The gifts of the Holy Spirit



The word of knowledge is a teaching gift in the Church




The late Donald Gee in his book Concerning spiritual gifts, wrote concerning the gift of word of knowledge: ‘…. ‘the Word of Knowledge’ is a TEACHING GIFT IN THE CHURCH ……The possession of a ‘word of knowledge’ does therefore, almost automatically, make a man a teacher as nothing else will do. The gift operates with all that intense passion and irrepressible spontaneity which we rightly associate with all the gifts of the Spirit. Teach he must, and to define the gift of the ‘word of knowledge’ as a teaching gift in the church is a satisfying, consistent and worthily Pentecostal definition of its nature and purpose …. If we want an illustration of that gift of the Spirit from the Bible we can find it pre-eminently in all the glorious doctrinal passages of the New Testament, where again and again Christian teachers exultantly declare, ‘WE KNOW’ (Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts, pages 111, 112, 113). Many non-Pentecostal teachers also teach the same thing.




The word of knowledge is the revelation of the existence, condition or whereabouts of some person or object or place, of the location or occasion of some event. It is the revelation of past happenings or of things existing or events taking place in the present. For instance, it may be the revelation of a plot against someone, a sin committed by someone secretly, the nature of a man’s thoughts or the condition of his heart, the place where something or someone is hidden, the place where a lost object is, etc. The word of knowledge also can be received through a vision, or a dream, or through an audible voice. Here are some biblical examples of the word of knowledge.


Old Testament


It was through a word of knowledge that the prophet Elisha knew the secret encampment selected by the king of Syria as the base of his military operations against Israel. Here is what we read in the Scripture: “Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber” (2 Kings 6:8-12).

It was through a word of knowledge that the Israelites knew where Saul was hidden. Here is the biblical account of that event: “And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king [Long live the king!]” (1 Samuel 10:17-24).

It was through a word of knowledge that the prophet Elisha knew that his servant Gehazi had taken something from Naaman. Elisha had refused to accept from the hands of Naaman what he had brought, who had been healed of leprosy by Elisha. However, Gehazi coveted what Naaman brought and took something from Naaman secretly, but God exposed the treachery and punished Gehazi for his sin. Here is the biblical account of that event: “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:20-27).


New Testament


Jesus, while He was talking with the Samaritan woman, told her that she had had five husbands and the man living with her at that time was not her husband. Here is what the apostle John wrote: “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet” (John 4:16-19). That woman realized through that word of knowledge that the one who was speaking to her was a prophet. In addition to this, she believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, for the apostle wrote that when she went back to the town she said to the people: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29).

It was through a word of knowledge that the apostle Peter knew that Ananias and Sapphira his wife had lied to the apostles concerning the price of the land they had sold. It is written in the book of the Acts of the apostles: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:1-11).

It was through a word of knowledge that Ananias, a disciple who lived in Damascus, knew that Saul of Tarsus was in the house of a man named Judas on Straight Street and that he was praying and had seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands upon him. Here is what Luke wrote: “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized” (Acts 9:10-18)

As you can see, the word of knowledge is a useful gift, for through it the Spirit reveals also certain sins which have been committed secretly by some people. So we need this kind of manifestation, that people may acknowledge that our God is holy, that His eyes are everywhere, and that man cannot mock Him, and thus great fear may seize them. Very often believers behave in their private life as if God did not exist and then they come to the place of worship as if nothing had happened. Very often we see the places of worship full of hypocrites whose secret sins need to be revealed publicly so that everybody may realize that God cannot be mocked.





In the light of the teaching of the Scripture, therefore, we conclude that the word of knowledge is not a teaching gift – as many say – and the possession of it does not make any man a teacher of the Word. Know this, that to teach that this gift is a teaching gift means to deprive it of its supernatural character, and consequently to deprive the Church of a powerful and useful spiritual manifestation.