Ephesians 3:1-6

Ephesians 3:1-6
A Women’s Lectionary 10


This is the reasonA that I PaulB am a prisonerC

Notes on verse 1a

A “reason” = charin. 9x in NT. From charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor). This is in favor of, because. It is a favor that is actionable.
B “Paul” = Paulos. From Latin Paulus (small, little). This is Paul or Paulos, meaning little.
C “prisoner” = desmios. 17x in NT. From desomon (a chain, bond, impediment; being in jail, a ligament); from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is a binding or one who is bound. So, it can be a prisoner or captive.

for ChristD JesusE for the sake of you GentilesF— 

Notes on verse 1b

D “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
E “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
F “Gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

2 for surely you have already heardG of the commissionH of God’sI graceJ that was givenK me for you, 

Notes on verse 2

G “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
H “commission” = oikonomia. 9x in NT. From oikonomeo (a steward, manager, or guardian; someone whose job it is to oversee a house; a treasurer or other fiscal agent; figuratively, someone who preaches the good news); {oiokos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + nemo (to parcel out)} OR {from oikos (see above) + the base of nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out)}}. This is stewardship, management, or administration. It is one who looks after the resources or household affairs for someone else (their house or estate). It can also refer to a religious economy.
I “God’s” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
J “grace” = charis. Related to “reason” in v1. See note A above.
K “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.

3 and how the mysteryL was made knownM to me by revelation,N as I wrote aboveO in a few words,P 

Notes on verse 3

L “mytery” = musterion. From mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is a mystery or a secret doctrine that requires initiation to learn. In the New Testament, the plans of God were hidden until they were revealed in Christ through the Gospel. It is also used of Christian revelation in a broad sense rather than referring to something that cannot be known. This is the root of the word “mystery.”
M “made known” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
N “revelation” = apokalupsis. 18x in NT. From apokalupto (properly to uncover; revealing something that was hidden or obstructed; particularly refers to revealing the essence of something; to make plain or manifest); {from apo (from, away from) + kalupto (to cover, hide, conceal; figuratively, to keep hidden or secret) {related to kalube (hut, cabin)}. This is uncovering, unveiling, appearing, manifestation, or revelation. This is where the word “apocalypse” comes from.
O “wrote above” = prographo. 4x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + grapho (to write or describe). This is to write above or before, to designate earlier, to show openly, or figuratively to announce.
P “few words” = oligo. This is few or small – it can be a short time or extent, low light, amount, or worth.

a readingQ of which will enableR you to perceiveS my understandingT of the mystery of Christ. 

Notes on verse 4

Q “reading” = anaginosko. Related to “made known” in v3. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + ginosko (see note M above). This is literally to know again – to recognize, read, or discern.
R “enable” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
S “perceive” = noeo. Related to “made known” in v3 & “reading” in v4. 14x in NT. From nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (see note M above)}. This is to think, understand, conceive, realize, see. It is one who thinks things through sufficiently to reach a conclusion or value judgment. It is also one’s moral reasoning.
T “understanding” = sunesis. 7x in NT. From suneimi (to put together – used figuratively to mean understand, consider, gain insight; this is bringing together facts or notions and synthesizing them into a whole; making a summary to arrive at a final conclusion that includes how to apply the insight to life; it can also imply acting piously or being wise); from sun (with, together with) + hiemi (to send, put). This is understanding, cleverness, intelligence, knowledge, or insight. Just as the root verb, it is synthesized reasoning that brings facts together to understand indirect truths from the facts at hand.

In formerU generationsV this mystery was not made known toW humankind,X

Notes on verse 5a

U “former” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
V “generations” = genea. From genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is family, generation, kind, or nation. As generation, it implies an age as a period of time. It can also mean infinity. This is the root of the word “generation.
W {untranslated} = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
X “humankind” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

as it has now been revealedY to his holyZ apostlesAA and prophetsBB by the Spirit:CC 

Notes on verse 5b

Y “revealed” = apokalupto. Related to “revelation” in v3. See note N above.
Z “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
AA “apostles” = apostolos. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for)}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
BB “prophets” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.
CC “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs,DD members of the same body,EE and sharersFF in the promiseGG in Christ Jesus through the gospel.HH

Notes on verse 6

DD “fellow heirs” = sugkleronomos. Related to “commission” in v2. 4x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + kleronomos (heir, inheritor in a literal or figurative sense; implies one who possesses something); {from kleros (lot, assigned portion, heritage); from klao (to break, break in pieces)} + the same as nomos (see note H above). This is co-inheritor, participant in common, fellow heir.
EE “members of the same body” = sussomos. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + soma (body, flesh, substance; also used for the Church as a body); {may be from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, rescue; deliver from danger, save or protect; can be literal or figurative); from sos (safe, rescued, well)}. This is belonging to the same body, fellow members, united in the body of Christ. Used figuratively to refer to Jews and Gentiles in one Church.
FF “sharers” = summetochos. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + metochos (partner, sharer, associate, active partaker); {from metecho (have a share in, participate in, be a member of); {from meta (with, among, in company with) + echo (have, hold, possess)}}. This is co-participant, joint partaker.
GG “promise” = epaggelia. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aggello (to announce, report); {from aggelos (angel, messenger); probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive)}. This is a summons, promise, or message. It is a formal promise that is officially sanctioned. In the New Testament, this usually refers to a promise made in the Old Testament.
HH “gospel” = euaggelion. Related to “promise” in v6. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (see note GG above). This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.

Image credit: “Meerkats (Suricata suricatta), Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa” by Charles J. Sharp, 2014.

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