Ephesians 1:17
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(17) The God of our Lord Jesus Christ.—See John 20:17, “I ascend unto My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God.” It has been noted that, while on the cross, our Lord, in the cry, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” adopted the common human language of the Psalmist, He here, after His resurrection, distinguished emphatically between His peculiar relation to God the Father and that relation in which we His members call God “our Father.” St. Paul’s usual phrase (see above, Ephesians 1:3) is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;” the phrase here used is unique, probably substituted for the other on account of the use of the word “Father” in the next clause. It refers, of course, entirely to our Lord’s nature as the true Son of Man. In that respect God is in the full sense (which in us is interrupted by sin) His God, in whom He lived and had His being. In proportion as we are conformed to His likeness, “God is our God for ever and ever.”

The Father of glory.—Better, of the glory. This phrase is again unique. We have, indeed, such phrases as “Father of Mercies” (2Corinthians 1:3), “Father of Lights” (James 1:17); and, on the other hand, “the King of Glory” (Psalm 28:5), “the God of Glory” (Acts 7:2), “the Lord of Glory” (1Corinthians 2:8; James 2:1). In all these last instances “the glory” seems certainly to be the Shechinah of God’s manifested presence, and in all cases but one is ascribed to our Lord. But “the Father of the glory,” seems a phrase different from all these. I cannot help connecting it with the missing element in the preceding clause, and believing (with some old interpreters), in spite of the strangeness of expression, that God is here called “the Father of the glory” of the incarnate Deity in Jesus Christ (see John 1:14), called in 2Corinthians 4:6, “the glory of God in the face (or person) of Jesus Christ.” (See Excursus A to St. John’s Gospel: On the Doctrine of the Word; dealing with the identification of “the Word” with the Shechinah by the Jewish interpreters). The prayer which follows connects the knowledge of the glory of our inheritance with the exaltation of our Lord in glory.

The knowledge of him.—The word here rendered “knowledge” signifies “perfect and thorough knowledge;” and the verb corresponding to it is used distinctively in this sense in Luke 1:4; 1Corinthians 13:12. It is employed by St. Paul more especially in his later Epistles (Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 3:10), dealing as they do with the deeper things of God, and assuming more of a contemplative tone. It is represented here as coming from distinct “revelation.”

1:15-23 God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom. Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke, though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do we not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ - The God who has sent the Lord Jesus into the world, and appointed him as the Mediator between himself and man. The particular reason why Paul here speaks of him as "the God of the Lord Jesus" is, that he prays that they might be further acquainted with the Redeemer, and be enlightened in regard to the great work which he came to do.

The Father of glory - The glorious Father, that is, the Father who is worthy to be praised and honored.

May give unto you the Spirit of wisdom - May make you wise to understand the great doctrines of the religion of the Redeemer.

And revelation - That is, revealing to you more and more of the character of the Redeemer, and of the nature and results of his work. It is probable here that by the word "Spirit" the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit as the Author of all wisdom, and the Revealer of all truth. His prayer is, that God would grant to them the Holy Spirit to make them wise, and to reveal his will to them.

In the knowledge of him - Margin, "for the acknowledgment." That is, in order that you may more fully acknowledge him, or know him more intimately and thoroughly. They had already made high attainments Ephesians 1:15, but Paul felt that they might make still higher; and the idea here is, that however far Christians may have advanced in knowledge and in love, there is an unfathomed depth of knowledge which they may still explore, and which they should be exhorted still to attempt to fathom. How far was Paul from supposing that the Ephesians had attained to perfection!

17. A fit prayer for all Christians.

the God of our Lord Jesus—appropriate title here; as in Eph 1:20-22 he treats of God's raising Jesus to be Head over all things to the Church. Jesus Himself called the Father "My God" (Mt 27:46).

the Father of glory—(Compare Ac 7:2). The Father of that infinite glory which shines in the face of Christ, who is "the glory" (the true Shekinah); through whom also "the glory of the inheritance" (Eph 1:18) shall be ours (Joh 17:24; 2Co 3:7-4:6).

the spirit of wisdom—whose attribute is infinite wisdom and who works wisdom in believers (Isa 11:2).

and revelation—whose function it is to reveal to believers spiritual mysteries (Joh 16:14, 15; 1Co 2:10).

in the knowledge—rather, as Greek (see on [2362]1Co 13:12), "in the full knowledge of Him," namely, God.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; he is the God of Christ not according to Christ’s Divine nature, but his human, and as Mediator, in which respect he was subject to the Father.

