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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 1

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

παύλου ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς ἐφεσίους

A B D E F G K א, min. have the shorter and older superscription: πρὸς ἐφεσίους. I, min.: τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου παύλου ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς ἐφεσ.

CHAPTER 1

Ephesians 1:1. ἐν ἐφέσῳ] See Introd. § 1. Tisch. has put it in brackets.

Ephesians 1:3. ἐν before χριστῷ is wanting only in some min.,—an omission, which, although followed in the editions of Erasmus, Steph. 3, and Beza, and approved of by Mill, is not at all deserving of notice as a various reading.

Ephesians 1:6. ἐν ] A B א * min. Chrys. (alic.) have ἧς. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Rück., and rightly so. The attraction was resolved partly by the simple (so Theophyl. Ambrosiast.), partly, in keeping with the prevalence of ἐν in the context, by ἐν , which latter is defended by Reiche on insufficient grounds.

Ephesians 1:10. τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς] The τέ read in Elz. after τά is, on decisive evidence, deleted by the later editors (except Harless). But in place of ἐν, B D E L א * min. Theodoret, Dam. Oecum. Tert. have ἐπί, which Lachm. and Rück. have rightly received. The usual form of conception, ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (comp. Ephesians 3:15), superseded the apparently unsuitable ἐπί. At Colossians 1:20, many min. Chrys. and Theodoret have likewise ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, where ἐπί, indeed, is too weakly attested, but has most probably come from our passage.

Ephesians 1:11. ἐκληρώθημεν] A D E F G, It. have ἐκλήθημεν. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Rück. But Matth. Harless, Tisch. Reiche have rightly defended the still more considerably attested Recepta as the more difficult reading, glossed by ἐκλήθημεν. The gloss is to be derived from Romans 8:13 : οὓς δὲ προώρισε, τούτους καὶ ἐκάλεσε.

Ephesians 1:12. τῆς before δόξης is, following Griesb., deleted by the more recent editors (except Harless) on preponderating evidence. An addition easily suggested; comp. Ephesians 1:14.

Ephesians 1:14 ὅς] A B F G L, min. Athn. Cyr. Euthal. Chrys. (in the text) have . So Lachm. and Rück. But was, on account of the preceding πνεῦμα, the more easily introduced and retained, since by that means the old opinion, that ὅς applies to Christ, was met.

Ephesians 1:15. τὴν ἀγάπην τήν] Lachm. has only τήν, following A B א * 17, Cyr. (alic.) Jer. Aug. (alic.). A copyist’s error, and how easily caused by the repetition of the τήν! If the addition had been made from Colossians 1:4, ἣν ἕχετε would have ἣν ἔχετε been inserted instead of the second τήν.

Ephesians 1:16. The second ὑμῶν is wanting in A B D א, min. Cant. Goth. Hil.; F and G have it after ποιούμενος . Deleted by Lachm. and Rück. A defining addition, which was first written in the margin, and then inserted, sometimes before, sometimes after ποιούμενος.

Ephesians 1:18. καρδίας] Elz. has διανοίας, against decisive testimony. An interpretation.

καί] is wanting in A B D* F G א * 59, It. Goth. Ambrosiast. Victorin., and is deleted by Lachm. and Rück., but came to be more readily left out than added, because the concluding καί only comes in afterwards.

Ephesians 1:20. ἐνήργησεν] Lachm. reads ἐνήργηκεν, after A B, Cyr. Procop.; and rightly so. The aorist, in itself more in current use, was suggested by the aorists following. And the attestation is strong enough, since the vss. and Latin Fathers cannot be taken into account.

ἐκάθισεν] Lachm. and Rück. read καθίσας, following A B א, min. Slav. Vulg. Cyr. utr. Euseb. Procop. Tert. Jer. Ambr. Pel. An attempt to help out the construction.

οὐρανοῖς, instead of ἐπουρανίοις, though adopted by Lachm., is too feebly attested by B, Victorin. Hilar.

Ephesians 1:23. τά] is wanting in Elz., but has been, upon decisive evidence, restored by Bengel, Griesb. and the later editors; comp. Ephesians 1:22.

CONTENTS.

After the usual address and apostolic salutation (Ephesians 1:1-2), St. Paul begins with an ascription of praise to God for the salvation in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), which he sets forth (a) as already lovingly predestined by God in eternity to the praise of His grace (Ephesians 1:4-5); (b) as brought about by the death of Christ (Ephesians 1:6-7); then (c) as made known according to the purpose of the divine kindness, to unite all in Christ (Ephesians 1:8-10); and lastly, (d) as really appropriated according to the predestination of God (Ephesians 1:11); this latter in respect as well to those who had been Jews (Ephesians 1:12) as to those who had been Gentiles (Ephesians 1:13-14), both of whom were destined to the praise of the divine glory.

Wherefore, since the Gentiles also had attained to such happiness, he too, after having heard of their faith and love, ceases not to give thanks for his readers, when making mention of them in his prayers, in order that God might enlighten them by His Spirit concerning the hope to which their calling exalted them, concerning the glory of the future salvation, and concerning the greatness of the divine power in the believers (Ephesians 1:15-19), which power they were to recognise by what God had wrought in the case of Christ, whom He had raised from the dead and exalted above all, and had given Him as Lord over all to be Head to the church, which is His body—that which is filled by Him, who filleth all with all (Ephesians 1:20-23).


Verse 1-2

Ephesians 1:1-2. διὰ θελήμ. θεοῦ] See on 1 Corinthians 1:1.

τοῖς ἁγίοις] See on Romans 1:7.

καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν χ. .] furnishes, with τοῖς ἁγίοις] the completeness of the conception, hence it is not epexegesis (Beza, Vorstius, Calovius, and others), but an appended element, and καί is the closely copulative and. Comp. Colossians 1:2. It is not, however, the conception of fidelity and perseverance which is appended (Grotius, Locke, Baumgarten, Rosenmüller, Meier; see, on the other hand, already Calovius), but the notion of faith in Christ, since in the address, where the persons are to be designated very distinctly, τοῖς ἁγίοις alone would not yet characterize the readers expressly as Christians. Comp. Philippians 1:1.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] does not belong to ἁγίοις and πιστοῖς, so that it would denote the sphere, within which the Christians are saints and believing (Harless; comp. Boyd, Storr, Opusc. II. p. 121, Meier, Schenkel), for otherwise (comp. on Colossians 1:2) καὶ πιστοῖς would be quite superfluous and a tame and heavy addition, inasmuch as the notion of ἅγιος ἐν χριστῷ presupposes the notion of πιστὸς ἐν χριστῷ; but merely to πιστοῖς: fidem in Christo reponentibus. Comp. Ephesians 1:15, and see on Mark 1:15; Galatians 3:26.

Ephesians 1:2. See on Romans 1:7.


Verse 3

Ephesians 1:3. εὐλογητός] praised ( בָּרוּךְ ), sc. εἴη. Comp. Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Luke 1:68; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Kings 15:29. It is prefixed here, since, as in most doxologies (see on Romans 11:5), in keeping with the emotion of the heart which breaks forth in songs of praise, the emphasis lies on it. Where the stress in conformity with the context rests upon the person, this is prefixed, as at 1 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles 9:8; Job 1:21; Psalms 68:20; Psalms 112:1-2; Romans 9:5. The second Epistle to the Corinthians begins also with an ascription of praise to God, and the general character of that now before us cannot, in view of the general contents of the Epistle (comp. 1 Peter 1:3 ff.) appear un-Pauline (in opposition to de Wette), especially as the thanksgiving which has reference to the readers comes in afterwards in Ephesians 1:15 f.

θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου κ. τ. λ.] God, who at the same time is the Father of Jesus Christ. See on Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Theodore of Mopsuestia in Cramer’s Catena. Jerome, Theodoret, Theophylact, and others, including Michaelis, Koppe, Rückert, Olshausen, Schenkel, Bleek, have incorrectly attached τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν also to θεός. It is true, indeed, that there is no objection to the idea “the God of Christ” in itself, and τέ before καί would not be at all necessary, as Harless thinks (see Ephesians 4:6; 1 Peter 2:25, al.); but against it stands the fact that θεὸς καὶ πατήρ, even without a genitive, was a stated Christian designation of God (comp. on Romans 15:6), in which case πατήρ only, and not θεός, requires a complementary genitive (v. 20; 1 Corinthians 15:24; James 1:27; James 3:9). Moreover, the expression the God of Christ stands so isolated in the N.T. (see on Ephesians 1:17), that we may not attribute to it any such currency, as it must have had, if it were contained in the formula θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου κ. τ. λ.

εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς] Aorist: by the work of redemption. Observe the ingenious correlation of the passive εὐλογητός and the active εὐλογήσας, as well as the dilogia, by which the former denotes the blessing in word, and the latter the blessing in deed (comp. Romans 15:29; 2 Corinthians 9:5 f.; Galatians 3:8-9; Galatians 3:14; Acts 3:26). ἡμᾶς applies to the Christians generally, not to Paul (Koppe), against which view the unsuitableness of such a thanksgiving of the apostle for himself at the head of the Epistle, as well as the actual plurality of persons in the whole context (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:11-12), and κἀγώ, Ephesians 1:15, are decisive.

ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ] instrumental: by His imparting to us every spiritual blessing (comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 722: εὐλογ. ἐν ἀγαθοῖς); none has He withheld from us. This, however, is not to be explained as blessing, which concerns our spirit (Erasmus, Michaelis, Morus, Rosenmüller; Koppe and Rückert are undecided), but: proceeding from the Holy Spirit, because the distinctively Christian benefits are meant, and these are χαρίσματα. Comp. Romans 1:11; Romans 15:29; 1 Corinthians 12:1 ff. This blessing is wrought by God from heaven through the communication of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:6, and elsewhere), hence God is praised for it. We may add that a contrast to the earthly benefits promised to the Jews in the Old Testament (Grotius and others, including recently Holzhausen), or to the typical blessings of the Jews and the empty possessions of the Gentiles (Schöttgen), is foreign to the context. Paul denotes the matter in a purely positive form as it is, according to its characteristic nature; hence there is not in πάσῃ any contrast to merely sporadic blessings in the O. T. The εὐλογία consists in the most varied expressions, as in grace, truth, peace, joy, love, hope, consolation, patience, and all Christian virtues as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:1 ff.). Compare πᾶν ἀγαθὸν τὸ ἐν ἡμῖν, Philemon 1:6.

ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις] local: in the heavenly regions, in heaven. Comp. Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12. Against the instrumental rendering, according to which it is understood, as a more precise definition of the spiritual blessing, of the heavenly possessions(93) (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Luther, Castalio, Piscator, Vorstius, Homberg, Michaelis, Zachariae, Morus, Flatt, Bleek, and others), we may urge, not the article (in opposition to Rückert, Harless, Olshausen),—which would very appropriately denote the category,—but the fact, that Paul has not added ἀγαθοῖς or χαρίσ΄ασι, just because in our Epistle ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις is constantly a designation of place.(94) The local ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις is referred, either to God, so that heaven appears as the seat where the divine blessing is being prepared (Beza, Boyd),—but how idle and self-evident that would be! or to ἡμεῖς, so that heaven, as the seat of our πολίτευ΄α (Philippians 3:20), would be the scene of the divine blessing. So Pelagius, Beza (who leaves a choice between the two views), Grotius (who says that the blessings place us et spe et jure in coelo), Baumgarten, Koppe, Rückert, and others. The aorist would not be at variance with this view, since the matter might be set forth proleptically in accordance with an ideal mode of looking at it (comp. Ephesians 2:6). But the whole explanation is far-fetched and opposed to the context; for πνευματικῇ shows that Paul has not thought of our having received this blessing in the heavenly πολίτευ΄α, seeing that the Holy Spirit is received on earth as the present earnest of the heavenly heritage (Ephesians 1:13-14). Accordingly, the third reference remains the only correct one, under which ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις is attached as a local definition to εὐλογίᾳ πνευ΄ατικῇ: with every spiritual benefit in heaven, so that, because the Holy Spirit is in heaven, as is God Himself τὴν κατοικίαν ἐπουράνιον ἔχων (2 Maccabees 3:39), the blessings also of the Spirit are regarded as to be found in heaven and brought down from thence to us. See Hebrews 6:4.

ἐν χριστῷ] for in Christ lay the ground of that εὐλογεῖν accomplished in our case; not out of Christ, but in Him lay the cause that God blessed us with every spiritual blessing, since His act of redemption is the causa meritoria of this divine bestowal of blessing. Comp. Ephesians 1:4.


Verse 4

Ephesians 1:4. Further amplification of εὐλογήσας κ. τ. λ. on to Ephesians 1:14. See the contents.

καθώς] even as, denotes that that εὐλογεῖν has taken place in conformity with the fact that, etc., and is consequently argumentative; see on 1 Corinthians 1:6; John 13:34.

ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς] He has chosen us (from the collective mass of men) for Himself (sibi). Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:27; Romans 9:11; Romans 11:5; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:28; John 15:19; 1 Peter 2:9 f. Entirely without reason does Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 223, deny that ἐκλέγεσθαι here has reference to others not chosen, and assert that it applies only to that which we, in the absence of election, should not have become. This is according to the very notion of the word quite impossible. ἐκλέγεσθαι always has, and must of logical necessity have, a reference to others, to whom the chosen would, without the ἐκλογή, still belong. Even in Acts 6:5; Acts 13:17; 1 Timothy 5:21; Exodus 18:25; Deuteronomy 4:37, it sets forth the distinctive separation from the remaining mass, just as also Christ, as one who is chosen out from all that is man, is called the ἐκλεκτός of God (Luke 9:35; Luke 23:35).

ἐν αὐτῷ] for in nothing else and in no one else than in Christ, whose future work of redemption God has foreknown and decreed from eternity (Acts 15:18; Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:20, al.), lay the ground, that the electing grace (Romans 11:5) chose us (comp. Ephesians 3:11); hence God had, as respected the subjects to be affected by the election, to deal, not in any arbitrary manner, but according to His πρόγνωσις of the same (praecognovit credituros). See on Romans 8:29. Christ is not, however, here conceived of as Himself chosen of God, and we as included in Him ( ἐν αὐτῷ), as Hofmann, p. 229, thinks; but, as the more precise explanation in Ephesians 1:5 shows, the divine act of our election has in Christ its determining ground, so that to us by this act there is assigned and allotted no other than the salvation to be gained through Christ (who in the fulness of the times was out of His preexistence to be sent as Incarnate and was to accomplish the work of salvation). Apart from this connection of the divine election with Christ we should not be chosen; but in Christ lay for God the causa meritoria of our election.(95) The reference of ἐν αὐτῷ to God (Al. Morus, Holzhausen: with Himself, in His heart) is to be rejected on account of the utter superfluousness of this definition, and on account of the preceding ἐν χριστῷ.

πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου] thus before all time, already in eternity. Comp. Colossians 1:15 ff.; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Matthew 25:34; also 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:9. The expression is nowhere else found in Paul; but see Matthew 13:35; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8.

εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους κ. τ. λ.] Infinitive of the design: in order that we should be, etc. See Winer, p. 298 f. [E. T. 399 f.]. The predicates ἅγιος and ἄμωμος (blameless, Herod, ii. 177; Theoc. xviii. 25) exhaust the conception positively and negatively. Comp. Plut. Pericl. p. 173 D: βιόςκαθαρὸς καὶ ἀμίαντος, and see on Colossians 1:22; Ephesians 5:27. It is not, however, to be explained of the holiness conditioned by morality and virtue (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Piscator, Grotius, Calixtus, and many others, including Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Schenkel), in which case reservations on account of human imperfection are often arbitrarily inserted, or it is referred, as by Rückert, to the ideal point of view of the apostle; but rather of the holiness and blamelessness brought about through the atoning death of Christ by means of the δικαιασύνη θεοῦ thereby attained (Romans 3:21 ff; Romans 5:1 ff; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:33 ff; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:29), in favour of which the very εἶναι (not γίνεσθαι) and the whole context are decisive (Ephesians 1:5-7). We may add that, if the emphasis with which our Epistle brings into prominence the holiness of the church (comp. Ephesians 5:27) is to be held as betraying the standpoint of the second century (see Schwegler in Zeller’s Jahrb. 1844, p. 382), for which especial reference is made to Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21, with equal reason the like suspicion may be thrown even on the most fully acknowledged Epistles (such as the Epistles to the Corinthians).

κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ] before God’s eyes, judice Deo (Colossians 2:14; Romans 3:20; Romans 4:5). It is God’s judgment, which has posited the reconciled as holy and blameless, and that by imputation of faith unto righteousness; thereupon He gives to them every εὐλογία πνευματική, Ephesians 1:3. The reference of αὐτός successively recurring to different subjects cannot surprise us (Winer, p. 135 [E. T. 179]); and so it is not to be written αὑτοῦ (as Harless still does), but αὐτοῦ, from the standpoint of the author (Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 276; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 49).

ἐν ἀγάπῃ] is attached by many to Ephesians 1:4, so that it is connected either with ἐξελέξατο (Oecumenius, Thomas, Flacius, Olearius, Baumgarten, Flatt, and others), but in how isolated and awkward a way! or with εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους κ. τ. λ. (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Grotius, Wolf, Wetstein, and others, including Rückert,—but with hesitation,

Matthies, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius), so that ἐν ἀγάπῃ would be the ground, or rather the element (evangelii τὸ πᾶν, says Grotius, lies in love), of the holiness and blamelessness. But this is not compatible with the correct explanation of ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους, as a state brought about by the ἱλαστήριον of Christ, according to which, not ἐν ἀγάπῃ, but ἐν πίστει, would have been a definition of the element of holiness in keeping with the context. Hence the connection with προορίσας, Ephesians 1:5, remains as the only correct one. So the Peshito, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Augustine, Estius (but with hesitation), Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Koppe, and others, including Lachmann, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Tischendorf, Schenkel, Bleek. The only one of the objections made to this view which is plausible is that of Matthies and Meier, that the following κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελημάτος αὐτοῦ would render the preceding ἐν ἀγάπῃ in this connection superfluous. But see on Ephesians 1:5.


Verse 5

Ephesians 1:5. Love was the disposition of God, in which He through this our election predestined us to υἱοθεσία. Hence this divine motive, therefore, is prefixed with emphasis, quite in keeping with the character of ascription of praise marking the discourse. Consequently: in that He in love predestined us. Homberg has indeed conceived the relation of the time of προορίσας to ἐξελέξατο as: “postquam nos praedestinavit adoptandos, elegit etiam nos, ut simus sancti;” but the usual view correctly conceives προορίσας as coincident in point of time, and accomplished simultaneously with ἐξελέξατο, so that it is regarded as the modus of the latter (see on γνωρίσας, Ephesians 1:9). For the praedestinatio (the προορίζειν) is never elsewhere distinguished from the election as something preceding it; it rather substantially coincides with it (hence at Romans 8:29 only the expression προώρισε is used, while in Romans 8:33 only ἐκλεκτοί are mentioned), and only the πρόγνωσις is prior, Rom. l.c. Comp. Lampsing, Pauli de praedestinat. decreta, Leovard. 1858, p. 70. See on this use of the aorist participle, Hermann, ad Viger. p. 774; Bernhardy, p. 383; Winer, p. 321 [E. T. 430]. It is, we may add, purely arbitrary to distinguish ἐξελέξατο and προορίσας, so that the former should apply to individuals, the latter to the whole (Schenkel). Both verbs have in fact the same objects ( ἡμᾶς, which denotes the persons); see on Romans 8:29.

The προ in προορίσας, beforehand, points to the future realization. Certainly the predestination has taken place before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4); but this is not expressed by προ, which rather looks always towards the future setting in of the thing predestined. See Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:11; Acts 4:28; Heliod. p. 298, 14, p. 266, 15; Sopater in Walz, Rhet. V. p. 152, 20.

εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν] are to be taken closely together: unto adoption through Jesus Christ in reference to Him,—that is, He has destined us to stand in the relation of those assumed as children through mediation of Jesus Christ to Him (to God). Comp. Romans 8:29. That υἱοθωσία is nowhere merely childship (as Meier and Bleek still take it here, following Usteri), but adoption,(96) see on Romans 7:15; Galatians 4:5. υἱοθεσία is never predicated of Christ Himself; for He is the born Son of God (Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4), who procured for His own the assumption into the place of children (whereby they became de jure His brethren, Romans 8:29). The pre-eminence of Christ is therefore essential, not merely prototypal, as of the head of humanity;(97) He is the μονογενής. Through adoption believers have passed out (comp. Romans 7:24 f.) of their natural state, in which they by sin were liable to the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3), and have entered into the state of reconciliation, in which they, through the mediation of the reconciling death of Christ (Ephesians 1:6-7), by means of the faith in it which was counted to them for righteousness (Galatians 3:26; Romans 4:5; Romans 4:23 f.), have forgiveness of sins, and are heirs of the Messianic blessedness (Ephesians 1:14; Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:10-11; Romans 8:17), as a guarantee of which the Holy Spirit is given to them (Ephesians 1:14; Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:16).

εἰς αὐτόν] does not apply to Christ (Anselm, Thomas, Castalio, Vorstius, Menochius, Cornelius a Lapide, and others, including de Wette), since Christ is mediator of the adoption, and this is a relation to God. This simple sense of reference toward is to be maintained, and we must not import either ad gloriam gratiae suae (Piscator; comp. Schenkel) or τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνάγουσαν τὸ γένος ἡμῶν (Theophylact). At variance with linguistic usage, Beza, Calvin, and Calixtus take it for ἐν ἑαυτῷ, and discover in it the independence of the divine προορισ΄ός; and Grotius, Wolf, Baumgarten, Koppe, Holzhausen, Meier hold it as equivalent to sibi, לוֹ (“as children, who rightly belong to Him as His own,” Meier). Comp. also on Colossians 1:20.

We may add that here, too, we must not write (with Beza, Stephanus, Mill, Griesbach, Knapp, Meier, and others) αὑτόν, but αὐτόν. Comp. above on κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ.

κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελή΄ατος αὐτοῦ (not αὑτοῦ): conformably to the pleasure of His will, just as it was the purpose of His will. Comp. Matthew 11:26; Luke 10:21. So Vulgate, Erasmus, Calvin, Bengel, Flatt, and others, including Rückert, de Wette, Bleek. It may also signify: according to the benevolence of His will (see, generally, Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 369 ff.). So Harless, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, following older expositors. But this notion is already and more strongly contained in ἐν ἀγάπῃ; and the element which is here meant, of free self-determination, independent of all human desert, as regulative of the προορίζειν, is clearly pointed to in the parallel by ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ. Comp. also Ephesians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:9.

REMARK.

Predestination is not made dependent on any sort of causa meritoria on the part of man (comp. Ephesians 1:11), but is simply an act of free divine kindness, whose determination has its causa impulsiva only in Christ; so that, in the case of the predestined subjects, faith is set forth as the causa apprehendens of the salvation destined for them κατὰ πρόγνωσιν (Romans 8:29); and with this Romans 9, when rightly apprehended, agrees. The conditions mentally supplied by expositors (as e.g. Grotius, who finds in our passage “decretum ejus, quod Deus facere vult, si et homines faciant, quod debent;” comp. already Jerome) remove the relation out of the sphere of the divine εὐδοκία τοῦ θελήματος into that of dependence on human self-choice, and consequently into the domain of the accidental. The notion of absolute decree, however, breaks down before the πρόγνωσις as the necessary premiss of the divine ἐκλογή—a premiss, which doubtless involves the necessity of morally restricting the truncus aut lapis of the Formula Concordiae (comp. Luthardt, Lehre vom freien Willen, p. 272).


Verse 6

Ephesians 1:6. As love was the disposition serving as motive for the divine predestination (Ephesians 1:5), so is the glorifying of the divine love (which, however, is here designated in accordance with its distinctive peculiarity, because it refers to sinners, Ephesians 2:1 ff., as grace) its divinely conceived ultimate aim, not, as Grotius would have it, consequens aliud. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:20; Philippians 1:11.

εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (not αὑτοῦ) means neither to the glorious praise of His grace (Grotius, Estius), nor to the praise of His glorious grace (Luther, Castalio, Beza, and most expositors, including Morus, Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen, Meier), the one of which is just as arbitrary as the other; but: to the praise of the glory of His grace. The quality of the grace, its glory—its greatness laudably evincing itself—is brought into prominence as the object of the praise to be bestowed on it. Comp. Bernhardy, p. 53 f.; Held, ad Timol. p. 368. Bengel already in his day aptly distinguished the notions: “Primum nascitur laus gratiae, Ephesians 1:5, inde laus gloriae.”

δόξης without the article may not surprise us on account of the genitival definition that follows. See Winer, p. 118 f. [E. T. 155 f.].

ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπ.] ἧς is attracted by the preceding τῆς χάριτος ( χάριν χαριτοῦν is conceived of as ἀγάπην ἀγαπᾶν, Ephesians 2:4; John 17:26; comp. Dem. 306, 28: χάριτας χαρίζεσθαι) instead of ἥν. Comp. Ephesians 4:1; and see on 2 Corinthians 1:4; Hom. Il. xxii. 649; Arist. Pl. 1044: τῆς ὕβρεος ἧς ὑβρίζομαι. χαριτόω means: gratia aliquem afficere; and, according as the χάρις is conceived of subjectively as love-worthiness, or objectively as the divine grace, the sense may either be: to make love-worthy, as Chrysostom(98) and his followers (comp. also Luther), Cornelius a Lapide, and many Roman Catholics (including Bisping), have taken it, understanding thereby not merely the reconciliation, but also the positive sanctifying, the justitia inhaerens; or: to grant grace (as it is taken usually). In the former sense (see Wetstein, I. p. 651), the word occurs, Niceph. Prog. ii. 2; Symm. Ps. xvii. 28; Sirach 18:17; also Sirach 9:8 in Cod. A and Clem. Alex. Paed. iii. 11; in the latter sense, in Luke 1:28; Test. XII. Patr. p. 698. The latter is here decidedly correct, since the preceding τῆς χάριτος, especially with ἧς as the reading, permits no deviation from that meaning, just as Ephesians 1:7 sets forth simply the work of pardoning grace.

ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ] Christ as the υἱὸς τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ, Colossians 1:13 (comp. Matthew 3:17), is κατʼ ἐξοχήν the beloved of God, and in Him has God shown us grace, i.e. in the fact that He gave Him up to death for us (Ephesians 1:7), He has brought home to us His grace. Comp. Ephesians 2:13; Romans 8:39; 2 Corinthians 5:19. The designation of Christ by ἠγαπήμενος makes us feel the greatness of the divine grace. Comp. Romans 8:32; Romans 5:8 ff.; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9 f.


Verse 7

Ephesians 1:7. More precise elucidation, on the basis of experience ( ἔχομεν), of what had just been said, ἐχαρίτ. ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπ.

ἐν ] so that in Him our possession of the redemption has its ground. He it is, without whose person and work we should not have been redeemed; χωρὶς χριστοῦ (Ephesians 2:12), no ἀπολύτρωσις. Comp. Romans 3:24. The relative has, as is often the case (see, generally, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phil. p. 195 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 371), argumentative significance. Comp. here especially Ephesians 3:12.

τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν] the redemption, namely, from God’s wrath and penalties, which before our entrance into faith we had incurred through sin (Romans 1:18; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:5 ff; Romans 7:7 ff.; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 5:6, al.), as those who were under the dominion of the devil (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18). The purchase-price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) through which Christ, in voluntary obedience towards God’s gracious counsel, accomplished this ἀπολύτρωσις, was His blood, which He shed as an ἱλαστήριον for the benefit of men (Romans 3:25; Romans 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:21; Colossians 2:13 f.). On ἀπολύτρωσις, as the effect of the atoning death, in which case the blood of Christ is always conceived of as the purchase-price, see Romans 3:24.

διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ] by means of His blood, a more precise definition of the preceding ἐν . Paul might have written ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ (Ephesians 2:13); but he in general prefers an interchange of prepositions (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:11; Romans 3:30; Galatians 2:16; Philemon 1:5), to which he was here specially led by his epexegetic purpose (comp. Ephesians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:7).

τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων] apposition to τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, the essence of which is the forgiveness of sins obtained on account of the death of Christ. As to the distinction between πάρεσις (Romans 3:25) and ἄφεσις (used by Paul also in Colossians 1:14), see on Romans 3:25.

τῶν παραπτωμάτων denotes always the actual individual sins (Ephesians 2:1 ff.; and see on Romans 5:20); hence Paul has not mentally included a forgiveness of inborn sinfulness (Olshausen).

κατὰ τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ] is not to be resolved into an adjective (“gratia liberalissima,” Koppe); but the riches, i.e. the great fulness (Codex 17 has τὸ πλῆθος), of the divine grace is that, in consequence of which we have in Christ the redemption. It is to be noted that here, as well as in Ephesians 1:6, the reference to the divine grace serves to wind up one element of the discourse, and (by ἧς) to annex another. As to πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος (Ephesians 2:7, Ephesians 3:16), see on Romans 2:4. We may add that Lachmann, Rückert, tischendorf have the form τὸ πλοῦτος, following A B D* E (?) א * min., to which also F G fall to be added with the transcriber’s error τοῦ πλοῦτος; and rightly. See on 2 Corinthians 8:2, Remark; and see Winer, p. 64 [E. T. 76].


Verse 8

Ephesians 1:8. ἧς ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς ἡμᾶς] ἧς stands by attraction (comp. Ephesians 1:6), not for (Camerarius, Calvin, Piscator, Erasmus Schmid), so that ἐπερίσσ. would be intransitive,—for the attraction of the dative, rare even in classic authors (Krüger, Gramm. 51. 10. 3, and Grammat. Unters. III. p. 274 f.), is not found in the N.T., not even in the passages adduced by Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 247 [E. T. 287],—but for ἥν, so that ἐπερίσσ. is transitive (2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12): which He has made abundant, has shown in an exceedingly high degree ( ἀφθόνως ἐξέχεε, Theophylact), towards us. If, with Calvin and Beza (comp. also Holzhausen), we should not assume any attraction at all, but should take the genitive as at Luke 15:17, there would result the sense, unsuitable to what follows ( γνωρίσας κ. τ. λ.): of which He had superabundance towards us.

ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει] is not, with Chrysostom, Jerome, Theodoret, Homberg, Baumgarten, Semler, Michaelis, Griesbach, Koppe, Holzhausen, Scholz, to be attached to γνωρίσας, because it would thus, like ἐν ἀγάπῃ in Ephesians 1:5, denote the attribute of God operative in the γνωρίζειν, which, on account of πάσῃ (see below), is not admissible. If, again, we should, with Chrysostom (comp. Michaelis and others), regard it as the state of men brought about by γνωρίσας κ. τ. λ., this would be forced, and, as concerns the sense, there might be urged against it the circumstance that, in the making known of the divine mystery, Paul had to set forth, not the divine display of grace in itself (this was given in the work of redemption, Ephesians 1:6-7), but the display of grace as revealed. Hence it was necessary that there should be added to ἧς ἐπερίσσ. εἰς ἡμ, a definition, and this is ἐν πάσῃ σοφ. κ. φρον.: which He has displayed abundantly towards us by every kind of wisdom and discernment (with which He endowed us, comp. Colossians 1:9), in that He made known to us, etc. Observe here withal the climax, in which, rising from the simple ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς, Ephesians 1:6, the apostle now, at this further display of grace, says: ἧς ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς ἡμᾶς. Rückert (comp. Jerome, Castalio, de Wette, and others), although connecting it with ἧς ἐπερίσσ. εἰς ἡμ., incorrectly holds the divine wisdom to be meant, and takes the sense to be, that God has with highest wisdom and discernment dispensed His grace over us. Not only would this introduce here something remote from the point,—since in the whole context Paul is commending only grace as such, and not any other attribute along with it,—but the words themselves are opposed to it, not indeed by φρονήσει in itself, which (in opposition to Harless and Schenkel) might be used also of God (1 Kings 3:28; Proverbs 3:19; Jeremiah 10:12), but certainly by πάσῃ. For πᾶσα σοφία does not mean summa sapientia, but every kind of wisdom, which, according to a popular mode of expression, like our “all possible wisdom” (Theile, ad Jacob. p. 7), can be said only of men. The πολυποίκιλος σοφία, Ephesians 3:10, is not analogous (in opposition to de Wette), but denotes the absolute wisdom according to its manifold modes of manifestation.

καὶ φρονήσει] Comp. 1 Kings 4:29 : ἔδωκε κύριος φρόνησιν τῷ σαλωμὼν καὶ σοφίαν πολλήν. Daniel 2:21 : διδοὺς σοφίαν τοῖς σοφοῖς καὶ φρόνησιν τοῖς εἰδόσι σύνεσιν; Joseph. Antt. ii. 5. 7, viii. 7. 5. φρόνησις is an aptitude, which proceeds from wisdom ( δὲ σοφία ἀνδρὶ τίκτει φρόνησιν, Proverbs 10:23), in connection with which the distinction is to be noted, that σοφία is the general notion ( ἐπιστήμη θείων τε καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων, Sext. Emp. adv. phys. i. 13), which embraces the collective activity of the mind as directed to divine aims only to be achieved by moral means (comp. on Colossians 1:9); whereas φρόνησις denotes the more special notion of the morally determined intelligence, the insight of practical reason regulating the dispositions ( ἐπιστήμη ἀγαθῶν καὶ κακῶν, Plato, Def. p. 411 D ἕξις ἀληθὴς μετὰ λόγου πρακτικὴ περὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπῳ ἀγαθὰ κ. κακά, Arist. Eth. vi. 5. 4). See, especially, also Cic. Off. i. 43. Comp. on φρόνησις, which Paul has not elsewhere, Luke 1:17; Beck, bibl. Seelenl. p. 62.


Verse 9

Ephesians 1:9. In that He has made known to us the mystery of His will. The aorist participle signifies an action coincident and completed at the same time with ἐπερίσσ. See on Ephesians 1:5.

ἡμῖν] applies, as in the whole connection, to the Christians generally; but in this case the extraordinary kinds of making known, which individuals among them had experienced (such as Paul himself, who was instructed διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως, Ephesians 3:3; Galatians 1:12), are left out of account.

τὸ μυστήρ. τοῦ θελήμ. αὐτοῦ] τοῦ θελήμ. is genitive objecti. And the mystery that concerns the divine will is the counsel of redemption accomplished through Christ, not in so far as it is in itself incomprehensible for the understanding, but in so far as, while formed from eternity, it was until the announcement of the gospel hidden in God, and veiled and unknown to men. See Romans 16:25 f.; Ephesians 3:4 f., 9, Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:26. By the prophets the mystery was not unveiled, but the unveiling of it was merely predicted; here at the proclamation of the gospel the prophetic predictions became means of its unveiling, Romans 16:25 f.

κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκ. αὐτοῦ] belongs not to τὸ μυστ. τοῦ θελ. αὐτ. (Bleek), in which case it would stand in a tautologic relation to τοῦ θελ. αὐτ., but rather to γνωρίσας κ. τ. λ., stating that God has accomplished the making known in pursuance of His free self-determination. Comp. on Ephesians 1:5.

ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ] would be in itself redundant, but serves for the attaching of that which follows; hence no comma is to be placed after αὑτῷ. It is not, however, to be written as αὐτῷ (as by Lachmann, Harless, Tischendorf), since here the αὐτός? cannot appear as the third person, as would be the case if the text had run in some such form as κατὰ τὴν πρόθεσιν αὐτοῦ, and as was previously the case with the thrice occurring αὐτοῦ. If αὐτῷ were to be read, a subject different from God would be meant; as, indeed, Chrysostom and his successors, as well as Luther, Calovius, Bengel, and others, in reality understood it of Christ, although the latter only comes in again at Ephesians 1:10, and that by name.

προέθετο] set before Himself (Romans 1:13), purposed (namely, to accomplish it) in Himself, i.e. in His heart (anthropopathic designation). This purpose, too ( πρόθεσις, Ephesians 1:11), is to be conceived as formed before the creation of the world; without this idea, however, being expressed by προ, which is not even to be taken temporally, but locally (to set before oneself), comp. on προχειρίζομαι, Acts 3:20. There is incorrectness, for the very reason that ἐν αὐτῷ does not apply to Christ, in the translation of Luther (comp. Vulgate): “and has brought forth [herfürgebracht] the same by Him,” though προέθ. in itself might have this meaning. See on Romans 3:25.


Verse 10

Ephesians 1:10. εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώμ. τῶν καιρ.] Unto the dispensation of the fulfilling of the times, belongs not to γνωρίσας (Bengel), but to the immediately preceding ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ, which is inserted solely with a view to attach to it εἰς οἰκον. κ. τ. λ.; and εἰς does not stand for ἐν (Vulgate and several Fathers, also Beza, Piscator, and others), but denotes what God in forming that purpose had in view, and is thus telic: with a design to. With the temporal rendering, usque ad (Erasmus, Calvin, Bucer, Estius, Er. Schmid, Michael., and others), we should have to take προέθετο in a pregnant sense, and to supply mentally: “consilio secretum et abditum esse voluit” (Erasmus, Paraphr.), which, however, with the former explanation is superfluous, and hence is arbitrary here, although it would in itself be admissible (Winer, p. 577 [E. T. 776]).

οἰκονομία] house-management (Luke 16:2), used also in the ethico-theocratic sense (1 Timothy 1:4), and specially of the functions of the apostolic office (1 Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25), here signifies regulation, disposition, arrangement in general, in which case the conception of an οἰκονόμος has receded into the background. Comp. Ephesians 3:2; Xen. Cyr. v. 3. 25; Plut. Pomp. 50; frequently in Polyb. (see Schweighaeuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 402); comp. also 2 Maccabees 3:14; 3 Maccabees 3:2; Act. Thom. 57.

The πλήρωμα τῶν καιρῶν, id quo impleta sumt (comp. on Ephesians 3:19) tempora, is not in substance different from τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, Galatians 4:4; nevertheless, in our passage the pre-Messianic period running on from the beginning is conceived of not as unity, as at Gal. l.c., but according to its different sections of time marked off by different epochs, the last of which closes with the setting in of the Messianic work of redemption, and which thus with this setting in become full (like a measure), so that nothing more is lacking to make up the time as a whole, of which they are the parts. This πλήρωμα is consequently not, in general, tempus justum (Morus: at its time), but the fulness of the times, i.e. that point of time, by the setting in of which the pre-Messianic ages are made full,(99) that is, are closed as complete. Comp. Herod. iii. 22: ὀγδώκοντα δʼ ἔτεα ζόης πλήρωμα ἀνδρὶ μακρότατον προκέεσθαι (implementum vitae longissimum, i.e. longissimum tempus, quo impletur vita), and see on Galatians 4:4; Wetstein on Mark 1:15. Fritzsche (in Thesauri quo sacrae N.T. glossae illustr. specim., Rostock 1839, p. 25, and ad Rom. II. p. 473) conceives it otherwise, holding that τὸ πλήρωμα is plenitas, the abstract of πλήρης, hence πλ. τ. κ. plenum tempus, οἱ πλήρεις καιροί. But while πλήρω΄α doubtless signifies impletio, like πλήρωσις, in Ezekiel 5:2; Daniel 10:3; Soph. Track. 1203; Eurip. Tro. 824, it never denotes the being full.

Now, in what way is the genitive-relation οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρώματος to be understood? A genitive of the object (Menochius, Storr, Baumgarten-Crusius) τοῦ πληρώμ. cannot be, inasmuch as it may doubtless be said of the πλήρω΄α τῶν καιρ. as a point of time fixed by God: it comes (Galatians 4:4), but not: it is arranged, οἰκονομεῖται. Harless takes the genitive as epexegetic. But a point of time ( πλήρ. τ. καιρ.) cannot logically be an appositional more precise definition of a fact ( οἰκονομία). The genitive is rightly taken as expressing the characteristic (temporal) peculiarity, as by Calovius: “dispensatio propria plenitudini temporum.” Comp. Rückert. Just as κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμέρας, Jude 1:6. Hence: with a view to the dispensation to be established at the setting in of the fulness of the times. For, ὅτε ἦλθε τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, Gal. l.c., and on His emergence πεπλήρωται καιρός, Mark 1:15. There was no need that the article should stand before οἰκον. just because of the complete definition contained in the following genitive. Comp. on ver: 6. It would only be required, if we should have mentally to supply to οἰκονομίαν a genitival definition, and thus to make it an independent idea, as is done by many (Wolf, Olshausen, and others), who explain it as administrationem gratiae,—a view which is erroneous, just because a genitive already stands beside it, although οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, taken together, is the Christian dispensation of grace. This genitival definition standing alongside of it also prevents us from taking, with Luther, εἰς οἰκονομίαν (sc. τοῦ μυστηρίου) as: “that it should be preached;” or from supplying, with Grotius and Estius (comp. Morus), τῆς εὐδοκίας αὐτοῦ with οἰκον., in neither of which cases would there be left any explanation of the genitive sense applicable to τοῦ πληρώ΄ατος τ. κ. Quite erroneous, lastly, is the view of Storr, Opusc. I. p. 155, who is followed by Meier, that οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρ. τ. κ. is administratio eorum quae restant temporum. For to take τ. πλήρ. τ. κ. in the sense of reliqua tempora, i.e. novi foederis, is in the light of Galatians 4:4, Mark 1:15, decidedly to misapprehend it.

ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ χριστῷ] epexegetical infinitive, which gives information as to the actual contents of that οἰκονομία: (namely) again to gather up together, etc. Therein the arrangement designated by οἰκονομία τ. πλ. τ. κ. was to consist. This connection is that which naturally suggests itself, and is more in keeping with the simple mode followed in the context of annexing the new portions of the discourse to what immediately precedes, than the connection with προέθετο (Zachariae, Flatt, and others), or with τὸ ΄υστήρ. τοῦ θελ. αὐτοῦ (Beza: Paul is explaining quid mysterii nomine significare voluerit; also Harless, comp. Olshausen, Schmid, bibl. Theol. II. p. 347, and others). We may add that Beza, Piscator, and others have taken εἰς οἰκον. τ. πλ. τ. κ. along with ἀνακεφαλ. as one idea; but in that case the preceding ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ must appear quite superfluous and aimless, and εἰς οἰκονο΄. κ. τ. λ., by being prefixed to ἀνακεφαλ., irrelevantly receives the main emphasis, which is not to be removed from ἀνακεφαλ.

ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι] κεφάλαιον in the verb κεφαλαιόω means, as it does also in classical usage, chief thing, main point (see Wetstein, ad Romans 13:9); hence κεφαλαιόω: summatim, colligere, as in Thuc. iii. 67. 5, vi. 91. 6, viii. 53. 1; Quinctil. i. 6. Comp. συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι, Xen. Cyr. viii. 1. 15; Polyb. iii. 3. 1, 7, iv. 1. 9. Consequently ἀνακεφαλαιόω: summatim recolligere, which is said in Romans 13:9 of that which has been previously expressed singulatim, in separate parts, but now is again gathered up in one main point, so that at Rom. l.c. ἐν τούτῳ τῷ λόγῳ denotes that main point, in which the gathering, up is contained. And here this main point of gathering up again, unifying all the parts, lies in Christ; hence the gathering up is not verbal, as in Rom. l.c., but real, as is distinctly apparent from the objects gathered up together, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς κ. τ. λ. It is to be observed withal, (1) that ἀνακεφαλ. does not designate Christ as κεφαλή—although He really is so (Ephesians 1:22)—so that it would be tantamount to ὑπὸ μίαν κεφαλὴν ἄγειν (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Piscator, Calovius, Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Koppe, Matthies, Meier, de Wette, and others), but as κεφάλαιον, which is evident from the etymology; (2) that we are not to bring in, with Grotius and Hammond, the conception of scattered warriors, or, with Camerarius, that of an arithmetical sum ( κεφάλαιον, see Wetstein, l.c.), which must have been suggested by the context; (3) that the force of the middle is the less to be overlooked, inasmuch as an act of government on God’s part is denoted: sibi summatim recolligere; (4) that we may not give up the meaning of ἀνα, iterum (Winer, de verbor. cum praep. conj. in N.T. usu, III. p. 3 f.), which points back to a state in which no separation as yet existed (in opposition to Chrysostom, Castalio, and many others). This ἀνα has had its just force already recognised by the Peshito and Vulgate (instaurare), as well as by Tertull. de Monog. 5 (ad initium reciprocare),(100) although κεφαλαιόω is overlooked by the former, and wrongly apprehended by the latter. See the more detailed discussion below.

τὰ πάντα] is referred by many (see below) merely to intelligent beings, or to men, which, according to a well-known use of the neuter, would be in itself admissible (Galatians 3:22), but would need to be suggested by the context. It is quite general: all created things and beings. Comp. Ephesians 1:22-23.

τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς] that which is on the heavens and that which is on the earth. ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐραν. (see the critical remarks) is so conceived of that the heavens are the stations at which the things concerned are to be found. Comp. the well-known ἐπὶ χθονί (Hom. Il. iii. 195, al.); ἐπὶ πύλησιν (Il. iii. 149); ἐπὶ πύργῳ (Il. vi. 431). Even in the classical writers, we may add, prepositions occurring in close succession often vary their construction without any special design in it. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1. 20. Comp. as to the local ἐπί with genitive and dative, e.g. Hom. Il. i. 486. As regards the real sense, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐραν. is not to be arbitrarily limited either to the spirits in heaven generally (Rückert, Meier), or to the angels (Chrysostom, Calvin, Cameron, Balduin, Grotius, Estius, Calovius, Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Bosenmiiller, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), or to the blessed spirits of the pious men of the O. T. (Beza, Piscator, Boyd, Wolf, Moldenhauer, Flatt, and others), nor must we understand by it the Jews, and by τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς the Gentiles (Locke, Schoettgen, Baumgarten, Teller, Ernesti), as, indeed, Koppe was able to bring out of it all mankind by declaring heaven and earth to be a periphrasis for κόσμος; but, entirely without restriction, all things and beings existent in the heavens and upon earth are meant, so that the preceding τὰ πάντα is specialized in its two main divisions. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. iii. 18, quite arbitrarily thought of all events which should have come to pass on earth or in heaven, and which God gathers up, i.e. brings to their complete fulfilment, in Christ as in their goal. Comp. Chrys.: τὰ γὰρ διὰ μακροῦ χρόνου οἰκονομούμενα ἀνηκεφαλαιώσατο ἐν χριστῷ, τουτέστι συνέτεμε.

But how far has God gathered together again all things, things heavenly and things earthly, in Christ? Before the entrance of sin all created beings and things were undividedly united under God’s government; all things in the world were normally combined into organic unity for God’s ends and in His service. But through sin this original union and harmony was broken, first of all in heaven, where a part of the angels sinned and fell away from God;(101) these formed, under Satan, the kingdom antagonistic to God, and upon earth brought about the fall of man (2 Corinthians 11:3), extended their sway farther and farther, and were even worshipped in the heathen idols (1 Corinthians 10:20 f.). With the fall of man there came to an end also the normal state of the non-intelligent κτίσις (Romans 8:19 ff.); heaven and earth, which had become the scene of sin and of the demoniac kingdom (Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12), were destined by God to destruction, in order that one day a new heaven and a new earth—in which not sin any more, but moral righteousness shall dwell, and God shall be the all-determining power in all (1 Corinthians 15:28)—shall come imperishable (Romans 8:21) in its place (2 Peter 3:13). The redeeming work of Jesus Christ (comp. Colossians 1:20) was designed to annul again this divided state in the universe, which had arisen through sin in heaven and upon earth, and to reestablish the unity of the kingdom of God in heaven and on earth; so that this gathering together again should rest on, and have its foundations in, Christ as the central point of union and support, without which it could not emerge. Before the Parousia, it is true, this ἀνακεφαλαίωσις is still but in course of development; for the devil is still with his demons ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις (Ephesians 6:12), is still fighting against the kingdom of God and holding sway over many; many men reject Christ, and the κτίσις longs after the renewal. But with the Parousia there sets in the full realization, which is the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:10 ff.); when all antichristian natures and powers shall be discarded out of heaven and earth, so that thereafter nothing in heaven or upon earth shall be excluded from this gathering together again. Comp. Photius in Oecumenius. Finally, the middle voice (sibi recolligere) has its warrant in the fact that God is the Sovereign (the head of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:4; 1 Corinthians 3:23), who fulfils His will and aim by the gathering up again, etc.; so that, when the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις is completed by the victory over all antichristian powers, He resumes even the dominion committed to the Son, and then God is the sole ruling principle (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). Our passage is accordingly so framed as to receive its historically adequate elucidation from the N.T., and especially from Paul himself; and there is no reason for seeking to explain it from a later system of ideas, as Baur does (p. 424), who traces it to the underlying Gnostic idea, that all spiritual life which has issued from the supreme God must return to its original unity, and in that view the “affected” expression εἰς οἰκον. τ. πληρ. τ. καιρ. is held to convey a covert allusion to the Gnostic pleroma of aeons and its economy. See, on the other hand, Räbiger, Christol. Paulina, p. 55. The “genuinely Catholic consciousness” (Baur, Christenth. d. drei erst. Jahrh. p. 109) of the Epistle is just the genuinely apostolic one, necessarily rooted in Christ’s own word and work. The person of Christ is not presented “under the point of view of the metaphysical necessity of the process of the self-realizing idea” (Baur, neutest. Theol. p. 264), but under that of its actual history, as this was accomplished, in accordance with the counsel of the Father, by the free obedience of the Lord.

REMARK 1.

The illustration which Chrysostom has given for τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς κ. τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, from the conception of a house repaired ( ὡς ἂν περὶ οἰκίας τις εἴποι τὰ μὲν σαθρὰ τὰ δὲ ἰσχυρὰ ἐχούσης· ἀνῳκοδόμησε τὴν οἰκίανοὕτω καὶ ἐνταῦθα πάντας ὑπὸ μίαν ἤγαγε κεφαλήν), has been again employed by Harless, whose view of the passage (approved by Schenkel) is that the apostle speaks thus, “because the Lord and Creator of the whole body, of which heaven and earth are members, has in the restoration of the one member restored the whole body; and in this consists the greatest significance of the reconciliation, that it is not merely a restoration of the life of earth, but a bringing back of the harmony of the universe.” But in this way the words of the apostle are made withal to suggest merely the doing away of the contrast between heaven and earth (or, according to Schenkel’s tortuous metaphor, “between the heavenly glorified centre of creation and the earthly, sin-troubled circumference of creation”), and there is conceded to the τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς merely an indirect participation in the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις, and the direct de facto operation of the Messianic οἰκονομία on the heavenly world is set aside—which appears the less admissible, inasmuch as τὰ ἐπὶ τ. οὐρ. has the precedence. According to Paul, the heavenly world and the earthly world were to be affected, the former as immediately and properly as the latter, by the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις τῶν πάντων; for the Satanic kingdom, for the destruction of which Christ came, and whose destruction was the condition of the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις, has its seat in the regions of heaven (Ephesians 6:12; comp. Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 343 ff.), and works in the υἱοῖ τῆς ἀπειθείας (Ephesians 2:2) upon earth, so that in heaven and upon earth there exists no unity under God.

REMARK 2.

The doctrine of Restoration, according to which those who have continued unbelieving and the demons shall still ultimately attain to salvation, altogether opposed as it is to the N.T., finds no support in our passage, where (in opposition to Origen, Samuel Crell, and others), on the contrary, in the ἀνακεφαλ. κ. τ. λ. there is obviously implied, from the general point of view occupied by Christian faith, the separation of unbelievers and of the demoniac powers, and their banishment into Gehenna; so that the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις is not meant of every single individual, but of the whole aggregate of heavenly and earthly things, which, after the antichristian individuals have been separated and consigned to hell, shall again in the renewed world be combined into unity under God, as once, before the entrance of sin, all things in heaven and on earth were combined into such unity. Hence Olshausen is wrongly of opinion that our passage (as well as Colossians 1:20) is to be brought into harmony with the general type of Scripture doctrine by laying stress in the infinitive ἀποκεφαλ. upon the design of God “which, in the instituting of a redemption endowed with infinite efficacy, aims at the restoration of universal harmony, at the bringing back of all that is lost.” Apart from the fact that ἀνακεφαλ. is only an epexegetical infinitive (see above), it is altogether opposed to Scripture to assume that the aim in redemption is the restoration of all that is lost, even of the devils. For those passages as to the universality of redemption, and sayings like 1 Peter 4:6, Philippians 2:10 f., leave the constant teaching of the N.T. concerning everlasting perdition entirely untouched (comp. on Romans 5:18; Romans 11:32; Philippians 2:10); and as regards the devils, the design of God in the economy of redemption was to vanquish them (1 John 3:8, and elsewhere; 1 Corinthians 15:24 f.), and to deliver them up to the penalties already prepared for them of everlasting pain in hell (Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:1 f.; comp. Bertholdt, Christol. p. 223). The restoration of the devils, as an impossibility in the case of spirits radically opposed to God, is not in the whole N.T. so much as thought of. The prince of this world is only judged.

REMARK 3.

Those who understand τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρ. specially of the angels (see above) have been driven—inasmuch as these pure spirits have no need of redemption in the proper sense—to unbiblical shifts, such as the view of Calvin (comp. Boyd): that the angels before the redemption were not extra periculum, but had through Christ attained “primum ut perfecte et solide adhaereant Deo, deinde ut perpetuum statum retineant” (of all which the N.T. teaches nothing!); or that of Grotius: “antea inter angelos factiones erant et studia pro populis (Daniel 10:13!) … ea sustulit Christus, rex factus etiam angelorum, unum ex tot populis sibi populum colligens;” or that of Augustine and Zeger, that the number of the angels, which had been diminished by the fall of some, was completed again by the elect from among men. Baur (comp. Zanchius), out of keeping with the notion of the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις, thought of the knowledge (Ephesians 3:10) and bliss (Luke 15:10) of the angels as heightened by redemption. Others again (Chrysostom on Colossians 1:20; Theophylact, Anselm, Cornelius a Lapide, Hunnius, Calovius, Bengel, et al.) have found the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις in the fact that the separation which sin had occasioned between the angels and sinful men was done away.(102) So also in substance Rückert: “Originally and according to the will of God the whole world of spirits was to be one, … through like love and obedience towards the one God.… Sin did away with this relation, mankind became separated from God; hence also of necessity the bond was broken, which linked them to the higher world of spirits.… Christ … is to unite mankind to Himself by a sacred bond, and thereby to bring them back to God, and by that very act also … to do away with the breach; all is again to become one.” Comp. Meier, as also Bähr on Colossians 1:20. But the apostle is in fact speaking of the reuniting not of the heavenly with the earthly, but of the heavenly and the earthly (comp. Remark 1); moreover, according to this explanation, the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις of the heavenly spirits with men would be the consequence of the expiation made for men by Christ, and thus Paul must logically have written: τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς κ. τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.


Verse 11

Ephesians 1:11. ἐν αὐτῷ] resumes with emphasis the ἐν χριστῷ (Herm. ad Viger. pp. 734, 735; Bernhardy, p. 289 f.), in order to attach thereto the following relative clause (Kühner, II. § 630, 5); hence before ἐν αὐτῷ a comma is to be placed, and after it not a full stop, but only a comma (so, too, Lachmann, Teschendorf). Comp. on Colossians 1:20.

ἐν καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν] in whom (is the causal basis, that) we have also obtained the inheritance. καί, in the sense of also actually introduces the accomplishment corresponding to the preparation (which was expressed by ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς οἰκονομίαν κ. τ. λ.). See Hartung, Partikel. I. p. 132; Klotz, ad Devar. 636 f.; Baeumlein, Partik. 152. It has reference to the thing, not to the persons, since otherwise it must have run καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐκληρ., as in Ephesians 1:13; hence the translation of the Vulgate: “in quo etiam nos,” etc., and others (including Erasmus, Paraphr., and Rosenmüller), is incorrect. The subject is not the Jewish Christians (Grotius, Estius, Wetstein, Rosenmüller, Meier, Harless, Schenkel, and others), because there is no antithesis of ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς, Ephesians 1:13, but the Christians in general. ἐκληρώθημεν means: we were made partakers of the κλῆρος (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12), that is, of the possession of the Messianic kingdom, which before the Parousia is an ideal possession (Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:24), and thereafter a real one. The expression itself is to be explained in accordance with the ancient theocratic idea of the נַחֲלָה (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 9:29), which has been transferred from its original Palestinian reference (Matthew 5:5) to the kingdom of the Messiah, and thus raised to its higher Christian meaning (see on Galatians 3:18); and the passive form of this word, which is not met with elsewhere in the N.T., is quite like φθονοῦμαι, διακονοῦμαι, πιστεύομαι (see on Galatians 4:20), since we find κληροῦν τινί used (Pind. Ol. viii. 19; Thuc. vi. 42). Others (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Chrysostom, Erasmus, Estius, de Wette, and Bleek) have insisted on the signification of being chosen by lot (1 Samuel 14:41-42; Herod, i. 94; Polyb. vi. 38. 2; Eurip. Ion. 416, al.), and have found as the reason for the use of the expression: “quia in ipsis electis nulla est causa, cur eligantur prae aliis” (Estius), in which case, however, the conception of the accidental is held as excluded by the following προορισθ. κ. τ. λ. (see Chrysostom and Estius); but it may be urged against this view that, according to Paul, it is God’s gracious will alone that determines the ἐκλογή (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 11:16 ff.), not a θεῖα τύχη, which would be implied in the ἐκληρ.; comp. Plato, Legg. vi. p. 759 C: κληροῦν οὕτω τῇ θεῖᾳ τύχῃ ἀποδιδόντα.

προορισθέντες κ. τ. λ.] predestined, namely, to the κλῆρος, according to the purpose of Him, who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will. The words are not to be placed within a parenthesis, and τὰ πάντα is not to be limited to what pertains to the economy of salvation (Piscator, Grotius), but God is designated as the all-working (of whom, consequently, the circumstances of the Messianic salvation can least of all be independent). Comp. πανεργέτης ζεύς, Aesch. Ag. 1486. But, as God is the all-working, so is His decree the παντοκρατορικὸν βούλημα, Clem. Cor. I. 8.

As to the distinction between βουλή and θέλημα, comp. on Matthew 1:19. The former is the deliberate self-determination, the latter the activity of the will in general.


Verse 12

Ephesians 1:12. Causa finalis of the predestination to the Messianic κλῆρος:(103) in order that we might redound to the praise of His glory (actually, by our Messianic κληρονομία), we who have beforehand placed our hope on Christ,—we Jewish-Christians, to whom Christ even before His appearing was the object of their hope. Only now, namely, from εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς onward, does Paul divide the subject of ἐκληρώθ. and προορισθέντες, which embraced the Christians generally, into its two constituent parts, the Jewish-Christians, whom he characterizes by ἡμᾶςτοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ χριετῷ, and the Gentile-Christians, whose destination to the same final aim—namely, εἰς τὸ εἶναι εἰς ἔπαινον κ. τ. λ.—he dwells on afterwards in Ephesians 1:13-14 (passing over to them by ἐν καὶ ὑ΄εῖς), and hence Ephesians 1:14 concludes with a repetition of εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ.(104)

ἡ΄ᾶς] has emphasis, preparing the way for the subsequent introduction of καὶ ὑ΄εῖς.

τοὺς προηλπικότας] quippe qui, etc. On προελπίζειν, to hope before, comp. Poseidippus in Athen. ix. p. 377 C. The προ does not transfer the hoping into the praescientia Dei (Jerome), nor has it a reference to the later hoping of the Gentiles (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Boyd, Estius, Bengel, Michaelis, and others), since the hoping of the Gentiles is not subsequently expressed; nor is προηλπ. equivalent to the simple form (Morus, Bretschneider), which is not the case of any verb with προ; but it applies to the fact that the Jews had the Old Testament prophecies, and hence already before Christ set their hope upon the Messiah (Romans 3:2; Romans 11:4; Acts 3:25; Acts 26:6 f., 22, Acts 28:20, al.). So, correctly, Zöckler takes it, de vi ac notione vocab. ἐλπίς, 1856, p. 32 f. But de Wette, who (comp. Rückert, Holzhausen, Matthies, Bleek) denies the division—also unnoticed by Chrysostom and his successors—into Jewish and Gentile Christians (understanding ἡ΄ᾶς, generally, of the Christians, and ὑμεῖς, Ephesians 1:13, of the readers), takes προ in προηλπ. as: before the Parousia. Comp. Theophylact: πρὶν ἐπιστῇ μέλλων αἰών. But in this way the προ would be without significance, while, as taken by us, it is characteristic. It is incorrect, too, that Ephesians 1:13 affirms nothing peculiar of the Gentile-Christians. As standing in contrast to the προηλπικότας εἶναι of the Jewish-Christians, what is said in Ephesians 1:13 serves precisely to characterize the Gentile-Christians. They, without having entertained that previous hope (Ephesians 2:12), have heard, believed, etc.

