(Verses 15-19)


VERSE 15:        
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,”

In these verses we will see how Paul has given us a summary of the characteristics of a true church. 

         “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus,”
         Literally:  “Because of this, I also hearing of the faith among you in the Lord Jesus”

         Evidently the Ephesian believers had made enough progress in the Christian faith that their Christian grace had reached the ears of Paul. He had heard of their faith in Christ and their love to God’s people.  Keep in mind that at this time Paul was a prisoner in Rome.  He may have heard this good news from Epaphras (Col. 1:7).
         We can see from these verses that Paul’s heart is filled with thanksgiving for the Ephesian believers.  This verse has been thought to show that Paul was not personally acquainted with those to whom he wrote, and hence that this letter could not be addressed to the Ephesians; but he used similar language of Philemon, one of his own converts (see Philemon 1:5). The language is natural if Paul left Ephesus in the spring of A.D. 57, and wrote this letter about the close of A.D. 62 more than five years after. During this period he could only know of the faith and love of the Ephesians by what he heard.  Paul’s words here have a close parallel to Col. 1:4–“Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love {which} ye {have} to all the saints.”

        WHEREFORE:  (dia)–This has reference to their present standing in grace, described in the verses preceding: since they had heard, believed, been sealed, and thereby shown to be in the right line.

        AFTER I HEARD:  Better renderd as, “ever since I have heard.”  This is not implying that Paul had only just heard of their conversion, but is referring to the report he had heard about them since he had been with them.

        YOUR FAITH:  (humas pistin)–Literally:  The faith of you.  Paul uses this phrase nowhere in his other writings.

         “and love unto all the saints.”
         Literally:  “and love toward all the saints

The Ephesian church was noted for its faith and love; for their attitude regarding prayer;  and for being a praying church. Unfortunately, it seems that the only circumstances that motivates us to pray are trouble, sickness, distress or crisis.  Otherwise, we just forget about praying. This may have been added to complement them on the truth of their faith, which works by love.

        SAINTS:  (hagioi)–Literally:  Holy Ones. The Catholic Church gets its saints from among those who are dead, but God gets His saints from among the living;  from among those who have been made alive in Christ–“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matt. 22:32).

         The human race is really divided into two groups–saints and ain’ts.  The saints are those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and the aint’s are those who have not received Him.
         These people are called saints, not because of their conduct, or because of the way they may have acted, but because of their position in Christ.  They have been set apart unto God by virtue of their placing their trust in Christ Jesus as the ONLY way for forgiveness for their sins and entrance into heaven.  Paul uses the term “saints,” as a generic title for those who are dedicated to Christ. Positionally, a believer has a perfect sanctification (setting apart) in God; but experientially, the believer retains a sin nature and needs to be more and more set apart in his daily walk as he matures in the Lord.  These Ephesian believers had been set apart in Christ, but they were by no means perfect.  
        Notice that Paul says, all the saints,” meaning both Jewish and Gentile believers.  This may indicate that there were both in the Ephesian church.  This seems to intimate that they were free from that narrow, bigoted spirit, which prevailed in some other churches, where difference in opinion about the necessity of circumcision had interrupted love.
       In this verse Paul has given us two things that must characterize any true church:  (1)  Loyalty to Christ; and, (2) Love to other people.  BOTH must be present in the church. Understand that there is a loyalty to Christ that does not result in love to others.  William Barclay, in his commentary on Ephesians, gives some examples of those who have loyalty to Christ but are without love for people.
1.    The monks and religious hermits had a love to Christ that made them live in the desert places away from other people.
2.    The heresy-hunters of the Inquisitions had a loyalty to Christ which made them persecute those who thought differently from them.
3.    The Pharisees had a loyalty to God that made them contemptuous of those whom they thought less loyal than themselves.
True Christians will love Christ and also love their neighbors.  They know that they cannot show their love to Christ in any better way than by showing their love to others. Regardless of how orthodox a church may be, or however pure their theology may be, it is really not a true church in a real sense unless it is characterized by love for other people.A true church is marked by a double love:  love for Christ and love for others.

“cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

“cease not to give thanks for you,”
 Literally:  “do not cease giving thanks on your behalf–Because he had heard such a favorable a report.

