The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 1:17-18 ~ Paul’s First Prayer to the Church, Pt. 2, Paul Prays for Three Things, The Grace Apparatus for Perception  

Vol. 14 No. 33 

I pray that the eyes of your heartEph 1:17b, “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?

  1. A spirit of wisdom.
  2. Revelation in the knowledge of Him.

1)  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.

2)  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:

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

1)  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 early 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.

2)  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 forever 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.

3)  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 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 two.

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.”


If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

15-097, 15-098 & 15-099



If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,  died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

Leave a Reply