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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Ephesians 1



Other Authors
Verse 1

Of Christ Jesus (Χριστου ΙησουChristou Iēsou). So B D, though Aleph A L have Ιησου ΧριστουIēsou Christou Paul is named as the author and so he is. Otherwise the Epistle is pseudepigraphic.

By the will of God (δια τεληματος τεουdia thelēmatos theou). As in 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Romans 1:1.

At Ephesus (εν Επεσωιen Ephesōi). In Aleph and B these words are inserted by later hands, though both MSS. give the title Προς ΕπεσιουςPros Ephesious Origen explains the words τοις αγιοις τοις ουσινtois hagiois tois ousin as meaning “the saints that are” (genuine saints), showing that his MSS. did not have the words εν Επεσωιen Ephesōi The explanation of the insertion of these words has already been given in the remarks on “The Destination” as one copy of the general letter that was preserved in Ephesus. It is perfectly proper to call it the Epistle to the Ephesians if we understand the facts.

Verse 3

Blessed (ευλογητοςeulogētos). Verbal of ευλογεωeulogeō common in the lxx for Hebrew baruk (Vulgate benedictus) and applied usually to God, sometimes to men (Genesis 24:31), but in N.T. always to God (Luke 1:68), while ευλογημενοςeulogēmenos (perfect passive participle) is applied to men (Luke 1:42). “While ευλογημενοςeulogēmenos points to an isolated act or acts, ευλογητοςeulogētos describes the intrinsic character” (Lightfoot). Instead of the usual ευχαριστουμενeucharistoumen (Colossians 1:3) Paul here uses ευλογητοςeulogētos elsewhere only in 2 Corinthians 1:3 in opening, though in a doxology in Romans 1:25; Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 11:31. The copula here is probably εστινestin (is), though either εστωestō (imperative) or ειηeiē (optative as wish) will make sense.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (ο τεος και πατηρ του Κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστουho theos kai patēr tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou). ΚαιKai is genuine here, though not in Colossians 1:3. The one article (οho) with τεος και πατηρtheos kai patēr links them together as in 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Galatians 1:4. See also the one article in 2 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:11. In Ephesians 1:17 we have ο τεος του Κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστουho theos tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou and the words of Jesus in John 20:17.

Who hath blessed us (ο ευλογησας υμαςho eulogēsas humās). First aorist active participle of ευλογεωeulogeō the same word, antecedent action to the doxology (ευλογητοςeulogētos).

With (ενen). So-called instrumental use of ενen though in is clear.

Every spiritual blessing (πασηι ευλογιαι πνευματικηιpasēi eulogiāi pneumatikēi). Third use of the root ευλογeulog (verbal, verb, substantive). Paul lovingly plays with the idea. The believer is a citizen of heaven and the spiritual blessings count for most to him.

In the heavenly places in Christ (εν τοις επουρανιοις εν Χριστωιen tois epouraniois en Christōi). In four other places in Ephesians (Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12). This precise phrase (with ενen) occurs nowhere else in the N.T. and has a clearly local meaning in Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10, doubtful in Ephesians 6:12, but probably so here. In Ephesians 2:6 the believer is conceived as already seated with Christ. Heaven is the real abode of the citizen of Christ‘s kingdom (Philemon 3:20) who is a stranger on earth (Philemon 1:27; Ephesians 2:19). The word επουρανιοςepouranios (heavenly) occurs in various passages in the N.T. in contrast with τα επιγειαta epigeia (the earthly) as in John 3:12; 1 Corinthians 15:40, 1 Corinthians 15:48, 1 Corinthians 15:49; Philemon 2:10, with πατριςpatris (country) in Hebrews 11:16, with κλησιςklēsis (calling) in Hebrews 3:1, with δωρεαdōrea (gift) in Hebrews 6:4, with βασιλειαbasileia (kingdom) in 2 Timothy 4:18.

Verse 4

Even as he chose us in him (κατως εχελεχατο ημας εν αυτωιkathōs exelexato hēmās en autōi). First aorist middle indicative of εκλεγωeklegō to pick out, to choose. Definitive statement of God‘s elective grace concerning believers in Christ.

Before the foundation of the world (προ καταβολης κοσμουpro katabolēs kosmou). Old word from καταβαλλωkataballō to fling down, used of the deposit of seed, the laying of a foundation. This very phrase with προpro in the Prayer of Jesus (John 17:24) of love of the Father toward the Son. It occurs also in 1 Peter 1:20. Elsewhere we have αποapo (from) used with it (Matthew 25:34; Luke 11:50; Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 9:26; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8). But Paul uses neither phrase elsewhere, though he has απο των αιωνωνapo tōn aiōnōn (from the ages) in Ephesians 3:9. Here in Ephesians 1:3-14. Paul in summary fashion gives an outline of his view of God‘s redemptive plans for the race.

