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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
Ephesians 3

 

 

Verses 1-13

1–13.] (See above.) On this account (in order to explain this, something must be said on the construction. (a) Chrys. says:— εἶπε τοῦ χριστοῦ τὴν κηδεμονίαν τὴν πολλήν· ἐκβαίνει λοιπὸν κ. ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ, μικρὰν μὲν οὖσαν κ. σφόδρα οὐδὲν πρὸς ἐκείνην, ἱκανὴν δὲ καὶ ταύτην ἐπισπάσασθαι. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐγὼ δέδεμαι, φησίν. This supplying of εἰμί after ὁ δέσμιος, and making the latter the predicate, is the rendering of Syr., and adopted by very many. It has against it, 1) that thus τούτου χάριν and ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν become tautological: 2) that thus Ephesians 3:2 and the following are unconnected with the preceding, serving for no explanation of it (‘legationis, non vinculorum rationem explicat,’ Castalio in Harl.): 3) that the article with the predicate δέσμιος gives it undue prominence, and exalts the Apostle in a way which would be very unnatural to him,—‘sum captivus ille Christi,’ as Glass.,—and inconsistent with εἴ γε ἠκούσατε, &c. following, (b) Erasm.-Schmidt, Hammond, Michael., Winer (and so E. V.) regard the sentence, broken at ἐθνῶν, as resumed at ch. Ephesians 4:1. Against this is the decisive consideration, that ch. 3. is no parenthesis, but an integral and complete portion of the Epistle, finished moreover with the doxology Ephesians 3:20-21, and altogether distinct in subject and character from ch. 4. (c) Œc. says (and so Estius and Grot.): ἀνταπόδοσίς ἐστι τούτου χάριν, οἷον· τούτου χ. ἐμοι τῷ ἐλ. π. ἁγ. ἐδόθ. κ. τ. λ. (Ephesians 3:8) σκόπει δὲ ὅτι ἀρξάμενος τῆς περιόδου κατὰ τὸ ὀρθὸν σχῆμα ἐν τῇ ἀποδόσει ἐπλαγίωσε, σχηματίσας τ. ἀνταπόδοσιν πρὸς τὸν περιβολῶν τύπον. But as Harl. remarks, this deprives τούτου χάριν of meaning: for it was not because they were built in, &c., that this grace was given to him: and, besides, thus the leading thought of the antapodosis in Ephesians 3:8 is clumsily forestalled in Ephesians 3:6-7. (d) The idea that Ephesians 3:13 resumes the sentence (Camerar., Cramer, al.) is refuted by the insufficiency of such a secondary sentiment as that in Ephesians 3:13 to justify the long parenthesis full of such solemn matter, as that Ephesians 3:2-12; and by the improbability that the Apostle would resume τούτου χάριν by διό, with τούτου χάριν occurring again in the next verse, and not rather have expressed this latter in that case by καί. (e) It remains that with Thdrt. (on Ephesians 3:1, βούλεται μὲν εἰπεῖν· ὅτι ταύτην ὑμῶν τὴν κλῆσιν εἰδὼς κ. τ. λ. δέομαι κ. ἱκετεύω τὸν τῶν ὅλων θεόν, βεβαιῶσαι ὑμᾶς τῇ πίστει κ. τ. λ., then on Ephesians 3:14, ταῦτα πάντα ἐν μέσῳ τεθεικὼς ἀναλαμβάνει τὸν περὶ προσευχῆς λόγον), Luth., Pisc., Corn.-a-lap., Schöttg., Beng., Rück., Harl., De W., Stier, Ellic., al., we consider Ephesians 3:14 as taking up the sense, with its repetition of τούτου χάριν, and the weighty prayer which it introduces, and which forms a worthy justification for so long and solemn a parenthesis, τούτου χάριν will then mean, ‘seeing ye are so built in,’—stand in such a relation to God’s purposes in the church) I Paul (he mentions himself here, as introducing to them the agent in the Spirit’s work who was nearest to themselves, and setting forth that work as the carrying on of his enlightenment on their behalf, and the subject of his earnest prayer for them: see argument to this chapter above), the prisoner (but now without any prominence, or the very slightest: cf. τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφός: it is rather generic, or demonstrative, than emphatic) of Christ [Jesus] (see ref.; χρ. first, because it is not so much personal possession, as the fact of the Messiahship of Jesus having been the cause and origin of his imprisonment, which is expressed by the genitive) on behalf of you Gentiles (see Ephesians 3:13, where this ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is repeated. The matter of fact was so:—his preaching to Gentiles aroused the jealousy of the Jews, and led to his imprisonment. But he rather thinks of it as a result of his great office and himself as a sacrifice for those whom it was his intent to benefit),—if, that is ( εἴ γε, ‘assuming that:’ see note on 2 Corinthians 5:3. The Ephesians had heard all this, and St. Paul was now delicately reminding them of it. So that to derive from εἴ γε ἠκούσατε an argument against the genuineness of the Epistle, as De Wette does, is mere inattention to philology), ye heard of (when I was among you: his whole course there, his converse (Acts 20:18-21) and his preaching, were just the imparting to them his knowledge) the œconomy (see note on ch. Ephesians 1:10. It is not the apostolic office,—but the dispensation—munus dispensandi, in which he was an οἰκονόμος, of that which follows) of the grace of God which was given me (the χάρις δοθεῖσα (beware of joining δοθείσης with οἰκονομίαν by any of the so-called figures) was the material with respect to which the dispensation was to be exercised: so that the genitive is objective as in ch. Ephesians 1:10) towards you (to be dispensed in the direction of, to, you)


