1:1 From Paul, 1 an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints [in Ephesus], 2 the faithful 3 in Christ Jesus. 1:2 Grace and peace to you 4 from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
1:3 Blessed 5 is 6 the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed 7 us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. 1:4 For 8 he chose us in Christ 9 before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished 10 in his sight 11 in love. 12 1:5 He did this by predestining 13 us to adoption as his 14 sons 15 through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure 16 of his will – 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace 17 that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. 18 1:7 In him 19 we have redemption through his blood, 20 the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 1:8 that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. 1:9 He did this when he revealed 21 to us the secret 22 of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth 23 in Christ, 24 1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up 25 all things in Christ – the things in heaven 26 and the things on earth. 27 1:11 In Christ 28 we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, 29 since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will 1:12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope 30 on Christ, 31 would be to the praise of his glory. 1:13 And when 32 you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ 33 – you were marked with the seal 34 of the promised Holy Spirit, 35 1:14 who is the down payment 36 of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, 37 to the praise of his glory.
1:15 For this reason, 38 because I 39 have heard 40 of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love 41 for all the saints, 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you when I remember you 42 in my prayers. 1:17 I pray that 43 the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, 44 may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation 45 in your growing knowledge of him, 46 1:18 – since the eyes of your 47 heart have been enlightened 48 – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, 49 what is the wealth of his glorious 50 inheritance in the saints, 1:19 and what is the incomparable 51 greatness of his power toward 52 us who believe, as displayed in 53 the exercise of his immense strength. 54 1:20 This power 55 he exercised 56 in Christ when he raised him 57 from the dead and seated him 58 at his right hand in the heavenly realms 59 1:21 far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 1:22 And God 60 put 61 all things under Christ’s 62 feet, 63 and he gave him to the church as head over all things. 64 1:23 Now the church is 65 his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 66
[1:1] 2 tc The earliest and most important
[1:1] 3 tn Grk “and faithful.” The construction in Greek (as well as Paul’s style [and even if this letter is not by Paul it follows the general style of Paul’s letters, with some modifications]) suggests that the saints are identical to the faithful; hence, the καί (kai) is best left untranslated. See M. Barth, Ephesians (AB 34), 1:68 and ExSyn 282.
[1:3] 5 sn Eph 1:3-14 comprises one long sentence in Greek, with three major sections. Each section ends with a note of praise for God (vv. 6, 12, 14), focusing on a different member of the Trinity. After an opening summary of all the saints’ spiritual blessings (v. 3), the first section (vv. 4-6) offers up praise that the Father has chosen us in eternity past; the second section (vv. 7-12) offers up praise that the Son has redeemed us in the historical past (i.e., at the cross); the third section (vv. 13-14) offers up praise that the Holy Spirit has sealed us in our personal past, at the point of conversion.
[1:3] 6 tn There is no verb in the Greek text; either the optative (“be”) or the indicative (“is”) can be supplied. The meaning of the term εὐλογητός (euloghtos), the author’s intention at this point in the epistle, and the literary genre of this material must all come into play to determine which is the preferred nuance. εὐλογητός as an adjective can mean either that one is praised or that one is blessed, that is, in a place of favor and benefit. The meaning “blessed” would be more naturally paired with an indicative verb here and would suggest that blessedness is an intrinsic part of God’s character. The meaning “praised” would be more naturally paired with an optative verb here and would suggest that God ought to be praised. Pauline style in the epistles generally moves from statements to obligations, expressing the reality first and then the believer’s necessary response, which would favor the indicative. However, many scholars regard Eph 1:3-14 as a berakah psalm (cf. A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 10-11). Rooted in the OT and Jewish worship, berakah psalms were songs of praise in which the worshiper gave praise to God; this would favor the optative (although not all scholars are agreed on this genre classification here; see H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 153-59, for discussion and an alternate conclusion). When considered as a whole, although a decision is difficult, the indicative seems to fit all the factors better. The author seems to be pointing to who God is and what he has done for believers in this section; the indicative more naturally fits that emphasis. Cf. also 2 Cor 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3.
