It’s No Mystery (Ephesians 3:1–13)

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Doug Van Meter - 10 April 2016

It’s No Mystery (Ephesians 3:1–13)

Ephesians Exposition

The church is the greatest thing in the world. It is so great that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to willingly die for it. It is so great that multitudes have literally given their lives for it throughout the ages. It is so great that, to this day, sacrifices are made worldwide for its benefit. And when you properly understand Ephesians 3, it’s no mystery why this is so: Jesus and His church are worthy. In fact, for the Christian, the only thing that remains a mystery for us is why more people, including many professing Christians, do not see the church as the greatest thing in the world.

From Series: "Ephesians Exposition"

This series comprises the sermons preached at BBC during an exposition of the book of Ephesians.

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The church is the greatest thing in the world. It is so great that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to willingly die for it. It is so great that multitudes have literally given their lives for it throughout the ages. It is so great that, to this day, sacrifices are made worldwide for its benefit. Our church just made another sacrifice recently when we sent one of our families to strengthen and to plant churches elsewhere. And when you properly understand Ephesians 3, it’s no mystery why we have done it. You see, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the church over which He is the head and which He fills (1:22–23), are worthy.

In fact, for the Christian, the only thing that remains a mystery is why more people, including many professing Christians, do not see the church as the greatest thing in the world.

In this third chapter of Ephesians, Paul continues to write passionately about the greatest thing in the world. He has told us that the church is a kingdom of which Christians are subjects, a family in which Christians are siblings, and a temple in which those who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are stones (2:19–22).

Earlier Paul has referred to this greatest thing in the world as “one new man” (2:15). “Paul never got over the wonder of the great doctrine of the church, now that he had been commissioned to make it known to the world.”1

He has laboured to help the Gentile believers in Ephesus to grasp the enormity of God’s grace in bringing them into the fold of the people of God; a designation that for much of human history was reserved for those of Jewish descent.

Paul has pointed out that, before the Lord Jesus Christ and His universal work on the cross, sealed by the resurrection and ascension, Gentiles were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope because they were without God in the world” (2:12).

But by God’s amazing grace, through the gospel of Christ, these Gentiles are now fellow members of the “one new man.” They are now “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, and they are growing together [with Jewish Christians] into a holy temple in the Lord” (2:19–22). Paul thinks that this is the greatest thing in the world! And it is.

This is the theme of chapter three. Paul exults in the gospel of the grace of God, and particularly in the fact that this gospel is for Gentiles as well as for Jews; it is for all without distinction. Further, Paul exults in the fact that he has been set apart by God to take this gospel to those who were at one time “without Christ” because they are Gentiles. We see this in a fivefold outline.

The Message of the Mystery

Paul begins by stating the message of the mystery.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.

(Ephesians 3:1–6)

The word “mystery” appears three times in the first nine verses of this section (cv. 3, 4, 9). Clearly this is the theme. But what does it mean?

In the ancient world, a “mystery” was something that was hidden from all except from those who had special insight. It was used in the religious realm of those initiated into a particular belief system. “In Greek the word mysterion (from which we get our word) refers to something known only to the initiated. It is not that the thing itself is unknown. It is known—but only to those to whom it is revealed.”2 Perhaps Paul is thinking of that usage.

As the Bible treats the word, it refers to something that was once hidden that has now been revealed by God. Clearly, this is the idea here. The mystery, Paul tells us, is that of Jew and Gentile now being one new man created in Christ Jesus. We can say that the “mystery” refers to the greatest thing in the world: the church (see 5:32). For millennia, the glory of the church was “hidden,” but now it is being more fully revealed. One day, it will be gloriously, fully revealed (v. 13). This is the message of the mystery that Paul has in mind.

The Bible is the inerrant, because inspired, Word of God. It was written over some 1,400 years by about forty different authors from diverse walks of life.

