EPHESIANS CHAPTER THREE

OBSERVATIONS

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand in accordance with the framework in which it was written: a framework which is defined by the normative rules of language, context and logic - rules which do not impose undue, unintended meanings to the text , and which largely limit the observer to the content offered by Paul's epistle to the Ephesians and his other writings. In order for any passage from elsewhere to be considered, it must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or a specific cross reference in the passage at hand by the author. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

****** EXCERPT FROM EPHESIANS CHAPTER 3 *****

.............OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER THREE

(Eph 2:19) Gentile Believers Then Are No Longer Strangers And Aliens, But Are Fellow Citizens With The Saints, And Are Of God's Household

[Commentary On Eph 2:19]:

(Eph 2:13 YLT) "And now, in Christ Jesus, [you] being once afar off became [near] [by] the blood of Christ, (Eph 2:14 NASB) For He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, (Eph 2:15 NASB) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Eph 2:16 YLT) and [that He] might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in [Himself]," (Eph 2:17 NASB)  And [having come] He preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; (Eph 2:18 NKJV) for through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph 2:19 NASB) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household," =

Since Gentiles before they became believers in Christ Jesus were separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world, (2:12); and since now Gentile, (and Jewish), believers in Christ Jesus are in Him, who were once afar off and became near by the blood of Christ, (2:13); Who He Himself is now their peace - temporal and eternal, Who made both groups - Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ Jesus into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall between them, (2:14); by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances - the Mosaic Law in its entirety, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (2:15); that He might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself, (2:16); And having come He preached peace to those who were far away, and peace to those who were near, (2:18);

then in Eph 2:19, author Paul repeats that they - Gentile believers - are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints - the set apart ones to God through Christ as believers in Christ Jesus - Jew and Gentile together as one body, one new man. And they are together part of God's household. The phrase rendered, "fellow citizens," refers to believers in Christ Jesus, who are thereby members of the family of God, citizens in and of the heavenly places, (cf. Eph 2:6; Phil 3:20). Furthermore, verse 19 states that all believers - Gentiles especially in view - are of God's household - no longer on the outside looking as unbelievers, but part of the family of God - part of His household.

Note that in Old Testament times, even Gentile believers were largely ostracized and excluded from fellowship in the Temple of God in Jerusalem and in local synagogues, by Jews - even those Jews who were of the faith of Abraham, despite the Gentiles' faith.

A physical building structure is not in view re: "God's household." For Eph 2:20, [(Eph 2:19-20 NASB) "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone,"]: stipulates that God's household was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets; Christ Jesus Himself is the Corner Stone; and individual believers in Christ Jesus, both Jewish and Gentiles, are fellow citizens, i.e., residents of God's household.

Although Old Testament saints are also citizens of heaven - the household of God; and are present in heaven after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, they are not in view, i.e., in the context of this passage in Ephesians :

[Compare Heb 3:1-5]:

(Heb 3:1 NASB) "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;

(Heb 3:2 NASB) He was faithful to Him Who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.

(Heb 3:3 NASB) For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.

(Heb 3:4 NASB) For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

(Heb 3:5 NASB) Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later."

Although Jewish believers of the Old Testament period are fellow citizens of the household of God with the saints of the Church Age in accordance with God's plan for the ages, Old Testament saints are not being addressed in this passage, as some contend.

[(Eph 2:20) Gentile Believers Having Been Built On The Foundation Of The Apostles And Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself Being The Corner Stone]:

[(Eph 2:20) Commentary On Eph 2:20]:

[(Eph 2:19-20 NASB) "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone,"]:

In Eph 2:19, author Paul, by way of summarizing this section, (the end of chapter 2), repeats that they - Gentile believers - are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints - the set apart ones to God through Christ as believers in Christ Jesus - Jew and Gentile together as one body, one new man. And they are together part of God's household. The phrase rendered, "fellow citizens," refers to believers in Christ Jesus, who are thereby members of the family of God, citizens in and of the heavenly places, (cf. Eph 2:6; Phil 3:20). Furthermore, verse 19 states that all believers - Gentiles especially in view - are of God's household - no longer on the outside looking in as unbelievers, but part of the family of God.

Whereupon those Gentile believers in Christ Jesus, being of God's household, are stipulated in Gen 2:20 as "having been built" (as part of God's household, (v. 19)) - the aorist present participle in passive voice signifying a completed action performed by God Himself, (since it is His household), - God the Holy Spirit, (v. 22), a household built in part of Gentiles who had become believers in Christ Jesus in the 1st century, at the time of Paul's writing of this epistle, (hence the completed action aorist tense verb). Nevertheless, this is also applicable to all Gentiles and all Jews as they too choose to become believers in Christ Jesus to become a part of God's household. Which household, Paul goes on in Eph 2:20 to write, has been built and continues to be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, (Eph 2:21-22).

The Greek phrase rendered "having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" could mean (a) that the foundation was built by them, or (b) that the foundation came from them, or (c) that they own a foundation or (d) that they are the foundation. The words are best understood by (d): the foundation which consists of the apostles and prophets. This makes the best sense when one sees in Eph 4:11 that the apostles and prophets were spiritually gifted men given to the church as its "foundation." Furthermore, this fits well in the present context, which states that Christ Jesus Himself is the Cornerstone, that is, He Himself is the key part of the foundation - of the whole building.

The foundation of the apostles and prophets has evidently been built by God which includes what they personally did - their evangelizing and instructing of individuals through the work of God the Holy Spirit within each one of them to become and grow as believers and apostles and prophets in Christ Jesus.