[1:4] 8 tn Grk “just as.” Eph 1:3-14 are one long sentence in Greek that must be broken up in English translation. Verse 4 expresses the reason why God the Father is blessed (cf. BDAG 494 s.v. καθώς 3).
[1:4] 10 sn The Greek word translated unblemished (ἀμώμους, amwmous) is often used of an acceptable paschal lamb. Christ, as our paschal lamb, is also said to be unblemished (Heb 9:14; 1 Pet 1:19). Since believers are in Christ, God views them positionally and will make them ultimately without blemish as well (Jude 24; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22).
[1:4] 12 tn The prepositional phrase ἐν ἀγάπῃ (en agaph, “in love”) may modify one of three words or phrases: (1) “chose,” (2) “holy and unblemished,” both in v. 4, or (3) “by predestining” in v. 5. If it modifies “chose,” it refers to God’s motivation in that election, but this option is unlikely because of the placement of the prepositional phrase far away from the verb. The other two options are more likely. If it modifies “holy and unblemished,” it specifies that our holiness cannot be divorced from love. This view is in keeping with the author’s use of ἀγάπη to refer often to human love in Ephesians, but the placement of the prepositional phrase not immediately following the words it modifies would be slightly awkward. If it modifies “by predestining” (v. 5), again the motivation of God’s choice is love. This would fit the focus of the passage on God’s gracious actions toward believers, but it could be considered slightly redundant in that God’s predestination itself proves his love.
[1:5] sn By predestining. The aorist participle may be translated either causally (“because he predestined,” “having predestined”) or instrumentally (“by predestining”). A causal nuance would suggest that God’s predestination of certain individuals prompted his choice of them. An instrumental nuance would suggest that the means by which God’s choice was accomplished was by predestination. The instrumental view is somewhat more likely in light of normal Greek syntax (i.e., an aorist participle following an aorist main verb is more likely to be instrumental than causal).
[1:5] 15 tn The Greek term υἱοθεσία (Juioqesia) was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. BDAG 1024 s.v. notes, “a legal t.t. of ‘adoption’ of children, in our lit., i.e. in Paul, only in a transferred sense of a transcendent filial relationship between God and humans (with the legal aspect, not gender specificity, as major semantic component).” Although some modern translations remove the filial sense completely and render the term merely “adoption” (cf. NAB, ESV), the retention of this component of meaning was accomplished in the present translation by the phrase “as…sons.”
[1:5] sn Adoption as his sons is different from spiritual birth as children. All true believers have been born as children of God and will be adopted as sons of God. The adoption is both a future reality, and in some sense, already true. To be adopted as a son means to have the full rights of an heir. Thus, although in the ancient world, only boys could be adopted as sons, in God’s family all children – both male and female – are adopted.
[1:6] 17 tn Or “to the praise of his glorious grace.” Many translations translate δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (doxh" th" carito" autou, literally “of the glory of his grace”) with τῆς χάριτος as an attributed genitive (cf., e.g., NIV, NRSV, ESV). The translation above has retained a literal rendering in order to make clear the relationship of this phrase to the other two similar phrases in v. 12 and 14, which affect the way one divides the material in the passage.
[1:6] sn God’s grace can be poured out on believers only because of what Christ has done for them. Hence, he bestows his grace on us because we are in his dearly loved Son.
[1:9] 21 tn Or “He did this by revealing”; Grk “making known, revealing.” Verse 9 begins with a participle dependent on “lavished” in v. 8; the adverbial participle could be understood as temporal (“when he revealed”), which would be contemporaneous to the action of the finite verb “lavished,” or as means (“by revealing”). The participle has been translated here with the temporal nuance to allow for means to also be a possible interpretation. If the translation focused instead upon means, the temporal nuance would be lost as the time frame for the action of the participle would become indistinct.
