Last modified on August 7, 2023, at 22:50

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

  • wisdom,
  • understanding,
  • counsel,
  • knowledge,
  • fortitude,
  • piety / godliness, and
  • fear of the Lord (reverential awe).

The source of the enumeration of "seven" gifts is traditionally the Book of Isaiah 11:1-2, which refers to the characteristics of the awaited Messiah, the genealogical descendant of David, seen by Christianity as Jesus Christ.

The gift of "piety" is found only in the Septuagint text of the Old Testament, not in the Masoretic Hebrew text, which reads "fear" instead, so that "fear" appears twice, making only six gifts:

2the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. RSV (Isaiah 11:2b-3a)

The King James Version also has only six gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3):

2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD;
3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

The Douay-Rheims Bible translated from the Latin Vulgate reads "godliness" for "piety", making seven gifts.

2And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.
3And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.


Wisdom is an innate sense of what is right, and of being able to distinguish the eternal from the temporal. Wisdom helps believers to avoid things, people and situations that could lead away from God, and to defend faith in Jesus Christ with gentleness and reverence, giving reasons for the hope that is within them.

Understanding is comprehension, the ability to grasp the meaning of the teachings of Christianity, helping the believer be tolerant and sympathetic of others, and sense when someone is in need of compassion, help and relief from distress.

Right Judgment, or Counsel is prudence, helping the believer discern what are the right choices for living a holy life, how to live as a faithful follower of Jesus and escape the deadly snares of the world, the flesh and the devil.

Courage, or Fortitude helps the believer live a dynamic faith in Christ, helping overcome any obstacles or resistance either external or internal that would compromise or eliminate practice of the Christian faith.

Knowledge is knowing by informed intelligence and experience with enlightenment, often including the experience of others, enabling the believer to recognize the right path which leads to God, and immediately identify what is false when it appears.

Reverence, or Piety is humility or genuine honesty corresponding to reality with confidence in God as the one true Good, to understand the true position and place of a redeemed believer within the whole of creation and in the body of Christ, inspiring the believer to have a horror and loathing of sin as a destructive tragedy and to joyfully and respectfully desire to serve God and others, acknowledging their dignity as also having been created in the image of God and the destiny of every person in God's plan for the salvation of all mankind.

Wonder and Awe, or Fear of the Lord moves the believer to acknowledge the power, authority, presence, knowledge, justice, wisdom and love of God, as always and forever greater than any human being or human group, and to so love God as to not want to offend him by words or actions, because God is all good and wholly deserving of absolute respect and love, and will judge the whole world, living and dead. It inspires on one hand fear of the just punishment of sin and defiance, and of the final judgment, and of hell, and on the other hand joy in the gift of eternal life with God on earth and in heaven, given solely as the totally undeserved gift of God, which is given only through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ as man and God and his eternal high priestly mediation on our behalf.

See also

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