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Ephesians 1:18

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened - The construction here in the Greek is, probably, “that he may give you ( δώη dōē Ephesians 1:17) the Spirit of wisdom, etc. - eyes of the understanding enlightened,” etc. Or the phrase, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened,” may be in the accusative absolute, which Koppe and Bloomfield prefer. The phrase, “the eyes of the understanding,” is a figure that is common in all languages. Thus, Philo says, “What the eye is to the body, that is the mind to the soul;” compare Matthew 6:22. The eye is the instrument by which we see; and in like manner the understanding is that by which we perceive truth. The idea here is, that Paul not only wished their “hearts” to be right, but he wished their “understanding” to be right also. Religion has much to do in enlightening the mind. Indeed, its effect there is not less striking and decisive than it is on the heart. The understanding has been blinded by sin. The views which people entertain of themselves and of God are narrow and wrong. The understanding is enfeebled and perverted by the practice of sin. It is limited in its operations by the necessity of the case, and by the impossibility of fully comprehending the great truths which pertain to the divine administration. One of the first effects of true religion is on the understanding. It enlarges its views of truth; gives it more exalted conceptions of God; corrects its errors; raises it up toward the great Fountain of love. And nowhere is the effect of the true religion more apparent than in shedding light on the intellect of the world, and restoring the weak and perverted mind to a just view of the proportion of things, and to the true knowledge of God.

That ye may know what is the hope of his calling - What is the full import of that hope to which he has called and invited you by his Spirit and his promises. The meaning here is, that it would be an inestimable privilege to be made fully acquainted with the benefits of the Christian hope, and to be permitted to understand fully what Christians have a right to expect in the world of glory. This is the first thing which the apostle desires they should fully understand,

And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance - This is the second thing which Paul wishes them to understand. There is a force in this language which can be found perhaps nowhere else than in the writings of Paul. His mind is full, and language is burdened and borne down under the weight of his thoughts; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:17. On the word “riches” used here, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. The phrase “riches of glory” means “glorious wealth;” or, as we would say, “how rich and glorious!” The meaning is, that there is an abundance - an infinitude of wealth. It is not such a possession as man may be heir to in this world, which is always limited from the necessity of the case, and which cannot be enjoyed long; it is infinite and inexhaustible; compare notes, Romans 2:4. The “inheritance” hero referred to is eternal life. notes, Romans 8:17.

In the saints - Among the saints. note, 1 Corinthians 1:2.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom. Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke, though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do we not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened - The understanding is that power or faculty in the soul by which knowledge or information is received, and the recipient power is here termed the Eyes of the understanding; and we learn from this that ὁπερ ὁ οφθαλμος εν τῳ σωματι, τουτο ὁ νους εν τῃ ψυχη, as Philo expresses it: What the eye is to the body, the understanding is to the soul; and that as the eye is not light in itself, and can discern nothing but by the means of light shining, not only on the objects to be viewed, but into the eye itself; so the understanding of man can discern no sacred thing of or by itself, but sees by the influence of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; for without the influence of God's Holy Spirit no man ever became wise unto salvation, no more than a man ever discerned an object, (no matter how perfect soever his eye might have been), without the instrumentality of light.

Instead of της διανοιας, of your understanding, της καρδιας, of your heart, is the reading of ABDEFG, and several others; also both the Syriac, all the Arabic, the Coptic, the Ethiopic, Armenian, Sahidic, Slavonian, Vulgate, and Itala, besides several of the fathers. The eyes of your Heart is undoubtedly the true reading.

The hope of his calling - That you may clearly discern the glorious and important objects of your hope, to the enjoyment of which God has called or invited you.

The riches of the glory of his inheritance - That you may understand what is the glorious abundance of the spiritual things to which you are entitled, in consequence of being made children of God; for if children, then heirs, heirs of that glorious inheritance which God has provided for the saints - for all genuine Christians, whether formerly Jews or Gentiles. On the chief subject of this verse, see the notes on Galatians 4:6, Galatians 4:7; (note).

Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 203

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18. OHC 203.1

The highest qualification of the mind will not, cannot, supply the place of true simplicity, of genuine piety. The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save the soul that believes, is a lesson that is never thus learned. If the practice of the Word is not brought into the life, then the sword of the Spirit has not wounded the natural heart. It has been shielded in poetic fancy. Sentimentalism has so wrapped it about that the heart has not sufficiently felt the keenness of its edge, piercing and cutting away the sinful shrines where self is worshipped.... OHC 203.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 283.2

If you will be faithful to God, self shall be crucified; self shall die, and Christ Jesus shall live in us, and He shall be the hope of our calling; we will represent Jesus Christ to the world. Inquire sincerely, “Am I a Christian?” If I am a Christian, I am looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of my faith. In Him my hopes of eternal life are centered.... UL 283.2

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 89

Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” MB 89.1

The instruction is to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” It is for your own interest to secure heavenly riches. These alone, of all that you possess, are really yours. The treasure laid up in heaven is imperishable. No fire or flood can destroy it, no thief despoil it, no moth or rust corrupt it; for it is in the keeping of God. MB 89.2

This treasure, which Christ esteems as precious above all estimate, is “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18. The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. He says, “They shall be as the stones of a crown.” “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Zechariah 9:16; Isaiah 13:12. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ, the great Center, from whom radiates all glory. MB 89.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 80

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18. TDG 80.1

Let the eye of your understanding be so enlightened that it will affect your hearts, and that the soul temple will be so full of divine mercy and compassion for perishing souls who have never heard the message that you will be aroused to put forth practical efforts in their behalf. Having our eyes thus opened to the wants of the destitute fields around us, we shall be led to bind about our own imaginary wants. Our work in missionary lines must be far more extensive. Self-denial and self-sacrifice must be practiced as they have not yet been. TDG 80.2

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