Ephesians 1:15-17

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:15-23


  • Paul did not assume they would have faith in Jesus and love for all the saints. He considered such a thing to be unusual and praiseworthy. He heard news of it and seemed to have an element of surprised joy.
  • “For this reason” – could refer to all of Ephesians 1:3-14, or more specifically to the fact they they had heard the message, believed it, and had been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
  • He heard from someone (he must have trusted) of two things: their faith in Jesus, and their love for all the saints. Faith in Christ and love for the saints.
  • Their faith in the Lord Jesus existed among them, or between them. It was a community faith, not a private faith.
  • They had both: faith in Christ between them, and love for all the saints.
  • It was not love for their clique, or love for the elite type-A self-control freaks, or those most immediately close them family-wise. It was not just those who had close interests. All of them had love for all the saints.
  • What a statement! Paul did not cease giving thanks for them. He kept endlessly persisting in gratitude for them.
  • Paul gave thanks as his primary prayer life for them, before making requests for them.
  • Prayer was a habitual frequent lifestyle pattern for Paul.
  • He is not exhorting us to pray more. He is telling them good news, not pressing an obligation on them.
  • It looks like he gives thanks while making mention of them in his prayers, so gratitude and request are mixed up. Paul’s prayers for them were not formulaic.
  • The Father of glory is the Lord Jesus Christ’s God. So, He is God the Son, but the Father is His God. Interesting that God has a God.
  • He is not the Father of boring. He is the Father of glory. He brings out the best robes, throws parties, runs and embraces and openly cries.
  • Paul does not pray that they would measure up and earn wisdom and revelation. He prays that God would give it to them. A gift is what Paul desires.
  • Paul prays, not for the kind of miracles I’m used to (healing, provision), but for the impartation of knowledge. Wisdom and revelation. This is the real root and substance of the Christian system of values.
  • It is an impartation of the knowledge OF HIM.
  • Questions about whether this means knowledge directly through the experience of God’s presence or through knowledge about Him are not spelled out here. It is a supernatural revelation granted through prayer, and so its nature is to be determined by the answer of God and not the mind of man.
  • It does not say here that he prayed that God would give them wisdom and revelation, but a spirit of wisdom and revelation. It is a singular spirit which indwells them which has the ongoing capability to impart these things.


What does he mean by “the faith which exists among you?
Apparently the words “and your love” are not present in the best manuscript. The commentators seem genuinely confused by this expression, with F.F. Bruce saying that it might mean that

the faith of the Ephesians and other recipients of the present epistle was a manifest example to all their fellow-Christians.

Bruce, F.F. (2012-04-12). The Epistle to the Ephesians: A Verse by Verse Exposition by One of the Great Bible Scholars of Our Age (Kindle Location 520). Robert Frederick. Kindle Edition.

I think they miss the dynamic that belief in Christ and the redemption in His blood and the lavish grace that is ours through faith, is a community belief. I believe in the power of Jesus’ blood for myself, and I believe in it for others. So whether the words “and the love” are there or not, faith exists among them because as a community they believe, and it does foster love. This community of belief is what gives Paul such joy.

Did Paul really give ceaseless thanks and endless prayers? What does he really mean by this?
Ephesians 1 is really just one big dictated prayer anyway. It starts with a giant thanks (Ephesians 1:3-14) and ends with a a giant intercession (Ephesians 1:15-23). I cannot find any information about this beyond people exhorting us to pray more because of Paul’s example. I think it is easy to think that Paul probably had a constant habit of prayer that many of us would be surprised at. I supposed sometimes he had to talk to people or do something which caused him to pause his prayers, but it would not be hard to think that he reverted to prayer as a constant habit of mind.
In what sense is the Father the God of the Lord Jesus?
Well, He is His Father and also God. It makes sense. It is an unusual thing to think that God has a God, but apparently it is entirely true.
Is the spirit of wisdom and revelation different than the Holy Spirit of promise? What does that mean?
I’ll go along with this:

He prays that God may impart to them a spirit of wisdom and revelation. While the reference is not actually to the personal Spirit of God here, yet such a spirit of wisdom and revelation cannot be possessed apart from him who is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2).

Bruce, F.F. (2012-04-12). The Epistle to the Ephesians: A Verse by Verse Exposition by One of the Great Bible Scholars of Our Age (Kindle Locations 533-536). Robert Frederick. Kindle Edition.


First, I think it is clear that faith among each other and love for one another are very tied together, and are a rare and praiseworthy thing. When we believe mutually in the redemption which is in Christ’s blood for each other, when that faith is among us, it produces love or one another. It opens the doorway. I think also that finding the faith in people and finding gratitude for them is the key to great power in prayer.

I think that we need an ongoing impartation of wisdom and revelation both. We need a supernatural impartation of revelation of the great great love God has for us, of His delight to lavish grace and mercy upon us. We also need a supernatural impartation of wisdom, to understand how that lavish grace changes how we walk and talk and conduct our lives and relationships.

Also, it is again fascinating to see that the impartation is a group impartation, not an individual one. It is not that Paul has had this amazing touch from God, and now everyone should come sit at his feet and receive the wisdom and miracle power. It is not an impartation of celebrity anointing to a peculiar man of God. It is a group impartation. Each member has an impartation of the same spirit, the same revelation, the same wisdom. It is supernatural and it is known to be real by this, that one person is not inventing it.

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