Gracefully Truthful

Faith,Family,Help,Holy Spirit,Hope,Power

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Ephesians 1:17-19

17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 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 is the wealth of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of His strength.

The Original Intent

1) How are we meant to combine wisdom and revelation according to this passage? (verse 17)

This part of the prayer for wisdom and revelation reminds us of Isaiah’s prophetic words in Isaiah 11:2, which were meant to foretell of the time when the Messiah, the Promised One, would be sent to the world as the Rescuer from sin for all humanity.

This One would possess the very Spirit of God, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him.” When Jesus stood in the temple with Isaiah’s scroll in hand, He read this passage and then boldly told His audience that the prophecy was being fulfilled right in front of their eyes that very day. The Messiah, Christ Jesus, stood before them filled with the Holy Spirit. This same Spirit would lead Jesus in every step of His ministry (Matthew 4:1) all the way to His death, and would then raise Him from the dead! (Romans 8:11)

Astoundingly, as proof of our adoption as His own children, the Father promised to send this very same Spirit of wisdom and truth to live inside all who trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior through repentance and faith. (John 14:26)

Paul’s prayer asked the Lord to reveal ever-deepening wisdom to believers through the Spirit of God who leads His children into all truth, and then lead them to live that truth out in everyday life. (John 16:13)

According to the Believer’s Bible Commentary, “Revelation is the imparting of knowledge. Wisdom has to do with the proper use of it in our lives.”

Paul asked that the believers in Ephesus would develop a deep and specific knowledge of God, His love, the believer’s place in God’s family and their role as a result. This knowledge didn’t depend on intellect, but flowed only from the Spirit who knows the heart of God because He is God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)

*Written by Carol Graft

The Everyday Application

1) How are we meant to combine wisdom and revelation according to this passage? (verse 17)

The recipients of Paul’s letter were not pagans, they were Christ-followers in the city of Ephesus. They had a basic knowledge of Jesus the Messiah, otherwise, they wouldn’t have converted. But Paul longed for them to know Christ more intimately because he knew from experience that when they knew Him more, they would love Him more fully, and surrender more of themselves to being God’s agents of reconciliation in the world around them.

Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people.” (2 Corinthians 5:11) The more we know of Jesus, the more we share of Jesus with bold confidence through His Spirit!

Paul often prayed these things (Colossians 1:9-10) for believers. He wanted all believers to have so much rich knowledge of God and His love, and be walking in such close intimacy with Him, that it changed everything about how they lived and engaged with people. 

Today, we need this letter, and Paul’s pleading prayer, just as much as the original Ephesian recipients. Every Christ-follower has some level of biblical understanding and working knowledge of Jesus, but in order to grow richer in our faith and become more effective for kingdom work, we must submit to the Holy Spirit within us and let Him lead us deeper into knowing God and living for Him!

When Christ-followers submit to the Spirit, He leads us to practice greater discipline in studying Scripture, practicing regular prayer, and learning to listen and obey His voice as we walk with Him each day in relationship. Regardless of how long we have been in a right relationship with Jesus through confessing our sin and trusting Him through faith, there is always room to know Him more fully, learn His heart, and be empowered to love Him and others better!

*Written by Carol Graft

The Original Intent

2) What is meant by “the eyes of your heart”? (verse 18)

In both Old and New Testaments, the heart was viewed as the “seat of understanding”, having even more importance within the body than the brain! The “heart”, in ancient culture, didn’t simply represent emotion and relationship, rather, it also encompassed intelligence and reason. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

This idea is evidenced when the psalmist writes in prayer to the Lord God, “Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wondrous things from Your instruction.” (Psalm 119:18) Both authors, Paul in the New Testament and David in the Old Testament, are prayerfully making the same request of God. They desire to know God and His ways, so they ask for their proverbial “eyes” and “heart” to be awakened and quickened to hunger after the things of God.

Separated by hundreds of generations, these men both understood that a deeper knowing of God Himself would foster greater faith and more effective work for Him. In essence, their lives would carry more eternal weight in the present and the future if they fixed their attention on knowing the Lord God with ever increasing intimacy rather than chasing after fleeting frivolities of culture and pleasure.

It’s also important to note that the focus of Paul’s prayer isn’t for himself, but for others. It’s not that he believes himself beyond the need to know Christ deeper. Rather, because he has already experienced for himself the “surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8), he knows beyond all doubt that knowing Jesus is the essential key to success in the Christian faith, in cultivating peace, and becoming effective within the Church Body.

