A message of knowledge is God or the Lord Jesus Christ providing to you information, insight, and understanding about something.
A message of knowledge is a manifestation of the gift of holy spirit (1 Cor. 12:7 and 8), so it is God or the Lord Jesus giving knowledge to us via the gift of holy spirit. We refer to “a message of knowledge” as a “revelation manifestation,” because God or the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the knowledge, or information, to us. The manifestation is a “message” of knowledge. The Greek word logos, often translated “word,” does not refer to a “vocabulary word,” but rather to a “word” in the sense of a concept or idea. Thus, the entire Bible is referred to as “the Word,” i.e., the message from God. The translation “message” accurately communicates what the Lord gives by revelation: a message.
Although most people would understand the phrase, “a word of knowledge,” it could be misleading if one thought it meant revelation came in “words.” In our experience, the majority of the revelation most Christians receive is not by “words,” but much more often by an impression or picture. The message of knowledge that God gives us may come in many different ways. It may seem so clear that you think it is in the senses world, but it is God communicating through holy spirit to your mind. For example, you may “hear” a voice that is so clear you think others heard it too, but it is coming to your mind via holy spirit. Or you may see a picture or vision so real you think others can see it, but it is in your mind via holy spirit. Revelation can come to us via holy spirit as a voice, a picture or vision, a physical sensation, a smell, a taste, a firm realization, or an inner knowing, or a strong emotion.
A trip to a theological library will quickly reveal that there is much speculation and ignorance among Christians as to what “a message of knowledge” is. The Living Bible , for example, calls “a message of wisdom,” “…the ability to give wise advice….” But many people, saved and unsaved, give wise advice, so that is not a manifestation of holy spirit. Sometimes people point out that God “speaks” via other people’s advice, or nature, etc., and God can “speak” to us that way, but that kind of communication from God is not a manifestation of holy spirit. A message of knowledge is the Lord giving information to the believer, not the believer giving it to others.
“A message of knowledge” is not explained in 1 Corinthians because they did not need an explanation. They knew about it from the Old Testament, the example of the apostles, prophets, and others who walked in great power, and from their own personal experience (“everyone has…a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation…” 1 Cor. 14:26). However, in the centuries after Christ many false doctrines entered Christianity, fulfilling Paul’s prophecy that people would not put up with sound doctrine but be turned to myths (2 Tim. 4:3-5), and Peter’s prophecy that false teachers would bring destructive heresies into the Church (2 Pet. 2:1).
In the case of God’s gift of holy spirit and the power a believer could manifest, the gift of holy spirit was turned into “the Holy Spirit,” the “Third Person of the Trinity,” and the true meaning of verses that referred to holy spirit was lost. When we recover the truth that God placed His gift of holy spirit “upon” people before the Day of Pentecost, that it is born in people after Pentecost, and that the invisible gift of holy spirit is the primary way God communicates to His people, we can clearly see “a message of knowledge” and the other manifestations throughout the Bible, and how they operate in the life of a Christian.
In the Old Testament the spirit could be upon a person for a short time, or for a long time, as it was with Moses, Joshua, or John the Baptist. Moses had holy spirit on him, and God spoke to him via that spirit. When he needed help leading the Israelites, God’s solution was to put holy spirit on 70 men who could then help with the work (Num. 11:16-29) because they too could then hear directly from God. Many of Israel’s leaders are specifically said to have had holy spirit on them: Joshua (Num. 27:18); Othniel (Judg. 3:10); Gideon (Judg. 6:34); David (1 Sam. 16:13); Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:15), and many more.
“A message of knowledge” is simply knowledge, information, not what to do with the information, which is “a message of wisdom.” Many times God gives both a message of knowledge and a message of wisdom, although sometimes He gives only one. If He gives only knowledge, it is because what to do is apparent. If He gives only wisdom, the “why” was not necessary.
There are hundreds of examples of “a message of knowledge” in Scripture. God gave much information to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and others. In Genesis 17:6, God told Abraham He would make him very fruitful and that nations and kings would be his descendants. This is pure information, a message of knowledge. There was nothing for Abraham to do but know it. God told Joseph that the seven ears of grain and seven cows in Pharaoh’s dream were seven years (Gen. 41:25-32), and later gave Joseph a message of wisdom so he would know how to prepare for the upcoming famine. God told Moses that when he went to Pharaoh, he would not listen even if there were many signs and wonders (Exod. 7:3 and 4). This was information so that Moses would not get his hopes up. God told Joshua that the reproach of Egypt had been removed from Israel (Josh. 5:9) so that Joshua would know that nothing else was needed to get back into God’s favor. God told Samuel what was going to happen to Eli the priest (1 Sam. 3:11-14). There was nothing for Samuel to do, he was just given the information so he would be aware of what was coming.
There is nothing more exciting than hearing from God or the Lord Jesus, and they will speak to us and guide us through life. Although at times God gives a message of knowledge or wisdom in such a clear and powerful way that it cannot be missed, usually revelation comes as a “gentle whisper” or “a still small voice,” (1 Kings 19:12; NIV, KJV), meaning that it can easily be drowned out amidst the “noise” in our minds. God directs us to “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10a), so let us quiet the noise in our minds, ask God to speak with us, and then listen intently for His voice.
 The Living Bible © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. All rights reserved.