“For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles“(Ephesians 3:1 (ESV)
Ephesians is one of the Apostle Paul’s Prison Epistles. This would refer to Paul’s first Roman imprisonment[U1] , or house arrest (Acts 28:16-30). Included in this category are the epistles of Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
Notice that Paul again identifies himself as the author of the Ephesian Epistle (Ephesians 1:1). This is undisputed.
He begins with the words, for this reason. Paul is referring back to the preceding section (Ephesians 1-2) concerning the Lord’s sovereign and electing grace. What he is going to say next is based upon solely what he has previously written.
Paul said that he was, at the time, a prisoner of Christ Jesus. The word prisoner (δέσμιος; desmios) means someone who is under arrest (Matt. 27:15; Mark 15:6; Acts 16:25; 23:18; 25:14; Eph. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:8; Philemon 1, 9). However, notice that he does not say that He is a prisoner of Rome, but rather solely belonging to Christ Jesus.
Additionally, he views his imprisonment as being on behalf of you Gentiles. Being a prisoner of the Roman government is for the sake of and the benefit of the Gentile believers in Christ.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “The words for this reason (also used in v. 14) specifically point back to 2:11–22, which dealt with the Jewish and Gentile believers being raised to a new plane. But they also more generally refer back to all the first part of the epistle in which Paul discussed God’s grace to the Gentiles. The words I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, refer to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome because of his service for Christ (cf. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:8; Phile. 1, 9), and more particularly because of his ministry as the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Tim. 1:11–12). Because of his faithfulness to the stewardship God had given him among the Gentiles (Eph. 3:2) bitter Jewish opposition arose against him. This resulted in his being attacked in Jerusalem and put on trial in Caesarea and Rome”
2 Timothy 3:12-13 says, “12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
The persecution the Apostle Paul endured for the sake of the gospel is what believers today should expect to encounter. Be of good courage (Joshua 1:1-9).
Soli deo Gloria!