That you may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth… Ephesians 3:18
The Apostle Paul adds depth to his teaching, literally, with this verse.
Paul prays for the followers at Ephesus, that they would have “depth” in their faith and not only depth but also “breadth and length and height.”
As if going deeper is not enough, you have to go higher, longer, and wider. What is Paul talking about?
Read a few commentators and listen to podcasts on what breadth, length, height, and depth means in this verse and they are all over the spectrum from figurative language to complicated formulas.
Enter Pastor Grant into this fray!
Paul starts his teaching with “strength to comprehend” which is in itself an odd way of explaining something. You need strength to lift something but what does strength have to do with understanding? Strength is typically physical, and comprehension mental.
I didn’t say when I entered the fray that I would simplify matters.
The phrase “strength to comprehend” could be a Mixed Martial Arts phrase; it could be translated as “ability to take down.” Something useful in the fighting ring and very helpful with your Christian faith, if you understand that we have to fight to maintain our victory in Jesus.
Wimps should stay out of the ring! Consider this translation:
That you may have the strength to take down the obstacles to loving Jesus. To be trained in understanding the worship (height), warfare (depth), breadth (relationships with others), and length (loving yourself)… Eph 3:18 OGV
Admittedly, I’ve stretched the rules of translation a bit.
When I read a passage like this, I try to make it practical. So, I developed a checklist to review – my height, depth, breadth, and length checklist. The list considers the warfare aspect of our faith and how we need strengthening.
I ask myself (go ahead and ask yourself):
- Height: What am I worshipping? Do I enjoy worship? Do I delight in prayer, scripture, and praising God?
- Depth: What is going on with warfare in my life now? Where is the evil one getting a foothold? Where have been my areas of struggle recently?
- Width: Am I embracing others the way that I should? Who do I need to forgive? Who do I need to serve?
- Length: Have I been discouraged lately? Am I filled with joy? Where have I been stretching my faith recently?
Up to God/Down to the evil one/Wide to others/Lengthening or stretching my faith.
Try this checklist before you get out of bed each morning for a week. Height, Depth, Width, and Length – to God/to temptation/to great relationships/to your calling and victory!
Allow God to speak to you. There is always something practical in the Apostle Paul’s teaching.
I love simplicity.