So the Corner Stone of the foundation of that building - the household of God - is Christ Jesus Himself. The Greek word "akrogOniaiou" rendered Corner Stone of that foundation refers to the capstone or binding stone that holds the whole structure together. It is the stone which is placed at the extreme corner, so it could bind together the other stones in the structure. It was the most important stone in a building because the stability of all the others depended upon it. It also provided the standard to follow for straight lines both horizontal and vertical. In the eastern part of the world it was considered to be even more important than the foundation.

[Compare Ps 118:22-23]:

(Ps 118:22 NASB) "The stone which the builders rejected has become the Corner Stone.

(Ps 118:23 NASB) This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

[Compare Mk 12:10-11]:

(Mk 12:10 NASB) "[Jesus said], Have you not even read this Scripture: 'The Stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief Corner Stone;

(Mk 12:11 NASB) This came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes.'?"

In ancient building practices "the chief cornerstone" was carefully placed. It was crucial because the entire building was lined up with it. The church's foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets, needed to be correctly aligned with Christ - the Corner Stone. All other believers are built on that foundation, measuring their lives with Christ.

Note that the prophets in view are those prophets of the New Testament era, which included the apostles who were also prophets of the current era, and not the Old Testament prophets that did not specifically receive the new revelation of the present Church Age - especially the mystery of the church in that age, which had been hidden in the days past.

[Compare Eph 3:1-5]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles -

(Eph 3:2 NASB) if [= indeed] indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;

(Eph 3:3 NASB) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote in brief.

(Eph 3:4 NASB) By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

(Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;"

[Compare Eph 4:11-12]:

(Eph 4:11 NASB) "And He [Christ] gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

(Eph 4:12 NASB) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;"

(Eph 2:21) It Is God's Household Comprised Of Christ Jesus - The The Corner Stone And The Foundation Of The Apostles And Prophets) - In Whom The Whole Building, Being Joined Together Is Growing Into A Holy Temple In The Lord

(Eph 2:21) It Is God's Household Comprised Of Christ Jesus, The Corner Stone, And The Foundation Of The Apostles And Prophets;- In Whom The Whole Building, Being Joined Together Is Growing Into A Holy Temple In The Lord

[(Eph 2:21) Commentary On Eph 2:21]:

(Eph 2:13 YLT) "And now, in Christ Jesus, [you] being once afar off became [near] [by] the blood of Christ, (Eph 2:14 NASB) For He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, (Eph 2:15 NASB) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Eph 2:16 YLT) and [that He] might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in [Himself]," (Eph 2:17 NASB)  And [having come] He preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; (Eph 2:18 NKJV) for through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph 2:19 NASB) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, (Eph 2:20 NASB) having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone, (Eph 2:21 NASB) in Whom the whole building, being [joined] together, is growing into a holy [sanctuary] in the Lord," =

In Eph 2:19, author Paul, by way of summarizing in order to close this section, (the end of chapter 2), repeats that the Gentile believers are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints - the set apart ones to God through Christ as believers in Christ Jesus - Jew and Gentile together as one body, one new man. And they are together part of God's household. The phrase rendered, "fellow citizens," refers to believers in Christ Jesus, who are thereby members of the family of God, citizens in and of the heavenly places, (cf. Eph 2:6; Phil 3:20). Furthermore, verse 19 states that all believers - Gentiles especially in view - are of God's household - no longer on the outside looking as unbelievers, but part of the family of God - part of His household.

And in Eph 2:20, Paul continues to summarize, stipulating that the Gentile believers, (and all believers), have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone.

So it is in Christ Jesus Himself, the Corner Stone of the whole building with Whom the whole group of believers is being joined together - growing into a holy [sanctuary] in the Lord, in His Presence.

[Compare Eph 4:15-16]:

(Eph 4:15 NASB) "but speaking the truth in love, we [believers in Christ, the Son of God, (v. 13)] are to grow up in all aspects into Him Who is the head, even Christ.

(Eph 4:16 NASB) from Whom the whole body [the body of Christ, (v. 13)], being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

The anarthrous expression, (i.e., one without the article), "pasa oikdomE" in Eph 2:21 which could mean "every building" instead of as rendered "the whole building" which the former suggests a multitude of individual local churches to suggest the idea that each local church was a building for God's habitation fit together with all the other buildings to comprise one dwelling place for God. But this does not readily fit the context of the passages which emphasizes the unity of the Body of Christ, one may conclude that scribes added the article - thereby making it best rendered "the whole building." However, the addition of the article was not necessary to render it as such because "pasa olkodomE" is derived from a Hebraism which has affected Koine usage and should be understood to mean "all the building" or "the whole building" comprised of all believers, Jew and Gentile, without the article having to be present. Hence all English versions include the definite article.

The Greek word "auxei" in Eph 2:21 rendered "is growing" with its present tense, and the Greek present participle "sunarmologoumEne" rendered "being joined together," in the sense of being  skillfully fitted to each other, as opposed to haphazardly being thrown together, corroborate ongoing progress and progressive growth of a living organism, (cf. "one new man" [Eph 2:15]; and "one body" [Eph 2:16] composed of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ Jesus. The word used for temple is not the Greek word "hieron" which includes the entire structure, but "naon," the sanctuary where God is reported to have resided in other passages in the Old Testament. Hence in view is all believers in Christ Jesus with God's Presence within them being joined together and growing into a holy [sanctuary] in the Lord - held together by Christ Jesus Himself, the Corner Stone.

[Compare 1 Pet 2:4-5]:

(1 Pet 2:4 NASB) "And [you, newborn babies, (v. 2),  i.e., believers in Jesus Christ, (v. 1:3)] coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God.

