Would you like to know how to do impossible things and solve impossible problems? Do you want to see miracles happen in your life? And do you want the inside lowdown on divine strategies that will get you from point A to point B faster, easier, and with better results? If your answer to those questions is yes, then you want the Holy Spirit's gift of words of wisdom.
Words of wisdom (or “the word of wisdom”) is one of the nine power gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, as follows:
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (emphasis mine).
Some people refer to this gift as “the word of wisdom,” while others call it “words of wisdom.” Either way, we're talking about the same thing here.
So what exactly is the gift of the word/words of wisdom?
There is not very much specific teaching about this gift in the Bible, so we have to look across its pages in their entirety for times when the gift was used in order to understand it.
First, let me start by saying that wisdom is the Holy Spirit Personified. I wrote about that in my article on the Sevenfold Holy Spirit, when I shared how the Holy Spirit will mentor you. If you haven't read that article, please stop and read it now.
That being said, I don't believe the gift of the word of wisdom is quite the same thing as access to wisdom by itself.
I think it's really closely related, but not quite the same. Here's why:
The passage above from 1 Corinthians starts with “But the manifestation of the Spirit ….” That word “manifestation” in the Greek means “exhibition, expression” (Strong's Concordance, Greek word #5321). So, the spiritual gift of words of wisdom involves manifesting and exhibiting wisdom.
This is different from simply having access to wisdom.
If you have wisdom from the Holy Spirit, you will hopefully walk in that wisdom. Unfortunately, however, sometimes people don't use the wisdom God gives. They have access to it, but it doesn't always do them any good because they don't submit to the Holy Spirit.
For example, Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, but he didn't always walk in wisdom. He made a lot of mistakes. He married pagan, foreign women; worshipped idols; bought horses (which God said not to do); and generally ruled to make himself bigger.
Despite his wisdom, Solomon didn't always submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he did not always display or manifest the wisdom he had available to him.
I believe that the gift of the Spirit called “words of wisdom” is more than just having wisdom. I believe it's a special gifting to easily hear and execute divine strategy.
I believe the gift of the word of wisdom is not only when the Holy Spirit gives you wisdom, but more specifically when He puts His dunamis, miracle-working, manifesting power behind that wisdom in your life. It's when He makes it easy to recognize His spoken word; listen to and obey His instruction; and even pass it to others.
It's about the spoken word of God.
The Greek for “word” in the phrase “word of wisdom” specifically refers to the spoken word. So the word of wisdom is the spoken word of the Holy Spirit in your ear right now, telling you what to do and helping you do it.
I also believe the word of wisdom works hand-in-hand with the gift of miracles.
Certain gifts work together in the Bible. As we already discussed, the gift of words of knowledge works hand-in-hand with the gift of healings. It also works closely with prophecy. The gift of tongues works hand-in-hand with interpretation of tongues.
And every time I see the word of wisdom in the Bible, I see God backing it up with a miracle.
God only has good ideas. He only gets good strategies. And when God gives instructions, miracles happen.
Think about the time when Peter, James, and John were called out of their fishing business to be Jesus' disciples (Luke 5:1-11). They had fished all night and caught nothing. In the morning (after the opportune fishing time had ended), Jesus shows up and borrows a boat to use as His pulpit.
Then THIS happened:
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.'
But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.'
And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!'
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.'
So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:4-11).
This whole story happened after Jesus issued a divine instruction that would solve a problem. Peter and his friends had caught nothing all night. Their livelihood depended on catching fish, but there were no fish to be found!
Nevertheless, when JESUS told them what to do–which I believe was a word of wisdom–and they obeyed, a miracle happened.
Think of these other times when Jesus gave a word of wisdom and a miracle happened:
- When Peter told the religious leaders that Jesus would pay the temple tax, and Jesus told him to go catch a fish and he'd find the necessary coin in its mouth;
- At the wedding of Cana, when Jesus told the servants to fill up the waterpots with water … and when they drew that water out, it was wine;
- When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, and they caught 153 fish.
Jesus worked plenty of miracles that did not involve His giving other people divine instruction. However, these particular miracles all involved Jesus giving someone a problem-solving word of instruction to someone. Then, when they obeyed, God backed up that word with a miracle.
The word of wisdom is 1) God's spoken instruction into your listening ear, which is gifted to be tuned in to hear His instruction; and 2) a divine download that makes the impossible possible.
Below are some additional examples of things God's spoken word of wisdom can do, from the life of Jacob in the Bible.
(By the way, can we study the gifts of the Spirit in the Old Testament? Yes, because the Holy Spirit was present in the Old Testament also, and He worked the same way. He simply did not indwell believers then; He sat on them to accomplish His purposes instead. He did not indwell believers until after Jesus died and was resurrected, and after the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts chapter 2.)
1. The word of wisdom can bring wealth.
When Jacob fled his homeland and went to work for his uncle Laban, he found himself under the roof of a master deceiver. True story. Laban–who worshipped idols, not God, by the way–was extremely dishonest. He changed Jacob's wages over and over, shorting him, cheating him, and manipulating him.
