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Chapter 1

1:1 Of Christ Jesus [Christou Iēsou]. So B D, though Aleph A L have [Iēsou Christou]. Paul is named as the author and so he is. Otherwise the Epistle is pseudepigraphic. By the will of God [dia thelēmatos theou]. As in 1Co 1:1; 2Co 1:1; Ro 1:1. At Ephesus [en Ephesōi]. In Aleph and B these words are inserted by later hands, though both MSS. give the title [Pros Ephesious]. Origen explains the words [tois hagiois tois ousin] as meaning “the saints that are” (genuine saints), showing that his MSS. did not have the words [en Ephesōi]. The explanation of the insertion of these words has already been given in the remarks on “The Destination” as one copy of the general letter that was preserved in Ephesus. It is perfectly proper to call it the Epistle to the Ephesians if we understand the facts.

1:3 Blessed [eulogētos]. Verbal of [eulogeō], common in the LXX for Hebrew baruk (Vulgate benedictus) and applied usually to God, sometimes to men (Ge 24:31), but in N.T. always to God (Lu 1:68), while [eulogēmenos] (perfect passive participle) is applied to men (Lu 1:42). “While [eulogēmenos] points to an isolated act or acts, [eulogētos] describes the intrinsic character” (Lightfoot). Instead of the usual [eucharistoumen] (Col 1:3) Paul here uses [eulogētos], elsewhere only in 2Co 1:3 in opening, though in a doxology in Ro 1:25; 9:5; 2Co 11:31. The copula here is probably [estin] (is), though either [estō] (imperative) or [eiē] (optative as wish) will make sense. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [ho theos kai patēr tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou]. [Kai] is genuine here, though not in Col 1:3. The one article [ho] with [theos kai patēr] links them together as in 1Th 1:3; 3:11, 13; Ga 1:4. See also the one article in 2Pe 1:1,11. In Eph 1:17 we have [ho theos tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou], and the words of Jesus in Joh 20:17. Who hath blessed us [ho eulogēsas humās]. First aorist active participle of [eulogeō], the same word, antecedent action to the doxology [eulogētos]. With [en]. So-called instrumental use of [en] though in is clear. Every spiritual blessing [pasēi eulogiāi pneumatikēi]. Third use of the root [eulog] (verbal, verb, substantive). Paul lovingly plays with the idea. The believer is a citizen of heaven and the spiritual blessings count for most to him. In the heavenly places in Christ [en tois epouraniois en Christōi]. In four other places in Eph. (1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). This precise phrase (with [en] occurs nowhere else in the N.T. and has a clearly local meaning in 1:20; 2:6; 3:10, doubtful in 6:12, but probably so here. In 2:6 the believer is conceived as already seated with Christ. Heaven is the real abode of the citizen of Christ’s kingdom (Php 3:20) who is a stranger on earth (Php 1:27; Eph 2:19). The word [epouranios] (heavenly) occurs in various passages in the N.T. in contrast with [ta epigeia] (the earthly) as in Joh 3:12; 1Co 15:40, 48, 49; Php 2:10, with [patris] (country) in Heb 11:16, with [klēsis] (calling) in Heb 3:1, with [dōrea] (gift) in Heb 6:4, with [basileia] (kingdom) in 2Ti 4:18.

1:4 Even as he chose us in him [kathōs exelexato hēmās en autōi]. First aorist middle indicative of [eklegō], to pick out, to choose. Definitive statement of God’s elective grace concerning believers in Christ. Before the foundation of the world [pro katabolēs kosmou]. Old word from [kataballō], to fling down, used of the deposit of seed, the laying of a foundation. This very phrase with [pro] in the Prayer of Jesus (Joh 17:24) of love of the Father toward the Son. It occurs also in 1Pe 1:20. Elsewhere we have [apo] (from) used with it (Mt 25:34; Lu 11:50; Heb 4:3; 9:26; Re 13:8; 17:8). But Paul uses neither phrase elsewhere, though he has [apo tōn aiōnōn] (from the ages) in Eph 3:9. Here in Eph 1:3-14. Paul in summary fashion gives an outline of his view of God’s redemptive plans for the race. That we should be [einai hēmās]. Infinitive of purpose with the accusative of general reference [hēmās]. See Col 1:22 for the same two adjectives and also [katenōpion autou].

