The Word of Wisdom
By Rodney W. Francis Founder/Director: “The Gospel Faith Messenger” Ministry.
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:8, KJV).
"Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments [extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit ] and they vary, but the (Holy) Spirit remains the same.
And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served ].
And there are distinctive varieties of operation - of working to accomplish things - but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the (Holy) Spirit - that is, the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit - for good and profit.
To one is given in and through the (Holy) Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same (Holy) Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:4-8, AMP.).
WHAT IS THE WORD OF WISDOM?
The word "word" is translated from the Greek word "logos" meaning "the spoken word; the word spoken, not written" (Bullinger's).
"Logos" is also translated in other parts of the New Testament as:
"a word or saying";
"an account which one gives by word of mouth";
"to speak well of";
"to praise, to celebrate with praises";
"to invoke blessings upon a person";
"to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers, to ask God's blessing on a thing";
"to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on."
A summary, then, of the usage of the word "logos" is to speak in such a way as to build, bless and cause others to prosper in the Lord. That's what the Gifts of the Spirit are about. They are not to put down or to be used in a way that criticizes individuals or a local body of believers in a public meeting.
The word "wisdom" comes from the Greek word "sophia" or "sofia" and means:
"cleverness, skill; a right application of knowledge" (Bullinger's);
"the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight" (Collins).
The Gift of the word of wisdom enables one to express the Holy Spirit's revelation/knowledge/answers to either an individual or to a group of people, church, etc., in a way that surpasses any previous "natural ability" to input into the situation. It carries the mark of the wisdom of God! And God's wisdom beats all other wisdom known to man.
Wisdom is applying knowledge with skill.
The word of wisdom is needed, therefore, in our lives to enable us to share the other Gifts of the Spirit correctly. For example, it is one thing to receive a word of prophecy, knowledge, faith, healing, etc., but it is entirely another thing to deliver that gift in such a way as to allow it to have its fullest impact.
Many people do receive information and gifts in the Holy Spirit, but do not always know how to deliver, nor to whom. If we do not minister in God's wisdom we can make mistakes, cause disrespect to the gifts, show insensitivity to the person or people we are delivering the information to, and even cause offence. The gift may be right, but the manner of dispensing it may be wrong. The word of wisdom helps us to deliver it right - "the right application of knowledge."
How very important it is that we apply things rightly. In the Biblical account of the wise and foolish man who built their houses - one on a rock, the other on the sand - the wise man rightly applied the word of Jesus. The foolish man heard exactly the same words from the mouth of the same Jesus, but did not apply them correctly. As a result he came to ruin (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49). The word of wisdom comes from the mouth of Jesus. Let's make sure we are listening and acting accordingly!
The well-known commentator, William Barclay, has this to say on the word of wisdom:
"Clement of Alexandria defined 'sophia' ('wisdom') as 'the knowledge of things human and divine and of their causes.'
Aristotle described it as 'striving after the best ends and using the best means.' This is the highest kind of wisdom; it comes not so much from thought as from communion with God. It is the wisdom which knows God ...
Spiritual wisdom is 'sophia.'
'Sophia' is the power to confirm and to commend the truth with wise and intelligent argument, once it has been intuitively grasped ...
So, then, the real Church will have the clear-sighted wisdom which can act for the best in any given situation, the wisdom which can instinctively recognize and grasp the truth when it sees it; and the wisdom which can make the truth intelligible to the thinking mind, and persuasively commend it to others."
Walter A. Elwell in his "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology" writes on the word of wisdom:
"An important part of the Spirit's endowment, so far as the Christian community was concerned, was wisdom. This gift would communicate ability to receive and explain 'the deep things of God' (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). In God's dealings with men much is mysterious, and the ordinary Christian is often in need of a word that will throw light upon his situation; and the person filled by the Spirit to fulfil this ministry is through the Spirit given the word of wisdom. Because of the strong sense of revelation or insight implied in the phrase, perhaps this gift was akin to a revelational utterance by the Christian prophet."
Some examples of the word of wisdom in Scripture are:
The Apostle Paul in dealing with the spirit of divination in a young lady (Acts 16:16-18).
Paul did not "rush in" straightaway and deliver the girl. He waited "many days" before confronting it. That was wisdom. This example does not mean that a similar case would necessarily be handled the same way. We may need to act today, or tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Let wisdom prevail! Wisdom gets the timing right!
The Apostle Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-16).
Peter used the word of wisdom to make sure that both Ananias and Sapphira exposed their own evil doings and so suffered the consequences of their own actions. He did not accuse Sapphira on the confession of her husband alone, but wisely heard from her as well.
The Apostle Paul in the healing of the cripple (Acts 14:7-10).
Here is a good example of spiritual knowledge skilfully and rightly applied. The cripple's faith rose as Paul preached. Paul perceived in the spirit what was happening and, through the word of wisdom, knew the right moment to release the man's faith to be healed. He was healed.
Solomon passing judgment on a child (1 Kings 3:16-28).
A good Old Testament example is that of Solomon passing judgment on the women who were arguing over their two children - one dead and one alive. Both women were claiming that the remaining live child was their's and the dead child was the other's. Solomon called for a sword to divide the remaining live child in two, so the women could have half each! When Solomon made that decision known, the true mother of the living child cried out to give her child to the other woman (in order to save its life). Solomon then knew who the real mother was. This judgment from Solomon caused all Israel to "see that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment" (1 Kings 3:28).
We, today, need the word of wisdom in our lives as we seek to fulfil the purposes of God and to lead others into all that which He has for them. Let's be alive in the Holy Spirit and allow Him to share His wisdom, revelation, knowledge and understanding to us in ways that will tremendously bless those we meet.
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