Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Ephesians 1:1. θελήματος, the will) So Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11.— τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσι‚ καὶ πιστοῖς, to the saints and faithful, who are) in all those places to which Tychicus went with this epistle. It appears from the records quoted in the Apparatus, that no city was mentioned by name(1) in this inscirption, whence some have supplied Laodicea (although all that had a separate reference to the Laodiceans, was explained by Paul in the epistle written to the Colossians about the same time, ch. Ephesians 4:15-16); others, Ephesus: either of them might be before the mind of the apostle; for Paul no doubt told Tychicus whither he should go,—to Laodicea, for example, and thence to Colosse, which was in the neighbourhood of Laodicea, and either first or last to Ephesus. Wherefore our annotations are now and then specially applicable to the Ephesians. Nevertheless, in this passage, τοῖς οὖσιν, i.e. those who are present,(2) is said absolutely, as Acts 13:1, κατὰ τὴν οὖσαν ἐκκλησίαν, in the church that was at Antioch; and Romans 13:1, αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι, and the powers that be [the existing powers]. Paul, when writing to the churches planted by himself, generally mentions many circumstances concerning present and former events, having reference to himself or the churches; but he had been at Ephesus, and that too for a long time, not many years before, Acts 20:31. Why then does he write as a person unknown, Ephesians 1:15, ch. Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:4? and why does he descend less to particulars in this epistle, than in any other? Why, at ch. Ephesians 6:23-24, does he conclude in the third, and not in the second person, as he always does on other occasions? Why does he add no salutations, which, however, he does not omit even in the case of the Colossians? Why does he not mention Timothy, whom, however, he joins with himself, Colossians 1:1? For, the close resemblance of the style of writing [the texture of composition] in both, the same mention in both of their bearer, Tychicus, and many other circumstances, confirm the fact, that each of these epistles, this and the one to the Colossians, was sent at one time. Why does he only call them brethren at ch. Ephesians 6:10? Ans. All these things are indeed proofs, that Paul so drew up the whole letter, that it might be publicly read, or privately perused, both at Ephesus and in many of the churches of Asia, to which, as having been perhaps pointed out to him by name, Tychicus would go, and that all might receive it as if it had been addressed to themselves; comp. Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27. So far as this matter was concerned, full liberty (a carta bianca) was granted. “We must observe,” says Usher, at A. M. 4068, “that, in some ancient copies, this epistle was inscribed in general terms, as was usually done in writing evangelical letters, to the saints who are … and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: as if it had been sent first to Ephesus, as the principal metropolis of Asia, and was thence to be transmitted to the other churches of the same province, with the insertion of the name of each, etc.” It may be said: Paul wrote this epistle before he had seen the Ephesians. Ans. He had formerly [previous to his visit to Ephesus, Acts 19; Acts 20.] suffered no bonds so well known and so long, Acts 16:35; Acts 18:10; but these, which he mentions [in this epistle], were remarkable and distinguished, Ephesians 3:13; Ephesians 6:20. As regards the rest of the inscription, holiness is put before faith, Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:11-12, where also the word κληροῦσθαι is before hope;(3) moreover, at 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. It belongs to God to sanctify [set apart as holy to Himself] and claim us to Himself; to us, according to the gift of God, to believe.
Ephesians 1:3. εὐλογητὸς— εὐλογήσας— εὐλογίᾳ, Blessed—who has blessed—with blessing) An Antanaclasis.(4) God has blessed us in one sense, we bless Him in another. The doxologies at the beginning of the apostolic epistles are quite in consonance with the sense of the grace which characterizes the New Testament. It is almost in this way that the first Epistle of Peter commences, which was also sent into Asia, and therefore to Ephesus. Paul writes with an affection that had been greatly elevated [sublimed] by adversity; and this epistle furnishes a remarkable specimen of the evangelical mode of discussion on the thesis [proposition, i.e. the broad general truth of the Gospel]; and, from the third to the fourteenth ver. of this ch., it presents an abridgment of the Gospel [respecting the grace of God.—V. g.]; [and that, too, in such a way, that the blessed work of Christ, Ephesians 1:7, and of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13, is inserted each in its proper order.—V. g.] Hence he refutes no error, and rebukes no fault in particular, but proceeds in a general way. And how great soever may be the light which may be obtained from ecclesiastical history, with respect to the Epistle to the Colossians, in other respects parallel, it is less needed in this epistle. He writes with great propriety to the Ephesians, too, regarding the recent union of the Jews and Gentiles; for the temple at Ephesus had been the stronghold of Paganism, as on the contrary the temple at Jerusalem had been the stronghold of Judaism.
