Paul's Office As Apostle to the Gentiles.
SUMMARY.--The Hidden Mystery Revealed to the Apostle.
The Gentiles to Be Fellow-Heirs.
Paul's Mission to the Gentiles.
The Prayer in Behalf of Gentile Christians.
That They May Know the Surpassing Love of Christ.
1. For this cause. This refers to the glorious work of the cross
in "making peace and bringing
the Gentiles nigh," described in
I, Paul. The verb of which "I, Paul," is the subject, is not
is reached. The intervening verses are parenthetic. At
Paul repeats the first clause of
and then gives the verb.
The prisoner of Jesus Christ. A prisoner at Rome when this was
written, on account of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For you Gentiles. It was the hatred of the Jews towards him, on
account of his apostleship to the Gentiles, which caused his seizure.
Acts 21:33, and 28:17, 20.
2-8. If ye have heard. This is not designed to express doubt,
but to remind them that they had heard of the
dispensation, or office, that had been given him in reference to
the Gentiles. See
3. How that by revelation he made known unto me. See
The mystery. This mystery was revealed by God to him. A mystery
is a truth, or fact, or purpose, which is hidden until it is revealed.
This mystery is declared in
As I wrote afore in few words. In
1:9, and 2:11-13.
4. Whereby, when ye read. When they read what he wrote above
(afore), and what he writes now, they can perceive his knowledge of
5. Which. The mystery. It was in past ages hidden from men, but now
revealed by the Spirit to
apostles and prophets. Not the old Hebrew prophets, but the prophets
in the church. Some of the Hebrew prophets might have had a glimpse of
Gentile salvation, but they did not understand their own language as
well as we do in the light of the gospel.
6. That. The mystery long hidden, but at last revealed, is now
The Gentiles should be fellow-heirs. The wall of partition
broken down, Jews and Gentiles equally received, heirs alike of the
gospel, fellow-members of the church, fellow-partakers of
the gospel promises. Compare
Acts 10:34; 11:18; 13:46-48.
7. Whereof I was made a minister. A minister to make known this
mystery; God's gracious purpose to the Gentiles.
According to the gift of the grace of God. The apostolic office
with all the accompanying signs of apostleship.
8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints. A mighty
trust granted to one so unworthy as he deems himself. He was ever
humbled by remembering that he had been a persecutor. See
1 Cor. 15:9; Phil. 3:6.
1 Tim. 1:13
This grace, so glorious and so full of blessedness to the world,
was the apostleship to the Gentiles. See
Gal. 2:7, 8.
9-13. And to make all men see. Jews as well as Gentiles.
What is the dispensation of the mystery. The office or stewardship
of this mystery. It was demonstrated in his apostleship to the Gentiles.
Hath been hid. It was from the beginning God's purpose to save
the Gentiles by the
gospel, but it had been kept hidden.
10. To the intent. The mystery had been hidden during all the
ages, but was now revealed in order that the
manifold wisdom of God might be made known. It was made known,
(1) To the Gentiles by preaching the gospel. (2) To Jews. This is
implied in the "all" of
(3) "To principalities and powers in heavenly places;" that is, to
angelic beings. See
1 Peter 1:12.
By the church. As the fruit of God's wisdom revealed in the
gospel, and especially by the union of Jews and Gentiles in one
11. According to the eternal purpose. The purpose which God had
in all the ages proposed to fulfill through Jesus Christ.
12. In whom. In Jesus Christ, all, both Jew and Gentile alike,
can come boldly to God. Without the revelation of Christ we could
hardly know of God of love, who loved to have us come to him.
13. Wherefore. Seeing that I have revealed this glorious mystery
I desire that ye faint not. Do not become discouraged.
At my tribulations for you. At his sufferings, a prisoner on
account of the Gentiles.
Which are your glory. The plural (see Revision) shows that
"which" refers to tribulations. These tribulations all came in his work
as the apostle of the Gentiles. Hence, they all suffered in a work
which made them heirs of eternal glory.
14, 15. For this cause I. See
He now resumes the thought of that verse.
Bow my knees. In the attitude of prayer.
Unto the Father. The Fountain of all mercies. The words, "Of
our Lord Jesus Christ," are not found in the best manuscripts and are
omitted in the Revision.
15. Of whom. The Father is referred to.
The whole family in heaven and earth. In the Revision, "Every
family." The idea is that the Father is the Father of all the families
of his children, whether Jews or Gentiles on earth, or in heaven. He is
"Our Father in heaven"
to the believer of every race, in this world or the world to come. All,
as far as creation is concerned, derive their being from him, like
children from a parent, and all the good are his spiritual
16-19. That he would grant you. Paul now states the things for
which he so earnestly prays in behalf of those to whom he writes.
According to the riches of his glory. In a degree which would
To be strengthened. That their spirits might be strengthened by
God's spirit and endowed with the might of spiritual gifts.
17. That Christ may dwell. This is the second petition. That
they may so lay hold of Christ by faith that he will be to them a
present Savior, in their hearts.
That ye, being rooted and grounded in love. The third petition
relates to the love of Christ.
18. May be able to comprehend. Unless they were "rooted and
grounded in love"
and the "love of God shed abroad" in their hearts,
it would be impossible for them to comprehend the exceeding riches of
the love of Christ. This is the climax of prayer, the point to which
petitions tend. Indeed, from the beginning of the Epistle, he has been
declaring what love Christ has shown for the Gentile world.
19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.
This is one of Paul's paradoxes, like
1 Tim. 5:6.
They could know something of the love of Christ, but we can never fully
comprehended the infinite.
Filled with all the fulness of God. Filled with God's grace to
20, 21. Now unto him. He has offered a prayer, and closes it
with a doxology.
According to the power that worketh in us. They knew something
of the mighty working of the Spirit, and therefore of the Divine power.
But God was able to do for them beyond all that they could
21. Unto him be glory in the church. Let the church in all ages
manifest his glory by its light.
Throughout all ages. Literally, "Unto all the generations of the
age of ages." The idea is, through the endless succession of ages, or
through all time.