The usual construction, suggested of itself by the very sequence of the words, has been—after the example of Morus, Koppe, ed. 1, Flatt, and Matthies—departed from by Harless, followed by Olshausen, inasmuch as he regards εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ as an inserted clause [incisum]: “we who were predestined, etc., to be those—to the praise of His glory—who already before hoped in Christ.” In this way Paul would point to the reason, why the κλῆρος had first been assigned to the Jews. But (1) in that case ἐκληρώθ. and προορισθ. must already have applied specially to the Jewish-Christians, which no reader could guess and Paul, in order to his writing intelligibly, must have indicated, by putting it in some such way as: ἐν ἡμεῖς ἐκληρώθημεν, οἱ προορισθέντεςεἰς τὸ εἶναιτοὺς προηλπικότας κ. τ. λ. As the passage actually stands, the reader could find the Jewish-Christians designated only at Ephesians 1:12, not previously. (2) εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ has, in accordance with the context (see Ephesians 1:14; comp. also Ephesians 1:6), by no means the character of an incidental insertion, but the stress of defining the ultimate aim, and that not in respect of a pre-Christian state, but of the Christian one. This, however, only becomes suitably felt, when we read εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ together. (3) The predestination of God ( προορισθέντες) is in the connection related not to a pre-Christian state, such as, according to Harless, the εἶναι τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τ. χριετῷ would be, but to the realization of the Messianic blessedness (Ephesians 1:5). Comp. Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 2:7; as also Acts 4:28. Lastly, (4) the objections taken by Harless to the usual connection of the words are not tenable. For (a) the symmetry of the two corresponding sentences in form and thought depends on the fact that in the case of both sections, the Jewish and the Gentile Christians, the glorifying of, God is brought into prominence as the final aim of their attaining to salvation, and hence Ephesians 1:14 also closes with εἰς ἔπαινον τ. δόξ. αὐτοῦ. (b) The repeated mention of the predestination on God’s part to salvation is solemn, not redundant; and the less so, inasmuch as the description of God as τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος is added. (c) The objection that we cannot tell why the apostle brings in that predestination only with regard to the προηλπικότες, while yet it manifestly applies also to the ἀκούσαντες, is based on the misunderstanding, according to which ἐκληρώθ. and προορισθ. are already restricted to the Jewish-Christians; for the subject of these words is still the Christians without distinction,

Jewish and Gentile Christians,—so that the predestination of those and these is asserted. It is only at Ephesians 1:12 that the division of the subject begins, which is continued in


Verse 13

Ephesians 1:13, so that ἐν καὶ ὑμεῖς leads over to the second constituent element (you Gentile-Christians).

As regards the construction, it is regarded by Wolf, Bengel, Morus, and others (comp. already Jerome), including Rückert, Matthies, Holzhausen, de Wette, Bleek, Bisping, as anacoluthic; the ἐν of the second half of the verse is held to resume the first. Incorrectly, since in the resumption καὶ ὑμεῖς would have been essential. As Paul has written the passage ( καὶ πιστεύσ.), there is added to what has previously been affirmed of the ὑμεῖς ( ἀκούσαντες), a new affirmation; hence ἐν κ. πιστ. κ. τ. λ. is the continuation, not the resumption of the discourse. The verb after ἐν καὶ ὑμεῖς is therefore to be supplied; not, however, ἠλπίκατε (Erasmus in his version, Beza, Castalio, Calvin, Estius, and others), since in fact the preceding προηλπικότας—which, besides, was only an appositional constituent element of the discourse—would yield προηλπίκατε, which is inapplicable to the Gentile-Christians; nor yet ἐκληρώθητε (Erasmus, Paraphr.; Piscator, Zanchius, Cornelius a Lapide, Boyd, Vorstius, Zachariae, Koppe, and others, including Meier, Harless, Olshausen), since ἐκληρώθημεν, Ephesians 1:11, already embraced the Jewish and Gentile Christians, and with εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς κ. τ. λ. a new portion of the development sets in. The right course is merely to supply mentally the substantive verb, in accordance with the current expression ἐν χριστῷ εἶναι, to belong to Christ as the element of life, in which one exists. Hence: in whom also ye are. Thus Paul paves the way for his transition to the Gentile-Christians, in order, after first specifying how it was that they had become such (Ephesians 1:13-14), finally to assert of them also the εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ (Ephesians 1:14).

ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγ. τῆς ἀληθ.] after ye have heard the word (the preaching) of the truth; for after this hearing there set in with them the ἐν χριστῷ εἶναι. The truth κατʼ ἐξοχήν is the contents of the λόγος. But a contrast to the types and shadows of the O. T. (Chrysostom), or to heathen error (Cornelius a Lapide, Baumgarten; Grotius thinks of both), is not implied in the context. Comp. Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15.

τὸ εὐαγγ. τ. σωτηρ. ὑμ.] descriptive apposition to λόγος τῆς ἀληθ. The genitive here also denotes the contents; that which is made known in the gospel is the Messianic salvation. Harless takes both genitives as genitives appositionis, inasmuch as the gospel is the truth and the σωτηρία. The gospel, however, is not the salvation, but an exertion of the power of God, which leads to salvation (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18); the analogous combinations, too, of τὸ εὐαγγ. with a genit. abstract., as τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς χάριτος τ. θεοῦ (Acts 20:24), τῆς εἰρήνης (Ephesians 6:15), τῆς βασιλείας, are opposed to the assumption of a genit. apposit. Comp. on Mark 1:1. Finally, the context also, by ἀκούσαντες and πιστεύσαντες, points not to what the doctrine is, but to what it proclaims. Comp. Romans 10:14.

ἐν καὶ πιστεύσαντες κ. τ. λ.] A further stage of the setting forth how they became what they were, in order to reach its goal εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ, Ephesians 1:14. Precisely with regard to the Gentile-Christians, who had previously been aloof from all theocratic connection (no προηλπικότες ἐν τῷ χριστῷ), the apostle feels himself impelled not to be content with the simple “in whom also ye are, after ye have heard the gospel,” but specially to bring into relief the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

ἐν ] is referred not merely by those who regard it as resumptive (see above), but also by many others with Luther (including Harless, Meier, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel), to Christ; but why should we pass over the nearest antecedent? The καί finds its reference, agreeably to the context, in the accession of the faith to the hearing (Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:1). Hence ἐν is to be referred, with Castalio, Calvin, Beza, Erasmus Schmid, and others (comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.), to τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, and to be joined, with Castalio, to πιστεύσαντες, not to ἐσφραγίσθ. (as usually), according to which πιστεύσ. would be superfluous,(105) and the periodic flow of the discourse would be injuriously affected. Hence: in which ye having become believers, were sealed through the Holy Spirit. As to πιστεύειν ἐν (Mark 1:15), see on Galatians 3:26.

πιστεύσαντες] is not to be taken, with Harless, as contemporaneous with ἐσφραγ. (see on Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9); but it contains that which was prior to the σφραγίζεσθαι. The order of conversion was: hearing, faith, baptism, reception of the Spirit. See Acts 2:37; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:17; Acts 19:5-6; Romans 6:3-4; Titus 3:5 f.; Galatians 3:2; Galatians 4:6. Certainly even the becoming a believer is not the work of human self-determination (see Acts 16:14; Philippians 1:29; Romans 12:3 relates to the measure of faith of the baptized); yet this divine operation is only preparatory, and the effusion of the Spirit, properly so called, ensued only after baptism:(106) hence water and Spirit (John 3:5).

ἐσφαγίσθητε] were sealed, i.e. confirmed, namely, as κληρονόμοι of the Messianic kingdom. See what follows. Comp. Ephesians 4:30, and see on 2 Corinthians 1:22; John 3:33. This sealing is the indubitable guarantee of the future Messianic salvation received in one’s own consciousness (Romans 8:16) through the Holy Spirit, not the attestation before others ( ὥστε εἶναι δῆλον, ὅτι θεοῦ ἔστε λάχος κ. κλῆρος, Theophylact; comp. Chrysostom, Cornelius a Lapide, Flatt, Holzhausen, and others). An allusion has been arbitrarily found in ἐσφραγ. to circumcision (Romans 4:11), or to the στίγματα of heathen ceremonies (Grotius assumes both: “non extra signati estis in cute, quomodo Judaei circumcisi et Graecorum idolorum punctis notati”), nay, even to the σφραγίς Dianae, with which those initiated into her mysteries were marked (Amelius; comp. note on Galatians 6:17).

τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελ.] Dativus instrumentalis, and τῆς ἐπαγγ. is genitivus qualitatis, denoting the promise as characteristic of the Holy Spirit, for He is, in fact, the Spirit promised in the O. T. (Acts 2:16 ff.; Joel 3:1-5; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:26 f., Ezekiel 39:29. Comp. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Galatians 3:14). Others (Calvin, Beza, Castalio, Piscator; and as early as Chrysostom and Theophylact, alongside of the former correct view): the Spirit, who confirms the promise (of salvation). But how wholly imported, since in πνεῦμα itself there is implied nothing at all of the notion of confirmation! No, the Old Testament promise belonged to the Spirit; He is specifically the Spirit of promise, and by that very fact He became for the recipients the sealing of Messianic blessedness.

τῷ ἁγίῳ] is not added accidentally, nor yet because the sanctificatio of the Spirit would be the confirmatory element (Pelagius, Lombard), for in τῷ ἁγίῳ there is implied the quality, not the effect of the Spirit; but Paul desires to bring out very emphatically and solemnly that, by which the σφραγίζεσθαι has been accomplished; hence he says, with corresponding pathos: τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ. We may add that we are not to think, with Grotius, Estius, and others, of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, since, in fact, the ὑμεῖς generally are the σφραγισθέντες, but rather of the outpouring of the Spirit, which all experienced after their baptism (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:2 ff.). See also Ephesians 1:14.

According to Schwegler in Zeller’s Jahrb. 1844, p. 383, the πνεῦμα τῆς ἐπαγγελ. is to be held as pointing to the later period, to which the doctrine of the Paraclete in the (not genuine) Gospel of John belongs. But comp. Galatians 3:14.


Verse 14

Ephesians 1:14. ὅς ἐστιν ἀῤῥαβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμ.] stands in significant relation (as affording more precise information) to ἐσφραγίσθητε: who is earnest of our inheritance; for in the reception of the Spirit the recipients have obtained the guarantee—as one receives earnest-money as a guarantee of future payment in full—that they shall become actually partakers of the Messianic blessedness (comp. Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:6-7). ὅς, applying to the πνεῦμα, not to Christ, agrees in gender with ἀῤῥαβών. See Herm. ad Viger. p. 708; Heindorf, ad Phaedr. p. 279; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 241 [E. T. 281]. As to the epexegetic relative, see Nägelsb. on Horn. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 3. As to ἀῤῥαβών, see on 2 Corinthians 1:22.

εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως] unto the redemption, etc., is likewise (comp. also Ephesians 4:30) the causa finalis of ἐσφραγίσθητε κ. τ. λ., consequently that, to which the purpose of God was directed, when ye were sealed. Comp. Ephesians 1:10. Others connect it with ὅς ἐστινἡμῶν (Estius, Flatt, Rückert, Schenkel, Bleek, al.), in which case εἰς is taken by some likewise in a telic sense, by others as usque ad (the latter at variance with the parallel εἰς which follows). But the more precise definition thus resulting would in fact be, after τ. κληρον. ἡμ., quite self-evident and unnecessary.

The ἀπολύτρωσις is here—in accordance with the whole connection, and because the περιποίησις (see below) is the subject which experiences the ἀπολύτρωσιςthe final consummation of the redemption effected by the λύτρον of Christ (Ephesians 1:7) at the Parousia (Luke 21:28), when suffering, sin, and death are wholly done away, and in the glorifying (resurrection, or relative transformation) of the body there sets in the δόξα of the children of God, and the in all all-determining dominion of God (1 Corinthians 15:28). See Romans 8:18-23; 1 Corinthians 15:54 ff. Comp. Ephesians 4:30. Beza aptly terms this final definitive redemption ἀπολύτρωσιν ἐλευθερώσεως.

The περιποίησις αὐτοῦ (for αὐτοῦ at the end does not apply, as it is usually referred, merely to τῆς δόξης, but also to τῆς περιποιήσ., whereby the latter obtains its definite character, and the discourse gains in vividness and energy(107)) is the acquisition of God, i.e. the people acquired by God for His possession, by which is here meant the whole body of Christians, the true people of God, acquired by God as His property by means of the redeeming work of Christ. Comp. 1 Peter 2:9; as also Acts 20:28, where the Christian community is presented as the acquisition of Christ (comp. Titus 2:14). The expression quite corresponds to the Hebrew סְגֻלַּה יְהֹוָה, by which the people of Israel is designated as the sacred peculium Dei, and opposed to the Gentiles. See Exodus 19:5 ; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18 f; Psalms 135:4. The LXX. too, though usually expressing the notion of סגלה by περιούσιος, translate it, Malachi 3:17, by περιποίησις. Comp. also Isaiah 43:21 : λαόν ΄ου ὃν περιεποιησά΄ην ( יָצַרְתִּי ) κ. τ. λ. The objection to this view (which is followed, after the Peshito and Oecumenius, by Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, and most expositors, including Flatt, Rückert, Meier, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel), that περιποίησις never in itself, without defining addition, signifies the people of God (see specially Koppe), entirely disappears when we take in the αὐτοῦ: “unto redemption of His acquired possession, unto the praise of His glory.” Others, retaining likewise the signification of acquired possession, explained it in the neuter sense, like Calovius (comp. already Bugenhagen): “plena fruitio redemtionis haereditatis nobis acquisitae.” Comp. Matthies: “unto the redeeming of the promised glorious possession.” But how can it be said of the salvation acquired for us, that it is redeemed? And the plena fruitio is imported. Beza, wrongly denying the concrete use of περιποίησις, insists upon the abstract notion of vindicatio, assertio, and specifies as the meaning: “dum in liberationem vindicemur.” But this would need to be expressed by εἰς περιποίησιν τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως (comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:14). The word is also taken in the abstract sense by those who understand it as preservation, conservatio (Hebrews 10:39; 2 Chronicles 14:13; Test. XII. Patr. p. 633; Plat. Defin. p. 415 C Wetst. II. p. 424), like Bengel, Bos (“redemtio, quae salutem et conservationem affert”), Bretschneider (“redemtio, qua vitae aeternae servamur”), Holzhausen (who, following Homberg, arbitrarily assumes ἀπολ. τῆς περιπ. to stand for ἀπολ. καὶ περιπ.). But against these explanations it may be decisively urged that in the case of περιποίησις the thought: unto everlasting life, or the like, is added arbitrarily, and that the assumed genitive relation does not arise out of the notion of ἀπολύτρωσις, according to which the genitive is either the subject, which is redeemed (Luke 21:28; Romans 8:23), or expresses that, from which one becomes free (Hebrews 9:15; Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 178). To the erroneous attempts at explanation belongs also that (Vatablus, Koppe) which takes τῆς περιποιήσεως for τῆν περιποιηθεῖσαν, the redemption acquired for us, or (so Bleek) the redemption, which is to become our possession.(108)

εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ] a climactic parallel to what goes before, containing as it does the final aim of God in the sealing with the Holy Spirit. And thus has Paul accordingly reached what he had in view in the joining on of ἐν καὶ ὑμεῖς, Ephesians 1:13, namely, the assigning to the Gentile-Christians the same ultimate destination, which he has in Ephesians 1:12 predicated of the Jewish-Christians.

