Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
For this cause (τουτου χαριν toutou charin). Use of χαριν charin (accusative of χαρις charis) as a preposition with the genitive and referring to the preceding argument about God‘s elective grace. It is possible that Paul started to make the prayer that comes in Ephesians 3:14-21 when he repeats τουτου χαριν toutou charin If so, he is diverted by his own words “the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles” (ο δεσμιος του Χριστου Ιησου υπερ υμων των ετνων ho desmios tou Christou Iēsou huper humōn tōn ethnōn) to set forth in a rich paragraph (Ephesians 3:1) God‘s use of him for the Gentiles.
If so be that ye have heard (ει γε ηκουσατε ei ge ēkousate). Condition of first class with ει ei and first aorist active indicative and with the intensive particle γε ge that gives a delicate touch to it all. On οικονομιαν oikonomian (stewardship, dispensation) see Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:25.
By revelation (κατα αποκαλυπσιν kata apokalupsin). Not essentially different from δι αποκαλυπσεως di' apokalupseōs (Galatians 1:12). This was Paul‘s qualification for preaching “the mystery” (το μυστηριον to mustērion See note on Ephesians 1:9).As I wrote afore (κατως προεγραπσα kathōs proegrapsa). First aorist active indicative of προγραπω prographō as in Romans 15:4, not picture forth as Galatians 3:1. But when and where? Epistolary aorist for this Epistle? That is possible. A previous and lost Epistle as in 1 Corinthians 5:9 ? That also is abstractly possible. To the preceding discussion of the Gentiles? Possible and also probable. In few words (εν ολιγωι en oligōi). Not = προ ολιγου pro oligou shortly before, but as in Acts 26:28 “in brief space or time” = συντονως suntonōs (Acts 24:4), “briefly.”
Whereby (προς ο pros ho). “Looking to which,” “according to which.”When ye read (αναγινωσκοντες anaginōskontes). This Epistle will be read in public. My understanding in the mystery of Christ (την συνεσιν μου εν τωι μυστηριωι του Χριστου tēn sunesin mou en tōi mustēriōi tou Christou). My “comprehension” (συνεσιν sunesin Colossians 1:9; Colossians 2:2). Every sermon reveals the preacher‘s grasp of “the mystery of Christ.” If he has no insight into Christ, he has no call to preach.
In other generations (ετεραις γενεαις heterais geneais). Locative case of time. He had already claimed this revelation for himself (Ephesians 3:3). Now he claims it for all the other apostles and prophets of God.
To wit. Not in the Greek. But the infinitive (ειναι einai) clause is epexegetical and gives the content of the revelation, a common idiom in the N.T. Τα ετνη Ta ethnē is in the accusative of general reference. Paul is fond of compounds with συν sun and here uses three of them.Fellow-heirs (συνκληρονομα sunklēronoma). Late and rare (Philo, inscriptions and papyri). See also Romans 8:17. Fellow-members of the body (συνσωμα sunsōma). First found here and only here save in later ecclesiastical writers. Preuschen argues that it is equivalent to συνδουλος sundoulos in Colossians 1:7 (σωμα sōma in sense of δουλος doulos). Fellow-partakers (συνμετοχα sunmetocha). Another late and rare word (Josephus). Only here in N.T. In one papyrus in sense of joint possessor of a house.
For this verse see note on Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 1:19.; Ephesians 3:2.
Unto me who am less than the least of all saints (εμοι τωι ελαχιστοτερωι παντων αγιων emoi tōi elachistoterōi pantōn hagiōn). Dative case εμοι emoi with ελοτη elothē The peculiar form ελαχιστοτερωι elachistoterōi (in apposition with εμοι emoi) is a comparative (τερος ̇teros) formed on the superlative ελαχιστος elachistos This sort of thing was already done in the older Greek like εσχατοτερος eschatoteros in Xenophon. It became more common in the Koiné. So the double comparative μειζοτεραν meizoteran in 3 John 1:4. The case of αγιων hagiōn is ablative. This was not mock humility (Romans 15:19), for on occasion Paul stood up for his rights as an apostle (2 Corinthians 11:5).The unsearchable riches of Christ (το ανεχιχνιαστον πλουτος του Χριστου to anexichniaston ploutos tou Christou). Ανεχιχνιαστος Anexichniastos (α a privative and verbal of εχιχνιαζω exichniazō to track out, εχ ex and ιχνος ichnos track) appears first in Job 5:9; Job 9:10. Paul apparently got it from Job. Nowhere else in N.T. except Romans 11:33. In later Christian writers. Paul undertook to track out the untrackable in Christ.
