Study Guide: Trusting the Voice

Sunday September 14, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

This week we continue our short sermon series about the spiritual gifts. The first of the gifts we discuss in detail are words of wisdom and words of knowledge. Greg talks about how we discern these words from the Holy Spirit and tells us how we can best use them for building up the body of Christ.

Extended Summary:

Last week we began a mini-series about the spiritual gifts. Woodland Hills Church has always ascribed to the belief that the spiritual gifts are for today, which means the Holy Spirit is still giving these gifts to people in the church and is doing so that we can use them in furthering the Kingdom of God. This topic has often been a controversial issue throughout church history. Part of the reason this topic remains controversial is because these particular spiritual gifts are easy to abuse (unlike the gift of generosity, for example). This week we discussed in detailed two of the gifts the Apostle Paul described in 1 Corinthians–words of knowledge and words of wisdom.

Words of knowledge are gifts that are given to person, not necessarily so they will act on what they hear, but so that they can be better equipped in their ministry work. These words of knowledge are described in the New Testament by the Greek word logos, which means a word or message. A word of knowledge is a message given by the Spirit for a Kingdom purpose. These messages are always given through a word, but this does not mean that the word we have been given is one that we should share. We find this kind of prophesy used by Jesus in the Gospels. In the Gospels we are told on a number of occasions that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of people. However, Jesus didn’t share this knowledge; he used it in order to fulfill his ministry.

A word of knowledge can be thought of by what is true, and in contrast, a word of wisdom is what to do. Words of wisdom are given for us to act upon in order to minister to another person. Like we discussed in last week’s sermon, we must keep in mind that if we are going to be more intentional about listening to the Spirit, then we must be ready to act upon what the Spirit is telling us.

These gifts can be useful in those times of our lives when we run into a conflict or decision. During these times it is important for us to give room in our inner space to hear from the Holy Spirit. There are times when we receive words from the Lord that will help us in our own lives, and there are other times when these words will help us to minister to others. We have a responsibility when the Spirit gives us such a gift. We must discern the message through prayer, as well as whether or not the message is one that we are to share or act on. In honoring the gifts of the Spirit, we can then come alongside God and help further his Kingdom, build up the body, and heal the people around us.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Over the last week have you had any encounters from the Holy Spirit by way of a whisper, intuitive feeling, or stirring in your heart? What was the result of receiving this?
  2. After hearing the sermon, can you differentiate between word of knowledge and word of wisdom? Are there any further questions you have about how to distinguish these two?
  3. Can you recall a time when you have received a word of wisdom or knowledge from the Lord? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a word of wisdom or knowledge?
  4. Have you ever received a word of wisdom in which you felt compelled to act upon? What was the outcome of that situation?
  5. Imagine you have received a word from the Spirit, what will be the steps you take in order to faithfully deliver that message in a way that will assure the building up of the church?