3:8 To me – less than the least of all the saints 1 – this grace was given, 2 to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ
3:13 For this reason I ask you 3 not to lose heart because of what I am suffering for you, 4 which 5 is your glory. 6
1 sn In Pauline writings saints means any true believer. Thus for Paul to view himself as less than the least of all the saints is to view himself as the most unworthy object of Christ’s redemption.
2 sn The parallel phrases to proclaim and to enlighten which follow indicate why God’s grace was manifested to Paul. Grace was not something just to be received, but to be shared with others (cf. Acts 13:47).
3 tn Grk “I ask.” No direct object is given in Greek, leaving room for the possibility that either “God” (since the verb is often associated with prayer) or “you” is in view.
4 tn Grk “my trials on your behalf.”
5 sn Which. The antecedent (i.e., the word or concept to which this clause refers back) may be either “what I am suffering for you” or the larger concept of the recipients not losing heart over Paul’s suffering for them. The relative pronoun “which” is attracted to the predicate nominative “glory” in its gender and number (feminine singular), making the antecedent ambiguous. Paul’s suffering for them could be viewed as their glory (cf. Col 1:24 for a parallel) in that his suffering has brought about their salvation, but if so his suffering must be viewed as more than his present imprisonment in Rome; it would be a general description of his ministry overall (cf. 2 Cor 11:23-27). The other option is that the author is implicitly arguing that the believers have continued to have courage in the midst of his trials (as not to lose heart suggests) and that this is their glory. Philippians 1:27-28 offers an interesting parallel: The believers’ courage in the face of adversity is a sign of their salvation.
6 tn Or “Or who is your glory?” The relative pronoun ἥτις (Jhti"), if divided differently, would become ἤ τίς (h ti"). Since there were no word breaks in the original