Ephesians 3:14-21 - When a prayer becomes a statement of truth

Updated: Jun 26

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I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen


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This is the Epistle selection for the ninth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 12], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This will be read following either a Track 1 or Track 2 pairing, which either David’s fall because lust, lies, and murder or Elisha receiving first fruits that fed a hundred men, with some left over. The songs sing of fools and of those who have faith. All will precede the Gospel reading from John, which tells of Jesus feeding the multitude and then walking on the sea.

Being there is different than praying to be there.


In this translation a segment of words that is enclosed in angle brackets or chevrons [< >] has been omitted. That act of omission has been done as if those separating marks were written by Paul to denote optional reading material. The marked segment follows “Father,” in verse fourteen. The words within the brackets add “<of whom lord of us of Jesus of Christ> ,” which is a statement that Paul’s [and all the true Christians of Ephesus] bowing before the “Father” was as the Son, in whose name his soul had been reborn. To ignore this statement, where the angle brackets show Paul’s “knees bowed” from the inner presence [the angle brackets indicating this] that was his Anointment as Jesus, is remiss.


According to the Wikipedia article entitled “Bracket,” under the heading “Angle Brackets,” this is written: “Chevrons are infrequently used to denote words that are thought instead of spoken.” To assume that meaning was the intent of Paul in this letter to the true Christians of Ephesus makes this become an indication that Paul was not alone in his thinking. By being led to write a letter, while divinely inspired through his soul married to Yahweh, such a ‘thought’ becomes a statement of the duality of his divine possession. By beginning the first segment with the first person word “kamptō,” as “I bend,” the following that is set within marks of ‘thought’ are adding that Paul, as well as all the true Christians of Ephesus [as “us”], all share the name Jesus [ the genitive form "of Jesus"], whose soul is joined with all theirs. As such, “I bend” is a statement of “we bend,” two together as one [the same in multiple bodies]. To remove this necessary segment of words removes all ‘thought’ of the reality that is true Christianity, as all must be reborn as Jesus; all must be Anointed ones of Yahweh, so as the Son they can truly call Yahweh the “Father.”


When the NRSV then translates the following [verse fifteen] as, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name,” the exclusion of the name “Jesus” makes a reader-listener think this is the “name” of “the Father.” When Episcopalians [and other readers of English translations] are too afraid to even say the name “Yahweh,” it makes one wonder what name that is [especially when they fail to realize the meaning of the name "Jesus"]. To compound this confusion more is the fact that the NRSV does not divide verse fifteen into the two segments of words it was written in. Seeing that makes what Paul wrote be more understandable.


The literal translation of what Paul wrote is this: “from out of which every ancestor in heaven kai upon earth is given a name.” In that, the presence of the word “kai” must be seen as a marker word noting importance that follows that marker. The use of "kai" divides the verse into two focuses: one on heaven and the other on earth. When the used of “heaven” [“ouranois”] and “earth [“gēs”] are realized as the spiritual [soul-self] and the physical [body-self], this is then explaining that written within angle brackets [chevrons].


The last word in the statement of ‘thought’ is “of christ,” where “christou” is the genitive case, stating a condition of possession; and, it is not capitalized. It is then this “christ” state of being that comes “from out of heaven,” making all in this spiritual state of possession be related to Yahweh through marriage. The "christ from out of the spiritual" is a soul that has received the Spirit of Yahweh. That means a divine marriage, where the "name of the Father" means one's soul has married into His "family." That “family” or “lineage” or “ancestry” is not of human blood, but of “heavenly” marriage. The placement of “kai” then says it is important to see this familial relationship taking place within one's flesh [that of the “earth”], being “given the name” stated prior: Jesus. The name “Jesus” means “Yah[weh] Will Save” or “Yah[weh] Saves.”


Because there is no comma mark used to break this “heaven and earth” into two separate statements, the lack of such punctuation then states the reality that is human life. All humans are “heaven and earth,” as a soul within a body of flesh. The important marker – kai – is then making the important statement that Paul and the true Christians of Ephesus were not normal souls in bodies of flesh. They were all divinely transformed, as “of whom lord of us Jesus of Christ,” which made them all family under the same name.


The name they were known by was “Jesus,” as that was the name of “the Christ” sent by Yahweh to be “on earth.” By having married Yahweh Spiritually, their souls had all become related in “heavenly” terms, as the “christs” of Yahweh, all reborn as Jesus in their bodies of flesh. Thus, the “name” that has been created through that rebirth is “Jesus Christ,” which is the foundation “name” of the movement known as “Christianity.” All true Christians are then only those whose souls have married Yahweh, so all members are related as a "christ of Yahweh."


