BEYOND | Hyperlinks in a Hypertext

They appear everywhere – those underlined, differently colored bits of text in internet documents and web articles, in emails, and in computer programs.  You may have clicked on or “followed” one or more to get to this article.  You might even use one or more even as you continue your reading here. They are hyperlinks, highlighted words or pictures embedded within a web page or an email upon which one clicks a computer mouse to go immediately to related information on the same or a different web page. The hyperlink then provides readers quick access to the “anchor text.”

Embedded within the theme text for Valley View’s Beyond campaign, Ephesians 3:14-21, are three “hyperlinks,” so to speak, that link believers to solid “anchors.”  Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer, and within this prayer for the Church, the apostle Paul strategically placed three uses of the Greek preposition hyper (“over”; “above”).  Each points to a connection beyond ourselves that transforms and empowers us.

The first occurs in verse 19 where Paul prays that believers would come “to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge” (NASB).  Here, Paul prefixes the preposition hyper to the verb ballō (“throw”; “cast”) to form a compound word also used in Homer’s Iliad to describe how one warrior dramatically bested his companions by out-distancing their javelin throws. Paul desires that believers would come to know the unknowable and outdistancing love of Christ that always lies beyond our powers to comprehend.  The apostle had already used this same word twice in Ephesians.  He had previously prayed that God would make known to the saints “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (1:19, NASB), and he had announced that, in future ages, God will demonstrate “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (2:7, NASB).

Having written concerning our link to the hyperdriven, outdistancing love of Christ, Paul turns his attention to the link believers (the “saints” in vs. 18) have to God’s power.  His impassioned doxology, in verses 20-21, extols the glory of God, identifying our heavenly Father as the one “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (vs. 20, NASB). Paul’s final two “hyperlinks” appear within this description of God.  First, God is “the one able above [hyper] all things to do.”  Believers have access to a God who not only exercises His power and authority within all things, but above all things.  His power is matchless, beyond description and comprehension.  

Perhaps realizing the magnitude of what he had just written, and feeling at a loss for words to express further the scope of God’s power, Paul opts to employ a rarely used compound word, the adverb hyperekperissou. This word is constructed from joining three words: the prepositions hyper and ek (“out of”) plus a third word from the periss- root, a word group denoting out-of-the common proportions, excess, that which has left over, and that which goes beyond abundance.  Paul describes God as the one able to give us “above out of [His] beyond abundance.” He stands above all, capable and ready to supply “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (vs. 21, NIV). The apostle had described that power earlier in verse 16 as the power of God’s Spirit working in our inner being. 

To what “beyond” thing is Christ calling you?  Is He challenging you in the area of your service, beckoning you to minister to others through some Valley View ministry or community service?  Is the Spirit of Christ stirring within you, moving you to hand over to God greater control of your finances or even to commit yourself to ministry as a vocation? Paul’s prayer for the Church and for all saints, ancient and contemporary, in the “hypertext” of Ephesians 3:14-21, reminds us we are linked to two powerful anchors, the love of Christ and the power of God. “[God] longs to draw you to His side and to show you His dreams for your life and the lives of the people around you.  Do you have the courage to let Him?” (Greg Pruett, Extreme Prayer: The Impossible Prayers God Promises to Answer).

Guest Author: Dr. Mark Hahlen. Dr. Hahlen is an elder, small group leader, and “teacher at large” with Valley View Christian Church. He is also the chair of the Bible Department of Dallas Christian College and does supply preaching in churches throughout Texas and Oklahoma. His wife, Brenda, is a teacher in preView and is active in Valley View’s women’s ministry.

We will be regularly featuring guest blogs by different authors around Valley View throughout the BEYOND Campaign. If you would like to contribute, send your finished blog post to beyond@vvcc.org for consideration.