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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Ephesians 1

 

 

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Verse 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:

By , [ dia (Greek #1223)] - 'through the will of God:' called to the apostleship through that same "will" which originated the Church (Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11 : cf. Galatians 1:4): a cause of thanksgiving to God's grace on his part, and calling for recognition of his authority on theirs.

Which are at Ephesus - see 'Introduction.'

To the saints ... and to the faithful - the same persons: Greek, 'to those who are saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus.' The sanctification by God is put before man's faith. God's grace in the first instance sanctifies us (i:e., sets us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God's gift, lays hold of salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). Consecration to God is the idea prominent in "saints."

In Christ - in living union with Christ.


Verse 2

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

(Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3.)

Grace - God's undeserved favour.

Peace - to man, resulting from God's "grace." "Mercy" is added in the letters to pastors individually (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4).

From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus. There being but one preposition, implies how closely united are the Father and Jesus.


Verse 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:

The doxologies in the letters imply real sense of grace experienced by the writers and their readers (1 Peter 1:3). Ephesians 1:3-14 set forth summarily the Gospel of the grace of God: the father's work of love, Ephesians 1:3 (choosing us to holiness, Ephesians 1:4; to sonship, Ephesians 1:5; to acceptance, Ephesians 1:6); the son's work of love, Ephesians 1:7 (redemption; knowledge of the mystery of His will, Ephesians 1:9; an inheritance, Ephesians 1:11); the HOLY Spirit's work of love, Ephesians 1:13 (sealing; giving an earnest of the inheritance, Ephesians 1:14).

Blessed, [ Eulogeetos (G2128), used only of God: eulogeemenos (G2127), of men] be the God and Father of ... Christ - so the God and Father of us who are in Him (John 20:17). God is "the God" of the man (Ephesians 1:16) Jesus, and "the Father" of the Divine Word. [Eulogesas (Aorist), 'Blessed us,' not 'hath blessed us;' the past original counsel of God.] As in creation (Genesis 1:22), so in redemption (Genesis 12:3; Matthew 5:3-11; Matthew 25:34) God 'blesses' His children of His grace; not in mere words, but in acts. Our blessing Him is thanksgiving for His grace.

Us - all Christians.

Blessings , [ en (Greek #1722) pasee (Greek #3956) eulogia (Greek #2129) pneumatikee (Greek #4152)] - 'with every spirit-bestowed blessing;' 'every possible blessing for time and eternity which the Spirit has to bestow.' Judaism had blessings, but not the blessing of the Spirit. The Trinity appears here, as throughout this letter.

In heavenly places. A phrase five times in this letter, not elsewhere (Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12, margin. Our home (Philippians 3:20), where our hope is (Colossians 1:5), and whence the Spirit comes (Hebrews 6:4; John 6:32). Christ's ascension introduces us into the heavenly places which by our sin were barred against us. Compare the change made by Christ (Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 1:20). While Christ in the flesh was in the form of a servant, God's people could not realize fully their heavenly privileges as sons. Now, "our citizenship (Greek) is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20), where our High Priest is ever 'blessing' us. Our "treasures" are there (Matthew 6:20-21), our aims and affections (Colossians 3:1-2) our hope (Colossians 1:5; Titus 2:13), our inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). The gift of the Spirit, the source of "spiritual blessings," is by virtue of Jesus having ascended there (Ephesians 4:8).

In Christ - the center and source of all blessing.


Verse 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:

Hath chosen us , [ exelexato (Greek #1586)] - 'chose us out for Himself' (namely, out of the world, Galatians 1:4): His original choice, spoken of as past.

In him. The repetition of "in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3), implies the paramount importance of the truth that it is in Him, by virtue of union to Him, the Second Adam, the Restorer ordained for us from everlasting, the Head of redeemed humanity, believers have all their blessings (Ephesians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 15:22). Before the foundation of the world - in contrast with the temporal election of the Jews. This assumes the eternity of the Son of God (John 17:5; John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:20); as of the election of believers in Him (2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

That we should be holy. Positively (Deuteronomy 14:2).

