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Ecclesiastes 4-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Evils of Oppression

Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is [a]vanity and striving after wind. The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. There was a certain man without a [b]dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if [c]either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not [d]another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they [e]keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if [f]one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

13 A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive [g]instruction. 14 For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who [h]replaces him. 16 There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

Your Attitude Toward God

[i]Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. [j]Do not be hasty [k]in word or [l]impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through much [m]effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your [n]speech cause [o]you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is [p]emptiness. Rather, [q]fear God.

If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the [r]sight; for one [s]official watches over another [t]official, and there are higher [u]officials over them. After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.

The Folly of Riches

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is [v]vanity. 11 When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to [w]look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the [x]full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.

13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being [y]hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14 When those riches were lost through [z]a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing [aa]to support him. 15 As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man [ab]is born, thus will he [ac]die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17 Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

18 Here is what I have seen to be good and [ad]fitting: to eat, to drink and [ae]enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few [af]years of his life which God has given him; for this is his [ag]reward. 19 Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his [ah]reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not often [ai]consider the [aj]years of his life, because God keeps [ak]him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

The Futility of Life

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent [al]among men— a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner [am]enjoys them. This is [an]vanity and a severe affliction. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many [ao]they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; [ap]it is better off than he. Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not [aq]enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”

All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the [ar]appetite is not [as]satisfied. For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes see is better than what the soul [at]desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.

10 Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11 For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? 12 For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few [au]years of his futile life? He will [av]spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Or futility, and so throughout the ch
  2. Ecclesiastes 4:8 Lit second
  3. Ecclesiastes 4:10 Lit they fall
  4. Ecclesiastes 4:10 Lit a second
  5. Ecclesiastes 4:11 Lit have warmth
  6. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Lit he
  7. Ecclesiastes 4:13 Or warning
  8. Ecclesiastes 4:15 Lit stands in his stead
  9. Ecclesiastes 5:1 Ch 4:17 in Heb
  10. Ecclesiastes 5:2 Ch 5:1 in Heb
  11. Ecclesiastes 5:2 Lit with your mouth
  12. Ecclesiastes 5:2 Lit hurry your heart
  13. Ecclesiastes 5:3 Lit task
  14. Ecclesiastes 5:6 Lit mouth
  15. Ecclesiastes 5:6 Lit your body
  16. Ecclesiastes 5:7 Lit vanity
  17. Ecclesiastes 5:7 Or revere
  18. Ecclesiastes 5:8 Lit delight
  19. Ecclesiastes 5:8 Lit high one
  20. Ecclesiastes 5:8 Lit high one
  21. Ecclesiastes 5:8 Lit ones
  22. Ecclesiastes 5:10 Or futility
  23. Ecclesiastes 5:11 Lit see with their eyes
  24. Ecclesiastes 5:12 Lit satiety
  25. Ecclesiastes 5:13 Lit guarded
  26. Ecclesiastes 5:14 Lit an evil task
  27. Ecclesiastes 5:14 Lit in his hand
  28. Ecclesiastes 5:16 Lit comes
  29. Ecclesiastes 5:16 Lit go
  30. Ecclesiastes 5:18 Lit beautiful
  31. Ecclesiastes 5:18 Lit see good
  32. Ecclesiastes 5:18 Or days
  33. Ecclesiastes 5:18 Or share
  34. Ecclesiastes 5:19 Or share
  35. Ecclesiastes 5:20 Lit remember
  36. Ecclesiastes 5:20 Or days
  37. Ecclesiastes 5:20 So with Gr
  38. Ecclesiastes 6:1 Lit upon
  39. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Lit eats from them
  40. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Or futility
  41. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Lit the days of his years
  42. Ecclesiastes 6:5 Lit more rest has this one than that
  43. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Lit see
  44. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit soul
  45. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit filled
  46. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Lit goes after
  47. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit days
  48. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit do
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Ecclesiastes 4-6 New International Version (NIV)

Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:

I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors—
    and they have no comforter.
And I declared that the dead,
    who had already died,
are happier than the living,
    who are still alive.
But better than both
    is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
    that is done under the sun.

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Fools fold their hands
    and ruin themselves.
Better one handful with tranquillity
    than two handfuls with toil
    and chasing after the wind.

Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

There was a man all alone;
    he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
    yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
    “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
    a miserable business!

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Advancement Is Meaningless

13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Fulfill Your Vow to God

[a]Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth,
    do not be hasty in your heart
    to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.
A dream comes when there are many cares,
    and many words mark the speech of a fool.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.

Riches Are Meaningless

If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.

10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
    whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
    permits them no sleep.

13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:

wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14     or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
    there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
    and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
    that they can carry in their hands.

16 This too is a grievous evil:

As everyone comes, so they depart,
    and what do they gain,
    since they toil for the wind?
17 All their days they eat in darkness,
    with great frustration, affliction and anger.

