Ephesians 3:2-3 2since indeed you heard about the stewardship of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I have written briefly.
Jesus Christ gave Paul a clear mission of preaching the gospel to the nations. Paul had to learn many things on this mission. One of the most significant lessons he learned was to rely on the the grace of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). This verse shows that Paul considered his ministry as a form of stewardship (oikonomian). The word “stewardship” is related in Greek to the word for house (oikos). This is the third “house” word Paul has used within six verses (2:19, 21). This adds to his emphasis about being the new people of God, united as family. A steward is responsible for managing the household and family. Jesus gave Paul the responsibility to make sure everyone in Jesus’ family understands and experiences the grace about which Paul wrote in ch. 2. He experienced this first in a personal and dynamic way that changed his life (1 Timothy 1:13-14). He even saw himself as the worst of sinners for persecuting the church. If he could be saved by God’s grace, then anyone and everyone also could be. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds (Romans 5:20).
The reason Paul experienced the grace of God and was given the mission of proclaiming it to the world was so that people like the Ephesians would have opportunity to put their faith in Jesus. God’s grace is never to be hoarded or kept to ourselves. The news is too good to keep quiet. Paul knew this and would do whatever he needed to do to proclaim in (1 Corinthians 9:16). Many of Paul’s letters deal with the relationship between Gentile and Jew. In his letters, he calls both to unity because of God’s grace in Christ. This was at the heart of his message and he preached it everywhere. He applied it to different situations, one of which was how Gentiles could become part of God’s people and how Jews were mistaken in their efforts to be righteous by obedience to the law.
Paul emphasizes in v. 3 that he did not invent this gospel but received it by revelation. He uses a word significant in religions of that time and also in his own writing. Mystery describes something that is hidden and can only be understood or seen by revelation. The mystery for Paul was the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was hidden for long years. The prophets had glimpses into it (Romans 16:25-26) and the Scriptures foretold it (Romans 1:2). All of Paul’s letters somehow reflect or explain this mystery of Christ. He saw himself as a steward of the divine mysteries (1 Corinthians 4:1). This could mean that he was in a position of authority to explain it and to preserve its truth against heresy. Christ made Paul responsible for getting this message out accurately. Paul wants the Ephesians and anyone who reads this letter to understand this gospel and to accept it by faith. This message of grace will transform those who accept it.
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