The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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Different meanings of the word ‘world’

In John 3:16, we see

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The original word translated as “world” in Greek is ‘Kosmos’. These are the various definitions for that word, and we will look at examples of these different definitions in scripture:

  1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
  2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens.
    1 Peter 3:3

    Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;

  3. the world, the universe

    Matthew 24:21

    21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

  4. the circle of the earth, the earth

    Matthew 4:8

    Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

  5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
  6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

    This is the ‘world’ – those who do not trust Christ.

    John 14:17

    17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

    John 15:19

    19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

    John 17:9,14

    I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;

    14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    2 Peter 2:5

    and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

    1 John 3:13

    13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.

  7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
    1. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
  8. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
    1. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
    2. of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16-17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19

      John 1:29

      29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God whotakes away the sin of the world!

      John 3:16-17

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

      John 6:33

      33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

      2 Corinthians 5:19

      19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation

       

 

Train up a child in the way he should go…

There is a big debate among some Christians as to whether a Christian should homeschool or not. There are people who use scripture to say yes and others who say no.

I have already addressed the fact that both studies and scripture show that who and what we surround ourselves with affects us.

I decided to address this in light of a recent study:  Study Finds Homeschoolers Less Likely to Leave Faith Than Public, Private Schooled Students.

From the article: 

“Having a strong relationship with the child’s mother and father, attending church as a child, and years homeschooled were all clearly positively associated with Millennials’ basic Christian orthodoxy, broader biblical beliefs, Christian behaviors (e.g., attending church, keeping sex in marriage, prayer, not using pornography), satisfaction in life, civic and community involvement, and having beliefs similar to one’s parents,” Ray stated.

87% of study participants who were homeschooled said they have strong Christian beliefs. Conversely, Millennials who were enrolled in public schools or private Christian schools were more likely to walk away from the faith later in life.

“Number of years in Christian school and number of years in public school were negatively associated with most of the adult beliefs and behaviors just mentioned,” Ray explained.

Statistically, homeschooled young adults were six times as likely to be believers and seven times as likely to be stronger in their Christian beliefs as Millennials attending private schools. Homeschooled Millennials were also two times as likely to be stronger in Christian beliefs as those who attended Christian schools or public schools.

The study basically shows that people who are homeschooled (because of reasons of faith) are significantly more likely to be believers in Christ than those in either public OR private schools. This seems to run counter to the common wisdom that sending children to Christian private schools some how teaches children in a way so as to not reject Christ and help them stay in church. It also runs counter to the idea that we should send our children into schools  and allow them to be lights for Christ in environments which teach humanism.

Obviously, God has addressed the idea of teaching our children in scripture. Let’s take a look.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV 

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Ephesians 6:4 ESV

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Titus 2:4-5 ESV

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All of these scriptures speak of morals, of righteousness, of equipping people for every good work. Some take that to mean the scriptures only speak of religious education. Others take that to mean all education.

Personally, I do not see a distinction between the spiritual and the physical.  I think both are intertwined. We can not separate the two. Whether we teach about God, work or life, we teach about living in a way so as to please the Lord. There is no separation.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
More than that, we must teach about philosophy, human tradition, and the basic principles of this world – this is secular education in today’s world. I few don’t teach about the truth in all areas of life, our children CAN be taken captive.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

We must be sure to teach about NOT becoming friends with the world, and how can we do this if we put our children in schools, public or private, which do exactly that.

James 4:4

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

So parents are responsible for teaching our children about God. But more than that, we are responsible for teaching them how they should live – and this includes being sure they are taught appropriately about human traditions, philosophies, and basic principles. This is not merely teaching morals, or about God, but teaching how to not be ensnared in such things. We can not do that if we turn our children over to a school which purposefully ensnares them. We MUST educate spiritually as well as in other areas of life. to do this, homeschooling is the best option.

Should youth and children be separated from adults in church and ministry?

What verses do we have which tell us how God has ministered in the past to children and youth and adults? Are they to be together or separate?

In Exodus 10:9, we see that Moses expected children and adults to celebrate festivals to God.

Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.”

In Deuteronomy 12 , we see God telling the people to worship together (adults, sons and daughters). Especially in verse 12

12 And there rejoice before the LORD your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

In Deuteronomy 31:12, we see Moses telling the people to hear the reading of the Law together – men, women, and children.

12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.

In Joshua 8, we see that Joshua read all the law to the people of Isreal, including men, women, and children:

 34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

In 2 Chronicles 20:13-14, we see men and wives and children before the Lord.

13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

 14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

In Nehemiah 8:1-3, we see all the people assembled to listen to Ezra read the Law of Moses.

1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.

 2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.

In Nehemiah 10:28-29, we see men, wives, sons, and daughters promised to follow the Law of God.

28 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— 29 all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.

in Joel 2, we see God saying to gather the people – including the children and elders.

16 Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.

Indeed, we find that parents are to train their children in the ways of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10

9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Psalm 78:5

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

So we see in scripture that adults and children learned and worshipped together. We see in scripture that parents are to train their children in the ways of God.

Should children live in the world or avoid it?

