Wisdom and Understanding – Ephesians 1:8

Wisdom and UnderstandingLooking at the early verses of Ephesians chapter 1, we notice that the fourth blessing Paul states that God has given us is wisdom and understanding. Again, note that both blessings come to us through Jesus Christ. Common sense tells us that God will give His wisdom and understanding only to those who honour Him and His Son.

1.  The word “wisdom” means seeing and knowing the truth. It is seeing and knowing what to do. It grasps the great truths of life. It sees the answers to the problems of life and death, God and man, time and eternity, good and evil—the deep things of God and of the universe. This wisdom is found only in Jesus Christ and is promised only to those who search after Him with all their heart.

As the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians:                                                                          “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians. 2:9-16 KJV).

2.  The word “prudence” means seeing how to use and do the truth. It is seeing the direction to take. It is understanding, insight, the ability to solve day to day problems. It is a down-to-earth practical understanding of things. As the apostle Paul reveals later in the chapter:

“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: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians. 1:17-18 KJV).

The great need of believers is to grow in the knowledge of God. Note that the God we are to know is clearly identified. He is not the god of our own minds and thoughts—the god we conceive when we picture what God is like—the god made by men’s minds and hands—the god of religion.

⇒  The God we are to know is the God of Jesus Christ: that is, the God whom Jesus Christ worshipped when He was on earth as a Man; the God whom Jesus Christ came to reveal to men. There is no other God—not a true and living God. If we are to really know God, we must come to know the God whom Christ worshipped and revealed.

⇒  The God we are to know is the Father of glory, that is, the only true and living God, the Supreme Majesty and Sovereign Lord of the Universe—the One who is the Supreme intelligence and power of the universe and who has created all and rules over all—the One who is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere), and so expansive that His very being and presence reaches out beyond the stars and embraces all that is or ever will be—the One who declares that He has “set His glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).

This is the God we are to know. As stated, He is the only living and true God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the God of glory. Believers must grow more and more in the knowledge of Him; they must gain an ever-increasing knowledge of Him.

John Calvin expresses his thoughts on this verse Ephesians 1:8 thus:

“In all wisdom. He now comes to the formal cause, the preaching of the gospel, by which the goodness of God overflows upon us. It is through faith that we receive Christ, by whom we come to God, and by whom we enjoy the privilege of adoption. Paul gives to the gospel the magnificent appellations of wisdom and prudence, for the purpose of leading the Ephesians to despise all contrary doctrines. The false apostles insinuated themselves, under the pretense of imparting views more elevated than the elementary instructions which Paul conveyed. And the devil, in order to undermine our faith, labours, as far as he can, to disparage the gospel. Paul, on the other hand, builds up the authority of the gospel, that believers may rest upon it with unshaken confidence. All wisdom means — full or perfect wisdom.”                                                                               (Ephesians 1:8 Calvin’s Commentaries.)

If the believer is to grow in the knowledge of God, he must seek the wisdom of God more than anything else on this earth. It is the person who hungers and thirsts after God and His righteousness that is filled.

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