Ephesians 3:1-5 – Paul’s insight into God’s plan

July 5, 2020 at 9:46 AM Leave a comment

Paul starts chapter 3 to pray for the Gentile believer, but doesn’t get very far before he interrupts himself for a number of verses (v.2-13) before he continues again with his prayer in v.14. The first part of his “interruption” Paul reminds the believers that he understands God’s plan or mystery because God has given him insight into it.

v.1,“When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles.” “When I think of all this” or in other translations “for this reason” is referring back to 2:11-22 Paul has just written—Jews and Gentiles are made into a new people in Christ—the church. “I, Paul, a prisoner…” Paul begins to pray and remind the readers who he is and where he is as he prays. The religious leaders in Jerusalem, who didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, pressured the Romans to arrest Paul and charge him with treason. According to the Jews (which was a rumour), Paul was distorting God’s message by telling the Jews to disobey the law of Moses, and by bringing a Gentile to the temple which defiles it (Acts 21:20-36). Tophimus, the Ephesian Gentile convert, was the man who they assumed Paul had brought with him to the temple (Acts 2:29). So Paul was put in prison while he was awaiting his trial. Paul knew his imprisonment was God’s will so he called himself “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” Even though Paul is in a Roman prison, he still identifies himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, NOT a prisoner of Rome. Paul reminds the Gentile believers that he is in prison for Christ (he is in jail “because he serves Christ Jesus for you who are not Jews” ERV). Paul is in jail so that he can spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.

In v.1 it appears Paul is about to pray for the Gentile believers again (1:3-23) but he interrupts himself in v.2-13 to remind his readers about the mystery of Christ, giving an explanation and speaking of his understanding of it and his mission to make it known. Paul continues his prayer in v.14 with the same phrase “when I think of all this…”

v.2, “Assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.” God gave Paul this responsibility to help the Gentiles understand God’s grace is extended to them as much as it is to the Jews (Acts 26:17). Simply means that God gave Paul the mission to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles as much as he was to bring it to the unbelieving Jews. But Paul assumed they already knew this.

v.3,“As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.” “Revealed” means unveiling something that was previously hidden. What was hidden? God’s “mysterious plan” (“mystery” AMP). This is a secret plan hidden in God (3:6,9), which can’t be understood by human ingenuity or study. It can only be revealed by “God himself.” And God chose to reveal his secret plan to Paul. Which Paul wrote briefly about earlier in this very same letter (2:11-22).

v.4,“As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ.” As the Gentile believers read what Paul has written about God’s plan (earlier), they will be able “to understand what [Paul] know[s] about the mystery of Christ” NIRV. Paul is reminding the readers (and hearers) of this letter that he has special “insight into this plan regarding Christ” because God revealed it to him.

v.5,“God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.” God didn’t reveal his plan to previous generations but now through the Holy Spirit God has revealed it his holy apostles and prophets, which Paul is one of them (an apostle).

In the next section Paul is going to once again remind the believers of God’s plan and his mission to make it known.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? God chose Paul (an unlikely candidate because of all of his persecuting of Christians, etc) to give the insight into his plan or mystery. He not only revealed it to him but gave him the mission to spread the plan.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  God has also chosen me (a believer but a sinner) to be in his ministry. Back in in mid-80’s I received this call and it wasn’t until 1991 that I finally listened and chose to serve. I am so thankful each day that God chose me and has been my support, stronghold, refuge and strength as I serve believers and unbelievers in his service. Thank you Father!

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible. Tags: , , , .

Ephesians 2:19-22 – God’s people, his family & his house Ephesians 3:6-13 – Paul clearly reveals God’s plan

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