1 This is the reason that I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles, [pray for you. See 3:14-19]. 2 [Note: Paul here digresses from his prayer, begun in 1:15-16, to explain the circumstances of his being a prisoner on behalf of these Gentiles]. [I assume] you have heard about my commission [to minister] to you, which was given to me by God's unearned favor. 3 [It is] that God's secret plan [i.e., revealed in the Gospel preached to Gentiles. See verse 6] was made known to me by way of a revelation. [See Acts 9:15; 22:21]. I have already written to you [about this] briefly [i.e., probably a reference to 1:9ff]. 4 So, when you read this you will be able to understand my insight into the secret plan of Christ, 5 which was not told to people of previous generations as it has now been revealed to His [i.e., Christ's] holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. 6 This secret plan is that the Gentiles [now] share in the inheritance along with us [Jews], and are fellow-members of the body [i.e., the church], and that they share, along with us [Jews], in the promise of the Gospel, in [fellowship with] Christ Jesus. 7 I was made a minister [of the Gospel] according to the gift of God's unearned favor, which was given to me according to the working of His power.
8 This favor of preaching the unfathomable riches of Christ to the Gentiles was given to me [even though] I am the least significant of all saints [i.e., God's holy people]. 9 [I was given the responsibility] to enlighten all people regarding the working out of God's secret plan, which has been kept hidden for ages in [the heart of] God, who created everything. 10 This was done so that now God's many-sided wisdom could be made known through the church, to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms [Note: "Heavenly realms" here refers to the world around us, where these angelic beings (good or bad) view the unfolding of God's wonderful plan], 11 according to God's eternal purpose which He carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 It is in [fellowship with] Christ that we have boldness and confident access [to God] through our faith in Him. 13 So, I am asking you people not to become discouraged over my sufferings on your behalf, for they are for your benefit [eventually].
14 This is the reason that I bow my knees [in prayer] to the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its name. [Note: Here Paul resumes the prayer he began in verse 1]. 16 [I pray] that, according to God's glorious abundance, He would empower you to become [spiritually] strong through His Holy Spirit in your inner person, 17 so that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. [I pray] that you will be rooted and grounded in [your] love, 18 so that you, along with all the saints [i.e., God's holy people], will be [spiritually] strong enough to grasp how wide and long and high and deep [Christ's love is]; 19 and to know that His love for us surpasses [our] knowledge, so that you people will be completely filled with the fullness of God.
20 May there be to God, who is able to do infinitely more [for us] than we could [even] ask or think, according to [His] power at work in us --- 21 [I say] may there be praise to God in the church and in [or, "for"] Christ Jesus throughout all generations of people for ages and ages. May it be so.