I want to reiterate that we can organize the gifts, or manifestations, of the Spirit into three groups of three gifts each.
The first group, and the one we just completed, is the power group. They are gifts that do something:
- The gift of (special) faith.
- The gift of working of miracles.
- And the gifts of healing.
The second group is the group that reveals something:
- The word of wisdom.
- The word of knowledge.
- And the discerning of spirits.
And lastly, the third group, the vocal group. This groups says something:
- And interpretation of tongues.
We’re going to continue our journey with the revelation gifts – the gifts that reveal something.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:7–9).
I must say, that if one of these gifts is supernatural, then all of them must be. After all, they’re done by the Spirit of God. This is also the case with the word of wisdom. This cannot be general, everyday wisdom that God wants us to have. In the book of James we are encouraged to ask God for wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Why is this different between general faith and the word of faith? In James we’re told that God will give anyone wisdom that will ask. In First Corinthians, the word of wisdom is given as the Spirit wills. In-other-words, there’s wisdom that we can ask God to give us for everyday living, and there’s wisdom that the God will give us when sees fit – it’s as the Spirit wills.
What is Wisdom?
Let’s tackle the question of what is wisdom? The Hebrew word for that we find in the Book of Proverbs is “hokmah” and means “skill in living, or living skillfully.” After many years and many poor choices, what satisfies me for the meaning of wisdom is skillful living, the ability to see the consequences of action, and the foresight to prepare for the future.
When we seek wisdom and ask God for it, what are we asking for? We’re asking for skill in living so that we have positive consequences of action, and that our decisions will prepare us for a successful future.
The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom. It tells us in essence “this path leads to this end, and this path leads to that end.”
So what is the difference between wisdom for everyday life and the gift of the Spirit called the word of wisdom?
What is a Word?
I want to bring your attention to the phrase “the word of.” What is a word? A word is a fragmentary part of a sentence. It’s not whole sentence (generally. In this case it isn’t), and it’s not a whole book. It’s just a part of a whole. It’s not the “gift of wisdom” for a reason. It’s the gift of the “word of wisdom.”
So the word of wisdom is a fragmentary part of God’s wisdom. It’s not all of God’s wisdom revealed to us. It’s just what He wants us to know at that time.
Since wisdom is skill in living, the ability to see the consequences of action, and the foresight to prepare for the future, the word of wisdom is a fragment of God’s ability to share insight into future events, and reveals God’s plans and purposes.
God knows all future events and His plans and purposes, but He doesn’t share all that He knows, plans, and purposes. The word of wisdom is God sharing a fragment of something He knows about the future.
Often times we call this prophecy, but prophecy is a vocal gift. It may be used to disclose the word of wisdom, but, as we will learn, in of itself prophecy doesn’t always reveal the future.
As I noted, the word of wisdom is God sharing insight of the future. Sometimes those events are the consequences of peoples actions and sometimes they’re plans that God has for His peoples’ future.
The Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is filled with the word of wisdom. Most of it is a revelation of the plan of God just prior to the coming of Jesus. The mark of the Beast, the false prophet, the fall of Babylon, the rise of the Antichrist, the destruction taking place in the earth, the millenial kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the New Heaven and New Earth are all revealed by the gift of the word of wisdom.
Peter and the Rooster
Jesus told Peter, “”Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times” (Matthew 26:34).
Sure enough, Peter denied the Lord three times that night. How did Jesus know Peter would deny him? The gift of the Spirit known as the word of wisdom. Jesus didn’t reveal all of Peter’s future actions, just a fragment–a word.
The gift of the word of wisdom was manifested when Elijah revealed that a drought was coming: “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word'” (1 Kings 17:1). God was revealing His plan and the consequences of action that Israel brought on themseves.
When God instructed Elijah to anoint Hazael as King of Syria, Jehu as King of Israel, and Elisha as prophet, He was revealing His divine plan and purpose –it was a word of wisdom: “Then the LORD said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place'” (1 Kings 19:15, 16).
God revealed the future of Abraham’s (at the time Abram) decendents, His divine plan and purpose, and the consequences of Amorites sins: “Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete'” (Genesis 15:13–16).
“Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar” (Acts 11:28).
Agabus, by the gift of the word of wisdom, revealed that a great famine was going to happen. Did God cause the famine? I don’t believe so. The scripture doesn’t say that He did. But God knew what was going to happen, the consequenses of the weather, and revealed it to His people.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood'” (Genesis 6:11–14).
Reading the account of Noah, we can see God revealing to Noah His plan for the future of mankind and giving Noah instruction to make his future prosperous.
God Wants Us To Know
Jesus said, “He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13) speaking about one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit. The word of wisdom is certainly in that catagory. God wants the gifts of the Spirit manifested in our churches. That’s one reason why He gave us the Holy Spirit.
I think you’re getting the picture. The word of wisdom reveals the plan and purpose of God, the consequences of action, and what one should do to prepare for the future.
Stay strong and prepared!