Without blame. Negatively (Ephesians 5:27).

Before him. It is to Him the believer looks, walking as in His presence, before whom he looks to be accepted in the judgment (Colossians 1:22 : cf. Revelation 7:15).

In love. Joined by Bengel, Ellicott, etc., with Ephesians 1:5, 'in love, having predestinated us,' etc. But the words qualify the whole clause, "that we should be holy ... before Him." Love, lost to man by the fall, but restored by redemption, is the root, fruit, and sum of all holiness (Ephesians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).


Verse 5

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

Predestinated - having respect to the end and means. We are "chosen" or 'elected' out of the rest of the world; "predestinated" to all things that secure the inheritance for us (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:20). [ Proorisas (Greek #4309)] "Foreordained" or "predestinated" refers to God's decree, which is embodied in God's election of us out of the mass.

By Jesus , [ dia (Greek #1223)] - 'through Jesus.'

To himself - the Father (Colossians 1:20) [ Eis (Greek #1519) heauton (Greek #1438), rather read auton (Greek #846).] 'Adoption ... unto (into) Him,' into inward union with God - i:e., so that we should be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The context favours Calvin, etc.: God has regard to Himself and the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14) as His ultimate end. He had one only begotten Son, and He was pleased, for His own glory, to choose out of a lost world many to become His adopted sons.

The good pleasure of his will - [Matthew 11:26, eudokia (Greek #2107), as here; Luke 10:21.] "The good pleasure of His will" is our utmost limit in searching into the causes of our salvation, or of any of His works (Ephesians 1:9; Job 33:13). Why needest thou philosophize about an imaginary world of optimism? Thy concern is to take heed that thou be not bad. Nothing in us deserved His love (Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11) (Bengel).


Verse 6

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

(Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:17-18.) The grand end of His predestination (Ps. 1:23 ) - i:e., that the glory of His grace may be praised by all His creatures.

Wherein. So Delta G C f g, Vulgate. But 'Aleph (') A B, read [ hes (Greek #3757) for en he], 'which He graciously bestowed on us.'

Us accepted - a word akin to "grace" [ Charitos (Greek #5485), echaritoosen (Greek #5487)]; 'made us subjects of His grace;' 'graciously accepted us' (Luke 1:28; Romans 3:24; Romans 5:15). But see last note.

In the Beloved - pre-eminently so called (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 3:35; Colossians 1:13, margin). It is only "IN HIS BELOVED," as our Representative Head, that He loves us (Ephesians 1:3; 1 John 4:9-10): in His person and His work, which is identified with His person.


Verse 7

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

In whom - "the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6; Romans 3:24).

We have - as a present possession.

Redemption , [ teen (Greek #3588) apolutroosin (Greek #629)] - 'our (literally, the) redemption;' THE redemption which is the grand subject of revelation-namely, from the power, guilt, and penalty of sin (Matthew 1:21). If a man were unable to redeem himself from bond-service, his kinsman might redeem him (Leviticus 25:48). Antitypically the Son of God became the Son of man, that, as our kinsman, He might redeem us (Matthew 20:28). Another "redemption" follows-namely, that "of the purchased possession" hereafter (Ephesians 1:14).

Through his blood (Ephesians 2:13) - as the instrument, the propitiation; i:e., consideration (devised by His own love) for which He, who was justly angry (Isaiah 12:1), becomes propitious to us; the expiation, the price [ lutron (Greek #3083)] paid to divine justice for our sin (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

The forgiveness of sins - `the remission of our transgressions' [ toon (Greek #3588) paraptoomatoon (Greek #3900): apheesis: not merely [pareesis: "pretermission'] as in Romans 3:25. This 'remission,' being the explanation of "redemption," includes not only deliverance from sin's penalty, but from its pollution and enslaving power, negatively; and the reconciliation of an offended God, and a satisfaction unto a just God, positively [ paraptoomata (Greek #3900) regard acts of transgression: hamartiai (Greek #266) (Colossians 1:14), sins, as implying a sinful state].

