The apostle Paul describes the believers at Ephesus as “being rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17). The term “rooted” suggests a tree, while the term “grounded” suggests a building; therefore, Paul’s point seems to be that just as the earth sustains a tree, and the foundation supports a building, so too God’s love sustains and supports His people.
Convinced of this, Paul asks God to enable the Ephesian believers “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (v. 18). Interestingly, he makes two requests in this verse.
First, he prays that they would “comprehend” God’s love – that is, know it conceptually. He wants them to understand that it’s boundless: its breadth is without border; its length is without end; its height is without limit; and its depth is without measure. Second, he prays that they would “know” God’s love – that is, know it experientially. In the context, he wants them to grasp the dimensions of God’s love (which surpass conceptual knowledge) in their daily experience. When they do, they will be “filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19).
Throughout its history the church has struggled to maintain the balance between this conceptual and experiential knowledge, often emphasizing the head (the speculative) at the expense of the heart (the affective) or vice versa.
The purpose of this website – God For Us – is to speak to this struggle, and it’s hoped that in so doing it will contribute to a greater appreciation of what it means to know Christ (Phil. 3:8, 10).
Dr. J. Stephen Yuille
Dr. J. Stephen Yuille has been married to Alison since 1991. They have two daughters, Laura and Emma. Dr. Yuille has over twenty years of ministry experience, including serving as a missionary in Portugal, pastoring churches in Ontario and Texas, and teaching at several colleges and seminaries. He currently serves as the Vice President of Academics at Heritage College & Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario (www.discoverheritage.ca). He also serves as an Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he teaches and advises Ph.D. students (www.sbts.edu).