Ephesians 3


Ephesians 3:1-6

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

 

Paul shows how revelation and inspiration work together so that we can be assured that we know what God wants of us.  There was a “mystery” that was made known to him by revelation (Ephesians 3:3).  Paul wrote this “mystery” down (Ephesians 3:3).  The result is that “When you read this, you can perceive my insight” (Ephesians 3:4).  This means that when we read the scriptures, we are blessed with knowing God’s will for us the same as Paul did.  He received it by revelation and passed it on to us  (wrote it down) by the term we call inspiration.  Concerning revelation, please study I Corinthians 2:10 and Galatians 1:11-17.  Concerning inspiration, see II Timothy 3:16-17 and I Corinthians 2:13.  The net result of revelation and inspiration is seen in I Corinthians 2:16 when Paul says “…But we have the mind of Christ.”  We can rest assured that since “we have the mind of Christ” written down by inspiration that we can know what his will for us is.

 

The “mystery” that has been revealed is concerning the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:6).  Specifically, there are three things: (a) how the Gentiles are fellow heirs with the Jews, (b) they are members of the same body, and (c) they are partakers of the same promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Since we are all a part of the same body, we are all equal in the sight of God (See Galatians 3:27 and Romans 1:16).  

 

Ephesians 3:7-13

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

 

Grace was given to Paul to be a minister of the Gospel (Ephesians 3:7).  The purpose of this was to (a) “preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) and (b) “bring to light for everyone what is the plan….” (Ephesians 3:9).  The result of this is that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known” (Ephesians 3:10).  This is “according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (Ephesians 3:11).  The eternal purpose is to provide a way that individuals could be saved through being reunited with God since He is "of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13) and your "iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear" (Isaiah 59:2).  To learn more about God's eternal purpose, see Acts 2:22-23, Ephesians 1:7-10 and I Peter 1:18-20.

 

Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

Ephesians 3:14-19 is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church.  His request to God for them was two-fold.  First, he prayed that they would be strengthened with power through his Spirit in their inner being (Ephesians 3:16).  Secondly, he prayed that they would have strength to comprehend the love of God (Ephesians 3:18-19). 

 

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

God is described as The One who is “able to do more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Because of this, glory is to be given to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever (Ephesians 3:21).  This is the purpose of the New Testament church!

 

In Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul prayed for three things for the Ephesians to know: (a) “what is the hope to which he has called you,” (b) “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” and (c) “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us that believe.”  By the end of chapter 3, he has described what he meant by each of these: for the answers to these three things see (a) Ephesians 2:4-12, (b) Ephesians 2:19-22 and 3:8, (c) Ephesians 3:20. 

 

Review Questions:

 

1.   What is the meaning of the word "revelation" as it applies to the scriptures?

 

2.   What is the meaning of the word "inspiration" as it applies to the scriptures?

 

3.   What is the net effect of "revelation" and "inspiration" on our knowledge of God's will?

 

4.   How would you describe in your own words what God's "eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11) is?

 

5.   Where is Christ to dwell in a Christian?

 

6.   In Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul prayed for three things for the Ephesians to know: (a) “what is the hope to which he has called you,” (b) “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” and (c) “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us that believe.”  How would you describe each of these?

 

© Get To Know The Bible Ministries Inc., P.O. Box 14464, Springfield, Missouri 65814 - Notice: All material on this site, with the exception of those items specifically copyrighted to someone else (e.g. Bible translations) is protected by copyright law.  Copyright 2003-2017 by Get To Know The Bible Ministries Inc.  Permission is granted for reproduction for non-commercial, personal use or for use in one classroom.  No portion of this site may be reproduced for purposes of resale or profiting in any way without the prior permission of the copyright holder who may be reached at the above address or by sending an email.  Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in this website are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) Copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.