Riches of his grace (Ephesians 2:7). Compare Ephesians 1:18, and Ephesians 3:16, "according to the riches of His glory:" so that "grace" is His "glory."


Verse 8

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Ellicott, 'Which He made to abound toward us' [ hees (Greek #3757) eperisseusen (Greek #4052)]: the transitive is the more common meaning.

All wisdom and prudence - "wisdom" in devising the redemption plan; "prudence" in executing it by the means, and in making all the necessary arrangements of providence for it. Paul attributes to the Gospel "all" possible "wisdom and prudence," in opposition to the boasts of wisdom and prudence which unbelieving Jews, pagan philosophers, and false apostles and legalists arrogated for their teachings. "Wisdom" in general: "prudence" [phroneesis], intelligence, the right application of the [ phreen (Greek #5424)] mind, a result of wisdom (Ellicott): who applies them here to man (Colossians 1:9), not to God. Christ crucified, though esteemed "foolishness" by the world, is "the manifold wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18-30; Ephesians 3:10).


Verse 9

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

Which He 'made to abound toward us' (Ephesians 1:8), in that He made known to us-namely, experimentally in our hearts.

The mystery - God's purpose of redemption hidden heretofore in His counsels, but now revealed (cf. Ephesians 3:4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 6:19; Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26-27). This "mystery" is not like the pagan mysteries, imparted only to the initiated few. All Christians are the initiated. Unbelievers alone are the uninitiated.

According to his good pleasure - the cause why He "made known unto us the mystery" - namely, His own loving "good pleasure" toward us; the time and manner of His doing so are also according to His good pleasure.

Purposed (Ephesians 1:11) in himself - God the Father. Bengel, 'in Him,' i:e., Christ, as Ephesians 1:3-4. But "in Christ," Ephesians 1:10, immediately after, is inconsistent with His being here meant by the pronoun.


Verse 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:

In , [ eis (Greek #1519): rather unto] - i:e., 'which He purposed in Himself' (Ephesians 1:9), with a view to the dispensation of (i:e., the administration belonging to) the fullness of the times [ kairon (Greek #2540), 'fit times;' the moment which fills up or completes the appointed 'seasons']. More comprehensive than "the fullness of the time" (Galatians 4:4). The whole Gospel times (plural) are meant, with the benefits to the Church dispensed in them severally. Compare "the ages to come" (Ephesians 2:7). 'The ends of the ages' (Greek 1 Corinthians 10:11); "the times [ kairoi (Greek #2540), 'seasons'] of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24); "the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power" (Acts 1:7); "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21). The coming of Jesus at the first advent, "in the fullness of time," was one of these "times." The descent of the Holy Spirit, when "Pentecost was fully come" (Acts 2:1), was another. The testimony given by the apostles to Him "in due time" [`in its own seasons:' kairois (Greek #2540) idiois (Greek #2398)] (1 Timothy 2:6) was another. The conversion of the Jews, "when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled," the second coming of Christ, the "restitution of all things," the millennial kingdom, the new heaven and earth, shall be severally instances of "the dispensation of the fullness of times" - i:e., "the dispensation of" the Gospel events and benefits belonging to their respective "times," when severally completed. God the Father, according to His own good pleasure, is the Dispenser both of the Gospel benefits and of their several fitting times (Acts 1:7).

