Amplified: [It is this:] that the Gentiles are now to be fellow heirs [with the Jews], members of the same body and joint partakers [sharing] in the same divine promise in Christ through [their acceptance of] the glad tidings (the Gospel). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: The secret is that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, fellow-members of the same body, fellow-sharers in the promise in Jesus Christ, through the good news (Westminster Press)
NET: namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. (NET Bible)
NLT: And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God's children. Both groups have believed the Good News, and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It is simply this: that the Gentiles, who were previously excluded from God's agreements, are to be equal heirs with his chosen people, equal members and equal partners in God's promise given by Christ through the Gospel. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and belong jointly to the same body, and are fellow partakers of His promise in Christ Jesus, revealed through the good news (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: that the nations be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in the Christ, through the good news,
TO BE SPECIFIC, THAT THE GENTILES ARE FELLOW HEIRS AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE BODY: einai (PAN) ta ethne sugkleronoma kai sussoma: (Ep 2:13-22; Romans 8:15, 16, 17; Galatians 3:26, 27, 28, 29; 4:5, 6, 7) (Ep 4:15,16; 5:30; Romans 12:4,5; 1Corinthians 12:12,27; Colossians 2:19)
Paul coins 3 words (2 of which are used no where else in the NT) to make the mystery known = The Gentiles are now…
1) Fellow Heirs (joint heirs)
2) Fellow Members of the Body (joint bodies)
3) Fellow Partakers of the Promise (joint partakers)
To be specific - added by the translators.
Are (1511) (eimi) explains the content of the Spirit's revelation. The contents of the mystery are a fact, not a purpose. The believing Gentiles are fellow-heirs, etc, with the believing Jews.
Gentiles (1484) (ethnos) refers to non-Jews or the heathen and when preceded by the definite article ("the") in Greek, means "the nations" which is synonymous with the Gentiles a description implying those who practice idolatry and are ignorant of the true and living God. Remember that all of mankind can be divided into the general groups of Jew and Gentile. It follows that "Gentile" is a synonym for anyone who is non-Jew and is not one of the "chosen people". The Hebrew word for the Gentiles is goyim. From Genesis 12 onward the majority of the Scriptures are about the Jews, with the Gentiles mentioned as they interface with the Jews.
Ethnos - 162 times in NT - Matt. 4:15; 6:32; 10:5, 18; 12:18, 21; 20:19, 25; 21:43; 24:7, 9, 14; 25:32; 28:19; Mk. 10:33, 42; 11:17; 13:8, 10; Lk. 2:32; 7:5; 12:30; 18:32; 21:10, 24f; 22:25; 23:2; 24:47; Jn. 11:48, 50ff; 18:35; Acts 2:5; 4:25, 27; 7:7, 45; 8:9; 9:15; 10:22, 35, 45; 11:1, 18; 13:19, 46ff; 14:2, 5, 16, 27; 15:3, 7, 12, 14, 17, 19, 23; 17:26; 18:6; 21:11, 19, 21, 25; 22:21; 24:2, 10, 17; 26:4, 17, 20, 23; 28:19, 28; Rom. 1:5, 13; 2:14, 24; 3:29; 4:17f; 9:24, 30; 10:19; 11:11ff, 25; 15:9ff, 16, 18, 27; 16:4, 26; 1 Co. 1:23; 5:1; 12:2; 2 Co. 11:26; Gal. 1:16; 2:2, 8f, 12, 14f; 3:8, 14; Eph. 2:11; 3:1, 6, 8; 4:17; Col. 1:27; 1 Thess. 2:16; 4:5; 1 Tim. 2:7; 3:16; 2 Tim. 4:17; 1 Pet. 2:9, 12; 4:3; Rev. 2:26; 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:2, 9, 18; 12:5; 13:7; 14:6, 8; 15:3f; 16:19; 17:15; 18:3, 23; 19:15; 20:3, 8; 21:24, 26; 22:2
It is important to note that the Old Testament clearly states that God will save the Gentiles through Israel, but nowhere does it state that both Jews and Gentiles will form "one new man", both in one body, the church, the body of Christ. This mystery was revealed by the Spirit to Paul and other leaders in the early church but it was a truth that was difficult for Jews to accept.
"Sun" in Ephesians
In each of the three descriptions of this "new race" which are no longer Jew and no longer Gentile but are now "one new man" Paul utilizes words that all begin with the same prefix "sun" a preposition that means "with". Sun however differs from "meta", the other Greek preposition meaning "with", in that the former describes a more intimate relationship. Here is Wayne Barber's illustrative explanation of the difference…
Ephesians is "rich" in combination words beginning with "sun". Clearly Paul is emphasizing to his Greek reading audience a profound sense of unity that now exist in believers (see the 2 uses that have a negative connotation). Here is a list of the "sun--" words, composed of verbs and nouns…
Sun- can also be written "syn-" and is an important prefix to many familiar English words - synagogue, synergy, synonym, synoptic, synchronous, syncretism, symphony, sympathy, symmetry, etc)
Fellow heirs (4789) (sugkleronomos from sun = with, together, implying a closer relationship, intimacy or union + kleronomos = heir, sharer by lot, a possessor) is a joint heir, one who participates in the same lot. Sugkleronomos speaks of receiving possessions along with another OR OF inheriting together with. Heirs as used by Paul describes one who obtains something assigned to himself with others and the focus is upon receiving an unearned gift. In the biblical sense ‘heirs of God’ are those who receive the blessings that God has for His people.
Even in the OT (cf Genesis 12:3) God had included Gentiles in the sphere of salvation, but heretofore it was never on an equal footing with Jewish believers. Now God has revealed that the Gentiles are to share equally with saved Jews as heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Ro 8:17), and fellow heirs with all the redeemed. The two have become one new man in Christ.
Kleronomos signifies more than one who inherits, or obtains a portion, it means to take into possession.
Sugkleronomos is used of Abraham in Heb 11:9; of a husband and wife who are also united in Christ in 1Pe 3:7; here in Ephesians of Gentiles who believe, as participants in the gospel with Jews who believe, and of all believers as prospective participants with Christ in His glory, as recompense for their participation in His sufferings, Ro 8:17.
In Galatians Paul alludes to the equality and heirship of Gentiles writing that…
Fellow (joint) heirs is used 4 times in the NT…
Fellow members of the body (4954) (sussomos from sun = with, together, implying a closer relationship, intimacy or union + soma = body, used figuratively here of the Church) refers literally to a joint body and figuratively to fellow-members of the Christian community. It describes a "co-member" or one who is a member of a group, with emphasis upon the coordinate relation to other members of the group.
The best commentary on this unique word which appears to have been coined by Paul what he had just explained in Ephesians 2 writing…
As Wayne Barber says…
The Gentiles are at no distance or disadvantage now, but share a position of equality with saved Jews. Both groups are united in one body as members of the "Mystical Body of Christ", the Church, which corporately is a new man, a new creation, in which the line of separation (the barrier of the dividing wall) between Jew and Gentile has been broken down
In Jesus Christ we are made fellow members of one body, and all the middle walls that separate us are removed. This has been demonstrated clearly again and again when people of different backgrounds and cultures and classes, different outlooks, different races, have come together in Christ and found that all the differences which once seemed to be so tremendous are reduced to nothing, and they are able to overleap them and be healed in their fellowship together.
S Lewis Johnson had some enlightening comments on this section writing that what…
AND FELLOW PARTAKERS OF THE PROMISE IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGH THE GOSPEL: kai summetocha tes epaggelias en Christo Iesou dia tou euaggeliou: (Gal 3:14; 1Jn 1:3; 2:25)
Ruth Paxson tells the following story which indicates that there is a great need for a proper understanding of this foundational truth of Jew and Gentile in one body…
Fellow partakers (4830) (summetochos from sún = with, together, implying a closer relationship, intimacy or union + metochos = a partaker or sharer as one who participates with and shares common blessings with another) means literally partaking together with one, a joint partaker of something, a sharing with (a co-sharer, co-participant).
