“For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy” (Colossians 1:9-11 HCSB).
The next element of Paul the Apostle’s prayer for the Colossian church involved “…wisdom and spiritual understanding.” As used within the Old Testament, the idea of “wisdom” refers to skill or mastery in the art of living in accordance with God’s expectations. (1) The New Testament associates wisdom with things like intelligence, skill, discretion, and a knowledge of diverse matters. (2)
Taken together, these definitions tell us that wisdom refers to the proper understanding of what to do with the facts. Wisdom is also characterized by the use of good judgment in the application of knowledge. The foundation that underpins those qualities is found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs: “…the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom. Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 T LB).
This means that a person who acknowledges God with an attitude of honor and respect is someone who starts with the right foundation for good decisions- and there can be no greater wisdom than that which is offered by “…Jesus (who) has become our wisdom sent from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30 GW). As mentioned previously, God is also willing to share His wisdom with those who seek it: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV).
Finally, one source shares an important insight regarding this portion of Scripture…
“…when Paul prays that his friends may have wisdom and understanding, he is praying that they may understand the great truths of Christianity and may be able to apply them to the tasks and decisions which meet them in everyday living. A man may quite easily be a master of theology and a failure in living; able to write and talk about the eternal truths and yet helpless to apply them to the things which meet him every day. The Christian must know what Christianity means, not in a vacuum but in the business of living.” (3)
(1) chakam OT:2450 from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers
(2) sophia G4678 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4678
(3) Barclay, William. “Commentary on Colossians 1”. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/colossians-1.html. 1956-1959.