Paul says virtually the same thing here that he says in chapter one. But there is also another principle which determines the comparative place which a particular believer occupies in the scale of Christian saintship, namely, the amount of his actual attainments. They cannot be exhausted, diminished, impaired. A mighty trust granted to one so unworthy as he deems himself. 1. Consider now by what means that spirit of self-abasement which reigned in St. Paul’s heart may be maintained in our hearts, Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary, Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament, Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Who can tell what a right idea about anything is worth? Yet to all, as to him, the commission and necessity to preach comes from the Lord--the authority and ability are both imparted. Have you never espoused the cause and followed the example of Christ’s enemies? 2. Greek. But Christ has enriched the world by the mighty blows He dealt against the Pharisee, and by the splendid rebuke He administered to shameless sin. (c) The humility of St. Paul was also manifested in the low opinion he had of himself when compared with his Christian brethren—he speaks in the text not the unmeaning language of compliment, but the language of godly sincerity. of the faithful) is given this mission by the grace of God, and power from the Almighty of working miracles, and other miraculous gifts from him, who created all things in order to enlighten (4) or bring light to all men, that they may know and be convinced of the dispensation and manner in which God will have this mystery now made known and preached to all the world. We value power; we think highly of energy; even if it be power of body--physical strength--as David did, when he said, “A bow of steel is broken by mine arms,” and Samson, when he bore aloft the gates of Gaza upon his shoulders. He loved us and gave Himself for us. Ephesians has been called the Queen of the Epistles, the quintessence of Paulinism, the divinest composition of man and even the Waterloo of commentators. Harless regards ἐμοὶ … αὕτη as a parenthetic exclamation, like Ephesians 2:6, and τοῖς ἔθν. 1. I. It is God’s work, and in His own time will be done. It was a busy port and the centre of much trade. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” the model after which all ministers should be conformed; all of us should be able to make use of the same language with them. He wrote it to people in the town called Ephesus. Favourite expression of the apostle. Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. First, for the subject of the ministry. But let us observe, that, when he speaks of himself as the meanest of all, he confines his attention to what he was in himself, apart from the grace of God. Steere.). A man had gone to a distant land to plant a church. 4. One friend asserts that he has ceased from known sin for some months; and then another brother, to go a little further, asserts that the very being of sin in him has been destroyed, root and branch; of which I believe in both cases not one single word. It was his own father; and the love he bore his son was proved in this way: when the lists were called, the father, whose name was exactly the same as his son’s, answered to the name, and the father rode in the gloomy tumbril out to the place of execution, and his head rolled beneath the axe instead of his son’s, a victim to mighty love. The Biblical Illustrator. Heaven alone, I suppose, will fully teach us how humble we ought to be. https: Bible Study Questions form the last section. 448; vol. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". The riches of Christ’s dominion. By what means that spirit of self-abasement which reigned in his heart may be habitually maintained in our own. Hope: Those benefits, which we cannot here partake of, we expect and desire, and hereby we both anticipate the enjoyment of them. What St. Paul says of himself. ᾿ελαχιστότατος is found in Sextus Empir. β. It was not merely the sense of his sinfullness in general, which weighed so heavily on the apostle's conscience. III. What the apostle wishes to characterize as grand in itself, or in its abundance, adaptation, and substantial permanence, he terms “riches.” The riches of Christ are the true wealth of men and nations. Of these, we notice, His incarnation. Adoption into His family. Many who now shine in the highest places of self-estimation, will one day be glad enough to sit at the feet of the poorest of the saints, unless I am greatly mistaken; for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased. Natural to ask this; but a complete answer cannot be expected. Never let us again lose the consciousness of our real nature. There is not a tree or a flower in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America which is not a debtor to the sun. The above comment gives us an excellent measuring stick for humility. The gospel of Christ is meant for the lowest of the low. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". In verses eight and nine, Paul gave two purposes: He was to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (v. 8). Unto me, who am less than the least. And had he lived, preached, and written to the present day, he had not exhausted the subject, nor fully declared to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ - the endless depths of wisdom and knowledge treasured up in him, and the infinity of saving acts and saving power displayed by him. The expression of humility πάντων ἁγίων,(175) i.e. τὸ ἀνεξιχν. This deep and genuine self-abasement in an Apostle of exalted eminence may well excite our admiration, but it also invites us to come and learn of him that we may have a clearer view of our own deficiencies. Of all saints—For which of all the saints had so “persecuted the Church of God?” 1 Corinthians 15:9. 1 Corinthians 15:8. 1. There was a sense in which he could give such incredible wealth to everyone on earth! When the apostle says, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,” he shows the estimation in which he held the work in which he was engaged. EPH. Moreover, he saw more clearly his own corruption than that of others; and the true speech follows the true apprehension. The man who feels he has a message from God to deliver, full of meaning as it is full of power, is fearless as a prophet, and brave as an apostle. The latest periods of time shall find these riches unimpaired, and eternity shall behold the same wealth neither worn by use nor dimmed by age, nor yet diminished by the myriads of its happy participants. 