What does Ephesians 3:6 mean?
ESV: This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
NIV: This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
NASB: to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
CSB: The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
NLT: And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.
KJV: That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
This mystery revealed to the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5) included three aspects. First, that Gentile and Jewish believers in the Messiah are now equal members in a spiritual family. Second, Gentiles are "members of the same body" with Jewish believers. The church, from the very beginning, consisted of all people who believed in Jesus, not merely those of Jewish descent.
Third, the gospel was not limited to Jews, but was available for all who would believe (Romans 1:16). This was why Jesus could command the disciples to make disciples of all nations or people groups (Matthew 28:18–20). Paul was specifically called as a missionary to the Gentiles. This included the Ephesian Christians, who were nearly all Gentiles. As Paul would note in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
These ideas would have been comforting for Gentile Christians, and challenging for Jewish Christians. The long-standing barrier between Jews and Gentiles was now meaningless, with all believers united in Christ.
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 11/30/2023 5:42:03 AM
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