(1 Pet 2:5 NASB) you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

[(Eph 2:22) In Whom [God's Household - The Whole Building - You Gentile Believers - Are Also Being Built Together For A Dwelling Place Of God In The Spirit]:

[(Eph 2:22) Commentary On Eph 2:22]:

(Eph 2:13 YLT) "And now, in Christ Jesus, [you] being once afar off became [near] [by] the blood of Christ, (Eph 2:14 NASB) For He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, (Eph 2:15 NASB) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Eph 2:16 YLT) and [that He] might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in [Himself]," (Eph 2:17 NASB)  And [having come] He preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; (Eph 2:18 NKJV) for through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph 2:19 NASB) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, (Eph 2:20 NASB) having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone, (Eph 2:21 NASB) in Whom the whole building, being [joined] together, is growing into a holy [sanctuary] in the Lord, (Eph 2:22 NKJV) in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." =

It is in Christ Jesus Himself that the Gentile believers in Christ Jesus also are being built together [with the Jewish believers] for a dwelling place - the holy sanctuary - of God in the Spirit, i.e., the work of the Holy Spirit in them, emphasizing the unity of the Body of Christ, not the separatism that Jewish believers were prone to insist upon, especially in the early days of the church, and even today. The Greek word "sunoikodomeisthe," is in the present tense. It is rendered "are being built together" which is in the middle voice indicating an ongoing work of God the Holy Spirit and the believers together - as more believers are added and as each chooses to maintain fellowship with God and one another and thereby grow in the faith by the grace of God - of which there is no guarantee that each will persevere in the faith .

Note the continued emphasis on the inclusion of the Gentile believers in Christ Jesus on an equal standing with the Jewish believers - individuals from both groups being components of that living building, together as one new man, built together into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

On the other hand, Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ Jesus do not always act in accordance with their eternal standing before God. They do not always demonstrate in their temporal lives their eternal peace with God and one another, they do not always pursue a godly path in building up the body of Christ - there are no guarantees. Hence all the passages in Scripture that exhort believers to be faithful, not the least of which is Ephesians chapter 4 which follows chapter 3 .

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2 *****

I) [Eph 3:1-13]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles  -

(Eph 3:2 NKJV) if [= since] indeed you have heard of the dispensation [i.e., economy / administration] of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

(Eph 3:3 NASB) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

(Eph 3:4 NASB) By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

(Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

(Eph 3:6 NASB) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

(Eph 3:7 NASB) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.

(Eph 3:8 NASB) To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

(Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things;

(Eph 3:10 NASB) so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

(Eph 3:11 NASB) This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

(Eph 3:12 NASB) in Whom we have boldness and confident access through faith [lit. "of the faith"] meaning faith in Him.

[in the sense of through / as a result of the believers' faith in Christ as opposed to His faith in us].

(Eph 3:13 NASB) Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory."

A) [(Eph 3:1-3) For This Reason, Paul, The Prisoner Of Christ Jesus For The Sake Of You Gentile Believers - If [= Since] Indeed You Have Heard Of The Dispensation [= Administration] Of The Grace Of God Which Was Given To Me For You, That By Revelation There Was Made Known To Me The Mystery, As I Wrote Before In Brief]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles  - (Eph 3:2 NKJV) if [= since] indeed you have heard of the dispensation [i.e., economy / administration] of the grace of God which was given to me for you,  (Eph 3:3 NASB) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief." =

1) [(Eph 3:1) Manuscript evidence for Eph 3:1]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles  - "

P46, Sinaiticus(1), A, B, (C) D(1), Psi, 1739, Maj, Origen has the phrase rendered, "Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus,"

Sinaiticus*, D*, F, G, do not have "Jesus."

Although it could be argued that the longer form may have been influenced by the wording in Philemon, where Paul thrice calls himself a "prisoner of Christ Jesus" (Phlm 1, 9, 23), superior documentation supports the longer reading.

This verse is noticeably incomplete in the sense of being truncated / interrupted by a twelve verse digression from v. 1 through v. 12: "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles..." Paul then breaks off into a digression for another twelve verses (from 3:2 through 3:13), and does not return to his beginning thought until 3:14, where he repeats the words of 3:1 ("For this reason") and then puts forth a predicate: "I bend my knees to the Father." Various scribes, impatient with this digression, felt obligated to complete verse 1 by adding a verb. D and 104* add the word rendered "I am an ambassador" and 2464 adds ("I have given laudatory testimony").

2) [(Eph 3:1) Commentary]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles  - " =

Paul's first words in Eph 3:1a, "toutou charin" rendered "For this reason," refer back to the context of the previous chapter in Eph 2:11-22 - which is especially encompassed by the excerpt of Eph 2:19-22 posted at the beginning of this study . And the context is that Gentile believers are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints, meaning Jewish believers - those who preceeded them as believers in Christ in this age. They are all saints and residents of God's household. All of them have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets; Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone, Who joins together the whole building which is growing into a Holy Temple in the Lord - Gentile believers particularly in view in this epistle being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit, i.e., spiritually speaking. Whereupon in Eph 3:1b, Paul states, "(For this reason) I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles -" which refers to Paul's imprisonment in Rome because of his service for Christ, (cf. 4:1; 2 Tim 1:8; Philemon 1, 9, and more particularly because of his ministry as the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Tim 1:11-12). Because of his faithfulness to the administration given to him by God - to the Gentiles - there arose against him bitter Jewish opposition from those Jews who had not believed in Christ and were enraged at the inclusion of the Gentiles in Paul's message, and especially at the implication that they were equal with Jews before God - that the Law was not a factor in salvation unto eternal life. This persistent rioting and violence resulted in Paul being imprisoned and put on trial in Caesarea and in Rome, (cf. Ac 9:29; 13:50; 14:5; 14:19; 16:22; 18:12; 21:36: 22:22; 23:10; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 4:9; 11:24; 2 Tim 2:9; 3:11, etc.).