That we should be (ειναι ημαςeinai hēmās). Infinitive of purpose with the accusative of general reference (ημαςhēmās). See note on Colossians 1:22 for the same two adjectives and also κατενωπιον αυτουkatenōpion autou f0).

Verse 5

Having foreordained us (Προορισας ημαςProorisas hēmās). First aorist active participle of προοριζωproorizō late and rare compound to define or decide beforehand. Already in Acts 4:28; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Romans 8:29. See also Ephesians 1:11. Only other N.T. example in Ephesians 1:11. To be taken with εχελεχατοexelexato either simultaneous or antecedent (causal).

Unto adoption as sons (εις υιοτεσιανeis huiothesian). For this interesting word see note on Galatians 4:5 (included with discussion of Galatians 4:4). Also see Romans 8:15; Romans 9:4.

Unto himself (εις αυτονeis auton). Unto God.

According to the good pleasure of his will (κατα την ευδοκιαν του τεληματος αυτουkata tēn eudokian tou thelēmatos autou). Here ευδοκιανeudokian means purpose like βουληνboulēn in Ephesians 1:11 rather than benevolence (good pleasure). Note the preposition καταkata here for standard.

Verse 6

To the praise (εις επαινονeis epainon). Note the prepositions in this sentence.

Which (ηςhēs). Genitive case of the relative ηνhēn (cognate accusative with εχαριτωσενecharitōsen (he freely bestowed), late verb χαριτοωcharitoō (from χαριςcharis grace), in N.T. attracted to case of antecedent χαριτοςcharitos only here and Luke 1:28.

In the Beloved (εν τωι ηγαπημενωιen tōi ēgapēmenōi). Perfect passive participle of αγαπαωagapaō This phrase nowhere else in the N.T. though in the Apostolic Fathers.

Verse 7

In whom (εν ωιen hōi). Just like Colossians 1:14 with παραπτωματωνparaptōmatōn (trespasses) in place of αμαρτιωνhamartiōn (sins) and with the addition of δια του αιματος αυτουdia tou haimatos autou (through his blood) as in Colossians 1:20. Clearly Paul makes the blood of Christ the cost of redemption, the ransom money (λυτρονlutron Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; αντιλυτρονantilutron 1 Timothy 2:6). See note on Colossians 1:9.

Verse 8

According to the riches of his grace (κατα το πλουτος της χαριτος αυτουkata to ploutos tēs charitos autou). A thoroughly Pauline phrase, riches of kindness (Romans 2:4), riches of glory (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:16; Philemon 4:19), riches of fulness of understanding (Colossians 2:7), riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8), and in Ephesians 2:7 “the surpassing riches of grace.”

Which (ηςhēs). Genitive attracted again to case of antecedent χαριτοςcharitos f0).

Verse 9

The mystery of his will (το μυστηριον του τεληματος αυτουto mustērion tou thelēmatos autou). Once hidden, now revealed as in Colossians 1:26 which see. See also Colossians 2:3.

Which he purposed (ην προετετοhēn proetheto). Second aorist middle of προτιτημιprotithēmi old verb, for which see note on Romans 1:13; Romans 3:25.

Verse 10

Unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times (εις οικονομιαν του πληρωματος των καιρωνeis oikonomian tou plērōmatos tōn kairōn). See note on Colossians 1:25 for οικονομιανoikonomian In Galatians 4:4 “the fulness of the time” (το πληρωμα του χρονουto plērōma tou chronou) the time before Christ is treated as a unit, here as a series of epochs (καιρωνkairōn). Cf. Mark 1:15; Hebrews 1:1. On πληρωμαplērōma see also Romans 11:26; Ephesians 3:19; Ephesians 4:13.

To sum up (ανακεπαλαιωσασταιanakephalaiōsasthai). Purpose clause (amounting to result) with first aorist middle infinitive of ανακεπαλαιοωanakephalaioō late compound verb αναana and κεπαλαιοωkephalaioō (from κεπαλαιονkephalaion Hebrews 8:1, and that from κεπαληkephalē head), to head up all things in Christ, a literary word. In N.T. only here and Romans 13:9. For the headship of Christ in nature and grace see notes on Colossians 1:15-20.

Verse 11

In him (εν αυτωιen autōi). Repeats the idea of εν τωι Χριστωιen tōi Christōi of Ephesians 1:10.

We were made a heritage (εκληρωτημενeklērōthēmen). First aorist passive of κληροωklēroō an old word, to assign by lot (κληροςklēros), to make a κληροςklēros or heritage. So in lxx and papyri. Only time in N.T., though προσκληροωprosklēroō once also (Acts 17:4).

