Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
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:THE
EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS1
I. ADDRESS AND SALUTATION
CHAPTER 1:1, 2
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ2 by the will of God, to the saints3 which [who] are at [in] Ephesus,4 and to [omit to] the faithful [or believers] in Christ Jesus: [.] 2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from [omit from]5 the Lord Jesus Christ.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Eph 1:1. The Inscription (address). A. The writer (Eph 1:1 a). Paul. Comp. the Introduction to the Epistle to the Romans. BEZA (Acts 13:9) explains the fact that he thus names himself in all his Epistles, by saying that he as the Apostle to the Gentiles retains the appellation used by them. JEROME: “The name Paul is the token of victory, raised above the first spoils of the church among the heathen.” [Comp, SCHAFF, Romans,6 p. 58.]—An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.—We find precisely as here ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ in 2 Cor. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1. While in the earliest Epistles to the Thessalonians there is no qualifying phrase, Paul calls himself in Philem. 1, δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, and writes in Phil. 1:1: Παῦλος καὶ Τιμόθεος, δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ; in 1 Cor. 1:1 κλητός is prefixed, in Rom. 1:1 δοῦλος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is added, in Tit. 1:1 δοῦλος θεοῦ, ἀπόστολος διʼ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ are joined together, while in 1 Tim. 1:1; instead of διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ, we find κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν. In Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Tit. 1:1, still further amplifications are appended. In this variety there is nothing arbitrary, but a consideration of the circumstances and relations determines the special form of the inscription in each letter, as in each case must be shown and has been shown. The shortest form, used here by the Apostle, is sufficient to indicate, humbly in unfading remembrance of his wonderful conversion and calling, that he has received his Apostleship without his own merit or worthiness, through the will and grace of the Most High (Gal. 1:15, 16), hence that he had not assumed it for himself or obtained it through the mediation of others. He did not present himself to the Ephesians as a stranger, as in the case of the Roman church, nor had he to deal with opponents, as in the case of the Galatians, nor was he approaching the end of his life, as it appears in the Pastoral Epistles. Hence there was no need of such an amplification as in those letters. Still, as he was not writing about a private matter, as to Philemon, but of Church and Christianity at large, and the Epistle is an official letter of great importance, the official designation should not be omitted. Comp. the Introduction, § 1. 2, § 3.
Ἀπόστολος is an official title. [Comp. Romans, p. 59.] See Luke 6:13 (ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν); Mark 3:14: ἴνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν. Hence 1 Tim. 2:7: κῆρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος and πρεσβεύειν ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20. As an Apostle, one sent out, he is dependent on the Sender, has his authority in Him (against HARLESS), since κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν—Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, 1 Tim. 1:1, does not describe the source, the origin of the Apostolic authority, but only the corresponding activity, the situation in accordance with the commission. It is no self-glorification, but in ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ there is expressed the feeling of dependence, in κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν—Ἰησοῦ that of attachment; thus in 2 Cor. 3:5 he calls himself ἱκανός, “sufficient,” but denies his ἱκανότης ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, his “sufficiency is of God.”
The genitive Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ accordingly designates chiefly Him who sends, who gives authority; the subject of the proclamation commanded to the Apostle is indeed the same Lord; but this lies in the nature and Being and position of the Sender, not in the genitive. Paul thus marks the authority which he has in the Christian church. [ELLICOTT and ALFORD follow HARLESS in taking the genitive as one of simple possession, but EADIE thinks it indicates also “the source, dignity and functions of the Apostolic commission,” as well as including the idea of authority.—R.]
Finally, the position of the words must be considered. The best and most MSS. read here Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ; the same order is found in Gal. 1:1 without variation, but in all other Pauline inscriptions Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ is the better attested reading, so that TISCHENDORF (ed. 7, maj.) reads thus in every case except Gal. 1:1, while KNAPP and others read Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, except in Philemon 1. The difference in position expresses a difference of shading in the view. “Jesus” is the personal name of Him who appeared in the form of a servant, referring chiefly to His humanity. “Christ” is the official name of the Mediator, referring to the Divinity of the Son mediating from eternity. Historically the Apostolic proclamation begins with the Jesus in the form of a servant, the Son of man, rising to the Christ, the Son of God, as He proved Himself to be. Thus it occurred in the revelation to Paul, whose question the Lord thus answered: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:5; 26:15; 22:8); in the last passage “of Nazareth” is added. He refers back to this most pointedly in Gal. 1:1; hence in that passage the reading is Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ without variation. But for this very reason the prevalent designation of Paul as “an Apostle of Christ Jesus” is explicable: for the exalted Son of Man, the Christ, who had appeared in Jesus of Nazareth, had called him to be an Apostle, while He had called all the others in the form of a servant. There is, however, no perceptible reason in the church to which he writes, nor in the contents of the Epistle,7 nor in the circumstances in which he writes, for giving prominence to this distinction or to the consciousness of it. Hence the better supported reading is the more to be accepted, since, the subsequent context (πιστοὶς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ) might give occasion for substituting the more usual order.
Διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ sets forth the means, as in 1 Cor. 1:9: ὁ θεὸς δἰ οὐ ἐκλήθητε; Gal. 4:7: κληρόνομος διὰ θεοῦ (א. A. B. C; F. G.: διὰ θεόν). In these cases the preposition διά with the genitive evidently stands in connection with the causa principalis, seeming to be entirely=παρά, ὑπό. So in Gal. 1:1, ἀπό and διά are definitely distinguished, and διά is there applied to Christ and also to God. FRITZSCHE’S remark does not meet the case: Esther autem hic usus ibi tantum admisseus, ubi nullam scntentiæ ambiguitatem crearet. WINER (p. 3558) comes nearer, since διά does not designate the author as such, i.e., as him from whom something proceeds, but chiefly as the person through whose endeavors or favor, etc., something is imparted to some one. It is precisely the activity and efficacy of the Divine will over against the various difficulties which must be overcome and set aside, “the achieving and penetrating power, the energy” of the same, which is indicated. It does not rest nor repose, as if what comes, only came hither from Him or out of Him; He must be active, must further in the present. Hence this phrase is not merely a reference to the final and supreme ground and to the important prerogative of his calling, as one divinely authorized, in order to remove all suspicion of intrusion and unwarranted appearance or writing, but it is also a reminder of the continued energy of the free grace of God; what exalts and sustains him and what humbles him, he comprehends here in one; it is as much an expression of humility as of dignity. Here this added phrase has “still another peculiar meaning. For when an Apostle in the Holy Spirit begins to write an Epistle, he knows already with the first word, what will follow further; he has conceived and borne the whole, before he begins his greeting. If we read further, how in Eph 1:3–11 all the consolation of this Epistle is brought out of the revealed mystery of the gracious good pleasure and will of God, we can mark what the Apostle has already in mind: an Apostle and messenger through the will of God brings no other message than a glad one, the gospel of Redemption unto blessedness. Comp. Rom. 1:10, 11; 15:29, 32. It is a counsel of grace creating joy and peace, this will of God, through which he also, who from Saul had become Paul, in his call to be an Apostle stands before all who should believe on Jesus Christ unto eternal life, as an example of the mercy that saves sinners (1 Tim. 1:12–16).”—STIER. [ELLICOTT gives especial weight to the latter part of STIER’S view, ALFORD to the former, while EADIE clings to the single notion of authority.—R.] Accordingly the remark of MELANCTHON, although accepted by most commentators, does not cover the case: Vides, quanta cura fuerit Spiritui sancto certos nos reddere, de verbo Dei, ut et secure crederemus et non aliud audiremus præter hoc verbum.
B. The recipients of the Epistle (Eph 1:1 b).—To the saints who are in Ephesus and the faithful [or believers] in Christ Jesus.—Ἅγιοι is applied to Christians according to the analogy of the Hebrew קָדֹושׁ (Exod. 19:6; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 1 Pet. 2:9) as those consecrated to God, as members of a sanctified fellowship, of the kingdom of God, of the Church of Christ. Although in the nature of the Christian communion there is not merely, the calling and destination but also the condition and furtherance of inward holiness, so that the latter are to be chiefly thought of in connection with an ἄγιος and can never be separated entirely from him, still they are not assumed in the word itself [HARLESS thus restricts it], so that this is not to be regarded as a moral peculiarity (ESTIUS, GROTIUS and others), nor does it express the call in the history of personal salvation and the moral destination, so as to mean: those called to holiness (SCHENKEL). If the former view includes too much, the latter includes too little. The principle of holiness has already come to them and even into them (LANGE); not merely is the goal of their calling held up before them, but the strength to attain to it is conceded and imparted (STIER). So that ἄγιος designates not merely a goal, a destination, but a relation into which the man is transferred and with which something is placed in himself.9
The inner side of this relation, the demeanor is here designated by πιστός, which means not merely faithful, reliable, but is also=πίσυνος (in any case from πείθω), πιστεύων blieving, Comp. PASSOW sub voce.10 So that it is used, not only in contrast with ἄπιστος (Jno. 20:27; 2 Cor. 6:15), but without such a connection (Gal. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:6), even in the address (Col. 1:1). On this account it is not to be applied to constantia in sanctimonia (GROTIUS) or perpetuitas in evangelica fide (BAUMGARTEN). MATTHIES is as little justified in limiting πιστοί to the enlightened believing nature, and referring ἄγιοι to the sanctified affectionate walk, as is SCHENKEL in applying the latter to the destination of the life and the former to the direction of the heart. For πιστεύω is not merely a direction of the heart, but a living activity, the acceptance and appropriation of what is proffered together with the devotion of one’s own person to the Giver of every perfect gift.
Καί joins πιστός with ἄγιος, as belonging together, like Col. 1:2, and thus are indicated the external relation established from above, and the demeanor of the church corresponding thereto, or “prominence is given both to the external relation and the internal condition of the Christian” (HARLESS). There is no ground for taking the conjunctive particle as epexegetical, as BEZA and others do, appealing to 2:8; Gal. 6:16. Although the absence of the article before πιστοῖς renders this admissible, it is decidedly opposed by the fact that the union of ἁγίοις and πιστοῖς is a description of the one church on its objective and subjective side, of the two important elements in the completion of the idea (BENGEL: Dei est, sanctificare nos et asserere, nostrum, ex Dei munere credere): the two notions do not cover the same ground, nor does one replace or explain the other; besides, Paul, least of all, would elevate the subjective above the objective element, and that too with an apparent exaltation of the Ephesian church, as though the vocati were all fideles. Because the article is wanting before πιστοῖς, it is not allowable to find indicated in the two words two different grades or parts of the church, as does STIER,11 appealing to 1 Cor. 1:2, where he thinks three grades are referred to; and yet dropping “the thought of grades, which is but indistinctly present in the two words,” he applies them to two parts, the first of which is thought of in the first part of the Epistle, the other in the second part. The acceptance of such a division would be grammatically inadmissible here (we should then read τοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ τοῖς πιστοῖς), and a similar division of the matter of the Epistle is found in others also: should not then the churches to which they were written, have had these two parts just as in Ephesus, or should not Paul have so thought, of them in the letters addressed to them? The distinction is artificial.
Both ideas are further defined: τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὗσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. The first marking the objective side of the church by a local qualification, the second, respecting its subjective side, by the life-sphere of faith; each is thus defined more closely according to its nature. On ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, see Introduction, § 5 [and Textual Note³]. Whether it is accepted or rejected makes little change in the sense of the words.—Τοῖς οὗσιν means those who are. In Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1, ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ οὔσῃ or ἁγίοις τοῖς οὗσιν stand in connection with a following statement of the place, as herewith ἐν Ἐφέσῳ. This justifies the presumption that here too it can mean only this; nor does the word admit of any other meaning. It is entirely inadmissible, to explain τοῖς οὗσιν without ἐν Ἐφέσῳ as meaning “actual” (to the actually holy); this would read: τοῖς ὅντως, BASIL (τοῖς Ἐφεσίοις ἑπιστέλλων ώς γνησίως ἡ νωμένοις τῷ ὄντι δἰ ἐπιγνώσεως—ὅντας αὐτοὺς—ὠνόμασεν) to the contrary notwithstanding. BENGEL, who does not accept ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, renders: qui præsto sunt, referring to Acts 13:1; Rom. 13:1. But the passages cited, Acts 13:1: κατὰ τὴν οὖσαν ἐκκλησίαν, and Rom. 13:1: αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι, by the participle of εἶναι mark only present existence and validity (in the churches which are existing there at present, the powers ruling there at present), and BENGEL himself shortly before explains with more exactness: qui sunt in omnibus iis locis, quo Tychicus cum hac epistola venit, so that the participle has still a local reference. Such a reference must at all events be retained, and if ἐν Ἐφέσῳ must be omitted, then there is a lacuna, either intentional on the part of the writer, as in the case of a circular letter, or occasioned by the transcribers.
Ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is joined to πιστοῖς. The connection with ἐν is not objectionable,12 even though πιστὸς ἐν does not occur elsewhere; for in Col. 1:1: πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ, the phrase qualifies ἀδελφοῖς so 1 Tim. 1:2: γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει. But πίστις ἐν Χριστῷ is found in 1:15; Col. 1:4; Gal. 3:26: μετὰ πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, 1 Tim. 1:14; and πιστεύειν ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ Mark 1:15. Since ἐν designates the element, the life-sphere, the principle, the inmost life-fellowship of the believer, it is not=εἰς (BAUMGARTEN), for it is not the object, aim or direction of the believer that is marked, but his activity and vitality.13 Hence it is also not=διὰ Χριστοῦ, for the means are not here discussed, as SCHENKEL thinks, nor is it to be rendered: fidem in Christo reponentibus (MEYER), since in that case we should find ἐπί with the dative (WINER, p. 867). The position ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ must be noticed, since at the beginning we read ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, and so too in the greeting, Eph 1:2. “The proclamation of the messenger proceeds mainly from Jesus, preaching and proving that He is the Christ—but the faith of the saints rests mainly on the Christ, the Messiah, the giver of the gift of God, of eternal life (Rom. 6:23). Comp. Col. 1:4; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1:14, 15.”—STIER. “In Christ” is in this Epistle the centre and heartbeat of the apostolic proclamation. Comp. Eph 1:3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, etc. [See EADIE’S remarks in Homil. Notes.—R.] This formula corresponds entirely to the phrases “in Adam,” “in Abraham,” referring to the efficient fellowship of life. The connection with πιστοῖς must be retained, the more since ἁγίοις has already an added qualification. It is true ἐν Χριστῷ might be joined with ἁγίοις, as in Phil. 1:1. But it does not result from this, that it belongs here not merely to πιστοῖς but also to ἁγίοις, as SCHENKEL, HARLESS and others think; as if Paul had written: τοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ! One might say with the same reason, that τοῖς αὗσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ belonged to πιστοῖς, since the believers also are there.
While Paul writes τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ in 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1; ταῖς εκκλησίαις Gal. 1:2; in Rom. 1:7; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2, he says: τοῖς ἁγίοις. In the former cases he has in view the unity comprehending the Christian persons, in the latter the persons standing in this unity: this form will, therefore, scarcely support the view, that it bears in itself a more confidential character. (SCHENKEL on Col. 1:2.) For the Romans were strangers to the Apostle, while the Colossians, Corinthians and Galatians were known and dear. Still less is there to be found in this difference an indication that he had founded the church in question or some one else.
Eph 1:2. The Salutation. [On the Pauline salutations, see Dr. SCHAFF’S note, Romans, p. 57.] Grace be to you and peace.—Χάρις has the same root as χαίρω, χαρά, χάρμα (joy), χαρτός (pleasant), from which also carus, gratius, gratia, grates are derived. It means favor, gracious character, loving, obliging devotion to another, such as that of a wife to the husband, the enjoyment of love. See PASSOW sub voce. The thought of the Scripture is aptly expressed by the German word Gnade, the original meaning of which may be perceived in the expression: die Sonne gent zu Gnaden (the sun goes down, goes under), ein gnädiger Regen (a rain that falls lightly and penetrates deeply). It is compounded of ge, with the signification of strengthening, multiplying (as in Geräusch, Geschrei, etc.), and naden (down, into the depths). Gnade, grace, is therefore condescending love and beneficent kindness of God, the Lord, condescending indeed from the heights of glory into the depths of darkness. Comp. KLING, 1 Cor. 1:3 (Biblework). [The English word grace, as will be seen from the etymological remark above, has the same root as the Greek word used here, and is its nearest possible equivalent in all its various meanings.—R.]
Εἰρήνη from εἴρω (to knit, to speak, according to PLATO, Cratylus, p. 398, D: τὸ εἵρειν λέγειν ἕστι, according to the analogy of sero, sermo, sermonem nectere) designates a union after separation, reconciliation after contest and quarrel, since then the speech is no longer against, but to and for each other, since then comes rest and joyousness, παῤῥησία. It is Friede, peace, because one is glad and free [froh und frei], the actual well-being, corresponding to the Hebrew שָׁלֹוס. [The meaning of the Hebrew word is aptly expressed thus: “Peace, plenty, and prosperity.”—R.] First comes χάρις, grace, “that which is subjective in God and Christ, which the Apostle wishes to be directed and shown to his readers; the latter is the actual result, which is presented through the bestowal of grace” (MEYER on Rom. 1:7); grace is the ground of sanctification and of peace, peace is the goal of faith; the dative ὑμῖν “to you,” viz., ἁγίοις and πιστοῖς, after χάρις indicates that “grace” first of all becomes their portion, and then “peace” becomes and remains theirs more and more. The thought will be best completed from 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:2, where πληθυνθείη is added,14 even if this word is not in the Apostle’s mind; for as ἅγιοι and πιστοί they are already partakers of these, and in Christians there is a growth both of grace and peace.
From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—The preposition ἀπό designates the coming hither, without defining more closely the relation of that which comes to him from whom it comes, as is done by ἐκ and παρἁ, or denoting the activity of him from whom it comes, as in the case of ὑπό. On the further distinction between these prepositions, see WINER, pp. 342 f., 346 f. Here ἀπό therefore means simply from, governing both the genitives: θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν and κνρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Both grace and peace come from both God and Jesus Christ; in this then God and Jesus are alike. Still in 2 Cor. 13:13 Paul says: “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” placing it before “the love of God.” In the present passage the two are distinguished by closer qualifications. “Our Father” denotes the fatherhood of God; we rejoice as His children “by virtue of the adoption (Eph 1:5) attained through Christ.” With the word “our” the Apostle includes himself and the readers, called “you” just before, and all Christians, in humble, sacred joy. Κυρίου without ἡμῶν denotes in general the Lordship of Christ; He is such as Creator (Col. 1:16; 1 Cor. 8:6; comp. John 1:3), as Propitiator and Redeemer (Acts 20:28), as the exalted Son of man (Phil. 2:9–11); and such power as Lord He has from God the Father (1:22; Matth. 28:18) until the consummation of the plan of salvation (1 Cor. 15:24, 28), while He in His appearance as Messiah (Χριστός) has God as head (1 Cor. 11:3) and is “God’s” (1 Cor. 3:23). Comp. HARLESS in loco. It is inconceivable how any can [as the Socinians], in opposition to the language and thought alike, make the genitive “Lord Jesus Christ” co-ordinate with “our,” and thus dependent on “Father;” but what is not possible for those who are unwilling to perceive Christ in His Dignity above us, and us in our need below Him!
The importance of this benediction will be perceived from the constant repetition of it, even if in manifold forms. The briefest form is found in 1 Thess. 1:1: χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη; in Col. 1:2 we have: χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν; 2 Thess. 1:2: χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Then as here (1:2) in Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Philem. 3. In Gal. 1:3, ἡμὥν occurs after κυρίου, not after πατρός, and something further is appended, together with a doxology. Tit. 1:4: χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν The greetings in the two Epistles to Timothy are the fullest: χάρις, ἕλεος, εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. “Mercy” enters between, to indicate the activity of “grace” towards this “peace.”
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Paul knows and feels himself to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, quite as much as those who were immediately called and sent out by Jesus Himself. He too was called and ordained just as immediately in an extraordinary manner, as these in an ordinary way. On this account he adds, “by the will of God,” excluding all human choice and self-will in his call. Hence he is not to be reckoned as the thirteenth, but as the twelfth chosen in the place of the traitor Judas; the election of Matthias (Acts 1:15–26), having been occasioned by Peter and consummated by the disciples before the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, is to be regarded as a work of haste and precipitancy. [On the other hand, see LECHLER, Biblework, Acts, p. 22. The question is discussed in the histories of the Apostolic times. “Paul never represents himself as one of the twelve, but seems rather to distinguish himself from them as one born out of due time, occupying a similar relation to the Gentile world, as the older apostles did to the Jewish.” SCHAFF, Hist. of the Apost. Church, p. 513. The only practical use made of it in modern times has been in the interest of Prelacy, against the people’s choice of ministers.—R.]
2. As Paul places himself upon an entire equality with the other Apostles, although he is pre-eminently the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; 20:21; 26:17, 18; comp. LECHLER, Biblework, Acts, p, 171), he designates the Apostolate as unique in its character, in respect to the immediate call, as well as to its special position and mission in the incipient stages of the Christian Church. This refutes the error of the Irvingites, who believe in the re-appearance of actual Apostles and the re-establishment and renewal of the Apostolate in their churches (SCHENKEL, SCHMOLLER, on Gal. 1:2, Biblework). We must not, however, overlook the fact, that Paul in Phil. 1:1 calls himself in connection with Timothy only “the servant of Christ Jesus,” and in Rom. 1:1, “servant of Jesus Christ,” in Tit. 1:1, “servant of God,” first, and then “Apostle;” thus giving priority in these passages to the general official name; including his assistant with himself in Phil. 1:1, while in the two Epistles to the Thessalonians he mentions these without any further qualification. In the Apostolate, as a specializing of the general service of the church, we must regard the general ecclesiastical office as conjoined, finding in the former the basis of all real church offices. It is in fact the historically first form of office in the church, unfolding itself further in the wider course of ecclesiastical development, according to the necessity of the congregation, in conformity with the gifts and tasks of the church. Thus the diaconate soon sprang up (Acts 6:1–7), then other offices (Eph. 4:11), especially that of “presbyter” in both Jewish and Gentile Christian churches. To this correspond the instructions and commissions imparted to the Apostles by the Lord Himself (Matth. 16:19; 18:18; 28:19, 20, where the promise: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” is especially to be noted; Jno. 20:21–23), which are still in force for the ministers of the word, and will be unto the end of the world. In addition, it may be remembered that the Apostle is writing to churches already existing, though in most cases founded by himself, so that he does not place himself with his office and ministry temporal in priority, nor as to his rank above the church, but works on and in her, as well as for her.
3. Paul regards the church from a double point of view, as consecrated to God, and believing. With the first term (ἄγιοι) he sets forth its objective ground, with the second (πιστὸι ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ) its subjective life; the former marks the Divine work of salvation, the latter the human acceptance and appropriation; that indicates the relation of the church to God, this the demeanor; that defines their worth (dignity), this their worthiness; that is always first, impelling to the other, this is always second, having in the first its ground, impulse and power. In the objective factor, in God’s arranging and ordering, there is constantly given the power, which will and can and should become efficient, even though only latent at times. Nothing is said respecting the degree and extent to which this power, given in connection with the assembly effected by God, has wrought and been successful in the whole body; from the first feeble beginnings on to the consummation, there are manifold, unmistakable gradations; fluctuations, too, and relapses of a very dubious character. But above the appearance in single churches and periods, the eternal and glorious basis must not be misunderstood; here Paul gives an important example to the Ephesians. The Christian must confess in humble gratitude that he is ἄγιος, and in assiduous obedience feel and show himself to be πιστὸς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
4. God, who has condescended and given Himself to us as a Father (“grace be unto you from God our Father”) with His gifts (“peace”), stands together with Christ (“and the Lord Jesus Christ”) toward us as Giver and Dispenser. It is the will of God, who has ordered all things (“by the will of God”) to this end, constantly accomplishing His purpose actively through His creatures, inanimate as well as animate and personal, willing and unwilling, yes, resisting even. Accordingly the Lord sends His Apostles, remains together with the Father the constant source of all the benefits of salvation, aye, the element, the life-sphere for all the called and believing ones. Although it remains untouched here, in what relation the Lord Jesus stands to God the Father, it is still clear, that He needs no “grace” and “peace,” but is, as the sending Lord and partaker of Divinity, highly exalted above us, and we are deep below Him, poor, wretched, without peace, needing Him, but yet the objects of His mercy, who should become partakers of God.
5. Grace and peace stand related to each other: in the former God condescends to man, in the latter man lifts himself to God. In grace, the Most High comes down into the depths of misery and sin; in peace, poor sinful man, taken up, reconciled, pacified, cleansed, draws nigh to his God and Father. Neither is complete at once, each has its development and history: grace, not merely forgiveness of sin, but deliverance, enlightening, sanctification, beatification, imparts ever more fully, penetrates ever deeper and wider, exalts ever more gloriously; peace, not merely rest, quiet, but union and harmony, strengthens more and more, grows and impels ever higher and more beautifully. This is indicated by the form of the benediction. The victory is decided; it will be followed up, improved, and that more completely—and all this by the ethical mode of faith, not an indefinite and general one, but the special definite faith in Christ Jesus the living Mediator of all blessing and salvation.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Did God make out of Saul, the persecutor of the Church of Jesus Christ, Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ, then rejoice in humility and think that the same God who has made of thee a Christian, a joyous child of God, will help others to the same privilege; if He succeeded in doing this in your case, is it not even more likely to succeed in that of others?—Do not forget that in dealing with the Apostle of Jesus Christ, thou dealest with the will and work of God.—Take heed in thine office and calling, that thou standest there by the will of God.—Paul, so wonderfully led, so marvellously overcome and so highly favored, sees through all the defects, weaknesses, sins of his churches, their glory, the glory of the people of God, and their life of faith, however weak. Now then, do not starch thyself in thy precious office with proud ignoring of the worth of thy flock; rejoice in the worth of thy ministry, but at the same time in the church of thy Lord; do not depreciate the church of God because of human appearances or on account of individual members, however numerous, since thou dost claim respect for thy office despite thy sinful person. The dignity of the office and the calling is to be recognized, even if the person in office or called permits himself to become guilty of unworthiness.
What is specifically Christian is this, that thou, called and trained by the Father, inwardly deniest the natural Ego more and more entirely, for the sake of the one and unique person, Jesus Christ.—He who is never satisfied in his morality, but humbly strives and believes and hopes, is near to Christ and belongs to Christ. Christless morality, irreligious virtue, or, as it was more faithfully termed in the last century and still is in this, “godless” virtue, calling and thinking itself “free,” has only the outward appearance, the garment, is really foolish pride. Thou canst be a broker or agent of morality, then thy part in it is usufructuary, but thou art no owner of it.—From the fact that thou art “holy,” i.e., consecrated to God, accepted by Him the Holy One, follows thy faith, which appropriates and believes what is Divine and holy, more and more inwardly to the internal personality. It is therefore not correct to say: Holiness proceeds from faith in Christ; hence Paul calls them believers, too. Nor is holiness merely the goal of Christian striving; he who has God and Christ, the Holy One, has holiness also; it is not put before us as a goal, far or near, but we, as Christians, are in it, as in an element, a sphere, that it may become ours, be in us, increasing and strengthening itself in us.—The saint consecrated to God (ἄγιος) says, first in the consciousness and confession of his faith, however: I am God’s! The believer (πιστός) says: God is mine! But that we are God’s always comes first, then that God is ours.—How well has Paul complemented the salutation of the Old Testament: Peace be with you (Judges 6:23; 1 Sam. 25:6, etc.), by adding or rather prefixing grace, which was not wanting in the Old Testament.
STARKE:—A minister of Christ, a teacher of the Gospel, must be installed by the will of God. Mark this, ye runners, who run of yourselves.—Where grace is, there is peace also, even though it be not felt by a believer in his state of conflict.—Since grace and peace come from Christ as well as from God the Father, Christ must be very God as is the Father.
RIEGER:—A believer is already a saint.—My God! I am Thine; therefore am I holy. Uphold me in faith on Christ Jesus!—The chief possession of the saints and believers is grace and peace. This is from the very first the life of their heart; this distributes to them their daily nourishment and strength, and with this, too, they are equipped even unto the end of their course.
HEUBNER:—The call of God to the ministry gives the proper joy in office.—The Apostolic benediction contains all that is worth wishing for.—SCHENKEL:—Neither the consummation of salvation nor the beginning of faith is to be found outside of fellowship with Christ.—Grace is the ground of our faith, peace the hope of our life.
STIER:—He whom the Lord admits among His called saints, has an inextinguishable spark of faith, that may bring him among the elect and faithful. And if there were left of the church only a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, a cottage in a vineyard, a well-nigh devastated, straitly besieged city, and the rest were as Sodom and Gomorrah—if instead of the Ephesus of the days of Paul and John, there remains only the miserable village of Aja-soluk: yet shall the besieged city of God remain His preserved city, until He Himself destroys it, and we would not regard His sacred people as rejected either in their dispersion or in their blindness.—Grace and peace, it is just this which is wanting to those who are away from Christ and without God in the world, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Grace and peace, it is this which is ever more and more needful for those, who have obtained precious faith in the righteousness which our God and our Saviour Jesus Christ gives. In this double yet single word we have once more: what proceeds from God and what should be effected in us. The first ground of all holiness is the grace of the Eternal One, meeting and preventing us; the final goal of all fidelity in faith is complete peace or entire salvation.
[EADIE:—“In Christ Jesus.” The faith of the Ephesian converts rested in Jesus, in calm and permanent repose. It was not a mere external dependence placed on Him, but it had convinced itself of His power and love, of His sympathy and merits; it not only knew the strength of His arm, it had also penetrated and felt the throbbing tenderness of His heart—it was therefore in Him.—“Grace.”—As a wish expressed for the Ephesian church, it does not denote mercy in its general aspect, but that many-sided favor that comes in the form of hope to saints in despondency, of joy to them in sorrow, of patience to them in suffering, of victory to them under assault, and of final triumph to them in the hour of death.—“Peace.”—A conscious possession of the Divine favor can alone create and sustain mental tranquility. To use an impressive figure of Scripture, the unsanctified heart resembles “the troubled sea,” in constant uproar and agitation—dark, muddy and tempestuous; but the storm subsides, for a voice of power has cried, “Peace, be still,” and there is “a great calm:” the lowering clouds are dispelled, and the azure sky smiles on its own reflection in the bosom of the quiet and glassy deep. The favor of God and the felt enjoyment of it, the Apostle wishes to the members of the Ephesian Church.—R.]
