1. Praise for God's rich blessings in Christ, 1:3-23

i] Praise to God


Paul begins his letter to the Ephesian church with a prescript - a from whom and to whom. He then follows up with what can best be described as a eulogy, a statement of declarative praise to God. God has blessed his people, chosen them, redeemed them, opened their eyes to the mystery / the gospel, and assured them of his eternal purpose. And this, not just for believing Jews, but for Gentiles who share the faith of Abraham. Together, both Jew and Gentile, taste the promised blessings of the covenant in the gift of the Holy Spirit.


i] Context: See 1:1-2. There is some debate as to whether the letter proper begins at v3, or 2:1. The opening chapter presents in two parts, praise, v3-14, followed by a prayer, v15-23. Given that Paul often begins his letters with praise and thanksgiving / prayer, chapter 1 is best classified as introductory (an exordium), with the argument proper beginning in chapter 2 (the probatio), contra O'Brien, who argues that the eulogy, 1:3-14, begins the letter proper.

The eulogy certainly introduces the main theme, a theme which O'Brien suggests is "the power of God's actions in Christ", which actions achieve "cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ."


In Christ, all things are unified in heaven and on earth


The first chapter can be divided as follows:

*A eulogy of praise to God, v3-14:

*Thanksgiving and prayer, v15-23:

*The thanksgiving proper, v15-16;

*Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, v17-19a;

*Praise for God's life-giving power in Christ, v19b-23.


ii] Background: See 1:1-2


iii] Structure: Paul's openings statement of praise to God:


"cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ", O'Brien.


God be praised, v3;

Election, v4-6;

Redemption, v7-8;

Knowledge of the mystery / gospel, v9-10;

Assurance, v11-14.


iv] Interpretation:

This letter seeks to affirm the unity of the church (assembly of believers) against the tendency for a racial divide between Jew and Gentile. The passage before us, described by Best as a eulogy, serves to introduce the major theme of the letter which distills down to we are all one in Christ. Bruce describes this passage as a "contemplation of God's eternal purpose", his "cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ", O'Brien. It serves as a statement of praise, or blessing to God. It's liturgical form is that of a eulogy, a liturgy of declarative praise. It celebrates (praises God for) a series of spiritual blessings. Paul will often introduce his letters with a thanksgiving and blessing, but in Ephesians this follows on from the eulogy such that the whole of chapter 1 is introductory.

The opening passage in Ephesians, 1:3-14, is virtually one long sentence made up of compound clauses, the principal clause being v3, "who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.":


Note that in v3-12 Paul speaks of "we", "we" were chosen, redeemed and opened up to the mystery. He may be speaking of "we believers", but given v12-13, "and you also ....", he is likely speaking of "we Jewish believers." The blessings of the kingdom belong to the children of Abraham, which blessings are now extended to believing Gentiles, those who are children of faith possessing the faith of Abraham.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:3

Paul gives praise to God for all the spiritual blessings he has poured out upon his people, v3-14. i] God be praised. Paul opens by praising God for the wonderful blessings that were given to the saints / Jewish believers (blessings which Gentiles similarly share as members of Christ). These blessings are every "spiritual" blessing and they are experienced in the "heavenly realms". Seeing that we are in a relationship with Christ, we are in a sense, spiritually one with him in the heavenly realms, while still being part of the earthly realm. This verse serves as a summary introduction to the eulogy.

euloghtoV adj. "praise be to" - blessed be. Fronted for emphasis. The verb to-be is assumed, either optative = a wish prayer, or imperative, "let be ...", or indicative, "is praised / blessed. Possibly "worthy of praise / blessing."

pathr (hr roV) "Father" - [the god and] father. "Father" is without an article, joined to "the God" by kai indicating they are one in the same.