Here follows a summary of the Epistle:—
I. The Inscription, Ephesians 1:1-2.
II. The Doctrine pathetically set forth.
I. Blessing God for the whole range of heavenly blessing bestowed by Him, Ephesians 1:3-14; and then thanksgiving and prayers for the saints, Ephesians 1:15 to Ephesians 2:10.
II. A more special admonition concerning their formerly miserable, but now blessed condition, Ephesians 1:11-22; and then the apostle’s supplication, that they might be strengthened, Ephesians 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:14-15; with the doxology, Ephesians 3:20-21.
III. The exhortation.
I. General—that they should walk worthily, as
1. The unity of the Spirit and diversity of gifts, Ephesians 4:1-2; Ephesians 4:7-8.
2. As the difference of their heathen and Christian state require, Ephesians 4:17-24.
1) So that they should avoid
1. Lying, Ephesians 4:25.
2. Anger, Ephesians 4:26-27.
3. Theft, Ephesians 4:28.
4. Corrupt conversation, Ephesians 4:29-30.
5. Bitterness, Ephesians 4:31 to Ephesians 5:2.
6. Impurity, Ephesians 5:3-14.
7. Drunkenness, Ephesians 5:15-20; the virtues being everywhere commended to which those vices are opposed, with the addition of submission, Ephesians 5:21.
2) That they should do their duty,
1. As wives and husbands, Ephesians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:25-26.
2. As children and fathers, Ephesians 6:1-2; Ephesians 6:4.
3. As servants and masters, Ephesians 6:5-6; Ephesians 6:9.
3) And, lastly, an exhortation to the spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:10-11; Ephesians 6:19-20.
IV. Conclusion, Ephesians 6:21-24.
There is a great resemblance between this epistle and that to the Colossians, which has been already noticed; wherefore the two writings may be advantageously compared together.— ἐν πάσῃ, with all) Paul describes the source and the archetype of this blessing, He has chosen us, having predestinated, Ephesians 1:4-5; also its nature, He hath embraced us in His grace, Ephesians 1:6; also its parts, remission, etc., Ephesians 1:7-8.— εὐλογίᾳ, with blessing) The very term denotes abundance.— πνευματικῇ, spiritual) a thing peculiar to the New Testament.— ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, in heavenly places) The term spiritual is hereby explained. Often in this epistle he mentions the heavenlies: Ephesians 1:20, ch. Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 6:12. The glorious abode of the heavenly inhabitants.— ἐν χριστῷ, in Christ) To this is to be referred the following verse, according as—in Him. Here now he somewhat slightly touches upon the three persons of the Godhead, who are concerned in our salvation. The Heavenlies belong to the Father [the First Person]: he expressly names Christ Himself [the Second Person]: the Holy Spirit [the Third Person] produces spiritual blessings. Paul treats of all in succession subsequently. [Certainly the apostle had before his eyes, in this passage, the whole career of Christ, from His birth to His ascension. He contemplates His birth in this verse, then His circumcision, wherefore at Ephesians 1:5, and not till then, the name, Jesus, given to Him at His circumcision, is expressed; at Ephesians 1:6,(5) the baptism of the beloved Son is pointed to by implication; which, at Ephesians 1:7, the bloody suffering of death follows, and finally His resurrection and ascension, at Ephesians 1:20, etc.—V. g.]
Ephesians 1:4. καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς, according as He has chosen us) The blessing corresponds to the [prior] election, and follows upon it and makes it manifest.— ἐν αὐτῷ, in Him) Ephesians 3:11. These things presuppose the eternity of the Son of God; for the Son, before the world was made, was not merely the future, but even then the present object of the Father’s love; John 17:24; John 17:5, otherwise the Father would not have loved Him in [or for] Himself [per se], but likewise through another [per alium: God would have loved in connection with the Church, not in Himself purely].— πρὸ, before) John 17:24.— εἶναι, to be) i.e. τοῦ εἶναι, that we should be.— ἁγίους, holy) positively.— ἀμώμους, without blame) without evil and fault [ch. Ephesians 5:27].
Ephesians 1:4-5. ἐν ἀγάπῃ προορίσας ἡμᾶς, having predestinated us in love) Many construe these words with the preceding, holy and without blame before Him in love. The terms, I love, love, loved, are very prevalent in this epistle both ways, so that either the love of God to us, or ours to Him, may be denoted; but it is most consistent with the very beginning of the epistle, that love should be construed not with holy and without blame—an expression which is likewise used without express mention of love, Eph 1:27—but with the subsequent description of adoption;(6) comp. Ephesians 2:4; Ephesians 2:3; 1 John 3:1 : and that the love of God should be celebrated before ours. In this way the sum of those things which follow, will be in love, Ephesians 1:5, at the end. So love is put at the beginning of the section [tmematis], ch. Ephesians 3:18. And in turn, on the other hand, the word having predestinated is much more emphatic, if we consider it to be placed at the beginning: and everywhere the apostle, especially in this chap., closes the period with some clause, which, in respect of what goes before, is equivalent to a Syncategorema,(7) and in respect of what follows, is equivalent to a Thema [the main proposition]. If this be attended to, and the connection by participles and relatives be observed, the analysis will be cleared from all difficulty. This is the custom of the ancients, quite different from our present method, which proceeds by many divisions and sub-divisions (sub-distinctions) set forth expressly and prominently.— προορίσας, having predestinated) The participle depends on He has chosen: Romans 8:29. Chosen from among others, they are predestinated to all things which belong to the obtaining of blessedness, Ephesians 1:11.— κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν, according to the good pleasure) We are not allowed to go beyond this good pleasure either in searching into the causes of our salvation or of any of the Divine works, Ephesians 1:9. Why needest thou to philosophize about an imaginary world of optimism? That which thou oughtest to take care of is, lest thou thyself be bad. Nor was there anything in us which deserved love.— τοῦ θελήματος, of His will) Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:1.
Both Lachm. and Tischend. join ἐν ἀγάπῃ with προόρισας: but Engl. Vers. with κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, “Without blame before Him in love.”—ED.
Ephesians 1:6. εἰς, to) The end aimed at.— ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος, the praise of the glory of His grace) The praise of His glory, Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14. The praise of grace takes its rise first in order, Ephesians 1:7, then afterwards the praise of the glory [concerning “the glory,” comp. Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:17-18.—V. g.]— ἐν ᾗ) χάριτι. Words that are conjugate [ χάριτος— ἐχαρίτωσεν], as ἀγάπην— ἠγάπησεν, ch. Ephesians 2:4.— ἐχαρίτωσεν) χαριτόω, of the same form as ἀγαθόω, δυναμόω, ἐντυπόω, εὐοδόω, ζηλόω, θανατόω, κακόω, κυκλόω, κ. τ. λ., signifies to render acceptable, to embrace in the arms of grace; of which the immediate consequence is blessing: comp. Luke 1:28 [ χαῖρε κεχαριτωμένη, which is followed by the blessing κύριος μετὰ σοῦ]. To this refer of His grace, here, and in Ephesians 1:7.— ἠγαπημένῳ, in the Beloved) the Only Begotten Son. A suitable Antonomasia.(8) Love signifies more than grace. See 1 Peter 2:10, where, concerning those who have “obtained mercy,” things are spoken such as that the title, The beloved, stands far pre-eminent above them. ἔλεος, mercy, necessarily presupposes previous misery, but not so love.