God used their unique writing styles and unique personalities as He superintended and preserved precisely what He wanted written and preserved forever. If ever there was proof that God used the individual traits and personalities of the authors, the book of Ephesians is Exhibit A.

In this letter, Paul is clearly doing just this: He is writing a letter, a very personal letter, to Christians in churches in the region of Asia Minor. He often breaks grammatical rules as he moves his pen exhorting and explaining and exulting in what he is writing. And all of this is done from prison. What is remarkable is how his passionate letter (in which he breaks conventional rules for writing) is nevertheless the very Word of God. Chapter three is a remarkable example of this. Paul seemingly breaks grammatical rules. But that is okay for, after all, he is writing about the greatest thing in the world!

Having just expounded something about the glorious new creation of the one new people (2:15), Paul is once again moved to prayer (cf. 1:15ff).

Paul begins to explain his prayer for them in 3:1 with the words, “For this reason,” but he does not actually get to this until v. 14. This is why he there repeats the words, “For this reason.” As someone has noted, perhaps “he hears as it were the clink of his chain, and remembers where he is and why he is there.”3 He therefore changes gears and speaks further about the greatest thing in the world.

He prayerfully desires for these believers to grow in their experiential knowledge of God. He is encouraged by what he has heard but, as a good father, he wants them to experience even more of both the love of and love for God. And one means towards this end is to help them to appreciate the amazing love of God in forming this one new race of humanity, the race emanating from the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true of all believers, including, of course, Jewish believers, yet particularly of Gentile believers.

In this opening verses we note two things about this mystery.

The Consequence of the Mystery

There is a consequence to this mystery in v. 1. Paul refers to himself here as “the prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He did not consider himself the prisoner of Rome or of Caesar. Rather, he understood that he was in chains by the sovereign providence of God for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is always a healthy way for Christians to view their trials.

But further, he considered himself a prisoner “for you Gentiles,” or, more literally, “for the nations”—for those who are not Jewish, which is every other people group on the planet. This was literally true for Paul. That is, he was a prisoner because of the Gentiles. Stott notes, “What led to Jewish opposition to Paul was his bold, uncompromising espousal of the Gentile cause.”4 Another commentator writes, “Had he not been committed to bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, he would not have experienced such opposition at the hands of Jewish fanatics.”5

These are important observations in the light of the context of these verses. Whatever the mystery was, it was so great and glorious that Paul was willing to suffer for it. For Him.

Paul was in a Roman prison (some surmise he was imprisoned in Caesarea) precisely because he was declaring the message of the mystery to them (see Acts 21:26–24:27). It was because Paul cleared up the mystery, because he preached that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, that he was imprisoned. Clearing up the mystery had consequences, but they were worth it.

Paul was willing to take the risk of persecution because he knew that the church was the greatest thing in the world. He knew that it was the vehicle to both display and to facilitate harmony between peoples because it was the vehicle for the gospel which reconciles man to God.

In a world of ethnic animosity and hostility, we should not be surprised that the gospel will invite troubles. Many people would prefer to live ignorant of the mystery. So be it. The greatest thing in the world is worth the opposition. After all, like Paul, many who oppose this may one day be proclaiming it.

The Content of the Mystery

Verses 2–6 detail the content of the mystery:

if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

(Ephesians 3:2–6)

Paul here digresses from his original intention to share with them his continual prayer on their behalf to now explain the message of the mystery.

Some have said that Paul is here boasting in himself, but that is not the case at all. Rather, Paul wants to emphasise just how worthy this mystery was to suffer for. “His purpose is not self-glorification but to help people recognize the word of God in his teaching, and thus accept its authority.”6

He wants them to know that he really does count it a privilege to suffer on their behalf, and so now he reminds them of the nature of the mystery. But we must also keep in mind that it is clear from the epistle that Paul does not suppose that all the Christians in Ephesus knew him. Further, this epistle was probably a circular letter and therefore Paul would not have had a personal relationship with all his readers. But he wanted them to know that he was “for” them. He wanted them to be assured that this message of equality of ethnicity in Christ was his message and so he appeals to them to consider what he is saying about the greatest thing in the world.