I wrote about this reading in 2018; and, at that time I did not delve into this omitted segment of words. That commentary can be read here. I welcome all visitors to read that, as the same meaning I saw then still applies today. However, because of this newfound insight coming from omitted text, I will readdress this reading now.


In verse sixteen, the NRSV has translated, “I pray that.” In reality, there is nothing in all of this third chapter of Paul’s letter that says “I pray.” The words “prayer” and “pray” are totally nonexistent here. The BibleHub Interlinear places a header before these verses which says “Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians.” That is the only place the word "pray" comes up as a search term. This whole assumption comes from when Paul begins by writing, “kamptō ta gonata,” which says, “I bend these knees,” and it ends when he wrote "Amen." While that leads one to see a prayer is here, it is not a prayer for the Ephesians, as it was a statement of truths about them.


Episcopalians [and others] have built-in kneelers on the backs of their pews, for routine kneeling. There the physical knees are bent, multiple times over an hour-long service. The true meaning of Paul “bending his knees to the Father” is he submitted his soul to Yahweh in marriage. The act of bowing is an act of submission to a higher power; so, one bends physical knees when one comes into the presence of a royal figure [Queen Elizabeth, for instance]. Paul was not speaking in physical terms; and, the angle brackets around the ‘thought’ that says “we all did,” when all made Jesus their lord, says all true Christians likewise “bend their knees” spiritually in submission to Yahweh. This submission is for the purpose of marrying their souls to His Spirit. Thus, to read Paul uttering a prayer on paper makes his words be less the truth of Yahweh being expressed and makes it come off like all the prayers Episcopalians offer on kneelers [much ado about little of value].


Because verse sixteen does not begin with the words “I pray that,” it becomes valuable to know what was actually written. The literal English translation according to the BibleHub Interlinear is this: “in order that he might give yourselves according to this wealth of this honor of soul , power , to be strengthened on account of this Spirit of soul into this within a human.” Instead of thinking Paul was asking for the moon, as the NRSV projects [through “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit”], the reality is Paul was stating what being in the “name” of “Jesus Christ” entailed.


A “self” seen as a “soul” says Paul knew [as did the true Christians of Ephesus] that oneself had become divinely empowered by the addition of a “soul” [“autou” means “of self,” thus “of soul”]. This is where all is relative to the presence of the “Spirit” [capitalized, therefore that of Yahweh, only possible through divine marriage with one’s “soul”]. All of that presence is “within human” flesh, where the “soul” resides. For true Christians, Paul made a statement of fact, not a ‘wish upon a star prayer.’


When the NRSV then translates verse seventeen as saying, “and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love,” the better translation is stated differently. Literally, this says, “may dwell this Christ on account of this faith in those hearts of yourselves , in love being established , being firmly established.”


In this, the word translating as “hearts” [“kardiais”] must be known to figuratively mean “mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.” (Strong’s Usage) This becomes a statement of the “soul center,” which is where true “love” is much more than touchy-feely physical emotions. Again, “yourselves” [from “hymōn”] becomes a statement of the “souls” of the Ephesians. The element of ‘wishful thinking’ – from “may dwell” being a wish – that wish is realized through “faith,” which is greater than “belief.” It is greater because of “love being established” within one’s soul, which is the acceptance of Yahweh’s proposal for marriage. Once joined in Holy Matrimony, that "love" bond is made ever stronger by “being firmly established,” where the presence of Yahweh [His “being”] has become one with one’s soul.


Because the NRSV has become the author of this letter, by creating another nonexistent use of “I pray,” their translation of verse eighteen says, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth.” Here, again, brings a need to look at the truth of what was written.


The literal English translates as this: “in order that you may have strength enough comprehend together with all those sacred who this breadth kai length kai height kai depth.” This is then adding to the ‘wish’ that comes from having “faith,” which leads to divine possession by Yahweh’s Spirit. This is such that the “power” and “strength” that overcomes one’s flesh is an ability to understand everything written by others who were likewise “sacred” and “holy.” When “sacred ones” [from “hagiois”] must be seen both as texts, as well as the authors of "sacred" books, but also to everyone who is truly a Christian ["Saints"]. This scope of understanding of who the "sacred ones" are is then paul stating who possessed an ability to discern the meaning of all Scripture. Sacred texts are written by sacred authors; so, sacred texts are not simply read two-dimensionally, but from a three-dimensional perspective, where the third diminsion demands a sacred reader. Paul then wrote this knowing there with the "sacred ones" who would read his words and understand their meaning. They survive as "sacred ones" for all readers thereafter to discern, because Yahweh was indeed with them all and expects the same marriages today, for understanding to still come. Again, this is not a prayer, but a statement of reality that should be expected by all Saints in the name of Jesus Christ.


