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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Ephesians 1

 

 


Other Authors
Verse 1-2

Salutation- This passage of Scripture is called the salutation and is found in all thirteen of Paul's New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity ( 2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

In Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul gives his opening salutation to the believers in Ephesus.

Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 1:1 — "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" - Comments (1) - To those churches and individuals in which Paul displayed his apostleship over them in order to give correction and doctrine, he introduces himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ" ( Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1). To the Philippians Paul describes himself as a "servant". This is because within the context of this epistle Paul will give examples of himself ( Philippians 1:12-23), of Jesus Christ ( Philippians 2:1-11), of Timothy ( Philippians 2:19-22) and of Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25-30) as servants who laid aside their own wills and in order that to fulfill the will of those in authority over them. For this is the message and theme of Paul's epistle to the Philippians. To Philemon Paul declares himself as a "prisoner of Jesus Christ," because his message to Philemon was about a slave, or prisoner, who was serving Philemon. In his two letters to the church of Thessalonica Paul defers the use of a title in order to equate himself as co-workers with Silas and Timothy. He will refer to his apostleship in 1 Thessalonians 2:6, but he will be mindful to use it in the plural form as a co-worker with Silas and Timothy because he emphasizes their need to labour together until Jesus returns.

Comments (2) - Paul's calling was as an apostle, one of the five-fold ministry offices of the New Testament Church. That Isaiah , he was sent out by the Church ( Acts 13:1-5). Other Pauline epistles say, "called (as an) apostle." Paul had a distinct, divine calling from the Lord ( Acts 9:1-22). A description of his calling reveals that he was a possession of Christ Jesus ( Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:22, 2 Peter 2:1). That Isaiah , he (and we) belong to Christ.

Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

1 Corinthians 6:20, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God"s."

1 Corinthians 7:22, "For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord"s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ"s servant."

2 Peter 2:1, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

Comments (3) - Paul refers to his office as an apostle in nine of his thirteen epistles. In contrast, John never referred to his office. Some scholars suggest that Paul makes this reference because he was often challenged by others in this office, unlike John. Peter also opens his epistles stating his apostleship in the Lord.

Comments (4) - The phrase "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" foreshadows the theme of this epistle, as does Galatians 1:1 foreshadow its respective theme. The theme of Ephesians is that that God the Father has blessed the Church with many spiritual blessings and called it in order to bring about His purpose and plan on the earth. Thus, Paul tells the Ephesians in this opening verse that he has been called by the will of God according to His divine purpose and plan as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul has joined with God the Father in spreading His plan of redemption upon earth through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by Prayer of Manasseh , but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)"

Scripture References - We find a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 1:1 and Colossians 1:1.

1 Corinthians 1:1, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,"

Colossians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,"

Ephesians 1:1 — "to the saints" - Comments- Paul addresses his Church epistles to the "saints." This description for his recipients reflects the underlying theme of his epistles, which is the sanctification of the Church. In contrast, Peter addresses his first epistle to the "the strangers scattered," or "sojourners," which is a reflection of its theme of the perseverance of the saints.

The epistles of Paul were written to the church, not to lost people, to people who were born again, not to the world. All of Paul"s epistles were written to believers. This is a very important point in interpreting many passages in his epistles.

Ephesians 1:1 — "which are at Ephesus" - Comments- A number of modern English translations omit the phrase "at Ephesus" (for example, Beck, Goodspeed, RSV) because its omission in several important ancient Greek manuscripts brings into question whether or not this phrase was in the original Greek text. For example, in the Chester Beatty manuscript (P46), Codex Sinaiticus ( א*) (4th c.), and Codex Vaticanus (B*) (4th c.), three of the oldest extant manuscripts of the New Testament, as well as 424c and 1739 , 72] the phrase " ἐν ἐφέσῳ" is missing in the original text, 73] although it has been inserted at a later date in some of these. 74] However, these manuscripts give the title " προς επεσιους" to this same epistle. 75] The early church strongly supported this letter as Paul writing to the church at Ephesus and the overwhelming majority of Greek manuscripts include the phrase.

72] Andrew T. Lincoln, Ephesians , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol 42, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), Prescript (, 2).

73] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), footnote to Ephesians 1:1.

74] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians , in Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

75] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 528-529.

Ephesians 1:1 — "and to the faithful in Christ Jesus" - Comments- The phrase "to the faithful in Christ Jesus" seems to address other Christians beyond the church at Ephesus. It may have been added because of Paul's intent for this letter be read by other churches, similar to how Paul commanded the church at Colossi to read the epistle to the Laodiceans and vice versa.

Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

Or, as Paul commanded his first epistle to the Thessalonians, be read to all the brethren.

1 Thessalonians 5:27, "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren."

Church history tells us that the city of Ephesus was the chief economic center of Asia Minor. Its geographical location made it the most accessible city in Asia, which contributed to its strong economic, political and religious development (see Introduction: Historical Background). It was therefore an advantageous place for Paul to establish a missionary work. It was in this key city that Paul the apostle felt the need to spend two full years teaching and training his disciples. He apparently focused his efforts in key cities of influence in the Roman Empire. It was from the city of Ephesus that Paul was able to effectively reach out to all of Asia with the Gospel, as we read in Acts 19:10, thus Paul adds the phrase "and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."

Acts 19:10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."

It was most likely during this period of Paul's missionary work that other churches were planted in surrounding cities, such as the seven churches listed in Revelation 2-3. History also tells us that John the apostle took the oversight of these churches in Asia Minor, living in the central city of Ephesus. Therefore, it appears that what Paul established in this key city overflowed into the surrounding churches of nearby cities.

Ephesians 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:2Comments (The Pauline Greeting) - Scholars discuss the meaning of Paul's epistolary greetings from two different angles, either an historical approach or a theological approach.

(1) The Historical Approach - The historical approach evaluates the history behind the use of the words "grace" and "peace" in traditional greetings, with this duet of words limited in antiquity to New Testament literature. J. Vernon McGee says the word "grace" in Paul's greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word "peace" was the customary Jewish greeting. 76] More specifically, John Grassmick says the Greek word χαίρειν was a common greeting in classical Greek epistles (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1), so that χάρις was a "word play" Paul used in conjunction with the Hebrew greeting "peace." 77] Thus, Paul would be respectfully addressing both Greeks and Jews in the early Church. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon , which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using "grace" and "peace." Perhaps this greeting became customary for Paul and lost its distinctive elements.

76] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans , in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.

77] John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

(2) The Theological Approach- Another view is proposed by James Denny, who explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God's unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. 78] In a similar statement, Charles Simeon says the phrase "‘grace and peace' comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel." 79]

78] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.

79] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter , in Horae Homileticae, vol 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.

Comments (The Pauline Blessing) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host ( Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God's peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God"s peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, "And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."

This practice of speaking blessings upon God's children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.

Ruth 2:4, "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee."

We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, "mercy and truth be with thee."

2 Samuel 15:20, "Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee."

Song of Solomon , this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon the church at Ephesus, especially that God would grant them more of His grace and abiding peace that they would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God's grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient ( Deuteronomy 27:11-26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way, Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle.

