The Meaning of Ephesians 3:16 Explained

Ephesians 3:16

KJV: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

YLT: that He may give to you, according to the riches of His glory, with might to be strengthened through His Spirit, in regard to the inner man,

Darby: in order that he may give you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power by his Spirit in the inner man;

ASV: that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man;

What does Ephesians 3:16 Mean?

Verse Meaning

In this prayer Paul requested one thing: that God would strengthen his readers in the inner man. He asked that God would provide this power (Gr. dynamis) according to his vast resources (cf. Ephesians 1:18). The power comes to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit (cf. Philippians 1:19) who strengthens our inner Prayer of Manasseh , namely, our innermost being (i.e, not just our muscles but our entire person).

Context Summary

Ephesians 3:14-21 - The Greatest Of All Desires
The kernel of this prayer is in the clause that Christ may make His home in the believer's heart through faith. The previous petitions lead up to this. Note the Apostle's attitude-with bended knee; his plea with God-that He is the Father from whom all family love emanates; his measure-the wealth of God's glorious perfection; the necessary preliminary to Christ's indwelling-the penetration of our inmost being with the strength of the Holy Spirit. And then note the outcome: The indwelling Christ means that we shall be rooted and grounded in love. When this is the case we shall understand His love; and when we experience and know Christ's love, we shall be as completely filled in our little measure as God is in His great measure.
A dying veteran in Napoleon's army, when the surgeon was probing for the fatal bullet, said, "A little deeper and you will find the Emperor." Faith opens the door to the Spirit; the Spirit reveals Christ; Christ fills the heart; the heart begins to understand love; and love is the medium through which we become infilled with God, for God is love. It is staggering to ask all this; but the God who works in us with such power is able to do more than we ask, more than we think-abundantly more, exceeding abundantly more. [source]

Chapter Summary: Ephesians 3

1  The hidden mystery that the Gentiles should be saved was made known to Paul by revelation;
8  and to him was that grace given, that he should preach it
13  He desires them not to be discouraged over his tribulation;
14  and prays that they may perceive the great love of Christ toward them

Greek Commentary for Ephesians 3:16

That he would grant you [ινα δωι υμιν]
Sub-final clause with ινα — hina and the second aorist active subjunctive of διδωμι — didōmi to give. There are really five petitions in this greatest of all Paul‘s prayers (one already in Ephesians 1:16-23), two by the infinitives after ινα δωι — hina dōi (κραταιωτηναι κατοικησαι — krataiōthēnaiινα εχισχυσητε — katoikēsai), two infinitives after καταλαβεσται γνωναι — hina exischusēte (ινα πληρωτητε — katalabesthaiκραταιωτηναι — gnōnai), and the last clause κραταιοω — hina plērōthēte Nowhere does Paul sound such depths of spiritual emotion or rise to such heights of spiritual passion as here. The whole seems to be coloured with “the riches of His glory.” [source]
That ye may be strengthened [κραταιος]
First aorist passive infinitive of κρατος — krataioō late and rare (lxx, N.T.) from δυναμει — krataios late form from εις τον εσω αντρωπον — kratos (strength). See note on Luke 1:80. Paul adds εχω — dunamei (with the Spirit). Instrumental case. In the inward man (eis ton esō anthrōpon). Same expression in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (in contrast with the outward exō man) and in Romans 7:22. [source]
In the inward man [eis ton esō anthrōpon)]
Same expression in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (in contrast with the outward exō man) and in Romans 7:22. [source]
Might [δυνάμει]
Rev., power. Appropriate to the succeeding phrase the inner man, since it signifies faculty or virtue not necessarily manifest. [source]
In the inward man [εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον]
The force of the preposition is into: might entering into the inmost personality. Inward man: compare outward man, 2 Corinthians 4:16. It is the rational and moral I; the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as a moral personality. In the unregenerate it is liable to fall under the power of sin (Romans 7:23); and in the regenerate it needs constant renewing and strengthening by the Spirit of God, as here. Compare the hidden man of the heart, 1 Peter 3:4. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Ephesians 3:16

