1:4 For 1 he chose us in Christ 2 before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished 3 in his sight 4 in love. 5 1:5 He did this by predestining 6 us to adoption as his 7 sons 8 through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure 9 of his will – 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace 10 that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. 11 1:7 In him 12 we have redemption through his blood, 13 the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
2:8 For by grace you are saved 14 through faith, 15 and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 2:9 it is not from 16 works, so that no one can boast. 17 2:10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. 18
[1:4] 1 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] 3 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] 5 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] 8 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] 10 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.
[2:8] 15 tc The feminine article is found before πίστεως (pistews, “faith”) in the Byzantine text as well as in A Ψ 1881 pc. Perhaps for some scribes the article was intended to imply creedal fidelity as a necessary condition of salvation (“you are saved through the faith”), although elsewhere in the corpus Paulinum the phrase διὰ τῆς πίστεως (dia th" pistew") is used for the act of believing rather than the content of faith (cf. Rom 3:30, 31; Gal 3:14; Eph 3:17; Col 2:12). On the other side, strong representatives of the Alexandrian and Western texts (א B D* F G P 0278 6 33 1739 al bo) lack the article. Hence, both text-critically and exegetically, the meaning of the text here is most likely “saved through faith” as opposed to “saved through the faith.” Regarding the textual problem, the lack of the article is the preferred reading.
[2:10] sn So that we may do them. Before the devil began to control our walk in sin and among sinful people, God had already planned good works for us to do.