1:5 Having foreordained us [Proorisas hēmās]. First aorist active participle of [proorizō], late and rare compound to define or decide beforehand. Already in Ac 4:28; 1Co 2:7; Ro 8:29. See also verse 11. Only other N.T. example in verse 11. To be taken with [exelexato] either simultaneous or antecedent (causal). Unto adoption as sons [eis huiothesian]. For this interesting word see Ga 4:5; Ro 8:15; 9:4. Unto himself [eis auton]. Unto God. According to the good pleasure of his will [kata tēn eudokian tou thelēmatos autou]. Here [eudokian] means purpose like [boulēn] in verse 11 rather than benevolence (good pleasure). Note the preposition [kata] here for standard.

1:6 To the praise [eis epainon]. Note the prepositions in this sentence. Which [hēs]. Genitive case of the relative [hēn] (cognate accusative with [echaritōsen] (he freely bestowed), late verb [charitoō] (from [charis], grace), in N.T. attracted to case of antecedent [charitos] only here and Lu 1:28. In the Beloved [en tōi ēgapēmenōi]. Perfect passive participle of [agapaō]. This phrase nowhere else in the N.T. though in the Apostolic Fathers.

1:7 In whom [en hōi]. Just like Col 1:14 with [paraptōmatōn] (trespasses) in place of [hamartiōn] (sins) and with the addition of [dia tou haimatos autou] (through his blood) as in Col 1:20. Clearly Paul makes the blood of Christ the cost of redemption, the ransom money [lutron], Mt 20:28; Mr 10:45; [antilutron], 1Ti 2:6). See Col 1:9.

1:8 According to the riches of his grace [kata to ploutos tēs charitos autou]. A thoroughly Pauline phrase, riches of kindness (Ro 2:4), riches of glory (Col 1:27; Eph 3:16; Php 4:19), riches of fulness of understanding (Col 2:7), riches of Christ (Eph 3:8), and in Eph 2:7 “the surpassing riches of grace.” Which [hēs]. Genitive attracted again to case of antecedent [charitos].

1:9 The mystery of his will [to mustērion tou thelēmatos autou]. Once hidden, now revealed as in Col 1:26 which see. See also Col 2:3. Which he purposed [hēn proetheto]. Second aorist middle of [protithēmi], old verb, for which see Ro 1:13; 3:25.

1:10 Unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times [eis oikonomian tou plērōmatos tōn kairōn]. See Col 1:25 for [oikonomian]. In Ga 4:4 “the fulness of the time” [to plērōma tou chronou] the time before Christ is treated as a unit, here as a series of epochs [kairōn]. Cf. Mr 1:15; Heb 1:1. On [plērōma] see also Ro 11:26; Eph 3:19; 4:13. To sum up [anakephalaiōsasthai]. Purpose clause (amounting to result) with first aorist middle infinitive of [anakephalaioō], late compound verb [ana] and [kephalaioō] (from [kephalaion], Heb 8:1, and that from [kephalē], head), to head up all things in Christ, a literary word. In N.T. only here and Ro 13:9. For the headship of Christ in nature and grace see Col 1:15-20.

1:11 In him [en autōi]. Repeats the idea of [en tōi Christōi] of verse 10. We were made a heritage [eklērōthēmen]. First aorist passive of [klēroō], an old word, to assign by lot [klēros], to make a [klēros] or heritage. So in LXX and papyri. Only time in N.T., though [prosklēroō] once also (Ac 17:4). Purpose [prothesin]. Common substantive from [protithēmi], a setting before as in Ac 11:23; 27:13.

