1832. The inward graces which are to be exercised. Few men are so great as St. Paul. We see the humility of angels. β. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". 1. ii. The circumstance which may be regarded as having mainly contributed to lower the apostle’s place in the catalogue of the saints was this, that he spent so large and important a portion of his life in pursuits that were not only alien from the gospel of Christ, but fiercely opposed to His kingdom and His cause. I am less. Of the truth He taught, the blood He shed, the promises He left, the Spirit He sent, the inheritance He secured, the riches are unsearchable. The word rendered “unsearchable,” ἀνεξιχνίαστον anexichniastonoccurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament Romans 11:33, where it is rendered “past finding out;” see the notes at that verse. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". Should not ministers be made welcome that come on such golden messages. II. Nor in viewing His personal excellence can we overlook the fact that He is the Son of man as well as the Son of God. ), There was a very eloquent and able minister of our Church, who went to labour among his flock, ignorant of the gospel of Christ, but at the same time very zealous and devoted in his own way of religion. Hooker, the author of the “Ecclesiastical Polity,” one of the noblest books in the language, after he had been made preacher at the Temple Church, besought Archbishop Whitgift, who had given him that position, to remove him to a lowlier sphere of labour. This subject has been treated in the Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 1:15.) What he became, see 1 Corinthians 15:10 (laboured more abundantly, &c). χερειότερος from II. Go to a man in an arid desert, lying on the ground gasping with thirst, at the gate of death, beneath a burning sun; take to him gold and jewels; offer them to him; promise him a kingdom; and what do you bestow on him? Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". πλοῦτος. 1874-1909. Let me just explain myself. Your email address will not be published. Less than the least—An ingenious expression of the translators to give the force of the apostle’s Greek. 3. (c) And in contrast with our polluted, sunken state, it must increase our humility frequently to meditate on the purity and majesty of God. The commission included first a direct work in preaching to the Gentiles, opening their eyes and so introducing them to the fulness of their inheritance, as described in Ephesians 3:6 and in the prayer Ephesians 1:18 f. The inheritance presents itself as ‘unsearchable riches.’. I. Heaven alone, I suppose, will fully teach us how humble we ought to be. In what did the humility of St. Paul consist? https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-3.html. When working on my family tree, I found many dead ends. If a herald were sent to a besieged city with the tidings that no terms of capitulation would be offered, but that every rebel without exception should be put to death, methinks he would go with lingering footsteps; but if instead thereof, he were commissioned to go to the gates with the white flag to proclaim a free pardon, a general act of amnesty and oblivion, surely he would run as though he had wings to his heels, with a joyful alacrity, to tell to his fellow citizens the good pleasure of their merciful king. 3. In the nature of the case it never could have become a universal religion. That the riches of His rewarding glory are unsearchable. It is impossible to fully comprehend them. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ephesians-3.html. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ephesians-3.html. Duty of the Church as regards missions. "Sermon Bible Commentary". 3,4. The τοῦ χριστοῦ is prob. Less than the least, ἐλαχιστοτέρος, a comparative formed from a superlative. Heralds of salvation, ye carry the most joyful of all messages to the sons of men. Will you tell me there is no eye that can see, and no being that can search? iii.,p. The riches of Christ are unsearchable. This was Paul’s faith, and this faith was, in fact, the source of his invincible energy and his passionate enthusiasm. Jesus Christ is the Lord and Redeemer of the human soul. Some say that Ephesians reads like a commentary on the Pauline letters and probably it has been best termed the crown of Paulinism. Only here and Romans 11:33, which see. You can tell how rich you are; you can know exactly what you possess, or most men can. Floral loveliness, the fruits of the earth, the splendour of metals, the lights in precious stones, and the glories of the firmament, are the material shadows of His wealth. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:8. Now, we say, in relation to all human riches, and every form and variety of earthly wealth, that it can be searched into and explored--that a catalogue of it can be given, and the exact amount of it certified. You who have only your daily bread put upon your table think men rich when they have in store some ten thousands of pounds, and very rich if some hundreds of thousands of pounds; but the possessors do not feel rich. The word means here, “who am incomparably the least of all the saints; or who am not worthy to be reckoned among the saints.” It is expressive of the deep sense which he had of the sinfulness of his past life; of his guilt in persecuting the church and the Saviour; and perhaps of his sense of his low attainments in piety; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:9. Unsearchable riches; that is, value not traced by inquiry and investigation. And now there is somebody else--some fellow merchant, or some neighbour--who has twice £120,000; and you find the man again striving after that twice £120,000. Judaism was of Divine origin: but then it was exclusive; it was confined, and it was necessarily confined, to a particular nation. This led him to inquire into what the meaning was, and the same blessed Spirit satisfied the inquiry, and led him to discover the treasure hid in the field, even “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” and then he went forth and preached those unsearchable riches, and the blessing of God attended his labours. He is at once our Mediator, our Advocate, our Priest, our Intercessor, our Shepherd, our Bishop, our Physician, our Captain, our King, our Master, our Head, our Forerunner, our Elder Brother, the Bridegroom of our souls. 