[1:9] sn In Christ. KJV has “in himself” as though the antecedent were God the Father. Although possible, the notion of the verb set forth (Greek προτίθημι, protiqhmi) implies a plan that is carried out in history (cf. Rom 1:13; 3:25) and thus more likely refers to Christ.
[1:10] 25 tn The precise meaning of the infinitive ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι (anakefalaiwsasqai) in v. 10 is difficult to determine since it was used relatively infrequently in Greek literature and only twice in the NT (here and Rom 13:9). While there have been several suggestions, three deserve mention: (1) “To sum up.” In Rom 13:9, using the same term, the author there says that the law may be “summarized in one command, to love your neighbor as yourself.” The idea then in Eph 1:10 would be that all things in heaven and on earth can be summed up and made sense out of in relation to Christ. (2) “To renew.” If this is the nuance of the verb then all things in heaven and earth, after their plunge into sin and ruin, are renewed by the coming of Christ and his redemption. (3) “To head up.” In this translation the idea is that Christ, in the fullness of the times, has been exalted so as to be appointed as the ruler (i.e., “head”) over all things in heaven and earth (including the church). That this is perhaps the best understanding of the verb is evidenced by the repeated theme of Christ’s exaltation and reign in Ephesians and by the connection to the κεφαλή- (kefalh-) language of 1:22 (cf. Schlier, TDNT 3:682; L&N 63.8; M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:89-92; contra A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 32-33).
[1:10] 27 sn And the things on earth. Verse 10 ends with “in him.” The redundancy keeps the focus on Christ at the expense of good Greek style. Verse 11 repeats the reference with a relative pronoun (“in whom”) – again, at the expense of good Greek style. Although the syntax is awkward, the theology is rich. This is not the first time that a NT writer was so overcome with awe for his Lord that he seems to have lost control of his pen. Indeed, it happened frequently enough that some have labeled their christologically motivated solecisms an “apostolic disease.”
[1:11] 29 tn Grk “we were appointed by lot.” The notion of the verb κληρόω (klhrow) in the OT was to “appoint a portion by lot” (the more frequent cognate verb κληρονομέω [klhronomew] meant “obtain a portion by lot”). In the passive, as here, the idea is that “we were appointed [as a portion] by lot” (BDAG 548 s.v. κληρόω 1). The words “God’s own” have been supplied in the translation to clarify this sense of the verb. An alternative interpretation is that believers receive a portion as an inheritance: “In Christ we too have been appointed a portion of the inheritance.” See H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 226-27, for discussion on this interpretive issue.
[1:11] sn God’s own possession. Although God is not mentioned explicitly in the Greek text, it is clear from the context that he has chosen believers for himself. Just as with the nation Israel, the church is God’s chosen portion or possession (cf. Deut 32:8-9).
[1:14] sn Down payment. The Greek word ἀρραβών (arrabwn) denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God (it is used also in 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5). In the “already – not yet” scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers (“already”) can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future (“not yet”).
[1:15] 38 sn The conjunctive phrase For this reason points back to the preceding section, vv. 3-14, which is also summed up in this verse in the expression because I have heard of your faith. In other words, the author’s prayer can be made for his audience because he knows that they are true believers.
[1:15] 41 tc Ì46 א* A B P 33 1739 1881 2464 Hier lack “your love” (τὴν ἀγάπην, thn agaphn), while various other groups of
[1:17] 43 tn The words “I pray” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to clarify the meaning; v. 17 is a subordinate clause to v. 16 (“I pray” in v. 17 is implied from v. 16). Eph 1:15-23 constitutes one sentence in Greek, but a new sentence was started here in the translation in light of contemporary English usage.
