What does Ephesians 1:17 mean?
ESV: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
NIV: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
NASB: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
CSB: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.
NLT: asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
KJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
NKJV: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
Verse Commentary:
This verse adds two details to Paul's prayers. First, Paul specifies exactly to whom he is praying: God the Father. However, Paul again also includes references to all three Persons of the Trinity, God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and then mentions the "Spirit of wisdom." This Spirit is capitalized in most versions, indicating that translators believe Paul refers here to the Holy Spirit. This is one of a dozen mentions of the Holy Spirit in this letter.

Paul also provides two specific points regarding what he prayed for regarding the Ephesian Christians. Paul has already mentioned the importance of wisdom in Ephesians 1:8. Later, he will refer to the "manifold wisdom of God" in Ephesians 3:10. Here, Paul refers to revelation in a particular sense. The revelation spoken of here is connected with wisdom, and involves knowing God's plan for their lives. This is distinct from "general revelation," which is God revealing Himself through nature (Psalm 19). This is also not the same thing as "specific revelation," which is the written word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
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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