The Book of Ephesians, Chapter 1, Part 5 (Verses 15 – 19)

Ephesians – Chapter 1, Part 5

God’s Plan for Salvation, Eph 1:1-23

Ephesians 1:15-19

Vs. 15

Beginning in vs. 15 and running through the remainder of this chapter, vs. 23, we have another long sentence.

Next we see in vs. 15-16, Paul’s rejoicing because of the faith of those in the Ephesus region.

Eph 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.”

For this reason” is Paul looking back to vs. 3-14 and to all that God has done for the believer, including the acquisition of every spiritual blessing that includes your election, predestination, adoption, grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the mystery of His will, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and an eternal inheritance.

“Having heard of the faith” is Paul stating that others have told him of the Ephesians great faith in Christ, as opposed to witnessing it first hand, although he had witnessed the faithfulness of many of them on His missionary journeys. Paul has been teaching now for about 25-years and every now and then he hears about someone profiting from his ministry.

In the Lord Jesus which exists among you,” identifies the one they have placed their faith in. Their faith is not in the church, Pastor, or Paul but in the person of Jesus Christ, just as ours should be today. This is the demonstration of their vertical faith.

“And your love for all the saints,” tells us that their faith in Jesus Christ led to obedience of Jesus Christ that was demonstrated in their AGAPE love for the “saints,” HAGIOS or holy ones, speaking about believers. This is the demonstration of their horizontal faith.

This is the principle of the witness of your life. If you are truly faithful towards Jesus Christ, you are going to express impersonal and unconditional love toward your fellow believers where you lay down your life for them, giving and helping without desiring anything in return, rather than making yourself and the fulfillment of your lusts, wants, and desires the number one priority in your life.

  • It means that there are no mental attitude sins toward other believers and that you consistently display a relaxed mental attitude (RMA) towards others.
  • It means recognition of privacy of other believers.
  • It means, when necessary, friendliness toward other believers, courtesy and doctrine – constant intake of Bible doctrine.
  • It means respect for other people that means you do not have to agree or disagree with them, but you have consideration or thoughtfulness towards them.
  • It means that you give other people the benefit of the doubt at all times.

On the other hand, if you are not faithful toward Christ, you will be self-absorbed having conditional love, bitterness, hatred, gossiping, maligning, and slandering towards your fellow believers, as well as turning a cold shoulder towards them when they are in need; not looking out for their best interests, cf. Mat 25:45.

Vs. 16

Eph 1:16, “I (Paul) do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.”

Here we see two categories of prayer, PROSEUCHE, προσευχή:

Thanksgiving, EUCHARISTEO prayers.

Petition / intercessory prayers for others, which is from POIEO that means, “to make or do” and MNEIA, μνεία that means, “remembrance, recollection, to bear in mind, or make mention of.” Cf. Phil 1:3; 1 Thes 1:2; 2 Tim 1:3; Philemon 1:1.

As Paul states he “does not cease” praying for them, which is the Geek negative participle OUK plus the Present, Middle, Indicative of PAUO, παύω that means, “to stop, cease, hinder, or rest from.” With the negative, Paul does not do these things on their behalf regarding his prayers. That is, he continually gives thanks to God for them and prays on their behalf, and he never stopped doing it.

Thanksgiving Prayers.

An intrinsic aspect of prayer is thanksgiving, in other words, gratitude to God for all that He has, is, and will do for you. It is gratitude expressed in your prayers of thanks for your life, both physical and spiritual, and for the promises of God in your life, including the answers to your previous prayers. Thanksgiving offers homage to God in His own right for His wisdom, power, and love, Eph 1:3; 2 Cor 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; James 3:9.

As a result of the faithfulness of believers in the Ephesus region, Paul is moved to continual thanksgiving, OUK PAUO EUCHARISTEO, to God for them and their faith. Paul is not thankful because they have done something for him. He is thankful that they are believers going forward in God’s Plan for their lives.

Ask yourself this question. Do you give thanks to God for the other members of your church? Do you give thanks to God when you see a fellow believer’s positive volition towards Bible Doctrine and Occupation with Christ? Do you give thanks to God when you see a fellow believer serving in some capacity within or outside the church?

Most people are thankful when someone does something good or nice for them, which is good and appropriate in its own right. But if you only give thanks to God when someone does something for you, it is an indication of your self-absorption, that you are lacking something and that you are missing out on somethings in the spiritual life.

Paul, in spiritual maturity, is thankful to God for the positive volition of his fellow believers. As a result, he gives thanks to God because He is the one who deserves all the credit and all the glory of praise.

As Paul did, we too should be offering up prayers of thanksgiving for our fellow believers around us; often and consistently.

Petition / Intercessory prayers for others.

Petition prayers can be made on behalf of yourself, based on the needs you have in your life, or for the needs of others, which then become intercessory prayers. Intercession is praying for others, Eph 6:18; 1 Kings 18:36-37; James 5:16‑18, also called supplication or request prayers, from the Greek Noun DEESIS, δέησις.

Not only did Paul give thanks to God for them, but he also prayed for them and their needs consistently, “making mention of you in my prayers,” POIEO MNEIA PROSEUCHE.

Principles of Prayer Related to our Royal Priesthood.

