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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Ephesians: 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
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
. {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
(\en oligōi\). Not = \pro oligou\, shortly before, but as
in Ac 26:28 "in brief space or time" = \suntonōs\ (Ac 24:4),

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
. Now he claims it for all the other apostles and prophets of

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
. {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
(\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
. "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
\mē\ 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,
, 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
(\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
(\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
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
(\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
(\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

3:21 {In the church} (\en tēi ekklēsiāi\). The general church,
the body of Christ. {And in Christ Jesus} (\kai en Christōi
. The Head of the glorious church.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Ephesians: Chapter 3)