The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Seven (7): in Biblical tradition, seven represents perfect, complete, whole, fulfilled, finished.

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 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 godliness. His delight is in the fear of the Lord.” 

The glorious kingdom of Christ had humble beginnings, a mere branch emerging from a seemingly dead stump in the ground, a tiny twig from a hidden root. As Isaiah says later in 53:2, “He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground.”  But the Spirit of the Lord rested on this Branch, the Holy Spirit alighted on Him like a winged bird from heaven. One thinks here of the testimony of John the Baptist, when he “saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Jesus.” (John 1:32). These words about the Spirit of the Lord have seen historical importance in the Christian Faith, and has been called the “Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” especially in the Catholic and Orthodox communities. Seven properties of the Spirit of God are noted: the spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge, of godliness, and of reverence for the Lord. The Greek OT has piety, or godliness, as one of the gifts, instead of having fear (reverence) twice as in the Hebrew version. So classical studies in Christianity have latched onto the seven to highlight in devotional life.

This passage in Isaiah celebrates the profound giftedness of the Spirit as He came in full force upon the Messiah Jesus, and remained there forever. These sevenfold qualities represent the perfection of the Messiah’s anointing at His baptism, and they reveal divine gifts offered to believers which only increase in power and usefulness as the believer earnestly follows God. These gifts come in the believer’s anointing as a new believer, and are given to each Christian “according to each ones ability to receive them.” (Maurus). The Spirit’s gifts “do not come through our natural abilities, but through the divine power that confers them.” (Maximus).As we exercise these gifts in the power of the Spirit, they increasingly become that much more of an ingrained part of our redeemed nature. The Spirit offers to us the probability of becoming wise and insightful, able to guide others with God’s strength and valor, gaining in spiritual knowledge and godliness, and of developing a deep reverence for God. In other words, the Holy Spirit enables each believer to become like Jesus. Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One.

These seven attributes remained in the Christian tradition all the way to John’s book of Revelation, in which John refers often to the “Seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6). The seven gifts of God are also referred to as the “Sevenfold Holy Spirit.” These attributes of the Spirit continue to this day as properties of the Spirit that we live into as we follow the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.