To the Introduction
Chapter one[ 1 ] deals with the spiritual blessings in Christ, not the least of which is redemption through the precious blood of Jesus (see charts OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 1; BLESSINGS IN CHRIST [at verse 3]). Following this, Paul writes out his prayer for the spiritual wisdom and knowledge of his readers. His prayer continues to the end of the chapter with special emphasis on the exaltation of Jesus Christ (verses 19-23).
OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 1
- Introduction (Eph 1:1, 2).
- Blessings of the elect in Christ (Eph 1:3, 4).
- Redemption (Eph 1:5-14).
- Prayer for wisdom and knowledge of God's glorious portion and Christ being head of the church (Eph 1:15-23).
GREETING THE SAINTS
1:1, 2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus [Paul, apostle, commissioned, of Jesus Christ]. Paul was commissioned by Christ Himself to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
By the will of God [through the will of God, God's will]. Paul was an apostle because God willed it (Ga 1:15). It was according to the working of His power (Eph 3:8, 9). Paul spoke in tongues,[ 2 ] preached and wrote by inspiration (1Co 14:37). He performed miraculous signs that confirmed the word he preached. The signs also confirmed his apostleship in Christ (2Co 12:12).
To the saints who are in Ephesus [to the saints which are, that are at Ephesus].[ 3 ] Some scholars think the original autograph of the Ephesian letter may not have been addressed to any particular church since it was a circular letter. Each congregation could simply write its own name at the beginning or use it as it came. When Laodicea passed on the Ephesian letter, it became the letter "from" Laodicea (see note on Col 4:16).
Paul did not personally greet his friends at Ephesus probably because the circular letter was intended to be read by several churches.
And faithful in Christ Jesus [and to the, and the, who are also, faithful in Christ Jesus]. Some understand Paul to be addressing other people than "the saints who are in Ephesus."[ 4 ] Support for this view is claimed because of the supposed double benediction in Ephesians 6:23, 24. It is probable that the two terms (saints and faithful) are used in apposition. The use of only one Greek article for saints and faithful brethren suggests they are the same people. It is the opinion of the writer that the saints are the faithful in Christ Jesus (see notes on verses 9, 13). Translators of the NASB understood it the same way.Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:1 NASB).
KEY WORDS AND PHRASES
[1:2]Grace to you.[ 5 ] "Grace" appears twelve times in this letter and is a key term. It means the unmerited favor of God that brings salvation and peace. Another key idea is the phrase "in Christ" or "union with Christ" (see note on verse 3).
And peace from God our Father. It is because of God's grace that those in Christ have peace.
And the Lord Jesus Christ [and from the Lord Jesus Christ.] The fact that both grace and peace come from Jesus Christ as well as from the Father strongly suggests, but does not prove, that Christ possesses deity.
AN OUTBURST OF THANKSGIVING
1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST (A)
- Newness of life (Ro 6:4).
- Redemption and forgiveness (Eph 1:7).
- Sealed with the Spirit (Eph 1:13).
- The guarantee of our inheritance (Eph 1:14).
- Made alive (Eph 2;1, 5).
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST (B)
- Indwelt by Christ (Eph 3:17).
- Filled with God (Eph 3:19).
- Filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
- Wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9).
- Salvation (2Ti 2:10).
- Eternal life (1Jo 5:11; 1Co 15:22, 23).
- Of His fullness we all received, and grace for grace (Joh 1:16).
- When I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ (Ro 15:29).
- Upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:14).
- All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3).
- And to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God (Eph 3:19).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.[ 6 ] The word "be" does not appear in the Greek BUT is supplied by translators. The phrase "Blessed be the God" appears at least twice elsewhere in Scripture (2Co 1:3; 1Pe 1:3). The Greek word for this particular word "blessed" is used only of God. It denotes renown, reputation and station more than inner qualities or character. It is placed first in the Greek sentence in order to emphasize God's wonderful rank and status. He deserves continual praise and adoration.
Who has blessed us [who hath blessed us, has bestowed on us].[ 7 ] Note the similarity in this word "blessed" and the one above that applied only to God. When Paul says God "has blessed[ 8 ] us," he alludes particularly to the apostles and prophets. However, the inclusion of "you also" in verse 13 includes other Christians. It is important to understand this designation because of the strong statements about foreordination to follow that apply to the apostles and prophets.
ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
With all spiritual blessings [with every spiritual blessing].[ 9 ] Even though the first several verses of Ephesians apply to the apostles and prophets, there is no doubt that a multitude of spiritual blessings are for all Jewish and Gentile Christians alike. Verse 13 confirms that Gentiles too are blessed in Him. With the exception of the miraculous, all Christians enjoy every blessing given to the apostles and prophets. No teaching, medicine, psychology or philosophy brings even one spiritual blessing that does not come directly or indirectly from Christ. No spiritual blessing is outside of Him. This rules out the need to follow Judaizing teachers. It excludes as a source of spiritual blessings secular philosophies, "pop" psychology and all pagan teachings. It also excludes the necessity of belonging to human denominations, to which the NT gives no approval whatsoever. This truth implies that all so-called New Age "spiritual" benefits are either from Christ or else they are bogus. Inasmuch as New Age teaching omits being baptized into Christ, any benefits of the movement are not "spiritual blessings" in the Biblical sense.[ 10 ]
In heavenly places [in the heavenlies, heavenly places].[ 11 ] Few commentators explain "heavenly places" alike. It is therefore with hesitancy that I write anything about it. Nevertheless I offer a little insight. It seems that there is an unseen realm to which all relate but of which most are not consciously aware. To some extent, Christians may commune with or fight against this sphere of powerful ideas and forces (see Eph 3:21; 6:12). It is in this realm that spiritual blessings from heaven are brought by God to those in Christ.[ 12 ] The heavenly places in this particular verse are "in Him" (see also Eph 2:6).
In Christ. To be "in Christ" is to be in the kingdom of Christ as well as in the body of Christ, the church of Christ (compare 1Co 12:13; Ga 3:27; Eph 1:22, 23; Col 1:13, 18). All spiritual blessings are in Him, including salvation (Eph 1:3; 2Ti 2:10). People who are "in Christ" include those saved in heaven as well as faithful Christians still living on earth (Eph 3:15). Their close relationship or union with Jesus began at baptism (Ro 6:3; Ga 3:27; see chart BLESSINGS IN CHRIST).
In Ephesians 2:6, there is pictured the exalted place of Christians. The particular reference may be to the apostles who are "judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (see Mt 19:28). They judge by their inspired word. Those who reject Christ will be judged by His word (see Joh 12:48). To His disciples, Jesus said, "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me" (Lu 10:16). Those who reject the word of the apostles will be judged by their word and eternally lost.
Christ will "save to the uttermost" (Heb 7:25). Without exception, all faithful Christians will be saved. At the judgment day, when the sifting is done, God will save everyone that He possibly can and still remain true to Himself and His word (compare Lu 22:31). "Yet not the least grain shall fall to the ground" (Am 9:9). Even the "smallest grain" or "least kernel" (lowliest Christian) will be saved.
[1:4]Just as [even as, according as].[ 13 ] The many spiritual blessings in Christ are in complete accord with God's choosing.
GOD CHOSE THE APOSTLES
- Did I not choose you, the twelve? (Joh 6:70).
- I know whom I have chosen (Joh 13:18).
- You did not choose Me, but I chose you (Joh 15:16).
- I chose you out of the world (Joh 15:19).
- The apostles whom He had chosen (Ac 1:2).
- Show which one of these two You have chosen (Ac 1:24).
- Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (Eph 1:1; compare Ga 1:15, 16).
He chose us in Him [he has, hath, chosen us in him].[ 14 ] In a special sense, the apostles were chosen (see chart GOD CHOSE THE APOSTLES). They were chosen by Him for Himself (middle voice in Greek). They were chosen "in Him," that is, in Christ (see verse 3).
Were the faithful OT Jews chosen in Christ? To us today, that idea may seem remote or indirect. Actually, no one in OT days was ever cleansed from sin apart from Him. His choosing of Israel in the OT did not guarantee they would never fall. God is no respecter of persons so the possibility of apostasy must not be limited to OT saints. Today, the church is God's "own special people" (1Pe 2:9). Christians belong to Him and serve Him faithfully and worship Him in reverence (Ro 11:20, 21). Those who draw back into sin will just as certainly be lost as were many "chosen" Israelites in the OT (see Heb 10:39).
ELECTION DOES NOT GUARANTEE
- That one cannot become estranged from Christ and fall from grace (Ga 5:4).
- That Paul's labor would not be "in vain" (1Th 3:5).
- That those in Christ can never walk disorderly (2Th 3:6, 11).
- That no one will ever "draw back to perdition" (Heb 10:39).
- That after having known the way of righteousness, the latter end will not be worse than the beginning (2Pe 2:20, 21).
Many centuries ago, at the same time that sin was permitted, God purposed that "whoever desires" could be saved by the gospel (see Re 22:17). It was in the distant past when man was given the option to commit sin that God did His choosing. He chose "according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" (2Ti 1:9; compare 1Pe 1:20). What He purposed and planned does not contradict anything He later revealed in the NT. Some NT requirements are to hear the gospel, believe it, repent of sins, confess faith in Christ, be baptized and remain faithful. God's choosing does not contradict plain passages that imply an unfaithful child of God can be eternally lost (see chart ELECTION DOES NOT GUARANTEE). To discourage members from turning back and being lost, elders are told to warn "those who are unruly" (1Th 5:14).
GOD'S CHOOSING DID NOT KEEP ISRAEL FROM FALLING
(Eph 1:4, 5)
- God chose Israel "to be a people for Himself, a special treasure" (De 7:6).
- Yet, because of their sins, many were lost (Mt 23:37-39; Heb 3:18, 19).
Before the foundation of the world [before the world's foundation].[ 15 ] God's choosing was done long, long ago. Probably before man was created, He conceived the plan of salvation in His mind.[ 16 ]
That we should be holy and without blame [that we should be holy and without blemish, blameless].[ 17 ] God wants men and women to be dedicated and without any blemish whatsoever. He accomplishes His desire in this respect by making them righteous by the forgiveness of Christ. He expects them to live pure lives and be morally upright in character (see 1Th 4:7). Paul writes specifically of "His holy apostles and prophets" (Eph 3:5, 6). With the exception of Judas, they were all righteous. For the most part, they were above reproach.
Before Him in love. Christians should think of foreordination and predestination as fascinating, pleasant and praiseworthy ideas. Remember that it was in love that God did His foreordaining.[ 18 ]
[1:5]In love, having predestined us [having foreordained us, he destined us in love, having marked us out beforehand].[ 19 ] God predestined "us" to be His sons through Jesus Christ. This was according to His love, alluded to by the purpose and good pleasure of His will (see verse 5).
To adoption as sons [unto adoption as sons, the adoption of children, for adoption].[ 20 ] Regardless of Vine's comment (see footnote), the view from here is that men (and women) become God's sons by adoption. In another figure they become His children by the new birth. In still another figure they become God's sons by a payment price (redemption). They also become His sons by faith and baptism (Ga 3:26, 27).
CHRIST DIED FOR ALL
- Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Joh 1:29).
- In due time Christ died for the ungodly (Ro 5:6).
- And He died for all (2Co 5:15).
- That He, by the grace of God, might taste death for every one (Heb 2:9).
- The propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1Jo 2:2).
- The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Re 13:8).
By Jesus Christ to Himself [through Jesus Christ unto himself]. Foreordination is in perfect harmony with all other teachings of Christ. It is in perfect accordance with all the terms of the gospel. For example, it is in harmony with the call of Christ. He invites everyone to come to Him and be saved. Why extend an invitation if some cannot respond because they are pre-doomed to hell? The only conclusion possible is that God's pre-choosing did not pre-doom anybody! (see chart CHRIST DIED FOR ALL).
According to the good pleasure of His will.[ 21 ] Not only has God willed and determined events but He has had pleasure in doing so. The choosing that He did was "according to the good pleasure of His will." He wanted to do it. He desires to save believers (Joh 3:16). He desires all to be saved by Christ (see 1Ti 2:4; 2Pe 3:9). In order to bring His desire to functionality, He chose that the Jews on Pentecost would save themselves "from this perverse generation" (Ac 2:40). He chose that the Gentiles be called by the gospel (see 2Th 2:13, 14). He chose to save all who obey Him (Heb 5:8, 9; see chart GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE TO SAVE).
GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE TO SAVE
- Foreordained to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph 1:5).
- Desires all men to be saved (1Ti 2:4).
- A chosen generation . . . His own special people (1Pe 2:9).
- Not willing that any should perish (2Pe 3:9).
[1:6]To the praise of the glory of His grace [to the praise of the glory of his grace, his glorious grace]. Praising God is the very purpose of life. His glorious grace is a cause of man's being foreordained. Men and women praise Him for the glory of His gracious gift of salvation. It is a privilege to praise Him. Man's response of praise is because of God's choosing and saving but their praise is voluntary. If it were not so, their response would be like that of a machine and basically meaningless.
By which He has made us accepted [wherein he hath taken us into favor, which he freely bestowed on us].[ 22 ] The privilege of becoming sons of God is by His grace. Some versions reflect the idea that grace is freely or generously bestowed upon man. It is freely and graciously given by God. The realm in which it is bestowed is "in the Beloved," that is, "in Christ."
THE BELOVED JESUS
- My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mt 3:17).
- My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased (Mk 1:11).
- My beloved in whom my soul is well-pleased (Mt 12:18 from Isa 42:1).
- My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! (Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lu 9:35).
- Accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6).
- Translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col 1:13).
- You are My Son, Today I have begotten You (Heb 5:5).
In the Beloved.[ 23 ] "In the Beloved" is equivalent to being in Christ (compare Eph 1:3). God's grace, His favor, is freely bestowed according to the gospel of truth but only "in Christ" (verse 13; see chart THE BELOVED JESUS).
MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION (A)
- Holy and without blame.
MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION (B)
- God's good pleasure.
- Purposed in Christ.
- God's will.
- Fullness of times.
- Together in one.
REDEMPTION THROUGH THE BLOOD
1:7-10 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
METHOD OF REDEMPTION
- Cleansed by the blood when as Saul washed away his sins in baptism (Ac 22:16).
- Redemption through His blood (Eph 1:7).
- With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb 9:12).
- Redeemed with precious blood (1Pe 1:18, 19).
- Washed from sins in His own blood (Re 1:5).
In Him we have redemption [in whom we have our redemption].[ 24 ] The idea of redemption is similar to the practice of manumission when a slave is purchased and then allowed to go free. Redemption is in Christ (see 2Ti 2:10). It implies a payment price. That price is the precious blood of Christ (1Pe 1:18, 19; see charts MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION A and B).
Through his blood.[ 25 ] This explains how that "in Christ" men and women have redemption. It is through the shedding of His blood that Jesus paid for the salvation of everyone (see chart HOW WE ARE REDEEMED).
DELETING THE BLOOD
Some translations weaken the efficacy of Christ's blood inherent in the word "redeemed" (the payment price) by rendering it "release."[ 26 ] William Barclay follows Weymouth who translated the Greek word for "redemption" as "deliverance." Barclay "redeems himself" to some degree with a footnote saying,Perhaps the best rendering is redemption, a word which has become colorless as to payment of a price.
He argues for "deliverance" on the basis of the deliverance of Israel. It is true that Christ provides a deliverance but that deliverance is by redemption. Animal sacrifices could never supply that (Heb 9:12). The redemption of Christ may be colorless to liberal theologians but to penitent sinners it is crimson. It is not denied that Christ delivers sinners but He does so by virtue of the fact that He "gave Himself for our sins" (Ga 1:4).
God's rich and abundant grace was generously poured out through Christ and went to the Jew first (Ro 1:16). But alas, His great wisdom was (and is) foolishness to those who perish (1Co 1:21). Early in the church age, thousands of Jews obeyed the gospel (Ac 21:20). Many others rejected the Messiah. Some of these demonstrated their unbelief by bitterly persecuting Christians. Others were indifferent. None who rejected Jesus was saved (see Mk 16:16; Ac 4:11, 12; Ro 9:1, 2; 10:1, 2).
The forgiveness of sins [the forgiveness of offenses, of our trespasses].[ 27 ] Forgiveness of sins is the essential element in the plan of salvation. It could only be accomplished by Christ's death. Because humans do not pay for their salvation, those forgiven are said to be justified by faith. When forgiven in Christ, they have peace with God and a hope of eternal life (see Ro 5:1; Col 1:5; Tit 2:13).
According to the riches of His grace. The richness of God's grace is seen in His pardon of sins. Forgiveness is by His grace. It is extended to believers who repent, confess faith in Christ and are baptized into Him (Ac 2:38; Ro 6:3, 4; 10:9, 10). It is extended to Christians as an answer to prayer (Ac 8:22; Jas 5:16; 1Jo 1:9). God's rich grace is manifested also in His kindness, forbearance and loving patience. All of these blessings have the purpose of encouraging righteousness.Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Ro 2:4).
[1:8] Which He made to abound toward us [which he lavished upon us, wherein he hath abounded, has caused to abound, towards us].[ 28 ] God is not miserly or stingy with His grace. Like the loaves and fishes, it abounds. There is more than enough (see Joh 6:13).
In all wisdom and prudence [in all wisdom and intelligence, insight].[ 29 ] "Wisdom" is insight into the true nature of things. It is more theoretical than prudence which is the ability to discern and associate actions and anticipate their results. The wisdom of God is manifested in the gospel itself. His marvelous plan combines His infinite justice and perfect love in such a way that sinful man may be saved. God gave man a gospel perfectly suited to the way he had become.
Prudence is more practical than wisdom.[ 30 ] It may come about as the result of wisdom. Great theoretical wisdom and practical prudence may be noticed in the beginnings of the churches at Jerusalem and Samaria prior to the conversion of Gentiles (Ac 10, 11). If the gospel had gone to the Gentiles first, the entire Jewish nation might have been lost through bigotry, prejudice and racism. Consider also the large multi-racial congregation at Antioch of Syria where, in God's great wisdom, the disciples were first divinely called Christians (see note on Ac 11:26).
MYSTERY OF GOD'S WILL MADE KNOWN
[1:9] Having made known to us [making known unto us, for he has made known to us].[ 31 ] This verse gives the key to the understanding of the pronoun "us". It does not merely refer only to the Jews as some have suggested but to the apostles and prophets. The fact that the mystery was made known to the holy apostles and prophets supports this interpretation (compare Eph 3:5, 6).
