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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - EPHESIANS 3

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    CHAPTER III

    1. For this cause. Seeing ye are so builded together.

    Of Christ Jesus (tou Cristou Ihsou). Notice the article, the Christ, and see on ch. ii. 13.

    Gentiles. To whom Paul was expressly sent, and in preaching to whom he had fallen into the hands of the civil law.

    2. If ye have heard (eige hkousate). Here begins a long digression extending to ver. 14. If, Rev., if so be, means upon the supposition that; not implying the certainty of the assumption, though this shade of meaning is given by the context. The words are a reminder of his preaching among them.

    Dispensation (oikonomian). See on ch. i. 10; Col. i. 25. The divine arrangement or disposition.

    4. Whereby (prov o). Lit., agreeably to which, namely, what he had written.

    Mystery of Christ. The mystery which is Christ. See on Col. i. 26; Rom. xi. 25.

    5. Other generations (eteraiv). Other and different. See on Matthew vi. 24.

    6. Fellow--heirs - of the same body - partakers (sugklhronoma susswma summetoca). The second of these words occurs only here; the third only here and ch. v. 7. They are strange to classical Greek.

    7. Gift of the grace. The gift in which the grace of God consisted, the apostleship to the Gentiles.

    By the effectual working of His power (kata thn energeian thv dunamewv autou). Rev., better, according to the working, etc. The gift was bestowed in accordance with that efficiency which could transform Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.

    8. Less than the least (tw elacistoterw). Only here in the New Testament, and very characteristic. A comparative is formed upon a superlative: more least than all the saints. Compare 1 Cor. xv. 8. 168 Unsearchable (anexicniaston). Only here and Rom. xi. 33 (note).

    Which cannot be tracked out.

    9. To make all men see (fwtisai pantav). Lit., to enlighten. The mystery. The admission of the Gentiles into covenant privileges. From the beginning of the world (apo twn aiwnwn). Lit., from the ages. Rev., from all ages. See on Col. i. 26.

    All things (ta panta). Collectively.

    10. To the intent that. Connect with the matter of the two preceding verses. Grace was given me to preach Christ and to enlighten men as to the long-hidden mystery of the admission of the Gentiles, in order that now, etc.

    Now. In contrast with all ages.

    Principalities and powers. Good angels. See on ch. i. 21.

    By the Church (dia). Better, through, as Rev. By means of the Church. This agrees with what was said of the Church as the fullness of God, ch. i. 23.

    Manifold wisdom (polupoikilov sofia). A very striking phrase. The adjective occurs only here, and means variegated. It is applied to pictures, flowers, garments. Poikilon is used in the Septuagint of Joseph's coat, Gen. xxxvii. 3. Through the Church God's wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed - the many-tinted wisdom of God - in different modes of power, different characters, methods of training, providences, forms of organization, etc.

    11. Eternal purpose (proqesin twn aiwnwn). Lit., the purpose of the ages.

    He wrought (epoihsen). Carried into effect. See on fulfilling, ch. ii. 3.

    12. Faith of Him (thv pistewv autou). As often, for faith in Him.

    13. Faint (egkakein). Lit., lose heart. Kakov in classical Greek, but not in the New Testament, sometimes means cowardly.

    14. For this cause. Resuming the interrupted clause in ver. 1, and having still in mind the closing thought of ch. 2. Seeing ye are so built together in Christ, for this cause, etc.

    Father. Omit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    15. Of whom (ex ou). After whom.

    The whole family (pasa patria) Rev., more correctly, every family. Patria is, more properly, a group of families - all who claim a common pathr. father. Family, according to our usage of the term, would be oikov house. The Israelites were divided into tribes (fulai), and then into patpiai, each deriving its descent from one of Jacob's grandsons; and these again into oikoi houses. So Joseph was both of the house (oikou) and family (patriav) of David. We find the phrase oikoi patriwn houses of the families, Exod. xii. 3; Num. i. 2. The word occurs only three times in the New Testament: here, Luke ii. 4; Acts iii. 25. In the last-named passage it is used in a wide, general sense, of nations. Family is perhaps the best translation, if taken in its wider meaning of a body belonging to a common stock - a clan. Fatherhood (Rev., in margin), following the Vulgate paternitas, means rather the fact and quality of paternity. Observe the play of the words, which can scarcely be reproduced in English, pater, patria.

