Stephen A. Hanson


Week Eight:

The Revelatory Gifts

In 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul lists the spiritual gifts... these include the four revelatory gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits and prophecy. In this teaching we will be taking a detailed look at the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom and the discernment of spirits. These gifts can and do work in conjunction with each other. Below are a brief and concise definition of these gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Supernatural revelation as to a piece of knowledge which would be naturally unknown to the recipient.

Supernatural impartation of wisdom beyond the natural wisdom of the recipient.

A God-given ability to distinguish the spirit motivating a person or event.

A God-given ability to distinguish the spirit motivating a person or event.

Even though we define them for clarity's sake, as with all the things of God, there is a depth and a mystery about them that goes beyond mere human words and understanding.

God will use these revelatory gifts to accomplish many purposes: to lead people to Christ, to build up faith, to heal, to expose the inner heart of the believer, etc . They will allow you to minister more effectively. As with all the gifts we need to exercise care that we do not go beyond the revealed word from God.


We will now look in more detail at the word of knowledge. Supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit of a certain fact or facts. These facts can be about the past or the present. It is a word from the Lord that the recipient would have no other way of knowing. It is an instant word for a particular time or person or to accomplish a special purpose. There is no academic or intellectual requirement to receive the word of knowledge. It is a gift operating purely in the spiritual realm. As it is a gift it is unearned.

Ways of Knowing

In the Christian tradition there has always been a distinction between 'reason' and 'revelation' as ways of receiving knowledge.

Human reason is a God-given gift in which all people share. The faculty of reason can be developed through education (from informal socialization processes in early childhood, to the more formal education of the school system).

Revelation is understanding which is directly given as a gift from God to believers and includes an understanding of the scriptures (as the Holy Spirit brings insight) and the revelatory gifts. Simply put, reason comes from 'inside' the human mind, revelation is given from 'outside' by God. The word of knowledge is in this second category.

Bible knowledge can be a matter of reason (merely reading and understanding the text) or revelation (reading the text with revelation given by the Spirit).

Word of Knowledge in Scriptures

Mark 2:8

"At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions amongst themselves"

Jesus knew what they were thinking and saying.

Luke 1:41

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting the child leaped within her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb'."

Elizabeth received the word of knowledge about the baby Mary was carrying.

John 1:47

"When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him, he said of him 'Here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit'."

Jesus knew Nathaniel.

There are many examples of the word of knowledge in the scriptures. Here are just a few more:

1 Sam chs 9-10, 1 Kings 14:2-3, 2 Kings 5:20-27, 6:8-12, John 4 18-29, Matt 9:4, Acts 5 1-11, Acts 10:19.

Operating in the Word of Knowledge

The word of knowledge can be received in different ways. We will look at these now.

The Word of Knowledge on the other hand is simply a revelation concerning the past and present. It is a supernatural impartation to you of facts concerning the person’s past and present. It might be about something that happened the person’s life, or it might be a current circumstance or condition. It could even include a person’s thoughts and aspirations. It could include the condition of the spirit, soul or body. Or it could include events in their life. It might include something the person doesn’t even know themselves.

To Function In The Word Of Knowledge, One Must:

·         Have a strong desire to release the Gifts of the Holy Spirit;

·         Be sensitive to God;

·         Know or recognize when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about a certain person or matter;

·         Know the right timing to make known that certain information;

·         Know how to minister that "word" in an edifying way;

·         Be willing and prepared to accept any fine-tuning, teaching and correction from those over us in the Lord; and also to

·         Take responsibility for what effects the Word of Knowledge has after you have "delivered" or "spoken" it.


Firstly it has nothing to do with natural wisdom or intellectual capabilities. It is not the Holy Spirit giving you an ability to be wise to overcome your lack of knowledge or intelligence. It has nothing to do with you getting a solution to a problem where before you were perplexed. I know that this is the way some people have interpreted it. The Holy Spirit reveals the Word to us at times, and we ‘see’ things in the Word that we have not seen before. This is not an operation of this gift.

It is not you suddenly getting the wisdom to solve a crisis. If you are sitting in a church council discussing some problem that needs to be solved and you suddenly get the solution, that is not an operation of the Word of Wisdom. It seems to me that everyone gets stuck on the word ‘wisdom’ as though it relates to mental capability. You can receive such influences from the intuition of your spirit at any time.


