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Ephesians 5:32

ESV This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
NIV This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.
NASB This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
CSB This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
NLT This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
KJV This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

What does Ephesians 5:32 mean?

Paul again uses the term "mystery," a common word in this letter (Ephesians 1:9; 3:3, 4, 6, 9; 6:19). The mystery he has in mind here is not marriage, but the relationship between "Christ and the church." It was not revealed—explained—prior to the time of Christ, but it was now clear Jesus had come to offer salvation to all people, making one family of both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus as Savior.

This is a major theme of Paul's letter to the Christians at Ephesus: that all people are one in Christ. The emphasis is no longer on Jews alone as God's people; now all who believe in Jesus are saved (Romans 1:16–17). Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body (Ephesians 3:6). Paul calls this mystery "profound" in this verse, a word referring to this principle's importance to believers in the early church. Still today, we can rejoice that people of all nations, tribes, and languages can be united in Christ (Revelation 7:9).

In the context of marriage, this idea also applies. Paul has just described how wives ought to submit to their husbands as to Christ, and husbands ought to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Here, he connects these threads into the idea that all believers, regardless of race or gender, are equally heirs of God through Jesus Christ.
What is the Gospel?
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