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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.

and what is the exceeding [hyperballon, surpassing, immeasurable, incomparible] greatness [megethos, magnatude] of His power [dunamis, residual power];

Believers need to know something about the magnitude of God’s power toward us in the present time. His residual power exercised on our behalf surpasses or exceeds what Christians might anticipate. 

“Exceeding” means to throw beyond, carrying 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 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 as “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 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 nature of who He is manifested in what He does on our behalf. 

the working [energeia, energy or operation] of His mighty [ischus, endowed or controlling power] power [kratos, authoritative power or capacity]

“Working” is inherent strength, energetic power, a power that works on the inside (Eph 3:7). The New Testament only uses this word for supernatural power. God operates with energetic or active power toward us according to the standard of His great endowed being. His “mighty” power is endowed in Him, which He uses authoritatively. God is in the business of elevating our conception of what He can do for us.

Thus, in this verse, Paul used the superlatives “exceeding greatness” and three terms referring to power: power, strength, and might, indicating the resources He provides for us in grace.


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. Believers need 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 or residual power (dunamis) of supplying grace to believers and His operational power (energeo) in us are provided by His ruling or controlling power working in us (kratos). Once we come to grips with this, God gives us His inner power (iskuos) to form momentum for spiritual maturity.

Possessing this kind of power should prevent 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.