For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Ephesians 1:15-17 (ASV)
Paul prayed that God would give the Ephesian believers a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. The word “spirit” in scripture has several different meanings; the Holy Spirit, a demon spirit and a human spirit. The Greek word means “a current of air.” Though debatable, it seems in this scripture that the best definition of spirit is “a mental disposition or state of mind.” An example of this might be a “spirit of team work” or a “spirit of camaraderie.”
Paul seems to be praying that God would give the Ephesians a state of mind of wisdom and revelation to know him. This definition gives the connotation of permanence. Not just a one-time infusion of wisdom and revelation for a particular situation but rather a life style of wisdom and revelation.
Wisdom is good sense, insight and accumulated learning. A biblical definition might be the ability to see a situation the way God sees it. Revelation is information revealed. Biblically speaking it could mean the revealing or understanding of a truth that might have been previously hidden to us.
It is the Holy Spirit that imparts to us both wisdom and revelation (1 Corinthians 12:8; 2:10-13). Jesus possessed the Spirit of wisdom and understanding (Isaiah 11:2) and he became for us wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus told his disciples that it was the Holy Spirit who would teach (reveal) to them all things (John 14:26), lead them into all truth and reveal to them things to come (John 16:13). It is the Holy Spirit who that does the same for us as well.
In his prayer for the Ephesians Paul prayed for a particular wisdom and revelation; the wisdom and revelation to know God. He took the task of knowing God seriously. To the Philippians he wrote, Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
No doubt the Holy Spirit can unilaterally give us wisdom and revelation to know God; he doesn’t need our permission or cooperation. However, it is more likely that the Holy Spirit will infuse us with the wisdom and revelation to know God as we worship God, study his word and spend time in prayer.
God considers it imperative that we know him. He said, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)
Have you counted all things loss for the surpassing worth of knowing God?
Scriptures for meditation:
Proverbs 2:6; 3:13; 9:10