A Prayer for Growth in Knowledge – Ephesians 1:16-19
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, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 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. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 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 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23
I. Praying for wisdom and revelation
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
a. A spirit of wisdom comes from the Spirit of God
i. idea of the spirit of man dwelt in and moved by the Spirit of God (Alford)
1. Paul is not praying for the Holy Spirit here. The people he is writing to are believers. They already have the Holy Spirit.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18
b. Wisdom - σοφία [sophia /sof·ee·ah/] the ability to use knowledge for correct behavior, or enlightenment given through divine revelation
i. “…just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you…” 2 Peter 3:15
ii. Paul imparts his God inspired wisdom to us in his writings. And this is more than intellectual wisdom. This is wisdom that should cause us to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is” Colossians 3:1
c. Revelation - ἀποκάλυψις [apokalupsis /ap·ok·al·oop·sis/] an uncovering, a revelation
i. This is used as a synonym for wisdom but with a little different use. Wisdom relates more to our use of what we know and revelation, in this case, is about God imparting knowledge to us.
ii. This is what Paul did in the first section of chapter one when he told us about the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. You see we need to know what we have in Christ before we can do anything with it. But once we know we can serve Him wisdom.
d. Knowledge - ἐπίγνωσις [epignosis /ep·ig·no·sis/] accurate, full knowledge
i. That is full knowledge of Christ… Paul implies that it is in becoming better acquainted with Christ that we get the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Paul clarifies what he wants us to know about the knowledge of Him in vss. 18-19 by…
II. Praying for an enlightened heart
Paul writes I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Paul uses the well understood imagery of the heart being the center of the physical, spiritual, and mental life of a person. The heart represents the inner life of a person in its entirety including feelings or emotions.
It is with our whole being in mind that Paul says For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.2 Corinthians 4:6. He knew what it was like to be filled with knowledge and yet live in darkness of heart. He called himself a Pharisee of Pharisees. He knew the law but it wasn’t until Christ met him on the road to Damascus that he was truly enlightened. That is what Paul is talking about. He wants our hearts to be enlightened, or really, to continue to be enlightened, to grow in our knowledge of Him, that is Christ Jesus.
He lays out three areas that he wants us to know.
a. The hope of His calling
i. His calling
1. When God calls believers into a relationship with himself he calls them to a particular hope which is sure and certain since it rests on his faithfulness — previously the Gentile readers had been separated from Christ and had no real hope. Peter O’Brien
ii. Hoping for what we cannot see
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.1 Thessalonians 5:8
For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.Galatians 5:5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.Romans 5:1-2
Let us not forget the hope of resurrection bodies.
b. The riches of the glory of His inheritance
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Colossians 1:12
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,Ephesians 4:1
Paul now prays that his readers might understand and experience…
c. The surpassing greatness of His power