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Eph 3:1-21. HIS APOSTOLIC OFFICE TO MAKE KNOWN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST REVEALED BY THE SPIRIT: PRAYER THAT BY THE SAME SPIRIT THEY MAY COMPREHEND THE VAST LOVE OF CHRIST: DOXOLOGY ENDING THIS DIVISION OF THE EPISTLE.
As the first chapter treated of THE FATHER'S office; and the second, THE SON'S, so this, that of THE SPIRIT.
1. of Jesus Christ--Greek, "Christ Jesus." The office is the prominent thought in the latter arrangement; the person, in the former. He here marks the Messiahship of "Christ," maintained by him as the origin of his being a "prisoner," owing to the jealousy of the Jews being roused at his preaching it to the Gentiles. His very bonds were profitable to ("for" or "in behalf of you") Gentiles (Eph 3:13; 2Ti 2:10). He digresses at "For this cause," and does not complete the sentence which he had intended, until Eph 3:14, where he resumes the words, "For this cause," namely, because I know this your call of God as Gentiles (Eph 2:11-22), to be "fellow-heirs" with the Jews (Eph 3:6), "I bow my knees to" the Father of our common Saviour (Eph 3:14, 15) to confirm you in the faith by His Spirit. "I Paul," expresses the agent employed by the Spirit to enlighten them, after he had been first enlightened himself by the same Spirit (Eph 3:3-5, 9).
2. If--The Greek does not imply doubt: "Assuming (what I
know to be the fact, namely) that ye have heard," &c. "If, as I
presume," The indicative in the Greek shows that no doubt is
implied: "Seeing that doubtless," &c. He by this phrase delicately
reminds them of their having heard from himself, and probably from
others subsequently, the fact. See
showing that these words do not disprove the address of this Epistle
to the Ephesians. Compare
3. he made known--The oldest manuscripts read, "That by revelation
was the mystery (namely, of the admission of the Gentiles,
Eph 3:6; 1:9)
made known unto me
4. understand my knowledge--"perceive my understanding"
"intelligence." "When ye read," implies that, deep as are the mysteries
of this Epistle, the way for all to understand them is to read it
(2Ti 3:15, 16).
By perceiving his understanding of the mysteries, they, too,
will be enabled to understand.
5. in other ages--Greek, "generations."
6. Translate, "That the Gentiles are," &c. "and fellow members of the same body, and fellow partakers of the (so the oldest manuscripts read, not 'HIS') promise, in Christ Jesus (added in the oldest manuscripts), through the Gospel." It is "in Christ Jesus" that they are made "fellow heirs" in the inheritance of GOD: "of the same body" under the Head, CHRIST JESUS; and "fellow partakers of the promise" in the communion of THE HOLY SPIRIT (Eph 1:13; Heb 6:4). The Trinity is thus alluded to, as often elsewhere in this Epistle (Eph 2:19, 20, 22).
7. Whereof--"of which" Gospel.
8. am--Not merely was I in times past, but I still am the least
worthy of so high an office (compare
9. to make all men see--Greek, "to enlighten all"
10. The design of God in giving Paul grace to proclaim to the Gentiles
the mystery of salvation heretofore hidden.
11. which he purposed--Greek, "made." ELLICOTT translates, "wrought."
12. Translate, "our boldness and our access (Eph 2:18) in confidence through our faith in Him." ALFORD quotes as an instance, Ro 8:38, &c. "THE access" (Greek) implies the formal introduction into the presence of a monarch.
13. "I entreat you not to be dispirited."
14. For this cause--Resuming the thread of
"For this cause." Because ye have such a standing in God's Church
15. the whole family--ALFORD, MIDDLETON, and others translate, "every family": alluding to the several families in heaven and in earth supposed to exist [THEOPHYLACT, Æcumenius, in SUICER, 2.633], the apostle thus being supposed to imply that God, in His relation of Father to us His adopted children, is the great prototype of the paternal relation wherever found. But the idea that "the holy angels are bound up in spiritual families or compaternities," is nowhere else in Scripture referred to. And Ac 2:36, where the article is similarly omitted, and yet the translation is, "All the house of Israel," shows that in New Testament Greek the translation is justifiable, "all the family," or "the whole family": which accords with Scripture views, that angels and men, the saints militant and those with God, are one holy family joined under the one Father in Christ, the mediator between heaven and earth (Eph 1:10; Php 2:10). Hence angels are termed our "brethren" (Re 19:10), and "sons of God" by creation, as we are by adoption (Job 38:7). The Church is part of the grand family, or kingdom, which comprehends, besides men, the higher spiritual world, where the archetype, to the realization of which redeemed man is now tending, is already realized. This universal idea of the "kingdom" of God as one divine community, is presented to us in the Lord's Prayer. By sin men were estranged, not only from God, but from that higher spiritual world in which the kingdom of God is already realized. As Christ when He reconciled men to God, united them to one another in a divine community (joined to Himself, the one Head