Prayer is that function of the Royal Priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9; Rev 1:6, 20:5, whereby the Church Age believer has access and privilege to present two categories of requests to God the Father, “Petitions prayers” for yourself, and “Intercessory prayers” prayers for others. Prayer is communication with God the Father for the expression of personal needs in petition and the function of intercession for others. One of our great priestly functions is prayer, and when you pray for others you actually enter into and participate in their ministry.

Two persons of the Trinity are involved in prayer for us: Jesus Christ in hypostatic union, in His human nature, remembers us and prays for us as our High Priest who makes intercession for us at the right hand of the Father, Heb 7:24-25, and God the Holy Spirit who prays for us with groanings that are inexpressible or unutterable, ALALETOS, ἀλάλητος, in human words, Rom 8:26, 34. I liken these groanings to whale calls that can be heard in the ocean.

Heb 7:24-25, “But He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

The fact that our Lord always makes intercession for us indicates that we need His help. This also explains why God the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings “too deep for words” (i.e., inexpressible), Rom 8:26-27, because “we truly do not know how to pray.” This “we” is the emphatic use of HEMEIS in the Genitive, First Person, Plural, which includes Paul, a spiritual giant. The Genitive speaks of possession speaking about our weakness, including Paul’s. So whether you are a new believer or spiritually mature believer, we truly do not know how to pray to God. Yet in GRACE, God makes up for our deficiencies by having His Son and Spirit intercede on our behalf. So we really must be pathetically weak here, because it takes two members of the Trinity to make our prayers effective, lol.

The principle of prayer is based on two doctrines of Scripture: the post-salvation spiritual life, defined as harmonious rapport with God and the integrity of God as the source of all answers to our prayers; keeping in mind that the answers are either to grant our requests or to not grant our requests. It is always God’s sovereign decision working in conjunction with His righteousness and justice, (integrity).

All prayer is offered to God the Father, period! We never offer prayers to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or any other person, dead or alive, or any other thing. Any prayer offered to Christ is automatically cancelled, since it fails to follow God’s protocol for prayer. This is illustrated by the model prayer for the disciples, Mat 6:9; Eph 1:17; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17. Remember that the “Me” in John 14:14, is not in the original manuscripts. That is the only verse where the English translations say to pray to Jesus, which in fact is a false translation of the passage from its original language. It should read, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” The Living Bible says it like this, “Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it!

“Asking in Jesus’ name” tells us that prayer is addressed in the name of or through the channel of the Son, John 14:13-14; Heb 7:25, who is the great intercessor and mediator between us and God, 1 Tim 2:5. It signifies our ability to be able to pray to the Father in the first place, because of Jesus’ saving work on the Cross, which has qualified us to be entered into the spiritual life of a Royal Priest.

Likewise, all prayer is made through the enabling power (filling) of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 6:18. He is the true power and translator behind all of our prayers.

Therefore, our prayers should be directed to God the Father, (and God the Father only), in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is God’s protocol for effective prayer. To deviate from this causes our prayer life to be ineffective, even though in grace God may answer your prayer.

We also need to remember that prayer is related to the omniscience (all knowing) of God.

Isa 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

God hears our prayer twice: in eternity past and at the time of the prayer. God knew and answered all your prayers in eternity past.

Although prayer can take place anywhere, an emphasis is placed upon private prayer in Mat 6:6; cf. 1 Tim 2:8. Yet, the New Testament also emphasizes the need for common prayer in church, Acts 2:42. So both individual private prayer and collective public prayer is part of our Royal Priesthood.

Mat 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Prayer is one of the most powerful and effective functions in all of history. It is a privilege, the function of the Royal Priesthood. Therefore, it is a powerful weapon in the hands of the believer.  It is an invisible power directed toward invisible God in relationship to our invisible assets. And it is most effective when used by invisible heroes, i.e., believers who have attained spiritual maturity. The more you grow in grace, the greater your spiritual growth, the greater your effectiveness in your prayer life. Effectiveness is not measured in terms of your eloquence when praying in public, but on the basis of your spiritual growth when praying in private.

The Church Age mandate for a consistent daily prayer life is found in 1 Thes 5:17. “Pray continually” is a mandate for both habitual and spontaneous prayer. This verse can be translated, “Make it a habit of prayer.”

Since grace is the principle of prayer, no believer can petition for himself or make intercession on the basis of human merit, ability, morality, production, service, or spiritual gift. Every believer approaches the throne of grace on the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our great High Priest.

Heb 4:16, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

Prayer was designed to fulfill the will, plan, and purpose of God for our lives and to give us access to heaven while still living on earth. Too many prayers are expressions of what you want, not what God wants. To express the will of God in your prayers, you have to come to know what the will of God is or how to ask for the will of God instead of your own will.

The Agenda for Your Private Prayers.

  • Confession of sin, 1 John 1:9, if necessary, to ensure the filling of the Spirit. Only prayer offered in the status quo of the filling of the Spirit will be heard.
  • Thanksgiving expresses the concept of worship in private prayer.

Eph 5:20, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thes 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Capacity for thanksgiving comes from your personal love for God and your impersonal love for others. Capacity for thanksgiving increases as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is hard to stay alert when you are in a routine situation, doing the same thing over and over again.  Your thanksgiving to God is a part of your personal love for God. The more you love God and the more you appreciate Him, the greater your thanksgiving, and the greater your alertness in prayer.

