Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
eph 3:1For this cause - That ye may be so "built together," I am a prisoner for you gentiles - For your advantage, and for asserting your right to these blessings. This it was which so enraged the Jews against him.
eph 3:2The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf - That is, the commission to dispense the gracious gospel; to you gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.
eph 3:3The mystery - Of salvation by Christ alone, and that both to Jews and gentiles. As I wrote before - Namely, Eph 1:9-10; the very words of which passage he here repeats.
eph 3:5Which in other - In former, ages was not so clearly or fully made known to the sons of men - To any man, no, not to Ezekiel, so often styled, "son of man;" nor to any of the ancient prophets. Those here spoken of are New Testament prophets.
eph 3:6That the gentiles are joint - heirs - Of God. And of the same body - Under Christ the head. And joint - partakers of his promise - The communion of the Holy Ghost.
eph 3:7According to the gift of the grace of God - That is, the apostle - ship which he hath graciously given me, and which he hath qualified me for. By the effectual working of his power - In me and by me.
eph 3:8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given - Here are the noblest strains of eloquence to paint the exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ.
eph 3:9What is the fellowship of the mystery - What those mysterious blessings are whereof all believers jointly partake. Which was, in a great measure, hidden from eternity by God, who, to make way for the free exercise of his love, created all things - This is the foundation of all his dispensations.
eph 3:10That the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church - By what is done in the church, which is the theatre of the divine wisdom.
eph 3:12By whom we have free access - Such as those petitioners have, who are introduced to the royal presence by some distinguished favourite. And boldness - Unrestrained liberty of speech, such as children use in addressing an indulgent father, when, without fear of offending, they disclose all their wants, and make known all their requests.
eph 3:13The not fainting is your glory.
eph 3:15Of whom - The Father. The whole family of angels in heaven, saints in paradise, and believers on earth is named. Being the "children of God," (a more honourable title than "children of Abraham,") and depending on him as the Father of the family.
eph 3:16The riches of his glory - The immense fulness of his glorious wisdom, power, and mercy. The inner man - The soul.
eph 3:17Dwell - That is, constantly and sensibly abide.
eph 3:18That being rooted and grounded - That is, deeply fixed and firmly established, in love. Ye may comprehend - So far as an human mind is capable. What is the breadth of the love of Christ - Embracing all mankind. And length - From everlasting to everlasting. And depth - Not to be fathomed by any creature. And height - Not to be reached by any enemy.
eph 3:19And to know - But the apostle corrects himself, and immediately observes, it cannot be fully known. This only we know, that the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge. That ye may be filled - Which is the sum of all. With all the fulness of God - With all his light, love, wisdom, holiness, power, and glory. A perfection far beyond a bare freedom from sin.
eph 3:20Now to him - This doxology is admirably adapted to strengthen our faith, that we may not stagger at the great things the apostle has been praying for, as if they were too much for God to give, or for us to expect from him. That is able - Here is a most beautiful gradation. When he has given us exceeding, yea, abundant blessings, still we may ask for more. And he is able to do it. But we may think of more than we have asked. He is able to do this also. Yea, and above all this. Above all we ask - Above all we can think. Nay, exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can either ask or think.
eph 3:21In the church - On earth and in heaven.