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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


From Paul. It was the custom to state the writer’s name at the beginning of a letter. Note that Paul stresses the fact that he is an apostle by God’s will! Compare note on Galatians 1:1. To God’s people. The CHURCH of Christ is uniquely God’s people!!! [Saints: see note on 1 Corinthians 6:11,]

Verse 2


May God. See note on Romans 1:7.

Verse 3


Let us give thanks! “God has blessed not only the Jews but also you Gentiles, with all the riches of heaven!!! And he has done this without making the Law of Moses a condition to salvation!!!”

Verse 4


Before. “What God did in Christ was not an afterthought or an act of desperation on his part. Salvation comes to you Gentiles because God planned it that way even before the world was made.” God had already chosen us. “Before there was Jew or Gentile, God chose to have a people for himself, the whole church of Christ, people of the covenant, limited to no one earthly race.” Holy and without fault. “Accepted as holy because of Christ ( Romans 8:3-4 and notes), not because of Jewish or pagan rites.”

Verse 5


God had already decided. “God had already decided that we, the church of Christ, should be adopted as his children!” Johnson says: “The whole line of argument is general instead of particular. God foreordained a church which should be composed of those adopted as his children.”

Verse 6


For his glorious grace! “We praise God for his goodness which he displayed to us in the free gift of life which he gave us in his dear son!”

Verse 7


For by the death of Christ. Death and blood cannot be separated! Death = blood = Christ-on-the-cross!!! “In the church of Christ you Gentiles have the promise of being put right with God through the death of Christ as our sin-offering!!! Our sins are forgiven and we are set free!!!” See notes on Acts 8:39-40. Compare Colossians 1:13 and note.

Verse 8


In such large measure! “Rather than only revealing his secret to a very few, God gave us his grace in a measure beyond our imagination!!!” Compare 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; 1 Peter 4:18 and notes.

Verse 9


And made known to us. “God made this VISION OF THE AGES known to us apostles by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10), and through us to you! God’s secret is known by all who have been made God’s children through their faith!” Some may have said that the GOSPEL was a “modern thing” and not to be trusted. In these verses, Paul shows us that this was ALWAYS God’s plan and purpose, kept secret until the right time, and revealed IN the Christ of history!!! Compare Luke 9:31 and note.

Verse 10


God’s plan. “God’s plan is to bring everything in all of creation into a UNITY with Jesus Christ as head!” Compare Colossians 1:15-20 and notes. Which he will complete. God’s act in Christ is complete!!! But the effects of it will not have all taken place until death is destroyed in the Resurrection! Compare 1 John 3:1-3 and notes. Our salvation will not be complete until our whole being is set free by our bodies being redeemed (Romans 8:23). In contrast, many of the mystery religions said that our salvation would be completed by our becoming disembodied spirits.

Verse 11


According to. God rules over history. In the message of the Good News, God’s plan and decision, which he had already decided from the beginning of the world, was revealed to the entire world! Christ ‘is the sole means or agent through whom God’s predetermined (foreordained) purpose of putting men right with himself is fulfilled. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “The fact that we were made the heritage of God is thus declared to have been no incidental thing, nor an event belonging only to time or one having its explanation in ourselves, but a change in our life founded on and resulting from the eternal foreordaining purpose of God Himself.” Lipscomb says: “God foreordained the provisions of salvation, the characters that should be saved, and the conditions and tests by which they would be saved. He left every man free to choose or reject the terms and provisions of salvation and in so doing to refuse to form the character God has foreordained to be his children and so predestined to everlasting life.” Compare Romans 8:29-30 and notes.

Verse 12


Who were the first to hope. “We Jews waited many centuries for the Messiah to come, and we who were the first to believe in Christ have this hope, not through the Law of Moses, but through the free gift of Jesus Christ! We praise God’s glory in what he has done!!!” Compare Hebrews 12:23 and note.

Verse 13


With you also. “When you heard the Good News, you reached out through faith to seize Christ and make yourself part of Him!” His stamp of ownership. The Jew viewed circumcision as God’s stamp of ownership on him. Here Paul identifies the Holy Spirit received in baptism (Acts 2:38) with circumcision (Colossians 2:11-13).

Verse 14


The Spirit is the guarantee. “What God has promised his people is not complete until our bodies are changed (Philippians 3:20-21). The (indwelling) Spirit that each Christian receives (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:38; Acts 5:32) is our guarantee that this will take place!!!” Complete freedom = the redemption of the purchased people. Paul stresses freedom, possibly because the mystery religions claimed to offer unusual freedom.

Verse 15


For this reason. “Because the Spirit is the guarantee of our complete freedom.” Ever since. He says this to show that he is aware of their faith and love.

Verse 16


Giving thanks. Paul always praises God for the faith of sincere Christians!!!

Verse 17


To give you the Spirit. “I continually ask God who is the source of our eternal hope to give you the supernormal gifts from the Spirit. He will make you wise (1 Corinthians 12:8) and reveal God to you as you understand the truth we have preached to you.”

Verses 18-19


To see his light. We cooperate with God in our salvation, and as we reach out to him through faith, he also reaches out to us. As we make ourselves receptive to his truth, he opens our minds. It is a paradox that the more we learn about God, the more we are able to learn (1 Corinthians 2:14). His light makes it possible for us to see (1) the hope we have as spiritual descendants of Abraham; (2) how rich are the wonderful blessings God has for us in eternity; (3) how very great is his power which sets us free from guilt and punishment and will raise us from death! This power. See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and notes.

Verse 20


Which he used. See Romans 8:11 and note. And seated him. To show that Christ is King and rules the universe, God seated him at his right side, the place of honor! Compare 1 Corinthians 15:25.

Verse 21


Above all. Both Judaism and the mystery religions viewed God as unapproachable with angels arranged in layers as go-betweens. Heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords were names they gave to different ranks in the angelic world. Paul shows Jesus Christ, the God/Man sitting not only in God’s presence, but at God’s right side!!! Jesus has bypassed the angels to make a direct link between man and God!!! All titles of power. This makes Jesus Christ superior to everyone and everything except God the Father himself! Compare Colossians 1:16; 1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 3:10.

Verse 22


God put all things. See 1 Corinthians 15:27. Gave him to the church. Paul usually means local congregation when he says church, but here he means the universal church which is composed of all the saved – the messianic community in its widest sense. This church is Christ’s body and Christ himself is the head of that body. See Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:19.

Verse 23


The completion. The church completes Christ in the sense that the church is the visible declaration that Christ is Lord!!! Paul stresses the close connection between Christ and his Church!!! See note on Acts 9:5. This also can be translated fullness as the NIV has done. Lipscomb says: “Jesus filled with all the fullness of God bestows the fullness of his blessings on his body, the church.” Paul shows the Ephesians how very inferior in both dignity and happiness the members of pagan fellowships and mystery religions are, when compared with the members of Christ’s Church!!! The church of Christ is a fellowship protected and ruled by One whom God has raised to the highest position in the Universe, in order to make the members of the Christian fellowship (church) holy and happy through all eternity!!! Notice the church does not terminate, but continues on into Eternity!!! Compare Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:1-5.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Ephesians 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/ephesians-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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