Ephesians 3:7
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his power.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) According to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.—The words “given by” should be rendered given according to. The working of God’s power is described, not as the means, but as the measure of the gift of His grace. In fact, what is a “gift” in its source, is “effectual working” in its actual nature. On the phrase “effectual working of power”—a divine force in the soul, not latent but energetic—see Ephesians 1:19. In the whole of this passage, however, the chief emphasis is laid, not on the spiritual power, but on the freedom of God’s gift to the Apostle of this high privilege of preaching the mystery of the gospel.

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.Whereof I was made a minister - see the notes at Ephesians 3:2.

According to the gift of the grace of God - It was not by my own seeking or merit; it was a free gift.

Of the grace of God - The sentiment is, that throughout it was a mere matter of grace that he was called into the ministry, and that so important an office was entrusted to him as that of bearing the gospel to the Gentiles.

By the effectual working of his power - Not by any native inclination which I had to the gospel, and not by any power which I have put forth. It is by "the energy of his power;" compare notes, Galatians 2:8. Locke understands this of the energy or power which God put forth in converting the Gentiles under his ministry. But it seems to me that it refers rather to the power which God put forth in the conversion of Paul himself, and putting him into the ministry. This is clear from the following verse. The meaning is, that such was his opposition to the gospel by nature, that nothing but the "energy of God" could overcome it, and that his conversion was to be traced to that alone.

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."

According to the gift of the grace of God; either according to the free gift of God, and which was given merely of grace; or by

gift he understands all those several gifts (as of knowledge, utterance, &c.) which were the necessary qualifications and furniture of an apostle for the due discharge of his office, all which were freely given to him.

Given unto me by the effectual working of his power; whereby God made him a preacher of the gospel, who had been a persecutor of believers, and wrought effectually by the Spirit with his preaching for the conversion of thousands, and spreading the gospel in many countries; and likewise wrought miracles for the confirmation of the truth, and conviction of hearers, Acts 19:12 28:8. 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.

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 3:7. Διάκονος] Comp. Colossians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 3:6; also Luke 1:2. Paul became a servant of the gospel when he was enjoined by God through Christ (Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:15 ff.; Acts 9:22; Acts 9:26) to devote his activity to the proclamation of the gospel. The distinction from ὑπηρέτης (used by Paul only at 1 Corinthians 4:1) is not, as Harless supposes, that διάκονος denotes the servant in his activity for the service, while ὑπηρέτης denotes him in his activity for the Master (see, in opposition to this, 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 13:4; 2 Corinthians 6:3; Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:6); but both words indicate without distinction of reference the relation of service, and the difference lies only in this, that the two designations, in accordance with their etymology, are originally borrowed from different concrete relations of service (διάκ., runner; ὑπηρ., rower; see the Lexicons, and on διάκονος, Buttm. Lexil. I. p. 218 ff.); in the usage, however, of the N.T., both words have retained merely the general notion of servant, as very frequently also with Greek writers. In opposition to Harless it may be also urged that not only is the expression διακονεῖν τινί τι used, but also in like manner ὑπηρετεῖν τινί τι (Xen. Anal, vii. 7. 46, Cyr. i. 6. 39; Soph. Phil. 1012). The gift, which was conferred upon Paul by the divine grace, and in consequence of which he became a servant of the gospel, is, agreeably to the context, the apostolic office (comp. Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:8), not the donum linguarum (Grotius), nor yet the gift of the Holy Spirit (Flatt, after older expositors).

κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργ. τ. δυν. αὐτοῦ] belongs to τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι. To the efficacious action of the power of God (comp. Ephesians 3:20, and on Ephesians 1:19) the bestowal of the gift of grace leads back the mind of the apostle, in the consciousness of what he had been before, Galatians 1:13 ff. “Haec est potentiae ejus efficacia, ex nihilo grands aliquid efficere,” Calvin. By the bestowal, in fact, of that gift of the divine grace Saul had become changed into Paul; hence κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργ. τ. δυν. αὐτοῦ.Ephesians 3:7. οὗ ἐγενόμην διάκονος κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ: of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God. The TR reads ἐγενόμην (with [239] [240] [241] [242], etc.). The less usual form ἐγενήθην, however, is given by [243] [244] [245] [246], 17, etc., and is to be preferred. There is no difference, however, in the sense; ἐγενήθην being simply the Doric equivalent to ἐγενόμην, which reappeared in the LXX and in later Greek generally. διάκονος is a servant, attendant of any kind; also a deacon in particular (Php 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:12), or a deaconess (Romans 16:1), and perhaps a waiter, one who serves at table (John 2:5; John 2:9). Here it has the general sense of minister, as Paul designates himself again in 2 Corinthians 3:6; Colossians 1:23. Once he calls himself ὑπηρέτης (1 Corinthians 4:1); but with no tangible difference in idea, except that ὑπηρέτης may suggest a still greater degree of subordination than διάκονος. The distinction drawn by some (Harless) between the two terms, as if διάκονος expressed activity in relation to the service and ὑπηρέτης activity in relation to the master, cannot be made good. τῆς χάριτος is probably the ger. of apposition or identity (as the χάρις in Ephesians 3:8 indicates), = the gift consisting in the grace; and the particular “grace” in view is the office of the apostleship or the ministry to the Gentiles (as Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:8 suggest), not the gift of tongues (Grot.) or the gift of the Holy Ghost (Flatt, etc.). That “grace,” too, was God’s gift (τοῦ Θεοῦ).—τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ: which was given to me according to the working of His power. F r the τὴν δοθεῖσαν, qualifying the δωρεάν, of the TR (with [247] [248] [249] [250], etc.) the better reading is τῆς δοθείσης, qualifying the χάριτος (with [251] [252] [253] [254] [255], 17, etc.; so LTTrWHRV). As the former sentence affirmed the gift of the grace, this one states the manner of the bestowal. The standard or proportion of the giving was the efficiency, the efficacious working (ἐνέργειαν) of God’s own power. The change in Paul when God made him an Apostle of Christ to the Gentiles was so great that he saw in it nothing less than the result of the Divine omnipotence.

[239] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[240] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[241] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[242] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[243] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[244] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[245] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[246] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[247] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[248] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[249] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[250] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[251] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[252] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[253] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[254] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[255] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.7. a minister] Diâconos, a worker, helper. Cp. Colossians 1:23. The word implies activity and subordination.—“I” here is not emphatic.

according to the gift, &c.] See above on Ephesians 3:2. The “gift” includes the commission and the inspiration. His “ministry,” both in field and in effect, was “according to” this great gift.

given] I.e. (by the best attested reading) the grace which was given. So R.V. “the gift of that grace which was given.”

by the effectual working &c.] Read certainly, according to the working, &c. For similar phrases cp. Ephesians 1:19; Php 3:21; and esp. Colossians 1:29, where, as here, he speaks of working “according to” a power experienced by himself.—A comma should be read before this second “according to.” The statement is that he “became a minister, according to,” in a way explained by, two things, a Divine Gift, and a Divine working Power. Observe the recognition, at once restful and energizing, that the actual movements of the power of God were the force behind all his apostolic activity. “By Him he moves, in Him he lives.” Cp. besides Colossians 1:29 just cited, 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Galatians 2:20; Php 4:13; Colossians 1:11.Ephesians 3:7. Οὗ, of which) viz. the Gospel.—κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν, according to the working) Ephesians 3:20; ch. Ephesians 1:19.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). Gift of the grace

The gift in which the grace of God consisted, the apostleship to the Gentiles.

By the effectual working of His power (κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ)

Rev., better, according to the working, etc. The gift was bestowed in accordance with that efficiency which could transform Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.

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