picture of camera

A closer look at the Word of Knowledge

1 Corinthians 12:7-8 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit.
The Spiritual Gifts that God has given the Church are truly amazing. I have witnessed their incredible power in my own life and today I want to take a closer look at the spiritual gift of “The Word of Knowledge.” This spiritual gift is only mentioned once by name in 1 Corinthians 12:8 but there are numerous examples throughout the Old and New Testament of its working. Before I go any further it is important to state that this spiritual gift is not the gift of knowledge but a Word of Knowledge.
Definition:The Word of Knowledge is a spiritual gift and supernatural ability to have knowledge of a situation or circumstances that would otherwise be unknowable through human reason or intellect.We see the Word of Knowledge at work in life of Jesus in the first chapter of the Gospel of John.
John 1:47-48Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jesus uses the Word of Knowledge two times in this passage. Notice the sequence of this text. First Jesus tells Nathaniel through supernatural insight what type of character he possess and Nathaniel pushes back questioning, “How do you know me?” In response, Jesus gives another Word of Knowledge and tells Nathaniel that he saw him while he was sitting under the fig tree. We can only speculate what the significance of what that fig tree meant to Nathaniel but there is no doubt that it was something close to his heart, because his response is so shocking.
John 1:49-50 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
This passage brings our definition of the Word of Knowledge to life. Here we see that a simple detail about a person’s life that we should have no natural way of knowing has the incredible power to touch the closest part of a person’s heart.
I have seen the Word of Knowledge function in my life and bring about some shocking responses. A few years back I was in the line at the drive thru at a Starbucks and I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Tell the barista everything with Michael is going to work out.” I was quite taken off guard by this voice that ran through my heard but I chose to obey. As I pulled up to the pick up window I said to the barista “Hi my name is Jared and I am a Christian and sometimes the God speaks to me and he wanted me to tell you everything is going to work out with Michael and he is in control.” After I said this the barista looked at me with a glazed over look and said thank you. To be honest I was just glad the barista did not throw my drink at me. So I drove off thinking to myself at least she knew someone named Michael and I was not completely wrong.The next day I went into school and a girl I knew ran up to me and said, “Jared did you tell a barista at Starbucks that everything was going to work out with Michael?” I nervously replied with a shake of my head and my friend began to excitingly explain what I set in motion. She said, “I work at the same Starbucks and I have been witnessing to that barista for quite a long time and the barista moved to this city for a guy named Michael and was going through a really rough time.” She went on to explain to me how that seemingly small Word of Knowledge opened up her coworker’s heart to hear about the God who is in control of her life.This is only one story of how I have seen the Word of Knowledge open people’s heart to God and truthfully I do not have the time to write out each of the incredible stories. However, I want to share a few insights that I have learned about how the Word of Knowledge operates and how you can activate this in your own life.
Here are 4 ways that you may receive a Word of Knowledge

  1. A fleeting impression
  2. A Vision
  3. Temporarily feel (physical of emotional pain)
  4. A Dream

How can you activate the Word of Knowledge in your life?

It is crucial to remember that spiritual gifts are given to us by grace not earned. With that said, we are still commanded to pursue the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:1) which means we do have a part in the process. In light of that here are two practical steps to help you activate the Word of Knowledge in your life:

  1. Spend time seeking God in prayer to be used in the Word of Knowledge.
  2. Obey and step out in faith when you sense the Holy Spirit has revealed something to you.
Jared Ruddy
Husband, author, and blogger who finds it very uncomfortable to write about himself.


  1. Scott W Osborne says:

    Whoa, I just had these same ideas this morning about Jesus giving Nathanael a word of knowledge (I believe Nathanael was thinking about Jacob under the fig tree). I saved your webpage and am looking forward to reading more of your “Resources” (one of my “words”). Bless you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest From Our Blog

Are you living like a Pagan?

Before you work on spiritual gifts…

It’s Not Fair

Stop stressing about the will of God