The spiritual gifts 'word of wisdom' and 'word of knowledge' – What are they?

In the list of spiritual gifts included in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul listed the "word of wisdom" and "word of knowledge." What are these gifts?

First, very little is directly mentioned regarding these two spiritual gifts. Paul simply listed them and moved into a different discussion. As a result, there is much debate regarding the details of these two spiritual gifts.

Second, the idea of the "word of" wisdom and knowledge appears to indicate these gifts were associated with information a person would share with others. In other words, the word of wisdom was not about how much a person could learn, but in communicating this information with others in appropriate and helpful ways.

Third, wisdom likely included the communication of spiritual truth related to the gospel. First Corinthians 2:6-7 shares, "Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory."

Fourth, both of these gifts were related to helping build up the body of Christ. Wisdom and knowledge were given to share, not merely for personal fulfillment.

Though uncertain, perhaps these two gifts were associated with leaders of the church who shared words of wisdom and knowledge to help others grow in Christ. This would have been especially important during the early stage of the church during which the New Testament Scriptures had not yet been completed.

In contrast with the practice found in some charismatic congregations, these two gifts do not indicate direct revelation or prophecy from God. In fact, these gifts were given to communicate God's truth, not to reveal new, unknown truth that would add to or take away from Scripture.

Because these two gifts include much uncertainty regarding intended meaning and application, it is also uncertain regarding their continuance in the church today. However, it is clear that today's church needs people who are wise and knowledgeable regarding God's truth and who can communicate this information to others.

Related Truth:

What spiritual gifts does the Bible mention? Can you give me a survey of the spiritual gifts?

What is my spiritual gift?

Are the miraculous gifts of the Spirit still active?

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

What is the role of the Holy Spirit? How is the Holy Spirit active in our lives today?

Return to:
Truth about the Holy Spirit

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