Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
Chapter 7, “Paul Prays for His Readers’ Inner Strength and Praises the God Who Can Give It (3:14-21)” pp. 224-245
In Ephesians 3:14 Paul moves back to his prayer, interrupted in verses 2-13 (Thielman 2010, 224). He first prays for his readers then turns to praise for God in verses 20-21. Thielman suggests that Paul’s “bending the knees” signifies a very serious prayer, and the address to “the Father” as being related to intimacy and care (Ibid., 227). The prayer with three ἵνα clauses is a challenge as the petitions do not seem closely linked in structure (Ibid., 228). The “inner man” is possibly a parallel to 2 Corinthians 4:16, where the “outer” man passes away but the “inner” one is renewed (Ibid., 230). The final result is to be able to comprehend God’s great mercy and grace (Ibid., 234).
The prayer in verses 14-19 leads to a prayer of praise to the God who can, in fact, give all these gifts to the Ephesians. It serves as a conclusion not only to the earlier prayer but also to the first half of Ephesians (Ibid., 240). Thielman traces the standard structure of a doxology, observing this fits the now common pattern in Ephesians. It addresses the one receiving glory, discusses the specific glory, refers to eternity, and closes with an “amen” (Ibid., 241).