62, 237; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, p. 33; W. Ince, Church of England Pulpit, vol. Paul says virtually the same thing here that he says in chapter one. Have you never sneered at what the world calls the over strictness of His true disciples? If ever man had anything in himself on which he might build his hopes it was surely this Apostle. Ephesians 3:8 The Unsearchable Riches of Christ; Ephesians 3:9-13 God's Eternal Purpose and You; Ephesians 3:14-17 Making Christ at Home in Your Heart; Ephesians 3:17b-19 Knowing the Unknowable Love of Christ; Ephesians 3:20-21 God is Able! He gets £60,000; but does he now feel rich? "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". Think for a moment of such titles as the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life, the Fountain of Living Waters, the Light of the World, the Door, the Way, the Vine, the Rock, the Cornerstone, the Christian’s Robe, the Christian’s Altar. 1. Thus modest is the apostle, when speaking of himself, and not of his office. The transition is natural. Both ideas may be included, though the latter is doubtless the more prominent. We must look to Him for humility. The first and indispensable qualification of a minister of the gospel is, that he be personally a subject of its saving power, a saint, though in his own estimation one of the least. “The Gentiles.” Christ’s own ministry was to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”; and He said to the apostles, “Into the way of the Gentiles and any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.” But in Christ’s ministry there were indications of peace to the Gentiles. The Word of God. He considered himself “less than the least of all saints.” There was no affectation of humility here; the apostle felt as he wrote. No sinner can be so foul, no multitude can be so huge, that the blood of Christ and the love of Christ are inadequate” (Boles p. 248). BibliographyExell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ephesians 3:8". If such thoughts as these never humble you, write bitter things against yourselves, and deem yourselves strangers to the grace of Christ. As soon as God revealed his Son in him, and he apprehended the infinite excellence and love of Christ, the sin of rejecting and blaspheming such a Savior appeared so great that all other sins seemed as comparatively nothing. II. He raised all the support needed. The story of His wondrous birth, His suffering life, His cruel death, His victorious resurrection, His glorious ascension--Bethlehem and Nazareth, Gethsemane and Calvary, Tabor and Olivet--with their thrilling associations, hallowed memories, and spiritual meaning, will never lose their power to charm while tongues can speak or hearts can feel. How many of those who obtain the character, and with sufficient reason, of enlightened and devoted Christians, are, if contemplated in the light of their religious advantages, but faint and feeble after all! “Which cannot be tracked out” (Vincent p. 381). On the labours and sufferings of the mission. Compare 1Ti 1:13 This grace, so glorious and so full of blessedness to the world, was the apostleship to the Gentiles. One effect of the Holy Spirit’s teaching was, to enable him to contemplate mankind from a higher point of view, and with a wider range of vision, as all the offspring of one heavenly Father, against whom they had rebelled, and to whom now they might be reconciled. (C. H. Consider now by what means that spirit of self-abasement which reigned in St. Paul’s heart may be maintained in our hearts, Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary, Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament, Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. His ascension is the next in order of His redeeming acts. So Dr. Phillip was requested to communicate this to him, and he told him that the committee did not feel he was qualified to go as a missionary, would he mind going as a servant? This is the same with the remission of sins, or imputed righteousness (Romans 4:2-8). The unsearchable riches] Gr. the gen. of possess., = the riches that Christ has, or that are in Him. St. Paul’s special work as the apostle of the Gentiles. Copyright StatementThe New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. Let us observe what he says of his audience. When another, either by act or speech, hides or attempts to obscure the awful and eternal distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, that is practical Atheism; and between these two extremes the public opinion of the world oscillated from age to age, till Christ began to teach and preach. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ephesians-3.html. He was one of the late converts, many of his comrades were in Christ before him, and he yielded precedence to the older ones. BibliographyTorrey, R. A. The power of His words, the grandeur of His deeds, the greatness of His sorrows, the light of His teaching, the merit of His sacrifice, the efficacy of His intercession, the work of His Spirit, and the glory of His coming and kingdom are each exhaustless as His own fulness, and fresh as the wants and woes of every needy, burdened soul. It is the sin of unbelief; the sin of rejecting Christ, of which, agreeably to our Savior's own declaration, the Holy Spirit is sent to convince the world. Ephesians 1:1, Ephesians 1:2. Ephesians 3:7. Wherein this grace consisted is added: to preach to the Gentiles, etc. What the apostle wishes to characterize as grand in itself, or in its abundance, adaptation, and substantial permanence, he terms “riches.” The riches of Christ are the true wealth of men and nations. BibliographyAlford, Henry. New York. (Ephesians 3:8.) (A. Barry, D. D.), We may realize something of the unsearchable riches of Christ by glancing at--. He is God, He loved us, He died for us, and He was raised for us - what a message we have to give. The fact that a sentence begins here does not compel us to find the resumption of Ephesians 3:1 at this point (see note above). He rules over all; all are His servants. Divine illumination (see Isaiah 9:2; Luke 1:78; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9). The science of today lowers all human power, but raises the intellect and the spirit. To me, who am less than the least (thus admirably rendered by E. V. Winer, edn. (A. S. (John 1:14); that “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16); that “forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same” (Hebrews 2:14). He means it. (8) Less than the least of all saints.—Compare with this expression of deep humility the well-known passages 1 Corinthians 15:9-10; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:12-16. The manner of the apostle’s call was as strikingly supernatural as his work was distinctively peculiar; and no minister can expect such a personal commission, or such a Divine revelation. 2. Its excellence in contrast with his own conscious unworthiness. So it is, if we look upon missions as what we benefit, and not as what benefit us. (Witham). III. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given - Here are the noblest strains of eloquence to paint the exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ. See 1 Corinthians 15:8. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; Ver. He is a benefactor to mankind who makes grass grow where it never grew before. See how St. Paul valued the gospel. See under Ephesians 1:7 and Ephesians 2:7. There is no more emphatic expression in the New Testament than this. The final judgment is the last and finishing act of our redemption. Copyright � Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. Introduction (Ephesians 3:1-7) The apostle sets forth his office, and his qualifications for it, and his call to it. Romans 11:33, “unsearchable” as a mine inexhaustible, whose treasures can never be fully explored (Ephesians 3:18, Ephesians 3:19). It is after death that He bestows on them that love Him the full cup of salvation, the everlasting blessedness of heaven (1 John 3:2). And when He sent forth the apostles and the seventy, He said, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But upon His resurrection from the dead, when this glorious economy had actually commenced, His language and His commission was conformable to it; then said He to them, “Go into all the world, and teach the gospel to every creature.” There is nothing, therefore, in the Christian dispensation like that of Judaism. ); but it is not found in (268) (269) (270) (271), etc., and is best omitted. For τὸν πλοῦτον the better accredited form is τὸ πλοῦτος. Yet he was to proclaim among the Gentiles these astonishing wonders and mysteries of grace; and as he proceeds in this great and glorious work, the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him opens to his mind more and more of those riches - leads him into those footsteps of the Almighty which could not be investigated by man nor angel, so that his preaching and epistles, taken all in their chronological order, will prove that his views brighten, and his discoveries become more numerous and more distinct in proportion as he advances. Of all saints—For which of all the saints had so “persecuted the Church of God?” 1 Corinthians 15:9. Their number is very great, every careful Bible reader knows, and I cannot of course pretend to do more than select a few of them. This was why Paul so appreciated and honored the office which God gave him, that of the apostleship. It was the greatest glory of St. Paul that he was called to take a part in it. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ephesians-3.html. But Christ keeps his richest gifts to the last. As if he had said, that his own worthlessness did not prevent him from being appointed, while others were passed by, to be the apostle of the Gentiles. The unsearchable riches of Christ - On the word “riches,” as used by Paul, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. Just so it is--if any illustration can approach the reality--just so it is with Christ. [21] The literal meaning of "unsearchable" is: "trackless, inexplorable, not in the sense that any part is inaccessible, but that the whole is too vast to be mapped out and measured. (Read Ephesians 3:8-12) Those whom God advances to honourable employments, he makes low in their own eyes; and where God gives grace to be humble, there he gives all other needful grace. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ephesians-3.html. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. And, although our Saviour’s personal ministry was limited almost entirely to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” He Himself expressly asserted that He had “other sheep” who were “not of that fold”--that “them also He must bring” within the sacred enclosure--and that, after a time, there would thus be but “one fold and one Shepherd.”. The world is but a false answer to man’s desire for wealth. 2. 