Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Again the first word is a conjunction tying what was said in the prior chapter to what is said next. So because of what was said in chapter 2 Paul was going to expound even further.
Prisoner could also be translated the one bound to.
Paul had been given the the responsibility of taking the gospel to the gentiles.
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Dispensation is the Greek word oikonomia it means the rules of the house. A better translation would be administration. We know about the Obama administration and it was different from the Bush or Reagan administration. There is a way things happen with Obama administration that would not have happened with the Bush people.
We are in the Administration of Grace. If you do not understand this that we are now have grace and not the ordinance of the laws God gave to Moses much of the bible will never make sense. Because of what Jesus Christ did and his blood being shed he became our sacrificial lamb for the forgiveness of sin. He paid the price for us not because we are so great or worthy but because we needed a savior and he took the job.
There are several Administrations in the bible here is an example of a change of administration this is when Noah and company came off the ark.
Genesis 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Up till this point man had not been eating animals and there was no fear in the animals of man. I am not going to get into a teaching on the administrations you can check them out at:
http://thelivingtruthfellowship.org/jtltf/bible-teachings/audio-links/223-administrations-in-scripture which is an audio teaching.
http://thelivingtruthfellowship.org/jtltf/bible-teachings/articles-by-topc/administrations?start=12 is a series of written teachings.
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
The word mystery would be better translated secret. Again it was kept secret by God himself because if Satan had understood what was coming he never would have killed Jesus Christ. It would be far easier for him to deal with one Jesus Christ than possibly millions who know the power that they could wield by using the name of Jesus Christ.
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
So Paul is revealing something that was unknown. That means no one but God knew what was going to happen. So even Jesus Christ did not know that there would be an age of grace coming.
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
This was the best kept secret of all time.
(CEB) Ephesians 3:6 This plan is that the Gentiles would be coheirs and parts of the same body, and that they would share with the Jews in the promises of God in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Most of us have no idea how big this was. You need to study the Hebrew scriptures to gain an appreciation of what this would mean. Gentiles went from dogs to fellow heirs. It took me four years of studying before I started to gain an idea of how big this was.
To say this was almost revolutionary thinking would be a gross understatement. The only comparison I can think of would be if Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein were to be elected president of the USA in a landslide victory.
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Why was this information unsearchable? Because it was first revealed to Paul while writing the book of Ephesians. As I said before even Jesus Christ did not know this information. Had Satan known what was coming he never would have killed the lord of glory. See 1 Corinthians 2:8.
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by (for) Jesus Christ:
Fellowship means to have a full sharing. It has nothing to do with a meeting. You and I could meet and not share any information about ourselves and that would not be a fellowship. There has to be some kind of sharing of hearts for fellowships to exist.
If I were to sit here and play pick up sticks you would know nothing except my lack of skill picking up sticks. You would not know any more about me then when you got here. If I share the word then when you leave you have a better idea of just who I am and what I believe. I have opened my heart to you and set down and showed you what I believe.
The word mystery would better be translated secret because a mystery is something that cannot be understood where a secret can be understood it is just hidden till it is time to be revealed. The secret (mystery) is being revealed here therefore it can be understood.
The word by is a preposition which can be translated many different ways including the word for. I believe for is the correct translation.
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Paul is revealing it so not only we but also so that all the spiritual powers can be aware of exactly what has happened.
(NIV) 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
I like this translation much better. Paul did not want the people getting discouraged because of him and his captivity. One thing that does happen when a leader is being held it has a reverse effect that those who took them captive want. The followers instead of being afraid grow bold and start to spread the message even faster and farther than if the leader themselves were free. See Acts chapter 8 and following.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
We are about to start a prayer. This prayer stands between the doctrine of chapters 1,2, and 3 and the practical application of chapters 4, 5, and 6. It is the point at which Ephesians swings into action. This is God’s desire for the church how we should operate.
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
This can read of whom every family in heavens and upon earth is named.
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
The first thing in this part where we swing into action he (God) wants our strength increased by the spirit. The thing is like a muscle the spirit won’t get strengthened by doing nothing. You have to use it for it to become stronger.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
That is four dimensions man can only deal in three dimensions God wants us to comprehend the fourth dimension. the word comprehend is a compound word in the Greek it is katalambano. The word kata means to come down or go throughout. The word lambano means to receive into manifestation.
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Both the words to know and knowledge come from the Greek word ginōskō which means to know by experience. We are to know by experience that which can not be known by experience. There is a figure of speech.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Exceeding again means to throw over and beyond. God goes way beyond what we need most times. He also goes beyond what we think.
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
One way to tell the difference between the genuine and the counterfeit is to look at who gets glory. If anything other than God receives the glory it is most likely a counterfeit