“For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:8 NKJV).
There are varieties of spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows freely upon the believers as He wills or pleases.
The Scripture reveals, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6 NKJV).
These supernatural abilities are not intended for self projection and aggrandizement, but for God’s glory, for effectiveness and fruitfulness in God’s service, and for the edification of the Church, God’s people.
The Scripture highlights nine major gifts or manifestations of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:4-11. However, for the purpose of this study we shall group the nine spiritual gifts into three distinct divisions based on their unique nature, affinity, manifestation and function.
First, the Gifts of Revelation (the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, and the Discerning of Spirits); Second, the Gifts of Inspiration (Prophecy, Different kinds of Tongues, and the Interpretation of Tongues); and Third, the Power Gifts (Faith, Gifts of Healings, and the Working of Miracles).
In this piece we shall examine the first group – the Gifts of Revelation (the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, and the Discerning of Spirits) and the other groups in the subsequent piece.
First, the Word of Knowledge:
Having the gift of word of knowledge does not imply possessing a perfect, broad, general, unlimited or infinite knowledge about everyone and everything. Only God is omniscient (all-knowing) – perfect, unlimited, unsearchable or infinite in knowledge and understanding.
The Scripture testifies, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psa. 147:5 NKJV).
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isa. 40:28 NKJV).
Elihu queried Job, asking, “Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16 NKJV).
The Psalmist also said of God’s knowledge, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.” (Psa. 139:6 NKJV).
Although the believers don’t possess a supernatural or perfect knowledge about everything in life, however, through the gift of word of knowledge, the believers can manifest a fraction of such a supernatural knowledge at a particular time.
The word of knowledge is a specific supernatural revelation, insight, or knowledge of facts and information that is given directly to you by the Holy Spirit, and not by your own mind, intelligence, education, observation, research, study or experience.
The word of knowledge is a supernatural understanding of a circumstance, situation, or problem solely by divine aid. When the gift is in operation, the Holy Spirit transmits to your spirit a specific knowledge about someone or something that you have no natural means of knowing about at that particular time.
The spontaneous divine transmission of a specific word of knowledge you need in a specific situation can come to you as an intuition, impression, inner voice, a mental picture, or come to you in a dream, vision or trance. Whichever way it comes, this gift is always revelatory or informative in nature – it reveals to you specific information in a supernatural way.
The Scripture is replete with instances of manifestation of this gift. It was through the word of knowledge that Prophet Elisha knew that his servant, Gehazi, had run after Naaman to collect the gifts he rejected. Elisha could not have known that by any natural means (2 Kings 5:20-27).
Similarly, it was through the word of knowledge that the hypocrisy and deception of Ananias and Sapphira was revealed to Peter. He didn’t know that they kept back a part of the proceeds through any natural observation or investigation, but through the aid of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10).
Second, the Word of Wisdom:
This is not a general or natural wisdom that can be gained through study, education, observation, research or experience. The word of wisdom is a spontaneous supernatural understanding of a situation.
It is a spontaneous supernatural insight, instruction, direction, or revelation of how to solve a knotty problem or situation. It is a supernatural ability to operate or manifest God’s kind of wisdom in a specific situation or circumstance.
The word of wisdom gives you a spontaneous divine understanding of a situation, of what to say, of what to do, or of how to act appropriately in a given complex situation or circumstance.
It was through the word of wisdom that Joseph was able to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and to proffer divine and perfect solution to the problem of seven years famine in the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:21-46).
It was also through the word of wisdom that James was able to quell the dissension and dispute in the early Church over the circumcision of the Gentiles who had become born again (Acts 15:1-31).
The gifts of word of wisdom and word of knowledge are closely related and interactive, but are two distinct gifts. While the word of knowledge is primarily revelatory and informative, the word of wisdom is directive and instructive.
Third, the Discerning of Spirits:
This is not a natural or demonic ability to read people’s mind or palm (palmistry), to speak with the spirits of the dead (necromancy), or a psychic phenomenon, or disposition to criticize and find faults in people.
But, the gift of discerning of spirits is a supernatural ability to detect, recognize, identify, and distinguish between various kinds of spirits in operation at a given place or time.
There are primary four kinds of spirits in the world today: the Spirit of God, the good spirits (angels of God), the evil spirits (demons or fallen angels), and the human spirit.
Through the operation of the gift of discerning of spirits, you can accurately identify and discern the source or the spirit behind a manifestation, situation, revelation, prophecy, doctrine, information, problem, or sickness.
The gift of discerning of spirits is the spiritual insight, revelation, discernment, knowing, perception or sensing that the Holy Spirit gives that enables you to see beyond the natural or physical manifestation, situation, problem, facts and information into the realm of the spirits, and diagnose or judge correctly.
Through the operation of the gift of discerning of spirits, the veil that covers the unseen world is lifted and the plans, purposes, schemes and deceptions of the enemy are exposed.
It was through the gift of discerning of spirits that Apostle Paul was able to discern and deal correctly with the spirit of divination in a certain slave girl that was following them in Macedonia and shouting, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17 NKJV).
Although the girl was saying the right thing, yet her motives and source were evil. She was speaking from a demonic spirit and the motives were for financial gain and to manipulate the people.
The Scripture reveals that she was possessed with a spirit of divination and she “brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” (Acts 16:16 NKJV).
Likewise, there are many false prophets today in many churches who prophesy with the aid of the spirit of divination. They speak great swelling words of emptiness to entice, defraud, exploit, or manipulate the undiscerning souls (2 Pet. 2:18).
Beloved, it is only through the aid of the Holy Spirit that you can discern, detect or discover the evil motives of the false prophets and the source of their prophecies.
Find out more about other gifts of the Holy Spirit in the next piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I ask and receive today the gifts of the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, and the Discerning of Spirits, in Jesus’ name. Amen.