6. There is not a tree or a flower in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America which is not a debtor to the sun. (Paul Bayne. He wished to sing of the sons of Atreus, and the mighty deeds of Hercules, but his harp resounded love alone; and when he would have sung of Cadmus, his harp refused it would sing of love alone. But omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C. Translate, 'To announce to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the unsearchable (Job 5:9) riches,' etc. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ephesians-3.html. Many pastors I"ve met have this low view of themselves - a servant of the Living God rather than someone of special esteem but there are some that are so stuck on themselves and how great they are that they are not much good. All nature, animate and inanimate, draw their supply out of His perennial fulness, and spend their powers in fulfilling His behests. They could make sweet music on other instruments; they could wake the echoes by other bugles; but that horn was mute, let them blow as they might. “To preach unto the Gentiles”: “Indirectly in these past verses the apostle has indicated two of the strongest incentives to evangelism. Many of the nations big preachers appear to be pretty stuck on themselves when they ought to realize they are the messenger not the message - the gift of God to man is the gospel message not the messenger. III. Jesus so loved the souls of men that we can only use the “so,” but we cannot find the word to match with it. III. The treasure on the one hand--the earthen vessel on the other. Man having been created in this (Genesis 1:27), lost it by the Fall; so that he is naturally earthly, sensual, and devilish. As soon as the examiners had talked with him, they saw that his heart was right enough, but he had a clownish look, and a dullness of expression; when the youth was gone out of the room, one of the examiners said, “He is scarcely a proper person to send, we need a man of greater intellect.” At last they agreed that they had better send him as a servant, the servant of the mission, to do the work of the household, clean Dr. Morrison’s boots, and such like things, I suppose. He is Almighty and Omniscient, and the strong and knowing are good. Then look at abundance in gifts which Christ has ready for men--pardon, acquittal, restoration to the position of children, regeneration, and the entire purification and spiritual elevation of our nature, the lost Paradise restored and regained--all these things in His hand, mark, ready, so that we have only to ask and to have. He sees in every man the promise of something that might be, infinitely transcending all that is and was. 2. I think it is a worthy contemplation of where you are in the grand scheme of things. πλοῦτος τοῦ χριστοῦ] By this is meant the whole divine fulness of salvation, of which Christ is the possessor and bestower, and which is of such a nature that the human intellect cannot explore it so as to form an adequate conception of it. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/ephesians-3.html. The parable of the prodigal son is another indication of this; and our Lord Himself said, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” Yet on the day of Pentecost there was not a single Gentile present--“devout men from every nation under heaven,” out of all the provinces, but every one of them Jews. Now look at the thoughts that cluster around this word “riches” as representing value, abundance, and supply. The way we treat men is the sign of what we think of them. Like one surveying the vastness of universal space, as unfolded in astronomy, he feels what a mere speck he is. p. 627. He exhibited to the Gentiles that which is truly and supremely valuable--valuable to a man’s whole nature--valuable for the life which now is, and for that which is to come--that which God by everything that He has said concerning it, and by all that He has done concerning it, recognizes as supremely valuable. There is such a thing as phony humility or false modesty, where a person is proud of his humility. Unsearchable riches--value not fixed, not traced out by investigation--abundance inexplorable by want and by desire--supply inexhaustible by enjoyment and by use--“the unsearchable riches of Christ;” that is, inconceivable value in Christ Himself. That it is impossible a missionary should engage in his work in a better spirit than of that humility of which St. Paul is the example. But there is also another principle which determines the comparative place which a particular believer occupies in the scale of Christian saintship, namely, the amount of his actual attainments. There can be no searching out of the riches of His pardoning mercy, any more than of the value of that mysterious work which secures our pardon, or of the breadth and length, and depth and height, of that love which led Him to undertake and accomplish the work. “The unsearchable riches of Christ.” I might advert at once to His Divine nature and perfections. This leads me to notice another unspeakable benefit, implied indeed in the last mentioned, but, because of its magnitude, deserving of more particular notice, viz., the restoration of God’s image to the soul. He has riches of wisdom. (J. Can you enter into its depths? They cannot be fathomed, measured, grasped, calculated. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Now, then, briefly, for the ministry of these, or the ministry which respects these “unsearchable riches.” It is simply, as it seems to me, for two purposes. Browse Sermons on Ephesians 3:8-12. There seems to me to be nothing unsearchable about man except his sinfulness. 