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of [our] Lord" - of the lord. The genitive is adjectival, relational.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - of us [jesus christ]. The genitive is adjectival, also probably expressing subordination; "Lord Jesus Christ over us", Larkin.

oJ euloghsaV (eulogew) aor. part. "who has blessed" - the one having blessed, praised. The participle serves as a substantive, standing in apposition to "the God and Father." The eulogy gives praise to God on the ground of his blessings to us.

hJmaV "us" - There is debate over whether Paul includes his readers in the "us". It is likely that the "us" are Jewish believers, or even the apostles. In v13 his readers, "you", are included in the blessings, in that the Gentiles get to share in the blessings poured out on God's historic people. The Gentiles are "included in Christ", along with God's chosen people Israel.

en + dat. "with" - in/with [all/every spiritual blessing]. Adverbial use of the preposition, expressing reference / respect; "with respect to." The blessing is "spiritual". "Spiritual blessings" means those elements of life that are ours in our association with the Spirit, as outlined in verses 3-14.

en + dat. "in" - Local; expressing space / sphere.

toiV epouranioiV adj. "the heavenly realms" - the heavenlies. The adjective serves as a substantive. Numerous definitions have been suggested for "the heavenlies", eg., "the sphere of the blessings which are related to the Spirit", Lincoln. Some argue that it is another word for heaven, but this is very unlikely. It seems more likely that the term refers to the "spiritual sphere of influence" touching both earth and heaven. Spiritual forces, both good and evil, exist within its sphere: see 3:10, also 1:20, 2:6, 6:12.

en Cristw/ "in Christ" - The preposition en is locative / incorporative union, the prepositional phrase again serving to modifying the verb "blessed" - the spiritual blessings which come to us through our incorporation in Christ, by grace through faith.


ii] Election and adoption to sonship, v4-6. In these three verses, Paul identifies the first spiritual blessing: Set apart / called / elected / predestined as a holy people, God like, Christ like. The people of Israel were elected to sonship, chosen to be holy and blameless in the sight of God, "to the praise of his glorious grace."

kaqwV "for" - as, just as. The NIV reads the conjunction as causal, "because", although an epexegetic / explanatory sense seems better. "God has blessed us in that he has ......."

exelexato (eklegw) aor. "he chose" - he chose out, selected [us]. The aorist tense may indicate a single act, but not necessarily. The first element of God's kindness, his blessing, is the divine election of a people. Commentators with a reformed leaning tend to argue for an individual sense to the blessing of predestination. Yet, it is likely that a corporate sense is intended in that God chose Abraham and through his seed (ultimately Christ) he gathered an eternally secure people to himself. Today, a person is incorporated into this chosen people, this new Israel, through faith in Christ.

en + dat. "in" - in [him]. Local, space, metaphorical / incorporative union, probably "in Christ." Through our incorporation in Christ we are the elect people of God.

pro + acc. "before" - Here adverbial, temporal. Both this prepositional phrase, and "in him", modify the verb "to choose."

kosmou (oV) gen. "[the creation] of the world" - [foundation (also deposit, sowing in the sense of conception)] of world. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, "the world's creation", but possibly objective. God's choice of a people, including his determination of a how a person can join with this people (namely, by grace mediated on the basis of the faithfulness of Christ appropriate through faith), was made "before the creation."

einai "to be" - [for us] to be. The infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose; "in order that we may be ...... The accusative subject of the infinitive is hJmaV, "we".

aJgiouV (oV) "holy" - Certainly an ethical sense is intended here, "goodness / purity / without fault", but pushing toward "divine like." See sample sermon above.

amwmouV (oV) adj. "blameless" - [and] unblemished, blameless. Predicate adjective. Used of pure sacrificial animals and of moral rectitude. The purpose of divine election is the creation of a people who will stand holy and blameless, perfect, in the last day. Such perfection can only be found in identification with Christ, rather than by striving toward ethical purity in the here and now. Of course, our status of purity in Christ prompts a desire for purity in our daily lives. "Unblemished", Moffatt; "innocent", CEV.

katenwpion + gen. "in [his] sight" - before [him]. Spacial, metaphorical.