The reference of αὐτοῦ to God, as in Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:6 (not, with Estius and Hofmann, to Christ), flows from ἐσφραγ., which is God’s act. See van Hengel, Annot. p. 198 ff. The glory of God is the final aim of the whole unfolding of salvation.


Verse 15

Ephesians 1:15.(109) Only now, after the general ascription of praise to God for the Christian economy of salvation, which had since Ephesians 1:3 flowed forth from him in an enraptured stream, does Paul reach that, with which he is wont on other occasions at once to begin—the thanksgiving to God for the Christian position of the readers, and intercession for them.

διὰ τοῦτο] has reference to Ephesians 1:13-14 : because this is the case, that ye too are in Christ and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, etc. See already Theophylact. There is no reason for going farther back and referring it to the whole preceding development from Ephesians 1:3 onward (Harless, Winzer, Schenkel, and others, following Oecumenius), since thanksgiving and intercession have reference to the readers, and it is only Ephesians 1:13 that has led over to the latter.

κἀγώ] I also; for Paul knows that by his exercise of prayer, Ephesians 1:16, he is co-operating with the readers. Comp. on Colossians 1:9.

ἀκούσας] does not serve to prove that the Epistle could not have been written to the Ephesians, or not to them alone (see Introd. § 1); Grotius in fact has already aptly remarked: “Loquitur autem apostolus de profectu evangelii apud Ephesios, ex quo ipse ab illis discesserat.” Comp. Winzer, p. 5; Wiggers in the Stud. u. Krit. 1841, p. 430 f.; Wieseler, p. 445; and already Theodoret in loc. No doubt Olshausen (comp. Bleek) maintains that Paul so expresses himself as to make it apparent that with a great proportion of his readers he was not personally acquainted, appealing to Colossians 1:4. But may he not here, as at Philemon 1:5, have heard respecting those who were known to him, what at Colossians 1:4 he has heard respecting those who were previously unknown to him?

τὴν καθʼ ὑμᾶς πίστιν] fidem, quae ad vos pertinet, i.e. vestram fidem. Comp. Acts 17:28; Acts 18:15; Acts 26:3. Thuc. vi. 16. 5 ( τῷ κατʼ αὐτοὺς βίῳ); Ael. V. H. ii. 12 ( κατʼ αὐτὸν ἀρετή). The difference between καθʼ ὑμᾶς πίστις and πίστις ὑμῶν lies only in the form of conception, not in the thing itself. Yet the mode of expression, not occurring elsewhere in the letters of the apostle, belongs to the peculiar phenomena of our Epistle. The assertion of Harless, that it denotes the faith of the readers objectively, as in itself a thing to be found among them, while πίστις ὑμῶν denotes it subjectively, according to its individual character in each one (comp. Matthies and Schenkel), is the less capable of proof, in proportion to the prevalent use among the later Greeks of the periphrasis of the genitival relation by κατά. See Valckenaer, ad Luc. p. 4 f.; Schaefer, ad Long. p. 330; Wesseling, ad Diod. Sic. xiv. 12.

ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ] belonging to πίστιν (fidem vestram in Christo repositam), and blended without any connecting article into unity of idea with it. See on Galatians 3:26. Winzer connects it with ὑμᾶς: “fidem, quae vobis, Domino Jesu veluti insitis, … inest;” but this is forbidden by the order of the words.

καὶ τὴν ἀγάπ. τὴν εἰς πάντας κ. τ. λ.] Here, too, Paul might have left out the second article, so that the sense would be: καὶ τὸ ἀγάπην ὑμᾶς ἔχειν εἰς πάντας (comp. Colossians 1:4), as at 2 Corinthians 7:7 : τὸν ὑμῶν ζῆλον ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. But he has first thought of the notion of love in itself, and then added thereto, as a special important element, the thought, τὴν εἰς πάντας τ. ἀγ.

πάντας “character Christianismi,” Bengel. Comp. Ephesians 6:18; Philemon 1:5. We may add Chrysostom’s apt remark: πανταχοῦ συνάπτει καὶ συγκολλᾷ τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην θαυμαστήν τινα ξυνωρίδα. Comp. Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13.


Verse 16

Ephesians 1:16. οὐ πσύομαι] a popular form of hyperbole. My thanksgiving—so full and urgent is it—can find no end. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Luke 2:37; Herod, vii. 107: τοῦτον δὲ αἰνέων οὐκ ἐπαύετο.

εὐχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν] to give thanks on your account. On the participle, see Herm. ad Viger. p. 771; Bernhardy, p. 477; and on ὑπέρ (super vobis), comp. Ephesians 5:20; Romans 1:8, Elz.; 1 Timothy 2:1.

μνείαν ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχ. μου] accompanying definition to εὐχαριστῶν: while I make mention in my prayers. Comp. Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philippians 1:3; Philemon 1:4. What Paul makes mention of is learned from the context, which furnishes not merely ὑμῶν (Elz.; see the critical remarks), but a more precise definition, namely: of what he has heard concerning the faith and love of the readers, and for which he gives thanks on their account. This μνείαν ποιούμενος κ. τ. λ., however, is not superfluous, and after εὐχαρ. ὑπὲρ ὑμ. self-evident; but it serves, through the close joining on to it of the following ἵνα κ. τ. λ. (after Ephesians 1:16 only a comma is to be placed), as a means of leading over from the thanksgiving to the intercession connected with it, and is thereby accounted for.

ἐπί] of the prevailing relations and circumstances, in or under which anything takes place. See on Romans 1:10.


Verse 17

Ephesians 1:17. ἵνα θεὸς κ. τ. λ.] contains the design cherished by Paul in the μνείανπροσευχ. μου: in order that God might give you, etc. In this expressed design is implied the intercessory tenor of the μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι; hence ἵνα is not here to be deprived of its notion of design, nor is it to be explained (Harless; comp. Rückert, Olshausen, Winer, and others) by supplying before it the conception of “praying.” The apostle would say that what he has heard of their faith, etc., induces him to unceasing thanksgiving on their behalf, while he makes mention of it in his prayers to the end that God might give them, etc. The telic ὅπως, Philemon 1:6, stands in another connection than the ἵνα in our passage. See on Philem. l.c. The optative δῷη (on this form of later Greek instead of δοίη, see Buttmann, I. p. 507; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 346) is used, because the design is thought of as subjective conception and expectation, the realization of which is dependent entirely upon the will of God, and consequently belongs only to the category of what is wished and possible. On ἵνα with an optative(110) after the present or future, see, generally, Hermann, ad Soph. El. 57; ad Aj. 1217; Reisig, ad Oed. Ch. p. 168 ff.; Bernhardy, p. 407; and especially Klotz, ad Devar. p. 622 ff.

θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . χ.] for God has sent Christ—who, having before all time proceeded from His essential nature (Colossians 1:15), was the creative organ of the Father—forth in the fulness of the time in pursuance of His decree, to which the Son was obedient (Philippians 2:8), has given Him up to death, raised and exalted Him, and is continually the Head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3), who even as σύνθρονος of the Father is subordinate to the Father (Romans 8:34), and finally will give back to God the dominion which God has given to Him (1 Corinthians 15:27-28). In the consciousness of His relation of dependence on God, Christ Himself calls the Father θεός μου, John 20:17; Matthew 27:46. Comp. Colossians 2:2, Lachm. The opinion extorted in the anti-Arian interest from the Fathers (see Suicer, Thes. I. p. 944), that θεὸς τοῦ κυρ. applies to Christ’s human nature, and πατὴρ τῆς δόξης to the divine ( δόξαν γὰρ τὴν θείαν φύσιν ὠνόμασεν! Theodoret and Oecumenius; comp. even Bengel and Bisping), is to be mentioned only as matter of history, as are also the forced construction, to which Menochius and Vatablus were induced by a like prejudice to resort, that θεὸς and τῆς δόξης are to be taken together ( τοῦ κυρίουπατήρ being inserted), and the at least more skilful turn of Estius: “Deus, qui est Domini nostri Jesu Christi pater gloriosus.”

πατὴρ τῆς δόξης] the Father (namely, of Christians) to whom the glory (the majesty κατʼ ἐξοχήν) belongs. See on Acts 7:2, and 1 Corinthians 2:8. The resolution into an adjective pater gloriosus (Beza, Calvin, Estius, Michaelis, and others) is in itself arbitrary, does not exhaust the eminent sense of δόξα, and fails to perceive the oratorical force (Hermann, ad Viger. p. 887) of the substantival designation. Others take πατήρ in the derived sense of auctor (Erasm. Paraphr.; Bucer, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Wolf, and others, including Holzhausen and Olshausen), so that God is designated as He, from whom the glory of the Christians (according to Grotius: of Christ and the Christians) proceeds. Certainly the idea of auctor may be expressed, specially in the more elevated style, by πατήρ (Job 38:28; James 1:17, where the φῶτα are personified; Pind. Pyth. iv. 313, where Orpheus is called ἀοιδᾶν πατήρ; and see Ast, Lex Plat. III. p. 66; Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat. p. 392 f.; John 8:44 is not here applicable); but as this is nowhere else done by Paul, so here he has no reason for resorting to such an usage, to which besides the analogous expressions, θεὸς τῆς δόξης (Psalms 29:3; Acts 7:2), βασιλεὺς τῆς δόξης (Psalms 24:7), κύριος τῆς δόξης (1 Corinthians 2:8), χερουβὶμ δόξης (Hebrews 9:5), are opposed. We may add, that the description of God by θεὸςδόξης stands in appropriate relation to the design of the intercession; for of the God of Christ and Father of glory it is to be expected that He will do that, which the cause of Christ demands, and which serves to the manifestation of His own glory. Oecumenius rightly remarks: καὶ πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον ὀνομάζει τὸν θεόν.

πνεῦμα σοφίας κ. ἀποκαλύψ.] The Holy Spirit, too (for it is not the human spirit that is here meant, as Michaelis, Rückert, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek would take it(111)), Paul is wont to characterize πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον, Romans 7:2; Romans 7:15; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:7. Here: the Spirit who works wisdom and gives revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10). The latter is a greater result of the work of the Spirit,(112) in accordance with which He not only by His enlightening operation furnishes wisdom ( γνῶσις θείων κ. ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων καὶ τῶν τούτων αἰτίων, 4 Maccabees 1:16; conceived of, however, by Paul in reference to the Christian economy of salvation, comp. Ephesians 1:8), but further, as the organ of God, effects also special revelations of divine saving truths and purposes not otherwise known. Harless regards κ. ἀποκαλ. as the objective medium, which brought about the state of σοφία, so that the character of the σοφία is more precisely defined by κ. ἀποκαλ. But in passages like Romans 1:5, χάριν κ. ἀποστολήν, Romans 11:29, τὰ χαρίσματα κ. κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ, the discourse advances from the general to the special, not from the thing itself to its objective medium. Logically more natural, besides, would be the advance from the objective medium to the subjective state, according to which Paul would have written: ἀποκαλύψεως καὶ σοφίας. Finally, the climactic relation, which is brought out in the two words under our view, makes the wish of the apostle appear more fervid and full, and so more in keeping with his mood. It is obvious of itself, we may add, that Paul here desires for his readers, to whom in fact the Spirit has been already given from the time of their conversion (Ephesians 1:13), a continued bestowal of the same for their ever increasing Christian enlightenment. Comp. Colossians 1:9. Baur, p. 437, conjectures here something of a Montanistic element. But it was not by the Montanists that the πνεῦμα was first regarded as the principle of Christian wisdom, etc.; it is so already in the teaching of the whole N.T.

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ] That αὐτοῦ does not apply to Christ (Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Baumgarten, Flatt), but to God (although we have not to write αὑτοῦ), is clear from the αὐτοῦ of Ephesians 1:18-19; it is only at Ephesians 1:20 that the discourse passes over to Christ. Nor is ἐν ἐπιγν. αὐτοῦ, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Zachariae, Koppe (with hesitation), Lachmann, Olshausen (who was forced to this by his explaining πνεῦμα σοφ. κ. ἀποκαλ. in the sense of extraordinary charismata), to be attached to what follows, whereby the parallelism ( πνεῦμα σοφ. κ. ἀποκ. is parallel with πεφωτ. τ. ὀφθ. τ. καρδ. ὑμ., and ἐν ἐπιγν. αὐτ. with εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι κ. τ. λ.) would without reason be destroyed (see Harless); but it denotes the sphere of mental activity, in which they, already at work therein (and that likewise through the Spirit, Ephesians 1:13), are to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Comp. 2 Peter 1:2. Erroneously ἐν is taken for εἰς (Luther, Castalio, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Wolf, Bengel, Moldenhauer, Rosenmüller, and others), or as per (Erasmus, Calovius, and others), which latter would represent the knowledge of God as bringing about the communication of the Spirit, and so invert the state of the case. No doubt Calovius remarks: “quo quis magis agnoscit Christum, eo sapientior fit et revelationem divini verbi magis intelligit;” but the question is one, not of an agnitio, but of a cognitio, and not of understanding the revelation of the word, but of a revelation to be received through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

In ἐπίγνωσις observe the force of the compound, which implies an exact and penetrating γνῶσις, as is very evident especially from 1 Corinthians 13:12, and is wrongly denied by Olshausen.(113) Comp. Colossians 1:9.


Verse 18

Ephesians 1:18. πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς κ. τ. λ.] is usually (as also by Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Holzhausen, Harless, Winzer, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel, Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 272 [E. T. 317]) taken as appositional, and made dependent on δῴη ὑμῖν; in which case it has been rightly observed that the translation should not be, with Luther: enlightened eyes, but, on account of the article: He may give to you the eyes enlightened, etc. But (1) in general an enlightened understanding is not proper to be set forth as in apposition to the Holy Spirit, but rather as the effect of the same. (2) The conception that God gives to them their eyes (which as such they already have) in the condition of enlightenment, as πεφωτισμένους, remains in any case an awkward one; inasmuch as we should have to transform the giving, which was still a proper and actual giving in Ephesians 1:17 zeugmatically into the notion of making at Ephesians 1:18 (Flatt, following Heinsius, quite arbitrarily supplies εἶναι), in order to remove the incongruity caused by the presence of the article. Bengel, with his fine insight, aptly remarks: “Quodsi ὀφθαλμούς esset sine articulo, posset in sensu abstracto sumi (enlightened eyes) et cum det construi.” Hence, with Beza, Bengel, Koppe, Bleek, πεφωτισμ. is to be taken as the so-called accusative absolute, such as, from a mingling in the conception of two sorts of construction, is to be met with often also in classical writers—and that without repeating the subject ( ὑμᾶς) in the accusative (in opposition to Buttmann)—instead of another case which would be required in strict accordance with the construction, particularly instead of the dative ( ὕπεστί μοι θράσος ἁδυπνόνων κλύουσαν ἀρτίως ὀνειράτων, Soph. El. 479 f.; Plat. Lach. p. 186 D Thuc. v. 79. 1); and thus Beza’s proposal to read πεφωτισμένοις was entirely uncalled for. Comp. Acts 26:3. See, generally, Brunck, ad Soph. l.c.; Jacobs, ad Athen. p. 97; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 176 D, and ad Rep. pp. 386 B, 500 C, 586 E Kühner and Krüger, ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 1; Nägelsb. on Iliad, ed. 3, p. 181. Accordingly, πεφωτισμ. relates to ὑμῖν, and τοὺς ὀφθ. is the accusative of more precise definition: enlightened in respect of the eyes of your heart, i.e. so that ye are then enlightened, etc., with which is expressed the result of the communication of the Spirit prayed for (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Philippians 3:21; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 897 f.; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 690).

