The Word of Knowledge – Part 4 – Gifts of the Spirit
This is part 4 in our Gifts of the Spirit series. You can read the others parts 1-3 here. In this post we will talk about the Word of Knowledge gift.
This gift is the first one that I saw in operation in my life when I became a Christian. Back then I didn’t know that this gift was in the bible or even that it had a name because I wasn’t in a church environment that taught the Gifts of the Spirit. Actually they believed that these spiritual giftings ceased. I believed that as well because that’s what I was taught. This just demonstrates that God can still give you gifts that you don’t even know exists or even that you believe in.
(1 Corinthians 12: 8) “The Spirit gives to one the gift of the word of wisdom. To another, the same Spirit gives the gift of the word of revelation knowledge.”
Even after reading this scripture I find that unless someone explains how to gift works and how to identify it you can easily miss it or even confuse it with prophesy.
The difference between word of knowledge and prophesy
How is the Word of Knowledge gift manifested? It is knowledge about someone or something that is from the past or is current information. People often mistake the word of knowledge for the gift of prophecy as soon as the minister starts revealing information about them. The biggest difference is word of knowledge is past and current information while prophesy has to do with the future information.
When someone prophesies over you they should be giving you future information that acts as a confirmation of what God has already been revealing to you about your/the future. A lot of times those with the gift of prophesy can start off with a word of knowledge and then it rolls into the gift of prophesy.
Does that mean that those with the gift of word of knowledge walk around knowing everything about everyone? No. It says “A word” or “the word” that means that this is limited to only a single situation where God chooses to reveal the information to you. It’s as He wills. And, it’s only “a word” unlike God who is Omniscient (all knowing/all knowledge).
Here are some scriptures that show the word of knowledge in operation
(John 4:16-24) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
When Jesus made the comment about her five husbands that was a word of knowledge because He was giving her informati0n about her past and current situation. In verse 21 -24, He flows into prophecy because He starts talking about what will happen in the future.
Remember the story of Peter with Ananias and Sapphira when they said they would sell their land and give all the money to the church but instead they kept a portion of it back and tried to hide this fact from Peter?
Acts 5:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV) “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Here is a scripture where Elisha, the prophet, admits that something had occurred that God did not reveal to him.
2 Kings 4:25-27 New King James Version (NKJV) “And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
So those with the gift of prophesy don’t always know everything. When we are operating in the gifts of the Spirit we only know what God chooses to reveal. Therefore, we don’t know everything.
My church was looking for people to help them pray over the prayer requests submitted each week so I volunteered. I was a new Christian just saved for a few months. They had about 8 people in this prayer group that met each week. They were all older Christians some saved over 40 years so to me these are people that I would look up to for spiritual counsel and wisdom. They were all very well respected in the church.
So I have these prayer cards about 15 – 30 cards each week and I am praying over these people every morning. People rarely identified themselves so the majority had no name. For some of them the minute, I touch the card it’s like I would know something about them which I would pray. Then others there was nothing just exactly what was written on the card so I would pray what they requested. Those same cards that revealed nothing to me one day would the next day open up and reveal something to me by the end of the week. I would see pictures or when I was praying for them words would come out of my mouth with information about them. I knew it was God because I had no other way of knowing what I was praying and I don’t know these people.
I was fascinated and excited by this and couldn’t wait to delve in and learn more about this part of prayer. I was also very excited to share with the prayer group and hear their stories as well. Well, as I began to share with them how excited I was to do this they gave me a blank stare that said nothing more than “What are you talking about?” They did not seem to know what I was talking about. They basically told me stick to what is written on the card don’t pray anything that’s not on the card. I felt strange and confused because here were these seasoned Christians and none of them knew what I was talking about. Not one. So, I decided the following week I would just stick to what is on the card and not pray anything else but I couldn’t make it stop.
One example was a woman who was saved her husband was filing for a divorce. She writes on the card that she needs prayer because she’s going through a divorce. She doesn’t say he’s unsaved on the card but as I am praying for her I hear myself say “shame on you for being a Christian for 4 years and never praying for your husbands salvation but instead you’re here soliciting prayer for divorce support. Start praying for your husband’s salvation!” Weird right? This was some of the stuff that was coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t make myself stop it but when I got done praying my rational mind would think “What in the world are you saying? Of course she prayed for her husband. This is crazy”
When I realized I couldn’t stop it I decided that maybe it was best if I just didn’t pray at all. But God, knowing that I needed to have some kind of confirmation to show that this was real made several different people walk up to me in church within one hour that following Sunday and repeat to me the things I was praying over them. He made the people from the card identify themselves to me so I would know it was real and not some made up fantasy that I was creating in my head.