First he mentions that God entrusted him with a stewardship of this mystery. The word “dispensation” is more helpfully translated “stewardship,” and it implies, not ownership of something but rather managerial responsibility. The root carries the idea of household; a household manager. This is in keeping with 2:19–22.

God had entrusted Paul with the revelation of this mystery (v. 3) “for you,” that is, for the Gentiles.

The Truth Revealed

God had uncovered or disclosed (“made known”) the “mystery,” and Paul has already alluded to the content of this mystery in the earlier part of the letter (“as I have briefly written already”). In other words, the “mystery” is that God, in Christ, has formed one new man—a new race of men—out of two (2:14–18). God has done this through the gospel of Christ. As Jews and as Gentiles repent of their sins, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, God forms them into one kingdom/city, one household, and one building/temple.

In v. 6 Paul highlight this unity by the use of some important terms: “fellow heirs,” “same body” (Paul actually coins a new word here), and “partakers” (literally, “joint sharers”). They were sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. The covenant promise, from which they had been alienated, was now as much theirs as it was believing Jews’ (cf. 2:12). This is the “mystery” that had been revealed to Paul. This sharing together in the promises of the person and work of Jesus Christ is what we call the church. There is one people of God and it is composed of Jews and Gentiles. This is remarkable when you consider the centuries that preceded the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (see chapter 2).

Paul’s Dispensation vs. Popular Dispensationalism

It should be noticed that the church is a parenthesis—not in history, but certainly in this passage! Verses 2–12 concern the doctrine of the church—not as an aside, but rather as an explanation of just how central she is and to help us all to stop treating the church like a mere parenthesis. The church is a glorious thing; it is the greatest thing on earth because it is the product of the power of the gospel, which is the greatest message on earth.

Unfortunately, about 170 years ago, wrongly dividing the word of truth began to become popular in evangelicalism, at least in the West. The idea began to be popularised that the church is a mere parenthesis in history while God’s major focus was on Israel. Without getting side-tracked into a lengthy discussion, it needs to be noted that both classic and what is called “progressive” dispensationalism is predicated upon the fatal error that, one day, God will build up what He has actually once for all torn down: the middle wall of partition. In other words, dispensationalism, both in its moderate and in its more radical forms, teaches that one day there will be a major distinction between Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Even though some very excellent Bible teachers hold to this, it is wrongheaded.

What Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians and elsewhere (Galatians 6:16; etc.) is that Jesus Christ has established the church, not as a replacement for Israel, but rather as a fulfilment of what God all along intended for the Israel of God: to be one people of God from all nations. Paul alludes to this in v. 5.

Paul is speaking of the church being at one time a “mystery.” He says here that, “in other ages,” this truth “was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” At first blush, this seems like a strange statement, if not even an untrue one when you consider passages such as Genesis 12:1–3. There are many passages, including several of the Psalms, where a multi-ethnic assembly of people (church) are envisioned. Though this is true, the Jews assumed that this meant that Gentiles had to become Jewish in order to participate in the covenant blessings. This is why it remained a “mystery.” But “now” it has been cleared up. It is a mystery no more, at least to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see and hearts to understand.

Paul has spoken of the “revelation” that God “made known” to him (v. 3). When did He do so?

The first account we have of this is found in Acts 9:15–16. We know also from Galatians 1:11–17 that Jesus had revealed this truth to Paul as He discipled him somewhere in the Arabian desert. Paul then broke on to the scene preaching and practicing this now-revealed mystery in Antioch (Acts 11:24–26). And from that point on, it was all history (see Acts 13:42–52; 14:1–7).