The Father of glory; the most glorious Father, and the Author of all glory and glorious things, and to whom all glory is due.

May give unto you the spirit of wisdom; a greater measure (for some they already had) of faith, {as Ephesians 1:8, where it is called wisdom} or of the knowledge of the things of God, whereof the Spirit is the Author. God is said to give or send the Spirit, where the Spirit works effectually; and, so to give the Spirit of wisdom, where the Spirit effectually works that wisdom.

And revelation: by revelation he means not extraordinary, such as the prophets had, but ordinary, such as was common to believers, and expresseth the manner of the Spirit’s working this wisdom, that he doth it by removing the covering or veil of natural ignorance, {Psalm 119:18 Luke 24:45} shining into the mind, and making it see what before it saw not; sometimes new objects, sometimes new excellencies in objects before known. Thus the Spirit works not only in the beginning of faith and spiritual knowledge, but in its further progress he lets in new light into the mind, and removes some remaining degree of natural darkness.

In the knowledge, or acknowledgment, which may imply an ownng, approving, and embracing things before known.

Of him; i.e. God or Christ, or God in Christ: and so either he declares here wherein the wisdom he mentioned consists, viz. the knowledge of God and Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: or rather, the end of that wisdom and revelation, viz. the acknowledgment of God or Christ, when we so know him, as to own him as ours, to embrace, and love, and wholly subject ourselves to him, Colossians 1:9,10.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,.... In what sense God the Father is the God of Christ; see Gill on Ephesians 1:3.

The Father of glory; or the glorious Father; who is glorious in himself, in the perfections of his nature, and in the works of his hands; and as a father, he is a glorious father to Christ, and is a father to him, as he is to none else; and has been honoured and glorified by Christ, and from whom Christ as man has received much honour and glory: and he is a glorious father to the saints, to whom he has shown inexpressible love, by adopting them into his family; and pities them, as a father does his children; takes care of them, and protects them, and makes a glorious provision for them; not only of good things now, but of an eternal inheritance hereafter: and he may be so called, because he is the author and giver of eternal glory and happiness; and because all glory is due unto him: the Arabic version reads, "God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory", making all these epithets to belong to Christ:

may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him; this was one part of the apostle's prayers for the saints at Ephesus, that they might increase in divine knowledge; either in the knowledge of God, as the God of Christ, and the Father of glory, and as their God and Father in Christ; or of God, as considered in Christ the Mediator; or else of Christ himself: and designs not a notional and speculative knowledge of Christ, but what is practical and experimental; and which is joined with love of him, faith in him, and obedience to him; and which is not only approbative, but fiducial and appropriating; and though it is but imperfect, yet is progressive; and for the progression of it, the apostle prays; for it is certain, that these saints had a knowledge of Christ, but this was not perfect; and a larger measure of it was desirable: and in order to this, he prays for the Spirit, as a "spirit of wisdom"; who implants spiritual wisdom in the hearts of men, and instructs them in the Gospel, the hidden wisdom of God, leads them into all truths, and opens to them the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, which are hid in Christ, the wisdom of God; and as a spirit of "revelation"; who reveals Christ and the things of Christ, at first conversion; and afterwards reveals him and his righteousness, and other benefits of his more largely, even from faith to faith; and gives a clearer view of interest in them: hence it appears, that the Spirit is the gift of God; and that all spiritual light and knowledge, and the increase of it, are owing to him.

{18} That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of {u} glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the {x} knowledge of him:

(18) The causes of faith are God the Father enlightening our minds with his Holy Spirit, so that we may embrace Christ revealed to us in the Gospel, to the obtaining of everlasting life, and the setting forth of God's glory.

(u) Full of majesty.

(x) For it is not enough for us to have known God once, but we must know him every day more and more.