 TITLE: א. A. B. D. E. K. and others: πρὸς Ἐφεσίους, to which F. G. and others prefix ἄρχεται, some versions incipit. L. has τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Παύλου επιστολὴ πρὸς Ἐφεσίους. [Elzevir has Παύλου τοῦ ἀποστόλου ἡ πρὸς Ἐφεσίους ἐπιστολή, which is followed in the E. V.—R.]
Eph 1:1.—[Rec., א. A. F. G. K. L., all cursives, some versions, read: Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. B. D. E., some versions and fathers, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Ellicott, Alford: Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. The latter is more usual (see Col. 1:1) and seemingly better adapted to the contents of this Epistle, which would afford grounds for deciding against it. See in Exeg. Notes, Braune’s reasons for accepting the first reading.—R.]
Eph 1:1.—[א.3 A. insert πᾶσιν after ἁγίοις. So Vulgate, Coptic.—R.]
Eph 1:1.—[See the Introd. § 5, for a discussion respecting the words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ. The words are found in all uncial and cursive manuscripts except א. B. 67. They are found in all versions without exception. Meyer (p. 8) defends the words as decidedly genuine, and with him a number of the best editors. On the other hand, they are omitted in the three manuscripts mentioned above, though supplied by later hands in א. B., and really present in 67, with marks of suspicion. To this must be added, the testimony of Basil that in his time they were wanting in old copies, Marcion’s view, the possibility that Tertullian did not know of them, Origen’s acceptance of the omission, and the bare possibility that Jerome did not insert them. The discovery of א. and its omission of them has led careful editors, such as Tischendorf, Ellicott and Alford, to bracket them, but there is at present no evidence sufficient to warrant their rejection, while the omission makes a reading so singular as to overbear the ordinary canon respecting the lectio difficilior. We must also take into the account the “subjective criticism” of the earlier centuries.—R.]
Eph 1:2.—[Ellicott aptly says: “The preposition in such cases as this should certainly be omitted, as its insertion tends to make that unity of source from whence the grace and peace come less apparent than it is in the Greek.” For the same reason a thorough revision would remove the comma after “Father,” as well as the second “to” in Eph 1:1.—R.]
[Whenever the name of an Epistle or Gospel thus occurs, in Italics, followed by a reference to page or section, without any other specification, the reference is to the present edition of the “Biblework,” or “Lange’s Commentary,” as it is popularly called.—R.]
[The contents of the Epistle, especially its fundamental thoughts, seem to me to be strikingly in keeping with the order: “Christ Jesus,” so much so as to awaken additional suspicion of an alteration to that form in MSS. of an early date.—R.]
[The references in the original are to the 6th German edition of WINER, but they have been altered to conform to the 7th German edition, which is now the standard, and to whose pages the last American edition refers in a separate index.—R.]
[Dr. HODGE explains it: “Those who are cleansed by the blood of Christ, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and thus separated from the world and consecrated to God.” No doubt this describes the “saints,” but it is too extensive a definition of the word as here used. EADIE opposes the restriction of HARLESS, but properly says: “The appellation ἅγιοι thus exhibits the Christian church in its normal aspect—a community of men self-devoted to God and His service.” ELLICOTT has a valuable note on the word, agreeing with ALFORD, who says: “It is used here in its widest sense, as designating the members of Christ’s visible Church, presumed to fulfil the conditions of that membership.”—R.]
[The classical meaning: qui fidem præstant, is accepted by ALFORD, but the particular and theological sense: qui fidem habet, is preferable here, and is adopted by HODGE, ELLICOTT, EADIE. The last author thinks the other meaning would require a simple dative after it, as Heb. 3:2. See his notes for the authorities justifying this meaning in the N. T.—R.]
[STIER accepts the meaning: faithful, which best accords with his peculiar view respecting the two grades in the church.—R.]
[ALFORD seems to reject this connection. In that case we must accept an elliptical construction: “The saints who are in Ephesus, the believers (who are) in Christ,” or take the phrase as qualifying both adjectives; the objections to the latter will be found below.—R.]
[ELLICOTT thus discriminates between πιστὸς ἐν Χριστῷ and πιστεύειν εἰς Χριστόν: “The latter involves a closer connection of the verb and the preposition, and points rather to an act of the will, while the former involves a closer connection of the preposition and the noun, and marks a state and condition.”—R.]
[ELLICOTT and ALFORD supply εἴη, not ἔστω (MEYER), the optative being the more usual form, as is implied in the suggestion of Dr. BRAUNE.—R.]
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:II. PART FIRST
THE GLORY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
A. The ground and goal of the church
1. Grateful praise of the decree of grace
3Blessed be the God and Father15 of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath [omit hath]16 blessed us with [ἐν, in] all spiritual blessings [blessing]17 in [the] heavenly places in 4Christ: According [even] as he hath chosen [he chose] us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him [;] in love: [omit the colon]18 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children [unto adoption] by [through] Jesus Christ to [unto] himself,19 according to the good 6pleasure of his will, To [Unto] the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted [which20 he freely bestowed upon us] in the beloved: 7In whom we have [the or our] redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins [our transgressions],21 according to the riches22 of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded 9[Which he made to abound] toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto [to] us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which 10he hath [omit hath] purposed in himself: [,] That in [Unto]23 the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one [to gather up together] all things in Christ, both [omit both and supply the things]24 which are in heaven, and 11[the things] which are on earth; even in him: [,] In whom also we have obtained an [In whom we were also made his]25 inheritance, being [having been] predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own [omit own] will: 12That we should be to [unto] the praise of his glory, who first trusted [we who have before hoped]26 in Christ [or the Christ]. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard [In whom ye also, having heard]27 the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed [in whom I say having also believed], ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise [the 14Spirit of promise, the holy One], Which [Who]28 is the earnest of our inheritance until [unto] the redemption of the [his] purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Summary.—It is clear that Eph 1:3 opens the section with thanksgiving and praise for the blessing of Redemption. But in this wonderful chain of clauses (Eph 1:4–14), so interwoven and intertwined, the divisions and groupings are not easily perceived, so that expositors hold very different opinions. But it is evident, that the three times repeated: “unto the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph 1:6), “unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:12), “unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:14), form conclusions, receiving, it is true, in the flow of language in Eph 1:6 and 12, qualifications for amplification and transition. Accordingly we find in Eph 1:4–6, the first foundation for praise: the election of eternal mercy; in Eph 1:7–12, the second: the carrying out of the eternal decree; Eph 1:13, 14, the third: the personal appropriation of salvation. Our view is directed to the Father before all time, the Son in time, the Spirit in eternity. So STIER, who, however, artificially divides each section again into three parts, according to ground, course and goal.
[ALFORD, who follows STIER, gives this summary: “The preliminary idea of the Church, set forth in the form of an ascription of praise, Eph 1:3–14:—thus arranged: Eph 1:3–6, the Father, in His eternal love, has chosen us to holiness (Eph 1:4), ordained us to Sonship (Eph 1:5), bestowed grace on us in the Beloved; Eph 1:7–12, in the Son, we have—redemption according to the riphes of His grace (Eph 1:7), knowledge of the mystery of His will (Eph 1:8, 9), inheritance under Him the one Head (Eph 1:10–12); Eph 1:13–14, through the Spirit we are sealed, by hearing the word of salvation (Eph 1:13), by receiving the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph 1:14).—Dr. HODGE is less satisfactory, see Eph 1:4 for his exhaustive analysis of Eph 1:4–6.—R.]
HARLESS: 1. The objective act of God, a) in the eternal decree of the Redemption of believers, b) actualized through the death of His Son (1–7: παραπτωμάτων); 2. The revelation of this act in the word (7–10); 3. The subjective actualization of this act in the Redemption of individuals (11–14).—MEYER takes the salvation (Eph 1:3) as a) foreordained (Eph 1:4, 5), b) effected (Eph 1:6, 7), c) made known (Eph 1:8–10), d) actually appropriated (Eph 1:11), by Jews (Eph 1:12), as well as by those who had been heathen (Eph 1:13, 14).—Others otherwise, always with an overlooking of the incisa so readily perceived.—[Dr. LANGE, who suggests the frequent occurrence of liturgical forms in Paul’s Epistles, finds in these verses the most striking example. See his liturgical reading, Romans, p. 26.—R.]
Eph 1:3. General opening.
Blessed be [εὐλογητός].29—First of all, we must notice the play upon the words: εὐλογητός—ὁ εὐλογήσας—ἐν—εὐλογία. The words εὐλογεῖν and εὐλογία have a two-fold meaning, as in benedicere and benedictio, to bless and blessing, (בֵּרֵךְ) בָּרַךְ, to praise, to laud and to endow, all to be traced back to one sense, to speak or promise good. So εὐλογεῖν, Luke 1:64 (ἐλάλει εὐλογῶν τὸν θεόν); comp. 24:53 (αἰνοῦντες τὸν θεόν); Jas. 3:9 (ἐν αὐτῇ εὐλογοῦμεν τὸν κυρίον); εὐλογία, Rom. 16:18 (διὰ τῆς χρηστολογίας καὶ εὐλογίας), decora oratio, praise, Gal. 3:8, 9, 14; Heb. 6:7. The German word Segen, blessing, is derived from signum, sign, i.e., the sign of the cross in pronouncing the blessing; from this is derived segnen, to bless (see JUETTING, Bibl. Wörterbuch, p. 171 ff.), and this means not only to wish well (Ps. 10:3; Isa. 65:16) in coming (1 Sam. 13:10) or in going (Acts 20:1), but to praise, to thank (1 Cor. 14:16; 10:16) and also to assign or impart good or goods (Gen. 12:2; 27:34, 36). The meaning, to praise, to thank, does indeed become the prominent one, where it is applied to men with regard to God, since man has only words, can only εὗ λέγειν; as does that of allotting good or goods, where God’s dealings towards men are in question, since with God there is no resting in words, His words are or become deeds. BENGEL: Antanaclasis: aliter benedixit Deus nobis, aliter nos benedicimus illi. THEODORET: εἰδέναι προσήκει, ὡς εὐλογοῦντες μὲν οἱ ἅνθρωποι τὸν θεὸν λόγους αὐτῷ προσφέρουσι μόνους, ἔργῳ δὲ αὐτὸν εὐεργετῆσαι οὐ δύνανται, ὁ δέ θεὸς εὐλογῶν βεβαιοῖ τοὺς λόγους τῷ ἔργῳ καὶ παντοδαπὴν παρέχει φόραν ἀγαθῶν τοῖς εὐλογουμένοις. It is otherwise, when Jethro says of God: בָּדוּךְ יְהוָֹה (Exod. 17:10), or Laban to Eliezer, (Gen. 24:31): בְּרוּךְ יְהוָֹה “thou blessed of the Lord” (comp. 26:29; Matth. 25:34, where Jesus as Judge will say to His own: “Come, ye blessed of my Father;” Luke 1:28, where Mary is called κεχαριτωμένη, “highly favored,” in the same sense). Both meanings appear here in our passage, where the Apostle praises and blesses God (εὐλογητός), who has blessed us (ὁ εὐλογήσας ἐν εὐλογίᾳ).
The form here chosen should be noticed, εὐλογητός, which is always applied to God,30 not εὐλογημένος, since for Him there is no time when He was not and will not hereafter be “blessed,” so that God is κατʼ εξοχὴν ὁ εὐλογητός (Mark 14:61). Nor is this=worthy of praise, to be praised, but like בָּרוּךְ in a purely passive sense, as the promiscuous use of both forms requires. The position of the words also, at the beginning, shows that the emphasis rests upon it; in Rom. 9:5 the Person is put first for the same reason. [So ELLICOTT.] On the sense of εὐλογητός it may be remarked, that Paul begins nearly all his Epistles with praise and thanksgiving to God, and that too with a reference to the churches and persons to which, the circumstances in which, and the purpose with which, he is writing; with εὐλογητός as here, only in 2 Cor. 1:3 (so 1 Pet. 1:3), usually with εὐχαριστεῖν, Rom. 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; Philem. 4, with χάριν ἔχειν 2 Tim. 1:3. As the received “grace” is returned again in thanksgiving, so is the εὐλογία received from the Lord, in the εὐλογητός from the praising creature: God is saluted, never blessed, with His own blessing (STIER).
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.—Exactly as in 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3. Comp. Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 11:31; Col. 1:3; Rev. 1:6. It is most natural, since the passage does not read: ὁ θεός, ὁ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου, to join the genitive τοῦ κυρίου, “of our Lord,” with θεός, “God,” as well as with πατήρ, “Father” (JEROME, THEOPHYLACT, RUECKERT, STIER), as the genitive is not necessarily required as an explanatory addition to πατήρ. It is found without any qualification, in Eph 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:24: τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί; 6:23; 2 Tim. 1:2; Gal. 1:1: θεοῦ πατρός; 1 Thess. 1:1: θεῷ πατρί. Besides in 3:14 many MSS. read: τὸν πατέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (though א. A. B. C. omit the genitive), while the established reading in 1:17 is: ὁ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, so that the Apostle, as this very Epistle shows, could join this qualifying phrase to “God” as well as to “Father.” On this account MEYER is incorrect, in applying the genitive to πατήρ, and not to θεός, on the ground that the former idea alone demands such complementing, and not the latter; nor should he have laid so great weight upon the notion, that the expression: the God of Christ, as an isolated one, has not obtained that currency, which it must have done, had it been found in this “solemn formula” also, since Christ’s word on the cross (Matth. 27:46: θεέ μου, θεέ μου) and on the day of His resurrection (John 20:17: ἀναβαίνω πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν; comp. Rev. 2:7; 3:12) suffice to justify this expression and this connection in our “solemn formula.” We find too in B. the reading ὁ θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου, κ. τ. λ. Nor can it be asserted, with HARLESS, that if the following genitive belonged to the first substantive also, the reading should necessarily be: ὁ θεός τε καὶ πατήρ; MEYER refers very properly to 1 Pet. 2:25. Kai binds what is homogeneous; τε adds something accessory (WINER, pp. 404, 408); καὶ conjungit, τε adjungit, as HERMANN says.31 To be God and to be Father are not ideas which exclude each other, nor do they appear as two, but as a unity; He is here praised, who is not only the God of the Incarnate One, but is also the Father of this Lord, of the. Only Begotten, whom He has given; thus is indicated the God-man by whom the blessings of Redemption are mediated. It was not necessary for THEODORET to say: δηλῶν, ὡς ἡμῶν μέν ἐστι θεὸς, τοῦ δὲ κυρίου ἡμῶν πατήρ. Practically this generally Christian formula has taken the place of the Jewish: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even if it were not so intended by the Apostle or Apostles, as RUECKERT supposes.
Who blessed us [ὁεὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς].The active, over against the passive (εὐλογητός) denotes efficient, active blessing, the aorist the historical fact in the existence and condition of the Church.32 Hence “us” should be taken in its wider meaning and applied to Christians, and should not be limited to the Apostle (KOPPE), who afterwards (Eph 1:15: ἐγώ) begins to speak of himself and his experiences, nor to the Jewish Christians, who are first thought of in Eph 1:11 (comp. Eph 1:13); so strong rather is the feeling of the fellowship under the blessing of God, that the Apostle, as the genuine Apostle to the Gentiles, includes with himself and the Apostles as his people, all men, who have become or will become Christians.
With all spiritual blessings, ἐν πάση εὐλογία πνευματικῇ.—This denotes the sphere into which He in blessing has transferred them; He has so placed us in blessing, that we are surrounded, overflowed thereby, and ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ. According to WINER (p. 105) this means every blessing; πᾶσα ἡ εὐλογία would be the whole blessing; see the instructive passage, Rom. 3:19. There is no variety of blessing, which God has not bestowed upon us, but the entire fulness of the blessing, so that we have nothing more receive, has not yet been conferred upon us. Comp. Rom. 15:29: “in the fulness of the blessing of Christ.”
The adjective “spiritual” limits the manifold variety to the domain of the spiritual, to what the Holy Spirit effects and imparts. It is recalled also in what follows respecting the adoption (Eph 1:5) the redemption and forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7), the revelation (Eph 1:9) and thus is expounded the riches of that spiritual blessing, which we already possess, but which we ever need yet more. There is no manner of occasion for supposing an antithesis to the earthly blessings and promises of the Israelites (CHRYSOSTOM, GROTIUS and others), or to their typical possessions and the vain ones of the heathen (SCHÖTTGEN); nor should “spiritual” be explained as=qui ad animum pertinet (ERASMUS, ROSENMUELLER); our spirit of itself still belongs to the σάρξ. [See Romans, p. 234 f.]33 The Apostle is treating of the blessings promised in Joel 3:1, which are no longer merely promised, since their fulfilment is expressed in “who hath blessed us.”
In heavenly places, ἐν τοὶς ἐπουρανίοις.
1. Besides this passage the phrase is found in Eph 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12, and in all, even in the last named, with a local sense; in the domain of the heavenly; hence in accordance with the nature of the matter, it is not to be taken in any coarse, sensuous signification as measurable, limitable space, but as domain, region.
2. The word itself has in the preposition ἐπί a local reference, like ἐπίγειος (1 Cor. 15:40), but as this is to be distinguished from κατάγειος, καταχθόνιος (Phil. 2:10), so is the former from ὑπερουράνιος.
3. Τὰ ἐπουράνια at all events is not to be taken as=ὁ οὐρανός, οἱ οὐρανοί or=βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, but designates more indefinitely, in general, what belongs to heaven in contrast with what belongs to and is on earth, as appears from 6:12, where the contest with the powers of darkness “in heavenly places” is spoken of in antithesis to the contest with flesh and blood.
4. The connection of the phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις with ἐν εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ is demanded by the fact that the latter is joined with εὐλογήσας and dependent on it, and hence the latter cannot belong to the verb as a closer qualification of the act of blessing. Accordingly this added phrase says, that every spiritual blessing, which we have received, springs from a higher world, is to be sought in a heavenly region and thence to be obtained. [ELLICOTT with his usual exactness presents the view here upheld and now generally received; he takes the phrase as “defining broadly and comprehensively the region and sphere where our true home is (Phil. 3:20), where our hope is laid up (Col. 1:5), and whence the blessings of the Spirit, the ἡ δωρεὰ ἡ ἐπουράνιος (Heb. 6:4) truly come.” We may add from ALFORD: “Materially we are yet in the body: but in the Spirit, we are in heaven—only waiting for the redemption of the body to be entirely and literally there.”—R.]
Accordingly it is incorrect:
a) To understand by τὰ ἐπουράνια bona not loca, with CHRYSOSTOM, THEODORET, LUTHER and many others; the idea of possessions is already found in εὐλογία (against RUECKERT, STIER). Nor is CALVIN right in saying: Non multum refert, subaudias LOCIS an BONIS; tantum voluit indicare præstantiam gratiæ, quæ per Christum nobis confertur, quia scilicet non in mundo, sed in cœlo et vita æterna nos faciat bonos.
b) GROTIUS is in error, in referring it, to a place indeed, but to the cœlum summum in contrast to the regio astrifera.
c) The rendering and explanation: in heaven (MEYER, RUECKERT, HARLESS, STIER, SCHENKEL and others), is not exact, passes beyond the word itself; still less is it admissible to refer it to the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of heaven on earth, the church (ERNESTI, TELLER and others). [With more definiteness it is explained by HODGE: cœlum gratiæ, the kingdom of grace here on earth, the heavenly state into which the believer is introduced; a view to which EADIE inclines.—R.]
d) To follow BEZA in joining the phrase to God, is as unjustifiable and inadmissible, as to accept with KOPPE the aorist for the future, because the believers walk in heaven already in a certain sense (Phil. 3:20, to which JEROME and BEZA refer), or quia non in mundo, sed in cœlo et vita æterna nos faciat beatos (CALVIN), or quia hæc (dona) nos et spe et jure in cœlis collocant (GROTIUS). The explanation of HOMBERG, that it is=εὑλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ καὶ ἐπουρανίῳ is altogether arbitrary and groundless.
In Christ, ἐν Χριστῷ, indicates the mediation of the blessing (Segnen) which consists in spiritual blessing (Segen). Comp. 2 Cor. 5:18 f. It is not propter Christum (MORUS, FLATT, MEYER: “in Him was contained the ground why God blessed us,” which is after all equivalent to: for Christ’s sake). SCHENKEL: “Outside of the fellowship with the Son there is no part in the spiritual blessing of the Father (Rom. 8:9 f.).” It cannot be overlooked in this Epistle, that this phrase: ἐν Χριστῷ, is “the centre and heart beat of the Apostle’s view.” It is repeated in Eph 1:4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13 ff.; with the Apostle it stands in the same category as: in Adam, in Abraham. Herein (ἐν Χριστῷ) is to be found the difference between the Christian and Jewish Churches, the New Testament and Old Testament people of God. In the case of the former, the blessing was not wanting, nor the “spiritual,” for the law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14); even the “every” was not lacking, since God’s Word was there, the forgiveness of sins, though in incipiency, in types, in shadow (Heb. 8:5: σκιᾷ τῶν ἐπουρανίων, Col. 2:17); nor yet is ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, “heavenly places,” altogether new, as though the New Testament first found place and voice there, first established itself there, while the Old Testament pointed only to the earthly Canaan (against STIER).
[ALFORD follows Stier, in accepting a reference to the Trinity in the threefold ε̇ν, but ELLICOTT’S treatment of the phrases seems more exact: “Εὐλογήσας contains the predication of time (Donaldson, Gr. § 574 sq.), ἐν π. εὐλογίᾳ πνευμ. the predication of manner, more exactly defined by the local predication ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, while ἐν Χριστῷ is that mystical predication which, as Stier well observes, ‘is the very soul of this Epistle,’ and involves all other conceptions in itself.” This accords well with Braune’s view, that it expresses the distinctively Christian character of the blessing here spoken of,—R.]
THE FIRST FOUNDATION OF THE PRAISE; EPH 1:4–6:
The Election of eternal mercy. [DR. HODGE thus analyzes these verses: “Of these (spiritual gifts for which the Apostle blesses God) the first in order and the source of all the others is election, Eph 1:4. This election is 1. Of individuals. 2. In Christ. 3. It is from eternity. 4. It is to holiness, and to the dignity of sons of God. 5. It is founded on the sovereign pleasure of God (Eph 1:4, 5). 6. Its final object is the glory of God, or the manifestation of His grace, Eph 1:6.” This agrees with Braune’s view, except that he substitutes “the church” for “individuals” under (1), viewing the church as an organism made up of individuals. See below and also Doctr. Note 3.—R.]
Eph 1:4. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world [καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου].—Καθώς marks a relation, indeed a conformity of two facts, which correspond to one another: the εὐλογεῖν has taken place in conformity with the ἐκλέγεσθαι; He has blessed entirely as He has decreed in the choosing, the election. So MEYER also. That analogy is in question, according to which from the fact of the blessing a conclusion may be drawn with respect to the election. It is not merely indicated that there is an internal connection between the election and the blessing, but it is definitely stated that this carrying out corresponds to the eternal decree of God. BENGEL: electio respondet, et eam subsequitur, benedictio, et patefacit. Hence καθώς is not used here as a designation of causality (MORUS, RUECKERT) [HODGE: because], as it is in other passages (WINER, p. 417: [quoniam] quippe, siquidem); HARLESS takes it as an argumentative particle (=inasmuch) and says that it is related to καθότι, the latter however designating the causa, the former the modus (Rom. 1:28; 1 Cor. 1:6). [MEYER takes it as argumentative; ALFORD and ELLICOTT as explaining and expanding the foregoing, the latter admitting its causal force at times; EADIE is most exact: “These spiritual blessings are conferred on us, not merely because God chose us, but they are given in perfect harmony with His eternal purpose.” However true it may be that “election is the cause or source of all subsequent benefits” (HODGE), it is hardly safe to found such a statement on the particle καθώς.—R.]
Ἐξελέξατο=He chose us out for Himself;34 Paul uses it only three times elsewhere (all in 1 Cor. 1:27, 28). The verb ἐκλέγεσθαι corresponds entirely to the Hebrew בָּחַר, as ἐκλεκτός=בָּחִיר. In the middle form it designates, both in the Old and New Testaments, an act of God, “by virtue of which some rather than others especially belong to God’ ’ (HARLESS). Although HOFMANN (Schriftbeweis I. p. 223 ff.) will only admit, that in this word respect is had to that on account of which one is chosen, or respect to him who on that account is chosen or accepted, and that the stress is laid each time upon that which the chosen one thus becomes, and not upon the antithesis to those who do not become this, yet he perceives in the preposition a preference, even if only a preference above a mass to which he would otherwise belong. He refers to οἱ ἐκλεκτοί ἄγγελοι (1 Tim. 5:21), ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος (Luke 9:35),ὁ Χριστὸς τοῦ θεον͂ ὁ ἐκλεκτός (Luke 23:35), remarking, that the angels are thus designated as taken by God into His service, and that Christ is not elected out of the sum of humanity, to become what the rest should not become, but chosen to be, what the rest are not. Ἐκλέγεσθαι, does then still mark a preference, a distinction from others, who are not what the chosen are, even if not an opposition to those, who do not become this.35 Respecting the others, in preference to whom the elect belong to God, nothing is indicated here,—whether they are not chosen after all, or no longer do or can belong to the elect; just as it is not said concerning the elect, that they cannot fall away from such a relation to God. Since in 1 Pet. 1:1, the church is termed “elect” and in the conclusion (5:13) “the Church at Babylon elected together with you,” and “elect of God” (Col. 3:12), “for the elect’s sakes” (2 Tim. 2:10), “God’s elect” (Rom. 8:33), etc., are applied to individual Christians, because and in so far as they are members of the Church of Christ, it may be concluded, that the act of election does not concern individuals as its immediate objects, as HOFMANN thinks. It is true that the κόσμος, out of which they are Chosen (Jno. 15:19), is not a sum of individuals, a multitude; it is rather an ethical conception. Still less is the Church a plurality, a colluvies, it is an organism, a whole. Yet God does have regard to the individuals, with Him the individual, the member, is not lost in the whole. Accordingly the explanation of HARLESS is to be sustained, only it must be remembered, that the individuals are not to be thought of as without connection, severed, by themselves alone, or the others as those who may not and shall not belong to God. HOFMANN’S opposition is right only against this unjustifiable interpolation. It is evident that Paul could apply the word “chosen” only to himself and the members of the Church, because only in the case of these was this fact cognizable, and must be, or at least could be, perceptible to individuals. Hence we should here, with FRANK (Theologie der Form. Con. 4 p. 177), think of the world merely, out of which Christians are taken by virtue of their effectual calling, as in 1 Pet. 1:1; Jas. 2:5; 1 Cor. 1:27 f., not however of the totality of those called, from whom the elect, as more numerous (Matt. 20:16; 27:14), are to be distinguished. See further in Doctr. Note 3. Inadmissible, therefore, is the explanation: præcipuo in nos amore Deus fuit, because ἐκλέγεσθαι is also=imprimis amare vel imprimis beneficiis ornare (MORUS). Comp. 2 Thess. 2:13. It is very erroneous to suppose (RUECKERT), that Paul transferred the faith of his nation, respecting the preference of their race to all the nations of the earth, to those who accepted Christianity with joy, and regarded these as the number chosen by God.
The position of the verb emphasizes this electing act of God as the main thing. It is then further defined.
First, there is added a designation of the objects, ἡμᾶς, US. By this is meant the Church of Christ, the congregatio sanctorum, the “saints,” who at the time make up the people of God, in whom the election, consummated in the calling, is perceptible and manifest. About the conduct of individuals, their faith, its degree or perfection, nothing is said, just as little as was expressed or indicated in ἁγίοις (Eph 1:1). Accordingly the reference is not to individuals in themselves, to the sum of individuals at that time, but to the Church and its growth externally and internally, yet in such a way that each individual may refer it to himself.36 RICHTER, therefore, correctly remarks: “God chooses for Himself, out of all, before others and for others.” But it is also correct to say: Sic nos quoque in Christo eramus, priusquam mundus fieret, vigore scilicet electionis ælernæ (MUSCULUS).
Second qualification: definition of modality, in Him, ἐν αὐτῷ, viz., Christ. By this our election is more closely defined and limited: Christ the Person, in whom we are chosen, the life-sphere, the life-element, in which we are the objects of the Divine election. HARLESS may be correct, in saying that it is first stated in what follows, how He has chosen us in Him, but he is incorrect in rejecting all closer definitions of expositors here as interpolated, even if they correspond with what follows. BEZA (in ipso videlicet adoptandos) is very near the true explanation, but his view is more limited than the subsequent context authorizes. Our union, our external and internal connection, with Christ is marked as the modality of our election. But the act of choice is asserted as a fact: in Him He has chosen us, so that as humanity was made in Adam, as the people of Israel was separated in Abraham, so the Church was chosen in Christ; not, however, that He has merely determined to choose us. Accordingly it is entirely improper to read ἐν ἁυτῷ (Alex., MORUS, HOLZHAUSEN), nor is it=εἰς Χριστόν (Ethiop. Vers.), or=δἰ αὐτοῦ, τουτέστι διὰ τῆς εἰς αὐτὸν πίστεως (THEOPHYLACT and others), or per Christum et Christi merita prævisa (A-LAPIDE, BULLINGER), or propter Christum (GLASSIUS, FLATT). Finally, it is arbitrary and incorrect to join ἐν αὐτῷ with ἡμᾶς, since ὄντας is “wanting and εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους follows.
[OLSHAUSEN, ELLICOTT: “In Christ, as the head and representative of spiritual, as Adam was the representative of natural humanity.” “In the proper and final sense this can be said only of His faithful ones, His Church, who are incorporated in Him by the Spirit. But in any sense, all God’s election is in HIM only” (ALFORD)). HODGE: “In Christ, i.e., as united to Him in the covenant of redemption;” on the ground of the federal union which precedes the actual union. So EADIE. MEYER is less exact: “The divine act of our election has in Christ its determining ground.” “Outside this connection of the divine decree of election with Christ we would not be chosen; but in Christ there lay for God the causa meritoria of our election.” This is really equivalent to propter Christum.—R.]