The cross of Jesus Christ, the gospel of God, is a stumblingblock for many reasons, including its rejection of salvation by “race.” The multi-ethnic scope of the gospel, and the multi-ethnic church, the greatest thing in the world, was particularly a stumblingblock in the ancient world. The most violent enemy of the early church was the Jews. And a large part of this hostility was fuelled by the church’s multi-ethnic emphasis.

But I would maintain that, in our day, this characteristic of the church is still a challenge for many. The reason, again, is that the gospel levels the playing field. We are all level at the cross of Christ. And our self-righteousness does not like to deal with this. But deal with it we must.

The Timing of the Revelation

Note again, in v. 5, the little word “now.” When the time was right, God revealed the mystery (Galatians 4:4). His timing is always right. When things were perhaps the darkest, the Lord shone the glorious light of the gospel of the Christ and of the church. For some of you, perhaps, that “now” is now.

The Ministry of the Mystery

Having written about the revelation of the mystery Paul now speaks about his responsibility for this revelation. He speaks of the gospel

of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

(Ephesians 3:7–12)

Paul took seriously his God-given ministry concerning the message of the mystery. “Once he had received his special revelation from God, he knew that he was under obligation to make known to others what had been made known to him.”7 We have the same responsibility.

The apostle addresses this matter by referencing his conversion and then his calling. It might be prudent at this point to emphasise that one needs to be converted by the gospel before preaching this gospel. In other words, we must have the “mystery” cleared up for us before we can speak with any clarity to others.

The Call to the Ministry

In vv. 7–8, Paul speaks of his call to the ministry. He decides his conversion (v. 7) and his commission (v. 8).

Paul’s Conversion

As noted, Paul speaks of the gospel “of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power” (v. 7). Paul no doubt is referring here to his conversion experience as initially recorded in Acts 9. Paul clearly experienced “the effective working of [God’s] power” on the road to Damascus and later. For Paul, his conversion by the message of the gospel and his call to the ministry of the gospel were at the same time. “A ‘power encounter’ is a pre-requisite for all authentic conversion and all authentic Christian ministry of the people of God.”8

Try to grasp the shock that this would have been to his system. Until this point, Paul was opposing the church of Christ, and at that point it was primarily a Jewish assembly. But when the Lord converted him, he was told that he would be sent to the Gentiles. Now if he had been persecuting Jews because he was persuaded that they were not acting like faithful Jews (following Jesus and His radical and revolutionary teachings concerning Moses and the temple, etc.) what do you think went through his mind that he was now going to be going to the Gentiles to invite them to God? But the power of the gospel has a unique ability to turn our worldview upside down; or rather, right side up. Stott summarises, “It was this complete union of Jews, Gentiles and Christ which was radically new, and which God revealed to Paul, overcoming his entrenched Jewish prejudice.”9

The gospel has the power to reorient us so that we value the truly greatest thing in the world.

Paul’s Commission

Paul would never get over the grace of God which enlisted and empowered him to be the missionary to the nations. For him, it was an undeserved and inestimable privilege. He speaks of this in v. 8: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

The apostle here seemingly coins another Greek word, which for us translated “the least.” It literally could be translated as “the leastest.” The name Paul means “small.” Perhaps he is playing on this.10 His point is that he was amazed by the grace of God to take such an insignificant believer as himself and yet choose to use him to glorify Him to the nations by declaring this mystery. What a joy it was to Paul! And it should be to you and me too.

We have the glorious responsibility and privilege to declare this message. If we are truly a part of the church, then we are indeed called to do so (Matthew 28:18–20).

The Purpose of the Ministry

Verses 9–12 describe the purpose of this ministry:

and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

(Ephesians 3:9–12)

The mission to which Paul was called—and to which all who have insight to the mystery are called—was to so live that to make clear to the world, and to angels, that the church indeed is the greatest thing on the planet. Paul makes this clear here.

Paul was thrilled to be called to make clear, to literally bring to light the fellowship/stewardship of the greatest thing in the world to the world. He desired that all would see the unfolding of this mystery that for so long existed in a very veiled form, but now God has chosen to make it known. God who created the world, it appears, created the world for the church, which is also a creation in Jesus Christ.

