lives would be spared. That could also have been a word of knowledge in that he knew that if they didn't do as instructed, they could be killed. The word of wisdom gave the instructions on how to save lives. We can read the story in Acts 27.

Paul was used many times in the book of Acts in the word of wisdom.

In the old testament we can remember Elisha receiving a word of wisdom when they were threatened with the armies of Moabites. Elisha I believe received a supernatural word from God to dig a valley of ditches and fill every one of them with water. When the Moabites saw the reflection of the water, they thought it was blood and that Israel was defeated. They went down unprepared to fight and to take spoil only to be defeated by Israel.

A good study for all of us would be to search the scriptures and find examples of this gift to share with each other. 

A good definition of the word of wisdom is the supernatural ability to apply knowledge the right way. This gift can be a verbal gift but it is not really considered a gift of utterance. We can receive a word of wisdom and keep silent unlike a message in tongues and interpretation or a message of prophecy. Usually we will at the right time share the word of wisdom. This word can come by a dream, revelation, a vision, some have heard the audible voice of God, but usually it is the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our own spirit.

Still we must always remember to constantly seek God for these things to be manifest among us so the work Jesus told us to do will not fail to be done among us as a body of believers.

Discernment is always needed in these gifts so that we can determine whether or not someone is speaking by the Holy Spirit or someone is trying to further their own personal belief or agenda. We judge the message though not particularly the messenger. None of these gifts are given so that we can exert control over another believer. Discerning is also needed to make sure we are not using our imagination rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit. In all this we must not judge one another and demonize one another if we makes a mistake in this area. That would discourage people from seeking God for the gifts of the Spirit. It is better to pray and work together to discern and know the when it is the word of God. Always be gentle and kind in these things.

Word of Knowledge

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