Amplified: Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: having made known to us the mystery of His will according to that which seemed good to Him, which good thing He purposed in himself, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,
HE MADE KNOWN TO US THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL: (Ep 1:17,18; 3:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Matthew 13:11; Romans 16:25, 26, 27; 1Corinthians 2:10, 11, 12; Galatians 1:12,16; Colossians 1:26, 27, 28; 1Timothy 3:16)
He made known (1107) (gnorizo) means to cause information to be known by someone communicating things before unknown or reasserting things already known, in this case referring to spiritual insight and understanding. Paul is going to explain why God has done so much for us as He has just described. The aorist tense describes a definitive action effectually performed though not stating necessarily when.
Don't miss what Paul is saying here -- Believers have been taken into the secret councils of the Almighty. He has unfolded to us what He plans to do, what He is going to accomplish in the future. We have been told something of the details of this plan. This is incredible!
To us - The believers, the true Body of Christ, the Church.
Mystery (3466) (musterion [word study] from mustes = classic Gk of a person initiated into sacred mysteries) in classical Greek meant something secret, especially the secrets of the "mystery" religions communicated only to the "initiated" and by them to kept untold! Musterion is used in the Apocryphal books of things hidden, e.g., the counsels of God. In contrast to this classical use, musterion as used in the New Testament is not mysterious or mystical but describes previously hidden truth now revealed by God (and in fact describes truth that can be known only through revelation mediated from God), especially some aspect of plan of salvation (such as Paul Jew + Gentile = church). That which was once hidden is now revealed and a secret out in the open. It does not convey the idea of something that we cannot take in or understand even when it is declared to us. It is notable that 10 of the 27 NT uses occur in 2 epistles, Ephesians and Colossians.
Musterion - 28x in 28v - Matt 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10; Rom 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor 2:1, 7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph 1:9; 3:3f, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Col 1:26f; 2:2; 4:3; 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:9, 16; Rev 1:20; 10:7; 17:5, 7
Eadie - "The essential idea of musterion, whatever may be the application, is, something into the knowledge of which one must be initiated, ere he comprehend it. In such a passage as this, it is not something unknowable, but something unknown till fitting disclosure has been made of it; something long hid, but at length discovered to us by God, and therefore a matter of pure revelation. The mystery itself is unfolded in the following verse. It is not the gospel or salvation generally, but a special purpose of God in reference to His universe. And it is called the mystery of “His will”" (John Eadie Commentary on Ephesians)
Cambridge Greek - God’s purpose for the world was the secret that He shared with His chosen. It is stated here in its widest scope. It is nothing less than the establishment or re-establishment of the whole creation in perfect harmony in the Christ. (Cambridge Greek Testament)
Four of the 27 NT uses of musterion are found in this letter to the Ephesians, Eph 1:9 and...
Mystery of His will = the mystery touching on or concerning His will, not the mystery originating in His will.
H C G Moule says musterion is "always in N. T., a truth undiscoverable except by revelation; never necessarily (as our popular use of the word may suggest) a thing unintelligible, or perplexing, in itself. In Scripture a “mystery” may be a fact which, when revealed, we cannot understand in detail, though we can know it and act upon it; such a fact as that of 1 Cor. 15:51, where we have it revealed that an inconceivable change will take place, at the last day, in the bodily condition of the then living saints; a change quite beyond the inferences of reason and also beyond the reach of imagination. Or it may be, as here, something much more within our understanding. But in both cases it is a thing only to be known when revealed. What this “mystery” is will be seen just below."
Expositor's Greek - its distinctive sense in the NT is that of something once hidden and now revealed, a secret now open. In this sense it is applied to the Divine plan of redemption as a whole (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 6:19; Col. 1:26; 1 Tim. 3:9, 16, etc.), or to particular things belonging to that Divine plan—the inclusion of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25; Eph. 3:3, 9), the transformation of Christians alive on earth at Christ’s return (1 Cor. 15:52), the union of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32). It does not convey the idea of something that we cannot take in or understand even when it is declared to us. It is peculiarly frequent in the kindred Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, ten out of the twenty-six or twenty-seven occurrences being found in them. Nor is it confined absolutely to the things of grace. Paul speaks also of the “mystery of lawlessness” (2Th 2:7). The redemption accomplished through Christ—this is the secret hidden for ages in the Divine Counsel and now revealed. This also is the truth, the disclosure of which to our understandings meant so large a gift of grace in the way of insight and spiritual discernment.
