Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Ephesians 3:8

    Ephesians 3:8 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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;

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    To 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;

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, was this grace given, so that I might make clear to the Gentiles the good news of the unending wealth of Christ:

    Webster's Revision

    Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

    World English Bible

    To me, the very least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

    Definitions for Ephesians 3:8

    Gentiles - A people; nations other than Israel.
    Grace - Kindness; favor.
    Saints - Men and women of God.

    Clarke's Commentary on Ephesians 3:8

    Less than the least of all saints - Ελαχιστοτερῳ παντων ἁγιων. As the design of the apostle was to magnify the grace of Christ in the salvation of the world, he uses every precaution to prevent the eyes of the people from being turned to any thing but Christ crucified; and although he was obliged to speak of himself as the particular instrument which God had chosen to bring the Gentile world to the knowledge of the truth, yet he does it in such a manner as to show that the excellency of the power was of God, and not of him; and that, highly as he and his follow apostles were honored; they had the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels. To lay himself as low as possible, consistently with his being in the number of Divinely commissioned men, he calls himself less than the least; and is obliged to make a new word, by strangely forming a comparative degree, not from the positive, which would have been a regular grammatical procedure, but from the superlative. The adjective ελαχυς signifies little, ελασσων or ελαττων, less, and ελαχιστος, least. On this latter, which is the superlative of ελαχυς, little, St. Paul forms his comparative, ελαχιστοτερος, less than the least, a word of which it would be vain to attempt a better translation than that given in our own version. It most strongly marks the unparalleled humility of the apostle; and the amazing condescension of God, in favoring him, who had been before a persecutor and blasphemer, with the knowledge of this glorious scheme of human redemption, and the power to preach it so successfully among the Gentiles.

    The unsearchable riches of Christ - The word ανεξιχνιαστος, from α, privative, and εξιχνιαζω, to trace out, from ιχνος, a step, is exceedingly well chosen here: it refers to the footsteps of God, the plans he had formed, the dispensations which he had published, and the innumerable providences which he had combined, to prepare, mature, and bring to full effect and view his gracious designs in the salvation of a ruined world, by the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of his Son. There were in these schemes and providences such riches - such an abundance, such a variety, as could not be comprehended even by the naturally vast, and, through the Divine inspiration, unparalleledly capacious mind of the apostle.

    Yet he was to proclaim among the Gentiles these astonishing wonders and mysteries of grace; and as he proceeds in this great and glorious work, the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him opens to his mind more and more of those riches - leads him into those footsteps of the Almighty which could not be investigated by man nor angel, so that his preaching and epistles, taken all in their chronological order, will prove that his views brighten, and his discoveries become more numerous and more distinct in proportion as he advances. And had he lived, preached, and written to the present day, he had not exhausted the subject, nor fully declared to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ - the endless depths of wisdom and knowledge treasured up in him, and the infinity of saving acts and saving power displayed by him.

    Barnes' Notes on Ephesians 3:8

    Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints - This is one of the class of expressions unique to Paul. The ordinary terms of language do not express the idea which he wishes to convey, and a word is therefore coined to convey an idea more emphatically; compare the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:17. The word used here - ἐλαχιστότερος elachistoteros - does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a comparative made from the superlative. Similar expressions are found, however, in later Greek writers; see Bloomfield and Rosenmuller for examples. The word means here, "who am incomparably the least of all the saints; or who am not worthy to be reckoned among the saints." It is expressive of the deep sense which he had of the sinfulness of his past life; of his guilt in persecuting the church and the Saviour; and perhaps of his sense of his low attainments in piety; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:9. Paul never could forget the guilt of his former life; never forget the time when he was engaged in persecuting the church of God.

    The unsearchable riches of Christ - On the word "riches," as used by Paul, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. The word rendered "unsearchable," ἀνεξιχνίαστον anexichniaston, occurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament Romans 11:33, where it is rendered "past finding out;" see the notes at that verse. It means that which cannot be "traced out," or explored; which is inscrutable, or incomprehensible. The meaning here is, that there was a "sufficiency" in Christ which could not be traced out or explored. It was wholly incomprehensible. The fullness of the riches in him could not be appreciated. There is no more emphatic expression in the New Testament than this. It shows that the heart of the apostle was full of admiration of the sufficiency and glory that was in the Saviour; that he wanted words to express it; and that he considered it the highest honor to be permitted to tell the world that there were such riches in the Redeemer.

    Wesley's Notes on Ephesians 3:8

    3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given - Here are the noblest strains of eloquence to paint the exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ.