To whom shall He be compared, and with what can He be likened? “Which cannot be tracked out” (Vincent p. 381). What was the secret of this exultation in the gospel and in his commission to make the gospel known to all mankind? He has unsearchable riches of love for sinners as they are. This is an emblem and earnest of heaven, and a preparation for it.--Prayer. 2. The apostle’s words suggest that to hold the office of the ministry is a privilege. The writings of St. Paul prove the greatness of his humility by showing us also, that the highest spiritual attainments could not make him forget his meanness and guilt. Ephesians 3:8. In the old romance, they tell us that at the gate of a certain noble hall there hung a horn, and none could blow that horn but the true heir to the castle and its wide domains. Once again he repeats that it is a gift of God’s grace. 1. He just changes the vocabulary. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". 1. (c) The humility of St. Paul was also manifested in the low opinion he had of himself when compared with his Christian brethren—he speaks in the text not the unmeaning language of compliment, but the language of godly sincerity. The description which St. Paul here gives us of his character may teach us that, even where an individual is a decided and distinguished saint, the level which he occupies as a religious man may be, in some sense, comparatively low. Yet he was to proclaim among the Gentiles these astonishing wonders and mysteries of grace; and as he proceeds in this great and glorious work, the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him opens to his mind more and more of those riches - leads him into those footsteps of the Almighty which could not be investigated by man nor angel, so that his preaching and epistles, taken all in their chronological order, will prove that his views brighten, and his discoveries become more numerous and more distinct in proportion as he advances. https: Wherein this grace consisted is added: to preach to the Gentiles, etc. (F. Dobbin, M. He has riches of wisdom. There is no parenthesis of ἐμοί to αὕτη as Harl. The Syro-Phoenician woman was a Greek, and though repulsed with the inquiry, “Is it lawful to give the children’s food unto dogs?” she yet eventually obtained mercy. Certainly the doctrines are to be preached, but they ought to be looked upon as the robes and vestments of the man Christ Jesus, and not as complete in themselves. But he is much more so who first declared “the unsearchable riches” of God. Many may say such words for effect but few genuinely feel it as Paul did. The Apostle Paul felt it to be a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. Ephesians 3:8-13 New International Version (NIV) 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. Your email address will not be published. Paul never could forget the guilt of his former life; never forget the time when he was engaged in persecuting the church of God.The unsearchable riches of Christ - On the word “riches,” as used by Paul, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. He sometimes mentions these things, but he never mentions them without affording us another proof of his lowliness of heart--a marked anxiety to give all the glory of all his labours and attainments to God. But it is otherwise with regard to holiness: there you never should presume in your own favour; never suppose that another exercises less self-denial or conscientiousness than yourselves. Illuminare omnes, Greek: photisai pantas; not as God doth by interior illuminations, but by preaching. ‘Unto me who am less than the least of all saints was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.’. I doubt anything about the apostle Paul was ever false, so I assume this is how he felt about himself. The high character and humble spirit of the Christian ministry. To me, adds the apostle, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ. Aston. BibliographyWhedon, Daniel. 2. I hope you will not consider this character of Paul, as the offspring of falsehood and affectation. As to ἀνεξιχν., see on Romans 11:33. “Jowett compared our effort to fathom the riches of God to a man starting to measure the dimensions of a lake and discovering that it is a cove on the edge of the ocean” (Caldwell p. 118). Now, we say, in relation to all human riches, and every form and variety of earthly wealth, that it can be searched into and explored--that a catalogue of it can be given, and the exact amount of it certified. Give me the most learned man alive; in a very few minutes he can tell me all the subjects with which he is acquainted; but the innumerable subjects with which he is not acquainted he cannot tell me. III. The humility of St. Paul consisted, lastly, in his simple dependence on Christ. v., p. 15; A. D. Davidson, Lectures and Sermons, p. 275; Smart, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. Who can tell what a right idea about anything is worth? (J. Mackay, B. D.), Paul’s humility and zeal a pattern for Christians. The merit of His