         For their faith and love, and all the spiritual blessings God hath bestowed upon them.  On account of their faith and love; which were gifts of grace bestowed upon them, and not the produce of their own free will and power; and therefore thanks are given to God for them.  The thanks were literally “unceasing” in principle, and, in practice, came out on every fit occasion. It is interesting that in most all of Paul’s Epistles we find they begin with this union of thanksgiving and prayer, which is really characteristic of the right harmony of all Christian worship. (See Rom. 1:8-9; Phil. 1:3-4; Col. 1:3-4;  I Thess. 1:2-3; II Tim. 1:3; Philemon 1:4). In the growth of the church at Ephesus he could not help but feel the deepest interest, and he never forgot their welfare.  For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you…” (Col. 1:9). 
        Paul 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. He says when he heard the good news and wonderful reports about the Ephesian church that he gave thanks for them.  We see that the motivation for Paul’s praying was good news.

“making mention of you in my prayers.”
Literally:  “having made mention in my prayers”

         Although Paul was distanced from them (in a prison in Rome), and did not expect to see them again, he had faith in prayer, and he prayed that they might grow in knowledge and in grace.   It is interesting that the phrase, “of you” is omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Without this phrase the translation may be “making mention of them” (referring to their “faith and love”).
         When we look at the objectives of Paul’s prayer we see that his earnestness made his prayers both specific and intelligent.  He knew that just general prayers will get no more than general answers, so why then why pray if there was nothing to pray about.  But Paul did pray, and the Holy Spirit has preserved for us one of his most profound petitions.

In this verse we see two features of Paul’s prayer life.
1.     We see his consistency.
        He exhorted otherS to “pray without ceasing” (6:18; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4; I Thess. 5:17).
2.     We see the place of thanksgiving in his prayers.
        He taught others that praise should be the accompaniment of intercession (5:19; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:15-17; 4:2; I Thess. 5:18).
        It is quite obvious that this was a feature of his own prayer life.

          MAKING MENTION:  (poioumenous mnian)–Literally: “having made mention.”This could simply mean, “remembering,” as some translations render it, but it probably means much more than that. It may mean, “as I make mention.”  Paul uses this same phrase in Rom. 1:9; Phil. 1:4; and Philemon 4.


“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, in the knowledge of Him.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Literally:  “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,”–The source of all spiritual glory.  The Author and Giver of that glory which you expect at the end of your Christian race. 

         The God who has sent the Lord Jesus into the world, and appointed him as the Mediator between himself and man. The particular reason why Paul here speaks of him as “the God of the Lord Jesus” is, that he prays that they might be further acquainted with the Redeemer, and be enlightened in regard to the great work which he came to do. Jesus Christ, as man and mediator, has the Father for his God and Father: and Paul may be referring to these words of Jesus’ where He said: “I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17).
         An appropriate title here; as in vv. 20-22 Paul refers of God's raising Jesus to be Head over all things to the Church. Jesus Himself called the Father “My God” (Matt. 27:46).  This shows us the Person to whom he prays: God, under a very endearing title, for the strengthening of his faith.  Paul does not refer to as the OT. Saints would, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but in the language of the New Testament, as The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory. The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, as He is Man and Mediator, commissioned of Him, and sent by Him–“I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17). 
         Men, in their finite minds have by themselves never been able to imagine what God is like.  Whenever men do attempt to do so, they come up with a God Who is seen as to be feared and placated, but never One to be loved and adored.  While in Bible college, one of my classmates was the son of a witch doctor from Africa.  He told us that whenever men concoct their own god, he will always be one to be feared, and never to be loved.  Keep this one fact in mind:  the only true revelation of God is the revelation that He gave us in Christ.  When Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father,” He replied by saying, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

 “The Father of glory”
Literally:  “The Father of glory”–The God characterized by glory (the God of the Shekinah).  This may be a Hebraism for glorious Father.  Not merely “the glorious Father,” but the Father who is the Origin and King of all that is meant by eternal “glory.”  

The glorious Father, that is, the Father who is worthy to be praised and honored.  He is the Father to Whom all glory (v. 6)  belongs; for all the power and majesty revealed in creation, in His providence and redemption are His, and He is the Source.  He is 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” (v. 18) shall be ours. (II Cor, 3:7-4:6).  When we see God in this way, then we will pray to Him with a sense of awe and strengthened faith.

        “And he (Peter) said, ‘Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken:  The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran” (Acts 7:2).
        “…for had they known {it} they would not have crucified the Lord of glory(I Cor. 2:8).
        “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ {the Lord}  of glory…” (James 2:1).

      “may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and revelation”
       Literally:  “may give to you a spirit of wisdom, and revelation–That is, that God may give you His Holy Spirit, by whom His will is revealed to men, that He may teach   and make you wise unto salvation, that you may continue to acknowledge Him, Christ Jesus, as your only Lord and Savior.

