Ephesians 1:17:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (KJV)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (NIV)

ἵνα ὁ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης, δώῃ ὑμῖν πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ, (NA 28)

See related question on disambiguation of the first half of the verse here.

In the latter half of the verse, it appears that God the Father is granting the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that the audience might know.


  1. Is the spirit of wisdom and revelation referring to spiritual gifts or the Holy Ghost? I found it curious that the NIV capitalized "Spirit" and the KJV did not.
  2. Who is the "him" at the end of the verse?

2 Answers 2



Grammatically, according to Meyer

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ That αὐτοῦ does not apply to Christ (Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Baumgarten, Flatt), but to God (although we have not to write αὑτοῦ), is clear from the αὐτοῦ of Ephesians 1:18-19; it is only at Ephesians 1:20 that the discourse passes over to Christ.

This is made more probable by the fact that "God" is nominative and "Jesus Christ" is genitive.

The Spirit

The educative function of the Holy Spirit is ably attested in many places:

  • John 14:26 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
  • John 15:26 - "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father--he will testify about me.
  • John 16:13, 14 - However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.
  • 2 Peter 1:20, 21 - Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation. For no such prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

See also 2 Tim 3:16, 17, John 7:38, 39, Rom 8:4, 11, Eph 3:17, 18, 4:3-6, 1 Thess 1:6, 4:8, 1 Cor 2:14, etc.


1: ”Is the spirit of wisdom and revelation referring to spiritual gifts or the Holy Ghost?"....................

Biblical ‘understanding’ is either ‘natural’ - what ‘you’ reason out, either intellectually or emotionally [via senses] - or ‘revelation’, what the spirit has ‘revealed’ to you.

JOHN 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things

1 JOHN 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.

When you become a ‘believer’, you need to learn much. And you will need to relearn much - (this being far more difficult!). Your ‘spirit’ is ‘reborn’- becomes a new creation’. And your ‘spirit’ can only develop [grow] using the ‘word’. So you need to start ‘renewing the mind’. Revelation means your ‘spirit’ ‘sees’ [understands] the word - not your ‘head’ [intellect]. And it’s this that Paul is praying for - that those he is writing to may grow in ‘revelation knowledge’.

But it is only through the ‘teacher’, the Holy Spirit’ that we can gain ‘revelation knowledge’.

2: ”Who is the "him" at the end of the verse?

‘Him’ is his Father. Jesus came to reveal God as ‘Father’.

JOHN 17:25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them

MAT 11:27 All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

So, as per the NIV “so that you may know him better.”, or the KJV “the knowledge of him:” are both referring to, ‘pointing’ to the desire that ‘believers’ can grow in the revelation of seeing ‘God’ as their ‘Father’ - the one that can meet their ‘needs’, be there ‘source’ for these.

Meyer is even more explanatory -

πνεῦμα σοφίας κ. ἀποκαλύψ. The Holy Spirit, too (for it is not the human spirit that is here meant, as Michaelis, Rückert, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek would take it[111]), Paul is wont to characterize πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον, Romans 7:2; Romans 7:15; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:7. Here: the Spirit who works wisdom and gives revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10). The latter is a greater result of the work of the Spirit,[112] in accordance with which He not only by His enlightening operation furnishes wisdom (γνῶσις θείων κ. ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων καὶ τῶν τούτων αἰτίων, 4Ma 1:16; conceived of, however, by Paul in reference to the Christian economy of salvation, comp. Ephesians 1:8), but further, as the organ of God, effects also special revelations of divine saving truths and purposes not otherwise known. Harless regards κ. ἀποκαλ. as the objective medium, which brought about the state of σοφία, so that the character of the σοφία is more precisely defined by κ. ἀποκαλ. But in passages like Romans 1:5, χάριν κ. ἀποστολήν, Romans 11:29, τὰ χαρίσματα κ. ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ Θεοῦ, the discourse advances from the general to the special, not from the thing itself to its objective medium. Logically more natural, besides, would be the advance from the objective medium to the subjective state, according to which Paul would have written: ἀποκαλύψεως καὶ σοφίας. Finally, the climactic relation, which is brought out in the two words under our view, makes the wish of the apostle appear more fervid and full, and so more in keeping with his mood. It is obvious of itself, we may add, that Paul here desires for his readers, to whom in fact the Spirit has been already given from the time of their conversion (Ephesians 1:13), a continued bestowal of the same for their ever increasing Christian enlightenment. Comp. Colossians 1:9. Baur, p. 437, conjectures here something of a Montanistic element. But it was not by the Montanists that the πνεῦμα was first regarded as the principle of Christian wisdom, etc.; it is so already in the teaching of the whole N.T.

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