Ephesians 3:1-21

Daybreak for Students

Ephesians 3:1-21

Ephesians 3
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. — Ephesians 3:20

I remember when we purchased our first computer. We had high expectations because of the capabilities it was said to possess. We smile about it now, but for some reason we thought that by simply plugging it in, we would be able to perform a variety of functions such as graphics design, word processing, spreadsheets, games, and other computer-related activities. Obviously, we were very disappointed. We quickly realized how computer inept we were and came to the conclusion that the computer was not as “user friendly” as we had thought it would be. We ended up using it very little, and eventually we disposed of it.

That wasn’t, however, the end of our interaction with the world of computers! Many years and several computers later, we recently bought a new system that has decidedly exceeded our expectations. Certainly, computers have come a long way in the past twenty years. In addition, we have learned that the usability of a system is directly related to our knowledge of how to use it. Still, this system is amazing! Its speed, memory, and capabilities make our first computer laughable by comparison.

The Apostle Paul found the love of Christ and His Gospel to be something that exceeded the highest of expectations. God’s love for us is beyond our comprehension. Its breadth covers the width of our personal experience, and reaches out to the entire world and every person in it. The length of God’s love spans our lives and reaches into all eternity. The depth of His love goes deeper than the most severe discouragement, despair, and even death. Its height reaches above our celebration and elation to heavenly happiness and eternal joy. 

If we are “rooted and grounded in love” (verse 17) by Christ dwelling in our hearts, we can have confidence that His love and grace will be more than enough to help in our time of need. It is common to hear from a child of God that the Lord answered prayer “exceeding abundantly above” (verse 20) what was thought possible. 

Have you learned the potential that is available through Christ Jesus? Have you accessed His limitless power? Have you observed firsthand His boundless abilities? You can! 


Paul opened the third chapter of Ephesians by referring to himself as a “prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” He maintained that the Gentile converts had the same privileges in the Gospel as the Jews, and could enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant without obligation to circumcision and bondage to the Law of Moses. Because of this, he was persecuted and eventually imprisoned. While on trial in Caesarea, he was compelled to appeal to the Roman emperor, as was his right as a Roman citizen, and was sent to Rome as a prisoner.

This is the first of Paul’s references to his imprisonment: he was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote this letter to the Ephesians. Although his allusion to his bonds in other places may have been in a metaphorical sense, they were most likely literal as well. Imprisoned, possibly bound by chains, Paul bowed his “knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (verses 14-15). The Greek word for family in this text is patria. A patria is “a great kin, clan, or race, descended genetically from one primitive progenitor.” The father of every patria is called a patriarch. Paul’s thought then was that God is the Universal Patriarch. 

The closing verse of chapter 3 is a doxology — a hymn of praise to God — and it ended the first part of Ephesians, in which Paul described the timeless role of the church. In the second part, (chapters 4-6), he explained how members of the church should live in order to bring about and maintain the unity that God desires.


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The calling of the church
     B.   The foundation of the church
           2.   The new position corporately: the household of God
                 b.   The position explained (3:1-13)
                       (1)   The mystery (3:1-6)
                              (a)   The statement of the mystery (3:1-3)
                              (b)   The elaboration of the mystery (3:4-6)
                       (2)   The ministry (3:7-13)
                              (a)   The source of the ministry (3:7)
                              (b)   The function of the ministry (3:8-9)
                              (c)   The purpose of the ministry (3:10-11)
                              (d)   The life of the ministry (3:12-13)
                 c.   The prayer for enablement (3:14-21)
                       (1)   The attitude of the prayer (3:14-15)
                       (2)   The purposes for the prayer: to be strengthened, to comprehend the love of Christ, to be filled with the fullness of God (3:16-19)
                       (3)   The resources for the prayer (3:20-21)


  1. How did Paul say “the mystery” was made known to him? 

  2. The word “mystery” is used three times in the third chapter of Ephesians. What do you think the “mystery of Christ” refers to?

  3. Paul desired that others might see by his preaching the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” How can we “preach” Christ in our daily lives to help those around us see Christ? 


Like Paul, we can use God’s grace to live an abundant victorious Christian life and lead others to Christ.