Verses 1-21

1–21.] AIM AND END OF THE CHURCH IN THE SPIRIT. And herein, the revelation to it of the mystery of Christ, through those ministers who wrought in the Spirit: primarily, as regarded the Ephesians, through himself. Thus first, of HIS OFFICE AS APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES (1–13): secondly, under the form of a prayer for them, THE AIM AND END OF THAT OFFICE AS RESPECTED THE CHURCH: its becoming strong in the power of the Spirit (14–19). Then (20, 21) doxology, concluding this first division of the Epistle.


Verse 3

3.] that (epexegesis of the fact implied in ἠκούσατε τὴν οἰκ. ‘viz. of the fact that:’ as we say, ‘how that’) by revelation (see reff.; the stress is on these words, from their position) was made known to me the mystery (viz. of the admission of the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:6) to be fellow-heirs, &c. See ch. Ephesians 1:9, directly referred to below) even as I before wrote (not, ‘have before written,’ though this perhaps better marks the reference. ‘Before wrote,’ viz. in ch. Ephesians 1:9 if.) briefly ( διὰ βραχέων, Chrys.: “Habet locutionem hanc Aristoteles rhet. iii. 2, p. 716, ubi de acuminibus orationis, quæ ex unius aut plurium vocum similium oppositione oriuntur, dicit, ea tanto elegantiora esse, ὅσῳ ἂν ἐλάττονι, quanto brevius proferantur, et id ideo dicit sic se habere, ὅτι ἡ μάθησις, διὰ μὲν τὸ ἀντικεῖσθαι μᾶλλον, διὰ δὲ τὸ ἐν ὀλίγῳ θᾶττον γίνεται, quoniam ea ob oppositionem eo magis, ob brevitatem vero eo celerius percipiantur.” Kypke, obss. sacræ, ii. p. 293),


Verse 4

4.] by (or,‘in accordance with;’ perhaps ‘at’ is our word nearest corresponding. The use of πρός is as in πρὸς τὸ ἀδόκητον τεταραγμένους) which (viz., that which I wrote: not the fact of my having written briefly, as Kypke) ye can, while reading ( ἀναγ. absolute), perceive (aorist, because the act is regarded as one of a series, each of which, when it occurs, is sudden and transitory) my understanding in (construction see reff., and compare σύνεσιν ἐν πάσῃ σοφία, Daniel 1:17, also Daniel 10:1, LXX and Theod.) the mystery of Christ (by comparing Colossians 1:27, it will clearly appear that this genitive is one of apposition:—the mystery IS Christ in all His fulness; not of the object, ‘relating to Christ’),


