The gift of the word of wisdom was a speaking gift. It involved the ability to receive, understand and apply divine revelation directly to a specific circumstance. This gift was significant in the Early Church before the completion of the New Testament. Often situations arose where Scripture was silent. God enabled those with the gift of the word of wisdom to determine a course of action. No doubt, Peter and the Apostles used the gift of wisdom in Acts 6. A need arose concerning some widows who were neglected in the daily provision of food. While there was no revealed plan in Scripture for such a situation, the Apostles spoke wisdom, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, as to how to remedy the situation. James seemingly exhibited the word of wisdom in Acts 15, when he passed judgment on the use of circumcision in salvation.
Related to the gift of the word of wisdom is the gift of the word of knowledge. This gift involves the receiving of divine revelation about a person or event. The word of knowledge was given to meet a specific need. James likely used this gift when Paul was accused of teaching against God’s Law in Acts 21. James immediately knew what to do and tasked Paul with a course of action that would address the need at hand — proving Paul was not teaching against God’s Law. John likely was given the word of knowledge to know the specific course of action that each of the seven churches needed to take (cf. Revelation 2-3).