Monday, July 26, 2010


Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

20 Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑπὲρ πάντα ποιῆσαι ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ ὧν αἰτούμεθα ἢ νοοῦμεν κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἡμῖν, 21  αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων, ἀμήν.

This is arguably the end of the doctrinal half of Ephesians.  I might argue that it continues until 4:16, but the point is that this kind of a doxology typically marks a break.  Paul is again emphasizing the majesty and glory of God.  This glory is manifested in the church and in Christ Jesus.  Note that I write church with a small c.  The church is τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ (dative form).  It is not that body that has its headquarters in a small country inside Rome.  It is the body of believers throughout the world.

What I want to emphasize is the phrase Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑπὲρ πάντα ποιῆσαι ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ.  The gloss I have for ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ is "exceedingly abundantly."  Whenever I come across one of these phrases in Paul I tend to think of Luke Skywalker convincing Han Solo to go into the detention area to rescue Princess Leia.  he tells him that "the reward will be...well, much more wealth than you can imagine."  Han Solo replies, "I can imagine quite a bit."

God can deliver more than we can imagine.  It is more than αἰτούμεθα ἢ νοοῦμεν.  I take that in two directions.  One is that we cannot ever out-imagine God.  He has blessings in store that we cannot comprehend. However, the second direction modifies the first.  When I think of blessings I tend to think of material things.  I think that goes with being an American.  It's really very short-sighted as well.  God's blessings go beyond what we ask our think.  We know from Romans that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us because we do not pray as we ought.  I think this is similar.  God will give us more than we ask or think because we do not ask or think rightly.

You may recall that Han Solo ended up getting tremendous blessings, but not what he signed up for.  He was in it for the money, but he ended up getting dear friends and a wife.  Plus, he got to be part of something much bigger than himself.  The metaphor falls short because the gospel is so much more than that and the church is even more glorious than the Rebel Alliance.  But I think that you get the idea.

Are you in awe of how much God has in store for you as a believer?  Are you satisfied when your best life now does not involve material things?

No comments: