Ephesians 1:15-17 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Ephesians 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Dia touto kago, akousas (AAPMSN) ten kath' humas pistin en to kurio Iesou kai ten agaphen ten eis pantas tous hagious

Amplified: For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints (the people of God), (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

NLT: Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere, (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Since, then, I heard of this faith of yours in the Lord Jesus and the practical way in which you are expressing it towards fellow-Christians, (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: On account of this, I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you and of your love to all the saints,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

Young's Literal: Because of this I also, having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love to all the saints

FOR THIS REASON I TOO, HAVING HEARD OF THE FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS WHICH EXISTS AMONG YOU: Dia touto kago, akousas (AAPMSN) ten kath' humas pistin en to kurio Iesou:

  • Colossians 1:3,4; Philemon 1:5
  • Galatians 5:6; 1 Th 1:3; 2 Th 1:3; 1 Ti 1:5,14
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Moule - The Apostle now passes from the adoring view of Divine Redemption to prayer that its treasures of grace may be realized in the whole experience and life of the saints. And this he does, as elsewhere (Col 1; 2Th 1) in close connection with thanksgiving for what they had already found.—“ (Ephesians 1 Commentary)

Spurgeon comments on Ephesians 1:15-23...

How Paul glows as he writes on this great theme! He waxes warm, and rises to an enthusiasm of eloquence. We could not stop to explain his words; that were to spoil their mystic poetry. Oh, to have a heart that can glorify Christ as Paul did! Truly, if we know ourselves to be one with Christ, and know the privileges which come to us through that blessed gate, we may indeed extol him with all our heart and soul.

For this reason (term of conclusion) - Should always prompt a prayerful pause to ponder "What reason?" It is good to "Be still", to allow the Spirit to teach us, not mystically, but nevertheless supernaturally, as we make the choice to slow down and in a sense "be still" before the Lord.

For this reason (1223) (dia = actually dia + touto) means “on this account”. In view of the amazing blessings believers are heir to in Christ in Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul then begins to pray that the Gentile readers of this letter (including us today) would come to experientially and intuitively know their resources in Christ so that we might live in His power to the praise of the glory of God's grace.

Moule says "for this reason" ("wherefore" in KJV) - because such is the greatness of Redemption

Jamieson on says "for this reason"- because ye are in Christ and sealed by His Spirit (Eph 1:13, 14).

Salmond says "for this reason" - might cover the contents of the entire preceding paragraph, pointing back to Eph 1:3 and indicating that in his thanksgiving to God, in behalf of these Ephesians, the Apostle had in his mind the whole counsel and eternal choice of God of which he first made mention, and the whole operation of grace in the lives of the Ephesians in the several particulars afterwards instanced. In view, however, of the transition from the more general “us” to the more definite “ye also” in Eph 1:13 it is probably more accordant with the tenor of thought to take the διὰ τοῦτο to refer to the signal manifestation of God’s grace in the sealing of these believers, who had been taken from the dark pagan world, with the Spirit which was both assurance and foretaste of an inheritance undreamt of in their heathenism.

Alford says "for this reason" - on account of what has gone before since Eph 1:3: but especially of what has been said since Eph 1:13. (because ye are in Christ, and in Him were sealed, etc.)

MacDonald agrees writing that...

In the preceding passage, extending from verse 3 through verse 14 (a single sentence in Greek!), the apostle has traced the thrilling sweep of God’s program from eternity past to eternity future. He has ranged over some of the most awe-inspiring thoughts that can occupy our minds, thoughts so exalted that Paul now shares with his readers his deep prayer burden for their spiritual enlightenment in such concepts. His great desire for them is that they might appreciate their glorious privileges in Christ and the tremendous power which was required to give Christ to the church as Head over all creation. The introductory Therefore looks back to all that God has done and will yet do for those who are members of the body of Christ, as described in verses 3-14. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Think of it this way -- "every spiritual blessings in heavenly places" was their promised possession. What Paul desires is that the saints actually possess their possessions (see Obadiah 1:17 for this phrase). The idea is similar to that in Joshua 1:3 where God says to Joshua...

"Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses." (Joshua 1:3)

God had already given Israel the land (that's in part why it's called "the promised land"), but it was still their responsibility to put one foot in front of the other and begin to possess their possessions, stepping out in faith, trusting God's enablement and laying hold of what was theirs by divine decree. There is an important lesson for us today in all of this. God has given us "every spiritual blessing" in Christ, and yet we must step out by faith (which equates with obedience) and lay hold of God's precious and magnificent promises. And part of the secret of this process of laying hold is the prayers of the saints, interceding that they be enabled to do so.