My previous post was “Should we focus on evil or good while training children?”.

In discussing whether children should be exposed to evil to train them, two other objections came up:

One is that children need to live in the world rather than avoid it. And so they should be exposed to evil and taught how to appropriately handle it.

Still another common argument is that Jesus was in the world and did not avoid it, but ministered to those in the world, and so should our children.

Let us address each of these points in turn.

Should children live in the world and not avoid it? Does this give us the right expose children to evil so as to prepare them?

Please realize that I am not saying we are to not address evil as it manifests itself in our lives. If children are exposed in the course of life to an alcoholic, they should be taught what God’s word says about it. If the children are exposed to a liar, then they should be taught what God’s word says about it. But this does not mean children should be exposed to various evils, just because they exist in the world and taught not to do it. Instead, children should be taught how to act, how to behave, what to think, what to say, using what scripture teaches.

But instead of exposing children to evil to teach them not to do it, wouldn’t it be more effective to expose them to God and godliness? Would it not be better to infuse children with godly things, rather than expose them to what God says to avoid? I think the answer to both questions is yes.

As for the argument that Jesus was in world and didn’t avoid it and ministered to those in the world, I feel it necessary to remind those who would use this argument that Jesus was about 30 years old when he entered ministry. He had been taught from birth what God says to do and not do. He knew scripture. He was prepared. Are your children as well versed in what God says as Jesus was at 12, let alone at 30? If not, then I suggest that perhaps that is an empty argument. If your children ARE so well versed in scripture, then please teach me how to raise my children so they are as well versed in scripture as Jesus was.

Should we focus on evil or good while training children?

A teacher in a Christian school assigned a book to read which depicts teenagers who live a life of drugs, gangs, fighting, foul language, stealing, disobedience, etc. When asked why she assigned such a book , she responded,

The intent of [the book] is not to glorify gang-like behavior, disobedience, or ungodly behavior; the point of my assigning [the book]  is to prove how horrendous a life without God can be. The characters and their actions show that ignorance is dangerous. This is apparent in the tragic events in the novel, such as [a character]’s death and [the character’s brother]’s inevitable loneliness. In order to know good we must know evil; this is not something from which we can shield our children. [the book] was chosen for educational purposes. Better that students are exposed to this nature in an atmosphere in which they have a person who can explain the difference between good and evil than go looking for it outside of school. [The book]’s redeeming value is that it discusses adolescent issues such as self-esteem, the negative effects of hero worship,and the importance of stable familial relationships.

There are some who believe that we should expose children to ungodly behavior and discuss it with them, in hopes that exposure and discussion about how it should be addressed will teach the child to avoid bad behavior.

Is she right when she states, “In order to know good we must know evil; this is not something from which we can shield our children.”? Or when she asserts, “Better that students are exposed to this nature in an atmosphere in which they have a person who can explain the difference between good and evil than go looking for it outside of school.”?

While the idea of exposing children to evil in an environment where someone can explain the difference between good and evil does have some merit, I think exposing children to things they have not been exposed to, or things they may have been traumatized by, does more harm than good. But what does God’s word say about it?

Ultimately, the question that this brings up is, “Should we focus on evil or good while training children?”

Philippians 4:8 reads,

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I think scripture is clear – we should focus upon what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy things.

But what about avoiding evil? Should we teach it and how we should be different?

Proverbs 16:6, 17 states,

6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
he who guards his way guards his life.

Proverbs tells us that it is through fear of the Lord that a person avoids evil.

Scripture tells us that the Bible was written to teach us so we might have hope. Indeed, all scripture is God-breathed and is used for for teaching and training in righteousness to prepare us for ever good work.

Romans 15:4

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

2 Timothy 3:15-18

15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We should focus on scripture and teaching children so they will learn what they SHOULD do, and how they SHOULD act. We should raise our children knowing God’s word. We should train our children on the truth God has given us.

I believe we should focus on what ever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent, whatever is praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). We are to avoid every kind of evil – even the appearance of evil (Proverbs 16:6, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Evil is the absence of good.

I believe we should teach and focus on what is right and good as defined by God and found in the principles of God’s Word. Thus if something is not right or good then it is evil. In this way, if we know what is right and good, then it easy to identify what is not right when it does not conform to God’s Word. Once trained, then the children will be prepared to face evil. When training the secret service to spot counterfeit money, the agents learn everything there is to know about valid monetary units. They never see the counterfeit until they are trained, at which point they are able to spot the phoney immediately.  That is MY philosophy of what and how we should teach our children.

While there might be some value in exposing children to evil and discussing it with them, I would limit exposing children to evil and converse about it as they are exposed to it, rather than introducing things they had not been exposed to before, just to be able to discuss it.

