|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 7. - Of which I became a minister; did not gradually grow up to the office, but became, at a given time and place, a minister, a διάκονος, a servant. According to the gift of the grace of God. The office of serving Christ was a gift, most undeserved on Paul's part, who had been a persecutor and injurious, but flowing from the free grace of God, his sovereign, unmerited mercy. Which was given me according to the working of his power. This denotes the manner of the gift; the gift itself, apostleship to the Gentiles, would have been little had it not been accompanied with Divine power. Spiritual office without spiritual power is miserable; but in Paul's case there was the power as well as the office; not merely the power of working miracles, as some have held, but besides this, the power of spiritual insight into the meaning of Scripture - power of exposition, power of demonstration, power of persuasion (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Acts 14:1; 1 Corinthians 4:7, etc.). Paul gratefully acknowledged that all the power of his ministry was God's, not his own (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whereof I was made a minister,.... That is, of the Gospel, not by men, but by God: and he is a true minister of the Gospel who is called of God to the work of the ministry, and is qualified by him with grace and gifts for it; and who faithfully discharges it according to the ability God has given; and such an one was the apostle:
according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me; not according to his natural capacity, his liberal education, or acquired learning; but according to a gift, a ministerial gift bestowed upon him, for such service: for this gift of grace does not design the grace of God wrought in his soul; nor the doctrines of grace, the subject of the Gospel ministry; nor the efficacious grace of God, which makes that successful and useful to the souls of men; but a gift of interpreting the Scriptures, and of explaining the truths of the Gospel to the edification of men; and which is a distinct thing from natural abilities, human learning, or internal grace; for there may be all these, and yet a man not fit to be a minister of the Gospel; what qualifies men for that is the above gift, which God, of his sovereign good will and pleasure, gives to some of the sons of men:
by the effectual working of his power; the power of God is seen in working grace in the hearts of men, thereby making them believers in Christ; and it is also displayed in the gifts of the Spirit bestowed on men, which is called a being endued with a power from on high; thereby making men, and not angels, and these oftentimes the meanest and weakest, ministers of Christ; and likewise in assisting them in their work, and in carrying them through it, and in making them successful in it, to the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Whereof—"of which" Gospel.
according to—in consequence of, and in accordance with, "the gift of the grace of God."
given—"which (gift of grace) was given to me by (Greek, 'according to,' as in Eph 3:20; 1:19: as the result of, and in proportion to) the effectual working (Greek, 'energy,' or 'in-working') of His power."
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