Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,…
In this remarkable verse we have a wonderful instance of St. Paul's cumulative way of speaking. Whenever I get fairly into one of St. Paul's Epistles, I always feel as though the man is in bonds. Language is too poor a medium for him. He cannot get out all that is in for the dear life of him, eloquent though he was. If you had asked him about it, he would have said, "Language is bankrupt. It will not meet the case." I remember once, in the north of England, hearing a very celebrated, and eloquent, and powerful Welsh preacher, who was wonderfully fluent in the English tongue, too, but he was preaching to a full congregation of English people, and his soul was in his message. It flashed in his eye, it fired his Celtic tongue, and he was so thoroughly elevated and raised by the nobility of his theme, and the thoughts within him burned and breathed at such a rate, that Saxon would not do, and he paused a moment and said, "Oh, if you only understood Welsh!" Then he would have been able, in his more familiar tongue, to climb somewhat higher to the point he aimed at. I think that it is, just like that with St. Paul. He beggars language, and then he says: "It is not enough." Now look at it. There is that passage in which he compares the light afflictions of the present with the glory of the future. Do you see how he piles it up? He says, "A far more exceeding weight of glory." And if you analyse this verse, it will take you a long time to read it. Let us try; it is worth it. "God is able." Thank God for that. "God is able." "God is able to do." Plenty of gods who can boast. "God is able to do." "God is able to do abundantly." "God is able to do exceeding abundantly." "God is able to do exceeding abundantly all." "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all." "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask." "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think." Here I think he flung his pen down and said, "It is no use." It could not be. He climbed up the ladder to the very highest rung that words could take him; and then he got on a higher ladder, and climbed up as far as thoughts could take him; and then he wanted Jacob's ladder to reach to the throne of God in order to tell us what God will do to any man who says in his heart, "Be my God." The way in which Paul moves upward in his passion, struck me once when I was in Wales. I was moving up a high and rocky slope. First of all it led me through a meadow. After the meadow there was an upward pathway through a wood. Up a little higher and I caught a gleam of the river beyond. Higher still I saw the shaggy rocks, and tall hills behind; higher still and I saw the golden cornfields at their feet. And still higher went I, until right away yonder on the horizon I saw the black-capped mountains higher than them all. And still I had to rise, and rising at last I stood upon the summit, and said, as I looked around, "This is perfection." But it was not; for on turning in one direction I perceived a sight I had not caught before. What do you think it was? It was a glimpse of the infinite sea stretching away beyond all ken, to meet the infinite sky. St. Paul gets up to that height, and then he wants a pair of wings to fly with.
(J. J. Wray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,