Purpose (προτεσινprothesin). Common substantive from προτιτημιprotithēmi a setting before as in Acts 11:23; Acts 27:13.

Verse 12

To the end that we should be (εις το ειναι ημαςeis to einai hēmās). Final clause with ειςeis to and the infinitive ειναιeinai (see the mere infinitive ειναιeinai in Ephesians 1:4) and the accusative of general reference.

Who had before hoped in Christ (τους προηλπικοτας εν τωι Χριστωιtous proēlpikotas en tōi Christōi). Articular perfect active participle of προελπιζωproelpizō late and rare compound (here only in N.T.) and the reference of προpro not clear. Probably the reference is to those who like Paul had once been Jews and had now found the Messiah in Jesus, some of whom like Simeon and Anna had even looked for the spiritual Messiah before his coming.

Verse 13

Ye also (και υμειςkai humeis). Ye Gentiles (now Christians), in contrast to ημαςhēmās (we) in Ephesians 1:12.

In whom (εν ωιen hōi). Repeated third time (once in Ephesians 1:11, twice in Ephesians 1:13), and note οho or οςhos in Ephesians 1:14.

Ye were sealed (εσπραγιστητεesphragisthēte). First aorist passive indicative of σπραγιζωsphragizō old verb, to set a seal on one as a mark or stamp, sometimes the marks of ownership or of worship of deities like στιγματαstigmata (Galatians 6:17). Marked and authenticated as God‘s heritage as in Ephesians 4:30. See note on 2 Corinthians 1:22 for the very use of the metaphor here applied to the Holy Spirit even with the word αρραβωνarrabōn (earnest).

Spirit (πνευματιpneumati). In the instrumental case.

Verse 14

An earnest (αρραβωνarrabōn). See note on 2 Corinthians 1:22 for discussion of αρραβωνarrabōn Here “of promise” (της επαγγελιαςtēs epaggelias) is added to the Holy Spirit to show that Gentiles are also included in God‘s promise of salvation.

Of our inheritance (της κληρονομιας ημωνtēs klēronomias hēmōn). God‘s gift of the Holy Spirit is the pledge and first payment for the final inheritance in Christ.

Of God‘s own possession (της περιποιησεωςtēs peripoiēseōs). The word

God‘s is not in the Greek, but is implied. Late and rare word (from περιποιεωperipoieō to make a survival) with the notion of obtaining (1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:14) and then of preserving (so in the papyri). So in 1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 10:39, and here. God has purchased us back to himself. The sealing extends (ειςeis) to the redemption and to the glory of God.

Verse 15

And which ye shew toward all the saints (και την εις παντας τους αγιουςkai tēn eis pantas tous hagious). The words “ye show” do not occur in the Greek. The Textus Receptus has τεν αγαπηνten agapēn (the love) before τηνtēn supported by D G K L Syr., Lat., Copt., but Aleph A B P Origen do not have the word αγαπηνagapēn It could have been omitted, but is probably not genuine. The use of the article referring to πιστινpistin and the change from ενen to ειςeis probably justifies the translation “which ye shew toward.”

Verse 16

I do not cease (ου παυομαιou pauomai). Singular present middle, while in Colossians 1:9 Paul uses the plural (literary, or including Timothy), ου παυομεταou pauometha f0).

Verse 17

The Father of glory (ο πατηρ της δοχηςho patēr tēs doxēs). The God characterized by glory (the Shekinah, Hebrews 9:5) as in Acts 7:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3; James 2:1.

That - may give (ιναδωιηhinȧ̇dōiē). In Colossians 1:9 ιναhina is preceded by αιτουμενοιaitoumenoi but here the sub-final use depends on the general idea asking in the sentence. The form δωιηdōiē is a late Koiné{[28928]}š optative (second aorist active) for the usual δοιηdoiē It occurs also in 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Romans 15:5; 2 Timothy 1:16, 2 Timothy 1:18 in the text of Westcott and Hort. Here B 63 read δωιdōi (like John 15:16) second aorist active subjunctive, the form naturally looked for after a primary tense (παυομαιpauomai). This use of the volitive optative with ιναhina after a primary tense is rare, but not unknown in ancient Greek.

A spirit of wisdom and revelation (πνευμα σοπιας και αποκαλυπσεωςpneuma sophias kai apokalupseōs). The Revised Version does not refer this use of πνευμαpneuma to the Holy Spirit (cf. Galatians 6:1; Romans 8:15), but it is open to question if it is possible to obtain this wisdom and revelation apart from the Holy Spirit.

In the knowledge of him (εν επιγνωσει αυτουen epignōsei autou). In the full knowledge of Christ as in Colossians.

