Now let us look at the knowledge gifts.
The first one among these is the “word of knowledge”. The word of knowledge takes place when the Holy Spirit speaks through someone who gives a message to a specific person or group of people and tells them about something that happened in their life or is presently happening in their life. Yet, the message is not based on any information given to the speaker. In other words, the message does not come from the mind of the person, but from the mouth of God by the Holy Spirit. There are examples of this in the Old Testament and New Testament. It is important to understand that most of the spiritual gifts were in operation in the O.T. Some think that they are N.T. gifts only. We must not forget that God’s servants of old were equipped with spiritual gifts as well to accomplish the purposes of God.
In 2 Samuel 12, you will see that the prophet Nathan confronted David about killing Uriah and taking his wife as his own. This was not revealed to Nathan by someone telling him what had happened, but revealed to him by God.
Another example is I Kings 21:17-19 where God reveals to Elijah how Ahab had killed Naboth in order to take his vineyard. Also, we find an example in 2 Kings 5:21-26, where God reveals to Elisha what his servant Gehazi did when he took gifts from Naaman in Elisha’s name without his permission. We see once again how by the Spirit, God showed Elisha every trap that the king of Aram had laid for the king of Israel. The officers of the king of Aram said to the king, Elisha knows the very words you speak in your bedroom.
In the New Testament we see several examples of this as well.
John 1:47-48 – “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Jesus knew things about Nathanael, who was a person he did know and saw him sitting under a fig tree, but not with his natural eyes. He knew these things by the Spirit of God. Some would dismiss this as being the gift of the “word of knowledge” because Jesus was the son of God and therefore knows all things. This is not true. Jesus gave up his omniscience and omnipotence when he became man. The Bible clearly teaches that all that Jesus did on earth was by the Spirit of God. (Luke 4:18)
John 4:16-18 – He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Once again by the Spirit of God, Jesus knows the life of the Samaritan woman.
Acts 5:1-4 – “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. 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? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
These are a few of the examples in scripture of the gift called “the word of knowledge”. As we’ve already said, it is the ability for a person to know by the Holy Spirit what kind of person someone is or what someone (s) have done without the person speaking having been present or receiving any information in advance about the person or their activity.
The purposes of the gift are to reprimand, convict, correct and bring restoration. The purpose of the gift is not to tear down or destroy. The purpose is not to spread news about a given person. It is a word from the Lord for a specific situation and person (s). It often works hand in hand with the gift of “the word of wisdom” and/or the gift of “prophecy.
Another one of the spiritual gifts is the “word of wisdom”. One who has this gift does not necessarily have a lot of wisdom. One of the wisest men in the Bible is King Solomon, but he did not have this gift. This gift is used when God speaks through a person by the Holy Spirit into a specific situation and imparts supernatural wisdom. This wisdom does not come from years of experience or vast knowledge. It comes directly from God. As result, it will surprise the speaker and hearer. They will be amazed by the message or word of wisdom.
Acts 6:8-10 – “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
Remember we are looking at the knowledge gifts. The last of these is the gift of “distinguishing between spirits”. This is a supernatural ability given to some by the Holy Spirit that gives them a great ability to discern what kind of spirit is at work in a given situation. The person will easily be able to discern if it is the work of the Holy Spirit, an evil (unclean) spirit or a human spirit (spirit of man). He will recognize if a person is demon possessed without much difficulty. This gift is not used to accuse a person of something, nor to reveal someone’s faults or weaknesses. One who has this gift does not necessarily have a special ability to deliver the person.
Jesus as one who functioned in all the gifts had this gift as well, by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:22-23 – “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Jesus recognized that it was Peter’s un-renewed human spirit that was speaking and that Satan was behind this.
Matthew 17:14-18 – “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.”
The man who brought the son to Jesus thought that his son had a physical problem, but Jesus recognized that this physical problem was result of the son being demon possessed.
All three of these gifts are essential for the protection and growth of the body of Christ. In our next teaching, we will be looking at three more gifts which are sometimes called “the power gifts”.