It means to share in the possession of something, in this case "the promise in Christ Jesus".
Summetochos was used in the papyri of those who were joint possessors of a house.
Thus Gentile believers who have entered the New Covenant by faith now share in all the gracious promises of God, except those specifically concerned with the future of Israel as a nation. In the present context the promise refers to the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus as proclaimed in the Gospel.
Paul also spoke of the promise of the Spirit associated with salvation writing to the Galatians
Ray Stedman applies this truth about fellow partakers in the promise of Christ Jesus writing that…
As fellow partakers or fellow sharers, it is perfectly proper for Gentile believers to claim and apply the wonderful blessings first given to the Jews in the promises found in the Psalms and Proverbs and the rest of the Old Testament (again excepting those promise made specifically to the nation of Israel, such as the land of Palestine.)
William Barclay puts these great privileges made available to Gentiles in their historical/cultural perspective writing that…
The promise (1860) (epaggelia from epí = upon or intensifier of meaning + aggéllo = tell, declare = to announce with certainty as to what one will do) is a declaration to do something with implication of obligation to carry out what is stated. Epaggelia was a legal term denoting promise to do or give something. It was a legally binding declaration giving one to whom it is made right to expect or claim performance of the specific act. Most often epaggelia is used to describe the promises of God. and provides firm assurance of His future action.
Epaggelia - 52x in NT - Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4; 2:33, 39; 7:17; 13:23, 32; 23:21; 26:6; Rom. 4:13f, 16, 20; 9:4, 8f; 15:8; 2 Co. 1:20; 7:1; Gal. 3:14, 16ff, 21f, 29; 4:23, 28; Eph. 1:13; 2:12; 3:6; 6:2; 1 Tim. 4:8; 2 Tim. 1:1; Heb. 4:1; 6:12, 15, 17; 7:6; 8:6; 9:15; 10:36; 11:9, 13, 17, 33, 39; 2 Pet. 3:4, 9; 1 Jn. 2:25
Wayne Barber explains that "fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" speaks of…
In Christ Jesus - (See also in Christ, in Christ Jesus ) The inclusion of Gentiles in God's purposes remained mysteriously unclear under the old covenant. It became clear in Christ through the preaching of the Gospel, the good news of redemption and reconciliation of God and man and of Jew and Gentile.
William MacDonald explains that…
Gospel (2098) (euaggelion from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) is literally good message and was in common use in first century indicating good news of any kind. A common question must have been “Have you any good news (euaggelion) for me today?”
Euaggelion - 76x in NT - Mt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 1:1, 14f; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Acts 15:7; 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25; 1 Co. 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Co. 2:12; 4:3f; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14; 11:4, 7; Gal. 1:6f, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; Eph. 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil. 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col. 1:5, 23; 1Th 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8f; 3:2; 2Th 1:8; 2:14; 1Ti 1:11; 2Ti 1:8, 10; 2:8; Philemon 1:13; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 14:6
As in the OT so among the Greeks, euaggelion was used for the proclamation of news of victory and the death or capture of the enemy! Ponder this in terms of our enemies!. Often the news was sent in a letter, but also came from the field of battle by ship, by horse, or a swift runner, who proclaims to the anxiously awaiting city the victory of the army, and the death or capture of the enemy.
Others uses of euaggelion included being gladdened by the birth of a son, by news of an approaching wedding, or of the death of someone.
The Cult of the Caesar was the state religion of the Roman empire, in which the emperor was worshipped as a god. When the announcement of the emperor’s birthday was made, or the accession of a new Caesar (gives rise to our English Kaiser & Czar!) proclaimed, the account of either event was designated by the word euaggelion or “good news.” The NT evangelists appropriated the word, take it out of the secular usage, and applying it to the message of salvation as the "best news" a man could ever hear!
