Eph 3:1-21 KJV

1 For this cause I Paul,* the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
(Ellipsis 44*; Epanalepsis 206)

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
(Parembole 477 [v2-v13])

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(Parembole 477)

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
(Parembole 477)

5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
(Pleonasm 408; Parembole 477)

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
(Parembole 477)

7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
(Parembole 477)

8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
(Meiosis 157; Parembole 477; Oxymoron 818; Idioma 831; Anthropopatheia 893)

9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
(Epizeuxis 198; Parembole 477 )

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
(Parembole 477 )

11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
(Parembole 477 )

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
(Parembole 477 )

13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
(Parembole 477 )

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(Epanalepsis 206; Anachoresis 913)

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
(Synecdoche 636)

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
(Ellipsis 58; Anthropopatheia 893)

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
(Ellipsis 18; 79)

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
(Ellipsis 18; 79; Anthropopatheia 895)

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
(Ellipsis 79)

20 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,

21 Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


Verse 1
For this cause I Paul [am*] the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

Epanalepsis: Resumptio; Apostasis: (verse 1 for this cause…for this cause, verse 14).

Verse 2
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 3
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 4
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 5
Pleonasm: Quoting Dr. Bullinger, ” Which (i.e., the Mystery) in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men: ” i.e., to any human being.
It is according to this Figure or Hebraism that Christ is called “the Son of Man,” as the man, the representative man, the man who had been long promised as the seed of the woman; the man prophesied. Therefore this title used of Christ usually has reference to that aspect of His work as the appointed Judge of men (Acts 17:31). ” The Son of Man” is therefore an emphatic dispensational title of Christ. It means merely ” man,” but with emphasis on all that the word means as used of Christ and his dominion in the earth.
See Matt. 10:23; 16:13, 27, 28, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5, John 3:14 etc., etc.
Ezekiel is often thus addressed by God (chap, 2:1,11, etc.), as ” son of man,” but in his case without the article.
See also Ps. 8:4 (the first occurrence) ; 144:3, etc.” pg. 408-409.”

I disagree on a number of points Dr. Bullinger makes here. Firstly, on the figure Pleonasm itself. Perhaps you could call “sons of men” a redundancy, saying more than is necessary, when it could have simply said “men”, or mankind. But as such the Pleonasm is contained in an Idioma, or idiom. Biblically, an Idioma is a peculiar way of saying something that is understood by the particular group of people who use it, in this case the Hebrews. It is not necessarily understood by those outside that group, however, once it is understood, it remains an idiom. It is only enigmatic to those outside that original group, and only until it is explained.

The idiom “sons of …” has come to be universally understood as associating a group of people with a peculiar idea, concept, or characteristic. For instance, the term “son of the soil” is an idiomatic way of saying “farmer”, “backwoods person”, “country person”, or an unsophisticated rural type. Of course, with modern technology being a vital part of the agricultural arena, today’s “son (or daughter) of the soil” needs a college education, and very sophisticated equipment to be successful in the developed world.


Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 6
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 7
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 8
Meiosis – Paul diminishes his persona in order to magnify the greatness of the grace bestowed upon him.

Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Oxymoron – “less than the least” seems like foolishness, but it is actually wisdom.

Idioma – “unsearchable riches”. Riches meaning, by Idioma, treasure, or of great worth. We use this idiom in sayings like, “a wealth of knowledge”, or “rich flavor”, etc.

Riches – Anthropopatheia 893

Verse 9
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Epizeuxis – “Eph. 3:9 — Lit. ” And to enlighten all [as to] what [is] the dispensation of the Mystery which has been hidden away, away, from the ages in [or by] God.” Showing the completeness with which the secret was hidden in former times. Compare Rom. 16:25, and Col. 1:26.”

I do not see the Epizeuxis here. Neither the Textus Receptus (Steven’s Greek Text), nor the Greek New Testament Morphology show this repetition.

Dr. Bullinger also changes the verb “secret” in Rom. 16:25 into a noun, which changes the meaning of what the verse is saying. The noun is the word “mystery”, which was not spoken of (kept secret). A secret (noun) and a mystery (noun) are not identical in meaning. A secret is something that has not been disclosed. It may have been disclosed to some, but to those to whom it is not disclosed it remains a secret. But once a secret has been disclosed, its meaning is not necessarily understood until it has been revealed. This pattern can be seen in the Old Testament accounts of dreams having been given by God to individuals, thus revealing secrets, but their meanings remaining a mystery until they were interpreted or explained.

Verse 10
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 11
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 12
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 13
Parembole: Independent Parenthesis [v2-13].

Verse 14
Epanalepsis – Paul resumes from verse 1, “For this cause, I…For this cause”

Regression – Anachoresis 913
Paul returns to the subject he was presenting before the Parembole, so we read verse 7 “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. … For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Verse 15
Synecdoche – see pg. 636

Verse 16
Ellipsis – [Praying]
Riches – Anthropopatheia 893

Verse 17 – 18 Ellipsis “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may know what is the breadth [of it] , and length [of it] , and the depth , [of it] , and the height [of it] ,” i.e., of love. ” That ye may know what is [its] breadth, and length, and depth, and height, etc.”

Polysyndeton – and

Verse 17 – 19 Ellipsis- “We following the R.V. rendering and supplying the Ellipsis from the preceding clause : —
” That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith ; to the end that (
ἳνα) ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth [of love is] even (τε) to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,” etc.
We are to be rooted as a tree, in love; we are to be founded as a building in love; but we can never know what it is in all its length and breadth and height and depth until we know Christ’s love for us, for that surpasses all knowledge.
Bengel beautifully explains the four terms: the “length” extending through all ages from everlasting to everlasting; the “breadth” extending to people from all nations ; the ” height ” to which no man can reach or attain, and from which no creature can pluck us ; its ” depth,” so deep that it cannot be fathomed or exhausted. (See on this verse above, page 18.)”

Verse 18 – Anthropopatheia; “The heights of heaven(love).” pg. 895

Italicized words in [brackets] were added by the King James Version translators.

Thanks go to Blue Letter Bible and Internet Archive and The Cornell University Library for providing public domain material.

Thanks also to E. W. Bullinger for his work “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible”, and thanks to you for taking the time here.

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