Romans 8:4 The Spirit [πνεῦμα]
From πνέω tobreathe or blow. The primary conception is wind or breath. Breath being the sign and condition of life in man, it comes to signify life. In this sense, physiologically considered, it is frequent in the classics. In the psychological sense, never. In the Old Testament it is ordinarily the translation of ruach It is also used to translate chai life, Isaiah 38:12; nbreath, 1 Kings 17:17. In the New Testament it occurs in the sense of wind or breath, John 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hebrews 1:7. Closely related to the physiological sense are such passages as Luke 8:55; James 2:26; Revelation 13:15. Pauline Usage: 1. Breath, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. 2. The spirit or mind of man; the inward, self-conscious principle which feels and thinks and wills (1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 7:34; Colossians 2:5). In this sense it is distinguished from σῶμα bodyor accompanied with a personal pronoun in the genitive, as my, our, his spirit (Romans 1:9; Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 16:18, etc.). It is used as parallel with ψυχή souland καρδία heartSee 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; and compare John 13:21and John 12:27; Matthew 26:38and Luke 1:46, Luke 1:47. But while ψυχή soulis represented as the subject of life, πνεύμα spiritrepresents the principle of life, having independent activity in all circumstances of the perceptive and emotional life, and never as the subject. Generally, πνεύμα spiritmay be described as the principle, ψυχή soulas the subject, and καρδία heartas the organ of life. 3. The spiritual nature of Christ. Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Timothy 3:16. 4. The divine power or influence belonging to God, and communicated in Christ to men, in virtue of which they become πνευματικοί spiritual - recipientsand organs of the Spirit. This is Paul's most common use of the word. Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Galatians 4:6; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:8. In this sense it appears as: a. Spirit of God. Romans 8:9, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 7:40; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Ephesians 3:16. b. Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:6; Philemon 1:19. c. Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:8, etc. d. Spirit. With or without the article, but with its reference to the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit indicated by the context. Romans 8:16, Romans 8:23, Romans 8:26, Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, etc. 5. A power or influence, the character, manifestations, or results of which are more peculiarly defined by qualifying genitives. Thus spirit of meekness, faith, power, wisdom. Romans 8:2, Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:7, etc. These combinations with the genitives are not mere periphrases for a faculty or disposition of man. By the spirit of meekness or wisdom, for instance, is not meant merely a meek or wise spirit; but that meekness, wisdom, power, etc., are gifts of the Spirit of God. This usage is according to Old Testament analogy. Compare Exodus 28:3; Exodus 31:3; Exodus 35:31; Isaiah 11:2. 6. In the plural, used of spiritual gifts or of those who profess to be under spiritual influence, 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12. 7. Powers or influences alien or averse from the divine Spirit, but with some qualifying word. Thus, the spirit of the world; another spirit; spirit of slumber. Romans 11:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 1:7. Where these expressions are in negative form they are framed after the analogy of the positive counterpart with which they are placed in contrast. Thus Romans 8:15: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage, but of adoption. In other cases, as Ephesians 2:2, where the expression is positive, the conception is shaped according to Old-Testament usage, where spirits of evil are conceived as issuing from, and dependent upon, God, so far as He permits their operation and makes them subservient to His own ends. See Judges 9:23; 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Kings 22:21sqq.; Isaiah 19:4. Spirit is found contrasted with letter, Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6. With flesh, Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:24. It is frequently associated with the idea of power (Romans 1:4; Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:7); and the verb ἐνεργεῖν , denoting to work efficaciously, is used to mark its special operation (1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 3:20; Philemon 2:13; Colossians 1:29). It is also closely associated with life, Romans 8:2, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 15:4, 1 Corinthians 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 5:25; Galatians 6:8. It is the common possession of the Church and its members; not an occasional gift, but an essential element and mark of the christian life; not appearing merely or mainly in exceptional, marvelous, ecstatic demonstrations, but as the motive and mainspring of all christian action and feeling. It reveals itself in confession (1 Corinthians 12:3); in the consciousness of sonship (Romans 8:16); in the knowledge of the love of God (Romans 5:5); in the peace and joy of faith (Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6); in hope (Romans 5:5; Romans 15:13). It leads believers (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18): they serve in newness of the Spirit (Romans 7:6) They walk after the Spirit (Romans 8:4, Romans 8:5; Galatians 5:16-25). Through the Spirit they are sanctified (2 Thessalonians 2:13). It manifests itself in the diversity of forms and operations, appearing under two main aspects: a difference of gifts, and a difference of functions. See Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 4:4, Ephesians 4:30; Philemon 2:1; [source]
Romans 2:4 Riches [πλούτου]
A favorite word with Paul to describe the quality of the divine attributes and gifts. See 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4, Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8, Ephesians 3:16; Philemon 4:19; Colossians 1:27. [source]
Romans 3:23 The glory of God [τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεοῦ]
Interpretations vary greatly. The glory of personal righteousness; that righteousness which God judges to be glory; the image of God in man; the glorying or boasting of righteousness before God; the approbation of God; the state of future glory. The dominant meanings of δόξα in classical Greek are notion, opinion, conjecture, repute. See on Revelation 1:6. In biblical usage: 1. Recognition, honor, Philemon 1:11; 1 Peter 1:7. It is joined with τιμή honor 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 2:7, Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 1:17. Opposed to ἀτιμὶα dishonor 1 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Corinthians 11:15; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 6:8. With ζητέω toseek, 1 Thessalonians 2:6; John 5:44; John 7:18. With λαμβάνω toreceive, John 5:41, John 5:44. With δίδωμι togive, Luke 17:18; John 9:24. In the ascriptive phrase glory be to, Luke 2:14, and ascriptions in the Epistles. Compare Luke 14:10. 2. The glorious appearance which attracts the eye, Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:6; Luke 12:27. Hence parallel with εἰκών image μορφή form ὁμοίωμα likeness εἶδος appearancefigure, Romans 1:23; Psalm 17:15; Numbers 12:8. -DIVIDER-
The glory of God is used of the aggregate of the divine attributes and coincides with His self-revelation, Exodus 33:22; compare πρόσωπον face Exodus 33:23. Hence the idea is prominent in the redemptive revelation (Isaiah 60:3; Romans 6:4; Romans 5:2). It expresses the form in which God reveals Himself in the economy of salvation (Romans 9:23; 1 Timothy 1:11; Ephesians 1:12). It is the means by which the redemptive work is carried on; for instance, in calling, 2 Peter 1:3; in raising up Christ and believers with Him to newness of life, Romans 6:4; in imparting strength to believers, Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11; as the goal of Christian hope, Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21; Titus 2:13. It appears prominently in the work of Christ - the outraying of the Father's glory (Hebrews 1:3), especially in John. See John 1:14; John 2:11, etc. -DIVIDER-
The sense of the phrase here is: they are coming short of the honor or approbation which God bestows. The point under discussion is the want of righteousness. Unbelievers, or mere legalists, do not approve themselves before God by the righteousness which is of the law. They come short of the approbation which is extended only to those who are justified by faith. -DIVIDER-

