3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus 1 for the sake of you Gentiles – 3:2 if indeed 2 you have heard of the stewardship 3 of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3:3 that 4 by revelation the divine secret 5 was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. 6 3:4 When reading this, 7 you will be able to 8 understand my insight into this secret 9 of Christ. 3:5 Now this secret 10 was not disclosed to people 11 in former 12 generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by 13 the Spirit, 3:6 namely, that through the gospel 14 the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members 15 of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel 16 according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by 17 the exercise of his power. 18 3:8 To me – less than the least of all the saints 19 – this grace was given, 20 to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 3:9 and to enlighten 21 everyone about God’s secret plan 22 – a secret that has been hidden for ages 23 in God 24 who has created all things. 3:10 The purpose of this enlightenment is that 25 through the church the multifaceted wisdom 26 of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. 3:11 This was according to 27 the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
1 tc Several early and important witnesses, chiefly of the Western text (א* D* F G ), lack ᾿Ιησοῦ (Ihsou, “Jesus”) here, while most Alexandrian and Byzantine
2 sn If indeed. The author is not doubting whether his audience has heard, but is rather using provocative language (if indeed) to engage his audience in thinking about the magnificence of God’s grace. However, in English translation, the apodosis (“then”-clause) does not come until v. 13, leaving the protasis (“if”-clause) dangling. Eph 3:2-7 constitute one sentence in Greek.
3 tn Or “administration,” “dispensation,” “commission.”
4 tn Or “namely, that is.”
5 tn Or “mystery.”
6 tn Or “as I wrote above briefly.”
sn As I wrote briefly may refer to the author’s brief discussion of the divine secret in 1:9.
7 tn Grk “which, when reading.”
8 tn Grk “you are able to.”
9 tn Or “mystery.”
10 tn Grk “which.” Verse 5 is technically a relative clause, subordinate to the thought of v. 4.
11 tn Grk “the sons of men” (a Semitic idiom referring to human beings, hence, “people”).
12 tn Grk “other.”
13 tn Or “in.”
14 sn The phrase through the gospel is placed last in the sentence in Greek for emphasis. It has been moved forward for clarity.
15 tn Grk “and fellow members.”
16 tn Grk “of which I was made a minister,” “of which I became a servant.”
17 tn Grk “according to.”
18 sn On the exercise of his power see 1:19-20.
19 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.
20 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).
21 tn There is a possible causative nuance in the Greek verb, but this is difficult to convey in the translation.
22 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.
23 tn Or “for eternity,” or perhaps “from the Aeons.” Cf. 2:2, 7.
24 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.
25 tn Grk “that.” Verse 10 is a subordinate clause to the verb “enlighten” in v. 9.
26 tn Or “manifold wisdom,” “wisdom in its rich variety.”
27 tn Grk “according to.” The verse is a prepositional phrase subordinate to v. 10.