(1 Cor. 12:7-10 )
The word of knowledge is supernatural revelation, by the Holy Spirit, of certain facts in the mind of God about something we do not presently know. It is information about a past or a present situation that is true. The word of knowledge is considered by some to be one of three revelation gifts, which serve as spiritual eyes and ears for the church. The others are the word of wisdom and discerning of spirits. It’s important to note that the word of knowledge is given to benefit others, as are all the gifts of the Spirit, except tongues - which edifies us.
Just as a word is a fragment or part of a sentence, a "word" of knowledge is a fragment or a part of God's knowledge of a situation. He gives us a piece of information to aid in bringing something to pass concerning that situation. Once we receive God’s revelation, it’s our responsibility to ask what He wants us to do with it. If we lock it away in our hearts we hinder the work He wants to do. His desire is to bless us so that we, in turn, might bless others.
Some purposes for the word of knowledge:
- To lead people to Christ
- To give direction in ministry
- To reveal sickness to those operating in healing
- To restore the believer back to fellowship with God
- To provide encouragement
Examples of the word of knowledge from scripture:
Jesus frequently operated in the word of knowledge. He told two of his disciples to go into a village and get a donkey that no man had ever ridden before, telling them where to find the donkey. (Luke 19:30,31) While talking with the woman at the well of Samaria, Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband...” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (John 4:16-19) In this case, the word of knowledge revealed the identity of Jesus to the woman.
Peter received a word of knowledge in a vision, when God revealed that the gospel was for Gentiles as well as Jews. As he pondered the first bit of information, the first Gentiles arrived at his front door. God told him that three men were looking for him and that he should meet with them, doubting nothing. (Acts 10:9-20)
Ananias received a word of knowledge in a vision concerning a new believer named Saul of Tarsus: “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias… so the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” (Acts 10:10-12)
There are words of knowledge recorded in both Old and New Testaments. Through a word of knowledge, Samuel told Saul that the donkeys that were lost had been found. (1 Sam. 9:19,20) When the king of Syria was making war against Israel. The Lord spoke to Elisha through a word of knowledge to reveal the enemies plans. (2 Kings 6:9-12)
The word of knowledge can encourage us. Jezebel was out to kill Elijah. Out of fear, Elijah ran and found himself sitting under a juniper tree, begging God to let him die. Thinking he was the only prophet left, God encouraged the prophet by telling him, "I have 7,000 in Jerusalem who have not bowed their knee to Baal." (1 Kings 19:18)
In the realm of healing, a word of knowledge isn’t a guarantee that the individual will be miraculously healed. It serves to make us aware that a condition exists, and that God would like us address it. Until we take action, it’s just information. If we don’t enforce God’s will concerning the word given, nothing will change. One of the first words of knowledge I received was for a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease. I believe he will eventually walk again, but after two years of prayer, he’s still paralyzed, living in a nursing home. Some things require more persistence than others.
Some of us see individuals that God wants to focus on as they become highlighted in a spotlight, making them stand out from the crowd. I sometimes receive words of knowledge in dreams. Some are very specific, with the name of the person and their condition being revealed. In some dreams I’m discussing the condition with them on Facebook.
A word of knowledge may be given to encourage us to pray for a condition we wouldn’t normally have faith to heal. I received a word of knowledge in a dream about healing people with birth defects. When I returned to work after two days off, my first patient was a girl with Down syndrome, which I wouldn’t normally have faith to heal. One day I developed a sharp pain in the back of my hand, but I had done nothing to injure it. I began to ask people around me if they had pain in their hand, but no one did. I finally told my EMT partner about it. He told me he had pain in the exact same spot in his hand for a week after falling out of a tree when the branch he was holding onto suddenly broke. I prayed for his hand and it was healed.
One of the more unusual words of knowledge I received was about a problem I had while replacing the timing belt on my car. After putting everything back together, it wouldn’t start. I checked the service manual and looked at the timing marks again, but couldn’t find the problem. I closed my eyes and asked God what the problem was. In a vision, I saw the camshaft gear and noticed it had two timing marks. I was aware of only one. The mark I used was the wrong one. After locating the other timing mark and making the correction, the car ran perfectly.
If you’d like to operate in the word of knowledge, ask God to reveal things to you and spend time getting to know His ways. The revelation gifts are relational and time is the commodity of relationships.