1:12 To the end that we should be [eis to einai hēmās]. Final clause with [eis] to and the infinitive [einai] (see the mere infinitive [einai] in verse 4) and the accusative of general reference. Who had before hoped in Christ [tous proēlpikotas en tōi Christōi]. Articular perfect active participle of [proelpizō], late and rare compound (here only in N.T.) and the reference of [pro] not clear. Probably the reference is to those who like Paul had once been Jews and had now found the Messiah in Jesus, some of whom like Simeon and Anna had even looked for the spiritual Messiah before his coming.

1:13 Ye also [kai humeis]. Ye Gentiles (now Christians), in contrast to [hēmās] (we) in 12. In whom [en hōi]. Repeated third time (once in verse 11, twice in 13), and note [ho] or [hos] in 14. Ye were sealed [esphragisthēte]. First aorist passive indicative of [sphragizō], old verb, to set a seal on one as a mark or stamp, sometimes the marks of ownership or of worship of deities like [stigmata] (Ga 6:17). Marked and authenticated as God’s heritage as in 4:30. See 2Co 1:22 for the very use of the metaphor here applied to the Holy Spirit even with the word [arrabōn] (earnest). Spirit [pneumati]. In the instrumental case.

1:14 An earnest [arrabōn]. See 2Co 1:22 for discussion of [arrabōn]. Here “of promise” [tēs epaggelias] is added to the Holy Spirit to show that Gentiles are also included in God’s promise of salvation. Of our inheritance [tēs klēronomias hēmōn]. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is the pledge and first payment for the final inheritance in Christ. Of God’s own possession [tēs peripoiēseōs]. The word God’s is not in the Greek, but is implied. Late and rare word (from [peripoieō], to make a survival) with the notion of obtaining (1Th 5:9; 2Th 3:14) and then of preserving (so in the papyri). So in 1Pe 2:9; Heb 10:39, and here. God has purchased us back to himself. The sealing extends [eis] to the redemption and to the glory of God.

1:15 And which ye shew toward all the saints [kai tēn eis pantas tous hagious]. The words “ye show” do not occur in the Greek. The Textus Receptus has [ten agapēn] (the love) before [tēn] supported by D G K L Syr., Lat., Copt., but Aleph A B P Origen do not have the word [agapēn]. It could have been omitted, but is probably not genuine. The use of the article referring to [pistin] and the change from [en] to [eis] probably justifies the translation “which ye shew toward.”

1:16 I do not cease [ou pauomai]. Singular present middle, while in Col 1:9 Paul uses the plural (literary, or including Timothy), [ou pauometha].

1:17 The Father of glory [ho patēr tēs doxēs]. The God characterized by glory (the Shekinah, Heb 9:5) as in Ac 7:2; 1Co 2:8; 2Co 1:3; Jas 2:1. That—may give [hina—dōiē]. In Col 1:9 [hina] is preceded by [aitoumenoi], but here the sub-final use depends on the general idea asking in the sentence. The form [dōiē] is a late Koinē optative (second aorist active) for the usual [doiē]. It occurs also in 2Th 3:16; Ro 15:5; 2Ti 1:16, 18 in the text of Westcott and Hort. Here B 63 read [dōi] (like Joh 15:16) second aorist active subjunctive, the form naturally looked for after a primary tense [pauomai]. This use of the volitive optative with [hina] after a primary tense is rare, but not unknown in ancient Greek. A spirit of wisdom and revelation [pneuma sophias kai apokalupseōs]. The Revised Version does not refer this use of [pneuma] to the Holy Spirit (cf. Ga 6:1; Ro 8:15), but it is open to question if it is possible to obtain this wisdom and revelation apart from the Holy Spirit. In the knowledge of him [en epignōsei autou]. In the full knowledge of Christ as in Colossians.

