Priscilla Shirer, Bible teacher, best-selling author and popular conference speaker, takes hold of two brief but weighty verses from the Book of Ephesians to remind readers that "just because God can doesn't mean He will," and "just because He hasn't doesn't mean He won't." The bottom line, according to Shirer, is to remember "that He is able" — but you won't ever know it unless you take God at His word and put your faith to the test.
In God Is Able, Shirer, a married mother of three, Dallas Theological Seminary graduate and daughter of Pastor Tony Evans, takes Ephesians 3:20-21 and builds upon the apostle Paul's emphatic confession that God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…" by parsing and distilling each phrase, the most pivotal of which might be "immeasurably more."
Or, infinitely more...far more abundantly...exceeding abundantly above...above and beyond — some of the most common translations of the term "hyperekperissou hyper" that Paul uses to convey "the extravagant, profuse, exaggerated capacity and work of God," Shirer explains in God Is Able.
"Even in the original language that Paul wrote these two verses, he couldn't even find one word that encapsulated the grandeur of God's ability," Shirer explained to The Christian Post. "He literally ended up making up words. It's kind of like us making up 'awesomer.' It's not actually a word. That's what Paul did — he started making up words so that he could communicate back then and by the Holy Spirit to us today how great God is."
Below is a transcript of CP's exclusive Q&A with Shirer about God Is Able. It has been edited for clarity.
CP: First off, please give a brief overview of God Is Able, and what you hope readers take away from the book.
Shirer: God Is Able is a book that is just about two simple yet very very powerful verses in the Book of Ephesians. Ephesians 3:20-21 that say 'Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above and beyond anything that you can ask or think, according to the power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus both now and forever. Amen.'
It's a whole lot that Paul packed into those verses. He could barely even find the right words. He's just spilling over himself, tripping over himself trying desperately to figure out how to communicate the greatness and the grandeur of God's capacity and His ability to work miracles in our lives and to be engaged in the details of our everyday living. And to encourage us as believers to bring our requests to Him, bring our impossible situations to Him, and then watch Him do something magnificent with them according to His own sovereignty.
CP: Well, some readers might say that's easier said than done. So how might someone actually get themselves to a point of making this kind of attitude a reality in their lives?
Shirer: The only way to make this happen is to put it into practice. That's all you can do with this. It's like someone saying in a friendship even, 'Hey you can trust me. You can trust me with your secrets.' The only way you're ever going to become truly confident in that, is over time as you build a track record with this person, because you're vulnerable with them and open with them and go ahead and give them some of those secrets, and then you watch them be a loyal friend to you with the information you have given. That's the only way you're ever going to prove it in a friendship. It's the same way in your relationship with God. This cannot be proven until you trust God with something that's going on in your life.
We can watch other people, God will come through in other people's lives. We can hear testimonies in church and clap and applaud and celebrate what God is doing for other people. But that will never replace the deep longing we all have in our hearts to have our own experience with God in that regard. The only way to make that happen is to go ahead and step out there on the water and trust that He can keep you afloat even when it seems like all else is saying the contrary.