Will (2307) (thelema) describes a desire based upon the emotions. God’s will or desire in making known the mystery comes from His heart of love, from His gracious disposition toward those who are by nature His enemies and hostile toward Him!
Not just any "will" but His will, the will of the all knowing, all wise God!
ACCORDING TO HIS KIND INTENTION WHICH HE PURPOSED IN HIM: (Eph 1:11; 3:11; Job 23:13,14; Psalms 33:11; Isaiah 14:24, 25, 26, 27; 46:10,11; Jeremiah 2:29; Lam 3:37,38; Acts 2:23; 4:28; 13:48; Ro 8:28; 2Ti 1:9)
According to - does not modify "the mystery of His will" which needs no further definition but to His making known this mystery. It was made known according to His kind intention. In other words, the making known of this secret to us after the silence of the ages had its ground and reason in nothing else than the gracious counsel or free purpose of God.
Wuest - The words “according to” are kata, the preposition meaning “down” and suggesting domination. This desire on God’s part is dominated by His good pleasure (eudokia).
According to (2596) (kata) means not out of but according to. If billionaire gives you $10 it is out of his fortune (a portion) but if he gives a million dollars it is according to his riches (a proportion). His making known this mystery is in proportion to His kind intention.
Expositor's Greek - The opening of this secret to us after the silence of ages had its ground and reason in nothing else than the gracious counsel or free purpose of God.
Kind intention (2107) (eudokía) means His good will or pleasure. It refers to God's goodwill or good intent. The delight which God has in blessing saints is found in the fact that what He does for them is dictated by what is good for them.
Wuest - Eudokia "is made up of dokeō, “to seem, to be accounted.” It is often used in the question, “What does it seem to you?” The word eu means “well, to be well off, to prosper.” Thus eudokia means “that which seems good or well” to one. God’s good pleasure, therefore, is not an arbitrary whim of a sovereign, but represents that which in the wisdom and love of God would contribute most to the well-being and blessing of the saints. The word means “will, choice, delight, pleasure, satisfaction.” In the case of God, all these are dictated by what is good or well. Thus, the delight, pleasure, and satisfaction which God has in blessing the saints is found in the fact that what He does for them is dictated by what is good for them."
Which (3739) refers to His kind intention. God’s good pleasure Is not an arbitrary whim of a sovereign, but represents that which in the wisdom and love of God would contribute most to the well-being and blessing of the saints.
He purposed (4388) (protithemai from pró =before, forth + títhemi =place) (aorist tense) means literally to set something before oneself and so conveys the idea of determining something - to intend, to plan, to purpose. It is only used middle voice in the NT which brings out the "reflexive" idea which can be translated with the pronoun "oneself" = to set before oneself. In the middle voice it therefore means to set before oneself and hence is what God, intends, purposes or plans. The eternal purpose of God is in view as the context demonstrates.
Wuest - The word “will” is the translation, not of boule, a desire based upon the reason, but thelēma, a desire based upon the emotions. God’s will or desire here, comes from His heart of love.
In Him - "purposed in Him" - What Paul is saying is that the grand subject of the plan is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Expositors Greek - “The purpose is God’s own free determination, originating in His own gracious mind.”
It is notable that the KJV has “in Himself” instead of "in Him" as though the antecedent were God the Father. Although this is possible, the notion of the verb set forth implies a plan that is carried out in history (cf. Ro 1:13; Ro 3:25) and thus more likely refers to Christ.
Ephesians 1:10 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. In Him (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And this is his plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: He purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in Him. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: with respect to an administration of the completion of the epochs of time to bring back again to their original state all things in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth -- in Him;
WITH A VIEW TO AN ADMINISTRATION SUITABLE TO THE FULLNESS OF THE TIMES: eis oikonomian tou pleromatos ton kairon: (Isaiah 2:2, 3, 4; Daniel 2:44; 9:24, 25, 26, 27; Amos 9:11; Micah 4:1,2; Malachi 3:1; 1Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:2; 9:10; 11:40; 1Peter 1:20)
With a view (1519) (eis) is a preposition that conveys the sense of motion toward something and thus in context indicates what direction the purpose just stated took.
