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What are the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8)?

unsearchable riches

The phrase unsearchable riches of Christ comes from Ephesians 3:8–9: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things” (ESV). The Greek for “unsearchable riches” is translated “boundless riches” in the NIV.

The Greek word translated “unsearchable” describes something that cannot be fully comprehended or explored. In other words, there is no limit to the riches of Christ; they are past finding out. Try as we might, we can never plumb the depths of Christ’s worth. Paul delineates some of these riches in Ephesians 1:7–14: redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, the knowledge of the mystery of His will, the message of truth, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the guarantee of our inheritance. These are spiritual riches with eternal benefits, and we cannot fully comprehend them.

Jesus taught two short parables that emphasize the value of eternal life and the kingdom of God: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44–46). Like a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price, admission to the kingdom is of incalculable worth—and it is Jesus Christ who grants the admission. The unsearchable riches of Christ are on display in every believer’s heart.

The unsearchable riches of Christ cannot be fully traced out. “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9), so the riches of Christ include all that God is. The unsearchable riches of Christ are the Glory of God, the Truth of God, the Wisdom of God, the Life of God, and the Love of God. In Christ, God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). In Christ are hidden “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). In Christ, God “has given us everything we need for a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3).

In Ephesians 3:8 Paul refers to himself as “less than the least of all the Lord’s people.” This humble statement is then contrasted with “the boundless riches of Christ.” Paul describes himself as the lowest of believers while lifting Jesus up as the greatest of all. Every believer, in like humility, acknowledges the all-surpassing goodness and grace of God: “The LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).

Christ’s riches that He makes available to us are not material but spiritual. The unsearchable riches of Christ provide salvation to everyone who believes (John 3:16; Romans 1:16). We may be the worst of sinners, yet Jesus can forgive us and transform our lives (Romans 12:1–2). It is the gift that truly keeps on giving, as we are changed, by God’s Spirit, into “loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled” people (Galatians 5:22–23, CEV).

King Solomon was a man of great riches and wisdom, and his fame spread throughout the known world. Dignitaries from other countries came to hear his wisdom and see his lavish display of wealth (1 Kings 10:24). Scripture says that Solomon had no equal in the earth at that time: “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (verse 23). Yet, for all that, Solomon’s riches were not unsearchable. They could be quantified; the gold bars could be counted, and he had no inexhaustible supply of silver. Besides that, Solomon’s riches were only the temporal treasures of this world. Jesus is “greater than Solomon” (Luke 11:31). The treasures of Christ are inexhaustible, they are unsearchable, and they are forever.

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What are the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8)?
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This page last updated: January 23, 2023