[1:17] 44 tn Or “glorious Father.” The genitive phrase “of glory” is most likely an attributive genitive. The literal translation “Father of glory” has been retained because of the parallelism with the first line of the verse: “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”
[1:17] 45 tn Or “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” or “a spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Verse 17 involves a complex exegetical problem revolving around the Greek term πνεῦμα (pneuma). Some take it to mean “the Spirit,” others “a spirit,” and still others “spiritual.” (1) If “the Spirit” is meant, the idea must be a metonymy of cause for effect, because the author had just indicated in vv. 13-14 that the Spirit was already given (hence, there is no need for him to pray that he be given again). But the effect of the Spirit is wisdom and revelation. (2) If “a spirit” is meant, the idea may be that the readers will have the ability to gain wisdom and insight as they read Paul’s letters, but the exact meaning of “a spirit” remains ambiguous. (3) To take the genitives following πνεῦμα as attributed genitives (see ExSyn 89-91), in which the head noun (“S/spirit”) functions semantically like an adjective (“spiritual”) is both grammatically probable and exegetically consistent.
[1:17] sn The point of the knowledge of him has nothing to do with what God knows, but with what believers are to know (hence, “your…knowledge”). Further, the author’s prayer is that this knowledge of God would increase, not simply be initiated, since he is writing to believers who already know God (hence, “your growing knowledge of him”).
[1:18] 47 tc ‡ Most witnesses, especially of the Byzantine and Western texttypes, though with a few important Alexandrian witnesses (א A D F G Ψ 0278 Ï latt sy), add ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) after καρδίας (kardias, “heart”), though it is clearly implied in the shorter (Alexandrian) reading (found in Ì46 B 6 33 1175 1739 1881 pc). The longer reading thus looks to be a clarifying gloss, as is frequently found in the Byzantine and Western traditions. The translation above also uses “your” because of English requirements, not because of textual basis.
[1:18] tn Grk “the.”
[1:18] 48 tn The perfect participle πεφωτισμένους (pefwtismenou") may either be part of the prayer (“that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”) or part of the basis of the prayer (“since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened”). Although the participle follows the ἵνα (Jina) of v. 17, it is awkward grammatically in the clause. Further, perfect adverbial participles are usually causal in NT Greek. Finally, the context both here and throughout Ephesians seems to emphasize the motif of light as a property belonging to believers. Thus, it seems that the author is saying, “I know that you are saved, that you have had the blinders of the devil removed; because of this, I can now pray that you will fully understand and see the light of God’s glorious revelation.” Hence, the translation takes the participle to form a part of the basis for the prayer.
[1:18] sn The hope of his calling. The translation is more formally equivalent for this and the following two phrases, because of the apparently intentional literary force of the original. There is a natural cadence to the three genitive expressions (hope of his calling, wealth of his glorious inheritance, and extraordinary greatness of his power). The essence of the prayer is seen here. Paraphrased it reads as follows: “Since you are enlightened by God’s Spirit, I pray that you may comprehend the hope to which he has called you, the spiritual riches that await the saints in glory, and the spiritual power that is available to the saints now.” Thus, the prayer focuses on all three temporal aspects of our salvation as these are embedded in the genitives – the past (calling), the future (inheritance), and the present (power toward us who believe).
[1:19] sn What has been translated as exercise is a term used only of supernatural power in the NT, ἐνέργεια (energeia).
[1:20] 57 tn Or “This power he exercised in Christ by raising him”; Grk “raising him.” The adverbial participle ἐγείρας (egeiras) could be understood as temporal (“when he raised [him]”), which would be contemporaneous to the action of the finite verb “he exercised” earlier in the verse, or as means (“by raising [him]”). The participle has been translated here with the temporal nuance to allow for means to also be a possible interpretation. If the translation focused instead upon means, the temporal nuance would be lost as the time frame for the action of the participle would become indistinct.
[1:20] 58 tc The majority of
[1:20] 59 sn Eph 1:19-20. The point made in these verses is that the power required to live a life pleasing to God is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. For a similar thought, cf. John 15:1-11.
[1:23] sn The idea of all in all is either related to the universe (hence, he fills the whole universe entirely) or the church universal (hence, Christ fills the church entirely with his presence and power).