Ephesians 1:7. ἔχομεν, we have) in the present.— τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν— τὴν ἄφεσιν, redemption—forgiveness) The peculiar benefit derived from the New Testament; Romans 3:24. [Another redemption (viz. “of the purchased possession” hereafter) follows, Ephesians 1:14.—V. g.]—(9) τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος, the riches of His grace) ch. Ephesians 2:7 : the riches of the glory, Ephesians 1:18. Comp. ch. Ephesians 3:8, where we have the riches of grace, and consequently of glory; likewise in Ephesians 1:16, where the exceedingly rich glory of the Father Himself is understood.
Ephesians 1:8. ἧς) [attraction] for, ἣν, viz. χάριν.— ἐπερίσσευσεν, hath abounded) viz. God.— σοφίᾳ) in wisdom, concerning the past and present, in regard to the things which God does, Ephesians 1:17.— φρονήσει) in prudence, concerning the future, in regard to the things that we may do.
Ephesians 1:9. γνωρίσας, having made known) This word depends on hath abounded. The same word occurs, ch. Ephesians 3:3; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 6:19.— τὸ μυστήριον, the mystery) ch. Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9, Ephesians 6:19; Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26-27.— ἣν, which) good pleasure.— προέθετο) [purposed] proposed to Himself. Thence purpose, Ephesians 1:11.— ἐν αὐτῷ, in Him) in Christ. [But Engl. Vers. “purposed in Himself,” i.e. God the Father.]
Ephesians 1:10. εἰς, in) Construe with γνωρίσας, having made known.— οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, the dispensation of the fulness of the times) Fulness τῶν καιρῶν, of the times,(10) is in some degree distinguished from the fulness τοῦ χρόνου, of the time, Galatians 4:4, for it involves the fulness of the benefits themselves, and of men reaping these benefits, Mark 1:15. Still each fulness is in Christ, and there is a certain peculiar economy and dispensation of this fulness, Colossians 1:25. Paul very often uses the words πληρόω and πλήρω΄α in writing to the Ephesians and Colossians.— ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι) that all might be brought under one head. All things had been under Christ; but they had been torn and rent from Him by sin: again they have been brought under His sway. Christ is the head of angels and of men: the former agree with Him in His invisible, the latter in His visible nature.— τὰ πάντα, all things [the whole range of things]) not only Jews and Gentiles, but also those things which are in heaven and upon the earth:—angels and men, and the latter including those who are alive as well as those long ago dead, Ephesians 3:15.— τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, in the heavens) in the plural.
This is repeated from Ephesians 1:9, so that Ephesians 1:10 is a parenthesis.— ἐκληρώθημεν) He here speaks in the person of Israel, we were made נחלה, κλῆρος or κληρονο΄ία, the lot, the inheritance of the Lord. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:9. The antithesis is you, Ephesians 1:13. He is, however, speaking of a spiritual benefit: κληροῦσθαι is not only to obtain the lot: see Chrysost. on this passage: he interprets it, ἐγενήθημεν κεκληρωμένοι, we were put in possession by lot.— τὰ πάντα) all things, even in the kingdom of His Son.— βουλὴν, the counsel) which is most free.
Ephesians 1:12. ἡμᾶς, us) Jews.— τοὺς προηλπικότας, who before or first hoped or trusted) This is the predicate. The Jews first obtained hope in Christ when manifested to them (1 Corinthians 15:19); afterwards the Gentiles, Acts 13:46. The word before or first, here, is not to be referred to Old Testament times; comp. on the subject of hope, Ephesians 1:18; ch. Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:4.