Verse 5

5.] which in other generations (dative of time: so Luke 12:20, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ,—Matthew 16:21 al.: for the temporal meaning of γενεά, see reff.) was not made known to the sons of men (‘latissima appellatio, causam exprimens ignorantiæ, ortum naturalem, cui opponitur Spiritus,’ Beng.; and to which, remarks Stier, ἁγίοις and αὐτοῦ are further contrasted) as ( ἐγνωρίσθη μὲν τοῖς πάλαι προφήταις, ἀλλʼ οὐχ ὡς νῦν· οὐ γὰρ τὰ πράγματα εἶδον, ἀλλὰ τοὺς περὶ τῶν πραγμάτων προέγραψαν λόγους, Thdrt.) it has been now revealed (we are compelled in the presence of νῦν, to desert the aorist rendering ‘was revealed,’ which in our language cannot be used in reference to present time. The Greek admits of combining the two. We might do it by a paraphrastic extension of νῦν,—‘as in this present age it was revealed’) to His holy (see Stier’s remark above. Olshausen says, “It is certainly peculiar, that Paul here calls the Apostles, and consequently himself among them, ‘holy Apostles.’ It is going too far when De W. finds in this a sign of an unapostolic origin of the Epistle: but still the expression remains an unusual one. I account for it to myself thus,—that Paul here conceives of the Apostles and Prophets, as a corporation (cf. ch. Ephesians 4:11), and as such, in their official character, he gives them the predicate ἅγιος, as he names believers, conceived as a whole, ἅγιοι or ἡγιασμένοι, but never an individual”) Apostles and Prophets (as in ch. Ephesians 2:20, the N. T. Prophets—note there) in (as the conditional element; in and by) the Spirit (Chrys. remarks, ἑννόησον γάρ· ὁ πέτρος, εἰ μὴ παρὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ἤκουσεν, οὐκ ἂν ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὰ ἔθνη. ἐν πν. must not be joined with προφ. as Koppe, al. (not Chrys., as the above citation shews); for, as De W. remarks, the words would thus either be superfluous, or make an unnatural distinction between the Apostles and Prophets)—that (‘namely, that’—giving the purport of the mystery) the Gentiles are (not, ‘should be:’ a mystery is not a secret design, but a secret fact) fellow-heirs (with the Jews) and fellow-members (of the same body) and fellow-partakers of the promise (in the widest sense; the promise of salvation:—the complex, including all other promises, even that chief promise of the Father, the promise of the Spirit itself) in (not to be referred to τῆς ἐπαγγ., which would be more naturally, though not necessarily, τῆς ἐν,—but to the three foregoing adjectives,—in Christ Jesus, as the conditional element in which their participation consisted) Christ Jesus (see above on ch. Ephesians 2:13) through the Gospel (He Himself was the objective ground of their incorporation; the εὐαγγέλιον, the joyful tidings of Him, the subjective medium by which they apprehended it): of which (Gospel) I became (a reference to the event by which. “The passive form, however, implies no corresponding difference of meaning (Rück., Eadie): γίγνομαι in the Doric dialect was a deponent passive: ἐγενήθην was thus used for ἐγενόμην, and from thence occasionally crept into the language of later writers. See Buttm., Irregular Verbs, s.v. γεν—, Lobeck, Phryn. pp. 108–9.” Ellic.) a minister (see the parallel, Colossians 1:23 : and the remarks in Mey., and Ellic. on διάκονος and ὑπηρέτης) according to (in consequence of and in analogy with) the gift of the grace (genitive of apposition, as clearly appears from the definition of the grace given in the next verse: the grace was the gift) of God which was given to me ( δοθ., not tautological, or merely pleonastic after δωρεάν, but to be joined with what follows) according to the working in me of his power (because, and in so far as, His Almighty power wrought in me, was this gift of the χάρις, the ἀποστολή, the office of preaching among the Gentiles, &c., bestowed upon me).


Verse 8

8.] Instead of going straight onward with ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν κ. τ. λ., he calls to mind his own (not past, but present and inherent, see 1 Timothy 1:15) unworthiness of the high office, and resumes the context with an emphatic declaration of it. To me, who am less than the least (thus admirably rendered by E. V. Winer, edn. 6, § 11. 2. b, adduces ἐλαχιστότατος from Sext. Empir. ix. 406, and μειότερος from Apoll. Rhod. ii. 368—and Wetst. χερειότερος from II. β. 248, and other examples (Ellic. remarks that Thuc. iv. 118 must be removed from Wetst.’s examples, as the true reading is κάλλιον)) of all saints ( οὐκ εἰπε, τῶν ἀποστόλων, Chrys.: and herein this has been regarded as an expression of far greater depth of humility than that in 1 Corinthians 15:8 : but each belongs to the subject in hand—each places him far below all others with whom he compared himself), was given this grace (viz.) to preach to the Gentiles ( τ. ἔθν. is emphatic, and points out his distinguishing office. There is no parenthesis of ἐμοί to αὕτη as Harl. has unnecessarily imagined) the unsearchable (reff.; “in its nature, extent, and application.” Ellic.) riches of Christ (i.e. the fulness of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption—all centred and summed up in Him)


Verse 9

9.] and to enlighten (reff.; not merely externally to teach, referred to his work,—but internally to enlighten the hearers, referred to their apprehension: as when the Apostles gave witness with great power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Acts 4:33. On St. Paul’s mission to enlighten, see especially Acts 26:18) all (no emphasis on πάντας, as Harl.—“not the Gentiles only, but all men,”—or as Mey. observes it would be πάντας (or τοὺς π.?) φωτίσαι) what (the ellipse is supplied by εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι in ch. Ephesians 1:18) is the œconomy (see on ch. Ephesians 1:10) of the mystery (“the dispensation (arrangement, regulation) of the mystery (the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ, Ephesians 3:6) was now to be humbly traced and acknowledged in the fact of its having secretly existed in the primal counsels of God, and now having been revealed to the heavenly powers by means of the Church.” Ellicott) which has been hidden from (the beginning of) the ages ( ἀπὸ τ. αἰώνων gives the temporal limit from which the concealment dated: so χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένου, Romans 16:25. The decree itself originated πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, ch. Ephesians 1:4, πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, 1 Corinthians 2:7 : the αἰῶνες being the spaces or reaches of time necessary for the successive acts of created beings, either physical or spiritual) in (join with ἀποκεκρ.—hidden within,—humanly speaking, ‘in the bosom or the mind of’) God who created all things (“rerum omnium creatio fundamentum est omnis reliquæ œconomiæ, pro potestate Dei universali liberrime dispensatæ.” Beng. The stress is on τὰ πάντα—this concealment was nothing to be wondered at—for God of His own will and power created ALL THINGS, a fact which involves His perfect right to adjust all things as He will. τὰ π., in the widest sense, embracing physical and spiritual alike),


