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EPHESIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 18

Verse 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. The construction here in the Greek is, probably, "that he may give you (dwh, Eph 1:17) the Spirit of wisdom, etc.—eyes of the understanding enlightened," etc. Or the phrase, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened," may be in the accusative absolute, which Koppe and Bloomfield prefer. The phrase, "the eyes of the understanding," is a figure that is common in all languages. Thus Philo says, "What the eye is to the body, that is the mind to the soul." Comp. Mt 6:22. The eye is the instrument by which we see; and, in like manner, the understanding is that by which we perceive truth. The idea here is, that Paul not only wished their hearts to be right, but he wished their understanding to be right also. Religion has much to do in enlightening the mind. Indeed, its effect there is not less striking and decisive than it is on the heart. The understanding has been blinded by sin. The views which men entertain of themselves and of God are narrow and wrong. The understanding is enfeebled and perverted by the practice of sin. It is limited in its operations by the necessity of the case, and by the impossibility of fully comprehending the great truths which pertain to the Divine administration. One of the first effects of true religion is on the understanding. It enlarges its views of truth; gives it more exalted conceptions of God; corrects its errors; raises it up towards the great Fountain of love. And nowhere is the effect of the true religion more apparent than in shedding light on the intellect of the world, and restoring the weak and perverted mind to a just view of the proportion of things, and to the true knowledge of God.

That ye may know what is the hope of his calling. What is the full import of that hope to which he has called and invited you by his Spirit and his promises. The meaning here is, that it would be an inestimable privilege to be made fully acquainted with the benefits of the Christian hope, and to be permitted to understand fully what Christians have a right to expect in the world of glory. This is the first thing which the apostle desires they should fully understand.

And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance. This is the second thing which Paul wishes them to understand. There is a force in this language which can be found, perhaps, nowhere else than in the writings of Paul. His mind is full, and language is burdened and borne down under the weight of his thoughts. See Barnes "2 Co 4:17".

On the word "riches" here used, See Barnes "Eph 1:7".

The phrase "riches of glory" means glorious wealth; or, as we would say, "how rich and glorious!" The meaning is, that there is an abundance —an infinitude of wealth. It is not such a possession as man may be heir to in this world, which is always limited from the necessity of the case, and which cannot be enjoyed long; it is infinite and inexhaustible. See Barnes "Ro 2:4".

The "inheritance" here referred to is eternal life. See Barnes "Ro 8:17".

 

In the saints. Among the saints. See Barnes "1 Co 1:2".

 

{f} "of your understanding" Isa 42:7 {g} "of his calling" Eph 4:4 {h} "riches of the glory" Eph 3:16 {*} "glory" "The glorious riches"

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