- As Christ and the Father converse about a confession of faith made on earth (Mt 10:32).
- Joy in heaven when one sinner repents (Lu 15:7, 10).
- Good pleasure during the planning stages of redemption (Eph 1:5, 9).
- With God's in-working and obedience of Christians "for His good pleasure" (Php 2:13). 5. Joy set before Christ as He endured the cross (Heb 12:2).
The mystery of His will.[ 32 ] The mystery Paul writes about is specifically the mystery "that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs" (see Eph 3:3-6). The long-hidden mystery of salvation of all peoples in Christ is now revealed. It was made known first to the Jews (see Ac 2:39). It was further demonstrated when the household of Cornelius was converted (Ac 10, 11).
GOD ENJOYS SAVING GENTILES
According to His good pleasure [according to his purpose].[ 33 ] "Good pleasure" is mentioned again (refer back to verse 5). It is elsewhere translated "seemed good" or "well-pleasing" (see Mt 11:26). God enjoyed planning and establishing His church among the Jews (see Acts 2). He enjoyed making known His will to Gentiles. The Holy Spirit gave special attention to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert (Ac 10, 11). At least three miracles are recorded in connection with that conversion. Likewise, He gave abundant attention to the conversion of Saul, the one to become "name-bearer" to the Gentiles (three chapters: Acts 9, 22 and 26). The second half of the book of Acts is largely devoted to Paul's evangelistic tours among Gentiles (see chart DIVINE PLEASURE).
Which He purposed [which he set forth].[ 34 ]
In Himself [in him, in Christ].[ 35 ] The oldest Greek manuscripts do not have breathings and accents. Because of this, in some cases, it is difficult to decide whether the translation should be Him or Himself.[ 36 ] This accounts for the different renditions in the present verse. The middle voice of "purposed" carries the idea of "in Himself." From the context, it seems clear that what God purposed in Himself was the summing up of all things in Christ.
PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST
[1:10]That in the dispensation [unto a dispensation, as a plan, for the administration].[ 37 ] The word "dispensation" is never used in the NT to refer to an era or period of time. It is simply the divine government, regulation or administration. There is no article before "dispensation" in the Greek before "dispensation." The meaning of EIS is unto or with a view to. God enjoyed the purposing and planning with a view to the administration in which all peoples could be saved according to the gospel of the crucified Christ. The way He provides salvation is the dispensation or administration.
"THE CHURCH" IN EPHESIAN LETTER
- God's loving plan to "gather together in one" all things in Christ (Eph 1:10).
- Christ is head over all things to the church (Eph 1:22).
- God's manifold wisdom made known by the church (Eph 3:10).
- In the church by Christ Jesus, God is forever glorified (Eph 3:21).
- There is one body [church] (Eph 4:4; compare 5:23, 25).
Of the fullness of the times [of the fullness of times, for the fullness of time].[ 38 ] The "dispensation" has no reference whatever to the second coming, as suggested by some. It was to take effect in "the fullness of the times" and it did. When the time was right, God began to gather both Jew and Gentile in Christ. The fullness of times began on Pentecost. It continued with the conversion of Cornelius and other Gentiles. God managed events in history so that in the "fullness of the times" He began to reveal His plan for men of all races to be together in Christ (see notes on verses 7, 8).
He might gather together in one all things in Christ [to sum up all things in Christ, to unite all things in him, to head up all things in the Christ].[ 39 ] God's plan was to sum up, gather together or unite "all things" in Christ. This is appropriate because Christ is preeminent in all things (Col 1:18-20). In this arrangement, it was His purpose to bring together again[ 40 ] for Himself all things under His Son. The saved of all races are brought together in Him.
Both which are in heaven and which are on earth [the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth, things in heaven and things on earth]. Christ is unrivaled in the entire universe. He is preeminent in God's purpose both in the universe and in the church. He is especially preeminent in Christians' hearts and lives. Any individual who does not hold Christ preeminent in his heart is entirely out of harmony with the Father's purpose.[ 41 ]
In Him [even in him, in him, I say] (see note on verse 11).
GOD'S OT HERITAGE
- His people, His inheritance (De 4:20).
- Inheritance whom You have redeemed (De 9:26).
- Your people and Your inheritance (De 9:29; 1Ki 8:51).
- The LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance (De 32:9).
- Separated them from all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance (1Ki 8:53).
- Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance (Ps 28:9; compare Ps 33:12; 106:40).
ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE
1:11, 12 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
GOD'S NT HERITAGE
- At first, only Jews were baptized "into the name" [into the possession of] the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mt 28:18-20 ASV).
- Apostles and prophets obtained an inheritance (Eph 1:11; compare 1Co 12:28; Eph 2:20; 3:5, 6).
- Gentiles sealed with Holy Spirit of promise, "the guarantee of our inheritance" (Eph 1:13, 14).
- His own special people (Tit 2:14).
- His own special people (1Pe 2:9).
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance [in whom we have also, in whom also we were made, a heritage].[ 42 ] In the OT, God's chosen people, the Israelites, were His inheritance (see chart GOD'S OT HERITAGE). After they sinned, Moses fell down before the Lord forty days pleading for them. In his prayer, twice he called them "Your inheritance" (De 9:26, 29). In the song of Moses, various nations were assigned to angels but Jehovah retained Israel as His own. This is not clear in some English translations but it is in the Septuagint (see De 32:8, 9; chart NATIONAL ANGELS at Heb 2:5).
In the NT age, the apostles and prophets initially became God's heritage (see 1Co 12:28). After the knowledge of the Gospel became available to all mankind, Christians became His inheritance (see note on In whom you also trusted, verse 13). To this work the apostles were predestined.[ 43 ]
Do Christians have an inheritance in heaven? Indeed they do. They are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (see note on Ro 8:17; compare Col 1:5).
Being predestined according to the purpose [have been, having been, foreordained, destined and appointed, marked out beforehand according to the purpose].[ 44 ] The commission of the apostles and prophets was fitted into God's purpose, His working plan.
Of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will [of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will].[ 45 ] God is omnipotent but He chooses not to overpower everyone. He works out "all things" according to the determination of His own righteous desire (see note on verse 5). "All things" is used in an accommodative or limited sense. Obviously, God does not work out what man freely chooses to do (sin, for example). He does not force people to believe and obey the gospel. He does not work out Satan's plans for him. Nevertheless, He overrules evil in such a way that His purposes are carried out. Joseph said, "And as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Ge 50:20). Christians in Jerusalem mentioned in their prayer that "both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy counsel foreordained to come to pass" (Ac 4:27, 28). "His will may be disobeyed, but his ultimate purpose cannot be frustrated."[ 46 ]
[1:12]That we who first trusted in Christ [we who had before hoped in Christ, that we who have pre-trusted in the Christ].[ 47 ] With the exception of Paul and a few others, the apostles and prophets had trusted and hoped in the Messiah before the church was established on Pentecost. In the church age, they continued to hope in Him. They were "set" or "appointed" in the first century church of Christ. Paul himself hoped in Christ prior to those he addressed at Ephesus. "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. . . . " (1Co 12:28). All were believers prior to being commissioned. Paul became a believer before he was made an apostle of Christ (see Ac 9:6; 26:15-18).
Should be to the praise of His glory [to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory]. It is God's will that everyone should praise His glory. Every Christian makes the praise and service of God his life's purpose. The apostles and prophets fulfilled their purpose by living righteously and teaching the truth. In this, God's glory was praised.
He is now ready to present a marvelous idea: The same blessings of salvation and hope the they received are available to all, Jews and Gentiles alike! Paul finally mentions "you also." Christians in general are now addressed.
GOD'S EMPHATIC APPROVAL
(Eph 1:13, 14)
- Spirit without measure to Christ (Joh 3:33, 34).
- Spirit to apostles [Jews] on Pentecost (Ac 2:1-5).
- Spirit on Samaritans (Ac 8:17).
- Spirit on Gentiles [Cornelius] (Ac 10:45, 46).
- God acknowledged them (Ac 15:8).
- Twelve men at Ephesus received Spirit (Ac 19:6).
- Ephesians sealed with Holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13, 14).
- Spirit poured out on Paul (Tit 3:6).
SEALED WITH HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE
1:13, 14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted [in whom ye also, having trusted, and you too were included in Christ].[ 48 ] The gospel went "to the Jew first" (Ac 3:26; 13:26; Ro 1:16). Many Jews from various nations obeyed the gospel on Pentecost. Many more became Christians during the months following (see Ac 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 21:20). Later on, many thousands of Gentiles became Christians. In verses 1-12, Paul recounted blessings upon the apostles and prophets.
From verse 1 until this point, the only pronouns for Christians that Paul uses are "we" and "us." Inasmuch as the church at Ephesus was made up mostly of Gentiles, we may assume that most of what follows applies to them. The Ephesian Christians all shared in God's blessings as did the apostles. They too were "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." They hoped in Christ. God's own "purchased possession" no longer consisted merely of apostles and prophets or of Jews alone. Gentiles who obeyed the gospel were His heritage as well.
Elect from ev'ry nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation:
One Lord, one faith, one birth.
