Eph. 3:16-18 “I pray that…”

Ephesians 3:16 – 18:

ESV:
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
NLT:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.
NRSV:
I pray that
, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

For public reading of this particular passage, I would prefer not to read from the ESV because the sentence is way too long.  It is five verses long: v.14-19. It takes your breath away. According to English grammar, it might qualify as a run-on sentence.  Notice the ESV does not have the phrase “I pray that” while the NRSV, NLT, and TNIV translations do. Why?  I looked into this and learned that vv. 16 and 18 (in orig. Greek) contain a subordinate or dependent clause: “that“.   For clarity’s sake, the words “I pray that” were added in by the NRSV, NLT, TNIV translators because this clause “that” actually refers to what Paul said back in v. 14 (“I bow my knees before the Father”). So by adding “I pray that“, clarity to an otherwise, lengthy sentence was increased.

Since “I pray that” is not present in the original, you would think that the ESV would be more precise.  It may be more precise but it may not be as understandable.  Precision does not equal accuracy.

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

4 thoughts on “Eph. 3:16-18 “I pray that…””

  1. Kevin, I agree. The clarity is much welcome in “I pray that.”

    The “hina clause” contains the contents of Paul’s petition.

    With appropriate pausing as I read, I still like the ESV. 😉

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    1. Just consulted the RSV. Most of its rendering is retained by the ESV. ESV should have followed the NRSV on this one for more clarity.

      But one could still see Paul’s point in the ESV, just not as smooth.

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      1. Yes, the NRSV? Absolutely.

        In the ESV, a person would really have to follow along closely and pay attention to the whole sentence, otherwise, if one separates the verses, the reader won’t see the point.

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