What Is A Word Of Knowledge?

I recently wrote about how I believe God wants to restore the Holy Spirit to the church.  If you missed that article you can check it out here.  My main theme was that God wants us to experience Him in both powerful and practical ways on a regular basis. To do my part in helping us learn to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m going to spend the next nine weeks writing about all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.   

The first gift we are going to look at is the word of knowledge.  A word of knowledge is a gift given by the Holy Spirit that gives us a piece of God’s knowledge about a past or present situation that we don’t know naturally.

I want to emphasize this is spiritual knowledge given by the Holy Spirit and not just a natural ability to acquire knowledge by study.  The natural acquisition of knowledge through study is called being industrious and those who have the ability to acquire knowledge quickly that way are called intelligent.  That doesn’t mean they are operating in the word of knowledge.  I bring this up because many have reduced this gift to intellect instead of  realizing it is a divine ability to know something that can only be known through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  

An example in the scripture of a person operating in the word of knowledge is Jesus in John 1:43-50.  In the story, as Nathaniel approached Jesus, Jesus said, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”  

Nathaniel then asked Jesus, “How do you know me?”  

Jesus replied, “Before Phillip called you, I saw you sitting under a fig tree.”  Nathaniel’s immediate response was to declare Jesus as the Son of God!  He glorified Jesus!  Before I explain more about how to operate in this gift I want to make a point that this gift is given to glorify Jesus, not make us look cool or super spiritual.  The reason we want to learn to operate in the gifts is so people come to the Lord and glorify Jesus.   

Personally, the Lord has had the Holy Spirit come upon me and show me things going on in people’s lives and direct me how to pray or give a word to them that will bless and encourage them in their walk with Him.  He has used me strongly with giving words for healing such as knowing someone’s right hip was hurt or someone was having a heart issue.  As He showed me what was going on and I shared what I believed the Lord was telling me, it blessed the person that the Lord cared for them that way and then we prayed and they almost always got immediately healed.  

I’m certainly not perfect in operating in this gift, but it is a gift I have learned to operate in to some extent and I want to share a few tips that will help you recognize the voice of God when He is giving you a word of knowledge.  Here are some principles the Lord has shown me.

  • You will have light or an enlightenment about a situation on the inside of you – 1 John 1:5 say that God is light.  This is probably the number one way God speaks to me personally.  I will just get light on a situation.  God is light so one of the ways He speaks is light.  If you begin to get light on a situation, begin to step out in faith and do or say what He is leading you to do.
  • You may see pictures or images.  I’ve had this happen to me occasionally, however, I know many people who say that God regularly shows them images in their mind about situations in which God wants to intervene. For example they’ll see an image of a damaged 3rd vertebrae on the right side of someone’s spine. Then they will tell the person and pray and see the person healed.
  • A part of your body may tingle or feel pain if God is showing you someone has an injury or pain in the same part of their body.   I have never operated in this personally, but I know many people who have seen really good results by following up on the brief tingling/painful sensation.
  • You may have supernatural compassion come on you for someone.  1 John 4:16 says God is love.  If you feel a supernatural love well up on the inside of you for someone, that is the voice of God leading you to minister in that situation.  In my experience with this way of being led, I often have to follow the leading of love and begin to talk with the person before I know what to say.  As I step out by faith, the words come and the knowing about the situation occurs.  
  • You will have always supernatural peace about a situation.  Isaiah 55:10 says we are led with peace.   The peace will be in your heart and not necessarily your head.  Your head may be full of fear as you begin to think about what happens if you miss it, but on the inside you just know that you know you have heard God.

The ways listed above are ways of hearing God on the inside of us.  This is not an all inclusive list as I’m sure God has more ways to speak than I’m aware of.  Also, it is possible that God can speak in an audible voice, but that doesn’t seem to happen as often as we would like.  It seems that God mostly leads in internal knowings or impressions.  This makes sense though as the Holy Spirit lives inside of us.

The last piece of advice I want to give you is to learn to practice His presence.  We have to be intentional to learn to hear the Holy Spirit the same way we have to be intentional to learn to do anything in life.  Don’t worry about failing.  You will.  As you begin to step out in faith on things you think God is showing you, there will be times you miss it.  That’s ok, God won’t fall off His throne.  Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from taking risks.  You may have someone’s miracle on the inside of you so begin to step out in faith!  Practice makes perfect!

I hope this article has helped you.  If you want to see this gift in operation, here is a recent healing service at Grace Life Church where my friend Carlie Terradez begin to operate strongly in the word of knowledge.  You will need to scroll ahead to the 1 hour and 48 minute mark in the service as she begins to flow in the power of the Holy Spirit.  She called out many accurate words of knowledge that night and you will see the testimonies at the end of the service.  

Step out in faith and let the Lord use you today! The Holy Spirit wants to flow through you in a powerful way!

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