  • Intercession is praying for others, Eph 6:18; 1 Kings 18:36-37; James 5:16‑18. This is a spiritual ministry. It requires that you have your own private prayer list.
  • Petition is praying for your own needs and situations. Therefore, it is prayer offered on behalf of self, as per Heb 4:16. To approach boldly means you approach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Confidence is a necessary aspect for effective prayer, 1 John 5:14-15, as well as concentration. Concentration is a function of the filling of the Spirit, positive volition, and motivation.

Special Prayers.

  • The sanctification of food or saying “grace” before meals is a special prayer, 1 Tim 4:4-5.
  • Prayers for those in authority over us. As citizens of a client nation to God, this is a very important function for believers.

1 Tim 2:1‑2, “First of all, therefore, I request that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all mankind; on behalf of kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead an undisturbed and tranquil life in the entire spiritual life and integrity.”

  • Prayers for the sick, James 5:15.
  • Prayers for the unsaved, Rom 10:1. Paul prayed for the salvation of unbelieving Jews. Although you cannot pray that their volitional will to be coerced, you can pray that they will be exposed to the Gospel and have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.
  • You can pray for your enemies, Mat 5:44. This prayer reflects the phenomenal dynamics in spiritual autonomy from the confidence of spiritual self‑esteem and the impersonal love of spiritual autonomy.

Mat 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies (impersonal love), and pray for those who persecute you.”

  • You can pray for spiritual adulthood, Phil 1:9. But spiritual adulthood is only achieved by the consistent intake and application of Bible Doctrine.

Phil 1:9, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.”

  • There is prayer for the communication and communicators of Bible doctrine; for Pastor‑Teachers, missionaries, and evangelists, 2 Thes 3:1; Heb 13:18.

Col 4:2-3, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned.”

  • The prayer of widows, that is, ladies who become single either by the death, divorce, or abandonment of their husbands. This special category of widows in spiritual adulthood can pray both night and day (more often than once a day) for themselves and for others. As a result of their very tranquil and uncomplicated life, they are able to be effective in continuous prayer on behalf of others.

1 Tim 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God, and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.”

Vs.  17

Paul’s 1st Prayer for the Church.

Eph 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.”

This passage begins with the protocol of addressing our prayers to God the Father, as we noted in our doctrine above.

Paul addresses God the Father as “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” HO THEOS TOU HEMEIS KURIOS IESOUS CHRISTOS. Then he sates, “the Father of Glory,” HO PATER HO DOXA. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus” is a common phrase used by Paul throughout his epistles. Peter also uses it in 1 Peter 1:2, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This passages speaks about Jesus Christ in hypostatic union, (100% God and 100% man), focusing on His humanity, since He is God Himself being a member of the Trinity, co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit. As God, Jesus Christ has no other God over Him, but the son of God in humanity recognizes the Father as His Sovereign, John 10:30; 17:11, 21-22.

Paul addresses Jesus as our “Lord,” KURIOS that means, “Supreme controller, owner, master, or lord.” In the New Testament KURIOS also functions as the name of God. Each person of the Godhead; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is called KURIOS.

Jesus being called “Lord” chiefly refers to the elevated and glorified Christ. The lordship of Christ is especially related to the Church. Christ is, above all else, the Lord of His people, His body. He is “our Lord Jesus Christ,” one of Paul’s most frequently used descriptions of Jesus’ relationship to His people.

Doctrine of the Lordship of Jesus Christ

John 13:13, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.”

The Lord Jesus Christ was referred to by Israel in the words of Deut 6:4: SHAMA ISRAEL, ADONAI ELOHENU, ADONAI ECHAD, translated “Hear O Israel, the Lord (Jesus Christ) is our God, the Lord (Jesus Christ) is one or unique.”

In the title of the Second Person of the Trinity, there are three words.

  • KURIOS, translated “Lord”, which means, “master (authority), Supreme deity” in both Greek and Latin is used for Jesus Christ who is God.
  • IESOUS is from the Hebrew YEHOSHUA meaning, “Jehovah, or the LORD is salvation.” The Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH is also translated Lord. IESOUS is translated “Jesus,” which is the title for His humanity meaning, “Savior.”
  • CHRISTOS is from the Greek word CHRIO and means, “the Anointed One, Messiah or Christ.” CHRISTOS is translated “Christ” meaning, “anointed one,” which is His second royal titling as the Son of David being the Messiah.

In the title of the Second Person of the Trinity:

  • “Lord” refers to the deity of Christ with emphasis on His authority as the “Lord of lords and King of kings”, Deut 10:17; Psa 136:1-26; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16.
  • “Jesus” refers to the humanity of Christ.
  • “Christ” refers to His deity with His Messiahship in view as the legitimate and eternal king of Israel. It refers to His Divine commission. Christ simply means “anointed” and in the ancient world they did not give you a commission on paper, they put oil on your head.

A false doctrine prevalent today is called “Lordship Salvation”, which says that, “if Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. The old Wesleyan adage is “Christ saves us from sin, not in sin”.

This belief is a mixture of justification and experiential sanctification from the Arminian viewpoint held by many Reformers and Covenant Theologians today who are anti-Dispensationalist.

This false doctrine claims that if you do not keep Jesus Christ as number one priority in your life as demonstrated through good works, you are not saved and/or will lose the salvation you once had. Scripture wrongly used to make these claims include: John 14:15; Heb 12:14b; Eph 5:5; 1 Cor 6:9-10; James 2:14, 17.

