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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Ephesians 3



Verse 1

This chapter is parenthetical, and within it is another parenthesis, verses: Ephesians 3:2-13. Both must be carefully noted.

For this cause = On this account.

Jesus Christ = Christ Jesus. App-98.

Gentiles. Compare Acts 22:21; Acts 26:23.

Verse 2

If = If indeed. Greek. eige. See App-118.

have. Omit.

dispensation = stewardship. Greek. oikonomia. See Ephesians 1:10.

the = that.

grace. App-184.

God. App-98.

is = was.

to . . . -ward. Greek. eis. App-104. The grace of God which concerned them and us. Not the grace of God as to "the kingdom", or "the heavenly calling" (see App-193), but the gospel of God"s grace as to the church which is the body of Christ.

Verse 3

revelation. App-106.

He. All the texts read "was".

unto = to.

mystery. See Ephesians 5:32. 1 Timothy 3:16. App-193.

as = even as.

wrote afore. See Romans 15:4.

in (App-104.)

few words = briefly. See Romans 16:25, Romans 16:26.

Verse 4

whereby = according to (App-104.) which.

may = can.

knowledge. App-132.

the mystery. i.e. the great secret (Ephesians 5:32). See App-193.

Christ. App-98.

Verse 5

in other ages = to (no preposition, Latin case) other generations.

unto, unto = to, to.

sons. App-108.

men. App-123.

is = was.

now. Emph. This present time.

revealed. Greek. apokalupto. App-106.

holy apostles and prophets. See Ephesians 2:20, and compare "prophetic writings" (Romans 16:26). App-189.

the Spirit. App-101.

Verse 6

That, &c. The subject of the revelation.

fellowheirs = joint-heirs. Greek. sunkleronomos. See Romans 8:17. Occurs elsewhere, Hebrews 11:9. 1 Peter 8:7.

of the same body = members-of-a-joint-body. Greek. sussomos. Only here. Not joined on to an existing Jewish body, but a new body "of the twain".

partakers = joint-partakers. Greek. summetochos. Only here and Ephesians 5:7.

His = the, as all the texts.

Christ. The texts read Christ Jesus. See Ephesians 1:1.

by. App-104. Ephesians 3:1.

gospel. See App-140.

Verse 7

Whereof = of which.

a minister = minister (App-190.) i.e. of the good news concerning the "secret".

according to. App-104.

gift. Greek. dorea.

unto = to.

by. Same as "according to", above.

effectual working = working. App-172.

power. App-172.; Ephesians 176:1.

Verse 8

Unto = To.

who . . . least = to the less than the least. Greek. elachistoteros. Only here. That is what Paul was. What he became, see 1 Corinthians 15:10 (laboured more abundantly, &c).

saints. In Ephesians 3:5, "holy". See Acts 9:13.

is = was.

preach. App-121.

among = to.

unsearchable = untraceable. Only here and Romans 11:33, which see.

riches. See Ephesians 1:7.

Verse 9

And . . . God = And to enlighten all as to what is the stewardship (committed to me) of the mystery (App-193) that hath been hidden from the ages in God.

make . . . see = enlighten. See Ephesians 1:18.

fellowship. The texts read oikonomia (Ephesians 3:2), instead of koinonia.

from . . . world = from the ages. App-151.

hid. Greek. apokrupto. See 1 Corinthians 2:7.

created. See Ephesians 2:10.

by Jesus Christ. The texts omit.

Verse 10

To the intent that = In order that. Greek. hina.

unto = to.

principalities = rulers. Greek. arche. App-172.

powers = authorities. Greek. exousia. App-172. See Ephesians 1:21.

heavenly places = the heavenlies. See Ephesians 1:3.

might be known = may be made known.

church. App-186.

manifold. Greek. polupoikilos. Only here. Implies "infinitely diversified".

wisdom. See Ephesians 1:8.

Verse 11

eternal purpose = purpose (Greek. prothesis. See Ephesians 1:11) of the ages (App-151.)

which. i.e. which (purpose).

purposed = made. Greek. poieo.

Christ Jesus our Lord. App-98.