Samuel S. Wesley
DOES IT MATTER?
- How people worship (Mt 15:9)?
- What is taught (Ga 1:8, 9)?
- What is heard (Eph 1:13; Col 1:5)?
- What is believed (2Th 2:11, 12)?
- How people live (2Pe 2:20-22)?
TRANSLATORS SUPPLYING ITALICIZED WORDS
The translators of the KJV and NKJV, no doubt, added "trusted" in the present verse from verse 12.[ 49 ] They put it in italics to show that it was not in the Greek text. There is no doubt that the Ephesian Christians trusted. They were also "blessed with every spiritual blessing" (verse 3). They had been "made a heritage." (verse 11). They "believed" (verse 13). Could not the translators have chosen one of these ideas instead of, or along with, "trusted"?
After you heard the word of truth [having heard, after that ye heard, who have heard, the word of the truth].[ 50 ] The gospel of salvation is "the word of the truth." Only the truth makes men free (Joh 8:32). No other kind of gospel will save (Ga 1:7-9). "After you heard" is from a Greek aorist participle. In the past, the Ephesians heard the word when they, like the Colossians, had heard "the word of the truth of the gospel" preached by Paul and others (Col 1:5; compare Ac 18:19; 19:1-41).
The gospel of your salvation [the glad tidings of your salvation]. The gospel of salvation is "the gospel of God" (Ro 1:1). It is God's power for salvation (Ro 1:16).
In whom also, having believed [after that ye believed, in whom, having also believed, and have believed in him].[ 51 ] "Having believed," like "after you heard," is from a Greek aorist participle. Not only had the Ephesians heard the gospel but they had believed it. Their faith began after they heard the word of God (see Ro 10:17).
SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
You were sealed [ye were, ye have been, sealed].[ 52 ] Note the sequence here. The Ephesian Christians were sealed after they heard and believed. They were not so tightly foreordained that they were sealed with the Holy Spirit before they believed. The figure of a seal is taken from the act of a king or another person who placed wax (or some impressionable substance) on a document. He then made an impression in it with his ring. The impression in the wax was a seal that sanctified it or set it apart from other things unsealed. This is how a king guaranteed the identity and authenticity of a package or message. Merchants and farmers marked bales, crates and even animals in order to set them apart from others not so marked.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles did not save them but it did reveal the authenticity of their initiation into the church of Christ. At first, the church was composed of Jews only (implied by Ac 2:1-5; 1Co 12:28). God marked the first Gentiles as "acceptable to Him" by the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Ac 10:35, 45, 46; 11:15-17). The miraculous gift of the Spirit did not save them (Ac 11:14). Instead, it was for the purpose of showing how God "acknowledged them" (Ac 15:8). Gentiles at Ephesus received the miraculous gift of the Spirit by the laying on of apostles' hands (see Ac 19:6).
GOD'S MARK OF APPROVAL ON THE TRUTH
The apostles and prophets had the Spirit's mark on their teaching. Paul spoke of the apostles being sealed and given the earnest of the Spirit in their hearts.
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit" (2Co 1:21, 22). God did more than just "provide with a mark of identification." He endued the apostles "with power from heaven," as plainly [taught] in John 6:27.[ 53 ]
The apostles, like other Christians, "tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" (Heb 6:5) but, in addition, they had direct inspiration and the unmistakable inward assurance that they had it.
Authority was stamped on the testimony that Christ received from God. The Spirit "without measure" was given to Him. In this way, the truth of Christ was confirmed (Joh 3:23, 24). The same Spirit guarantees the truth of the apostles' word and, indirectly, the salvation of every obedient believer. When sinners obey the gospel, the same attestation the apostles received is passed on to each of them. It is as sure as the word of God is true.[ 54 ]
All faithful Christians are sanctified, identified and authenticated as belonging to God. They are the possession of the Lord by blood-purchase (Ac 20:28; 1Pe 1:18, 19). They are obedient believers who have been washed from their sins in baptism by Christ's blood (Ac 22:16; Re 1:5). The seal that each Christian has is more meaningful and significant than Jewish circumcision. It is more substantial than the deceptive feelings people talk about. It is more trustworthy than the word of "an angel from heaven" (Ga 1:8). "Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2Ti 2:19). Along this line, E. M. Zerr wrote:
"In whom is a pronoun standing for Christ (last word of verse 12 KJV), in whom only is a Christian sealed (furnished with assuring evidence) by the Spirit which reveals the truth of salvation, by having dictated to the chosen writers (the apostles) the revelation of Truth."[ 55 ]
CHRISTIANS MAY FALL
The seal of the Christian is a mark of identification of those who are saved. A Christian can so live as to cause the Spirit to depart. He may not know when this happens. Sampson "knew not that the Lord was departed from him" (Jg 16:20). One should dedicate his life to God and live closely to Him as is possible (Ro 12:1, 2; Jas 4:8). God will be with him to help in time of need but even so he needs to be on guard lest he fall (1Co 10:12; Php 4:19; Heb 4:16). Turning back into sin or into false teaching ruins one's fellowship with God and causes the seal to be changed or unsealed. The soul of an apostate Christian is lost (2Pe 2:21, 22). However, because God is merciful and forgiving, it is possible to be restored and re-sealed. Additional notes on "sealing" and "the earnest" appear at the end of this chapter.
With the Holy Spirit of promise [with the promised Holy Spirit].[ 56 ] The Holy Spirit was promised by the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28; compare Ac 1:4).
THE EARNEST OR GUARANTEE
[1:14]Which is the guarantee of our inheritance [which is an earnest, who is the earnest, of our inheritance].[ 57 ] In this context, a "guarantee" is a down-payment or first installment. It is a small part of the total "price" given as assurance that the rest will be paid later. It denotes assurance of something to be given in the future. It is a deposit or down-payment guaranteeing the future inheritance. Something like an earnest was given by Judah to Tamar (Ge 38:12-23). He gave to her his signet, cord and staff. These things were a guarantee that he would later send her a kid of the goats.
God, Christ and the Holy Spirit dwell in Christians as in a temple (1Co 6:19). The Christian loves, treasures, thinks about and meditates upon God's precious word. His whole life is shaped and transformed by it. This is a marvelous blessing but it is a meager benefit compared to the glories of heaven. The joy of the Christian on earth is modest compared to the great joy that awaits him there.
A FORETASTE OF HEAVENLY JOY
In the NT age, both Jew and Gentile Christians are assured of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They confidently accept the word of the Spirit as assurance of eternal salvation. The blessed assurance, joy and sonship comes to them by the Spirit through the word.
In Romans 8, Christians are said to have the spirit of adoption or sonship.[ 58 ] They entreat God with great feeling, "Abba! Father!" because they have the blessing and joy that they are children of God (see note on Ro 8:16, 17).[ 59 ] It is a small part of the joys and blessings to be theirs in heaven.
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1Jo 3:1). Fanny J. Crosby must have had the earnest in mind when she wrote:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Fanny J. Crosby
Since the Savior was (is) without sin, Christians have a wonderful hope. They continuously turn to Christ in repentance and prayer for forgiveness and then live as pure as possible (1Jo 3:3). Because of the hope of heaven and assurance of Christ, they live as nearly like Him as they possibly can (see 1Jo 2:6).
THE PURCHASED POSSESSION
- Suffer with Christ (Ro 8:17).
- Crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Ga 5:24)
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).
- Depart from iniquity (2Ti 2:19).
- Purify selves (1Jo 3:3).
Until the redemption of the purchased possession [to the redemption of God's own possession, until we acquire possession of it, of the acquired possession].[ 60 ] "Until" looks ahead with a view to the redemption of all those who make up God's own possession. "Redemption," in this context, does not look back on baptism, at which time Christians become His own possession. It looks forward to Christ's final coming. The "purchased possession" is the church and every faithful member of it (Ac 20:28). All faithful members of the body of Christ will enjoy "the redemption of the body," that is, they will be gloriously raised in the day when Christ returns (see Joh 5:28, 29; Ro 8:23).
Some Jews looked with utter repugnance upon Gentiles. The reverse was also true. Some Gentiles despised Jews. Gentiles were a much different race. They probably thought the Jews were self-willed, proud and arrogant but Gentiles too had a problem with pride. "Do not be haughty, but fear" was Paul's advice to them (Ro 11:20). In the present chapter, he uses twelve verses to recount blessings on the apostles and prophets (Jews except for a few such as Luke). Then he alludes to other Christians (verse 13). The design of this is, I think, to engender great respect for the apostles. If both Jew and Gentile Christians upheld the apostles, unity among all races and peoples in Christ would be furthered, strengthened and enhanced.
To the praise of His glory [unto the praise of his glory]. Once again, Paul states the purpose of all mankind. That purpose is naturally fulfilled by grateful Christians. What is that purpose? That hearts continually overflow with praise and glory to God.
MAKING MENTION OF YOU IN MY PRAYERS
1:15-21 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you my know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Therefore I also [wherefore I also, for this cause, for this reason]. Paul relates his thanksgiving for the faithful Ephesians. He is thankful for the salvation, sealing and hope given them by the Lord.
After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus [because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is in, among, you]. Churches who received the circular Ephesian letter had a reputation for continuing in the faith.
