Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Ephesians 1:15–17
After blessing God for His heavenly grace and gifts to the Ephesians (v. 3–14), Paul tells them of his intercession for them and prays that God would increase their knowledge of Christ. The prayer has as its focus the fullness of Christ in the church. We will organize our study under three major headings.
- Paul’s Commendation (v.15)
- Paul’s Gratitude (v.16)
- Paul’s Petition (v.17)
The spiritual blessings granted in Christ and the report of the believers’ faith in Christ and love for all believers give Paul reason to pray. Paul’s prayer here teaches us that we should pray that God would grant that His people know Him more deeply.
Jonathan Edwards once said, “there is a world of difference between describing the taste of honey and actually tasting it”. Paul's prayer teaches us that knowing about God is one thing; knowing God is often quite another. Both are essential. Don’t stop with the first one. The quest of any Christian's life should be to know Him more and more. With Paul, you should be able to say (Phil. 3:8), “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”
- Have you experienced trying to learn about something through books or the internet, only to find out later after experiencing it first-hand, that the knowledge you researched was only a shadow of the actual reality? Share your story.
- Read Ephesians 1:15-23
- What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?
- Read Ephesians 1:15–16. What does Paul give thanks for? (there are 2 specific reasons for his thanks) Why do you think Paul was so grateful for these two specific things?
- Paul moves from thanksgiving to a prayer of petition in verse 17. He thanks God in v.16, and then he makes the request in v.17. What is the petition and why does he pray this?
- Read Philippians 3:8-10. What similarities and differences do you see in Paul’s statements about ‘knowing God’ in verses 17 and Philippians 3:8-10.
The Heart of the Matter
- How do you pray for others? Do you give God thanks for them? What specific requests do you make on their behalf?
- Paul was thankful for the Ephesian church’s faith and love for the saints. Read John 13:34-35 and 1 John 4:20-21 and explain how does thankfulness bring about joy?
- Since becoming a believer, has your faith, your love for the saints, your wisdom and knowledge of God grown? If so, how? If not, why not?