obedience and sacrifice, His service and His sufferings, as our substitute and surety, in His obedience on earth and His intercession in heaven. https: Matthiae, § 136; Winer, § 11, 2; Buttmann, § 69, note 3. πάντες ἅγιοι are not the apostles and prophets merely, but saints generally. ), Grace not to be traced out. That the riches of His rewarding glory are unsearchable. ᾿εμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων—“To me, who am less than the least of all saints.” There is no good reason adduced by Harless for making the first clause of this verse a parenthesis, and joining ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν to the δωρεάν of the preceding verse. Well may the apostle preach the unsearchable riches of Christ when we call to mind how He has lifted us into a more blessed and hopeful thought of the character and destiny of man. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 105. An image of the love of Christ to sinners; thus Jesus died for the ungodly, viewed as such. ‘We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord’; ‘We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them which are called both Jew and Greek, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.’“ The world has its riches, but they are easily comprehended; and Solomon summed them all up when he said, “Vanity of vanities; vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” All the wealth of the world, all the world calls good and great, is infinitely inferior to mind. ADDRESS AND SALUTATION.. Ephesians 1:1. III. iii., p. 72; Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays in Wellington College, p. 354. By Him all things were made--by Him all things consist. Maclaren, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. https: The audience was wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement, and, as if waiting to hear the anthem peal out the coronation hymn, the preacher commenced singing, “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name.” The audience, rising as one man, sang the hymn as perhaps it was never sung before. Can you get to the bottom of it? xvi., No. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? So Dr. Phillip was requested to communicate this to him, and he told him that the committee did not feel he was qualified to go as a missionary, would he mind going as a servant? He finds it contrary to nature to meet in the long intercalation (Ephesians 3:2-13) a halting-point, and yet not a return to the main subject. Paul preached therefore not only that which he knew to be supremely valuable and fully abundant, but that which was as freely given--subjective riches--that which is wealth to the man who hath it. We cannot take even the most hasty glance at these, without at once noticing the entire submission of his mind to the gospel of Christ, the simple and full reception which he gave to every Divine truth. II. xiii., p. 88. In Christ are riches of justification (Titus 2:14), sanctification (Philippians 4:12), consolation (2 Corinthians 12:9), glorification (1 Peter 1:5). It is the sin of unbelief; the sin of rejecting Christ, of which, agreeably to our Savior's own declaration, the Holy Spirit is sent to convince the world. To him-, ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη—“was this grace given.” χάρις, in this aspect, has been already explained both under Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:7. Less than the least of all saints - Ελαχιστοτερῳ παντων ἁγιων . Any ministry that we might have is a gift of God’s grace. III. When working on my family tree, I found many dead ends. Unsearchable in relation to Christ seems to more specifically apply to the vastness of His riches - they are so vast and immense that we can never grasp the vastness, nor understand the extent of His riches. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". These also include unsearchable riches, because by these Christ’s redeeming acts and saving benefits become our own. The stream that issues from it, like that which Ezekiel saw in vision, flows on till it expands into a river that cannot be passed over--waters to swim in--an ocean whose vast extent we can never traverse, whose hidden depths we can never sound. My Master has riches of happiness to bestow upon you. The commission included first a direct work in preaching to the Gentiles, opening their eyes and so introducing them to the fulness of their inheritance, as described in Ephesians 3:6 and in the prayer Ephesians 1:18 f. The inheritance presents itself as ‘unsearchable riches.’. He was, par excellence, the apostle of the Gentiles, and he gloried in the distinction. 248, and other examples (Ellic. Oh! No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. 