We understand these scriptures as having a context that admonishes unfaithful but truly saved people to live their lives as an example to others faithfully in obedience to God’s commands. Lordship salvation is contrary to the grace Plan of God for salvation and a heresy that says Christ’s work on the Cross is not all sufficient for your salvation. You must demonstrate works in order to be saved. In fact, Scripture teaches that God saves the ungodly in their sins, Rom 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Scripture also teaches that God saves the believer from their sins, Gal 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

The first known use of the term “Lordship Salvation” occurred in a 1959 debate in Eternity magazine between Presbyterian Everett F. Harrison, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, and John Stott, an Anglican theologian.

The fact is, we should keep Christ as our number one priority in life, Heb 12:2. But whether we do or not, does not determine our salvation or the Lordship of Christ.

Miles Stanford suggests that “Lordship salvation … rightly insists upon repentance, but wrongly includes a change of behavior … in order to be saved. No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning from oneself to the Savior; but Lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit (that is, good works) essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith.” (Miles J. Stanford, The Gospel According to Jesus – John F. MacArthur Jr., pg. 1. 1988).

It is interesting that MacArthur uses that quote since he believes in Lordship salvation. Dr. MacArthur’s position on Lordship Salvation has been made very clear in his published book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS. He has also made statements in some of his other published writings and tapes that relate to this subject, some of which are quoted below:

“The Greek word translated ‘belief’ is not referring merely to intellectual attainment or mental acquiescence but a wholehearted acceptance of everything that is implied in the claims of Christ. You need to believe that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins, committing your whole life to Him in sacrifice and serving Him as Lord.” (Assurance of Victory–1 John 5, Moody Press, p.12).

“Submission to the will of God, to Christ’s lordship, and to the guiding of the Spirit is an essential, not an optional, part of saving faith,” (EPHESIANS, p. 249).

“Saving faith is a placing of oneself totally in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 1-8, p. 205).

Jesus is the Lord of all because of His saving work upon the Cross, as we will note below, and especially of the believer. Having Jesus Christ as Lord in your life means you should be obedient to His Word on a consistent basis, 2 Cor 10:5; Eph 4:17; 5:8, 10, 17, 19; 6:7; 1 Peter 1:14.

  • Just as the servant must be obedient to the master or the worker is to be obedient to his boss, so too should the believer be obedient to the Word of Jesus Christ, i.e., Bible Doctrine.
  • The goal of Christian exhortation is to encourage the believer to place every aspect of his or her life under the Lordship of Christ.

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

  • The one confessing Christ as Lord and not doing His will has built his faith on sand, Luke 6:49.

The Lord Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever. This is called “hypostatic union.” Jesus had to be true humanity in order to be judged for our sins and take our place. The use of the term “hypostatic union” refers to the unique person of Jesus Christ as the God / Man, beginning with the virgin birth and continuing throughout the incarnation. Hypostatic union means that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man at the same time. Documentation for the hypostatic union includes: John 1:1-14; Rom 1:2-5; 9:5; Phil 2:5-11; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; 1 John 1:1-3.

  • Since the First Advent, Jesus Christ is the God / Man as undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever. Now He is resurrected. Once resurrected, He spent forty days on the earth, after which He ascended into the presence of the Father to be our High Priest, Mediator and Advocate.

The First Advent of the Jesus Christ in hypostatic union began with the virgin birth and terminated with our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session. But our Lord always existed as God. John 8:58, “Before Abraham was born, I am (had always existed).”

  • The pre-incarnate person of Jesus Christ was and is infinite and eternal God, coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
  • The post-incarnate person of Christ includes undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever.

As the God / Man, Jesus Christ is:

  • Different from all members of the human race because He is eternal God.
  • Different from the other two members of the Trinity because He is true humanity.
  • As infinite and eternal God, Jesus Christ is superior to all creatures, both angelic and human.
  • In hypostatic union, Jesus Christ continues to be superior to all creatures, both angelic and human, Heb 1-2; Phil 2.

Jesus Christ is Lord because He is the only Savior. Because Jesus Christ was judged for our sins on the Cross, becoming our substitute and taking our place, we who have believed in Him for eternal salvation have Him as our one and only Lord.  Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” refers to the unique person of Jesus Christ as the God / Man. His uniqueness began with His First Advent.

  • “One Lord” means Jesus Christ is the basis for our unity because of His substitutionary spiritual death.
  • “One faith” means we are all saved in exactly the same way, by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • “One baptism” refers to God the Holy Spirit entering us into union with Christ forever at the point of salvation. We will always be in union with Christ, documented throughout the New Testament by the prepositional phrase “in Christ”, EN CHRISTOS.

Jesus Christ is Lord because He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, John 1:29. No one else could do this, only the perfect Jesus Christ as the Son of God could provide salvation. Because Jesus Christ was judged for our sins on the Cross, becoming our substitute and taking our place, we who have believed in Him for eternal salvation have Him as our one Lord.

Ever since His resurrection and ascension, Jesus has assumed the role of Lord, Acts 2:36; Phil 2:5-11. The fact that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God identifies Him as the authoritative arm of God. He is Lord in the ultimate sense of the word.