We see this obligation of the recipients in the translation by Beck of 2 Peter 1:2, "As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace."


Verses 3-6

Predestination and Calling: The Father Planned the Church - Ephesians 1:3-6 reveals how God the Father planned the Church, having foreknown and predestined it before the foundation of the world. Other passages on the Father place a difference emphasis upon His office and ministry. For example, the Gospel of John emphasizes the Father's fellowship with the Son. In 2Corinthians, He is the God of All Comfort. The epistle of Philippians emphasizes the Father's provision to those who give to the work of the ministry. In 1Thessalonians, He is the God of Peace who sanctifies us wholly. In James , He is the Father of Lights who never changes to those tossed about with the troubles of life and He rewards those who seek Him in faith.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:3 — "Blessed be the God and Father" - Comments - The epistle of Ephesians offers a view of our redemption from the aspect of God the Father. Thus, Paul opens this epistle by acknowledging the blessings imparted unto the Church by the Father.

As God's children come to know God the Father's manifold blessings, that are being revealed in this life, and throughout eternity, we instinctively respond by praising Him with blessing, and glory, and honor, and power. Paul had visited the heavenly realm and received a glimpse of these spiritual blessings bestowed upon the church, which man cannot describe in natural words because of the magnitude of their glory, so he writes, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" ( Romans 11:33).

Ephesians 1:3 — "of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Comments - The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His deity and Godhead as a part of the Trinity, is the foundation of the Christian faith. This doctrine was severely attacked for the first few centuries of the early church. Here, Paul bases his epistle on this foundation, which is the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which was the result of His resurrection from the dead.

We see the adversity that Jesus faced by calling God His Father in John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

Ephesians 1:3 — "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ" - Word Study on "with all spiritual blessings" - The words in the Greek text are singular ( ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ); thus this phrase can be translated, "with every spiritual blessing."

Word Study on "in heavenly places" - Strong says the Greek word "in heavenly places," which is one word in the Greek text, ( επουρά νιος) (G 2032) literally means, "above the sky." BDAG says it is used as a "periphrasis for heaven" in the epistle of Ephesians. Thayer says, "in heavenly regions." Goodspeed reads, "in the heavenly realm." The Enhanced Strong says it is found 20 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "heavenly 16, celestial 2, in heaven 1, high 1." This word is used five times in the epistle of Ephesians alone.

Ephesians 1:20, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

Ephesians 3:10, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,"

Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Comments- There is a natural, earthly realm, and there is a spiritual, heavenly realm that influences the natural realm. The phrase "in the heavenlies" refers to those things that exist and take place in heaven or in the heavenly regions that have the potential to affect the earthly realm.

In the Greek text of Ephesians 1:3, the adjective επουρά νιος (heavenly) is neuter plural with an implied noun. The sources of blessings will come from God in heaven. Thus, many scholars believe that this phrase is not referring to Heaven exclusively, but rather it is used in a broader sense to refer to the spiritual realm that exists around us in this life. This broader meaning is supported by its use in Ephesians where it refers to "spiritual wickedness in high places," which clearly refers to the spiritual realm where both God and His angels do battle with the spiritual forces of darkness.

The entire epistle of Ephesians reflects the heavenly realm, where God the Father is orchestrating His divine plan of redemption for mankind. These same blessings are described in Philippians from a natural, earthly perspective, stating that God supplies all of our needs ( Ephesians 4:19).

Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Comments (1) - "who hath blessed us" - God's blessings always come with responsibility; for there is no business manager on earth who gives his staff resources without holding them accountable for the stewardship of those resources; and so it is with divine resources. They are abundant made available to every believer, but not every believer is given them until they "qualify" as being ready to manage such precious gifts. The last chapters of this epistle will teach us about how to manage and use these blessings, or resources, in a way that pleases God and benefits them also. This is why Paul opens this section by saying, "I…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

The examples of King Saul and King David show good and bad stewardship of God's blessings. Both were given a kingship, but both did not use these blessings in a manner that pleased God. King Saul quickly lost his blessing and anointing as a king because he was not seeking it. Saul was seeking donkeys when he was given the kingship. He did not desire it nor appreciate it when it was given. Therefore, he easily mismanaged it and God took it away. On the other hand, King David received this blessing and anointing many years before he actually became king. Therefore, he longed for it to come and deliver him from his hardships in exile. David appreciated his blessing while Saul despised his gift.

Another example is the story of Elijah's departure and the mantle. His servant Elisha desired his master's anointing ( 2 Kings 2:9). But Elijah did not simply give it to him; for Elisha had to pay a cost for such an anointing. Elisha had to pursue his master Elijah, which simply means that he pursued the "presence" of God. This is where we as ministers and children of God miss the anointing. We are busy building our little kingdom and ministry and fail to pursue intimacy with God; for it is only in His presence that such precious gifts are given. As God's children, we are daily loaded with His benefits, but the most precious gifts are reserved for those who seek intimacy with God.

Comments (2) - "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ"- It is interesting to meditate upon the phrase "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ" ( Ephesians 1:3). The phrase, "who hath blessed us" means that God has already assigned these blessings to us. The phrase "with all" reveals that everything we need to walk in abundance and peace and prosperity in this life has been made available to us, just as Adam walked in the Garden of Eden with every need provided to him before the Fall. The word "spiritual" reveals how these blessings are imparted to us. They are imparted into our spirit by the work and operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We see Paul referring the work of the Holy Spirit imparting spiritual wisdom unto us in the phrase "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" ( Ephesians 1:17). Paul refers to the Holy Spirit's impartation of inner strength to us in the phrase, "to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" ( Ephesians 3:16). The word "blessing" is the Greek word ευλογαι, which literally means, "a good thing". In other words, God has made provision for us to partake of everything that is good in His creation. The phrase "in heavenly places" literally means, "that which is above". In other words, these spiritual blessings originate from the throne of God the Father. We see a similar phrase used by Jesus when He tells Nicodomus, "You must be born from above." ( John 3:7). James uses a similar phrase when he says, "the wisdom that is from above," ( James 3:17). The phrase "in Christ Jesus" tells us that all of these spiritual blessings in heavenly places, which have already been set apart for us to partake of, can only be received through our relationship with Christ Jesus, as we abide in Him and walk in love, which walk will be discussed in the last half of this epistle, chapters 4-6. It is for this reason that Paul will first describe for us the man who is walking in this world without these spiritual blessings as he describes the Gentiles before their salvation ( Ephesians 2:1-12). Thus, we see within this short phrase the offices and ministries of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believer.

Kenneth Hagin says that these spiritual blessings include everything Jesus Christ did for mankind in his redemptive work on Calvary. He has blessed us so that we can fulfill His plan of redemption upon earth. 82]

82] Kenneth Hagin, Knowing What Belongs to Us (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1989), 2.

Ephesians 1:3Comments - Historical Background of Paul in Ephesus- Paul spent about three years in the city of Ephesus. During this time, he observed the thousands of "religious pilgrims" who attended and worshiped in the great temple of Diana. They sat in this open-air temple and meditated upon their gods, even gazing up at the heavens at night wondering how their Greek mythological gods interacted with man. These poor and ignorant people sought the blessings from these gods while fearing their wrath. They sought the same things that every human being desires, which is health, peace and prosperity. They believed that their good works would bring them divine rewards. Thus, we can see a contrast drawn in Ephesians 1:3 when Paul declares that all blessings come from God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. This also meant to the Ephesians that these Greek gods, particularly Diana, were no gods at all.

