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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Because of this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ
2 (Jesus) for you Gentiles -
if, as I suppose, you have heard of the
stewardship 3 of God's grace that was given to me for your
(namely, that) the mystery 4
was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier.
When you read this you can understand my
insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to human beings in
other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets
by the Spirit,
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the
same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this I became a minister by the gift of
God's grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
To me, the very least of all the holy ones,
this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of
and to bring to light [for all] 5
what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all
so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be
made known through the church to the principalities and authorities 6
in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose that
he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech and
confidence of access through faith in him.
So I ask you not to lose heart over my
afflictions for you; this is your glory.
7 8 For this reason I kneel
before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth
that he may grant you in accord with the riches
of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the
holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses
knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to accomplish far more
than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ
Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
1 [1-13] Paul reflects on his mission
to the Gentiles. He alludes to his call and appointment to the apostolic office
(⇒ Eph 3:2-3) and how his insight through revelation,
as well as that of the other apostles and charismatic prophets in the church
(⇒ Eph 3:4-5), has deepened understanding of God's
plan of salvation in Christ. Paul is the special herald (⇒ Eph
3:7) of a new promise to the Gentiles (⇒ Eph
3:6): that the divine plan includes them in the spiritual benefits
promised to Israel. Not only is this unique apostolic role his; Paul also has
been given the task of explaining to all the divine plan of salvation
(⇒ Eph 3:8-9), once hidden. Through the church, God's
plan to save through Christ is becoming manifest to angelic beings (eph
⇒ 3:10; cf ⇒ Eph 1:21),
in accord with God's purpose (⇒ Eph 3:11). The
fulfillment of the plan in Christ gives the whole church more confidence
through faith in God (⇒ Eph 3:12). The readers of
this letter are also thereby encouraged to greater confidence despite Paul's
imprisonment (⇒ Eph 3:13).
2  A prisoner of Christ: see
Introduction. Paul abruptly departs from his train of thought at the end of
⇒ Eph 3:1 leaving an incomplete sentence.
3  Stewardship: the Greek is the
same term employed at ⇒ Eph 1:10 for the plan that
God administers (⇒ Col 1:25) and in which Paul plays
a key role.
4 [3-4] The mystery: God's resolve to
deliver Gentiles along with Israel through Christ; cf the notes on
⇒ Eph 1:9; ⇒ 3:9.
5  [For all]: while some think
this phrase was added so as to yield the sense "to enlighten all about the
plan . . . ," it is more likely that some manuscripts and Fathers omitted
it accidentally or to avoid the idea that all conflicted with Paul's assignment
to preach to the Gentiles (⇒ Eph 3:8) specifically.
6  Principalities and
authorities: see the note on ⇒ Eph 1:15-23 regarding
⇒ Eph 3:21.
7 [14-21] The apostle prays that
those he is addressing may, like the rest of the church, deepen their
understanding of God's plan of salvation in Christ. It is a plan that affects
the whole universe (⇒ Eph 3:15) with the breadth and
length and height and depth of God's love in Christ (⇒ Eph
3:18) or possibly the universe in all its dimensions. The apostle
prays that they may perceive the redemptive love of Christ for them and be
completely immersed in the fullness of God (⇒ Eph 3:19).
The prayer concludes with a doxology to God (⇒ Eph
8 [14-15] Every family: in the Greek
there is wordplay on the word for the Father (patria, pater). The phrase could
also mean "God's whole family" (cf ⇒ Eph
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