That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
By the "inward man" Paul means our central and highest life; and he prays that the life itself — not any particular portion of it — may be strengthened. Life is a mystery in its lowest as well as in its loftiest forms; but I suppose that we all attach a more or less definite conception to words which describe life as vigorous or feeble. When we say that a man's physical life is energetic we do not mean to say that any particular organ is strong, that he has great muscular force, can lift heavy weights and walk long distances; we mean to describe something which appears to us to lie within and beneath the physical organization, and which inspires the whole. When we speak of a man's intellectual life as strong or weak, we do not mean that some particular faculty is admirable or the reverse of admirable; a particular faculty may be singularly vigorous, and yet the man may give us the impression of intellectual feebleness; a particular faculty may be very deficient in vigour, and yet he may give us the impression of intellectual strength. If we say that a man is remarkable for his intellectual energy, we think of him as having in the very centre of his intellectual life a free and inexhaustible fountain of force and activity. It is the same in the spiritual life. There is a certain imperfection in many of us which I do not know how to describe except by saying that, though at times particular spiritual faculties may appear to be vigorous, the central life is weak. There are men whose zeal for the evangelization of the world is often very real and very fervent, but who give us no impression of spiritual strength. There are others who are often inspired with a passion for Christian perfection, but in them, too, there appears to be no real vigour. There are others who seem spiritually weak, though their vision of spiritual truth is very keen and penetrating. There are others who seem capable of very lofty devotion of awe, of vehement religious emotion, of rapture in the Divine love, and in the hope, of glory, honour, and immortality — and who yet give us the impression that they are wanting in those elements of life which constitute spiritual energy. In every one of these cases, to use language which suggests rather than expresses the truth, the vigour is not derived from the central fountains of life, but from springs that are more or less distant from the centre. The man himself is wanting in force, though there are spiritual forces at work in him. Those of us who are conscious that this is our condition should pray to God that we "may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man."
(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;