|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:13-19 The apostle seems to be more anxious lest the believers should be discouraged and faint upon his tribulations, than for what he himself had to bear. He asks for spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings. Strength from the Spirit of God in the inner man; strength in the soul; the strength of faith, to serve God, and to do our duty. If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love of Christ is shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there. Where his Spirit dwells, there he dwells. We should desire that good affections may be fixed in us. And how desirable to have a fixed sense of the love of God in Christ to our souls! How powerfully the apostle speaks of the love of Christ! The breadth shows its extent to all nations and ranks; the length, that it continues from everlasting to everlasting; the depth, its saving those who are sunk into the depths of sin and misery; the height, its raising them up to heavenly happiness and glory. Those who receive grace for grace from Christ's fulness, may be said to be filled with the fulness of God. Should not this satisfy man? Must he needs fill himself with a thousand trifles, fancying thereby to complete his happiness?
Verses 14-21. - PRAYER FOR THEIR SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT. Verse 14. - For this cause. The digression being ended, the apostle takes up the thread broken at ver. 1. We must seek the "cause" in Ephesians 2. Seeing that the Gentiles have now equal privileges with the Jews; seeing that by faith in Christ Gentile Christians have been brought as near to God, and have as good a right to the good things of the covenant; - I take the steps now to be specified for enabling them actually to possess these good things. On the one hand, the apostle saw the believing Ephesians still comparatively poor and needy; on the other hand, he saw all spiritual stores provided for them: the question was how to get the one into contact with the other. For this cause, he says, I bow my knees unto the Father. An emphatic way of denoting prayer; but not incidental, occasional prayer, inspired by some passing feeling; the attitude "bow my knees" denotes deliberate prayer (comp. Daniel 6:10), making a business of it, approaching God with reverence and holy fear, with all the solemnities suitable to the occasion of making a specific and important request. In the A.V. it is "unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The R.V., some of the oldest manuscripts, and most recent commentators omit the latter words, which are supposed to have been taken from Ephesians 1:3. On internal grounds, the omission of the wends seems to yield the best sense, for in Ephesians 2:18 our having access to "the Father" is spoken of, and when the apostle proceeded to show how he availed himself of that privilege, he is not likely to have used more than that expression. Further, there is such a close connection between πατέρα and πατριὰ in ver. 15, that they are not likely to have been far separated as the apostle used them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father,.... That is, pray unto him for the perseverance of the saints; for nothing is more desirable to the ministers of Christ than that; which is the pure gift of God, and is what he has promised, and therefore should be prayed to for it; for what God has designed and promised to his people, he will be sought to; and the apostle's view might be also to stir up these saints to pray for themselves: the gesture he used in prayer was bowing the knees; a man is not tied to any particular gesture or posture in prayer, the main thing is the heart; mere postures and gestures are insignificant things with God; though where the mind is affected, the body will be moved; and this gesture may be expressive of reverence, humility, and submission in prayer: the object he prayed unto is the Father; that is, as follows,
of our Lord Jesus; though these words are wanting in the Alexandrian copy, and Ethiopic version, yet are rightly retained in others; for God is the Father of Christ, not by creation, nor adoption, but by generation, being the only begotten of the Father; and as such he is rightly prayed to, since not only Christ prayed to him as such; but he is the Father of his people in and through Christ; and there is no other way of coming to him but by Christ; and all spiritual blessings come though Christ, and from God, as the Father of Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. For this cause—Resuming the thread of Eph 3:1, "For this cause." Because ye have such a standing in God's Church [Alford].
bow my knees—the proper attitude in humble prayer. Posture affects the mind, and is not therefore unimportant. See Paul's practice (Ac 20:36); and that of the Lord Himself on earth (Lu 22:41).
unto the Father—The oldest manuscripts omit "of our Lord Jesus Christ." But Vulgate and some very old authorities retain them: Eph 3:15, "From whom," in either case, refers to "the Father" (Patera), as "family" (patria, akin in sound and etymology) plainly refers to Him. Still the foundation of all sonship is in Jesus Christ.
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