Whereupon this verse is noticeably incomplete in the sense of being truncated / interrupted by a twelve verse digression from v. 2 through v. 13: "For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles -" Paul then breaks off into a digression of twelve verses, and does not return to his beginning thought until 3:14, wherein he repeats the words of 3:1 ("For this reason") and then commences once again to pray to the Father: "I bend my knees to the Father."

3) [(Eph 3:3) Manuscripts evidence for Eph 3:3]:

(Eph 3:3 NASB) "that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief."

D (corr), K, L, byz have "he made known"

Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D (org), 33, Gries, Lach, Treg, Alf, Word, Tisc, WE/HO, Weiss, Sod, UBS have "was made known."

4) [(Eph 3:1-3) Commentary]:

(Eph 3:1 NASB) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles  - (Eph 3:2 NKJV) if [= since] indeed you have heard of the dispensation [i.e., economy / administration] of the grace of God which was given to me for you, (Eph 3:3 NASB) "that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief." =

Eph 3:1: Since Paul had previously discussed the union of Jewish and Gentile believers in the church in Eph 2:11-22 ; then after writing the first phrase of Eph 3:1 with the intention of offering a prayer to the Father on behalf of the believers, he stopped right in the middle of the sentence. Hence the "-" rendered at the end of 3:1 in the NASB.

Whereupon in Eph 3:2-3 Paul wrote "since indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, [Gentiles] that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief." Paul here was beginning to review what he had just previously written about in Eph 2:11-22: He began to review the subject of the mystery of Christ and his responsibility to administrate it. Twelve verses later, at verse 14, Paul would finish this review and then recommence his prayer before the Father on the Gentiles' behalf.

So in Eph 3:2 Paul reminded the Gentile believers that they had heard of the dispensation / economy / administration of a new order of things involving them: the means by which God will convey the gospel of salvation to humanity; albeit it has always been and will always be by His grace through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. And it is by God's special commission to Paul to focus on that conveyance directly to the Gentiles. The next 12 verses, Eph 3:2-13 will then serve to provide a review of the mystery of Christ which Paul had already expounded upon in Eph 2:11-22 .

B) [(Eph 3:4-7) By Paul's Referring To The Dispensation Of The Grace Of God Which Was Given To Him For The Gentiles - When They Read Of It In His Letter To Them Which He Had Previously Written Of It In Brief - It Is So That They Can Understand His Insight Into The Mystery Of Christ Which In Other Generations Was Not Made Known To The Sons Of Men, As It Has Now Been Revealed To His Holy Apostles In The Spirit. And That Is That The Gentiles Should Be Fellow Heirs, Of The Same Body, And Partakers Of His Promise In Christ Through A Moment Of Faith In The Gospel Of Which Paul Was Made A Minister, According To The Gift Of God's Grace Which Was Given To Him According To The Working Of His Power]:

(Eph 3:4 NASB) "By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; (Eph 3:6 NASB) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (Eph 3:7 NASB) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power." =

1) [(Eph 3:5) Manuscripts evidence for Eph 3:5]:

(Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;"

B and it(b) omit "apostles" with the resultant text being "his saints and prophets".

It is possible that word rendered "apostles" was intentionally dropped to make this verse conform to Col 1:26, a parallel verse; however, it is just as likely that it was accidentally omitted due to homoeoteleuton: "tois agiois apostolois"

2) [(Eph 3:4-7) Commentary]:

(Eph 3:4 NASB) "By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; (Eph 3:6 NASB) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (Eph 3:7 NASB) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power." =

In Eph 3:4, the words rendered "by referring to this," refer to what Paul just previously wrote about in Eph 2:11-22 about God's revealing to him the dispensation of the grace of God relative to Gentile believers no longer being strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and beings of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in Whom the whole building is being joined together and growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. This is the insight into the mystery of Christ which has to do with the inclusion of the Gentiles as those who now inherit the eternal promises as heirs of the same body and partakers of His eternal promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus through faith in the gospel - alongside fellow Jewish believers. Albeit Gentiles and all peoples from the time of Adam & Eve after the Fall may receive eternal life through a moment of faith alone in God's promise alone of the Seed of the woman / the Seed of Abraham / the Son of God, Jesus Christ .

Then in Eph 3:5 it is established that this mystery of Christ of the dispensation of the grace of God for the sake of Gentile believers being joined together with Jewish believers ("sons of men" cf. multiple passages in the Hebrew Bible) was not made known to previous generations neither in heaven nor on earth as it has now been revealed to God's holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit in and for this age - in the sense of communicated to them via revelation by the Spirit of God to them.

Note that this is not a joining of Jew and Gentile to be joint heirs of the Kingdom of God on earth - the Eternal Kingdom God promised to Israel alone - the new covenant between God and the houses of Judah and Israel alone . But this heirship of the mystery of Christ not revealed will be of a number of generations of Jews and Gentiles in this age of the Body of Christ who are believers in Jesus Christ brought together into one new body in Christ Jesus to corule with Christ over the Eternal Kingdom of God which the latter is promised to Israel to be the ruling nation .

