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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 1

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Verse 1

Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible



No book of the Bible exalts Christ and His church to the great extent that Ephesians does. God’s eternal purpose is unveiled in this rich epistle of six vibrant chapters. If there is one verse that truly blends all of the thoughts together it is Ephesians 3:21

"Unto God be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Amen."

The book of Ephesians has six great chapters sharing with us vital information on the church. Notice this simple outline of the contents:

Chapter 1 The church as the fulness of Christ

Chapter 2 Reconciled to God in the church

Chapter 3 Glorifying God through the church

Chapter 4 The Oneness of the church

Chapter 5 The Bride of Christ

Chapter 6 The Army of the Lord!

CHAPTER 1 of Ephesians tells us that all spiritual blessings are in Christ. We learn that sinners are redeemed through the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:7). In Ephesians 1:20-23 we learn of the necessity of the church. Christ is head over all things to the church (this eliminates the Pope, latter day "prophets" and all hierarchy). Many sectarian notions and denominational doctrines are ruined by clear-cut statements found in chapter one of Ephesians. Since Christ purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) it is essential for us to be in that which the blood bought.

CHAPTER 2 tells us of the tragic position those outside of the Lord find themselves in. Notice these points in chapter 2:

(1) Dead in trespasses and sins

(2) Without hope and without God

(3) Unreconciled and separated from God

As one preacher said: "They are hopeless, helpless and hapless in this world and in the one to come." But:

! God’s grace is in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10)

! Salvation is in Christ (Acts 4:12)

And Galatians 3:27 tells us that the way to get into the Lord is through baptism (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-5).

The church of the Lord is a spiritual relationship with the Redeemer that transcends geography. Being rooted in Christ means that we are part of the pillar and ground of Truth.

CHAPTER 3 tells us of the glorious nature of Christ’s church. This spiritual body of the Savior holds a high and lofty place in God’s eternal purpose because of its relationship to Jesus. He is the: Builder (Matthew 16:18); Purchaser (Acts 20:28); Head (Eph. 5:23); Savior (Ephesians 5:24); Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11); Captain (Hebrews 2:10); and King (John 18:36).

The Lord’s church will succeed because of its divine founder, the divine book (the Bible), and its heavenly goal. There are those who teach that the church was a substitute for the kingdom due to the rejection of the kingdom by the Jews. However, Ephesians 3:9-11 carefully records the fact that God purposed from eternity that the church would be established and that through the church the manifold wisdom of God would be made known to powers in heavenly places.

CHAPTER 4 of this fascinating book sets forth seven points in heaven’s platform for unity. The book is written in the decade of the 60’s when animosity between Jews and Gentiles is building up greatly [resulting in the Roman-Jewish war AD 67-70], and what a struggle it must have been to keep down racial friction in the church and so in this chapter Paul stresses the UNITY of ALL the disciples in Christ! There was:

One Body -- not one Jewish church and one Gentile church!

One Spirit -- both the Jews and Gentile guided the same way

One Hope -- their aspirations were the same

One Lord -- both Jews and Gentiles the same Savior

One Faith -- their doctrine of faith and practice was the same

One Baptism -- all Jewish and Gentile disciples were baptized the same way (burial) for the same purpose (remission of sins) into the same Body.

One God -- they both believed in and worshiped the same God!

Some would teach that of these 7 only one (baptism) is non-essential. But that is arbitrary choosing due to sectarian thinking. Some would say: "There are many faiths"-- but the Bible sanctions only one. And, Romans 10:17 lets us know that "faith comes by hearing the word of God." Others argue that there are many churches pleasing to heaven but Paul’s identification of Christ’s church as the body (Ephesians 1:22-23) rules out denominationalism.

In the next section -- vs. 7-16-- careful Bible students learn of the purpose of miracles in the first century. Not only did such phenomena "confirm the word" (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4) the miraculous also caused the church to become full-grown when the solid unity of truth ("unity of the faith") was revealed. Every wind of doctrine could be challenged properly when the Scriptures were completed as the Spirit revealed to the apostles "all truth" (John 16:13; John 17:17).

CHAPTER 5 Redemption becomes a key word tieing together the rich challenge of the first part of the book with the pulsating closing thoughts. Here is one point for each chapter:

(1) Redeemed by His blood

(2) Redeemed by His cross

(3) Redeemed through His church

(4) Redemption demands purity

(5) Redemption demands separation

(5) Redemption brings opposition.

The first part of chapter 5 reminds us forcefully that we follow the Lord and not the flesh. No filthiness, jesting, fornication, covetousness, vanity, disobedience, or fellowship with darkness can be tolerated.

The last section of chapter 5 tells the message of submission. It is a story of Christ and the church illustrated by the husband-wife relationship in marriage.

CHAPTER 6 deals with a valuable, and yet, often overlooked lesson. Children must obey their parents if God’s plan for the home is effectively followed. The rampant rise of rebellion around the world can be traced to parents who allowed their offspring to disregard proper respect for authority.

The major lesson of the final stanza of Ephesians has to do with the militant nature of Christ’s church-- His army! Our spiritual warfare against the hosts of sin is powerful. The one weapon to be used is the sword of the Spirit-- the Word of God! We battle against Satan and Sin. There is no furlough or week-end pass. Soldiers of Christ are always on guard and on duty against emissaries of evil. The panoply of the Christian as a soldier of Jesus includes, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, prayer and the proper use of the Scriptures, our sword.

Paul, an ambassador in bonds bids the Ephesians farewell in his familiar benediction of peace, grace and love.

The book is a rare gem of deep vibrant passages exalting Christ and His Church in the eternal purpose of God!


The One Baptism

Ephesians 4:5


1. Notice the passage in the context of the book. UNITY is the key word of Ephesians; how that the Jews and Gentiles are ONE in Christ.

