Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

June 02, 2005

Ephesians 3:16-19

The passage in question is actually Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church. Here's the NET Bible translation:

I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
I expect to venture a bit beyond the confines of these verses, simply in order to understand the context, but it's here that I want to focus.

For now, a few things to bear in mind. Paul is praying for Christians. He is praying for people who already have, in that they are born again believers, Christ in their hearts. So what Paul is praying for here is a kind of Spirit-enhanced faith-walk. He is praying for their Spiritual quality of life. This attitude is at the heart of all of Paul's writing, I think. He is always urging the believers in his charge to GROW.

All I want to do this time around is to make note of something Paul says about the prevailing Spiritual condition of the Ephesians, and also of the way he describes the "Spirit-enhanced" condition that is in fact the object or goal of his great prayer.

The prevailing Spiritual condition is this: immediately prior to the passage here Paul says that the Ephesians, as well as he himself--being, as the are, "in Christ"--possess "boldness and confidant access to God because of Christ's faithfulness." Now, I'm sure many other things can be said about the Ephesians, but in the immediate context of Paul's prayer, this is what he says of them. He reminds them that they have free and unhindered access to God "because of Christ's faithfulness." Keep this in mind.

Second: The result that Paul is praying for, the enhanced "quality of life" that he desires for the Ephesians, is described in verse 19--he wants them to be filled up [NIV: "filled to the measure"] with "all the fullness of God."

Note: the Ephesians are Christians, they are born again, they have the Spirit of God dwelling within them, and they have free and confidant access to the Father. But they are not "filled up." To be filled up is the goal. So we have Point A (access to God), and point B (filled with the fullness of God). And Paul's prayer for the Ephesians amounts to this: he is praying that they move from point A to point B.

That's about all for now. Next, we'll look a little more closely at the means of transportation between these two points: "power in the inner person."


Blogger Broken Messenger said...

Good stuff, Bob. Much to contemplate here.


1:53 PM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

You're off to a good start here, Bob. Eph. 3 is full of Paul's words about power, boldness, and fullness in Christ. I look forward to the next installment.

It's good, too, to see you using the NET Bible. It's definitely my favorite online translation. I wasn't aware of the passage quote function that you reference here. I plan to use it on my site soon. Peace.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi Milton: Yes, although I've known about the NET Bible for some time, I too just discovered this passage lookup function. The translation is wonderfully plain and clear. I think it's my online translation of choice for now anyway!

BTW: How is the move going?

4:21 PM  
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