Fellowship or Stewardship?

Depending on which Greek text one relies on, Paul is either speaking of the “fellowship” (NKJV) or “administration” (NIV) or “plan” (ESV) of the mystery. Any of these is fitting.

If the correct word is “fellowship,” then Paul is referring to the amazing truth of a deep relational sharing of the life of Christ together between Gentile and Jewish believers. And this is something that the surrounding world will notice. Just as our society will take note when ethnic and tribal harmony is exemplified through the church. While unbelievers are at each other’s throats, the church reflects an amazing unity of all kinds of peoples. This will be the case fully and perfectly one day, but in the meantime we are called to display this now. Not in some kind of artificial and forced way but rather authentically as we live out the implications of the gospel (humility, equality, grace, mercy and love).

If Paul used the word that is normally translated “stewardship,” then the meaning is essentially the same. He would be saying that his calling was to make it clear that he is responsible to manage, to faithfully steward God’s plan, which from “the beginning of the ages” has been to create one new man through Christ.

In either case, the point is clearly that Paul saw his ministry as making clear the greatest thing in the world.

How would this be accomplished? By preaching and by practice. And Paul was committed to both. So should we be.

Second, Paul realised that his commission was to help the church to so live that the multi-coloured, variegated “wisdom of God” might be manifested, not only before a watching world but also by those of another world, the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” In the words of Mackay, “The history of the Christian church becomes a graduate school for angels.”11

In a way that I do not fully understand, the angels, including the fallen ones (see Ephesians 6:12) have their eyes focused on the church. They are watching both in wonderment (1 Peter 1:12) and in warfare (6:10–12). And God’s plan is that they will respond in worship. And they will, for there is coming a day when everything created will give praise to God for His amazing grace (Colossians 1:16–18).

Therefore, we can conclude that how we respond to this mystery of the utmost importance. In other words, we need to live out the unique fellowship as faithful stewards of our privilege that the mystery has been cleared up for us through the gospel.  The church is central. Chapell summarises,

The heavenly hosts are to look at those of us in the church will all of our sin, differing personalities, cultural prejudices, and color differences and say, “How did God do that?! How did He get such difficult and disagreeable creatures together in one body to praise Him? The manifold wisdom of the Creator God really is great!” Just as Paul’s sin makes the grace of God more apparent, the uniting of sinners in the body of Christ makes the grace of God more brilliant – even to the hosts of heaven. By our unity in Christ’s body, the church, we are preaching to the angels about the power, wisdom, and glory of the God who made us.12

Mystery and History

Verses 11–12 close out this section as they emphasises that the mystery has always been at the centre of history. This mystery is “according to the eternal purpose which [God] accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” All of human history was leading up to the person and work of Jesus Christ, and all of history since that time is a continuation of what He has accomplished; it is a working out of His work. This amazing work of reconciling God to man and man to God is manifested as believers, of all ethnicities, are given access to God through faith in Christ. The mystery has been cleared up: Man can be right with God through Jesus Christ and this is the only way that we will truly be right with one another. For the “initiated,” it’s no mystery any longer. Our commission is to work to clear this up for those to whom it remains a mystery.

This “mystery” is the focal point of history. To put it another way, the church is central to history. And since this is so, the church is to be at the centre of our history; it is to be our priority. More about this in a moment.

The Motivation of the Mystery

Our section closes in v. 13 with the motivation of the mystery: “Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” “For Paul, the formation of the church is so important that nothing matters in comparison with the proclamation of this message to the world.”13

“Therefore” brings this section to a close. Paul began by referring to his imprisonment on account of the Gentiles. He references this suffering again as he concludes. He is concerned that they may grow weary and that their faith could faint as they lose heart over his tribulations for their sake. So he exhorts them not to do so. He tells them that his sufferings are motivated by his confidence that they will grow in their appreciation of and affection for the “mystery.” He is confident that his sufferings, which have resulted from his commitment to proclaim the gospel to the nations, are well worth it, for one day they will be glorified. Paul was persuaded that the church was the greatest thing in the world, that it is the most glorious thing in the world, and that one day it will be perfectly the most glorious thing. This motivated him to endure whatever was necessary for the manifestation of this mystery.

