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To Apprehend

(Continuing from last post of Eph 3)

The next verse in the NASB says: “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,” (Eph 3:18)

The Greek understanding of the same verse:

That you might have the power and be made thoroughly strong to apprehend with all the saints, what is the width, and length, and height, and depth

Two Greek words here really reshape the understanding of this verse for me. The first is ἐξισχύσητε. We translate it it in the Enlish as “may be able”. This translation looses the emphasis on power and strength. καταλαβέσθαι is the big game changer for me. We translate it as “to comprehend”. Comprehend doesn’t work here because it carries the idea of mentally grasping something. A better word is apprehend because it suggests laying hold of it for yourself. The Greek word literally means to take eagerly or to seize; to make something your own. Therein lies the difference between understanding God’s love as a concept and actively participating with the Lord in letting that reality sink in. Paul’s prayer is that the love of God would move from head knowledge to an inner knowing.

This word speaks directly to me because I have known the love of God for many years. I have written about it, sang songs about it, given talks about it, but only recently is it beginning to sink into the inner self, the καρδίαις as talked about by Paul in verse 17. This shift from head to καρδίαις changes everything!

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