Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
Chapter 6, “Paul’s Divinely Given Task and His Suffering for the Gentiles (3:1-13)” pp. 187-223
In chapter 3 of Ephesians Paul prays for his readers specifically as Gentiles. After beginning his prayer he digresses in verses 2-13 to his responsibility to preach to the Gentiles. He returns to the prayer in verse 14 (Thielman 2010, 187). Thielman considers Paul’s concern for the Ephesians to arise from his special role as the apostle to the Gentiles (Ibid., 191). It is important that Paul has the οἰκονομία given to him. Thielman debates the best meaning of the word here, eventually settling on responsibility to administer (Ibid., 193). He is caring for delivery of the “mystery” to the Ephesians, the inclusion of the Gentiles into God’s kingdom (Ibid., 197). This news was delivered, Paul says, by God’s “holy apostles and prophets.” Thielman concludes that the normal pattern is that God’s Word comes through the apostles and prophets, those detailed with the formation of the Church (Ibid., 202).
In verse 8 Paul tells how he completes his task of bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles (Ibid., 209). As the “least” of the saints he serves as an obedient messenger (Ibid., 212). Again the role of the mystery arises, not a new idea, but one God kept hidden (Ibid., 214). Through this Gospel, Christ has used his Church to overcome all “rulers and authorities” and show God’s majesty (Ibid., 216). As Paul reaches the end of his digression he returns to the theme of his identity as a prisoner who is asking his readers not to lose heart (Ibid., 220).