This woman walks up to me and says “I wish I had your gift of intercession because I would at least know how to pray my way through this divorce”. The minute she said that I knew it was her. Then she says to me, “the Lord just revealed to me that I never prayed for my husband’s salvation” Then I asked her how long she was saved and she 4 years so then I told her it’s OK you can start praying for his salvation now. And that was it. He started sending the people to me and they would start repeating to me what I was praying over them. That’s all I needed to know – it was real and I wasn’t crazy.
At this point there was no stopping me. I still didn’t know this was the word of knowledge gift from the bible but what I did know is that Holy Spirit had given me the ability to do something that the others didn’t have. I continued to use the gift and told no one about it after that point. I also never told the people who would reveal to me things that I already knew and was praying over them. I kept all of it to myself. There were only 2 people aware of what was happening over the years – me and God.
When God reveals to you that He’s using you to reconcile people to Himself and deliver them from bondage, you won’t care about your doctrine.
On another occasion I am standing at the front of the church praying for people at the end of the service, this family comes up husband, wife and 3 children for prayer for their family. Just asking for a general prayer with no details. I prayed with them and when I got to the end of the prayer the husband looks at me with his mouth hanging open and bolts out of the church. He ran out super fast so that the people in the church turned and were looking to find out what was wrong because obviously something was wrong. So I looked at the wife and asked her “What happened?” She’s looking at me with her mouth open and says “My husband is an atheist and this is the first time he’s coming to church, he spent the entire service criticizing everything and saying God doesn’t exist and this is all fake and church is all about money, I begged him to come up for prayer for me, he came because of me, and then you started praying and you repeated our conversation that we were having in the back of the church for the last 5 minutes, you said what I said, then you said what he responded, then you said what I said, then you said what he said, Back and forth like you were standing there with us, you basically started repeating our conversation”. She was a little in shock too as well as the older children. I don’t remember exactly what I prayed but I did pick up while I was praying that he wasn’t saved and so I was praying in that direction not realizing that I was repeating their conversation.
So what is the point of this gift?
(1) to show the unbeliever that God is real. It planted a seed in him that there is a God that knows everything even the things that we believe is being spoken in private. I don’t know if he ever came back but I’m sure he’ll never forget that. It freaked him out and he went running. I bet he’ll be a little bit more careful when he considers being cynical around Christians, LOL.
(1 Corinthians 14:23-25) “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.”
Even though this verse is talking about prophesy, it really is about all gifts of the spirit it brings the unbeliever to a place of being convinced, convicted and then for them to eventually receive Christ. This is why we have these gifts in operation today. God knows exactly what it will take to bring each person to salvation and sometimes it is them witnessing the gifts of the Spirit. Them seeing something that is not humanly possible.
(2) to perfect the saints and equip the body of Christ
Ephesians 4:12-13 (NKJV) “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
You know the woman that never prayed for her unbelieving husband didn’t do it because she was being mean, she just didn’t know. Again when your church doctrine is that God knows everything and will do everything according to His will therefore you don’t need to pray, you won’t pray. When you believe that everyone who will be saved will get saved regardless of whether or not you share the gospel, you won’t share the gospel!
Our doctrine can mess us up and most of us don’t even realize it. Most of us can’t hear God because our doctrine can stop us from hearing. God had to tell her Himself but this came by way of a word of knowledge and someone else praying it over her.
Again, I never told her that I already knew what she was telling me. That wasn’t necessary and quite frankly what would be the purpose of that?
I’m sharing these stories now because I know there are many other people that are in a situation where they are recognizing these gifts within themselves maybe they’ve even stifled it because they didn’t know who to tell and this is here to encourage you.
Maybe you are in a church where they believe in the cessation of gifts and you know you are flowing in the gifts of the Spirit. Don’t leave the church. God already knew that when He sent you there you just need to ask Him what He wants you to do in that church. Be respectful of their beliefs even if you know differently and do what God shows you.
In the next post I will talk about the Word of Wisdom which is a gift that usually follows a Word of Knowledge and/or Prophecy. You must remember that God is not into gossiping so it is highly unlikely He’s just going to give you information about others without giving you the application or solution (the Word of Wisdom) to the problem.
I pray this blessed you. Do you have this gift? Share your thoughts below.