But what happened? Jacob had the idea to negotiate with Laban for all the spotted, speckled, and streaked animals to be his (Jacob's) wages. Laban agreed–but then separated all the spotted and speckled animals from the solid-color ones, so that they could not mate (Genesis 30:35). The trickster!
However, God wasn't done. After Laban did that, Jacob executed what had to have been a divine strategy.
He put spotted/speckled sticks in the water in front of the livestock when they came to drink, and somehow–perhaps by a chemical in the wood, which was stripped of its bark?–the animals came into heat and conceived when they came to drink. (The Hebrew words there do actually say that the sticks in the water made the animals come into heat.)
And lo and behold, God gave spotted/speckled/streaked offspring … and Jacob became wealthy.
Now, we don't have all the details around that story. We DO know:
- how this strategy brought wealth (from Genesis 30);
- that God spoke to Jacob in a dream at some point (Genesis 31);
- and that God Himself executed the strategy and made the livestock produce spotted, speckled, etc.
We DON'T know the exact timing of everything. We also don't know the precise reason that the spotted sticks worked.
Nevertheless, we DO know that witty inventions come from God. And Jacob got an idea that, when carried out, made him very, very wealthy. In Jacob's case, God's strategies–His words of wisdom–took Jacob from being a poor, mistreated servant to being an extremely wealthy rancher.
God downloaded His divine strategy (word of wisdom) to Jacob, and then He backed it up with a miracle.
The word of wisdom is the spoken instruction of the Holy Spirit, and His ideas are always brilliant. They can make you wealthy over a long time or even in a moment's time.
So if you need divine strategies and wealth too (and who doesn't?), ask God for this gift of words of wisdom today!
2. The word of wisdom can heal relationships.
When Jacob was returning to his homeland after he worked for his uncle Laban for many years, he had a problem: a brother, Esau, who hated him.
Jacob had stolen an inheritance from Esau many years before. He had lied and tricked their father, and Esau vowed to kill him for it.
So when Jacob was returning to his homeland, what did he do? How was he going to mend a nonexistent, extremely hostile relationship?
The answer is in the word of wisdom. God sent him a divine strategy. Jacob literally had a run-in with angels (Genesis 32:1), then a run-in with God.
In between and after those encounters, he got the bright idea to send scouts out to meet Esau. Then, when the scouts returned and told Jacob that Esau was coming with 400 men, Jacob knew what to do.
What was his strategy? Jacob sent livestock out in droves, as gifts for his hostile brother. He even told the drovers to leave space in between each herd–which gave time for Esau's heart to be softened.
The plan worked. Esau was first met by all these rich gifts. His heart was softened. When Esau finally got to Jacob, instead of killing him, Genesis 33:4 records that “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”
Jacob needed a strategy, and God gave it to him. By what could only have been divine instruction, Jacob knew exactly what to do to soften his murderous brother's heart.
Are you dealing with a fractured relationship today?
If so, ask the Holy Spirit for the word of wisdom. He can and will give you a strategy. He'll show you just what to do, and He'll manifest Himself in the accomplishing of it to bring healing to that relationship.
The word of wisdom can solve problems in any area.
God's words of wisdom tell us His strategies. These special words of instruction help us invent witty inventions. They bring provision into our basket and kneading trough. (By the way, if you're an entrepreneur, or a creative type, or called to ministry, READ this word about the basket and kneading trough here.)
When God speaks His word of wisdom into our hearts, He is notifying us that He wants to accomplish a miracle. If we will obey His instruction, we will see supernatural results that only He could have predicted and only He could make happen.
Do you desire this gift of the word of wisdom?
So do I! So let's pray:
“Father God, thank You for loving me and adopting me as Your child in Christ Jesus. Thank You for giving me all things necessary for life and godliness, and thank You that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead–Your Holy Spirit–dwells in me.
Father God, Your Word says that You will give us whatever we ask in Jesus' name. So because You are wisdom and the Giver of good gifts, in Jesus' name I ask You for the gift of the word of wisdom.
Thank You, Father, for this special gift. Please teach me how to use it, and tune my ear to hear Your instructions. Help me to always obey You when You speak, and if You give me a word of wisdom for someone else, then help me to convey it properly and boldly.
Thank You, Father. I love You, and I'm so thankful that all I have to do is receive from You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, amen.”
Is the Holy Spirit burning this message into your heart? Did you pray the prayer above? If so, please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you.
Read all posts in this series about the power gifts!
- Diverse Tongues (Speaking in Tongues)
- What Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (and How To Receive It)
- My Story: How I Received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
- Words of Knowledge
- How I Learned to Use My Prayer Language
- The Gift of Prophecy
- Discernment of Spirits
- How Words of Wisdom Accomplish the Impossible
- How Interpretation of Tongues Helps You Know Father's Heart
- Miracles that Bear Witness for Jesus
- Easy Faith for the Impossible
- Healings That Change the World