What is a Message of Wisdom?

A message of wisdom is God or the Lord Jesus Christ providing to you direction, or how to apply the knowledge you have about something.

A message of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8) is a manifestation of the gift of holy spirit. In contrast to knowledge, “wisdom” is guidance or direction about what to do in any given situation. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary captures the essence of wisdom: “the right use or exercise of knowledge.” [1] As a manifestation of the gift of holy spirit, a message of wisdom is God or the Lord Jesus Christ giving a Christian “wisdom,” direction as to what to do, via the gift of holy spirit that is sealed inside him.

The Bible has many examples of God giving people direction by revelation. Most of the time, “a message of wisdom” is given along with “a message of knowledge.” God will tell you something (knowledge), and then tell you what to do (wisdom). Or He will tell you what to do (wisdom), and then tell you why (knowledge). If God gives a message of wisdom without a message of knowledge, it is usually because the “why” is soon apparent. For example, someone driving toward an intersection where he has the right of way gets a revelation to stop (a message of wisdom; what to do in the situation), and does. A car coming the other way ignores the stop sign and speeds through the intersection. In that case, God did not have to give a message of knowledge about why to stop; that information came through the five senses.

If God tells a person what to do through a prophet, another Christian, a sign of some sort, or a phenomenon such as an angel or a talking donkey (Num. 22:28), the message may be revelation, but it is not a “manifestation of holy spirit.” In order to be a “manifestation of the spirit,” the message must come directly to the person via the gift of holy spirit. The Bible is full of examples of God giving a message of wisdom, for example: He told Noah to build an ark, Abraham to leave Mesopotamia and go to a new land, Moses to build the Tent of Meeting, and Joshua how to cross the Jordan River.

The most common thing we see in Scripture, however, is that God gives messages that are a blend of knowledge (information) and wisdom (guidance, direction), just like we do when we speak to one another. Note the examples below:

Exodus 7:14 and 15
(14) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go [Information: a message of knowledge].
(15) Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water. Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake [Direction: a message of wisdom].

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height [Direction: a message of wisdom], for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” [Information: a message of knowledge].

Acts 10:19 and 20
(19) While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you [Information: a message of knowledge].
(20) So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them [Direction: a message of wisdom], for I have sent them [Information].”

God and the Lord Jesus want to communicate with us, and will regularly do so if we are willing to listen for their voice and obey their direction. Remember that God admonishes us to ask for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).


[1] Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, (Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco, CA, 1828, reprinted 1967), “wisdom.”

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