Ephesians, Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. It is a consequence of this that I, Sha’ul, am a prisoner of the Messiah Yeshua on behalf of you Gentiles.
The letter was written from prison; compare 6:20.
2. I assume that you have heard of the work God in his grace has given me to do for your benefit,
3. and that it was by a revelation that this secret plan was made known to me. I have already written about it briefly,
The secret plan (see 1:9N) consists of two elements:
(1) the bringing of Gentiles into the people of God on an equal footing, previously known but not nearly so clearly (v. 5&N), and
(2) making known to spiritual beings in heaven, through the existence of the Messianic Community, the many-sided wisdom of God (vv. 9-10; see 1:20-23aN). I have... written about it, about the first part of the mystery, briefly, at 2:11—22; verse 6 below summarizes that passage.
4. and if you read what I have written, you will grasp how I understand this secret plan concerning the Messiah.
5. In past generations it was not made known to mankind, as the Spirit is now revealing it to his emissaries and prophets,
In the past there was less knowledge than now of the equality of Jews and Gentiles as God's people, but there was some knowledge, since at Ac 15:13-18 Ya'akov quotes the prophet Amos to make this very point.
6. that in union with the Messiah and through the Good News the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised.
7. I became a servant of this Good News by God’s gracious gift, which he gave me through the operation of his power.
8. To me, the least important of all God’s holy people, was given this privilege of announcing to the Gentiles the Good News of the Messiah’s unfathomable riches,
9. and of letting everyone see how this secret plan is going to work out. This plan, kept hidden for ages by God, the Creator of everything,
10. is for the rulers and authorities in heaven to learn, through the existence of the Messianic Community, how many-sided God’s wisdom is.
11. This accords with God’s age-old purpose, accomplished in the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
12. In union with him, through his faithfulness, we have boldness and confidence when we approach God.
13. So I ask you not to be discouraged by the troubles I endure on your behalf — it is all for your glory.
See vv. 1-2.
14. For this reason, I fall on my knees before the Father,
15. from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its character.
16. I pray that from the treasures of his glory he will empower you with inner strength by his Spirit,
17. so that the Messiah may live in your hearts through your trusting. Also I pray that you will be rooted and founded in love,
18. so that you, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love,
The breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah's love. Like many Jews I think of myself as broadminded and recoil from the narrowness of bigots and fundamentalists of all religions and non-religions. Therefore it reassures me to find that Yeshua's love has breadth; one can see the breadth of his love throughout the Gospel narratives. In addition, since his love has length it continues forever, since it has height it carries one's spirit upward into the very presence of God, and since it has depth it meets anyone even in the most dire distress and depression. Compare Psalm 139.
19. yes, to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that you will be filled with all the fullness of God.
20. Now to him who by his power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine,
21. to him be glory in the Messianic Community and in the Messiah Yeshua from generation to generation forever. Amen.
This resumes Sha'ul's prayer of 1:17-19.
From generation to generation forever. The language is that of the Psalms (e.g.. Psalms 48:13; 119:90; 145:4, 13).
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6