I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context
I must admit that I often read the Bible as I would read Shakespeare – not like a normal storybook, at least, but often like a literature textbook. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul revealed that him continuously asked for God to bestow the Spirit of wisdom and revelation on them, that they may know Him better. Have you asked for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation? Maybe you have, and that’s good. But in this study, we will focus on the need to continuously ask – keep asking – for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and not just when reading the Bible. Furthermore, we will look at the need to petition to God for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation for those around us, so that we may all know God better.
know him better – who is him? Clearly, God – but Paul didn’t just say God. He could have, and we would have understood – the Ephesians would have understood, after all there’s only one God. But no, Paul made clear emphasis on some of the identities of God – God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father. There is only one God, but this one God is not only our God, but also the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the glorious Father almighty. You know him, but how well do you know him? Perhaps even in our entire lifetime we will not be able to exhaust the knowledge of God in his any one identity – whether as the Father, or as Healer, or as Provider and so on. Yet we can always improve on our existing knowledge on him. When we get to know him better, we experience him more, and in turn, we get to know him more.
I keep asking – Admittedly, most of the versions do not seem to have the connotation of a continuous and persistent asking – most just go straight into the prayer, but that could be because of a sentence structure issue – most versions do not break the split the sentence between verses 16 and 17 – I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers [Eph 1:16] – most versions have something like – I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, [ESV] – and they continue immediately into verse 17, without the need to repeat the idea of ‘unceasingly’. This is also repeated in his letter to the Colossians – For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding [Col 1:19]. I think that persistance is an important concept – do not stop, do not cease, do not take a break from asking God of this. Keep asking, continuously, persistently, as often as you can. Why?
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation – how badly we all need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation when it comes to the word of God! Whenever you prepare to read the Bible, whenever you prepare to listen to a sermon, whenever you prepare for a prayer meeting, a fellowship, a sharing, a testimony – pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, whenever you come into contact with God’s words. Words are so powerful as they can be interpreted in so many ways – the same line can be positive or negative, encouraging or discouraging, stern or gentle – it all depends on how you interpret it. What more, it’s the Bible, full of signs and symbols and imageries and prophecies. By our own intelligence, we are limited, and we will not understand most of the precepts in the Bible. Sometimes, if we just don’t get it, we just don’t get it – even if the best preacher comes to town and explains it in the best way possible. We all need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. And when we pray for it, we will have it – The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD– [Isa 11:2].
Paul prayed for the Ephesians. It was likely that he prayed for all the other churches that he wrote to or was involved with. It was likely that he prayed, even more so, for certain disciples or leaders. Praying for others is a good habit to get into. Interceding for others is always good. Yet first learn to pray for ourselves, and as we pray for ourselves, let us pray for others as well – our family, our church members, our brothers-and-sisters in Christ. It’s always beautiful to learn together, grow together and pray together. Whenever you read the Bible, or your devotional material, whenever you prepare to listen to a piece of sermon, do ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation – not just for yourself but also for those around you. Maybe reading the Bible will become a totally different experience.
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