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Spiritual Gifts

Part 1: Word of Wisdom & Word of Knowledge

We’ve been studying a wonderful topic for the past several lessons – the blessed Holy Spirit of God. We’ve done an overview of Who He is and what He does in our lives.

The Holy Spirit is the agent of our salvation and we have the Spirit in a measure when we are born again ... but to be filled of the Spirit, we drink of the Spirit, yield to Him and let Him fill us and overflow us in whatever gift or manifestation He desires to do.

And the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of the Word... without Him we can't understand the Bible or "rightly divide the Word of truth".

Being filled with the Spirit or allowing the Spirit to give us a spiritual gift is NOT required for salvation. That is "by grace through faith" in the Lord Jesus Christ, "NOT by works" of any kind. However, because it isn’t required, doesn’t mean that we should neglect or dismiss the work of the Holy Spirit in this manner.

Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN AND FOR ALL WHO ARE FAR OFF--FOR ALL WHOM THE LORD OUR GOD WILL CALL."

This is a quote from Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost ... and he was referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit that was poured out with the evidence of speaking in tongues ... and by extension ALL of the gifts of the Spirit. He said that this gift of the Holy Spirit is for all whom the Lord calls. Is He still calling people? Then the gift is still available for us as it was for the early Church.

Romans 11:29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

God doesn’t take back His gifts. Synonyms for irrevocable are: established, unchangeable, irreversible, constant, unchanging, immovable, permanent, perpetual, and solid.

And I for one think we desperately need spiritual gifts in the Church today, not to mention the fruit of the Spirit and the ministry gifts ... and the power of the Spirit to overcome the deep darkness on our land. And above all love which ties it all together in perfect unity.

In my own life, I know if I try to do God's work in MY strength, I fail miserably. But when I lean on the Holy Spirit, and let Him guide me, then the Lord anoints what I do for Him, and it becomes easy and light... a joy not a burden or duty.

One topic that we’ve briefly mentioned in these studies, but didn’t go over in much detail is spiritual gifts, although we did spend some time talking about speaking in tongues.

Christmas is celebrated by most Christians all over the world as a time of giving gifts. The Bible does say that it is BETTER to give than receive, but most people thoroughly enjoy receiving gifts the best. And a true gift is a token of your affection for someone, freely given as evidence of your love for them.

And also a true gift is one that comes from the heart, that you do not give out of duty, but out of a sincere desire to bring pleasure into that loved one’s life. The gift is something that you believe will make their life better in some small way.

Now if someone wanted to give you a gift and you refused, it would be considered rude and ungrateful, wouldn’t it?

Whether you think you deserve it or not, or are worthy of it or not, you receive the gift as a token of love.

God is a giving God. No matter what you do, you can’t out give God. There are some who do not recognize all the bounty God heaps upon us daily, but God still gives. The most precious gift that God has given to us of course is the gift of the Son, who laid down His life to atone for our sin.

And giving His life for us was not the only gift that Jesus gave. He also gave us the GIFT of the Holy Spirit, who came in fullness on the Day of Pentecost, and is still with us.

And the Holy Spirit in turn gives us many gifts. The gifts that the Holy Spirit gives can be called "divine enablements" or abilities that give us the capability to do God’s work in this world. All the gifts of Holy Spirit are given to us as evidence of His love for us, and are designed to make our lives better and empower us for service.

Yet how many refuse to receive His gifts, stating that the gifts are not for today, that we no longer need Him, we’re doing just fine on our own, thank you very much? Or how many want to pick and choose which gifts we will receive, and which ones we reject?

I for one want and NEED everything the Holy Spirit has provided. I need supernatural help to live a godly life in a godless culture. I don’t want to refuse any gift that God has for me, do you?

The general Greek word used for spiritual gifts is charisma meaning 1) a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own; 2) the gift of divine grace; 3) the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue; 4) the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith;

And 5) grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit.

So there are many gifts that we receive from God, starting with salvation, and flowing to us and through us all the days of our life. Tonight we want to focus on some specific gifts of the Spirit in detail as listed in I Corinthians 12.