Ephesians 1:17. Ἵνα ὁ Θεὸς κ.τ.λ.] contains the design cherished by Paul in the μνείανπροσευχ. μου: in order that God might give you, etc. In this expressed design is implied the intercessory tenor of the μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι; hence ἵνα is not here to be deprived of its notion of design, nor is it to be explained (Harless; comp. Rückert, Olshausen, Winer, and others) by supplying before it the conception of “praying.” The apostle would say that what he has heard of their faith, etc., induces him to unceasing thanksgiving on their behalf, while he makes mention of it in his prayers to the end that God might give them, etc. The telic ὅπως, Philemon 1:6, stands in another connection than the ἵνα in our passage. See on Philem. l.c. The optative δῷη (on this form of later Greek instead of δοίη, see Buttmann, I. p. 507; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 346) is used, because the design is thought of as subjective conception and expectation, the realization of which is dependent entirely upon the will of God, and consequently belongs only to the category of what is wished and possible. On ἵνα with an optative[110] after the present or future, see, generally, Hermann, ad Soph. El. 57; ad Aj. 1217; Reisig, ad Oed. Ch. p. 168 ff.; Bernhardy, p. 407; and especially Klotz, ad Devar. p. 622 ff.

ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . Χ.] for God has sent Christ—who, having before all time proceeded from His essential nature (Colossians 1:15), was the creative organ of the Father—forth in the fulness of the time in pursuance of His decree, to which the Son was obedient (Php 2:8), has given Him up to death, raised and exalted Him, and is continually the Head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3), who even as σύνθρονος of the Father is subordinate to the Father (Romans 8:34), and finally will give back to God the dominion which God has given to Him (1 Corinthians 15:27-28). In the consciousness of His relation of dependence on God, Christ Himself calls the Father Θεός μου, John 20:17; Matthew 27:46. Comp. Colossians 2:2, Lachm. The opinion extorted in the anti-Arian interest from the Fathers (see Suicer, Thes. I. p. 944), that ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ κυρ. applies to Christ’s human nature, and ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης to the divine (δόξαν γὰρ τὴν θείαν φύσιν ὠνόμασεν! Theodoret and Oecumenius; comp. even Bengel and Bisping), is to be mentioned only as matter of history, as are also the forced construction, to which Menochius and Vatablus were induced by a like prejudice to resort, that Θεὸς and τῆς δόξης are to be taken together (τοῦ κυρίουπατήρ being inserted), and the at least more skilful turn of Estius: “Deus, qui est Domini nostri Jesu Christi pater gloriosus.”

ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης] the Father (namely, of Christians) to whom the glory (the majesty κατʼ ἐξοχήν) belongs. See on Acts 7:2, and 1 Corinthians 2:8. The resolution into an adjective pater gloriosus (Beza, Calvin, Estius, Michaelis, and others) is in itself arbitrary, does not exhaust the eminent sense of ἡ δόξα, and fails to perceive the oratorical force (Hermann, ad Viger. p. 887) of the substantival designation. Others take πατήρ in the derived sense of auctor (Erasm. Paraphr.; Bucer, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Wolf, and others, including Holzhausen and Olshausen), so that God is designated as He, from whom the glory of the Christians (according to Grotius: of Christ and the Christians) proceeds. Certainly the idea of auctor may be expressed, specially in the more elevated style, by πατήρ (Job 38:28; Jam 1:17, where the φῶτα are personified; Pind. Pyth. iv. 313, where Orpheus is called ἀοιδᾶν πατήρ; and see Ast, Lex Plat. III. p. 66; Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat. p. 392 f.; John 8:44 is not here applicable); but as this is nowhere else done by Paul, so here he has no reason for resorting to such an usage, to which besides the analogous expressions, Θεὸς τῆς δόξης (Psalm 29:3; Acts 7:2), βασιλεὺς τῆς δόξης (Psalm 24:7), κύριος τῆς δόξης (1 Corinthians 2:8), Χερουβὶμ δόξης (Hebrews 9:5), are opposed. We may add, that the description of God by ὁ Θεὸςδόξης stands in appropriate relation to the design of the intercession; for of the God of Christ and Father of glory it is to be expected that He will do that, which the cause of Christ demands, and which serves to the manifestation of His own glory. Oecumenius rightly remarks: καὶ πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον ὀνομάζει τὸν Θεόν.

