Last week we looked at the context for God’s indescribable, phenomenal, and overwhelming power as put forth in Ephesians 1.19 (click here to read). But what is Paul trying to say by writing that God has “exceedingly great” power? I’m glad you asked. In our passage, Paul actually uses four different words for “power” to convey the grandeur of who God is and what He has at His disposal.
Ephesians 1.19: “[I pray that you would know] what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…”
There are several words in the Greek for power, and in order to fully understand what Paul is saying in this passage, we need to quickly look at the four he uses. Hang tight, I promise this is good! Let us look at Ephesians 1.19 again highlighting the four power words he uses: “[I pray that you would know] what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…”
At the end of the verse, Paul declares that God has “mighty power.” The word power here is the Greek word kratos. Kratos is often associated with a king who reigns and rules over a kingdom. The king has dominion, supremacy, and authority in that realm. His word is the final say. This is also true with God. He has ABSOLUTE dominion, supremacy, and authority over all time, all places, all circumstances, all that has been created, all that was and ever will be. There is nothing or no one who can twist His arm or hold Him against the wall because they somehow discovered they had more authority than Him in an area. He is the unequivocal, undiluted, outright Ruler and Authority. There is NO ONE greater! That is our God! He lives and reigns from this place of absolute dominion, supremacy, and authority.
The word mighty here is the Greek word ischus. Ischus denotes the ability to perform. If I had the ability to lift 500 pounds (use your imagination), that is ischus. I am not lifting 500 pounds, but I have the strength and resource to do so. At any point I could walk over and grab 500 pounds and lift it above my head – I have the ability, strength, and resource. Similarly, our God has absolute ischus! He has total and compete strength, resource, and ability to accomplish anything He desires.
The first power word Paul uses in Ephesians 1.19 is dunamis. It is intimately related to the Greek word ischus and it is where we get our English word dynamite. Ischus is the ability to perform, whereas the dunamis is actually performing and demonstrating that strength and ability. Again, if I had the strength and ability to lift 500 pounds, that would be ischus. But if I walked over and actually lifted 500 pounds, that would be dunamis. It is the demonstration of the ischus I have.
The word translated working is another Greek word for power: energeia. You can easily recognize the word “energy.” This word has the concept of movement, flow, the energy of.
So what does this all mean in light of the passage? God is dwelling from a place of absolute authority, power, supremacy, and dominion. Nothing or no one can touch Him. Within this place of sovereignty He has measureless ischus – the ability and resource to perform. He can do anything! He takes this ischus and literally flows it into your life, your situation, your circumstance and demonstrates His power (dunamis … dynamite) in and through you.
If you come up to me and say, “But I have a major problem … an impossible circumstance … an overwhelming addiction” or a thousand other trifling statements, I will look you square in the eye and declare, “Perhaps so, but you don’t know my God.” What is the limit to the dunamis that God can accomplish in your life? The dunamis (the dynamic demonstration) is only limited to the ischus (the resource) He has. If the ability/resource is limited, than obviously the dunamis would be limited. But our God does not have a limited ischus, it is measureless and knows no bounds – which means the dunamis, what He can do in and through your life, is NOT limited! There is no problem, circumstance, situation, addiction, or any other thing He can’t accomplish, deal with, or bring victory in!! THAT is my God!
What have you been struggling with? What areas of life have you not had victory in? Are you fearful to give Jesus total and complete access in your life to do as He desires? He is not only a God of of absolute sovereignty and supremacy but also one of love. And in this perfect love, He has measureless ischus to perform and accomplish. He desires to use your life as a dynamite demonstration of who He is and the power He possesses. Will you surrender your all and let Him use you for His purpose and plan?
Next week we will dive into Part 3 of God’s Indescribable Power as Paul lays out two examples of what God’s power looks like lived out.
Read the other Bible Studies in this series:
God’s Indescribable Power (Ephesians 1.19)