Perhaps he heard his chains clank and it brought him back to his present situation, of being a prisoner. The secret is to stay true to Christ to the last moment. Paul as a Propagator of the Truth (Eph 3:7-9), Warren Wiersbe nicely alliterates Ephesians 3 as…, A PURPOSE - "For this reason" Ephesians 3:1, 14, A PARENTHESIS - Mystery of the Church Ephesians 3:2-13, looks back to what he had just been saying about the place of privilege into which believing Gentiles are brought as a result of their union with Christ. All of mankind can be divided into Jew and Gentile and thus "Gentile" is a synonym for anyone who is non-Jew, who is not a member of the "chosen people". (Sermon Notes), Ray Stedman writes that Paul was apparently "in Rome, a prisoner of Caesar, awaiting trial before Nero. The Phillips paraphrase accurately conveys Paul's thought…, For you must have heard how God gave me grace to become your minister. I am clean. (Eph 3:20). To understand Paul’s flow of thought we need to understand what he means by mystery. 10:34; 13:3. He thought of his hardship as an opportunity to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. In the New Testament it refers to something hidden in former times but now made known. But, although most of us don’t buy into that error, we often think that if we walk obediently with the Lord, He will reward us with protection from trials. The non-believing Jews in Paul’s day considered the Gentiles ("the Uncircumcision") dogs,” but some of the believing Jews did not have a much better attitude toward their Gentiles brothers in the faith. He came upon a man at work and asked him: “What are you doing?” The man said: “I am cutting this stone to a certain size and shape.” He came to a second man and asked him what he was doing. Musterion is a truth which without special revelation would have been unknown and thus is commonly used with words denoting revelation or knowledge (e.g., "to know the mysteries", (Mt 13:11), "revelation of the mystery", (Ro 16:25) or "made known… the mystery", Eph 3:3). Note the use of passive voice indicating God is the Giver. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles. Why is Paul spending so much time explaining to the Gentiles their "before/after" picture and emphasizing their place of equality with the Jews in one body, the body of Christ? For many Gentile believers, there is a tendency to "skim over" the doctrinal truths in the first three chapters (except our favorite verses like Eph 2:8, 9) so that we can get into the "practical" section of Ephesians 4-6. Thus in Paul's day, musterion embrace ideas such as "a secret rite," "secret teaching," and "a divine mystery which is beyond human comprehension." But, God’s mighty power transformed these people who engaged in sexual immorality at the pagan Temple of Diana into a holy temple in the Lord (Ep 2:21). If he really is God’s apostle, then why is he in prison? 16:2, 3, 4; 1 Co. 9:17; Eph. On a dark Sunday morning when the weather was freezing, wet, and stormy, one of his deacons whispered, “I am sure the preacher won’t be able to thank God for anything on a day like this. Previous commentary: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”, If you’re thinking, “Well, that may describe others, but it doesn’t describe me,” then you do not understand God’s grace in the gospel. In regard to Ephesians 3:2-13 being a parenthesis note that verse 1 begins with his status as prisoner ("the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles") and that this same thought is picked up again in verse 13 ("my tribulations on your behalf"). Their life’s aim is to get that other person to be happy with them. What else do you thank him for?”. "(Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. (Acts 28:30-31+). It would have been much easier for Paul just to make peace with the Judaizers, saying, “We don’t agree, but unity is more important than truth.” But, instead, he always stood firmly for the truth of the gospel of grace, even if it meant hardship and persecution. The breadth shows its extent to all nations and ranks; the length, that it continues from everlasting to everlasting; the depth, its saving those who are sunk into the depths of sin and misery; the height, its raising them up to heavenly happiness and glory. Start digging! —Albert Lee (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Revelation (602) (apokalupsis from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal <> English = apocalypse) (Click word study on apokalupsis) conveys the idea of "taking the lid off" and means to remove the cover and expose to open view that which was heretofore not visible, known or disclosed. We were shut out until Acts 8 when God singled out the minister named Paul, to preach the message to the Gentiles. Do not forget that the reason Paul was charged by the Jews with sedition against the emperor was because they were so angry that he would carry any message from God to the Gentiles. They were Christians because of his ministry to the Gentiles! For you - i.e., for your benefit or literally unto you. AS I WROTE BEFORE IN BRIEF: kathoo proegrapsa (1SAAI) en oligo: Wrote before (4270) (prographo from pró = before, openly, plainly + grapho = write) means to write previously or before. The vast majority of unbelieving Jews regarded Paul with horror and considered him a dangerous heretic. Rather than losing heart because of his sufferings, they should see that his tribulations on their behalf were actually for their glory (Ep 3:13). Such information cannot be attained by human reason or wisdom, but only when God reveals it by His Spirit (1Co 2:7, 8, 9, 10). Maybe, like me, you were raised in a Christian home and were at church every time the door was open. 1:1. One could render it… "Surely you have heard" or "Since you have heard". Paul as a Partner in the Truth (Eph 3:5-6), a. The Gentiles were excluded from the nation of Israel, were strangers to God’s covenants of the promise, and thus they had no hope and were without God in the world (Ep 2:12). 1:11; Eph. It is because he wants to be sure that the Gentile believers don't take their new found salvation for granted (which has to a large extent occurred in the church in America, some of whom don't even know that Jesus was a Jew, much less that the early church was virtually all Jewish) so that they have a proper appreciation and sense of gratitude for their salvation. Mysteries in the Scripture fall into two categories. The secret counsels of God remain hidden from the ungodly (to them they are a true "mystery" as the word is commonly used in English) but when these truths are revealed to the godly, they are understood by them. Some people are imprisoned to others. Greek: [hoti] kata apokalupsin egnoristhe (3SAPI) moi to musterion, kathoo proegrapsa (1SAAI) en oligo, Amplified: [And] that the mystery (secret) was made known to me and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation, as I already briefly wrote you. If he had seen himself as the prisoner of the Roman government, he would have been angry about the miscarriage of justice. Paul says that the mystery of Christ was not made known in other generations as it now is made known! Paul's emancipating gospel annoyed many Jews, even within the church. Paul starts off to pray in chapter 3, but immediately he backs away. One glimpse of Thy love Eph 3:2–7 constitute one sentence in Greek. Of the account which Paul gives the Ephesians concerning himself, as he was appointed by God to be the apostle of the Gentiles . The man paused for a moment, straightened himself and answered: “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build St. Paul’s Cathedral.” If a man is in prison for some great cause he may either grumblingly regard himself as an ill-used creature, or he may radiantly regard himself as the standard-bearer of some great cause. Paul as a Pioneer of the Truth (Eph 3:2-4), b. (Word Studies in the NT). We should desire that good affections may be fixed in us. When Paul spoke to the Jewish mob in his own defense, after he was arrested in the temple courts, the thing which triggered their renewed ire was the word Gentile in his message. Then comes that glorious contrast (Ep 2:13), “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Paul shows how through the gospel, Christ now has reconciled the Jews and Gentiles to one another and He has reconciled both groups in one body to God through the cross. But there is not a hint of self-pity or complaint on his part, because his focus was on Christ Jesus as his sovereign Lord, and also on helping the Ephesians understand God’s purpose in Paul’s imprisonment. The idea is one of assurance. But, it is fundamentally unbiblical. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible is available in the Public Domain. How powerfully the apostle speaks of the love of Christ! If He has opened the eyes of your heart to trust in Jesus Christ as the One who bore your eternal punishment on the cross, then even if you are going through terrible suffering, you have reason to rejoice and be thankful! You can dodge a lot of hassles as a preacher if you tiptoe around difficult doctrines and just preach “nice” messages that make everyone feel good.