Administration (3622) (oikonomia from oíkos = house + némo = manage, distribute) (Click study of related word oikonomos) in secular Greek referred literally to the management of a household by the oikonomos, the steward manages a house and is accountable to the owner (which even involved a presentation and examination of records, receipts, disbursements, cash on hand and the settlement of accounts - our English words "economy", "economic" are derived from oikonomia and this background helps one see some association). Oikonomia indicates the task given to responsible and faithful servants who were appointed over the economy or an area of responsibility in the household. Thus oikonomia stresses obligation, responsibility, and faithfulness of the servant to his master in carry out the entrusted task.
In the present context oikonomia is used to refer to the administration or "management" by God of a certain period of human history which Paul designates as “the fulness of times” when God gathers everything to Himself and sums it up in His Son, Christ Jesus.
Oikonomia is used 9 times in the NAS -Luke 16:2, 16:3, 16:4; 1Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:10, 3:2, 3:9; Colossians 1:25; 1Timothy 1:4. NAS = administration, 3; management, 3; stewardship, 3. In the KJV it is also translated 4 times as dispensation.
That oikonomia relates to household management is shown especially in the use in Luke 16...
Paul uses oikonomia in a figurative sense (figurative because he is not managing a literal household) in Colossians 1:25 to describe his office as an apostle, who has been entrusted with a commission (see similar meaning in Ephesians 3:2 - note). Oikonomia thus referred to those who managed spiritual truths on God’s behalf. In Titus Paul uses oikonomia with this meaning writing that...
Detzler adds that...
Oikonomia also relates to general provision or arrangement. Here Paul uses oikonomia to suggest the administration or putting into effect of God's far-reaching redemptive plan
Paul uses oikonomia to describe God's sovereign order of salvation. Salvation is not a divine afterthought but on the contrary, salvation history derives from God’s eternal “plan” or oikonomia of salvation “to unite all things” in Christ.
Oikonomia is also used in the NT to refer to the state of being arranged (an arrangement) and speaks of order (arrangement or disposition of people or things according to a particular sequence or method) or plan. Stated another way oikonomia refers to a plan which involves a set of arrangements. In Scripture this use of oikonomia refers to God's unique plan of salvation, His arrangement for redemption of sinful men. Specifically Paul uses oikonomia with this meaning to refer to the administration by God of a certain period of human history designated as “the fulness of times” when God gathers everything to Himself.
NIDNTT writes that in classic Greek oikonomia was
TDNT has this note on oikonomia writing that
William Barclay summarizes Paul's though this way...
Fullness (4138) (pleroma) means a full measure with emphasis upon completeness. When is this time of completeness? Although note everyone would agree, it probably begins with Christ's Millennial reign when God fulfills His promises to Israel and is completed with the institution of New Earth described in Revelation 21:1 when He makes all things new.
Paul used pleroma in reference to Christ in Colossians writing that...
The Gnostics taught that Christ was kind of “halfway house” to God, a link in the chain with other better links on ahead. As Paul teaches the complete embodiment of God dwells permanently in Christ and will one day "come to a head".
The times (2540) (kairos) refers usually to a season or more specifically to a fixed and definite time possessing certain characteristics. For example, leaves change color in the Fall season and once that season has passed, the beautiful color change can no longer be seen.
Vincent - The fulness of the times is the moment when the successive ages of the gospel dispensation are completed. The meaning of the whole phrase, then, is: a dispensation characterized by the fulness of the times: set forth when the times are full.
THAT IS, THE SUMMING UP OF ALL THINGS IN CHRIST: anakephalaiosasthai (AMN) ta panta en to Christo: (Eph 1:22; 2:15; 3:15; Genesis 49:10; Matthew 25:32; 1Corinthians 3:22,23; 11:3; Philippians 2:9,10; Colossians 1:20; 3:11; Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 5:9; 7:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 19:4, 5, 6)
Ironside - What is the mystery of His will? Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. Here, succinctly, clearly, in one brief verse, we have the summing up of the mystery of God’s will. Everything is working on to this one near-at-hand, divine event toward which the whole creation moves, when God will head up everything in Christ. (Notes)
Wood - When a column of figures was added up, the total was placed at the top. At the end of the age everything will be seen to add up to Christ. This recognition of his preeminence will ensure that the original harmony of the universe is restored (Ro8:18–21). The mission of Christ extends beyond the human race and assumes cosmic dimensions. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 11)
Summing up (346) (anakephalaiomai not from kephale = head but from kephalaion = summary or sum total) means to bring something to a head or bring together under one head or in literary terms under one heading. When a column of figures was added up, the total was placed at the top. In another illustration of the use of this word in secular literature we read of the summarizing of the argument of an orator as he would do at the close of his discourse. Here it means to sum up, to "head up" all things in Christ in orderly and harmonious completion. Christ is the center of the universe, which some day will be integrated into one harmonious whole.
