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Summary: “Paul,” calls himself “the prisoner of Jesus Christ;” that is, a prisoner in the service of the Lord Jesus; or made a prisoner for His cause. Not a prisoner for crime or debt, or as a captive in war, but a captive in the service of the Redeemer.

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe Date: 5/16/17

Lesson 12: The Content of the Mystery Revealed to Paul (3:1-7)

Ephesians 3:1-7 (KJV)

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

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)

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;

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

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.

Commentary

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

For this cause

What was “this cause?” It could have been one or more of the following:

The apostle believed that his mission was to preach this doctrine; that is, the doctrine that the Gospel was to be proclaimed to the Gentiles.

Paul was convinced that the Gentiles were given access to all the privileges of the Jews, and all the blessings of the new covenant, without being obliged to submit to circumcision. Once he revealed this conviction,?probably placed in his mind and heart by the Holy Spirit?the Jews persecuted him, and caused him to be imprisoned, first at Caesarea, where he was obliged to appeal to the Roman emperor, which resulted in him being sent as a prisoner to Rome (Acts 21:21-28).

That you, Jews and Gentiles, may be a habitation of God, through the Spirit.

I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ

“Paul,” calls himself “the prisoner of Jesus Christ;” that is, a prisoner in the service of the Lord Jesus; or made a prisoner for His cause. Not a prisoner for crime or debt, or as a captive in war, but a captive in the service of the Redeemer. He was apprehended by Him on the Damascus Road, where He was immediately made Christ's prisoner, the Jews' prisoner, the Romans' prisoner, the Gentiles' prisoner; Christ's prisoner, because he suffered for His Gospel; the Jews' prisoner, since he suffered from their accusations; the Romans' prisoner, for he would suffer as a result of their sentence; the Gentiles’ prisoner, because he suffered as the result of his struggle in order to bring them the Gospel of salvation. He was in prison for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles and showing that they were not bound by the Law of Moses, and yet were called to be fellow citizens with the saints; for this very cause the Jews persecuted him, saw to it that he was imprisoned and conspired to take his life. This proves that at the time of writing this, Paul was in bonds, and there can be no question that he was in Rome.

For you Gentiles

This Epistle is supposed to have been written when Paul was at Rome, confined and in chains (Acts 28:16, 30.). When Paul wrote this, he was awaiting trial under Nero and in all probability fully aware of the ultimate martyrdom that awaited him; but there is no word of complaint here. In fact, he is not Nero's prisoner at all, but the prisoner of Christ! When Paul suffered, from whatever cause, it was all for Christ. To all outward appearances Paul was a prisoner of the Roman government, but that is not the way Paul looked at it, at all. He thought of himself as suffering and being imprisoned for the sake of Christ.

The cause of his imprisonment and of all his difficulties was that he maintained that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles; that when the Jews rejected it God rejected them; and that he was especially called to carry the message of salvation to the pagan world. In addition to Paul's defense of the right of "the Gentiles" to be received "into Christ," he labored to bring the Jewish and Gentile Christians together; to remove their suspicion of each other and to build their trust, for he knew that if the Gentile Christians were declared to be non-Jewish, then they came under Roman laws regarding illegal religions; but so long as they were regarded as a Jewish sect, they were immune from such laws with their death penalty.

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God

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