         What a wonderful, glorious thing it is to have the Spirit of God (the only One who can open our eyes) to be the One to teach us.  The Spirit that reveals a knowledge of God and spiritual mysteries. This Spirit would enable them to better comprehend the “mystery” of God, the divine plans for human redemption in a better knowledge of Him.
         May make you wise to understand the great doctrines of the religion of the Redeemer. That is, revealing to you more and more of the character of the Redeemer, and of the nature and results of his work. It is probable here that by the word “Spirit” Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as the Author of all wisdom, and the Revealer of all truth. His prayer is, that God would grant to them the Holy Spirit to make them wise, and to reveal His will to them.

THE SPIRIT:  (Pneuma)–It is interesting that the definite article, “the” is not in the Greek text and the passage literally reads, “may give you a spirit…”  Some expositors have expressed the opinion that it is not necessarily referring to the Holy Spirit–

        “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage… (Rom. 8:15).
       “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness… Gal. 6:1).

But such a thought opens up to the question of “Is it possible to obtain this wisdom and revelation apart from the Holy Spirit?”
         “in the knowledge of Him.”
         Literally:  “in {the} full knowledge of Him–In the full knowledge of Christ as viewed in Colossians.

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, That ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of His inheritance in the saints,”

From this verse and to the end of the chapter, Paul proceeds in a prayer for the Ephesian believers.  He prays, that the Holy Spirit, the Author of all divine illumination, would open the eyes of their understanding that formerly had been shut up in heathenish blindness and darkness.  As far as spiritual knowledge is concerned, no person can understand it apart from the Holy Spirit of God:

“But it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’       
“But God hath revealed
{them} unto us by His Spirit:  for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” ( I Cor. 2:9-10).

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened”
Literally:  “the eyes of your heart (kardias) having been enlightened”–This phrase, “the eyes of your heart” is used nowhere else in the N.T. 

         This phrase also might read, “being enlightened as to the eyes of your heart.  The heart is not merely the seat of emotion, as in popular usage, but also of thought and will.  In Rom. 1:21 we see how the heart (will) can be perverted:  “Because that, when they knew God, they knew Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  Paul is here viewing the heart as having eyes looking out toward Christ.
          Paul is using some metaphors here to get across what he means: by understanding he means that power of the soul by which knowledge or information is received, and by the eyes he means the power to receive the understanding. It is not just the eyes of your mind but the eyes of your heart that must understand Scriptural truth.  One can be very brilliant intellectually, but that is no guarantee that there will be an understanding of spiritual truth.  Scripture puts more emphasis on the understanding of the heart than on the head.
          The Holy Spirit wants to teach us today. We can also see here that when the Holy Spirit opens the “eyes” of the heart, the believer will be able to see all the great spiritual truths.  One of the reasons that God’s people are not in the Word of God is because they are not willing for the Spirit of God to teach them.  They depend upon a preacher or on a Bible class to teach them.  These are what are called “baby-food” Christian.  Back before strained baby foods came on the market, when a mother wished to give food to her baby, she would first chew it really fine and then put in in her baby’s mouth.  This is how these “baby-food” Christians get their Christian knowledge–after some pastor or other teacher has poured over it and “chewed it up” for them and gives it out to them there in their pews.  They claim they just don’t have time to study their Bible, but all they need to do is turn off the hell-ivison, then they would find they have time to study.  The hell-ivision is the greatest detriment today to Christian growth and service.
           Do you need an indicator of your own spiritual condition?  Here is a simple gage to go by:  A man’s prayers for others are a very fair thermometer of his own spiritual condition. What he asks for them will largely indicate what he thinks best for himself; and how he asks it will show the firmness of his own faith and the fervor of his own feeling. There is nothing colder than the intercession of a cold Christian; and, on the other hand, in no part of the Apostle Paul’s writings do his words come more fast, or his spirit glow with greater fervor of affection and holy desire than in his petitions for his friends.

“That ye may know what is the hope of His calling”
Literally:  “for you to know what is the hope of His calling”–That you may clearly discern the important objects of your hope, to the enjoyment of which God has called or invited you.

         Paul here is calling their attention to what high and glorious hopes he had called them to.  Hope here is taken for the object of hope, or the great and good things hoped for: and it is said to be the hope of their calling.  At their conversion from heathenism to Christianity, they were entitled to, and called to the expectation of these great and good things, which were the object of hope.
         This is the second thing which Paul wishes them to understand–that they may know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. There is a force in this language which can be found, perhaps, nowhere else than in the writings of Paul. Here we see that Paul’s mind is full, and language is burdened and borne down under the weight of his thoughts.