To make see (πωτισαι phōtisai). First aorist active infinitive of ποτιζω photizō late verb, to turn the light on. With the eyes of the heart enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) one can then turn the light for others to see. See note on Colossians 1:26.
To the intent that (ινα hina). Final clause.Might be made known (γνωριστηι gnōristhēi). First aorist passive subjunctive of γνωριζω gnōrizō with ινα hina The mystery was made known to Paul (Ephesians 3:3) and now he wants it blazoned forth to all powers (Gnostic aeons or what not). Through the church (δια της εκκλησιας dia tēs ekklēsias). The wonderful body of Christ described in chapter Ephesians 2. The manifold wisdom of God (η πολυποικιλος σοπια του τεου hē polupoikilos sophia tou theou). Old and rare word, much-variegated, with many colours. Only here in N.T. Ποικιλος Poikilos (variegated) is more common (Matthew 4:24).
According to the eternal purpose (κατα προτεσιν των αιωνων kata prothesin tōn aiōnōn). “According to the purpose (Ephesians 1:11) of the ages.” God‘s purpose runs on through the ages. “Through the ages one eternal purpose runs.”
In confidence (εν πεποιτησει en pepoithēsei). Late and rare word from πεποιτα pepoitha See note on 2 Corinthians 1:15.Through our faith in him (δια της πιστεως αυτου dia tēs pisteōs autou). Clearly objective genitive αυτου autou (in him).
That ye faint not (μη ενκακειν mē enkakein). Object infinitive with μη mē after αιτουμαι aitoumai The infinitive (present active) ενκακειν enkakein is a late and rare word (see already Luke 18:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Galatians 6:9) and means to behave badly in, to give in to evil (εν κακος enδοχα υμων kakos). Paul urges all his apostolic authority to keep the readers from giving in to evil because of his tribulations for them.Your glory (doxa humōn). As they could see.
I bow my knees (καμπτω τα γονατα μου kamptō ta gonata mou). He now prays whether he had at first intended to do so at Ephesians 3:1 or not. Calvin supposes that Paul knelt as he dictated this prayer, but this is not necessary. This was a common attitude in prayer (Luke 22:41; Acts 7:40; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5), though standing is also frequent (Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, Luke 18:13).
Every family (πασα πατρια pāsa patria). Old word (πατρα patra is the usual form) from πατηρ patēr descent from a common ancestor as a tribe or race. Some take it here as = πατροτης patrotēs fatherhood, but that is most unlikely. Paul seems to mean that all the various classes of men on earth and of angels in heaven get the name of family from God the Father of all.
That he would grant you (ινα δωι υμιν hina dōi humin). Sub-final clause with ινα hina and the second aorist active subjunctive of διδωμι didōmi to give. There are really five petitions in this greatest of all Paul‘s prayers (one already in Ephesians 1:16-23), two by the infinitives after ινα δωι hina dōi (κραταιωτηναι κατοικησαι krataiōthēnaiινα εχισχυσητε katoikēsai), two infinitives after καταλαβεσται γνωναι hina exischusēte (ινα πληρωτητε katalabesthaiκραταιωτηναι gnōnai), and the last clause κραταιοω hina plērōthēte Nowhere does Paul sound such depths of spiritual emotion or rise to such heights of spiritual passion as here. The whole seems to be coloured with “the riches of His glory.”That ye may be strengthened (κραταιος krataiōthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive of κρατος krataioō late and rare (lxx, N.T.) from δυναμει krataios late form from εις τον εσω αντρωπον kratos (strength). See note on Luke 1:80. Paul adds εχω dunamei (with the Spirit). Instrumental case. In the inward man (eis ton esō anthrōpon). Same expression in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (in contrast with the outward exō man) and in Romans 7:22.