1. II. Read Ephesians commentary using John Gill's Exposition of the Bible. And Paul cannot write about that great truth without praising God for His power, that raised Christ from the dead. The phrase seems to be Jewish: there was one R. Jose "the little", who was so called, it is said, because he was קטן חסידים, "the least of saints"F12T. iii., p. 72; Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays in Wellington College, p. 354. I doubt anything about the apostle Paul was ever false, so I assume this is how he felt about himself. He was to show the plan of the mystery (v. 9).. 8 To me, He was sedulously endeavouring to deliver them from their sins, and to promote morality and virtue among them by every means in his power; and you may suppose with the same success that must always attend such vain efforts as these, to make the law do “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh.” Whitewashing the sepulchre can never purify the corruption within. Is - Greek, 'was given.'. (W. Graham, D. D.), Unsearchable riches for men of all nations, God proposes to make man rich in wisdom, rich in goodness, rich in joy, rich in beauty, rich in influence; and to make him essentially and unchangeably rich, by making his wealth inseparable from his being. He did not condescend to it, but it to him. "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". “It is higher than heaven, what canst thou know” of it? ), Grace not to be traced out. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board). The world has a very sorry opinion of itself. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/ephesians-3.html. It is a verb corresponding to the substantive translated “gospel.” The apostle, then, was to announce the gospel--a message to which the name of good tidings may be attached, both because of its essential character as a record of God’s pardoning and saving mercy, and because of its relative character as “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” O blessed and delightful view of the apostle’s ministry! I. Paul preached “riches.” This word represents three things--value, abundance, and supply. As our Judges He will assign to us a reward in proportion to our holiness, labours, and sufferings in His service. It is only as we dive under the surface that we get a distinct impression of the wealth that lies hid under the rolling waves that break musically at our feet. Least of all saints - not merely 'of all apostles' (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; 2 Corinthians 12:11). They will say with one voice, “There are no riches like those which are laid up in Christ for His people.” For, best of all, these riches are unsearchable. Have you never espoused the cause and followed the example of Christ’s enemies? ), I. The expression of humility πάντων ἁγίων,(175) i.e. A mighty trust granted to one so unworthy as he deems himself. Christ: the substance and life of all true preaching. In the analysis the comparative sense is to be maintained (the least, lesser than all). "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". to know all things, and be the victim of remorse, or of evil passions that will not let the soul rest? The Christian minister must be saved and sent. 7. This was not mock humility (Romans 15:19), for on occasion Paul stood up for his rights as an apostle (2 Corinthians 11:5). BibliographyCoffman, James Burton. "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 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Higher manifestations of his saints studded with jewels and let the solid of... Unity ; Ephesians 5:8 ; 1 Peter 2:9 ) the plan of the Entire Bible Modernised adapted! His work, who am ultimus, the awful and the spirit has not gone the! Than an abundance us beware against cherishing in the very root of all observed them the... With it ’ s heart may be included, though the latter is doubtless more. Our meanness was there Holy spirit assume its responsibilities as a privilege it ceases to be found in the,. Make the gospel and in his treatment of them and investigation he could vindicate,... As here described Ephesians | 0 comments μειζοτεραν — meizoteran in 3 John 1:4 ; cf richest gifts to full! Are applied to Christ in the NT is the source from which almost every spiritual grace must spring was. Chief of sinners as the apostle speaks of Jesus ; so especially should the Christian church spirit! Do the office which God had commanded went to the Gentiles it consisted in words only day of is... Their channel his fulness Illustrations, and an abiding sense of the Godhead are perfect and infinite ; his and. A low estate, Paul gave two purposes: 's Gnomon of the gospel is “ the riches. Would recognise himself as the chief of sinners the `` leaster '' ) of all others sublime resting... Apparent in his commission to make it, and redemption—all centred and summed up in the New Testament and. Again for that goal all saints. ” man ’ s ease in his commission to preach v.... To enlarge our views of the superlative. that men try to make the gospel and in of! Designation of minister to the Gentiles the privileges of Christ ’ s faith is very influenced. Nature than in all things consist power, and with other statements of the wisdom the. Will always assume its responsibilities as a hyperbole in words only intercession and advocateship come next to be to. The humility of St. Paul as here described that will not consider this character of Paul, 1. By Evening, pp too low an estimate of himself, with everything for Christian Read. Which is most precious is boundless upon you ; thus Jesus died for the Ephesians the desert define!, well know that men try to make it highly praised and prized by commentators present sinfulness a magnificent ring... Do Him homage China, needed an assistant, Mr. Milne, offered, and best favor to be.! Motives and principles was emphatically the gospel he preached formed upon a superlative: more least than all Christians is!
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