Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:13-14

Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμῶν ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ ὅ ἐστιν ἀρραβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμῶν εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ. In whom also you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and in whom you believed being sealed by the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a deposit of our inheritance, for a ransoming of obtaining, for the praise of his glory.

Again, the dative prepositional phrase ties us back into the Beloved, ἠγαπημένῳ, back in v. 6. It could be argued, as already noted earlier on in the series, that this sentence is actually one long run-on sentence, starting at v. 3 and ending at v. 14. However, Nesle-Aland has it punctuated in such a way that it is probably intended to break it up for clarity’s sake. In terms of our translation it will be punctuated similarly, but it ought to be noted that it is linked with v. 6.

Linking back to ἠγαπημένῳ, Paul writes that it is in Christ (dative of sphere) that his recipients heard the word of truth and heard the message of their salvation. In addition, it was also in Christ (again, dative of sphere) that Paul’s recipients believed. Hearing and believing are contemporaneous to the main verb ἐσφραγίσθητε, thus indicating that all three happened at the same time.

The recipients were sealed. This sealing was done by the Holy Spirit. “Sealed,” ἐσφραγίσθητε, is the idea of being confirmed or authenticated. Christians are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit in the sense that the Holy Spirit authenticates their position as followers of Christ; in other words, the Holy Spirit validates their claim to discipleship of Christ. If one has the Holy Spirit, they are a true believer–they are sealed. Paul identifies what they were sealed for, which we will see by skipping ahead a clause and reading that the recipients were sealed for a ransoming of the obtaining, for the praise of his (meaning God’s) glory. The rough literal rendering of εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως doesn’t do the phrase justice. It identifies that the recipients were sealed for salvation by the Holy Spirit in Christ. Not only that, but the recipients were sealed for the purpose of the praise of God’s glory. God’s glory is revealed and praised in the fact that he has sealed the recipients through the Holy Spirit in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit—the one who sealed the recipients for redemption—is a deposit of our inheritance. The deposit is money that can be lost if the transaction is not completed. It could be thought that this is evidence for the losing of one’s salvation. However, we must bear in mind who is the purchaser involved. Is it us? Or is it God? Look at verse 7. Jesus Christ by his blood is the purchaser, and he has already made the purchase in full, so the deposit is not lost or forfeited. The Holy Spirit is our deposit for our inheritance. What is our inheritance? It is our salvation, which has been accomplished or purchased by Jesus Christ through his blood.

In whom also when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and in whom when you believed, you were sealed by the promised Holy Spirit, who is the deposit of our inheritance, for redemption of the possession of salvation, for the praise of his glory.

In Christ we are sealed for redemption at the same time that we hear and believe the Gospel. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit, who is our deposit for our salvation, and we have been sealed for salvation and for the glory of God. The Holy Spirit living within us is proof of our salvation, which is the glory of God. We do not offer up the deposit for our salvation, nor do we seal ourselves for salvation, for it is God who does all the salvific work when we hear and believe.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:11-12

Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. In whom we have also been appointed, having been predetermined according to the plan of the one who operates all things according to the counsel of his will for us, the ones who have hoped for before in Christ, to be for the praise of his glory.

The opening words refer us back to the Beloved (ἠγαπημένῳ) just as before in the previous sentence. It is likely, then, that we are actually still in the same sentence. However, we will stick to the punctuation provided in the 27th edition. The conjunction καὶ joins ἔχομεν with ἐκληρώθημεν. We see that it is in ἠγαπημένῳ that we have redemption and it is also in ἠγαπημένῳ that we have been appointed. It seems as though God is doing all of his work within ἠγαπημένῳ.

Paul identifies himself with his recipients again, just as he did in the previous sentence when he wrote ἔχομεν, when he wrote ἐκληρώθημεν. Paul and his recipients had been appointed. The aorist tense indicates an appointing that had happened sometime in the past, and that appointing has already been done. It is not continuing on, it did not happen in the past but continues on today, nor will it happen in the future, for it has already happened.

The participle that follows ἐκληρώθημεν is contemporaneous. It simultaneously occurs alongside of the appointing that has happened. Paul and the recipients have been appointed, and at the same time they have been predetermined according to the plan of God. The appointment and predetermining are done in accordance with the plan of God—the one who works all things. The participle ἐνεργοῦντος can mean a number of things. It can mean “the one who operates,” “the one who works,” “the one who accomplishes,” or “the one who is active in;” the verb basically connotes divine action (Liddell-Scott). God is the one who is divinely active in all things; he works and operates in all things. This operation is in accordance with God’s counsel of his will.