Comments- The Secondary Theme of Ephesians - Ephesians 1:3 reveals the secondary theme of Ephesians. The first three chapters of Ephesians teaches us how God the Father has planned all things and equipped the Church with all spiritual blessings necessary to fulfill the Father's divine plan of redemption ( Ephesians 1:3). The role of the Church is revealed in the last three chapters by exhorting the Church to be strong in the Lord so that it can carry out the Father's will upon the earth ( Ephesians 6:10).

Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

Comments - Spiritual Blessings Are for Today As Well As for Eternity - When we get to heaven there will be many spiritual blessings that we will enter into and experience for eternity; but even today, God has provided many of these heavenly blessings for us to experience now, even before we enter Heaven. The purpose of these spiritual blessings in this earthly life is for the Church to walk in the fullness that it was created by God to do. These blessings are made available to us so that we can walk in the spiritual, mental, physical, and financial fullness that God first intended for mankind when He created us. Although these blessings are spiritual, they can bring earthly possessions. Song of Solomon , the poor man who knows Christ Jesus is richer and more blessed than all the lost rich men in the world. Though it does not appear in the physical that we are blessed to the world's view, in God's perspective we overflow with blessing and riches. It does not matter what our Job , finances, future on earth looks like, every child of God is blessed. Praise God.

However, these blessings must be appropriated in our lives as we walk the worthy walk of our high calling in Christ Jesus, which Paul will exhort the Ephesians to do in the last three chapters of this epistle. As we place ourselves in the body of Christ and begin to put on the new Prayer of Manasseh , stay filled with the Holy Spirit, and walk in submission with one another, we position ourselves to enter into spiritual warfare and break the power of Satan from our lives and allow these spiritual blessings to abound in our lives. We must learn to walk in a place of authority and serve the Lord as these spiritual blessings begin to abound in and through us for the edification of the body of Christ. The prophet Malachi testifies of these heavenly blessings being poured out from Heaven when he says, "…I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." ( Malachi 3:10) Under the old covenant, God's blessings were poured forth based upon men's performance of the Law. Under the new covenant, God's blessings are given to the saints as they yield their lives to walk by faith in God's Word, positioning themselves for divine blessings. God's blessings originate from Heaven and come down upon us on earth as we live by faith. Paul will expound upon this "worthy walk" of faith in the last three chapters of the epistle of Ephesians.

Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

Illustration- Note a similar praise in the Doxology hymn written by Thomas Ken in 1674: 83]

83] Thomas Ken, Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns (London: Daniel Sedgwick, 1864), iii.

"Praise God from whom all blessing flow

Praise Him, all creatures here below.

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host

Praise fathers, son and Holy Ghost, Amen." 84]

84] Thomas Ken, Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns (London: Daniel Sedgwick, 1864), 7.

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:4"According as" - Comments- BDAG says the Greek word καθὼς, used in Ephesians 1:4, means, "since, in so far as." Song of Solomon , Ephesians 1:4-14 explains how and why we are blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

Ephesians 1:4 — "he hath chosen us in him" - Comments- This shows how the distinction is made between those called and those chosen, "sanctification… belief":

Matthew 20:16, "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Luke 23:35, "And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God."

Acts 9:15, "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"

Romans 8:29-30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Romans 9:11, "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)"

Romans 11:5, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."

2 Thessalonians 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"

1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."

2 Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

Revelation 17:8, "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

Revelation 17:14, "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

Illustration- As children in school, we may be the last person chosen to be on somebody's team, or to play a game. It does not matter in God"s sight, God has already chosen us long before. We have been picked first, not last, in God's eyes.

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

John 15:19, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Acts 13:17, "The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it."

The basis of this selection:

1 Corinthians 1:26-27, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"

James 2:5, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"

God's selection was not a random choice by chance, but He used guidelines.

Ephesians 1:4 — "before the foundation of the world" - Paul moved us into the heavenly realm in the previous verse ( Ephesians 1:3), a place where time does not exist, a place where God dwells in eternity, and a place that Paul visited on several occasions ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-5). This suggests that the phrase "before the foundation of the world" refers to eternity. Therefore, Paul is speaking from a heavenly perspective when describing our salvation. Although from an earthly perspective, our role was to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, from a heavenly perspective, God had already chosen us as His children. Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 1:5) and Paul ( Galatians 1:15) both speak of their divine calling from an eternal aspect.

Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

Galatians 1:15, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother"s womb, and called me by his grace,"

Ephesians 1:4 — "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" - Comments- Within the context of Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul gives us a summary of God's divine plan of redemption. Thus, the phrase "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" means that in Christ Jesus we become holy and blameless, rather than something we achieve by our own efforts. This is why Paul opens his epistles by addressing them as "saints." The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we are holy and blameless in God's sight. However, the second half of the epistle of Ephesians will exhort us to a life of holiness, as we serve the Lord because of what He has done for us.

Ephesians 1:4Comments- Ephesians 1:4 describes the first blessing:

1. What it Isaiah - God hath chosen us in Him.

2. When it comes - Before the foundation of the world.

3. Why it is given- That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

Note:

1 Peter 1:15, "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;"

Ephesians 1:4Comments- What was God doing before He created the heavens and earth in Genesis? Ephesians 1:4 tells us that He was busy planning all things from the beginning of time until the end of time. The phrase "in love" tells us that all of His plans were motivated by His love. If we refer to Romans 8:29-30 we get a glimpse into God's divine plan of redemption for mankind, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Paul says in this passage of Scripture that the destination, or purpose, of every believer is to become like Jesus Christ. To bring this about, we will need to follow this divine plan. It begins with the Father's foreknowledge, which has two phases: predestination and calling. We then move into justification as we hearken unto this calling and believe in the redemptive work on Calvary. We are kept in this position of justification as Jesus now serves as our Great High Priest making intercession for the saints. Thus, justification has two phases; our initial salvation and our daily cleansing. The next step is not mentioned, but it is the role of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification. This involves indoctrination, calling into a position into the body of Christ, and perseverance. The reason is that Romans 8:17-39 places emphasis upon the glorification of the Church, which is the underlying theme of this passage. Thus, this passage of Scripture brings us into the final phase our redemption, which is glorification. This is essentially the steps of divine election that Paul has laid out in Romans 8:29-30. It serves as a summary of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Romans 1:16-17), which was given to us by God to take us through His divine Plan of Redemption.

Now as we refer back to Ephesians 1:4, we must keep in mind that the underlying theme of this epistle is the Father's foreknowledge of the church. Thus, Paul uses the word "chosen" to refer to the Father's role of predestining and calling the Church.

The Father has been working for us and divinely intervening in the affairs of mankind in our behalf since the foundation of the World. He had glorious plans for mankind prior to creating him. He predestined us to be conformed unto the image of His Son. He called us when we heard the preaching of the Gospel. He is still divinely intervening in our lives every day. Jesus Christ was determined to be crucified for our sins from the foundation of the world. He came and died for us on Calvary to bring justification to us, and is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us so that we can maintain our righteous standing before God. The Holy Spirit was working in God with wisdom and power from the foundation of the world to give the Father insight into how to bring you to salvation and through the process of sanctification. He now lives in us and is at work in us day by day and moment by moment. What love God has for us!