A LAND was given to the people of Israel, just as LIFE in Christ is made available to believers, not based on any merit of our own but solely on God's sovereign pleasure. Note that just as the land that had been given needed to be possessed, so too, believers today must lay hold of God's precious & magnificent promises by faith. Title to it is the gift of God; possession of it is the result of an obedient walk. The idea is, you can have all that you will take. You can have every bit of the spiritual life that you want. You will never get any more. God will never give you more than you are ready to take. So if you are not satisfied with the degree of your real experience of victory, it is because you haven't really wanted any more. You can have all that you want. "Every place where the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you."

I too - Paul places himself alongside the Gentile believes, as one who is interested in their welfare

Having heard (191) (akouo) means to not just to hear verbal sounds, but to understand or perceive the sense of what is said.

Some interpreters have inferred from the fact that Paul says he had "heard of their faith..." that he had no personal acquaintance with them. That conclusion however is not necessarily valid, for Paul made a similar statement to Philemon, who he knew quite well, writing...

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. (Philemon 1:4-6)

It was when Paul received this information about their faith and love that he was assured his readers were genuine possessors of the spiritual blessings he had just described, and as a result he was driven to pray for them that they might begin to possess their possessions, to experience them in their everyday life.

Although he had not seen the Ephesians face to face for about 8-10 years, Paul had heard about their faith and love, attitudes (and actions) which indicated the genuineness of their salvation for these are two of the cardinal marks of a true Christian...faith in Christ and love for other Christians.

How had Paul heard? Others must have told him about their changed life! In short, they were witnessing with their Spirit empowered transformed lives! Are you? Do others witness the transformation? If not why not? Cp Col 1:3-4, Philemon 1:5

Faith (4102) (pistis) means a firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth. Refers not only to their initial act of saving faith, but the day by day exercise of their faith in the Lord Jesus for daily living. The same faith that saved is the faith needed to live daily.

Wuest - “Your faith” is tēn kath’ humas pistin, literally, “the down among you faith.” The preposition, kata, “down,” when used with the accusative case as it is here, means “down along.” It has a distributive sense. Paul referred to the faith existent among the Ephesian saints, not the initial act of appropriating faith when they were saved, but the day by day faith exercised in the Lord Jesus for daily living. This faith resulted in love exhibited toward all the saints.(Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Spurgeon writes that...

You have eyes; God's grace has given them to you; but they are capable of additional power and force; and there is the telescope of faith, which you are allowed to use, which will enable you to see much more than you have ever seen as yet.

Faith is the expression of the believer’s trust in God (vertical relationship) whereas love is the evidence of one's proper relationship with others (horizontal relationship).

In the Lord Jesus - Reposed on and in Him, as an anchor in the ground. (Moule)

Lord (2962) (kurios) means lord, master, owner or the one who has absolute ownership power. Jesus is referred to some ten times as Savior and some seven hundred times as Lord. Supreme in Authority. Kurios translates Jehovah (LORD in OT) in Septuagint (LXX) 7000 times.

Martin Luther puts "Lord" in an interesting perspective noting that "The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns. It is one thing to say, "Christ is a Saviour"; it is quite another thing to say, "He is my Saviour and my Lord." The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.

Jesus (2424) (Iesous from the Hebrew Yeshu'a = Jehovah will save or Yahweh is salvation) is the Hellenized as Jesus. In this Name is His deity, humanity vicarious atonement. God incarnate died for sinners to satisfy the just demands of His law

AND YOUR LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS: kai ten agaphen ten eis pantas tous hagious:

  • Ps 16:3; Colossians 1:4; 1Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 6:10; 1Peter 1:22; 1John 3:17; 4:21
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Your love for all the saints (Col 1:4) - Their love was spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22) testifying to the "authenticity" of the "tree", i.e., that they were genuine fruit bearing trees, genuine followers of Christ (Luke 8:15). The love of the Body of Christ is a powerful witnessing "tool" for Jesus said "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn 13:35)

Disciple's Study Bible -Love "does'' more than it "feels.'' God's people love one another (1Peter 1:22; 1John 3:17; 4:21). Others come to know about this love through the deeds of love we do for each other. Such loving action brings joy and thanksgiving to God's people.