πνεῦμα σοφίας κ. ἀποκαλύψ.] The Holy Spirit, too (for it is not the human spirit that is here meant, as Michaelis, Rückert, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek would take it[111]), Paul is wont to characterize πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον, Romans 7:2; Romans 7:15; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:7. Here: the Spirit who works wisdom and gives revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10). The latter is a greater result of the work of the Spirit,[112] in accordance with which He not only by His enlightening operation furnishes wisdom (γνῶσις θείων κ. ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων καὶ τῶν τούτων αἰτίων, 4Ma 1:16; conceived of, however, by Paul in reference to the Christian economy of salvation, comp. Ephesians 1:8), but further, as the organ of God, effects also special revelations of divine saving truths and purposes not otherwise known. Harless regards κ. ἀποκαλ. as the objective medium, which brought about the state of σοφία, so that the character of the σοφία is more precisely defined by κ. ἀποκαλ. But in passages like Romans 1:5, χάριν κ. ἀποστολήν, Romans 11:29, τὰ χαρίσματα κ. ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ Θεοῦ, the discourse advances from the general to the special, not from the thing itself to its objective medium. Logically more natural, besides, would be the advance from the objective medium to the subjective state, according to which Paul would have written: ἀποκαλύψεως καὶ σοφίας. Finally, the climactic relation, which is brought out in the two words under our view, makes the wish of the apostle appear more fervid and full, and so more in keeping with his mood. It is obvious of itself, we may add, that Paul here desires for his readers, to whom in fact the Spirit has been already given from the time of their conversion (Ephesians 1:13), a continued bestowal of the same for their ever increasing Christian enlightenment. Comp. Colossians 1:9. Baur, p. 437, conjectures here something of a Montanistic element. But it was not by the Montanists that the πνεῦμα was first regarded as the principle of Christian wisdom, etc.; it is so already in the teaching of the whole N.T.

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ] That αὐτοῦ does not apply to Christ (Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Baumgarten, Flatt), but to God (although we have not to write αὑτοῦ), is clear from the αὐτοῦ of Ephesians 1:18-19; it is only at Ephesians 1:20 that the discourse passes over to Christ. Nor is ἐν ἐπιγν. αὐτοῦ, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Zachariae, Koppe (with hesitation), Lachmann, Olshausen (who was forced to this by his explaining πνεῦμα σοφ. κ. ἀποκαλ. in the sense of extraordinary charismata), to be attached to what follows, whereby the parallelism (πνεῦμα σοφ. κ. ἀποκ. is parallel with πεφωτ. τ. ὀφθ. τ. καρδ. ὑμ., and ἐν ἐπιγν. αὐτ. with εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι κ.τ.λ.) would without reason be destroyed (see Harless); but it denotes the sphere of mental activity, in which they, already at work therein (and that likewise through the Spirit, Ephesians 1:13), are to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Comp. 2 Peter 1:2. Erroneously ἐν is taken for εἰς (Luther, Castalio, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Wolf, Bengel, Moldenhauer, Rosenmüller, and others), or as per (Erasmus, Calovius, and others), which latter would represent the knowledge of God as bringing about the communication of the Spirit, and so invert the state of the case. No doubt Calovius remarks: “quo quis magis agnoscit Christum, eo sapientior fit et revelationem divini verbi magis intelligit;” but the question is one, not of an agnitio, but of a cognitio, and not of understanding the revelation of the word, but of a revelation to be received through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

In ἐπίγνωσις observe the force of the compound, which implies an exact and penetrating γνῶσις, as is very evident especially from 1 Corinthians 13:12, and is wrongly denied by Olshausen.[113] Comp. Colossians 1:9.

[110] Lachmann and Rückert (as also Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 230) write δώῃ with an iota subscriptum under η, so that it would thus be the Ionic subjunctive (Od. xii. 216). But often as the aorist subjunctive of δίδωμι occurs in the N.T., this Homeric form never presents itself. The form δῷ in B is a manifest emendation.

