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Chapter 3

3:1 For this cause [toutou charin]. Use of [charin] (accusative of [charis] as a preposition with the genitive and referring to the preceding argument about God’s elective grace. It is possible that Paul started to make the prayer that comes in verses 14-21 when he repeats [toutou charin]. If so, he is diverted by his own words “the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles” [ho desmios tou Christou Iēsou huper humōn tōn ethnōn] to set forth in a rich paragraph (1-13) God’s use of him for the Gentiles.

3:2 If so be that ye have heard [ei ge ēkousate]. Condition of first class with [ei] and first aorist active indicative and with the intensive particle [ge] that gives a delicate touch to it all. On [oikonomian] (stewardship, dispensation) see 1:9; 3:9; Col 1:25.

3:3 By revelation [kata apokalupsin]. Not essentially different from [di’ apokalupseōs] (Gal 1:12). This was Paul’s qualification for preaching “the mystery” [to mustērion]. See 1:9). As I wrote afore [kathōs proegrapsa]. First aorist active indicative of [prographō] as in Ro 15:4, not picture forth as Ga 3:1. But when and where? Epistolary aorist for this Epistle? That is possible. A previous and lost Epistle as in 1Co 5:9? That also is abstractly possible. To the preceding discussion of the Gentiles? Possible and also probable. In few words [en oligōi]. Not = [pro oligou], shortly before, but as in Ac 26:28 “in brief space or time” = [suntonōs] (Ac 24:4), “briefly.”

3:4 Whereby [pros ho]. “Looking to which,” “according to which.” When ye read [anaginōskontes]. This Epistle will be read in public. My understanding in the mystery of Christ [tēn sunesin mou en tōi mustēriōi tou Christou]. My “comprehension” [sunesin], Col 1:9; 2:2). Every sermon reveals the preacher’s grasp of “the mystery of Christ.” If he has no insight into Christ, he has no call to preach.

3:5 In other generations [heterais geneais]. Locative case of time. He had already claimed this revelation for himself (verse 3). Now he claims it for all the other apostles and prophets of God.

3:6 To wit. Not in the Greek. But the infinitive [einai] clause is epexegetical and gives the content of the revelation, a common idiom in the N.T. [Ta ethnē] is in the accusative of general reference. Paul is fond of compounds with [sun] and here uses three of them. Fellow-heirs [sunklēronoma]. Late and rare (Philo, inscriptions and papyri). See also Ro 8:17. Fellow-members of the body [sunsōma]. First found here and only here save in later ecclesiastical writers. Preuschen argues that it is equivalent to [sundoulos] in Col 1:7 [sōma] in sense of [doulos]. Fellow-partakers [sunmetocha]. Another late and rare word (Josephus). Only here in N.T. In one papyrus in sense of joint possessor of a house.

3:7 For this verse see Col 1:25; Eph 1:19f.; 3:2.

3:8 Unto me who am less than the least of all saints [emoi tōi elachistoterōi pantōn hagiōn]. Dative case [emoi] with [elothē]. The peculiar form [elachistoterōi] (in apposition with [emoi] is a comparative [-teros] formed on the superlative [elachistos]. This sort of thing was already done in the older Greek like [eschatoteros] in Xenophon. It became more common in the Koinē. So the double comparative [meizoteran] in 3Jo 1:4. The case of [hagiōn] is ablative. This was not mock humility (15:19), for on occasion Paul stood up for his rights as an apostle (2Co 11:5). The unsearchable riches of Christ [to anexichniaston ploutos tou Christou]. [Anexichniastos] [a] privative and verbal of [exichniazō], to track out, [ex] and [ichnos], track) appears first in Job 5:9; 9:10. Paul apparently got it from Job. Nowhere else in N.T. except Ro 11:33. In later Christian writers. Paul undertook to track out the untrackable in Christ.

3:9 To make see [phōtisai]. First aorist active infinitive of [photizō], late verb, to turn the light on. With the eyes of the heart enlightened (Eph 1:18) one can then turn the light for others to see. See Col 1:26.

3:10 To the intent that [hina]. Final clause. Might be made known [gnōristhēi]. First aorist passive subjunctive of [gnōrizō] with [hina]. The mystery was made known to Paul (3:3) and now he wants it blazoned forth to all powers (Gnostic aeons or what not). Through the church [dia tēs ekklēsias]. The wonderful body of Christ described in chapter Eph 2. The manifold wisdom of God [hē polupoikilos sophia tou theou]. Old and rare word, much-variegated, with many colours. Only here in N.T. [Poikilos] (variegated) is more common (Mt 4:24).

3:11 According to the eternal purpose [kata prothesin tōn aiōnōn]. “According to the purpose (1:11) of the ages.” God’s purpose runs on through the ages. “Through the ages one eternal purpose runs.”

3:12 In confidence [en pepoithēsei]. Late and rare word from [pepoitha]. See 2Co 1:15. Through our faith in him [dia tēs pisteōs autou]. Clearly objective genitive [autou] (in him).

