Ephesians 3:14
For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.—The words “of our Lord Jesus Christ” appear, by both external and internal evidence, to be an interpolation—probably from a gloss indicating (in the true spirit of the Epistle) that the universal Fatherhood here spoken of is derived from the fatherly relation to Him in whom “all things are gathered up.”

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?For this cause - Some suppose that this is a resumption of what he had commenced saying in Ephesians 3:1, but which had been interrupted by a long parenthesis. So Bloomfield explains it. But it seems to me more probable that he refers to what immediately precedes. "Wherefore, that the great work may be carried on, and that the purposes of these my sufferings may be answered in your benefit and glory, I bow my knees to God, and pray to him."

I bow my knees - I pray. The usual, and the proper posture of prayer is to kneel; Compare 2 Chronicles 6:13; Daniel 6:10; Luke 22:21; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:26; Acts 21:5. It is a posture which indicates reverence, and should, therefore, be assumed when we come before God. It has been an unhappy thing that the custom of kneeling in public worship has ever been departed from in the Christian churches.

Unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - To whom, undoubtedly, prayer should ordinarily be addressed. But this does not make it improper to address the Lord Jesus in prayer; see the notes; 7:59-60 on Acts 1:24.

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.

For this cause; this may be referred either to the former verse: {Ephesians 3:13} For this cause, viz. that ye faint not, & c.; or rather to the 1st verse, {Ephesians 3:1} the apostle here resuming what he had been beginning there. 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.

{3} For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(3) He teaches by his own example that the efficacy of the doctrine depends upon the grace of God, and therefore we ought to join prayers with the preaching and hearing of the word. And these are needful not only to those who are youngsters in religion, but even to the oldest also, that as they grow up more and more by faith in Christ, and are confirmed with all spiritual gifts, they may be grounded and rooted in the knowledge of that immeasurable love, with which God the Father has loved us in Christ. And this is because the whole family, of which a part is already received into heaven, and part is yet here on earth, depends upon that adoption of the heavenly Father, in his only Son.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 3:14-15.[182] Τούτου χάριν] on this account, in order that ye may not become disheartened, Ephesians 3:13. Against the view that there is here a resumption of Ephesians 3:1, see on that verse.

κάμπτω κ.τ.λ.] τὴν κατανενυγμένην δέησιν ἐδήλωσεν, Chrysostom. See on Php 2:10. “A signo rem denotat,” Calvin; so that we have not, with Calovius and others, to think of an actual falling on his knees during the writing. Comp. Jerome, who makes reference to the genua mentis.

πρός] direction of the activity: before the Father.

ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα πατριὰ κ.τ.λ.] Instead of saying: before the Father of all angels and men (a designation of God which naturally suggested itself to him as an echo of the great thoughts, Ephesians 3:10 and Ephesians 3:6), Paul expresses himself more graphically by an ingenious paronomasia, which cannot be reproduced in German (πατέραπατριά): from whom every family in heaven and upon earth bears the name, namely, the name πατριά, because God is πατήρ of all these πατριαί. Less simple and exact, because not rendering justice to the purposely chosen expression employed by Paul only here, is the view of de Wette: “every race, i.e. every class of beings which have arisen (?), bears the name of God as its Creator and Father, just as human races bear the name from their ancestor, e.g. the race of David from David.”

ἐξ οὗ] forth from whom; origin of the name, which is derived from God as πατήρ. On ὀνομάζεσθαι ἐκ, comp. Hom. Il. x. 68: πατρόθεν ἐκ γενεῆς ὀνομάζων ἄνδρα ἕκαστον. Xen. Mem. iv. 5. 12: ἔφη δὲ καὶ τὸ διαλέγεσθαι ὀνομασθῆναι ἐκ τοῦ συνιόντας κοινῇ βουλεύεσθαι. Soph. Oed. R. 1036.

πᾶσα πατριά] πατριά, with classical writers ordinarily πάτρα, is equivalent to gens, a body belonging to a common stock, whether it be meant in the narrower sense of a family,[183] or in the wider, national sense of a tribe (Acts 3:25; 1 Chronicles 16:28; Psalm 22:27; Herod. i. 200). In the latter sense here; for every gens in the heavens can only apply to the various classes of angels (which are called πατριαί, not as though there were propagation among them, Matthew 22:30, but because they have God as their Creator and Lord for a Father); as a suitable analogue, however, to the classes of angels, appear on earth not the particular families, but the nationalities. Rightly Chrysostom and his successors explain the word by γενεαί or γένη. The Vulgate has paternitas, a sense indicated also by Jerome, Theodoret, and others. Theodoret says: ὃς ἀληθῶς ὑπάρχει πατὴρ, ὃς οὐ παρʼ ἄλλου τοῦτο λοβὼν ἔχει, ἀλλʼ αὐτὸς τοῖς ἄλλοις μεταδέδωκε τοῦτο. This view (comp. Goth.: “all fadreinis”) is expressed by Luther (approved in the main by Harless): Who is the true Father over all that are called children, etc. But πατριά never means fathership or fatherliness (πατρότης), and what could be the meaning of that. fathership in heaven?[184] ΠᾶΣΑ, every, shows that Paul did not think only of two πατριαί, the totality of the angels and the totality of men (Calvin, Grotius, Wetstein, Koppe, and others), or of the blessed in heaven and the elect on earth (Calovius, Wolf), but of a plurality, as well of angelic as of human πατριαί; and to this extent his conception is, as regards the numerical form, though not as regards the idea of πατριά, different from that of the Rabbins, according to which the angels (with the Cabbalists, the Sephiroth) are designated as familia superior (see Wetstein, p. 247 f.; Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1753; Schoettgen, Horae, p. 1237 f.). Some have even explained πᾶσα πατριά as the whole family, in which case likewise either the angels and men (Michaelis, Zachariae, Morus, Meier, Olshausen, and earlier expositors), or the blessed in heaven and Christians on earth (Beza), have been thought of: but this is on the ground of linguistic usage erroneous. Comp. on Ephesians 2:21.

ὀνομάζεται] bears the name, namely, the name πατριά; see above. The text does not yield anything else;[185] and if many (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Morus, Koppe, and others, including Flatt and Olshausen) have understood the name children of God, this is purely imported. Others have taken “nomen pro re” (Zanchius, Menochius, Estius, et al.), so that ὀνομάζεσθαι would denote existere. So, too, Rückert, according to whom Paul designs to express the thought that God is called the Father, inasmuch as all that lives in heaven and upon earth has from Him existence and name (i.e. dignity and peculiarity of nature). Contrary to linguistic usage; εἶναι ὀνομάζεται must at least have been used in that case instead of ὀνομάζεται (comp. Isaeus, de Menecl. her. 41: τὸν πατέρα, οὗ εἶναι ὠνομάσθην, Plat. Pol. iv. p. 428 E: ὀνομάζονταί τινες εἶναι). Incorrectly also Holzhausen: ὀνομάζειν means to call into existence. Reiche takes ἐξ οὗ ὀνομάζεται (of whom it bears the name) as the expression of the highest dominion and of the befitting reverence due, and refers πᾶσα πατριὰ ἐν οὐρ. to the pairings of the Aeons. The former without linguistic evidence: the latter a hysteroproteron.

[182] On ver. 15, see Reiche, Comm. Crit. p. 156 ff.

[183] To this head belongs also the Jewish-genealogical distinction from φυλή, according to which πατριά denotes a branch of one of the twelve tribes (φυλῶν). See on Luke 2:4. Similarly in the sense of a family-association often with Pindar. On the relation of the word to the kindred φρατρία, see Boeckh, ad Pind. Nem. V. L. iv. 47; Dissen, p. 387; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 5. 4, 10.

[184] Jerome finds it in the archangels, and Theodoret says: οὐρανίους πατέρας τοὺς πνευματικοὺς καλεῖ, and cites 1 Corinthians 4:15.

[185] For the very reason that Paul does not put any defining addition to ὀνομάζεται (in opposition to Reiche’s objection). Nor is it to be objected, with Reiche, that the human πατριά bears the name not from God, but from the human ancestor. This historical relation remains entirely unaffected by the higher thought, that they are called πατριά from the universal, heavenly Father.

REMARK 1.

In ἐξ οὗὀνομάζεται God is certainly characterized as universal Father, as Father of all angel-classes in heaven and all peoples upon earth. Comp. Luther’s gloss: “All angels, all Christians, yea, all men, are God’s children, for He created them all.” But it is not at all meant by the apostle in the bare sense of creation, nor in the rationalistic conception of the all-fatherhood, when he says that every πατριά derives this name ἐκ Θεοῦ, as from its father; but in the higher spiritual sense of the divine Fatherhood and the sonship of God. He thinks, in connection with the ἐξ οὗ, of a higher πατρόθεν than that of the mere creation. For πατριαί, so termed from God as their πατήρ, are not merely all the communities of angels, since these were indeed υἱοὶ Θεοῦ from the beginning, and have not fallen from this υἱότης; but also all nationalities among men, inasmuch as not only the Jews, but also all Gentile nations, have obtained part in the Christian υἱοθεσία, and the latter are συγκληρονόμα καὶ σύσσωμα καὶ συμμέτοχα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ (Ephesians 3:6). If this has not yet become completely realized, it has at any rate already been so partially, while Paul writes; and in God’s counsel it stands ideally as an accomplished fact. On that account Paul says with reason also of every nationality upon earth, that it bears the name πατριά, because God is its Father. Without cause, therefore, Harless has taken offence at the notion of the All-fatherhood, which is here withal clearly though ideally expressed, and given to the passage a limitation to which the all-embracing mode of expression is entirely opposed: “whose name every child [i.e. every true child] in heaven and upon earth bears.” Consequently, as though Paul had written something like: ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα ἀληθινὴ πατριὰ κ.τ.λ. With a like imported limitation Erasmus, Paraphr.: “omnis cognatio spiritualis, qua conglutinantur sive angeli in coelis, sive fideles in terris.”