Ephesians 1:13. ὧ, in Whom) To be referred to in Christ, Ephesians 1:12, or to in Him, Ephesians 1:10.— ἀκούσαντες, having heard) The sense is suspended,(13) till the participle having believed [“after that ye believed”], which is correlative to having heard, be added.— τῆς ἀληθείας, of the truth) Hence it is called the hearing of faith. The mention of truth occurs again, ch. Ephesians 4:15; Ephesians 4:21; Ephesians 4:24-25; Ephesians 5:9; Ephesians 6:14.— ἐν ᾧ καὶ, in whom also) In whom, after the intervening clause, is here taken up again; comp. in Himself, Ephesians 1:10, note.— ἐσφραγίσθητε— ὄς ἐστιν ἀῤῥαβὼν, you were sealed—who is the earnest) 2 Corinthians 1:22, note.— τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ, with the Holy Spirit of promise) The Holy Spirit was promised by the word; therefore when the Holy Spirit was given, those who believed the word were sealed; and those who have the Holy Spirit, know that every promise will be fulfilled to them.
Ephesians 1:14. ἡμῶν, of our) He here includes Jews and Greeks.— εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν, unto redemption) Construe with you were sealed); Ephesians 4:30. This future deliverance or redemption, by the addition of τῆς περιποιήσεως, of preservation [‘conservationis,’ Engl. Vers., of the purchased possession], is distinguished from the redemption made by the blood of Christ. So περιποίησις σωτηρίας and ψυχῆς, 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Hebrews 10:39.— περιποίησις is said of that which remains still, when all other things perish:(14) LXX., 2 Chronicles 14:12 (13); Malachi 3:17.
Ephesians 1:15. ἀκούσας, having heard) At a distance. This may be referred not only to those who were unknown to him by face, Colossians 1:4, but also to his most intimate acquaintances, Philem. Ephesians 1:5, in accordance with their present state.— πίστιν) Faith towards God in the Lord Jesus.— καὶ, and) Whosoever has faith and love, is a partaker of the whole blessing, Ephesians 1:3, etc. Hope is added, Ephesians 1:18.— πάντας, all) The distinguishing characteristic of Christianity.(15) Paul often includes all; ch. Ephesians 3:8-9; Ephesians 3:18; Ephesians 4:6; Ephesians 4:13; Ephesians 6:18; Ephesians 6:24.
Ephesians 1:16. οὐ παύομαι, I do not cease) Paul made mention of all the churches in his prayers; Colossians 1:9.
Ephesians 1:17. ἵνα, that) A subject of prayer for true Christians.— ὁ πατὴρ τῆς δόξης, the Father of glory) That infinite glory, which shines in the face of Christ; nay, more, [the Father] of the glory, which is the Son of God Himself; by whom also the glorious inheritance will become ours, Ephesians 1:18.— πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation) The same Spirit, who is the Spirit of promise, is, in the progress of believers, also the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Wisdom works wisdom in us; revelation knowledge.— ἐν, in) Construe with may give.— αὐτοῦ, of Him) God.
Ephesians 1:18. πεφωτισμένους, enlightened) The accusative absolute, as Acts 26:3, when the eyes of your understanding (heart) shall have been enlightened. The article τοὺς, with ὀφθαλμοὺς, presupposes that the eyes are already present [inasmuch as being no longer in the darkness of unbelief]; and does not allow that they can be considered as about to be given now or hereafter, as if for the first time. But if ὀφθαλμοὺς were without the article, it might be taken in an abstract sense, and construed with may give.— τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας, the eyes of the heart) Comp. Ephesians 4:18; Matthew 13:15. The heart is that by which we perceive matters so important, ch. Ephesians 3:17. So Theophilus speaks of the ears of the heart, 50:1 to Autol. 100:3; add the note on Chrysost. de Sacerd., p. 429: and plainly the eyes of the heart. Smyrn. ep. concerning Polycarp, § 2. [ καρδίας,(16) a remarkable reading.—Not. Crit.]— τίς— τίς— τί, What—what—what [Ephesians 1:19]) Comp. the following verse. Three remarkable points of time, in regard to the future, the present, comp. Ephesians 3:6, and the past.— τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ, of His calling) The calling by which He called you. In the saints follows, as the apostle often names together the called and saints.
