1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.
Every believer should seek to gain spiritual wisdom and knowledge. They should strive to know more about God and His Word and how to apply His truths to their life. Yet it appears that among the many Spiritual Gifts the Spirit has given to the church, there are the gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge.
Knowledge refers to the special understanding of spiritual truth. Wisdom refers to the application of that truth. Both wisdom and knowledge are needed in the church.
Many believe that these two gifts were temporary gifts given in order to help the early church develop. We must keep in mind that the first century of the church’s existence was a time of great growth, both numerically and spiritually. It took at least fifty years before all the books of the New Testament were completed. In addition, the early Christians struggled to understand what should be carried over from the ways of Judaism and what should be left behind. To make matters worse, Satan was also very active in the early church. The threat of false teachers is found in almost every New Testament letter. Therefore the church needed great wisdom and understanding in order to live as God’s people.
Perhaps these two gifts stood alone, or perhaps they accompanied other gifts. Perhaps there were some in the early church who were enabled to give special guidance in spiritual matters, or perhaps those who possessed these two gifts also possessed other gifts that required wisdom and knowledge. For instance, those responsible to teach or those responsible to lead would certainly need these two strengths.
Are these two gifts still active today? Perhaps they are not active in the same way they were active in the early church. Perhaps once the Word of God was completed and distributed, these special gifts ceased to exist. Paul seems to indicate that they and other Spiritual Gifts were only temporary –
1 Corinthians 13:8 …whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Yet the church still needs men and women who possess great God-given wisdom and knowledge. Certainly those who teach do, as well as those who lead. Therefore, whether by special gift or by spiritual growth, Christians should seek to understand God’s will and to live accordingly.