en + dat. "in" - in [love]. Possibly instrumental, "by/with", but better causal, "because of love." Whose love and to whom? Either God's love, or our love and if our love, is it love to the neighbor, or to God? The NIV has "in love" as the opening words of v5, in which case it is God's love, but the words can also end the sentence, in which case "in love" amplifies "holy and blameless", or the words can stand by themselves; "to be full of love", REB.


proorisaV (proorizw) aor. part. "he predestined" - having limited, decided beforehand, foreordained, predestined [us]. Although it is unclear as to the intention of the participle here, it looks very much like an attendant circumstance participle identifying action accompanying the main verb "he chose" - "he chose us ..... predestining us in love to be ...." Adverbial is certainly possible, temporal, or causal, or instrumental. O'Brien suggests cause = end view / goal; "he chose us ..... with the goal of predestining us." The word is used 6 times in the NT. In choosing a people for himself, God destines this people for a particular end, namely, adoption as sons. Again, this does not necessarily define how an individual becomes a member of the corporate entity which is both chosen and destined. A Calvinist will argue that God determines membership, while an Arminian will argue that membership is a matter of human decision.

eiV + acc. "to be [adopted as sons] / for adoption to sonship" - to, into, toward [adoption, sonship]. Here probably expressing purpose, "in order to be." Hoehner notes that in v5-6 eiV is used three times, the first with the sense of direction or appointment, the second direction and relationship and the third (v6) goal or end. The word "adoption" is used 5 times by Paul. It is often argued that the word comes out of Graeco-Roman social practice, although Jewish society also practiced adoption. Paul is here referring to Israel's adoption as sons of God, a privilege that belongs to remnant Israel, Hos.11:1, Rom.9:4.

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of [jesus christ]. Instrumental, agency.

eiV auton "-" - to him. The preposition eiV here expressing advantage; "for himself." Presumably "God".

kata + acc. "in accordance with" - according to. Expressing a standard, as NIV, but possibly cause, "because of ..."

autou gen. pro. "his" - [the good pleasure of the will] of him. The genitive is possessive, "God's will", but it may be taken as verbal, subjective, with "him" doing the willing.

eudokian (a) "pleasure" - good pleasure, satisfaction. The word is often used of God's good pleasure, but sometimes of human happiness (satisfaction or contentment is closer to the mark, given that it is very difficult to know what the word "happiness" means). Here though it is most likely a close synonym to "will", that is, God's intention / purpose. So, rather than "contentment", we are better to go with a meaning like "passionate concern", "delighted intent."

tou qelhmatoV (a atoV) gen. "and will" - of the will [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, attributed (ie., the lead noun acts as an adjective limiting the noun in the genitive case), so Larkin, but possibly ablative, expressing source / origin, "the good pleasure comes from his will", Hoehner.


eiV + acc. "to" - to [the praise]. Expressing purpose, goal / end. "All the actions of the Father have as their goal the praise of God", Hoehner.

doxhV (a) gen. "glorious" - of importance, weightiness, significance / glory, splendour, power, radiance. The syntactical function of the three genitives "of the glory of the grace of him" is problematic. The genitive pronoun, autou, "of him", is best classified as possessive rather than subjective. The genitive noun caritoV, "grace", is most likely adjectival, attributed, as NIV; "glorious generosity", Phillips. As for "of glory", it is usually classified as objective, "praise about / concerning / toward his glorious grace", although possibly adjectival, attributed, see v12. Other possibilities for "of the glory of the grace": a) attributive and objective, "for the glorious praise of his grace", b) objective and attributive, "to the praise of the glory of his grace", NJB.

thV caritoV (iV itoV) "grace" - of the grace, favor [of him]. The grace is truly glorious, a brilliant display of God's character. The word often refers to God's covenant mercy in gathering a people to himself through the faithfulness / worthiness of Christ.

h|V gen. pro. "which" - by which. Genitive by attraction. Variant en h|/, "by which" (instrumental use of the preposition), certainly better expresses the sense of this clause, but was obviously added for that very purpose.

