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EPHESIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 1


Ephesians Chapter 3



THIS chapter consists, properly, of three parts :—

I. A statement that the Gentiles were to be made partakers of the gospel, and that the work of proclaiming this was especially entrusted to Paul, Eph 3:1-12. In illustrating this, Paul observes:—

(1.) That he was the prisoner of Jesus Christ in behalf of the Gentiles, Eph 3:1. He was in bonds for maintaining that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and for endeavouring to convey it to them.

(2.) He reminds them all of the fact that he was called, by special revelation, to make known this truth, and to convey to the Gentiles this gospel—supposing that they had heard of the manner of his conversion, Eph 3:2,3.

(3.) He refers them to what he had said before in few words on this point as proof of his acquaintance with this great plan of the gospel, Eph 3:3,4.

(4.) He speaks of this great truth as a "mystery"—the "mystery of Christ;" the great and important truth which was concealed until Christ came, and which was fully made known by him, Eph 3:4-6. This had been hidden for ages. But now it had been fully revealed by the Spirit of God to the apostles and prophets in the Christian church, that the great wall of partition was to be broken down, and the gospel proclaimed alike to all.

(5.) The apostle says, that to him especially was this office committed, to proclaim among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, Eph 3:8,9.

(6.) The design of this was to illustrate, in view of all worlds, the great wisdom of God in the plan of salvation, Eph 3:10-12. It was intended to show to other intelligent beings the glory of the Divine perfections, and to make manifestations of the Divine character which could be perceived nowhere else.

II. Paul expresses an earnest wish that they should comprehend the glory of this plan of salvation, Eph 3:13-19. Particularly he desires them not to faint on account of his afflictions in their behalf; declares that he bows his knees in prayer before the great Father of the redeemed family, that God would be pleased to strengthen them, and enlighten them, and give them clear views of the glorious plan.

III. The chapter concludes with an ascription of praise to God, in view of the great goodness which he had manifested, and of the glory of the plan of salvation, Eph 3:20,21.

Verse 1. For this cause. On account of preaching this doctrine; that is, the doctrine that the gospel was to be proclaimed to the Gentiles.

I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ. A prisoner in the service of the Lord Jesus; or made a prisoner in his cause. Not a prisoner for crime, or debt, or as a captive in war, but a captive in the service of the Redeemer. This proves that, at the time of writing this, Paul was in bonds, and there can be no question that he was in Rome. This would be more correctly rendered, "For this cause I, Paul, am the prisoner," etc. So Tindal renders it, "For this cause I, Paul, the servant of Jesus, am in bonds." So also Locke, Rosenmuller, Doddridge, Whitby, Koppe, and others understand it. By this construction the abruptness now manifest in our common version is avoided.

For you Gentiles. Made a prisoner at Rome on your behalf, because I maintained that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles. See Ac 22:21-23. He was taken first to Cesarea, and then to Rome. The cause of his imprisonment and of all his difficulties was, that he maintained that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles; that when the Jews rejected it, God rejected them; and that he was specially called to carry the message of salvation to the heathen world.

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