[111] Rückert: “God grant you a heart wise and open for His revelations;” de Wette: “the quality of mind which consists in wisdom (mediate knowledge) and revelation (susceptibility for the immediate knowledge of divine truth).” According to Schenkel, it is the spirit wrought in the regenerate by the Holy Spirit. All this is opposed to the N.T. use of πνεῦμα with the genitivus abstracti. And nowhere in the N.T., where the being given is predicated of the πνεῦμα, is it anything else than the objective πν., whether it be divine or demoniacal (Luke 11:13; John 3:34; Acts 8:18; Acts 15:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; Ephesians 1:17. ἵνα ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the parallel passage in Colossians 1:9 the ἵνα is preceded immediately by αἰτούμενοι, and has the reduced or sub-telic force which it has after verbs of asking, expressing the content of the prayer, but that in the light of purport. Here the ἵνα relates to the general idea of the sentence, instead of being immediately dependent on any verb for asking. It has more of the idea of purpose, therefore, in it. It is to be admitted, however, that in NT Greek the proper telic sense of ἵνα is seen in the process of weakening and passing over into the force of ἵνα as the sign of the inf. in modern Greek. Yet, even when expressing simple result or event, it has behind it the Hebrew idea of events as the results of Divine purpose cf. Blass, Gram. of N.T. Greek, pp. 224, 225; Buttm., Gram. of N.T. Greek, pp. 236–241; Ell. on Php 1:9. It is most usual for Paul to speak of God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ or as His God and Father. Here he speaks simply of “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”. The designation, though misunderstood and misapplied by the Arians and their successors in modern times, is entirely consistent with Christ’s own words (Matthew 27:46; John 20:17) and with the highest view of His Person. In the Eternal Godhead the Son has His life from the Father, the One Fount of Deity, and is subordinate in the sense in which son is subordinate to father, while He has the same Divine being. In the ministry of redemption our Lord, while the Son of the Eternal Father, is the Christ of God, God being revealed in Him, sending Him (Galatians 4:4), exalting Him (Php 2:9), receiving back the kingdom from Him (1 Corinthians 15:24). In respect of His mission, His mediation, His official work and relations, He has God as His God, whose commission He bears and whose redeeming purpose He is to fulfil.—ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης: the Father of glory. This is not to be taken in the reduced sense of “the glorious Father”. On the other hand it is not to be dealt with as if the δόξα referred to Christ’s divinity, as in the exigencies of the controversy with Arian views some were driven to interpret it, arguing that the one phrase, “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” applied to His human nature and the other, “the Father of the glory,” to His divine nature (Athan., Greg. Naz.). Nor yet, again, is δόξα to be regarded as referring to Christ’s glorified humanity (Stier). Taking the δόξης in its proper sense and with the full force of the gen. case, some give the πατήρ the sense of author or maker, understanding God to be designated as the Source of glory (Erasm., Grot., Olsh., etc.). For this some appeal to such instances as Job 38:28; Jam 1:17. But that is at the best a rare sense of πατήρ and one otherwise unknown to Paul. More is to be said in favour of the idea that the gen. designates God as the Father who gives glory, the glory bestowed on Christ Himself (cf. Acts 3:13) no less than that reserved for Christians. It is best, however, to take it as the gen. of characteristic quality—the Father to whom glory belongs (Mey., Ell., etc.); cf. the same designation in Psalm 29:3; Acts 7:2; also “the King of glory,” Psalm 24:7; “the Lord of glory,” 1 Corinthians 2:8; “the cherubims of glory,” Hebrews 9:5, etc. The appropriateness of the title here lies in the preceding definition of the final end of God’s counsel and grace—εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ.—δῴη ὑμῖν: may give unto you. Lachm., Fritzsche (Rom., iii. 230) and Haupt (who refers to the confirmation furnished recently by two inscriptions of the second century given in Dittenb., Syll., 46217, 4669) give the Ionic conj. δώῃ; WH give δώῃ vel δῷ in the margin, but δῴη in the text. The latter form is to be preferred, although opinion is still divided to some extent on the conj. and opt. forms. Blass, e.g., takes the δώῃ in the present passage to be really a conj. and to be best represented by the δῷ of Cod. B. He is inclined to regard the forms δοῖ, δώῃ as both conj. and opt. (Gram. of N.T. Greek, pp. 49, 211). As in the NT ἵνα in the vast majority of cases is followed by the conj. or the fut. indic. even after past tenses, it would be most natural to accept the conj. form here. But this Ionic form of the conj. appears to be strange to the NT and to be “without analogies in later Greek” (Butt., Gram. of N.T. Greek, p. 46). On the other hand, the form δῴη seems to be recognised as a later Greek equivalent to δοίη, and Winer accepts it as an opt. pres. in NT Greek, pointing to such passages as Romans 15:5; 2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:18 (Ephesians 2:7); John 15:16, as well as Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 3:16, and the comp. ἀποδῴη of 2 Timothy 4:14 (Win.