DECREED WILL OF GOD: (God’s plan) God’s eternal, foreordained plan and purpose which will not change and cannot be thwarted. This includes our salvation.
PRECEPTIVE WILL OF GOD: (The Word) God’s will expressed in the form of principles or precepts given to men. His written word is the expression of His will. In this sense, many people are seeking God’s will when it’s already obvious. (You don’t have to pray about living with your boyfriend, God’s has spoken in Heb 13:4 and 1 Cor 6:9-20)
PREFERENTIAL WILL OF GOD: (God’s pleasure) What gives God pleasure and what does not. God loves to show mercy, but will execute judgement. God takes pleasure in the salvation of sinners, He mostly does not take pleasure in pouring out His eternal wrath on sinners.
PERMISSIVE WILL OF GOD: (God’s permission) This is what God permits/allows, even though it is sin. Example: Joseph’s brothers in Gen 50:20. God is in control, His purposes are being accomplished. His decreed will often allows or permits (His permissive will) men to violate His preferential will (what gives Him pleasure) and His prescriptive will (His Word). God’s permissive will is never outside His decreed will. God “permits” those things which will lead to the accomplishment of His decretive will.
DIRECTIVE WILL OF GOD: (God’s guidance) God’s personal guidance in our lives. It does not violate any of the “wills” above. There are times when God wants us at a certain place, doing a certain thing. Not as common as some would think.