God is Crazy Good!
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, Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)
As Christians we love to quote this verse. The concept of God going well beyond anything we could hope or imagine excites us and gives our faith a nice charge. And every once in a while, we do need a spiritual boost. But, let’s break this verse down and see exactly what God is promising us.
I like to compare a variety of Bible translations, because it can enhance our understanding of a verse. In addition, there are times when the King James Version has either incorrectly translated a word from the original language or the King James language doesn’t clearly communicate the meaning to today’s modern reader. Multiple Bible versions help with this, plus a good linguistic resource such as a Strong’s Concordance can assist in looking at the original Hebrew or Greek words used. Here is that same verse in other translations, along with what I got from each one.
Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20 (God’s Word, GW)
This version shows us that it is God’s power AT WORK IN US that does more than we can ask or think. The Holy Spirit at work in us as believers is the One who goes beyond our wildest expectations. While He is the One doing the work, we can cooperate and make His job easier by praying in tongues, meditating His Word, worshiping, and by being obedient when He gives us instructions. It is possible for us to hinder, slow down, and even block the work of the Holy Spirit in us and in our situation. How? By unbelief, disobedience, and speaking against His Word. So my first take-away from this verse is that receiving awesome things from God is the result of a partnership between us and the Holy Ghost.
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified Bible Classic Edition, AMPC)
In the AMPC version, we see that God’s power at work on our behalf can accomplish superabundantly more than we can ask, imagine, or conceptualize. He can go beyond our wildest dreams. And He wants to. Isn’t that wonderful?
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (New Living Translation, NLT)
The wording of this version points out that all the glory and honor and recognition must go to God for the awesomely good things He will do for us. Failing to give Him the credit for the positive things that happen to us is to steal the glory and will stifle His working in our lives.
Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:20 (The Passion Translation, TPT)
This translation does a great job of capturing this verse from the perspective that God is for us and is on our side. He is ready and able to do us good. He loves us, and it really is His pleasure to bless us and go beyond our expectations. What an awesome, miraculous God! What a marvelous Father!
I hope this has helped to break down Ephesians 3:20 in a meaningful way for you. And I also trust that this has demonstrated the usefulness of looking at multiple translations and versions to bring additional insight, clarity, and inspiration.