on Ephesians 3 :2
If ye have heard of the dispensation - The compound particle ειγε, which is commonly translated if indeed, in several places means since indeed, seeing that, and should be translated so in this verse, and in several other places of the New Testament. Seeing ye have heard of the dispensation of God, which is given me to you-ward: this they had amply learned from the apostle during his stay at Ephesus, for he had not shunned to declare unto them the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27, and kept nothing back that was profitable to them, Acts 20:20. And this was certainly among those things that were most profitable, and most necessary to be known.
By the dispensation of the grace of God we may understand, either the apostolic office and gifts granted to St. Paul, for the purpose of preaching the Gospel among the Gentiles, see Romans 1:5; or the knowledge which God gave him of that gracious and Divine plan which he had formed for the conversion of the Gentiles. For the meaning of the word economy see the note on Ephesians 1:10.
on Ephesians 3 :2
If ye have heard - Εἴ-γε Ei-ge "If at least, if indeed, if so be, spoken of what is taken for granted." "Robinson;" compare 2 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 3:4; Ephesians 4:21; Colossians 1:23, for the use of the particle. The particle here is not designed to express a doubt whether they had heard of it or not, for he takes it for granted that they had. Doddridge renders it, "since I well know you have heard," etc. He had informed them of his being called to be the minister to the Gentiles Ephesians 3:3, but still there was a possibility that they had not received the letter containing the information, and he goes, therefore, into another statement on the subject, that they might fully comprehend it. Hence, this long parenthetical sentence - one of the longest that occurs in the writings of Paul, and expressed under the impulse of a mind full of the subject; so full, as we would say, that he did not know what to say first.
Hence, it is exceedingly difficult to understand the exact state of mind in which he was. It seems to me that the whole of this long statement grew out of the incidental mention Ephesians 3:1 of the fact that he was a prisoner for the Gentiles. Instantly he seems to have reflected that they would be grieved at the intelligence that he was suffering on their account. He goes, therefore, into this long account, to show them how it happened; that it was by the appointment of God; that it was in the evolving of a great and glorious mystery; that it was in a cause adapted to promote, in an eminent degree, the glory of God; that it was according to an eternal purpose; and he, therefore Ephesians 3:13, says, that he desires that they would not "faint" or be unduly distressed on account of his sufferings for them, since his sufferings were designed to promote their "glory." He was comforted in the belief that he was making known the glorious and eternal plan of God, and in the belief that it was for the welfare of mankind; and he, therefore, entreated them also not to be troubled inordinately at his sufferings.
The dispensation - Greek "economy;" rendered "stewardship," Luke 16:2-4; and "dispensation," Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25; see the notes at Ephesians 1:10. It means here that this arrangement was made that he should be the apostle to the Gentiles. In the assignment of the different parts of the work of preaching the gospel, the office had been committed to him of making it known to the pagan.
Of the grace of God - In the arrangements of his grace.
Which is given me to you-ward - Toward you who are Gentiles. Not to the Ephesians particularly, but to the nations at large; see the notes at Galatians 2:7.
on Ephesians 3 :2
3:2 The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf - That is, the commission to dispense the gracious gospel; to you gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.