Gather together in one , [ anakephalaioosasthai (Greek #346)] - 'sum up again (in their original unity) for Himself under one head;' 'recapitulate.' The 'good pleasure which He purposed' was 'to sum up all things [ ta (Greek #3588) panta (Greek #3956): 'THE whole range of things'] in Christ' [ to (Greek #3588) Christoo (Greek #5547): 'the Christ']. God sums up the whole creation in Christ, the Head of angels, with whom He is linked by His invisible nature; and of men, with whom He is linked by His humanity; of Jews and Gentiles; of the living and the dead (Ephesians 3:15); of animate and inanimate creation. Sin has disarranged the creature's relation of subordination to God. God gathers up all in Christ (Colossians 1:20). Alford, 'The Church is subordinated to Him in conscious and joyful union; those who are not His spiritually in mere subjugation, yet consciously: the inferior creatures unconsciously;-objectively, all are summed up in Him.'


Verse 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:

In whom - in union to whom.

Obtained an inheritance , [ ekleerootheemen (Greek #2820)] - 'Aleph (') B, Vulgate, 'We were made to have an inheritance.' Compare Ephesians 1:18, "His inheritance in the saints." As His inheritance is in them, so theirs is in Him (Acts 26:18). How ever, Ephesians 1:12, "that we should BE to ... His glory," favours Bengel, Ellicott, etc., 'We were made an inheritance.' So the literal Israel (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29; Deuteronomy 32:9). "Also" does not mean ' we also,' nor as English version, "in whom also;" but, besides His having 'made known to us His will,' we were also 'made His inheritance,' or 'we have also obtained an inheritance:' But A Delta G f g read [ekleetheemen] 'we 'made His inheritance,' or 'we have also obtained an inheritance:' But A Delta G f g read [ekleetheemen] 'we were called,'

Predestinated (Ephesians 1:5). The foreordination of Israel as the elect nation answers to that of the spiritual Israel-believers-to an eternal inheritance. The "we" means Jewish believers (whence Israel's national election is naturally referred to), as contrasted with "you" (Ephesians 1:13), Gentile believers.

Purpose , [ prothesin (Greek #4286)] - repeated from "purposed" [proetheeto] (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:11). The Church existed in the mind of God eternally before its creation.

Counsel of his own will - Ephesians 1:5, "the good pleasure of his will." Not arbitrary caprice, but all-wise "counsel," joined with sovereign will. Compare his address to the same Ephesians, Acts 20:27, "all the counsel of God" (Isaiah 28:29). Alike in the natural and spiritual creations, God is not constrained by necessity, 'wheresoever counsel is there is election, or else it is vain: where a will, there must be freedom, or else it is weak' (Pearson). The will is general; the counsel its special expression.


Verse 12

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

Who first trusted in Christ - rather (we Jewish Christians), 'who have before hoped [ proeelpikotas (Greek #4276)] in the [ too (Greek #3588)] Christ:' who before He came have had our hope in Him (not merely 'toward Him'), waiting for the consolation of Israel. Compare Acts 26:6-7; Acts 28:20; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:4. See Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:1.


Verse 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,

In whom ye also - ye Gentiles. Supply "trusted" or 'hoped' [the simple verb taken out of the compound proeelpikotas (Greek #4276)] from Ephesians 1:12. The priority of us Jews does not exclude you Gentiles from sharing in Christ. Ellicott, 'In whom ye too having heard, etc.-in whom (I say), having also believed, ye were sealed,' making "were sealed" the verb of the first "ye." But the "also" before "believed" supposes the 'hoped' as having preceded: 'in whom ye too hoped-in (union to) whom having also believed,' (as well as 'hoped, etc.) The Gentiles had a vague hope of a Deliverer before Christ's coming (Haggai 2:7); a more vivid hope when hearing the report of Christ (Matthew 15:26-27; Acts 13:42; Acts 13:46); they believed also when they "heard" the Gospel "word" preached; then, finally, they were "sealed" by the Spirit: baptism and laying on of hands were the visible signs.

The word of truth - the instrument of sanctification and of the new birth (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; James The word of truth - the instrument of sanctification and of the new birth (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). Compare Colossians 1:5, where also, as here, it is connected with 'hope.' Also Ephesians 4:21, not mere legal types, but the truth (John 1:17).

The gospel of - which sets forth "your salvation."

