The Word of Wisdom

“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).

The definition of The Word of Wisdom is: A Supernatural revelation of the plans & purposes in the mind of God that deal with the future.

This is not a gift of human wisdom or the “wise” kind of wisdom. With this gift of wisdom only part or a portion of information is given. God is all knowing and He gives us only what we need to know at any given moment.

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ in scripture is regarded among Charismatics and Pentecostals to be the supernatural revelation of wisdom through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The ‘word of wisdom’ may generally be a spontaneous manifestation of a God- given insight or perspective to the mind or spirit of the believer, and refers to God’s secret wisdom in 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 and elsewhere in scripture. This wisdom relates to that which God had previously hidden and destined for the glory of believers. It is a wisdom that speaks of those things that God has prepared for those who love Him.

“But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The emphases from the broader context of the Corinthian letter could imply that the gift known as the ‘word of wisdom’ involves insight into God’s plans and preparations for the Christian believer. These things are not made known through human wisdom; they are revealed or manifested by the Holy Spirit.

As is the case with all of the manifestation gifts in light of 1 Corinthians 13, the expectation in the community of faith is that the ‘word of wisdom’ is exercised out of a heart of love.

What is meant by a “word” of wisdom or knowledge?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).

Some interpretations hold that this refers to a single word, and identify such single words as ‘words of knowledge’ or ‘words of wisdom’ but the Greek word here, logoscan mean “messageas well.

The dissimilarity between these two gifts and prophecy is not in the number of words or the amount of information, but in the situation.

A ‘word of knowledge’ is a message that provides particular information – past, present and future – that is needed by a person(s) or the church body at a particular time. It may present direction in ministry, or it may provide information on possible warnings of danger, or wisdom about a certain matter(s).

A ‘word of wisdom’ brings together knowledge that can already exist and gives direction in its proper use. Just because we know certain things doesn’t mean we will use them in the obvious or promising way: especially in committees and assemblies we can become resolute on a course of action, and no matter what trouble we face or what alternatives are recommended, some members may be set on a particular path. A ‘word of wisdom’, spoken properly, can re-establish a clear vision and good common sense.

The ‘word of wisdom’ can also be knowledge of mysteries:

To one was given the ‘word of wisdom’; that is, say some, knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, and aptitude to explain by revelation and insight or an exact understanding of the design, nature, and doctrines of the Christian faith.

The ‘word of wisdom’ is a fundamental revelation like Solomon’s proverbs or statements made by the apostles.

Solomon asks for wisdom

"Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, "Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you” 1 Kings 3: 9-12.

In the book of Acts we read about wisdom by the apostles
“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.’ Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake’" (Acts 9:10-16).

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot’" (Acts 8:26-29).

The Spoken Word

It is essential we understand that every act that has occurred in the past, can only be known to subsequent generations by words, recorded and explained. Everything God did in creation – was spoken words: Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light (Genesis 1:3).

The Son of God was called the Word. In the beginning was the Word” . . . (John 1:1). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:14). Faith comes by hearing the message (the Word) . . .” (Romans 10:17).

This is not an attempt of some emotional expression resulting from a magical experience, but it is a response of the heart and will to speak the words of Jesus Christ as Paul writes in Romans 10:14, “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Therefore it is not surprising that words figure so prominently in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ministry gifts that are described in Ephesians 4:11-13 and 1 Corinthians 12, which are primarily exercised by means of words, whether in a public meeting or as one-on-one counselling.
Words: Scripture teaches us that words are powerful, and even have the power to bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21). God uses words to heal, “Pleasant words are like honeycomb” (Proverbs 16:24).

We Exercise our Authority: Authority is exercised principally by what we SAY, not by what we PRAY. In Matthew 8:8, “The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.’”

Words are Creative: When God created the world – He SPOKE out His creative intentions. The same principle applies to Blessing – it is SPOKEN.

Authority is by Relationship: We receive instructions from above (the Father)
and we give them to those below (the world, the flesh and the devil).

We follow the Example of Jesus: When He healed the sick, He SPOKE. When He cast out demons, He SPOKE (e.g. Mark 9:25, Jesus addressed the demon directly – He did not ask the Father to do it).
To the sickness (Luke 4:39) – Jesus rebuked the fever. To the elements (Mark 4:39) – Jesus rebuked the wind. To the trees (Matthew 21:19) – Jesus cursed the fig tree.
To the person (John 11:43) – Jesus commands Lazarus to come out.