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:5 — "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself" - Comments- Ephesians 1:5 reveals God the Father's role in predestination. In the Greek, this phrase "having predestined" is the aorist participle, meaning that God predestined us, or decided before hand, or before the selection came. In other words, God made the decision to redeem us, and then He made the selection ( Romans 8:30, 1 Corinthians 2:7).

Romans 8:30, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom of Solomon , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

Ephesians 1:5 — "according to the good pleasure of his will" - Comments- The phase, "according to the good pleasure of his will" reveals the sovereignty of Almighty God in orchestrating His creation as He wills.

Scripture References- Note similar verses God's sovereignty:

Psalm 115:3, "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased."

Psalm 135:6, "Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:6Comments - The "Beloved" mentioned in Ephesians 1:6 is Jesus Christ, the Beloved Son of God the Father. The Greek text literally reads, "…to the praise of the glory of His grace [ χά ρις], which He bestowed upon [ χαριτό ω] us in the Beloved…" Thus, Paul uses the noun χά ρις and its verb form χαριτό ω together. Because of God's grace, we have been made acceptable to Him because of the work in redemption on the Cross by His Most Beloved Son.


Verses 3-23

Introduction: The Father's Calling Revealed - In the opening passage of Ephesians , Paul declares the great spiritual blessings given to the Church in order to fulfill God the Father's divine plan of redemption ( Ephesians 1:3-23). Ephesians 1:3-14 is a summary and thanksgiving to God for His blessings upon us though Jesus Christ. In this passage, Paul is expressing in words the inexpressible depths and riches of God's blessings towards us. This passage is full of vivid, deep, meaningful words, which try to express the unsearchable riches of God"s grace towards us. Ephesians 1:15-23 serves as a prayer that we may grow in the understanding of these blessings that are revealed in Ephesians 1:3-14. 80]

80] Jay Smith uses a method he calls "exegetical outlining" to identify this breakdown of Ephesians 1:3-14, describing its subsections as the Father's choice (election) (1:3-6), the Son's redemption (1:7-12), and the Spirit's sealing (1:13-14). See Jay E. Smith, "Sentence Diagramming, Clausal Layouts, and Exegetical Outlining," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 131.

These blessings are bestowed upon the Church through the work of the Father who planned our redemption ( Ephesians 1:3-6), and by the Son who redeemed us ( Ephesians 1:7-12) and by the Spirit who seals and indwells the Church ( Ephesians 1:13-14). Each of these three passages ends with a similar phrase, "to the praise to His glory." Paul then prays for the saints to come into the revelation of these great truths ( Ephesians 1:15-23). In this prayer Paul refers to three aspects of these blessings; the Father's blessings give us the hope of our calling through His predestination; the Son's blessings give us the riches of our glorious inheritance through justification; and the Spirit gives us the power through sanctification, "until the redemption of the purchased possession," which refers to our glorification. Paul then takes chapters 2,3to expound upon these three blessings in light of God's high calling of allowing Him to work in and through us to bring men unto redemption.

Ephesians 1:3-14 will list for us the manifold blessings that God the Father has made available to His children. This passage of Scripture is structured as a progressive series of events in the life of the believer. These blessings of God begin before a child of God is baptized. God chose us and predestined us to be His children before the foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:3-6). When Jesus died and was resurrected, we were redeemed and our sins were forgiven. When we believe in Jesus, we receive this redemption and forgiveness ( Ephesians 1:7-12). God then begins to reveal to us His will for our lives, which is a plan that fits into His overall plan of redemption for all of mankind. This plan includes being sealed with His Holy Spirit, which is a foretaste of His wonderful inheritance that He has waiting for us in heaven ( Ephesians 1:13-14). Each of these three sections in this great passage end with the phrase, "to the praise of his glory" ( Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14). 81]

81] Jay Smith describes these three ending phrases as "refrains" in a "hymnic poetic passage." See Jay E. Smith, "Sentence Diagramming, Clausal Layouts, and Exegetical Outlining," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 94.

Thus, we see revealed by Paul in the opening passage of this great epistle the three-fold offices of God the Father ( Ephesians 1:3-6), Jesus Christ the Son ( Ephesians 1:7-12) and God the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 1:13-14) as it relates to the Father's eternal plan for the Church. There are many aspects of the offices of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but this passage refers to their offices as it particularly relates to the fulfillment of God's divine plan for His Church. Therefore, it refers to the forgiveness of their sins through Jesus Christ and being sealed by the Holy Spirit so that the believer is able to walk in God's plan for his life. Note that all of these blessings come by God's grace and not by anything that mankind deserves.

The epistle of Ephesians is structured so that if we will follow its path, God's Word will take us on a journey of obtaining these spiritual blessings referred to in Ephesians 1:3. Therefore, in the following passage ( Ephesians 1:15-23) Paul will pray that the saint will come to the revelation of these three great blessings that proceed from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In this prayer, Paul refers to these three blessings as "that ye may know:

(1) The Father- what is the hope of his calling, and

(2) The Song of Solomon - what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and

(3) The Holy Spirit- what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.

Paul will then expound upon these blessings in chapters 2-3.

(1) The Father's Blessings- The Hope of Our Calling ( Ephesians 2:1-22)

(2) The Son's Blessings- The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance ( Ephesians 3:1-13)

(3) The Spirit's Blessings- The Power Given to Every Believer ( Ephesians 3:14-21)

Paul then proceeds to tell the saints how to fulfill the purpose and plan for each of their lives in chapters 4-6. If they will follow the path of sanctification laid out in these chapters, then they will be able to enter into spiritual warfare ( Ephesians 6:10-18) so that each of them might fulfill their individual callings. God will bring their calling to pass only as they pray for Paul to fulfill his purpose and plan ( Ephesians 6:19-20).

Finally, it is interesting to note that within this passage of Ephesians 1:3-14, the phrases, "in Christ," "in the beloved," "in Himself," "by Jesus Christ," and "in whom," are used twelve times in this one passage of Scripture.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Predestination and Calling: The Father Planned the Church — Ephesians 1:3-6

2. Justification: The Son Redeemed the Church — Ephesians 1:7-12

3. Sanctification: The Spirit Sealed the Church — Ephesians 1:13-14

4. Paul's Prayer to Know these Three Blessings — Ephesians 1:15-23

Comparison of Introductory Passages within the Epistle of Ephesians - Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 serves as an introductory passage to the exposition that follows ( Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21), so does Ephesians 4:1-16 serve as an introductory passage to the exposition that follows ( Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9). Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 introduces the offices of the Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit, and is followed by a more detailed exposition on this topic in Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21, so does Ephesians 4:1-16 introduce the believer's worthy walk and is followed by a more detailed exposition of this topic in Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9.

