Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3:1 Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ

"Paul introduces the letter with the information that he is a 'prisoner of Jesus Christ' (v. 1). This same phrase occurs in the epistle to the Ephesians (3:1; 4:1) and in 2 Timothy (1:8), both of which were clearly written while Paul was in prison, and is generally considered to be a literal reference to Paul's imprisonment rather than as a symbolic reference to his ministry." (David R. Seely, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 168 - 169.)

Ephesians 3:3-6 by revelation he made known unto me the mystery...That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs

"Paul employs the term mystery twenty times in his letters in discussing Christ, the gospel, the resurrection, Israel, the Gentiles, speaking in tongues, iniquity, and godliness. A mystery is a divine secret or unknown truth. Three mysteries are discussed in Ephesians.

"The first mystery pertains to a process that began in the days of the apostolic church. For the first time since the Flood, the non-Israelitish nations (Gentiles) were to be given the opportunity to receive the gospel and be adopted into immortal Israel. (Rom. 11:11-26; 1 Ne. 10:12-14.) In doing so, they would partake of 'the unsearchable riches of Christ.' (Eph. 3:2-8.) This proselytizing period is called 'the times of the Gentiles.' (Luke 21:24; D&C 45:25-30.)" (Rodney Turner in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 115.)

Ephesians 3:15 of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named

"Paul said, 'I bow my knees,' as do we all, 'unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named' (Eph. 3:14-15). In a manifestation to Brigham Young after his death, Joseph Smith told his successor to be sure to instruct the Saints to keep the Spirit of the Lord, promising that if they would do so, 'they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world. Our Father in Heaven organized the human family, but they are all disorganized and in great confusion.' Brigham also said that Joseph showed him the pattern, 'how they were in the beginning.' He said that he could not describe it but that there must yet be 'a perfect chain from Father Adam to his latest posterity.'

"During an illness, Jedediah M. Grant visited the spirit world two nights in succession. He reported a perfect order and government that existed there, saying that the 'righteous gathered together,' that there were 'no wicked spirits among them,' and that they were 'organized in family capacities.' 'To my astonishment,' he said, 'when I looked at families there was a deficiency in some, there was a lack, for I saw families that would not be permitted to come and dwell together, because they had not honored their calling here.'" (Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Life Beyond [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986], 101.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"Is there a family in heaven and in earth? Yes. That family is composed of those who go to the temple of the Lord and there are sealed or married for time and for all eternity according to the law of the Lord. Marriage is to be eternal, just as the Lord declares here in the words that I have read, and when a man and a woman go to the house of the Lord and are married for time and for all eternity, they take upon them certain covenants that they will be true and faithful in that union... Children born in that union will be the children of that father and mother not only in mortal life but in all eternity, and they become members of the family of God in heaven and on earth, as spoken of by Paul, and that family order should never be broken." (Conference Report, April 1961, Second Day-Morning Meeting 49.)

Hugh B. Brown

"The family organization is patriarchal in nature and is patterned after the one in heaven itself, as referred to by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14-15: 'For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.'

"The very essence of divine government is fatherhood and the recognition of the family relationship. The Church itself exists to exalt the family, and the family concept is one of the major and most important of the whole theological doctrine. In fact, our very concept of heaven itself is the projection of the home into eternity. Salvation, then, is essentially a family affair, and full participation in the plan of salvation can be had only in family units." (Conference Report, October 1966, Third Day-Morning Meeting 103.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"So we see that there is a family organization in heaven, and part of it on earth, but in both places it is named after God the Father of Jesus Christ. And why not, since those in heaven and all on earth who have made the covenant are his heirs?" (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 256.)

Ephesians 3:16 to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man

James E. Faust

"Paul's wish for the Ephesians was that the Lord would grant unto them 'to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.' (Ephesians 3:16.) The basic program of the Church, therefore, is to strengthen the inner person-to change lives-to have everyone feel the security, the love, and the warm embrace of the gospel, in accordance with the two great principles taught by the divine Redeemer: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' (Matthew 22:37, 39.)