We have already talked about Ministry Gifts, such as Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher, Administration, Service, etc. But we haven’t talked much about what are called "Manifestation" Gifts, "Sign Gifts" or simply spiritual gifts.

I Corinthians 12:1-2 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

The Church at Corinth apparently had many questions about spiritual gifts, and Paul stated that he did not want them to be ignorant about spiritual gifts. Some Christians have chosen to ignore spiritual gifts, stating that they aren’t important or aren’t for today. They are deliberately ignorant of what the Holy Spirit wants to give them.

Others are ignorant due to lack of teaching or inadequate instruction. They are hungry for more of God and haven’t been fed this "meal" yet. For those who desire to feast on all of God’s Word, this meal’s for you!

Ignorant in the Greek is agnoeo {ag-no-eh'-o} meaning 1) to be ignorant, not to know; 2) not to understand, unknown; 3) to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong. This is the root word for "agnostic", meaning one without knowledge of God.

The Holy Spirit revealed the knowledge about His gifts to Paul and Paul wanted us to KNOW about them, to not be ignorant, and perhaps sin through errors or mistakes in doctrine.

Spiritual here is pneumatikos {pnyoo-mat-ik-os'} meaning 1) relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ; 2) belonging to a spirit, or a being higher than man but inferior to God; 3) belonging to the Divine Spirit; 3a) of God the Holy Spirit; 3b) one who is filled with and governed by the Spirit of God; 4) pertaining to the wind or breath; windy, exposed to the wind, blowing.

Our being is comprised of three parts: body, soul and spirit. Our body is this "earthen vessel" we live in. Our soul is our self-consciousness. And our spirit is our God-consciousness, the part that communes with God through the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual gifts then, come from the Holy Spirit to our human spirit, that has been made alive in Christ, and then operate through our minds and bodies. For a spiritual gift to be manifested, then we must first 1) be born again – so our spirits are activated to receive from God; 2) yield to and be filled with the Holy Spirit; and 3) bring our bodies under the subjection of the Holy Spirit.

All of the operations of the Holy Spirit in our lives, whether of the fruit of the Spirit, Ministry Gifts or Manifestation gifts are a divine/human activity. Their source is God, but we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit for them to be revealed in us.

Romans 6:13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

No where in Scripture are believers "possessed" by God or the Holy Spirit to do things against their will. Always there is a choice whether to yield the members of your body to righteousness or unrighteousness. God only works in your life to the extent that you have faith in Him and allow Him to do so.

You may refuse to yield the members of your body to God, not allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest His gifts in your life as He wills. God is not going to force you to do so, or "overtake" you, or work in you against your will. The choice is yours.

I Corinthians 12:1-2 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

The Greek word that the NIV translates as "influenced" and the KJV as "carried away" is apago {ap-ag'-o} meaning to lead away, especially of those who are led off to trial, prison, or punishment.

"Led astray" in Greek is ago {ag'-o} meaning to lead by laying hold of, and this way to bring to the point of destination: as of an animal; to lead, guide, direct, to move, impel: of forces and influences on the mind; to pass a day, keep or celebrate a feast, etc.; to go, depart.

Paul points out that the Corinthians were formerly led astray, impelled or moved to worship mute idols and celebrate pagan feast days … using words that imply that they were led to bondage and punishment.

We can either be gently led by the Holy Spirit, who always leads us to Christ, or we can be forcefully led astray by demonic influences into idolatry. Now some think they are wise enough to keep out of trouble on their own, but over and over in the Bible we are told how easy it is to fall and be deceived. So I, for one, strive daily to be led of the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit always testifies of Jesus and one test that spiritual gifts MUST meet is that they glorify Jesus. Any "gift" that curses Jesus, that does not afford Him His honor as our Lord and Savior, and that does not acknowledge His Lordship is NOT from the Holy Spirit.

"Speaking" by the Spirit here in Greek is laleo {lal-eh'-o} meaning to utter a voice or emit a sound, to speak, to use the tongue or the faculty of speech, to utter articulate sounds, to talk, to utter, tell, to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts, to speak.