2. Remember the historical background of the decade in which Ephesians was written. There was a growing animosity between the Jews and Gentiles world-wide. It must have been a gigantic task in keep this friction out of the church.

3. Therefore this book stands to remind both Jews and Gentiles that we are ONE in Christ and that there is:

(1 One Body (2 One Spirit (3 One Hope (4 One Lord

(5 One Faith (6 One Baptism (7 One God

I. "BAPTISMS" in the Bible

1. The Baptism of Moses -- 1 Corinthians 10:1-2

2. The Baptism of John -- Mark 1:1-5

Apollos and disciples in Acts 18:24-24 & Acts 19:1-5

3. The Baptism of Suffering -- Matthew 20:20-23

Figurative of an overwhelming in suffering and pain.

4. The Baptism of "Fire and the Holy Spirit" -- Matthew 3:10-12

a. Many fail to understand these are NOT the same thing.

b. Notice the context of "baptism with fire" vs. 11-12

1) Baptism with "Fire" was a "threat" John 15:6; Hebrews 1:1

2) Baptism with the "Holy Ghost" a promise (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8;Acts 2:33).

5. NONE of these was the ONE BAPTISM--

a. One Baptism for ALL BELIEVERS still in force when Paul wrote Ephesians in AD 62 was that baptism Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16.


1. What was the significance to the Jews and the Gentiles who received this letter? They were ALL baptized:

(1 upon believing the same truth -- John 8:24

(2 on making the same confession -- Romans 10:9-10

(3 baptized the same way -- Colossians 2:12

(4 for the same purpose -- Acts 2:38

(5 into the same relationship with Christ-- Galatians 3:27-28

2. The "ONE BAPTISM" for all believers today MUST be the same "one baptism" that Jews and Gentiles accepted in becoming Christians in the first century.

CONCLUSION: Is there "One Faith" today?

- - - - - - - - - -

Introductory Notes: WHG

Eph. 1-3 I. DOCTRINE - Our Riches in Christ - Matter of Our Wealth - Position

Eph. 4-6 II. DUTY - Our Responsibilities in Christ - Manner of our Walk - Practice

Ephesians = 155 verses

Key Work = Unity (Jew and Gentile)

Key Verse = Ephesians 1:10 ; Ephesians 2:16 ; Ephesians 3:6 ; Ephesians 4:13 ; Ephesians 4:16 ; Ephesians 5:32-32 ; Ephesians 6:19-20

Agent = Christ

Instrument = the church

Ephesians: God’s Plan for Unity In The Church

Part I The Nature of the church - ch. 1-3

Part II The Life in it - ch. 4-6

Date: Probably late AD 62

Design: To Encourage and stress the blessing had in Christ

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Verse Comments

apostle of Jesus Christ -- Paul asserts that he was a chosen ambassador for Christ to carry His message.

by the will of God -- While commissioned by Christ, the underlying will was God’s that choose him to be an apostle. He makes it clear in the the Galatian epistle that his apostleship was not from any man or group of men Galatians 1:1.

to the saints -- The letter is addressed to faithful believers, "holy ones," in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.

Holy ones; persons possessed of holiness, separated from sin to God. It is true that this is “the language of charitable presumption” (Pearson, Exposition of the Creed, Art. ix); when a community is thus described, St Paul does not thereby positively assert that each individual answers the description. But observe that this presumptive use of the word “saint” does not lower the true sense of the word, so as to make it properly mean, e. g., merely a member of a Christian community, a possessor of visible Church privileges. - CBSC

in Ephesus -- Two of the oldest manuscripts omit the words, in Ephesus, although they stand in most manuscripts. Many scholars think this was a circular letter, written to be read by local gatherings of Christians in several places, of which the church at Ephesus was the most prominent. Fortunately the question affects neither the authenticity of the letter nor its value for us. - BBC

While certainly directed to Ephesus it was also a circular letter. Two things in particular make us seem certain of this: 1) The omission of the words "in Ephesus" in many MSS, and the fact that some epistles are directred to regional churches, (Galatians 1:2; 1 Peter 1:1;) The fact that Paul intended for some of his letters to be read at multiplce places, Colossians 4:16. 2) The lack of personal and direct references to the Ephesus church (as in Romans 16, and the end of some epistles). - WG

and faithful -- The words "faith," "trust," and "believe" used in English translations all have the same Greek root (πιστοῖς, pistis). The word’s primary OT emphasis is on the trustworthiness of God. In this context they are "holy" saints and faithful.

The word may mean simply ‘trustworthy’ (cf. Ephesians 6:21, πιστὸς διάκονος) or ‘believing.’ As a Christian characteristic (the mark by which the Christian ‘Saints’ were distinguished from the unbelieving Jews. - CBSC

Verse 2

Ephesians 1:2

Grace to you and peace -- Paul’s regular greeting and introduction found in all thirteen of his epistles.

"Grace" was formal greeting used in Greek letters of thes day (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1), while the word "peace" [Hebrew equivalent was "shalom."] was the customary Jewish greeting. Paul liked always using both words.

Paul may have written this entire epistle by hand (as he did the letter to Philemon, Philemon 1:19.) However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write some of his letters and this was probably his usual practice. (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

God our Father -- God chose family terms to reveal Himself to mankind (Example: Hosea 2-3 as passionate, faithful lover, Hosea 11 as loving father and mother). See Colossians 1:2.

Lord -- The Greek term "Lord" (kurios) can be used in a general sense or in a developed theological sense. It can mean "mister," "sir," "master," "owner," "husband" (e.g., John 4:11; John 4:15; John 9:36) or "the full God-man" (e.g., John 4:19; John 9:38).

The OT (Hebrew, adon) usage of this term came from the Jews’ reluctance to pronounce the covenant name for God, YHWH (cf. Exodus 3:14, ). They were afraid of breaking the Commandment which said, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (cf. Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). Therefore, they thought if they did not pronounce it, they could not take it in vain. So, they substituted the Hebrew word adon, which had a similar meaning to the Greek word kurios (Lord).

The NT authors used this term to describe the full deity of Christ. The phrase "Jesus is Lord" was the public confession of faith and a baptismal formula of the early church (cf. Romans 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11).

Verse 3

Ephesians 1:3

Verse 3: 1) Source; 2) Scope; 3) Sphere

v. 3-14 is one sentence; poetical in structure, parallelism, Doxology.

[Wuest says the contents of verses 3-14 make one long sentence, possibly the longest sentence of connected discourse in existence. Long sentences is characteristic of this book, (cf. Ephesians 1:3-23; Ephesians 2:1-10; Ephesians 2:14-22; Ephesians 3:1-12; Ephesians 3:14-19; Ephesians 4:11-16; Ephesians 6:13-20).]

Blessed be the God -- This Greek term "eulogy" (eulogô) which means to praise or commend and was always used of praising God. It is a different term from the "blessed" (makarios) of the beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:1-11).

Blessed be -- "Worthy of blessing is..." gives the meaning in English more exactly of the Greek.

Blessed (εὐλογητός) is normally applied to God, as having an intrinsic right to the worship of His creatures.

The Father sent the Son and the Spirit to bring believers into fellowship with Himself and fellowship with one another.

the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ -- God the Father is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ as He (the Lord Jesus) is seen in His humanity. He cried on the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?"

The Father addresses, the Son, "Thy throne, O, God, is for ever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8). But in our Ephesian passage Paul is thinking of the humanity of our blessed Lord as he died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, Ephesians 1:7.

who -- God the Father. Why blessed ...

blessed us with --

1) v.3 All spiritual blessing are in Christ

2) v. 4-6 We Are Chosen in Christ

He chose us, adopted us, character

3) v. 7-8 Redemption Is In Christ

4) v. 9-10 All Things Gathered in Christ

5) v. 11-12 Inheritance Is In Christ

6) v. 12-13 Our Trust Is In Christ

7) v. 13-14 Sealed In Christ

every spiritual blessing -- Verses 4–14 specify the contents of these blessings, which cover the whole scope of God’s saving work in Christ. This includes the type of people God selected to save, our adoption to sonship, redemption, forgiveness, and sealing.

“Spiritual” blessings are benefits that relate to our spiritual life in contrast to our physical life. Since God has already given us these things, we do not need to ask for them but should appropriate them by faith and give thanks for them.

in Christ -- The believers are associated in union and companionship with Christ. The believer have committed themselves into his providential care by trusting and obeying and recognize Him as the source of their blessings.

in heavenly places -- Lit., “in the heavenlies”; an adjective without a noun.

in heavenly places -- A key phrase; Only used in Ephesians; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12

"The spiritual sphere or realm of Christ’s reign rather than a physical location."

The word "places" is in italics, showing that the word as such is not in the Greek text, and is supplied by the translators in an attempt to make plain to the English reader, the thought in the Greek text. The original has en tois epouraniois; a preposition (in), the definite article, (tois) and an adjective meaning "in or above heaven, existing in heaven, the heavenly regions; i.e., the abode of God and angels." Thayer applies the last meaning to Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 3:10, where the same expression is used.

Verse 4

Ephesians 1:4

2) v. 4-6 We are chosen in Christ

He chose us, adopted us, character

chose us -- Both Jew and Gentile alike were included in God’s eternal plan of redemption. God wanted them all. This focused on the Father’s choice before time.

The term election = has to do with the people.

The term predestination = has to do with the purpose.

in him -- Those that would be saved would be "in Him". They would be people with a special relationship with Christ.

God chose a class of people - the people who accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Many will not accept Christ, but those who do accept him are given the privilege to become sons of God (John 1:12). - CPNIV

In Christ is one of the key expressions of Ephesians. There are two closely related lines of truth in the NT — the truth of the believer’s position and the truth of his practice. - BBC

in Him -- This is a key concept. The Father’s blessings, grace and salvation flow only through Christ (cf. John 10:7-18; John 14:6). Notice the repetition of this grammatical form (locative of sphere) in Ephesians 1:3, "in Christ"; Ephesians 1:4, "in Him"; Ephesians 1:7, "in Him"; Ephesians 1:9, "in Him"; Ephesians 1:10, "in Christ," "in Him"; Ephesians 1:12, "in Christ" and Ephesians 1:13, "in Him" (twice). These are parallel to "in the Beloved" of Ephesians 1:6. - Utley

before the foundation of the world -- God’s selection of the plan of salvation was not an "afterthought" but it was made before the creation of this world. Those to be saved would be those "in Christ".

This phrase is also used in Matthew 25:34; John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:19-20 and Revelation 13:8.

This phrase refers to eternity before the time of this world’s creation. Paul is speaking from a heavenly perspective when describing God’s plan to save men "in Christ."

holy ... blameless ... in love -- The character of those "in Christ" are to be people of holy character. In Christ we are holy, blameless, and loved by God.

(1) Is this description describing the character of those chosen, or

(2) how they will be "counted" when they are "in Christ."

Christians are “holy” (hagious; cf. hagiois, “saints,” Ephesians 1:1), that is, set apart, dedicated to God. In addition, Christians, as redeemed forgiven people, are “blameless.” This word amōmous, “ without blemish,” is used eight times in the New Testament (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 2:15; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14; Revelation 14:5). In the Septuagint it is used of sacrificial animals; only those without blemish could be offered to God.

in love -- (1) Is this referring to divine love demonstrated in God’ grace. Or (2) to man’s love. The other five occurrences of “in love” in Ephesians (Ephesians 3:17; Ephesians 4:2, Ephesians 4:15-16; Ephesians 5:2 Here it seems to refer to God’s love for mankind.