Third qualification: a temporal definition, before the foundation of the world, πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. Used by Paul only here, but found in John 17:24; 1 Pet. 1:20. In Matt. 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb. 3:4: and ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου; Matt. 13:35: ἀπὸ καταβολῆς. The preposition πρὸ denotes that the election took place before the creation, and, since καταβολή designates the foundation, the groundwork, before the beginning of the carrying out of the well-ordered plan of creation. Thus the reference to the eternity preceding time is made very strong,37 stronger than in πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων (1 Cor. 2:7; comp. 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 16:25; Col.1:26; Eph. 3:9, 11). The election precedes the creation: the fulfilment of the former is justified in creation and its history, in the history of the world. HARLESS: “The plainest parallel is 2 Tim. 1:9: ‘who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ ” OLSHAUSEN (with STIER also) properly rejects the idea of a real, individual existence of believers before the creation in the Divine mind, but Christ’s existence with the Father before the creation of the world is unmistakably indicated (STIER). BENGEL: Hæc præsupponunt æternitatem filii Dei, namque filius, ante mundum factum erat objectum amoris paterni non futurum tantummodo, sed jam turn præsens, John 17:5, 24. [ALFORD (after STIER): “How utterly irreconcilable pantheism is with this, God’s election before laying the foundation of the world, of His people in His Son.”—R.]
That we should be holy and without blame before him [εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ].—The infinitive εἶναι ἡμᾶς adds a supplement to the previous clause, to the phrase ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ in particular, and is to be taken as epexegetical (WINER, p. 298), giving prominence to the end, purpose and result of the election. The position of εἶναι marks the existence, the actualized reality aimed at in the pretemporal, eternal choice. Eph 3:4, 6 (ἐν τῷ μυστηρίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ—εἶναι τὰ ἔθνη, κ. τ. λ.) is similar.
Whether we are to understand the then present realization, just begun, or the consummation, begun in the church militant, or the completed reality in the church triumphant, cannot be determined from the adjectives “holy and without blame,” but must be found in the phrase κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, “before Him.” It is not necessary to write αὑτοῦ, with HARLESS, STIER and others. BENGEL has remarked (App. ad Matt. 1:21), and TISCHENDORF [Præf. N. T., p. 58 f. ed. 7], corroborates it, that before αυτοῦ αυτῷ, αυτόν we constantly find ἀπ̓, ὑπ̓, μετ̓, ἐπ̓, κατ̓, never ἀφ̓, ὑφ̓, μεθʼ, ἐφ̓, καθʼ, so that in the New Testament the reflexive form αὑτοῦ is never used, but in its stead ἑαυτοῦ. Thus too it happens that αὐτός is referred in quick succession to different subjects, as Mark 8:22; 9:27–29 (WINER, pp. 141, 14338). From the Apostle’s point of view αὐτοῦ is quite correct, and to be understood of God, even though ἐν αὐτῳ refers to Christ. To the phrase κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ corresponds the Hebrew לִפְּנֵי יְהוָֹה, coram Deo. According to this we must accept a reference to the present life, and not to the Judgment. The context at all events gives no support for the reference to the Judgment, which He will hold at the end of days. The parallel passage, Col. 1:22: “to present holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight,” as well as the “now” (Eph 1:21), and “if at least ye continue” (Eph 1:23) refer definitely to the present state.39 This is confirmed by a comparison with Jude 24: “to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” We must evidently apply this to the Judgment before God in eternity, but the expression is modified in accordance with this meaning. Hence STIER is mistaken in regarding our passage as applicable “to the last flaming glance of the holy Judge, who can and will be the perfectly righteous and eternal beatifying God alone (Heb. 12:23).” SCHENKEL too is not satisfied with the reminder that He is the knower of hearts, but refers to His great Judgment day.
[MEYER renders this phrase: judice Deo, in connection with his view of the forensic reference of the adjectives “holy and without blame.” But the reference to sanctification is to be preferred, and hence if “before Him” does not refer to the last Judgment, it must mean: vere, sincere (BEZA, ELLICOTT; so EADIE). ALFORD: “In the deepest verity of our being, thoroughly penetrated by the Spirit of holiness, bearing His searching eye; but at the same time implying an especial nearness to His presence and dearness to Him—and bearing a foretaste of the time when the elect shall be ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρονοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, Rev. 7:15.”—R.]
With our view then “holy and unblamable” cannot of course mean the complete holiness, which is the original end of the first choosing, as its attained goal before the throne of God, as STIER thinks, or humanity cleansed from all the defilements of sin, which, according to SCHENKEL, is the end of the Divine election. Ἅγιος, holy, can scarcely be taken in any other sense than that of Eph 1:1, designating one consecrated to God. The distinction between its meaning here and Eph 1:1 is to be found in the qualifications: εἶναι—κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ. This state of consecration is therefore a reality, not merely a being “called,” a “name” (although even this latter is not a mere sound, a non-entity), a reality too before God, and not merely before men. Accordingly ἄγιος here must in some way mark the internal effects upon the subject, connected with this state of consecration; so that ἄμωμος is very naturally added.
Ἄμωμος corresponds to the Hebrew תָּמִים, unblemished, and is to be rendered neither irreprehensus (MORUS) nor irreprehensibilis (2 Pet. 3:14; Phil. 2:15, where the form is ἀμώμητος), even though this is the original meaning (Passow sub voce). It is applied strictly to the sacrificial animal (1 Pet.1:9) which is also consecrated to God.40 The two words are joined together elsewhere (5:27; Col.1:22); in the first passage they are used of the church (“not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”), in the latter, which is parallel to our verse, καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους is added. Hence we are reminded of Rom. 8:33: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth,” and have to do with those who are transferred εἰς υἱοθεσίαν (Eph 1:5), who are partakers of “redemption,” “the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7), among whom all this is inward, living truth, the vital beginning of a glorious conclusion, so that advance is ever made toward holiness (1 Pet. 1:15, 16), and the saying in the Apocalypse (22:11) is verified: “he that is holy, let him be holy still,” which indeed finds a further verification in eternity. Thus both a condition, a subjective, state, and more especially a position, which is to be and has been occupied, a station into which they have come and live, are meant, and not merely a judgment. The words of KOPPE, which HARLESS recalls, are apt: non tum ad virtutis studium, quam potius ad dignitatem Christianorum, qua tanquam homines innocentes sibique caros Deus eos tractat, est referendum, idem quod alias in epp. Pauli est δικαιοῦσθαι παρὰ θεῷ. Accordingly ἅγιος without further qualification does not refer to inward, actual sanctification (STIER). Such limitations as: nisi confecto nostro stadio (CALOV.), quantum quidem hujus in mortali vita per Dei ipsius gratiam et carnis nostræ infirmitatem fieri potest (CALIXTUS), are as inadmissible as the explanation of BAUMGARTEN-CRUSIUS, that the final end of the matter of Christianity is found in moral worth, or RUECKERT’S opinion, that it was the Apostle’s peculiarity, to idealize everything.
[Modern English commentators accept the distinction of MEYER respecting these two words: the first presents the positive, the second the negative side; but there is an unusual agreement among them against the reference to justification, which BRAUNE, MEYER, OLSHAUSEN, HARLESS, KOPPE and others favor. CHRYSOSTOM, THEOPHYLACT, CALVIN, STIER, HODGE, EADIE, ELLICOTT, ALFORD and others, apply the adjectives to sanctification. And with good reason: For an ultimate result is here spoken of, and Paul who had stamped the technical sense on so many Greek words before this Epistle was written, would have made the other meaning plain by using such words here. Dr. HODGE deduces very properly these statements: “If men are chosen to be holy, they cannot be chosen because they are holy.” “Holiness is the only evidence of election.”—R.]
In love, ἑν ἀγάπῃ.—Of course, His, God’s love. This phrase, at the close of Eph 1:4, must be connected grammatically with the following participle, thus standing in emphatic position. The Greek is much freer in the position of words than the German; where the latter must help out the meaning with particles, the former requires only change of position; still it never goes beyond bounds in this respect. It cannot be connected with “chose” (OECUMEN., THOMAS, FLACIUS, BAUMGARTEN, FLATT, and others), since it stands entirely too far and too decidedly removed from that verb; and must be regarded as “trailing after it.” Nor yet is the connection with “holy and blameless” (AMBROSIASTER, ERASMUS, LUTHER, CALVIN, BEZA, GROTIUS [evangelii, τὸ πᾶν is in love], WOLF, RUECKERT [dubiously], MORUS, MATTHIES, HEUBNER [E. V., ALFORD, HODGE], admissible; although ἄμωμος ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει (Jude 24) and ἀμώμητος ἐν ἐιρήνῃ (2 Pet. 3:14) occur, yet it is in such close union as to form one idea; the phrase could be separated from its adjective by “before Him,” only in case the latter were adopted to be included with the adjective as one idea, which was to be qualified; but Paul uses ἅγιος καὶ ἄμωμος without any qualification (Eph 1:27; Col. 1:22), and the proper exposition excludes this connection, which has mainly subserved the Romanist and Rationalistic view. Accordingly most (from the Peshito to TISCHENDORF) have upheld the conection with προορίσας as the only admissible one.
[The connection with the adjectives favors the reference to sanctification in those words, giving this sense: we are chosen to be placed “in a state of moral excellence which consists in love” (HODGE). But this author is as little justified in saying that the reference to sacrificial purification occasioned the connection with the following participle, as BRAUNE is, in affirming that the connection with the adjectives has mainly subserved the Romanist and Rationalistic view. Neither of these statements affect the question. ALFORD has an able defence of the ordinary connection. Besides arguing that throughout this long sentence the verbs and particle precede their qualifying clauses, since the verbs are emphatic, giving prominence to God’s act, not His attribute, he holds that this qualification is highly appropriate: “ἀγάπη, that which man lost at the Fall, but which God is, and to which God restores man by redemption, is the great element in which, as their abode and breathing-place, all Christian graces subsist, and in which, emphatically, all perfection before God must be found.” All which is true, but not sufficient to overcome the grammatical objections to this view. Dr. HODGE says that “predestinated” has a subsequent qualification, hence it would be tautological to join “in love,” to it, but as ELLICOTT intimates, the two qualifying phrases point to two different attributes; one to the loving mercy, the other to the sovereign power of God. The view of BRAUNE, is that of the Peshito, CHRYSOSTOM, THEODORET, THEOPHYLACT, AUGUSTINE, JEROME, BENGEL, KOPPE, STORR, HARLESS, DE WETTE, OLSHAUSEN, HOLZHAUSEN, STIER, TURNER, EADIE, ELLICOTT, MEYER, BLEEK; also GRIESBACH, SCHOLZ, LACHMANN, TISCHENDORF. The list might be enlarged, but is long enough to sustain the last remark of BRAUNE against HODGE’S assertion that “the majority of commentators adopt the construction followed by our translators.”—R.]
Eph 1:5. In love having predestinated us [προορίσας ἡμᾶς].—Προορίζειν, to determine beforehand; πρὸ points out, that the determination existed before the thing or person to be destined, and is to be more closely defined only by the context: “before the foundation of the world” (HARLESS, STIER, MEYER, and others), hence beforehand, not before others (BAUMGARTEN). The participle is associated with ἐξελέξατο: ἐξελέξατο τῷ προορίσαι, or καὶ προώρισε. Thus the Greek expresses it, not indicating a chronological sequence; the temporal relation is not touched upon. The aorist indeed denotes the concluded action without reference to the past or present; the matter spoken of is before time. Similarly Eph 1:8, 11, 13, 20. The participle denotes, therefore, not priority of fact, but only the attendant manner (HARLESS). HOMBERG is incorrect: postquam nos prædestinavit adoptandos, elegit etiam nos, ut simus sancti. In that case we should have found at all events, πρότερον προορίσας. When the Apostle says (Rom. 8:30): “whom he did predestinate, them he also called,” without mentioning the election, we must find the latter included in the first ante-temporal act, not in the other act of accomplishment, taking place in time. Nor can it be inferred from Rom. 8:29: “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate,” that the predestination was preceded temporally by a particular act, that of foreknowing, quite as little as the two notions are to be confounded.
[As regards the relation of priority, ALFORD and STIER, take the “election” as antecedent to the “predestination,” the former regarding the ἐξελέξατο in this passage as ranking with the προέγνω in Rom. 8:29. On the other hand HODGE implies just the reverse, that the election is based on the preceding predestination. ELLICOTT too regards the participle “as temporal, not modal, and its action as prior to, not synonymous with, that of ἐξελέξατο.” He takes it as=quum prædestinavit, “after He had,” & c., but MEYER says that “predestinatio is never elsewhere distinguished from electio, as antecedent to it.” EADIE too takes the participle as synchronous with the verb, which is safest where there is no grammatical necessity for insisting on the temporal qualification (see, however, WINER, p. 321). It is not well to dogmatize about the order in the Divine mind, especially on so slender a basis as that afforded by the Greek aorist participle.—R.]
The phrase “in love,” coming first, marks with special emphasis the motive of the predestination. In hac epistola regnat τὸ amo, amor, amatus; ipsi principio epistolæ congruit (BENGEL). This precedence is like 3:18: ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐῤῥιζωμένοι. What is thus demanded by the thought, and confirmed by the form of language, is certainly not contradicted, as will appear, by what follows: κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν—εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος, which is not added tautologically, as some (MATTHIES and others) suppose.
Ἡμᾶς, “us,” is the object, as in Eph 1:4; but it must be noticed, that we have here, not ἐκκλησία or some such collective notion, but ἡμᾶς. Hence it cannot be said with SCHENKEL: “The predestination applies to the whole of the Divine decree of salvation, the election to the individual persons in whom it is accomplished.” So much only is correct, that the thought does not respect individuals as such, a colluvies, a multitude, but the church and its members, or the individuals as members of an organism, but in the predestination, just as in the election (Eph 1:4). Comp. Rom. 8:29 f. EADIE makes a far better distinction between προορίσας and ἐξελέξατο: “The end pre-appointed—πρό, is implied in the one; the mass out of which the choice is made—ἐκ, is glanced at by the other.” So ELLICOTT.—R.]
Unto adoption, εἰς υἱοθεσίαν. This designates, in distinction from τεκνογονία (1 Tim. 2:15), adoption (υἱοὺς θέσθαι, υἱὸν θετὸν ποιεῖσθαι); we are not children by nature, like Christ, but only by grace. Adoption is a rich conception, not at all a simple matter, and its actualization has a very significant history; it did not come to maturity at once, but has a development from primary stages, preceded by grand preparatory stages, unto its completion in eternity. To the Old Testament Israel belonged the adoption (Rom. 9:4, to which are added the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of the sanctuary, the promises); even the Christians are “waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body” (Rom. 8:23). An explanatory parallel to our verse is found in Rom. 8:29: “He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren;” Eph 1:30 (“he also glorified”) however points yet deeper, so that we must recall the bold words of Peter (2 Pet. 1:4): “that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,” as well as those of Paul (Rom. 8:17): “If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Comp. Gal. 4:5–7; 1 Thes. 2:12; 2 Thes. 2:14; 1 Jno. 3:2. Hence it is not a formula solemnis ad Christianam religionem adducere (KOPPE), nor to be referred in general and indefinitely to the benefits, which distinguish Christians from other men (FLATT), nor yet futura beatitate ornari, adeo amari Deumque redamare (MORUS), nor can it be said: υἱοθεσία veniæ peccatorum morte Christi partæ certa spe verissime constat (TITTMANN).
[HODGE: Sonship in reference to God includes,—1. Participation of His nature or conformity to His image. 2. The enjoyment of His favor, or being the special objects of His love. 3. Heirship, or a participation of the glory and blessedness of God. Sometimes one and sometimes another of these ideas is the most prominent. In the present case it is the second and third.” MEYER has a good note in loco on υἱοθεσία.—R.]
Through Jesus Christ unto himself, διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν.—Against the reading αὑτόν, see the close of Eph 1:4. Δτά with the genitive retains the meaning per, through, marking the mediator, cannot therefore be: propter (MOLDENHAUER). Comp. John 14:6. The person of the Lord must be regarded as that of the mediator. Even though we find in Gal. 3:26: υἱοὶ διὰ τῆς πίστεως, there the subjective mediation which proceeds from the Object of faith, the mediator, is marked, here the objective, to which the former will not be wanting. We take αὐτόν as referring to God; should Jesus Christ be meant, the reading must be, καὶ εἰς αὐτόν. Hence the explanation is incorrect: in conformitatem ejus (Christi) per fidem et bonos mores (ANSELM and others). But the preposition εἰς must retain the sense unto or into Him, as is required by those passages cited in the last paragraph, which indicate the final end of the υἱοθεσία. Hence it is not so much an “explanatory addition” (HARLESS), as an adjoined supplement (STIER). The explanation: ad gloriam gratiæ suæ (PISCATOR, MORUS), is in any case insufficient. It is impossible to take εἰς αὐτόν as=the Hebrew לוֹ, sibi (GROTIUS, WOLF, KOPPE following the paraphrase of BUCER: Qui prædestinavit pridem nos, ut in filios sibi per Jesum Christum—adoptaret). PASSAVANT weakens it into: up to God. Nor is it=ἐν ἑαυτῷ (CALVIN, BEZA, CALIXTUS); and just as little a circumlocution for the genitive αὐτοῦ, qualifying υἱοθεσία (RUECKERT). MEYER is excellent: “How rich and entirely Grecian Paul is precisely in his prepositional expressions, by which he never represents a mere relation of case.”
[Among the various opinions respecting εἰς αὐτόν, and the shadings of signification attached to it, the view of ELLICOTT seems most satisfactory: “In these deeper theological passages the preposition seems to bear its primary (εἰς=ἐνς Donaldson, Cratylus, § 170) and most comprehensive sense of ‘to and into’ (see Rost u. Palm. Lex. s. v.); the idea of approach (τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνάγουσαν, Theophylact) being also blended with and heightened by that of inward union; comp. notes on Gal. 3:27. We may thus paraphrase, ‘God predestinated us to be adopted as His sons; and that adoption came to us through Christ, and was to lead us into, and unite us to God,’ ”—R.]
According to the good pleasure of his will, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ.—Εὐδοκία can indeed mean good will, as in Luke 2:14; Phil. 1:15; 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:11, or wish, arbitrium, or Matt. 11:26; Luke 10:21. Here however it is equivalent to βουλή, Eph 1:11: κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος, and the sense is that what was ordained in love, He ordained according to (κατά) the determination of His will. As ἐν ἀγάπῃ (Eph 1:4) denotes the principle of the ordaining, ε ὐδοκία here cannot mean “good will.” It is the substantive answering to δοκεῖν (frequentative from δέχεσθαι, Ion., δέκεσθαι), to seem good, as Acts 15:22, 25, 28=beneplacitum, and is distinguished from (βουλή, the inclinational41 act of willing (while ἐθέλειν designates the ethical act), only in this, that it refers more to deliberation, choice. Comp. TITTMANN, Syn. I. p. 124 ff. Hence the interpretations of THEODORET (ἡ ἐπʼ εὐεργεσίᾳ βούλησις), SUIDAS (from Theodoret ad Ps. 5:12; τὸ ἀγαθὸν θέλημα), BEZA (benevolentia), LUTHER, MORUS (Proverbs benevolo suo consilio), HARLESS, (according to the kindness of His will), OLSHAUSEN, HEUBNER [EADIE, not MEYER as the German indicates,—R.] and others, are incorrect.
[The two meanings of εὐδοκία here under discussion are: 1. beneplacitum, mere good pleasure; 2. benevolentia. Undoubtedly in this case God’s good pleasure was also His benevolentia, but to which does the Apostle here refer? The usage of the LXX. favors the latter meaning, but in the New Testament both occur. The context must decide. It favors meaning (1), for (a) the idea of benevolence in the highest degree was already introduced as a qualification in ἐν ἀγάπῃ, admitting that the phrase is to be joined with this verse. (b) The phrases occurring afterwards in Eph 1:9, 11 point to this meaning, especially βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ (Eph 1:11). (c) The reference being to the actor exclusively and not to the objects of the action, this meaning brings them less into view (ELLICOTT, after DE WETTE). The proper safe-guard against the notion of bare arbitrary decree is found in ἐν ἀγάπῃ. So substantially but with an occasional tendency to press the sense too far, GROTIUS, ERASMUS, CALVIN, BENGEL, FLATT, RUECKERT, DE WETTE, MEYER (“the free self-determination independent of all human desert is here meant”), BLEEK, HODGE, ALFORD, ELLICOTT. Nor does this view make the ground for thanksgiving the less, as EADIE implies.—We accept θέλημα here in the simple sense of “will,” reserving the discussion of its precise meaning for a subsequent page.—B.] The explanation of CHRYSOSTOM (τὸ σφοδρὸν θέλημα, τὸ μετὰ ἐπιθυμίας θέλημα) is to be rejected.
Eph 1:6. Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ.—Εἰς ἔπαινον points to the υἱοὶ θετοί, who now praise, as those who have been blessed by the sonship and heirship, and renders prominent, that God’s ultimate aim is the blessedness of His creatures, of His Own. For εἰς ἔπαινον is to be taken in connection with προορίσας εἰς υἱοθεσίαν—εἰς αὐτόν as forming the conclusion; it reaches unto the praise from him who has been pardoned. The object of the praise is “the glory,” but not glory in itself, or God’s glory, but “of his grace” (αὐτοῦ not αὑτοῦ, see on Eph 1:4). Χάρις is ἀγάπη, the latter is however more general, the former more special, marking love, which condescends, like the German Gnade (see on Eph 1:2), or which acts upon χαίρειν, χαρά, making or being χαριέις (lovely). This then is, principally, the object of the praise, which lauds indeed the glory of the grace. This glory is the object of the praise, Eph 1:12, 14, where we find: εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὑτοῦ. It is remarkable that the article is omitted here before δόξης; but δόξα is not the main idea, but ἡ χάρις αὐτοῦ, and we should render (according to WINER, p. 179): To the praise of His glory in grace (Gnadenherrlichkeit), so that δόξα τῆς χάριτος forms one conception. Still it is altogether inadmissible to explain the genitive δόξης as a Hebraism for the adjective ἔνδοξος; Paul was acquainted with that adjective (5:27; 1 Cor. 4:10) and did not select it here. This is equally true, whether it be joined with ἔπαινον, as meaning: to glorious praise (GROTIUS, ESTIUS), or to τῆς χάριτος: to the praise of His glorious grace (LUTHER, BEZA, MORUS, KOPPE, FLATT, and others).
[MEYER: “The glorifying of the Divine love (which however is here designated, according to its definite peculiarity, as grace, because it concerns what is sinful, 2:1 ff) is the final end” of the Divine predestination. ELLICOTT: “As CHRYSOSTOM appears rightly to have felt, δόξης is a pure substantive, and serves to specify that peculiar quality or attribute of the χάρις which forms the subject of the praise.”—R.]
Which he freely bestowed upon us [ἦς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς]—On the attraction ἦς ἐχαρίτωσεν for ῆν—according to the well-known expression χάριν χαριτοῦν, see WINER, p. 154, and the Textual Note6. Similar cases, 4:1; 2 Cor. 1:4. Χαριτοῦν=gratia aliquem afficere; but gratia may be taken in the subjective or objective sense, so that this means either: He has made lovely, pleasing, or: He has dispensed grace, favor. The word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 1:28 (the salutation of the angel to Mary: χαῖρε κεχαριτωμένη, where either meaning may be accepted, or both combined (STIER in loco.) [The objective sense is certainly to be preferred in Luke 1:28; for to take the other view involves at least a quasi support of very untenable dogmas. On the force of Greek verbs in όω, see EADIE, HARLESS, ELLICOTT.—R.] It also occurs in the LXX. (Sir. 9:8; 18:17), and in the first sense. The reading ἦς supports the first view; the reading ἐν ᾗ the other. For the former was evidently accepted in the Syriac version, and aptly reproduced: quam effudit super nos, so that His grace has not remained and does not remain fruitless. So the Vulgate: gratificavit. CHRYSOSTOM: οὐ μόνον ἁμαρτημάτων ἀπήλλαξεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπεράστους ἐποίησεν; THEODORET, Theophylact, ŒCUMENIUS to the same effect. A-LAPIDE: Gratiosos nos reddidit, scilicet gratiam suam nobis communicando et infundendo. LUTHER: Angenehm gemachi, made pleasant. BEZA: Gratis nos sibi acceptos reddidit; so STIER and others. The second view is held by BENGEL (gratia amplexus est), BAUMGARTEN, KOPPE, FLATT, HARLESS, RUECKERT, SCHENKEL and others. At all events with the perspective reaching “unto the praise of the glory of His grace,” we must not leave out of view the result of pardoning, the effect of the χάρις on the χαριτῶθέντες, who become χαρίεντες; here, where the Apostle “closes his first circle of thought” (STIER), there is at the same time a reference to the goal aimed at from the pardon. Accordingly “us” applies not merely to Paul and his readers or contemporaries, but to all believers.
[The subjective sense may be involved, but the other seems decidedly preferable. ALFORD says the subjective meaning of χάρις does not seem to occur in the N. T., certainly not in St. Paul. He very properly argues for the other meaning, from the “indefinite aorist, referring to an act once past in Christ, not to an abiding state which He has brought about in us.” Also from the context which is all of God’s grace. So ELLICOTT, EADIE, MEYER, HODGE. The Romanist expositors find in the other sense a support for their doctrine of justitia inhærens.—R.]
In the beloved, ἐν τῷ ἀγαπημένῳ.—This contains a reference to ἐχαρίτωσεν, BENGEL aptly says: Autonomasia, opportuna. Amor plus significat, quam gratia. 1 Pet. 2:10: ubi de iis, qui misericordiam consecuti sunt, ea dicuntur, supra quæ ὁ ἠγαπημένος, AMATUS longe eminet; ἔλεος necessario præsupponit præviam miseriam, sed amor non item. The Beloved, κατʼ ἐξοχήν, (Col. 1:13; Matt. 3:17), by God the Father, not ab omnibus (PELAGIUS), is the Only Begotten, the Son of God by nature, Christ; He is the object of the love (ἀγάπη) of the Father, not needing χάρις, as we; only through the grace of God in Christ do we become objects of His love; as χαριτωθέντες. Accordingly this distinction is not to be made use of in favor of the second meaning of έχαρίτωσεν, as is done by HARLESS. The preposition ἑν must be retained as marking our fellowship with Christ, who is our life-sphere; hence it is not=διὰ τόν, propter (GROTIUS and others). We are rather reminded of the verse: Vor dir sonst nichts gilt, als Dein eigen Bild. [Before thee nothing passes current but thine own image.] In Him, the image of God, we have, not only objectively, but subjectively also, the grace, that we are well-pleasing to God.
[EADIE: “We, as adopted children, are indeed loved, but there is another, the Son, the own Beloved Son. It was not, therefore, affection craving indulgence, or eager for an object on which to expend itself, that led to our adoption. There was no void in His bosom, the loved One lay in it.”—R.]
SECOND FOUNDATION OF THE PRAISE; EPH 1:7–12. The carrying out of the eternal decree.
Eph 1:7. In whom we have the [or our] redemption through his blood [ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ του αἴματος αὐτοῦ].—Comp. Col. 1:14. “We have,” “the first present tense of the whole discourse, and very emphatic” (STIER). Hence it immediately follows ἐνᾧ, “in whom.” With this a new circle of thought begins, pointing to the already experienced accomplishment of the Divine eternal decree, even though just begun. The preposition ἐν is to be taken in its strict meaning: for only within the Person of the Beloved, Christ, are we in the possession and enjoyment of redemption. Christ’s work is inseparable from His Person; we have redemption, not in His work without His Person, but in His Person, which with His work is a living unity (OLSHAUSEN). Hence it will not suffice to explain: in fellowship with Him (WINER, p. 364, note 7), while it is altogether incorrect to take it as=διὰ ὄν, ἔνεκα οὗ (FLATT, KOPPE), even though the phrase “through His blood” be adjoined, and the explanation be: cujus morti cruentæ debeo; so MORUS: propter quem. SCHENKEL appears to interpolate per δἰ οὗ in his explanation: by means of the fellowship with Him through faith. [HODGE seems to have lost the force of the phrase, weakening it into, “i.e., not in ourselves,” and then taking “by his blood” as explanatory. ELLICOTT, EADIE, ALFORD all catch more or less of the true view so aptly expressed by OLSHAUSEN.—R.]
We are having! Believers, Christians are in possession of a property. The possession is marked, not the receiving, or having received; hence ἔχειν is not=assecutum esse, or assequi.
[EADIE is still better: “We are ever needing, and so are ever having it.” The objective sense, there is for us, adopted by ALFORD, following HARLESS, underlies the expressed and emphatic subjective one; the latter is not merely “an implied import,” but the prominent thought.—R.]
The subject treated of is a bonum novi testamenti (BENGEL)—τὴν42 ἀπολύτρωσιν. This word points to a redemption through ransom. This idea is a prevalent one, even in the New Testament, where our Lord so uses it (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45: to give His life a ransom for many), and Paul, 1 Tim. 2:6: ὁ δοῦς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, Tit. 2:14: λυτροῦσθαι 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Gal. 3:13: ἀγοράζειν, Acts 20:28: περιποιεῖσθαι. Still the expiation, indicated in the Lord’s saying, appears also, as in Rom. 3:23–25. Manifesto satis eam mortis vim indicat, quæ sacrificio confertur piaculari (FRITZSCHE). Here indeed the thought of an expiatory sacrifice seems to be the prominent one, since “through his blood” is added (comp. Levit. 17:1, HARLESS). We may however take the blood of Christ as the ransom price. The powers and evils, indicated in the preposition ἀπό, from which believers are and shall be snatched, are according to STIER, the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10), the present evil world (Gal. 1:4), the power of darkness (Col. 1:13), all unrighteousness (Tit. 2:14), vain conversation after the ways of their fathers (1 Pet. 1:18); indeed the extirpation and compensation of all the evil in which we have involved ourselves with our transgressions (PFENNINGER). Though the word may have in passages, such as 4:30; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30, a more general signification, the original reference being supplanted or obliterated, here this is marked by the context. HARLESS indeed is correct, in maintaining against Romanist expositors (such as A-LAPIDE), that it designates not merely a subjective condition; but he should not have based on the presence of the article the statement that abstract nouns without the article merely designate that the generic notion has become real as a subjective possession.
