Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 3

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

1 Compare the condition of the two classes with that of the individual believer in Rom_6:2 . Such as have "died to sin" "together with Christ", "are vivified together with Him", and "are reckoning themselves to be dead, indeed, to sin" ( Rom_6:8-11 ), so here the nations and some of the Jews, collectively, are dead to sins and offenses, and are roused conjointly and seated conjointly, in Christ.

5 We have not only been saved by grace, but salvation also introduces us into the sphere of grace's operation. Salvation calls for further favors of being vivified, and roused, and seated in Christ together with an election out of Israel. We are not risen with Christ, for rise refers particularly to the body .

7 The on-coming eons-themselves the scenes of the riches of God's grace-will be directed to God's favor lavished upon us as the supreme, transcendent achievement of His unassisted, unforced grace.

8 Salvation, in its beginning, is of faith, in order to accord with grace ( Rom_4:16 ). As a state, or condition, it continues to preserve its gracious character. It is not of us; it is God's way of winning our favor. This is the force of the term "approach present," which was used of the corban , or approach offering ( Lev_1:2 ; Lev_2:1 ; Lev_3:1 ,etc., Mar_7:11 ) .



11 This section deals only with the place that believers among the nations occupied in flesh, as physically uncircumcised, in the era before this epistle was penned. It is a complete contrast to the place occupied by the nations, as set forth in Acts, not as presented in Paul's previous epistles. Physically only may it be said that they had been apart from Christ, aliens, having no expectation, without God. Trophimus, the Ephesian, would understand this, for when he was in Jerusalem the mere rumor that he had approached as near to the reputed dwelling place of God as a Jew caused the whole city to rise up against Paul who, they supposed, had brought him into the sanctuary. What Paul was accused of doing then, physically, he does now, in spirit, and far more, for we have free access to the Father's presence.

Joint Participation

14 The central wall of the barrier was the so-called "soreg", a stone wall, for a partition, with inscriptions which forbade any foreigner to go in under pain of death. One of these was recently unearthed with the following inscription:








No alien is to enter within the balustrade and embankment about the sacred place. Whoever is caught will be responsible for his death, which will ensue.

15 The decrees issued from Jerusalem by the apostles ( Act_15:20 ; Act_15:16 ; Act_15:4 ) .

15 The enmity in His flesh is the national or race hatred between Jew and Gentile. In His flesh He confirmed the promises which gave primacy to the Jew. This was figured by the barrier which shut the aliens out of the sanctuary.

15 The new humanity is quite a distinct matter from the one body. It can be put on ( Eph_4:24-25 ) and is in contrast with the old humanity ( Eph_4:22 ) .

19 Here we have our relation to the saints of other economies defined. All saints, whatever their peculiar position, have three things in common. They all are under God's government ; all belong to His family ; all are His dwelling place . These do not define the blessings which are our special privileges, but those which we share with the saints of every other administration.


1 Contrast Paul as a prisoner of Christ Jesus , summing up the doctrines of the secret administration with Paul the prisoner of the Lord ( Eph_4:1 ), inculcating the deportment which adorns the doctrine.

1 Paul insists that he is the one through whom God's revelation to the nations is given. It can be found nowhere but in his writings.

Verses 2-21

Summary of the Present Grace

2 The present secret administration of which there is no hint in any Scriptures before this epistle was penned, consists essentially of three separate items, all of which are marked by the prefix joint. The nations enjoyed much blessing before this ( Rom_15:9-12 ; Rom_15:16 ; Rom_15:27 ), they were members of the body of Christ ( 1Co_12:13 ; 1Co_12:27 ), they were guests of the promise ( Eph_2:12 ), but they had all this subordinate to the Jews. They were not joint allottees, or a joint body or joint sharers in those promises. Now they have their celestial allotment on equal terms, they are members of a body in which no member can claim precedence on account of physical descent, the promises in Christ Jesus are equally theirs with Paul and his Jewish companions. It is of the utmost importance to note that Paul only was given this stewardship and that it is worse than useless to seek for it outside of his writings. It was concealed in God, not in the Scriptures. No trace of it can be found in the prophets or in the preceding books of the Greek Scriptures.

8 The "untraceable riches of Christ" include celestial honors which had not been revealed. His terrestrial riches can be traced throughout the previous Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. He was to be the King of Israel and the Ruler of the whole earth. But now we know of celestial honors which were hid from us before. These are revealed at the same time that the celestial destiny of the body of Christ is disclosed, for it is necessary that He should have the highest place in the universe before we could be associated with Him in its administration.


14 This petition commences at Eph_3:1 but was interrupted by a summary of the grace which is its motive. Now the prayer is resumed.

It is evident, and experience has confirmed the fact, that the greatest power is required, not for service, but to enable us to realize and appreciate the marvelous revelation of God's grace and love which is ours in Christ Jesus. May God exercise our hearts to this end!

17 Every lack in the universe is filled by Christ. He is God’s Pleroma, or Complement, Who supplies every deficiency. We, as members of His body, are His complement. To fit us for this place He wishes us to grasp the grace which this involves, which in turn will reveal the transcendent love of Christ. Thus we will be filled or completed-brought to that finished state which fits us for our future destiny.

18 The dimensions refer to the secret (6).

20 It is most satisfying to know that God's ability is not limited to our requests, neither are His purposes for us confined to our meagre apprehension.



1 How apt the titles used by our Lord and his servants! Here it is the prisoner in the Lord who deals with our walk.

3 We are not asked to make the spirit's unity, but not to break it. God's saints are one: let them be assiduous to recognize this by refraining from anything which mars the display of the spiritual unity made by God.

4 During the era covered by the book of Acts there were several bodies, and baptisms, and faiths, and expectations, but now that the secret economy is in operation there is no longer one faith for the Jew and another for the Gentile; but all have the same faith. Nothing should ever divide the saints of this administration.



7 The readjustment of the saints, changing them from a condition of tutelage and dependence on the blessings of Israel to mature manhood and independent celestial blessings, was effected by sending them specially endowed apostles and prophets, pastors and teachers. The service of the apostles and prophets is now superseded by the Scriptures, such as this epistle, which were written to accomplish the same end. This is in contrast to the giving of the law, which brought them into captivity ( Psa_68:18 ). This grace sets aside all enslaving laws and decrees.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ephesians 3". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/ephesians-3.html. 1968.
Ads FreeProfile