Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 3

Paul, the prisoner

Ephesians 3:1-2

We think that Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians as a prisoner in Rome. There, he was not in an actual prison, as he had often been previously (2 Corinthians 11:23). Instead in Rome, Paul had to remain in his own house, and a soldier guarded him constantly (Acts 28:16).

You can read the circumstances of Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, and about his journey to Rome, in Acts chapters 21 to 28. Paul suffered much at this time. However, he considered it an honour to suffer because of his work for God (Colossians 1:24). That attitude caused Paul to be joyful even when his life was in danger (Philippians 1:19-21). He was not of course joyful because of his troubles; he was joyful because of God’s goodness (Philippians 4:4-7). God’s goodness never changes, whatever our circumstances may be (Lamentations 3:22-24; James 1:17).

Paul had declared the gospel, God’s message about Christ, both to the Jews (Israel’s people) and to the Gentiles (people from other nations) - Romans 1:16. However, the special work that God had given Paul to do was among the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Romans 11:13; Galatians 1:15-16). That was the reason why the crowd in Jerusalem became so angry with him (Acts 22:21-22). However, Paul was only doing what the Old Testament (the older Books of the Bible) already said (Acts 26:22-23). God is the God of the whole world (Isaiah 45:5-6); his message, the gospel, is a message for all people (Isaiah 45:22-23). God has wonderful plans both for Israel and for the other nations (Romans 11:12 and 11:26). His kindness is for all people everywhere who believe and trust in him (Romans 10:12-13).

Next part: The revelation of God's plans for the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:3-4)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.