I Corinthians 14:2 For anyone who speaks [laleo] in a tongue does not speak [laleo] to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters [laleo] mysteries with his spirit [by the Spirit].

The word for "speaking by the Spirit" in I Corinthians 12:3 is the same as used in I Corinthians 14:2. We will cover these gifts in detail, but the gifts that involve "speaking by the Spirit of God" or you could call them "vocal gifts" are a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues and prophecy.

I Corinthians 12:4-6 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Apparently some believers in Corinth were confused about how spiritual gifts operated, or whether some manifestations were from God. Perhaps some favored one gift, such as speaking in tongues, above the others, and Paul wanted to give a balanced view.

Paul said that there are different kinds or diversities of gifts, but they are all given by the same Spirit. There’s not one Holy Spirit that gives a word of knowledge, and another that gives the gift of miracles, etc. They are all given by the same Spirit that also gives what are known as "Ministry Gifts", such as Pastors, Apostles, etc.

Diversities in Greek is diairesis {dee-ah'-ee-res-is} meaning division, distribution, distinction, difference, in particular, a distinction arising from a different distribution to different persons.

So Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different persons, but it is still the same Spirit. "Gifts" in this verse is charisma, which we’ve already studied. This refers to the "manifestation" gifts Paul goes over in greater detail in I Corinthians chapter 14.

Then Paul says that there are different kinds of services, but we all serve the same Lord. Services or administrations is diakonia {dee-ak-on-ee'-ah} which is also translated minister or deacon elsewhere in the New Testament. It refers to those Equipping Ministry gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and Pastor-Teacher, and Body Ministry gifts, such as Service, Administration, Helps, etc. that we have talked about previously.

Diakonia means 1) service, ministering, especially of those who execute the commands of others; 2) of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote religion among men (of the office of Moses, of the office of the apostles and its administration, of the office of prophets, evangelists, elders etc.);

3) the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection especially those who help meet need by either collecting or distributing of charities; the office of the deacon in the church ; 5) the service of those who prepare and present food.

And then Paul says that there are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Working or operations is energema {en-erg'-ay-mah meaning the thing wrought or the effect or operation.

This comes from energeo {en-erg-eh'-o} meaning to be operative, be at work, put forth power, to work for one, aid one, to effect, to display one's activity, show one's self operative, our root word for "energy".

And Paul is clear that God gives the divine energy that motivates and makes ALL of these gifts effective in the Body of Christ. Notice here that we see the Father, Son and Spirit working together in unity through us in all of the manifestation and ministry gifts of the Spirit. If spiritual gifts are so important to the Holy Trinity that they are focusing on them and working through them in unity, shouldn’t we also cooperate?

Another way to look at it is this: the Spirit gives the gifts, Jesus administers them and the Father gives the divine energy that makes them work and achieves His goals in the Church.

And notice another thing here, for those who think that any spiritual gift is invalid now – there is no time limit put on this divine activity in us. It does NOT say, well the Father, Son and Spirit are going to work in you with divine energy until the Bible is written, or until all the Apostles die off, or until you all get smart enough to do it yourself.

I Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

"Manifestation" here in Greek, is phanerosis {fan-er'-o-sis} literally "outshining". It comes from phaneroo {fan-er-o'-o} meaning to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way, make actual and visible, realized; to make known by teaching; to become manifest, be made known; of a person: to expose to view, make manifest, to show one's self, appear, to become known, to be plainly recognized, thoroughly understood, for who and what one is.

Now the Holy Spirit is invisible. We say we can "feel" His presence, but we can’t see Him. So how does He make Himself known? How does He reveal what is hidden about him through words and deeds? How does He appear in our midst? Through His spiritual gifts, "outshinings", manifestations or revelations.

Paul is very clear that the Holy Spirit gives EACH ONE of us a manifestation. There aren’t just certain amazing apostles or super saints that the Spirit always gives these gifts to … EACH ONE of us, if we are born again, Spirit-filled and available can be given the manifestation of a spiritual gift.

