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BIBLE PROPHECY
A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
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The New Age Influence at the United Nations - #3 in a Series
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Gifts of the Spirit Study:

The Word of Wisdom and Word of Knowledge

 Having been introduced to the gifts of the Holy Spirit by Paul, let us now examine each of them more in-depth.  As we cover each of the gifts, and discuss other relevant issues later on, let’s do so prayerfully and with great devotion to scripture.  Remember the praise given to the Bereans for comparing Paul’s teachings against scripture.  I hope you would do no less.  There are different viewpoints from here on out.  Where there is conflict, I will present both sides as fairly and accurately as possible.  Then you must prayerfully consider these views in light of scripture, and make your own judgments.  In this portion of the “gifts” study, we’ll focus on the first two gifts mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. 

“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;” – 1 Corinthians 12:8 [emphasis added]

In this verse, the Greek logos sophia () translates to “word of wisdom” and logos gnosis () translates “word of knowledge.”  While the translation is clear, the meaning and application is less so.

These two gifts are given perhaps the least amount of treatment by Paul, and are among the least contentious of the gifts -- especially when compared to tongues.  The problem with defining these gifts lies in the fact that 1 Corinthians 12:8 is the only place in the New Testament in which they are specifically mentioned.  Paul does not provide us with a definition of these gifts, nor does he clarify their purpose and application within the body of Christ. 

There are some who feel that the word of wisdom and word of knowledge are gifts in which the recipient possesses some insight into the grace and nature of God.  Perhaps this insight relates to the unique relationship between God and his children.  Matthew Henry defined word of wisdom as “a knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, and ability to explain them.”1 Referring to the word of knowledge, he states, “that is, say some, the knowledge of mysteries:  say others, a skill and readiness to give advice and counsel in perplexed cases.”2  This view of these gifts implies more of a sustained insight and understanding, as opposed to spontaneous revelation. 

Others view these gifts as more revelatory in nature.  In other words, they are a supernatural imparting of knowledge or wisdom to the recipient by the Holy Spirit.  One example that would illustrate this interpretation is an incident involving noted nineteenth century evangelist Charles Spurgeon.  While preaching at Exeter Hall in London, he once interrupted his sermon, pointed in a particular direction, and said, “Young man, those gloves you are wearing have not been paid for: you have stolen them from your employer.”  Spurgeon was apparently right about this (in spite of having no personal knowledge of the young man), and the person in question was taken aback and convicted by the Holy Spirit for his sin.  This story relates a revelatory, spontaneous impartation of knowledge that could not otherwise be known.  Could the Holy Spirit have spoken a “word of knowledge” to Spurgeon in order to reach that young man?  It’s certainly possible, and there are some that would say that’s exactly what happened.

Whether you believe the word of wisdom and word of knowledge are spontaneous, supernatural utterances, or a more sustained insight into the mysteries of God, the indisputable fact is that these are gifts that are dispensed by the Holy Spirit, according to His will.  Perhaps only someone who has been blessed with one of these gifts could easily explain them.  Regardless, may the Lord who has redeemed us unto Himself bless you as you eagerly seek out His gifts (1 Corinthians 12:30.)

1 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961), 1819.

2 Ibid.