What does Ephesians 1:16 mean?
ESV: I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
NIV: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
NASB: do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
CSB: I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.
NLT: I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,
KJV: Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
NKJV: do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Verse Commentary:
Paul's prayers for the believers in Ephesus were unending, included thanksgiving, and involved remembrance. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is similar to his prayers described in other letters. One notable difference here is that this prayer follows an extended note about God's spiritual blessings toward believers (Ephesians 1:3–14). This may imply that Paul considered the Ephesian church to be more mature than other congregations. In letters such as 1 Corinthians, Paul was obligated to follow his prayers by addressing controversies. Here, instead, he can focus on theology related to God's glory, proceed to prayer, then address other areas of teaching.

Paul's prayer in this passage emphasizes thanksgiving and the glory of God. He makes no mention of any severe problems in the congregation. This may indicate the church lacked some of the dysfunction he addresses in letters to other churches. However, it may simply be that this was intended as a letter to more than one church. In that case, Paul would be expected to focus on themes relevant to all churches.

While not mentioned here, at some point the Ephesian church lost some of their enthusiasm (Revelation 2:1–4). Paul would later write to Timothy, in Ephesus, to focus on love (1 Timothy 1:5). So, while the church has been successful in terms of doctrine, Paul's letter is likely meant to encourage them to maintain their passion, as well.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 1:15–23 celebrates the value of our salvation in Christ. Paul's prayers for the believers of Ephesus not only include praise for their success, but an appeal for their growth. This passage heavily involves the supremacy of Christ. As believers, we are not only followers of Jesus, but also recipients of His blessings and power. Paul seeks to remind the Ephesian church that a complete understanding of Christ leads to a greater love and a stronger faith.
Chapter Summary:
The first chapter of Ephesians contains two main passages. The first describes the blessings Christians have been given as a result of our salvation through Christ. Paul explains these through praises directed to God the Father. The second section both commends the Ephesians for their reputation, and prays that Christ would bring them into an even fuller and more aware faith.
Chapter Context:
The first three chapters of Ephesians are doctrinal, while the last three are practical. Chapter 1 establishes Paul's view on the value of our salvation in Christ, and the blessings we obtain from it. He does this in the form of praise, directed at God, and describing in detail what it means to have an inheritance in heaven. Later chapters will build on these ideas as Paul connects who we are in Christ to how we should live as Christians.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
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