The gifts of the Holy Spirit ;the inspirational gifts: Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, and Discerning of Spirits
There are nine gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit,
9. 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 other divers’ kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
For the purposes of our study the gifts are considered in three groups.
1. The verbal gifts; tongues, interpretation of tongues and prophecy.
2. The inspirational gifts; a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge and discerning of spirits.
3. The power gifts, faith, gifts of healing and miracles.
The inspirational (or revelatory) gifts
Last time when we considered the verbal gifts, we saw that these gifts were under our control to some degree and in one sense we can reach out to the Lord to receive them from Him. However, it is more difficult (though not impossible) to reach out for the inspirational gifts than the verbal gifts. The inspirational gifts often operate unexpectedly, but when they do, they usually resolve a difficult if not otherwise impossible situation to resolve.
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda, in their book 'Watch of the Lord'' talk of the gifts of the Holy Spirit being part of the Church's military assets.
The HOLY SPIRIT gives a word of knowledge=intelligence.
The HOLY SPIRIT gives a word of wisdom=unique and successful strategies.
The HOLY SPIRIT gives discerning of spirits=radar ability to reveal the hidden enemy 'stealth'. The HOLY SPIRIT gives a gift of faith the vision for victory.
Judging the gifts
James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
There should always be fruit coming from the inspirational gifts (and other gifts) whether immediate or after a while. The demonized girl who followed Paul and Silas around Phillipi had supernatural knowledge about them, but it was not pure, gentle, and eventually contributed to Paul and Silas getting a severe beating and imprisonment. However, the true inspirational gifts are beautiful to see and bring great encouragement to the church.
As in the colours of the rainbow and in the fruit of the Holy Spirit sometimes the various gifts seem to merge into each other i.e. sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between a prophecy and a word of knowledge.
1. Word of wisdom
Wisdom is the correct use of knowledge. A word of wisdom can be used by God in many different ways.
Luke 21:14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.
15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
Matthew 10:19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,
20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
This is referring to a time of persecution not to whether you ought to prepare a sermon or talk in advance! The gift of a word of wisdom often is for when you are in a tricky situation and the Holy Spirit gives you the answer to the problem. Remember the word of wisdom Jesus used when they asked him if they should pay taxes to Caesar!
A pastor was interviewed on radio by an atheist but had to stop talking when the atheist raised his hand. The atheist asked a number of questions to which the pastor gave good answers, but the interviewer kept his best shot until last. The climax question was in a certain passage of scripture God tells the Israelites to kill all the people in a certain town, men, women, and children even the animals, Is that your God? The pastor cries inwardly 'Lord help me!'. He receives a word of wisdom 'Yes, it is my God, a God of love, a God of long-suffering and patience but also a God of wrath and judgement! That is why Christians are so urgent about the Gospel in a nation where we have taken God's mercy and forgiveness for granted for so long. After a minute of total silence the interviewer thanked the pastor and closed the show.
Another dramatic resolution (in the old testament) of an insoluble problem by a word of wisdom was when the two women argued over the live baby.
People can also receive a word of wisdom over day-to-day problems such as moving house or changing job etc. A Christian family felt lead to move back into a certain town but there was no job for the man and their house would not sell! Their pastor prayed for them and received a word of wisdom to the effect that as mature believers they should no longer wait for the job and house situations to resolve but step out in faith and go ahead with the move. Everything worked out with remarkable success!
Next time in the gifts of the Godhead Part 3e we consider the next inspirational gift, the word of knowledge.