Comparison of Introductions to Ephesians ,, Colossians , and 1Thessalonians - We can compare the introductory passages of Ephesians , Colossians and 1Thessalonians and see how they share a common function. These three epistles emphasize the role of God the Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit in God's plan of redemption. Ephesians focuses upon the Father, Colossians focuses on the Song of Solomon , and 1Thessalonians focuses on the Holy Spirit. Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 serves to introduce the Father's role in redemption, before expounding upon each role of the Trinity, so does Colossians 1:3-11 introduce the Son's role, and 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 introduces the role of the Holy Spirit. We see in all three epistles how Paul follows this introductory passage with an exposition of the role of the Trinity in redemption.

Scripture References- Note similar verses in Paul's other epistles expressing God's boundless grace as expressed in Ephesians 1:3-14 :

Romans 11:33, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

1 Corinthians 2:9-10, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of Prayer of Manasseh , the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."


Verses 7-12

Justification: The Son Redeemed the Church - Ephesians 1:7-12 tells us how the Son redeemed the Church in order to work all things after the counsel of God's divine will through justification. These verses place emphasis upon the role that God the Father ordained for Jesus Christ the Son in Hiss eternal plan of redemption for mankind. This passage tells us that the shed blood of Jesus Christ will allow the Father to bring all things back into His perfect union, and that forgiveness granted by the blood of Jesus was effective because of the mercy of the Father. It is by the Father's design that all things will be brought into union in Christ Jesus.

Comparison of Similar Passages on the Role of Jesus Christ in the Redemption of Mankind- Other passages in the New Testament reveal different aspects of Jesus' role in redemption. For example, the Gospel of Matthew reveals Jesus Christ as the Messiah whose earthly ministry fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. The Gospel of Mark reveals Jesus Christ as a miracle worker. The Gospel of Luke reveals Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world. John's Gospel reveals Him as the Eternal Son of God who proceeded from the Father. John's first epistle again emphasizes Jesus' role as the Son of God in whom we have fellowship as Jesus has fellowship with the Father. This was because John the apostle was combating a false doctrine denying His deity. The book of Hebrews discusses Jesus' role as the Great High Priest in order to help us persevere. The epistle of Galatians tells us of His role in justifying the believer and delivering him from the bondages of this world. To the Colossians , Jesus Christ was the Head of the Church. For Joshua , He was the Captain of the Lord of Hosts who led Joshua into battle. To Job , Jesus was a "daysman," or One who stood in the gap between God and man. To David, He was the Everlasting Seed of the royal Davidic lineage, the King of Kings. Isaiah saw the Messiah as the Suffering Servant in order to prophesy of His Crucifixion. However, in the epistle to the Ephesians , Jesus Christ is the One who shed His blood in order to obtain eternal redemption for mankind and to bring all creation back into divine unity.

The Son Redeemed the Church (In whom) - The phrase "in whom" is used three times in Ephesians 1:7-12. In Jesus Christ we have:

1. redemption, the forgiveness of sins ( Ephesians 1:7)

2. an inheritance ( Ephesians 1:11)

3. we were sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise ( Ephesians 1:13)

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 1:7 — "In whom" - Comments - The antecedent of "in whom" is found in the previous word in the Greek text, which is the "Beloved," that Isaiah , Jesus Christ.

"we have redemption through his blood" - Comments- The Greek word "redemption" comes from the verb λυτρόω meaning, "to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom" (Thayer).

The price of our redemption is the blood of Jesus Christ. We were released from bondage to sin and from God's eternal judgment. Jesus paid the price of our sins (transgressions) with His blood ( Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 9:15).

Colossians 1:14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"

Hebrews 9:15, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

We have been redeemed from sin and all forms of death that sin brings. Worry, anxiety, fear, strife, bitterness, resentment, sickness and disease are all manifestations of the process of death. They are produced in our lives as a result of sin dwelling in us.

Why did it take the precious blood of Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins? Because the life of a soul is in the blood, and life is the only antidote for death. Just as when a person is bitten by a venomous snake and there is only one antidote to cure that species of snake bite, so there was only one blood that could redeem us from our sins, and that was the spotless blood of the Lamb of God. No other blood would have worked to redeem us.

Ephesians 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Ephesians 1:9Comments- There are a number of mysteries mentioned by Paul in his New Testament epistles regarding our salvation that are not clearly understood; there is the mystery of Christ and His relationship to the Church ( Ephesians 5:32), of His indwelling presence in every believer ( Colossians 1:27), of the resurrection of the saints ( 1 Corinthians 15:51), and of the incarnation of Jesus Christ ( 1 Timothy 3:16).

Ephesians 5:32, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

1 Corinthians 15:51, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,"

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

The classical writers reveal that the concept of sacred mysteries being utters as divine oracles was practiced in the ancient world. Regarding the use of oracles, the ancient Greeks regarded divine oracles as a form of worship until the time of the Persian war (490-479 B.C.). 85] The temple of Apollo located at Delphi was famous in the ancient world for delivering oracles to men by those in a trance, or they interpreted dreams or patterns in nature. 86] The Greek historians Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) 87] and Plutarch (A.D 46-100) 88] mention this place of oracles in their writings. While the Romans as a nation did not regard oracles as a religious practice, this custom continued within the Empire, but not without the contempt of the Romans. 89] This practice was later outlawed under the Roman emperor Theodosius (A.D 379-385). 90] King Saul's visit to the witch of Endor shows its popularity among ancient eastern cultures ( 1 Samuel 28:7-25). The damsel who prophesied over Paul and Barnabas in Philippi is an example of the proliferation of divination in the New Testament times ( Acts 16:16-24). The Sibylline Oracles, 91] a collection of Greek oracles compiled by Jews and Christians in the early centuries before and after Christ, reflect the widespread popularity that the Sibyl prophetesses held in ancient Greek and Roman history. Regarding the concept of "mysteries" ( μυστή ριον) revealed through oracles, Plutarch, writing about the Pythian priestesses who prophesied at Delphi, speaks of "interpreters of the sacred mysteries." 92] Thus, when Paul refers to the mysteries hidden from the ages being revealed to the Church ( Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:3, 1 Timothy 3:9), or when Luke , Paul, and Peter speak of the "oracles" ( λόγιον) (G 3051) of God ( Acts 7:38, Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 Peter 4:11), they are speaking in a cultural language that the Greeks and Romans understood, where pagans frequently sought oracles through divine utterance at the temples to reveal hidden mysteries for their lives.

85] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol 3, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901), 629.

86] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Oracle."

87] Herodotus writes, "…and he [Dorieus] asked the Spartans for a company of folks, whom he took away as colonists; he neither enquired of the oracle at Delphi in what land he should plant his settlement, nor did aught else that was customary…" (Histories 542) See Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 46-47.

88] Plutarch tells us that the Sibylline prophetesses of Delphi used poetic verses with their prophecies, saying, "…for when we drew near that part of the rock which joins to the senate-house, which by common fame was the seat of the first Sibyl that came to Delphi from Helicon, where she was bred by eh Muses…Serapio made mention of certain verses of hers, wherein she had extolled herself as one that should never cease to prophesy even after her death…" (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Ephesians 1:9) He later writes, "…but I am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell me the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures…and also the temple of Tellus, to which the oracle appertained, and where the answers were delivered in verses and song." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Ephesians 1:17) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 77, 86-87.