Love (26) (agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love. The love God Himself is. Not sentimental or emotional but obedient as act of will desiring another's highest good. Love for other believers evidences saving faith. In other words faith leads to love, specifically in the context of the NT "love in the truth", love in harmony with the word of God. As J Vernon McGee once quipped "I'm tired of sloppy agape!". Love in truth is sacrificial not sentimental and since it is supernatural reflects a love produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23).

Wiersbe - The Christian life has two dimensions: faith toward God and love toward men, and you cannot separate the two.

Wood - Faith finds its focus in Christ and expresses itself in love to others. Such outgoing love is the evidence of genuine faith (Gal 5:6). (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)

All ( 3956) (pas) means every and has the idea of “whole” as well as the idea of oneness or a totality. They did not just love the ones they liked! How about my love? Is it for ALL the saints? Unconditional?"

Saints (40) (hagios) means set apart ones. Set apart for specific purpose. One set apart from the world and unto God for His use. It describes those separated from sin and consecrated or dedicated to service of God.

Paul identifies the readers as saints nine times (Ep 1:1, 15, 18, 2:19, 3:8, 18, 4:12, 5:3, 6:18 - see notes Ephesians 1:1, 1:15, 1:18; 2:19; 3:8, 3:18; 4:12; 5:3; 6:18).

Ephesians 1:16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: ou pauomai (1SPMI) euchariston (PAPMSN) huper humon mneian poioumenos (PMPMSN) epi ton proseuchon mou,

Amplified: I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NLT: I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: I thank God continually for you and I never give up praying for you; and this is my prayer. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: do not cease giving thanks for you as I constantly make mention of you in my prayers, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)  

Young's Literal: do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers,

DO NOT CEASE GIVING THANKS FOR YOU: ou pauomai (1SPAI) euchariston (PAPMSN) huper humon:

  • Romans 1:8,9; 1Samuel 7:8; 12:23; Philippians 1:3,4; Colossians 1:3; 1Thessalonians 5:17; 2Thessalonians 1:3
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Disciple's Study Bible - Intercession reaches its highest authority and power when it is for spiritual purposes. Paul prayed the Ephesians would know God better and experience His strength. Paul's deep concern for his churches is shown by his frequent prayers for them (2 Co 13:7; Php 1:4; Col 1:3; 2:1; 1 Th 1:2; 2 Th 1:11).

Paul modeled praying without ceasing (see note 1Thess 5:17)...

Romans 1:8 (note) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. 1:9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you

Philippians 1:3 (note) I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 1:4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,

Colossians 1:3 (note) We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

1Thessalonians 1:2 (note) We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

Not (not) (ou) conveys absolute negation of what follows.

Cease (3973) (pauo) means to cease (middle voice = oneself) from an activity in which one is engaged. Pauo in the active sense means to cause something or someone to cease from some activity or state. To make stop. To stop, restrain, refrain, quit, desist. To come to an end. The idea is to stop or restrain from an activity in which one is engaged.

Pauo is preceded by the absolute negative (ou) indicating that Paul did take a respite from his thanksgiving filled prayers for these beloved saints at Ephesus. Stated in the positive, he continually (present tense) prayed for the saints at Ephesus.

Spurgeon comments that...

Where there was much good, the apostle prayed for more. We all need still further to advance in divine things. To stand still is impossible.

Robert Murray McCheyne remarks that here we see "the mark of a true shepherd. But a hireling cares not for the sheep, he does not and cannot weep for the sheep, he has no anguish of heart for them. Pray that we may so love Christ that we may care for the sheep. (Ed: Lord raise up shepherds like this in America. Amen)

Compare Paul's pattern of praying to the pattern which he later exhorts these prayed for saints to pray in the context of spiritual warfare 

With all prayer and petition pray (present tense = continually, as one's lifestyle) at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert (present tense) with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (See notes Ephesians 6:18; 19; 20).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary has an interesting note...

Like pious Jews, pious Christians apparently had a time set aside for prayer each day. Many pious Jews prayed several hours a day, and if Paul continued such a custom we can understand how he could pray for all his churches.

Giving thanks (2168) (eucharisteo from eu = well + charizomai = to grant, give) means to express appreciation for benefits or blessings. To be grateful or feel thankful. Paul continually (present tense) was grateful to God for what He had done in the life of the saints at Ephesus and he thanked God for how they had responded. Thankfulness is a good attitude in prayer.