That presence makes one’s soul be likewise a “Christ,” as marriage of one’s soul to Yahweh brings about His “Anointment” [the meaning of “Christ”]. This is in the same way that David had more than oil from Samuel’s horn poured onto his physical head. Having the “Spirit” of Yahweh poured into one’s soul makes one divinely “Anointed” [the meaning of the capitalization of the word]. As such, when verse nineteen then repeats this “Christ” state of being, it only implies one’s soul has been raised by the resurrection of Jesus’ soul along with one’s own soul.” It is that resurrection within one's soul-flesh being that makes Jesus becomes one’s lord [“kyriou,” a statement of possession]. As such, the NRSV translation that says, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” needs closer inspection to understand.


The literal English translation of verse nineteen says, “to know both this transcending this wisdom benevolence this of Christ , in order that you may be complete towards all this fullness that of God.” Here, there is no “and” written that would indicate some new line of thought being added. The word “to know” [“gnōnai”] is directly explaining that which was written prior: “comprehending the sacred [texts] breadth and length and height and depth.” That full-scope of understanding means “both” [from “te”] means a statement of one’s soul being one with the soul of the writer of Scripture [“both” author and text]. In that way, understanding is on “both” ends of communication, where the common bond is Yahweh’s Spirit. That makes one’s ability for “transcending wisdom” be only through the “benevolence” of Yahweh, which is only bestowed upon His “Christs.” This completeness says one’s soul has been elevated to a Christ Mind state of full awareness, which is then the purpose of all saints and their sacred writings. Sacred texts are purposefully written to pass on divine “knowledge” for the “benefit” of others in the future, with the caveat being one needs sacred assistance discerning the truth. It is this way to ensure that lost souls can always find “God.”


Verse twenty is then translated by the NRSV as saying, “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” This gives an impression of a power having been received; although, this is still glimpsed as a prayer, not a true state of being already in hand. When the NRSV capitalizes “Now,” this misses the truth of Paul capitalizing “,” which must be read as the conjunction that says, “Thereupon.” Here, the capitalization reflects back on “you may be complete with the fullness of God,” such that the divine elevation of “Thereupon” is a statement that says “God” [Yahweh] is indeed with one’s soul, in one’s flesh. This is not a statement of wishful thinking, as it is a loud statement that this presence of God is with one.


This makes the following words express that the presence of God “now” makes one capable [“being able” or “having the power,” from “dynamenō”], from “above,” which is “beyond” anything possible by normal human beings. Here, Paul wrote this was “what we ask or think,” which is how Jesus told his disciples prayer was known by Yahweh before you can formulate the words. This is then explained as from a greater presence than a human brain can conceive, as it is not an individual soul or its fleshy parts making things happen. Instead, it is a “power working in” those who have married their souls to Yahweh.


When verse twenty-one is then shown to state, “to him be glory in the church,” the word “ekklēsia” [“church”] must be understood to only mean the souls who gather in the name of Jesus, as all are Christs [thus the truth of Christianity]. The Greek usage of "ekklēsia" never has anything whatsoever to do with a building of wood and stone, or even the organization that employs human beings to maintain such a building. There can only be “glory” [from “doxa” meaning, “an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor”] placed on a soul, never on anything physical or material.


This is then why Paul wrote another “kai,” in order to mark the importance of knowing that a “church” is and can only be where one is “in Christ Jesus into all those generations of the age of ages.” That says those who are truly identifiable as “Jesus,” because their souls have been likewise “Anointed” by Yahweh, will always be the truth of Christianity: a human “church generated” as the one and only path to salvation. When Paul then ended with the word “amēn,” this is less a statement ending a prayer and more a statement that says, “this is the truth.”


As an Epistle reading for the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should be well underway, Paul is writing to all who want to become like him and the true Christians of Ephesus, because ministry can only be carried out by Saints. This part of Paul’s letter was read as the truth being told, understood by those who knew that truth from personal experience. Paul was not praying the Ephesians would become Saints, as much as he was stating what they knew as the steps that others must take to become like them all. Thus, this becomes a prayer for all who read it today. For that to be fully understood by seekers today, it demands one who has experienced this truth to show them all of this truth has been done, is being done, and can always be done in the future. The key element is “faith,” which takes belief to the level of personal experience.