|artwork by Cherry Ashen Fargo
Trusting God always draws my heart back to a study of God’s Word. Today, it is a word study on fills or fullness from the last two verses in Ephesians Chapter One, accompanied by a new hymn by the Merchant Band, Come and Let Your Presence…Come and let Your presence fill our praise, fill our praise. Come and let Your presence fill this place. For You are the One we want to meet Jesus, shine through all the praises that we sing. We have come to give You Highest praise, highest praise, We have come to love You in this place. It's all for You, Here we are, here we are…
Amplified Bible: And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].
New Living Translation: God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself.
Phillips: God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set Him up as head of everything for the Church, for the Church is His body, and in that body lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe.
Wuest: and all things He put in subjection under His feet, and Him He gave as Head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him Who is filling the all in all.
Young's Literal: and all things He did put under his feet, and did give him—head over all things to the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of Him who is filling the all in all.
Fills (pleroo) means to be completely filled (completed state—a net or a cup filled to the brim). It carries the idea of permeation, such as salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor preserve it. It also gives the idea of total control. The present tense means continuously fills. Pleroo means to be filled to the brim, to make complete in every particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to ultimately to control.
Pleroo is in the passive voice (subject receives the action—in this context the "divine passive") which points out the fact that as believers, we do not fill ourselves, but permit the Spirit of God to fill us (and control us). In other words, God discloses a knowledge of Himself. One cannot simply learn to know God. God is not like secular truths which may be learned. Divine truth must be revealed!
Pleroo also means to fulfill, to complete, to carry out to the full. Pleroo indicates more than just pouring water in a glass up the brim and has at least three shades of meaning that are helpful in illustrating the meaning. (1) Pleroo was often used of the wind billowing the sails of a ship and providing impetus to move the ship across the water. To be filled with the Spirit then to is to be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” In the spiritual realm, this concept depicts the Holy Spirit providing the thrust to move the believer down the pathway of obedience. A Spirit-filled Christian is not motivated by his own desires or will to progress. Instead, he allows the Holy Spirit to carry him in the proper directions. Another helpful example of this first meaning is a small stick floating in a stream. Sometime in our lives most of us have tossed a stick into a creek and then run downstream to see the twig come floating by, propelled only by the force of the water. To be filled with the Spirit means to be carried along by the gracious pressure of the Holy Spirit. (2) Pleroo also conveys the idea of permeation as of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it. God wants the Holy Spirit to permeate and flavor our lives so that when we’re around others they will know for certain that we possess the pervasive savor of the Spirit. (3) Pleroo conveys the sense of domination or total control. It is used by the Gospel writers in various passages to indicate that people were dominated by a certain emotion.
Theologian Charles Spurgeon commenting on pleroo, says this involves an intimate, experiential type of knowledge, exhorting us to, “Let us try to know divine truth more and more intimately. You know a man, for you pass him in the streets with a nod; you know another man far better, for you lodge in the same house with him; you know him best of all when you have shared his trouble, partaken in his joy, and have, in fact, had fellowship with him by blending your two lives in one common stream of friendship. When you learn a spiritual truth endeavor to know it out and out; to know its foundation and up building; to know it by the application of the Spirit to your own soul so that you are filled with it. You may have knowledge in the brain, but it may not run into your spirit, so as to penetrate, and permeate, and saturate your spirit, till you are filled therewith. Oh, to get the gospel into one’s entire nature, and to be like the water pots of Cana, filled up to the brim!”