Two weeks, we commenced teaching on spiritual gifts, which are divided into three broad categories with three sub types. The first consists of prophecy, divers kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues usually referred to as the gift of utterance. Next includes gift of faith, working of miracles and the gifts of healing known as the power gifts. The final category consists word of wisdom, word of knowledge and discerning of spirits known as revelational gifts. Last week, we considered the gift of prophecy. We defined prophecy as speaking for God. We differentiated between having the gift of prophecy and occupying the office of a prophet. The former is given for edification, exhortation and comfort without revelation while the latter incorporates some form of revelation or foretelling. Old Testament prophecy involves foretelling while the New Testament is strongly tilting to forth telling. This week, we shall begin a two-part series on the gift of word of knowledge and pray that these teachings will create desires in us to long and prayerful “covet” these spiritual gifts.
The Gift of the Word of Knowledge
The first thing to note in this gift is that it is referred to as "the word of knowledge." and not "the gift of knowledge." The word of knowledge is the supernatural revelation by the Holy Ghost of certain facts in the mind of God. God is all knowing. But He doesn't reveal everything He knows to man. He just gives him a word or a part of what He knows. A word is a fragmentary part of a sentence, so a word of knowledge would simply be a fragmentary part of the entire knowledge or counsel of God. God is all knowing. He has all knowledge. But He doesn't impart all of His knowledge to us; He imparts a word of knowledge to us – just what He wants us to know at a given time.
What Gift of Word of Knowledge is Not
1. The Word of Knowledge Is Not Natural Knowledge: This word of knowledge is a supernatural manifestation as are all of these gifts of the Spirit. None of them are natural gifts; they are all supernatural gifts. Since one of them is supernatural, they all are supernatural. If one of them were natural, then all of them would be natural.
2. The Word of Knowledge Is Not A Profound Knowledge of the Bible. Also, this gift of the word of knowledge is sometimes confused with a profound knowledge of the Bible. It doesn’t come by solely studying the bible so much even though it works in connection with God’s words. Indeed, we are to study God’s words as Paul admonished Timothy "STUDY to shew thyself approved ..." (2 Tim. 2:15). So that a profound knowledge of the Bible comes by studying, but the word of knowledge comes by a supernatural revelation.
3. The Word of Knowledge Is Not Necessarily Knowledge of God Through Close Communion With Him. Please note that one does gain a real knowledge of God by walking with Him, but that is different from a supernatural impartation of knowledge of certain facts in the mind of God. Example of Samuel vs Eli in I Sam. 3:1-10 clearly illustrates this point that one can know about the things of God but not hear His voice so that this kind of knowledge doesn't necessarily come by a longtime experience of walking with God.
Biblical Examples of the Word of Knowledge
1. The Word of Knowledge to John: Rev. 1:10-20. For John, it came through vision so we can also learn that this gift can come through vision. It is clear that John, exiled to the Isle of Patmos, couldn't possibly have known what was going on in these cities or churches, but Jesus revealed to him their spiritual conditions. That was a word of knowledge!
2. The Word of Knowledge to Ananias: Acts 9:10-12. Again, this gift was revealed to a layman (not an apostle), Ananias, through vision. The Bible calls him a disciple. He was just a member of the church at Damascus. If the Lord wills, laymen as well as ministers can have a manifestation of the word of knowledge or any of the gifts of the Spirit. Ananias couldn't have known in the natural that in a certain house on a certain street a man named Saul was praying at that minute. Ananias couldn't have known that Saul had had a vision in which he had seen a man called Ananias coming in and putting his hands on him that he might receive his sight. Ananias couldn't have known this any other way than by supernatural revelation. He knew it by the word of knowledge!
3. The Word of Knowledge to Peter: Acts 10:9-19: Peter received a supernatural revelation - a word of knowledge: ". . . Behold, three men seek thee" (Acts 10:19). Peter did not know there were three men who were seeking him (v. 19). He had fallen into a trance and had seen the vision of the sheet descending out of heaven.
While Peter was thinking about what that vision meant, the Holy Spirit told him that three men were seeking him. The men were already standing at the gate. Peter hadn't seen these men. He had no way of knowing they were there except by the Spirit of God.
4. There are also many other present day examples about of the manifestation of this gift to Christians.
To conclude this part of the gift of word of knowledge, it will be important to emphasize that this gift as with other spiritual gifts is used to bless others. It is also an effective gift to witness and get people saved (E.g. Cornelius and his household). We certainly need the manifestation of this gift to be effective in witnessing as individuals and as a church.
To be balanced, it will be great to add that the word of knowledge may come by an inward revelation, an audible voice, by the Spirit of God speaking to you. Also, the gifts of the Spirit often operate together. We just separate them in order to define them. For example, the word of knowledge may come through tongues and interpretation of tongues, or through the gift of prophecy. Or an angel might come to deliver a word of knowledge. God has many means of doing things, including manifesting the word of knowledge in various ways. God is visiting hungry hearts everywhere. He is manifesting His power through the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, and one of these gifts is the word of knowledge.
Contributor: Akin Akande