Bible expositors are in hopeless disagreement as to whether the words "in love" qualify that which precedes or that which follows.

Verse 5

Ephesians 1:5

Who, What, When, Why, How,

Note what was done, Who did the selecting; When it was done; In Whom it was made. Why in v.6

having predestinated -- God pre-determined [foreordained] the plan that those "in Christ" would be adopted as His children. See Ephesians 3:11; Romans 8:29

Predestined is from proorisas, “marked out beforehand.” G4309. Thus the emphasis of predestination is on the what and how rather than the who.

for adoption -- ‘Adoption,’ was frequent in all parts of the Graeco-Roman world. And Paul seems to have laid hold of the figure to suggest the truth that the special Christian relation of sonship to God (cf. Ephesians 5:1; Romans 8:15; Romans 8:23; Romans 9:4; Galatians 4:5) is as the relation of Israel to YHWH had been (Romans 9:4, cf. Exodus 4:22 ff.)

as sons -- A well-to-do but childless adult who wanted an heir would adopt a male, usually at an age other than in infancy and frequently a slave, to be his son. - CPNIVNT

An adopted son is given the same rights to be a heir to the Father according to the good pleasure and testament of the Father.

through Jesus Christ -- The agent handling the adoption, so to speak, was Christ. Those "in Christ", in a fellowship, or relationship with Christ, would be the ones predestined to be adopted.

Through Jesus Christ is the only one way to the Father, (cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5).

according to -- This plan for adoption was due simply to God’s sovereign will.

the good pleasure of His will -- It was/is God’s own choice to save people this way, Ephesians 1:11; 2 Peter 3:9.

Verse 6

Ephesians 1:6

to the praise -- Why? Because our salvation glorifies God - cf. Ephesians 3:10-11. In praising God for what He does, we learn to praise Him for who He is.

his glorious grace -- God’s plan of action reveals his grace (undeserved favor, cf. Ephesians 1:7) to mankind. John 1:14; 2 Peter 3:9. God’s grace is not merely unmerited favor, but it reveals also the divine character.

This phrase is repeated three times (cf. Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14) and accents the work of the three persons of the Trinity.

1. God the Father before time, Ephesians 1:1-6

2. God the Son in time, Ephesians 1:1-12

3. God the Spirit through time, Ephesians 1:1-14 - Utley

glorious -- Glory is another of the ruling words of the epistle, falling into the same category with riches and fulness.

Alford says: "The end, God’s end, in our predestination to adoption, is that the glory, glorious nature, brightness and majesty, and kindliness and beauty, - of His grace might be the object of men and angel’s praise: both as it is in Him, ineffable and infinite, - and exemplified in us, its objects."

freely given us -- The verb εχαριτωσεν from the noun “grace” (charis). The verb form is used only one other time in the New Testament (Luke 1:28, where Mary is said to be “highly favored”).

in the Beloved [in the One he loves] -- This stresses the manifestation of God’s love to His Son (cf. “the Son He loves,” Colossians 1:13).

This reference to Christ also furnishes the transition to the second Person of the Trinity discussed in Ephesians 1:7-12. God the Father loves His Son; and believers, being in the Son, are also the object of God’s love.

Verse 7

Ephesians 1:7

3) v. 7-8 Redemption Is in Christ

In whom -- "The Beloved" that ends Ephesians 1:6, is described as the One "in whom we have redemption.

we have -- εχομεν we have, G2192 V-PAI-1P "in whom we are having redemption".

we have redemption -- (G629, N-ASF) The verb is a present participle, so it is durative in action, thus, "in whom we are having redemption." The redemption G629 N-ASF is an abiding fact from the past, through the present, and into the future.

redemption -- The word "redemption" is apolutrôsis which Thayer defines as follows; the verb, "to redeem one by paying the price, to let one go free on receiving the price"; the noun, "a releasing effected by payment of ransom, deliverance, liberation procured by the payment of a ransom."

The story of redemption can be told in three Greek words; agorazô, "to buy in the slave market" (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Corinthians 7:23, 1 Corinthians 7:30, 2 Peter 2:1, Revelation 5:9).

The Lord Jesus bought us in the slave market of sin, the ransom price, His blood; we are his bondslaves; exagorazô, "to buy out of the slave market, to buy off, to buy for one’s self" (Galatians 3:13, Galatians 4:5).

The redeemed are the possession of the Lord Jesus forever, and will never be put up for sale in any slave market again; lutroô "to liberate by payment of ransom" (Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:18); the redeemed are set free from the guilt and power of sin now, to be finally set free from the presence of sin...

The particular aspect of redemption spoken of here is redemption from the guilt and condemnation of sin, for the qualifying phrase, "the forgiveness of sins" is added. - Wuest

redemption -- Involves 5 basic matters:

1) Those in need of redemption - the lost

2) Someone to do the redeeming - the redeemer

3) The price for redemption - the ransom

4) The actual paying of the price - redemption

5) Those who receive the benefit - the redeemed

through his blood -- The preposition "through" is dia, the preposition of intermediate agency.

blood -- the price paid for our redemption - Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19. The out-poured blood of the Son of God at the Cross is the lutron, "the price for redeeming, the ransom," used of the act of buying slaves, of paying the ransom for a life or of captives.

The "blood" of Christ sums up the whole process of giving up his life. We should not simply think of the red liquid substance of blood, but the entire whole of a life-sacrifice freely surrendered out of love. - WG

forgiveness -- αφεσιν G859, The noun aphesis, used in relation to "sins," means "a release, the letting them go as if they had not been committed, thus, forgiveness, a remission of their penalty" (Thayer). Trench says that the image underlying the verb is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1), or letting go, as of a debt (Deuteronomy 15:3).

of sins [our trespasses] -- Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28. παραπτωματων G3900 ; The particular word for "sins" here is paraptôma, and means, "a fall beside or near something; a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness, a sin, a misdeed, a trespass."