And your love for all the saints [and love unto, and the love which ye show, which ye have, toward, towards. all the saints]. Racial prejudice was overcome by love for all the saints. Both Jew and Gentile Christians in the church at Ephesus cared for one another.
[1:16] Do not cease to give thanks for you [cease not, I do not cease, giving thanks for you]. Prominent in some modern-day prayers are pleas for help with problems or health. By contrast, the love and faith of Christians motivated Paul to pray. He prayed regularly for the Ephesian Christians and many others. As he prayed, he gave thanks for them. He never stopped.
Making mention of you in my prayers [remembering you, making mention of you at my prayers]. Paul mentioned all of the Ephesians in prayer to God. His prayer was more particular than "for all whom it is our duty to pray for the world over" (see note on Prayer and supplication at Php 4:6).
PRAYER FOR WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
[1:17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul kept making request of God. Notice that the Father is "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul's statement completely pulverizes the flimsy assumption that God and Christ are exactly the same. The fact that Christ has a God in no way detracts from His deity any more than the Father having Christ as God detracts from His (see chart THE GOD OF CHRIST; notes on Joh 20:17; Php 2:5-11; Col 1:13-19; Heb 1:9; Clarke 6.435).
THE GOD OF CHRIST
- Ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God (Joh 20:17).
- Glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 15:6).
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3).
- The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory (Eph 1:17).
- As man and mediator, Jesus has the Father for His God (1Ti 2:5).
The Father of glory.[ 61 ] The Father of glory is all-glorious. He is the author, possessor and preserver of true glory. He is the source of joy and perfect happiness. These blessings will be fully realized after the resurrection of the saints (see chart THE FATHER OF GLORY). Jesus is called "the Lord of glory" (1Co 2:8).
May give to you the spirit of wisdom [would, give you, unto you, a spirit, the spirit, of wisdom].[ 62 ] Paul was careful to use the article when the Holy Spirit was intended.[ 63 ] In the present verse, he did not use it. That is, he did not say the spirit. Most translators were aware that the word "spirit" means attitude or disposition, not the personal Holy Spirit. Therefore, they did not capitalize it. Miraculous gifts are not in view here either. By asking for a spirit of wisdom, Paul was praying that the Ephesians would be given a great degree of wisdom in spiritual matters (see note and chart on Col 1:8).[ 64 ]
And revelation [and of revelation].[ 65 ] The spirit of revelation means a good understanding of spiritual truths, an adequate comprehension of the revealed word of God.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
- Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me (Jer 9:24).
- They shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them (Jer 31:34).
- You shall know the truth (Joh 8:32).
- This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (Joh 17:3).
- Increasing in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10).
In the knowledge of Him [in the full knowledge of him].[ 66 ] Knowledge of Christ gives Christians all things that pertain to life and godliness (2Pe 1:3). Spiritual knowledge is proportional to desire. "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine" (Joh 7:17). Even the great apostle Paul longed for more perfect knowledge of Christ "and the power of His resurrection" (Php 3:10; see chart KNOWLEDGE OF GOD).
[1:18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened [having the eyes of your heart, your hearts, enlightened, being enlightened in the eyes of your heart]. The spirit of wisdom was to be given Paul's readers when the eyes of their heart were enlightened. Hearts are enlightened by the word. Luke wrote that the heart of Lydia was "opened" after she "heard us" (Ac 16:14). It requires special insight and understanding to comprehend God's wisdom and prudence (see Eph 1:8) and it is right to pray for that. The parallel in Colossians also bears out this interpretation. "For this reason we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col 1:9).Knowledge of the inspired word of God has a marvelous ability to impart wisdom and meaningful understanding. Any Christian not studying the Scriptures daily is walking in twilight (see Ps 119:105).
THE WORD'S PERSUADING POWER
- Explaining and demonstrating. . . . some of them were persuaded (Ac 17:3, 4).
- Bereans received the word with all readiness of mind (Ac 17:11).
- Ephesians heard the gospel and believed (Eph 1:13).
- By knowledge, eyes of understanding enlightened (Eph 1:18).
- His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2Pe 1:3).
Once Paul preached three Sabbath days in Thessalonica. He opened and alleged to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. Because he did this, some of them were "persuaded" (see chart THE WORD'S PERSUADING POWER).[ 67 ] Hearts today are enlightened the same way theirs were--by the truth. The Holy Spirit does not enlighten anyone separate and apart from the inspired word. If He did, would He not enlighten the unconverted heathen whether or not lazy human beings preached the gospel to them?
Paul's prayer gives some details of what he desired the Ephesians to know (see Eph 1:15-23; see chart PAUL WANTS HIS READERS TO KNOW).
PAUL WANTS HIS READERS TO KNOW
(Eph 1:18, 19)
- The hope of His calling (Eph 1:18).
- The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:18).
- The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph 1:19).
That you may know what is the hope of His calling [that ye may know, so that ye should know, the hope to which he has called you]. The "hope of His calling" is the one great and blessed hope of eternal life (Eph 4:4). It is God's purpose to give the name "sons" to all who believe and obey the gospel (see Ga 3:26, 27; Eph 5:1; 1Jo 3:1, 2). Unconverted Gentiles were (are) "without hope" (Eph 2:12; compare Col 1:5; Tit 2:12). Now, in Christ, as His sons they are blessed with "the hope of His calling" (see chart THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING).
THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING
- Called according to God's purpose (Ro 8:28).
- To be conformed to the image of His Son (Ro 8:29).
- Called by the gospel (2Th 2:14).
- Hope in God . . . there will be a resurrection of the dead (Ac 24:15).
- This hope we have as an anchor of the soul (Heb 6:19).
What the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints [what are the riches, and what the riches, of his glorious inheritance in the saints]. The saints (Christians) are God's heritage (see notes on verses 11, 12). The "inheritance of the saints in light" is "the kingdom of Christ and God" (Col 1:12; see chart INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM). The kingdom is the church (see note on Mt 16:18, 19). The inheritance of Christ, therefore, is the church. It is the kingdom of Christ into which sinners are translated (Col 1:13) when they are redeemed by His blood and receive forgiveness of sins (Col 2:14). Do Christians have an inheritance in heaven? Of course, they do! The church is the house of God (1Ti 3:15). The house of God is the "gate of heaven" (Ge 28:17; compare Eph 1:22, 23; 5:23).
INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM
- The glory of His inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:18).
- No fornicator, unclean person nor covetous man . . . has any inheritance (Eph 5:5).
- Qualified to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col 1:12).
[1:19] And what is the exceeding greatness [and what the immeasurable greatness, the surpassing greatness].[ 68 ] Human efforts to define God's power, energy and strength are feeble. Language is entirely inadequate to describe it.
GOD'S GREAT POWER
- Gospel=power of God for salvation (Ro 1:16).
- Able to establish you according to my gospel (Ro 16:25; compare 2Ti 1:12; Heb 7:25).
- Jesus lives by the power of God (2Co 13:4).
- Inner strengthening of Christians (Eph 3:16-18; compare 2Co 9:8; Jude 24).
- Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20).
According to the working [according to strength, that working].[ 69 ] The Greek word for "working" is a special word in the NT used only to describe superhuman power. God's great power was shown in several areas (see chart GOD'S GREAT POWER). "God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God" (Ps 62:11). He exerted His power in first century Christians enabling them to perform miracles. Throughout the church age, Christians are strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man (see Eph 3:16-18). His great power works in them through the "living and powerful"[ 70 ] word (Heb 4:12).
Of His mighty [of the strength, of his great, of the might].[ 71 ] Like the Greek word for "working" (above), the word for "mighty" is used in the NT only of superhuman power. An example is the devil's power[ 72 ] of death (Heb 2:14).
Power [of his might].[ 73 ] God is greater and more powerful than most realize. "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Lu 1:37; compare Mt 19:26; Mk 14:36; Re 19:6). He is exceedingly strong. Nothing is too difficult for Him (Mk 14:36; see also 1Ch 29:12; 2Ch 25:8; Job 26:12; Ps 65:6; Ro 16:25, 27). The most visible power in the early church was the miraculous power of God given to the apostles and to those on whom they laid hands.
POWER, A STUDY OF FIVE WORDS
(Eph 1:19, 20)
- MEGATHOS greatness (Eph 1:19).
- DUNAMEOOS power (Eph 1:20; compare Heb 4:12).
- *ENERGEIAN working (Eph 1:19).
- *KRATOUS might, mighty (Eph 1:19).
- ISCHUOS power, strength (Eph 1:19).
*These words are used only of superhuman power.
To us-ward who believe [toward us, towards us, for us, in us, who believe].[ 74 ] By "us-ward," Paul primarily designates the apostles and prophets (see Eph 3:5). God's exceeding great power was exerted "us-ward." The same power He used in raising Christ from the dead was at work in the miracles and inspiration of the apostles and prophets (see verse 20).
[1:20] Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead [which, in which, he wrought, accomplished, in the Christ in raising him from among the dead]. The crucified Christ was raised by our powerful God (see Ac 2:24; 3:15; 10:40; 13:30; Ro 10:9). Verses that indicate Christ Himself arose or raised Himself imply that the resurrection was a cooperative effort (see Ac 10:41; 17:3; 1Co 15:4; 1Th 4:14). The working of the strength of His might accomplished that magnificent feat.