Verse 10

10.] that (general purpose of the whole: more properly to be referred perhaps to ἐδόθη than to any other one word in the last two verses. For this sublime cause the humble Paul was raised up,—to bring about,—he, the least worthy of the saints,—that to the heavenly powers themselves should be made known, by means of those whom he was empowered to enlighten, &c. Cf. Chrys.: καὶ τοῦτο δὲ χάριτος ἦν, τὸ τὸν μικρὸν τὰ μείζονα ἐγχειρισθῆναι, τὸ γενέσθαι τούτων εὐαγγελιστήν) there might be made known (emphatic, as opposed to ἀποκεκρ. above—‘no longer hidden, but …’) now (has the secondary emphasis: opposed to ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων) to the governments and to the (Stier notices the repetition of the article. It perhaps here does not so much separate the two ἀρχαί and ἐξ. as different classes, as serve to elevate the fact for solemnity’s sake) powers (see ch. Ephesians 1:21 and note) in the heavenly places (see ch. Ephesians 1:3 note. The ἀρχ. and ἐξ. are those of the holy angels in heaven; not, as has been vainly imagined, Jewish rulers (Locke, Schöttg.): Christian rulers (Pel.): good and bad angels (Beng., Olsh.). These are excluded, not by ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, see ch. Ephesians 6:12, but by the general tenor of the passage, as Ellic., who adds well: “evil angels more naturally recognize the power, good angels the wisdom of God”) by means of the Church ( ὅτε ἡμεῖς ἐμάθομεν, τότε κἀκεῖνοι διʼ ἡμῶν, Chrys. See also Luke 15:10; 1 Peter 1:12 : and cf. Calvin’s note here. “That the holy angels are capable of a specific increase of knowledge, and of a deepening insight into God’s wisdom, seems from this passage clear and incontrovertible.” Ellic. “Vide, quantus honos hominum, quod hæc arcana consilia per ipsos, maxime per apostolos, Deus innotescere angelis voluit. Ideo angeli post hoc tempus nolunt ab apostolis coli tanquam in ministerio majore collocatis, Revelation 19:10, et merito.” Grot. But as Stier well notices, it is not by the Apostles directly, nor by human preaching, that the Angels are instructed in God’s wisdom, but by the Church;—by the fact of the great spiritual body, constituted in Christ, which they contemplate, and which is to them the θέατρον τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ) the manifold ( πολυποίκιλος, so far from being a word found only here (Harl., Stier), occurs in Eur., Iph. Taur. 1149, πολυποίκιλα φάρεα: in a fragment of Eubulus, Ath. xv. 7, p. 679, στέφανον πολυποίκιλον ἀνθέων, and twice in the Orphic hymns, in this figurative sense: πολυποίκιλος τελετή, Ephesians 3:11; π. λόγος, lx. 4) wisdom of God (how is the wisdom of God πολυποίκιλος? It is all one in sublime unity of truth and purpose: but cannot be apprehended by finite minds in this its unity, and therefore is by Him variously portioned out to each finite race and finite capacity of individuals—so that the Church is a mirror of God’s wisdom,—chromatic, so to speak, with the rainbow colours of that light which in itself is one and undivided. Perhaps there was in the Apostle’s mind, when he chose this word, an allusion to the πτέρυγες περιστερᾶς περιηργυρωμέναι καὶ τὰ μετάφρενα αὐτῆς ἐν χλωρότητι χρυσίου, the adornment of the ransomed church, in Ps. 67:13. See Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 4:10),


Verse 11

11.] according to (depends on γνωρισθῇ—this imparting of the knowledge of God’s manifold wisdom was in accordance with, &c.) the (not, ‘a:’ after a preposition, especially when a limiting genitive, as here, follows, the omission of the article can hardly be regarded as affecting the sense) purpose of (the) ages (the genitive is apparently one of time, as when we say, ‘it has been an opinion of years:’ the duration all that time giving the αἰῶνες a kind of possession. If so, the sense is best given in English by ‘eternal’ as in E. V.), which ( πρόθεσιν) He made (constituted, ordained. So Calv., Beza, Harl., Rück. On the other hand, Thdrt., Grot., Koppe, Olsh, Mey., De W., Stier, Ellic., would apply it to the carrying out, executing, in its historical realization. I can hardly think that so indefinite a word as ποιέω would have been used to express so very definite an idea, now introduced for the first time, but believe the Apostle would have used some word like ἐπετέλεσεν. Further, we should thus rather expect the perfect; whereas the aorist seems to refer back the act spoken of to the origination of the design. Both senses of ποιέω are abundantly justified: see, for our sense, Mark 15:1; Isaiah 29:15 : for the other, ch. Ephesians 2:3; Matthew 21:31; John 6:38; 1 Thessalonians 5:24 al.) in Jesus our Lord the Christ (or, ‘in the Christ, (namely) Jesus our Lord.’ The former is official, the latter personal. It was in his Christ that He made the purpose: and that Christ is Jesus our Lord. The words do not necessarily refer ἐποίησεν to the carrying out of the design. They bind together God’s eternal purpose and our present state of access to Him by redemption in Christ, and so close the train of thought of the last eleven verses, by bringing us again home to the sense of our own blessedness in Christ. That he says, ἐν τ. χριστῷ ἰησ., does not, as Olsh. and Stier, imply that the act spoken of must necessarily be subsequent to the Incarnation: see ch. Ephesians 1:3-4 : it is the complex personal appellation of the Son of God, taken from, and familiar to us by His incarnation, but applied to Him in His præexistence also),