"We seek to build inner moral strength and character in the members of the Church in complete harmony with the statement of President Heber J. Grant, in the early days of the welfare program: 'The primary purpose is to establish independence, industry, thrift and self respect . . . thus rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of them and bring to flower and fruitage, the latent richness of the spirit, which, after all, is the mission, purpose and reason for the being of the Church.' In order to build this inner strength, there might be some reordering of priorities in planning and activities by those involved in the programs of the Church. We will accomplish the Lord's business better if our guiding stars are revealed principles rather than specified activities.

"...people are more important than organizations. We are trying to teach principles and guidelines more than programs as we seek to strengthen the inner person with the Spirit of God. Our effectiveness can be judged best by the way that inner strength is translated into action. What our religion really is can best be judged by our lives. Thomas Carlyle reminds us that 'conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.'

"To be strengthened by God, by his Spirit, President Harold B. Lee counseled: Membership 'must mean more than just being a `card carrying` member of the church with a tithing receipt, a membership card, a temple recommend, etc. It means to overcome the tendencies to criticize, and to strive continually to improve inward weaknesses and not merely the outward appearances.' (Church Section, Deseret News, May 25, 1974, p. 2.)" (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 12.)

James E. Faust

"If we are to be strengthened in the inner person, the inner self must be purged and cleansed of transgression. Companionship with evil causes our whole being to die spiritually...An important part of the spiritual being of all of us is the quiet and sacred part of each from which we may feel a sanctification in our lives.

"Paul was speaking of this part when he counseled us 'to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man' (Eph. 3:16). It is that part of us wherein no other soul intrudes. It is that part of us which permits us to come close to the divine both in and out of this world. We open the portals thereof when we pray. This portion of our beings is reserved only for ourselves and our Creator. It is here that we retreat and meditate. It is possible for the Holy Ghost to abide in this special part of us. It is a place of special communion.

"The oppressive fog which beclouds the tortuous lanes and passages of our lives will disappear in the spiritual sunlight which comes only from God. This spiritual sunlight will not shine unless we diligently and humbly seek to enjoy his Spirit, for 'Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind' (D&C 64:34). The Spirit of the Lord can ever be with us in the overheated ovens of life into which we may be cast, so that those who behold us will always see us with a Holy Companion." ("Married or Single: Look beyond Yourself," Ensign, Mar. 1980, 37)

James E. Faust

"We should earnestly seek not just to know about the Master, but to strive, as He invited, to be one with Him (see John 17:21), to 'be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man' (Eph. 3:16). We may not feel a closeness with Him because we think of Him as being far away, or our relationship may not be sanctifying because we do not think of Him as a real person.

"How can we receive the personal blessing of the Master's divine and exalting influence in our own lives? Since our own feelings are sacred to us and cannot be disputed by others, let us begin with those quiet assurances which occasionally can come to all of us and which we know are true." ("That We Might Know Thee," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 2)

Ephesians 3:17 Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith

The 'old sectarian notion' of a God who is without body, parts, or passions, who is so large that he fills the universe and yet so small that he can dwell in a man's heart 'is false' (DC 130:3). Elohim and Jehovah are perfect, resurrected personages, each with 'a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's' (DC 130:22). It is only because the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit that he can 'dwell in us' (DC 130:22).

With this understanding, how is it that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith? This concept should not be hard for us to understand. On a weekly basis, we are promised that if we will 'always remember him and keep his commandments,' we will 'always have his Spirit to be with [us]' (DC 20:77). When we are always mindful of the Savior's sacrifice, when we daily rely upon the strength of his arm, when we daily exercise our faith in him, then the Spirit of Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith. This is the promise of the sacrament prayers.

B. H. Roberts

"God, who is not far removed from every one of us; in whom we live, and move, and have our being. This is God immanent in nature.

"And as we dwell in him, so, too, dwells he in us; and, as man more expands towards divinity, more and more of the divine enters into his being, until he attains unto a fullness of light and truth; of power and glory; until he becomes perfectly one in God, and God in him. This the meaning of the Messiah's prayer, made for all those who become his disciples-'That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee: that they also may be one in us' (John 17: 21)." (Seventy's Course in Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907-1912], 3: 197.)

