Ephesians: In the Heavenly Realms

Power Unlimited

Ephesians 3:20-21

– The Bible Teacher's Commentary –

Paul J. Bucknell

Ephesians 3:20-21, "Power Unlimited," is section 1 of 4 parts of The Bible Teacher's Commentary that shows the awesome power and glory of God that is revealed in the church and Christ Jesus. A special look at the context of Ephesians 3:14-21 and an outline of Ephesians 3:20-21 is provided in this study. Bible Study Questions form the fourth section.

Intro Power & Glory (Ephesians 3:20-21) | God's Power (Ephesians 3:20) | God's Glory (Ephesians 3:21) | | Questions (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Introduction to Power Unlimited (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Superheroe Power20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

We can’t seem but to like those movies that portray the strong and powerful. Move after movie is made. This might be some old cartoon superheroes like Spiderman and Superman or those who fight the enemy in some intergalactic star war.

Why was Spiderman 3 just released? People are hooked on power and extraordinary strength.

Ephesian's Power

The Apostle Paul has repeatedly used this word ‘power’ in the Book of Ephesians. This is the sixth time he uses the word ‘power’ in Ephesians. During our Bible studies, the question has come up, “What kind of power is he talking about?” Let’s think about this question when we read the applicable verses.

Ephesians 1:19

And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.

Ephesians 1:21

Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 3:7

Of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.

Ephesians 3:16

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.

Ephesians 3:20

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

We not only have the word ‘power’ by its cousins, strength, dominion, authority and other related phrases: ‘far above’ and ‘exceeding abundantly beyond.’ What is Paul trying to say by this? Does he really mean these things? Why don’t we see this power in our own Christian lives? We hope to answer some of these questions in this message.

As long as we think that special things like His power are for others in another time, age or level of spirituality or impossible for ourselves to tap into, then we will suffer. It is only when we begin to see the great things that God is waiting to do in our lives that makes us turn around and seek God’s amazing grace. Let us turn our minds to these greater things whatever they might stand or represent.

We will first look what Paul says here in Ephesians 3:20-21 and then finish up by making sure the above questions are answered.
Outline of Ephesians 3:20-21

The Prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21

Ephesians 3:20-21 form an extension to the prayer that the Apostle Paul started in verse 14. One could have connected this section with the prior without much difficulty. We have, however, a special opportunity to take a close look at this passage. Verses 20-21, although still the same prayer, is a different kind of prayer.

14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB).

Ephesians 3:14-19 - prayerWe all know that there are different kinds of prayer. Sometimes we cry, weep and ask God for things like barren Hannah, Samuel’s mother. At other times we seek protection from known and unknown dangers. Still at other times we are looking back and seeing what God has done and we delight to see His marvelous works. In those prayers our heart is filled with thanks and praise.

In verses 14-19 we see a lot of the word ‘you.’ Paul is praying for them, the Ephesians saints and others who would read this letter (perhaps he was in a sense praying for us too!). This is an intercessory prayer. Oh, how much we need people praying for us. I send a letter out every 2-3 weeks with the hope that others join in prayer for our ministry.

Outline of Ephesians 3:20-21

Starting in verse 20, however, Ephesians 3:20-21 prayer praisePaul so-to-speak changes direction. Instead of praying for others, he begins making a majestic description of God. This is what we call a doxology.

To help us better understand what Paul is saying here we will look at verse 20 and 21 separately. Each verse interestingly starts with a “to Him.” In other words, God is being praised for two things, and this will form our outline: A) God’s Amazing Power (Ephesians 3:20) and B) God’s Amazing Glory (Ephesians 3:21).

There comes a time when we have heard enough of the facts about God’s glory in Christ. We just want to shout praise and hallelujah choruses exclaiming His greatness. I am not sure whether you have ever been so compelled, but certainly Paul was. He intended for us to be so moved by the truth mentioned in the former chapters so that in the end the focus cannot, dare not rest on ourselves but on Him, our Lord, our glorious King and Majestic Lover. Let’s now turn to a closer look at these two verses.

Next: The Power of God in Ephesians 3:20.

Most of BFF articles such as this one is nicely formatted for printing. This article also has a Powerpoint. Check out the great number of articles on the BFF Biblical Training Library all at one low cost.
Related articles:
Seeking the Fullness of God's Love
Our Need for God's Power: Joshua 6
Praying Power
Good and Evil: Their Nature & Discussion in Genesis 2
Dangerous secrets from Beyond
The Power of Truth: Study of Truth in Ephesians
Misunderstandings of the 'fear of God'

Read more exciting and practical articles on the Book of Ephesians.

Introduction to the Book of Ephesians

Paul's Second Missonary Journey to Ephesus - Map
Chronology Chart of Pauline Letters
Ephesians 1:1-3 Introduction in text.

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1:1-3 Every Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:1-3 Every Spiritual Blessing
Ephesians 1:1 Only by the Will of God
Ephesians 1:2 Only in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 1:3 Every Spiritual Blessing
Ephesians 1:1-3 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 1:4-6 Bible Study Questions
Ephesians 1:1-14 Redemption & Sovereignty
Ephesians 1:15-17 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2:1-3 Our Need, His Grace

Ephesians 2:1-3, an Introduction
Ephesians 2:1 A) Man's Nature
Ephesians 2:2 B) Man's World
Ephesians 2:3 C) Man's Heart
Questions (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Ephesians 2:8-10 Extraordinary Purpose
Ephesians 2:8-10, an Introduction
Ephesians 2:8-9 A) Purpose of Salvation
Ephesians 2:10 B) Purpose of our Lives
Questions (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Ephesians 2:19-22 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3:1-10 Growing in Our Commitment
Ephesians 3:1-10, Introduction
Ephesians 3:1 The Value of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:2-5 The Reliability of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:6-7 The Glory of the Gospel
Ephesians 3:8-10 The Calling of the Gospel
Questions (Ephesians 3:1-10)

Ephesians 3:14-21 The Fullness of God's Love

Ephesians 3:20-21 God's Unlimited Power
Ephesians 3:20-21 Unlimited Power
Ephesians 3:20 God's Amazing Power
Ephesians 3:21 God's Amazing Glory
Ephesians 3:20-21 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4:1-3 Preserving the Spirit's Unity

Intro: Problems of Disunity
Ephesians 4:1 Calling to Unity
Ephesians 4:2-3 Our Oneness of the Body
Ephesians 4:3 Preservation of Unity
Ephesians 4:1-3 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:11-16 The Purpose of Training

Ephesians 4:11-13: A) God's Word in the Church
Ephesians 4:11 Gifts in the church
Ephesians 4:12 Purpose of equipping
Ephesians 4:13 The final goal
Ephesians 4:11-13 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:14 B) Responsibility 1. Deceit
Ephesians 4:15a 2. Speaking the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15b 3. Grow up into Christ
Ephesians 4:16 Summary: Function of the Church
Ephesians 4:14-16 Bible Study Questions

Ephesians 4:11-14 Chart: Equipping of the Saints
Ephesians 4:26-27 The Urgency of Resolving Anger
Ephesians 4:31 The Tree of Bitterness

Ephesians 5-6

Ephesians 5:22,24 Wives be Subject to your Husband
Ephesians 5:25 Marital Love
Ephesians 5:31-32 Redemptive Analogy & Marriage
Ephesians 5:31-33 Building a Great Marriage
Ephesians 6:1-3 Obedience to Parents
Ephesians 6:17 Sword of Spirit

  BFF Homepage  | Top | Back | BFF Topics | BFF Bible articles | Ephesians 3:20-21 Study questions | Next =>

Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Paul J. Bucknell

NASB Bible used