Through his blood, διὰ τοῦ αἴματος αὐτοῦ.—MEYER regards this as entirely like ἐν τῷ αἵματι (2:13), remarking that Paul was very fond of prepositional variations (2 Cor. 3:11). The former, however, describes rather the mediation, which may be in constant movement, as here; while the latter points to an existing life-sphere or fact, in which indeed that mediation must be consummated. Hence the Apostle is not influenced by likings or beauty of diction, etc., but by a shading of the thought.—In the Person of Christ as the Only Begotten, is given to us, as to all believers, Redemption by means of His blood, as an offering and ransom-price, and now we are having such a gift. Though Heb. 9:12–14 is to be compared with our passage, still we may not introduce here, as is done by KOPPE, the sacrificial worship of the ancient nations, according to which through a sinless offering past sins were extirpated and the angered divinity reconciled, as though Paul had made use of this.
[ALFORD: “It is a noteworthy observation of HARLESS here, that the choice of the word, the Blood of Christ, is of itself a testimony to the idea of expiation having been in the writer’s mind. Not the death of the victim, but its BLOOD, was the typical instrument of expiation. I may notice that in Phil. 2:8, where Christ’s obedience, not His atonement, is spoken of, there is no mention of His shedding His blood, only of the act of His Death.” This was the price, τὸ λύτρον. As EADIE well says: “The nexus we may not be able to discover fully, but”—“the death of Christ has governmental relations, has an influence on our salvation totally different in nature and sphere of operation, from its subjective power in subduing the heart by the love which it presents, and the thrilling motives which it brings to bear upon it.”—R.]
The forgiveness of our transgressions, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων.—LUTHER joins this with the foregoing thus: namely, the forgiveness of sins, thus taking it, and correctly, as epexegetical (WINER, p. 492). [So the E. V. in the parallel passage, Col. 1:14.—R.] This implies, that the more comprehensive expression, redemption, is to be limited, contains more than is involved in the context, ἔχομεν; “the forgiveness of transgressions” renders emphatically prominent one principal element, on which indeed another depends. Accordingly it cannot be said, that the Apostle defines the nature of the “redemption” with this epexegetical addition (HARLESS) [MEYER]. It is just as erroneous to extend the epexegetical phrase on account of the first expression, and to explain “forgiveness of transgressions” as taking away of sins (Berlenb. Bible). Paul now takes out as chief the first thing: the forgiveness of sins (STIER). FRITZSCHE aptly remarks (Rom. 3:25) on the distinction between πάρεσις and ἀιφεσις:43 “Conveniunt in hoc, quod sive illa, sive hæc tibi obtigerit nulla peccatorum tuorum ratio habetur; discrepant eo, quod hac data facinorum tuorum pœnas nunquam pendes, illa concessa non diutius nullas peccatorum tuorum pœnas lues, quam ei in iis connivere placuerit, cui in delicta tua animadvertendi jus sit.” Further the genitive of τά παραπτώματα refers only to individual facts, and, since these can neither be undone or extirpated, we must understand pardon alone; OLSHAUSEN is incorrect in laying no weight upon the form παραπτώματα, ἁμαρτίαι (Col. 1:14), and including also the sinful condition, the inborn sinfulness, understanding here absolutely all that is sinful.44 Although he is correct in saying that the appropriation of this forgiveness of sins as a fact cannot be conceived of, without the transformation of the man proceeding from it as a consequence, yet we must still maintain that nothing is said here about the latter, but only that redemption, like the forgiveness, has its complete objective reality entirely irrespective of the subjective state of the individuals (HARLESS). [Accepting this view, which is that of HODGE, EADIE and others, we must deny ALFORD’S remark, that this phrase is not to be limited, but is “at least equipollent with ἀπολύτρωσις.”—R.]
According to the riches of his grace.—Κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ evidently designates the grace of God, not of Christ, as the ultimate ground of the fact of Redemption, and corresponding (κατά) to the depth and importance of the same in its riches. Similarly 2:7: τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος, Rom. 2:4: πλοῦτος τῆς χρηστότητος, Rom. 9:23; Col. 1:27; Eph. 3:16: τῆς δόξης. Hence it is not=gratia liberalissima (KOPPE). Instead of τὸ πλοῦτος attested by א. and B., and to be retained here, ὁ πλοῦτος more frequently occurs. [Comp. Textual Note3.] PASSAVANT aptly says: “We have in this grace not only deliverance from misery and curse, not only forgiveness—we find in it the freedom, the glory, the heritage of the children of God, the crown of eternal life.”
[ALFORD is not correct in saying this clause of itself prevents the limitation of ἄφεσιν to mere forgiveness. EADIE seems to catch the spirit of the passage best. “Atonement is not in antagonism with grace. For the opulence of His grace is seen not only in its innumerable forms and varieties of operation among men, but also in the unasked and unmerited provision of such an atonement—as the blood of the ‘Beloved One.’ ”—R.] With the forgiveness of sin we gain access to all the treasures of Divine grace (GERLACH). Hence the Apostle continues as in the following verse.
Eph 1:8. Which he made to abound toward us[ἧς ἐπερίσσευσενεἰς ἡμᾶς].—Ἧς, referring to τῆς χάριτος, which is imparted, not parted, cannot be, as in Luke 15:17: περισσεύουσιν ἄρτων, a partitive genitive (ERASMUS: de qua ubertim nobis impartivit); but is here an attraction for ἥν, since the ἐπερίσσενσε is to be rendered, transitively in accordance with the context (Eph 1:9: γνωρίσας), and with the accusative like 2 Cor. 9:8 (δυνατὸς γὰρ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς; comp. 4:15; 1 Thess. 3:12). THEOPHYLACT aptly says: ἀφθόνως ἐξέχεε. It is not in accordance with the language or context to take it as instead of ῆ (Vulgate: quæ superabundavit) or ᾗ (CALVIN: qua redundavit). [So E. V., but such an attraction of the dative is not found in the New Testament, while the attraction of the nominative (Vulgate) is scarcely possible.—R.]—Εἰς ἡμᾶς, into us He has caused His grace to flow abundantly.
In all wisdom and prudence [ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει45].—The word πάσῃ, without the article, designates every one there is (WINER, p. 105). Comp. Eph 1:2; Col. 4:12.—Πᾶς sets forth the multiplicity, fulness, always extensiveness, never intensity, force (HARLESS); hence it is not=summa (WAHL, RUECKERT). Σοφία καὶ φρόνησις cannot be taken as exact synonymes (KOPPE), nor so distinguished, that the former is used de præterito et præsenti, de his, quæ Deus facit (Eph 1:17), the latter de futuro, de his, quæ nos faciemus (ANSELM, BENGEL). Wisdom designates rather a normal state of the mind in the centre of intelligence, prudence the special turning of the same in different directions; ἡ δὲ σοφία ἀνδρὶ τίκτει φρόνησιν (Prov. 10:23); the latter is subordinate to the former. Besides this formal distinction, the material difference must be considered: Wisdom grasps God’s doings, perceives and understands His counsels of grace, prudence is directed to what we have to do, looks at our problem and how to solve it; the former clearly sees the relations ordered by God, the latter regulates our conduct accordingly. Thus every kind of wisdom and prudence is indicated by “all,” and “in” marks that God has caused His grace to flow abundantly into us, in the gift of all wisdom and prudence. So also in the parallel passage, Col. 1:9: ἴνα πληρωθῆτε τὴν ἐπιγνωσιν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει. Accordingly this is not to be taken as=“manifold wisdom” (3:10), and, as in ἐν ἀγάπῃ προορίσας (Eph 1:5), to be joined with the following γνωρίσας (JEROME, CHRYS., SEMLER, [EADIE], and others), nor to be applied to God, to whom indeed φρόνησις (1 Kings 3:28; Jer. 10:12) may be ascribed, but not πᾶσα in such a way as to mean that not only is all wisdom and prudence in Him, but that He acts, does this or that in all wisdom and prudence (HARLESS).
[The view here defended is also that of HARLESS, MEYER and ELLICOTT, the three most exact commentators on this Epistle. Comp. the note of the last named on the meaning, reference and connection of these words. ALFORD follows DE WETTE in referring them to God, taking the same view of the connection as given above, while EADIE refers them to man, but connects them with γνωρίσας. HODGE joins this phrase to the object of the verb instead of to the verb itself, and inexactly renders the preposition ἐν: in connection with, together with; his view of φρόνησις is also objectionable.—R.]
Eph 1:9. Having made known to us.—Γνωρίσας denotes, as in Eph 1:4, 5, the manner of the ἐπερίσσευσε (WINER, p. 322), explaining “in all wisdom and prudence.” The verb means to make known, without stating any thing as to the means used. Comp. 3:3, 5; Gal. 1:12; Col. 1:25. [The perfect participle in English is indefinite, and serves best to express the idea of the Greek aorist participle, which here denotes an act coincident, and terminating synchronously with the finite verb (MEYER, ELLICOTT). The best paraphrase would be: in that He made known (ALFORD).—R.].—“Us” means Christians, believers, not merely Paul or the Apostles.
The mystery of his will, τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ.—[The genitive is that of the object: the mystery concerning His will (MEYER, ELLICOTT, ALFORD and now EADIE). On θέλημα see Eph 1:11.—R.] This mystery is the object made known. He terms it “of Christ” in 3:10, because He is the Mediator of the same; “of the gospel,” 6:19, because it is thereby proclaimed; “of faith,” “of godliness,” 1 Tim. 3:9, 16, because it is comprehended and preserved only by faith, and the fear of God in faith; here “of his will,” because it is willed by God. It is the decree of Redemption in Christ. In 3:9; Col. 1:25, 26; Rom. 16:25, 26; 1 Cor. 3:7–10, its depth and concealment as well as its revelation are described. This decree, a secret from all eternity in the fullest sense for the Gentiles, hinted and adumbrated in Israel by prophecies and types, is now manifest in Christ, to those only, however, who are true believers (1 Cor. 3:12), to those who are lost, it remains concealed (2 Cor. 4:3). It is a secret which has become public, ceasing henceforth to be a secret, yet ever having and still retaining in itself what surpasses all reason (HARLESS, STIER).
According to his good pleasure, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ, defines more closely the γνωρίσας, “having made known.”—Comp. Eph 1:5. [The making known is thus defined as having taken place in strict dependence, both in time and manner, on the will of God (ALFORD, ELLICOTT). EADIE retains here the meaning benevolentia, which is quite inadmissible, more so than in Eph 1:5.—R.]
Which he purposed in himself, ῆν προέθετο ἐν αὑτᾧ.—The determination is thus marked as an internal one, so as to give prominence to its freedom; hence we should read αὐτῷ (HARLESS, TISCHENDORF), not αὑτῷ (MEYER). [The latter reading is adopted by ALFORD, EADIE, ELLICOTT, all of them claiming that if the pronoun refers to God (and we cannot well accept any other reference) the reflexive form is necessary. In Eph 1:5, they urge, another idea had intervened, hence αὐτόν was there sufficiently explicit, but here the immediate connection with the verb and its subject requires the form αὑτῷ. This is opposed to the theory advanced in Eph 1:5, that this reflexive form never occurs in the New Testament; but it is safer to accept this reading than to refer the pronoun to Christ.—R.]
In the compound verb προτίθεσθαι, sibi proponere (BENGEL, PASSOW sub voce), the preposition προ is local (MEYER): to put before one’s self, not temporal=beforehand. So also in πρόθεσις, ver.11; Rom. 1:13; 3:25; Acts 3:20 (προχειρίζομαι); 2 Cor. 9:7 (προαιρέομαι). Accordingly εὐδοκία is not=good pleasure (LUTHER), gracious purpose (HARLESS), and ἐν αὐτῷ is not to be referred to Christ (CHRYSOSTOM, LUTHER: hervorgebracht durch Ihn, BENGEL), nor is προέθετο=ante constituit (ANSELM), apud se retinuit (CALVIN). [As MEYER remarks, this purpose is to be regarded as taking place before the foundation of the world, but the preposition does not express this.—R.]
Eph 1:10. Unto the dispensation of the fulness of times [εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν].—This verse follows, setting forth the goal, of the πρόθεσις. Εἰς designates the tendency, the aim, as in 4:30; Gal. 3:17, 23 (WINER, p. 371), with a view to which He purposed in Himself; hence it is to be closely joined with προέθετο, not with γνωρίσας (BENGEL), which is too remote. Of course εἰς is not=in (Vulgate), nor usque ad (ERASMUS, CALVIN), for which ἔως, μέχρι, would be used. [HODGE AND EADIE: with reference to, a view of the preposition which MEYER often favors, but which fails to bring out its full force here.—R.]
Οἰκονομία, from οἰκόνομος, is stewardship (Luke 16:2); it is transferred to the spiritual sphere in 3:2, 6; 1 Tim. 1:4. The original meaning is modified in two ways, according as the word in its connection “designated the activity of a governing or subordinate subject; in the first case: arrangement, disposition, in the second: management, execution” (HARLESS). Thus the context in 1 Cor. 9:17 defines the word in the second sense, of the apostolic office and service. Here God, and that towards which He has formed a purpose, are spoken of; so it here means: unto, with a view to the disposition. LUTHER correctly renders the εἰς of the aim, but limits οἰκονομίαν too much: that it may be preached; so GROTIUS: ut suo demum tempore publicaret. THEOPHYLACT (διοίκησις) and the Vulgate (dispensatio) restrict it too much. RUECKERT’S complaint about the omission of the article is entirely unnecessary, as in Rom. 1:1, which is a parallel for cur passage, we read: εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, “unto the gospel of God.” The article is wanting on account of the following genitive, which defines our word more fully, and is to be joined most closely with it; so λόγον ζωῆς (Phil. 2:16)=Lebenswort, “Word of life,” ἡμέρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, “day of Christ.” Comp. WINER, p. 118 ff. According to this, we should take the phrase to mean: fulfilment—economy.
The genitive τοῦ πληρ ώματος τῶν καιρῶν defines then οἰκονόμιαν more closely. “Verbo πληρόω et πλήρωμα persæpe utitur Paulus ad Ephesios et Colossenses (BENGEL). According to the well-known investigations of FRITZSCHE (Ad Rom. 2. p. 473, and a Dissertation, Rostock, 1839)—although HOFMANN (Schriftbeweis, I. 2, p. 118) denies the active and passive senses of the word, seeking to prove that its meaning is: contents, full amount, complement [i. e., the first of the following senses]—πλήρωμα signifies (1) id quo res impletur [this is often called the active sense, but is not strictly so, see on Eph 1:23.—R.], (2) id quod impletur [the strictly passive sense=τὸ πεπληρωμένον, that which is filled, or the state of having been filled and continuing so, fulness; this being the more usual meaning of verbals in μα.—R.], (3) implendi actionem [the proper active meaning], the passive sense being more prevalent than the active. According to this view, the second signification is to be accepted here, as in Gal. 4:4: τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, that which is filled, the state of fulness, the fulness of time.
Between the two passages there is however a difference, occasioned by τοῦ χρόνου and τῶν καιρῶν. Here definite καιροί are spoken of. Although we find in Mark 1:15: πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός, because one point of time is referred to, yet in 1 Tim. 2:6, the proclamation of salvation is said to take place καιροῖς ἰδίοις, and in Luke 21:24 καιροῖς ἐθνῶν are mentioned, as in Acts 1:7 χρόνους ἢ καιρούς. And in the passage strictly parallel (2:7) it is said that ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι, τοἴς ἐπερχομένοις, God would show the riches of His grace toward the congregation of the believers. Hence we must apply the word here to different sections of time, linked on to each other, through which the plan of salvation is unfolded, since God ever revealed what and so much as was requisite, to advance the development of His Kingdom, so soon as the end of one period of time in the history of Redemption arrived, and an epoch had fulfilled its task and passed away; while τοῦ χρόνου the passage from Galatians marks these details in their connection as a totality. The fulfilment of these definite periods and points of time, adapted for the required development, is to be understood here: ὁ ὁρισθεὶς παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καιρός (THEODORET), the point of time, with the entrance of which the pre-Messianic periods are closed and the Messianic ages begin.
The genitive τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν indicates then what belongs to οἰκονομία, the external and internal relation to it. Comp. WINER, p. 176 ff. [So ELLICOTT and EADIE; the former has a capital note on this genitive, which he calls a genitive of the characterizing quality.—R.] We have therefore here indicated, that the fulfilling of the times stands under the guidance of God Himself, who has determined and ordered the periods and brings them in according to His purpose. Hence we explain it as: dispensatio propria plenitudini temporum (CALOV., RUECKERT, MEYER, MATTHIES, STIER [HODGE, ELLICOTT, EADIE] and others). HARLESS takes the genitive as epexegetical, subjoining the special to the general; but οἰκονομία, that which is arranged by the Lord, is not explained by πλήρωμα, a developing process, nor that mode of action by a fact, such as the latter undoubtedly is. SCHENKEL accepts a genitive of the object, as though “the fulness of the times” was the object of “dispensation;” but while ἧλθε (Gal. 4:4) may be predicated of that πλήρωμα, οἰκονομεῖται cannot be, and οἰκονομία has the καιρούς as the object of its νέμειν, the result of this being the πλήρωμα. LUTHER’S rendering is too limited: dass es gepredigt würde, da die Zeit erfüllt war. It should not be explained, as if we read ἐν τῷ πληρώματι: tempore exacto (WOLF), or aliquo tempore, suo tempore (MORUS); nor should it be referred to extrema tempora (KOPPE), still less is it=eorum quæ restant temporum, or in reliquis, i.e., novi fæderis temporibus (STIER46 and others). Unpauline as well as unbiblical is USTERI’S explanation, the fulfilling of that time has had its ground in the necessary development of the human consciousness, or of the religious spirit of humanity.47 God’s gracious design applies then to a dispensation, which ordains time and its periods, leading to a point when they are completed. This is still further defined by what follows:
To gather up together all things.—[ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα. Braune: to gather together again for Himself all things.]—The verb is derived from κεφάλαιον, the chief point, and means principally, to gather together in one main point, as Rom. 13:9, where it is said of the single commandments, that they are “briefly comprehended” in the one command of love (ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται), summatim comprehendere. But it is acknowledged, that the Apostle, “who does not etymologize, but follows general accords” (HARLESS), might readily have chosen the word, in order to play upon the word κεφαλἠ, the head, which according to 1:22 is Christ (CHRYSOSTOM, THEOPHYLACT, LUTHER: “comprehended, together under one head,” CALOV., WOLF, HARLESS, STIER, SCHENKEL, MATTHIES and others). As recapitulare passes over capitulum to caput in its meaning, so too ἀνα κεφαλαιοῦν over κεφάλαιον to κεφαλή. [The play on the word is barely possible. Paul’s usage favors it, but the context is against it, since “in Christ” follows so soon, and the idea of Christ as Head occurs much further on, the reference here being more to His atonement than to His sovereignty. He is regarded as κεφάλαιον rather than as κεφαλή (MEYER).—R.]
Although the meaning of the preposition (ἀνα, again) does not appear in the verb, Rom. 13:9, since it would be too artificial to retain it with HARLESS, because of an assumed reference to the local position of the law given in detail Exod. 20. and afterwards summed up and repeated, Lev. 19:18 (THILO renders Rom. 13:9, repetere), still there is no ground for not retaining it here (see PASSOW sub voce), where the reference is to a gathering of what was dispersed and a renewal of what was ruined, and not originally so. The word may indeed apply to an entirely new fact, but it still refers back to an original status and beginning (Meyer, HARLESS, STIER).48 Comp. Col. 1:15–17.
Finally the middle form must not be left unnoticed: God will gather together again for Himself (sibi) what He has created for Himself; this supports at the same time the meaning again. Accordingly the following explanations are unsatisfactory: a principio renovare (Syriac), instaurare (Vulgate), giving an explanation of the character of the gathering together; συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι (RAPHEL), to subject all things at once to Christ; borrowing the phrase from rhetoric, to recapitulate (JEROME, ERASMUS, BEZA), or from military usage=in unum agmen cogere (GROTIUS) or from arithmetic=in unam summam redigere (CAMERARIUS, BUCER), although in each of these there is something more or less correct.
The infinitive is to be taken as epexegetical; it brings forward as an explanation the design49 which obtains in the “dispensation of the fulness of times” (WINER, p. 300): in order to gather together under one head for Himself. But how? In Christ.—Nothing further is said; in the resumptive ἐν αὐτῷ we find an explanation. We must maintain however that ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ refers to the Saviour who appeared in the fulness of time (the article is in any case inserted purposely and for emphasis), thus preparing the way for the statement of the object. What then is to be gathered together? All things.
The things which are in heaven, and the things which are on earth [τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τὴς γῆς. See Textual, Note 10]. Τὰ πάντα is neuter and universal, the more because this explanatory clause is added. No importance is to be attached to the plural (οὐρανοῖς), since we find in Phil. 3:20: ἐν οὐρανοῖς—ἐξ οὗ; despite its different regions (2 Cor. 12:2: ἔως τρίτου οὐρανοῦ) heaven is conceived of as a unity, over against the earth. The well-attested ἐπί is at all events an error of the transcriber or a provincialism, beside which the established ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς could not appear strange. The repeated article denotes the particularity of what is found in both spheres. Heaven and earth have become places of sin (2:2; 6:12); indeed heaven was the first theatre of sin, when a part of the angels fell into sin and from God (1 Tim. 3:6; 1 John 3:8; Jas. 2:19; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6); thence it came to earth (2 Cor. 11:3), in ever greater dimensions (1 Cor. 10:20, 21). Thus the state originally appointed by God and the development He wished to be without disturbance, ceased (Rom. 8:18–24), so that a renewing of the heavens and of the earth was taken into view (2 Pet. 3:13). The centre of this renewal is Christ and His redeeming work (Col. 1:20), which, however, has its development also, as before His appearance up to the “fulness of times,” so afterwards up to His second Advent, when the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), the palingenesia (Matth. 19:28), will be introduced. Comp. 2 Pet. 3:10–13.
It is altogether unmistakable that, in accordance with the views of this Epistle as well as the entire organism of Scripture truth, we must apply this to the totality of the creation (HARLESS, OLSHAUSEN, MATTHIES, MEYER, STIER, HOFMANN, Schriftbeweis, I. 216 ff., SCHENKEL and others). If we maintain with BENGEL: Omnia sub Christo fuerant; per peccatum autem facta erat avulsio et divulsio; atque hæc rursum sublata est, then only such a “restitution of all things” is here treated of, as takes into the account, not the relations of the individual members, of the individuals of the τὰ πάντα, to each other, nor yet the relations of the same in their diversity over against God and Christ, but rather and only the relation of Christ to the totality. We should neither specialize and restrict too much, as does HOFMANN, who excludes good angels and evil men, and others, who apply it only to intelligence, persons,50 nor accept an unspecialized thought (HARLESS), indefinitely in suspense and admitting of no specialization, respecting a totality. If it could be inferred from the fact of the angels not needing redemption, that they were excluded here, we should be finally obliged to except redeemed men from this ἀνακεφαλαίωσις and no longer regard them as under Christ, when their redemption was completed. “The reconciliation through Christ is to the Apostle a fact, whose effects permeate the universe, which affects alike the conscious and the unconscious creation, whether it be touched by sin, or not, as is the case with the good angels” (OLSHAUSEN). Here we may certainly apply what BENGEL so aptly remarks on Rom. 8:19, that Proverbs suo quodque genus captu, and statu may be appended, participate in this Anacephalaiosis, the evil as conquered and rejected opponents, the good angels as participating, ministering friends, the redeemed as accepted children, the rest of creation as subordinate companions, as theatre of the honors. It is precisely “the restoration of the harmony of the Universe” (Harless), which is aimed at. CHRYSOSTOM makes the excellent remark; ὡς ἄν περί οἰκίας τις εἴποι τὰ μὲν σαθρὰ τὰ δὲ ἰσχυρὰ ἐχούσης, ἀνῳκοδόμησε τὴν οἰκίαν—οὔτω καὶ ἐνταῦθα πάντας ὑπὸ μίαν ἤγαγε κεφαλήν. That nothing is said of “the restoration of all things,” is quite evident. (Sea Doctr. Note 8.)51
Even in him, ἐν αὐτῷ, is to be joined to “things in heaven, and things on earth,” as “in Christ” is with “all things,” since the two clauses are entirely parallel (HARLESS). GROTIUS well says: “Sed repetendum censuit, quasi diceret: per ipsum, inquam, unum, non per ullum alium; non hoc factum per Mosen, non per philosophos.” Hence it is not a Hebraism or Syriasm (RUECKERT, who acknowledges the “not feeble repetition”), nor to be joined with the following ἐν ὧ as pleonastic. Thus, then, the person of Christ is noted as the Mediator and middle-point of this comprehensive reuniting, and that without Him such does not and shall not take place. [“Re-asseverating with great, solemnity and emphasis (see Jelf, Gr. § 658), the only blessed sphere in which this ἀνακεφ. can be regarded as operative, and apart from which, and without which, its energies cannot be conceived as acting. It forms also an easy transition to the following relative” (ELLICOTT).—R.]
It is arbitrary and unscriptural (MEYER) for CALOV. and others to assume that Christ is as to His Divine nature the Head of angels, as to His human nature the Head of men. This anacephalaiosis is not to be applied to the completion of the kingdom of God in the resurrection of the body (THEODORET, JEROME), and still less to the moral uniting of antagonistic endeavors (KOPPE, WAHL); nor should we determine from Col. 1:20, how it is to be conceived of or to take place, but rather confess that our passage says nothing about this.
Eph 1:11. In whom we were also made his inheritance [ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν].—A comma only is to be placed after “in Him;” “in whom,” which refers to it, marks the union with Him (hence not=through whom, KOPPE, FLATT) as the way to the obtaining of the inheritance, which is rendered prominent by the καί; were the emphasis on the subject we should find καὶ ἡμεῖς here, as in Eph 1:13: καὶ ὑμεῖς. Incorrect: in quo etiam nos [Vulgate, ERASMUS). [The E. V.: “in whom also” is equally objectionable in connecting καί with ἐν ᾧ.—R.] Prominence is given to the fact, that the plan of God is already in the process of accomplishment, in accordance with the decree and design; καί is not indeed=really, it joins with ἐκληρώθημεν, only what is to be inferred from the preceding context: we are destined, and this connection points to the actualization.
Κληροῦν is found here only; the compound προσεκληρώθησαν in Acts 17:4. It is derived, not from κληρονομία, but from κλῆρος, lot (Matth. 27:35; Acts 1:26), portion of an inheritance (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:14), used in a spiritual sense, and transferred to men, to the church composed of individuals (1 Pet. 5:3; τῶν κλήρων). Since this usage is well established, and there is no sufficient reason why the passive sense should not be retained here, we explain: we have become κλῆρος (i.e., of God, as the context requires) in Christ. BENGEL: hic loquitur per personam Israelis; eramus facti נַחְלָה κλῆρος seu κληρονομία, sors, hereditas domini. Deut. 32:9. So also STIER. The context (Eph 1:12: “that we should be,” Eph 1:14:) “purchased possession” supports the requirements of the language. Hence it is not to be explained with LUTHER: through whom we also have come to an inheritance, nor with most: have become partakers of the inheritance; nor yet accepimus (MORUS,) contigit nobis, ut (KOPPE).
[The view here taken of the verb is ably defended by ALFORD and ELLICOTT, and the ordinary interpretation by HODGE and EADIE. The passive form calls for a passive sense, unless there are very strong reasons to the contrary. It would seem that the other sense is allowable, but the only grounds for adopting it here are (1) the objective character of the whole passage, (2) the parallel passage, Col. 1:12. But the sense: we have become an inheritance, is subjective only in form, presenting as it does something which God has become to us, quite as much as what we have become. The other reason is in itself of little weight, for the parallel is inexact in other respects. We adopt the passive sense, rejecting however the allusion to the lot as indicating God’s freedom of choice, and accepting the special meaning given by BENGEL.—R.]
Finally it is clear that the subject (“we”) is not put in antithesis to another one, as in Eph 1:14, and that no limitation is indicated either in the verb or in the following participle, so that according to the context and Eph 1:1, we may apply it to the Apostle and his readers, to Christians in general, but not to the Apostle alone (KOPPE), nor to him and the Jewish Christians (GROTIUS, BENGEL, HARLESS, STIER, SCHENKEL [HODGE] and others). [BARNES restricts it to the ministers of religion. MEYER, EADIE, ALFORD, ELLICOTT, agree with BRAUNE.—R.]
Having been predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things [προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος].—We who have become an inheritance, are predestinated. A comparison with Eph 1:5: “having predestinated us unto adoption,” shows us the progress and the distinction. Here it is further defined by the phrase “according to the purpose” from Eph 1:9 (ἢν προέθετο), that the predestinated is grounded in Him, in His design, His will. Accordingly He whose design it is, is termed: τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοὺντος,52 “the God, who ordains, prepares and carries forward to its goal the Redemption,” who is “there in the All efficient, Almighty” (STIER); τὰ πάντα is both what is external and historical in the world’s story, as well as in the life of individuals, and what is spiritual and internal (Gal. 2:8; 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:11.)
This working is further defined by the phrase: After the counsel of his will κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοὺ θελήματος αὐτοῦ. Similar to this is τὰς βουλὰς τῶν καρδιῶν (1 Cor. 4:5). HARLESS compares: the desire of my heart, the joy of my eyes, the tears of my sorrow, as examples of the exchange of the simple subject into the activity, or peculiarity, or organ of the subject, which is the ground or means of a mental or sensuous manifestation, in order thus with exactness and definiteness to render prominent the close relation between the two. A similar case is 1 Pet. 3:17: εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. Βουλή is then the decision, the determination which God forms in His will. See above on Eph 1:5. It is God absolutely free (MATTHIES), His consilium liberrimum (BENGEL). Τὰ πάντα is not
ad id negotium, de quo agitur, adstringendum (GROTIUS), nor are βουλή and τοῦ θελήματος mere synonymes, as has been affirmed without ground of προορισθέντες and πρόθεσις also, nor yet=voluntas liberrima (KOPPE).
