Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:15-19

Διὰ τοῦτο κάγὼ ἀκούσας τὴν καθ᾽ ὑμᾶς πίστιν ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους οὐ παύομαι εύχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν μνείαν ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου ἵνα ὀ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὀ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης δώῃ ὑμῖν πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ τί τὸ ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ. For this reason I also, after hearing your own faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks, making mention of you towards my prayers, so that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and a revelation in his knowledge, having enlightened the eyes of your heart in order that you know what is the hope of his calling, what the richness of his glorious inheritance is in the saints, and what the surpassing greatness of his power is for us the ones who believe according to the action of the strength of his might.

Paul, having just finished a decent section in which he blessed God for the work that he has done in his readers’ lives, now identifies that he gives thanks to God because of them. He has heard news of their faith in Christ and their love for the brethren; therefore, he does not stop thanking God for them in his prayers.

Paul makes mention of his readers in his prayers for a specific reason. Paul prays for them so that God might give them a spirit of wisdom and a revelation of his knowledge. Paul writes that this wisdom and revelation will be given by being enlightened. The imagery is of the path before the eyes being illumined and continuing to be illumined. But it is not one’s physical eyes that get illumined, but the heart’s. Paul is saying that God will illumine his reader’s inclinations or desires, which is how God would give wisdom and revelation to them.

Note the textual variant here. Several important manuscripts (Papyrus 46, B, 33, and 1739) omit ὑμῶν from verse 18 following καρδίας. The text would read like this without it: “having enlightened the heart’s eyes for you to know . . .” Several important manuscripts (א, A, D) include it, however. But it is easier to see why ὑμῶν would be added later. The context implies that the hearts of the readers and hearers have been enlightened, and this for the purpose that they would know the hope of the calling. In order to make the idea clear, ὑμῶν was likely added. In this case, the omission seems preferable. But, again, the context indicates that the hearts being enlightened are the hearts of the listeners and readers.

And for what purpose might God give them wisdom and revelation? So that they would know three things. First, what the hope of his calling is. Second, what the richness of the glory of his inheritance is in the saints. Third, what the surpassing greatness of his power is for those who believe according to the action of the strength of his might.

For this reason I also do not cease giving thanks for you making mention of you in my prayers after hearing about your own faith in the Lord Jesus and your own love for all the saints, for the purpose that God, our Lord of Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in his knowledge, by enlightening your heart’s eyes, in order for you to know what is the hope of his calling, what the richness of his glorious inheritance is in the saints, and what the surpassing greatness of his power is for us, the ones who believe according to the action of the strength of his might.

It is necessary that we have faith and love but also illumination. We must seek God’s wisdom and revelation, which he will give as he illumines our hearts. As he illumines our hearts, God will enable us to know the hope of his calling, the richness of the glory of his inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of his power. This illumination was so important that Paul felt it necessary to seek for on behalf of his readers. Without this illumination, his readers would not be able to receive the wisdom and revelation of God. Thus, we see in a sense that the revelation and wisdom that comes from God is only available by God as he lights the path. We must all be spiritually enlightened or instructed by God if we are going to be given the wisdom and revelation of God.

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