wisdom in the bible

Spiritual Gifts Series Part 2- The Gift of the Word of Wisdom

Episode 58

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

The Gift of the Word of Wisdom is distinctive from general wisdom gleaned from meditating on God’s Word. The Gift of the Word of Wisdom is unique in many ways because it offers a glimpse into our future, as one of the three revelation gifts. The Old Testament kings and prophets would supernaturally move in this gift, and Carl cites Hezekiah and Jonah as examples, amongst others. Tune in now to find out specifically, how this gift differs from the word of knowledge. At the end of the broadcast Carl shares a manifestation of the gift, which he treasures dearly…

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…

Let’s read our key passage… 1 Cor 12:7-11, which identifies each gift.

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; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Cor 12:7-11.

Friend, every gift works according to the Holy Spirit, not our spirit. We’re not working or manipulating the gifts, but we allow the Holy Spirit to manifest them through us and we make ourselves available and receptive to him. However, if people have wrongly judged these gifts as no longer in operation today or are in complete ignorance of them, they’ll not work through them.  God works through willing vessels. We have to be careful because sometimes we may want to operate in a certain gift but the Holy Spirit does not want us to, therefore, we must yield to Him. In other words to one person, the word of wisdom may be given and to another person the word of knowledge, and to another person the gift of faith and so on but we don’t personally choose which gifts are going to manifest. The Holy Spirit divides these gifts between us as He wills, not us. In fact there are some gifts people may operate in often and never function in any other gift or operate in some of the gifts but not all. It’s not uncommon to operate in all the gifts in one’s lifetime, but again, we are not the one who determines that, God does.

Remember, these gifts are not given to us by physical birth, but spiritual birth. In other words, they’re not inherent within us, we don’t own these gifts, but they do flow through us because of our new birth in Christ. Now our focus today, is the gift of the word of wisdom, NOT the gift of wisdom. One can become wise, by educating yourself or by practicing your understanding of God’s and reading the Book of Proverbs etc. but we’re not talking about being wise today but the gift of the word of wisdom specifically. God is the one who has all wisdom and knowledge, not you, and He chooses on occasion to give us a supernatural word of wisdom through this supernatural gift, but he won’t give us all the wisdom available to Him of course.

Friend, simple wisdom in life and its application are not what we are talking about with the gift of the word of wisdom. This was described in Josh 1:8 when God gave Joshua the key to successful living when he said, ” This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but you shalt meditate therein day and night, that you mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shalt make thy way prosperous, and then you shalt have good success.” You see it was up to Joshua to meditate on God’s word to attain wisdom, and then he would be successful in life’s journey, but this is not the word of wisdom. In addition, God can provide wisdom at any time concerning any situation and he offers it to us freely, ” If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given to him. (Jam 1:5). Once again this is wisdom that God offers freely to deal with the affairs of this life but it is not the gift of the word of wisdom.      

By definition, the word of wisdom is the supernatural revelation by the Spirit of God concerning the divine purpose and plan, in the mind and will of God. One could argue the word of wisdom is the best gift because it’s a revelation concerning the future plans of God. The word of wisdom is different from the word of knowledge because the revelation the word of knowledge brings is in the present tense or something concerning the past, but never the future. I will talk about this gift in tomorrow’s broadcast. In contrast; the word of wisdom always speaks of the future.  Now it’s clear to see, that the prophets of the OT operated in the word of wisdom several times along with the word of knowledge and the gift of prophecy. Prophets of old would make grandiose predictions about the future when the Spirit came upon them and clearly, they operated in this gift, which tells of future events. You will see shortly, that the gift of the word of wisdom has been in operation throughout both the OT and NT and still operates today as the Spirit wills it.

Even Kings and patriarchs could operate in this gift also, not just prophets. If you’ll recall, Joseph received a word of wisdom through a dream which revealed to him God’s plan and purposes for his future. So, you see a word of wisdom can come through a dream or vision also, it’s not restricted to verbal communication only. Also, in the case of Noah in Gen 6:13-18, God gave him a word of wisdom to warn the people of future judgment and peril that would come to the world via a great deluge, as a result, he built an ark for his family and animals as a result of this word of wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit.

