Spiritual Knowledge
Ephesians 1:17-19
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…

After thankfully recognizing the faith and love of the Christians he is addressing, St. Paul describes his prayers for their further endowment with Divine graces, and shows that he is especially anxious that they should receive a Spirit of wisdom. Possibly the Christians of Ephesus and its neighborhood were backward on the intellectual side of the spiritual life; but more probably wisdom was desirable for them just because they were exceptionally capable of high thinking, and would therefore profit above others by enjoying the light of heavenly revelation. In any case, it is to be observed that faith and love are the more essential graces; that they must precede wisdom and knowledge, which are not, as is often assumed, to be expected as the first and fundamental grounds of religion; but that, nevertheless, the intellectual side of religion is important as an addition to the moral.


1. This knowledge comes from God. St. Paul makes it a matter of prayer. It is not to be attained, then, merely by intellectual culture, nor even by our own spiritual experience alone.

2. It is given as a revelation. In revelation God makes known what was naturally and previously hidden. While the curtain is drawn no guesses can tell what lies behind it. Speculation, unaided by revelation, is as much at sea in discussing the unseen universe today as it was at the dawn of Greek philosophy.

3. It results from an inspiration of the Spirit of God. We receive a "Spirit of wisdom." The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of knowledge, leading us into all truth, at once purging us of the sin that blinds our vision, quickening the life within to a more keen sensitiveness, and bringing us into that sympathetic state in regard to spiritual things which makes us feel their presence and understand their character.

II. THE ORGAN OF SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE. The eyes of our heart have to be enlightened that we may know spiritual things.

1. The heart has its eyes. There is an inner sight. This is not merely speculative. It is alive with feeling; it is in the heart. Thus the poet will see what the naturalist overlooks; the mother will know her children as the schoolmaster cannot know them; the saint will have visions of Divine truth to which the philosopher is blind.

2. All that the heart needs in order to see the highest truths is light. What is wanted is no new declaration, but an enlightening of our eyes. The landscape is as present when invisible at night as when seen in clear daylight. Divine truth lies open before us. We require no new voices from heaven. All that is wanted is a change in ourselves - the unstopping of our deaf ears and the opening of our blind eyes.


1. Christ. It is "the knowledge of him" for which St. Paul first prays. We must begin with knowing Christ. In knowing him we know all; for all the treasures of the gospel dwell in him.

2. The future inheritance. How vainly we speculate about this! We can know it only by spiritual illumination. Not that the formal nature of it can be discerned, but the true character and worth of it will be appreciated. There are riches in this inheritance of which we little dream. In our coldness of heart they look dim and faint. We have yet to learn how infinitely glorious they are. Such a discovery will gladden, cheer, and encourage us in the dark battle of the present.

3. The Divine power. By heaping up expressions, the apostle makes us realize the importance of this subject. God gives us the inheritance. It is vast and glorious. But terrible difficulties stand between us and it. Till we understand somewhat of the power of God, the hope will seem to be unattainable. But this we may understand in so far as we are enlightened rightly to appreciate the manifestation of it in the resurrection and triumph of Christ - the pledges and grounds of our future blessedness. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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:

WEB: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;

Spiritual Eye Salve; Or, the Benefit of Illumination
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