As Lord, Jesus Christ creates and controls the universe. Prior to the incarnation, Jesus Christ created the universe, John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:10. As God, and now as the God / Man, our Lord Jesus Christ holds the universe together, Col 1:17; Heb 1:3.

Col 1:16-17, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Deut 33:26, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, (upright one – a special name for Israel), who rides the heavens to help you, and in His majesty He rides through the skies.”

Heb 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

Jesus Christ is Lord of all regardless of our thoughts and actions. In fact, He is Lord of all members of the human race, believers and unbelievers, and is Lord of all angelic creatures as well. That is why scripture tells us, “At the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow,Isa 45:23; Rom 11:36; 14:11; Phil 2:10-11; Rev 5:11-13, and that He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” 1 Tim 6:5; Rev 17:14; 19:16. The reality is that Jesus Christ is Lord whether you keep Him in that position or not.

Then in Eph 1:17b, we have, “May give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

In the last half of vs. 17 we have Paul’s desire for the believers of the early church and for us today. It begins with the first word in this sentence, “that” which is the Conjunction HINA that can mean, “in order that, that, so that, etc.” It sets up a “HINA clause” that is coupled with the first verb of this sentence, “give” in the Aorist, Active, and Subjunctive. Some say this is an Optative mood because it is a prayer and constitutes a wish for the believers, but it is a HINA clause in the Subjunctive mood which tells us the direct object of “what” Paul is praying for on our behalf. Because of the Subjunctive mood we add “may” for potential, as receiving these things is also based on the volition of the believer. Paul prays that God give them these things, but Paul knows that God cannot override their free will volition.

What does Paul want the believer to receive?

  • A spirit of wisdom.
  • Revelation in the knowledge of Him.

A Spirit of Wisdom:

A spirit of wisdom” is PNUEMA SOPHIA that does not have the definite article in the Greek. The absence of the definite article calls attention to the quality of the noun rather than its identity. The quality here is Bible doctrine in the soul. This “spirit” is speaking of our human spirit where we receive and apply God’s Word. It refers to the accumulation of EPIGNOSIS Bible doctrine in the human spirit under the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP). That is when doctrine begins to be usable. When it is usable or applied, it has now become “wisdom or skill”, SOPHIA, in your life. It gives insight into the true nature of things. So when EPIGNOSIS doctrine is applied, it becomes wisdom in your life. Therefore, Paul prays that we are able to have God’s Word in our soul that we can apply to our lives.

Through GAP we can receive and store Bible doctrine in our human spirit, but it is through our positive volition that we actually do receive it and then apply it, ergo the subjunctive mood.

Revelation in the Knowledge of Him:

Secondly, Paul prays that God give us “revelation in the knowledge of Him.” “Knowledge” here is EPIGNOSIS that means, “knowledge, recognition, consciousness.” It is a more intense knowledge than GNOSIS, knowledge, because it expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner. This knowledge is “of Him,” AUTOS that is speaking of God Himself, which knowledge is given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. So it means God’s Word, as the Bible is the “mind of Christ,” 1 Cor 2:16.

In the NT, EPIGNOSIS often refers to knowledge which very powerfully influences the form of the spiritual life, a knowledge laying claim to personal involvement. When used as an object, as it is here in Eph 1:17, and elsewhere, Eph 4:13; Col 1:9, 10; 2:2; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1; Heb 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2, 3, it shows the relationship of the learner to the object of his knowledge, 2 Peter 1:8.

2 Peter 1:8, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As a result, it increases spiritual blessings upon the believer, Eph 1:17; 2 Peter 1:2-3, and determines the manifestations of the spiritual life, 2 Peter. 2:20.

2 Peter 1:2-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (EPIGNOSIS) of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His Divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge (EPIGNOSIS) of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

With the desire for the EPIGNOSIS of God in your life through the mind of Jesus Christ, Paul emphasizes it with the word, “revelation,” APOKALUPSIS, ἀποκάλυψις that means, “revelation, disclosure, unveiling, or manifestation.” It implies an unveiling or disclosing of things unknown; a coming into view. It is one of the most prominent words in the New Testament for conveying the Biblical concept of Divine revelation. It is the unveiling of the object discussed, namely, God Himself. Its usage in the N.T. is more concerned with the content of revelation, (the mind of Jesus Christ), than with the phenomenon itself.

Revelation is integral to Christian faith and theology, where it assumes a very unique role. It denotes God’s tangible self-revelation to men. This may be expressed in historical events or God may reveal Himself in the Holy Scriptures; here it emphasizes the Scriptures.

God has disclosed Himself in both concrete manifestations and verbally. He makes His nature known to mankind through revelation. Whereas in the past, under the old covenant, God spoke in various ways and on different occasions through the prophets, Yet, in these last days, He has revealed himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, Heb 1:1; cf. John 1:1f.; Eph 1:9-11. Therefore, “a spirit of… revelation,” means a spirit which can fathom and unfold the deep things of God.

God has spoken to His creatures whom He has made quite capable of such communion in various ways:

By the Creation. Psa 19:1-6; Rom 1:19-20.

By the Written Word. The Bible claims to be, 2 Tim 3:16, and is, God’s written Word. In every particular, it has proved to be His message to man. It treats faithfully and truthfully of things whether in heaven or on earth. Indeed, it discloses things otherwise unknown.

