Sunday, October 09, 2011

Notes on Ephesians - 1

I want to spend the rest of my life living the truths in Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

So short, so dense...reading it many times has convinced me that it was dictated at a white heat, that Paul was struggling with language to describe revelation as he was receiving it.

One reason I believe that is because it appears to explode the standard letter form of the day. Instead of something like this:

From:
To:
Salutation
Doxology to an appropriate god
Prayer for the recipient(s)
Body of letter
Closing

Ephesians is more like this:

From:
To:
Salutation
Doxology
Prayer for the recipients
-Digression
Return to prayer for the recipients
-Digression
Completion of prayer for the recipients
Second doxology
Body of letter
Closing

I just exchanged some texts with GT about Eph. 3.20, in which I said:

I believe that v. 19 concludes the prayer that began in 1:17 - that he digressed in 1:19, and returned to it in 3:14. So when he says in 3:20 that God can do imeasurably more than all we can ask, he's thinking about *all the things he just asked for* - an astonishing list of petitions - and saying, "God can do even more than THAT."

I didn't do this in my text to him, but I want to look at what Paul has asked for:

1) that the Ephesians may receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation, and to have the eyes of their hearts illumined, so that they may
  • know God better
  • know the hope to which they have been called
  • know the riches of God's inheritance in His people 
  • know the greatness of God's power toward them;
2) that God may strengthen them through his Spirit within them;
3) that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith;
4) that they may have power to grasp the dimensions of the love of Christ;
5) that they may know the love of Christ;
6) that they may be filled "to the measure of all the fullness of God." (TNIV)

To which I now add - and how is God able to do MORE THAN these cosmic things Paul has asked for? By the power which is in and among us (trying to describe that power led to the digression of 1:20-2:22). Thus this doxology's short form would be, not "to God be the glory," or even, "to God be the glory in Christ Jesus," but "to God be the glory IN THE CHURCH and in Christ Jesus."
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