1 Corinthians 12:8, “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom…”
The first of the nine spiritual gifts that Paul listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 is the “message of wisdom.” The message (or word) of wisdom according to Howard Carter is, “a supernatural revelation of the mind and purpose of God communicated by the Holy Spirit. It is God’s wisdom imparted to man… when the Lord specifically reveals His purpose to an individual, that person possesses a word of God’s wisdom.”
The Holy Spirit manifests the gift of wisdom to give people insight on how to act in both current and future situations.
A biblical example of the word of wisdom can be found in Acts 11:28-30 when the Holy Spirit told Agabus that there was a famine coming to the Roman world. Luke records, “28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.” The Holy Spirit encouraged the disciples to save money and prepare to send relief to those who would need it the most.
Today, some people try to receive a “message of wisdom” by going to psychics or by reading their horoscope. However, these are demonic and superstitious substitutes that are considered witchcraft and bring spiritual oppression to those involved (Leviticus 20:6). At the same time, people’s pursuit of an imitation version of spirituality shows their inner desire for the genuine power of God.
God intended humanity to receive direction from the Holy Spirit, not evil spirits or people’s imaginations. In the Old Testament, the prophets spoke messages of wisdom all the time, most of which became Holy Scripture. Now in the Church Age, God can use every disciple in this fascinating and powerful gift. The major difference between the New Testament usage of the gift of wisdom and the Old Testament is that it isn’t meant to be Scripture, but to help apply the Bible. In other words, when a person receives a message of wisdom it’s not on the same level of the Bible. It’s simply God speaking to them a personal word for either themself or someone else; similar to how God speaks in prayer.
Here are some helpful things to remember with the message of wisdom; (1) Never follow a message that is contrary to the Word of God, (2) Test every message by the unique and authoritative Bible (1 John 4:1), (3) If you’re the one giving the message of wisdom to another person, always let the person know they shouldn’t act on the wisdom unless the Holy Spirit and the Word of God confirms it to them personally, (4) Don’t be dependent on others to hear from God for you, learn to hear the Shepherd’s direction for your life personally (John 10:27) and (5) Always be in the habit of sharing your messages of wisdom (both received and given) with your church’s leadership. They will help you discern whether it is from God and how to proceed with wisdom (1 Corinthians 14:29).
- Ask God to use you to give a message of wisdom.
- When you’re given the message of wisdom for someone, speak exactly what you hear the Holy Spirit saying (don’t add to it or change it in anyway). Then humbly follow up with the person you gave the message of wisdom to and see what the results are.
- Keep a journal of the times God uses you in any of the spiritual gifts.