Notice it is a “word of wisdom”. In other words, it’s not a book of wisdom, or an encyclopedia of wisdom, but rather a “word”. Perhaps it may be only a few sentences, or maybe a few words, or perhaps just one word. God has all wisdom in His mind. He is able to take a “word” of that wisdom and convey it to you through the Holy Spirit. The results can be astounding. Keep in mind that all the gifts of the Spirit are supernatural. The “word of wisdom” is a supernatural manifestation by the Spirit of God concerning the purpose and perfect will of God. It always speaks of situations in the future. This gift of the Spirit is often manifested to solve an unsolvable problem, and the wisdom displayed often only applies to that particular need.


Word of Wisdom in the Scriptures

John 4:16-17

"Jesus said to her, 'Go call your husband, and come back'. The woman answered him, 'I have no husband'."

Note the word of wisdom in how Jesus talked to this lady. He did not directly confront her with the knowledge of her lifestyle.

1 Kings 3:16-28

The story of Solomon and the two women who were disputing who's son had died. Solomon operated in wisdom to settle the dispute.


Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to perceive the source of a spiritual manifestation and determine whether it is of God (Acts 10:30-35), of the devil (Acts 16:16-18), of man (Acts 8:18-23), or of the world. It is not mind reading, psychic phenomena, or the ability to criticize and find fault.

Discerning of spirits must be done by the power of the Holy Spirit; He bears witness with our spirit when something is or is not of God. The gift of discerning of spirits is the supernatural power to detect the realm of the spirits and their activities. It implies the power of spiritual insight - the supernatural revelation of plans and purposes of the enemy and his forces. It is a gift which protects and guards your Christian life.

Biblical Examples Of The Gift Of Discernment

Luke 4:34

"'Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.' But Jesus rebuked him, saying 'Be silent, and come out of him'."

Jesus recognized the spirit which was speaking to him.

Matthew 17:18

"And Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him."

Again Jesus recognized the spirit behind the young boy's epileptic fit.


Although in this case Jesus saw the cause of the epileptic fit as being a demonic presence we cannot form a doctrine that says that every one who has an epileptic fit is demonized!


The Word of Wisdom is often used alongside a Word of Knowledge. When God gives a Word of Knowledge to a person, it is important to know what to do with this gift. How do we apply it?

There are four choices we have as to what to do when we receive a Word of Knowledge and we need to ask ourselves, "What is the best and right thing to do with this knowledge?"

1.      Is the Word of Knowledge you have received:

2.      For prayer purposes only?

3.      To be shared with the local church oversight first?

4.        For private sharing with the individual concerned? (Keeping in mind you must be accountable to your Church Leadership — they should know what is going on).

For sharing in an edifying way in a public meeting? To speak out Words of Knowledge in public meetings, they must be done in such a way that the individual concerned, and the meeting as a whole, is edified.

If there is any doubt about the knowledge received, or what you should do with it, check with your Church Pastor, Elders, Leadership. Run it past them and let them advise you what to do. That way you are ministering under the guidance, safety and counsel of your spiritual covering (and every one of us needs spiritual covering and accountability when we are ministering in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – none of us are to be a "law" unto ourself). Be humble and teachable!


During this time you will again pair off with someone or work with the group so that each of you has someone to minister to, to learn which type of mode that you operate in. Remember from before that you will either “SEE” what the Lord wants to show you, “HEAR” what He has to say, or “FEEL” what He wants you to know.

Remember that God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah through the avenues of “seeing” and “hearing.”

11 The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
      "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied. 12 The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching [a] to see that my word is fulfilled." 13 The word of the LORD came to me again: "What do you see?" "I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered. 14 The LORD said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.

Jeremiah 1

*Once God has spoken to you, describe what you see, tell them what you hear, or share what you have felt about the person that you are to share with.

*Step out in faith, and don’t worry about if it makes sense to you or not, it may well be exactly what the other person needs to hear at this time.

Now allow the receiver of this message to give you feedback.

*Repeat the same process with another person. You may do with as many other partners as time allows. Notice whether or not you continue to “HEAR,” “SEE,” or “FEEL.”

*Determine how many in the group fit into each of the categories.