Summary: Revealed to us according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him. (#6 in the "Every Spiritual Blessing" series)
We cannot go farther into this study until I have explained my position concerning the wording and sentence divisions found in the New American Standard Version of the Bible.
I should begin by saying that I am not a student of the biblical languages, and I do not presume to be a bible translator, by any stretch of the imagination. I research my sermons to the best of my ability, using materials made available by those who have studied the languages, spent years in their own study, and have written books on the subject. I cross-reference materials to be sure I’ve gotten all sides of any conflict on any given issue, and I teach according to what I can glean as best or most closely concurring with the rest of scripture.
In other words, if there is some point of scripture that is debated, I compare each argument to what I know of scriptural truth as revealed elsewhere in scripture, and lean that way.
Now the NASB has long been lauded as the most accurate translation available, in that it adheres most closely to a literal translation of the oldest transcripts available.
I have read and heard more than once that when large portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated, then compared to the already existing NASB, only two differences were found; both punctuations and neither significant. I have not documented that assertion myself, but I have seen it written and heard it preached on more than one occasion.
Further, when I have listened to preachers who preferred the KJV of the Bible in their study and their teaching, more times than I can count, I have heard them say, “This particular word in the original language actually means...” then they fill in the blank; and when I look down at my New American Standard Translation, that is the word I find there ~ which causes me to wonder why they don’t just use the more literal translation. However, it is not my point or my purpose to criticize them. I know full well that old habits are difficult to break.
My point in all this is to say that as we go through Ephesians, when we come to places such as chapter 1 verses 8 and 9, you will notice that the NASB ends sentences and begins others, where other widely used translations do not. My suggestion to you, would be to have a New American Standard Bible to use at least in this study to avoid confusion; but even if you do not, please be aware that I have researched works of various men who have commented on Ephesians, and I have not found at any point that I disagree with them on any small point of doctrine. The difference between the translations causes us to approach the epistle in a slightly different way, but fundamental truth and teaching of Paul’s letter does not change with the alteration of a few points of punctuation.
Now having said all of that, I have to point out that in the NASB one sentence ends in the middle of verse 8 of chapter 1, when Paul says that God has lavished His grace on us. Then a new sentence begins when he says, “In all wisdom and insight...” and then goes into verse 9.
So, adhering to the structure of this translation, we gather that what Paul wants to tell us here is that God made known to us the mystery of His will, and that revelation was done in ‘all wisdom and insight’. So let’s talk first about that last phrase of verse 8; “in all wisdom and insight”.
There is some difference of opinion between commentators as to whether this refers to God’s wisdom and insight, or whether it is saying that God gave us wisdom and insight to discern the mystery of His will.
Putting the phrase into context though, I can only conclude that Paul is referring to God’s wisdom and insight. One reason is that all that is being said is focused on Him, and what He has done, not on men.
He blessed. He chose. He made holy and blameless. He predestined. He adopted. He bestowed His grace. He shed His blood. He bought redemption. He provided the way of forgiveness of our sins. And now, He made known to us the mystery of His will...
..and this was done in all Godly wisdom and insight.
Men sometimes exercise wisdom given them from above. And sometimes men demonstrate insight, or prudence in the practice of that wisdom from above; but only after, by His Holy Spirit, he has opened the eyes of our understanding into spiritual matters. Paul prays for just that, for his readers, in verses 17 and 18 of this chapter.
“...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...”