Our biggest need is to know the love of God.
3:17b-19 – And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Discussion questions for group (If you want them):
Notes / Observations:
This prayer is one long sentence in the Greek.
[ut_togglegroup] [ut_toggle title=”vv.14-15 – Praying to the ultimate Father”] v.14 – This is actually a continuation of 3:1, where Paul got distracted.
vv.14-15 – A helpful insight into these verses (I think) is that Paul is “the thought is not that God is the Father of all, but that he is the prototype of all fatherhood. His relation to his own children (and, we might add, firstly to his Son) is the pattern of all other social relationships.” (Beare) This helps us reorient out bearings when it comes to Fatherhood, and define it not from what we have experienced, but from what the creator and author of Fatherhood defines it to be.[/ut_toggle] [ut_toggle title=”vv.16-19 – What Paul thinks we need most”] v.16 – The “inner man” is a reference to the regenerate heart of the Christian (Jer 31, Ezek 36, John 3) not some sort of state of higher being.
vv.16-17 – There’s a trinitarian nature to how Paul prays. The Father strengthens through His Spirit sending the Son to dwell in our hearts.
v.17 – “Being rooted and firmly established in love” are passive participles…that may not mean much to people apart from grammar nerds, but what Paul is saying is that the Ephesians have already, through no effort of themselves, been planted in love. God’s put them there, keeps them there, and Paul’s prayer is that God will grow them in their understanding of where God has put them.
vv.18-19 – The prayer isn’t for just the Ephesians, but for all those who know God. Paul wants them to know God’s love, & Jesus love, in all its fullness, so that they may be “filled”.
It’s fascinating that in Paul’s prayer so far, it’s nearly exclusively for the Ephesians to know God’s work & love in them. This is the point that all their ethical behaviour will flow from.[/ut_toggle] [ut_toggle title=”vv.20-21 – Paul’s doxology”] v.20-21 – O’Brian has a really nice word on these verses. He says that it’s impossible to ask God for too much since the Father’s capacity for giving exceeds our capacity ask…or even imagine. Beautiful.
v.21 – Praying for God to have glory is not to try and add to his glory, but to be able to witness to that glory, ourselves and to others. Like CS Lewis puts it, it’s looking through the telescope to magnify the magnificence of the stars.