3 John 1:4; Phryn. In the Greek text, all of verses 3-14 form a single sentence, with clause after clause describing … Continue reading "Commentary on Ephesians 1:3-14" Renewal 1960. Ministers must principally preach Christ Jesus. To abase ourselves is the way to extol God’s grace. There is no music like the music of His pipe, when He is the Shepherd and you are the sheep, and: you lie down at His feet. This is an instance of the great humility of the apostle, and indeed the greatest saints are generally speaking, the most humble souls, as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and others; these have the meanest thoughts of themselves, and the best of others; they rejoice in the grace of God manifested to others; they are willing to receive instruction, nay admonition, from the meanest believer; they have the least opinion of their own works, and are the greatest admirers of the grace of God; and do most contentedly submit to the sovereign will of God: the reasons of their great humility are, because they have the largest discoveries of the love and grace of God and Christ, which are of a soul humbling nature; they are the most sensible of their own sinfulness, vileness, and unworthiness, which keeps them low in their own sight; they are commonly the most afflicted with Satan"s temptations, which are suffered to attend them, lest they should be exalted above measure; they are the most fruitful souls, and boughs laden with fruit hang lowest; and they are the most conformable to Christ, who is meek and lowly.". 5. He connects it with his conversion, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was exceeding abundant to me-ward.” He connects it with his conversation in the world, “Not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have our conversation in the world.” He connects it with his unparalleled exertions: “I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” He connects it with his functions: “Unto me, who am less than the least; of all saints, is this grace given.” What grace is there here? how free in heaven if we carry it! All work for Christ should be so regarded. Let us observe what he says of himself. The adjective occurs in Romans 11:33, and has its origin in the Septuagint, where it represents the Hebrew formula- אין־ֵחקֶר ¢ , ֵ in Job 5:9; Job 9:10 -and לאאּ־ֵחקֶרø, in Job 34:24. Nor is this all. Christ is the Bread of Life to the sinner, perishing for hunger (John 6:32-33; John 6:35). Sadly many a preacher is lacking in this genuine recognition, and all are in danger of being lacking and must be watchful. Here Jesus Himself, with all His unsearchable riches of grace and glory, is always present (Matthew 18:20). What St. Paul says of himself. 2. These serve as a partial illustration of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” You understand the application, if you know Christ as the Deliverer, the Healer, the Saviour of your immortal souls. "Less than the least" is similar to "more than the most" or "higher than the highest," etc. That he should preach Christ among “the Gentiles,” again, is in keeping with all we know of his line of action in all places and among all people. is emphatic, and points out his distinguishing office. (E. Our liberty: what slaves in hell if we lose it! It is impossible to fully comprehend them. Many tried it. They are a mine which, however long it may be worked, is never exhausted. The *temple of thegoddess (female god) Diana (or Artemis) was there. xvii., p. 284; E. Aston, Ibid., vol. Ephesians 3:8 New King James Version (NKJV) Purpose of the Mystery. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardoned sinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his gracious Father. And if Christ be a participator of the Divine nature, if He be God, then, we say, here is original and essential glory unsearchable. As all material gold, before it came into the possession of men, was first in the earth, so were all the spiritual riches of the angels derived from the Son of God. ), Was Paul really less than the least of all saints? All rights reserved. For his Roman surname "Paulus" is Latin for "little" or "small", and tradition says he was a little man. It is the source from which almost every spiritual grace must spring. One of these means must immediately occur to us; it is this--a frequent remembrance of our former iniquities, and an abiding sense of our present corruptions. It implies unsearchable riches; for how desirable to use and what an advantage if we must be judged, to be judged by One who is a friend, kinsman, brother, husband; by One who assumed our nature, with all its infirmities; who feels for us, died in our stead, will excuse our failings, manifest our virtues, judge between us and our enemies and persecutors I Being accused, what a blessing to be tried and acquitted, which God’s people shall be, before men and angels; yea, and applauded. Paul considered himself the least worthy (lit. than all Christians, is even far stronger than 1 Corinthians 15:9. οὐκ εἶπε τῶν ἀποστόλων, Chrysostom. The question before us is, how is the highest work of man to be done? Lastly, there must have been a royal intention in the heart of Christ in sending out Paul to preach of His unsearchable riches, because every man must have a motive for what he does, and beyond all question, Jesus Christ has a motive. There is not an exception. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". An examination and commentary of Ephesians 2:8-9 using the rule of Bible study makes clear what these two verses teach. One of the grand fruits of His life is this, that by it men are convinced of sin. They could make sweet music on other instruments; they could wake the echoes by other bugles; but that horn was mute, let them blow as they might. 1765. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” the model after which all ministers should be conformed; all of us should be able to make use of the same language with them. Man having been created in this (Genesis 1:27), lost it by the Fall; so that he is naturally earthly, sensual, and devilish. They are a fountain which, however many draw its waters, never runs dry. That miraculous union of perfect man and perfect God in our Lord Jesus Christ is a great mystery, no doubt, which we have no line to fathom. It would treat itself better if it had higher appreciation of its value. With respect to the ministry I just observe, further, it is a ministry of ineffable grace on the part of God, in respect to those whom He calls into it. "I am little," he may be saying, "little by name, little in stature, and morally and spiritually littler than the littlest of all Christians. “Let each esteem other better than himself.” The maxim will not apply universally; to use it in some cases would be folly. The youth’s eye sparkled, and he said, “It is too much honour for me even if I am but a hewer of wood and a drawer of water for the Lord my God.” And thus he went forth, and afterwards, as you know, became one of the most useful of missionaries. Some riches in underground mines appear to be inexhaustible. Without these riches, you are and must be poor. St. Paul was called to “preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The expression, “riches of Christ,” comprehensively denotes the personal excellence and mediatorial sufficiency of Jesus. Paul then went on to emphasize the valuable content of the message itself. (A. S. Have you observed them when the sun is shining? Christ has given Himself to us, that we should share His character and His work. Was this grace given; comp. Nor dimmed by age, nor worn by use, nor lessened by distribution, and throughout eternity, though more amply displayed, more extensively enjoyed, and more fully appreciated, they will remain as inscrutable and unsearchable as ever. Indeed, the latter is the end to which the former are the means--or rather, it is the fulness and perfection of that higher life, of which the former are the earnests and first-fruits. There were in these schemes and providences such riches - such an abundance, such a variety, as could not be comprehended even by the naturally vast, and, through the Divine inspiration, unparalleledly capacious mind of the apostle. 3. Christ is the Great Physician that can heal the dying man (Mark 2:10-11). The parable of the prodigal son is another indication of this; and our Lord Himself said, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” Yet on the day of Pentecost there was not a single Gentile present--“devout men from every nation under heaven,” out of all the provinces, but every one of them Jews. They already had an over abundance of materials to build that which God had commanded. True humility says, "I"m undeserving, but I still need to use my talents". Benson. II. He would give a world, or a thousand worlds, for a single morsel of bread. is this grace given; that is, the gift of grace, as before, the ministerial gift: that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; the riches of Christ, as God, lie in the perfections of his nature, in the works of his hands, in his empire and dominion over all, and in the revenues of glory, which result from thence; and these riches are underived and incommunicable, and are ineffable, yea inconceivable: his riches, as Mediator, lie in the persons of the elect, in the grace that is laid up in him for them, called the riches of grace, and in the inheritance he is possessed of for them, called the riches of glory; and these rich things are communicable, as well as solid, satisfying, and lasting; and they are unsearchable to the natural man, and cannot be fully investigated by believers themselves; they will be telling over to all eternity: and they will appear unsearchable, when it is considered what they have procured, and what blessings have been dispensed according to them; what a large family Christ has maintained by them, and how richly and fully he has provided for them, and to what honour and grandeur he raises them all. The way we treat men is the sign of what we think of them. Think of all these names, I say, and consider how much they contain. Copyright StatementThe text of this work is public domain. "I am little," he may be saying, "little by name, little in stature, and morally and spiritually littler than the littlest of all Christians."" III. BibliographyPett, Peter. xii., p. 20. BibliographyJamieson, Robert, D.D.