Ephesians 3 (The Riches of God’s Grace)

Eph 3:1          What does the break at the end of Eph 3:1, and the repetition in Eph 3:14 of the words Paul began in Eph 3:1, tell us about the content of Eph 3:2-13?  What is it in Eph 3:1 that prompts the coming digression?  See Eph 3:13.

Eph 3:2-13   What was the grace given to Paul, and on whose behalf was it given?  See also Eph 3:8.  What does he mean by referring to it as “the stewardship” (NASB) or “administration” (NIV) of God’s grace?  See Eph 3:9 and 1:10 for the same word.  What was the great mystery into which Paul had such insight?  See Eph 3:6.  How did he come to understand this mystery?  See Eph 3:3 & 5, Acts 9:15, 22:21.  Why was it such a great mystery that it required specific revelation from God?  What part of Paul’s deep understanding of this mystery do you think he obtained from his previous years of ministry where he was opposed by the Jews nearly everywhere he went?  What does this teach us about the nature of how God reveals things to us?  Besides proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles and preaching to them the unfathomable riches of Christ, what other grace was given to Paul?  See Eph 3:9.  Who was the administrator / steward of this great mystery that in the Jewish Messiah the Gentiles were no longer strangers and aliens to the covenant (see Eph 2:12,19) but fellow heirs and fellow partakers of the promise?  Was it the Jewish nation as it had been until then?  See Eph 3:10, and again Eph 3:2.  What was the “manifold wisdom of God” that Paul speaks of in Eph 3:10, and to whom is it to be made known by the church?  What is the significance that this new truth would be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly places?  See Eph 2:12, 1 John 5:19.  The efficacy of Christ’s death for the salvation of the Gentiles was completely unexpected and a total mystery to the entire world and all of creation, especially to the Jews; was it unexpected for God Himself and something that just happened to work out, perhaps because of the Jews’ rejection of the gospel?  See Eph 3:11, Rom 11:25,30-32.  Who is the “we” in Eph 3:12?  What effect would these truths have upon the Gentile believers?  What effect should they have upon us?  Why would Paul’s tribulations have the potential to cause His Gentile readers to lose heart or become discouraged?  See John 15:20, 2 Tim 1:8.  In what sense were his sufferings for their glory?  See Col 1:24-27.  Why should we never lose heart because of our own or other’s sufferings?  See Rom 8:35-39, 2 Cor 12:9-10, Acts 2:36.

Eph 3:14-19 For what reason did Paul offer the prayer that follows?  See also Eph 3:6, 1, and 2:19.  What does Paul mean that every family derives its name from the Father?  Note: the Greek word for father is pater, and the word for family is patria.  What does this teach us about the importance of a father to a family?  How has this importance been denigrated in our modern culture?  In light of the revelation of the great mystery that the Gentiles are fellow partakers of the promise, for what 4 or 5 things does Paul pray for them in these verses?  Why were they especially pertinent to the Gentiles?  Was the prevailing attitude among the Jews of the first century that the gift of the Spirit would ever be poured out to strengthen and empower the Gentiles, or that the Jewish Messiah would ever dwell in a Gentile heart, or that the Gentiles could ever comprehend and know the great love of the Jewish God, or that the Gentiles could ever be filled up to all the fullness of the true God?  See Acts 10:45, 11:2-3.  How are these same things pertinent to us still today?  How can we know that which surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:19)?  See Phil 3:12-14.  What does Paul’s prayer teach us about how we should pray?

Eph 3:20-21 How should Eph 3:20 inspire our faith and prayers?  See also Rom 8:28.  Does the same power that worked in Paul and the first century saints still work in God’s people today?  What is that power?  What should be our response to the magnitude of the riches of God’s grace to His people?  See Eph 3:21.

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