|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-7 For having preached the doctrine of truth, the apostle was a prisoner, but a prisoner of Jesus Christ; the object of special protection and care, while thus suffering for him. All the gracious offers of the gospel, and the joyful tidings it contains, come from the rich grace of God; it is the great means by which the Spirit works grace in the souls of men. The mystery, is that secret, hidden purpose of salvation through Christ. This was not so fully and clearly shown in the ages before Christ, as unto the prophets of the New Testament. This was the great truth made known to the apostle, that God would call the Gentiles to salvation by faith in Christ. An effectual working of Divine power attends the gifts of Divine grace. As God appointed Paul to the office, so he qualified him for it.
Verse 2. - If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God. Here begins the digression. The words, "if ye have heard," etc., do not denote an uncertainty, but are a delicate reminder. Doubtless they had heard of the matter when he was at Ephesus, and, as he remarks in ver. 3, he had already written briefly on it. Grace is here used in a more restricted sense than in Ephesians 1:2 - in the sense of Divine favor, honor, privilege - the same as in ver. 8, "To me... is this favor given." Which is given me to you-ward. The grace or favor meant is that whereby Paul was constituted the apostle of the Gentiles. Deeply though he felt his being sent away from preaching to his countrymen (Acts 22:18), he took kindly to the new sphere allotted to him, and magnified his office (Romans 11:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God,.... Not the free love and favour of God in his heart towards his people; nor internal grace wrought in the heart of the apostle; but either the gift of grace, as in Ephesians 3:7 qualifying him for the work of the ministry; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "if ye have heard the gift of the grace of God"; or rather the doctrine of grace, the Gospel, the subject matter of which is the grace of God; it is a declaration of the free grace of God in the salvation of men; and it is the means of conveying the grace of God into their hearts. Now the apostle had a dispensation to preach this Gospel committed to him; he acted by authority, and as a steward of the mysteries of God; and which he faithfully dispensed to the family of Christ, who appointed him to this service: this the Ephesians had heard of, from the relations of the apostle, and others, and knew it themselves, having often heard him preach, for he was with them for the space of three years; wherefore this is not said as if he questioned, whether they had heard or not, but as taking it for granted that they had: "if", or "seeing ye have heard", &c.
which is given me to you-ward; it was not for his own private use, that the Gospel was committed to him, or gifts were given him to qualify him for the dispensation of it, but for the sake of others, especially the Gentiles, and particularly the Ephesians.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
3:2 The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf - That is, the commission to dispense the gracious gospel; to you gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.
Ephesians 3:2 Parallel Commentaries
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