By Stephen Phinney

Since the very beginning, the Spirit of the Living God has been seeking to find where believers would be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself. In referring to Eldad and Medad (not your dad) Moses writes in Numbers 11:26-30, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them” (v. 29). In Acts 2:14-21, Peter says that the day prophesied by Joel has arrived. We now live in that day and God is manifesting in those who desire His manifestations. 

Please know that God works in all of His children, but God pours Himself through willing vessels. Many Christians do not like the idea of God healing people through them, casting out demons, performing miracles, speaking in tongues, or speaking words directly from God’s mouth. God desires to manifest Himself through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in any way He deems necessary to further the work of the kingdom of God.

These manifestations are not to be thought of as residing gifts (gifts that stay with us 24 hours a day, like occupational gifts). Manifestation gifts are the inward and outward signs of the Holy Spirit welling up in a believer to do a powerful and mighty work of God. These manifestations belong to God. They are God’s personal tools in the Holy Spirit to do His work of service in and through the believer.

These manifestations are delivered by the sovereign hand of God (1 Corinthians 12:11). All Christians receive manifestations. The more willing the Christian, the more manifestations there are for him. The less willing the believer, the more a manifestation passes on to another who is saying: “Lord, here am I, send me.” This is why it appears that God is picking favorites. God is not picking favorite vessels; He simply is picking willing vessels. God is interested in getting His work done (1 Corinthians 12:7). In general, manifestations are given by the moment, for the ministry moment. Manifestation gifts are at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, not the believer, whereas occupational gifts are at the disposal of the believer (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Each of these Holy Spirit manifestations is for the common good of the body of Christ. The Spirit will never use theses manifestations in a believer to bring division and fear. God uses them for the good of the Body of Christ.

When do we see these manifestations? When God chooses. One time we will see God manifest through someone to bring healing to a sick, blind, or distressed person. However, the next day we may see someone who is worse off than the person is the day before and God will do nothing. This is why the Manifestation Gifts are truly a manifestation of the sovereignty of God.

A place we see God manifest consistently is in worship. This seems to be a time that the Holy Spirit relates the most to God.

How do we know a manifestation is real?
Satan is the great deceiver! He loves duplicating the work of God. Since he cannot create or invent something on his own, he steals from God and signs his own name to it, trying to deceive others into believing he created it. This is for the sole purpose of vain self-glory. He uses his “manifestation” to bring division, whereas, God uses His manifestations to bring unity. When we you the “manifestation gifts” bringing division and fear, be assured that Satan is at work pretending, duplicating, and stealing more of God’s glory.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when watching for true manifestations:
1. Fruit (Galatians 5)
2. Character (Matthew 5)
3. Submission (Ephesians 5:18-21)
4. The presence of God

Use this guideline: If a person is claiming a manifestation and ALL of the fruit of the Spirit are not present, the question needs to be asked, “Is this of God?”

When studying the manifestation passage (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), notice the number of times God mentions the terms: same Spirit, same Lord, and same God. God is stressing the importance of unity in the manifestations of the Spirit.

It is time to take each manifestation and look at the definition and purpose of each.


A Word of Wisdom is seen as the “instant insight” that comes through a revelation - a special manifestation of the Spirit that God gives to deliver His message to the saved and unsaved. It is best applied to a specific situation or need that has arisen in the Body of Christ.

Through a Word of Wisdom, the Spirit of God indicates how to apply His insight and knowledge to a person’s life or situation. God is able to get to the heart of the problem quickly. When this kind of wisdom is spoken, the receiver typically knows he or she has heard from God. It is as if the person delivering the message has read the mail of the person being ministered to. When this type of manifestation occurs, the whole Body knows that God has spoken. Jesus used this with the woman at the well (John 4:16-18).

This gift is also used by the Sprit to warn people of dangers. Jesus tells us that He will give us utterances that others cannot refute. These utterances are the Words of God, Himself (Luke 21:15).


A Word of Knowledge is a supernatural revelation of facts about a person or situation, facts that have not been acquired through any means except by the mouth of God. It is the Spirit of God revealing the mind of God.

This manifestation is often used by the Lord to reveal hidden SIN. Some examples of this are when God revealed to Nathan, David’s adultery (2 Samuel 12:1-7); to Jesus, for the Samaritan woman’s secret sins (John 4:7-25); and to Peter, Ananias’ deception (Acts 5:1-6).

This manifestation can be used to locate lost items. For example Samuel spoke to Saul regarding his lost donkeys (1 Samuel 9:15-20).

Another purpose would be warning and providing safety, such as Elisha’s word to the king of Israel about the plans of the king of Aram (2 Kings 6:8-23).

God also uses this manifestation to reveal thoughts of others in time of need or warning (1 Corinthians 2:10-14). This is how Jesus knew the thoughts of the scribes in Matthew 9:1-7.

A Word of Knowledge often occurs just before a healing takes place (Matthew 9:1-7, Mark 9:17, 25, John 4:45-54, John 5:1-9).

The overall purpose of the manifestation of Word of Knowledge is to bring healing into the hearts, minds, and bodies of God’s children.


The manifestation of faith is a supernatural surge of confidence (the confidence of the Lord Himself) flowing from the Holy Spirit within the believer, when faced with a specific God-ordained circumstance. In this manifestation, God is taking action on a stated Word of Knowledge or Word of Wisdom. It is the act of the Holy Spirit being obedient to the Heavenly Father’s commands through the believer. This manifestation is a “mountain moving” response of God to which both Jesus and Paul refer – a movement of God, stimulated by God, to bring what is in the unseen world to the world we live in. The manifestation of Faith is what brings the effects of God (Matthew 17:19-20; Matthew 21:18-22; 1 Corinthians 13:2; James 5:15; Hebrews 11:32-34).

Faith comes during times of danger (Daniel 6:23). God uses this manifestation to remind His children of His Holy protection He uses it to remove evil spirits from indwelling or oppressing people, although then it is usually accompanied by a Word of Knowledge or Word of Wisdom, and even Discerning of Spirits (Acts 16:16-18; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:41-42).

Faith is often used by the Lord to display God’s power and presence (i.e. Peter walking on the water). Water walking is just one of the many ways God calls out believers to join Him where He is at work. To join God where He is at work requires a manifestation of Faith, because we cannot join Him without His initiation.

Faith is required where healings are required. Without the manifestation of Faith, people would not experience miracles, such as physical, emotional, or spiritual healings (Luke 5:17-26; 7:1-10; 8:43-48; 8:48-56; 17:15-19).

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.