89] The Roman poet Lucan (A.D 39-65) reflects the contempt for such oracles by the Romans when he writes, "They had now come to the Temple, the only one which among the Libyan nations the uncivilized Garamantes possess. There stands Jupiter, the foreteller of destiny, as they relate; but not either brandishing the lightnings or like to ours, but Ammon with crooked horns." (Pharsalia 9593-598) See H. T. Riley, The Pharsalia of Lucan (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 359.

90] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," In A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings (), 629.

91] The Sibylline Oracles, translated by H. C. O. Lanchester, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2, ed. R. H. Charles (electronic edition), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

92] Plutarch writes, "The interpreters of the sacred mysteries acted without any regard to us, who desired them to contract their relation into as few words as might be, and to pass by the most part of the inscriptions." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Ephesians 1:2) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 70.

Romans 16:25, "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"

1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom of Solomon , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

Ephesians 1:9, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"

Ephesians 3:3-4, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

Ephesians 3:9, "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 6:19, "And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"

Colossians 1:26, "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:"

Colossians 2:2, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;"

Colossians 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"

1 Timothy 3:9, "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."

Acts 7:38, "This is Hebrews , that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"

Romans 3:2, "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

Hebrews 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

1 Peter 4:11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

The reference to pillars and foundations of the Church in 1 Timothy 3:15 suggests that Paul had in mind the ancient Greek and Roman temples with their practice of divination, and that he compares this pagan scene of worship to the New Testament Church and the Holy Scriptures, which serve as its pillars and foundation.

Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Ephesians 1:10Comments- The gathering together of all things in heaven and in earth referred to in this verse sounds much like the rapture, when the Lord will gather together His saints both in heaven and those alive on the earth ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The phrase "dispensation of the fullness of times" describes eternity, when there will be no longer a distinction between this mortal earth and Heaven. In eternity all of God's children will be together in one place and partake of all things, those who are now in Heaven and those upon earth. Perhaps the Millennial Reign of Christ will provide a transitional period between mankind's earthly life and eternity when Christ rules and reigns on earth with mortal man.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Ephesians 1:11"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance" - Scripture References- Note:

Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."

Luke 10:25, "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

1 Corinthians 6:9, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"

1 Corinthians 15:50, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

Galatians 5:21, "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Hebrews 6:12,"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

1 Peter 1:4, "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"

1 Peter 3:9, "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

Revelation 21:7, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."

Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Ephesians 1:12Comments- We were created for God's glory ( Isaiah 43:7). This is the reason God saved us.

Isaiah 43:7, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Ephesians 1:6, "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."

Ephesians 1:14, "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

Philippians 1:11, "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."


Verse 13-14

Sanctification: The Spirit Sealed the Church - Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that the Holy Spirit sealed the Church. It describes the Holy Spirit's role of sanctification in relation to God's eternal plan for mankind, which is the theme of Ephesians. In contrast, Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter to God's children and as the One who convicts the world of sin ( John 16:7-15). In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul describes the role of the Holy Spirit as the One who imparts spiritual gifts to edify the Church ( 1 Corinthians 12-14). In 1Thessalonians Paul discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the sanctification of the entire man; spirit, soul and body ( 1 Thessalonians 5:23). In the Old Testament we see the role of the Holy Spirit in Creation as the wisdom ( Proverbs 8:22-31) and the power of God ( Genesis 1:2). To David the Holy Spirit was the one who taught his hands to war. Other New Testament passages give us insight into the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit as it relates to the theme of that particular book. However, here in Ephesians 1:13-14 the role of the Holy Spirit is seen as our deposit, or guarantee, of receiving God the Father's future hope of redemption.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:13 — "ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" - Word Study on "sealed" - Strong says the Greek word "sealed" ( σφραγίζω) (G 4972) means, "to stamp (with a signet or private mark)." Zodhiates says it literally means, "to seal, close up and make fast with a seal signet such as letters or books so that they may not be read," and more generally, it means, "to set a seal or mark upon a thing as a token of its authenticity or approvedness."

Comments- Why does Paul refer to the Holy Spirit as the "Holy Spirit of Promise?" Perhaps it is because the office of the Holy Spirit in relation to God the Father's plan of redemption for mankind is to seal us in order to bring us into our ultimate promise of redemption, and to strengthen us to walk in the promises while in this life.

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:14 — "Which is the earnest of our inheritance" - Comments- Our guarantee of eternal life is not based upon Church membership, or answering an altar call. Ephesians 1:14 says that it is based upon the deposit of the Holy Spirit that is working in us daily. A Christian who never has God speak to him or sense the presence of God in his life must question his relationship with God, for then he is no different than those in the world who are bound with religion based upon works.

Ephesians 1:14"until the redemption of the purchased possession" - Comments- The phrase "until the redemption of the purchased possession" refers to our eternal glorification. The "purchased possession the Church of God, which was purchased with Jesus' own blood.

Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

Ephesians 1:14"unto the praise of his glory" - Comments - The praise of His glory is our response for what God has and will do for us in redemption. We will be for His eternal glory.

Scripture References- God's plan of salvation results in praise to God ( Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 43:21; Isaiah 60:21).

Isaiah 43:7, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

Isaiah 43:21, "This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise."

Isaiah 60:21, "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."


Verses 15-23

Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians to Know This Three-fold Blessing- Paul was a man of prayer. Such prayers can be found in most of his epistles. Paul begins many of his epistles with a prayer, a feature typical of ancient Greco-Roman epistles as well, 93] with each prayer reflecting the respective themes of these epistles. For example, Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the church at Rome ( Romans 1:8-12) reflects the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in redeeming mankind. Paul's prayer of thanks for the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 1:4-8) reflects the theme of the sanctification of believers so that the gifts of the Spirit can operate through them as mature believers walking in love. Paul's prayer to the Corinthians of blessing to God for comforting them in their tribulations ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-7) reflects the theme of higher level of sanctification so that believers will bear the sufferings of Christ and partake of His consolation. Paul's prayer to the Ephesians ( Ephesians 1:15-22) reflects the theme of the believer's participation in God the Father's great plan of redemption, as they come to the revelation this divine plan in their lives. Paul's prayer to the Philippians ( Philippians 1:3-11) reflects the theme of the believer's role of participating with those whom God the Father has called to minister redemption for mankind. Paul's prayer to the Colossians ( Colossians 1:9-16) reflects the theme of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the life of every believer, as they walk worthy of Him in pleasing Him. Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) reflects the theme of the role of the Holy Spirit in our complete sanctification, spirit, soul, and body. Paul's second prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4) reflects the theme of maturity in the believer's sanctification.

93] John Grassmick says many ancient Greek and Roman epistles open with a "health wish" and a prayer to their god in behalf of the recipient. See John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

Ephesians 1:15-23 is essentially a prayer by Paul for the saints to understand the next two chapters in which he expounds upon these spiritual blessings that are briefly listed in Ephesians 1:3-14. Paul is able to pray this prayer in faith because they have become faithful believers ( Ephesians 1:15) and because he is confident of the work of the Holy Spirit in each of their lives ( Ephesians 1:19), which power raised Christ from the dead and set Him at the right hand of the Father ( Ephesians 1:20-23). In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul prays that we as Christians might know three things:

1. Predestination and Calling: The hope of His calling

2. Justification: The riches of the glory of His inheritance

3. Sanctification: The exceeding greatness of His power

1. Predestination and Calling: The Hope of His Calling - God the Father has called us to share in the hope that Israel partakes of. In other words, He has planned our journey. Paul will elaborate on the Father's plan and the hope of our calling in Ephesians 2:1-10.