[The two words βουλή and θέλημα naturally lead to remarks upon the distinction between the verbs from which they are derived θέλειν and βούλεσθαι.53 The distinction of BUTTMANN will not apply in the New Testament. He says (Lexic. sub voce): “βούλομαι is confined to the inclination, θέλω to that kind of wish in which there lies a purpose or design.” But in Matth. 1:19, where both words occur, they cannot be thus distinguished; for Joseph’s inclination was not to expose his wife, and this is expressed by θέλων, while his purpose to put her away is expressed by ἐβουλἠθη. It is rather in this case, as ALFORD says: “θἐλω expresses the mere wish, βούλομαι the wish ripened into intention,” in favor of which view he cites BUTTMANN however. TITTMANN on the other hand, while seeming to agree with BUTTMANN, and usually cited as sustaining him, really differs from him. In his Synonym. N. T., p. 134 ff, he says that θέλειν is simply to will (simpliciter velle), while βούλεσθαι denotes further the inclination. His citation of Ammonius who remarks that the latter cannot be predicated of brutes, would prove that deliberation also was implied in it. He further adds that he who does anything θέλων, does it spontaneously, while he who does it βουλόμενος, determines to turn his mind to that matter. So PLATO (Laws, v.) opposes τὸ βουλητόν τε καὶ ἑκούσιον and τὸ ἀβούλητόν τε καὶ ἀκούσιον. This distinction would justify the remark of BRAUNE (on Eph 1:5) that βουλή is the act of willing joined with inclination, while ἐθέλειν is the ethical act. Yet TITTMANN and others are scarcely justified in denying to θέλειν any sense of desiring, wishing, etc. With the infinitive such a meaning is common, as in the well-known formula: “I would not have you ignorant” (οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, Rom. 1:13, etc.), and in Rom. 7:15 ff., where the antithesis is μισῶ. Besides the spontaneity of will may, after all, indicate an impulse from the side of the desire; who can decide? One thing is certain, we cannot, save by a species of anthropomorphism, apply such distinctions to God, e.g., 1 Tim. 2:4: “who will (θέλει) have all men to be saved;” 2 Pet. 3:9: “not willing (βουλόμενος) that any should perish.” We dare not, it seems to me, say that one passage refers to God’s spontaneous will and the other to His inclination. In fact any discrimination between the two words for doctrinal purposes is of doubtful propriety, for there is no conflict in God, such as we find in us. Still we need not hesitate to explain “the counsel of His will” as meaning, the definite and deliberate volition of God’s free, sovereign, spontaneous will. A pure voluntas on His part involves the accordant desire, purpose, determination and volition, all questions respecting priority being out of place. So ELLICOTT, whether correct in his distinction or not, is right in saying that our passage “solemnly represents the Almighty Will as displaying itself in action: θέλημα designating the will generally, βουλή the more special expression of it.” So MEYER, ALFORD (on 1 Tim. 5:14) make this general distinction: “θέλω is the resting inclination of the will, βούλομα its active exertion,” which is valid enough here. On the whole EADIE is most judicious in his remarks, preserving TITTMANN’S distinction, and yet admitting the idea of desire in θέλω. “θέλημα is will, the result of desire—voluntas; βουλή is counsel, the result of a formal decision—propositum.” Donaldson’s New Cratylus, §§ 463, 464. Here βουλή is the ratified expression of will—the decision to which His will has come. The Divine mind is not in a state of indifference, it has exercised θέλημα—will; and that will is not a lethargic velleity, for it has formed a definite purpose, βουλή, which it determines to carry out.—R.]
Eph 1:12. That we should be unto the praise of his glory [εἰς τὸ εἷναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ. The Rec. inserts τῆς before δόξης on very slight authority.—R.]—This marks the goal, which is set up for those who are “predestinated” in the “purpose,” with the further definition: “to the praise of his glory.” Comp. Eph 1:6. Here He Himself and His glory are the object of the praise, as in Eph 1:14. This expression, three times repeated, and always used at the close of a circle of thought, must be explained each time in the same way, and so that the emphasis which is laid on it be not lessened; accordingly we must retain its force as a designation of the aim or goal, remembering that εἷναι precedes it; a being is spoken of, which is attained through a becoming, and this status is that of persons (ἡμᾶς), who not merely praise with the mouth, in words, but should be themselves a praise. Hence the phrase is not all to be regarded as an incisum or as parenthetical, nor should we join “that we should be” either with” in Christ” (ZELTNER) or with “who before hoped” (KNAPP, FLATT, HARLESS, OLSHAUSEN and others), as though the thought were: the goal of the predestination is, that we who before hoped, should be in Christ, to the praise and glory of God, or that we to God’s glory, hoped before in Christ. MORUS: ut adeo in Christo spem reponere possimus in laudem honoremque Dei. This displaces the proper aim, and what it substitutes cannot be an aim; the hope of the Jews, the faith of the Gentiles.
We who have before hoped in Christ [or the Christ].—Τοὺς προηλπικότας=quippe qui antea spem posuerunt (WINER, p. 127);54 it characterizes those who have thus become to the praise of God, by pointing out the way to this. The construction is not singular (1 Cor. 15:19: ἐν Χριστῷ ἠλπικότες; Rom. 15:13; ἐλπὶς ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος ἁγίον, before in Eph 1:12: επ̓αὐτῷ—ἐλπιοῦσιν). “In Christ,” ἐντῷ Χριστῷ, marks this vital fellowship with Him; it is not=εἰς τὸν Χριστόν, towards Him, to Him; He is the ground of the hope.
And now πρό! It points to the state and the period before attaining the appointed goal, hence to the earthly life; it is a designation of the Christian state in the pilgrimage. Hence BENGEL very properly remarks: τὸ ante refertur ad tempora V. T., but he is incorrect in referring “before” to persons as though the Jews were thus indicated (primum nacti sunt Judæi deinde gentes, Acts 19:46). So CHRYSOSTOM, ERASMUS, HARLESS, STIER, MEYER and others. But προελπίζειν ἐν τῷ χριστῷ is not=προσδέχεσθαι (Luke 2:25, 28), notwithstanding Acts 28:20; 26:6, 7. This phrase is added to what precedes in order, as in Eph 1:6, to furnish at the same time a point of connection for what follows, a transition; hence at the close (Eph 1:14) no such addition is made.
[The view defended above is that of DE WETTE,55 and of EADIE (in his first edition). Nearly all modern commentators accept at this point a distinction between ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς, referring the former to Jewish Christians, the latter to Gentile Christians. (The other view refers the former to Christians in general, the latter to the readers.) I am constrained to differ from Dr. Braune here, and adopt the common opinion. (1) No other view allows to προ its proper meaning. To refer the participle to the earthly life, seems far-fetched. The word would not be an appropriate characteristic of all Christians in this connection. Nor is the reference to before the time of writing, worthy of the context. (2) The antithetical καὶ ὑμεῖς (Eph 1:13) is well-nigh conclusive, especially if it be taken as the direct subject of the verb ἐσφραγίσθητε. The Jews had in the Messianic prophecies a ground for their hoping before, but a sealing was more prominent in the case of the Gentiles to whom no such promise had come. (3) The form ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, instead of εἰς τὸν Χριστόν, is not against this view: “to have hoped in Christ was a higher characteristic than to have directed hope towards Christ, and designated them as more worthy exponents of the praise of God’s glory” (ELLICOTT).—If this view be accepted, then we can with propriety retain the article in translating: in the Christ, as indeed BRAUNE himself insists on the emphatic force of the article in the similar phrase, Eph 1:10. Any emphasis upon it here would tell against his view.—R.]
THIRD FOUNDATION. Eph 1:13, 14: The personal appropriation of salvation.
Eph 1:13. In whom ye also.—Ἐν ᾧ, in Christ, viz., “ye were sealed,” since the repetition of ἐν ᾧ is justified by the added phrase: “after that ye heard,” etc. Comp. WINER, p. 545, 1. [For a capital defence of this view of the construction, see ELLICOTT in loc.—R.] Evidently neither ἐστέ (MEYER) [ALFORD], nor ἠλπίκατε (ERASMUS, CALVIN, BEZA [E. V., ESTIUS] and others), nor ἐκληρώθητε (ANSELM, KOPPE, HARLESS, OLSHAUSEN)56 should be supplied. The last is manifestly too remote, the second could only be προηλπίκατε, and the first is unnecessary. It is impossible to take the participle ἀκούσαντες as a finite verb (Syriac, LUTHER: have heard) [i.e., as the predicate of ὑμεῖς]; just as little should ἐν ᾧ be explained as ideo (MORUS).
“Ye also” refers to the readers, and places them in antithesis to “we:” that is, the Christians specially addressed, the local church, written to, over against Christendom in general, the church as a whole. There is no ground whatever for the reference to Gentile Christians, which is accepted by nearly all modern expositors, except RUECKERT; nor does the context justify it. [See my note on Eph 1:12. The passage is markedly antithetical, and this is a ground for the reference to the Gentile Christians. As for the context: while hearing and believing and sealing belong to all Christians, there was undoubtedly in the previous circumstances of the Gentile Christians, a good reason for emphasizing these facts in their case.—R.]
Having heard the word of truth, ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας.—This points to the external situation, in which the apostolic preaching came to them, and they accepted it. This is by no means a token that they are Gentile Christians (STIER, SCHENKEL and others), but is chiefly applicable rather to the Jews. (Acts 13:46, 18:5, 6; Rom. 1:16; 15:8).57 That which is imparted, “the word of truth,” is so termed on account of its contents (2 Tim. 2:15), as it is called “of God,” on account of its origin (Acts 13:46); “of life,” 1 Jno. 1:1, on account of its effect. In Col. 1:6: “in the word of the truth of the Gospel” (comp. Gal. 2:5: “the truth of the gospel”) the shading of the thought is somewhat different; here the reference is less to the antithesis in Judaism (the “shadow” of the O. T.), as CHRYSOSTOM, STIER think, or to that in heathenism with its lies (A-LAPIDE and others), or to both (GROTIUS), than to Christ, who is the Truth, so that the word as to its contents and origin is τῆς ἀληθείας (HARLESS, SCHENKEL [EADIE, ALFORD, ELLICOTT, HODGE] and others). But the phrase is never=doctrina vera (MORUS, KOPPE), institutio in vera religione (WAHL).
The gospel of your salvation, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς σωτηριας ὑμῶν.—This is appositional, defining what precedes, and in such a way that “word” corresponds to “gospel,” “truth” to “salvation;” the latter word sets forth the power of saving, which is joined to the gospel, which operates through it (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 4:20); hence it is the contents to be imparted; “salvation” is more comprehensive than “forgiveness of sins,” redemption (Eph 1:7); it is “the certain, complete rescuing” STIER). [ELLICOTT distinguishes between the two genitives; taking ἀληθείας as genitive substantiæ, σωτηρίας as “a genitive of the (spiritual) contents or subject-matter, etc., ‘the gospel which turns upon, which reveals salvation,’ thus forming one of that large class of genitives of remoter reference.”—R.]
In whom I say having also believed, ye were sealed [ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε]. Ἐν ᾧ, “in whom,” stands in the anaphora and, as in the beginning of this verse and in Eph 1:11, refers to Christ; this is required by καὶ πιστεύσαντες, since καί connects with the preceding ἀκούσαντες: “the inward state of being permeated by the word of truth is expressed by the advance from ἀκούσαντες to καὶ πιστεύσαντες, they have heard it and at the same time really appropriated it” (MATTHIES); hence both words have the same reference. Although it is grammatically allowable that ἐν ῷ be connected with πιστεύσαντες and applied to the gospel (Mark 1:15; πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ); yet as a matter of syntax it should be referred to ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ (Eph 1:12) which is dialectically justified at the same time, because the vital fellowship with Christ is the pre-supposition for the σφραγισθῆναι, and faith is only the condition, the subjective means of appropriation. “Not in virtue of faith, but by means of faith in virtue of what the word proffers to him who hears and what he apprehends” (DELITZSCH), comes the new life in Christ.
Πιστεύσαντες may be understood, as in Rom. 13:11 of the act of acceptance (RUECKERT), or taken as=διὰ τῆς πίστεως, as in Eph 1:7; διὰ τοῦ αἴματος αὐτοῦ; 3:12: διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ. Comp. Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 4:15. [It is best taken absolutely.—R.] We may then say with HARLESS: the notion of the participle as to its temporal occurrence coincides with that of the finite verb. MEYER ought not to separate and sever temporally hearing, believing, baptism, reception of the Holy Ghost, although dialectically they are to be sharply distinguished.
[These aorist participles may express either contemporaneous or antecedent action. The latter relation seems to be most in accordance with the nature of the actions referred to. ALFORD takes them as indicating the terminus a quo, rendering: since, from the time when ye heard, on your believing, remarking further that the participle is and is not contemporaneous with the verb: “it is not, inasmuch as in strict accuracy, faith preceded baptism, and baptism preceded the gift of the Spirit: but it is, inasmuch as on looking back over a man’s course, the period of the commencement of his faith includes all its accidents and accompaniments.”—R.]
Ἐσφραγίσθητε is more closely defined by the context. It means in 4:30; John 3:33; 6:27; 2 Cor. 1:22, to seal, to confirm, as σφραγίς (Rom. 4:11; 1 Cor. 9:2; 2 Tim. 2:19) is the attesting seal. By means of the faith which is joined with your hearing, ye have been also sealed and certified in Christ; referring to Eph 1:11: ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν. The κληρωθῆναι moves on to the σφραγισθῆναι (CHRYSOSTOM); it is not evident, how this should be particularly true of the Gentile Christians, over against the Jewish Christians, among whom Paul reckoned himself.58 There is not merely an intended inheritance and an attestation thereto conceded, but this is presented with a certifying seal; since the heritage is in them, they in it, and it growing into them, they are themselves made sure as heirs, are confirmed and certified in this possession. The immediate meaning is, that they have been assured of this grace for themselves; “ye have been assured by the Holy Ghost, as by a letter and seal” (RUECKERT).
The change of person (ἠμεῖς—ὑμεῖς) marks, that they have been attested in this possession for others also, strongly enough designated, to be recognized as companions. [This is equally true, if “we,” “you,” be referred to Jewish and Gentile Christians, for it was precisely the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:47; 11:17), which demonstrated to Peter, that the Gentiles should be thus recognized.—R.] THEOPHYLACT: ὤστε εἷναι σῆλον, ὄτι θεον͂ ἐστε λάχος καὶ κλῆρος.) It is only a sequel and an inference, that they have been secured from future wrath, ruin, loss and condemnation.59 The passive indicates an experience, which does not proceed from themselves, is not developed out of them, but is the act of another, of God. All this is so natural and so accordant with the use of the word, which is a common one in the Old Testament, that there is no reason for supposing here an allusion to heathen customs, such as branding slaves with the name of their master (FLATT), or the stigmata of idolatrous worship (GROTIUS), or, because the letter is addressed to Ephesus, to the σφραγίς of Diana (AMETIUS), or to Jewish circumcision (SCHOETTGEN, WETSTEIN, THOLUCK and others). Nor is it equivalent to: the salvation or inheritance (in RUECKERT) is sealed to you; since they themselves are attested documents.
With the Spirit of promise, the holy One [τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ].—The dative τῷπνεύματι, marks that with which they have been sealed, certified; 4:30; ὲν ᾧ, wherein “ye are sealed unto the day of redemption,” denotes the fellowship with the Holy Ghost. The Spirit is here the attesting “seal,” that God affixes to those who in fellowship with Christ have heard His word and become believers: πιστεύσαντες designates the subjective means, τῷ πνεύματι the objective. In Rom. 8:16, without the figure: “the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” [With (E. V.) as indicating that the Holy Spirit is the seal, is preferable to by (ALFORD, ELLICOTT), which might imply that the Spirit was the Sealer; God is the Sealer, we are the sealed, the Spirit is the Seal.—R.]
The phrase τῷ ἁγίῳ compels us to accept a reference to the Holy Spirit; it is added with emphasis, so as to guard against the mistake, that the spirit inherent in the promise was meant.60 But because τῆς ἐπαγγελίας is emphasized, it comes first; it is otherwise in John 7:37: ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμἐρᾳ τῇ μεγάλῃ τῆς ἑορτῆς. Comp. WINER, p. 488 f. Of course we cannot take it as referring to special miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost (GROTIUS, ESTIUS), as though only those thus endowed were assured of the adoption and inheritance. Nor does it refer to the donum sanctificationis (PELAGIUS, Romanists) since τῷ ἁγίῳ denotes, not the effect, but the attribute of the Spirit.
The genitive τῆς ἐπαγγελίας accordingly cannot possibly designate the promise as that in which the Spirit is immanent, inheres, but refers to that the object of which is the Spirit, viz., the Holy Spirit. BENGEL is excellent: per verbum promissus erat spiritus sanctus; dato igitur spiritu sancto, ii., qui credidere verbo, obsignati sunt; et qui spiritum sanctum habent, omnem promissionem sibi præstitum iri sciunt. So most expositors: the promised Spirit.61 “The promise of the Spirit” (Gal. 3:14) is the promise which has the Spirit as its aim, or its object. The “promise” here should not, however, be limited to Christ’s last words (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), as is done by BAUMGARTEN CRUSIUS, nor yet to the Old Testament promises (Joel 3:1–5; Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 36:25; 39:29), as Harless supposes, following Chrysostom; it includes both what is prophetical and apostolical (Luke 24:44–47). The context definitely decides against the view, that the Spirit brings the promise, or that the notion of a testimonium reddere, obsignare is found in the genitival connection (THEOPHYLACT [who, however, also gives this correct explanation: ο͂τι ἐξ ἔπαγγελίας ἐδόθη.—R.] CALVIN, BEZA.)
Eph 1:14. Who is the earnest of our inheritance. [ὄς ἐστιν ἀῤῥαβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ημῶν].—Ὃς refers, logically to τὸ πνεὺμα, marking its personality, which the Apostle has in mind, constructio ad sensum), as Matth. 28:19: τὰ ἔθνη—αὐτούς; 2 John 2: τοὶς τέκνοις—οὔς. Comp. WINER, p. 133. [A better explanation of ο͂ς, than the constructio ad sensum, is that of its agreement in gender with ἀῤῥαβών. So MEYER, ALFORD, ELLICOTT. (See WINER, p. 157.) The last named remarks that “τὸ πνεῦμα in its most distinct personal sense is invariably used with the neuter relative.”—R.] It is not to be referred to Christ (POLYCARP); that is too remote (WINER, p. 149) and the sense will not admit of it, since the Spirit is the ἀῤῥαβων; 2 Cor. 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (5:5). From the Hebrew עֶרָבוֹן (Gen. 38:3, 17, 18, 20)=pignus,62 there probably arose through the agency of Phœnician traders ἀῤῥαβών in Greek, arrhabo and arrha in Latin (without the h also), with the sense of “earnest-money,” the beginning of the payment which should take place in full afterwards. Hence HESYCHIUS:—πρόδομα, CHRYSOSTOM: μέρος τοῦ παντός; JEROME: Arrabo futuræ emtioni quasi quoddam testimonium et obliga-mentum datur. It is=ἀπαρχὴ τοῦ πνεύματος, Rom. 8:23.
What the Spirit promises to vouchsafe to us in the future, in eternity, is indicated by the genitive τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμῶν, “of our inheritance.” The inheritance which is the necessary consequence of sonship (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7) is an eternal one (Gal. 3:18; Heb. 9:15; comp. 5:5; Col. 3:24). Thus then believers obtain the certainty that they are heirs and have an inheritance in eternity, not through an assurance from without, but chiefly through the reality of the possession, not at once in its entire extent, but in an earnest (HARLESS). “Our” includes the Apostle, his readers and all Christendom (1 Cor. 2:12), because it stands at the end of the paragraph, not Gentile and Jewish Christians (STIER, SCHENKEL and others.)
Unto the redemption of his purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory, εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως, εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ.—These two qualifying phrases, introduced by the same preposition, are to be taken as parallel, the first referring to the objective aim of the church of God, the second to the subjective aim of the redeemed member (SCHENKEL). Comp. Eph 1:6, 12. Hence αὐτοῦ is to be joined to περιποιήσεως as well as to δόξης (MEYER, HOFMANN), who however in Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 28, understands it of Christ, when it obviously refers to God the Father, (SCHENKEL). The preposition εἰς marks a goal, which is nearer at hand, more definitely described in the phrase “the earnest of our inheritance,” than in “ye were sealed,” so that the connection with the relative clause is more natural than to pass over it back to the verb of the main clause, Eph 1:13 (MEYER, [HODGE, ELLICOTT] and others). Thus the explanation of ἀπολύτρωσις as ἡ τέλεια is required. [That is, as in Eph 4:30; Rom. 8:23 (comp. my note in loco) the full final redemption, the accomplishment of all that is included in the word (ALFORD).—R.] The context, however, gives a further definition with τῆς περιποιήσεως (αὐτοῦ.)
Περιποιεῖν=to cause something to remain, to let remain, to deliver; περιποιεῖσθαι, to cause to remain for one’s self, hence to acquire, to gain. The substantive therefore=acquisition, possession. In 2 Thess. 5:9: εἰς περιποίησιν σωτηρίας; 2 Thess. 2:14: el; εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης, it is acquisition as the genitives indicate; 1 Pet. 2:9: λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, it is evidently possession (comp. Matth. 3:17; Acts 20:28; Isa. 43:21), hence=סְגֻלָּה as the people of Israel were termed, which is elsewhere designated by περιούσιος (Exod. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18, λαὸς περιούσιος, LXX. and Tit. 2:14), peculium Dei. Hence the “redemption” applies to God’s possession, to the people already acquired by Him, and cannot be the first redeeming act, “the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 3:24), by which the people are acquired, but must be the completed work, to which the Holy Ghost, as earnest, pledge, points and leads. So most expositors from THEOPHYLACT (οἳ τινές ἐσμεν περιποίησις καὶ κτῆσις καὶ περιουσία θεοῦ) and ŒCUMENIUS (διὰ τὸ περιποιήσασθαι ἡμᾶς τὸν θεόν) to ERASMUS and the latest time. Hence εἰς is not=ἔως, usque ad (MORUS), nor ἀπολύτρωσις=mors, liberatio a malo (MORUS), nor is the genitive τῆς περιποιήσεως a designation of the effect (LUTHER: to our redemption, that we become His possession; STIER: to the redemption, that we become and because we are His possession.)
[It rarely occurs that a passage presenting a number of difficulties is interpreted with so great an approach to unanimity as in this case. Modern English and American commentators, almost without an exception take the same view as BRAUNE. STIER, among the Germans, does not reject it, but puts other meanings upon the passage as usual. EADIE gives his Trinitarian division as follows: “The Father seals believers, and His glory is the last end; in the Son they are sealed, and their redemption is His work while the Spirit ‘which proceedeth’ from the Father, and is sent by the Son—is the Seal and Earnest.”—For a very full discussion of the word περιποίησις, see HARLESS, whose comments have largely contributed in producing the unanimity respecting this passage among modern interpreters.—R.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The importance of the doctrine of predestination. The Apostle speaks in great emotion, as is unmistakably shown by the remarkably complicated structure of his sentences, and with special emphasis, as the repetition and strength of his expressions (Eph 1:4, 5, 9, 11) equally prove. CHEMNITZ says, in a sermon on Matth. 22 (in FRANK’S Theologie der Form. Concord., iv. 268): “Therefore (on account of the contests arising out of the doctrine of election) it has occurred to some, that we ought not to preach at all to Christians in the church about the foreknowledge and choice of God, because it is dangerous to both sides, as it is said, leading either to security or despair; but because God has revealed this very doctrine to us so often and in so many parts of the Scripture, we must not put it under the table, may not and should not say, that it is unprofitable, obnoxious or injurious, yet we must so look into it, as not to run too far or climb too high, but have and hold in all simplicity the true understanding and proper use thereof.” [It may well be added, that such use is for Christians alone (Eph 1:5: “us”), and that this use will lead on the one hand to trustful security in view of the fixedness of God’s purpose, on the other hand to profound humility in view of the entire freedom of God’s choice irrespective of our merit. Others may, nay some must speculate on this subject, but they find no solution of this problem save so far as God’s word gives one; and this solution can be fully apprehended only by a believing soul; it is above logic and philosophy, and even technical, theology, even as on many subjects, and these the most important, the heart is a better teacher than the head. Still even the most advanced Christian, seeing that God’s word alone gives any solution, may well say with the martyr Ridley: “In these matters I am so fearful, that I dare not speak further; yea almost none otherwise than the text does, as it were, lead me by the hand” (from EADIE).—R.]
2. The starting-point. It must by no means be overlooked, that the Apostle first expresses in praise the consciousness of salvation, though in a summary way, and then passes to predestination. Even the transition (“even as he chose us”) does not place predestination in the first rank; it only marks the actual relation, and that the possession of salvation becomes our portion according to the election and fore-ordination; yet it still remains true, that from the consciousness of salvation we should look into the eternal will of God, and be lifted up to it. This is done in the confession of the Lutheran church, Form. Concord., article xi. In that symbol we begin with sin and the natural powers of man (i. ii.), then follows Justification and its consequences (iii. iv.), next the means of grace in the Word and the Lord’s Supper (v. vi. vii.); to these are joined the Christological articles (viii. ix.), and De ceremoniis ecclesiasticis (10) seems to form the conclusion. But last of all there is added further: De æterna prædestinatione et electione Dei. See FRANK, Theologie, 1:48; 4:138. The Reformed in their confessions (Basle, Belgic, Westminster, Helvetic and others) proceed from the speculative idea of God, which is neither Pauline, biblical, nor advisable. [This objection as regards abstractness does not hold against the Heidelberg Catechism. Still the Lutheran symbols go to the opposite extreme. That the order in the Reformed confessions is Pauline, Dr. Braune unconsciously admits in the order he himself adopts in these notes (Eph 1:4 follows Eph 1:3 very closely, be it observed). If it be Pauline, it is Scriptural, though this Apostle is not alone in putting God and His will so prominently in advance. As to its advisableness: some minds demand the Reformed order, which is at all events that of logical statement, of systematic theology. Others object to it, but the great difficulty is not met by any change of position. If we claim that believing hearts, “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.,” alone are competent for the discussion, we have claimed all that our section warrants us in doing. Let each systematize as he will; we cannot make God’s truth dependent on the order of our symbols. Let us be charitable, since some minds are so constituted as to accept or even demand Calvinism, and others prefer to take the difficulty in another form. Let each hold, indeed, that God’s truth is objective truth independent of our subjective statements, and hope for the time when a higher synthesis will reconcile what seems now to be contradictory, all the more because neither Calvinism nor Arminianism has solved the problem presented in this chapter, though one may in its efforts embrace more of the facts of the rule of grace and providence than the other. Comp. the Doctr. Notes on Rom. 9 in the Bible work.—R.]
3.The object of the predestination is set forth in “us” (Eph 1:4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14) and “you” (Eph 1:13), and in such a way that no ground for the predestination is to be found in those predestinated, hence nothing indicates a limitation of it. It is rather to be extended as widely as sin reaches, and the “forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7) is necessary, and the hearing of “the word of truth, the gospel of salvation” (Eph 1:13) is designed to extend. Hence the whole human race is the object of the predestination, and as the words “we” and “you” require, not in a mass, but down to each individual. This is entirely in accordance with 1 Tim. 2:4 (πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι), with the Lord’s word, John 3:16 (ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον), and the saying of Peter (2 Peter 3:9: μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι, ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι). It is precisely the section before us which marks the Divine will of mercy as directed toward all. We must maintain the universality of grace, UNIVERSALIS VOLUNTAS DEI, quod non tantum prædicatio pænitentiæ, verum etiam promissio evangelii sit universalis, hoc est, ad omnes homines pertineat (Form. Conc. xi. 28). The word πάντας (1 Tim. 2:4) cannot be explained by cujusvis status atque conditionis homines, tam illustres ac potentes in mundo, quam obscuros (PISCATOR), neither can we understand under κόσμον (Jno. 3:16) the elect, on the ground that God never loved the damned (BEZA), nor limit πάντας (2 Pet. 3:9) by nempe credentes (PISCATOR). Thus the Form. Conc, (xi. 23); et quidem Deus suo illo consilio—non tantum in genere salutem suorum procuravit, verum etiam OMNES ET SINGULAS PERSONAS electorum—præescivit—eligit (comp. ibid. § 54). The Lutheran confession, it is true, besides the universality of the grace of God notes also with a reference to this section a particularity of the election of grace, of which not all, good and bad, are the objects, but only the Children of God: ÆTERNA vero ELECTIO seu PRÆDESTINATIO DEI AD SALUTEM non simul ad bonos et ad malos pertinet, sed tantum ad filios Dei, qui ad æternam vitam consequendam electi et ordinati sunt, priusquam mundi fundamenta jacerentur (xi. 5). Accordingly we should reject here the double predestination to salvation and damnation, which from the first was taught by LUTHER and MELANCHTHON (following AUGUSTINE, who, however, expressed himself very prudently and only in an infra-lapsarian sense, and GOTTSCHALK in the ninth century with his duplex sive gemina prædestinatio), but in an infra-lapsarian sense, maintained however by ZWINGLE (see HAHN, Stud. u. Krit., 1837, pp. 765–805) and CALVIN in a supralapsarian sense, and revived by the Jansenism of the Catholic Church in the 17th century, and by E. W. KRUMMACHER in our day, and also the doctrine of SAMUEL HUBERS, that God has in His Son ordained and elected each and every man to eternal life (see FRANK, 4. pp. 165, 281 ff., HAGENBACH in Herzog’s Real-Enc., 6. p. 293 ff.), a doctrine which SCHLEIERMACHER repeats in his discussion of the doctrine of election (Werke Theol. 2. p. 393 f.) and in his Glaubenslehre (§ 119, 2), and also the view of HOFMANN (Schriftbeweis, I. p. 257 ff.), followed by LUTHARDT (Compendium der Dogmatik, p. 85), which denies the reference of the decree of grace to a definite number. [Dr. Braune seems to avoid a definite statement. Whatever may be deduced from the other passages referred to, Paul here declares that individual persons are chosen by God, predestinated unto adoption. How many those persons are is a question which when asked of the Son of God led only to personal exhortation. Who they are, manifests itself only in the exercise of faith, though even this is not always manifest to others (nor, as in the case of infants, is this a decisive test). Practically, the question is respecting our personal appropriation of the blessings of redemption, which are according as (καθώς, Eph 1:4) the election. Logically and theologically, the fact that some are partakers of blessing and others not, when taken in connection with the statement of Eph 1:4, 5, leads to the conclusion, that of God’s free will some have been chosen and others not chosen. The negation is, however, all that any ought to deduce from our passage. The difficulties arising from this conclusion cannot be fully met save by a heart so trustful in its affection to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as to know it to be right because He has so ordered. The same difficulty meets us in God’s providential dealings, aye, in the workings of His natural laws, for as a brilliant author has well said: “Nature is a terrible Calvinist.” Paul concerns himself here only with the positive side, which presents but one difficulty, viz. that of fully responding in love to the gracious fact.—R.]