In another instance God gave Jonah a word of wisdom that the city of Nineveh in Assyria was going to be destroyed if the people of that great city did not repent and return to God. Note that the word of wisdom can be conditional in some cases. In other words, if they repented, they would be spared, but if they failed to repent, Nineveh would be destroyed. Thankfully they did repent and judgment was averted in their case, yet we must bear this in mind whenever we receive a word of wisdom, in other words is there a conditional aspect to the word that we need to respond to in some cases. Another aspect of the conditional element of the word of wisdom would be King Hezekiah. God told Isaiah to tell King Hezekiah in 2 Kgs 20:1, “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” Hezekiah, then tuned his face to the wall, repented of his wrongdoings, cried unto God and prayed to God and reminded Him of the times when he walked in obedience. As a result, God told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah, “I’m going to give you fifteen more years” (2 Kgs 20:5-6). This is yet another example of the conditional aspect of the word of wisdom, and we need to be aware of this.

We should recall that when we prophecy in the NT, we are simply edifying, exhorting and comforting people as outlined in 1 Cor 14:3. The word ‘edify’ means to build up. If we’re prophesying correctly in this dispensation, we should be encouraging people and building them up, not tearing them down or fortune telling. There is no element of prediction or foretelling in this pure gift of prophecy. Whenever we receiver a word about the future, from another person with elements of prediction or foretelling, it’s really the gift of the word of wisdom in manifestation, not prophecy. Now, just for the record it’s possible in prayer to receive a word of wisdom concerning the future for yourself and it doesn’t have to come through another person, but as with all words, we weigh them according to scripture and put them on the shelf so to speak if they don’t make sense to us at the time. We also don’t try and make words of wisdom come to pass either, if we obey God’s word and listen to His Spirit, they will come to pass in His perfect timing and we don’t need to worry about them either.

We are not led by words of wisdom or words of knowledge but we are led by the word of God. We walk by faith and the unction of the Holy Spirit, first and foremost. In my own experience, a word of wisdom or knowledge I receive in my private devotional time or in public, often confirms what I already know in my spirit. We allow these wonderful gifts to confirm the direction God has given us and but not for guidance in particular. We need to respect these gifts, but judge them in light of God’s word also. Let me give you an extreme example. In the good old days of the charismatic renewal, it wasn’t uncommon for people to go around giving words of wisdom concerning who people should get married to. God told me you should marry this person etc. Friend, don’t be deceived, let’s use some common sense here, God will tell you directly who you are to marry and will confirm it several times over, you don’t need to get a word of wisdom about a future spouse, so be careful.

Some examples of the word of wisdom in the NT are as follows: In Acts 9:10-16 Ananias was told by the Holy Spirit to go to the street called straight and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus. God then showed Ananias he would lay hands on him and that he would receive his sight and be a chosen vessel to minister to the Gentiles.

In other words, the word of wisdom revealed to Ananias the future plan and purpose of God for Saul of Tarsus. Often times the word of wisdom and knowledge operate simultaneously in the manifestation of the gifts. In this case, Ananias was informed of the street called straight which was supernatural knowledge of a location he was unaware of at the time. This would be a word of knowledge in operation because the street was already in existence it did not concern the future.

Another example of the word of wisdom later concerns the Apostle Paul when he went aboard a ship to Rome to appeal his case to Caesar and a violent storm arose, “And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.” (Acts 27:10). But there was a soft south wind at the time and no-one listened to his warning. Yet later the ship came to great calamity and was destroyed but the men on board’s lives were saved despite of this. Once again, we see a conditional aspect of a word of wisdom in that if they heeded Paul’s warning and waited for the storm to pass before setting sail, they might have saved the ship. Friend, the gift of the word of wisdom is very very powerful. In my own life the Lord has used this gift to inform me directly and through others, of future events concerning jobs, trials, and warnings of things to come, which I needed to prepare for and even the description of my future wife. God is an awesome God! I have also operated in this gift in public settings on occasion and once gave a person a word of something very bad they were going to do to themselves, if they didn’t heed this warning from God. Remember what I told you in some cases the word of wisdom is conditional and will only manifest if the recipient of that word is obedient to the word given by God, so please bear this in mind when you next receive a world yourself. Take it to the Lord and ask Him what action you should take.

In one of the most amazing testimonies, I’ve ever witnessed and I treasure it particularly, is when my wife was shown the description of the precise location I proposed to her, on the other side of the world, as a six year old child, in a dream. This was indeed a word of wisdom God planted in her heart when she was a child as confirmation that I was the one God had prepared for her. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this before I proposed. Now if that doesn’t get your attention then I don’t know what will. The point is, God shared His plan and purpose with her and it came to pass exactly as she had seen it. What an awesome God we serve, that He would share these wonderful gifts with us.

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What are the revelation gifts?

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