3:13 That ye faint not [mē enkakein]. Object infinitive with [] after [aitoumai]. The infinitive (present active) [enkakein] is a late and rare word (see already Lu 18:1; 2Th 3:13; 2Co 4:1,16; Ga 6:9) and means to behave badly in, to give in to evil [en, kakos]. Paul urges all his apostolic authority to keep the readers from giving in to evil because of his tribulations for them. Your glory [doxa humōn]. As they could see.

3:14 I bow my knees [kamptō ta gonata mou]. He now prays whether he had at first intended to do so at 3:1 or not. Calvin supposes that Paul knelt as he dictated this prayer, but this is not necessary. This was a common attitude in prayer (Lu 22:41; Ac 7:40; 20:36; 21:5), though standing is also frequent (Mr 11:25; Lu 18:11,13).

3:15 Every family [pāsa patria]. Old word [patra] is the usual form) from [patēr], descent from a common ancestor as a tribe or race. Some take it here as = [patrotēs], fatherhood, but that is most unlikely. Paul seems to mean that all the various classes of men on earth and of angels in heaven get the name of family from God the Father of all.

3:16 That he would grant you [hina dōi humin]. Sub-final clause with [hina] and the second aorist active subjunctive of [didōmi], to give. There are really five petitions in this greatest of all Paul’s prayers (one already in 1:16-23), two by the infinitives after [hina dōi] [krataiōthēnai, katoikēsai], two infinitives after [hina exischusēte] [katalabesthai, gnōnai], and the last clause [hina plērōthēte]. Nowhere does Paul sound such depths of spiritual emotion or rise to such heights of spiritual passion as here. The whole seems to be coloured with “the riches of His glory.” That ye may be strengthened [krataiōthēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [krataioō], late and rare (LXX, N.T.) from [krataios], late form from [kratos] (strength). See Lu 1:80. Paul adds [dunamei] (with the Spirit). Instrumental case. In the inward man [eis ton esō anthrōpon]. Same expression in 2Co 4:16 (in contrast with the outward [exō], man) and in Ro 7:22.

3:17 That Christ may dwell [katoikēsai ton Christon]. Another infinitive (first aorist active) after [hina dōi]. [Katoikeō] is an old verb to make one’s home, to be at home. Christ [Christon] accusative of general reference) is asked to make his home in our hearts. This is the ideal, but a deal of fixing would have to be done in our hearts for Christ. Being rooted and grounded in love [en agapēi errizōmenoi kai tethemeliōmenoi]. But it is not certain whether [en agapēi] should go with these participles or with the preceding infinitive [katoikēsai] (dwell). Besides, these two perfect passive participles (from [rizoō], old verb, in N.T. only here and Col 2:7, and from [themelioō], see also Col 1:23) are in the nominative case and are to be taken with [hina exischusēte] and are proleptically placed before [hina]. Verse 18 should really begin with these participles. Paul piles up metaphors (dwelling, rooted, grounded).

3:18 That ye may be strong [hina exischusēte]. Sub-final clause again with [hina] and the first aorist active subjunctive of [exischuō], a late and rare compound (from [ex, ischuō] to have full strength. Here only in N.T. To apprehend [katalabesthai]. Second aorist middle infinitive of [katalambanō], old and common verb, to lay hold of effectively [kata-], here with the mind, to grasp (Ac 25:25). With all the saints [sun pasin tois hagiois]. No isolated privilege. Fellowship open to all. Paul gives a rectangular (four dimension) measure of love (breadth [platos], length [mēkos], height [hupsos], depth [bathos], all common enough words).

3:19 And to know [gnōnai te]. Second aorist active infinitive with [exischusēte]. Which passeth knowledge [tēn huperballousan tēs gnōseōs]. Ablative case [gnōseōs] after [huperballousan] (from [huperballō]. All the same Paul dares to scale this peak. That ye may be filled with all the fulness of God [hina plērōthēte eis pān to plērōma tou theou]. Final clause again (third use of [hina] in the sentence) with first aorist passive subjunctive of [plēroō] and the use of [eis] after it. One hesitates to comment on this sublime climax in Paul’s prayer, the ultimate goal for followers of Christ in harmony with the injunction in Mt 5:48 to be perfect [teleioi] as our heavenly Father is perfect. There is nothing that any one can add to these words. One can turn to Ro 8:29 again for our final likeness to God in Christ.

3:20 That is able to do [tōi dunamenōi poiēsai]. Dative case of the articular participle (present middle of [dunamai]. Paul is fully aware of the greatness of the blessings asked for, but the Doxology ascribes to God the power to do them for us. Above all [huper panta]. Not simply [panta], but [huper] beyond and above all. Exceedingly abundantly [huperekperissou]. Late and rare double compound [huper, ek, perissou] adverb (LXX, 1Th 3:10; 5:13; Eph 3:20). It suits well Paul’s effort to pile Pelion on Ossa. That we ask [hōn aitoumetha]. Ablative of the relative pronoun attracted from the accusative [ha] to the case of the unexpressed antecedent [toutōn]. Middle voice [aitoumetha] “we ask for ourselves.” Or think [ē nooumen]. The highest aspiration is not beyond God’s “power” [dunamin] to bestow.

3:21 In the church [en tēi ekklēsiāi]. The general church, the body of Christ. And in Christ Jesus [kai en Christōi Iēsou]. The Head of the glorious church.

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