Sealed - as God's confirmed children (Acts 19:1-6; Romans 8:16; Romans 8:23, note; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 John 3:24). A seal on a document gives validity to the contract in it (John 3:33; John 6:27 : cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3). So the sense of 'the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit' (Romans 5:5), and the adoption given through the Spirit at regeneration (Romans 8:15-16), assures believers of God's good-will. The Spirit, like the seal, impresses on the soul the image of our Father. The 'sealing' [esphragisthete: aorist] is spoken of as past once for all. The witnessing to our hearts that we are the children of God, and heirs (Ephesians 1:11), is the Spirit's present testimony, the 'earnest of the (coming) inheritance' (Romans 8:16-18).

That Holy Spirit of (given by) promise - Greek, 'The Spirit of promise, even the Holy Spirit' (whose essence is holiness, and who therefore imparts it to God's children). The Spirit promised in the Old and New Testaments (Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10; John 7:38-39). "The word" promised the Holy Spirit. Those who believed "the word of truth" were sealed by the Spirit accordingly.


Verse 14

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

Earnest - the first instalment paid as a pledge that the rest of the purchased inheritance will follow [ arraboon (Greek #728)] (Romans 8:23); 2 Corinthians 5:5): a portion of the purchase-money paid as earnest.

Until - rather, 'unto [ eis (Greek #1519)] the redemption,' etc.: joined thus, "ye were sealed" (Ephesians 1:13) unto; i:e., for the purpose of and against, "the redemption;" namely, not redemption in its first stage, made by the blood of Christ securing our title, but in its final completion (1 Corinthians 1:30), when the possession shall be ours, the "redemption of the body," as well as of the soul, from every infirmity (Ephesians 4:30). The deliverance of the creature (the whole visible creation) from the bondage of corruption, and from the usurping prince of this world, into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21-23; 2 Peter 3:13).

Of the purchased possession , [ tees (Greek #3588) peripoieeseoos (Greek #4047): corresponding to the Old Testament segullath, Yahweh, the laos (Greek #2992) periousios (Greek #4041) of the Septuagint] - God's people purchased (acquired) as His special possession by Christ's blood (Acts 20:28). We value highly what we pay dearly for: so God, His church (Ephesians 5:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18; 1 Peter 2:9; Malachi 3:17, margin).


Verse 15

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

Wherefore - because ye are in Christ sealed by His Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

I also - on my part, in return for God's so great benefits to you.

After (ever since) I heard - not implying that he had only heard of their conversion: an argument used by some against the address of this letter to the Ephesians (note, Ephesians 1:1); but referring to the report he heard, since being with them four or five years previously, as to their Christian graces. So in the case of Philemon, his "beloved fellow-labourer" (Philem 4-5).

Your faith , [ teen (Greek #3588) kath' (Greek #2596) humas (Greek #5209) pistin (Greek #4102)] - 'the faith among you;'

i.e., which many (not all) of you have.

Love , (so Delta G f g, Vulgate; but 'Aleph (') A B omit)

Unto all the saints - of whatever name, simply because they are saints: a characteristic of true Christianity (Ephesians 6:24). 'Faith and love go hand in hand.' Hope is added, Ephesians 1:18.


Verse 16

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Of you (so G f g, Vulgate: omitted in 'Aleph (') A B Delta). Then translate as English version, not as Alford, 'making mention of them' (your 'faith and love'). See Colossians 1:9.


Verse 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:

A fit prayer for all. "I also," corresponding to "ye also," Ephesians 1:13. Paul joins his praises and prayers to theirs.

The God of our Lord Jesus - appropriate title here; as in Ephesians 1:20-22 he treats of God's raising Jesus to be Head over all things to the Church. Jesus called the Father "My God" (Matthew 27:46; John 20:17).