Verse 12

access. See Ephesians 2:18.

with. Greek. en. App-104.

confidence = confident assurance. See 2 Corinthians 1:15.

faith. App-150.

Verse 13

desire = beg. App-134.

faint not = not (Greek. me) to be cast down.

at. Greek. en App-104. The parenthesis ending with Ephesians 3:13, the teaching is continued from Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause", &c.

Verse 14

This verse going back to the subject of Ephesians 3:1 is Figure of speech Anachoresis App-6.

Father. App-98.

of . . . Christ. The texts omit.

Verse 15

the whole family = every (Greek. pasa) family. No article.

family. Greek. patria. Only here; Luke 2:4. Acts 3:25.

heaven-the heavens. See Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10.

earth = upon (Greek. epi) earth (Greek. ge. App-129.) See Ephesians 1:10.

named. See Ephesians 1:21.

LONGER NOTE on Ephesians 3:15.
"The whole family in heaven and earth. ".

1. The word "family" is an unfortunate rendering of the Greek
patria. Our English word takes its derivation from the lowest in the household, famulus, the servant, or slave. The Latin familia was sometimes used of the household servants, and sometimes of all the members of a family under the power of a pater familias. But the idea of patria is Hebrew, a group or class of families all claiming descent from one pater (father), e.g. the twelve tribes of Israel. "Joseph was of the house and lineage (family, Greek. patria) of David" (Luke 2:4). The word occurs only in Luke 2:4. Acts 3:25. Acts 3:15, and denotes a clan all descended from a common stock.

2. To apply this: God has many families in heaven and earth, both in this age and in that which is to come. But with selfish disregard of this fact we see only the family, and that of course must be the "church", for that is the family to which we belong. Thus we claim everything for ourselves, especially if blessing, mercy, or glory is attached, and so we completely ignore the fact that many of these families of God are named in Scripture. in
Ephesians 1:21 we have "principality", "power", "might", "dominion"; the first two being again mentioned in Ephesians 3:10, the principalities and powers in the heavenlies to whom God is even now manifesting His manifold wisdom by means of the church (His body) as an object-lesson. Others are mentioned in Colossians 1:16. 1 Peter 3:22. What these heavenly families may be we do not know. The Greek words reveal to us no more than the English do, because they pertain to the unseen world of which we no nothing.

To limit this verse to the "church" as many do, and to interpret it in wholly unscriptural terms of the "church militant" and the "church triumphant", and in hymn-book diction to sing.

One family we dwell in Him,
One church, above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death

is not only to lose the revelation of a great truth of God, but to put error in its place. Rightly divided, the families of God named in the N.T. are: in heaven, principalities, powers, might, dominions, thrones, angels, and archangels. Among the families on earth are Israel, the Israel of God (
Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:16), and the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).

Verse 16

That = In order that. Greek. hina.

would grant = may give.

you = to you.

to be strengthened. See 1 Corinthians 16:13.

might. App-172.

Spirit. App-101.

inner. See Romans 7:22.

man. App-123.

Verse 17

Christ, &c. See Romans 8:9.

dwell. See Acts 2:5.

rooted. Greek. rhizoomai. Only here and Colossians 2:7.

grounded = founded. Greek. themelioo. See App-146and Matthew 7:25.

love. See Ephesians 2:4. App-135.

Verse 18

able = fully able. Greek. exischuo. Only here. Compare App-172.

saints = the saints. See Ephesians 3:8.

what . . . height. Omit "is". After "height" read "of love is", i.e. God"s love in Christ. In breadth, boundless : in length, endless: in depth, fathomless, exhaustless: in height, measureless.

Verse 19

And = Even.

know. App-132.

knowledge. App-132.

might = may.

filled. See Ephesians 1:23. App-125.

fulness. Greek. pleroma. See Ephesians 1:23.

Verse 20

That = Who.

exceeding abundantly. Literally beyond (Greek. huper) of (Greek. ek) abundance = infinitely.

above. Greek. huper. App-104.

all = all things.

power. Same as "might" Ephesians 3:16.

worketh. See Ephesians 1:11.

Verse 21

Unto = To.

glory = the glory. See p. 1511.

by. Greek. en.

throughout . . . end App-151.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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