The “grace” that Paul “was given” was the office of an apostle. As an apostle Paul received, recorded and proclaimed revelation from God. The group that was the focus of Paul’s presentation of the revelation that he had received from God was the Gentile nations. Paul preached the “unsearchable riches of Christ” to the Gentiles and made “plain to everyone the administration of this mystery.”
The word “unsearchable” in the phrase “unsearchable riches of Christ” comes from the Greek word anexichniaston which refers to something that has limits that cannot be found out or reached by humans. An example of this in Paul’s day would be the seas of the earth whose depths could not be reached and whose size could not be known. Yet, Paul was given the “grace” to “preach” (or, proclaim) this untrackable, untraceable knowledge and “to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery.” Through the gifting of the Spirit of God Paul was enabled to preach and record in a “plain” fashion this unfathomable mystery of Christ. “Plain” is the word photisai which means “to illuminate,” and “to bring into light.”
Paul’s message captured the revelation of a “mystery” which had been kept hidden throughout the past ages. The revealing of this ancient hidden mystery began a new age, or a new “administration.” This “administration,” which is the translation of the word oikonomia meaning “management, responsibility, administration of a household,” refers to the church age where the proclamation and understanding of the unsearchable riches of Jesus would be brought to light among the Gentiles.
The result of this mystery being known and understood by the Gentiles would be that “the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” Through the church’s understanding, and the resultant transformation of the Gentiles, the angelic forces in the spiritual realm called the “heavenlies” would themselves have the “manifold wisdom of God revealed to them.” The word “manifold” means “many-sided, variegated, multi-faceted” and is used to refer to the many colors of a robe or the many facets of a cut diamond.
In this age in which we now live God has revealed and made known to the church the unknowable knowledge of Christ so that by the transforming power of knowing the person of Christ the church would be transformed into tangible, observable manifestations of Christ himself for all of the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies to see and understand. Part of God’s eternal purpose was that through his “grace” gift of apostleship, Paul would receive, preach and make plain the mystery of Christ. This ministry continues today through the teaching of the text of Scripture.