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Asbury Bible Commentary – E. A Prayer for the Ephesians (3:14–21)
E. A Prayer for the Ephesians (3:14–21)

Paul now resumes the prayer begun in 3:1. Invoking the image of God as Father, from whom fatherhood (patria) derives both name and meaning, Paul asks largely. If earthly fathers give good gifts to their children, certainly God, the archetypal Father, gives his children what they need (cf. Mt 7:11; Lk 11:13).

What does Paul ask of God for these believers? There are two requests. First, he asks God to strengthen them with the power of the Spirit. Paul hopes that as the reality of spiritual power grips them, their resolve to maintain faith in Christ will grow, for they will realize that Christ is all they need for salvation. Second, he prays that they will be empowered to grasp the extent of that love by which they have been saved and made secure. If they can personally approve or acknowledge the love that they cannot comprehend (Clarke, 418), if they can experience the fullness of Christ's love for them, they will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The fullness of love brings with it “all those gifts and graces which [God] has promised to bestow on man, and which he dispenses to the church” (ibid.). Here is further support for the Wesleyan doctrine of the fullness of love as the overarching goal of Christian living. To experience fully divine love is to enjoy fully the divine plan for human redemption in the present world.

To those who feel that Paul's estimate of God's purpose for citizens of the new community is unrealistic, the apostle offers the benediction of 3:20-21. God can do immeasurably more than anything and everything one can ask or even imagine. Divine power is at work in God's people to bring them to divine fullness. Thus God is glorified in the community of redeemed persons in whom the Spirit is at work.