4. The Subject of the predestination is God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3), and that, top, in His “love” (Eph 1:4) according to “the good pleasure of His will” (Eph 1:5, 9), or “the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11); reference being made to His “grace” (Eph 1:11), and “the mystery of His will” (Eph 1:9) being recognized as the subject of the revelation. A duplex state in God Himself is by no means indicated, but rather excluded. In Him there are not two wills, one revealed, according to which God wills the salvation of all men, and another secret (occulta illa et metuenda voluntas Dei ordinantis suo consilio, quos et guales prædicatæ et oblatæ misericordiæ capaces et participes esse velit), nor do His mercy and justice exist merely beside each other, the latter respecting the damned and the former the elect. It is not that God is gracious, and at the same time just, or just and yet gracious, but in that He provides a satisfaction for His justice, He is gracious, and because He will satisfy His grace, He appeases His justice, so that justice as satisfied is the ground of grace, and grace as to be satisfied is the ground for the satisfaction of justice (FRANK, iv. 191). The secret will is not here asserted beside the revealed, nor can the secret will detract aught from the revealed; the latter, “as the real, unitedly efficient” will, stands “constantly over against the apparently contradicting secret” will and “conditions and controls” “the reality of the secret will.” “A secret will in abstracto, not having at the same time in itself as substantial elements the substantial determinations of the revealed will, does not exist” (FRANK, iv. pp. 198–200). “The Scriptures, however, teach, that the Providence of God has not such a manner and meaning as if a master cook determines he will strangle some of the pheasants lying before him and let others fly, a figure Gerson uses, but predestination comprises in itself totum decretum redemptionis, vocationis, justificationis, guber-nationis et glorificationis, as Paul throughout the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians thus treats and expounds this doctrine in detail” (CHEMNITZ in FRANK). The omnipotence and executive energy of God is conditioned and bound by His will, by His Nature, as well as by the regulations He has Himself established, which will be spoken of hereafter (notes 6, 7, 8). It is not the Absolute in itself, nor yet the purely Absolute One, but the self-conditioning Unconditioned One. Accordingly the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confession distinguish from the prædestinatio Dei ad salutem, taken as identical with the electio, the præscientia Dei, according to which He prævidet et novit etiam mala, sed non ea ratione, quasi Dei voluntas propitia illa sit, ut fiant (Form. Conc. xi. 6); principium autem et causa mali non sit ipsa Deipræscientia, Deus enim non creat, procurat, efficit aut operatur malum, sed neque illud juvat aut promovel (Ibid. 7).
[The theory of the self-conditioning of God is a favorite one with many German theologians. Such self-conditioning may be assumed as the basis of creation, especially the creation of free moral agents, but the mystery yet remains: an Almighty God from whose freedom none of His creatures dare detract aught, and moral, yet sinful, men, from whose freedom of will God will detract nothing. If foreknowledge be assumed as the basis of the predestination, the difficulty is increased: “If God foresaw this faith and holiness, then these qualities were either self-created, or were to be bestowed by Himself; if the former, the grace of God is denied, and if the latter, the question turns upon itself—what prompted God to give them the faith and holiness which He foresaw they should possess” (EADIE). Braune only hints at this explanation, however. Sir WM. HAMILTON’S “Philosophy of the Unconditioned” encounters the problem63 as directly as Calvinism. Assuming as we must that “God’s grace fits men for heaven, but men by unbelief prepare themselves for hell,” we still insist: that St. Paul here teaches the entire freedom of choice on the part of God, that choice being in accordance with the nature of the Sovreign Chooser; and at the same time in Eph 1:13 assumes the free faith on the part of those addressed, while the state of blessing which moves his thanksgiving is expressly said to be in accordance with the choice of God. So much a fair exegesis allows, as Dr. Braune himself admits in his exegetical notes. “Whether this doctrine be identified with Pagan Stoicism or Mohammedan fatalism, and be rudely set aside, and the world placed under the inspection of an inert omniscience; or whether it be modified as to its end, and be declared to be privilege, and not holiness; or as to its foundation, and that be alleged to be not gratuitous and irrespective choice, but foreseen merit and goodness; or as to its subjects, and they be affirmed to be not individuals, but communities; or as to its result, and it be reckoned contingent, and not absolute; or whether the idea of election be diluted into mere preferential choice:”—“such hypotheses leave the central difficulty still unsolved, and throw us back on the unconditioned and undivided sovereignty of Him ‘of whom, to whom, and through whom are all things,’—all whose plans and purposes wrought out in the Church, and designed to promote His glory, have been conceived in the vast and incomprehensible solitudes of His own eternity.”—EADIE.—R.]
5. The end of the predestination is defined in a threefold way:
a. For the predestinated: “unto adoption” (Eph 1:5), in which “redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7, 14) are given to them in grace (“His grace which He freely bestowed upon us,” Eph 1:6), so that they as the “possession” of God (Eph 1:14) become partakers of the inheritance (Eph 1:11), of the salvation which the gospel brings (Eph 1:13) and “holy and without blame” (Eph 1:4).
b. For the entire world, in the history of which through various periods of development (“dispensation of the fulness of times,” Eph 1:10), it is accomplished: “to gather up together all things in Christ.”
c. For God the Lord: “unto the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph 1:6), “unto the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:12, 14). The aim is accordingly as much moral as religious, and as much individually-personal as world-historical. The synthesis of the moral and religious factors, which is in the main peculiar to the Sacred Scriptures (SCHENKEL), appears all the more prominently here, as the emphatic εἰς ἔπαινον is at once both religious and moral. The same is true of the glory of God and the blessedness of man, and so much so that it is not correct to affirm that the glory of God and it alone is “the final and most exalted end of the creation and redemption of the world” (SCHENKEL).
What is world-historical must be combined with what is personal, the individual life with the whole; it is however unmistakable, that the relation of the creature to the Creator is arranged in order to regulate the demeanor of the former, and that the whole is wrought upon by the individual parts becoming the object of activity, as these are wrought upon through the whole, and thus the totality is brought to completion.
6. The Mediator is Christ, “our Lord and Saviour” (Eph 1:3), “the Beloved” (Eph 1:6), and it is “through His blood” (Eph 1:7) thus in conformity to His eternal Person and His relation to God, as well as according to His atoning and redeeming sufferings in time. Æterna igitur prædestinatio in Christo et nequaquam extra mediatorem Christum consideranda est (Form. Conc. xi. 65). Since then God, who is the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Beloved, formed the decree of redemption in Christ, He must be conceived of as existing before the purpose, and hence the Person of Christ as that eternal person, in whom the Father chose us, as He created us in Him despite the foreseen fall. Accordingly Christ is the causa meritoria of our election, both of the purpose and its accomplishment, to which latter the suffering of death, mentioned in Eph 1:7, especially refers. Although the Reformed agree with the Lutherans in formal statement on this point, all their symbols describing the election of grace as taking place in Christo and propter Christum, yet they deviate from scriptural truth, in regarding Him as the object of the predestination: ut ipse quoque ἐκλεκτός (Helvet. Conf. V.), and not as fundamentum ipsam electionem præcedens, not as causa meritoria. So that they not only refer with propter Christum to the idea of satisfaction, which should not be the causa impulsiva, rather merely the condition chosen by God for the actualization of the predestination in eternal blessedness, but also with in Christo wish to designate only the medium of the accomplishment. According to this view only for those elected by God’s mercy is there a Christ and an atoning death, and it cannot be perceived whence there should then arise any necessity of the atoning act of redemption for the satisfaction of Divine wrath; for the grace has not to be rendered possible, but the determined gracious purpose has only to be carried out. Comp. SCHNECKENBURGER, Vergleichende Darstellung, I. p. 192 ff.; FRANK, iv. p. 192 ff. [It is scarcely fair to take the strongly partisan work of HEIDEGGER (Formula Consensus Helvetica, 1675, see Biblework, Romans, pp. 191, 192) as a representative of the Reformed Confessions on this point. There has been, since the days of the Reformation, a tendency in the Reformed Church to bald forensic statements on this point, but to-day the full significance of the phrase: “in Christ,” is perhaps better understood than ever before.—R.]
7. The means of grace in carrying out the decree of redemption the Apostle indicates with γνωρίσας, “having made known” (Eph 1:9), and calls them also: “the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation” (Eph 1:13). To neither designation of the Divine word is there attached any limitation as respects the sphere of its effect, while the genitives describe rather, partly (“of truth”) an efficient truth, calculated for all, as the purport of this word, partly (“of your salvation”) the power and effect, which it bears in itself and exercises. At all events we should maintain, as respects this chapter, what is said in the Form. Conc. xi. 16, 29, 33 (where the German version has “verleiht,” the Latin expressing it more weakly: largiri vult, though meaning quite as much): For it should not be thought, that God spoke thus: Externally through the word I call all of you, to whom I give my word, into my kingdom, but in my heart I do not intend it for all, but only for a certain few; for it is my will, that the greater part of those whom I thus call through my word should not be enlightened and converted, but be and remain condemned, although I declare otherwise respecting them in the invitations of my word. “Hoc enim esset Deo contradictorias voluntates affingere” (xi. 24). [This is the old difficulty in another form. It is a difficulty of fact, too. For a large portion of those who have the word of God in their hands and hear it, even while it is the Gospel of salvation to those who sit beside them, are “not enlightened and converted.” Why not? The question is not a merely theoretical one, but comes out of agonized hearts often enough. An answer which charges God with folly, or which accepts His purpose as thwarted, will not satisfy the heart, however theologians may philosophize; the resting place in this strait, as in all others, is in God. “He worketh all things after the counsel of His will”—but is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—R.]
8. The condition of the saving effect of these means the Apostle marks with ἀκούσαντες, to which he adds with emphasis καὶ πιστεύσαντες (Eph 1:13), and with προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. The Formula of Concord aptly states these thoughts (xi. 17): Decrevit etiam se spiritu sanctu suo per verbum annuntiatum auditione perceptum et memoriæ commendatum velle in nobis efficacem esse, et corda ad veram pœnitentiam agendam inflectere et vera fide conservare. There is at least nothing to be derived from these propositions in favor of the Synergism of Melanchthon and his followers. The word of God develops in the hearer that power which he has placed in it, and in this power he apprehends, being himself first apprehended, what is bidden him, and thus gains hope and confidence through the power of the word which has become vital and active in him. But it is indicated definitely enough that man can resist; he is not forced to hear and accept what is proclaimed, nor to believe in it and hope in it. Since God will save only in Christ, and only through the Word will create faith and hope in Him, this does not accord with the statement of the Reformed and the Predestinarians, that God wills nothing which He does not do. If the Ninevites could avert His punitive will by repentance, so His gracious will may be thwarted through resistance. This is Scriptural truth, and it is confirmed by Christian experience, which knows of no necessity for obeying the will of God, but too well of a possibility of resisting it (FRANK, iv. p. 205). The gratia irresistibilis of AUGUSTINE is a fiction arising from an abstract conception of the purely Absolute. The unconditioned yet self-conditioning Personality of God does not will, as the predestinarians think that He wills, but with a self-restraining almightiness within the sphere of redemption, so that salvation, is not gained without His will, but the proffered salvation is lost through man’s own fault against His earnest gracious will, which He offers in His Word. Both must be maintained: God has willingly given men of His will and conditioned Himself, in placing conditions before men in the hearing and believing of His Word, and man has the power of continued resistance, so that an entire apocatastasis of all things, the ultimate salvation of all, although God’s revealed will points thereto, is scarcely conceivable, as ORIGEN, SCHLEIERMACHER and others suppose. A final resistance is to be maintained as possible. NITZSCH, System, p. 416.
9. Assurance of election is definitely pointed out in Eph 1:13, 14: “ye were sealed with the Spirit of promise, the Holy One, who is the earnest of our inheritance,” and although in consequence of faith (πιστεύσαντες), still on the ground of the promise of the Holy Ghost and the resulting bestowal of the same—in the means of grace, the word, and baptism (which, though not expressed, is to be understood) and through which Christ’s merit, that is and suffices for all, is attributed to us. On the ground of the certainty, that God’s word is true, that God has loved the world, that Christ has died for the sins of the whole world, and that God has called you also, must have called you, because He has loved you in Christ, and I have been baptized, accepted as a child, endowed with the Holy Ghost, renewed, regenerated, even though it be but germinally, potentially, I am certain of my election before the foundation of the world, and my inheritance in eternity. [Rightly enough the doctrine of election is for the comfort of believers, but they will derive far more comfort from a more definite conception of the matter. If “baptismal regeneration” is a ground for the assurance of election, then many thus assured are not sanctified in this world, and such an assurance is not likely to further such a result. The Augustinian view is here the practical one.—R.]
10. The possibility of apostasy is indicated by the phrase “unto the redemption of the purchased possession.” It marks chiefly the goal to which the Holy Ghost, as “earnest of our inheritance,” points. But the Christian has the consciousness, that his life-development is an ethical, not a physical, process, that he can withdraw himself, can resist the Divine will, can fall and fall away too. God will preserve us to the end and complete His work on and in us, si modo non ipsi nos ab eo avertamus (Form. Conc., xi. 32, 75). Hence the warnings in the hortatory part of this Epistle (chap. 4–6). Comp. Heb. 6:4–6, where the fall of the regenerate is assumed, and only the return of such is called impossible. Accordingly there inheres in the reference to election and the possession of salvation a strong means of incitement to sanctification, on the ground and in virtue of the existing ethical matter of fact in faith. [An “earnest” is generally a safeguard against failure to fulfil the agreement, nor does the preposition εἰς (Eph 1:14), rendered “until” in the E. V., indicate any possibility of failure, but rather with its strong final sense, and that too in parallelism with “unto the praise of his glory,” implies the very opposite. The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints stands or falls with that of personal predestination, and both are parts of the theological system, which makes “His glory” the chief end.—R.]
11. Concluding remark. A mystery remains here until eternity. It is analogous to a miracle, which is not such in the sight of God nor of the redeemed any longer, but only for those in lower stages. Thus it is with the mystery of God’s will, which is ever dissolving and in the higher degrees of revelation becomes ever more manifest. The completion of revelation like that of the inheritance lies beyond this world. Hence we have not contradictions,64 that inhere in the Scripture or the truth, but only those which belong to human statement, and are such to our understanding. Let us then be humble! [This is the best guard against dogmatism. Especially let those who hold those views of Divine Sovereignty which are most humbling learn the lesson!—R.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Begin always with thanksgiving to God, and neither forget nor overlook the benefits He has conferred upon you; but above all consider the spiritual gifts with which He has blessed you and yours.—The beginning, middle, and end of the Christian life, or its ground, path and goal, is the praise and adoration of God. Before God created men, He willed that they should be His children; it is just in being or becoming God’s children, that we foster the human in us, and we should be Christians, in order to be really men. He who does not fully become a man, is no proper Christian or child of God. The ultimate end of God is His glory; this is attained, when we become holy and blameless. He wills His glory only in our blessedness; the Father’s honor is linked with the children’s blessedness.—Everything is to be traced back to the will of God: what is manifest, revealed, experienced is the guide into the secrecy of God and His will; we must let ourselves be led from His revealed will into His secret will.—God accomplishes His will, but only according to the purpose of His will; hence not in a physical, chemical, “natural” process, but in an ethical life-process of men created after His image and for sonship with Him does He effect the desired and determined redemption of the same.—In Christ, the Beloved, is the counsel of salvation formed, in Christ it is to be carried out, and in such a way that Christ dies for the sake of sinners as a sacrifice of reconciliation, as an atoning sacrifice, and with the forgiveness of sins is begun that redemption, which leads to the throne and heart of God, since the Spirit of God works on our spirit, and His work not being in vain, confirms us in sonship, in regeneration and renewal even unto the inheritance. The process is from above to beneath, then from within to without, in order to lead from the depths up on high. The mystery of the Divine will is not in itself an incomprehensible, inconceivable enigma, entirely uncomprehended; it is only a mystery for us, rising so far above us, who cannot fathom its depth nor measure its infinitude, considering the majesty and the kindness of the same. For our reason it is a mystery; not contrary to, but above our reason; the reason of man and of God are two very different things. The mystery of the Divine will is only the manifestation of what is conditioned, limited, finite and imperfect in our knowledge, which bears to what in itself is clearest of all the same relation as the eyes of night birds to bright daylight. It is a proof of a Divine revelation, if we seem, when confronted with His will and truth, to be transferred to a shoreless sea, a fathomless depth. That is at once the mystery and the revelation of God. Without revelation knowest thou nothing of God, canst know nothing of Him; whoever rejects the revelation in Christ, in the sacred Scriptures, rejects also the science of God Himself; to him the mystery of God ever becomes a riddle without solution, while the Christian ever knows and feels it with greater joy. It is not unreasonable to believe on the mystery in God, since this disappears ever more and more; like children, we grow into the truth which was at first so mysterious.—As Christ is the point of beginning for the Father’s gracious decree in eternity, so He is the middle-point of its accomplishment in history, and the terminal point in its consummation.—All things, the creation of heaven and earth, the maintenance and administration of the world are subordinate and subservient to the counsel of God’s grace respecting our redemption in Christ: the Father is concerned for His children, not for His servants and His possessions; these are employed and rightly placed, when the children are cared for.—The word of revelation must be proclaimed and accepted: this is the chief duty of men ordered by God.—Here believers have no lack of germs, beginnings, earnest; but fruit, completion, full payment come not here, but above.
STARKE:—The wealth of the elect is inconceivable, indescribable, incomparable.—See the final point of this election of grace, and its tokens too. Prove yourselves thereby, ye Christians!—Believers have sonship with God through Christ, not from their own worthiness: it brings with it the noblest treasures, yes, the eternal inheritance.—The forgiveness of sins is the most glorious fruit of Christ’s redemption; it is the basis of all other benefits: for where it is, there is life and blessedness.—The fountain of grace will never be drained, but is and remains inexhaustible, so that of its fulness we receive grace for grace.—Christ is the true ladder whose top touches heaven and its end the earth, thus linking and binding heaven and earth, God and men. Let him, who will be united to God, hold to Christ.—Angels and men stand again in friendship through Christ. Hence Christ is concerned with the angels, not that He must gain something for them of which they do not stand in need, but that they may have friendship again with men, when these again attain to grace.—The work of our election and salvation is full of wisdom, because it has taken place according to the counsel of Him who is wisdom itself; it is pure grace, because it appertains to an inheritance; infallible, because it is founded on the purpose of the Almighty; full of righteousness, because all comes to us through Christ, the righteous. Excellent tokens of the Divine truth of the Christian religion: it brings that with it, which the whole world cannot give and which makes man blessed, in the germ here in time, in perfection in eternity. This makes believers joyful in all tribulation, even in martyrdom.
RIEGER:—They shall be blessed is the sum of all the promises of the Old Testament; He has blessed us is the Gospel laud for the fulfilment of these promises in the New Testament. With these spiritual blessings in heavenly places the gospel conquers the whole world and the earthly mind, in which Jews and Gentiles lay captive.—In this are the honor of God and our salvation inseparably joined: God seeks His honor or the praise of His glory in us through our pardon.—In the Old Testament, it was often said: the Lord do thee good for Abraham’s sake, for His servant David’s sake; but now all is in and through the Beloved, who became the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Once obtain in Him the forgiveness of sins, and then all other spiritual blessings flow without ceasing.—By the frequent phrase: according to His good pleasure, according to the counsel of His will, the Apostle bows down our mistrustful heart, so apt to strive for the mastery with the Holy One of Israel.—In the repeated expressions: through Himself, in whom, in Christ, the Apostle manifests an unusual zeal and care, to bind us ever to Christ, to accustom us to seek and find our glory in this alone, that we belong to Christ and are numbered in His inheritance; we may have reason hereafter to praise more the truth of God, like the Jews, descending from the fathers, whose are the promises; or to magnify rather His mercy, like the Gentiles, who unexpectedly have been favored with the gracious call. It is a word of truth, searched by every one, who is of the truth, concerned about the truth, that thus he may be helped to the truth; it is the Gospel of our salvation, not only bringing us tidings of it, but containing a Divine power for actual blessing, through the faith to which it inclines the heart, giving also the Spirit, which affords what redounds to our own certainty and steadfastness in the truth, serving at the same time as a witness to others, that we have attained a position in true grace, and especially assuring us of our preservation, which we are to enjoy as the redeemed possession of the Lord, but which with the crown thereto appertaining we will lay at the feet of Him, who has accepted us to the praise of His glory.
BENGEL:—Ultra hoc beneplacitum nobis neque in salutis nostræ neque in ullis operum divinorum causis rimandis ire licet. Quid philosopharis de mundo optimo? Cave, ne tute sis malus!
KLEUKER:—The entire Pauline theology rests mainly on what he calls the Divine mystery, terming its execution the economy of God. No Apostle speaks with such a sweep and fulness of spirit, as Paul, whose revelation is in this economy.
GERLACH:—The riches of Divine grace in the forgiveness of sins makes itself known to us chiefly through the illumination, which thus becomes ours, the knowledge of God and our salvation,—this we include under wisdom; under prudence especially the insight into our condition and the life of the world, the practical, Christian wisdom for living. In neither should we think merely of the one-sided intellectual knowledge.
HEUBNER:—Christ, the eternal Son of God, has been the ground, why God created the world, and delivered and blessed the fallen world. Christ is the eternal ground of the Divine complacency toward the world, the ground of our blessedness.—The highest grace is Redemption. God decreed it, Christ accomplished it, earning it. It is of a purely spiritual character, the forgiveness of sins. That is true redemption, which releases us not from earthly need, but from anxiety and disquietude of conscience, from enmity to God, from incapacity for good and fear of hell. It is the fundamental condition of all other possessions, which we have through Christ. The general decree of God is the basis of the calling of individuals; for God overlooks no one. Man can bring either honor or shame to God, as a child to its parents. Christians should bring honor to God, He desires to get honor through us before the world.—The Holy Spirit is the seal of Christians, the stamp which they receive, that they are real children of God, the token by means of which they appear and pass current as Christians before the celestial spirits. Without this character (“express image”) faith is vain and all Christianity mere sham. How many sham Christians there are, who have not this Seal!—This Spirit is to the Christian the strongest proof also of eternal life, because in itself it is something eternal, imperishable.
PASSAVANT:—The eternal counsel of the Father respecting the election of souls is first carried out and consummated in the Son and through Him in the course of time. It is a work and miracle of love, unsearchable and unfathomable, carried on at once on earth and in heaven, in a human breast, and in a Divine heart. This election does not rest in man or angel, not in the will of man or angel’s thought; not in human or angelic holiness or righteousness, purity or greatness or fidelity, not in any virtue, glory or love of the creature.—By nature we are not the children of God; even though so many may, flatly and godlessly enough, think and affirm otherwise, calling God Father and All-father.—But God now makes us His children; He has exalted us to the joys, the blessednesses, the treasures, the eternities, the glories of the heavenly nature; we are children, beloved children, heirs of God, heirs of heaven! This is the doing of the Lord’s grace.—Nothing makes so poor in all true good and worth and blessing, as sin and all that belongs to and proceeds from sin.—The gospel traces our thoughts and feelings back to and into ourselves, so that we perceive the cunning of our hearts and the deceit of sin, and come to the footprints of God, to the springs of what is eternally true and good. It reveals to us, what we were, what we are, and what we should become; what are our deepest needs, the eternal ones; what our internal injury, the worst of all; what our heaviest sorrows might be, here and hereafter. It reveals to us, where the true, certain aid is, where salvation, light, peace, life are, a Divine salvation, an unerring light, an eternal peace, an everlasting life.—It is out of this light, that its opponents and enemies have borrowed or stolen all the rays of truth and wisdom, which shine here and there in their proud writings and philosophies.—It is the Holy Spirit, who gives man to God in this life, and gives God to man in eternal life; who here sketches the features of the children in likeness to their heavenly Father, and will complete the picture in eternity: who begins their redemption here with their release from the servile yoke of the creature, and will complete it in the unity and love of the Creator.
STIER:—An Apostle prays for his church, teaches and exhorts out of the promise and petition of his apostolic prayer, but does not lord it, does not establish eternal forms, does not urge and carry to excess the external phenomena of the church, which is forming itself deeply and inwardly in view of its goal.—Each after his manner! As Christ is now our Head in another way than that of the holy angels, so is He in another way Lord and King, and Crown, too, of the material world also. The condemned and evil spirits lie at His feet in another manner than the adoring saints and angels—yet still all really, all finally before Him.
BEECHER65:—Those who are willing are always the elect, those who will not, are not elected. Many men are wrapped up in the doctrines of election and predestination, but that is the height of impertinence. They are truths belonging to God alone, and if you are perplexed by them, it is only because you trouble yourself about things which do not concern you. You only need to know that God sustains you with all His might in the winning of your salvation, if you will only rightly use His help. Whoever doubts this is like the crew of a boat working with all their might against the tide and yet going back hour after hour; then they notice, that the tide turns, while at the same time the wind springs up and fills their sails. The coxswain cries: pull away boys! wind and tide favor you! But they answer: What can we do with the oars, don’t the wind and tide take away our free agency?
SCHELLING:—It is a vacuity of ideas, that ventures to call itself Rationalism. Not to hate one’s enemies, not to persecute them, but to do them good, aye, to love them, is above Reason. The supreme commands of a generous morality, exalting humanity, could not be fulfilled, if man could not act above Reason. Why then should not God act above Reason? In tins sense it is by no means irrational to say,—the will of God as respects the human race estranged from Him is above Reason. We can, with J. G. Haman, answer the good-natured people who want to have a rational God after their notions: whether they have never noticed, that God is a genius, who asks very little about what they call rational or irrational.
HOFACKER:—The wide range which Christmas Day opens to our eye of faith: 1) How far back; 2) How high up; 3) How far ahead it teaches us to look.
AHLFELD:—Thank the Lord, who hath blessed thee with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things! 1) For what should I be thankful? 2) How should I thank Him?—(Sermon for Whitsunday): The Holy Ghost, as Steward of the possessions of Christ, pours out His treasures upon us. He (1) proclaims, (2) entails, (3) seals to us salvation in Jesus Christ.
PALMER:—Our election in Christ: 1) It is an eternal one, but linked to the temporal Incarnation of Christ; 2) It is a mysterious act of God, but each may have a clear consciousness respecting it; 3) It has taken place without our help, but does not permit us to be idle.
KAPFF (on St. Thomas’ Day):—What a mighty strengthening of our faith lies in the Divine election! 1) in its goal, 2) in its ground, 3) in the mode of its accomplishment.
[SCHENKEL:—The eternal election of the Christian: 1. A work of Divine love; 2. With the effect of presenting him ever more and more pure and holy before God.—Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world: He is (1) the Centre of the world’s history, (2) the Key to the understanding of the mystery of God’s providential rule.—How in the Person of Jesus Christ, beginning and end, heaven and earth harmoniously unite.—No predestination save unto holiness, no election outside of the Mediator, Jesus Christ.—All events in time depend on the decree of God in eternity.—The Holy Ghost as the earnest of our heavenly inheritance: 1. A balm of consolation for the weak; 2. A weapon of victory for the strong.—R.]
Eph 1:3. We bless Him because He has blessed us.—Christianity is the dispensation of the Spirit, and as its graces are inwrought by Him, they are all named “spiritual” after Him.
Eph 1:4. The pulsation of a holy heart leads to a stainless life, and this is the avowed purpose of our election.—Sovereignty is but another name for highest and benignest equity.
Eph 1:5. The returning prodigal does not win his way back into the paternal mansion. This purpose to accept us existed ere the fact of our apostacy had manifested itself, and being without epoch of origin, it comes not within the limits of chronology. It pre-existed time.—Adoption has its medium in Christ: but it has its ultimate enjoyment and blessing in God. Himself is our Father.—His household we enter—His welcome we are saluted with—His name and dignity we wear—His image we possess—His discipline we receive—and His home, secured and prepared for us, we hope forever to dwell in. To Himself we are adopted. The origin of this privilege and distinction is the Divine love.
Eph 1:8. A mystery is not to be flung abroad without due discrimination. The revealer of it wisely selects his audience, and prudently chooses the proper time, place and method for his disclosure.
Eph 1:10. This re-capitulation of all things is declared a second time to be in Christ—a solemn and emphatic re-assertion. His mediative work has secured it, and His mediatorial person is the one centre of the universe. As the stone dropped into the lake creates those widening and concentric circles, which ultimately reach the farthest shore, so the deed done on Calvary has sent its undulations through the distant spheres and realms of God’s great empire.
Eph 1:11. His desire and His decrees are not at variance, but every resolution embodies His unthwarted pleasure.
Eph 1:13. The gospel is wholly truth, and that very truth which is indispensable to a guilty world. And it comes as a word, by special oral revelation, for it is not gleaned and gathered: there is a kind and faithful oracle.—The gospel is good news, and that good news is our salvation.—That seal unbroken remains a token of safety. Whatever bears God’s image will be safely carried home to His bosom.
Eph 1:14. The earnest, though it differ in degree, is the same in kind with the prospective inheritance. The earnest is not withdrawn, nor a totally new circle of possessions substituted. Heaven is but an addition to present enjoyments. The prelibation will be followed by the banquet.—“We have redemption” so soon as we believe; we are ever having it so long as we are on earth; and when Jesus comes again to finish the economy of grace, we shall have it in its full and final completion.—All issues “to the praise of His glory,” His grace having now done its work. The church receives its complement in extent at the very same epoch at which it is crowned with fulness of purity and blessedness. “May it please Thee of thy gracious goodness shortly to accomplish the number of Thy elect, and to hasten Thy kingdom,” is an appropriate petition on the part of all saints.—R.]
Eph 1:3.—B. omits καὶ πατήρ, א. inserts καὶ σωτῆρος [after κυρίου, to complete the well-known phrase], which is disapproved by the later reviser [א.3].
Eph 1:3.—[“The aorist here ought certainly to he maintained in translation, as the allusion is to the past act of redemption. The idiom of our language frequently interferes with the regular application of the rule, but it is still no less certain that the English preterite is the nearest equivalent of the Greek aorist.” A slavish application of this rule has much marred the version of the Amer. Bible Union. This section presents a number of cases where the proper rendering of the Greek tense is a matter of some delicacy, though rarely of great difficulty.—R.]
Eph 1:3.—[The singular should be retained, as in the Genevan, Bishops’, and Rhemish versions. Alford and Ellicott (following the Syriac version) render: blessing of the Spirit, but this is a correct interpretation rather than a translation. With (E. V.) need not be changed to in, but the English reader should be reminded that the Greek preposition is ἐν.—R.]
