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Ephesians 3:10-21 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, (11) according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, (12) in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. (13) Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. (14) For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, (17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; (19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (21) to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ultimately, it is God's purpose that the church should be the vehicle through which His wisdom is displayed to the spiritual powers.
For this reason, it is important that special prayer be made to God on behalf of the church for strength, faith, love, and grace.
Verses 10-11: The mystery has been revealed so that the manifold ("richly diverse, multifaceted") wisdom of God should be made known by the church to principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Verses 12: Through faith in Christ we have boldness, a word which means "freedom of speech," referring to the open and frank speech which takes place between friends. Our faith in Christ also gives us confident access into the presence of God. See also Romans 5:2.
Verse 13: Paul considered the possibility that they might be discouraged because of his tribulations (he was in prison), but reminded them that his suffering was for their glory.
Verses 14-19: Paul prayed for the Ephesians to experience several things: Spiritual power through the indwelling Spirit; Christ's abiding presence ("dwell" means "take up residence") through the exercise of faith; love as the foundation of their lives; to know the depths of Christ's love; to be filled with the fullness of God.
That's quite a prayer!
Verses 20-21: God is able to do super-abundantly (the literal meaning of the Greek word translated "exceedingly abundantly") above everything we could ask or even think. "Is able" is the verb of the Greek noun translated "power" (dunamis).
We might see this wordplay a little better if we translate the verse as: "to Him who is empowered to do super-abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." The power that exists in God is the same power that is at work within us. No wonder Paul concludes that God is worthy to be glorified by the church forever!
What do you think it means to have freedom of speech with God?
How would Paul's sufferings result in glory for the Ephesians?
How can you ensure that you do not lose heart at the circumstances of life?
What does it mean "to be filled with the fullness of God?"
If God is able to do super-abundantly, how should that affect your prayer life and your daily living?
If you like these Expository Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Topical Bible Studies too.