When you grasp Paul’s inspired revelation of the glory of the church, it’s no mystery that he was a willing martyr for her. This is what God expects of every one who professes Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Stott helpfully comments,

Every church in every place at every time is in need of reform and renewal. But we need to beware lest we despise the church of God, and are blind to his work in history. We may safely say that God has not abandoned his church, however displeased with it he may be. He is still building and refining it. And if God has not abandoned it, how can we?14

It’s no mystery to the “initiated” that Christians love the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they invest their time in the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they willingly and sacrificially invest their money in the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they persevere in their relationships within the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they minister with their gifts in the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they live and build their lives around the church, the greatest thing in the world. . It is no mystery that they raise their families immersed in the church, the greatest thing in the world. It is no mystery that they pay a large price, of whatever cost, to propagate the church, the greatest thing in the world. Christian, I am sure that you will agree, when it comes to all of this, it is no mystery.

Sadly, for too many, the church remains a mystery. The fact that the church is the greatest thing in the world has not been realised by the majority of people, including some who call themselves Christians. And this remains a mystery to me! After all, how can one who professes to be a Christian and at the same time not love the church?

I would go so far as to say that if one does not love the church then they are not a Christian at all. This is seen in 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul speaks about those who are eating and drinking judgement upon themselves because they are guilty of not discerning (not rightly estimating) the Lord’s body (vv. 27–30).

Think about it. This is simply logic. How can you claim to love the head while you reject and dismiss, disrespect if not despise, His body?

And because people do not see the church as the greatest thing in the world; because its glory remains a mystery, professing Christians do not gather with the greatest thing in the world. They do not give for the support and propagation of the greatest thing in the world. They do not serve the greatest thing in the world. They do not prioritise the greatest thing in the world. They do not pray for nor pray with the greatest thing in the world. They speak dishonourably of the greatest thing in the world.

But, fundamentally, this dismissiveness of the greatest thing in the world is due to blindness concerning the greatest person who ever lived in this world. Because people do not see the glory of Jesus Christ they do not see the glory of the church. And this is both why and what Paul then prays for from v. 14 and following.

If you do not view the church as the greatest thing in the world, if all of this talk makes you feel like an outsider, then I have some good news for you: You do not need to live like the uninitiated. Rather, like Paul who wrote this and like the majority of us who are reading it, the gospel of the grace of God is the means to clearing up the mystery.

That good news is that though you are a sinner and therefore are an enemy of God, He has done all that is necessary to reconcile you to Himself.

Christian, let us ask God for a deeper awareness of and appreciation and affection for the Lord Jesus Christ. When this prayer is answered then it will no longer be a mystery to us that the church is the greatest thing in the world. We will consequently so live that we will be mysterious to others. Perhaps then they will ask us for an explanation. And when they do, we will point them to the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for believing sinners, the great mystery concerning Christ and the church (5:32).

Show 14 footnotes

  1. James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 100.
  2. Boice, Ephesians, 95.
  3. Francis Foulkes, Ephesians: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1989), 97.
  4. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Ephesians: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979), 115.
  5. Simon Austen, Teaching Ephesians: From Text to Message (Ross-shire: Christian Focus 2012), 104.
  6. Foulkes, Ephesians, 99.
  7. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 116.
  8. Austen, Teaching Ephesians, 106.
  9. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 118.
  10. One historical description of Paul from that time says that he was less than five feet tall.
  11. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 124.
  12. Bryan Chapell, Ephesians: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2009), 145.
  13. Austen, Teaching Ephesians, 109.
  14. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 126.