TO CHEW ON: “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:10
Paul describes God’s wisdom in three ways. He calls it “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” “the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God,” and “the manifold wisdom of God” - Ephesians 3:8-10.
Focusing on the last one, manifold (polypoikilos) means much, varied, many-coloured. “The word pictures God’s wisdom as much varied, with many shades, tints, hues, and colourful expression” - Dick Mills, “Word Wealth,” New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1649.
I take this wisdom to include:
- God's wisdom on display in the amazing complexity of creation and the natural world.
- God’s intervention to save humankind from sin by sending Jesus to die and be resurrected. This includes all of redemptive history from the Old Testament to the modern-day church.
- God’s working in the large and small details of our lives. Who of us hasn’t experienced or heard stories of amazing coincidences and situations fitting together in ways that shout: “There’s a wise planner behind this!”?
What I find curious about the sharing of this wisdom by the church is who the target is—the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”
Why do they need to hear this?
The Zondervan Study Bible says of these powers:
“Can refer to good or evil spiritual powers. Beholding God’s wisdom as displayed through the church leads good angels to glorify God since they ‘long to look’ into God’s redemptive plan (1 Peter 1:12). Evil powers, on the other hand, are reminded that God’s plan of uniting all things under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10) has decisively begun and that their defeat is imminent (1 Corinthians 15:24)” - Zondervan Study Bible, Kindle Location 273,978 (emphasis added).
What excites my imagination in this is the largeness of God’s plan. It’s bigger than we know or imagine. And you and I are part of it. Something as simple as being obedient to pray for someone has the potential to ricochet throughout the universe!
PRAYER: Dear Father, please help me to understand better the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” the “mystery hidden in God” and your “manifold (many-sided, colourful) wisdom” and to live a life in sync with these things. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.