The word βουλὴν is used in reference to God, and therefore does not actually mean “counsel,” but is rendered “decree” or “design” (Liddell-Scott). God’s plan—his decree or his design—is tied to his will. The genitives τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ could be partitive, which would identify God’s βουλὴν as one part to the whole of his will, or it could be source, which would identify that God’s βουλὴν originates in his will. Given the context, source seems to fit the genitives best here, because the design of God is not just one part of the whole of God’s will, for that would mean that there are many parts to the will of God, but we do not have any indication in the immediate text to suggest that. However, the text does indicate that God’s design is his will, because his design is within his will and is therefore sourced in his will.

The εἰς + τὸ + infinitive construct indicates purpose, thus referring to the intent of the appointing and predestining. God has appointed and predestined Paul and his recipients for a purpose, which is to be or to live (exist) for the praise of his glory. God’s intentions for appointing Paul and his recipients was for the purpose that they would live for the praise of his glory. Paul defines who was appointed for this purpose: the ones who have (and continue to) placed hope before in Christ. It is quite awkward to render προηλπικότας “having placed hope before.” The verb entails anticipation (Liddell-Scott). However, the NIV, NASB and NRSV do not translate the participle in this way, but rather they render it with the idea of “the ones who have first hoped.” BDAG notes that most scholars take this verb alongside of ἡμεῖς, which is often understood to be in reference to Jewish Christians, and they interpret the προ in this verb to mean “before the Gentiles” or “before Christ appeared.” The problem is that ἡμεῖς has not been identified in the letter up through this point to be Jewish Christians, and in fact, later on in the letter, Paul identifies that his recipients are Gentiles (2:11; 3:1). Beyond that, this interpretation just does not quite fit the context (more on that to come). BDAG notes that if ἡμεῖς is in reference to all Christians rather than just Jewish Christians, then προ shows a hope for the fulfillment that will come in the future. This interpretation best fits the context, for in the previous verse we see the “fullness of the times,” which is a reference to the end times when time will be made complete in Christ. It is not only for this reason that it is the best interpretation, however, because it also does not look “Jewish Christians” into ἡμεῖς, but rather it allows the text to stand alone and speak for itself. Therefore, we should translate the participial phrase like this: “the ones who have placed hope for the completion of all things to come in Christ.” This participle is in the perfect tense, which means it has happened but continues to happen. Therefore, the placing of hope is something that happened in the past but continues on in the present.

In whom we have also been appointed, having been predetermined in accordance with the plan of the one who works in all things in accordance with the design of his will for us, the ones who have placed hope in the completion of all things to come in Christ, to live for the praise of his glory.

God deals with us completely in Christ. We are appointed and predestined for the praise of the glory of God in Christ. This appointing and predestining is done in accordance with God’s plan, and his plan comes from his will for us who have placed at one point in time and continue to place hope in the fullness of the times when all things will be summed up in Christ. Again, even in the end times God will work in Christ–the Beloved. We are blessed, therefore, to be in Christ, the place where God is at work, both now and in the future.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:7-10

Ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἳματος αὐτοῦ τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἧς ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει γνωρίσας ἡμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐν αὐτῷ. In the one whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions in accordance with the richness of his grace that abounds in us, he made known to us the mystery of his will in all wisdom and understanding in accordance with his good will that he set forth in him for an administration of the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, all things in the heavens and all things on the earth in him.

In vv. 7-10, Paul actually continues from what he wrote in v. 6. In fact, it is arguable that this sentence (vv. 7-10) is actually part of the same sentence in vv. 3-6. The opening words Ἐν ᾧ tie this sentence (if we stick with the punctuation provided by Nesle Aland in the 27th edition) in with ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ from the previous sentence. Therefore, Paul is further discussing the person of Jesus Christ.

It is in Jesus Christ (dative of sphere) that we have redemption, and this redemption is provided by his blood (genitive of means). What is this redemption? It is the release from captivity (BDAG). Paul is specifically writing about the forgiveness (release of captivity) of transgressions. The word παράπτωμα has the idea of erroneous slips, but these slips can be willful or accidental (Liddell-Scott); the word can mean transgression, and it bears the idea of simply crossing the boundaries or stepping over the boundaries, which can be done willfully or accidentally. Transgression is thus trespassing—stepping over the boundary of a designated area that one is not to enter or cross into, whether intentionally or not. In the person of Jesus Christ, Paul states that we have been ransomed in full—our fines for trespassing have been completely paid—and this forgiveness is in line with the richness of his grace.

The grace of Jesus abounds in Paul and the recipients. The word ἐπερισσεύω means to have more than enough (Liddell-Scott), indicating that the grace that is within Paul and his recipients is more than enough to cover their transgressions.