The Father of (whose characteristic is) glory (cf. Acts 7:2) - Father of that infinite glory which shines in the face of Christ; the true Shechinah glory: through whom also 'the glory of the inheritance' (Ephesians 1:18) shall be ours (John 17:24; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

The spirit of wisdom - whose is infinite wisdom; who works wisdom in general in believers (Isaiah 11:2).

And revelation - whose function it is to reveal spiritual mysteries (John 16:14-15; 1 Corinthians 2:10).

In the knowledge - Greek (see note, 1 Corinthians 13:12), 'in the full knowledge [ epignoosei (Greek #1922)] of Him'-namely, God (2 Peter 1:2).


Verse 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,

Result of the gift of the Spirit.

Understanding. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'heart.' Compare the contrary state of the unbelieving, the heart being in fault (Ephesians 4:18; Matthew 13:15). Translate, 'Having the eyes of your heart enlightened' (Matthew 4:16; Ephesians 3:9, Greek; Ephesians 5:14): the first effect of the Spirit moving in the new creation, as in the physical creation (Genesis 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:6). Where spiritual light is, there is life (John 1:4). The heart is 'the core of life' (Harless), the fountain of the thoughts; whence, 'the heart' includes the mind, as well as the inclinations. Its "eye," or inward vision, both receives and contemplates the light (Matthew 6:22-23). The eye is the symbol of intelligence (Ezekiel 1:18).

The hope of his calling - the hope appertaining to, and worked in, you by the calling wherewith He has called you.

And ... (so C: omitted in 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate) riches of the glory (Colossians 1:27). The accumulation marks unspeakable preciousness.

His inheritance in the saints - the inheritance which He has in store [estin being understood] in the case of ('among,' Ellicott, Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18) the saints ('the sphere in which it is found'). Perhaps 'the inheritance which He has in his saints.' (See note, Ephesians 1:11; Deuteronomy 32:9). This latter translation would be more certain if the article tees (Greek #3588) had been before en (Greek #1722) tois (Greek #3588) hagiois (Greek #40).


Verse 19

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Exceeding - `surpassing.'

Power to us-ward who believe - the whole working of His grace which He is carrying on, and will carry on to glory, in us who believe. This is that whereby the "hope" is realized: a climax. The hope which the calling awakens; the glory of that inheritance to which hope is directed; the power that shall bestow (and is bestowing) it (Ellicott). By "saints" (Ephesians 1:18), believers are viewed as absolutely perfected, and so as being God's inheritance: in this verse, as in the course of fighting the good fight.

According to - what might be expected from [ kata (Greek #2596)].

Working , [ energeian (Greek #1753)] - 'the energizing;' "the effectual working" (Ephesians 3:7). The same superhuman power was exerted to make us believe, as was exerted to raise Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:20). Compare Philippians 3:10, "the power of His resurrection" (Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Of his mighty power , [ tou (Greek #3588) kratous (Greek #2904) tees (Greek #3588) ischuos (Greek #2479) autou (Greek #846)] - 'of the strength of His might.' [ Ischus (Greek #2479), 'strength,' is God's passive inherent power; kratos (Greek #2904) is His power evinced in action; 'might' (Ellicott).]


Verse 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,

Which - `working.'

In Christ - the 'first-fruits' of the resurrection, our Head.

When he raised him - `in that He (the Father) raised Him.' The raising of Christ is not only an earnest of our bodies being hereafter raised, but has a power in it involving (by virtue of our living union with Him, as members with the Head) the resurrection spiritually of the believer's soul now, consequently of his body hereafter (Romans 6:8-11; Romans 8:11). The Son, too, as God (though not as man), had a share in raising His own human body (John 2:19; John 10:17-18); also the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18).

Set him , [ ekathisen (Greek #2523)] - 'made Him sit.' The glorious spirits stand about the throne, but they do not sit at God's right hand (Psalms 110:1; Hebrews 1:13), where He remains until all His enemies have been put under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:24). Being appointed to 'rule in the midst of His enemies' during their rebellion (Psalms 110:2), He shall resign His commission after their subjection (Pearson) (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12); then He, as God-man, shall reign forever and ever.