Then in Eph 3:6 the content of the mystery in view is summarized namely that the Gentiles are ["einai" Greek infinitive = to be, not "should be" as in KJV, NKJV] fellow heirs [together with Israel - who are believers], of the same body, and partakers of His eternal promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus through faith in the gospel. The mystery is not that the Gentiles would be saved, For the Old Testament gives evidence of that . The mystery was summarized in the previous chapter:

a) [Compare Eph 2:11-22]:

[ details]:

(Eph 2:11 NASB) '''Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands -

(Eph 2:12 YLT) [remember, (v. 11)] that [you (Gentiles)] were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world;

(Eph 2:13 YLT) and now, in Christ Jesus, [you] being once afar off became [near] [by] the blood of the Christ,

(Eph 2:14 NASB) For He Himself is our peace, [having made the both] groups into one and [having abolished] the [dividing wall of the barrier [of enmity (v. 15)] between us,

(Eph 2:15 YLT) [having abolished (v. 14)] the enmity [between both groups] in His flesh, [having annulled] the Law of the commands [contained] in ordinances ... that the two [groups] He might create in Himself into one new man, making peace,

(Eph 2:16 NASB) and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

(Eph 2:17 NASB) And [having come] He preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near

(Eph 2:18 NKJV) for through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

(Eph 2:19 NASB) So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,

(Eph 2:20 NASB) having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone,

(Eph 2:21 NASB) in Whom the whole building, being [joined] together, is growing into a holy [sanctuary] in the Lord,

(Eph 2:22 NKJV) in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

2 cont) [(Eph 3:4-7) Commentary, (cont.)]:

(Eph 3:4 NASB) "By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (Eph 3:5 NASB) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; (Eph 3:6 NASB) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (Eph 3:7 NASB) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power," (cont.) =

Finally, in Eph 3:7, Paul declares that he was made a minister of the dispensation of the grace of God relative to Gentile believers no longer being strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and beings of God's household according to the gift of God's grace which was given to him according to the working of His power.

C) [(Eph 3:8-10) To Paul, The Very Least Of The Saints, This Grace Was Given: To Preach To The Gentiles The Unfathomable Riches Of Christ, And To Make All See What Is The Fellowship Of The Mystery, Which From The Beginning Of The Ages Has Been Hidden In God Who Created All Things Through Jesus Christ. And This Will Have Come To Pass So That The Manifold Wisdom Of God Might Now Be Made Known Through The Church To The Rulers And The Authorities In The Heavenly Places]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things; (Eph 3:10 NASB) so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places." =

1) (Eph 3:8) [Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:8]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ," =

P, Steph have "all saints"

WH, Sinatiticus, A, B, C, D, K, L, byz, Gries, Lach, Treg, Alf, Word, Tisc, Weis, Sod, UBS have "all the saints"

The phrase rendered "all the saints" has the best evidence.

2) (Eph 3:9a) [Manuscript Evidence for Eph 3:9a]:

(Eph 3:9 NASB) "and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things;"

TR, NU, p46, Sinaiticus(2), B, C, D, F, K, L, G, Psi, P, 33, Maj, byz, it, syr, sa, bo, cop, Weis, Sod, NKJV, KJV, NIV, etc. have "to enlighten everyone" i.e., includes "pantas" = "everyone"

WH, Sinaiticus*-org, A, 1739, 1881, Tisc, UBS, Var, NASB have "to bring to light"

The TR, NU have early and diverse support.

The variant, though shorter, is probably the result of scribal deletion, and not original. The word rendered "all" could have been deleted because scribes might have thought it contradicted Paul's previous statement that his commission was to take the gospel to the Gentiles (3:8).

But the "all" here probably refers to all the Gentiles, for whom he was an apostle. And, indeed, he had the desire to reach them all. See Ro 1:5; 16:26; 2 Tim 4:17). Another argument as to why scribes would have excluded "pantas" = "all" is that some might have thought it was too bold for Paul to say he wanted to enlighten everyone. However, Paul had been appointed by God to open the eyes of both Jews and Gentiles through the proclamation of the gospel (see Acts 26:17-18).

3) (Eph 3:9b) [Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:9b]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things;" =

WH, NU, p46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D, F, G, 33, 1739, Psi, Maj, it, syr, cop have "the stewardship [administration] of the mystery"

TR, 31(mg), and a few late miniscules have "the fellowship of the mystery"

The reading in TR is remarkable for its slim documentary support - a few very late cursive manuscripts. (Perhaps a dyslexic scribe mistook"oikonomia" [stewardship"] for "koinOnia" [fellowship"]!) At any rate, it was included in TR and has been perpetuated in both KJV and NKJV. But Paul was not speaking about the "fellowship of mystery" (whatever that is supposed to mean); rather, he was speaking about his stewardship (or administration, economy) of God's secret plan. Paul had been entrusted with the mystery concerning Christ and the church; his responsibility was to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ for the establishment and edification of the church, Christ's body.

4) [(Eph 3:8-9) Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:9c]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things;" =

WH, NU, p46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D*, F, G, P, Psi, 33, 1739, syr(p), cop have "God Who created all things"

TR, D(2), (0278), Maj, syr(b**) have "God Who created all things through Jesus Christ."

Since the textual evidence strongly favors the shorter reading and since there is no good reason to explain why the phrase "through Jesus Christ" would have been omitted if it was originally in the text, we must reason that the phrase was added to emphasize Christ's role in creation (which accords with Pauline thought - see 1 Cor 8:6 and Col 1:16, which have some ideas that are similar to Eph 3:9-10).

5) [(Eph 3:8-9) Commentary On Eph 3:8-9)]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things;" =

In Eph 3:8, Paul refers to himself as the very least of all the saints, (lit., "to me, the less than the least of all the saints;" the point being made that Paul's former life of relentlessly persecuting Christians is in view which qualifies him as the least of all the saints); whereupon he stipulated that the grace of God was given to him to preach to the Gentiles, (cf. Eph 3:2) - to preach of the unfathomable riches of Christ given to those who believe in Christ Jesus for eternal life. So it is by the grace of God given to Paul in the sense that God blessed Paul with such a gift, such a grand unmerited favor to Paul to be equipped to minister the gospel and announce the inclusion of Gentile believers into the body of Christ, to the very people whom he had persecuted albeit largely Jewish believers.

