Paul cites some reasons for his imprisonment. 9; 5:32; 6:19, Col 1:26-27; 2:2; 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:9; 3:16). Would that we had the faith of this mighty apostle who understood so clearly that Caesar was not in control; Jesus is. But Paul says this is not true. Paul"s duty involved receiving revelation not previously given (i.e, the mystery, secret), specifically that Gentiles and Jews were equal partners in the church ( Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 3:6). And that light has been reaching out to the world ever since, bringing men out of the old into the new. that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. In verse 2 Paul refers to his ministry to the Ephesians. Paul asked the Ephesians to pray "also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19)." Randy, thanks for posting your input here. He is the One who opens, and no man shuts, who shuts, and no man opens, who orders, and his will is carried out. Gerald F. Hawthorne, We don't know what to do about these things. "A people who sat in darkness saw a great light," (Isaiah 9:2 RSV). “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” (1:9-10) He understood everything they did, knew everything Jesus had taught them in the days of his flesh. He may have to do that with some of us, too. 1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—. Ralph P. Martin and I refer you to Matthew 13, where you have it recorded that our Lord spoke these amazing words. And the effects of it can be felt in our relationships with others, in our attitudes within, in our treatment of the environment around, in our enjoyment of the world of nature which is already present around us, and ultimately, in the power of the Holy Spirit imparted to us to make us live as we ought to live, in the fullness of joy and peace and life and glory and rejoicing before God. But they didn't know what kind of life, what it would be like. This is how Paul sees himself -- as a steward of the mysteries of God. [2] “The NT concept of the mystery is most fully Here he is touching the whole problem of man and his universe, man living in a natural world, the dominion (or lack of it) of man over that world, and the reason why we cannot solve our ecological riddles. In Colossians, Paul will again refer to "mystery" in the next verse, as well as Colossians 2:2 and Colossians 4:3. You may live your life as a member of the new creation -- in the midst of the old, but not part of it any more -- "no longer strangers, no longer foreigners," says the apostle. Therefore, he never saw himself as being the prisoner of Caesar. But, as we have already seen, it was the Lord Jesus who began to unveil it. Why is there so much hatred and resentment and bitterness and malice? Paul himself, and all the other apostles, would deny this. Read Acts 9:1-15 (as background for this section of Ephesians) Note the relationship between Paul’s commission in Acts and his explanation of his ministry in Ephesians 3:1-13. Paul had written of this mystery before in this epistle ( Ephesians 1:9-10; Ephesians 2:11-22). The profound mystery of becoming one flesh and giving up our individual freedom and being supernaturally bound with our spouse highlights the profound mystery of becoming one with Christ and being supernaturally bound to him. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:   "I will open my mouth in parables,   I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." Now, you can't wait till that time to get on the bandwagon; it has already started. 2 You heard about the stewardship of God’s grace given to me for you, 3 and how by revelation the mystery was made known to me. (Matthew 13:34 RSV). All Right Reserved. Again, Paul used epistles like Ephesians, and also Colossians b. [8] Peter T. O’Brien, “Mystery,” ed. In verses 3-6 Paul again talks about the “mystery of Christ”. The first breakthrough was on Christmas Day, when in the darkness of the world -- sunk in apathy and misery, in superstition and blindness, and in death -- a light broke through. Read Ephesians 2:1-3 This is the mystery, as Paul describes it to us, and as God wants us to understand it. It is the only hope you will ever have of living according to the glory God designed for man when he created him in the beginning. So when Peter and James and John and the other apostles began to compare notes with Paul, they were astonished that this apostle, this man who had been the persecutor of the church and the chief murderer of the saints in Jerusalem, understood not only the doctrine they had been taught, but also the very events they had gone through. It is not a period of time at all; it is a responsibility to dispense something, a stewardship. He would have preached to them and taught them directly from the Word, but never would have had time to write it down. Put in these terms, this means that the present "civilization" we are living in secular life, with its politics, its education, its legislative system, its reportage of news events can be likened to a cocoon, clinging lifelessly to the branch of history. What is the "great mystery" that the apostle Paul refers? What we are to inherit from God, ultimately, is the world. Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), 782. Paul tells us, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours;" (1 Corinthians 3:21b-22 RSV). The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). Well, the mystery was not about whether the Lord would reach out to the Gentiles, since Isaiah had made it clear that the Messiah would bring His salvation to all nations (Isaiah 49:5-6). This is a picture of life in the flesh, the natural human life. In Christ, God is beginning a new creation, one that lives by a wholly different principle and is not subject to this law. 8977-8979. This is particularly true of this passage, because Paul begins "For this reason ..." -- but he doesn't give the reason toward which he is moving until Verse 13! This may seem like old stuff to you, for unfortunately these words have come so frequently to our ears that we've lost the impact of them. He saw that Caesar was not the one who had the final say about him; Jesus did. © 2018 - ShepherdThoughts.com. Christians have the answer to the ecological crisis. What is interesting is that the word "mystery," in Paul's writings, occurs in close proximity to the word "stewardship" that Paul used in verse 2. I don't know how you think of yourself, but I know that it helps greatly to personalize these great truths, to remember that this is where God wants the application finally to be made -- right home into your hearts, into your lives, into your families. I enjoy helping people learn and live the Bible. There are those who tell us that the Apostle Paul learned his gospel from the other apostles, who in turn had heard it from Jesus, and that, therefore, Paul's apostleship is somewhat less than theirs. The word mystery (μυστήριον) appears prominently throughout Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, occurring six times in total, more than in any other New Testament (NT) book. We are unable to stem the tide of broken marriages, and so our divorce rate is higher than that of any other nation in the world. But the reason they cannot grasp the answer is that they have never dealt with the heart of the problem, the great secret to all things. (Romans 16:25-27 RSV). But this is what the apostles were teaching -- that God has already broken through the old creation, and, right in the midst of the old, he is creating a new. In other words, Jesus himself had appeared to Paul and had told him all that went on in the Upper Room. I think this is a hint that he recognized that if it were not for the fact he had been made a prisoner, he would never have had time to write these letters which have changed the course of history. They could not understand why the mighty apostle had to be a prisoner -- limited, unable to come to them in their need as a growing young church -- and why all communication with him had to be by correspondence. 2:15-16). This is the great mystery. Paul tells us that, “beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great.” Then he records what may be an early hymn of the church: “He [Jesus] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). Read Ephesians 2:1-3 They mobbed him and would have lynched him on the spot had it not been for the intervention of the Roman guard. Here Paul does something that he does frequently (and only the Apostle Paul does this) -- he coins words. Ephesians 5:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Ephesians 5:32, NIV: "This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church." Here was a man who spoke with direct authority, commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself. To us is committed this responsibility. Mystērion is used 27 times in the Greek New Testament, 1 Ephesians having the highest occurrence (6 times). The “mystery” of Colossians 1:27 is explained in the two previous verses. W. Ephesians, Kindle ed. Thanks for asking! (Ephesians 3:2-6) What did Paul mean when he said it was a mystery that was not made known to men in other generations? This mindset will enable us to manifest our spiritual reconciliation with Christ and one another in a practical, visible way. To do so, it will first provide a definition of the word, then highlight key insights from each occurrence. Solutions are coming into being as we grasp what Christ has made available to us. Then he is carried along from one truth to another until finally he gets back to what he started to say in the beginning. The third element of his stewardship, Paul says, is that it has given him great insight: "... the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly." But how much more are there great riches in store for us who will give some time and thought and effort to grasping this great secret which Paul sets forth before us here -- the ultimate secret behind all things: the mystery of Christ. It is mystery which makes life entrancing, fascinating. [13] Apart from Paul making this connection, we would never have considered it. We do not know anything fully. And, he says, they added nothing to him. [16] Though this message enabled true social reconciliation, it was not always well received. In verse 2 Paul refers to his ministry to the Ephesians. This is where we get our understanding of the authority of this great apostle. There is something about human beings which causes us to be fascinated by something hidden, secret, by cryptic truth which needs to be discovered and revealed. The only thing that can cure it is death itself. ... Paul wrote Ephesians