18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,
    yet their appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage have the wise over fools?
What do the poor gain
    by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
Better what the eye sees
    than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless,
    a chasing after the wind.

10 Whatever exists has already been named,
    and what humanity is has been known;
no one can contend
    with someone who is stronger.
11 The more the words,
    the less the meaning,
    and how does that profit anyone?

12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1 is numbered 4:17, and 5:2-20 is numbered 5:1-19.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Psalm 18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Lord Praised for Giving Deliverance.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, [a]who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said,

18 “I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my [b]rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of [c]ungodliness [d]terrified me.
The cords of [e]Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
Smoke went up [f]out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
10 He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness His hiding place, His [g]canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14 He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and [h]routed them.
15 Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were [i]laid bare
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

16 He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

20 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
23 I was also [j]blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
24 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

25 With the kind You show Yourself kind;
With the [k]blameless You show Yourself blameless;
26 With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself [l]astute.
27 For You save an afflicted people,
But haughty eyes You abase.
28 For You light my lamp;
The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
29 For by You I can [m]run upon a troop;
And by my God I can leap over a wall.

30 As for God, His way is [n]blameless;
The word of the Lord is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
31 For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God,
32 The God who girds me with strength
And [o]makes my way [p]blameless?
33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me upon my high places.
34 He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your [q]gentleness makes me great.
36 You enlarge my steps under me,
And my [r]feet have not slipped.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
38 I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;
They fell under my feet.
39 For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have [s]subdued under me those who rose up against me.
40 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I [t]destroyed those who hated me.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save,
Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
42 Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.

43 You have delivered me from the contentions of the people;
You have placed me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
44 As soon as they hear, they obey me;
Foreigners [u]submit to me.
45 Foreigners fade away,
And come trembling out of their [v]fortresses.

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 The God who executes vengeance for me,
And subdues peoples under me.
48 He delivers me from my enemies;
Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.
49 Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord,
And I will sing praises to Your name.
50 He gives great [w]deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his [x]descendants forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 18:1 2 Sam 22:1-51
  2. Psalm 18:2 Or crag
  3. Psalm 18:4 Or destruction; Heb Belial
  4. Psalm 18:4 Or were assailing or terrifying
  5. Psalm 18:5 I.e. the nether world
  6. Psalm 18:8 Or in His wrath
  7. Psalm 18:11 Or pavilion
  8. Psalm 18:14 Lit confused
  9. Psalm 18:15 Or uncovered
  10. Psalm 18:23 Lit complete; or having integrity; or perfect
  11. Psalm 18:25 V 23, note 1
  12. Psalm 18:26 Lit twisted
  13. Psalm 18:29 Or crush a troop
  14. Psalm 18:30 V 23, note 1
  15. Psalm 18:32 Or has made
  16. Psalm 18:32 Lit complete; or having integrity
  17. Psalm 18:35 Or condescension
  18. Psalm 18:36 Lit ankles
  19. Psalm 18:39 Lit caused to bow down
  20. Psalm 18:40 Or silenced
  21. Psalm 18:44 Lit deceive me; i.e. give feigned obedience
  22. Psalm 18:45 Lit fastnesses
  23. Psalm 18:50 I.e. victories; lit salvations
  24. Psalm 18:50 Lit seed
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Psalm 18 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 18[a]

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
    I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
    you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44     foreigners cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
    they come trembling from their strongholds.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
    who subdues nations under me,
48     who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing the praises of your name.

50 He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
    to David and to his descendants forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 18:1 In Hebrew texts 18:1-50 is numbered 18:2-51.
  2. Psalm 18:2 Or sovereign
  3. Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.
  4. Psalm 18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14); most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
  5. Psalm 18:29 Or can run through a barricade
  6. Psalm 18:42 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac and Targum (see also 2 Samuel 22:43); Masoretic Text I poured them out
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ephesians 3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Paul’s Stewardship

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. [a]By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight [b]into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets [c]in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all [d]saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to [e]bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the [f]eternal purpose which He [g]carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and [h]confident access through faith [i]in Him. 13 Therefore I ask [j]you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, [k]for they are your glory.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [l]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the [m]saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [n]forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 3:4 Lit To which, when you read
  2. Ephesians 3:4 Lit in
  3. Ephesians 3:5 Or by
  4. Ephesians 3:8 Or holy ones
  5. Ephesians 3:9 Two early mss read make all know
  6. Ephesians 3:11 Lit purpose of the ages
  7. Ephesians 3:11 Or formed
  8. Ephesians 3:12 Lit access in confidence
  9. Ephesians 3:12 Lit of Him
  10. Ephesians 3:13 Or that I may not lose
  11. Ephesians 3:13 Lit which are
  12. Ephesians 3:15 Or the whole
  13. Ephesians 3:18 V 8, note 1
  14. Ephesians 3:21 Lit of the age of the ages
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Ephesians 3 New International Version (NIV)

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 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, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 3:15 The Greek for family (patria) is derived from the Greek for father (pater).
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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