What is God speaking through you these days?
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul identified nine manifestations of the Spirit that are given to all believers for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7). One of the nine manifestations that Paul listed was a word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8). This knowledge (gnosis) simply means to have an understanding or insight about something that is given to you without natural analysis or human means. It’s received from the Holy Spirit to enable us to effectively minister to the needs of people around us. We might suddenly know or understand situations, circumstances, details, needs, or concerns that people might be facing. When given to us, it helps usher people into an encounter with Christ.
The first time that I witnessed this manifestation in my church was in 2008. Jim Dixon, a prophet in our church, came to me and described a particular pain that he was having. What surprised me, though, was that he said that this pain was for someone else. He believed someone was going to be healed from the exact pain that he was experiencing. I was reluctant to share the information with the congregation because it was a new experience for our church, yet I trusted him, so I described the exact pain and asked if anyone was experiencing this type of pain. Sure enough, someone came forward with the very symptoms that were described. We prayed and the person was instantly healed. Moreover, the pain in Jim’s body left. That is an example of a word of knowledge.
A word of knowledge can be given in a variety of ways and often uses our natural senses. For example, you may feel the pain or sensation in your own body for someone, see a mental picture of someone’s need, hear the Spirit speak a diagnosis or problem, or sometimes you’ll actually have a vision about a person that God wants you to minister to. Receiving a word of knowledge for someone shouldn’t be strange. Jesus spoke to a woman that He didn’t know and He told her all the things she had ever done and as a result, many people believed because of His word (John 4:39-41).
One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to bring revelation (1 Cor. 2:9-12). Jesus said that the Spirit would show us things to come (John 16:13). He certainly knew who was going to betray Him (John 13:26). Ananias was given a word of knowledge concerning Paul and what he was going to endure for Jesus’ sake (Acts 9:10-16). Paul was actually filled with the Spirit because Ananias received a word of knowledge. Agabus received a word of knowledge from the Spirit about a famine which prompted the disciples to send relief to the brethren in Judea (Acts 11:28-29).
Shawn Bolz said: “A word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit about something that’s important to God…the information includes specific facts that will help bring God’s knowledge through a manifest form into your life or into the life of someone you’re ministering to and sharing God’s heart. Word of knowledge is a divine knowing of a fact about a person, place, thing or situation that’s in the past or present. It cannot originate from an already known fact or from research.”
A few months ago, I was holding a meeting in Georgia. During the worship time prior to speaking, I had my eyes closed and was praying for the congregation. Three times the Lord spoke these words to me: “There’s someone here with TMJ.” When I was introduced, I asked if someone was there with TMJ, and if so to stand up. This woman stood and I prayed for her. Immediately, the pain left her jaw and the next night she testified that she was healed. That was a word of knowledge. A few weeks ago, I was in Arkansas and while I was eating breakfast in the hotel, the Lord spoke to me about the woman preparing breakfast. He told me that she was suffering from lower back pain. I went to her and asked if this information was true and she confirmed it. I prayed a brief prayer and God touched her back and took all the pain away. I saw her the next day and she confirmed that there was still no pain.
Receiving a word of knowledge, however, is more about understanding God’s heart for a person rather than simply hearing information about them. That’s not to say you won’t hear secrets about the person you’re ministering to such as their birthdates, anniversaries, significant events or even catastrophic moments in their past. Words of knowledge can be very precise and detailed about someone, but they are given to you to help minister the love of God to someone in a very profound and unforgettable manner. While ministering to someone at the altar, God gave me information about this person’s thyroid. When I mentioned that information to them they were shocked because they had recently been to the doctor but hadn’t informed anyone of what they had learned. But the information given to me was knowledge that assured them of God’s love and concern. God touched them and restored their thyroid to a state of normalcy.
Bolz continued, “Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus get words of knowledge that aren’t really about knowing someone’s name or information. His words validated a person’s identity and made them feel significant to God Himself.” I’m not sure if God will give us knowledge about people who we don’t value like He does. The manifestations of the Spirit must flow from a vessel of love; otherwise, our efforts will become as clanging cymbals that will not profit those who we minister to (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3).
There’s little doubt that you won’t hear a word of knowledge for someone if you’re listening. Jesus called us friends; therefore, all things told to Jesus will be shared with us (John 15:15). But intimacy with Christ and love for others are crucial factors in receiving words of knowledge. So grow in Christ and allow Him to fashion your heart to love as He does.
Jesus, speak through us to others like you did with the Samaritan woman. Help us to stay intimate with you and value others like you do, amen