I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book. NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Study Prompts #2
- As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth. Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24. “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
- Read Ephesians 1:15-23
- In 1:17-18, Paul prays a very specific prayer for the Ephesian Christians. In your own words, summarize Paul’s prayer in 17-18.
- Paul does not pray that the Ephesians would receive a new spiritual blessing. After all, they had already received EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (1:3). Instead Paul prays that they would understand and experience all the more the blessings God has already given to them. Since we know that God has already given to those in Christ the Holy Spirit (see 1:13), we know that the “spirit” that Paul is praying would be given to the Ephesians is not the Holy Spirit. They cannot get again what they already possess! What are the words used to describe the “spirit” Paul hopes the Ephesians get in 1:17?
- STUDY NOTE: Ultimately Paul is praying that the Ephesians would have a deeper knowledge of God. The Greek word used here for knowledge (1:17) is a word that speaks of an experiential knowledge . . . a relationship . . . not just intellectual understanding. Paul’s great aim is that the Ephesians would have a deeper relationship with God. Warren Wiersbe described knowing God as the chief end of the Christian life when he said, “To know God personally is salvation (John 17:3). To know Him increasingly is sanctification (Phil. 3:10). To know Him perfectly is glorification (1 Cor. 13:9-12).”
- To experientially know God, Paul prays that a spirit of wisdom and revelation would come over the Ephesians . . . that the “Eyes of their heart” would be enlightened. Paul seems to be indicating that a path to deepening our relationship with God is to more accurately see and understand the many ways He has blessed us in Christ. This is why Paul spends so much time unpacking the blessings God has given us in 1:3-14. However, just hearing these truths intellectually is not enough. We need to pray that God helps the information we learn to pass from our minds down to our hearts that we would deeply feel and understand who God is and what He has done for us in Christ. Take a few moments and pray this prayer for yourself (and others in your life). Pray that God would open the eyes of your heart that we would deeply understand and feel the blessing we have in Christ!
- STUDY NOTE: Prayer is an indispensable part of the Christian life. To fully grasp the truth God has revealed to us in the Scripture, we cannot simply read it. We must read it with “enlightened hearts.” This is not because the Bible is written in secret code, but because the truth of Scripture is sometimes too lofty for our human hearts to fully connect with. We need supernatural empowerment as we read to make the Scripture come alive that we would actually feel the love of God communicated through His Word. God does not want us to merely be students of His . . . but for us to actually live in relationship with Him. Make a commitment to add prayer (even short prayers like the one Paul prays here) a part of your regular bible study plan. We need the Holy Spirit to give us an attitude of wisdom and revelation as we read.
- In verse 18, Paul prays for two particular truths to be fully “experienced” by the Christian. One is that Christians would know the “hope that He has called us to.” The hope for the Christian is found in the “calling” we have. Scan back over 1:3-14. In those verses what do we learn about our “calling.” (HINT: This is talking about God’s selection of us.) Why does it give you hope that God called you?
- In verse 18, Paul also prays that the Ephesians would know the “riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Again, this is an idea rooted in 1:3-14. What are some of the pieces of our “inheritance” in Christ according to these verses? Again, Paul felt it necessary to pray that a knowledge of our inheritance would deepen our relationship with God. In your opinion, how does understanding our inheritance in Christ deepen our relationship with God?
For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:
- Packed – Series Introduction
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #3)
- The “In Crowd” (Devotional/Sermon Preview)
- Packed Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #1 Sermon Audio/Video
- Eph. 1:15-23 (Study Prompts #1)