ecaritwsen (carizw) aor. "he has freely given [to us]" - he bestowed favor upon, favoured highly [us]. Here the substantive "grace" is emphasized by adding its cognate verb. The literal meaning is something like "his grace, by which he has endowed us with grace."

en "in" - Local, expressing a close personal relationship.

tw/ hgaphmenw/ (agapaw) dat. perf. pas. part. "the one he loves" - the one being loved. The participle serves as a substantive. This is possibly a messianic title applied here to Jesus, although Paul may just be saying that God's grace is expedited in the Son of his love, namely, Christ. The term is descriptive of intimacy, even a pet name. "In his Beloved", Barclay.


iii] Redemption and the forgiveness of sins, v7-8a. The second spiritual blessing is redemption. Through identification with Christ a representative group of Israelites, namely, the apostles and other Jewish believers, were redeemed, purchased from their slavery of sin by the sacrificial death of Christ. God has called out a special people to himself and so makes provision for the realization of that people by means of the redemption which he has effected for them in Christ. All this is in accord with God's grace lavished on his people.

en wJ/ "in whom" - Local, in union with; "In the beloved / in union with Jesus we possess redemption."

ecomen (ecw) pres. "we have" - we have, posses. This verb in the present tense, surrounded by aorist verbs, stresses the fact that we have redemption now as an ongoing reality, ie., a durative present tense.

thn apolutrwsin (iV ewV) "redemption" - the ransoming, deliverance, liberation, emancipation, redemption, ... The deliverance of Israel from Egypt colors the meaning of this word in the scriptures, although Leon Morris argues that in the New Testament, redemption invariably conveys the idea of release from bondage on the payment of a ransom price. Certainly here we note the price paid is "blood", the blood-sacrifice of Jesus.

dia + gen. "through [his blood]" - through, by means of [the blood of him]. Instrumental / means.

thn afesin (iV ewV) acc. "the forgiveness" - the releasing, forgiveness. Accusative in simple apposition to "redemption"; "the redemption ..... that is the forgiveness of sins." Some argue that forgiveness here is a synonym for redemption, yet it is more likely that it further defines the substance of redemption. Redemption is not the same as forgiveness, but what we can say is that a redeemed person is forgiven of all their sins; "a liberation which means the forgiveness of sins", Barclay.

twn paraptwmatwn (a toV) "of sins" - of the transgression, trespass, falling away, lapses.... The genitive is adverbial, reference / respect; "forgiveness with respect to / with regard to / concerning sins." Larkin opts for an objective genitive. Paul is referring to individual sins here, transgressions of God's law. Note that he usually refers to "sin" singular, in the sense of the corrupting power that entered the human race through Adam and infected the whole of humanity such that it is now impossible for a person not to transgress God's law, even though they may desire to keep it.

kata + acc. "in accordance with" - according to. Expressing a standard, and thus the idea that redemption is shaped by its relation to the wealth of God's grace; "it is here that God's grace is found in all its richness", Cassirer. The preposition may sometimes express cause / reason; "because of the wealth of his grace", Barclay.

thV caritoV (iV itoV) gen. "of [God's] grace" - [the wealth] of the grace [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, probably attributed, "the full and gracious grace", Phillips, or epexegetic, "the wealth / abundance which is his grace."


hJV gen. pro. "that" - which. Introducing a relative clause. As with most translations, the NIV has taken the verb eperisseusen, "he lavished", as transitive and the pronoun as the accusative object of the verb attracted to the genitive caritoV, "grace"; "which he abounded to us" = "which he made to overflow to us", Cassirer. The AV, "wherein he hath abounded toward us", treats the verb as intransitive and the pronoun as a dative attracted to the genitive "grace".

eperisseusen (perisseuw) aor. "he lavished" - he lavished, overflowed, abounded [into us]. "This grace he gave us in superabundance", Barclay.