Christ has been exalted far above all principality and power (Eph 1:21). By His great power, He will transform our lowly body because He is even able to subdue all things to Himself (Php 3:21).
And seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places [and set him, and he set him down, and made him to sit, at his right hand in the heavenlies]. God's power did not stop at the resurrection of Christ. It continued as Jesus ascended and was enthroned at the right hand of God in heaven.
ALL UNDER CHRIST
- All principality, all rule.
- All power, authority.
- All might.
- All dominion.
- Every name that is named.
[1:21] Far above all principality [above every principality, all rule].[ 75 ] The Father "seated" Christ far above all rule, authority and power (Eph 1:20, 21). Everything is under Christ except God Himself (see 1Co 15:27, 28). He is over all anciently accepted rulers who reigned before the kingdom of Christ began on Pentecost. At least since then, He has been over all rulers. He is over all men and angels (see chart ALL UNDER CHRIST).
And power [and authority].[ 76 ] "Authority" is the power of choice to act. God's immense authority implies that He may choose to do whatever He pleases. "But God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases" (Ps 115:3). Christ has all authority[ 77 ] (Mt 28:18). He is above everyone who exercises any authority.
And might [and might, and power].[ 78 ] The word "dynamite" derives from the Greek word for "might." Christ is above all might and above those who exert power.
And dominion.[ 79 ] Some think the word "dominion" is second in rank under power (see above note). They say it applies to angels. Whether or not this is the case, Christ is above all the angels as well as other dominions.
And every name that is named [and above every name that is named, and every name named].[ 80 ] Call any name, any title of sovereignty. Christ is above it (see note on Php 2:9).
Not only in this age [not only in this world].[ 81 ] Christ is above every great title that can be named on earth in the present church age.
But also in that which is to come [but in the age to come, that to come].[ 82 ] Christ is above all authority, power, might, dominion and every name in the age to come.
HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH
1:22, 23 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
And He put all things under His feet [and he, and has, and he has, and hath, put all things in subjection, under his feet]. All things are in subjection to Christ but not all enemies are as yet destroyed (see 1Co 15:25-28; compare Ps 8:5-8; Col 1:15-18).
And gave Him to be head over all things to the church [and has made him the head over all things for the church, to the assembly].[ 83 ] As a gift to Christ, God made Him head over all things to the church. He is its supreme head. He is over everything relative to it. Popes and councils who set themselves above the revealed word of God are totally out of order by trying to steal the gift of Christ.
[1:23]Which is His body.[ 84 ] The church is the body of Christ. The body of Christ is the church (see note and chart at Col 1:18; see chart THE CHURCH AS A BODY).
THE CHURCH AS A BODY
(Eph 1:22, 23)
- Members united under Christ, the head.
- Members have meaning because of the head.
- Members obey the head.
- Members are cared for by the head.
- Members are related to each other through the head.
The fullness of Him.[ 85 ] Jesus is the fullness of God. As such, He holds within Himself entire fullness. The church is the fullness of Christ. The fullness dwells in Him. "For in him the Whole Fullness was pleased to dwell" (Col 1:19 OPV). In His fullness, He is united with every Christian (see Ro 8:9, 10; Ga 3:27; Eph 1:3). With His goodness, love and compassion, He floods the soul of every Christian. By faith He lives in each one (Eph 3:17).
Who fills all in all [that filleth all in all].[ 86 ] The idolatrous worshippers of Diana "of the Ephesians" considered her to be the source and succorer of all things. Her many breasts signified the various ways she supposedly nourished the whole universe. Christ is so much greater that there is no comparison. Christ fills all in all.
He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things (Eph 4:10).
The gifts and graces which Christ bestows on His members are called "the fullness of God" because they all come from God" (see Eph 3:19).[ 87 ]
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON "SEALING"
Following are additional notes concerning views about the Spirit's "sealing" that the writer has considered but does not subscribe to:
SEALING AS A SAVING OPERATION?
The sealing by the Holy Spirit is not a mysterious, direct operation upon the heart of a sinner to save him or to make him a believer. One reason for rejecting this view is that Cornelius received the gift of the Holy Spirit prior to becoming a saved believer (Ac 11:14, 15; 15:7, 8) but the Ephesian Christians (mostly Gentiles) were sealed subsequent to believing the word of truth (see Eph 1:13; Greek tenses of heard, believed and sealed; compare Ga 4:6). Additionally, various miraculous gifts via laying on of the apostles' hands were God's mark of acceptance of Gentiles (see Ac 19:6).
A MODERN, MIRACULOUS INDWELLING?
Some claim that each Christian has a personal, miraculous, indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Generally, they base their "indwelling experience" on something "better felt than told." Feelings may be very deceptive. Testimony based on subjective emotions or feelings does not carry much weight. The actions and teachings of people who profess a miraculous indwelling cast doubt upon their claims in that many who so claim do not fully obey "the word of the truth of the gospel" nor do they accept correction from the plain word of God. The writer rejects the view that Christians in the present century have a miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
A PERSONAL INDWELLING IN ALL CHRISTIANS?
Many claim the seal is a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit but admit they cannot sense or perceive it except by how they interpret Scripture! Do people think the Holy Spirit is just a subjective influence or an emotion? May I point out that the Holy Spirit is a Person. How is their sense of an "experience" of the Spirit's indwelling any more convincing than the claims of the deceived, but pious, unimmersed? If God intended to give Christians a guarantee, why did He make it so hard to pin down? The testimony of God's word and the fruit of the Spirit is offered as proof (Ga 5:22, 23). The testimony of God's word is not subjective but the so-called "experience" is. Is it conceivable that such an indefinable indwelling was intended as God's indisputable mark to identify saved people? I think not.
A REPRESENTATIVE INDWELLING?
Others suggest the representative indwelling of the Spirit is God's seal. There is considerable uncertainty among those holding this view. Some claim the Spirit indwells the Christian through the word. Do they mean that the word indwells a Christian? Think a minute. If a candidate for baptism has heard, read, studied and believed the truth, does not the word dwell in his heart before baptism? When he rises from the water of baptism, does more of the word somehow begin to indwell him at that moment (see Ac 2:38)? Do they mean that some other blessing of the Spirit (such as peace or joy) indwells him? Again, we are dealing with the realm of the subjective. Does God use subjective emotions or feelings to seal, mark or demonstrate His unquestioned approval of His saved people? This view is not considered to be very reasonable.
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV and occasionally another version. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]Paul was able to preach in foreign languages he had never studied.
[ 3 ]TOIS HAGIOIS TOIS OUSIN [EN EPHESOO], to the saints being in Ephesus (Marshall 758); to the set-apart ones who are in Ephesus. The RSV omits "who are in Ephesus" [see the last alternate phrase in brackets] in conformity with certain manuscripts.
[ 4 ]See MacKnight 322.
[ 5 ]CHARIS HUMIN, grace to you (Marshall 758).
[ 6 ]EULOGEETOS HO THEOS KAI PATEER TOU KURIOU HEEMOON 'IEESOU CHRISTOU, blessed the God and Father of the Lord of us Jesus Christ (Marshall 758); EULOGEETOS [is] placed first in the clause for emphasis, blessed the God. In the NT used of God only (Vincent 3.364).
[ 7 ]HO EULOGEESAS HEEMAS, the [one] having blessed us (Marshall 758); kindred with EULOGEETOS blessed (Vincent 3.364).
[ 8 ]Many blessings of a material nature come upon the good and bad alike (see Mt 5:45). Even the land receives blessing from God (Heb 6:7).
[ 9 ]EN PASEE EULOGIA PNEUMATIKEE, with every blessing spiritual (Marshall 758); not spiritual as distinguished from bodily, but proceeding from the Holy Spirit (Vincent 3.364); by metonymy, blessing, favor conferred, gift, benefit, bounty; of things spiritual, communicated or imparted by the Holy Spirit (Zodhiates 679, 1185); blessings, benefits bestowed; spiritual blessings (Vine 125, 1078); in reference to things; emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character (Thayer 523).
[ 10 ]New Age teachings are so varied that some who have been baptized are accepted as followers of New Age teaching. However, baptism is not a requirement in its core doctrine.
[ 11 ]EN TOIS EPOURANIOIS, in the heavenlies (Marshall 758); in the heavenlies (Vincent 3.346).
[ 12 ]Compare Vincent 3.364; Philippians 3:20.
[ 13 ]KATHOS, as (Marshall 758); explaining blessed us in verse 3. His blessing is in conformity with the fact that he chose us (Vincent 3.364).
[ 14 ]KATHOS EXELEXATO HEEMAS EN AUTOO, as he chose us in him (Marshall 759); middle voice, for Himself (Vincent 3.364); selected for Himself.
[ 15 ]PRO KATABOLEES KOSMOU, before [the] foundation of [the] world (Marshall 758); literally, [before] a casting down; order, arrangement, ornament, adornment, used to denote the earth [Joh 21:25], the universe [Ro 1:20], and, by metonymy, all mankind [Mt 5:14], and sometimes only the Gentiles [Ro 11:12, 15] (Vine 468; 1256).
[ 16 ]Others think "before the foundation of the world" simply means prior to giving the Law.
[ 17 ]EINAI HEEMAS HAGIOUS KAI AMOOMOUS, to be us=that we should be . . . holy and unblemished (Marshall 758); the positive and negative aspects of Christian life (Vincent 3.365).
