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Ephesians 3:1-5:14Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles

For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— you have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you? The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. This was not made known to people[a] in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power.

This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to His eternal purpose accomplished in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord. 12 In Him we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.[b] 13 So then I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Power

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father[c] 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting[d] one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope[e] at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says:

When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;[f]
He gave gifts to people.[g]

But what does “He ascended” mean except that He[h] descended to the lower parts of the earth?[i] 10 The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill[j] all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Living the New Life

17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.[k]

20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off[l] your former way of life, the old self[m] that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed[n] in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on[o] the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor,[p] because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin.[q] Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need,[r] so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him[s] for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you[t] in Christ.

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of[u] among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.

Light versus Darkness

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things.[v] Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the light[w] results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. 13 Everything exposed by the light is made clear, 14 for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said:

Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead,
and the Messiah will shine on you.[x]

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 3:5 Lit to the sons of men
  2. Ephesians 3:12 Or through His faithfulness
  3. Ephesians 3:14 Other mss add of our Lord Jesus Christ
  4. Ephesians 4:2 Or tolerating
  5. Ephesians 4:4 Lit called in one hope
  6. Ephesians 4:8 Or He led the captives
  7. Ephesians 4:8 Ps 68:18
  8. Ephesians 4:9 Other mss add first
  9. Ephesians 4:9 Or the lower parts, namely, the earth
  10. Ephesians 4:10 Or fulfill; Eph 1:23
  11. Ephesians 4:19 Lit with greediness
  12. Ephesians 4:22 Or Jesus. This means: take off (as a command)
  13. Ephesians 4:22 Lit man; = a person before conversion
  14. Ephesians 4:23 Or desires; renew (as a command)
  15. Ephesians 4:24 Or minds; and put on (as a command)
  16. Ephesians 4:25 Zch 8:16
  17. Ephesians 4:26 Ps 4:4
  18. Ephesians 4:29 Lit for the building up of the need
  19. Ephesians 4:30 Or Spirit, by whom you were sealed
  20. Ephesians 4:32 Other mss read us
  21. Ephesians 5:3 Or be named
  22. Ephesians 5:6 Lit sons of disobedience
  23. Ephesians 5:9 Other mss read fruit of the Spirit
  24. Ephesians 5:14 This poem may have been an early Christian hymn based on several passages in Isaiah; Is 9:2; 26:19; 40:1; 51:17; 52:1; 60:1.

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