The Foreordination of the Church.
Our Election and Adoption by Grace.
This the Source of Salvation.
The Mystery Made Known.
Prayer that Wisdom and Knowledge Be Given to the Saints.
1, 2. Paul, an apostle. It was always the custom anciently to
place the name of the writer at the beginning rather than at the end as
By the will of God. Emphasis is placed in most of Paul's
epistles upon the fact that he was not an apostle by the appointment of
man, but by the will of God.
To the saints at Ephesus. All Christians were called saints in
the early church. See the salutations of other Epistles.
And to the faithful. The same as the saints. There is no article
in the Greek before "faithful." A literal translation is "To the saints
dwelling in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus."
2. Grace. For note on the salutation, see
3-6. Blessed be the God. The word
rendered "blessed" is one from which our word eulogize is
derived. It means, therefore, primarily, to praise. "Praised be the
God," etc., gives the idea.
Who hath blessed us. The blessed
is here from the same root. The word means, as above, "to praise," or
to "speak" good things of one; then to "speak" good things to, or
bestow blessings, as a secondary meaning. This is the meaning here.
With all spiritual blessings. All came from God, and he has
withheld none from those in Christ.
In the heavenly. In the kingdom of heaven.
4. According as. "Even as," in Revision.
Chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. This does
not affirm that God chose some individuals and rejected others, but
that before the world was, before there was Jew or Gentile, God chose
to have a people for himself, the whole church of Christ, a covenant
people confined to no one earthly race.
Holy and without blame. God chose them that they might be holy.
Holiness is the proof that a church is a chosen church.
5. Having predestinated us. Foreordained that we, the church of
Jesus Christ, should be adopted as his children. The whole line of
argument is general instead of particular. God foreordained a church
which should be composed of those adopted as his children.
According to the pleasure of his will. The act of
predestination was due simply to God's sovereign will. His will was the
6. To the praise of the glory of his grace. To the end that his
grace in adopting us as children may redound to his praise and glory.
In the beloved. In Christ.
Matt. 3:17; Col. 1:13.
7-12. In whom we have redemption through his blood. (1) We are
in bondage to sin; (2) Christ redeems us; (3) the price paid is his
20:28; 26:28; Acts 20:28; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:19.
Those redeemed are forgiven.
8. Which he made to abound. The grace of God (see
in all wisdom and prudence. These attributes, ascribed to God,
are fully shown in his grace and mercy.
9. Having made known unto us. To all who receive the adoption of
The mystery of his will. The word "mystery" is used in the sense
of something beyond human comprehension until revealed. This "mystery
of his will" is revealed and is declared in the
According to his good pleasure. See
10. He now states the mystery which God had revealed.
In the dispensation of the fulness of times. In the last
dispensation which came in the fulness of time; when the times were
full, or ripe. Fulness of time is often applied to the period of
Christ's coming. See
Heb. 1:2; Heb. 9:10; 1 Peter 1:20.
That he might gather together in one all things in Christ. That
the scattered families and tribes of men, both Jews and Gentiles,
should all be gathered and united under one head, Christ. Nay, not only
men, but angels,
all things in heaven and earth, all should be united under
Christ as head, so that he should be "all and in all"
and many other passages which are parallel in thought.
11. In whom we were made a heritage. See the Revision. We are in
Christ made the heritage of God, or God's part.
Having been predestinated. According to his will he
predestinated us, the church, to the adoption of sons, and to be his
12. We should be to the praise of his glory. This is the final
result of our predestination and adoption.
We who first trusted in Christ. Jewish believers like Paul who
had the Christian hope
before (see Revision) the Gentiles.
