Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
Last week we were told that we ought not to run a flat service because ‘with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all’. Act 4: 33 (NIV). Also we were told that to operate successfully in these gifts our faith must work by love. Gal 5:6. This truth is exemplified in the writings of Paul. He started his message on the gifts of the Spirit from chapter 12 and spoke about love (charity) in the whole of chapter 13 before he concluded it in chapter 14. It is important we bear this in mind as we continue in our studies. Today we shall be examining the gift of the word of wisdom.
Text: 1 Cor 12: 7-11.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit THE WORD OF WISDOM; ……… But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, DIVIDING TO EVERY MAN SEVERALLY AS HE WILL.
The scripture made us to realise that all these gifts work by the same Holy Spirit and He gives to every man severally as He wills. Also He will not use everyone the same way. We must realise that the choice of which gift to operate in is at the prerogative of the Holy Spirit.
This is not the gift of wisdom or the gift of knowledge as some people call it. Also it is not talking about natural wisdom and knowledge. It is the word of wisdom, and it is word of knowledge. They are given supernaturally. They are not natural gifts. God is omniscience. He Has all knowledge. He knows everything. He never reveals everything He knows. He may choose to just give only a word, a part, or a fragment of what He knows. For instance, a word of knowledge as we are told is just a fragmentary part of God’s knowledge. This also applies to word of wisdom. It is not the gift of wisdom. It is the word of wisdom. God Has all wisdom. He can decide that at a given time He will reveal a part of it to any of His children.
The Word of Wisdom Is Not Wisdom in the Affairs of Life.
It is observed that the word of wisdom many times is confused with simple wisdom in the affairs of life, but simple wisdom in the affairs of life is not a spiritual gift. Case of Joshua in Joshua 1: 8. One translation read ‘‘…Thou shalt make thyself prosperous and thou shalt be able to deal wisely in the affairs of life.’’ (emphasis mine). Also in Exodus 36: 1-2, the wisdom given to Bezaleel and Aholiab can be classified as general wisdom. In James 1:5, the Lord promised to give this general wisdom in all affairs of life to anyone that asks for it. This is not the supernatural wisdom that we are considering today.
The Word of Knowledge vs. The Word of Wisdom.
The Word of Knowledge is a supernatural revelation by the Spirit of God concerning certain facts, plan and divine purpose in the mind and will of God. The facts could be about people, places, or things in the past or present. The difference between the two gifts is that, the revelation the Word of knowledge bring is always present tense or concerning something that has happened in the past. The Word of Wisdom speaks of the future. However, the two gifts can operate together. In the New Testament and in the Old Testament, we see instances where these two gifts were in operation together as the prophets prophesied. The Old Testament Prophet operated in the two gifts along with the gift of prophecy. For example Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the New Covenant and the coming Messiah.
Prophecy can be a vehicle through which other gifts can flow. It should be noted that the Prophet of Old testament had to have the word of wisdom in manifestation in his ministry to be able to stand in the office of the prophet because he made predictions concerning the future, and the simple gift of prophecy does not include with it the element of predicting or foreseeing into the future. So the prediction is actually a word of wisdom in operation.
Revelation gifts can also come through those who are called to the fivefold ministries. But it is common for it to operate frequently in the office of the prophet. Prophecy is used to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort and not revelation. The word of wisdom can come through the vocal gift of an utterance i.e. through prophecy or through tongues and interpretation. Word of Wisdom can also come through vision or by dream or audible voice or messages through Angel. Dream- Case of Joseph in the Old Testament. Audible Voice- Moses and the Law. We have example in the New Testament whereby Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom operate together. Vision- Case of John on the Isle of Patmos. Case of Ananias in Acts 9: 10-16. Messages through Angel- Case of Philip in Acts 8: 26-29. Before we read that passage, we can familiarise ourselves with the progression in Philip’s ministerial calling; He was appointed to serve tables (Act 6: 2,3). Later God moved him into the office of the evangelist (Acts 21: 8).
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them’’ (Acts 8: 5).
Thereafter Philip received an instructional message from the Lord through an Angel as recorded in Acts 8: 26. The angel gave instructions regarding God’s plan for Philip’s immediate future. The angel said ‘’Go down to the desert’’. This was a word of wisdom about something that was to happen in the near future. Philip obeyed. Then a word of knowledge was given to Philip by the Voice of the Holy Spirit. ‘’…Go near, and join thyself to this chariot’’ (vs. 29). The instructions were more spectacular than the inward witness or inward voice of the Holy Spirit that every believer has.
Noah’s story in Gen 6: 13-18 was another Old Testament example of how the gift of word of wisdom can be manifested. Also Lot and his family (Gen 19: 29).
The New Testament example is about Prophet Agabus in (Acts 11: 28 and in 21: 10, 11). We also have in record the word of wisdom to Paul in (Acts 27: 10, 23, 24).
Conditional Word of Wisdom.
Some manifestations of the word of wisdom are conditional, depending upon the person’s obedience. For instance in the case of Prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah in (2 Kg. 20: 1, 5, 6)
Conditional Word of Knowledge and Wisdom to help a dying man. (Illustrative purpose) (James 5: 14- 16; 1 Cor 11: 30, 31 & 2 Cor 5: 17).
Blessed be the name of the Lord who Has not left us in darkness, as we can hear from heaven through the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. How desperately we need supernatural manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit today such as the word of wisdom. As we learn to yield to God, His plans and purposes will be revealed to us through the word of wisdom as His Spirit wills. But we need to take very seriously God’s message to us that come through these gifts and stand as a watchman to preserve those words from decadence.
This study was extracted from Kenneth E. Hagin’s book; The Spirit and His Gifts.