2. BibliographyBengel, Johann Albrecht. No. They include resurrection from the death of sin, victorious enthronement with Christ in the heavenlies, reconciliation with God, incorporation with Jewish believers in His new society, the end of hostility and the beginning of peace, access to the Father through Christ, membership of His kingdom and household, and all this only a foretaste of yet more riches to come” (p. 120). Ephesians 3:8. Juchasin, fol. As the design of the apostle was to magnify the grace of Christ in the salvation of the world, he uses every precaution to prevent the eyes of the people from being turned to any thing but Christ crucified; and although he was obliged to speak of himself as the particular instrument which God had chosen to bring the Gentile world to the knowledge of the truth, yet he does it in such a manner as to show that the excellency of the power was of God, and not of him; and that, highly as he and his follow apostles were honored; they had the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels. All peoples upon the face of the whole earth ceaselessly receive from His hand the full supply of their recurring wants--physical, mental, and spiritual. All spiritual riches are His, and ours only in Him. His love so strong, His sympathies so tender, His forbearance so great, His grace so rich and free--to believers He is unspeakably precious. The falsehood inherent in the theory of pseudonymous authorship of Ephesians shines in a passage like this, like the nakedness of the king in the fable (of the invisible clothes). “I am less,” says he, “than the least of all saints.” “Saints” means “holy ones”; it is therefore of holiness of which he speaks; not of his condition, not of his natural talents, not of his learning, not of his knowledge, but of holiness. (J. At suitable times he could vindicate himself, and claim his position among his fellow men. None are able to come to the full knowledge of Christ. Ephesians 3:8. τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ, less than the least) The idea of the name Paul,(43) increased by a comparative which rises higher than even the superlative; whereby it is implied that he scarcely reckons himself among the saints. The children of this world may regard them with indifference, or turn away from them with disdain; but those who feel the value of their souls know better. 1 Corinthians 15:9. πλοῦτος. 1863-1878. Clearly not in words alone. The sun in heaven above us has been shining for 6,000 years, and giving light, and life, and warmth, and fertility to the whole surface of the globe. 1897. Who am less than the least of all saints; this the apostle speaks considering his former estate in Judaism, when he persecuted the church of Christ: so 1 Corinthians 15:9 1 Timothy 1:13,15. No sinner can be so foul, no multitude can be so huge, that the blood of Christ and the love of Christ are inadequate” (Boles p. 248). the fulness of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption—all centred and summed up in Him). 2 Corinthians 12:11). “The unsearchable”: That which is past finding out, not tracked and untraceable. What may surprise us in this passage is that the author stops to thank God for the foresight and grace to plan this messy human diversity. Everyone that asketh receiveth. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. No guiltiness can possibly transcend the efficacy of His precious blood. In 1 Corinthians 15:9, where he says, “I am the least of the apostles,” he brings himself into direct contrast with his ministerial colleagues. Our property: how poor shall we be if we lose this cause! They could make sweet music on other instruments; they could wake the echoes by other bugles; but that horn was mute, let them blow as they might. “Unto me is this grace given.”. These also include unsearchable riches, because by these Christ’s redeeming acts and saving benefits become our own. (Ephesians 3:20, Ephesians 3:21) And adds a thanksgiving. Maclaren, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. The prophets and apostles have laid great stress on this (Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). It is after death that He bestows on them that love Him the full cup of salvation, the everlasting blessedness of heaven (1 John 3:2). Think of its beginning in the councils of eternity. Not only was Paul less than the apostles, but he was less than even the saint without any office. The transition is natural. Well may the apostle preach the unsearchable riches of Christ when we call to mind how He has lifted us into a more blessed and hopeful thought of the character and destiny of man. Required fields are marked *, Notify me of followup comments via e-mail, Designed by Elegant Themes He was to show the plan of the mystery (v. 9).. 8 To me, (Read Ephesians 3:8-12) Those whom God advances to honourable employments, he makes low in their own eyes; and where God gives grace to be humble, there he gives all other needful grace. Colossians 2:3. That is what Paul was. Both ideas may be included, though the latter is doubtless the more prominent. among — omitted in the oldest manuscripts Translate, “to announce to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the unsearchable (Job 5:9) riches,” namely, of Christ‘s grace (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7). Think of its freeness, its greatness, its unchangeableness. Copyright StatementThe New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. https: All of them “riches of Christ”; and all of them “unsearchable.”. ix. He has glorified “the spirits of just men made perfect” already; they are with Him, and see His glory. 3. the note on Acts 20:32.— ἀνεξιχνίαστον, unsearchable [never capable of being fully traced out]) Ephesians 3:18-19. ᾿εμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων—“To me, who am less than the least of all saints.” There is no good reason adduced by Harless for making the first clause of this verse a parenthesis, and joining ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν to the δωρεάν of the preceding verse. iv. The value, the precious thing existing in abundance, is abundantly supplied. I do not ask your charity to give a trifle to a poor missionary or to a poor heathen. They are riches of heavenly knowledge. Only a few words on the riches of his work, for the theme is so vast that we cannot enter upon it particularly. 4. I. 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