The apostle shows that the union of Jews and Gentiles in one body in Christ was in God’s purpose from the beginning, though only now fully revealed to men.
- Verses 1-13. What were Paul’s personal calling and commission in relation to: (a) the gospel, and (b) the Gentiles? Why was he chosen, and how was he qualified, for such service? Do you share his conviction that to suffer in such a cause is something to glory in rather than to be depressed about?
- Verses 14-21. Trace the progressive stages in Paul’s prayer for his readers. What blessings would its full answer bring into our lives? What guarantees that such an answer is more than possible? What ought we also to learn concerning the way to pray for our fellow-Christians?
- What are the things included in the eternal purpose of God in Christ, in which Paul and al members of Christ’s church are called to share? How can we more fully enter into our calling?
- Verse 1. Cf. 6:19, 20. Paul knew that his imprisonment was in the will of God, and in the interests of the truth and the spread of the gospel.
- Verses 2 and 9. ‘Administration’, ‘plan’: Greek ‘oikonomia’. The word refers originally to household management. In verse 9 (cf. 1:10), the reference is to God’s administration, to his working out of his purpose in Christ. In verse 2, it is used of Paul’s part in this – I.e., of the special commission assigned to Paul. Cf. 1 Cor. 9:16, 17.
- Verses 3, 4, 9. ‘The mystery’:i.e., divine truth hidden from natural discovery by men, but now specially revealed by the Spirit – particularly here the full content of God’s plan for men’s salvation.