“To One Is Given by the Spirit of God, That He May Teach the Word of Wisdom”

Brant Gardner

It is a gift of the Spirit to “teach the word of wisdom.” This “word of wisdom” is not the section of the Doctrine and Covenants commonly referred to by that title. It is, rather, the teaching of wisdom. Of course, in God’s definition, wisdom always refers to teaching correct gospel principles: “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Ex. 35:31).

The Spirit of God comes to us and may fill us with wisdom and understanding. While that endowment does not preclude the world’s wisdom, godly wisdom is the most important kind. It is therefore a gift to teach such wisdom. Many are called to teach; and when we find an individual blessed with God’s gift to teach us wisdom, we understand both the difference that such a gift makes in what we what we hear from that teacher and, even more importantly, the difference it makes in our lives. One who can truly teach God’s wisdom does not necessarily give us better information but rather inspires our transformation into a better person.

Reference: Verses 9–16 are clearly influenced by Paul’s catalogue of the gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:4–11. This verse cites a gift of teaching “the word of wisdom,” which gift is found in the same phrasing in 1 Corinthians 12:4–11.

The referenced passages are:

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Cor. 12:8–11)

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6