-Moult, Gram., p. 94.—πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως: the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The question here is whether the πνεῦμα is to be understood in the subjective sense of our spirit, or in the objective sense of the Holy Spirit. The former view is adopted by Chrys., Thdrt., Rückert, De Wette, Bleek, and more recently by Abbott and the Revisers, the RV rendering being “a spirit of wisdom and revelation”. This is urged on the analogy of such occurrences as Romans 8:15; Romans 11:8; Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 1:7. But there is much against this. As Meyer points out, it is doubtful whether in the NT there is any case in which, when the πνεῦμα is spoken of as given, it is not the objective πνεῦμα. But apart from this, the matter in view is what the Ephesians were themselves to be, not what they were to do for others, and although it is easy enough to suit the subjective view of the πνεῦμα σοφίας (“a wise spirit”) to this, the difficulty is to adjust to this the subjective view of the πνεῦμα ἀποκάλυψεως. The fatal objection, indeed, to the interpretation in question lies in the sense of the ἀποκάλυψις, which has the stated meaning not of understanding mysteries but of disclosing them; and the tenor of the paragraph makes it impossible to suppose that in the one case, that of the σοφία, Paul had in view a gift that was to make themselves wise, and in the other, the ἀποκάλυψις, a gift that was to render them capable of disclosing mysteries to others. How difficult it is to give ἀποκάλυψις its proper sense on the subjective view appears from the renderings proposed, e.g., De Wette’s, Rückert’s, or Abbott’s. The first makes it = “the quality of mind which consists in wisdom (mediate knowledge) and revelation (susceptibility for the immediate knowledge of divine truth)”; the second takes it as = “a wise heart and open for His revelation”; the third gives “a spirit of wisdom,” but leaves the rest unattempted. But ἀποκάλυψις is not a susceptibility for knowledge, nor a mind open to revelation, nor anything like that. It is necessary, therefore, to take πνεῦμα as = the Holy Spirit, with Mey., Ell., Haupt. and most. The fact that the phrase is πνεῦμα and not τὸ πνεῦμα is no objection to that. The attempts made by Middleton, Harless, and others to make out an established distinction between the two forms, the one referring regularly to the personal Spirit of God and the other to the indwelling influence of the Spirit or the spirit of the believers as ruled by the Holy Spirit, cannot be regarded as successful; the terms πνεῦμα, πνεῦμα ἅγιον, πνεῦμα Θεοῦ being free to drop the article as proper names or terms of understood meaning. But what is the particular idea then in each of the two words σοφία and ἀποκάλυψις? It cannot be that the latter refers specifically to the χάρισμα of prophecy (so Olsh., etc.). For that is presented as a gift bestowed only on some, whereas the prayer here contemplates gifts for all those addressed, and there is nothing to indicate that a gift for the time being only is in view. Nor can it well be that the second noun expresses the means by which the gift intimated by the first noun was to take effect,—the gift of revelation bringing about the gift of wisdom (Harl.); for we should expect the order in that case to be reversed. The distinction between the terms is rather that of the gift of spiritual understanding generally and the gift of special revelations in particular, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10; and so far the second is the higher idea. What Paul prays for on behalf of these Ephesian converts is that God might continue to bestow upon them the gift of His Holy Spirit already imparted to them, and that to the effect both of making them wise to understand the things of His grace and of disclosing to them more of the mysteries of His kingdom.—ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ: in the knowledge of him. The αὐτοῦ refers to God, as the context shows, not to Christ. The term ἐπίγνωσις occurs with special frequency in the Epistles of the Captivity and in 2 Peter with reference to the knowledge of God or of Christ, as in the Pastoral Epistles and Hebrews it is used of the knowledge of the truth. It means a knowledge that is true, accurate, thorough, and so might be rendered “full knowledge,” notwithstanding the fact that the simple γνῶσις may be used at times in much the same sense (as possibly in 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 13:8). The use of γινώσκω and ἐπιγινώσκω in 1 Corinthians 13:12 points to the intensive sense of the compound form. The ἐν is not to be dealt with as = εἰς (Grot.) or διά (Beza), but must have either the instrumental sense or the local. It was by the knowledge of God Himself, or, as it may be better put, within the sphere of that knowledge that the gift of enlightenment and the reception of further disclosures of the Divine Counsel were to make themselves good. The only gifts desired for these converts were gifts of a spiritual order, meaning a better acquaintance with God Himself. The clause ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ is connected by some (Chrys., Lachm., Olsh., etc.) with the sentence which follows, and by others only with the ἀποκαλύψεως. But the course of thought and the balance of the terms point to it as qualifying the two gifts specified in the preceding sentence.

