What does it mean to have the spirit of wisdom and revelation?


Since Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17, the spirit of wisdom and revelation that Paul prays for (Ephesians 1:1–9) does not refer to the initial gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s reference is an attitude or frame of mind (although the NIV and ESV capitalize the word Spirit, other translations such as the NASB and BSB translate it as “a spirit,” and the NLT has “spiritual wisdom and insight”).

Paul had commended the Ephesians for their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love toward all the saints (Ephesians 1:15), Paul is asking God to give them a deeper and greater understanding of the mysteries of His character and will, to know Him more thoroughly and intimately. Now that they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts, Paul desires God to grant them more understanding and greater insight. The “wisdom” is a better understanding of the doctrines of God, and the “revelation” is a clearer picture of the divine character and will. In the NLT, the prayer is that believers would have “spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.” The AMP translation has Paul asking that God “may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him.”


God is infinite, and He can never be fully known by finite creatures. We all need wisdom from above. No matter how far we may advance in our understanding of God, there is an unfathomed depth of knowledge that remains to be explored. Scripture is full of admonitions to grow in our knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4:15).

Paul outlines some of the mysteries he wants the Ephesians to understand through this spirit of wisdom and revelation. He desires them to grasp “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18


This is the hope of eternal life, which Paul refers to.. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14


We inherit the riches of eternal life through Him who saved us and called us to holiness in Christ before time began (2 Timothy 1:9). Paul also prays the Spirit will reveal God’s power..“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” Ephesians 1:19—power so great it raised Jesus from the dead. It’s a power that we can only comprehend as we possess the spirit of wisdom and revelation.


The spirit of wisdom and revelation is not some mysterious blessing given to a special few, and it is not the ability to speak as a prophet. Rather, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to help the people of God understand the things of God more fully and completely.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

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