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Ephesians 3:3-9

3:3 that 1  by revelation the divine secret 2  was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. 3  3:4 When reading this, 4  you will be able to 5  understand my insight into this secret 6  of Christ. 3:5 Now this secret 7  was not disclosed to people 8  in former 9  generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by 10  the Spirit, 3:6 namely, that through the gospel 11  the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members 12  of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel 13  according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by 14  the exercise of his power. 15  3:8 To me – less than the least of all the saints 16  – this grace was given, 17  to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 3:9 and to enlighten 18  everyone about God’s secret plan 19  – a secret that has been hidden for ages 20  in God 21  who has created all things.

1 tn Or “namely, that is.”

2 tn Or “mystery.”

3 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.

4 tn Grk “which, when reading.”

5 tn Grk “you are able to.”

6 tn Or “mystery.”

7 tn Grk “which.” Verse 5 is technically a relative clause, subordinate to the thought of v. 4.

8 tn Grk “the sons of men” (a Semitic idiom referring to human beings, hence, “people”).

9 tn Grk “other.”

10 tn Or “in.”

11 sn The phrase through the gospel is placed last in the sentence in Greek for emphasis. It has been moved forward for clarity.

12 tn Grk “and fellow members.”

13 tn Grk “of which I was made a minister,” “of which I became a servant.”

14 tn Grk “according to.”

15 sn On the exercise of his power see 1:19-20.

16 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.

17 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).

18 tn There is a possible causative nuance in the Greek verb, but this is difficult to convey in the translation.

19 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.

20 tn Or “for eternity,” or perhaps “from the Aeons.” Cf. 2:2, 7.

21 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.

TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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