Ephesians 1:15-19

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,

16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

therefore (v.15) = on this account — on account of what Paul said of the saints in vs. 13-14.

your faith (v.15) = lit. “the down among you faith” — existing faith, day by day faith

love (v.15) = agape

Father of glory (v.17) = Father of the glory — the Father to whom glory belongs

spirit (v.17) — Are we to understand the word “spirit” which here is without the article, to refer to the human spirit or the Holy Spirit? The Ephesian saints had both. How could God give them something they already had? Certainly it would not be right to take pneuma (spirit) here as solely the Holy Spirit or as solely the spirit of man: rather as a complex idea, of the spirit of man indwelt by the Spirit of God that as such, it is His special gift of wisdom (not, which gives wisdom, but which possesses it as its character — to which appertains wisdom) and of revelation (i.e., that revelation which belongs to all Christians). The word pneuma has among its various uses the meaning, “a disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of anyone.” What Paul is praying for is that God might so work in the lives of the Ephesian saints that they will have the spiritual wisdom and a revelation from Him that is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of energizing their human spirit. That spiritual disposition should characterize these saints. — Wuest, page 52.

knowledge (v.17) = epignosis = knowledge that is true, accurate, thorough, full knowledge

the eyes of your understanding being enlightened (v.18) = the eyes of your heart — the emotional nature and the reason and intelligence — explaining further the act of God giving them the spirit of wisdom and revelation

being enlightened (v.18) — tense is past action with continuing results

But what is “His inheritance in the saints?” We believe this is another distinct aspect of Paul’s revelation. According to Ephesians 5:27, the Body of Christ is His inheritance. “That He might present it [the Body of Christ] to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Think of it, unworthy sinners like us occupying a place in the heart of God! That’s grace! As the recipients of His secret purpose, we are His prized possession on the basis of the shed blood of Christ. He who made the universe is going to showcase us as the trophies of His grace. Through us God will receive honor, glory, and the worship in the ages to come. — Sadler, pages 70-71


Paul is praying that a permanent work of the Holy Spirit be done in the human spirits of these saints, that their inner spiritual capacities for understanding the truth may be the recipients of a lasting benefit, and this with a view to their knowing three things.

The first is that they may know “what is the hope of their calling.” the word “what” is tis, not “how great,” nor “of what kind,” but “what” — what the hope really is. The “His calling” is the call of which God is the author, and that is an effectual call. The hope is not the object hoped for, but the attitude of mind, the subjective hope, the assured Christian expectation.

The second is that they may know “what is the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” The words “in the saints” are locative of sphere. God’s inheritance is within the sphere of the saints. That is, the phrase “in the sphere of the saints” is definitive of the word “inheritance.” This takes us back to verse 11 where Paul says we saints were made God’s inheritance. In verse 18, Paul prays that we might know how precious the saints are in God’s eyes as His inheritance. He is glorified in His saints, and this glory is valuable. It is part of the wealth that God possesses, dearer to Him than all the splendors of creation.

The third thing Paul prays for is that the saints might know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.” In these three clauses Paul leads the readers on from the hope itself which becomes theirs in virtue of their being called of God, to the splendor of the inheritance to which the hope points, and from this again to that in God Himself which makes the fulfillment of the hope and the possession of the inheritance certain, namely, the limitless efficiency which is His prerogative. This power of God working in our behalf with reference to our salvation is not thought of here as operating only in the future, but also at present. The word “exceeding” is huperballon, literally, “a throwing beyond,” thus metaphorically, “superiority, excellence.” It speaks of power here that is beyond measure, more than enough, of surpassing power. — Wuest, pages 53-54.

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