1 Corinthians 12:8


Monday, 8 December 2014

…for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:8

This verse begins the list of gifts given by the Spirit and it builds upon the thought of the previous verse. The “for” which opens the verse shows this. Verse 7, with the added “for” of verse 8, will relay how Paul is directing us –

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: For…”

This then intends for us to look at this list from that context. We can note the following:

1) The gifts to be mentioned have an external Source (the Spirit).
2) They are given to believers and thus boasting, or feelings of unworthiness over lacking a particular gift should be excluded.
3) The gifts are intended to profit all, and are not merely intended for private gain.

And so, Paul begins the list with “to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit.” Wisdom is more than mere knowledge concerning an issue. Wisdom involves the proper handling and application of knowledge. Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines wisdom as:

Knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life
– the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand
– knowledge of what is proper or reasonable: good sense or judgment

The Bible speaks in great length about wisdom. It is a timeless, endless gift that finds its Source in the Creator itself. Therefore, for created man there must be a starting point to true wisdom. Discerning what that starting point is will lead to a right application of all knowledge. The Bible records this starting point on several occasions when it states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 110:10).

All knowledge which is possessed by man must be evaluated through “the fear of the Lord.” For example, to evaluate life without this fear has led to the theory of evolution, a doctrine contrary to the Bible which was given by the Lord. To evaluate morality without a fear of the Lord will inevitably lead to faulted morals. This then is a high and noble gift which is granted to those in the body.

After noting the gift of wisdom, Paul next says that, “to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit.” Knowledge logically precedes wisdom. It involves experiential awareness and then processing that awareness in a way which it is cataloged and retained. Again, Miriam-Webster Dictionary provides a definition of knowledge –

– information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education
– awareness of something : the state of being aware of something

Even though knowledge is required for wisdom, the Source is the same. There can be no experience without something to be experienced. Therefore the gift of knowledge in created man must have a starting point as well. For right knowledge, the same Source is for that of wisdom just as the Bible tells us –

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

The word used by Solomon for knowledge, daat, is the same word used for the first time in Genesis 2:9 which concerned the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man lacked proper knowledge until he ate of the fruit. The experience is what brought him to the state he was in, but it was knowledge which was acquired by failing to consider the Lord in the decision he made. He was deceived and man fell. The gaining of knowledge apart from the Lord will inevitably lead to pride followed by disaster. Paul speaks of this concept in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3.

Such gifts then, must be used in accord with the Giver or they will be harmful rather than helpful.

Life application: In proverbs, Solomon gives us a great life application –

“Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

Heavenly Father, I know that all of the knowledge in the world won’t do me a bit of good unless I apply it properly. So help me Lord to be wise in how I evaluate the world around me. Grant me knowledge that is based in knowing You and then endow me with wisdom to apply that knowledge in the fear of You. I know with this gift my walk in this world will be rightly directed and that You will be pleased with Your servant. And so this I pray. Amen.


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