The first of the revelation gifts that we studied was the word of wisdom. We’ll continue our study with the second of the three gifts that reveal something – the word of knowledge.
The word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation by God’s Spirit of certain facts in the mind of God.
The reason why this gift is called the word of knowledge is because it’s only a fragment of something that God knows. A word is a fragment of a sentence, and the word of knowledge is a fragment of what God knows. God knows everything, but He doesn’t reveal all that He knows. What God does when the word of knowledge is in manifestation is reveal a fragment of the knowledge He has about a certain thing.
The word of knowledge has nothing to do with the future – that is the word of wisdom (see previous study). The word of knowledge has to do with the present or past – what has happened or what is happening.
Often times we see the gifts work together. For instance, we saw in a previous study the gifts of healings working at the same time as the working of miracles when Peter healed the man at the gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1–11).
I’ll reiterate, if one of the gifts is supernatural, then all of the gifts are supernatural. How many of us decide we’re going to work a miracle? None. We may wish we could, but the gift of working of miracles is “as the Spirit wills.” We don’t learn to do miracles. The word of knowledge is the same. A strong knowledge of the Bible or a close walk with God is not what this scripture is speaking of — though knowledge comes by both and the Holy Spirit is involved. But Bible study and walking with God is something we do and grow in. The gifts are something the Spirit does through us when He wants to.
Book of Revelation
The first few chapters of the Book of Revelation are an example of the word of knowledge. When Jesus was telling the Apostle John about the conditions of the churches, that was in real time. That was the condition of the churches at the time of the vision. Jesus was telling John of certain facts in the mind of God about the condition of the churches. This is the gift of the word of knowledge in operation. It happened to be in a vision, but it doesn’t have to be. As I said earlier, sometimes more than one gift manifests at a time.
The lesson is that the word of knowledge was given to John revealing to him the condition of the Churches of Asia Minor. This wasn’t something John studied from the scriptures or learned through years of walking with God. John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos and knew nothing of the condition of the churches. God gave John a supernatural manifestation of the condition of the churches.
For All Disciples
The gifts of the Spirit are for all of God’s people — the minister and the layman. We can see this when Jesus spoke to Ananias. Jesus told Ananias where Paul was, that Paul had a vision, and that Paul had been praying. This is a supernatural manifestation of certain facts in the mind of God. God knew everything that was happening in Paul’s life, but He only revealed to Ananias what He wanted Ananias to know. Ananias didn’t know where Paul was (and didn’t care to know), that Paul had a vision, nor that Paul had been praying. This was revealed by the Spirit of God.
“So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight’” (Act 9:11–12).
Ananias was a “disciple.” Like you and me. The gifts may manifest in the ministry gifts more often, but they are for all of us!
When God sent Elijah to Zarephath (1 Kings 17), He told Elijah that a woman was there to provide sustenance for him. Elijah knew nothing about this woman or who she was, but God did and revealed her through the word of knowledge.
We should also take note that this time the word of knowledge didn’t come through a vision: “The word of the Lord came to Him” (1 Kings 17:8). It came by the Holy Spirit to Elijah’s spirit and registered on his mind.
We need to recognize the different voices in the world and distinguish them from the voice of the Spirit. Voice as in the thoughts we think and the things we listen to. It’s imperative that we develop our walk with the Father that we may learn His leading; which comes from down in the “gut” or heart and filters to the mind. This is why it’s so important to stay in the Word and prayer. The written Word must be the final authority: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119: 105). Over time we become more experienced to the leading of the Spirit, and sometimes we can miss it. But that’s the primary way God lead’s His children “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
(Being led by the Spirit is very difficult to explain, but this is how God leads us.)
In this case with Elijah, when the Spirit spoke it was more authoritative, and may have sounded almost audible to Elijah. I could be wrong (not being there), but I doubt if anyone else was there that they would have heard it.
Another time, God revealed to Elijah that He had “seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
Again the word of knowledge didn’t come through a vision. This time it came through “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). Much like when God leads us: It’s not spectacular, audible, or hardly noticed, it’s just a still small knowing or something on the inside that seems to lead us in a particular way.
When Samuel told the future king, Saul, where the donkeys were, that was a word of knowledge (1 Kings 9:20).
The word of knowledge is a very valuable gift that can help a great many people. I imagine this gift would be very helpful for someone like a pastor. But the gifts comes with responsibility. Blabber mouths need not apply. Nonetheless, we should pray that the gifts of the Spirit would be taught in the churches and manifested among the people.
Stay strong and prepared!