Ephesians 1:19. τοὺς πιστεύοντας, who believe) Faith is therefore something living and efficacious.— τὴν ἐνέργειαν, the working) This is the action [the actual putting of the might into exercise].— τοῦ κράτους, of might) This is exhibited in the action [i.e. when the might is so put into actual exercise]: Job 21:23, בעצם תמו,(17) LXX. ἐν κράτει ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, in the might of his power.— τῆς ἰσχύος, of power) This is the Divine power itself.
Ephesians 1:20. ἣν, which) viz. ἐνέργειαν, working; ἐνεργεῖν ἐνέργειαν, as ἀγαπᾷν ἀγάπην, ch. Ephesians 2:4.— ἐγείρας— καὶ ἐκάθισεν, having raised—He set Him) Often from the participle the sentence is turned to the indicative; ch. Ephesians 2:17; Colossians 1:6; Revelation 3:7.
Ephesians 1:21. ὑπεράνω) A compound word. Christ not only takes the precedency, but is ruler above all.— ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως) 1 Corinthians 15:24, note.— καὶ κυριότητος) Colossians 1:16.— καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος, and every name) We know that the Emperor goes before all, although we cannot enumerate all the ministers of his court; so we know that Christ is placed above all, although we cannot name them all.— ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι) αἰὼν, age, or the world [order of things], denotes here not time, but a system of things and operations revealed at its own proper time, and permanent. It is called future, not that it does not yet exist, but because it is not yet seen. Authorities, powers, etc., are in the future [ αἰὼν]; but yet they are named also in this world [ αἰὼν]; but even those things also, which are not even named at the present time, but both in the name and in reality will be at length laid open to us in the future, are subject to Christ.
Ephesians 1:22. πάντα ὑπέταξεν, hath put all things under His feet) 1 Corinthians 15:27.— ἔδωκε) gave. Not, however, that Christ was not formerly Head of the Church, ch. Ephesians 5:25; John 3:29.— ὑπὲρ πάντα, above [over] all things) The Church, as being above all things, above authorities, etc., the Head of which [Ephesians 1:10, ἀνα- κεφα- λαιώσασθαι, together under one Head, etc.] is Christ, Colossians 2:10, may say, Christ is my Head: I am His body. The dative of advantage to the Church is in contradistinction to the over, or above [all things].
Ephesians 1:23. τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ πὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρουμένου, the fulness of Him, that filleth all in all) This is neither predicated of the Church, as most think, nor is it construed with gave, according to the opinion of others; but is put absolutely in the accusative, as τὸ μαρτύριον, the testimony, is construed in 1 Timothy 2:6. For it is an Epiphonema,(18) put after those things which are spoken of at Ephesians 1:20, and by it the apostle implies, that there is in Christ the fulness of the Father, who fills all in all. See on the fulness of God, of Christ, and of the Spirit, ch. Ephesians 3:19, Ephesians 4:13, Ephesians 5:18; likewise ch. Ephesians 4:10; John 1:14; on the fulness of the times, ch. Ephesians 1:10. The glory of Divine love fills all things, and in Christ extends itself over all. The passage has an analogy to 1 Corinthians 15:28. What I have just now explained, the apostle means to say, vividly exhibits to us the fulness, etc., which, as mathematicians say, was the thing to be demonstrated [quod erat demonstrandum]. The whole of this (the whole of the preceding statements) may be reduced to [be brought under] this title or brief description, τὸ πλήρωμα … ἐν πᾶσι, in all) The neuter including the power of the masculine.— πληρουμένου, i.e. πληροῦντος. But the force of the Middle voice is stronger [than that of the active] in denoting the mutual relation of Him who fills, and of those who are filled.
Friday, March 24th, 2017
the Third Week of Lent
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