iv] The mystery, v8b-10. Paul now identifies the third blessing: The third blessing is the bestowal of wisdom such that the saints, Jewish believers, are enabled to share in a secret once hidden, but now revealed. This mystery concerns the fulfillment of God's gracious intention to gather a people to himself, both Jew and Gentile, and shower upon this new community life in all its fullness - "the unsearchable riches of Christ", 3:8.

en "with" - in [all wisdom]. The preposition is functioning adverbially, modal, expressing the manner by which God's grace overflowed to us; "with all ...." Possibly introducing a new sentence; "God has great wisdom and understanding", CEV.

fronhsei (iV ewV) "understanding" - [and] insight. "Understanding" is either a synonym of "wisdom" (ie. "insight" and "wisdom" are the same), or in apposition to "wisdom" (ie. "insight" further describes the substance of "wisdom"). "Wisdom and understanding" is either another aspect of "the riches of God's grace" poured out on us", or, if linked to the next sentence, an aspect of God's character by which he makes known to us the mystery ......"


gnwrisaV (ginwrizw) aor. part. "he made known" - having made known. Best doesn't think that the participle "is a second element in God's grace, but represents a new step in the eulogy", none-the-less, it does look like an attendant circumstance participle identifying action accompanying the verb "we have [redemption]", even adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, "by making known", O'Brien. In revealing his intention "God has shown us his secret / hidden plan."

hJmin dat. pro. "to us" - Dative of indirect object. Clearly the "us" here is the apostles, although Paul does often use the epistolary / royal plural to refer to himself.

to musthrion (on) "mystery" - the mystery. Direct object of the participle "making known." In scripture, a mystery is a hidden truth, and this sense of the word is far safer than a meaning based on a pagan source, namely "mysterious". Paul uses the word to describe a secret, or hidden truth, which is now revealed. It was once a secret, but now that the secret is revealed it is no longer a mystery. Debate rages as to the substance of this truth, eg. "All one in Christ", "Christ in you, the hope of glory", Col.1:27, "through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel", Eph.3:6. The mystery does indeed relate to "membership in the people of God", Best, of Jew and Gentile together as one in Christ. Yet, such is the product of the mystery and so it is likely that the mystery is the gospel of God's grace, or better, the gospel (in the sense of important message) which concerns God's grace. The phrase "the unsearchable riches of Christ" in 3:8, may come close to defining what Paul means by "the mystery."

tou qelhmatoV (a atoV) gen. "of [his] will" - of the will [of him]. The genitive is probably adjectival, but the possibilities are many:

*Bruce in the translation below takes it as attributed where the lead noun "mystery" limits the genitive noun "will"; "mysterious decree/will";

*Larkin thinks the genitive here is epexegetic, so "the mystery which consists of his will";

*Caragounis, Mysterion, thinks it is appositional, "he made known to us the mystery, namely, what he willed";

*Partitive / wholative - of the totality of the divine will / intentions, God has revealed a particular piece of information, the mystery, the gospel of grace. Possibly the best option;

*Hoehner thinks it is objective, "the mystery concerning God's own will";

*Possibly even ablative, source/origin - from the totality of God's will he has revealed the mystery.

kata + acc. "according to" - according to. Establishing a standard; "in accordance with, corresponding to." Introducing a prepositional phrase which modifies gnwrisaV "he has made known." "He has made known to us his decree which was formerly hidden from men. This he has done in accordance with that purpose of his which has its origin and its accomplishment in the person of Christ", Bruce.

proeqeto (protiqhmi) aor. mid. "he purposed" - [the good pleasure of him which] he place before, purposed. In the middle voice it is either "display publicly", or "plan / purpose". "Did what he had purposed", TEV.

en + dat. "in [Christ]" - in [him]. Local. Presumably "Christ", although note the AV which takes the referent as God and so provides the reflective pronoun "himself." Virtually all modern translations opt for "Christ".