In the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 4:10). As Christ has a literal body, heaven is not merely a state, but a place; and where He is, there His people shall be (John 14:3 : cf. Eph. 1:11; 7:56 ).


Verse 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:

[ Huperanoo (Greek #5231)] 'Far (or high) above all principality [ archees (Greek #746), rule, 1 Corinthians 15:24], and [ exousias (Greek #1849)] authority, and [ dunameoos (Greek #1411)] power (Matthew 28:18), and dominion [ kurioteetos (Greek #2963), lordship]' (cf. Philippians 2:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 3:22). Evil spirits (similarly divided into various ranks, Ephesians 6:12), as well as angels of light (Ephesians 3:10), and earthly potentates, are included (cf. Romans 8:38). Jesus is "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16). The higher is His honour, the greater is that of His people-His members joined to Him, the Head. Philosophizing teachers, of the school of Simon Magus, in western Asia, had, according to Irenaeus, made much of these various ranks of angels. Paul shows that the truest wisdom is to know Christ as reigning above them all.

Every name - every being whatever; "any other creature" (Romans 8:38-39).

In this world - Greek, 'age;' i:e., the present order of things, wherein sin has place; "things present ... things to come."

That which is to come - "the kingdom of God" set up already, but not until hereafter to be fully manifested on earth (Matthew 12:31-32). Names which now we know not, but shall know hereafter. We know that the emperor goes before all, though we cannot enumerate all the ministers of his court; so we know that Christ is set above all, although we cannot name them all (Bengel).


Verse 22

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

Put all things under , [ hupetaxen (Greek #5293)] - 'put in subjection under' (Genesis 1:28; Psalms 8:6; 1 Corinthians 15:27). Not only is He infinitely exalted (Ephesians 1:21), but He has universal dominion. The original grant of it to man is realized for him in Christ.

To the church - for her special advantage. The Greek order is emphatic: 'HIM (exalted and supremely glorious as He is), God gave as Head over all things to the Church.' Had it been anyone save HIM, her Head, it would not have been the boon it is. But as He is Head over all things who is also her Head, all things are hers (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). He is OVER ("far above") all things; in contrast with "TO the church" - namely, for her advantage. The former are subject; the latter is joined with Him in His dominion over them. "Head" implies not only His dominion, but our union; therefore, while we look upon Him at God's right hand, we see ourselves in heaven (Revelation 3:21). For the Head and body are not severed by anything intervening, else the body would cease to be the body, and the Head cease to be the Head (Chrysostom).


Verse 23

Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Which is , [ heetis (Greek #3748)] - inasmuch as she is.

His body - His mystical body. Not merely figurative. He is really, though spiritually, the Church's Head. His life is her life. She shares His crucifixion and His consequent glory. He possesses everything, His fellowship with the Father, His fullness of the Spirit, and His glorified manhood, not merely for Himself, but for her, who has a membership of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Ephesians 5:30).

Fulness. The Church is dwelt in and filled by Christ. She is the receptacle, not of His inherent, but of His communicated plenitude of gifts and graces. As His is the "fulness" (John 1:16; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9) inherently, so she is His "fulness" by His impartation of it to her, in virtue of her union to Him (Ephesians 5:18). 'The full manifestation of His being, because penetrated by His life' (Conybeare): the continued revelation of His divine life in human form; the fullest representative of His plenitude. Not the angelic hierarchy, as false teachers taught (Colossians 2:9-10; Colossians 2:18), but Christ Himself, is the "fulness of the Godhead;" and she represents Him.

Filleth all in all. Christ as Creator, Preserver, and Governor constituted by God (Colossians 1:16, etc.), fills all [ ta (Greek #3588) panta (Greek #3956), 'Aleph (') A B Delta G] the universe of things with all things, whatever it possesses: [ pleeroumenou (Greek #4137)] 'filleth for Himself.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ephesians-1.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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