Romans 1:21 Heart [καρδία]
The heart is, first, the physical organ, the center of the circulation of the blood. Hence, the seat and center of physical life. In the former sense it does not occur in the New Testament. As denoting the vigor and sense of physical life, see Acts 14:17; James 5:5; Luke 21:34. It is used fifty-two times by Paul. Never used like ψυχή , soul, to denote the individual subject of personal life, so that it can be exchanged with the personal pronoun (Acts 2:43; Acts 3:23; Romans 13:1); nor like πνεῦμα spiritto denote the divinely-given principle of life. -DIVIDER-
It is the central seat and organ of the personal life ( ψυχή ) of man regarded in and by himself. Hence it is commonly accompanied with the possessive pronouns, my, his, thy, etc. -DIVIDER-
Like our heart it denotes the seat of feeling as contrasted with intelligence. 2 Corinthians 2:4; Romans 9:2; Romans 10:1; 2 Corinthians 6:11; Philemon 1:7. But it is not limited to this. It is also the seat of mental action, feeling, thinking, willing. It is used - -DIVIDER-
1. Of intelligence, Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:18. -DIVIDER-
2. Of moral choice, 1 Corinthians 7:37; 2 Corinthians 9:7. -DIVIDER-
3. As giving impulse and character to action, Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22. The work of the law is written on the heart, Romans 2:15. The Corinthian Church is inscribed as Christ's epistle on hearts of flesh, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. -DIVIDER-
4. Specially, it is the seat of the divine Spirit, Galatians 4:6; Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22. It is the sphere of His various operations, directing, comforting, establishing, etc., Philemon 4:7; Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:5. It is the seat of faith, and the organ of spiritual praise, Romans 10:9; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16. -DIVIDER-
It is equivalent to the inner man, Ephesians 3:16, Ephesians 3:17. Its characteristic is being hidden, Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 14:25. -DIVIDER-
It is contrasted with the face, 1 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 5:12; and with the mouth, Romans 10:8. -DIVIDER-

