Gifts of the Holy Spirit



3. What is the word of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)?



The word of wisdom is the revelation of a future event. Therefore it is the prediction of an event, such as a war, a famine, a flood, a marriage, an arrest, the coming of someone, the birth of someone, the death of someone, a judgement of God upon someone, a blessing of God for somebody, the salvation of somebody, the healing of somebody, etc. However, the word of wisdom is expressed not only in foretelling future events, but also in the giving of those divine commands and instructions which make for the development of those future events. The word of wisdom can be received through a vision, or a dream, or through an audible voice. Here are a few biblical examples of the word of wisdom.


Old Testament


Through a word of wisdom Noah knew that God would send the flood on the earth and that he had to build an ark, as it is written: “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them” (Genesis 6:13-21). As you can see, Noah received not only the prediction of the flood, but also some important commands which he had to put in practice so that the plan of God might be fulfilled. Noah built the ark, the flood came upon the earth, and all the human beings and the animals were destroyed except Noah and seven others, and all the animals which were in the ark.

It was through a word of wisdom that the prophet Samuel knew that the following day God would send him a man from the land of Benjamin, who was the man appointed by God to reign over Israel. Here is what we read in the Bible: “Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me” (1 Samuel 9:15-16). That word was fulfilled on the following day, as God had said to Samuel. God sent Saul to Samuel and “when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people” (1 Samuel 9:17).

It was through a word of wisdom, which God gave to the prophet Samuel, that Saul knew what would happen to him after he would leave Samuel. Here is what Samuel said to Saul: “Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man” (1 Samuel 10:2-6). All those signs were fulfilled on that day, as the Lord had said through Samuel.

It was through a word of wisdom, which God gave to the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite, that Jeroboam knew that he would become king of Israel, as it is written: “And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever” (1 Kings 11:29-39). And Jeroboam some time later became king of Israel, as the Lord had said.


New Testament


At Antioch, one prophet named Agabus, “stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world” (Acts 11:28 - NIV), which came to pass in the days of Claudius.

After some years, Agabus, while the apostle Paul was at the house of Philip, came and predicted that Paul would be bound by the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles, as it is written: “And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Acts 21:11). This prediction also was fulfilled.

It was through a word of wisdom that the evangelist Philip knew that he had to go toward the south along the road which went down from Jerusalem to Gaza, and it was through a word of wisdom that when he saw the Eunuch sitting in his chariot he knew that he had to go near and overtake that chariot, as it is written: “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth’. So the eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from begin baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:26-38 - NKJV).

The word of wisdom is as important as it was in the days of the prophets and of the apostles. Through it we can know things that no human being knows, for they are hidden in God. Is it not wonderful? I can tell you by experience that when God reveals to you a portion of His wisdom, by revealing to you something that will happen in the future, or by commanding you to do certain things so that His plan may be fulfilled, you feel happy, strengthened and also comforted, and compelled to praise His great name. Earnestly desire this manifestation of the Spirit, so that men may acknowledge that our God still predicts future events, as He did in ancient times, and at the appointed time He brings to pass His predictions. Let everyone acknowledge the truthfulness of this Scripture: “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.: Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:8-11)