17. the God of our Lord Jesus Christ] Cp. the Saviour’s own words on the Cross, “Eli, Eli” (Matthew 27:46); and after Resurrection (John 20:17), “I ascend unto … my God.” See also John 4:22.—The Father is the God of the Son Incarnate, in a sense which, however partially, we may be said to understand. Hence in the two passages just quoted, where the Death and the Resurrection of the Incarnate One Who could not “taste death” except as Incarnate (Hebrews 2:9), are respectively in view, the thought is specially in point; and so also in a passage like this, where the Saviour’s exaltation after death is before us. There may also lie in the phrase here the thought that He is “the God of our Lord” in the sense of being the God revealed and known through our Lord.

the Father of glory] Not merely “the glorious Father,” but the Father who is the Origin and King of all that is meant by eternal “glory.” Cp. the words “the Lord of glory” (James 2:1), used of the Son. Alford suggests that the “glory” here involves the thought of Christ as the true Shechinah, in whom the true glory of Godhead shines forth; who is thus the true “Glory of God.” But the suggestion, beautiful and true in itself, appears far-fetched here. Cp. the phrase “Father of mercies,” 2 Corinthians 1:3, to illustrate the interpretation above.

may give] Lit., might give. The writer records his object as it was when he last prayed.

the spirit] R. V., “a spirit.” The Gr. has no article, but this does not settle the question, for (not to speak of other grammatical reasons) the article is often omitted with well-known words, such as God, and Christ. And in passages where certainly “the Holy Spirit” is meant, we have the same omission; see esp. the LXX. of Isaiah 11:2, where lit., “A spirit of God shall rest upon Him, a spirit of wisdom and intelligence, &c.;” a close verbal parallel to this passage.—The Scripture use of the word “spirit” seems to us to favour the reference here to the Holy Spirit. The word is rarely if ever in Scripture used in the loose modern sense of “sentiment,” “tendency,” or the like, but far rather of personal spirits—the spirit of man, in or out of the body; spirits, good or evil, not human; and The Spirit of God. And the idea of Gift is deeply connected with this last, very usually betokening the impartation to man, in whatever mode, of the Holy Spirit in His presence and power, whether for lower effects and purposes (as e.g. Exodus 28:3), or for the highest.—Romans 11:8 is an exception; “God hath given them the (or a) spirit of slumber.” But even there the reference is probably to a personal spiritual agent.

It may be asked, was not the Holy Spirit already “given” to these saints? Yes, undoubtedly. But where spirit is concerned we must be cautious how we insist too much on logical inferences from forms of expression. We are not to think of the “coming” of the Spirit as a literal passage through space to a locality, but a manifestation of His power in human subjects in a new way. Similarly we are not to think of the “giving” of the Spirit as of an isolated deposit of what, once given, is now locally in possession. The first “gift” is, as it were, the first point in a series of actions of which each one may be expressed also as a gift. Not infrequently in Scripture spiritual processes are viewed as beginning at what is more precisely a point of new development.