    In heaven and earth. To the angelic hosts and the tribes of men alike, God is Father. There may be a suggestion of the different ranks or grades of angels, as principalities, thrones, powers, etc. See ver. 10. "Wherever in heaven or in earth beings are grouped from their relation to a father, the name they bear in each case is derived from the Father" (Riddle).

    16. Might (dunamei). Rev., power. Appropriate to the succeeding phrase the inner man, since it signifies faculty or virtue not necessarily manifest. In the inward man (eiv ton esw anqrwpon). The force of the preposition is into: might entering into the inmost personality. Inward man: compare outward man, 2 Cor. iv. 16. It is the rational and moral I; the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as a moral personality. In the unregenerate it is liable to fall under the power of sin (Rom. vii. 23); and in the regenerate it needs constant renewing and strengthening by the Spirit of God, as here. Compare the hidden man of the heart, 1 Pet. iii. 4.

    17. May dwell (katoikhsai). Settle down and abide. Take up His permanent abode, so that ye may be a habitation (katoikhthrion) of God. See on ch. ii. 22. The connection is with the preceding clause: "to be strengthened, etc., so that Christ may dwell, the latter words having at once a climactic and an explanatory force, and adding the idea of permanency to that of strengthening.

    By faith (dia thv pistewv). Through your (the article) faith, as the medium of appropriating Christ. Faith opens the door and receives Him who knocks. Apoc. iii. 20.

    18. Rooted and grounded (errizwmenoi kai teqemeliwmenoi).

    Compare Col. ii. 7, and see note. Grounded or founded, from qemelion foundation. The dwelling in ver. 17 would naturally suggest the foundation. Rooting and grounding are consequences of the strengthening of the Spirit and of Christ's indwelling.

    In love. Standing first in the sentence and emphatic, as the fundamental principle of christian life and knowledge.

    May be able (exiscushte). Rev., may be strong. This compound verb occurs only here. The preposition ejx has the force of fully or eminently. Iscuv is strength embodied; inhering in organized power. Hence it is an advance on dunamei might in ver. 16 (see note). Paul prays that the inward might or virtue may issue in ability to grasp. Compare Luke xiv. 30; xvi. 3; Acts xxvii. 16; Jas. v. 16, and see notes. 169 Comprehend (katalabesqai). To English readers this conveys the meaning understand. Rev., better, apprehend: grasp. See on John i. 5, and compare Philip. iii. 12, 13.

    Breadth, etc. No special interpretations are to be given to these words. The general idea of vastness is expressed in these ordinary terms for dimension. Notice that the article is attached only to the first, breadth, all the rest being included under the one article; the intention being to exhibit the love of Christ in its entire dimension, and not to fix the mind on its constituent parts.

    19. To know (gnwnai). Practically, through experience; while apprehend marks the knowledge as conception.

    Love of Christ. Christ's love to us. Human love to Christ could not be described in these terms.

    Which passeth knowledge (thn uperballousan thv gnwsewv).

    Which surpasses mere knowledge without the experience of love. Note the play on the words know and knowledge.

    That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God (ina plhrwqhte eiv pan to plhrwma tou qeou). Note the recurrence of that; that He would grant you; that ye may be strong; that ye may be filled. With is better rendered unto, to the measure or standard of. Fullness of God is the fullness which God imparts through the dwelling of Christ in the heart; Christ, in whom the Father was pleased that all the fullness should dwell (Col. i. 19), and in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (Col. ii. 9).

    20. Exceeding abundantly (uperekperissou). Only here, 1 Thessalonians iii. 10; v. 13. Superabundantly. One of the numerous compounds of uJper beyond, over and above, of which Paul is fond. Of twenty-eight words compounded with this preposition in the New Testament, Paul alone uses twenty. For the order and construction, see next note.

    Above all (uper panta). These words should not be connected with that, as A.V. and Rev.: "above all that we ask," etc. They form with do an independent clause. The next clause begins with exceedingly above, and is construed with w=n that which we ask, etc. Read the whole, "Unto Him who is able to do beyond all, exceedingly above that which," etc.

    21. Glory. Properly, the glory, which is His due.

    In the Church. Through which His many-tinted wisdom is to be displayed, and which is His fullness. The variety of the divine wisdom is again hinted at in all that we ask or think.

    By Christ Jesus (en). Rev., better, in. As the Church is the outward domain in which God is to be praised, so Christ is the spiritual sphere of this praise.

    Throughout all ages, world without end (eiv pasav tav geneav tou aiwnov twn aiwnwn). Lit., unto all the generations of the age of the ages. Eternity is made up of ages, and ages of generations.

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