Ephesians 2:12, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

2. Justification: The Riches of the Glory of His Inheritance - We are to look to our heavenly resources to experience His blessings now through Christ Jesus. That Isaiah , Jesus has authorized and equipped us for the journey. Paul will elaborate on our inheritance in Jesus Christ in Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13.

Ephesians 3:8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

3. Sanctification: The Exceeding Greatness of His Power - God wants to teach us how to live victorious now by the power of the Holy Spirit and enter into heaven. In other words, the Holy Spirit will empower us for the journey. Paul will pray for the Spirit to empower us in Ephesians 3:14-21. Note:

Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

Colossians 1:29, "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

Paul will further elaborate on these three aspects of our spiritual blessings in chapters 2-3. In chapters 4-6 he will teach us how to walk in these blessings.

Now, why are these three aspects of divine blessings equally important to understand? We are all on a journey. In the natural, if we were going to take a long journey, we would drive our car to our destination. In order to do that, we would need a road map and a plan for the journey, such as when to stop, and eat, and rest. We would need a driver's license so that we have the legal right to get on the road. Then we would need to put fuel in the car. All three of these items are necessary for the journey. As believers we all have salvation, just like most of us own a car, but without a plan from God, and the legal authority from the blood and name of Jesus, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we will not reach our destination and fulfill God's plan in our lives.

Illustration- In Oral Robert's vision that the Lord gave him in July 2004, Jesus said to him that His servants are wasting the resources that they have been entrusted with. 94] They are wasting His money and His gifts. For example, if anyone has ever cranked a car while it was in gear, they have felt power out of control and misdirected as the car lurched forward. We want to feel God's power, but we need to know how to direct that power. We can own a gun, but without knowing the right target, we can do more damage than harm. Thus, we must have a plan and the legal authority to know how to walk in the power of God.

94] Oral Roberts, interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 2004

Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Ephesians 1:15"Wherefore" - Comments- That Isaiah , in light of all of the blessings given in Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul proceeds with a prayer for the saint to come to know the richness of these blessings in their daily lives.

Ephesians 1:15Comments (Faith, Hope and Love) - Ephesians 1:15 refers to the faith and love of the Ephesians. This was written within the context of the hope of our calling ( Ephesians 1:18). We know that faith, hope and love are the three fundamental virtues upon which all spiritual growth is built.

1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

We place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by our obedience to Him. As a result, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the love of God is poured forth within us ( Romans 5:5) in order to bring about our sanctification. Then as we renew our minds, we are able direct our hope on things above, and not on this earth. Our hope begins to rest in the divine plan that the Heavenly Father has prepared for each of us through His foreknowledge, no longer setting our affections on the things of this world, but towards heaven.

When studying the use of these three words in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, we make an interesting discovery.

1 Thessalonians 1:3, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;"

Faith establishes our heart and undergirds our actions so that they are motivated by love. This refers to the condition of our heart in serving the Lord. Hope causes us to endure, being the anchor of the soul ( Hebrews 6:19). This refers to our soulish realm, wherein dwells our will, our emotions, our mind and thoughts, thus, our ability to make a decision that is within the will of God. Labour of love refers to the physical realm of Prayer of Manasseh , how he brings his body into submission to the will of God out of love to toil and serve in the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 1:15Comments (Paul the Leader) - Paul founded the church at Ephesus. He spent about three years in this city establishing this church and using it as a base to reach out and evangelize the region. He left this church and ended his third missionary journey by being imprisoned, first at Caesarea Philippi and then in Rome. All this time, Paul managed to exercise oversight over these believers. He appointed elders and bishops over these churches. He placed Timothy over the church at Ephesus to set it in order. Paul continued to send his co-workers to his churches from afar and instructed them by letter and messenger using the Roman infrastructure of travel.

Paul was a leader. He knew the condition of his flock. There is a tremendous responsibility in leadership. One must be very mature in order to handle such a position responsibly. God warned the shepherds of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel because these leaders had fed themselves from of the flock, rather than caring for them ( Ezekiel 34:1-16).

In addition, when a spiritual leader fails, unlike the failure of laymen, many people are affected and suffer.

Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Ephesians 1:16Comments- A thankful heart is a contented soul, and a contented soul trusts in the Lord. Paul understood, as does any pastor, that there were many issues facing these believers. They were facing financial concerns. Family members were misbehaving and in need of prayer, but Paul saw through these issues and believed that God would see each one of them through. I remember hearing from home about a tragedy regarding one of my relatives. The Lord said to me, "The bitter and the sweet are all used by God to mould and shape your life." Paul trusted God to care for these believers and to work in their lives daily.

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Ephesians 1:17 — "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory" - Comments- The theme of the book of Ephesians is the office and ministry of God the Father. Therefore, Paul bases all of his teachings in Ephesians around the office and ministry of the Father. He describes the God as "the Father of glory" in this epistle simply because Paul is revealing the glories of the Father in His glorious, magnificent plan of redemption for mankind, both Jew and Gentile, a plan that excited Paul to express "praise to His glory" in the opening verses ( Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14).

Ephesians 1:17 — "may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" - Comments- The Holy Spirit is central to the prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21. This is because He is the one who imparts revelation to us. Divine revelation is the disclosure of who God is and what He is doing. This impartation of wisdom and revelation comes from the Father and is given to the Holy Spirit, who are one, and is imparted unto us by the Holy Spirit who dwells within in us. This is what Paul was saying when he said that God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 2:10).

1 Corinthians 2:10, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

What does the word "them" refer to in 1 Corinthians 2:10? It refers to "the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Thus, divine wisdom and revelation is not for the world. They cannot receive it nor understand it. Revelation is imparted into our regenerated heart, our spirit, which has been recreated in the likeness of God. Thus, the natural man cannot receive in his spirit revelation from the Spirit of God. This is what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Revelation is not human reasoning, which comes from the mind. It is something that rises out of our hearts. Thus, Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:" Jesus said that He would send the Comforter, who will teach us all things ( John 14:26). This teaching is done by divine impartation.

John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

John the apostle says the same thing when he writes that the anointing within us will teach us the truth ( 1 John 2:27). This is done by divine impartation.

1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

We are not only to receive revelation by the Spirit of God, but we are to minister this revelation by the Holy Spirit ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).

2 Corinthians 3:6, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Paul had learned to distinguish between human reasoning and divine revelation. He understood the voice of God as distinct from his thoughts. He wanted the Ephesians to learn the same.