[ 18 ]The word order "in love, having foreordained us" is suggested by Harrison (726), Conybeare (767), Weed (125), Vincent (3.365), Barnes (20) and others. For this reason, I have also included the words "in love" in the next phrase as well.
[ 19 ]EN AGAPE PROORISAS HEMAS, [PRO before, HORIZOO to define], defined or determined beforehand, having in love foreordained, Vincent 3.365; decided upon beforehand, predestined, Arndt 709; foreordained, appointed beforehand . . . to obtain a thing, Thayer 541).
[ 20 ]EIS HUIOTHESIAN, to adoption as sons (Marshall 758); [from HUIOS a son, THESIS a placing, akin to TITHEEMI to place], signifies the place and condition of a son given to one to whom it does not naturally belong. . . . In Ephesians 1:5 they are said to have been foreordained unto "adoption as sons" through Jesus Christ. . . . "adoption of children" is a mistranslation and is misleading (Vine 23, 24); see note on Romans 8:15.
[ 21 ]KATA TEEN EUDOKIAN TOU THELEEMATOS AUTOU, according to the good pleasure of the will of him (Marshall 758); because it pleased Him (Vincent 3.375).
[ 22 ][EEN] HEES ECHARITOOSEN HEEMAS US EN TOO EEGAPEEMENOO, of (with) which he favored us in the [one] having been loved (Marshall 759); [the correct reading is HEES which, referring to grace], grace--which he freely bestowed (Vincent 3.365); the splendid favor which He has shown us in His beloved Son (Williams).
[ 23 ]EN TOO EEGAPEEMENOO, in the [one] having been loved (Marshall 759); beloved par excellence (Vincent 3.366).
[ 24 ]EN HOO ECHOMEN TEEN APOLUTROOSIN, in whom we have the redemption (Marshall 759); we have, or are having our redemption [note the article] (Vincent 3.366); literally, a releasing, for [that is, on payment of] a ransom . . . forgiveness and justification, redemption as the result of expiation, deliverance from the guilt of sins [Ro 3:24], "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Vine 936).
[ 25 ]DIA TOU HAIMATOS AUTOU, through the blood of him (Marshall 759).
[ 26 ]The NIV uses weakens the meaning of "redemption" by rendering it "release." The NEB virtually deletes the payment price with "for in Christ our release is secured."
[ 27 ]TEEN APHESIN TOON PARAPTOOMATOON, the forgiveness of trespasses (Marshall 759); forgiveness specifies the peculiar quality of redemption; PARAPTOOMATOON=trespasses (Vincent 3.366); primarily, false steps, blunders [akin to PARAPIPTOO to fall away, Heb 6:6], literally, "a fall beside," used ethically, denotes trespasses, deviations from uprightness and truth (Vine 1166).
[ 28 ]HEES EPERISSEUSEN EIS HEEMAS, which he made to abound to us (Marshall 759); which He made to abound (Vincent 3.366).
[ 29 ]EN PASEE SOPHIA KAI PHRONEESEI, in all wisdom and intelligence (Marshall 759); every kind of wisdom (Vincent 3.366). The Greek word for "prudence" is translated "wisdom" in Luke 1. John was turning "the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just" (Lu 1:17).
[ 30 ]Vine 1244.
[ 31 ]GNOORISAS HEEMIN, making known to us (Marshall 759); the participle is explanatory of [that] which He made to abound . . . in that He made known (Vincent 3.366).
[ 32 ]TO MUSTEERION TOU THELEEMATOS AUTOU, the mystery of the will of him (Marshall 759); Christ, the secret thoughts, plans, and dispensations of God which are hidden from the human reason, as well as from all other comprehension below the divine level, and hence must be revealed to those for whom they are intended . . . the acceptance of the Gentiles (Arndt 530); who is God Himself revealed under the conditions of human life [Col 2:2; 4:3], and submitting even to death [1Co 2:1, 2, in some manuscripts, for MARTURION, testimony], 7, but raised from among the dead [1Ti 3:16], that the will of God to co-ordinate the universe in Him, and subject it to Him, might in due time be accomplished, [Eph 1:9; compare Re 10:7], as declared in the gospel [Ro 16:25; Eph 6:19] (Vine 769).
[ 33 ]KATA TEEN EUDOKIAN AUTOU, according to the good pleasure of him (Marshall 759).
[ 34 ]HEEN PROETHETO, which he purposed (Marshall 759); PROETHETO is third person singular, second aorist middle indicative of PROTITHEEMI (Han 358); set before, set forth [PRO before, TITHEEMI to put, place] . . . either meaning set forth or purposed, He purposed [in Him] (Vine 906); display publicly . . . plan, purpose, intend (Arndt 722); to set forth before one's self; to purpose, determine (Thayer 552).
[ 35 ]EN AUTOO, in him[self] (Marshall 759); [some texts read "Himself"], but the reference is clearly to God, not to Christ, who is expressly mentioned in the next verse (Vincent 3.367); EN AUTOO in Him.
[ 36 ]See Thayer 87.
[ 37 ]EIS OIKONOMIAN, for a stewardship (Marshall 759); [OIKOS a house, NOMOS a law]. From the early meaning of household management developed the sense of stewardship, a mode of dealing, an arrangement or administration of affairs (Vine 312, 313); of the divine regulation, disposition, economy of things, unto a dispensation (Vincent 3.367; see note on Col 1:25); "that in the dispensation," with a view to an administration, to be put into effect.
[ 38 ]TOU PLEEROOMATOS TOON KAIROON, of the fullness of the times (Marshall 759); the fullness of the times is the moment when the successive ages of the gospel dispensation are completed, a dispensation characterized by the fullness of the times: set forth when the times are full (Vincent 3.367).
[ 39 ]ANAKEPHALAIOOSASTHAI TA PANTA EN TOO CHRISTOO, to head up all things in Christ (Marshall 759); ANAKEPHALAIOOSASTHAI is the first aorist passive infinitive of ANAKEPHALAIOOO (Han 358); first aorist middle infinitive, God is said to bring together again for Himself [note the middle] all things and beings [hitherto disunited by sin] into one combined state of fellowship in Christ, the universal bond (Thayer 38, 39); to bring back to and gather round the main point [KEPHALAION], not the head [KEPHALE]; so that, in itself, it does not indicate Christ [the Head] as the central point of regathering, though He is so in fact (Vine 3.367); to bring everything together in Christ (Arndt 56).
[ 40 ]Thayer 38, 39.
[ 41 ]Harrison 727.
[ 42 ]EN HO KAI EKLEEROOTHEEMEN, in whom also we were chosen as [his inheritance] (Marshall 759); EKLEEROOTHEEMEN is first person plural, first aorist passive indicative of KLEEROOO (Han 358); it was in Christ, too, that we were claimed by God as His portion (Bruce 262; compare J. A. Robinson's [Ephesians 146] well-argued conclusion that "the meaning must be "we have been chosen as God's portion").
[ 43 ]Zerr 94.
[ 44 ]PROORISTHENTES KATA PROTHESIN, being predestinated according to [the] purpose (Marshall 759); PROORISTHENTES is the first aorist passive participle, nominative plural masculine of PROORIZOO (Han 358); this verb is to be distinguished from PROGINOOSKOO to foreknow; the latter has special reference to the persons foreknown by God; PROORIZOO has special reference to that to which the subjects of His foreknowledge are predestinated (Vine 875); we are dealing with a passive form of the verb which means "appoint by lot," "allot," "assign," and the passive sense should be brought out unless there is good reason to the contrary (Bruce 263).
[ 45 ]TOU TA PANTA ENERGOUNTOS KATA TEEN BOULEEN TOU THELEEMATOS AUTOU, of the [one] all things operating according to the counsel of the will of him (Marshall 759).
[ 46 ]Bruce 263.
[ 47 ]PROEELPIKOTAS EN TOO CHRISTOO, having previously hoped in Christ (Marshall 759); PROEELPIKOTAS is the perfect active participle, accusative plural masculine of PROELPIZOO (Han 358); [PRO before, ELPIZOO to hope], hoped before (Vine 562).
[ 48 ]EN HOO KAI HUMEIS, in whom also ye (Marshall 759).
[ 49 ]"Trusted" may be supplied from the word PROEELPIKOTAS had before hoped or who first trusted (Eph 1:12).
[ 50 ]AKOUSANTES TON LOGON TEES ALEETHEIAS, hearing the word of truth (Marshall 759); AKOUSANTES is the first aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of AKOUOO (Han 358); having come to believe (Lenski 378); got by hearing, learned from the mouth of the teacher or narrator] (Thayer 23).
[ 51 ]EN HOO KAI PISTEUSANTES, in whom also believing (Marshall 759); PISTEUSANTES is the first aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of PISTEUOO (Han 358); ingressive aorist, "having come to believe" (Lenski 382); believed [in], trusted, of religious belief in a special sense (Arndt 661); of those who acknowledge Jesus as the savior and devote themselves to him (Thayer 512).