Eph 1:4.—[See Exeg. Notes.—R.]
Eph 1:5.—[Unto adoption through Jesus Christ unto himself; the variations from the E. V. are all necessary; the adoption of children is pleonastic; διά should, as a rule, be rendered through, and εἰς unto. Himself is to be retained, because, although the reading is not αὑτόν but αὐτόν, the reference is to God, and this will not appear if the simple pronoun Him is substituted. Ellicott’s rendering is peculiar: having foreordained us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Himself. He justifies the last preposition by the English idiom “adopt into.”—R.]
Eph 1:6.—א. A. B. have ἧς, corrected in the first to ἐν ᾗ, as D. E. F. G. K. L. read; the former is, however, lectio difficilior, and it is more likely that the latter arose from it, than the reverse. [The reading of the Rec. (ἐν ᾗ) is found in a great majority of cursives, many versions and fathers; it is adopted by Tischendorf and Ellicott. The other is received by Lachmann, Meyer, Alford. It is very difficult to decide, but the above rendering is based on the reading ἧς.—R.]
Eph 1:7.—[The emphatic article τῶν before παραπτωμάτων is best rendered by the possessive pronoun our, as indeed is often necessary in translating the article from the German. Transgressions is more exact than sins, and thus the distinction between this verse and Col. 1:14 is maintained.—On τὴν before ἀπολύτρωσιν see Exeg. Notes.—R.]
Eph 1:7.—[Instead of τὸν πλοῦτον (Rec., א.3 D.3 K. L.) read τὸ πλοῦτος (א.1 A. B. D.1), which is adopted by Lachmann, Rückert, Tischendorf (see his Prolegg. p. lv. 7th ed.), Alford, Ellicott. Comp. Winer, p. 64.—R.]
Eph 1:10.—[Among the multitude of emendations suggested in regard to this part of Eph 1:10. I have felt that it was only necessary to adopt this one, which literally translates the preposition εἰς. The phrases, for, with a view to, in regard of, with reference to, are not more intelligible than the simple unto providing the pointing be properly altered (as above) to indicate the close connection with “purposed.” Ellicott omits even the comma.—Dispensation was once an improper translation, but is perhaps now the nearest equivalent to the Greek οἰκονομία; fulfilment might be substituted for fulness, and seasons for times, but the gain would be slight. The omission of that requires a change in the finite construction of the remainder of the verse.—R.]
Eph 1:10.—[The τε after τα in the Rec. is to be rejected, having scarcely any support (א.3). A much more difficult question is, whether we should read ἐπί or ἐν before τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. For the first, which is very unusual in this connection, the authorities are: א.1 B. D. L. and 40 cursives, accepted by Lachmann, Rückert, Meyer, Alford and others; for the second (Rec.), A. F. G. K., majority of cursives, fathers, accepted by Griesbach, Scholz, Harless, De Wette, Tischendorf, Ellicott, Eadie, Braune. If the former be adopted, it must be as an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον; and is so remarkable a one, that we may well incline to the latter, especially as a careless copyist would find ἐπί so close at hand. Comp. Exeg. Notes.—R.]
Eph 1:11.—א. B. K. L. [all modern editors]: ἐκληρώθημεν. A. D. E. F. G.: ἐκλήθημεν. which is the easier reading. [Braune takes this verb to mean: made an inheritance, not obtain an inheritance, as in E. V.—R.]
Eph 1:12.—[For a justification of this translation now generally adopted, see Exeg. Notes.—R.]
Eph 1:13.—[This view of the construction is the simplest, and most defensible. The participles: ἀκούσαντες—πιστεύσαντες, are best rendered by the English past participles; after that, etc. (E. V.), is, too, pronounced in its temporal reference.—R.]
Eph 1:14.—ὅς according to א. D. E. K. is lectio dificilior over against ὅ, A. B. F. [The latter is the reading of the Rec., Lachmann, Rückert, Alford. The former is accepted by Tischendorf, Ellicott, Meyer, who remarks on the readiness with which the latter reading would arise, owing to the neuter πνεῦμα.—R.]
[The verb is usually omitted in this and similar forms of doxology. “Understand εἴη (Job 1:21; Ps. 112:2) or ἔστω (2 Chron. 9:8).” So ALFORD, ELLICOTT. It is from this word that Dr. LANGE derives his view respecting Paul’s use of liturgical forms; comp. Rom. 9:5; and the O. T. passages cited above.—R.]
[This is true in N. T. usage. In the LXX. it is almost universally true, though in Gen. 26:29; Deut. 7:14; 1 Sam. 15:13; 25:33 as ELLICOTT remarks, εὐλογητός is applied to man. The distinction is sufficiently marked to justify Dr. BRAUNE’S remark. See HARLESS in loco.—R.]
[MEYER’S view: “God who is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” would require, if a strict construction be insisted on: ὁ θεός, ὁ καὶ πατήρ, as ALFORD intimates. ELLICOTT admits that there are no grammatical or doctrinal objections to the view defended above, but prefers the other, mainly on the ground that the phrase “the God of Christ” is singular. HODGE and EADIE join the genitive to both nouns.—R.]
[EADIE at first took this aorist as marking “a customary or repeated act,” an interpretation he seems to have given up in his 2d edition, where, however, a trace of it is found in a footnote which has no corresponding number in his text. To take it as having the sense of the present, which HODGE seems to favor (though his view would require the perfect in Greek), is untenable. The aorist participle, retaining as usual its aoristic force, “refers to the counsels of the Father as graciously completed in the Redemption.”—R.]
[ALFORD is fully justified in saying: “πνευματικός in the N. T. always implies the working of the Holy Spirit, never bearing merely our modern inaccurate sense of spiritual as opposed to bodily.” HODGE apparently accepts both, which is not allowable, even if the correct meaning be given the greater prominence. EADIE concedes the latter meaning in the New Testament, but improperly in every passage cited. He justly opposes the exclusive reference of our passage to charismata (WHITBY), alluding to the transitory character of these gifts. THEODORET: “The blessings referred to here are, the hope of the resurrection, the promises of immortality, the kingdom of heaven in reversion, and the dignity of adoption.”—R.]
[ALFORD prefers to render the verb: selected, as best indicating the middle sense, and the choosing out of the world. See ELLICOTT in loco on this word.—R.]
[EADIE also discusses HOFMANN’S view, which is simply this, that the election is only a choosing for and unto something, not a choosing out of. MEYER says most emphatically regarding HOFMANN’S position: “This is impossible from the notion of the word. A reference to others, to whom the chosen ones would still have belonged without the ἐκλογή, the verb ἐκλέγεσθαι always has, and as a logical necessity must have it.” How true this is, will appear from the unsatisfactory and confusing character of all attempts to explain away this reference.—R.]
[EBRARD (Christliche Dogmatik, § 560) denies the individual reference in the verb ἐκλέγ., but, as EADIE well remarks: “The choice of a multitude is simply the choice of each individual composing it. That multitude may be regarded as a unity by God, but to Him it is a unity of definite elements or members. On the Divine side the elect, whatever their number, are a unity, and are so described—πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέ μοι, John 6:39; πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ, John 17:2—a totality viewed by Omniscience as one; but on the human side, the elect are the whole company of believers, but thus individualized—πὰς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πίστεύων, John 6:40.” Paul says so distinctly that God chose us out, as to put men at their wits’ end to make Him say anything else.—R.]
[ELLICOTT says that this phrase “here serves to define the archetypal character of the New Dispensation, and the wide gulf that separated the πρόθεσις πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (2 Tim. 1:9) of God with respect to Christians, from His temporal ἐκλογή of the Jews.”—R.]
[The question respecting the use of αὑτοῦ is discussed on this page of WINER’S Grammar. The sweeping assertion that it is never used, is not accepted by WINER. It appears, however, that under the influence of GRIESBACH, this pointing became too frequent, the tendency now being against it, ELLICOTT says: “The distinction, however, between the proper use of these two forms cannot be rigorously defined.”—R.]
[Dr. BRAUNE seems to refer Col. 1:22 to the future Judgment, in his notes on that passage.—R.]
[“As there is here no sacrificial allusion, direct or indirect (comp. Eph 5:27), it seems best to retain the simple etymological meaning: inculpatus” (ELLICOTT).—R.]
[Braune says: dem gemüthlichen Akt des Wollens, thus indicating his acceptance of Buttmann’s distinction between βούλομαι and ἐθέλω (the former more an act of inclination, the latter of deliberation, choice). On this see Eph 1:11. The word gemüthlich has no English equivalent, so far as I am aware.—R.]
[The article here points to something well known; if the verb ἔχομεν has a reference mainly objective, then this means the redemption promised, etc., but if it be subjective, then it means our redemption. So CONYBEARE. ELLICOTT objects to this, but sanctions it in the Revision by Four Ang. Clergymen. Such a rendering by no means implies that the ἀπολύτρωσιν is merely subjective.—R.]
[On this distinction, comp. TRENCH, Synonymes, N. T., § 33; COCCEIUS has a special treatise, De utilitate distinctionis inter πάρεσιν et ἄφεσιν (Opp. t. vii.) See SCHAFF, Romans, p. 128, Textual Note8.—R.]
[On παράπτωμα see Dr. SCHAFF’S note (Rom. 5:15) p. 182, and the subsequent discussions. The positions taken there forbid any such wide reference as that of OLSHAUSEN, ELLICOTT, while not laying much stress upon the distinction between παρπτώματα and ἁμαρτίαι, takes the former as pointing more to sins on the side of commission, sinful acts, the latter to sins as the result of a state, sinful conditions.—R.]
[ELLICOTT renders this word: discernment or intelligence, adding a very discriminating note.—R.]
[ALFORD argues at some length in favor of the reference to the whole gospel dispensation, “the giving forth of the gospel under God’s providential arrangements.” Against his view, see EADIE.—R.]
[It is certainly true that God comprehended this development in His plan, and that it was an important factor in carrying out “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” though its importance has not been recognized until lately by theologians and church historians. EADIE well observes: “The πλήρωμα is regarded as a vast receptacle into which centuries and milleniums had been falling, but it was now filled.” “That fulness of the time in which this economy was founded, is the precise period, for the Lord has appointed it; and the best period, for the age was ripe for the event.” The view of Dr. Braune is so well stated and agrees so entirely with that of the most exact of modern commentators, that further supplement is needless.—R.]
[The force of ἀνά, again, should be retained, it would seem, for Rom. 13:9, can include such a notion irrespective of the forced assumption of HARLESS. HODGE and ALFORD indeed are timid about admitting it, lest it be turned to an improper use, but there is undoubtedly a restoration implied in Redemption, although restoration falls very far short of the latter idea.—R.]
[HARLESS takes it as depending on “the mystery of his will.” The general idea is the same, but such a connection would give to the intervening words too much of a parenthetical character.—R.]
[Perhaps the most restricted view is that of Dr. HODGE: “The redeemed from among men, some of whom are now in heaven and others are still on earth.” This he defends by a number of reasons, all of which I am forced to consider irrelevant. The great mistake is in his giving too wide a scope to the anacephalaiosis, insisting that it means such a gathering together as implies redemption in its fullest sense, for which there is no authority, save the assumed paranomasia in the word. Granting this position, the restriction of τὰ πάντα follows as a matter of course. It would seem to be a far better method to take τὰ πάντα in its appropriate sense, all things, even at the risk of limiting a doubtful word like ἀνακεφαλαιοῦσθαι, than to give it the sense of the masculine, which it never has. This restricted view seems to be adopted more from doctrinal than exegetical reasons.—R.]
[Comp. MEYER in loco. He says: “The doctrine of restoration, according to which even those who have remained unbelieving, and finally devils, shall yet attain to blessedness, contrary as it is to the whole tenor of the New Testament, finds no support in our passage either (against CHRYSOSTOM and others), where in ἀνακεφαλ, etc., the exclusion of the unbelieving and the demoniacal powers and their banishment to Gehenna is self-evident in connection with the Christian consciousness of faith, so that the anacephalaiosis does not apply to every single individual, but to the whole complex of things heavenly and earthly, which, after the anti-christian individuals have been excluded and transferred to hell, shall be joined in unity under God in the renewed world again, as formerly before sin all in heaven and on earth was thus united. OLSHAUSEN therefore incorrectly thinks our passage (like Col. 1:20) is to be placed in accord with the general type of Scriptural teaching, by finding in the infinitive ἀνακεφ. the purpose of God, ‘which, in the founding of redemption furnished with unlimited power, has in view the establishment of universal harmony, the restoration of all that is lost.’ Irrespective of the fact that the infinitive is epexegetical, it is altogether unscriptural to assume that in redemption there is purposed a restoration of all that is lost, even of the devils. For those passages which speak of the universality of redemption and such sayings as 1 Pet. 4:6; Phil. 2:10 f., leave entirely untouched the constant doctrine of the New Testament respecting eternal damnation. As regards the devils, the purpose of God in the economy of redemption was to conquer them (1 John 3:8; 1 Cor. 15:24), and to deliver them to the punishment of eternal torment already passed upon them (Matt. 25:41; Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Rev. 20:1 ff.; comp. BERTHOLDT, Christologie, p. 223). In the New Testament there is no single thought of the restoration of devils, as this is conceived of as an impossibility in the case of the radically antitheistic spirits. The prince of this world is only judged.” No one can accuse MEYER of theological bias, or of ungrammatical exegesis, hence his opinion is quoted entire.—R.]
[ALFORD: “Energizes; but especially in and among material previously given, as here, in His material creation, and in the spirits of all flesh, also His creation.” The same author remarks on the repetition of the notion of predestination: “Here first the Apostle comes to the idea of the universal church, the whole Israel of God, and therefore here brings forward again that fore-ordination which he had indeed hinted at generally in Eph 1:5, but which properly belonged to Israel, and is accordingly predicated of the Israel of the church.”—R.]
[In my note on Colossians, p. 35, 1 refer to Dr. Hitchcock’s views on this point. While it is a matter of regret as regards this work as a whole that Prof. Hitchcock, owing to ill health, was obliged to abandon his intention to edit Ephesians, it is especially unfortunate that his studies on this distinction could not be incorporated here. His conclusions, however, agree in the main with those of TITTMANN, as given above.—R.]
[ELLICOTT objects to this as inexact, observing that “this would imply a participle Without, not as here with the article.” He refers to DONALDSON, Cratylus, § 304, Grammar, § 492 sq. It should be noticed that the perfect participle expresses here as so often a past act continuing to the present, the perfect of permanent state.—R.]
[It should be noticed, that De Wette, who is the principal supporter of this view, is also the chief opposer of the Pauline origin of our Epistle. Naturally enough the latter opinion would influence his judgment on this point, for one who believes that this verse was written by a pupil of the Apostle Paul, in all probability a Gentile, would fail to see the appropriateness of giving prominence to the antithesis between Jewish and Gentile Christians accepted by most commentators.—R.]
[So HODGE, who misapprehends the difficulties attending the construction accepted by BRAUNE.—R.]
[It is difficult to see how these passages prove the correctness of Dr. BRAUNE’S statement. The Jews were the first hearers, but of the, ὑμεῖς “believing” also is here predicated, the reference being to the same persons; hence these passages which speak of the Jews hearing and not believing, prove rather that ὑμεῖς refers to Gentile Christians—R.]
 [The sealing was the same in the case of both, but the antecedents of the Gentile Christians, the fact that they had no previous seal of God’s covenant, makes this prominent in their case, but this does not require us to find here any definite allusion to circumcision.—R.]
[HODGE combines the three meanings: (1) To authenticate or confirm as genuine and true; (2) To mark as one’s property; (3) To render secure.—R.]
[MEYER well remarks that Paul wishes to give emphatic and solemn prominence to that by means of which the sealing takes place, and hence speaks with a corresponding pathos. This should be preserved in the English rendering as above (so ALFORD).—R.]
[ELLICOTT: “The Spirit which came from, i. e., was announced, by promise.” EADIE: “The genitive is almost that of ablation.” MEYER takes it as “a genitive of quality, designating the promise as a characteristic of the Holy Spirit.” ALFORD would retain the article in English: “the Spirit of the promise.”—R.]
[Pignus, pledge, differs from arra, earnest; the former is restored when the contract has been performed, the latter is a part of the purchase money. The custom of paying “earnest-money” obtains still in legal transactions, but more especially in the popular usage of most nations.—R.]
[EADIE, whose notes on this subject are as judicious as they are apt, quotes from Sir Wm. Hamilton (Discussions, etc. p. 598): “It is here shown to be as irrational as irreligious, on the ground of human understanding, to deny, either, on the one hand, the fore-knowledge, predestination, and free grace of God, or, on the other, the free will of man; that we should believe both, and both in unison, though unable to comprehend even either apart. This philosophy proclaims with St. Augustine, and Augustine in his maturest writings:—‘If there be not free grace in God, how can He save the world? and if there be not free will in man, how can the world by God be judged?’ (Ad Valentinum. Epist. 214.) Or, as the same doctrine is perhaps expressed even better by St. Bernard: ‘Abolish free will and there is nothing to be saved: abolish free grace, and there is nothing wherewithal to save.’ (De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio.)” See the list of authors of all opinions given by EADIE, pp. 28, 29.—R.]
 [The position to be taken is not that the future will reconcile propositions which are contradictory, but which seem to be contradictory, the whole question transcending the limits of human thought.—R.]
 [This is no doubt HENRY WARD BEECHER. Dr. Braune gives no further clue to the discovery of the original passage than the single word “Beecher,” which might apply to any one of a large family. As this is the only American citation in any part of the volume, it is retained, even though at the disadvantage of being a translation of a translation.—R.]
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,2. Exhortation springing out of the Apostle’s supplication for the Church as the body of Christ, who is the Head
15Wherefore [For this cause] I also, after I [having] heard of your faith [or the faith which is among you] in the Lord Jesus, and love [the love which ye have]66 unto all the saints, 16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you67 in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge [in full knowledge] of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; [Having the eyes of your heart68 enlightened,] that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and 19[omit and]69 what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is [omit is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according 20to the working of his mighty power [the might of his strength],70 Which he [hath]71 wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him [in raising him from the dead and making him sit]72 at his own right hand in the heavenly places,73 21Far [over]74 above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion [lordship], and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put [And subjected] all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that [who] filleth all75 in all.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Summary.—After the praise of God on account of His grace towards Christendom, to which the readers of this letter belong (Eph 1:13) has been expressed (Eph 1:3–14), there follows on account of this very grace the Apostle’s thanksgiving for the readers’ faith and love in his prayers (Eph 1:15, 16), out of which he gives prominence to the petition, united with his thanksgiving, that God would make them know the glory of their calling and inheritance as well as of His power (Eph 1:17–19), which He has shown and will show in the Redemption through Christ, the Head of the church (Eph 1:20–23).
It is not proper to find here, as OLSHAUSEN does, after an “effusion of love,” only a “thanksgiving for the faith of the readers,” as far as 2:10, without perceiving the profound, rich instruction contained in these verses. But it is not precisely a prayer for the readers which follows, as HARLESS says; he only mentions what he does when thinking of the church. This prayer and supplication to God about and for souls is the apostolic ministry in faith, care and joy; and the whole Church should know it and should infer from this petition, how weak and needy she is in and of herself, even though born a heavenly seed for heaven; and how necessary earnest, persevering prayer and supplication on her part always is, for her preservation and prosperity.
[After praise comes prayer (EADIE). ELLICOTT: “I ever give thanks, and pray that you may be enlightened to know the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance, and the greatness of His power, which was especially displayed in the Resurrection and supreme exaltation of Christ.”—ALFORD, following the Trinitarian division of STIER: “The idea of the Church carried forward, in the form of a prayer for the Ephesians, in which the fulfilment of the Father’s counsel through the Son and by the Spirit, in His people, is set forth, as consisting in the knowledge of the hope of His calling, of the riches of His promise, and the power which He exercises on His saints as first wrought by Him in Christ, whom He has made Head over all to the Church.”—R.]
The Apostle’s Thanksgiving (Eph 1:15, 16).
Eph 1:15. For this cause, διὰ τοῦ το, refers to what precedes, and on account of the close connection of the individual parts with each other, to Eph 1:3–14. So most ancient and modern commentators (ŒCUMENIUS: διὰ τὰ ἀποκείμενα ἀγαθἀ τοῖς ὀρθῶς πιστεύουσι καὶ βιοῦσι καὶ δίατὸ ἐν τοῖς σωθησομένοις τετάχθαι ἡμᾶς); it is not merely an appendage to Eph 1:13, 14, because the thanksgiving and petition apply to the readers only (MEYER, RUECKERT), nor to the last clause (Eph 1:14: “to the praise of His glory”), as GROTIUS thinks. But it treats of more than thanksgiving, of petition, supplication, not merely of the readers, but also of all Christendom (εἰς ἡμᾶς, Eph 1:19; comp. Eph 1:20–23).
[The reference to the whole preceding paragraph is defended by HARLESS (so CHRYSOSTOM, WINZER, SCHENKEL and many others). It accords best with Braune’s exegesis of Eph 1:13, 14, to accept this view, but EADIE, ELLICOTT, HODGE follow THEOPHYLACT, in referring it to Eph 1:13, 14. ALFORD: “On account of what has gone before, since Eph 1:3; but especially of what has been said since Eph 1:13, where καὶ ὑμεῖς first came in.” The more restricted view seems preferable, but we must then accept an expanded reference in Eph 1:19.—R.]
I also, καὶ ἐγώ.—The unexpressed fellowship in which Paul thus marks himself, as Eph 1:13 (καὶ ὑμεῖς), is to be inferred from the context, from the clause ἀκούσας—οὐ παύομαι εὐχαριστῶν. He thinks of the Christians, who have spoken of the readers’ Christian state with joy and thanksgiving, and “expects, that all Christians, especially they themselves to whom he writes, would do the same” (HARLESS). Hence it is not=even I also, a believing Israelite (BAUMGARTEN); such arrogance he would have opposed, not possessed. Nor is it=also I, your Apostle (STIER) [EADIE]; He places himself as a member of the body of Christ, who is the Head, in the Church, not above it. [DE WETTE unwarrantably joins καί with the preceding διὰ τοῦτο. ALFORD objects to the view of MEYER (“Paul knows that he co-operates with the readers in his prayerful activity”), preferring to take καί as marking the resumption of the first person after the second. ELLICOTT thus expresses Braune’s view: “Κἀγὼ is thus faintly corresponsive with καὶ ὑμεῖς, and hints at the union in prayer and praise which subsisted between the Apostle and his converts.”—R.]
Having heard, ἀκούσας.—This marks nothing further than that he had heard, and accordingly indicates only, that what has been heard has been spoken of, hence that the Apostle was not in Ephesus, when he heard. GROTIUS is therefore correct: loquitur apostolus de profectu evangelii apud Ephesios, ex quo ipse ab illis discesserat. So THEODORET, HARLESS, MEYER and others. Nothing is said respecting acquaintance or non-acquaintance (against OLSHAUSEN [who thinks the larger part were probably unknown to him—R.]); it is used in the former case, Philem. 5, in the latter, Col. 1:4; Rom. 1:8. BENGEL: Hoc referri potest non solum ad ignotos facie, sed etiam ad familiarissimos, pro statu eorum præsenti. It is therefore not=scire, comperire (HAMMOND), as though it described personal observation, since it is the very opposite; but at the same time nothing can be inferred from this against the composition of this Epistle for the Ephesians, nor that he wrote the letter before his personal acquaintance, nor yet that he had other churches in his mind at the same time (STIER).76
Of the faith which is among you in the Lord Jesus, τὴν καθ̓ ὑμᾶς πίστιν ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ.—To this Col. 1:4 is parallel: “your faith in Christ Jesus,” etc. Accordingly τὴν καθ̓ ὑμᾶς πίστιν here seems to be equivalent to τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν there [so E. V.]. But “faith among you” differs somewhat from “your faith;” the relation of the faith to the subjects is different: in the first case, in accordance with the notion of the preposition (κατὰ τῆν πόλιν, Luke 8:39, κατʼ οἶκον not=ἐν οἴκῳ, see WINER, p. 374), which is distributive, the faith is merely to be found there, within the church, even though each one does not have it, and believers and unbelievers dwell side by side, in the other case, however, the faith is the possession of the individuals; WINER, p. 146, fides, quæ ad vos pertinet, apud vos (in vobis?) est.77 Such circumlocutions have their special shadings of thought, as τὴν ἀπὸ σοῦ ἐπαγγελίαν (Acts 23:21), τῇ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἀγάπῃ (1 Cor. 8:7), promissio a te profecta, amor qui a vobis proficiscitur, are not exactly equivalent to tua promissio, amor vester. Comp. WINER, p. 181. STIER is excellent: A hint that a gracious treasure of faith and love is indeed present within the church, yet not certainly active in every member of it. [So ALFORD.] The notion of the substantive is not, however, thereby modified, as though the objective nature of faith were to be understood here, and the individual quality of faith in the particular persons, in Col. 1:4 (HARLESS) [ELLICOTT]; with the Apostle the faith in Ephesus as among the Colossians remains the subject of thanksgiving; and the genitive indicates nothing about individual quality, only the possession of the individuals, still less any thing about purity or impurity (MATTHIES); nor is any hint given respecting fides qua or fides quæ creditur.
It is indeed here as there more closely defined as the faith “in the Lord Jesus,” as Gal. 3:26. The preposition marks the foundation of the faith: founded in the Lord Jesus, or its life-sphere, without placing any other aim of the faith. There is no reason for understanding here εἰς θεόν from 1 Pet. 1:21: “who by him do believe in God” (BENGEL: fidem erga Deum in domino Jesu; GROTIUS: fidem in Deum fundatam in Christo); “in the Lord” is not=“through Him,” nor ἐν=εἰς (KOPPE, FLATT). The article τἠν is wanting before ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ, because the qualifying phrase adds an integral element to πίστις, which as anticipated is joined immediately (Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 7:7). [“Christ-centred faith” (ELLICOTT).—R.] Comp. WINER, p. 128. The position of the words does not permit our connecting ἐντῳ κυρίῳ with ὑμας (WINZER); besides πίστις requires further definition more than ὑμᾶς.
And the love which ye have unto all the saints, καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην πὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους.—[See Textual Note1.—R.] This sets forth the first and immediate manifestation of the faith. CHRYSOSTOM aptly says: πανταχοῦ συνάπτει καὶ συκολλᾷ τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην, θαυμαστήν τινα ξυνωρίδα. Quisquis fidem et amorem habet, particeps est totius benefactionis (BENGEL). This love is, however, more closely defined as “unto all the saints.” On the article [which here specializes love.—R.] see WINER, p. 126. “Paul had here first the idea of love in itself and then added in his thought τὴν είς πάντας” (MEYER). Ἅγιοι are Christians. Hence: “all saints” (3:8, 18; 6:18, 24) points to brotherly love as character Christianismi, John 13:34 f.; 1 John 5:1. As little as this notion is to be enlarged here into universal philanthropy, as CALVIN would do, and as is the case in 1 Cor. 13; Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; Tit. 3:2, also in 2 Pet. 1:7 (ἐν τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ τὴν ἀγάπην), so little and still less is brotherly love to be narrowed down, with THEODORET, to liberality. At the same time we should not overlook the emphasis resting on the word “all,” permitting no distinction as respects condition, rank, possessions or internal endowment, either mental or spiritual.
Eph 1:16. Cease not to give thanks for you, οὐ παύομαι εὐχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν.—Thus or εὐχαριστῶ πάντοτε, 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; Phil. 4; comp. WINER, p. 323. Paul never ceases to be a giver of thanks. [The participle points to a state supposed to be already in existence. EADIE: “As one giving thanks for you I cease not.” ULPHILUS: non cessans gratias dico.—R.] The phrase ὑπὲρὑμῶν, as in Eph 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:1, marks the protection of prayer, like that of a shield over the assailed (WINER, p. 359) while περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν (Rom. 1:8) denotes the position of the protector around the protected.
Making mention of you, μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιούμενος, adds a limitation; he thanks constantly whenever he thinks of them; but that happens daily.—In my prayers, ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου.—This indicates that Paul has and takes occasion to think of them from his prayers.78 Comp. WINER, p. 352: 1 Thess. 1:2; Rom. 1:10. Praying is the Apostle’s daily doing, and therewith arises the thought about his church, changing his prayer into intercession. The subject of his thought and petition is not, therefore, precisely the faith and love of the Ephesians (MEYER [ALFORD] who rejects ὑμῶν), but themselves, with their necessities indeed, which determine the purport of the petition.—“No thanksgiving without petition, so long as perfection and completion are not yet there” (STIER).
The Apostle’s petition as to its purport. Eph 1:17–19
Eph 1:17. That, ἵνα, has its parallel in ὅπως, Phil. 6 and must retain, as in 3:16, the signification of the purpose, design, Comp. WINER, pp. 418 f., 428 f. The Apostle’s will, in the very thought of his prayer, is directed to this, that God should give (MEYER, SCHENKEL). Hence there is no reason for weakening the force of ἴνα here into: that He may give (WINER, p. 273), as if it introduced only the object, the purport of the petition (HARLESS, STIER); for although Paul did not regard his request “as causa of Divine favors,” nor purpose “thereby” to bestow upon others the gift of grace, yet still in his petitions offered in the name of Jesus (John 14:13; 15:16; 6:23) he has the design as well as the hope, that they should take place.79 BENGEL: Argumentum precum pro veris Christianis.
The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, ὁθεὸς τοῦ κυρίουἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.—Here we must hold (see Eph 1:3 f.), that he is speaking of the Incarnate One, the God-man, to whom God is God, worshipped by Him also (STIER). It does not suffice to say, that the meaning is, God sent Him, He bore witness of God and returned to God (HARLESS) [apparently HODGE also].
The Father of glory, ὁπατὴρ τῆςδόξης. This parallel clause is far more difficult than the last. First of all, πατήρ, corresponding to θεός, is to be retained in its established meaning, “Father,” hence not to be taken in the sense of causa (GROTIUS), auctor (ὁ μεγάλα ὑμῖν δεδωκώς ἀγαθά, CHRYSOSTOM and others), source, origin (MATTHIES, SCHENKEL). The genitive, τῆςδόξης, designates the possession, the character of the Father, to whom the glory belongs, which is=כָּבוֹד, the Divine glory and majesty; it is like “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2; Ps. 29:3), “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8), “the King of glory” (Ps. 24:7); comp. also “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3). Hence: the Father full of glory. As parallel to the genitive: “of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we must also in connection with “glory,” think of Him, in whom it was manifested. BENGEL: Pater gloriæ, infinitæ illius, quæ refulget in facie Christi; imo gloriæ, quæ est ipse filius Dei, unde etiam nobis hereditas gloriosa obtinget (Eph 1:18). HARLESS: Father of glory, because the glory presses upon the Apostle, which God has revealed to men in His Son.
