1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Knowledge: A Gift of the Holy Spirit

By

Holy Spirit Stained Glass Window

A stained-glass window of the Holy Spirit overlooking the high altar of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Franco Origlia/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Fifth Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Perfection of Faith

Knowledge is the fifth of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3. Like wisdom, knowledge perfects the theological virtue of faith. The aims of knowledge and wisdom are different, however. Whereas wisdom helps us to penetrate divine truth and prepares us to judge all things according to that truth, knowledge gives us that ability to judge. As Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., writes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, "The object of this gift is the whole spectrum of created things insofar as they lead one to God."

The Application of Knowledge

Knowledge allows us to see the circumstances of our life as God sees them, albeit in a more limited way, since we are limited by our human nature. Through the exercise of knowledge, we can ascertain God's purpose in our lives and His reason for placing us in our particular circumstances. As Father Hardon notes, knowledge is sometimes called "the science of the saints," because "it enables those who have the gift to discern easily and effectively between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace." Judging all things in the light of divine truth, we can more easily distinguish between the promptings of God and the subtle wiles of the devil.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
 Wisdom
 Understanding
 Counsel
 Fortitude
 Knowledge
 Piety
 Fear of the Lord

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.