Practically, the bearing of this passage is not greatly affected by the question of “a” or “the”. The work would in any case be immediately done by the Holy Spirit, and would take the form of a developed experience in the spirit of the Christian.

in the knowledge of him] Precisely, in full, or thorough, knowledge; epignôsis, more than gnôsis. The same word is used, e.g. Romans 3:20; Romans 10:2; Colossians 2:2; and the cognate verb, e. g. 1 Corinthians 13:12.—The tendency of the word in N. T. usage is to denote knowledge which is not merely intellectual, but of the nature of spiritual experience.—“Of Him:—of the Father, to Whom similar pronouns throughout the passage plainly refer. To know Him (in and with the Son) is the inmost secret of “life eternal”(John 17:3; cp. Matthew 11:27). “Philosophy, taking, as it must, man for its centre, says to him, Know thyself. But the inspired Word, which alone can originate with God, is alone able to say to man, Know God” (Monod, after Pascal).

This Divine knowledge is the region, so to speak, “in” which the “wisdom and unveiling” just spoken of are to grow and work.

Ephesians 1:17. Ἵνα, that) A subject of prayer for true Christians.—ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης, the Father of glory) That infinite glory, which shines in the face of Christ; nay, more, [the Father] of the glory, which is the Son of God Himself; by whom also the glorious inheritance will become ours, Ephesians 1:18.—Πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation) The same Spirit, who is the Spirit of promise, is, in the progress of believers, also the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Wisdom works wisdom in us; revelation knowledge.—ἐν, in) Construe with may give.—αὐτοῦ, of Him) God.

Verse 17. - That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. The invocations of Paul - the terms by which he calls on God - are always significant, involving a plea for the blessings sought. God, as "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ," gave to him the Holy Spirit without measure, and might well, therefore, be asked and expected to give the gifts of the same Spirit to those who were "in him" - one with him as members of his body. Being also the "Father of glory," and having glorified Jesus, even after his suffering, with the glory which he had with him before the world began, he might well be asked and expected to glorify his people too. May give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of him. "Spirit" here is neither exclusively the Holy Spirit nor the spirit of man, but the complex idea of the spirit of man dwelt in and moved by the Spirit of God (Alford). Wisdom seems to denote the general gift of spiritual illumination; revelation, capacity of apprehending the revealed - of perceiving the drift and meaning of what God makes known, so that it may be a real revelation to us (comp. Matthew 13:11). Ἐπιγνώσει is something more than mere γνώσει - full knowledge of Christ, implying that it is in becoming better acquainted with Christ that we get the spirit of wisdom and revelation. In seeking to know Christ more, we are in the true way to get more insight into all that is Divine (croup. John 14:9). The importance of seeking more knowledge, even after we have believed and been settled by the Holy Spirit, is here apparent; a growing knowledge is a most healthful feature of Christian life. "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Ephesians 1:17God of our Lord Jesus Christ

Compare John 20:17; Matthew 27:46, and see on Ephesians 1:3.

Father of glory (ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης)

The Father to whom the glory belongs. Note the article, the glory, preeminently. Compare Acts 7:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8. See Psalm 18:3, "who is worthy to be praised;" where the Hebrew is is praised. The exact phrase has no parallel in Scripture.

The Spirit of wisdom and revelation

Spirit has not the article, but the reference is to the Holy Spirit. Compare Matthew 12:28; Luke 1:15, Luke 1:35, Luke 1:41; Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2. Wisdom and revelation are special forms of the Spirit's operation. He imparts general illumination (wisdom) and special revelations of divine mysteries. The combination of two words with an advance in thought from the general to the special is characteristic of Paul. Compare grace and apostleship, Romans 1:5; gifts and calling, Romans 11:29; wisdom and prudence, Ephesians 1:8, wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2:3.

In the knowledge of Him (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ)

The sphere in which they will receive God's gift of wisdom and revelation. To know God is to be wise. The condition is not merely acknowledgment, but knowledge. Ἑπίγνωσις knowledge is never ascribed to God in the New Testament. Of Him refers to God.

Ephesians 1:17 Interlinear
Ephesians 1:17 Parallel Texts

Ephesians 1:17 NIV
Ephesians 1:17 NLT
Ephesians 1:17 ESV
Ephesians 1:17 NASB
Ephesians 1:17 KJV

Ephesians 1:17 Bible Apps
Ephesians 1:17 Parallel
Ephesians 1:17 Biblia Paralela
Ephesians 1:17 Chinese Bible
Ephesians 1:17 French Bible
Ephesians 1:17 German Bible

Bible Hub

Ephesians 1:16
Top of Page
Top of Page