Verse 18

Having the eyes of your heart enlightened (πεπωτισμενους τους οπταλμους της καρδιας υμωνpephōtismenous tous ophthalmous tēs kardias humōn). A beautiful figure, the heart regarded as having eyes looking out toward Christ. But the grammar is difficult. There are three possible interpretations. One is an anacoluthon, the case of πεπωτισμενουςpephōtismenous being changed from the dative υμινhumin (to you) to the accusative because of the following infinitive like εκλεχαμενουςeklexamenous (Acts 15:22) after αποστολοιςapostolois Another way of explaining it is to regard it as a tertiary predicate of δωιηdōiē a loose expansion of πνευμαpneuma The third way is to regard the construction as the accusative absolute, a rare idiom possible in Acts 26:3; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 1 Timothy 2:6. In this case, the participle merely agrees with τους οπταλμουςtous ophthalmous not with υμινhumin “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened.” Otherwise τους οπταλμουςtous ophthalmous is the accusative retained after the passive participle.

That ye may know (εις το ειδεναιeis to eidenai). Final use of εις τοeis to and the infinitive (second perfect of οιδαoida) as in Ephesians 1:12. Note three indirect questions after ειδεναιeidenai (what the hope τις η ελπιςtis hē elpis what the riches τις ο πλουτοςtis ho ploutos and what the surpassing greatness και τι το υπερβαλλον μεγετοςkai ti to huperballon megethos). When the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the heart, one will be able to see all these great truths.

In the saints (εν τοις αγιοιςen tois hagiois). Our riches is in God, God‘s is in his saints.

Verse 19

The exceeding greatness of his power (το υπερβαλλον μεγετος της δυναμεως αυτουto huperballon megethos tēs dunameōs autou). ΜεγετοςMegethos is an old word (from μεγαςmegas), but here only in N.T. υπερβαλλονHuperballon present active participle of υπερβαλλωhuperballō reappears in Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:19 and seen already in 2 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:14. To enlightened eyes the greatness of God‘s power is even more “surpassing.”

Verse 20

Which he wrought (ενηργηκενenērgēken). Reading of A B rather than aorist ενηργησενenērgēsen Perfect active indicative, “which he has wrought.” ηνHēn is cognate accusative of the relative referring to ενεργειανenergeian (energy) with ενηργηκενenērgēken and note also κρατουςkratous (strength) and ισχυοςischuos (might), three words trying to express what surpasses (υπερβαλλονhuperballon) expression or comprehension.

Made him to sit (κατισαςkathisas). First aorist active participle of κατιζωkathizō in causative sense as in 1 Corinthians 6:4. Metaphorical local expression like δεχιαιdexiāi and εν τοις επουρ ανιοιςen tois epour aniois f0).

Verse 21

Far above all rule (υπερανω πασης αρχηςhuperanō pasēs archēs). Late compound adverbial preposition (υπερ ανωhuperαιωνιanō) with the ablative case. In N.T. only here and Hebrews 9:5. As in Colossians 1:16, so here Paul claims primacy for Jesus Christ above all angels, aeons, what not. These titles all were used in the Gnostic speculations with a graduated angelic hierarchy.

World (aiōni). “Age.” See this identical expression in Matthew 12:32 for the present time (Galatians 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:17) and the future life (Ephesians 2:7; Luke 20:35). Both combined in Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30.

Verse 22

He put all things in subjection (παντα υπεταχενpanta hupetaxen). First aorist active indicative of υποτασσωhupotassō quoted from Psalm 8:7 as in 1 Corinthians 15:27.

Gave him to be head (αυτον εδωκεν κεπαληνauton edōken kephalēn).

Gave (εδωκενedōken first aorist active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi) to the church (the universal spiritual church or kingdom as in Colossians 1:18, Colossians 1:24) Christ as Head (κεπαληνkephalēn predicate accusative). This conception of εκκλησιαekklēsia runs all through Ephesians (Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:23, Ephesians 5:24, Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:27, Ephesians 5:29, Ephesians 5:32).

Verse 23

Which (ητιςhētis). “Which in fact is,” explanatory use of ητιςhētis rather than ηhē

The fulness of him that filleth all in all (το πληρωμα του τα παντα εν πασιν πληρουμενουto plērōma tou ta panta en pāsin plēroumenou). This is probably the correct translation of a much disputed phrase. This view takes πληρωμαplērōma in the passive sense (that which is filled, as is usual, Colossians 1:19) and πληρουμενουplēroumenou as present middle participle, not passive. All things are summed up in Christ (Ephesians 1:10), who is the πληρωμαplērōma of God (Colossians 1:19), and in particular does Christ fill the church universal as his body. Hence we see in Ephesians the Dignity of the Body of Christ which is ultimately to be filled with the fulness (πληρωμαplērōma) of God (Ephesians 3:19) when it grows up into the fulness (πληρωμαplērōma) of Christ (Ephesians 4:13, Ephesians 4:16).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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