What is the spirit of wisdom and revelation in Ephesians 1:17?Paul begins Ephesians 1 by talking about the spiritual blessings we have through Jesus Christ, and he goes on to tell the believers that he gives thanks for them and remembers them in his prayers. He prays, in part, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17). We receive the Holy Spirit upon salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14; John 14:17), so what is the "Spirit of wisdom and of revelation" that Paul is talking about here? Is it the same as the Holy Spirit or is it a different spirit?
As believers, we are sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13–14) and we are to keep in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16–25). In the ESV and NIV, the word spirit is capitalized in the phrase "Spirit of wisdom and of revelation." This would indicate the Holy Spirit. These translators suggest the "Spirit of wisdom and revelation" is referring to part of the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts and lives. Other translations, however, do not capitalize spirit. For example, the Amplified Bible has, "may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep insight and personal and intimate insight] into the truth knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son]." The NLT says, "to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God." In all these cases, the idea of a spirit of wisdom and revelation is that the Ephesians would have understanding and grow in their knowledge of God; doing so will ultimately be by God's work.
In Ephesians 1, Paul says that he prays for the believers that they would grow in their knowledge of Christ. In verses 18–20, Paul goes on to explain a bit about what the spirit of wisdom and revelation will provide believers with: "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might, that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places." The Spirit of wisdom and revelation provides us with increasing wisdom and revelation of the character and work of God.
It's important to keep in mind that God is infinite. There will always be more to learn about Him. The term "Spirit of wisdom and of revelation" could be summarized as the insight and understanding that the Holy Spirit provides. Paul desires that the believers grow in their understanding of God—and with good reason. Just as babies need to grow and mature into adults, as believers, we should aim to be growing into greater spiritual maturity (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15). The more we learn about God, the more we become like Him (Romans 8:29–30; Philippians 2:12–13; 1 John 3:6), and the easier it becomes to trust Him (Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 26:3).
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Truth about the Christian Life