τοὺς ὀφθαλμ. τῆς καρδ. ὑμ.] figurative designation of the understanding (Plat. Pol. vii. p. 533 D: τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα, Soph. p. 254 A comp. Ovid. Met. xv. 64, and see Grotius and Wetstein), which is enlightened, when man discerns the divine truth. The opposite: Romans 1:21; Romans 11:8; Romans 11:10. The reference of the enlightenment to knowledge is necessarily given by ὀφθαλμούς, and should not have been regarded as one-sided (in opposition to Harless); and the power of the new life is not here included under the πεφωτισμ., since it is not the heart in general, but the eyes of the heart that are set forth as enlightened, consequently the organ of cognition. Comp. Clem. ad Cor. 1.Eph 19: ἐμβλέψομεν τοῖς ὄμμασι τῆς ψυχῆς εἰς τὸ μακρόθυμον αὐτοῦ βούλημα; and 1.Eph 36: ἠνεῴχθησαν ἡμῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ τῆς καρδίας.

καρδία] does not merely denote, according to the popular biblical usage, the faculty of emotion and desire (Olshausen, Opusc. p. 159; Stirm in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 53), but is the concrete expression for the central seat of the psychicopneumatic personality, consequently embracing together all the agencies (thinking, willing, feeling) in the exercise of which man has the consciousness of his personal inward experience; in which case the context must suggest what side of the self-conscious inner activity of life (here, the cognitive) is in particular to be thought of. Comp. Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 4:12; Philippians 4:7; 2 Peter 1:19; and see, on the activity of the heart in thinking and cognition, Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 248 f., as also Krumm, de notionib. psychol. Paul. p. 50.(114)

εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς] aim of πεφωτισ΄. κ. τ. λ.: in order that ye may know what (quanta) is the hope of His calling, i.e. what a great and glorious hope is given to the man, whom God has called to the kingdom of the Messiah, by means of that calling ( τῆς κλήσ. is genitive of the efficient cause). ἐλπίς, accordingly, is not here, any more than elsewhere (Romans 8:24; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5, al.), res specrata, as the majority, including Meier and Olshausen, take it. Observe also here the three main elements in the subjective state of Christians: faith, and love, and hope (Ephesians 1:15; Ephesians 1:18); in presence of faith and love the enlightenment by the Holy Spirit is to make the glory of hope more and more known; for the πολίτευμα of Christians is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), whither their whole thoughts and efforts are directed. Faith, with the love which accompanies it, remains the centre of Christianity; but hope withal encourages and animates by holding before them the constant object of their aim. Comp. Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18 ff.; 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff.; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 13:12 f.; Galatians 6:9; Philippians 3:12 ff.; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 3:1 ff. This in opposition to Weiss, who here finds hope brought into prominence, “quite after the Petrine manner,” as the centre of Christianity (Petrin. Lehrbegr. p. 427).

καὶ τίς πλοῦτος κ. τ. λ.] this is now the object of the hope. The repetition of τίς, as well as the καὶ τίς καὶ τί, has rhetorical emphasis (comp. Romans 11:34 f.); and, in πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονο΄ίας αὐτοῦ, what a copious and grand accumulation, mirroring, as it were, the weightiness of the thing itself! which is not to be weakened by adjectival resolution of the genitives. Comp. Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 4:17. δόξα, glory, is the essential characteristic of the Messianic salvation to be received from God as an inheritance at the Parousia (Romans 8:17); and how great the rich fulness of this glory is, the readers are called to realize. ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις does not mean: in the Holiest of all (Hebrews 9:12), as Homberg and Calovius conjectured, for this is not suggested by the context; but: among the saints (Numbers 18:23; Job 42:15; Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18); for the community of believers (these are the ἅγιοι, Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 1:4), inasmuch as they are to be the subjects of the Messianic bliss, is the sphere, outside of which this πλοῦτος κ. τ. λ. will not be found. Comp. κλῆρος τῶν ἁγίων, Colossians 1:12. It is connected with the ἐστί to be mentally supplied after τίς, so that we have to translate, as is required by the article before πλοῦτος: what, i.e. how great and exceeding, is the riches, etc., among the saints. Harless objects that Paul must have written ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις, and that ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις receives unduly the main stress. But the construction τίς ἐστιν πλοῦτος ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις is in fact logically quite correct, and ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις would have of necessity the main emphasis only if it stood after τίς. Usually (as by Rückert, Harless, Winzer, Olshausen, but not by Koppe and de Wette) ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις is regarded as an appendage to τῆς κληρονο΄. αὐτοῦ: “the inheritance given by God among the saints,” in connection with which Rückert, quite at variance with N.T. usage, explains οἱ ἅγιοι of the “collective body of morally good beings in the other world.” But since κληρονο΄ία θεοῦ is completely and formally defined by this very θεοῦ ( αὐτοῦ), and does not first receive its completeness by means of ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις (see, on the contrary, Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7), this more precisely defining addition must have been attached by means of τῆς, and passages like Romans 9:3; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:18; 2 Corinthians 7:7 (see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 195 f.), are not analogous. If αὐτοῦ were not in the text, ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις might be the definition of the κληρονο΄ία here meant, and blended with τῆς κληρονο΄ίας so as to form one idea. We may add, that Harless wrongly refers the riches of the glory, etc., preponderantly to the present earthly βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. Comp. de Wette. It is only the future kingdom of God, to be set up at the Parousia, that is the object of the κληρονομία (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Matthew 25:34); and here in particular the context ( ἐλπίς, Ephesians 1:18; ἐγείρας κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 1:20) still points to the future glory, which Paul realizes as already present.


Verse 19

Ephesians 1:19 ff. After the object of the hope, there is now set forth also that by which it is realized, namely, the infinite power of God shown in the resurrection, etc., of Christ: and what (quanta) is the exceeding (surpassing all measure) greatness of His power in relation to us who believe. The construction is as in the preceding portion, and consequently such, that εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστ. attaches itself not to τῆς δυνάμ. αὐτοῦ (Meier, Harless, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek, after many older expositors; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:4), but to the ἐστί to be mentally supplied after τί.

From the context preceding ( ἐλπὶς κληρονομίας) and following (Ephesians 1:20 f.) it is clear that Paul is not here speaking of the power of God already in the earthly life manifesting itself as regards believers in their inward experience (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Photius, Theophylact, Erasmus, and others, including Flatt, Matthies, Rückert, Meier, Harless), not even of this as included (Schenkel), but only of the power to be shown as regards believers in future at the Parousia, where this mighty working displayed in Christ’s resurrection, exaltation, and appointment as Head of the church, must necessarily, in virtue of their fellowship with Christ, redound to the fulfilment of the hope, to the δόξα τῆς κληρονομίας (see Ephesians 1:20-23). Hence Paul continues: κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν κ. τ. λ.] This is indeed connected by many with τοὺς πιστεύοντας (see Erasmus, Calovius, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, and others), in which case the πιστεύειν appeared as consequence of the ἐνέργεια κ. τ. λ., as ἔργον θεοῦ—a view, which was helped among the older expositors (see, especially, Calovius) by the interest of opposition to Pelagian and Socinian opinions; but in this way the whole course of thought is deranged, and the simple and solemn exposition in Ephesians 1:20 is made subservient to an expression quite immaterial, which Paul might equally well have omitted ( τοὺς πιστεύοντας). It is not the design, according to the connection, to prove the origin of faith. Chrysostom, Calvin, Calixtus, Estius, Grotius, and others, including Meier and Winzer, have found in κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργ. κ. τ. λ. an amplification (de Wette: the real ground; comp. also Bleek) of τὸ ὑπερβ. μέγεθος κ. τ. λ. But in this way all that follows would only be destined to hold the disproportionate place of a description, and would be isolated from εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς, which yet was the definite basis of the discourse hitherto; and this isolation there is no reason to assume. Hence we have to take κατὰ τ. ἐνέργ. κ. τ. λ. as the ground of knowledge of the preceding point. What is the exceeding greatness of the divine power towards believers, the readers are to know in virtue of the operation, etc.; in accordance with this operation they were to measure that exceeding greatness. Harless refers it not merely to the preceding point, but to all the three points adduced after εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς. But, as the ἐνέργεια τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος corresponds simply to the notion of the δύναμις, we are not entitled to refer farther back than to the point, in which the δύναμις was spoken of.

τὴν ἐνέργ. τοῦ κράτ. τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ] a touching accumulation of terms, presenting the matter in genetic form; for ἰσχύς is strength in itself as inward power, as vis or virtus (Mark 12:30; 2 Peter 2:11), κράτος, might expressing itself in overcoming resistance, in ruling, etc. (Luke 1:51; Acts 19:20; Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:11; Hebrews 2:14; Daniel 4:27; Isaiah 40:26), and ἐνέργεια, the efficacious working, the active exertion of power. For similar combinations of words having a kindred sense, see Lobeck, Paralip. I. p. 534 f. Comp. Soph. Philoct. 590: πρὸς ἰσχύος κράτος. Job 21:23 (LXX.). The Vulgate aptly renders: “secundum operationem potentiae virtutis ejus,” and Bengel remarks: “ τ. ἐνέργειαν, haec actus est; τοῦ κράτους, hoc in actu est.”


Verse 20

Ephesians 1:20. ἥν] namely, ἐνέργειαν; see Winer, p. 205 [E. T. 273].

ἐν τῷ χριστῷ] in the case of Christ.

ἐγείρας] aorist participle, contemporaneous with the act of the verb, like γνωρίσας, Ephesians 1:9.(115)

καὶ ἐκάθισεν] deviation from the participial construction after καί. See Hermann, ad Soph. El. p. 153, and note on Colossians 1:6; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 327 f. [E. T. 382].

ἐν τοῖς ἐπουραν.] in the heaven (see on Ephesians 1:3), is not to be transformed into the vague conception of a status coelestis, of a higher relation to the world, and the like (Calovius, Harless, Hofmann, and others), but to be left as a specification of place. For Christ is with-glorified body, as σύνθρονος of the Father on the seat where the Divine Majesty is enthroned (see on Matthew 6:9), exalted above the heavenly angels (Ephesians 1:21), in heaven (Philippians 3:20 f.); so Stephen beheld Him (Acts 7:55), and the seer of the Apocalypse (Revelation 5., al.); and from thence, surrounded by the angels, He will return, even as He has bodily ascended thither (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Acts 1:11; Acts 3:21; 1 Peter 3:21 f.; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31); hence also those who-arise and are changed at the Parousia, are caught up εἰς ἀέρα, to meet the Lord coming from heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Up to that time He intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). The true commentary on ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ αὑτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρ. is accordingly, Mark 16:19 : ἀνελήφθη εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ. And our passage itself, Ephesians 1:20 ff. (comp. Ephesians 4:10), is the commentary on θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσε κ. τ. λ., Philippians 2:9.


Verse 21

Ephesians 1:21 is no parenthesis, since neither the construction nor the logical progress of the thought is interrupted.

ὑπεράνω expresses not the infinite exaltedness (the Greek Fathers, Beza, Estius), nor yet the dominion over (Bengel), although the latter is implied in the nature of the case, but simply: up above (Hebrews 9:5; Ezekiel 1:26; Ezekiel 8:2; Deuteronomy 28:1; Cant. tr. puer. 37; Tobit 1:3; Ael. V. H. ix. 7; Polyb. xii. 24. 1). The opposite is ὑποκάτω, Mark 6:11; Hebrews 2:8.

πάσης ἀρχῆςκυριότητος is neither to be understood, with Schoettgen, of the Jewish hierarchs, nor, with van Til (in Wolf), of the various grades of Gentile rulers, nor, with Morus, of human powers in general, nor, with Erasmus, Vorstius, Wolf, Zachariae, Eosenmüller, Flatt, Olshausen, and others, of quodcumque gloriae et dignitatis genus (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:24); but, as is shown by the immediate context ( ἐκάθισενἐν τοῖς ἐπουραν.) and the analogous passages, Ephesians 3:10, Colossians 1:16, Romans 8:38 (comp. also 1 Peter 3:22), of the angels, who are designated according to their classes of rank (abstracta pro concretis), and, in fact, of the good angels, since the apostle is not here speaking (as in 1 Corinthians 15:24) of the victory of Christ over opposing powers, but of His exaltation above the existing powers in heaven. See, moreover, on Romans 8:38. In opposition to Hofmann, who (Schriftbew. I. p. 347) would find in the different designations not any order of rank, but only various relations to God and the world, see Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 291 ff. Comp. also Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 558 f. Christ Himself already, Matthew 18:10, assumes a diversity of rank among the angels; it is thus the more arbitrary, that expressions evidently in stated use, which in the case of two apostles and then in the Test. XII. Patr. correspond to this idea (even apart from the Jewish doctrine of classes of angels) should not be referred to it. More precise information, however, as to the relations and functions of the different grades of angels(116) is not to be given, since Paul does not himself enter into particulars on the point, and the Rabbinical theory of classes of angels, elaborated under the influence of Platonism, yet dissimilar (see Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 374; Bartolocci, Bibl. Rabb. I. p. 267 ff.; Gfrörer, Jahrh. d. Heils, I. p. 357 ff.), is not in keeping with the designations of the apostle (see Harless in loc.; Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 226), and has evidently been elaborated at a later date. It is nevertheless probable that the order of succession is here arranged according to a descending climax; for (1) the apostle, in looking at the matter, proceeds most naturally from above downward, from the right hand of God to the heavenly beings which hold the next place beneath Him, and so on; (2) the ἀρχαί, ἐξουσίαι, and δυνάμεις are always mentioned in the same order (Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10; 1 Peter 3:22); the ἐξουσίαι, however, with the θρόνοι (Colossians 1:16) are, Test. XII. Patr. p. 548, placed in the seventh heaven, and the δυνάμεις only in the third (p. 547), as, indeed, in Jamblichus, v. 21, p. 136, the δυνάμεις are placed far below the ἀρχαί. According to this, the θρόνοι and κυριότητες, Colossians 1:16, would be placed in juxtaposition as the two extremes of the angelic series. Another view is taken by Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 297 f.

That Paul, moreover, sets forth Christ as exalted above the angel-world, with a polemic purpose in opposition to the θρησκεία ἀγγέλων of the Gnosis of Asia Minor (comp. Colossians 2:18) (Bucer, Estius, Hug, and others), is not to be assumed, since the form of the representation maintains purely a positive character, and the thing itself was so natural to the Christian consciousness generally (comp. Hebrews 1:4), and to the connection in the case of our passage in particular, as to need no polemic occasion in order to its being expressed, and expressed with such solemnity. Even a purpose of guarding against possible infection on the part of such a Gnosis (Schneckenburger, Olshausen) is at least not expressed or more specially-indicated; it may, however, have still been partially present to the mind of the apostle from the sphere of thought of the previously composed Epistle to the Colossians. Comp. Introd. § 4.

καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος κ. τ. λ.] and, i.e. and generally (see Fritzsche, ad Matth. pp. 786, 870), above every name, which is named. Let any name be uttered, whatever it is, Christ is above it, is more exalted than that which the name so uttered affirms. Comp. Philippians 2:9. That ὄνομα is here dignitatis potentiaeve nomen (Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, and others), as Hom. Od. xxiv. 93; Strabo, vi. p. 245 ( ἐν ὀνόματι εἶναι), and the like (see Wolf, ad Dem. Lept. p. 346; Jacobs, ad Anthol. IX. p. 226), is not to be supposed on account of ὀνομαζομένου, since this makes the simple literal meaning name the only possible one (comp. Plato, Soph. p. 262 B); and, if Morus and Harless (comp. also Michaelis and Rückert) have supplied the notion underlying the preceding abstract nouns: “above every name, namely, of such character,” they have done so arbitrarily, as παντός stands without restrictive addition. πᾶν ὄνομα is quite general: any name whatever; from the heavenly powers, above which Christ is placed, the glance of the apostle stretches to every (created) thing generally, which may anyhow be named. Comp. πάντα, Ephesians 1:22.

οὐ μόνον κ. τ. λ.] cannot belong to ἐκάθισεν κ. τ. λ. (Morus, Koppe; comp. already Beza and Zanchius), since ἐκάθισεν is an act, which has taken place in the αἰὼν αὗτος, but it belongs to ὀνομαζομ.: which is named in the present world-period, before the Parousia, and in the future one, after the Parousia. As to αἰὼν οὗτος and αἰὼν μέλλων, see on Matthew 12:32. “Natural and supernatural order of the world” (Schenkel), and similar conceptions, are not to be substituted for the historical idea.


Verse 22

Ephesians 1:22. While Paul has before been setting forth the exaltation of Christ over all things, he now expresses the subjection therewith accomplished of all things under Christ: καὶ πάντααὐτοῦ, with which consequently the same thing—the installation into the highest κυριότης (Philippians 2:10 f.)—is expressed, only from another point of view (from below, from the standpoint of the object subjected; previously from above, from the seat of the exalted Lord), in order to present it in a thoroughly exhaustive manner. Such a representation is not tautological, but emphatic. Theodoret, with whom Harless agrees, makes the purpose: καὶ τὴν προφητικὴν ἐπήγαγε μαρτυρίαν. But the words, while doubtless a reminiscence of Psalms 8:7 (6), in such wise that Paul makes the expression of the Psalm his own, are not a citation, since he does not in the least indicate this, as he has done at 1 Corinthians 15:27 by the following ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ. Certainly, however, he recognised that, which is said in Psalms 8. of man as such, as receiving its antitypical fulfilment in the exalted Christ (see on 1 Cor. l.c., comp. also Hebrews 2:8), and thereby it was the more natural for him, when speaking here of the dominion of Christ. to appropriate the words of the Psalm.

πάντα has the emphasis, like πάσης and παντός before. All—all that is created

God has subjected to Christ If Paul had meant simply all that resists Christ (Grotius, Rosenmüller, Holzhausen, Olshausen), he must have said so, since there is no mention of subjecting what is hostile either before or in the eighth Psalm.

καὶ αὐτὸν κ. τ. λ.] and Him, the One thus exalted and ruling over all, Him even He gave, etc.; observe the emphasis of the αὐτόν prefixed. What dignity of the church in Him!

ἔδωκε] is usually taken in the sense of τίθημι (Harless: “and installed Him as Head over all things for the church;” comp. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 117); but here as arbitrarily as at Ephesians 4:11. Grotius and Rückert rightly take it as: He gave Him … to the church. If Paul had conceived of τῇ ἐκκλ. not as dependent on ἔδωκε, but as attached to κεφ. ὑπὲρ πάντα, it would be difficult to see why he should not have written τῆς ἐκκλησίας.(117) Comp. Colossians 1:18.

ὑπὲρ πάντα] exalted above all things, is neither transposed (Peshito, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Grotius, Estius, and others): “ipsum super omnia (sc. positum) dedit ecclesiae ut caput ejus,” Grot.; nor does it signify especially ( ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, Ephesians 6:16), as Boyd and Baumgarten would have it; nor is it, in its true connection with κεφαλ., to be taken as summum caput (Beza, Morus, Koppe, Rückert, Holzhausen, Meier, Olshausen, Bleek, comp. Matthies); by which, according to Koppe and Olshausen, it is meant to be indicated that Christ is higher than the apostles, bishops, etc. In opposition to this interpretation, it may be decisively urged that only One Head to the church can at all be thought of, and that πάντα here calls for the same explanation as above in the case of πάντα ὑπέταξ. Hence rather: and Him He gave as Head over all things (to which position, as just shown, He had exalted Him) to the church (Christians as a whole). Since He, as Head over all things, was given to the church, it is obvious that He was to belong to her in a very special sense as her own Head; hence it is, in accordance with a well-known breviloquentia (Matthiae, p. 1533; Kühner, II. p. 602), unnecessary to supply κεφαλήν again before τῇ ἐκκλ.


Verse 23

Ephesians 1:23 gives information ( ἥτις, ut quae, denotes the attribute as belonging to the nature of the ἐκκλησία; see Kühner, II. p. 497) as to the relation in which the church stands to this Head given to it. It is the body of the Head.

τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ] namely, in the mystical sense, according to the essential fellowship of spirit and of life, which unites the collective mass of believers with Christ, their Ruler, into an integrant and organic unity, wherein each single individual is a member of Christ in Christ’s body. Comp. Ephesians 2:16, Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16, Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:27.

τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρουμ.] a significant explanatory parallel to τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ, which more precisely characterizes the relation of the church to Christ, in so far as the latter, as Head over all, is also its Head; and that in non-figurative language. The church, namely, is the Christ-filled, i.e. that which is filled by Him,(118) in so far, namely, as Christ, by the Holy Spirit, dwells and rules in the Christians, penetrates the whole Christian mass with His gifts and life-powers, and produces all Christian life (Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 15:5; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27). His presence and activity, through the medium of the Spirit, fills the collective Christian body. And Christ, by whom the Christian church is filled, is the same who filleth the all (i.e. the rerum universitas, whose Head He is, Ephesians 1:22) with all (omnibus rebus); for by Him was the world created, and by Him, as the immanent ground of life (Hebrews 1:3), is it maintained and governed (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16 ff.; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 315 ff.); hence this interpretation of ἐν πᾶσι yields no intolerable sense (Schenkel), but is entirely Pauline. Accordingly, by the fact that the church is named the πλήρωμα of Christ, the idea that Christ is the Head of the church, of His body, receives elucidation; and by the characteristic designation τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρουμ., is elucidated the conception, that He as Head over all is Head of the church, Ephesians 1:22.

τὸ πλήρωμα is here (comp. generally on Ephesians 1:10) equivalent to τὸ πεπληρωμένον. Thus, as is well known, not only are ships’ cargoes or crews (Dem. 565, 1), but also the ships themselves—so far as they are freighted or manned—called πληρώματα (Lucian, V. H. ii. 37, 38); thus it is said in Philo, de praem. et poen. p. 920, of the soul: γενομένη δὲ πλήρωμα ἀρετῶν; thus among the Gnostics the supersensible world is called τὸ πλήρωμα, the filled, in opposition to τὸ κένωμα, the empty, the world of the senses (Baur, Gnosis, pp. 157, 462 ff.). See also Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 470. ἐν πᾶσι is not: everywhere (Baumgarten-Crusius), in all modes of manifestation (de Wette, Bleek), in all points (Harless), or the like; but instrumental,(119) as at Ephesians 5:18 : with all; and πληρουμένου is middle, as in Xen. Hell. v. 4. 56, vi. 2. 14; Dem. p. 1208, 14; 1221, 12, in connection with which the medial sense is not to be overlooked: qui sibi implet; for Christ is Lord and final aim (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 2:10) of all. Comp. Barnabas, Ep. 12: ἔχεις καὶ ἐν τούτῳ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἰησοῦ, ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ πάντα καὶ εἰς αὐτόν. The ubiquity of the body of Christ, which our text was formerly employed to defend (see especially Calovius), and even now is once more adduced to prove (Philippi, Dogm. IV. 1, p. 434), is the less to be found here, seeing that the ἐν πᾶσι, to be taken instrumentally, makes us think only of the all-penetrating continuous activity of Christ. The continuity of this activity is implied in the present πληρουμ., in which Hofmann, II. 1, p. 539, finds a gradual development, and that of the restoration of the world; of which last there is here no mention at all, but, on the contrary, of the upholding and governing of the world, as Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3. Comp. Hermas, Past. sim. iii. 9. 14. As regards the explanations that differ from ours, we may remark—(1) Many, who have rightly apprehended τὸ πλήρωμα and πληρου΄ένου, wrongly restrict τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι to the spiritual operations in the Christians, either, as Grotius: “Christus in omnibus, credentibus sc., implet omnia, mentem luce, voluntatem piis affectibus, corpus ipsum obsequendi facultate, ad quae dona perpetua accedebant primis temporibus etiam χαρίσματα illa πνευ΄ατικά, etc.,” or, as Flatt (comp. Zachariae and Morus): “who fills all without distinction of nations, Jews and Gentiles, everywhere, or always [ ἐν πᾶσι?], with good.” In this view the fact is overlooked that τὰ πάντα, after the preceding κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα, admits of no sort of limitation, and that, if τοῦ πληρου΄ένου were designed only to say how far the church is the πλήρω΄α of Christ, this whole addition would be quite as superfluous for the Christian consciousness as it would be indistinctly expressed. We have, on the contrary, in τὸ πλήρω΄α τοῦ κ. τ. λ. a climax of the representation, which advances from that which the church is in relation to Christ ( τό πλήρωμα αὐτοῦ) to His relation towards the universe (hence, too, τὰ πάντα is prefixed).(120) (2) Since αὐτοῦ and τοῦ τὰ π. ἐν π. πληρου΄. are significantly parallel, and no change of subject is indicated; and since, on the other hand, the thought, that the church is the πλήρω΄α of God, would be inappropriate here, where the idea: Christ is its head, is dwelt on,—all explanations fall to the ground which refer τοῦ πληρουμ. to God, such as that of Theodoret: ἐκκλησίανπροσηγόρευσε τοῦ μὲν χριστοῦ σῶμα, τοῦ δὲ πατρὸς πλήρωμα· ἐπλήρωσε γὰρ αὐτὴν παντοδαπῶν χαρισμάτων κ. τ. λ., and of Koppe, by whom the sense is alleged to be: “the whole wide realm of the All-Ruler!” Comp. Rosenmüller. Homberg, Parerg. p. 289, Wetstein (“Christus est plenitudo, gloria patris omnia in omnibus implentis”), and Meier refer the genitive to God, but regard τὸ πλήρωμα as apposition to αὐτόν; Meier: “Him, the fulness of Him who filleth all in all; for in Christ there dwells the fulness of God (Colossians 2:9), and it is God who fills the universe” (Jeremiah 23:24, al.). This explanation is manifestly involved, makes ἥτις ἐστὶ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ an insertion which, if nothing further were to be added to it, would be after ἔδωκε κεφαλὴν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ quite aimless and idle, and leaves τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι without more precise analysis. The same reasons hold also in opposition to Bengel, who regards τὸ πλήρω΄α as accusative absolute (comp. on Romans 12:1), as epiphonema of what was said from Ephesians 1:20 onwards: “Hoc, quod modo explanavi, inquit apostolus, repraesentat nobis plenitudinem Patris omnia implentis in omnibus, ut mathematici dicunt: id quod erat demonstrandum.” (3) Since it is self-evident that Christ, as Head of the church, is not without this His body, and since it could not therefore enter the apostle’s mind, at the solemn close, too, of the section, to bring forward the fact that the body belongs to the completeness of the head,—all those explanations fell to the ground as quite inappropriate, which take τὸ πλήρωμα as supplementum (Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21),(121) in which case some were consistent enough to take πληρουμένου likewise in the sense of completing, as Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Menochius, Boyd, Estius,(122) and others; and some inconsistent enough to explain it, incompatibly with the paronomasia, by implere, and thus differently from πλήρωμα, as Beza,(123) Calovius, comp. Calvin, Balduin, Baumgarten; also Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. p. 219 f.: “His destination, to fill all in all, is completely attained only in the church.” (4) The necessity for taking πλήρωμα in one and the same sense is fatal to the explanation of πλήρωμα as equivalent to πλῆθος, copia, coetus numerosus (Storr, Morus, Stolz, Koppe, Rosenmüller(124)), or even: full measure (Cameron, Bos). Further, (5) the passive construction of πληρουμένου (Vulg.) leaves absolutely no tolerable explanation of τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι; for which reason not only the exposition of Chrysostom, Theophylact, Estius, and others (see above, under No. 3), but also the similar one of Jerome(125) and that of Holzhausen, are to be rejected. The last-mentioned discovers the meaning: “Christ carries in Himself the fulness of eternal blessings” ( τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι, signifying the eternal!). Yet, again, (6) seeing that τὸ πλήρωμα neither in itself nor in accordance with the context, denotes the Divine δόξα, of which the שכינה was the real presence (Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 2394 ff.), there falls to the ground not only the explanation of those who treat τὸ πλήρω΄α as equivalent in meaning to temple, like Michaelis and Bretschneider, but also that of Harless: “the apostle designates the church with the same word, by which he elsewhere [?] designates the abundance of the glory dwelling in Christ and God, and issuing from Him. It, however, is the fulness of Christ, not as though it were the glory which dwelt in Him, but because He causes His glory to dwell, as in all the universe, so also in it. It is the glory, not of one who without it would starve, but of Him who fills the universe in all respects;(126) πλήρης πᾶσα γῆ δόξης αὐτοῦ (Isaiah 6:3); but it is the glory of Christ, because He is united with it alone, as the head with its body.” Lastly, (7) Rückert also proved unsuccessful in his attempt to explain it: the church, in his view, is designated as the means ( τὸ πλήρωμα, that whereby the πληροῦν comes about) by which Christ carries out in all ( πᾶσι, masculine) that which is committed to Him for completion ( τὰ πάντα), as “the means of His accomplishing the great destination which devolves upon Him, namely, the universal restoration and bringing back to God.” Against this may be urged both the language itself, since τὸ πλήρω΄α never signifies the means of accomplishment, and the context, which neither speaks of a restoration and bringing back to God nor furnishes any limitation of τὰ πάντα to that which is implied in the divine plan.

We may add that there cannot be shown here as regards the use of πλήρω΄α, any more than previously as regards the classes of angels, any direct or indirect polemic preference to Gnosticism. To the later speculations of Gnosticism, however, the forms of the transcendent doctrines of the apostle could not but be welcome; not as if Gnosticism had thought out its material in accordance with such Scriptural forms (Tertull. de praescr. 38), but it poured it into their mould, and, moreover, further developed and amplified the forms which it found ready to hand.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-1.html. 1832.


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