Flyover of Ephesians 3

This week’s lesson will be from Ephesians chapter 3. I purpose to provide an overview of and explain some of the key words in the chapter. In preparation for the study, please read the chapter through in several versions and consider these key words:

  1. “if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you” (Ephesians 3:2). (Note: select underlined (hyperlinked) verse references to see how this is translated in 5 versions.)
    • Greek: “οἰκονομία“.
    • Meaning: “steward of a household” or “ruler of a household”
    • Other Pauline usage: Ephesians 1:10, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” & Colossians 1:25, “of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God”
  2. “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery …” (Ephesians 3:3)
    • Greek: “μυστήριον
    • Other selected Pauline usage:
      • Ephesians 3:4,9 & 5:32
      • Colossians 1:24-26, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.” (Note also “stewardship” (see previous point)).
  3. “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (3:6)
    • I found this verse interesting because of three Greek words that all have the “su-” prefix
    • Select underlined (hyperlinked) words in the above verse.
    • Note on “partakers”: Cf Ephesians 5:7, “5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.” (same Greek word!)

Things to think about (and questions to ask):

  1. Why does Paul repeat this phrase “For this reason I …” (vs 1,14)?
  2. Why did the translators of the NIV, NKJV, ESV, and NASB put a “-” hyphen at the end of verse 1? (Remember that punctuation would not be found in the Greek text!)
  3. Why doesn’t Paul call himself “a prisoner of the Romans (or of Caesar)“? (cf 3:1, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles”)
  4. What is the link between what we previously studied in chapter 2 and this chapter?
  5. How was Paul “less than the least of all the saints” (vs 8)?
  6. Verse 14 introduces a prayer (“For this reason I bow my knees …”). What was Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers?
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