Hyperabundantly: Paul's Challenge to Move Beyond
In three passages Paul uses a very unusual Greek word. The adjective perissos, perissē, perisson means "abundant" or "going beyond" what is necessary (e.g., John 10:10). If you prefix the preposition ek to it, you intensify the meaning, yielding the adverb ekperissōs, "excessively" (e.g., Mark 14:31). Add another prepositional prefix, this time huper (meaning with the accusative, "over and above, beyond" the source of our word "hyper"), and you intensify the word even more, resulting in the adverb, huperekperissou or in some manuscripts huperekperissōs, defined in the Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker lexicon (840) as "quite beyond all measure," adding "(highest form of comparison imaginable)."
Paul uses this adverb twice in First Thessalonians. While expressing his intense concern for the welfare of the Christians in Thessalonica, Paul says in 3:10 that night and day he is petitioning (God) beyond all measure for permission to see them again. What is the adverb expressing about Paul's prayers? Is it the frequency with which he makes this request, or the intensity and depth of passion he infuses into each one of them. Perhaps we do not have to choose between the alternatives, for the one certainly goes with the other, at least when the Apostle Paul is concerned.
Then near the end of the epistle, Paul tells his readers how they should treat their leaders: "Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work" (5:13). The word "highest" falls short of expressing the degree of amplification that huperekperissou conveys. Paul is speaking of a respect that borders on reverence, conditioned of course by his description in the previous verse of the work these leaders are doing: "they are laboring among you," connoting strenuous effort.
Years later, Paul wrote Ephesians, concluding the first half of the epistle with this doxology: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen" (3:20-21). God's ability to work through us, His power at work within us, Paul says is limitless. It is, as the King James Version says, "exceeding abundantly above" the limits our small minds place on it.
God's hyper-abundant power was what was at work within Paul when he offered those 24/7 hyper-abundant prayers for the Thessalonians. And Paul was hopeful that the same hyper-abundant power would work among them as they paid hyper-abundant respect to their hard-working leaders.
That same power is available to us today. It is a power that bursts through all barriers we would place on it, that stretches any confines, and that challenges us, rather than resisting its dynamism, to "go with the flow" and become radical Christians. It inspires us to invest our brain power, our passions, our muscular force, our time, money, talents, interest, and our imagination--to intensify what we are doing for Christ. By the word "hyper-abundantly," Paul urges us to step it up, not a notch, but peg it out, all the way to the top and beyond.
Steve Singleton, DeeperStudy.com