Bruce R. McConkie

"If we have 'the mind of Christ' (1 Corinthians 2:16), which we receive by the power of the Holy Ghost, then Christ dwells in us. If the love of God abides in our souls, which love is a gift of God that comes by the power of the Holy Ghost, then God dwells in us. In some way beyond our comprehension, all of this is possible by the power of the Holy Ghost." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 271.)

Ephesians 3:17 that ye [be] rooted and grounded

Neal A. Maxwell

"The cares and anxieties of the world are pervasive and persistent. They also vary widely from person to person. But it is usually the case (whatever the objective load of these cares is and even if it is actually small) that these worries will expand so as to fill whatever worry space is available in that individual. Thus what may be an easily manageable load for one person may seem overwhelming to another. Hence the need for us to put in perspective the cares and anxieties of the world. Otherwise the cares and anxieties will spread, crowding out space needed for spiritual things.

"...It is well, then, to put the cares of the day and the anxieties of the moment in the context of the things of eternity. After all, the little things are little.

"Peter and Paul urged us to become 'grounded,' 'rooted,' 'established,' and 'settled' (Colossians 1:23; 2:7; Ephesians 3:17). Being thus settled does not immunize us against trials, but it does against concerns over the basic realities about God, life, meaning, and the universe. We can and will be tried tactically, but this can occur without our calling into question the whole strategy of God's plan of salvation. Enduring involves coping with those moments when we cannot give an easy explanation for what is happening to us or around us, but we can still know that God loves us (see 1 Nephi 11:17)." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 127.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"We must deepen our faith until it becomes the real thing. Otherwise, when the heat of the day comes, if we are not, to use Peter and Paul's words, 'grounded,' 'rooted,' 'established,' and 'settled,' we will wither under the scorching summer of circumstances." (We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984], 10.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"'Will ye also go away?' (John 6:67), the Master asked His disciples after many of his fair-weather followers went back, and 'walked no more with him.' (John 6:66.) The very process of daily living makes and breaks followers. Life's stern seasons and storms overturn those not grounded and rooted. (See Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:23; 1 Pet. 5:10.) However, those who 'believe and are sure' (John 6:69) about Jesus' divinity do not panic, for instance, at the arrival of a new volley of fiery darts; they merely hold aloft the quenching shield of faith." ("Answer Me," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 32)

Ephesians 3:19 to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge

George F. Richards

"More than forty years ago I had a dream, which I am sure was from the Lord. In this dream I was in the presence of my Savior as he stood in mid-air. He spoke no word to me, but my love for him was such that I have not words to explain. I know that no mortal man can love the Lord as I experienced that love for the Savior unless God reveals it unto him. I would have remained in his presence, but there was a power drawing me away from him, and as a result of that dream I had this feeling, that no matter what might be required at my hands, what the gospel might entail unto me, I would do what I should be asked to do, even to the laying down of my life.

"And so when we read in the scriptures what the Savior said to his disciples: 'In my Father's house are many mansions: . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, there ye may be also,' (John 14:2,3.)

"I think that is where I want to be. If only I can be with my Savior and have that same sense of love that I had in that dream, it will be the goal of my existence, the desire of my life." (Conference Report, October 1946, Afternoon Meeting 139.)

Ephesians 3:19 that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God

Marion D. Hanks

"All the prophets taught this truth about God, and their prime purpose was not to argue or try to prove the existence of God but to be his witnesses, to testify that he lives and to make his will known among men. Christ revealed the Father in his life and teachings and parables. Through his Son the Father was not only bringing salvation and making eternal life possible for all men, but was offering the ultimate opportunity for men to know God himself.

"This, we declare and testify, is a supreme blessing, for to 'know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge' and thus to 'be filled with all the fulness of God' (Eph. 3:19) is the source of the greatest comfort and consolation in this world, and the greatest motivating power for good. How do we gain this indispensable knowledge? The 'works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom' can only 'be understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.' (D&C 76:114, 117.)" ("Trust in the Lord," Ensign, May 1975, 13-14)