And this is VERY important. The purpose of these manifestations is for the COMMON GOOD of the Church, to "profit withal" in the KJV, or as Paul teaches in I Corinthians 14, to edify or build up the Church.

Common good or profit withal is from the Greek word sumphero {soom-fer'-o} meaning to bear or bring together; to bear together or at the same time, to carry with others, to collect or contribute in order to help, to help, be profitable, be expedient.

The gifts of the Spirit are meant to unite us, not divide us. They are meant to bring us together to the same end, to be going the same place at the same time at the same rate, to keep us "in sync", to be contributions to help one another, and to profit or help each of us in a timely manner.

I Corinthians 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

We skipped verses 8-10 for a moment, but we’ll go back to them. Another point that needs to be made is that these manifestations or "surprises of the Spirit" as Reverend B. E. Underwood calls them, are resident in the CHURCH, not in a particular believer. And the Holy Spirit "divides them severally" or portions them out AS HE WILLS.

For example, you just don’t wake up on Sunday (or whatever day you meet to worship) and say, "I think I’ll work a miracle today", or "Today would be a good time to discern some spirits" or "Hey God let’s give them a word of knowledge".

NO, it is the Holy Spirit’s prerogative to portion out the gifts as He wills – for He knows the needs of each heart and what will help each one. It also is not a matter of spiritual pride because you don’t control the manifestations of the Spirit, HE DOES.

What you CAN do, however, is be willing and available and open to the moving of the Spirit, and be obedient when He does gift you with a manifestation.

"Dividing severally" or "giving to each one" in Greek is diaireo {dee-ahee-reh'-o} meaning to divide into parts, to part, to tear, cleave or cut asunder, to distribute. Like cutting up a cake for dessert and handing out a piece to each person, the Holy Spirit has divided the revelation of Himself up into these spiritual gifts, and distributes them as He wills for each particular occasion.

And the dessert He provides spiritually may be different on different occasions. Like we have cake for birthdays, pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, or fruitcake for Christmas, the Holy Spirit knows just what gift or gifts are needed for each situation.

I Corinthians 12:8-10 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

Here Paul gives a list of the spiritual gifts or manifestations that he did not want the Corinthians (or us) to be ignorant of. All except tongues and interpretations had been manifested at some time or another before the Day of Pentecost, but these occurrences were few and far between.

Notice the construction of this passage … To one there is given through the Spirit… to another … to another … and to still another. Can you see the Holy Spirit in charge here? He decides what manifestations occur and when. Of course, there has to be someone who is willing to yield himself or herself to the Spirit for the exchange of gifts to be complete.

Which brings up another point: the gifts of the Spirit are meant to be SHARED. They are part of our common life as believers. They are meant to exalt JESUS, and to advance His kingdom and promote spiritual growth.

An experience of a true spiritual gift is humbling indeed, as the mighty power of the Holy Spirit moves you into a new dimension. I would deeply question the validity of a "spiritual gift" if someone bragged about it.

Also notice that Paul groups these manifestation gifts together … he didn’t separate any out as being temporary or invalid at any point in Church history. They are all ways that the Holy Spirit manifests or reveals Himself or makes Himself known to the Church.

And all of these gifts can be counterfeited … and I will mention the occult counterfeits as we go along. However, counterfeits do not invalidate the real thing, they just show that the devil is huffing and puffing to try to keep up with what the Holy Spirit is doing in the Church.

OK let’s look at the gifts of the Spirit listed here by Paul. This list is not necessarily ALL the ways that the Spirit manifests Himself, but is a typical list of ways He can manifest Himself. Most of this information is taken from "Spiritual Gifts: Ministries and Manifestations" by B. E. Underwood.

(1) A Word of Wisdom.

"A word of wisdom is a supernatural utterance of a specific word, given at a specific time, giving God’s wisdom to a specific situation. It usually provides an answer to a vexing problem in the church—an answer that unites and edifies the church. It is a manifestation of the Spirit in which God gives a member of the church a word of wisdom far beyond his natural wisdom. The person through whom this word is given may be one who is not known for great wisdom."