eiV "to be" - to, into = for. The preposition here expresses purpose, goal / end, and forms a prepositional phrase possibly modifying the verb proeqeto, "purposed", v9; "which he purposed in Christ for the implementation of .....", but better modifying gnwrisaV, "he made known to us the mystery" ..... for the implementation of ..."

oikonomian (a) "put into effect" - a stewardship, ordering, arranging, implementing. Referring to the divine implementation of the mystery in human history toward its ultimate realization.

twn kairwn (oV) gen. "when the times" - [of the completion] of the times. The genitive is adjectival, limiting "completion / fulfillment" by specifying it / epexegetic. The epexegetic double genitive construction (Larkin suggests that they are objective, lit. a management concerning the fulfillment concerning the times) is expressing a temporal idea, that moment in time when the long-promised outpouring of divine grace finds its fulfillment in the gathering together of the strands of history in that one seminal event, Christ with us. "He revealed / made known to us the mystery (the unsearchable riches of Christ / grace) ...... for / toward the implementation of his long-term plan."

tou plhrwmatoV (a atoV) gen. "will have reached their fulfillment" - of the fullness, completion. The genitive is adjectival, limiting "implementation" by specifying it, epexegetic.

anakefalaiwsasqai (anakefalaiow) aor. pas. inf. "to bring ..... under one head" - to sum up, gather up into one [all things]. The infinitive, with eiV at the beginning of the verse is probably adverbial, forming a purpose clause in apposition to the first purpose clause, although possibly epexegetic explaining an element of the mystery. Commentators now tend to agree that the word expresses the idea of "summary", the summing up of an idea, the gathering together of an idea's salient points, rather than "head". Everything is "summed up" in the sovereign grace of God expedited in Christ. "For / toward the summing up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth."

en + dat. "in" - in [christ]. The preposition here is possibly instrumental, Christ is the means by which the grace of God is applied, "by Christ", or better, local, that Christ is the sphere within which all things are summed up, Christ is the focal point, "in Christ", so O'Brien, Hoehner, Larkin. The meaning of the term "in Christ" is dictated by the context. For example, it is often used to refer to a believer's identification with Christ, although not here.

ta + gen. "-" - the [things upon the heavens and] the [things upon the earth]. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase into a substantive. The preposition epi is spacial, "in / on / upon." Christ is the focal point of God's sovereign grace, operative in the heavenlies and on earth, influencing the heavenly powers and authorities and lost humanity.

en autw/ "in him / under Christ" - in him. The preposition en is local; "One perfect whole in Christ", Barclay.


v] Assurance, v11-12. Paul finally identifies the fourth spiritual blessing, namely, assurance. The new Israel of God is destined for glory, for the living God has purposed it and for this, let his name be praised.

en w|/ "in him" - in whom [and = also]. The paragraph break in the NIV is made for easy reading, but does not reflect the Greek text. The sentence which began at v3 continues, although the presence of kai and the repeated en w|/ of v7 indicates a segmental break . In Christ, here in the sense of "through our incorporation with Christ."

eklhrwqhmen (klhrow) aor. pas. "chosen" - we were appointed by lot, destined, chosen, made an inheritance. The sense here is probably not the same as that already made in v4, so a meaning of "destined" or "assigned" is better. Paul is speaking about assurance rather than election. "We have been given our share in the heritage" through incorporation with Christ, NEB; "in whom also we have obtained (been given) an inheritance", AV.

proorisqenteV (proorizw) aor. pas. part "having been predestined" - having been foreordained. The participle is adverbial, possibly modal, expressing the manner in which the action of the verb "chosen" is accomplished, or causal, "we have been given an inheritance because we have been predestined ...", so Larkin. Paul now harks back to v4, 5, reinforcing the truth that all this is according to God's purpose and plan.

kata + acc. "according to" - according to. Expressing a standard, "in accordance with."

proqesin (iV ewV) "the plan" - the plan, a setting forth / purpose. The sense "purpose" is best here, as AV, TEV.., so "in conformity with the purpose ...... in pursuance of the plan ..."

