ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER III.
Paul, a prisoner for the testimony of Jesus, declares his knowledge of what had been a mystery from all ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body with the Jews, (vv. 1-6).
Which doctrine he was made a minister, that he might declare the unsearchable riches of Christ, and make known to principalities and powers this eternal purpose of God (vv. 7-12).
Paul desires them not to be discouraged on account of his tribulations, (v. 13).
Paul’s prayer that they might be filled with all the fullness of God, (vv. 14-19).
Paul’s doxology, (vv. 20, 21).
THIS chapter consists, properly, of three parts :–
I. A statement that the Gentiles were to be made partakers of the gospel, and that the work of proclaiming this was especially entrusted to Paul, (vv. 1-12).
In illustrating this, Paul observes:
A. That he was the prisoner of Jesus Christ in behalf of the Gentiles, (v. 1).
He was in bonds for maintaining that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and for endeavoring to convey it to them.
B. He reminds them all of the fact that he was called, by special revelation, to make known this truth, and to convey to the Gentiles this gospel.
Supposing that they had heard of the manner of his conversion, (vv. 2-3).
C. He refers them to what he had said before in few words on this point as proof of his acquaintance with this great plan of the gospel, (vv. 3-4).
D. He speaks of this great truth as a “mystery”–the “mystery of Christ;” the great and important truth which was concealed until Christ came, and which was fully made known by him, (vv. 4-6). This had been hidden for ages. But now it had been fully revealed by the Spirit of God to the apostles and prophets in the Christian church, that the great wall of partition was to be broken down, and the gospel proclaimed alike to all.
E. Paul says, that to him especially was this office committed, to proclaim among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (vv. 8-9).
F. The design of this was to illustrate, in view of all worlds, the great wisdom of God in the plan of salvation, (vv. 10-12).
It was intended to show to other intelligent beings the glory of the Divine perfections, and to make manifestations of the Divine character which could be perceived nowhere else.
II. Paul expresses an earnest wish that they should comprehend the glory of this plan of salvation, (vv. 13-19).
Particularly he desires them not to faint on account of his afflictions in their behalf; declares that he bows his knees in prayer before the great Father of the redeemed family, that God would be pleased to strengthen them, and enlighten them, and give them clear views of the glorious plan.
III. The chapter concludes with an ascription of praise to God, in view of the great goodness which he had manifested, and of the glory of the plan of salvation, (vv. 20-21).