as a rough draft for Colossians but it was mistakenly inserted in the Pauline collection. We don't know how to break loose from this syndrome. Nobody has yet ever found out what goes on inside a cocoon that transforms a caterpillar into a butterfly. Amen. 16:25-27. God revealed this mystery to Paul and to other apostles and prophets as well (Eph 3:5), who would reveal it to the church (3:3). believing Jews and Gentiles are now one in the body of Christ.” Hoehner, Harold This is what they never understood. This is Paul's explanation of the great mystery. Rather, break loose and be free in Jesus Christ.". But if we see it as a stewardship we will understand it. This is the biblical idea behind the word dispensation. [10] Thielman, Frank. Gen 2:24). The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). When you do, you will understand the practical import of this fantastic mystery which is at the heart of all life, and which God will begin to unfold to us more and more as we go on, until it simply 'blows our minds' with the wonder of what is waiting for us. If you read that as merely theological language, you have missed the import of what he is saying -- that every bit of life finds its final solution in the person and being of the Lord Jesus himself. And, more than this, he was taught this personally by none other than the Lord Jesus himself. In this expositional study of Ephesians 1:9, Nathan Johnson gives an overview of how Paul talks about the “mystery” in Scripture and then gives clarity as to what it is and how knowing and living in the reality of this mystery will change our lives – for this mystery is … Ephesians 3:9 Context. All rights reserved. What is it? And here he makes up three words which you find nowhere else in the Greek New Testament. (verses 3 & 5) To Paul The internal evidence in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon designate that they were the Apostle’s writings while he was a “prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Paul also states that he is a prisoner for you Gentiles” (Eph. Some of you have learned truth you ought to write down and pass along. We don't know what to do with the millions of people who have been shoved off into ghettos, areas of our cities where economic pressures force them to live, and prevent them from having available to them the resources of life that many of us enjoy. (1 Corinthians 4:1 RSV). That is, great men of God in the Old Testament did not understand this mystery. Think of this! He already picks up that theme of mystery in Ephesians 1: 9 and 10 where he says that in Christ all things have been summed up. The origin of μυστήριον is obscure. We don't know how to balance this. As Paul came to understand the One whom he served, he knew that Jesus is in control of history. A steward was a servant to whom a certain responsibility was committed, certain goods were given, that he might dispense them, might give them out to other people. This study will explore the meaning and significance of this concept in Ephesians. Paul tells us that, “beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great.” Then he records what may be an early hymn of the church: “He [Jesus] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). This is the great mystery. But now we come to the full statement of what it is. He saw him as John did in the book of Revelation -- as sitting on his throne, holding the reins of government in his hands. God has set his Son at the heart of all things. A quick note on the term mystery as used by Paul: it is something that was hidden but is now revealed in Christ. It is The Second Law of Thermodynamics, if you want the scientific term for it, the law of entropy. The answer, as is detailed in other places in Scripture, is that the old creation which has existed since the beginning of time is gripped by an unbreakable law, which Paul calls "the law of decay" in Romans 8. The mystery was in how He would do it. He didn't talk with the apostles; in fact, it was three years before he ever went back to Jerusalem after his conversion. It is not new to us -- we have been discussing and discovering aspects of it all along in this letter. I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory," you will understand what he is trying to say in the intervening sentences. As such, believers can abandon all “inferior and pseudo-mysteries – the rituals of the gods and goddesses they may have worshiped all their lives – and give their allegiance to Christ alone.”[11] This mission of Christ would was not revealed to previous generations, but God revealed to the church for the very first time. It divulges a crucial aspect of God’s will, that he would form a new, comprehensive union from all kinds of people, Gentile or Jew (cf. 2010), 188. And the glory of kings is to discover that which has been hidden. In this expositional study of Ephesians 1:9, Nathan Johnson gives an overview of how Paul talks about the “mystery” in Scripture and then gives clarity as to what it is and how knowing and living in the reality of this mystery will change our lives – for this mystery is … This is God's lesson regarding what he is doing now. —Rather, This mystery is a great one. His concern for these people was such that he would have gone to them had he been free. 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