Perfect Wisdom, Eph. 1:8 | Out of Tomes


The writings of theologians and pastors who have come before us can serve as an invitation to think more prolongedly and with greater specificity on God, and His glorious works and ways. In this ongoing series, I cull quotations on passages of Scripture from Christian Classics Ethereal Library to help spur your consideration, discernment, mediation, and worship. You can link to the full sources below or start your own search on a biblical text here.


Ephesians 1:3-14

which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
— Ephesians 1:8 ESV

The wisdom and understanding which God has so abundantly communicated, includes both the objective revelation and the subjective apprehension of it. This is the third great blessing of which the context treats. The first is election; the second redemption; the third is this revelation both outward and inward. The first is the work of God, the everlasting Father; the second the work of tile Son; and the third the work of the Holy Spirit, who thus applies to believers the redemption purchased by Christ.

— Charles Hodge

The guilt and the stain of sin could be no otherwise removed than by the blood of Jesus. All our spiritual blessings flow down to us in that stream. This great benefit, which comes freely to us, was dearly bought and paid for by our blessed Lord; and yet it is according to the riches of God's grace. Christ's satisfaction and God's rich grace are very consistent in the great affair of man's redemption. God was satisfied by Christ as our substitute and surety; but it was rich grace that would accept of a surety, when he might have executed the severity of the law upon the transgressor, and it was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own Son, and freely to deliver him up, when nothing of that nature could have entered into our thoughts, nor have been any otherwise found out for us. In this instance he has not only manifested riches of grace, but has abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence (v. 8), wisdom in contriving the dispensation, and prudence in executing the counsel of his will, as he has done. How illustrious have the divine wisdom and prudence rendered themselves, in so happily adjusting the matter between justice and mercy in this grand affair, in securing the honour of God and his law, at the same time that the recovery of sinners and their salvation are ascertained and made sure!

— Matthew Henry


It is only infinite wisdom that could find out a way for the salvation of any one of the whole race of mankind, so as that it might be reconciled unto the glory of his holiness, righteousness, and rule.

— John Owen, Christologia

1. How vast the benefits divine,
Which we in Christ possess!
We're saved from guilt and ev'ry sin,
And called to holiness.

2. 'Tis not for works which we have done,
Or shall here-after do;
But He, of His electing love,
Salvation doth bestow.

3. The glory, Lord, from first to last,
Is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take,
Or rob Thee of Thy crown.

4. Our glorious Surety undertook
Redemption's wondrous plan;
And grace was given us in Him,
Before the world began.

5. Safe in the arms of sov'reign love
We ever shall remain;
Nor shall the rage of earth or hell
Make Thy dear councils vain.

6. Not one of all the chosen race
But shall to heav'n attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace,
And then with Jesus reign.

— "How Vast the Benefits Divine," by Augustus Toplady

Paul gives to the gospel the magnificent appellations of wisdom and prudence, for the purpose of leading the Ephesians to despise all contrary doctrines. The false apostles insinuated themselves, under the pretense of imparting views more elevated than the elementary instructions which Paul conveyed. And the devil, in order to undermine our faith, labors, as far as he can, to disparage the gospel. Paul, on the other hand, builds up the authority of the gospel, that believers may rest upon it with unshaken confidence. All wisdom means — full or perfect wisdom.

— John Calvin

The great God is our Saviour. Now the finding out such a fit person to be the Redeemer of men, is to be ascribed solely to the wisdom of God: had all men been summoned together, and this declared unto them, that God was willing they should be redeemed, could they settle upon a proper person to redeem them; and had the angels been called in to assist with their counsel, after long consultation, they would never have been able to have proposed one fit for this work; for who could have thought of the Son of God, and proposed his becoming man, and suffering, and dying in the stead of men, to redeem them? this is “nodus deo vindice dignus”; what God only could have found out; and he claims it to himself; “I”, the only wise God, “have found a ransom” (Job 33:24; Ps. 89:19, 20).

— John Gill, Doctrinal Divinity


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