tou .... energountoV (energew) gen. pres. part. "of him who works out [everything]" - of the one working [all things]. The participle serves as a substantive. The genitive, as usual, can be understood in a number of ways. Larkin thinks it is subjective, or ablative / source, while Hoehner thinks it is objective. A simple possessive is probably all that Paul intends; it's God's plan, "a design formed by him", Cassirer.

kata + acc. "in conformity with" - according to. Again expressing a standard; "in pursuance of .... "Based on what he had decided from the beginning", TEV.

thn boulhn (h) "the purpose" - the counsel, decision, purpose, plan. Expressing the idea of deliberation and its produce = "the plan"; "directs the course of all things according to his own counsel and decree", Bruce.

tou qelhmatoV (a atoV) gen. "of [his] will" - of the will [of him]. Again probably functioning as a possessive adjective, but other options exist: subjective or source, Larkin; objective, Hoehner.


eiV to + inf. "in order that" - to the [us] to be. This preposition with the articular infinitive of the verb to-be either forms a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that we might exist ....", as NIV.

touV prohlpikotaV (proelpizw) perf. part. "who were the first to hope / who were the first to put our hope" - [to the praise of the glory of him] the ones who first hoped. The participle is possibly adjectival, attributive, although better taken as forming a substantive in apposition to hJmaV, "we", as NIV. The faithful remnant of Israel, the chosen son, is Christ, and the first to rest on the faithful son for eternal salvation were the apostles. The prefix to the verb takes the sense "beforehand". Those who hoped beforehand were the small, but representative, group of believers from Israel.

en + dat. "in" - in [christ]. Local, space, metaphorical / incorporative union; "the believer's hope is in the Christ, the promised Messiah in whom the righteous from the beginning of time have had their hope", Hoehner.

eiV + acc. "for [the praise]" - to, into. Here the preposition is possibly expressing purpose, as NIV. Yet, Paul may be using the preposition eiV here to mean "to", such that Paul is simply using a liturgical turn of phrase to praise God's glory, so vividly demonstrated in his mercy toward humanity.

doxhV (a hV) "of [his] glory" - of glory [of him]. The genitive is usually treated as objective here with autou "his" as subjective (better possessive), although adjectival, attributed, may apply. The phrase seems somewhat truncated and so it is probably restating a similar statement in v6; "to the praise of the glory of the grace of him"; "his intent was to reveal us as the example of all that he had done ("his glorious grace") that was worthy of praise", Junkins. Commentators tend to argue that the gathering of a people in Christ has as its end, the glory of God, which glory is praised by those who dwell in heaven and on earth. We were given our share in the heritage "that we should be to the praise of his glory", Robinson. "The praise of his glory is the object for which those who first hoped in Christ were chosen", O'Brien. Yet, we need to qualify this point. It is obvious that God does not act to promote his own glory, for his radiant character is a fact in itself. Our God acts toward us because of who he is, not because he desires (and certainly not because he needs) to prove, or demonstrate, his character. God's move toward us in Christ is totally of grace and does not add to his being in any way.


vi] And also believing Gentiles, v13-14. Paul now includes his Gentile readers in the spiritual blessings which belong to the saints / Jewish believers, but which are now extended to all - "you also were included in Christ." Being included in the family of God, being a child of God, once meant being part of the people of Israel. Yet, God's ultimate intentions, once hidden now revealed, have changed all that. Initially, God's sovereign will defined the family of Abraham as inheritors of the blessings, but now, all those who exercise a faith like Abraham by responding to the gospel, are inheritors of the blessings. As with the saints, Gentiles are included in God's eternal family, predestined according to his purpose for the praise of his glory. As such, the saints / believing Jews, along with Gentile believers, share in the blessings of the kingdom on reception of the gospel. These blessings, the promised blessings of the covenant, of new life in Christ, are now realized in the gift of the Holy Spirit. "Our possession of the Spirit, here and now, is the divinely given guarantee that we shall one day enjoy in fulness all that inheritance which God has reserved in heaven for those that love him", Bruce.