And Eph 3:9 further stipulates that Paul was to [enlighten everyone - Jew and Gentile - about] what is the administration / dispensation / economy of the mystery which for ages has been unrevealed to the universe / hidden in God Who created all things; "to be specific" as it is written in Eph 3:6, "that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

Note that this is not a joining of Jew and Gentile to be joint heirs of the Kingdom of God on earth - the Eternal Kingdom which God promised to Israel alone: God's yet future promise of the making and fulfilling of the New Covenant with Israel - the house of Judah and the house of Israel alone to be the ruling nation when Christ returns to earth in His Second Coming, when all of that generation of Israel believes in Him as their Messiah .

On the other hand, the heirship in view in Ephesians chapter 3 is one comprised of a number of generations of Jews and Gentiles over the period of the current Church Age which began with Christ's ascension - those who become believers in Jesus Christ to be brought together into one new body in Christ Jesus to corule with Him over the Eternal Kingdom of God. 

6) [(Eph 3:10) Commentary On Eph 3:10)]:

(Eph 3:8 NASB) "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Eph 3:9 NASB) and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things; (Eph 3:10 NASB) so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places." =

In Eph 3:8-10, Paul wrote, "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Above all else, it is Who God is that matters - that His manifold wisdom in all things might be made known in according to His plan in His time. In the case of Eph 3:10, the wisdom in view is the administration / dispensation / economy of the church - the body of Christ. This wisdom has to do with the unfathomable riches of Christ, which was hidden by God Who created all things for ages from in heaven and on earth until it was His time to reveal it at first revealed to God's Holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit. And it was Paul who received from God the commission to proclaim this mystery to the Gentiles. Furthermore, it was also the church who was to reveal this manifold wisdom of God even to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. What had been screened from the angelic hierarchy and the world for ages is now to be declared through the body of Christ on earth (cf Eph 2:6, 7).

a) [(Eph 3:10) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"The purpose ("hina" = lit., "that" in the sense of so that = purpose) of Paul's ministry was that... the manifold wisdom ("sophia") of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms... The "manifold wisdom of God" does not refer to redemption as such but rather to the new relationship between believing Jews and Gentiles in one body. The medium by which this wisdom is communicated is the church; the recipients are the angelic hosts "in the heavenly realms" (cf. Eph. 1:3). These "rulers and authorities" refer to both good and evil angels as seen in 6:12 (cf. 1:21). As the angelic hosts witness the church, they must admit that having Jews and Gentiles in one body is evidence of God's wisdom.

This mystery - that both believing Jews and Gentiles are in one body (3:6) - was revealed to the apostles and prophets (v. 5) and was disseminated by Paul (vv. 7-9). Its purpose was that angelic beings might see God's variegated wisdom."

D) [(Eph 3:11-13) This was = This Mystery Of Christ, (vv. 4-5): That The Gentiles Are Fellow Heirs And Fellow Members Of The Body, And Fellow Partakers Of The Promise In Christ Jesus Through The Gospel - This Was - In Accordance With The Eternal Purpose Which God Carried Out In Christ Jesus Our Lord In Whom We [Gentile Believers] Have Boldness And Confident Access Through Faith In Him. Therefore, Paul Asks His Readers - Gentile Believers - Not To Lose Heart At His Tribulations On Their Behalf, For They Are His Glory

(Eph 3:11 NASB) "This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He [God] carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Eph 3:12 NASB) in Whom we have boldness and confident access through faith [lit. "of the faith"] meaning faith in Him. [in the sense of through / as a result of the believers' faith in Christ as opposed to His faith in us]. (Eph 3:13 NASB) Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory."

1) [(Eph 3:11-13) Commentary On Eph 3:11-13]:

(Eph 3:11 NASB) "This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He [God] carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Eph 3:12 NASB) in Whom we have boldness and confident access through faith [lit. "of the faith"] meaning faith in Him. [in the sense of through / as a result of the believers' faith in Christ as opposed to His faith in us]. (Eph 3:13 NASB) Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory." =

In Eph 3:11, the opening rendering in the NASB, "This was" is in italics indicating inserted words in order to best afford the meaning of the Greek word "kata," lit., "according to." It refers to the mystery of Christ, (vv. 4-5): that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members in Christ Jesus through believing in the gospel. So the phrase rendered "This was" means so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known in accordance with the eternal purpose which God carried out in Christ Jesus our - the Gentile believers' and all believers' - Lord. The eternality of God indicates here that His eternal purpose was an accomplished fact before history began, albeit it was in history that His Son Jesus Christ accomplished this on the cross for believers of all ages and peoples.

Then in Eph 3:12, Paul goes on to write that it is in Whom - in Christ Jesus our Lord - we -Gentile believers - have boldness and confident access through faith; as do all believers. Note that "through faith" is lit., "of the faith" meaning the believers' faith in Christ in the sense of through faith in Christ as opposed to His faith in us, who are not trustworthy in our temporal lives.

And in Eph 3:13, Paul asks his readers - Gentile believers - not to lose heart at the tribulations he was suffering on their behalf, for he wrote that they were his glory. Note that this was because of Paul's work on behalf of the Gentiles which message to them was that God had made the Jews and Gentiles into one body having annulled the Law through faith in Christ, (Eph 2:11-22 ). His preaching brought the message of salvation to the Gentiles, but it also caused the wrath of many Jews to be imposed upon him. The Jews were hostile to him and as a result he was whipped, beaten, imprisoned - even stoned, (cf. Ac 9:29; 13:50; 14:5; 14:19; 16:22; 18:12; 21:36: 22:22; 23:10; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 4:9; 11:24; 2 Tim 2:9; 3:11, etc.). However, many Gentiles became believers - members of the church, the body of Christ. These were Paul's glory.