Verse 12

12.] in whom (for the connexion, see note on last verse: in whom, as their element and condition) we have our boldness (not ‘freedom of speech’ merely, nor boldness in prayer: παῤῥησία is used in a far wider sense than these, as will appear by the reff.: viz, that of the state of mind which gives liberty of speech, cheerful boldness, ‘freimuthigkeit,’ Palm and Rost’s Lex.) and (our) access (see note on ch. Ephesians 2:18 : here the intransitive sense is even more necessary, from the union with παῤῥησίαν. We may confidently say, that so important an objective truth as our introduction to God by Christ would never have been thus coupled to a mere subjective quality in ourselves. Both must be subjective if one is: the second less purely so than the first—but both referring to our own feelings and privileges) in confidence ( τουτέστι, μετὰ τοῦ θαῤῥεῖν, Chrys. Meyer remarks what a noble example St. Paul himself has given of this πεποίθησις in Romans 8:38 f. πεποίθησις is a word of late Greek; see Lobeck’s Phrynichus, p. 294) through the faith (“ ἐν χρ. points to the objective ground of the possession, διὰ τῆς πίστ., the subjective medium by which, and ἐν πεποιθ. the subjective state in which, it is apprehended.” Ellic.) of (objective: = ‘in:’ of which He is the object: see reff.) Him.


Verse 13

13.] Wherefore (‘quæ cum ita sint,’ viz. the glorious things spoken of Ephesians 3:1-12 : and especially his own personal part in them, ἐγὼ π., ἐμοὶ ἐδόθη, ἐγενήθην διάκονος:—since I am the appointed minister of so great a matter) I beseech you (not, beseech God,—which would awkwardly necessitate a new subject before ἐγκακεῖν: see below) not to be dispirited (not, ‘that I may not be dispirited,’ as Syr., Thdrt., Beng., Rück., Harl., Olsh. Such a reference is quite refuted by the reason rendered below, ἥτις ἐσ. δὸξα ὑμων, and by the insertion of μου after θλ., which in this case would be wholly superfluous: not to mention its inconsistency with all we know of the Apostle himself) in (of the element or sphere, in which the faint-heartedness would be shewn: ‘in the midst of’) my tribulations for you (the grammatical Commentators justify the absence of the article before ὑπέρ by the construction θλίβομαι ὑπέρ τινος. This surely is not necessary, in the presence of such expressions as τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα, ch. Ephesians 6:5. The strange view of Harl., that ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν is to be joined with αἰτοῦμαι, needs no refutation), seeing that they are (not ‘which is;’ ἥτις is not = , but = ‘quippe qui,’ ‘utpote qui:’ see examples in Palm and Rost’s Lex. ὅς, p. 547) your glory ( πῶς ἐστι δόξα αὐτῶν; ὅτι οὕτως αὐτοὺς ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεός, ὥστε καὶ τ. υἱὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν δοῦναι, κ. τοὺς δούλους κακοῦν. ἵνα γὰρ αὐτοὶ τύχωσι τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν, παῦλος ἐδεσμεῖτο, Chrys. Bengel compares ὑμεῖς ἔνδοξοι, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄτιμοι, 1 Corinthians 4:10 : and this certainly seems against Stier’s notion that δόξα ὑμῶν means ‘your glorification,’ ‘the glory of God in you’).


