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EPHESIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 8

Verse 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints. This is one of the class of expressions peculiar to Paul. The ordinary terms of language do not express the idea which he wishes to convey, and a word is therefore coined to convey an idea more emphatically. Comp. See Barnes "2 Co 4:17".

The word here used—elacistoterov—does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a comparative made from the superlative. Similar expressions are found, however, in later Greek writers. See Bloomfield and Rosenmuller for examples. The word means here, "who am incomparably the least of all the saints; or who am not worthy to be reckoned among the saints." It is expressive of the deep sense which he had of the sinfulness of his past life; of his guilt in persecuting the church and the Saviour; and perhaps of his sense of his low attainments in piety. See Barnes "1 Co 15:9".

Paul never could forget the guilt of his former life; never forget the time when he was engaged in persecuting the church of God.

The unsearchable riches of Christ. On the word riches, as used by Paul, see See Barnes "Eph 1:7".

The word rendered unsearchableanexicniaston occurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament, Ro 11:33, where it is rendered, past finding out. See Barnes "Ro 11:33".

It means that which cannot be traced out, or explored; Which is inscrutable, or incomprehensible. The meaning here is, that there was a sufficiency in Christ which could not be traced out or explored. It was wholly incomprehensible. The fulness of the riches in him could not be appreciated. There is no more emphatic expression in the New Testament than this. It shows that the heart of the apostle was full of admiration of the sufficiency and glory that was in the Saviour; that he wanted words to express it; and that he considered it the highest honour to be permitted to tell the world that there were such riches in the Redeemer.

{d} "less than the least" 1 Co 15:9 {e} "riches of Christ" Col 1:27

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