What does Ephesians 3:12 mean?
ESV: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
NIV: In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
NASB: in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
CSB: In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him.
NLT: Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
KJV: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Paul offers two amazing benefits believers have in Christ. First is "boldness." This is the Greek word parrēsian, which implies confidence, openness, freedom, and clarity. Paul asks for prayers for this same boldness in Ephesians 6:19, so he can declare the gospel confidently, as he should (Ephesians 6:20). Paul sometimes even wrote letters "boldly" as part of his ministry (Romans 15:15). Acts mentions several occasions when the early church showed boldness (Acts 4:13; 13:46).
Second, Paul notes we have "access with confidence." We have a way to the Father through Jesus Christ. Because of Christ's perfection, we can confidently approach God (2 Corinthians 3:4). Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 10:19 teaches, "We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus" and that confidence has great reward (Hebrews 10:35). Again, Paul notes this confident access comes as a result of our faith. We can do nothing to deserve this access, but receive it as a free gift of grace.
Ephesians 3:1–13 explains Paul's ministry in the context of God's revealed mystery. Paul was called as a minister to the Gentiles, though he preached to anyone who would listen. Prior to this calling, however, he had persecuted the church as an unbeliever. Only God's divine grace saved Paul, and only God's divine grace causes the family of the church to grow. Even angels are learning more about the mysteries of God as they observe Him working through His church.
Ephesians chapter 3 wraps up Paul's doctrinal teaching and introduces its practical application. Paul refers to both his imprisonment and to his spiritual calling. This calling includes proclaiming the fact that all people, Jew and Gentile, can now be part of the same spiritual family. Paul also prays for the spiritual strength of the Ephesian church, as he prepares to explain how knowledge about Christ should translate into living for Christ.
The first three chapters of Ephesians are doctrinal, the last three are practical. Chapter 3 begins the transition from a Christian understanding of salvation, grace, and the power of Christ into a practical guide for Christian living. To make the transition, in this chapter, Paul refers to his own calling by God and prays for the spiritual strength of the Ephesian church. The early verses of chapter 4 will flow out of Paul's references to his own imprisonment.
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
Accessed 2/25/2024 11:04:46 AM
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