Big Idea: “God, please strengthen our faith in Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:14-17a; cf. Galatians 2:20)
[su_spoiler title=”Q: How is your faith in Jesus strengthened? ” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]A: It’s all God (Ephesians 3:16)[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Q: What are the results of a strong faith in Jesus? ” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]A: You are rooted in love (Ephesians 3:17b)[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Q: What does it look like to be rooted in love?” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]A:
- You know the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18-19a)
- You practice the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18 – “with all the saints”)
- You surrender to the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19b) [/su_spoiler]
Ephesians 3:14 continues Paul’s thought from Ephesians 1:15-19 and again he picks it up in Ephesians 3:1. Each time he goes on a lengthy tangent before picking it back up again. This should help you track Paul’s main thought throughout this section.
Ephesians 3:17 – the “so that” can be a bit misleading. It doesn’t indicate purpose or result. This is a continued explanation of what it means to be “strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being”.
The NIV puts a period in the middle of verse 17 reading: “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17) This translation suggests that Paul is indicating a new thing that he is praying for. It seems to me that this is the logical extension of 17a. In the original there is no conjunction there. In fact it is at the beginning of v. 18.
Ephesians 3:18 – Paul never specifies what the breadth, length, height and depth are referencing – NIV makes the decision and links it to the beginning of v. 19 – Christ’s love. The ESV leaves it open to the reader to either take them separate or link them together. There are 2 good interpretive options:
- Paul assumes the reader will know what he is talking about with his link to the love of Christ in v. 19. I think this is the best option.
- The measurements could be speaking of God’s wisdom – (cf. Job 11:5-9, Rom. 11:33-34, Col. 2:2-3) this isn’t out of the question as Paul references God’s wisdom in Ephesians 3:10 and Ephesians 1:17)
- even if this is the case the wisdom of God is most fully represented in his redemption in Christ so it comes to the cross anyways and is connected to v. 19.
Ephesians 3:19b – cf. Ephesians 1:23 for another use of “fullness” in connection with Christ’s supremacy and authority.