“and what is the riches of His inheritance in the saints,”
“and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”-The heavenly inheritance given in the saints, rich beyond our conception. See Acts 20:32; 26:18.

         That you may understand what is the glorious abundance of the spiritual things to which you are entitled, in consequence of being made children of God; for if children, then heirs, heirs of that glorious inheritance which God has provided for the saints-for all genuine Christians, whether formerly Jews or Gentiles.
         On the word “riches” here used; the phrase “riches of glory” means glorious wealth; or, as we would say, “how rich and glorious!” The meaning is, that there is an abundance –an infinitude of wealth. It is not such a possession as man may be heir to in this world, which is always limited from the necessity of the case, and which cannot be enjoyed long; it is infinite and inexhaustible. The “inheritance” here referred to is eternal life.


“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,”

“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe”-
Literally:  “and what {is} the surpassing greatness of his power toward us, the {ones} believing”–What is the exceeding (intense) greatness of His power (dunamis)– dynamite power to us-ward who believe, according to the working power,” (energeian–the energizing) of the strength of His might.  How great is that dynamite energizing strength?

         The whole of the working of His grace, which He is carrying on, and will carry on, in us who believe. By the term “saints” (Eph. 1:18), believers are regarded as absolutely perfected, and so as being God's inheritance; in this verse, as in the course of fighting the good fight of faith.  Paul prays that they may have greater knowledge of three things:
1.      Of eternal life (the hope);
2.      Of the glorious inheritance, and
3.      Of God's mighty power (megathos) towards believers. This mighty power works to raise them from sin, as it worked to raise Christ from the dead.
         However the power works, it is the same power that raised Jesus.

EXCEEDING:  (hyperballoô)–Literally, Paul is using the word “hyperbole”.  This same word is seen in 2:7–“that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding (hyperballoô) riches of His grace…” and in 3:19–“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth (hyperballoô) knowledge…”

        “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth (hyperballoô)(II Cor.  3:10).
        “And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding (hyperballoô) grace of God in you” (II Cor. 9:14).

        MIGHTY POWER:  (megathos)–Used only here in the N.T.  Both in quickening our dead souls, and preserving them in spiritual life.

         There is much emphasis and energy of expression here, as if Paul were laboring under the greatness of his theme, and wanted words to express the magnitude of his conception. This is the third thing which he was particularly desirous they should know–that they should be fully acquainted with the power of God in the salvation of men. Paul is not just referring to the power which he had seen in their salvation, but he is also referring to what the gospel was able to accomplish, and which they might yet experience.
         The “power” (dunamis) referred to here, as exercised towards believers, does not refer to just one thing. It is the whole series of the acts of power towards Christians which results from the work of the Redeemer. There was power exerted in their conversion. There would be power exerted in keeping them. There would be power in raising them up from the dead, and exalting them with Christ to heaven. The faith which they professed was a religion of power. In all the forms and stages of it, the power of God was manifested towards them, and would be until they reached their final inheritance.

“according to the working of His mighty power”
Literally:  “according to the working of the might of His strength”–According to the energy of the power of His might. 

        MIGHT:  (ischys)This is is the state or simple efficiency of this attribute in God.  The might of His power.

         This should be taken with the clause in the following verse, “which he wrought in Christ;” and the meaning is, that the power which God has exerted in us is in accordance with the power which was shown in raising up the Lord Jesus. It was the proper result of that, and was power of a similar kind.
         The same power is requisite to convert a sinner which is demanded in raising the dead. Neither will be accomplished but by omnipotence, and Paul wished that they should be fully apprised of this fact, and of the vast power which God had put forth in raising them up from the death of sin.

        WORKING:  (energeia), is the quantum of force, momentum, or velocity, with which the power is applied.  Though they appear to be synonymous terms they may be thus understood: passive power is widely different from power in action; and power in action will be in its results according to the energy or momentum with which it is applied. 

        POWER, (kratos), is this might or efficiency in action.  So great is the nature of God's power in action, that it is inconceivable to us; and even these astonishingly strong words of Paul are to be understood as used in condescension to human weakness.

         The resurrection of the dead is a stupendous work of God; it requires His might in sovereign action; and when we consider that all mankind are to be raised and changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, then the momentum, or velocity, with which the power is to be applied must be inconceivably great. 
         To illustrate this sentiment is one of Paul’s designs in the following verses; and he goes on to show that men, before their conversion, were “dead in trespasses and sins;” that they had no spiritual life; that they were the “children of wrath;” that they were raised up from their death in sin by the same power which raised the Lord Jesus from the grave, and that they were wholly saved by grace, (2:1-10).


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