The Gifts of Knowledge and of Wisdom
By Dr. Ray Melugin


We are living in the age of a knowledge explosion. Libraries are filled with information on any subject the human mind can think of. Even before you think of it, someone else already has, and has researched it, and recorded the results in some publication.

Knowledge is information. Wisdom is the right use of that information to achieve the proper ends. Wisdom correlates and controls the use of our knowledge.

The first two gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12, are the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. (Verse 8) Since the gifts are closely related, both gifts will be studied in this lesson.


I. The Word of Knowledge

A. Its application to the Word of God. "Study to show thyself approved" "give attendance to reading."
1. Enables the believer to search, systematize, and summarize, Bible subjects.

Note: Those using that gift have given us books on systematic theology,k commentaries, word studies, Bible themes, etc.

2. The knowledge gift is the supernatural ability to illuminate God's thoughts not discoverable by human reason.

3. This enables other believers to acquire deeper insight into divine truth.

B. Knowledge helps others only when communicated.
1. Paul speaks of the "utterance" of knowledge. (2 Corinthians 8:7)

Note: The gift of teaching emphasizes communication of knowledge; there can be no communication unless the knowledge to be delivered is "packaged" for delivery.

2. Knowledge of the truth will keep people from seeking "experience" apart from the truth. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

3. Knowledge will direct zeal properly. ("They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." Romans 10:1-4)

C. Knowledge of four basic doctrines calls for our ability to think.
1. Because man is created in God's image, he is a rational being. (Genesis 1:27)

2. The doctrine of revelation implies the ability of man to grasp God's thoughts. ("But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16; Phillipians 2:5)

3. the doctrine of redemption involves renewal of our minds. (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16)

4. The doctrine of judgment states that God will judge us by knowledge. (Revelations 20:12-13; Matthew 16:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelations 22:12)

D. A large portion of Paul's ministry in Ephesus was given to knowledge.
1. He held classes daily in the "school of Tyrannus." (Acts 19:9)
a. An estimated 5 hours a day for two years, or 3,650 hours of teaching.
b. The utterance of knowledge with evangelism to those who were won, in turn carried the gospel to all the provinces.

"All they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus" Acts 19:10

E. We are all called upon to grow in this area. (I Peter 3:18)
Note: Paul had a pErnester of concern for the Corinthians as well as for those of Colossia. (I Corinthians 1:5, Colossians 1:9)


II. The Word of Wisdom "If any man ask wisdom is made unto us wisdom" John 1:5-9)

Note: Wisdom operates in the area of applying knowledge to vexing situations, complex problems, needing right and wrong to be exposed. Then can the truths of God's Word be applied to the problems of life.

A. Wisdom given for a needy moment. (Matthew 10:19-20)
Note: Not for last minute preparation of Sunday School lessons, or sermons.

1. Peter's two defenses before the Sanhedrin.
a. The council took the apostles as being "unlearned and ignorant" to the point that "they marveled" at their wisdom. (Acts 4:13)
b. During the second time, Peter's answer cut to their heart with such power that they took counsel to slay the apostles, but beat them instead. (Acts 5:33-40)

2. Stephen's answer had such power that the Jewish leaders "were not able to resist." (Acts 6:10)

Note: Later, his defense was characterized by such wisdom that the only answer the council could give was to stone him. (Acts 7:54)

3. Paul spoke with the gift of wisdom.
a. He gave the Jews at Damascus scriptural proof of who the Messiah was. (Acts 9:22)
b. In Jerusalem he spoke in such a manner that they could not answer and "went about to slay him." (Acts 9:29)

Note: During Paul's lifetime he used the gift of wisdom to make several defenses of the faith: 1) Before a raging mob at Jerusalem, Acts 22:1;
2) Before the Sanhedrin, Acts 23:1;
3) Before Felix, Acts 24:10;
4) Before Fetus, Acts 25:6;
5) Before Agrippa, Acts 26:1

B. Answering an unbelievers arguments with wisdom.
1. Examples by our Lord, who had the Spirit without measure.
a. He repeatedly refuted those who tried to trap Him. (Matthew 22:21)
b. He silenced the Sadducees with their imaginary story. (Matthew 22:23-33)
c. In wisdom, He asked the Pharisees a question He knew they could not answer. (Matthew 22:41-46)

2. Paul exercised the gift.
a. In the synagogue at Athens and on Mars Hill. (Acts 17:17, 22)
b. With his kinsmen at Ephesus. (Acts 18:19)
c. Paul's manner through Acts was to first find a synagogue and present the Jews with the truth. (Acts 17:1-4; 19:8)

Note: Paul used a discipline presently called, apologetics, meaning defense. He had the ability to refute the arguments of unbelievers and remove stumbling blocks which kept them from trusting Christ.

"Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." I Peter 3:15.

C. Through wisdom, we are given solutions to problems.
1. Solomon, endowed with divine wisdom, discovered the rightful mother of one surviving baby. (I Kings 3:16-28)

2. The first recorded church conflict was settled by men with wisdom. (Acts 6:3)

3. Paul, in wisdom, chose to go to Rome rather than risking ambush when returning to Jerusalem, by those seeking his life.
a. He received an expense-free trip to Rome.
b. He wrote four epistles while there.
c. He won many to Christ, including soldiers from Caesar's household. (Acts 25:9-11

4. Paul encouraged the church to use wisdom in settling disputes between brethren, rather than going to law. (I Corinthians 6:5)

Note: The gift of wisdom does not create confusion, envy, or strife, but rather comes with gentleness, mercy, and peace. (James 3:15-18)

D. Apply wisdom to practical conduct.
1. Knowledge and wisdom may not reside in the same person.
a. One may know a system of truth in the Word, but lack the ability to apply it to life.
b. Wisdom puts knowledge to work in daily experience.

2. Most of Paul's epistles have a two-sided base of knowledge and wisdom.

Note: The book of Ephesians could be divided in half.

Chapters 1-3, dealing with knowledge, presenting deep truths about the high and holy calling of the church.

Chapters 4-6, dealing with wisdom, applying these truths to situations such as the home, (husband, wife, children) employment, (masters, servants) speech, anger, honesty, industry, kindness, sobriety, joyful thanksgiving.


Even though all are not blessed with the gift of wisdom, we have the right of asking God to give us wisdom for those special moments of need. We should then apply that wisdom to every area of our life.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." (James 1:5-9)


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