"in the knowledge of him" - In the phrase "in the knowledge of him," the pronoun "him" refers to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus by giving us knowledge of Him, both His work of redemption and His riches that are made available to us now. This is why Paul emphasizes Jesus' place of authority above all things in all ages in Ephesians 1:20-23 after having referred to our three-fold blessing in Ephesians 1:15-19. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:26 that this was the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

John 15:26, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 1:18"the eyes of your understanding being enlightened" - Comments- The phrase "eyes of your understanding" refers to the enlightenment of our heart. In fact, the KJV translates the Greek word καρδία as "understanding" in this verse, when it is properly translated "heart." This phrase is referring to divine impartation into our heart, or spirit, so that we may see with spiritual eyes. Jim Goll says that we have "two sets of eyes: our physical or natural eyes, and the ‘eyes' of our heart with which we ‘see' into the spiritual realm." 95] The phrase "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened" means that the Holy Spirit will illuminate our spirit man to be able to see the spiritual side of life. This understanding is called "revelation" and is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 2:14). It is spiritual discernment in contrast to natural understand or human reasoning. Paul the apostle has learned to distinguish between the voice of God and his own thoughts.

95] Jim W. Goll, The Seer (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc, 2004), 64.

Scripture References- Note other verses related to the enlightening of our hearts:

Luke 24:45, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,"

Luke 9:45, "But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying."

1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 3:8-9, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 1:18"that ye may know what is the hope of his calling" - Comments- There is only one hope in this world ( Ephesians 4:4). Why is hope so important to have? A hope is something we long for ( Romans 8:24-25, Proverbs 13:12). We all have an inner desire to know our purpose in being born, to know why God created us. We all sense that God has a plan for our individual lives. We were not created by accident. We each have a role to play that no one else can play. There has never been another person like you. God desires that we fulfill our purpose for what we were created. However, when our longings and desires become earthly, and not towards heaven, then our heart errs and strays from living and working towards our one heavenly hope. It begins leading us to work towards earthly achievements.

Scripture References- Note:

Colossians 3:2, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Romans 8:24-25, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."

Note other verses on the "hope of his calling":

Romans 5:2, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Romans 8:24, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"

Ephesians 4:4, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;"

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

Hebrews 6:19, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"

If we read Romans 5:2 in the NLT, it says, "and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory." In other words, we rejoice that one day we will stand before God and He will say, "Well done, than good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord." This eternal joy and fellowship in God's presence is our hope.

Ephesians 1:18"the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" - Comments- God has hidden His treasures and gifts in each one of us in order to fulfill our individual destinies and callings. These treasures define who we are in God's sight because of the investment He has deposited within each of us. Only those who have realized these riches and used them can teach others that they too are rich in Christ Jesus. Note other verses that use the phrase "the riches of His glory" in Scripture.

Romans 9:23, "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,"

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

These riches are for our use now on earth:

1 Corinthians 4:8, "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you."

Ephesians 3:8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The glory of God refers to either (1) the honor that God will bestow upon us in that day, a crown and a robe of righteousness. This definition goes well with Romans 3:23. Or it refers to (2) a partaking of the majesty of God, His radiance and His splendor ( Matthew 5:8).

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 1:19Comments- T.D. Jakes said that the greatness of God's power is seen in that He spoke this world into existence; He then revealed more exceeding power by creating Adam and Eve; He then exceeded this power by coming in the flesh, taking upon Himself the sins of the world and rising from the dead. 96] In other words, the exceeding greatness of God's power is demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as is stated in the verses that follow, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:" ( Ephesians 1:20-21)

96] T. D. Jakes, "Sermon," Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda, February 2005.

Ephesians 1:19Comments- Jeremiah 32:27 refers to the unlimited power of God, which power now dwells in us, His children.

Jeremiah 32:27, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"

Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Ephesians 1:21Comments- The phrase "this world" refers to this present age in contrast to the age of our future glory. We might tremble going into the presence of the governor or president of the United States. How much more when we go all the way to the top, to the Father, the Great Judges , who is going to judge our lives without respect of person. This should bring us to respect and to fear the Father ( Philippians 2:9, 1 Peter 1:17).

Philippians 2:9, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:"

1 Peter 1:17, "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man"s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:"

Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Ephesians 1:22"to the church" - Comments- Regarding the phrase "to the church," the NIV reads, "appointed Him to be head over everything for the church." This could be a dative of advantage, showing what great advantage it is for us, so that the church might have access to God's power. We could read, "appointed Him to be head over everything for the advantage of the church." The NLT reads, "for the benefit of the church." In other words, God gave Jesus all authority ( Matthew 28:18-20) for our sake, for our benefit, for our advantage, for the Church to use Jesus' name, His authority, in this world. As a result, "as he Isaiah , so are we in this world," ( 1 John 4:17) In addition, while we are in this world, we are, as Jesus is now, seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 2:6).

Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Song of Solomon , and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

1 John 4:17, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he Isaiah , so are we in this world."

Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

God has given Jesus to the Church to be our head and the head over all things. God gave Jesus, the bridegroom, to us, the bride, so that we would benefit both in this life and in eternity.

Ephesians 1:22Comments- Paul refers to "the church" numerous times throughout this Epistle ( Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21, Ephesians 5:23-25; Ephesians 5:27; Ephesians 5:29; Ephesians 5:32). Paul makes other references in his epistles to the Church as His body ( Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24). Other writers of the New Testament epistles give us additional descriptions of the Church in order to help us understand its characteristics and ministry ( Hebrews 12:23, 1 Peter 2:9).

Hebrews 12:23, "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"

1 Peter 2:9, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Colossians 1:24, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body"s sake, which is the church:"

Ephesians 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians 1:23"the fulness of him" - Comments- BDAG says the phrase "the fullness of him" means, "the complement of Christ," or "that which makes complete or supplements." (see BDAG, πλήρωμα 1b) For example, a man says often about his wife, "This is my better, or other, half."

Ephesians 1:23"that filleth all in all" - Comments- Thayer interprets the phrase "all in all" to mean, "all things in all places."

Ephesians 1:23Comments- The Church is Jesus' body as if He Himself were on earth today. We are to live like Jesus now, with the same Holy Spirit, the same works ( John 14:12).

John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

Ephesians 1:22-23Comments - The Lordship of Jesus Christ as Head of the Church- Paul will take up this theme of Christ Jesus being the head of the Church in his epistle to the Colossians , which was written at approximately the same time as his letter to the Ephesians. In Colossians , Paul will further elaborate on the church's relationship with Christ Jesus. However, in Ephesians , Paul continues with the theme of the church's relationship with the Father and His divine plan for them.

Ephesians 1:20-23Comments - Jesus' Place of Authority- After Paul prays for us to become enlightened in these three areas of spiritual revelation ( Ephesians 1:15-19), he emphasizes Jesus' place of authority above all things in all ages ( Ephesians 1:20-23). This emphasis is made because this is the basis for the position of the Church to also be seated with Christ in the heavenlies. It is only when the Church begins to walk in this authority that it will be able to partake of these riches and to fulfill God's plan for mankind. We must understand our place in Christ before we can walk in our fullness of blessings.

Ephesians 1:20 tells us in one verse that God raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places. It tells us the story of how Jesus left His own will and fulfilled the will of His Father. As Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice, the Father rewarded Him with the ultimate reward, which was to sit at the Father's right hand and His name exalted fall above all things ( Ephesians 1:21).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/ephesians-1.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 29th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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