on Ephesians 1 :18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened - The understanding is that power or faculty in the soul by which knowledge or information is received, and the recipient power is here termed the Eyes of the understanding; and we learn from this that ὁπερ ὁ οφθαλμος εν τῳ σωματι, τουτο ὁ νους εν τῃ ψυχη, as Philo expresses it: What the eye is to the body, the understanding is to the soul; and that as the eye is not light in itself, and can discern nothing but by the means of light shining, not only on the objects to be viewed, but into the eye itself; so the understanding of man can discern no sacred thing of or by itself, but sees by the influence of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; for without the influence of God's Holy Spirit no man ever became wise unto salvation, no more than a man ever discerned an object, (no matter how perfect soever his eye might have been), without the instrumentality of light.
Instead of της διανοιας, of your understanding, της καρδιας, of your heart, is the reading of ABDEFG, and several others; also both the Syriac, all the Arabic, the Coptic, the Ethiopic, Armenian, Sahidic, Slavonian, Vulgate, and Itala, besides several of the fathers. The eyes of your Heart is undoubtedly the true reading.
The hope of his calling - That you may clearly discern the glorious and important objects of your hope, to the enjoyment of which God has called or invited you.
The riches of the glory of his inheritance - That you may understand what is the glorious abundance of the spiritual things to which you are entitled, in consequence of being made children of God; for if children, then heirs, heirs of that glorious inheritance which God has provided for the saints - for all genuine Christians, whether formerly Jews or Gentiles. On the chief subject of this verse, see the notes on Galatians 4:6, Galatians 4:7 (note).
on Ephesians 1 :18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened - The construction here in the Greek is, probably, "that he may give you (δώη dōē, Ephesians 1:17) the Spirit of wisdom, etc. - eyes of the understanding enlightened," etc. Or the phrase, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened," may be in the accusative absolute, which Koppe and Bloomfield prefer. The phrase, "the eyes of the understanding," is a figure that is common in all languages. Thus, Philo says, "What the eye is to the body, that is the mind to the soul;" compare Matthew 6:22. The eye is the instrument by which we see; and in like manner the understanding is that by which we perceive truth. The idea here is, that Paul not only wished their "hearts" to be right, but he wished their "understanding" to be right also. Religion has much to do in enlightening the mind. Indeed, its effect there is not less striking and decisive than it is on the heart. The understanding has been blinded by sin. The views which people entertain of themselves and of God are narrow and wrong. The understanding is enfeebled and perverted by the practice of sin. It is limited in its operations by the necessity of the case, and by the impossibility of fully comprehending the great truths which pertain to the divine administration. One of the first effects of true religion is on the understanding. It enlarges its views of truth; gives it more exalted conceptions of God; corrects its errors; raises it up toward the great Fountain of love. And nowhere is the effect of the true religion more apparent than in shedding light on the intellect of the world, and restoring the weak and perverted mind to a just view of the proportion of things, and to the true knowledge of God.
That ye may know what is the hope of his calling - What is the full import of that hope to which he has called and invited you by his Spirit and his promises. The meaning here is, that it would be an inestimable privilege to be made fully acquainted with the benefits of the Christian hope, and to be permitted to understand fully what Christians have a right to expect in the world of glory. This is the first thing which the apostle desires they should fully understand,
And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance - This is the second thing which Paul wishes them to understand. There is a force in this language which can be found perhaps nowhere else than in the writings of Paul. His mind is full, and language is burdened and borne down under the weight of his thoughts; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:17. On the word "riches" used here, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. The phrase "riches of glory" means "glorious wealth;" or, as we would say, "how rich and glorious!" The meaning is, that there is an abundance - an infinitude of wealth. It is not such a possession as man may be heir to in this world, which is always limited from the necessity of the case, and which cannot be enjoyed long; it is infinite and inexhaustible; compare notes, Romans 2:4. The "inheritance" hero referred to is eternal life. notes, Romans 8:17.
In the saints - Among the saints. note, 1 Corinthians 1:2.
on Ephesians 1 :18
1:18 The eyes of your understanding - It is with these alone that we discern the things of God. Being first opened, and then enlightened - - By his Spirit. That ye may know what is the hope of his calling - That ye may experimentally and delightfully know what are the blessings which God has called you to hope for by his word and his Spirit. And what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints - What an immense treasure of blessedness he hath provided as an inheritance for holy souls.