 

Ephesians 1:15-19a

I wanted to take the summary I wrote up yesterday and add to it so anyone who is just started reading could see a summary in one place: In Ephesians 1:1-2, we saw that we  are to be faithful and holy for God. This is how we get grace and peace from and with God. And that we are to accept Christ’s leadership over our lives and be part of God’s family. In Ephesians 1:3-6, we saw that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. This includes Jesus Christ being our Lord, and that we were chosen because of God’s grace before the foundation of the world to be adopted into God’s family and be holy and blameless. In Ephesians 1:7-10, we saw that we have been bought back (redeemed) from slavery to sin and have forgiveness of our sins because of the blood of Christ. In so doing, God has made known His plan, in which all things will be united in Christ at the right time. In Ephesians 1:11-14, we saw that God works all things out for His plan, so those who believe are the praise to God’s glory. Those who have listened to the message of truth, the good news of salvation, and believed have been sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit – marked with and protected by the Holy Spirit, who is our guarantee that God will accomplish what He has promised.

Now, Let us take a look at Ephesians 1:15-19a

15 For this reasontoohaving 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 Christthe 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 enlightenedso that you will know what is the hope of His callingwhat 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.

Verse 15 begins with “For this reason.” What reason? To see this, we have to look back to the previous verses 3-14. But basically, its the fact that the Ephesians have heard the gospel of salvation, believed, and were sealed by the Holy Spirit.

And so begins the almost requisite prayer that Paul offers in most of his letters. Because of their faith in the Lord Jesus, and because of their love for the all the saints, Paul does not cease giving thanks for them while mentioning them in his prayers.  Notice here that Paul uses the name “Lord Jesus.” Paul is emphasizing Jesus’ role in the lives of the Ephesian believers, the saints, as their owner, master, and Lord. Just like with the Ephesians, we must have faith in Him and He will be our Lord. And also just the with the Ephesians, we must love all believers. Do you? Are you able to say you love all believers? Or do you find yourself not caring about people who call Christ Lord? Search yourself (because God already knows) and if you find that that’s the case, then I suggest you pray and ask God’s forgiveness and for Him to imbue you with His love for all.

But the faith in Christ and the love of the Ephesian believers was such that Paul did not stop thanking God. We each need faith and love like that. Notice next that Paul called God “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.” The Greek word translated as “glory” is Doxa and means:

  1. opinion, judgment, view
    1. opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
    2. in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
  2. splendour, brightness
    1. of the moon, sun, stars
    2. magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace
    3. majesty
      1. a thing belonging to God
      2. the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
      3. a thing belonging to Christ
        1. the kingly majesty of the Messiah
        2. the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ;
      4. the majesty of the angels, as apparent in their exterior brightness
  3. a most glorious condition, most exalted state
    1. of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ was raised after he had achieved his work on earth
    2. the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour’s return from heaven

The New American Standard Bible renders verse 17 in such a way as to call  God “the Father of Glory,” which is a very literal rendering. But Holman Christian Standard Bible renders that same passage as “glorious Father”, which I think is a cleaner reading. But what Paul is saying here is that God is the Father to whom all glory belongs. This is the God to whom Paul prayed on behalf of the Ephesian believers! And Paul asked The Father to all glory belongs to give the Ephesians “a spirit of wisdom and ofrevelation in the knowledge of Him.”  the Greek word translated as “spirit” is Pnuema and means:

  1. The third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son
    1. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the \\Holy\\ Spirit)
    2. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of \\Truth\\)
    3. never referred to as a depersonalised force
  2. the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated
    1. the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides
    2. the soul
  3. a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting
    1. a life giving spirit
    2. a human soul that has left the body
    3. a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel
      1. used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men
      2. the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ
  4. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one
    1. the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.
  5. a movement of air (a gentle blast)
    1. of the wind, hence the wind itself
    2. breath of nostrils or mouth

Paul most likely was praying that God would give the Ephesian believers a disposition (a heart) inclined towards wisdom and revelation of knowledge of God. The word translated as revelation is Apokalupsis and means:

  1. Laying bear, making naked
  2. a disclosure of truth, instruction
    1. concerning things before unknown
    2. used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
  3. manifestation, appearance

The idea here is that Paul is asking God to give the Ephesian believers the desire for wisdom and the disclosure of knowledge about God. Another way to look at this was that Paul was asking the Ephesian believers grow in spiritual insight about God.

Further, Paul asked God that eyes of their hearts may be enlightened. This is the only place in the Bible that this particular image is used. And it is used to beautifully paint the picture of someone’s spiritual self be enabled to see and understand eternal spiritual truths. We see the spiritual truths Paul wanted his audience to see and understand included the hope of God’s invitation (they were saved when they believed, but they are still looking forward to the culmination of their salvation when Christ returns). Further, Paul wanted his readers to see and understand the abundance of the glory God’s inheritance (the promised eternal blessedness one will share in after Christ’s return). And finally, Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to see and understand the excelling greatness of God’s power for those who believe (the NASB renders the Greek word “Eis” as “toward” in verse 19, but an equally valid translation of the word is “for”, and I think it makes more sense here). People have the great and awe inspiring power of God in their corner when they have faith in Christ as their Savior and Lord.

So in short, Paul is praying for the Ephesian believers grow in spiritual insight concerning God, the hope all believers look forward to, the inheritance all believers look forward to receiving, and the awesome great power believers in Christ have access to. May all believers come to have that spiritual insight.

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