REMARK 2.

With the non-genuineness of τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ι. Χ. (see the critical remarks) falls also the possibility of referring ἐξ οὗ to Christ (Beza, although with hesitation, Calvin, Zanchius, Hammond, Cramer, Reiche, and others). But if those words were genuine (de Wette, among others, defends them), ἐξ οὗ would still apply to God, because ἐξ οὗ κ.τ.λ. characterizes the fatherly relation, and ἵνα δῷ κ.τ.λ. applies to the Father.

Lastly, polemic references, whether in opposition to the particularism of the Jews (Chrysostom, Calvin, Zanchius, and others), or even in opposition to “scholam Simonis, qui plura principia velut plures Deos introducebat” (Estius), or in opposition to the worship of angels (Michaelis), or in opposition to the Gnostic doctrine of Syzygies (Reiche), are to be utterly dismissed, because arbitrary in themselves and inappropriate to the character and contents of the prayer before us.Ephesians 3:14-19. A paragraph containing an earnest prayer for the inward strengthening of the readers, the presence of Christ in them, their enlargement in the knowledge of the love of Christ, and the realisation in them of the Divine perfections.14–19. The main theme resumed: prayer for the Indwelling of Christ

14. For this cause] The same phrase as that of Ephesians 3:1. See note there. Here the broken connexion is resumed. The “permanent habitation of God” (Ephesians 2:22) is still in the Apostle’s mind, but in another aspect. The thought of the eternal totality, the Church glorified, gives place in a measure to that of the present individuality, the saint’s experience now and here of the consciously welcomed “permanent habitation of Christ in the heart,” with all its spiritual concomitants. The two aspects are complements of each other. Each “living Stone” (1 Peter 2:5) is, as it were, a miniature of the living Temple. In each of them, as if it were an integral microcosm, yet with a view not to itself only but to the final harmony of the whole, Christ works, manifests Himself, and dwells. So, as by the primary and most vital condition, is approached that “far-off divine Event, to which the whole creation moves,”[35] (and the New Creation most directly of all,) and with which the close of ch. 2 has dealt. Meanwhile this prospect, and the present community of the saints, is not absent from this passage, in which we have the great “Family” (Ephesians 3:15), and “all the saints” (Ephesians 3:18); in which plurals are used throughout; and in which the closing sentences (Ephesians 3:20-21) point by the vastness of their language to a more than individual sphere of realization.

[35] In Memoriam, at the end.

I bow my knees] The attitude of prayer, Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5. See too Romans 14:11; Php 2:10. The words, doubtless, do not impose a special bodily posture as a necessity in spiritual worship; physical conditions may make kneeling impossible, or undesirable, on occasion. But they do impose the spiritual attitude of which the bodily is type and expression; profound and submissive reverence, perfectly harmonious with the “boldness” and “confidence” of Ephesians 3:12. And so far as body and spirit work in concord, this recommends the corresponding bodily attitude where there is no distinct reason against it.

the Father] The words, “of our Lord Jesus Christ,” are to be omitted. They appear in very ancient documents, including the Syriac and Latin versions. But the great Latin Father and critic, St Jerome (cent. 4–5), in his comment on this verse, expressly says that the “Latin copies” are in error; and the evidence of both Greek MSS. and patristic quotations preponderates for the omission.Ephesians 3:14. Κάμπτω τὰ γόνατά μου, I bend my knees) If Paul had been present, he would have bent his knees with a breast kindling into a glow of devotion. Acts 20:36.—πατέρα) Its conjugate is πατριά.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. For this cause

Resuming the interrupted clause in Ephesians 3:1, and having still in mind the closing thought of ch. 2. Seeing ye are so built together in Christ, for this cause, etc.

Father

Omit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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