A Note from Caroline: This post is a repost of one of my favorite study tools from Scripture Dig (before the merger with Do Not Depart). In this post, Kristi explained the benefits of taking note of context around a verse along with mechanically outlining sentences within a passage to further understand overall meanings. (The ladies at Scripture Dig were studying Ephesians at the time.) Breaking sentences down like the example given below causes me to look closely at each God-given phrase within His Word. So much truth rests within each verse! I pray this repost will give you another useful tool for your bible study time.
Today, we’re going to focus in on one portion of his prayers for the Ephesian believers, listening at the door of his prayer closet and fixing our attention on Ephesians 1:19-20.
…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working ofhis great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right handin the heavenly places…
Now, as we study through this epistle (or letter), it is very important that we:
- Keep Paul’s statements in context – look at the verses before this short section. Paul is recounting how he constantly thanks God for these believers in Jesus, and prays that God would give them wisdom and deepen their understanding of Him.
- Understand what he is really saying. It’s easy to get lost in the many connecting phrases in Paul’s infamously long sentences! We need to look closely at what his main points are. One method of study that is always very helpful for me is a mechanical outline – spacing the phrases to show the logical flow of thought. Like this:
From doing this, we see that Paul’s main request in this portion of the prayer he prays for these believers is – that they may know on a deep level
- the hope God has called us to,
- the glorious inheritance He has given us,
- and the greatness of His power in our lives.
These verses struck me so much when I studied through this passage a few weeks ago. You see, I don’t doubt for a minute that my God is powerful. I sing with my children – “my God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do!” I believe it with all my heart. I believe that God made this whole beautiful, incredible world. I believe that He is completely sovereign and supreme over everything in the universe. I believe He holds this big world and my little life in His hands.
But… how often do I begin to think, deep down, that my problems and needs are too much for Him? That He cannot redeem the darkest nights of my soul? Wonder if He will be able to transform me – even on my worst days where my old sin nature shines through – into the image of His dear Son?
Notice what this verse says –
The power of His Holy Spirit in my life is the same awesome power that brought Jesus from broken death to glorious life. The power of God in my life is the same power that rolled that stone away and revealed a glorified Jesus walking out of his own grave.
The same power.
Oh, that we would know the hope and glorious inheritance we have in Jesus – and may He cause us to know, really know, that it is His same power that is at work in our lives! Notice Paul didn’t pray that God would give them power – He prayed that they would realize that they already had it in Jesus!
What is heavy on you today, friend? How impossible the problem, how staggering your sin?
May God open the eyes of your heart to see today how big our God really is – and that His power has never changed.
I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdomand insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 1:16-20, NLT
Have you use mechanical outlining in your bible study before? How do you personally use this tool? Any questions we can help you with as a team?