11:33-36 The apostle Paul knew the mysteries of the kingdom of God as well as ever any man; yet he confesses himself at a loss; and despairing to find the bottom, he humbly sits down at the brink, and adores the depth. Those who know most in this imperfect state, feel their own weakness most. There is not only depth in the Divine counsels, but riches; abundance of that which is precious and valuable. The Divine counsels are complete; they have not only depth and height, but breadth and length, Eph 3:18, and that passing knowledge. There is that vast distance and disproportion between God and man, between the Creator and the creature, which for ever shuts us from knowledge of his ways. What man shall teach God how to govern the world? The apostle adores the sovereignty of the Divine counsels. All things in heaven and earth, especially those which relate to our salvation, that belong to our peace, are all of him by way of creation, through him by way of providence, that they may be to him in their end. Of God, as the Spring and Fountain of all; through Christ, to God, as the end. These include all God's relations to his creatures; if all are of Him, and through Him, all should be to Him, and for Him. Whatever begins, let God's glory be the end: especially let us adore him when we talk of the Divine counsels and actings. The saints in heaven never dispute, but always praise.
33. Oh, the depth, &c.—The apostle now yields himself up to the admiring contemplation of the grandeur of that divine plan which he had sketched out.
of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God—Many able expositors render this, "of the riches and wisdom and knowledge," &c. [Erasmus, Grotius, Bengel, Meyer, De Wette, Tholuck, Olshausen, Fritzsche, Philippi, Alford, Revised Version]. The words will certainly bear this sense, "the depth of God's riches." But "the riches of God" is a much rarer expression with our apostle than the riches of this or that perfection of God; and the words immediately following limit our attention to the unsearchableness of God's "judgments," which probably means His decrees or plans (Ps 119:75), and of "His ways," or the method by which He carries these into effect. (So Luther, Calvin, Beza, Hodge, &c.). Besides, all that follows to the end of the chapter seems to show that while the Grace of God to guilty men in Christ Jesus is presupposed to be the whole theme of this chapter, that which called forth the special admiration of the apostle, after sketching at some length the divine purposes and methods in the bestowment of this grace, was "the depth of the riches of God's wisdom and knowledge" in these purposes and methods. The "knowledge," then, points probably to the vast sweep of divine comprehension herein displayed; the "wisdom" to that fitness to accomplish the ends intended, which is stamped on all this procedure.