Verse 14

14.] On this account (resumes the τούτου χάριν of Ephesians 3:1 (see note there):—viz. ‘because ye are so built in, have such a standing in God’s Church’) I bend my knees (scil. in prayer: see reff.; and cf. 3 Kings 19:18) towards (directing my prayer to Him: see Winer, § 49, h) the Father (on the words here interpolated, see var. readd.), from whom (as the source of the name: so Hom. II. κ. 68, πατρόθεν ἐκ γενεῆς ὀνομάζων ἄνδρα ἕκαστον:—Soph., Œd. Tyr. 1036, ὥστʼ ὠνομάσθης ἐκ τύχης ταύτης, ὃς εἶ:—Xen. Mem. iv. 5. 8, ἔφη δὲ καὶ τὸ διαλέγεσθαι ὀνομασθῆναι ἐκ τοῦ συνιόντας κοινῇ βουλεύεσθαι διαλέγοντας:—Cic. de Amicitia, 8, ‘amor, ex quo amicitia nominata’) every family (not ‘the whole family’ ( πᾶσα ἡ πα. , or, less strictly, πᾶσα πατρ ἡ), as E. V. The sense, see below) in the heavens and on earth is named (it is difficult to convey in another language any trace of the deep connexion of πατήρ and πατριά here expressed. Had the sentence been ‘the Creator, after whom every creature in heaven and earth is named,’ all would be plain to the English reader. But we must not thus render; for it is not in virtue of God’s creative power that the Apostle here prays to Him, but in virtue of His adoptive love in Christ. It is best therefore to keep the simple sense of the words, and leave it to exegesis to convey the idea, πατριά is the family, or in a wider sense the gens, named so from its all having one πατήρ. Some (Est., Grot., Wetst., al.) have supposed St. Paul to allude to the rabbinical expression, ‘the family of earth and the family of heaven:’ but as Harl. observes, in this case he would have said π. ἡ πατρ., ἡ ἐν οὐρ. κ. ἡ ἐπὶ γ. Others (Vulg., Jer., Thdrt.,— ὂς ἀληθῶς ὑπάρχει πατήρ, ὃς οὐ παρʼ ἄλλου τοῦτο λαβὼν ἔχει, ἀλλʼ αὐτὸς τοῖς ἄλλοις μεταδέδωκε τοῦτο,—Corn.-a-lap.) have attempted to give πατριά the sense of paternitas, which it can certainly never have. But it is not so easy to say, to what the reference is, or why the idea is here introduced. The former of these will be found very fully discussed in Stier, pp. 487–99: and the latter more shortly treated. The Apostle seems, regarding God as the Father of us His adopted children in Christ, to go forth into the fact, that He, in this His relation to us, is in reality the great original and prototype of the paternal relation, wherever found. And this he does, by observing that every πατριά, compaternity, body of persons, having a common father, is thus named (in Greek), from that father,—and so every earthly (and heavenly) family reflects in its name (and constitution) the being and sourceship of the great Father Himself. But then, what are πατριαί in heaven? Some have treated the idea of paternity there as absurd: but is it not necessarily involved in any explanation of this passage? He Himself is the Father of spirits, Hebrews 12:9, the Father of lights, James 1:17 :—may there not be fathers in the heavenly Israel, as in the earthly? May not the holy Angels be bound up in spiritual πατριαί, though they marry not nor are given in marriage? Observe, we must not miss the sense of ὀνομάζεται, nor render, nor understand it, as meaning ‘is constituted.’ This is the fact, but not brought out here),


Verses 14-19

14–19.] His prayer for them, setting forth the aim and end of the ministerial office as respected the Church, viz. its becoming strong in the power of the Spirit.