II) [Eph 3:14-21]:

(Eph 3:14 NASB) "For this reason I bend my knees before the Father,

(Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name,

(Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

(Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

(Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

(Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

(Eph 3:20 NASB) Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

(Eph 3:21 NASB) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

A) [(Eph 3:14-19) For This Reason I Bend My Knees In Prayer Before The Father, From Whom Every Family In Heaven And On Earth Derives Its Name, That He Would Grant You Gentile Believers According To The Riches Of His Glory, To Be Strengthened With Power Through His Spirit In The Inner Man, That Christ May Dwell In Your Hearts Through Faith; That You, Being Rooted And Grounded In Love, May Be Able To Comprehend With All The Saints What Is The Breadth And Length And Height And Depth, And To Know The Love Of Christ Which Surpasses Knowledge, That You May Be Filled Up To All The Fullness Of God]:

(Eph 3:13 NASB) "Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. (Eph 3:14 NASB) For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, (Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name, (Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." =

1) (Eph 3:14) [Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:14]:

(Eph 3:14 NASB) "For this reason I bend my knees before the Father,WH, NU, p46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, C, P, 33, 1739, cop have "The Father" =

TR, Sinaiticus(2), D, F, G, Psi, 0278, Maj, it, syr have "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"

The documentary support for the shorter reading far exceeds that for the longer reading. It was typical for scribes to expand divine titles, especially in identifying the Father as being the Father "of the Lord Christ Jesus" (for some expression - see 1:3). Such expanded titles enhance oral reading.

2) (Eph 3:19) [Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:19]:

(Eph 3:19 NASB) "and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." =

TR, WH, NU, Sinaiticus, A, C, D, F, G, Psi, 1739, Maj, syr, cop have "that you may be filled to all the fullness of God."

1881 has "that you may be filled to all the fullness of Christ."

P46, B, 0278, cop(sa) have "that all the fullness of God may be filled."

33 has "that all the fullness of God may be filled up in you."

Although there are four variants listed here, there are essentially two major differences - as represented by (1) the TR, WH, NU reading and the first variant (which substitutes "Christ" for "God" and (2) the third variants (which add "in you"). Both TR, WH, NU and the second variant have good documentary support and both make sense.

The TR, WH, NU reading indicates that the believers are filled up to the extent that they have the same measure as the fullness of God. It does not say that they are filled with all the fullnesss of God; this interpretation misreads the preposition "eis," which signals result. The idea is similar to that in 4:13, which speaks of the believers attaining the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The second variant, which has excellent documentary support (including p46, B), is the more difficult reading (and perhaps original). In order to make sure of it, we must surmise that the expression "all the fullness of God" is tantamount to Christ's body, his fullness (1:23). This "fullness" needs to be filled with spiritual reality in order to be true fullness. Or "all the fullness of God" could be "Christ" (see Col 1:19; 2:9), who is fully expressed in his body when all the members fully express him. In similar fashion, it could mean that all of God's fullness (in its breadth, length, depth, and height - 3:18) needs to be fully experienced by all the believers to thereby attain spiritual completion and fulfillment.

3) [(Eph 3:14-19) Commentary On Eph 3:14-19]:

(Eph 3:13 NASB) "Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. (Eph 3:14 NASB) For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, (Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name, (Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." =

Eph 3:13 declared that those Gentiles who come to faith in Christ as a result of Paul's preaching have become Paul's glory. Paul begins Eph 3:14 as he did Eph 3:1 with "For this reason" followed by "I [Paul] bend my knees before the Father in prayer." The phrase rendered "For this reason" in verse 1 signified a continuation of the context of Eph 2:19-3:1, i.e., that the Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens; but they are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's household. And then in verse 14 that same phrase served to give notice that author Paul was commencing once again to pray a prayer of thanksgiving before God the Father which prayer would indicate that the Gentile believers were a fulfillment of Paul's new eternal purpose before God - a gracious honor and glory which God bestowed upon him.

Then in Eph 3:15, Paul declared that it is God the Father from Whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

a) [(Eph 3:15) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(Eph 3:15 NASB) "from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name,"

"A better translation [of Eph 3:15] both grammatically and theologically is "from Whom every family" (cf. ASV, NASB, RSV). Paul was not saying that God is the Father of all but rather that He is the Prototype of all fatherhood. "Father" is derived from God, not man. He is the first Father, the only One with "underived" fatherhood. Thus every human family derives its name, that is, exists as a family with a father, because of Him. It is to this Father that Paul prayed."

3 cont) [(Eph 3:14-19) Commentary On Eph 3:14-19 cont.]:

(Eph 3:13 NASB) "Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. (Eph 3:14 NASB) For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, (Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name, (Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." =

Then in verse 16, Paul stipulates that God would grant Gentile believers [and all believers] according to the riches of His glory, i.e., out of His glorious riches, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man - in the human spirit  - the location of the indwelling Holy Spirit ;

and in Eph 3:17, Paul's prayer to the Father continues on behalf of Gentile believers: that Christ may dwell in their hearts in the sense of constantly dwelling in the mindset of the believers - deeply rooted in their lives through their ongoing faith in Him; rooted like a plant / building is rooted in the ground, i.e., grounded in the agape / self-sacrificial love of God. All three verbs, dwell, rooted, grounded are perfect participles indicating past action with continuing results. The Greek word "katoikēsai" rendered "dwell" refers not to the beginning of Christ's indwelling at the moment of salvation which occurred at the moment of faith in the gospel, (cf. Eph 1:13-14 ). Instead it denotes Paul's desire that Christ may literally be at home in - the very center of or deeply rooted in, believers' lives. Believers are to let Christ become the dominating factor in their attitudes and conduct through faith in His directing of their lives, (cf. 1 Jn 1:7-10 ; Pr 3:5-6 ).

b) [(Eph 3:15-17) The Trinity Is Once Again In View In Paul's Writings]:

Note that the Trinity once again is in view in this passage and the following passages:

the Father (3:14), the Spirit (3:16), and the Son (3:17); (cf. 1:13-14; 1:17; 2:18; 2:22; 3:4-5).