(This is a different word from the usual "sin" ἁμαρτία, hamartia; = to miss the mark. And better translated "trespasses" here, Matthew 6:14.)

our -- Notice the plural pronoun article, "our" sins.

riches of his grace -- The degree of this forgiveness was controlled, dominated by the riches, (ploutos) wealth, abundance, plenitude of God’s grace [unmerited favor]. This forgiveness is therefore a complete, an unqualified, an unchanging one, since it is controlled by the plenitude of God’s grace, and that plenitude is infinite in proportion. - Wuest


1) Grace - Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7

2) Glory - Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:16

3) Mercy - Ephesians 2:4

4) Unsearchable - Ephesians 3:8

Verse 8

Ephesians 1:8

lavished -- Abundance continues to set the tone in verse 8 — grace is said to have been lavished on us.

lavished -- Paul uses this term (perisseuō) over and over again (cf. Romans 5:15; Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:2, 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 1:8; Philippians 1:9; Philippians 4:12, Philippians 4:18; Colossians 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:1). It expresses Paul’s sense of the full measure and beyond of God’s grace and provisions in Christ. God’s love for us demonstrated in Christ is like an overflowing fountain or an artesian well!

This time-reference is fixed by the next verse. Ideally, and for the Church as a body,

upon us, in all wisdom and insight -- They may mean either that God largely exercised His wisdom and prudence, or that He largely gave wisdom and prudence to the saints, but our understanding is the former. - WG

“in all wisdom and insight” -- This refers to God’s gift of understanding, not the gnostic false teachers’ secret knowledge, which He gave so that fallen mankind might grasp the implications of the gospel (cf. vv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 18–23; Luke 1:17; Colossians 1:9). The false teachers were emphasizing a secret human wisdom. God’s wisdom is Christ. (Utley)

Wisdom” (sophia) is what is highest and noblest, and “insight” or “understanding” (phronesei) is the means by which we perceive it.24

Again we have to decide whether the last part of this verse modifies the first part of verse 8 or the first part of verse 9 (cf. v. 4). Normally the modifying phrases follow the action words in this passage. Paul’s idea therefore seems to have been that God lavished His grace on us in His infinite wisdom knowing how we would respond to it. The wisdom and insight are God’s, not ours.

24 24. Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, pp. 263–67.

Verse 9

Ephesians 1:9

making known -- An aorist particple, having made known. The time-reference is to the actual revelation of the Gospel. . Romans 3:21; Romans 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 1:10.

mystery -- In Paul’s writings, the Greek word used here, mystērion, refers to God’s plan now revealed in Christ to unify the Jews and Gentiles into one new people of God, the church. Ephesians 3:3; Ephesians 3:5-6; Ephesians 3:9.

The New Testament uses the term “mystery” to refer to a truth previously hidden but now made known by divine revelation (cf. Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:25; Romans 16:25-26; et al.)

mystery - something which has been hidden, or not revealed, but Paul says is now being made known.

Something that Paul goes on to say can be read and understood, Ephesians 3:3-6.

of his will -- God’s plan and choice.

according to his purpose -- God in his Sovereignty chooses his path of action. Without foreign aid or counsel. His purposes originated in his own mind, and were concealed until he chose to make them known; see 2 Timothy 1:9.

set forth in Christ -- God initiated his plan and fullfilled it in Christ.

Verse 10

Ephesians 1:10

dispensation of the fulness of times -- The Christian age: cf. Galatians 4:4 (Ephesians 3:2 - "dispensation of grace".

fullness of time -- When the time was just right; when all elements were present make the timing perfect for God’s plan. (See Galatians 4:4 note.)

fullness of times -- God’s previously hidden plan has now been revealed to believers through Christ, the focal point of God’s redemptive activity (compare Ephesians 3:1-9). - FSB

unite all things -- bring together The Greek verb used here, anakephalaioō, means “to sum up” or “head up.” Later in Ephesians, Paul describes Christ as the “head” (kephalē) of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:15; Ephesians 5:23).

the summing up of all things in Christ -- This compound term is literally “the uniting of several things under one head.” This is a reference to the cosmic significance of the work of Christ (as is seen so clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 and Colossians 1:20-22). Christ is the “head” not only of His body the church, but of creation (kosmos). - Utley

heavens and the things on the earth -- God’s work in Christ extends over all creation, including the heavens (Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20).

Verse 11

Ephesians 1:11

In whom -- Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 1:2; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7


1) The faithful are in him, and their faith (trust) is in him (Ephesians 1:15)

2) He is means of grace, source of grace

3) In Him is where saints experience spiritual blessings

4) God’s selection realized in Him

5) He is the means of sonship thru adoption

6) Means of acceptance

7) through Him redemption, forgiveness

8) v.10 All gathered together in Christ

9) v.11 Have inheritance

10) v.12 Have trusted (believed) in Christ

11) v.13 Gentiles trusted in Christ and are sealed

See Expository Outlines Glory In The Church, by W.T. Hamilton (Gus Nichol’s son-in-law)

we -- Here Paul included both Jews and Gentiles. “We” is not emphatic. The emphasis is “also” or “even”.

inheritance -- Paul speaks of inheritance as something promised to our spiritual ancestors and received by us (see Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29; Galatians 4:7; Colossians 1:12; Colossians 3:24)

having been predestined -- God predestined that it would be through Christ that men would be saved. See Ephesians 1:5 note.

were chosen -- From the Jewish perspective, this likely refers to the salvation brought about by the Jewish Messiah, Jesus. Such an understanding coheres with passages like Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 32:9.