Romans 7:22 For I delight in [συνηδομαι γαρ]
Old verb, here alone in N.T., with associative instrumental case, “I rejoice with the law of God,” my real self “after the inward man” (κατα τον εσω αντρωπον — kata ton esō anthrōpon) of the conscience as opposed to “the outward man” (2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16). [source]
Galatians 6:4 In himself [εἰς ἑαυτὸν]
Better, with regard to himself, or as concerns. For this use of εἰς see Romans 4:20; Romans 15:2; Romans 16:6; Ephesians 3:16. Not, he will keep his glorying to himself or abstain from boasting. He means that if, on examination, one finds in himself anything to boast of, his cause of boasting will lie simply and absolutely in that, and not in his merit as compared, to his own advantage, with that of another. [source]
Ephesians 3:18 May be able [ἐξισχύσητε]
Rev., may be strong. This compound verb occurs only here. The preposition ἐξ has the force of fully or eminently. Ἱσχύς is strength embodied; inhering in organized power. Hence it is an advance on δυνάμει mightin Ephesians 3:16(see note). Paul prays that the inward might or virtue may issue in ability to grasp. Compare Luke 14:30(note); Luke 16:3(note); Acts 27:16(note); James 5:16(note). [source]
Ephesians 1:8 According to the riches of his grace [κατα το πλουτος της χαριτος αυτου]
A thoroughly Pauline phrase, riches of kindness (Romans 2:4), riches of glory (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:16; Philemon 4:19), riches of fulness of understanding (Colossians 2:7), riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8), and in Ephesians 2:7 “the surpassing riches of grace.” [source]
1 Thessalonians 2:12 Worthy of God [ἀξίως θεοῦ]
Better worthily. For ἀξίως comp. lxx, Wisd. 7:15; 16:1; Luke href="/desk/?q=lu+6:20&sr=1">Luke 6:20. Δόξα gloryis not used in N.T. in its primary, classical sense of opinion or notion. It signifies reputation, John 12:43; Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10: brightness or splendor, Acts 22:11; Romans 9:4; 1 Corinthians 15:40. Glory of God expresses the sum total of the divine perfections. The idea is prominent in redemptive revelation: see Isaiah 60:1; Romans 5:2; Romans 6:4. It expresses the form in which God reveals himself in the economy of salvation: see Romans 9:23; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Timothy 1:11. It is the means by which the redemptive work is carried on: see 2 Peter 1:3; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11. It is the goal of Christian hope: see Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21; Titus 2:13. [source]
1 Peter 5:10 Shall strengthen [σθενώσει]
Only here in New Testament. Compare Ephesians 3:16. [source]
1 Peter 3:4 But the hidden man of the heart [αλλ ο κρυπτος της καρδιας αντρωπος]
Here αντρωπος — anthrōpos is in contrast with κοσμος — kosmos just before. See Paul‘s use of αντρωπος — anthrōpos for the outer and old, the inner and new man (2 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 7:22; Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 4:22, Ephesians 4:24). See also the Jew εν κρυπτωι — en kruptōi (Romans 2:29) and what Jesus said about God seeing “in secret” (Matthew 6:4, Matthew 6:6). [source]

What do the individual words in Ephesians 3:16 mean?

that He might give you according to the riches of the glory of Him with power to be strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man
ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον

ἵνα  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
δῷ  He  might  give 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
κατὰ  according  to 
Parse: Preposition
Root: κατά 
Sense: down from, through out.
πλοῦτος  riches 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: πλοῦτος  
Sense: riches, wealth.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
δόξης  glory 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: δόξα  
Sense: opinion, judgment, view.
αὐτοῦ  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
δυνάμει  with  power 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: δύναμις  
Sense: strength power, ability.
κραταιωθῆναι  to  be  strengthened 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Passive
Root: κραταιόω  
Sense: to strengthen, make strong.
Πνεύματος  Spirit 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
ἔσω  inner 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἔσω  
Sense: to within, into.
ἄνθρωπον  man 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.