World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Select a resource above

18. May be able—even still further. Greek, "May be fully able."

breadth … length … depth … height—namely, the full dimensions of the spiritual temple, answering to "the fulness of God" (Eph 3:19), to which the Church, according to its capacity, ought to correspond (compare Eph 4:10, 13) as to "the fulness of Christ." The "breadth" implies Christ's world-wide love, embracing all men: the "length," its being extended through all ages (Eph 3:21); the "depth," its profound wisdom which no creature can fathom (Ro 11:33); the "height," its being beyond the reach of any foe to deprive us of (Eph 4:8) [Bengel]. I prefer to understand "the breadth," &c., to refer to the whole of the vast mystery of free salvation in Christ for all, Gentile and Jew alike, of which Paul had been speaking (Eph 3:3-9), and of which he now prays they may have a fuller comprehension. As subsidiary to this, and the most essential part of it, he adds, "and to know the love of Christ" (Eph 3:19). Grotius understands depth and height of God's goodness raising us from the lowest depression to the greatest height.

19. passeth—surpasseth, exceeds. The paradox "to know … which passeth knowledge," implies that when he says "know," he does not mean that we can adequately know; all we know is, that His love exceeds far our knowledge of it, and with even our fresh accessions of knowledge hereafter, will still exceed them. Even as God's power exceeds our thoughts (Eph 3:20).

filled with—rather, as Greek, "filled even unto all the fulness of God" (this is the grand goal), that is, filled, each according to your capacity, with the divine wisdom, knowledge, and love; "even as God is full," and as Christ who dwells in your hearts, hath "all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily" (Col 2:9).