August 23, 2009

Ephesians 1:17; A Devotional

...that the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Glorious Father, may give you the spirit1 of wisdom and of revelation on the knowledge of Him...
This verse is a verse about the Father, and, I believe, describes the relationship He has to both the Son and the Spirit. What is more important here is that the context of this passage is prayer for the Ephesians.

In the last couple of verses, Paul said that he has been praying for the Ephesians constantly. Here, he says what he is praying. He does not pray for wealth, prestige, or more numbers. Instead, he prays that they have wisdom and understanding.

I think this is a very good pastoral lesson. Often pastors are motivated by the wrong goals. They try and teach the congregation how to live more comfortably, or what are the right doctrines to have, etc... Instead, Paul's pastoral heart calls for them to be like Solomon: wise in the ways of God.

The bible teaches that being a follower of Christ, in part, means that you have an entirely different way of viewing the world than the rest of the world. I don't really like the notion of adapting our understanding of God to the trends of the world because our perspective is supposed to be different (this does not mean that just because our understanding is different we therefore believe what is right). This does mean that when pastors are shepherding their congregations, one of their goals is to train them in the ways that they should think.

Think about yourself at the moment. Does the cross reshape your reality? Does it define the way you view all aspects of life? Does it affect how you do your work? How you vote? How you play? What you watch? What you say? Does it define how you see yourself? The cross interrupts life as it normally is, and it is important that we seek that interruption, because it is there that we find the true impetus for life itself.

Translation notes

1 There were three ways to render 'pneuma' in this text: 'the spirit', 'a spirit', 'the Spirit'. There is no definite article in the Greek, so the use of 'the' is not required, but it is also not impossible. The lack of a definite article does not demand indefiniteness in Greek. The option of 'Spirit' is always tricky in general because, though the Spirit is definately referred to in personnal terms in other texts, He does not really have a formal name and, like 'pater', it is not always obvious when it is referring to the person of the Spirit. Personally, i think that it is, but one shouldn't push one's point of view in translation.In the end, I used 'the spirit' since it allows all three understandings possible.

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