Barnes writes that although...

Paul was far distant from them, and expected to see them no more. But he had faith in prayer, and he sought that they might advance in knowledge and in grace.

For (5228) (huper) means in behalf of, for the sake of. In other words he was interceding on behalf of others. Do we underestimate our holy privilege of functioning as priests interceding with the Most High God on behalf of others! Lord raise up intercessors who pray scriptural prayers like the apostle Paul!

Adam Clarke comments that...

The apostle intimates, so fully satisfied was he of the genuineness of their conversion, and of their steadiness since their conversion, that it was to him a continual cause of thanksgiving to God, who had brought them into that state of salvation; and of prayer, that they might be preserved blameless to the end.

Jon Courson asks...

Who do you pray for? I have a tendency to pray for those who are hurting, for those who are going through tragedies and difficulties, for those who are backsliding and failing—and that’s fine. But here Paul is saying something very different when he says, “When I heard how well you’re doing, I was moved to pray for you.” (Courson, J. Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)

Graham Scroggie has a nice explanation of thanksgiving and intercession writing that...

Thanksgiving is for the foundation already laid, but intercession is for the superstructure going up.

Thanksgiving is for past attainments, but intercession is for future advancements.

Thanksgiving is for the actual in their experience, but intercession is for the possible in God’s purpose for them.

WHILE MAKING MENTION OF YOU IN MY PRAYERS: mneian poioumenos (PMPMSN) epi ton proseuchon mou:

  • Genesis 40:14; Isaiah 62:6; 1Thessalonians 1:2
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Making (4160) (poieo) make, do, expressing action continued (present tense). In context of this verse making mention conveys the idea of mentioning someone in prayer, even naming them one by one! Paul labored earnestly for others in his prayers. Do I?

Mention (3417) (mneia) is a recalling to mind memory, recollection, remembrance. It is used in the NT predominantly of remembering others in prayer and thus making mention of them. Clearly the apostle Paul did not regard prayer as something vague and indefinite, but remembered his readers and their needs specifically before the throne of God - a very convicting pattern!

My (3450) (ego in the genitive = possessive) - These prayers were his own personal prayers on behalf of the saints, praying for realization of the truths he has just taught about their blessings by virtue of their position in Christ.

Prayers (4335) (proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer and is used only of prayer to God. The prefix "pros" would convey the sense of being immediately before Him and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence. Proseuche stresses fervency and includes the idea of devotion to God for Who He is.

Sometimes we forget that we should pray as earnestly for people after they are saved, as we do for their salvation.

Illustration - On January 6, 1822, the wife of a poor German pastor had a son, never dreaming that he would one day achieve world renown and great wealth. When Heinrich Schliemann was seven years old, a picture of ancient Troy in flames captured his imagination. Contrary to what many people believed, Heinrich argued that Homer’s great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were based on historic facts and he set out to prove it. In 1873, he uncovered the ancient site of Troy, along with some fabulous treasure which he smuggled out of the country, much to the anger of the Turkish government. Schliemann became a famous, wealthy man because he dared to believe an ancient record and act on his faith. We discovered that we were “born rich” when we trusted Christ. But this is not enough, for we must grow in our understanding of our riches if we are ever going to use them to the glory of God. Too many Christians have never “read the bank book” to find out the vast spiritual wealth that God has put to their account through Jesus Christ. They are like the late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own, so he sent his agent abroad to find them. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned! Had he read the catalog of his treasures, he would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble. Paul desired the Ephesian Christians to understand what great wealth they had in Christ. (Wiersbe)

Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: hina o theos tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou, o pater tes doxes, doe (3SAAS) humin pneuma sophias kai apokalupseos en epignosei autou,

Amplified: [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NLT: asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of Him: (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the sphere of a full knowledge of Him,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)  

Young's Literal: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the recognition of Him,

THAT THE GOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE FATHER OF GLORY: hina o theos tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou, o pater tes doxes:

  • Ep 1:3; John 20:17
  • 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 24:7,10; 29:3; Jeremiah 2:11; Matthew 6:13; Luke 2:14; Acts 7:2; 1Corinthians 2:8; James 2:1; Revelation 7:12
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

That (2443) (hina) means in order that which introduces a purpose clause (see terms of purpose or result). The definite purpose and object of Paul’s prayer for them follows. He makes 3 specific requests. As an aside, whenever you encounter a purpose clause, discipline yourself to pause and ponder, asking questions (interrogate with the 5W/H questions), like what is the purpose, etc (even when the purpose is obvious, as this slows you down and allows you to become more actively involved with the text instead of passively reading the text.)