By the Living Word. While the written Word unveils many things, the one message to come pre-eminently through the Son, Heb 1:1-2, is that which declares the Father. John 1:18 states that no full revelation of Him had been given until Christ came. Christ unveiled the wisdom of God, John 7:46; 1 Cor 1: 24, and the power of God, John 3:2, but the prime message disclosed is of God’s love, and that was unveiled not so much in His life and work, as it was in His death, Rom 5:8; 1 John 3:16. Cf. John 3:16.

By the Book of Revelation. The Apocalypse is so named because it is an unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ, a revelation which the Father gave His Son to show to His servants, Rev 1:1.

Likewise, “the revelation of the knowledge of Him” is a strong entreaty on our behalf that we be able to learn about and know God through His Son Jesus Christ personally and intimately, spiritually and experientially, through the application of EPIGNOSIS doctrine.

Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (EPIGONSIS) of His will in all spiritual (PNEUMATIKOS) wisdom (SOPHIA) and understanding (SUNESIS), 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge (EPIGONSIS) of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

Vs. 18

Eph 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

Paul continues his intercessory prayer for the saints by asking God to do several things for the believer. “I pray” is not in the original manuscripts, that is why it is in italics, but is added to indicate the continuation of Paul’s prayer. The three things he prays for include:

  • Enlighten the eyes of their heart.
  • Know what is the hope of His calling.
  • Know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

The first thing Paul asks for in this passage is to “enlighten the eyes of their heart.”

Eyes of your heart.” Is OPHTHALMOS KARDIA. Some earl texts have DIANOIA instead of KARDIA that means “mind, understanding, intellect, etc.,” which is what KARDIA means figuratively as the right lobe of your soul. This phrase means that you take in, perceive, and store Bible doctrine within the right lobe of your soul so that it is applicable within your human spirit.

May be enlightened” is not the best translation here because there is no Subjunctive mood. It is the Perfect, Passive, Participle in the Accusative (direct object) Plural of PHOTIZO, φωτίζω that means, “give light to, light up, bring to light, reveal, make evident, or enlighten.”

The Perfect tense is for completed past action and emphasizes the permanent results of having Bible doctrine in compartments of your right lobe: your Frame of Reference, Memory Center, Vocabulary, Categorical Storage, Norms and Standards, and your Launching Pad.

The Passive voice means the subject, the believer, receives the action of the verb. That is, the right lobe of your soul receives Bible doctrine through the function of GAP.

The Participle tells us this is another “thing” that Paul is praying for, that we receive the enlightenment of God’s Word. It sets up a permanent law of God, whereby doctrine recorded permanently in the Scriptures is transferred into your right lobe through the function of GAP.

Therefore, it means, “having become enlightened,” that is, to have Bible doctrine permanently photographed in your soul, which allows for its application in life.

The second thing Paul asks for in this passage is to “know what is the hope of His calling.”

Know” here is the Perfect, Active, Infinitive of OIDA, οἶδα that means, “to know fully, understand or recognize.”

Just as the Hebrew uses similar words for “wisdom, understanding, knowledge discernment, etc.,” (CHOKMAH, BIN, SAKAL, YADA, DA’ATH), so too does the Greek use different words for these, (SOPHIA, EPIGNOSIS, GNOSIS, GINOSKO, OIDA).

The nuance of the word OIDA is the perfect idea of “possessed knowledge” rather than the present aspect of “acquiring knowledge.” So OIDA, the possession of EPIGNOSIS doctrine in vs. 18, comes after the acquiring of GNOSIS doctrine in vs. 17. Paul first prays that we acquire Bible doctrine in the right lobe of our souls then he prays that it sticks.

So we see the progression of God’s Word from the pages of the Bible to the application in life: GNOSIS leads to EPIGNOSIS, which leads to OIDA, which leads to SOPHIA.

That is, learning the Bible (GNOSIS information) and mixing it with faith (EPIGNOSIS doctrine) leads to storing Bible Doctrine in your soul (OIDA) that then can be applied to life, wisdom, (SOPHIA).

What is the knowledge Paul desires us to possess? “The hope,” (ELIPIS that means, “confident expectation,”) “of His calling,” (KLESIS, κλῆσις that means, “call, calling, invitation, or vocation”).

His calling” represents God’s invitation to the unbeliever to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, which, if accepted, results in eternal salvation. Since we are already saved, “the hope of our calling” means knowing intimately that we are saved, positionally sanctified, made holy and blameless, that we will receive a resurrection body just as Christ did, and live in heaven for ever and ever. It is confident expectation in Phase Three of God’s Plan.

You have two futures in your life. When you accept Christ as Savior, you enter Phase Two of the plan of God, the believer in time. Phase One is salvation, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Phase Two starts one second after you are saved and continues until you die, or the Rapture, whichever occurs first in your life. Your immediate future is the time you have left in Phase Two. But here we have the technical word ELPIS, for hope, which refers to your distant future, the future beyond that begins the moment you leave this world.

ELPIS means to have complete confidence beyond the grave. That confidence comes from understanding the doctrine of Phase Three now, not when you get to heaven. If you are ever going to have confidence in time, it must be anchored to something which is infinite and absolute where there are no shades of grey, no basis for rationalization. It is an absolute fact that your distant future includes perfect happiness, perfect environment, and perfect conditions forever in heaven with God in your resurrection body. It is also a fact that the unbeliever’s distant future is one of the most excruciating agonies perpetuated forever without cessation.