1:18 Having the eyes of your heart enlightened [pephōtismenous tous ophthalmous tēs kardias humōn]. A beautiful figure, the heart regarded as having eyes looking out toward Christ. But the grammar is difficult. There are three possible interpretations. One is an anacoluthon, the case of [pephōtismenous] being changed from the dative [humin] (to you) to the accusative because of the following infinitive like [eklexamenous] (Ac 15:22) after [apostolois]. Another way of explaining it is to regard it as a tertiary predicate of [dōiē], a loose expansion of [pneuma]. The third way is to regard the construction as the accusative absolute, a rare idiom possible in Ac 26:3; 1Co 16:3; 1Ti 2:6. In this case, the participle merely agrees with [tous ophthalmous], not with [humin], “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened.” Otherwise [tous ophthalmous] is the accusative retained after the passive participle. That ye may know [eis to eidenai]. Final use of [eis to] and the infinitive (second perfect of [oida] as in verse 12. Note three indirect questions after [eidenai] (what the hope [tis hē elpis], what the riches [tis ho ploutos], and what the surpassing greatness [kai ti to huperballon megethos]. When the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the heart, one will be able to see all these great truths. In the saints [en tois hagiois]. Our riches is in God, God’s is in his saints.

1:19 The exceeding greatness of his power [to huperballon megethos tēs dunameōs autou]. [Megethos] is an old word (from [megas], but here only in N.T. [Huperballon], present active participle of [huperballō], reappears in 2:7; 3:19 and seen already in 2Co 3:10; 9:14. To enlightened eyes the greatness of God’s power is even more “surpassing.”

1:20 Which he wrought [enērgēken]. Reading of A B rather than aorist [enērgēsen]. Perfect active indicative, “which he has wrought.” [Hēn] is cognate accusative of the relative referring to [energeian] (energy) with [enērgēken] and note also [kratous] (strength) and [ischuos] (might), three words trying to express what surpasses [huperballon] expression or comprehension. Made him to sit [kathisas]. First aorist active participle of [kathizō] in causative sense as in 1Co 6:4. Metaphorical local expression like [dexiāi] and [en tois epour aniois].

1:21 Far above all rule [huperanō pasēs archēs]. Late compound adverbial preposition [huper, anō] with the ablative case. In N.T. only here and Heb 9:5. As in Col 1:16, so here Paul claims primacy for Jesus Christ above all angels, aeons, what not. These titles all were used in the Gnostic speculations with a graduated angelic hierarchy. World [aiōni]. “Age.” See this identical expression in Mt 12:32 for the present time (Gal 1:4; 1Ti 6:17) and the future life (Eph 2:7; Lu 20:35). Both combined in Mr 10:30; Lu 18:30.

1:22 He put all things in subjection [panta hupetaxen]. First aorist active indicative of [hupotassō], quoted from Ps 8:7 as in 1Co 15:27. Gave him to be head [auton edōken kephalēn]. Gave [edōken], first aorist active indicative of [didōmi] to the church (the universal spiritual church or kingdom as in Col 1:18,24) Christ as Head [kephalēn], predicate accusative). This conception of [ekklēsia] runs all through Ephesians (3:10, 21; 5:23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32).

1:23 Which [hētis]. “Which in fact is,” explanatory use of [hētis] rather than []. The fulness of him that filleth all in all [to plērōma tou ta panta en pāsin plēroumenou]. This is probably the correct translation of a much disputed phrase. This view takes [plērōma] in the passive sense (that which is filled, as is usual, Col 1:19) and [plēroumenou] as present middle participle, not passive. All things are summed up in Christ (1:10), who is the [plērōma] of God (Col 1:19), and in particular does Christ fill the church universal as his body. Hence we see in Ephesians the Dignity of the Body of Christ which is ultimately to be filled with the fulness [plērōma] of God (3:19) when it grows up into the fulness [plērōma] of Christ (4:13, 16).

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