God is omniscient, that is, He knows everything. We are human, and even at our best scientists tell us we use at most 10% of our brain capacity. But even if we could access 100% of our brain power, we would still be extremely limited in our wisdom and knowledge.

When the Holy Spirit gives someone a word of wisdom, He is imparting to us a part of the infinite wisdom of God to meet a certain need at a certain time. He may reveal a new method, a new technique, or a divine solution to that problem.

Wisdom in Greek is sophia {sof-ee'-ah} meaning broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters, human wisdom especially the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs; science and learning; the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice.

Wisdom is also the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision; skill in the management of affairs; devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth; and the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living.

Ultimately wisdom is supreme intelligence or omniscience, such as belongs to God and to Christ; the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures.

Wisdom is more than just having a quantity of knowledge, but knowing how to apply it to a specific situation. A Word of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit can be on any topic, and involves some of God’s vast store of knowledge and how to apply it to a certain situation.

Acts 15:28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

There was a conflict in the early Church between the Jewish believers, who wanted to still follow the Old Testament law, and the Gentile believers, who didn’t believe they had to do so. To resolve the problem, the Holy Spirit gave them a word of wisdom that gave some requirements for Gentiles, but did not require them to follow the whole law.

B. E. Underwood states: "It seems evident that the Holy Spirit gave a word of wisdom to resolve this budding conflict. The solution was an ingenious compromise between the two factions that allowed the church to continue its remarkable expansion among the Gentiles. This manifestation gift then has provided supernatural wisdom for difficult circumstances in the course of church history."

The gift of a Word of Wisdom is also operative in the office of pastor-teacher, in that many times we need a divine understanding of scripture to give an answer to a specific problem. Countless times in my ministry as a teacher, a person has asked me a question that humanly it was impossible for me to answer. But in most cases, the Holy Spirit would drop the wisdom into my spirit, usually on the "spur of the moment". And typically it is something that I could not have acquired any other way.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Now the occult world offers many alternative ways of acquiring wisdom, of trying to fathom the infinite mind of God without the Holy Spirit’s help. They offer things such as mental telepathy – reading people’s minds; necromancy – communicating with the dead; psychics - who claim to know things normal people don’t know; astrology, tarot readings, palm readings, and a lot of other means of acquiring "spiritual" wisdom outside of the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s gift of a Word of Wisdom.

James 3:15-16 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

These are forbidden to us as believers because the ultimate source of this "wisdom" is demonic. It appeals to the senses, and is unspiritual. You are not receiving wisdom from God, but from satan. It creates disorder and every evil practice.

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.

Praise the Lord! I want to receive my wisdom from God through prayer, reading the Word, and if He chooses, a Word of Wisdom directly from the Holy Spirit!

(2) A Word of Knowledge.

A Word of Knowledge "is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in which God imparts to a member of the body of Christ information or facts which only God may know in order to assist the church in a special time of need."

"God, in His divine grace and graciousness, manifests Himself by giving facts or information that could not be known except by a supernatural manifestation of the Spirit. This does not mean that the person who is used in this way suddenly becomes a knowledgeable person. It may be someone with limited knowledge whom God uses to manifest a word of knowledge."

The difference between a Word of Wisdom and a Word of Knowledge is that a Word of Wisdom is usually a divine solution to an existing problem and a Word of Knowledge is a revelation of a fact that you couldn’t find out any other way. This is NOT the same as general Bible knowledge that you can acquire by study. It is knowledge of a fact that you could not uncover by human effort.

Acts 5:1-2 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?"

An example of a Word of Knowledge in the Bible is when Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphira about lying to the Holy Spirit. The only way that Paul could have known what they had done is if he had received a Word of Knowledge.

In the 1970’s I participated in a home bible study and prayer group, and one night as we were praying, the Lord revealed to me to pray for "North Bennington High School". These were days of racial unrest, and many riots had broken out and schools weren’t safe.