13, 14. In whom ye also trusted. The "we" of
refers to Jewish believers; the "ye," to Gentile believers, like most
of the Ephesians, who also trusted, after that they
heard, etc. They not only hoped, but
believed. That is, they became believers, by trusting obedience;
were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. After they were
converted, the Holy Spirit was bestowed
upon them. It was a "promise"
The seal was attached to a letter or legal document to authenticate it
to the world. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption, was God's
authentication to the world that the converts to Christ were accepted
as his children. The presence of the new Spirit was shown by a new life
exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit
14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance. The "earnest" money
was a small part of the purchase money given in hand to bind the
bargain. Paul says that the Holy Spirit given to God's children is
such earnest of the inheritance that he will bestow, a small part given
now as a proof to his adopted children.
Until the redemption, etc. Rather, "Unto." This "earnest" given
is looking unto the final and complete redemption from the grave
purchased possession, the children of God bought with Christ's
15, 16. After I heard of your faith. This verse has been thought
to show that Paul was not personally acquainted with those to whom he
wrote, and hence that this letter could not be addressed to the
Ephesians; but he used similar language of Philemon, one of his own
The language is natural if Paul left Ephesus in the spring of
A. D. 57, and wrote this letter about the close of A. D. 62
(Conybeare and Howson), more than five years after. During this period
he could only know of the faith and love of the Ephesians by what he
16. Cease not to give thanks. Because he heard so favorable a
17-19. That. This introduces the things for which he prayed God
in their behalf.
The Father of glory. The source of all spiritual glory.
Give unto you the Spirit of wisdom. A gift of the Spirit.
See notes on
1 Cor. 12:8.
Divine wisdom works wisdom in believers.
And revelation. The Spirit that reveals a knowledge of God and
spiritual mysteries. This Spirit would enable them to better comprehend
the "mystery" of God, the divine plans for human redemption in a better
knowledge of him.
18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. "Heart,"
in the Revision. The moving of the Spirit gives light. See
This would follow if they were given "the Spirit of wisdom," etc.
That ye may know. Have a fuller comprehension.
The hope of his calling. The hope of eternal life to which God
had called them.
The riches, etc. See
The heavenly inheritance given in the saints, rich beyond our
Acts 20:32; 26:18.
19. The exceeding greatness of his power. He prays that they may
have greater knowledge of three things: (1) Of eternal life (the hope);
(2) of the glorious inheritance, and (3) of God's mighty power towards
believers. This mighty power works to raise them from sin, as it worked
to raise Christ from the dead. However the power works, it is the same
power that raised Jesus.
20-23. Which he wrought in Christ. God's power wrought in Christ
in the tomb so that he came forth living.
At his own right hand. The Scriptures represent Christ at God's
right hand. See
Heb. 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Col. 3:1.
His seat there indicates his glory, and also that the
work of redemption has been wrought.
21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and
dominion. Above all the angelic hierarchy. See
1 Peter 3:22; also Eph. 3:10.
The same terms are applied to evil spirits in
Christ is above all angels, good or evil.
Above every name. Every person, office and dignity, whether in
this present state, or in that to come.
22. And hath put all things under his feet. All power was given
into his hands when he was raised from the dead
He is the rightful ruler of all.
And gave him to be the head, etc. He was, when raised from the
exalted to be the ruler of all things
and made the Head of the church;
not merely its ruler, but the Head of the Body, which derives its life
from the Head. Compare
1 Cor. 10:17; 12:27.
Note that this exaltation is after the cross and the resurrection,
definitely showing that Christ's church was not organized until after
our Lord's suffering.
23. Which is his body. His spiritual body, living by union with
the Head, pervaded by the life of Christ.
The fulness of him. The church is a manifestation of the fulness
of Christ, the body filled by his life, who
filleth all in all. Filleth all things with his majesty and power.
The object of the last four verses is to describe Christ's glories.
These are: (1) His resurrection; (2) His Exaltation to God's Right
Hand; (3) His Supreme Dominion; (4) His Headship to the Church, his
Body, filled with His Fulness. These glories all follow his stooping
unto the death of the cross. He abased himself that he might be
exalted. "For the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of