E Stanley Jones wrote that…
A B Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel
John Phillips sums up this verse writing that…
Amplified: Of this [Gospel] I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s free grace (undeserved favor) which was bestowed on me by the exercise (the working in all its effectiveness) of His power. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: of which I was made a servant through the free gift of the grace of God, which was given to me according to the working of his power. (Westminster Press)
NET: I became a servant of this gospel according to the gift of God's grace that was given to me by the exercise of his power. (NET Bible)
NLT: By God's special favor and mighty power, I have been given the wonderful privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And I was made a minister of that Gospel by the grace he gave me, and by the power with which he equipped me. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: of which I became one who ministers according to the gift of the grace of God, which grace was given to me according to the operative energy of His power. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: of which I became a ministrant, according to the gift of the grace of God that was given to me, according to the working of His power
OF WHICH I WAS MADE A MINISTER: ou egenethen (1SAPI) diakonos : (Ep 3:2; Romans 15:16; 2Corinthians 3:6; 4:1; Colossians 1:23, 24, 25)
In Ephesians 3:7-9 Paul to explains how his ministry is connected with the Church.
Made (1096) (ginomai) means to be made or to come into existence, in this case referring to Paul coming into existence as a servant!
The idea that Paul did not make himself a minister (Corollary caveat: Guard against seeking your ministry, instead seeking of to discern His ministry which He has prepared for you-see this principle in Eph 2:10-note); and know that if you are a follower of Christ, you are a priest and you have a ministry to fulfill - cp 1Pet 2:9-note, 1Pe 4:10, 11-note) but that God brought him into existence (as it were) as a minister and servant. The calling and empowering of God's minister is His prerogative Alone. This principle is seen throughout the NT…
Minister - this translation might mislead some to think Paul is referring to our modern day meaning of minister, a word that designates the pastor of a church. The NT never uses diakonos with that connotation. Paul is saying that he ministered the gospel or served God in the capacity of proclaiming and teaching the gospel.
Minister (1249)(diakonos - some say from diakonis = "in dust laboring" "running thru dust". Others from diako same as dieko = to hasten) represents the servant in his activity for the work he is to do and speaks of one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master. A diakonos in the NT described attendants, waiters at table or those with other menial duties, deacons, ministers, servants (both slaves and hired) not in his relation to his master, but in his activity. The diakonos represents the servant in his activity for the work.
Diakonos - 29x in the NT - Matt. 20:26; 22:13; 23:11; Mk. 9:35; 10:43; Jn. 2:5, 9; 12:26; Rom. 13:4; 15:8; 16:1; 1 Co. 3:5; 2 Co. 3:6; 6:4; 11:15, 23; Gal. 2:17; Eph. 3:7; 6:21; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:7, 23, 25; 4:7; 1 Tim. 3:8, 12; 4:6
ACCORDING TO THE GIFT OF GOD'S GRACE WHICH WAS GIVEN TO ME: kata ten dorean tes charitos tou theou tes dotheises (AAPFSG) moi: (Ep 3:8; Romans 1:5; 1Corinthians 15:10; 1Timothy 1:14,15)
According to (2596) (kata) in proportion to.
Gift of Grace - means the gift consisting of the grace of God.
Gift (1431)(dorea from dídomi = to give) refers to a free gift laying stress on the gratuitous character of the gift. This refers to the gift in which the grace of God consisted, Paul's apostleship to the Gentiles.
Dorea - 11 times in NT - Jn. 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17; Ro 5:15, 17; 2 Co. 9:15; Eph. 3:7; 4:7; Heb. 6:4
Grace (5485) (charis) in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. It is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give. Grace addresses man's sin while mercy addresses man's misery. The gift of grace makes men fit for salvation, making strangers into God's sons.
What is "God's grace" in this context? The aspect of grace in view is the office of the apostleship or the ministry to the Gentiles.