Verse 16

16.] that (see on ἵνα after words of beseeching, &c., note, 1 Corinthians 14:13. The purpose and purport of the prayer are blended in it) He may give you, according to the riches of His glory (specifies δῷ, not what follows: give you, in full proportion to the abundance of His own glory—His own infinite perfections), to be strengthened with might (the dative has been taken in several ways: 1) adverbially, ‘mightily,’ as βίᾳ εἰς οἰκίαν παριέναι, Xen. Cyr. i. 2. 2,—to which Meyer objects, that thus δύναμις would be strength on the side of the bestower rather than of the receiver, whereas the contrast with ἐγκακεῖν (?) requires the converse. This hardly seems sufficient to disprove the sense: 2) dative of the form or shape in which the κρατ. was to take place (Harl, al.), as in χρήμασι δυνατοὶ εἶναι, Xen. Mem. ii. 7. 7,—to which Meyer replies that thus the κραταιωθῆναι would only apply to one department of the spiritual life, instead of to all. But this again seems to me not valid: for ‘might,’ ‘power,’ is not one faculty, but a qualification of all faculties. Rather I should say that such a meaning would involve a tautology—‘strengthened in strength.’ 3) the instrumental dative is maintained by Mey., De W., al., and this view seems the best: ‘with (His) might,’ imparted to you) by His Spirit (as the instiller and imparter of that might) into (not merely ‘in,’ but ‘to and into,’ as Ellic.: importing “the direction and destination of the prayed for gift of infused strength.” κραταιοῖ, κατοικίζων εἰς τὸν χωροῦντα ἔσω ἄνθρωπον τὸν χριστόν, Schol. in Cramer’s Catena. Similarly Orig., ὥστε εἰς τ. ἔσ. ἄνθ. κατοικῆσαι τ. χριστὸν διὰ τῆς πίστεως, ib. Both rightly, as far as the idea of infusing into is concerned: but clearly wrong, as are the Gr.-ff. in general, in taking εἰς τ. ἔσ. ἄνθ. with what follows, thus making ἐν ταῖς καρδ. ὑμ. tautological, or giving to διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν the meaning, ‘through the faith which is in your hearts,’ which it cannot bear) the inner man (the spiritual man—the noblest portion of our being, kept, in the natural man, under subjection to the flesh (reff.), but in the spiritual, renewed by the Spirit of God)—that (continuation, not of the prayer merely,—not from δῷ,—as the strong word κατοικῆσαι, emphatically placed, sufficiently shews,—but from κραταιωθῆναι,—and that as its result (see Orig. above: not its purpose,— τοῦ κατ.). See a similar construction Colossians 1:10) Christ may dwell (emphatic; abide, take up His lasting abode: ‘summa sit, non procul intuendum esse Christum fide, sed recipiendum esse animæ nostræ complexu, ut in nobis habitet,’ Calv.) by your faith (apprehending Him, and opening the door to Him,—see John 14:23; Revelation 3:20—and keeping Him there) in your hearts (“partem etiam designat ubi legitima est Christi sedes; nempe cor: ut sciamus, non satis esse, si in lingua versetur, aut in cerebro volitet.” Calv.),—ye having been (Beza, Grot., al., and Meyer (and so E. V.), join the participles with the following ἵνα, justifying the trajection by Galatians 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; Acts 19:4 al. But those cases are not parallel, as in every one of them the prefixed words carry especial emphasis, which here they cannot do. We must therefore regard the clause as an instance of the irregular nominative (see ch. Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 2:2, and reff. there) adopted to form an easy transition to that which follows. Meyer strongly objects to this, that the participles are perfect, not present, which would be thus logically required. But surely this last is a mistake. It is upon the completion, not upon the progress, of their rooting and grounding in love, that the next clause depends. So Orig., Chrys., all., and Harl., De W., and Ellic.) rooted and grounded (both images, that of a tree, and that of a building, are supposed to have been before the Apostle’s mind. But ῥιζόω was so constantly used in a figurative sense (see examples in Palm and Rost sub voce) as hardly perhaps of necessity to suggest its primary image. Lucian uses both words together, de Saltat. 34 (Wetst.),— ὥσπερ τινὲς ῥίζαι κ. θεμέλιοι τῆς ὀρχήσεως ἦσαν) in love (love, generally—not merely αὐτοῦ, as Chrys., nor ‘qua diligimur a Deo,’ Beza; nor need we supply ‘in Christ’ after the participles, thus disconnecting them from ἐν ἀγ., as Harl.: but as Ellic. well says, “This (love) was to be their basis and foundation, in (on?) which alone they were to be fully enabled to realize all the majestic proportions of Christ’s surpassing love to man”),—that ye may be fully able (ref.: ἡ ἐπιμέλεια πολλάκις καὶ τῆς φύσεως ἐξίσχυσεν ἐπιλειπούσης, Strabo, xvii. p. 788 (417 Tauchn.)) to comprehend (reff. “many middle forms are distinguished from their actives only by giving more the idea of earnestness or spiritual energy: ἠριθμοῦντο πολλοὶ ἅμα τὰς ἐπιβολάς, Thucyd. iii. 20: οὕτω δεῖ περὶ παντὸς σκοπεῖν· ὅταν γάρ τι ταύτῃ σκοπούμενος ἕλῃς, οὕτως ἔμφρων περὶ τοῦτο γέγονας. Plato.” Krüger, griech. Sprachlehre, § 52. 4) with all the saints (all the people of God, in whom is fulfilled that which is here prayed for) what is the breadth and length and height and depth (all kinds of fanciful explanations have been given of these words. One specimen may be enough: ἐσχημάτισεν ὥσπερ τυπικώτερον εἰς σταυροῦ τύπον. βάθος γὰρ καὶ ὕψος καὶ μῆκος καὶ πλάτος, τί ἕτερον ἂν εἴη, ἢ τοῦ σταυροῦ φύσις; διπλοῦν δέ που ἔοικε τὸν σταυρὸν λέγειν, οὐχ ἁπλῶς· ἀλλʼ ἐπειδὴ ἡ μὲν τοῦ κυρίου οἰκονομία θεότης ἐστὶν ἄνωθεν, καὶ ἀνθρωπότης κάτωθεν, τὸ δὲ κήρυγμα ἀποστολικὸν διέτεινεν ἀπὸ ἄρκτου εἰς μεσημβρίαν καὶ ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς εἰς δύσιν, συναγαγὼν καὶ κυρίου τὴν οἰκονομίαν καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑπηρεσίαν· τὸ διπλοῦν τῆς οἰκονομίας, ὡς ἐν διπλῳ τῷ σταυρῷ ἐπιδεικνύμενος, οὕτως εἶπεν. Severianus, in Cramer’s Catena. Similarly Origen, ib., Jer., Aug., Anselm, Aquin., Est. (‘longitudo temporum est, latitudo Iocorum, altitudo gloriæ, profunditas discretionis’). Numerous other explanations, geometrical, architectural, and spiritual, may be seen in Corn.-a-lap., Pole’s Synops., and Eadie. The latter, as also Bengel and Stier, see an allusion to the Church as the temple of God—Chandler and Macknight to the temple of Diana at Ephesus. Both are in the highest degree improbable. Nor can we quite say that the object of the sentence is the love of Christ (Calv., Mey., Ellicott, al.): for that is introduced in a subordinate clause by and by (see on τε below): rather, with De W., that the genitive after these nouns is left indefinite—that you may be fully able to comprehend every dimension—scil., of all that God has revealed or done in and for us (= τὸ μυστήριον τ. θεοῦ, Colossians 2:2)—though this is not a genitive to be supplied, but lying in the background entirely) and ( τε introduces not a parallel, but a subordinate clause. Of this Hartung, i. p. 105, gives many examples. Eur. Hec. 1186,— ὅτʼ εὐτύχει | τροία, πέριξ δὲ πύργος εἶχʼ ἔτι πτόλιν, | ἔζη τε πρίαμος, ἕκτορός τʼ ἤνθει δόρυ: Med. 642, ὦ πατρίς, δῶμά τʼ ἐμόν. So that the knowledge here spoken of is not identical with the καταλαβέσθαι above, but forms one portion of it, and by its surpassing excellence serves to exalt still more that great whole to which it belongs) to know the knowledge-passing ( τῆς γνώσεως, genitive of comparison after ὑπερβ., as in διπλήσιος ἑωϋτοῦ, Herod. viii. 137,— οὐδενὸς ὕστερος, Plato, Tim. p. 20 A. See Kühner, ii. § 540. γνῶναι γνώσεως are chosen as a paradox, γνώσεως being taken in the sense of ‘mere,’ ‘bare’ knowledge (ref.), and γνῶναι in the pregnant sense of that knowledge which is rooted and grounded in love, Philippians 1:9) Love of Christ (subjective genitive; Christ’s Love to us—see Romans 5:6 note, and Romans 8:35-39—not ‘our love to Christ.’ Nor must we interpret with Harl. (and Olsh.), “to know the Love of Christ more and more as an unsearchable love.” It is not this attribute of Christ’s Love, but the Love itself, which he prays that they may know), that ye may be filled even to all the fulness of God ( πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος abides in Christ, Colossians 2:9. Christ then abiding in your hearts, ye, being raised up to the comprehension of the vastness of God’s mercy in Him and of His Love, will be filled, even as God is full—each in your degree, but all to your utmost capacity, with divine wisdom and might and love. Such seems much the best rendering: and so Chrys. (altern.), ὥστε πληροῦσθαι πάσης ἀρετῆς ἧς πλήρης ἐστὶν ὁ θεός.

