Ephesians Chapter 3:1-5
We read first read verse 1 till verse 6.
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit"
Paul is the author of the epistle to the Ephesians. When he wrote this epistle he was a prisoner, he was in jail. Probably when he wrote this epistle it was his first imprisonment in Rome because he stood there for Caesar and because he was a prisoner of the hope of the resurrection and for the gospel of the grace of God Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” In Acts 21 verse 27 we can read how Paul became a prisoner. It was in Jerusalem, his last visit to this city! “ And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people , and laid hands on him” In verse 33 we can read that the roman soldiers took him (Paul) and bound him with two chains. Because Paul appealed unto Caesar that’s why we read in Acts 27 that Paul as prisoner was sent to Rome. In Acts 28 we read in verse 16: “And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him” And in verse 30 we read: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him.” Probably from his hired house and surely from his first imprisonment he wrote the epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. More verses to prove that Paul was a prisoner we can read in Ephesians 4:1, II Timothy 1:8: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. And in 2 Timothy 2:8 and 9: Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds: but the word of God is not bound” God's Word is never bound, it will not end!!! It is forever!!!
Verse 1 Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles and prisoner in Rome! In 1 Timothy 2:7 we read that he is a teacher of the Gentiles, in 2 Timothy 1:11 we read an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles and in Romans 11:13 we read: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” He says here that he is a prisoner of Jesus Christ, he never considered himself a prisoner of Rome. Even people from the household of Caesar came to Paul to listen to God’s Word of Grace.! Philippians 4:22. In 2 Timothy we read about Paul’s second imprisonment what was more worse than the first imprisonment and in the last days of his life he writes to Timothy and also to us: Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me: that by me the preaching might be fully known; and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” 2 Timothy 4:17,18. He, Paul, asks Timothy to come with speed to him because Paul was on the end of his life: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” 2 Timothy 4:6.
Verse 2: Than is this second verse we read about the dispensation of the grace of God. First what is a dispensation? This word is translated from the Greek word oikonomia. It comes from the 2 words oikos that is house and nemo is to dispense, to distribute. Literally: to have an administration. House management! It is an administration with rules etc. The apostle Paul was the first person and responsible to dispense the dispensation of the grace of God. To make it known for the believers at Ephesus and for us!!!! In I Corinthians 9:16, 17 Paul tells us: For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”For almost 2000 years now we as members of the body of Christ live under the dispensation of God’s grace. It’s the administration for the body of Christ with rules for us as believers according to God’s grace. Under a dispensation dealt God with those under Him, especially with man. The dispensation of the law was committed to Moses.
We read in John 1:17: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The dispensation of grace was committed to Paul by God. The principles of God, this has to do with His character, His nature will not change. God's dealings with men do change from time to time.
Verse 3: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery. By revelation God made known the hidden things, the mystery, to the apostle Paul. It was from heaven; from the risen Lord Jesus Christ he got the mystery and the gospel of Grace. And the definition of the mystery is: Jew and Gentile one in Christ by the blood of Christ! Read Ephesians 2:13-15!!! These are the words what the apostle Paul wrote before this chapter in chapter 1 and 2!!!!! In 2 Corinthians 12:1 the apostle writes us: It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord! And in 2 Corinthians 12 verse 7 we read: And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. These verses let us see that the apostle Paul had many revelations and visions. God revealed more times to let Paul know the whole gospel of grace under the dispensation of Grace, to let him know the mystery Romans 16:25, 26 for the obedience of faith!
Verse 4: As reader of the Bible, as believer in the body of Christ if we read all what the apostle Paul wrote about the mystery God gave him a lot of wisdom and knowledge (deeper knowledge)in this. Paul was well learned in it and could explain it very well! You see it in all his epistles!!! For example before Agrippa and Festus in Caesarea in Acts 26: the apostle Paul was in prison and he appeared for them. Paul explained them how he was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus and then in verse 23: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And in 24: AND as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad!!! The answer from the apostle Paul is: But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the word of truth and soberness. Persons like Festus and others thought that the apostle Paul was mad or crazy because of all the wisdom and knowledge he had in God’s Word, but Paul was not mad because is our example in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and we have to follow him, Paul as he followed Christ according to the gospel of the Grace of God. In I Corinthians 11:1 we read: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” We have to follow Paul! In another verse he says:”For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” I Corinthians 4:15, 16. It is sad to say that most believers in Christ are not following the apostle Paul as he followed Christ according to the mystery Romans 16:25, 26. They don’t see the apostle Paul as the apostle for the Gentiles, for the body of Christ, as our example. Their gospel is a mixed gospel of law and grace. Mixing prophecy and mystery, not seeing the difference between them. Satan blinds them! Oh we have to pray for all of them that they come to know the gospel of Grace and come out of this blindness!!!! 1 Timothy 2:4”Who (that is God) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Verse 5: The mystery was first revealed to the apostle Paul. He received it by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ of glory. God hadn’t made it known to men, it was a secret and God kept it secret and when the time was there He revealed this mystery through revelations to the apostle Paul so that he could dispense this to the people and that they became to know it through all his epistles!!!! We have in the time of the apostle Paul more apostles like Barnabas and maybe Luke, prophets like Agabus, the daughters of Philip. Apostles and prophets who were with Paul. We read in Ephesians 4:11: And He gave some apostles; and some prophets, and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers. The first two apostles and prophets disappeared, we don’t have them now because the Word of God is complete from Genesis till Revelation.
This study will end with the famous words: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Romans 16:25,26