So Paul prays that we know dogmatically that we are saved and live confidently in our salvation. The only way to have this dogmatic knowledge and confidence is to possess (OIDA) Bible doctrine within your soul.

The third thing Paul asks for in this passage is for the believer to possess the knowledge of, “what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

This third part speaks the to the “riches of the glory,” PLOUTOS DOXA, i.e., blessings and rewards, waiting for us in the eternal state based on our union with Jesus Christ, that we noted in vs. 13-14, where we have been given the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit as a down payment and guarantee that we will receive the “inheritance,” (KLERONOMIA that means, “lawful inheritance, possession, or portion”), God has set aside and promised to all Church Age believers, i.e., “saints,” HAGIOS.

So Paul prays in this passage that we learn the pertinent scriptures so that we possess the EPIGNOSIS doctrines related to Phase Three (eternity) of the spiritual life that give us confidence to live each day in Phase Two, (our spiritual walk here on earth).

The Mechanics of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, GAP

The Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) is the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit to the Church Age believer. It includes the perception, retention, and application of God’s Word / Bible doctrine in the soul of the believer. It includes Five Stages which we will note below. Each stage requires two things; the Filling of God the Holy Spirit and positive volition towards the Word of God.

Regardless of your human I.Q., with the assumption that the I.Q. is high enough to be able to comprehend and grow, human I.Q. is not a factor in the learning and storing of God’s Word. By the GAP, God the Holy Spirit adds to our human I.Q. a spiritual I.Q. so that we can learn, retain, and then apply God’s Word. The distinction between human and spiritual IQ is the subject of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2

Human IQ is never a factor in the function of GAP; otherwise, God would be unfair. In other words, low IQ is never a handicap in learning doctrine. For this reason, every believer in the Church Age has received all the grace help necessary: a) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit; b) The activation of the human spirit at the point of salvation; c) A right Pastor-Teacher to communicate Bible doctrine.

2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Peter 1:20, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.

Acts 17:11, “Now these (Bereans) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

Psa 63:6, “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, 7 For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

Young Elihu commented to Job’s three friends in Job 32:7-8, “I thought age should speak, and increased years should teach wisdom. 8But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” Job 33:2-3, Behold now, I open my mouth, my tongue in my mouth speaks. 3My words are from the uprightness of my heart; and my lips speak knowledge sincerely.”

Stage One is the communication of Bible doctrine from one’s right Pastor-Teacher either face-to-face or in absentia.

  • The congregation is placed under a system of spiritual humility for perception and reception of Bible doctrine. Spiritual humility requires the filling of the Holy Spirit and the existence of humility whether organized (in the local church), enforced (by the authority of the pastor), or genuine (from your own positive reception of doctrine).
  • The believer must be motivated by positive volition to hear doctrine. This leads to concentration and self‑discipline. When you lose your motivation, you lose your spiritual growth.

Stage Two is operation GNOSIS, in which you understand what you hear and comprehend it in the left lobe of your soul. When you understand what has been taught, the doctrine goes to the left lobe, one of the two lobes which make up the mentality of the soul.

  • The function of receptive comprehension means that under the ministry of the Spirit and with enough frame of reference, you actually understand the doctrine being taught. This is made possible under a system of enforced humility.

Stage Three is the function of Faith-Perception.

  • There are two kinds of faith: faith-perception and faith-application. Both are related to the Plan of God.
  • Faith-Perception is used in learning doctrine and converting GNOSIS into EPIGNOSIS. Then Faith-Application can use EPIGNOSIS doctrine that is stored / possessed in your soul, OIDA, in application to life, which becomes wisdom, SOPHIA.

1 Cor 2:5, 7, “So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God….7but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

Stage Four is the function of Faith-Application.

  • Faith-Application is reverse concentration or the second stage of the faith rest drill. Faith-Application converts OIDA doctrine into experience, wisdom. OIDA doctrine consists of the doctrinal rationales.
  • EPIGNOSIS doctrine converted to OIDA doctrine is the only Divine viewpoint that can be applied to life. This is taking Bible doctrine stored in your right lobe (heart) of your soul and applying it to life’s situations. At this point Bible doctrine is more real to you than anything else in life.

Stage Five is spiritual growth in the fulfillment of the Plan of God because of your confidence in God, i.e., His Word and His Plan for your life. Only EPIGNOSIS doctrine possessed within your soul that is applied in wisdom on a consistent basis results in spiritual growth and Occupation with the Person of Christ.

Therefore, in the grace provision for learning Bible doctrine, God’s grace has provided:

  • The formation and the preservation of the canon of scripture. That takes up the doctrine of canonicity and the doctrine of inspiration.
  •  A classroom for learning doctrine. The classroom is called the local church. The local church was not designed for raising money, strawberry festivals, and fellowship. The local church was designed to be a classroom, with one teacher and with students without portfolio.
  •  The spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. This is a Divinely authorized communicator, and there never was and there never will be a pastor who earned or deserved the right to speak. This gift is sovereignly bestowed to many different types of males. No woman ever had the gift and never will have. The pulpit belongs to certain born-again males.
  •  The priesthood of the believer for privacy and reception. If you are really going to take in doctrine on an objective basis, you must have privacy of the priesthood to do it.
  •  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the function of GAP, 1 Cor 2:9-16; 1 John 2:27. However, the believer must be filled with the Spirit for this to occur, Eph 5:18.
  •  Grace provision for the filling of the Spirit through the rebound technique, 1 John 1:5-9.
  •  The human spirit as the target for GAP, Job 32:8; 1 Cor 2:12.
  •  The provision of the Divine Laws of Establishment, whereby the nation protects the freedom and the privacy of the local church.
  •  The anatomy of grace, whereby certain non-meritorious functions of the body make it possible to think and to concentrate.

Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (EPIGONSIS) of His will in all spiritual (PNEUMATIKOS) wisdom (SOPHIA) and understanding (SUNESIS), 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge (EPIGONSIS) of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

Vs. 19

Eph 1:19, “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”

This verse continues the prayer of Paul for the Church, as he prays for the sixth thing he desires God the Father to give to them.

In vs. 17 he prayed for the Father to give them: 1. A spirit of wisdom, 2. A revelation in the knowledge of Him.

In vs. 18 he prayed for the Father to: 3. Enlighten the eyes of their heart, so that they will, 4. Know (OIDA) what is the hope of His calling, and 5. Know (OIDA) what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Now in the first half of vs. 19 he prays for the Father to allow them to know (OIDA): 6. what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Surpassing greatness” is the Present, Active Participle of the verb HUPERBALLO with the Noun MEGETHOS.

HUPERBALLO, ὑπερβάλλω means, “Surpass, excel, or exceed.” It is a compound word from the Preposition HUPER that means, “over, above, excess, superiority, etc.” and BALLO that means, “to throw or cast.” We could also say, “beyond our imagination,” as in Eph 3:20.

MEGETHOS, μέγεθος is from MEGAS that means, “large or great,” so MEGETHOS means, “greatness.”

These two are used to double emphasize the nature of God, in this case His, “power,” DUMAMIS that means, “inherent ability, power, might, strength, ability, capability, or force.” It speaks to God’s essence, His omnipotence, being the all-powerful One.

This power ascribed to God, views Him as the Creator who governs history, where His DUNAMIS is especially present in His redeeming acts in history which are exercised for the sake of His people. That is why the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the great demonstration of God’s power in the N.T., which will be noted in the last half of this passage and in vs. 20, cf. Acts 2:24. This power is further explained in the remaining passages of this chapter, vs. 20-23. So it is the power / authority to rule.

This surpassing greatness of God’s power is said to be, “toward us who believe,” EIS HEMEIS HO PISTEUO.

Therefore, Paul wants the believer to know dogmatically that this power of God is available in their life. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is available to you and I, each and every day, as we face the various trials, tribulations, and challenges that life and Satan’s cosmic system throw at us.

Then in the second half of this passage Paul uses three other Greek words to further explain the power of God that is available to us, “These (the previous intercessory petitions for the Church) are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”

Along with DUNAMIS he explains just how much power is available to the believer. As he uses three other Greek terms in this verse.

Working” which is ENERGEIA ἐνέργεια from which we get the word “energy” and denotes, “operative power.”

Strength,” which is KRATOS, κράτος that means, “strength, power, might, dominion, or authority.” It refers to His “manifested strength.”

Might,” the last power word in the verse is ISCHUS, ἰσχύς that means, “strength, power, might, or forcefulness” with the idea of “power as an endowment or the possession of power.” It is used to describe “great exertion or force.” In our passage and Eph 6:10, it is used to laud the “incomparably great power (DUNAMIS)” that is available to the believer.

So we see that God the Father has for us:

 Power – DUNAMIS – having inherent strength which is the authority to rule, as God is Sovereign and Omnipotent He has the authority and ability to rule.

 Energy to Work – ENERGEIA from which we get the word “energy” and denotes God’s “operative power.”

 Strength – KRATOS that means force, might, or dominion that is God’s “manifested power.” As He has all authority to rule, His power will be real, seen, heard, felt, and perfect.

 Might – ISCHUS tell us that God is endowed with or possesses power which He applies towards mankind in all that He does. He has all the power necessary and all the ability to do what His Sovereignty is able to do.

We are exhorted in Eph 6:10 to be empowered (ENDUNAMOO) ourselves as we rely upon the “strength of His might,” KRATOS ISCHUS. This is part of our “Riches in Christ.”

Another word for the “power” of God that is available for the believer, which is not used here but is alluded to in vs. 21 is, “authority,” which is EXOUSIA, ἐξουσία that means, “authority, right, or power.” It means, “power or authority to do a thing.” It is freedom to act, right to act, power over, license in a thing, an office, magistracy, or place or body of authority. Therefore, God has the authority of the throne of rulership and the office to officiate over all of creation. This emphasizes God’s Sovereignty as well as His Omnipotence.

In summary, to explain how much power is available to believers, the apostle Paul employs five different Greek terms in the book of Ephesians:

1) DUNAMIS (noun), “inherent ability, capability, potential.”

2) ENERGEIA (noun), “operative power.”

3) KRATOS (noun), “manifested power.”

4) ISCHUS (noun), “possession of power to overcome.”

5) EXOUSIA (noun), “power, authority, or freedom to do a thing.”


Next in Part 6 of Eph. 1, we will study:

Ephesians 1:20-21

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Doctrine of the Session of Jesus Christ

The Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict


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