who works all things -- The word translated “works” is the same one from which “energy,” “energetic,” and “energize” are derived. When God created the world, He gave it sufficient energy to begin immediately to operate as He had planned. It was not simply ready to function, but was created functioning. As God works out His plan according “to the counsel of His will,” He energizes every believer with the power necessary for his spiritual completion (cf. Phil 1:6; 2:13). - MSB

The phrase seems to emphasize that God "is" now currently, effectively working (accomplishing) His plan. (And this is done through Jesus Christ.) - wg

Verse 12

Ephesians 1:12

we -- This refers to believing Jews (cf. Romans 1:16).

we -- Reflecting Paul’s own ethnicity, “we” likely refers to Jews— God’s chosen people (in the O.T.) and those from whom the Messiah came (see Matthew 10:5 and note, Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24 and note; Acts 1:8 and note; Romans 1:16 and note). This means that “you” often refers to Gentiles (non-Jews), including most of the believers in Ephesus and the surrounding areas (see Ephesians 2:11; Ephesians 3:1). Compare note on Ephesians 2:17. - FSB

first -- The believing Jews. cf. Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9;

to hope [trust] in Christ -- The one to trust that Jesus was the promised Messiah. In Him that placed their trust for redemption, or salvation. Paul and his fellow-laborers had "first" hoped in the Savior and then had gone on to proclaim the message to others so the could become partakers of the same privileges.

glory -- Denotes honor and majesty. See note on Romans 1:23.

to the praise of His glory. -- God’s glory is the supreme purpose of redemption (cf. Ephesians 1:6, Ephesians 1:14).

Verse 13

Ephesians 1:13

you -- This refers to believing Gentiles (cf. Ephesians 2:11-12). Paul stresses that the same inheritance (Ephesians 1:14) God gave to Jews is also made available to non-Jews according to God’s revealed mystery (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-9).

trusted -- To trust to the extend that one commits self to obeying and following. The word "trust" comes from verse 12. (The NIV seems to falsely indicate that one is marked in Christ with a seal when one believes, thus, salvation by faith only.)

after [when, ESV] that ye heard -- "Faith comes by hearing .." Romans 10:17.

word of truth -- The gospel; called the “word” or message of truth, the word of God, see Romans 10:17. The phrase “the word of truth” means “the true word or message.” It was a message unmixed with Jewish traditions or Gentile philosophy. The gospel. Romans 1:16.

word of truth -- Refers to the gospel message, explained in the following clause as “the gospel (euangelion) of your salvation.” This is the message about the Messiah, Jesus, which was originally proclaimed to Jews and later embraced by Gentiles. - FSB

This is what caused the Ephesians to believe or trust in Christ, cf. Acts 19:18, confessed, Acts 20:21 repented; Acts 19:5 were baptized.

sealed -- stamped, ownership, to mark, accept, something as true. see John 3:33; John 6:27;; Acts 1:4. Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22.

The idea of the phrase is a double one; attestation of reality (cp. John 3:33; Romans 4:11; 1 Corinthians 9:2), and claim of property (cp. Romans 15:28). - BN

you were sealed -- In the ancient world, a seal indicated ownership and protection (compare Daniel 6:17 and note; 2 Corinthians 1:22). The notion of sealing in this context is related to the Day of Judgment: Sealed believers will be kept for their ultimate inheritance—redemption at the end of the age (Ephesians 1:14)—by the gift of the promised Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Joel 2:28-30), which is given to Jews and Gentiles alike. - FSB

The sealing of which Paul speaks refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document. That document was thereby officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security (cf. Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:62-66); 2) authenticity (cf. 1 Kings 21:6-16); 3) ownership (cf. Jeremiah 32:10); and 4) authority (cf. Esther 8:8-12). - MSB

you ... were sealed -- 1) This indicates that the believers in Ephesus area received some of miraculous gifts menioned in 1Cor. 12. Their receiving was a mark of God’s approval. See also the next verse regard the "gurarantee of our inheritance."

the promised Holy Spirit -- cf. Acts 2:38; Acts 8:17; John 14:16-17; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Acts 1:8; [See detailed study see Ephesians 3:17]

[To take a literal, personal indwelling of deity (the Holy Spirit) is to literalize a spiritual concept. The new spirit indwelling God’s people is His likeness, His holiness, His attitudes, we are to be "children of God" and look and act like Him.

To argue for a literal indwelling is believing in another "incarnation", but proof against such is that after one claims such, he still sins, which is impossible for God to do.- WG]


1) Was Jesus, God incarnate?

2) Did Jesus sin?

3) Is the Holy Spirit God?

4) Can God sin?

[The apostles and those they laid hands upon where given the ability by the Spirit to do signs and wonders (Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:4) to confirm the Word. The need or necessity to do this ceased after the fullness of the word was revealed and written down, Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 13:9-11; etc. Matthew 28:20; I personally think the miraculous ended with the "end of the age" when all trapping of the Jewish/Mosaical dispensation ended with the temple sacrifices, the temple itself, and all the ended with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. I believe all scripture, and inspiration ceased with the last of the apostles. WG]

Verse 14

Ephesians 1:14

[For the sealing of the Holy Spirit see the previous verse also.]

earnest [guarantee] -- The Greek word is arrhabôn, appears in the LXX only in Genesis 38:17-18; Genesis 38:20 ; and in the later Greek classics. In the N.T. G728; (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14).

Thayer says "an earnest; money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid."

Strong says "Of Hebrew origin [H6162]; a pledge, that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest: - earnest."

WordStudy "arrabṓnos, masculine noun transliterated from the Hebrew ‛arabōn (H6162). Earnest money, a pledge, something which stands for part of the price and paid beforehand to confirm the transaction. Used in the NT only in a figurative sense ..."

earnest of our inheritance -- Pledge or down payment. Ephesians 4:30

The spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, see Ephesians 1:17 for explanation. See Acts 1:4 that it is the Holy Spirit of a miraculous nature given in the first century.