God now becomes the center of the focus of Paul’s words. It is God who makes his will known—even though it is a mystery to us, and he has made it known to us in all wisdom and understanding. The phrase ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει is a dative of means, and therefore we see that God has made his will known to us by means of wisdom and understanding. It is by wisdom and understanding that we know God’s will. God made his will known to us in accordance with his good will or intention. That good will was set forth or displayed in the person of Jesus Christ (again, dative of sphere).

God set forth his good will in Christ for an administration of the fullness of the times. What in the world does that mean? I’m glad you asked, let me tell you. The word οἰκονομία is not administration here, but plan (Liddell-Scott). God has ordered a specific plan in which it will come to a full and complete end (i.e., fullness of the times). This plan is significantly tied in with God’s making the mystery of his will known to Paul and the recipients. Evidently, this plan is part of the mystery. However, it is in Christ that this mysterious plan is summed up. The word ἀνακεφαλαιόω is an infinitive that indicates means. Christ is the means by which God sums up all things, both in heaven and on earth. We see more datives of sphere, where the two spheres—the heavenly and the earthly—are brought together in another sphere—Jesus Christ. Paul is emphatically demonstrating that Christ is the one in whom all things will be summed up or brought together in the end—i.e., everything will find its conclusion in him.

In the one whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions in accordance with the richness of his grace, which overflows in us, he made known to us the mystery of his will through all wisdom and understanding in accordance with his good will that he displayed in him for a plan when the times are full to bring everything together in Christ, all things in the heavens and all things on the earth in him.

The blood of Jesus Christ is the source of our redemption–the release from captivity. This redemption is in line with the overflowing grace of Jesus that is in us. We have all the grace we need to redeem us from our transgressions and then some left over. No transgression of ours is not covered in the grace of Christ. Furthermore, God has made known his good purposes and plans in the person of Jesus Christ, the one in whom we are identified to be in. It is in Christ that all things will be brought together. All things in heaven, and all things on earth will be brought together in Christ when time has reached its fullness.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:3-6

Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίοῦ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἠμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ, just as he selected us in him before founding the world for us to be holy and blameless before him in love predetermining us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ in him according to the desire of his will for the praise of his glorious grace that he blessed us in the one being loved.

Paul gives a blessing to the God and Father of Jesus Christ in verse 3, because of the gracious work that he had done in Paul and the receipients, which is mentioned in verse 6. The God of Jesus Christ is identified as the one who blessed Paul and the recipients, and he blessed them with every spiritual blessing in the sphere of the heavens through Christ. The use of the dative for spiritual blessing is a thing of possession, thus indicating that God gave them something to possess. The use of the dative for the latter is of agency, which indicates that God blessed them through Christ. God is the one who blessed them in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly sphere through Christ.

Paul continues, and he ties the blessing through Christ in with God’s choosing. The use of the conjunction καθὼς identifies an analogy or comparison. Paul is making a point about God’s blessing by referring to God’s choosing. Before we look at the comparison being made, let’s first look at God’s choosing so that we can fully understand what’s being said.

God chose Paul and the recipients in him–Christ. The dative ἐν αὐτῷ could be association or sphere. If it is association, then we would translate it “in association with him,” thus indicating that God chose Jesus and because we are associated with Jesus we were also chosen. If it is sphere, then we would translate it “in the sphere of him,” thus indicating that it is in Christ himself that we are chosen. Sphere best meets the idea of choosing: God chooses those in something, those who are in a particular realm, and that realm is Christ. And God chose them in the sphere of Christ before the laying of the foundation of the world. What did he choose Paul and his recipients for? He chose for them to be holy and blameless before him in love. He chose them to be holy and blameless in what? In love. The dative ἐν ἀγάπῃ is also of sphere; Paul and the recipients were chosen for the purpose that they would be holy and blameless in the realm of love.

God also predestined Paul and the recipients for adoption as children (literally, sons). The participle here is contemporaneous with the aorist verb ἐξελέξατο. God did not choose them and then predestine them; rather, God did both at the same time, and again, he did it through Jesus Christ. The genitive διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ reveals that God predestined us for himself in Jesus Christ, because it is spatial. They were predestined for adoption as God’s sons in Jesus Christ. This predestination is in accordance with the approval of the will of God. What for? For the purpose of the praise of God’s glorious grace. This grace was freely given to Paul and the recipients in the Beloved, in the sphere of the one being loved, that is in Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the one who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in the sphere of Christ, just as he chose us in Christ before the laying of the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in the sphere of love, he also contemporaneously predestined us for adoption as sons in Jesus Christ for him in accordance with the approval of his will for the praise of his glorious grace that he has freely given to us in the sphere of the one being loved.

