Some Charismatics/Pentecostals view the word of knowledge and word of
wisdom spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit speaking from one believer to another,
giving revelation regarding a decision or situation. Those who use these gifts
in that way will often say something to the effect of, “I have a word from the
Lord for you.” In doing so, they claim to be speaking on behalf of God, and
claim that their words are to be strictly obeyed.
This understanding of
the word of knowledge and word of wisdom gifts comes dangerously close to
denying the doctrine of the sufficiency of
Scripture. If God continues to reveal His will and wisdom through special
revelation to individuals, then can His Word truly be sufficient to make us
“complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)?
Has God truly given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), if we require
other individuals to give us special revelation from God? This is not to say
that God never uses another person to speak to us, but if we often need direct
messages from God through other people in order to live our lives, is God’s Word
truly sufficient, as it declares itself to be?
So, if the word of wisdom
and the word of knowledge are not prophetic/revelatory gifts, just exactly what
are they? We know one thing for sure: these gifts are given by the Spirit to
build up (edify) the body of Christ, for the “common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
The havoc that so often ensues in churches that practice the word of knowledge
and word of wisdom as revelatory gifts clearly is not for the common good.
Confusing, nebulous, and sometimes contradictory “words from the Lord” do not
come from the God, who is not a God of confusion or disorder (1 Corinthians
14:33). Nor do they tend to bring Christians together for their edification;
on the contrary, they tend to cause division and strife in the body. Often the
word of knowledge and/or word of wisdom gifts are used to gain power and
influence over other people, to make others dependent on the one who claims to
possess those gifts. This misuse of the two gifts is clearly not of
With that in mind, we offer these definitions of the word of
knowledge and word of wisdom spiritual gifts:
The word of wisdom – The
fact that this gift is described as the “word” of wisdom indicates that it is
one of the speaking gifts. This gift describes someone who can understand and
speak forth biblical truth in such a way as to skillfully apply it to life
situations with all discernment.
The word of knowledge – Also a speaking
gift that involves understanding truth with an insight that only comes by
revelation from God. Those with the gift of knowledge understand the deep things
of God and the mysteries of His Word. JOYALMINISTRIES