Because he knows what is true, he cannot help but plead the same blessing to be abundantly poured out on his fellow believers.

*Written by Carol Graft

The Everyday Application

2) What is meant by “the eyes of your heart”? (verse 18)

In specifically asking the Father “that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened”, Paul was asking the Lord to give to his fellow brothers and sisters what the Lord had already graciously given him. Paul had “tast[ed] and see[n] that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) and he passionately pleaded for the Father to give the same “taste” to the believers in Ephesus.

As Paul prayed, so should we! When we come to the Lord in prayer for our neighbors, for those who sit beside us at church, for our pastor, for our children, parents, spouse, missionaries, and dear friends, Paul’s model of intercession should be the first words our hearts plead. Our ask is meant to intercede deeply for the mental, spiritual, emotional, and logical aspects of the holistic persons of our fellow believers.

If we come to the Lord in prayer for our fellow saints, and we find Paul’s prayer is not our frequent request of the Father, we should ask this prayer for ourselves for we have forgotten our first love in deeply knowing the Father. (Revelation 2:4)

Oh Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to see You, to know You, to love You so that we might walk in Your ways and Your kingdom will come on earth as it is in Heaven through Your people! (Matthew 6:10)

*Written by Rebecca Adams

The Original Intent

3) What are the benefits of Paul’s prayer request? (verses 18-19)

Paul’s prayer for his fellow family members in the faith has immensely rich benefits attached as signified by, “so that”. (verse 18) These two small words act as a beacon when reading Scripture; it’s essential we pay attention to what this little bridge teaches us as we seek to understand Scripture and rightly apply it to our lives.

Paul knows that when the Lord grants his earnest ask for believers’ understanding to deepen and grow, three benefits flow from the generous heart of the Father who loves to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11)
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that…
1) “you may know what is the hope of His calling”,
2) what is the wealth of His glorious inheritance in the saints” and
3) what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe”.

Hope. When the Spirit teaches us about God, we begin to have an increased familiarity with the Hope that belongs to every believer as a result of being called God’s adopted child. Far from an uncertain, wishful thinking, biblical Hope is a known fact that cannot be shaken or stolen.

Wealth. Unlike the earthly definition of prosperity, biblical wealth refers to the riches adopted children have as heirs of God. (Romans 8:17) This particular wealth references the “glorious inheritance in the saints”. When we confess our sins and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross to pay our penalty for our sin in full, we are adopted by the Father. Not only are we given a Father, we are brought into an entire family of saints.

Power. With the Spirit guiding our exploration of knowing God’s heart, the believer begins to grasp the “immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe.” The world chases power, willingly sacrificing many good things like people and relationships in order to possess it. The lusty allure of power tempts each of us in its own way, but the power of God is, at its heart, selfless. Paul writes that His power is toward us; it’s for us, it’s a gift of inheritance freely given to His people because they are exactly that, His adopted children.

*Written by Rebecca Adams

The Everyday Application

3) What are the benefits of Paul’s prayer request? (verses 18-19)

Hope. The believer has Hope for life after death where she will be united forever with God without the entangling allure of sin or the pain of suffering, but she is also assured of Hope in the present. Even in painful challenges on earth, her Heavenly Father is present in hardship and is actively working for her good, shaping her to be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:29)

Wealth. One of the rich benefits of knowing God more intimately is to be blessed by the richness of His family through fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus. The believer will never find herself alone, separated from God, for He has become her Father, neither will she ever be without brothers and sisters. Tucked within this grand inheritance of family is both the sheltering love of family in everyday life as well as the purpose of loving this family. Paul writes in Galatians 6:10, “[…] as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” We are meant to especially care for our family of saints.

Power. God’s power isn’t given to make us popular, gain a platform, or amass money, it’s to testify of God’s goodness and His freedom-giving gospel to a world so sick with sin’s cancer that they will spend eternity in Hell without it. His power is given to us so we can tell the world of the Power-giver who broke the chains of Hell with His own death by paying for our sins, every last one of them, so we could be free. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them.” (Acts 4:33)

The rich depths of this inheritance becomes ours to explore with the Spirit of God as our all-wise Teacher when this prayer is answered, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened …”. (verse 18) Let this reality motivate us to pray like this. Then, once we’ve tasted its richness, let’s plead the same abundance for our family!

*Written by Rebecca Adams

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