God (2316) (theos) is the supreme divine being, the true, living, and personal God

Lord (2962) (kurios) means master or owner, the one who has absolute ownership and power. Jesus is referred to some ten times as Savior and some seven hundred times as Lord. He is supreme in authority. Kurios also translates Jehovah (LORD in OT) in Septuagint (LXX) some 7000 times.

Jesus (2424) (Iesous from the Hebrew Yeshu'a = Jehovah will save or Yahweh is salvation) is the Hellenized as Jesus. In this Name is His deity, humanity vicarious atonement. God incarnate died for sinners to satisfy the just demands of His law

Father (3962) (pater) God is our Father as thru salvation we come into His family can approach Him as child to his father. A blessed thought to encourage our praying, faith that He hears a sweet feeling of nearness to Him as objects of special care love!"

Glory (1391) (doxa [word study]) gives a proper opinion of. Glory in this verse could refer to (1) Source or Originator of all glory, (2) the One to whom all glory belongs or (3) the Father of the Lord Jesus, Who is the manifestation of God’s glory. Here are several comments on the phrase Father of glory...

Wuest - “The Father of glory” is “the Father of the glory,” the definite article appearing in the Greek text. He is the Father of the glory in the sense that He is the Father to Whom glory belongs. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

A T Robertson - The Father of glory. The God characterized by glory (the Shekinah, Heb. 9:5) as in Acts 7:2; I Cor. 2:8; II Cor. 1:3; James 2:1.

Marvin Vincent - Father of glory. The Father to Whom the glory belongs. Note the article, the glory, preeminently. Compare Acts 7:2; 1Co 2:8.

Henry Alford feels that doxa is not "be understood of the divine nature of Christ...but God is the Father,—by being the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,—of that glory, the true and all-including glory, and only glory, of the Godhead, which shone forth in the manhood of the only-begotten Son (John 1:14),—the true Shechinah, which His saints beheld in the face of Christ, 2 Cor. 4:4, 6, and into which they are changed by the Lord the Spirit, 2Cor 3:18.

Best - attributes a quality to God which we should expect to bear some relation to the content of the prayer. Normally ‘father of’ would be followed by the name of a person, however a metaphorical use of father is found in Jas 1:17; 2Cor 1:3 (cf Heb 12:9) with the sense ‘source of’; thus here he is the source of glory to those who are his children. The phrase may be derived from liturgical usage (cf Ps 23:7; 28:3; Acts 7:2; 1Cor 2:8) and is not then an indirect reference to Christ, he being equated with doxa since God is His Father. ‘Of glory’ could be taken as adjectival, signifying ‘the glorious father’; but this is weak. Sellin, returning to an older interpretation, argues that we have an inversion of the genitive and it should be understood as ‘the glory of God’ and compares 2Cor 4:6; the glory of God is Jesus Christ and so God is the father of glory; it seems easier to understand ‘father’ as meaning ‘source of’. (Best, E.. A critical and exegetical commentary on Ephesians)

Adam Clarke - The Father of glory The Author and Giver of that glory which you expect at the end of your Christian race. This may be a Hebraism for glorious Father, but the former appears to be the best sense.

Jamieson has a less commonly offered interpretation...

The Father of that infinite glory which shines in the face of Christ, Who is “the glory” (the true Shekinah); through Whom also “the glory of the inheritance” (Eph 1:18) shall be ours (Jn 17:24; 2Co 3:7-4:6).

MAY GIVE TO YOU A SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND OF REVELATION: doe (3SAAS) humin pneuma sophias kai apokalupseos:

  • Genesis 41:38,39; Isaiah 11:2; Daniel 5:11; Luke 12:12; 21:15; John 14:17,26; Acts 6:10; 1Co 12:8; 14:6; Colossians 1:9; 2:3; James 3:17,18
  • Ep 3:5; Daniel 2:28, 29, 30; 10:1; Matthew 11:25; 16:17; 1Corinthians 2:10; 2Corinthians 12:1
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


May give (1325) (didomi) means to give based on a decision of the will of giver no merit of recipient and thus can carry the ideas of bestow, grant. Paul prays that God might give the spirit of wisdom and revelation to the Ephesians. Note that some Greek sources state that give is in the optative mood, which expresses a wish or desire in prayer (as in 2Th 3:16, Ro 15:5, 2Ti 1:16,18)

A spirit (4151) (pneuma) could be either the Holy Spirit or the spirit of man. A compromise interpretation is that it refers to the spirit of man indwelt by the Spirit of God so that they will have spiritual wisdom and revelation from Him as result of Spirit’s work within their human spirit.