[ 52 ]ESPHRAGISTHETE, ye were sealed (Marshall 759); second person plural, first aorist passive indicative of SPHRAGIZOO (Han 358); aorist passive, used metaphorically, respecting God, who by the gift of the Holy Spirit indicates who are his (Thayer 609); mark [with a seal] as a means of identification [of all kinds of animals], so that the mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner. . . [marking with a seal on the forehead in the cult of Mithra] . . . [on the concept of sealing eschatologically compare Ezekiel 9:4f; Isaiah 44:5 . . . ]. This forms a basis for understanding the symbolic expression which speaks of those who enter the Christian fellowship as being sealed with or by the Holy Spirit (Arndt 796); the sealing of believers by the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon believing [that is, at the time of their regeneration, not after a lapse of time in their spiritual life, "having also believed"--not as KJV "after that ye believed"--; the aorist participle marks the definiteness and completeness of the act of faith]; the idea of destination is stressed by the phrase "the Holy Spirit of promise" [see also verse 14] (Vine 1003, 1004).
[ 53 ]Arndt 796.
[ 54 ]Compare Wallace 77, 78.
[ 55 ]Zerr 95.
[ 56 ]TOO PNEUMATI TEES EPANGELIAS TOO HAGIOO, with the Spirit of promise holy (Marshall 759).
[ 57 ]HOS ESTIN ARRABOON TEES KLEERONOMIAS HEMOON, who is an earnest of the inheritance of us (Marshall 760); ARRABOON, originally, earnest-money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote a pledge or earnest of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine pledge of all their future blessedness, 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; in Ephesians 1:14, particularly of their eternal inheritance. . . . In modern Greek ARRABOONA is an engagement ring (Vine 341); masculine noun transliterated from the Hebrew HARABOON. Earnest money, a pledge, something which stands for part of the price and paid beforehand to confirm the transaction. Used in the NT only in a figurative sense and spoken of the Holy Spirit which God has given to believers in this present life to assure them of their future and eternal inheritance (Zodhiates 257).
[ 58 ]The spirit of sonship is a filial disposition [disposition of a son], not the Holy Spirit. It stands in contrast to the spirit of bondage or slavery (Ro 8:15).
[ 59 ]In his debate with Given Blakely, Guy N. Woods emphasized that an earnest is a down-payment in kind. He asked, "Does it mean we have a little bit of the Holy Spirit now and lot of the Holy Spirit in heaven?" He suggested that the earnest is the joy and blessings of the Christian that are a foretaste of heavenly joys.
[ 60 ]EIS APOLUTROOSIN TEES PERIPOIEESEOOS, till [the] redemption of the possession (Marshall 760); APOLUTROOSIN is forgiveness and justification, redemption as the result of expiation, deliverance from the guilt of sins, Romans 3:24, "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;" Ephesians 1:7, defined as "the forgiveness of our trespasses," RV; so Colossians 1:14, "the forgiveness of our sins," indicating both the liberation from the guilt and doom of sin and the introduction into a life of liberty, "newness of life" (Ro 6:4); PERIPOIEESEOOS is an acquisition, is translated "[God's own] possession" in Ephesians 1:14, RV, which may mean "acquisition," AV, "purchased possession; 1 Peter 2:9, RV, "God's own possession", AV, "a peculiar [people]" (Vine 866; 936).
[ 61 ]HO PATEER TEES DOXEES, the Father of glory (Marshall 760); the Father to whom the glory belongs, note the article, the glory, preeminently (Vincent 3.370).
[ 62 ]DOOE HUMIN PNEUMA SOPHIAS, may give to you a spirit of wisdom (Marshall 7760); DOOE is third person singular, second aorist active optative (Han 358); the optative mood expresses a wish (Machen 550); second aorist subjunctive; the Greek has no article (Arndt 192; Thayer 145, 714; Vincent 3.370).
[ 63 ]Guy N. Woods.
[ 64 ]Some think that even without the article, the Greek speaks of the Holy Spirit. They suppose that since miraculous gifts were still in effect that Paul is praying for them to receive such gifts. I doubt this because the only known way that miraculous gifts were passed on was by the laying on of the apostles' hands (see note on Ac 8:18).
[ 65 ]KAI APOKALUPSEOOS, and of revelation (Marshall 760); wisdom, insight into the true nature of things [and] revelation, an uncovering [APO from, KALUPTOO to cover] (Vine 964, 1233).
[ 66 ]EN EPIGNOOSEI AUTOU, in a full knowledge of him (Marshall 760); the sphere in which they will receive God's gift of wisdom and revelation (Vincent 3.370).
[ 67 ]Whiteside pointed out that the Thessalonians were not so totally depraved that the Holy Spirit had to operate directly upon their hearts to save them.
[ 68 ]KAI TI TO HUPERBALLON MEGETHOS, and what the excelling greatness (Marshall 760); exceeding, surpassing, vast, incomparably [HUPER over and beyond, BALLOO to throw]; hence, a throwing beyond, always meaning preeminence (Vine 395, 396; Vincent 3.371); MEGETHOS, greatness of degree, magnitude, intensity (Vine 513, 517; Thayer 395); how surpassingly great is his [God's] power (Arndt 498).
[ 69 ]KATA TEEN ENERGEIAN, according to the operation (Marshall 760); working, efficiency, in the NT used only of super-human power (Thayer 215); according to the manifestation of his power (Arndt 265); the active, efficient manifestation of the strength of his might, used only of superhuman power (Vincent 3.372, 3.454; Vine 30).
[ 70 ]"Powerful" in Hebrews 4:12 is ENERGEES (see above footnote); ENERGEES is, literally, "in work" [compare English energetic]; compare the synonymous words DUNATOS [powerful] and ISCHUROS [strong, mighty] (Vine 20).
[ 71 ]TOU KRATOUS AUTOU, of the might of him (Marshall 760); strength, intensity, Arndt 449; ability, strength (Vine 1094); the might of his strength (Thayer 359); strength (KRATOUS) is used only of God, and denotes relative and manifested power (Vincent 3.372); strength or might, more especially manifested power, dominion. . . . Denotes the presence and significance of force or strength rather than its exercise (Zodhiates 886).
[ 72 ]KRATOS ability, strength.
[ 73 ]TEES ISCHOUS, of the strength (Marshall 760); strength, power, might (Arndt 383); power [over external things] afforded by strength, Thayer 309; ability or indwelling strength (Vine 1104; Vincent 3.372).
[ 74 ]TEES DUNAMEOS AUTOU EIS HEEMAS TOUS PISTEUONTAS, of the power of him toward us the [ones] believing (Marshall 760); strikingly able, mighty (Vine 878; Vincent 3.4).
[ 75 ]HUPERANOO PASEES ARCHEES, far above all rule (Marshall 760); literally, over above (Vincent 3.373); ARCHEES, of angelic and demonic powers, since they were thought of as having a political organization (Arndt 112); the first place, principality, rule, magistracy . . . the term is transferred by Paul to angels and demons holding dominions entrusted to them in the order of things (Thayer 77).
[ 76 ]KAI EXOUSIAS, and authority (Marshall 760); power of authority, the right to exercise power (Vine 81); the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates (Thayer 225).
[ 77 ]PASA EXOUSIA all authority.
[ 78 ]KAI DUNAMEOOS, and power (Marshall 760); perhaps of angels (Vine 868); used of the power of angels (Thayer 159); power, might, strength, force . . . ability, capability . . . power as a personal supernatural spirit or angel (Arndt 207, 208).
[ 79 ]KAI KURIOTEETOS, and lordship (Marshall 760); [KURIOS a lord] lordship, power, dominion, whether angelic or human (Vine 325); bearers of the ruling power, dominions (Arndt 461); used of angels (Thayer 366; see Col 1:16; 2Pe 2:11; Jude 8).
[ 80 ]KAI PANTOS ONOMATOS ONOMA-ZOMENOU, and every name being named (Marshall 761); and every name that is named; and has a collective and summary force--and, in a word (Vincent 3.373).
[ 81 ]OU MONON EN TOO AIOONI TOUTOO, not only in this age (Marshall 761); not only in this eon (Lenski 400).
[ 82 ]ALLA KAI EN TOO MELLONTI, but also in the coming (Marshall 761); but also in the one to come (Lenski 400).
[ 83 ]ALLA KAI EN TOO MELLONTI, but also in the coming (Marshall 761); but also in the one to come (Lenski 400). KAI AUTON EDOOKEN KEPHALEEN HUPER PANTA TEE EKKLESIA, and him gave [to be] head over all things to the church (Marshall 761); Him is emphatic: and Him He gave. Not merely set Him over the church, but gave Him as a gift (Vincent 3.373); with a predicate of dignity, office, function, and a dative of the person added for whose benefit some one invested with said dignity or office is given, that is, is bestowed . . . head over all things to the church . . . we are not obliged, with many interpreters, to translate the word appointed, made, after the use of the Hebrew (Thayer 146); see 2 Corinthians 9:15.
[ 84 ]HEETIS ESTIN TO SOOMA AUTOU, which is the body of him (Marshall 761); HETIS, the double relative is explanatory, seeing it is: by which I mean (Vincent 3.373).
[ 85 ]TO PLEEROOMA TOU, the fullness of the [one] (Marshall 761); in the NT the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ (Thayer 518).
[ 86 ]TOU TA PANTA EN PASIN PLEEROUMENOU, of the all things with all things filling (Marshall 761); that filleth all things with all things (Vincent 3.373); by Him who fills everything everywhere (Williams).
[ 87 ]Macknight 324.
Copyright ©2002, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
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