Well, I’d never heard of this school, there wasn’t any school named any thing similar in my area. But we lifted this school up in prayer and trusted God to take care of the matter. About a week later, I read in the paper that North Bennington High School (I believe it was in Vermont) was the ONLY school in the area that had not had violence!

That was truly something that God knew and the Holy Spirit revealed to me… by human means I would have had no way to know anything about it!

Knowledge in Greek is gnosis {gno'-sis} meaning in general, intelligence, understanding, primarily a seeking to know, an inquiry, investigation, collecting a body of facts.

Specifically knowledge refers to the general knowledge of Christian religion, the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced, especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians, moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living.

Biblical knowledge always has as its purpose acquiring a body of information for the purpose of understanding God better, and in a very practical sense, knowing how to live a godly life.

In other words, unlike our modern idea of education, acquiring knowledge is not an end in itself … but the goal sought is to know God better and to be more like Him.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

We can’t know ALL there is to know about God, and if we are honestly seeking to know Him, we often stand in awe as a new facet of His vast intelligence becomes apparent. And many times God will give us that new revelation through a Word of Knowledge, the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I often wonder how much MORE advanced our technology would be, our ability to heal through doctors and medicine, and how much MORE successful we would be if we took the time to really listen to what the Holy Spirit is trying to reveal of God’s knowledge to us.

I Corinthians 2:9-10 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

There are deep things of God, hidden wisdom and knowledge, that we cannot discover by seeing, hearing or thinking. In fact, we don’t even know enough in many cases to even ask an intelligent question about these things.

BUT God … wow another one of those "but’s" in Scripture! We cannot discover these things on our own, BUT God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. And how does the Spirit chose to reveal these deep things of God? Through spiritual gifts.

Remember that we started this study with Paul’s statement that he did not want us to be ignorant (agnoeo) of spiritual gifts. Part of God’s knowledge (gnosis from the same Greek root word) that He wants to share with us is how spiritual gifts operate in the Church.

I Timothy 6:20-21 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.

As with the other spiritual gifts, a Word of Knowledge can be counterfeited. Timothy was warned against "what is falsely called knowledge" that causes one to wander from the faith. Remember that the end or goal of acquiring knowledge in Scripture is to glorify God and to understand Him and to become more like Him.

There are many "secret societies" in our modern age, such as the Gnostics, the Masons, and others that claim to have the edge on acquiring supernatural knowledge. There are also many who claim special abilities, mediums and "spiritual advisors" who claim that "ascended spirit masters" and "spirit guides" speak through them and are valid sources of knowledge.

There are also those who practice "divination", sorcery or witchcraft to obtain supernatural knowledge. It is troubling that in our country today that politicians and law enforcement officials are taking the occult bait in a desperate search for knowledge instead of seeking God.

Deuteronomy 18:14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

What they are giving forth is NOT words of knowledge from the Holy Spirit, but demonic messages designed to hook you into bondage. God wants us to seek Him and He will give us words of knowledge that we need WHEN we need them. Although we would all like to have more knowledge about many mysteries, if God doesn’t tell you, you don’t need to know and have no reliable way of finding it out except by the Holy Spirit.

B. E. Underwood says "While there are charlatans who practice deception along this line in order to amass gain for themselves, there is a genuine word of knowledge in which God, in His divine grace and graciousness, manifests Himself by giving facts or information that could not be known except by a supernatural manifestation of the Spirit."

Next Lesson: Spiritual Gifts, Part 2: Gift of Faith

Back to Holy Spirit Index

Father God, help us to be loving in all our ways, and to be tenderhearted towards our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. Speaking the truth in love, let us draw together in the unity of the spirit as members of the Body of Christ, encouraging one another as Your coming draws near.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Quotes from "Spiritual Gifts: Ministries and Manifestations" by B. E. Underwood, LifeSprings Resources, Franklin Springs, GA, 1984, pp. 64-71.

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Original lesson 7/19/99
Revised: August 02, 2001