Wisdom (4678) (sophia) apply the knowledge of God's will to life's situations. Wisdom enables one to perceive reality accurately. Wisdom is not just ''head'' knowledge but knowledge that has sifted down into the heart and which affects daily life. Wisdom is the know-how to apply the revealed spiritual truths to one's daily life. Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.

Revelation (602) (apokalupsis from from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal) is an unveiling of something hidden. Here apokalupsis deals with God's imparting knowledge to us (Wisdom is proper use of this knowledge in daily living). Revelation conveys the idea of "taking the lid off" and means to remove the cover and expose to open view that which was heretofore not visible, known or disclosed. It means to make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown.

Revelation has to do with the imparting of knowledge (in context) of spiritual things whereas wisdom has to do with the proper use of such knowledge in our daily lives.

Originally in secular Greek apokalupsis was not an especially religious word (other words were used in secular Greek to designate divine revelations) but meant simply the disclosure of any fact. It was used to mean "uncovering" as of one's head. It was used to describe the "disclosing" of hidden springs. In contrast apokalupsis as used in the NT always has theological meaning.

R W Dale - Ephesian Christians had already Divine illumination, or they would not have been Christians at all; but Paul prayed that the Divine Spirit who dwelt in them would make their vision clearer, keener, stronger, that the Divine power and love and greatness might be revealed to them far more fully. And perhaps in these days in which men are making such rapid discoveries in inferior provinces of thought, discoveries so fascinating and so exciting as to rival in interest, even for Christian men, the manifestation of God in Christ, there is exceptional need for the church to pray that God would grant it a “spirit of wisdom and revelation”; if He were to answer that prayer we should no longer be dazzled by the knowledge which relates to “things seen and temporal,” it would be outshone by the transcendent glory of “things unseen and eternal.” (R. W. Dale, The Epistle to the Ephesians; Its Doctrines and Ethics. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1882)

IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM: en epignosei autou:

  • Eph 3:18,19; Proverbs 2:5; Jeremiah 9:24; 24:7; 31:34; Matthew 11:27; John 8:54,55; 16:3; John 17:3,25,26; Romans 1:28; Colossians 1:10; 2:2; 2Timothy 2:25; Titus 1:1; 2Peter 1:3; 2Peter 3:18; 1John 2:3,4
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Wiersbe - The believer must grow in his knowledge of God. To know God personally is salvation (John 17:3). To know Him increasingly is sanctification (Phil. 3:10). To know Him perfectly is glorification (1 Cor. 13:9–12). Since we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–28), the better we know God, the better we know ourselves and each other. It is not enough to know God only as Saviour. We must get to know Him as Father, Friend, Guide, and the better we know Him, the more satisfying our spiritual lives will be. The goal of Paul's prayer for believers is that we...

know God personally (in) salvation (John 17:3)...

know Him increasingly (in) sanctification (note Philippians 3:10)...

know Him perfectly (in) glorification (1Cor 13:9-12).” (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

Knowledge (1922) (epignosis from from epí = upon + ginosko = to know) (Click word study on epignosis) is a strengthened form of gnosis and conveys the thought of a more full, larger and thorough knowledge. It also conveys the idea of an intimate and personal relationship than the simple term. W E Vine says the verb form epiginosko suggests generally a directive, a more special, recognition of the object known than ginosko. In fairness it should be stated that there are a few resources that suggest there is very little difference between gnosis and epignosis. These notes hold to the opinion that epignosis does have subtle but real differences. Wuest writes that epignosis represents."full, perfect, precise knowledge as opposed to gnósis, imperfect, partial knowledge. Strachan says:“epignosis, ‘involving the complete appropriation of all truth and the unreserved acquiescence in God’s will, is the goal and crown of the believer’s course’ (Lightfoot)