Thought: 1) This is usually understood that the Holy Spirit Himself is given to the believer as the pledge of the fuller inheritance that is to be received. 2) It could mean that possessing the "fruits of the Holy Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) which are the traits, the characteristics of God Himself, is both the mark and the pledge that such a one is designated to received the fuller inheritance of God. See Jesus’ Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12; the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit; the meek will inherit the earth, the pure in heart will see God, the peacemakers will be called the sons of God; the righteous will receive the kingdom of God, etc.

our inheritance -- That which awaits the "heirs" of God as his "adopted" children.

acquire possession of it -- The "earnest" is the first part of the payment and the "possession" is the full acquisition of the transaction under consideration.

to the praise of his glory -- The "his" refers back to "Christ" v.12, and "in him" v.13. "...the word "glory" has a special reference to the manifestation of the Divine Character, as the Object of praise in the glorified world." - BN

Verse 15

Ephesians 1:15

15-23 Paul’s prayers for these brothers. This is Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving and intercession for the recipients (i.e., churches of Asia Minor). It is one long sentence in Greek.

Question: What occasioned Pauls prayers? Ephesians 1:15-16.

1) Heard of their faith

2) Heard of their love for the saints

Wherefore [For this reason] -- On account of the inheritance that the redeemed will enjoy.

heard of your faith -- Ephesians, being a circular letter, shows that Paul is referring to several churches, not just the church at Ephesus. He had heard of the problems of the churches in the Lycus Valley (Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae) through Epaphras (cf. Colossians 1:6-8).

The term "faith" can refer to

1. initial, personal trust in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:19 "toward us who believe")

2. ongoing faithful Christian living (i.e., OT sense, of Colossians 1:9-10)

3. Christian doctrine "the faith," with the definite article, (cf. Acts 6:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 14:22; Galatians 1:23; Galatians 6:10; Judges 1:3; Judges 1:20)

Here it has the article and probably option #3 is best.

and your love toward all the saints -- See Colossians 1:4 for an exact parallel. Here, however, a few MSS. omit “love.” “This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another” (1 John 3:23).

Paul had apparently heard something about the Christians in the area to which he is writing where they exemplified the kind of love believers are to have.

Verse 16

Ephesians 1:16

Question: What occasioned Pauls prayers? Ephesians 1:15-16.

1) Heard of their faith

2) Heard of their love for the saints

I do not cease -- Praying was an habitual practice of Paul. He never gave up believe in prayer.

give thanks -- This verse reveals two aspects of Paul’s prayer life: (1) thankfulness and (2) persistence. Paul continually prayed for all of Christ’s churches (cf. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 11:28; Philippians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:3; Colossians 1:9 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:4).

remembering you [making mention] -- See parallel in 2 Timothy 1:3. The apostle prayed regularly for all his new converts.

Verse 17

Ephesians 1:17

the Father of glory -- This was an OT title for God (cf. Psalms 24:7; Psalms 29:3; Acts 7:2). The genitive modifier (of glory) is also used of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 2:8 and James 2:1. Paul’s prayer is that YHWH will give these new believers a full and complete understanding of true wisdom which is Jesus Christ, not the intellectual false wisdom of the Gnostic teachers. There is no human secret wisdom. Jesus is the wisdom of God who fully reveals Him! See fuller note on "Glory" at Ephesians 1:6.

may give to you a spirit -- The term " spirit" is anarthrous (no definite article), but really serves the double purpose of referring to the human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit through His teaching. Isaiah 11:2 describes God’s gifts of the Spirit as "a spirit of wisdom," and "understanding," "a spirit of counsel," and "strength," "a spirit of knowledge," and "fear of the Lord."

In the NT there is a series of passages which describe what the gospel given to us by the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of believers.

1. "a spirit of holiness," Romans 1:4

2. "a spirit of adoption as sons," Romans 8:15

3. "a spirit of gentleness," 1 Corinthians 4:21

4. "a spirit of faith," 2 Corinthians 4:13

5. "a spirit of wisdom and revelation," Ephesians 1:17

6. "the spirit of truth," vs. "the spirit of error," 1 John 4:6

knowledge of Him -- Question: For what did Paul pray for them?

1) That they my know God

2) Know His calling

3) Know His riches

4) Know His power

wisdom and revelation -- Paul prays for the brethren there to have these spiritual gifts, which is the explanation of how the promised Spirit marked these Christians. Acts 1:4; Acts 8:14-18; 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:10-28)

Verse 18

Ephesians 1:18

understanding being enlightened -- Through the spiritual gift of wisdom and revelation. Ours can be opened through reading and studying (Ephesians 3:3-4; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:15)

enlightened -- to know three things:

1) The hope of His calling

2) Know the treasures God has for his people

3) Know the greatness of His power, Ephesians 1:19

hope of His calling -- The term "calling" (kaleô) is used in several theological senses in the NT.

1. sinners are called by God through Christ to salvation

2. sinners call on the name of the Lord to be saved

3. believers are called on to live Christlike lives

4. believers are called to ministry tasks

the riches of the glory -- Paul often speaks of gospel truths as "riches" (cf. Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16). See note at Ephesians 1:7.

Verse 19

Ephesians 1:19

exceeding [immeasurable; surpassing] greatness -- This term huperballô is used only by Paul in the NT. It expresses his overwhelming emotion of what God in Christ has done for rebellious mankind in redemption (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:14; Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:19).

toward us who believe -- This phrase shows the falsehood of the doctrine of "universalism" which asserts that eventually all people will be saved. This universalism is usually based on proof-texting isolated passages like Romans 5:18. God has chosen to allow humans to participate (conditional covenant) in their own spiritual salvation and pilgrimage. Christians must believe, repent and be baptized to enter into the spiritual body of Christ.(cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 3:16; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21; Galatians 3:26-27)

The gospel’s inclusivism (cf. John 1:12; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; Titus 2:11; 1 Peter 3:9) was in contrast to the exclusivism of the false teachers. The gospel is universal in its invitation (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9) to all who will call on the name of the Lord by faith and obedience (cf. Romans 10:9-13).

his great power -- Question: How did God demonstrate His mighty power?

