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 3:9 and to enlighten 3 everyone about God’s secret plan 4 – a secret that has been hidden for ages 5 in God 6 who has created all things. 3:10 The purpose of this enlightenment is that 7 through the church the multifaceted wisdom 8 of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.
3:16 I pray that 9 according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person,
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 There is a possible causative nuance in the Greek verb, but this is difficult to convey in the translation.
4 tn Grk “what is the plan of the divine secret.” Earlier the author had used οἰκονομία (oikonomia; here “plan”) to refer to his own “stewardship” (v. 2). But now he is speaking about the content of this secret, not his own activity in relation to it.
6 tn Or “by God.” It is possible that ἐν (en) plus the dative here indicates agency, that is, that God has performed the action of hiding the secret. However, this usage of the preposition ἐν is quite rare in the NT, and even though here it does follow a perfect passive verb as in the Classical idiom, it is more likely that a different nuance is intended.
8 tn Or “manifold wisdom,” “wisdom in its rich variety.”