Jesus Christ is essential when it comes to grace and God. God gives us his grace in Christ. We are adopted as God’s children in Christ. We are chosen as God’s in Christ. We are blessed in Christ. We are predestined in Christ. It is in the sphere of Christ that all of the spiritual blessings in heaven come from God. In the person of Jesus Christ is where God meets us and blesses us. We are blessed because we are in Christ. We ought to honor God for this blessing, as Paul did in the epistle.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:1-2

Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ τοῖς ἁγίος τοῖς οὗσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints living in Ephesus and to the faithful ones in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul is the author of the epistle to the Ephesians. Paul is an apostle Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. Indeed, our phrase is a genitive of possession, which indicates Paul is an apostle belonging to Christ Jesus. This fact harkens back to the event when Saul is met by Jesus, becomes Paul and also an apostle alongside the Twelve.

The Apostle Paul is writing to the saints in Ephesus by the will of God. The preposition διὰ is a genitive of agency here, and it points to the fact that the Apostle Paul was made an apostle by God’s will. It was by God’s will that Paul became an apostle of Jesus Christ.

The apostle is writing to the saints literally “being” in Ephesus, or for a smoother translation the ones “who are” in Ephesus. The use of the dative article points to the dative of recipient, which indicates that the saints, whomever they may be, were the ones being written to. The prepositional phrase ἐν Ἐφέσῳ identifies that the recipients of the epistle are located in the place of Ephesus, because it is a dative of place or sphere.

There is a small problem here, however. The dative prepositional phrase ἐν Ἐφέσῳ is omitted by the best textual witnesses. Scholars are uncertain as to whether or not ἐν Ἐφέσῳ was part of the original text. If it is not, then the recipients are the saints who are indeed faithful in Christ Jesus . The dative prepositional phrase is widely attested despite not being located in the three earliest and best manuscripts (Papyrus 46 and the original א and B), being found in some relatively early translations (Syriac and Coptic) along with some other manuscripts (A D and the second corrector of א and B). Although we cannot say with indisputable certainty, we can be fairly certain that the document originally included ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, since the phrase has some early support (though not the earliest) and wide attestation. It could easily not have been placed in the earliest manuscripts for the sake of passing the copies around in circulation; the general style of Ephesians is less personable than some of the other letters, so by making the introduction much more general (“to the saints who are indeed faithful in Christ”), it makes the letter much more applicable in a direct sense to the readers of the time. It is best to include  ἐν Ἐφέσῳ.

Paul’s greeting extends grace and peace to his recipients from God. The genitive preposition ἀπὸ is probably one of source; therefore, grace and peace do not come from Paul, but from God who is their source. Paul uses the first person plural in the rest of the phrase ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, thus identifying himself with the recipients and recognizing that God is the Father of all of them. The conjunction καὶ is important, because it ties Jesus in with God. The conjunction is a coordinating conjunction, linking God and Jesus together. Jesus is connected with God as the source of grace and peace. Paul extends God’s and the Lord’s grace and peace to his recipients.

And just who is this Lord? The Lord is Jesus Christ. The use of the genitive by all the nouns here indicates simple apposition; hence, the nouns are referring to the same thing or person, which is Jesus Christ. Grace and peace sourced in God and the Lord–who is Christ Jesus–is extended to the recipients of the epistle.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, to the saints who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus, grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul identified himself as an apostle by God’s will. He was made an apostle by the will of God. He is writing to the faithful saints located in Ephesus. He extends grace to his readers and peace from God. He is seeking to contact them, but he is also seeking grace and peace on their behalf. We should have this mentality among ourselves today. We need to be seeking grace and peace for others in all our communications. When there are issues to address, positively or negatively, we need to do it with grace and peace.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: Introduction

I am going to do a series in which I walk through Ephesians sentence by sentence. I am not going verse by verse, because verses are sometimes fragmented sentences and therefore not entirely complete. I would rather look at whole sentences if I am going to study it, so that I can get more of a complete thought.

This study is going to be working out of Nesle Aland’s 27th edition of Novum Testamentum Graece. That’s correct—I will be translating Ephesians from the Greek New Testament sentence by sentence, and to the best of my abilities, I will discuss all relevant textual-critical and translational issues alongside grammatical-syntactical analysis with relevant application.

I will give the Greek text first, and I will give my translation second. Then, I will work through the grammar and syntax, and when necessary I will also work through some textual criticism. Finally, I will tie the entire discussion into a short devotion.

I hope that this practice will be a good learning experience for me and also for you. Enjoy.