Epignosis implies a more intimate and personal relationship than gnósis. It would be a useful word, seeing that gnósis had become associated with Gnosticism, then incipient in the Church.…

Epignosis, speaks of experiential knowledge, that is, knowledge gained by experience. This knowledge of the Lord Jesus possessed by the believer therefore, is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the facts concerning Him acquired by a study of the Gospels, for instance, but a heart experience of what and who He is gained by such a study plus a personal association with Him by means of the Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a person with Person knowledge through intimate fellowship." (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission) (Bolding added)

Of Him - most interpreters feel "Him" is a reference not to the Son but to the Father, thus the idea is that the readers might gain greater knowledge of God, an exact, complete and experiential knowledge, not just abstract knowledge of God or facts about God.

Boice - Put together, it is really one great prayer for knowledge: knowledge of God and a fuller knowledge of the elements of salvation, consisting in our hope, our inheritance, and the power available to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. The chief idea is that we might know God...Knowing Him and knowing about Him are quite different. (Boice, J. M.: Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary)

I'm Rich! (Ephesians 1:17) - A troubled Tallahassee couple had been kicked out of their house and were sleeping in a battered car. They were afraid their three children would be taken from them and placed in a foster home. But then they won $709,943 in the state lottery. Suddenly they were rich. They rented a stretch limousine to pick up their after-tax payoff of $565,554.68.

Imagine stumbling on to that kind of money. How would you feel? What if you won 100 times that much? How would all that money compare with the kind of riches described in Ephesians 1? If we have put our hope of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, we are spiritually rich! Do we realize it?

The anxieties of daily troubles can blind us to what it means to know the Son of God, the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance, and the power that He has to provide for us (Eph. 1:18-19). Bills and mindless desires can make it easy to envy those who stumble upon infinitely less than the eternal riches we possess.

Father, forgive us for our distraction and unbelief. Open once more these eyes that desperately need to see the inexpressible riches You have given us through Your Son Jesus Christ. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

You may have much gold and grandeur,
Yet by God be counted poor;
He alone has riches truly
Who has Christ, though nothing more.

To be rich in God is far better than
to be rich in goods.

F B Meyer - OUR FATHER IS THE FATHER OF GLORY (Ephesians 1:17) - Do we enough consider the glory of our relationship? Are we not apt to become so familiar with the thought of God as not sufficiently to consider the majesty of His nature, or the wonderful advantages that must accrue to those who know Him as their Father? All that He was to Jesus, He is willing to be to us; and all that He has He is willing to place at the disposal of our faith. Think, O tried and straightened soul, that God loves thee and watches thee, as no father ever loved or watched the helpless babe given him from the dying hand of his young and passionately-loved wife. Remember, too, His wealth as the Father of Glory. All beings in all worlds, all worlds in all spheres, all spheres in all ages, wait his word! be still and trust! Men and things could have no power against thee, except it were given them from above; their power is controlled by the Father's care; there is a thus-far beyond which they cannot go: and it is through them that the Father is bringing you, as one of his many sons, to glory. May He give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, and open the eyes of your heart that you may know Him! (Devotional Commentary of Ephesians)

A Powerful Lesson Ephesians 1:15-21 - In 1892, John Hyde boarded a ship in New York harbor and set out for India. His goal was to proclaim the gospel to people who had not heard about Jesus. During the next 20 years he earned the nickname "Praying Hyde" because he often spent hours and even many days in prayer for the salvation of nonbelievers and the revival of Christ's followers.

On one occasion, Hyde was upset about the spiritual coldness of a pastor, so he began to pray, "O Father, you know how cold—" But it was as if a finger stopped his lips from uttering the man's name.

Hyde was horrified when he realized that he had judged the man harshly. He confessed his critical spirit and then determined not to focus on the shortcomings of others but to see them as individuals whom God loves. Hyde asked the Lord to show him things that were "of good report" (Philippians 4:8) in the pastor's life, and he praised God for the man's virtues. Hyde learned later that during this exact time the pastor's spiritual life was revitalized.

Let's not be faultfinders—even in prayer. We can follow Paul's example of focusing on what God has done and what He can do in the lives of others (Ephesians 1:17, 18, 19, 20, 21). Instead of praying against people, let's pray for them. —Joanie Yoder

Prayer - Father, give me the wisdom to know how to pray for others—with kindness, not criticism; with love, not anger; with grace, not judgment.

Be a grace-giver,
not a faultfinder