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19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power


The third area for which Paul prayed was that the saints might know the exceeding greatness of God’s power.

19 and what is the exceeding [surpassing] greatness of His power

Believers need to know in present time something about the greatness of God’s power toward us. His power is “exceeding.”

“Exceeding” means to throw beyond, with the ideas of excellence or superiority. God’s power is beyond measure; it is surpassing operating power. This power defies definition.

Paul used four different Greek words for power in this verse:

Dunamis, which is not explosive power like dynamite but residual power like a dynamo. This is the word in “greatness of His power.”

Energeia, energizing power. This word is in the word “working.”

Ischus, endowed power or ability. This word is translated by “power” in “mighty power.”

Kratos, dominion power, authoritative power. This word is translated “mighty” in this verse.

Paul did not pray that power be given to believers, but that they recognize God’s power in them. We have the power in us to function as Christians and to evangelize (2 Co 4:7; Eph 3:20; Phil 2:13; 1 Th 1:5).

toward us who believe,

God directs His power toward believers. Believers are agents of God’s power.

according to

The words “according to” qualifies the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.

the working [energy] of His mighty power

Power here is inherent strength, energetic power, a power that works on the inside (3:7). God operates with energetic power toward us according to the standard of His great being. God is in the business of elevating our conception of what He can do for us. Paul used the superlatives “exceeding greatness” and three terms referring to power: power, strength, and might.


God turns His surpassingly great power toward our feeble nature.


Christians should never underestimate God’s power in our lives. We have it for trials, temptations, and testimony. It is a power that God exercises. This is delegated power from God out of His unadulterated grace. It is important for believers to operate within the sphere of God’s power for our lives. We cannot function in that power without a comprehensive understanding of the principles of Scripture and applying them to experience.

Note the implications of power in verse 19: God’s omnipotent power (dunamis) of supplying grace to believers and His operational power (energeo) in us are provided by His ruling power (kratos) from Scripture. Once we come to grips with this, God gives us the inner power (iskuos) to form momentum for spiritual maturity.

Possessing this kind of power should deliver us from being immobilized by fear. Power from God allows us to look fear in the face and move on with confidence. No matter what situation or pressure may come upon us, we have the power of God to address it. We must not lose sight of the power of God in our lives.