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Paul explains God’s vision for Jews and Gentiles together in the Body of Messiah

A literal translation from the Greek by Jeffrey J. Harrison. You can also print out this translation as a booklet

Ephesians 3

[Intro   1   2   3   4   5   6]

3 1 For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Messiah for the sake of you# Gentiles—

2 if indeed you# have heard of the task of administration of the grace of God given to me for you#; 3 that by revelation the mystery was made known to me,

as I wrote earlier in brief, 4 by reference to which you# will all be able, while reading this, to better understand my insight into the mystery of Messiah,

5 which was not made known in other generations to the sons of men as it has now been revealed in the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets,

6 which is that the Gentiles [together with the Jewish believers in Jesus] are

fellow heirs and

fellow members of the body and

fellow sharers in the promise that is in Messiah Jesus,

by means of the gospel 7 of which I was made a servant

according to the gift of the grace of God given to me

according to the action of his power.

8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given for the purpose of

preaching to the Gentiles the good news of the immeasurable riches of Messiah, 9 and of

bringing to light for all [both Jews and Gentiles] what the administration is to be of the mystery that had been hidden from former ages in God, who created all things,

10 in order that the many-sided wisdom of God may now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies through the church,

11 according to his plan for the ages that he [God] carried out in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord,

12 in whom we have boldness and may with confidence obtain access [to God] by means of his [Messiah’s] faith. 13 Therefore I ask you# not to despair because of my afflictions for your# sake, such affliction is in fact glory for you.#

14 For this reason, I bend my knees to the Father [Pater], 15 from whom all families [patria] in the heavens and on earth are named, 16 in order that he may grant you#, according to the riches [abundance] of his glory, to be strengthened with power by his Spirit in the inner man, 17 that the Messiah may dwell in your# hearts by means of faith, in order that you#, having been rooted and established in love, 18 may be able to grasp with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth 19 and to know the love of the Messiah, which surpasses knowledge, in order that you# may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

20 But to the one who is able to do infinitely more than all that we ask or imagine, by the same power that acts in us, 21 to him be the glory in the Church and in Messiah Jesus in all the generations of all ages. Amen.


3:1 For the sake of you Gentiles: Paul was in prison because of his faithfulness to his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 21:27-36 and following).

3:3 Revelation: Paul considered revelation one of the spiritual gifts made available to the church, and mentions it frequently with regard to his own life (1 Corinthians 14:6,26; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12, 2:2).

3:5 Prophets: Paul here refers to New Testament prophets (see Eph. 4:11).

3:10 May now be made known...through the church: Compare 1 Peter 1:12.

3:12 And may with confidence obtain access: Unlike the access denied to Gentiles in the inner courts of the Temple in Jerusalem.

3:12 His faith: We have access to God by our participation in the body of Messiah and the exercise of his faith on our behalf. The Old Greek (LXX) text of Habakkuk 2:4 says: The righteous will live by my [God’s] faith. This same reading appears in some New Testament manuscripts of Hebrews 10:38, which is quoting Habakkuk. The idea here is similar to that in Hebrews, that our access to the Father is by means of the mediation of Jesus, who, acting as our high priest, intercedes for us (Heb. 10:19-22). The emphasis in both is on our access to the Father through the ministry of Jesus.

3:13 Afflictions: Or, tribulations.

3:14 Father [Pater]: The Greek word for families (patria) is derived from the Greek word for father (pater). Paul uses this linguistic fact as an illustration to support his argument that God is the Father of all, both Jews and Gentiles.

3:19 Filled up to all the fullness of God: See above (Eph. 1:23). Paul teaches that through knowledge of the love of Messiah, and by his indwelling presence, we can be filled with the fullness of God (see below, Eph. 4:13). This is similar to Peter’s radical claim that we can share in God’s divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

3:21 Of all ages: Literally, of the age of the ages.

⮜ Ephesians 2  |  Ephesians 4 ⮞

Translation and notes by Jeffrey J. Harrison. Copyright © 1992, 2001, 2006-2007, 2021 by Jeffrey J. Harrison. Title photo collage by Jeffrey J. Harrison using royalty-free images from Turkey Picture Gallery, copyrighted by
Unattributed photos are by the author. All rights reserved.