That Christ may dwell (κατοικησαι τον Χριστον katoikēsai ton Christon). Another infinitive (first aorist active) after ινα δωι hina dōi Κατοικεω Katoikeō is an old verb to make one‘s home, to be at home. Christ (Χριστον Christon accusative of general reference) is asked to make his home in our hearts. This is the ideal, but a deal of fixing would have to be done in our hearts for Christ.Being rooted and grounded in love (εν αγαπηι ερριζωμενοι και τετεμελιωμενοι en agapēi errizōmenoi kai tethemeliōmenoi). But it is not certain whether εν αγαπηι en agapēi should go with these participles or with the preceding infinitive κατοικησαι katoikēsai (dwell). Besides, these two perfect passive participles (from ριζοω rizoō old verb, in N.T. only here and Colossians 2:7, and from τεμελιοω themelioō see also Colossians 1:23) are in the nominative case and are to be taken with ινα εχισχυσητε hina exischusēte and are proleptically placed before ινα hina Ephesians 3:18 should really begin with these participles. Paul piles up metaphors (dwelling, rooted, grounded).
That ye may be strong (ινα εχισχυσητε hina exischusēte). Sub-final clause again with ινα hina and the first aorist active subjunctive of εχισχυω exischuō a late and rare compound (from εχ ισχυω exκαταλαβεσται ischuō) to have full strength. Here only in N.T.To apprehend (καταλαμβανω katalabesthai). Second aorist middle infinitive of κατα katalambanō old and common verb, to lay hold of effectively (συν πασιν τοις αγιοις katȧ), here with the mind, to grasp (Acts 25:25). With all the saints (πλατος sun pasin tois hagiois). No isolated privilege. Fellowship open to all. Paul gives a rectangular (four dimension) measure of love (breadth μηκος platos length υπσος mēkos height βατος hupsos depth bathos all common enough words).
And to know (γνωναι τε gnōnai te). Second aorist active infinitive with εχισχυσητε exischusēteWhich passeth knowledge (την υπερβαλλουσαν της γνωσεως tēn huperballousan tēs gnōseōs). Ablative case γνωσεως gnōseōs after υπερβαλλουσαν huperballousan (from υπερβαλλω huperballō). All the same Paul dares to scale this peak. That ye may be filled with all the fulness of God (ινα πληρωτητε εις παν το πληρωμα του τεου hina plērōthēte eis pān to plērōma tou theou). Final clause again (third use of ινα hina in the sentence) with first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροω plēroō and the use of εις eis after it. One hesitates to comment on this sublime climax in Paul‘s prayer, the ultimate goal for followers of Christ in harmony with the injunction in Matthew 5:48 to be perfect (τελειοι teleioi) as our heavenly Father is perfect. There is nothing that any one can add to these words. One can turn to Romans 8:29 again for our final likeness to God in Christ.
That is able to do (τωι δυναμενωι ποιησαι tōi dunamenōi poiēsai). Dative case of the articular participle (present middle of δυναμαι dunamai). Paul is fully aware of the greatness of the blessings asked for, but the Doxology ascribes to God the power to do them for us.Above all (υπερ παντα huper panta). Not simply παντα panta but υπερ huper beyond and above all. Exceedingly abundantly (υπερεκπερισσου huperekperissou). Late and rare double compound (υπερ εκ περισσου huperων αιτουμετα ekα perissou) adverb (lxx, 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; Ephesians 3:20). It suits well Paul‘s effort to pile Pelion on Ossa. That we ask (τουτων hōn aitoumetha). Ablative of the relative pronoun attracted from the accusative αιτουμετα ha to the case of the unexpressed antecedent η νοουμεν toutōn Middle voice (δυναμιν aitoumetha) “we ask for ourselves.” Or think (ē nooumen). The highest aspiration is not beyond God‘s “power” (dunamin) to bestow.
In the church (εν τηι εκκλησιαι en tēi ekklēsiāi). The general church, the body of Christ.And in Christ Jesus (και εν Χριστωι Ιησου kai en Christōi Iēsou). The Head of the glorious church.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25