WE have the Authority in the Name of Jesus, as WE speak it into being

The Scriptures state that all nine of the gifts are the work of the Holy Spirit,

“that one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man several as He wills.”

The Holy Spirit will not use everyone in the same way; as the Church, we are to desire these gifts to be made manifest among us and allow the Holy Spirit to use whom He wants.

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ often works in conjunction with the ‘word of knowledge’. Every so often a direct word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit will help solve problems or a predicament we are handling.

Nevertheless, there are other times that a ‘word of knowledge’ will not be enough to solve the dilemma. This is when we need a word of wisdom’. The ‘word of wisdom’ will give one the ability to be able to apply the knowledge appropriately for particular circumstances.
The ‘word of wisdom’ can also be the ability to make assessments and give guidance that is according to God's will. The ‘word of knowledge’ is the ability to have an in-depth perceptive of a spiritual issue or circumstances. The ‘word of wisdom’ will prevent us from making mistakes, from rushing into situations and making wrong judgments by taking hasty and often irrelevant decisions, thereby possibly causing a problem, and in turn a misunderstanding or at times bringing offence to people.

Godly wisdom is the aptitude to see things as God sees them, and to obtain spiritual insight into the heart of the matter so that we will know what is the right and appropriate action to take in a particular circumstance. Therefore, Godly wisdom is:

  1. Supernatural perspective to ascertain the divine means for accomplishing God’s will in given situations.
  2. Divinely-given power to appropriate spiritual intuition in problem solving.
  3. Sense of divine direction.
  4. Being led by the Holy Spirit to act appropriately in a given set of circumstances.
  5. Knowledge rightly applied: wisdom works interactively with knowledge and discernment.

Scripture that speaks of Word of wisdom: is a message or utterance of, or for imparting to others:

“And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19) – wisdom, namely, new revelations of the divine wisdom in redemption, as contrasted with human philosophy.

“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).

“ . . . Which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence”
(Ephesians 1:8).
“To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).

“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

There are three types of wisdom:

  1. The wisdom of God – (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)
  2. The wisdom of the world – (1 Corinthians 2:6)
  3. The wisdom of man – (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18)

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ is the application of knowledge that God gives you (1 Corinthians 2:6-7). This type of wisdom is a gift which cannot be gained through study or experience, and we should not try to replace this wisdom with earthly knowledge.

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ is seeing life from God's perspective. As a Christian exercises this gift, he begins to develop ‘A fear of the Lord.’

According to Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ is also the revealing of prophetic future and insight; it is speaking hidden truths of what is not known. It is a supernatural perspective to ascertain the divine means for accomplishing God's will in a given situation, and is a divinely given power to appropriate spiritual intuition in problem solving.

Furthermore, this gift involves having a sense of divine direction, being led by the Holy Spirit to act appropriately in a given set of circumstances, and rightly applying knowledge.

The gift of wisdom is the wisdom of God. It is the supernatural impartation of facts. It is not ordinary or natural wisdom. We can't earn it. It is received from God through prayer (Ephesians 1:17).

The gift of the ‘word of wisdom’ works interactively with the other two revelation gifts: word of knowledge and gift of discernment.
This is why we all need words of wisdom from the Holy Spirit in our daily life, so we will know how to handle more complex types of problems or issues that may occur at a moment's notice in our daily lives.

Examples of specific ‘words of wisdom’ direct from the Holy Spirit:

  • You have just found out that your spouse has been cheating on you. You will now need God's wisdom on exactly how to handle this crisis.

  • Your boss has just given you a new tough assignment and you are not sure on how to get the job done properly. You will now need God's knowledge and wisdom on how to get this new assignment successfully completed.

  • Your business has spiralled out of control and you will now need God's guidance and wisdom on how to keep yourself from going out of business.
  • You have just been named in an unjust lawsuit and you will now need God's wisdom on how to properly handle it.

There are a countless number of potential opportunities where we need God's wisdom to get us securely through problems or predicaments in our daily lives. Our human intellect is so imperfect and limited in its ability to apply real wisdom to solve some of life's tough problems, so let us ask and pray for wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Biblical Examples of the ‘Word of Wisdom’:

Jonah 3:4, “And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’”

Joseph, testifying to his brothers – Genesis 45:7, "And God sent me before you to preserve posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”

Agabus – Acts 11:28, “Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
Agabus – Acts 21:10-11, “And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

The Gift of the ‘Word of Wisdom’ is an exceptional Gift – to be desired and received.

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ”For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9-13).

Len and Linda Buttner
Eagle Ascend Ministries