1) Raising Jesus from the dead Ephesians 1:20-21

2) Setting Him at His right hand, Ephesians 1:20-21

3) Put all things under His feet, Ephesians 1:22-23

And making Him the head of the church

4) Raised us from death spiritually, Ephesians 2:1-6

5) Seated us together in Christ , Ephesians 2:6

Verse 20

Ephesians 1:20

see note on Ephesians 1:19

worked in Christ -- The next three phrases describe what God the Father’s tremendous, mighty power has done for Jesus.

1. It "raised Him from the dead" Ephesians 1:20. This was the sign of His accepted sacrifice (cf. 1 Corinthians 15).

2. It "seated Him on His right hand," Ephesians 1:20. This was the place of exaltation and preeminence (cf. Colossians 3:1). This represented Christ’s ongoing intercessory ministry (cf. Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1 and was fulfillment of OT prophecy, cf. Psalms 110:1; Acts 7:56).

3. It "made Him supreme Head of the church," Ephesians 1:22. This use of the term church refers to the unique new people of God, which includes all who believe, both Jew and Gentile (cf. Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13; Galatians 3:27-29).

God has also similarly done great things for the followers of Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:5-6). All three terms in Ephesians 2:5-6 are compounds with the preposition syn which means "joint participation with."

raised him from the dead -- References the Lord’s resurrection. This was a sign to the Jews of God’s acceptance of Christ as a sacrifice. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

seated him at his right hand -- This was the place of exaltation and preeminence (cf. Mark 16:19; Colossians 3:1). This represented Christ’s ongoing intercessory ministry (cf. Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1 and was fulfillment of OT prophecy, cf. Psalms 110:1; Acts 7:56).

Verse 21

Ephesians 1:21

Note the supreme position of Christ (5)

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion" This phrase may refer to ranks or orders of spiritual powers or angelic levels that are hostile to humanity (cf. Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:24). Jesus is superior to all angelic ranks (cf. Hebrews 1-2). This refuted the Gnostic false teachers’ emphasis on angelic levels (aeons).

These ranks may also refer to impersonal structures in our world which allow humans to function apart from God. Examples are philosophy, education, government, medicine, religion, etc. (cf. Hendrik Berkhof’s Christ and the Powers, Herald Press).

and every name that is named -- This may refer to the false teachers’ secret passwords or names used to pass through the angelic spheres. The gnostics were trusting in their secret knowledge of magical names to bring salvation. Paul asserts that salvation or union with God is found only in Jesus’ name (cf. Philippians 2:9-11).

In the OT a person’s name represented his character. The Father’s character is fully revealed in the Son (cf. John 14:8-14; John 17:11).

this age -- 1) The Jews believed in two ages, the current age, and the one to come.

hat which is to come -- 2) The heavenly age.

Verse 22

Ephesians 1:22

in subjection under His feet -- "Subjection" is a military term for a chain of command (cf. Psalms 110:1; Psalms 8:6). The Father has given the Son first place in all things (cf. Colossians 1:18-19). In the end, the Son will turn all things back to the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:27-28).

Jesus’ submission to the Father does not imply, in any sense, inequality, but an administrative, functional division of labor within the Trinity. See note at Ephesians 5:21.

head over -- Here, head over all things to, and for, the church. (cf. Ephesians 4:15; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18-19; Colossians 2:19). The people of the ancient Mediterranean world believed the head gave life to the body.

CHURCH -- Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23-27, Acts 20:28.

The Church is the "Body of Christ," Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24,

There is one body- Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Colossians 3:15,

Saved "Added by the Lord"- not "Voted In," Acts 2:47, 2 John 1:9-10,

church -- In secular Greek, this term meant an assembly (cf. Acts 19:32). Ekklesia was used in the Septuagint (LXX) to translate the Hebrew term "assembly (qahal) of Israel" (cf. Exodus 16:3; Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 4:13; Numbers 20:4). This is the first of several uses of this term in Ephesians (cf. Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:23-25; Ephesians 5:27; Ephesians 5:29; Ephesians 5:32). Both in Eph. (Ephesians 1:22-23) and in Col. (Colossians 1:24) Paul calls the church the body of Christ. The early church saw themselves as the fulfilled people of God with Christ Jesus, the Messiah, as their Head.

One of the unusual literary relationships between Ephesians and Colossians is that in Ephesians this term refers to the church universal (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6), while in Colossians it usually refers to the local church. This points toward Ephesians as a circular letter.

Verse 23

Ephesians 1:23

his body -- the church (terms used interchangeably). As Christ is the head, the church fills picture as beling his body.

The church fulfills His body; Christ fills the body (the church) as being the head.

the fulness of him who fills -- Grammatically this is a present middle participle. Here are some possible interpretations of this phrase:

1. Christ is filling the church

2. the church is filling Christ (cf. Colossians 1:24)

3. the church is being filled to the full number of believers (Jews and Gentiles [all nations] numerical aspect, cf. Romans 11:25)

This terminology was meant to attack the incipient Gnostic false teachers’ theological system of aeons, emanations or angelic ranks. The terms "fulness" and "filled" are forms of the Greek term plçrôma, which later in the second century became the technical Gnostic term for the total number of angelic levels (cf. Ephesians 1:21) between the high, holy, spiritual god and the lesser god who fashioned evil matter.

This is a powerful definition of the church. She is meant to fully reflect her head, Jesus. As Jesus revealed the Father, so too, the church is to reveal the Father.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Ephesians 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/ephesians-1.html. 2021.
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