By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,
Paul continues the prayer he had begun thirteen verses earlier when he wrote For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles. He continues with the words For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father. Note that both verses begin with the same words. The prayer continues through the end of the chapter. In the discussion on verse one I wrote, “Paul now turns to pray for those who have been united together in one body, both Jews and Gentiles into one holy temple in Christ. The reason for the prayer remains the same. The interluding thirteen verses serve only to intensify the content of the prayer. Paul bows his knees as an expression of humble admission of his relationship to the Father.
The word translated bow is used four times in the New Testament and in each of the other three instances it refers to a quote from the Old Testament. In Romans 4:11 Paul writes But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” He quotes from 1Kings 19:18 as he answers Elijah’s question, “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” It speaks of allegiance to God.
In Rom. 14:11 (“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”) and Phil 2:10 (so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,) he quotes from Is. 45:23 That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
Two verses earlier Paul had written in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. So, Paul takes advantage of that bold and confident access that he has in coming before the Father to present his petition. There are two things about Paul’s prayer and prayer in general that we can learn in this verse. (1) The words I bow my knees speak more about attitude than they do about physical position. One day all will have to admit who the Father is. Paul chooses to come before the Father in humility acknowledging both who he is and who the Father is. He can come boldly but also humbly through faith. What a fantastic position to occupy. We have the opportunity to choose faith in order to humbly and boldly come before Him. The Scriptures speak of several postures for prayer. Each involves the proper attitude for prayer. (2) The word Father describes the personal nature of our relationship with God. In Ephesians, Paul uses Father eight times in referring to God. In the Old Testament the word Father is only used fifteen times in reference to God. This is out of a total of 1,448 occurrences. In the New Testament it is used 245 times out of 413 occurrences. (This information is taken from “The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology” as I did not look through the Bible to count them for myself.) What is the point? As Paul speaks of the mystery of Jews and Gentiles being united in one body it is also true that it provides a more personal relationship for us to have with the One who is our Father. We can freely and personally enter His presence with confidence.
Just as Paul takes advantage of that relationship here, we can also take advantage of that relationship as we bend our knees to the Father. We may exercise that opportunity through faith rather than compulsion.