3 cont.) [(Eph 3:14-19) Commentary On Eph 3:14-19, (cont.)]:

(Eph 3:13 NASB) "Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. (Eph 3:14 NASB) For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, (Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name, (Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." =

So then in Eph 3:18-19 Paul prays for believers that the Father "would grant [them], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith; that [they] being rooted and grounded in apape love, (Eph 3:18-19): may be able to comprehend with the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [they] may be filled up to all the fullness of God."

Note that it is only by godly strength - the power of the Spirit in the inner man through Christ indwelling in their hearts / minds that the believers may be able / enabled to comprehend the breadth, length, height and depth and knowledge of the love of Christ which surpasses [human] knowledge, that [they] may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

The last phrase of Eph 3:18 describes the love of Christ in figurative language for all believers, (plural). Each of the four descriptions refers to the unfathomable greatness of the love of Christ for believers - Gentile and Jew alike - four different aspects: the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love for all believers. None of the descriptions are stipulated or implied as identical or equal to one another. They are common experiences of a plurality of persons in the sense that all believers in Christ receive the unsurpassable love of Christ for them - the breadth and length and height and depth of it - each believer in God's own way for that particular individual, a plurality of persons sharing a common experience which is further expressed in Eph 3:19: "to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." Therein lies the unity amongst all believers.

Note that from a positional standpoint - as opposed to an experiential temporal standpoint - all believers have a standing / position with God which is equal with one another in that their standing is in Christ Who is unique relative to forgiveness of sins unto eternal life .

c) [(Eph 3:18-19) [Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

'''The purpose of the request is that they may have power (exischysēte, "have inherent strength"), together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. These measurements most likely describe not the thoroughness of comprehension but the immensity of the thing to be comprehended...

The content of this comprehension is to know experientially the love of Christ that supersedes all knowledge (cf. Phil. 4:7). The more a Christian knows about Christ, the more amazed he is at Christ's love for him.

The final purpose is that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The KJV and RSV translations, "that you may be filled with all the fullness of God," wrongly imply that the whole fullness of God can be contained in a believer's life. But this ignores the Greek preposition eis which denotes a goal; this is translated accurately in the NIV: "to the measure." The fullness of the Godhead is only in Christ, and only through Him is a believer made complete (Col. 2:9-10). Though in Christ this divine fullness is ideally a believer's already, Paul prayed that it might be experientially realized in each one (cf. Eph. 4:13). Experiencing God's moral excellence and perfection causes Jewish and Gentile believers to love each other. Positionally they are one in Christ; experientially they are to love each other as one in Him.'''

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B) [(Eph 3:20-21) Now To Him Who Is Able To Do Far More Abundantly Beyond All That We Ask Or Think, According To The Power That Works Within Us, To Him Be The Glory In The Church And In Christ Jesus To All Generations Forever And Ever. Amen!]:

(Eph 3:14 NASB) "For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, (Eph 3:15 NASB) from Whom every family in heaven and on earth [lit. is being named] derives its name, (Eph 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Eph 3:17 NKJV) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Eph 3:18 NASB) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (Eph 3:19 NASB) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:20 NASB) Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (Eph 3:21 NASB) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

1) [(Eph 3:21) Manuscript Evidence For Eph 3:21]:

(Eph 3:21 NASB) "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." =

WH, NU, P46, Sinaiticus, A, B, C (D* F G) 0278, 33, 1739 have "glory in the church and in Christ Jesus"

TR, D(2), Psi, Maj, syr, cop(sa) have "glory in the church in (by) Christ Jesus"

The omission of "kai" ("and") in the majority of later witnesses (and TR) makes "Christ Jesus" the agent through Whom God gains glory in the church. But the point of the statement, as found in early and diverse witnesses, is that God is glorified as equally in the church as in Christ Jesus, because the church is Christ's full expression on earth.

2) [(Eph 3:20-21) Commentary On Eph 3:20-21]:

(Eph 3:20 NASB) Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (Eph 3:21 NASB) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." =

In Eph 3:20-21, Paul's doxology and closing prayer is evidently the climax of the first half of this letter and its climax in terms of spiritual fervor, which letter thereafter concentrates on practical teaching. So Paul writes in his prayer to the Father, to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or even are able to think - according to the power of God that resides and works within us Gentile & Jewish believers, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

a) [(Eph 3:20-21) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"Paul closed this prayer with a doxology. He praised God who is able to do far more than one could ask or imagine, according to the standard of His power (dynamin; cf. v. 16; 1:19) that is at work (energoumenēn; cf. 1:19) within us. No human or angel (cf. 3:10) would ever think that Jews and Gentiles could function together in one body. But with God's power of love in each believer's life, Paul was confident that Jewish and Gentile believers can function and love one another. This is astounding and though it is not naturally possible, God is able to accomplish it. Paul therefore ascribed to God glory which is to be manifest in the church, where the miracle of love will occur, and in Christ Jesus, who made the union of Jewish and Gentile believers possible.

Praise to Him for this accomplishment is to continue throughout eternity (cf. Rom. 11:36; 2 Tim. 4:18). This doxology serves as a fitting conclusion not only to this prayer but also to this book's first three chapters."