τοῦ θ. then is the possessive genitive. The other interpretation taking θεοῦ as a genitive of origin, and πλήρωμα for πλῆθος, ‘ut omnibus Dei donis abundetis,’ Est., is not consistent with εἰς (see above), nor with the force of the passage, which having risen in sublimity with every clause, would hardly end so tamely).


Verse 20

20.] But to Him ( δέ brings out a slight contrast to what has just preceded—viz. ourselves, and our need of strength and our growth in knowledge, and fulness) who is able to do beyond all things ( ὑπέρ is not adverbial, as Bengel, which would be tautological), far beyond (reff.: ὧν is not governed by πάντα: but this second clause repeats the first in a more detailed and specified form. “It is noticeable that ὑπέρ occurs nearly thrice as many times in St. Paul’s Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews as in the rest of the N. T., and that, with a few exceptions (Mark 7:37. Luke 6:38, &c.), the compounds of ὑπέρ are all found in St. Paul’s Epistles.” Ellic.) the things which (genitive as γνώσεως above, Ephesians 3:19) we ask or think (‘cogitatio Iatius patet quam preces: gradatio.’ Beng.) according to the power which is working (not passive: see on Galatians 5:6 : the power is the might of the indwelling Spirit; see Romans 8:26) in us,


Verse 20-21

20, 21.] DOXOLOGY, ARISING FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE FAITHFULNESS AND POWER OF GOD WITH REGARD TO HIS CHURCH.


Verse 21

21.] to Him (solemn and emphatic repetition of the personal pronoun) be the glory (the whole glory accruing from all His dealings which have been spoken of: His own resulting glory) in the Church (as its theatre before men, in which that glory must be recognized and rendered) [and] in Christ Jesus (as its inner verity, and essential element in which it abides. If the καί be omitted, beware of rendering ‘in the Church which is in Christ Jesus,’ which would not only require the article (cf. Galatians 1:22, ταῖς ἐκκλ. τῆς ἰουδαίας ταῖς ἐν χριστῷ), but would make ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ superfluous. As the text stands, we need not say that ἐν χρ. ἰησ. is a second independent clause: it belongs to ἐν τῇ ἐκκ. as inclusive of it, though not as descriptive of ἐκκλ.: ‘in the Church and (thus) in Christ Jesus’) to all the generations of the age of the ages (probably as Grot., ‘augendi causa duas locutiones Hebraicas miscuit Apostolus, quarum prior est ἀπὸ γενεᾶς εἰς γενεάν, לְדֹר וָדֹר, Psalms 10:6, altera ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος עוֹלְמֵי עַד, Isaiah 45:17.’ Probably the account of the meaning is, that the age of ages (eternity) is conceived as containing ages, just as our ‘age’ contains years: and then those ages are thought of as made up, like ours, of generations. Like the similar expression, αἰῶνες τῶν αἰώνων, it is used, by a transfer of what we know in time, to express, imperfectly, and indeed improperly, the idea of Eternity).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/ephesians-3.html. 1863-1878.


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Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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