It conveys the idea that all things will be brought into meaningful relationship together under Christ. At the end of the age everything will be seen to add up to Christ. At present there is fragmentation and frustration. Things do not “add up.” On that day, however, under Christ, everything will add up or rather be summed up in Christ. This recognition of Christ's preeminence will ensure that the original harmony of the universe is restored (see Ro 8:18-21). The mission of Christ extends beyond the human race and assumes cosmic dimensions.
Paul's use of anakephalaiomai in Romans is illustrative of the meaning...
Thus the command to "love" is the category heading & all the other commands are listed under love as part of it or expressions of it.
In context the Head is Christ for He is the goal of History ("His-story") which achieves its culmination in Him Alone! Paradise lost in Adam is Paradise regained in Christ to Whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess as LORD. Have you bowed while you still have breath to declare "My Lord and My God"? If not today could be the day of your salvation.
The aorist tense is a definite summing up at a point in time. The middle voice pictures God as the Initiator of this action of summing up all things in Christ for Himself. The infinitive mood expresses purpose.
MacArthur comments that...
All things (3956) (pas) (literally "the things") means all without exception, (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3) and includes the whole creation. Paul's point is that Christ will gather the entire universe (now corrupted by sin and the whole world lying in the power of the evil one, Satan, 1John 5:19) into unity (Heb 1:8ff). Everything in heaven and on earth will be subjected to (and thus be summed up in) Christ (1Cor 15:24, 25, 26, 27, 28)...
After the Millennium Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:3,10). God will establish unity in Himself of all things that remain."
In (1722) (en) means in the sphere of, in this case in the sphere of Christ. In other words, after the one thousand year Messianic Kingdom, immediately follows the Great White Throne judgment at which time all the lost (those who never placed their faith in Messiah as Savior and Lord) are judged. At this time the cursed material universe is restored and saved men live on New Earth and endless ages begin. All things are thus summed up in (in the sphere of, the influence of) Christ.
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio = anoint, consecrate to office) is the Anointed One, the Messiah. God will accomplish all restoration in and thru Christ and His atoning death on the Cross. He is the Head, the center around which God revolves everything He does relating to sin and salvation.
God made known to us the mystery of His will, how everything is summed up under the headship of Christ. The world thinks it’s falling apart, but in actual fact it is coming together moving toward the final summation of everything under the headship of Jesus Christ.
In Christ - the vital and organic connection
John MacArthur explains God's administration or "management" of the fullness of times as follows...
Alexander Maclaren explains that in this passage
Vance Havner writes...
THINGS IN THE HEAVENS AND THINGS ON THE EARTH. IN HIM: ta epi tois ouranois kai ta epi tes ges; en auto:
Heavens (3772) (ouranos) in the physical sense refers to the over-arching, all-embracing heaven beneath which is the earth and all that is therein. First heaven = the atmosphere. Third heaven = God’s abode 2Cor 12:2-4 (Click note).
Earth (1093) (ge) means the earth in distinction from heaven.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes that...
In Him (846) (autos) fits more appropriately at the beginning of verse 11 than at the end of verse 10. But in either place the phrase clearly refers to Jesus Christ (v10), Who is the Source of our divine inheritance.
All things in Him - Be aware that Unitarian-universalists, liberals, some neo-orthodox, and other groups use this verse to support their belief that everyone will eventually be saved.
Norman Geisler refutes this false conclusion reasoning that...
Did you know that....
Ironside - In the future there will be another glorious economy, “The dispensation of the fulness of times.” That will be the last glorious age, which has been called ever since the dawn of the Christian era “the millennium” or “the reign of righteousness,” when,