en wJ/ kai uJmeiV "and you also were included in Christ" - in whom also you. Referring back to eklhrwqhmen, "we were made an inheritance", so "you" Gentiles were included in the blessings of sonship along with Israel. One more en wJ/ in this verse ends the series in this passage of local, sphere / incorporative union, constructions.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "when you heard" - having heard. The participle is adverbial introducing a temporal clause, modifying the main verb esfragisqhte, "you were sealed [with the holy Spirit of promise]." The Gentiles were incorporated in Christ along with representative Israel (the apostles) when they heard the gospel ("the word of truth"), believed and received the Holy Spirit.

thV alhqeiaV (a) gen. "of truth" - [the word] of the truth. The intent of the genitive, as usual, is unclear. Hoehner gives the following possibilities: attributive, "true word"'; objective, "the word about / concerning the truth"; epexegetic, "the word which is truth"; or content - "a word of which the truth is the very substance and essence", Ellicott. Larkin suggests it is adverbial, reference / respect; "with respect to the truth."

to euaggelion (on) "the gospel" - the message, communication. Standing in apposition to "the word"; "that is, the gospel ...."

thV swthriaV (a) gen. "of [your] salvation" - of the salvation [of you]. Larkin opts again for a genitive of reference, "the good news about your salvation", while Hoehner opts for content, "the gospel which has as its content salvation." An objective genitive may be better; "the gospel proclaiming your salvation", Cassirer. The phrase "the gospel of your salvation" stands in apposition to "the word of truth." The gospel has acted on the Ephesian believers effecting "a rescue operation, a deliverance from spiritual death, from God's wrath, from bondage to evil powers, sin and the flesh", Lincoln.

pisteusanteV (pisteuw) aor. part. "having believed" - [in whom and = also] having believed. The participle is adverbial, probably introducing a temporal clause, "when you believed."

esfragisqhte (sfragizw) "you were marked [in him] with a seal" - you were sealed. Verse 13 is a single sentence with "sealed" as the main verb. Note the technical difficulty here. Normally, when an aorist participle ("believing") precedes the main verb ("sealed"), the action of the participle would precede the action of the main verb. Therefore, belief would precede the reception of the Holy Spirit. This verse could then be used to support second-blessing theology. None-the-less, the rule does not always apply and so it is best to understand the two participles "hearing" and "believing" as modifying "sealed", all describing a single event.

tw/ pneumati (a atoV) dat. "holy" - [with] the holy [spirit]. The dative is instrumental / means; "by means of."

thV epaggeliaV (a) gen. "promised" - of the promise. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, as NIV.


oJV "who" - who / which. There is a textual question over o{V "who" (masculine), or o{ "which" (neuter). The textual weight is with the neuter reading, but as Larkin notes, the attraction of the pronoun to its neuter antecedent could well be responsible for the neuter readings. The antecedent, the Holy Spirit' is a person, not an it.

arrabwn (wn wnoV) "a deposit guaranteeing" - [is] a down payment, an earnest. Paul describes the Holy Spirit as "a down payment" guaranteeing our inheritance. In common usage the word referred to the first payment for a purchased item. "Who is the pledge of our inheritance", NJB.

thV klhronomiaV (a) gen. "[our] inheritance" - of the inheritance [of us]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. As in v11, but now the inheritance belongs to both Jew and Gentile.

eiV "until [the redemption]"" - to/for [the redemption]. Possibly temporal, as NIV, but better expressing purpose, goal / end-view; "When God sealed and guaranteed Gentile believers with his Holy Spirit, he had in view their full and final redemption as his prized possession", O'Brien.

thV peripoihsewV (iV ewV) gen. "of those who are God's possession" - of the possession. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, "the redemption, that is / namely, the possession", so Best, but possibly verbal, objective.

eiV + acc. "to" - to [the praise of the glory of him]. Here expressing purpose, "for ...." See v6 and 12.


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