D L Moody said
John Flavel's offers a picturesque description of grace…
Jowett defined grace as "holy love on the move".
Grace first inscribed my name
Grace is free but it is not cheap for as Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us
Trench wrote that
In its use among the Gentiles charis referred to a favor done by one Greek to another out of the pure generosity of his heart, and with no hope of reward. When it is used in the NT, it refers to that favor which God did at Calvary when He stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of human sin. In the case of the Greek, the favor was done to a friend, never an enemy. In the case of God it was an enemy, the sinner, bitter in his hatred of God, for whom the favor was done. God has no strings tied to the salvation He procured for man at the Cross.
ACCORDING TO THE WORKING OF HIS POWER: kata ten energeian tes dunameos autou: (Ep 3:20; 1:19; 4:16; Isaiah 43:13; Romans 15:18,19; 2Corinthians 10:4,5; Galatians 2:8; Colossians 1:29; 1Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21)
According to (2596) (kata) in proportion to. Pause for a moment and ponder (Meditate on) the productive proportionate power of God the Omnipotent One! Apply this truth to whatever you are struggling with - e.g., is it some besetting sin, etc? If God graciously makes His resurrection power available to us [which He does!] through the Holy Spirit Who forever indwells us, then why am I not experiencing this power? Am I trusting my feeble efforts rather than His extravagant omnipotence? In other words am I persisting in reliance on self, rather than pursuing reliance on the Spirit? Am I grieving His Holy Spirit by harboring some secret/unconfessed sin (cp Eph 4:30-note; see some of those sins in Eph 4:29-note, Eph 4:31-note)? Am I doubting that His omnipotent power could really exert a positive effect in my personal situation, my besetting sin, my "addiction", my unforgiving spirit, my bitterness, etc, etc? (cp James 1:5, 6-note, James 1:7, 8-note)
According to the working of His power - The gift was bestowed in accordance with that efficiency which could transform Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. In other words the fact that God could save a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and commission him to be an apostle was a clear demonstration of the "working of His power".
Marvin Vincent writes that…
Working (1753)(energeia from energes = at work, operative, active from en = in + érgon = work <> English = energy, energetic) describes active, operative, efficient and effective power. Energeia is exclusively a Pauline word used only to describe superhuman power, whether of God or of the devil; of God.
Energeia - 8x in NT - Eph. 1:19; 3:7; 4:16; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:29; 2:12; 2Th 2:9, 11
Energeia is found in the classic Greek writings first in Aristotle describing diabolic influences. And so in In Hellenism, as in Philo, the word group energeia/energeo (noun/verb) is used of cosmic or physical forces at work in man or the world around.
Energeia, for example, describes God’s operative power in raising Christ, Paul instructing the Colossian saints that they have
In Php 3:21 (note) Paul gives us the glorious, encouraging, sure promise (a "Blessed Hope") that our Lord Jesus Christ
Power (1411)(dunamis [Note words derived from the stem duna— all have the basic meaning of “being able,” of “capacity” in virtue of an ability & root for English dynamic, dynamo]) means inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.
Dunamis is the root from which we derive the English word dynamic, which describes that which is marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change. That which is dynamic is characterized by energy or forces that produce motion, as opposed to that which is static. As an application of the truth of dunamis - how would you describe your Christian life - dynamic or static? Beloved child of the Most High God, be encouraged to partake of His plentiful power by faith and obedience and experience the times of refreshing and revival which come from the presence and power of the Spirit of Christ!
Our word “dynamite” is the transliteration of dunamis but not its translation. Dunamis does not refer to an explosive powder. The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder as if the gospel will blow men to bits but as discussed above, it refers to intrinsic power. The gospel is not the "dynamite" of God in the sense of dynamite's explosiveness. Although in the sense that a stick of dynamite contains the inherent power to effect results it would be a reasonable picture of the Greek word.
The work to be performed is ours,