Though the Greek Fathers go too far (δόξαν γὰρ τὴν θείαν φύσιν ὠνόμασεν), yet “the Father full of glory,” following “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is evidently not without a reference to Christ and of such a kind, that the Apostle’s first phrase conceives rather of the God-man;80 the second of the God-man. This explanation accordingly is not a curiosity (RUECKERT), needing no contradiction (OLSHAUSEN), nor is it obscurius et remotius (A-LAPIDE). It is much more of a curiosity, to wish to connect thus: Deus qui est domini nostri Jesu Christi pater, gloriæ; since then ὁθεός and τῆςδόξης must be taken together, while τοῦ κυρίου—ὁ πατήρ is inserted between them (VATABLE). The conjecture of PISCATOR, that πατήρ and θεός were first written in interchanged positions, is very bold. Still it cannot be said that our phrase is=pater gloriosus (CALVIN and others), or cui debetur honor, venerandus, or præstantissimus (WAHL and others), or the Almighty Father (KOPPE).—ŒCUMENIUS aptly remarks: πρὸς τὸ προσκείμενον ὀνομάζει θεόν. The designation of God in this passage corresponds entirely with the fervor and confidence of the Apostle’s petition respecting the affairs of the kingdom of Christ.
May give unto you, δῴηὑμῖν.—Δᾠη the optative; John 15:16: δώῃ the conjunctive; the Ionic conjunctive form is not sufficiently attested in the New Testament, and δῴ is preferred [in that passage, B. giving it here also.—R.] The optative as modus optandi is here, especially in oratio obliqua (MATTHIES), used in the place of the conjunctive (WINER, p. 273). In 2 Tim. 1:16, 18 we find a similar usage. [MEYER and ELLICOTT regard the optative as chosen to follow the present here, because the answer belongs to what is hoped for, etc., the latter finding in its use a support for his view of the sub-final force of ἵνα. But the view of ALFORD (and EADIE) is preferable: The optative “is used when the purpose is not that of the writer as he is writing, but is described as that of himself or some one else at another time,” thus falling in effect under the rule of the oratio obliqua.—R.]
The spirit of wisdom and revelation, πνεῦμασοφίας καὶἀ ποκαλύψεως, is the object of the preceding verb. The omission of the article before the genitives points to the close connection with the governing substantive, to which also the article may be wanting, without its becoming indefinite, as the genitives contain the closer definition; Luke 23:46: εἰς χεῖράςσου παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου (WINER, p. 118 f.). God gives as a Father to His children, who have become such through Christ, of His Spirit; hence the reference may well be to the Holy Ghost; but since they have already been sealed with this (Eph 1:13), this efficient, personal, power recedes rather, and we are to understand the spirit wrought or to be wrought by the same in Christians. So Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 1:7. So OLSHAUSEN, STIER: Something of God, yet manifesting itself as in man. Hence we are not to understand the human spirit of itself, or the human heart (RUECKERT: God give you a wise heart, open to His revelation), nor yet precisely the Person of the Holy Ghost (BENGEL: idem Spiritus, qui est promissionis, in progressu fidelium est etiam sapientiæ et revelationis; sapientia in nobis operatur sapientiam, REVELATIO cognitionem; MATTHIES, MEYER).81 Evidently Paul is speaking of a gift for all Christians; hence Charisms are not meant, as 1 Cor. 12:8; 14:12; 6:26 (OLSHAUSEN).
Both “wisdom” and “revelation” point to universal gifts to Christians, and to what is or comes to pass in them, hence to something subjective. By “wisdom” we understand a continued condition, by “revelation” the single glances afforded us, into the truths of Christianity, into the will of God in special circumstances and situations of life, into the human heart, into the course of time, into eternal life. The former includes the φρόνησις, “understanding,” joined with it in Eph 1:8; the latter is “the very necessary private revelation for every Christian” (STIER), as 1 Cor. 2:10. Paul adds the special to the general in the same way (Rom. 1:5; 5:15; 11:29). Accordingly we are not to consider the second an objective medium for the first (HARLESS); in that case, the position would be reversed (MEYER).82 Comp. Col. 1:9.
In the full knowledge of him [ἐνἐ πιγνώ σειαὐτοῦ].—First the meaning of the words. In ἐπίγνωσις the preposition, which “renders prominent the intension of the verbal notion to its object” (HARLESS), must not be overlooked, and the distinction from γνῶσις must be maintained. It is major exactiorque cognitio (GROTIUS,) plena et accurata cognitio (WAHL). 1 Cor. 13:12 is instructive: “Now I know (γιγνώσκω) in part; but then shall I know (ἐπι γνώσομαι) even as also I am known” (ἐπεγνώσθην).83 Hence it is not=agnitio (CALOVIUS and others), nor can it be of any force here, that γνῶσις designates the higher, the charismatic form of knowledge, 1 Cor. 12:8; 13:8 (OLSHAUSEN), since this technical term designates the character, not the degree (MEYER). The context, Eph 1:18, 19, evidently determines that the knowledge of God is here referred to, and does not permit αὐτοῦ to be referred to Christ (BEZA, ERASMUS, LUTHER and others); nor can it remain undetermined (CALVIN). Finally ἐν, “in,” designates the sphere within which that is accomplished, which has been spoken of: it cannot possibly be taken as=εἰς (Vulgate, LUTHER and others), or=per (Erasmus and others), or=una cum (FLATT). [HODGE most unwarrantably renders the preposition ἐν, “together with.”—R.]
The connection with the verb “give” is clear then: The knowledge of God is a status or circle of life, wrought already by the Spirit and word of God, in which he should and must be, who will and shall receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation, since this does not take place without means, Col. 1:9, 10. Advance is made from truth to truth, from knowledge to knowledge. The connection with what follows: πεφωτισμένους ὀφθαλμούς (CHRYSOSTOM and others), is impossible, both grammatically and logically, on account of the appended εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς, which is joined at the close of Eph 1:18, just as ἐνἐ πιγνώ σειαὐτοῦ here in Eph 1:17; the two phrases correspond to each other. But the connection with ὖμῖν is quite as impossible, as with ἀποκαλύψεως (a suggestion of KOPPE’S); it is contrary to the usus loquendi and introduces erroneous thoughts: for it is not to those, who have known, who are real worshippers, that He gives such a spirit, as He does not give the spirit through knowledge, but rather knowledge through the Spirit, nor does revelation consist only in the knowledge of God, although this is the beginning, centre and main point to which all comes and returns. [EADIE follows KOPPE, the result being a confusion respecting these phrases, which is very uncommon with him.—R.]
Eph 1:18. Having the eyes of your heart enlightened [πεφωτισμένουςτοὺςὀφθαλμοὺςτῆςκαρδίαςὑμῶν],—This is added without a conjunction, seeming to be in apposition, with the emphasis on the participle; the being enlightened is, what God should give. Τοῦς ὀφθαλ μούς, eyes, He need not first give; BENGEL: articulus præsupponit oculos jam præsentes. But the Apostle wishes that the eyes may be given in a new quality (HARLESS). Accordingly we should not render: enlightened eyes (LUTHER); in that case we should find, τοῦς ὀφθαλμοὺς τοῦς πεφωτισμένους. It is arbitrary to correct the reading into πεφωτισμένοις (PISCATOR and others), as though it belonged to ὑμῖν. It is untenable to accept an accusative absolute (BEZA, KOPPE, MEYER [E. V., EADIE), and to refer the participle to ὑμῖν, so that the accusative of the noun is made to contain the closer definition; for then the recipients would have been, which is contrary to Scripture and to fact, enlightened before they received the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; the reference to the effect: so that you are illuminated as respects your eyes—is grammatically impossible. Nor should εἶναι be interpolated (FLATT).
[The interpretation: so that you are illuminated as respects your eyes, is that of MEYER, who does not defend the accusative absolute. ELLICOTT and ALFORD, whose rendering is given in the English text, refer the participle to ὐμῖν, as a lax construction, taking the noun as an accusative of limiting reference. Notwithstanding Dr. Braune’s objection, this seems the best solution. The clause “serves to define the result of the gift of the Spirit, and owing to the subsequent infinitive, which expresses the purpose of the illumination, not unnaturally lapses into the accusative” (ELLICOTT). See ALFORD for similar constructions. The accusative absolute which also expresses a result, is a very doubtful construction, see MEYER in loco, and on Rom. 8:3. The appositional construction, which makes our clause the object of δώη, is open to fewer grammatical than logical objections. The enlightenment as regards the eyes of the heart ought not to be put as correlative or co-ordinate with the gift of the Spirit of wisdom, etc. This objection holds, however, the meaning of our clause may be enlarged, as is done below, and by HARLESS and others. Braune’s view, it should be added, is supported by RUECKERT, MATTHIES, MEIER, HOLZHAUSEN, HARLESS, OLSHAUSEN, DE WETTE and others; apparently by HODGE, who does not notice the construction preferred in this note.—R.]
The value of the gift is well described by GREGORY NAZIAN.: εἰ γὰρ σκότος ἡ ἄγνοια καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία, φῶς ἄν εἴη ἡ γνῶσις καὶ ὀ βίος ἔνθεος. According to 5:8, compared with 4:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 6:4, the light of life is meant, that illumination which is already connected with sanctification and rooted in experience (HARLESS, STIER), so that it cannot be referred to merely intellectual insight (RUECKERT and others). [Yet “the eyes of the heart” are spoken of, giving prominence to the perceptive side.—R.]
The eyes are τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν, “of your heart,” and this is the centre of life (HARLESS), the core of the personality (OLSHAUSEN), and not merely mind or soul, without disposition. Matth. 23:15: τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσι. Comp. 4:22; Rom. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:6. Cor est, quo tantas res percipimus (BENGEL).84 It is thus marked by this qualifying phrase, that we, in spite of our old nature, are renewed and made susceptible of that wisdom and revelation, that is the light for which the eyes of our heart are prepared; our heart should become secure and full of the Spirit. Thus this apposition is defended from MEYER’S objections.
That ye may know, εἰς τὸ ἐιδέναιὑμᾶς.—This sets forth the aim of the enlightening, toward which progress is made “in the knowledge of Him;” the latter is to be developed. Thus to the ground and outgoing there corresponds the aim, in which the beginning now appears in its extent; the deeper insight after the hearing of the proclamation, after the first faith and knowledge and understanding, is here treated of.85
What is the hope of his calling, τίςἐστιν ἡ ἐλπίς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ.—The first object of this insight is “the hope of His calling.” “His,” αὐτοῦ, according to the context, is to be understood of God; Rom. 11:29: the “calling of God.” He calls; this call is not without effect; and this is the hope, the cause of which is the call. The re-echo in us of this call of God on us is hope, hoping; the Christian’s hope lies, not in the eternal “election,” but in the temporal “calling.” So “joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thess. 1:6), “trial of affliction” (2 Cor. 8:2). Hope is the Christian’s advantage (2:12; 1 Thess. 4:13; Rom. 5:2), and a hope that “maketh not ashamed” (Rom. 5:5; 8:24). To know the character of such hope is not a small matter (against STIER). Τίς points then to the character, the quality of this hope. PASSOW sub voce. It is therefore not=πόση, ποταπή, quanta (STIER, OLSHAUSEN, SCHENKEL), but qualis, cujusnam naturæ (HARLESS, MEYER and others). Nor is ἐλπίς=res sperata (OLSHAUSEN, STIER [EADIE] and many others), although it can mean this (Col. 1:5: “laid up;” Heb. 6:18: “set before us;” Gal. 5:5: “wait for the hope of righteousness”), which MEYER [with ELLICOTT] denies. It is inconceivable that κλῆσις should be=those called (SCHUETZE). LUTHER renders: “your calling,” putting the effect for the cause: “his calling.” [With ALFORD, EADIE, and ELLICOTT it is better to take τίς in the simple meaning “what,” quæ (Vulgate), without referring either to quality or quantity. As regards “hope,” the objective sense must be admitted in the N. T., but the bald res sperata does not express the signification here. ALFORD thinks the controversy mere trifling: “If I know what the hope is, I know both its essence and its accidents.” Even ELLICOTT admits an objective aspect: “the grounds, the state of the hope.” HODGE supports the subjective sense. On κλῆσις, see Romans, pp. 280, 281.—R.]
What the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints [τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἀγίοις].—The second object of the insight is the object of the Christian hope, the inheritance, to which “the calling of God” helps us, hence “His:” He gives it, it is from His own. As Divine, eternal life, participation in the kingdom of God, heirship with Christ (God Himself is our portion), it has a “glory” and this glory has “riches,” so that it is an important object for our more profound observation. So Col. 1:27: “the riches of the glory of this mystery.” It is a weakening of the ideas, to resolve these substantives into objectives: what is the riches of the glorious inheritance (LUTHER), or: what is the glorious riches of His inheritance (STIER). [AS MEYER well says: “What a rich, sublime cumulation, setting forth in like terms the weightiness of the matters described;—and not to be diluted by any resolving of the genitives into adjectives.”—R.]
“In the saints” is added after “His inheritance,” without the article (τῆς ἐν τοῖς ἁγιόις), and hence conceived of as most closely connected with his inheritance, which is to be found in (LUTHER: an) and among the saints, the called Christians not outside of them. So Rom. 9:3: “my kinsmen according to the flesh;” 2 Cor. 7:7: τὸν ὑμῶν ζῆλον ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ Comp. Col. 1:12 (εἰς τὴν μερίδα τοῦ κλήρου τῶν ἁγίων ἐν φωτί); Acts 20:32 (δοῦναι τὴν κληρονομίαν ἐν τοῖς ἡλιασμέουοις πᾶσιν); 26:18. The Apostle does not say “in you,” “us,” but states it altogether objectively in humility and wisdom. He speaks indeed of the inheritance of God in Christians, but not of the glory of the portion, nor its riches in the saints, so that we must understand here chiefly the children of God, who are partakers of the inheritance (Eph 1:11, 14), even though only in its incipient stages; “the riches of the glory” become indeed perceptible even here, but unfold themselves fully only in eternity, which is the more to be included, since here and hereafter are less divided than light and darkness. Accordingly we are not to consider the object of the inheritance to be principally and solely the present kingdom of God on earth (HARLESS), or on the other hand the future kingdom of God to be established at the second Advent (MEYER); nor is the connection of ἐν τοῖς άγίοις with an ἐστιν to be supplied (KOPPE and others) possible, since not ὁ πλοῦτος, but only κληρονομία, is in, on and among the saints.86 To join αὐτοῦ with ἐντοῖςἁγίοις (STIER) is inadmissible, because far-fetched. The reference is not to the totality of morally good beings in the other world (RUECKERT), or in the holiest of all (CALOVIUS), as Heb. 9:12; nor should prominence be given to the thought, as inhering in the text: God inherits the saints (MEYER, ŒTTINGER, STIER), although they belong to Him, and He to them. This is the carrying out, extension and expansion of the thought, but not an exegesis of the words set before us.
Eph 1:19. And what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe [καὶ τί τὸ ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος τῆς δυνάμεως αὑτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας.]—The third object of the insight is the power of God, which leads from the calling to the inheritance. The “exceeding greatness” of this power is a worthy object of profound insight (2 Cor. 4:7: ὐπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως); it must and can also be experienced, since it makes itself felt “to us-ward,” to those “who believe” in the present, hence, without limiting the circle of those who believe, or passing beyond it, not to all in general, but only to those who admit and consent to this condition appointed by God. Since the preposition designates the direction towards the believers, and the present participle the present time, and the article before the participle marks that word as the ground, condition of the activity (Eph 1:13; 1 John 3:23), and since only experiences of the power of God are spoken of, from which “the exceeding greatness” is to be inferred, we must here hold fast to the proofs in this earthly life (CHRYSOSTOM or to HARLESS, STIER), and not apply it to the future (MEYER, SCHENKEL, who however adds, that the beginning of the consummation manifests itself in this life).87
According to the working of the might Of his Strength,88 κατά τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ.—In this collocation of words the proper subject is ἰσχύς, as δύναμις just before, giving prominence to a characteristic, the strength (ἰσχύς from ἵς =seat of elasticity, sinew, muscle, nape of the neck, stem of a tree, hence vis); δύναμις is brachium divinum, ἰσχύς its muscles; κράτος is the power manifesting itself, the ἐξουσία, which rules (κρατεῖ); ἐνέργεια (ἐν ἔργῳ), efficacia (ERASMUS), the actual efficiency (HARLESS). So BENGEL, CALVIN: robur est quasi radix, potentia autem arbor, efficacia fructus. There is no chance throwing together of words, but an order corresponding to the thought: regard is to be paid chiefly to the efficacy, the effects, in which the power of God’s strength allows itself to be perceived and felt. [The language is intended to exalt our ideas of God’s power in connection with this “eminent act of His omnipotency.”—R.]
Κατά with the accusative juxta, secundum, according to, thus designating the norm and standard as well as the motive and occasion (WINER, p. 375 f.). Comp. 4:7; 1:5, and κατὰνομον (Luke 2:22), κατὰ χάριν (Rom. 4:4). The two notions, “according to” and “by virtue of” are related (1 Cor. 12:8, 9). The simplest connection and that most readily understood by the hearer, is that with “us who believe.” We believe only by virtue of the efficacy of the power of God in Christ and upon our souls. [The meaning of the preposition is something less than propter and something more than according to. On the connection see below.—R.]
So CHRYSOSTOM, who truly and beautifully says: τοῦ ἀναστῆσαι νεκρὸν πολλῷ θαυμασιώτερον τὸ πεῖσαι ψυχάς. Just on this account, because we believe only by virtue of the efficacy of God’s power, which has enough obstacles to faith to overcome in us, we can understand, how great the power of God is. Since believing is not a momentary affair, but a status, preserved by the same power, which produced it, the aorist participle πιστεύσαντες is not necessary (BLEEK), and no room is given for the monstrous thought, that faith according to the power of God is spoken of. It is inadmissible to connect, either with the verb ἐστι which is understood, or with “the exceeding greatness” (SCHENKEL), or with all the points introduced by “what” (HARLESS), or with “may know” (MEYER). [Dr. HODGE also defends the connection of this clause with πιστεύοντας, but it is doubtful whether this is correct. For though undoubtedly expressing a truth, yet it places the rest of the chapter in grammatical dependence on an incidental idea. It has also a suspicion of polemical purpose (against Pelagianism) attached to it, besides pressing too strongly on κατά the sense of “in virtue of.” It is better then with DE WETTE, EADIE, ELLICOTT, ALFORD and others, to accept a reference which Braune does not mention, viz.: to the whole preceding clause: “not however as an explanation (Chrys.) or an amplification (Calv.) of this power, but in accordance with the full ethical force of κατά, as a definition of its mode of operation (Eadie), a mighty measure, a stupendous exemplar by which its infinite powers towards the believing, in its future, yea, and its present manifestations, might be felt, acknowledged, estimated and realized” (ELLICOTT).—R.]
The Apostle’s petition as to its ground. Eph 1:20–23.
Eph 1:20. Which he hath wrought in Christ—Ἠνἐνέργησεν,89 analogous to ἀγάπην ἀγαπᾷν, 2:4, is to be referred to ἐνέργειαν. WINER, p. 210. [The cognate accusative]. Nor is ἐντῷ Χριστῷ, without a reference to εἰςἡμας, Eph 1:19: in Christ is accomplished that efficacy of God, which is powerful toward us. [“In Him” as our spiritual Head (ELLICOTT and others).—R.]
In raising him from the dead, ἐγείραςαὐτὸν ἐκνεκρῶν, marks a fact of his working. [The aorist indicates that the act is contemporaneous with that of the preceding verb. ALFORD justly warns against the danger of regarding, “with the shallower expositors, Christ’s resurrection as merely a pledge of our bodily resurrection, or as a mere figure representing our spiritual resurrection,—not as involving the resurrection of the church in both senses.” Both HODGE and EADIE fall somewhat short of the full conception thus expressed.—R.]
And making him sit at his own right hand in the heavenly places [καὶ καθίσας ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις].—Thus the exaltation, beginning with the resurrection, was completed (1 Pet. 3:21 ff.). Instead of the better supported participle, ἐκάθισεν has been generally substituted, because the Greeks disliked the spinning out of long relative and participial sentences, and easily passed over into the finite verb (WINER, p. 533, b.).90 Ἐνδεξιᾷαὑτοῦ denotes the participation in dominion, the σύνθρονος of the Father (Mark 16:19.; Rom. 8:34; Acts 7:55; Phil. 3:20 f.; Matth. 20:21; Mark 10:37). Comp. also 1 Sam. 10:25; 1 Kings 2:19, in the earthly relations, which are transferred to Christ, Ps. 110:1. The phrase ἐν τοῖςἐ πουρανίοις (see on Eph 1:3), which is the antithesis of ἐκ νεκρῶν, designates space, or as HOFMANN [Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 334) intimates, the relation to the world; ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ distinguishes Him from spirits, ἐν ἐπουρανίοις locates Him and them alike. We may with as little right understand here the status cœlestis (HARLESS and others) as the central place of Divine glory and revelation, the highest, inmost heaven (STIER, SCHENKEL), since the word is used of Satan also (6:11, 12).
[The various local expressions used in the context seem decisive as to the meaning of ἐπουρανίοις. It refers to heavenly places, is more indefinite than ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, but was chosen here probably on account of the details in Eph 1:21 (ELLICOTT).—ALFORD reminds us, that “the fact of the universal idea of God’s dwelling being in heaven, being only a symbolism common to all men, must, not for a moment induce us to let go the verity of Christ’s bodily existence, or to explain away the glories of His resurrection into mere spiritualities. As Stephen saw Him, so He veritably is: in human form, locally existent, over above,” etc.—R.]
Eph 1:21. Over above all principality, and power, and might, and lordship, and every name that is named [ὑπεράνω πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ κυριότητος καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένον].—The word ὑπεράνω (4:10: πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν; Heb. 9:5), the opposite of ὑποκάτω (κλίνης, Luke 8:16; τῆς συκῆς, Jno. 1:51; τῶν ποδῶν, Mark 6:11; Matth. 22:44; Rev. 12:1), can only mean “over, above” [so ELLICOTT, ALFORD] without marking any particular eminence, GREEK FATHERS, BEZA, ESTIUS [EADIE] or dominion (BENGEL), although the latter inheres in the nature of the case (MEYER). It is to be connected with “setting,” and with its genitives (“all principality,” etc.) forms the detailed description and explanation of the phrase, “at his right hand in the heavenly places;” the two belong together, the first being more closely defined by the second.
Of these four names the first three occur in the same order in 1 Cor. 15:24, the first two occur in our Epistle, 3:10, and in Col. 1:16, after εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες, joined with εἴτε also and in the same order, in 1 Pet. 3:22: ὑποταγέντων αὐτῷ ἀγγέλων καὶ ἐξουσιῶν καὶ δυνάμεων. On the other hand in Rom. 8:33: ἄγγελοι and ἀρχαί, like ζωή and θάνατος, δύναμις, ὕψωμα and βάθος, are contrasted with each other by οὔτε—οὔτε; so that we can infer nothing thence respecting our passage.91 A certain consistency is noticeable in the use of these words. Besides the reference to angels is quite obvious, being required here by the context, especially ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. CALVIN. Cur non simpliciter nominavit angelos? Respondeo, amplificandæ Christi gloriæ causa Paulum exaggerasse hos titulos, ac si diceret; nihil est tam sublime aut excelsum, quocunque nomine censeatur, quod non subjectum sit Christi majestati. According to HOFMANN (Schriftbeweis; I. p. 34)92 we cannot understand here a climax descendens (MEYER, STIER). These designations for the world of angels were given through the higher position of the angels as the messengers of God (Ps. 103:20 f.; Heb.1:6 f., 13 f.), as holy (Ps. 89:5; Dan. 8:13). Since the context points to the resurrection of Christ, the Crucified, and His exaltation to a participation in the government of the world, as a fact, in which we see the efficiency of God, according to which He works on us also, in order to make us His children and heirs of His glory, we may well apply these terms to good as well as bad angels, aye, we can scarcely limit the reference to the angels, who reach also into this world, the αἰὼν οὗτος, especially as both πάσης and the concluding phrase “every name that is named,” which corresponds entirely with “nor any other creature” (Rom. 8:38), warrant an unbounded extension, limited only to power and might. HARLESS only concedes this, preferring however the reference to good angels alone, as does MEYER, who then refers “name” to every thing created. In such universality is the passage understood by ERASMUS, RUECKERT, STIER [ALFORD] and others. With STIER we must understand under the first four designations, personalities, not merely principles, forces, factors, recognizing them in “every name that is named,” the transition to the impersonal (τὰ πάντα). Accordingly the following views are to be rejected: the reference to devils alone (SCHOLZ), to Jewish hierarchs (SCHÖTTGEN), to heathen (VAN TILL) human potentates (MORUS); the affirmation of a polemical purpose, not at all indicated, against angel-worship (BUCER, ESTIUS, HUG), or a preservative purpose against possible infection through false gnosis (OLSHAUSEN [HODGE, though not decidedly]); also every attempt to define the different grades of these groups of angels, and the explanation of “name” as a summing up of a nomen dignitatis potentiæve (ERASMUS and others); it is not even to be limited to names of “such a character” (HARLESS).
[It is on some accounts safest to take the four terms here introduced in the widest, most indefinite sense. Still it would seem best, if any limitation is made to refer the words to good angels alone, including of course under that term all created heavenly intelligences. The prevailing reference in these words is to angelic powers, to good (Eph. 3:10; Col. 1:16; 2:10) and bad (6:12; Col. 2:15; 1 Cor. 15:24; comp. Rom. 8:38) alike. The preceding local definition would not exclude the latter, as Christ is placed “over above” all these (besides ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις is apparently applicable to bad angels also, 6:12). But the “verse relates to Christ’s exaltation in heaven rather than His victory over the powers of hell.” Then without; attempting any closer definition of these classes, we may still admit a descensive order throughout: First the Exalted One, then the various gradations of heavenly Intelligence, then “every name that is named,” a view which is favored by the apparent regularity in the order (comp. Col. 1:16). “Every name that is named” includes more than persons, in this view, more than titles of honor: Every thing which can bear a name. No less comprehensive sense seems admissible.—ALFORD accepts the most universal reference for the four terms under discussion, but adopts rather too abstract a sense.—ELLICOTT refers to the list of authors in HAGENBACH, History of Doctrine, § 131.—R.]
Not only in this world, but also in that which is to come [οὐ μόνον ἐν τῶ αἰῶνι τούτω ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι].—This qualifies “named,” establishing the pre-eminence of Christ above all that is ever named in both this world and that to come. BEZA: præstantiam non esse temporariam, sed æternam. We find a parallel in “things present,” “things to come” (Rom. 8:38). Yet the expression here is not purely=now and hereafter [HODGE], but designates the present time as the first age, disappearing in the transition to the future glory, the future as the eternal glory beginning with the return of Christ. Paul takes the reference to time from the system of the world ruling in each period, thinking at once of pre-messianic and post-messianic, terrestrial and celestial worlds. Excellent, but rather abrupt is BENGEL’S remark: αῖών denotat hic non tempus, sed systema rerum et operum suo tempore revelatum et permanens. It is then=always (HARLESS) with respect to this institution of the history of salvation (STIER).93 Comp. my remarks on αἰὼν οῦ̓τος and μέλλων, Biblework, 1 John 2:18, p. 73 f. The connection with καθίσας (CALVIN and others) is incorrect and also the remark of BENGEL, following CHRYSOSTOM: “Imperia, potestas, etc., sunt in futuro, sed tamen NOMINANTUR etiam in seculo hoc; at ea quoque, quæ in præsenti ne nominantur quidem, sed in futuro demum nobis nomine et re patefient, Christo subjecta sunt,”
Eph 1:22. And subjected all things under his feet [καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοῦς ποδας αὐτοῦ]—Even if we retain the participle in Eph 1:20, we must here accept the transition from the participle to the finite verb. The words themselves are not difficult. Evidently, and in this the advance of thought consists, πάντα, “all things,” is to be applied to all that is created, and ὑπέταξεν, “subjected,” with its closer definition, refers of itself as well as on account of Ps. 8:6 (comp. 3:6) to conflict and opposition, which was suggested already by the passage (Ps. 110:1) evidently in mind in Eph 1:20: “set him at his own right hand.” The Lord Himself had quoted Ps. 8:3. The same Psalm (Eph 1:6) is used with special emphasis in 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 2:6–8. Should the Psalm refer to the glory of the first Adam (Gen. 1:26–28) and its restoration, as is definitely indicated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (2:6–8), then we must suppose here, that Paul is led by such thoughts to the use of this passage, especially as the context requires it, treating as it does of what shall occur to us, in accordance with what has occurred to Christ. Dominium nunc illi uni (Christo) tribui potest, quandoquidem per Adamum primum potestatem dignitatemque a Deo concessam nostrum genus amisit (PETER MARTYR). There is therefore no tautological repetition here, but from above descensively the Apostle marks, after a sketch of the dignity of Christ (SCHENKEL), the sovereignty, which subjects all things, even the unconscious creation (OLSHAUSEN). This representation is not merely emphatic, or only a reminiscence (MEYER), but καὶ τὴν προφητικὴν ἐπήγαγε μαρτυρίαν (THEODORET). So HARLESS and STIER in the main.
[The notion of opposition should not be too “strongly pressed, though it is undoubtedly implied. As regards the allusion or citation from Psa. 8:6, if it be regarded as a mere allusion the difficulty disappears; if it be a veritable citation, then we must adopt one of two conclusions: either the Psalm is in a certain sense Messianic, or Paul quotes in the accommodating manner which virtually destroys any specific meaning the Scriptures have. I prefer to adopt the former alternative, little fearing that too many Psalms will be accepted as Messianic. Paul’s allusion is due “to a direct reference under the guidance of the Spirit to a passage in the O. T. which in its primary application to man involves a secondary and more profound application to Christ. In the grant of terrestrial sovereignty the Psalmist saw and felt the antitypical mystery of man’s future exaltation in Christ” (ELLICOTT).—R.]
And gave him to be the head over all things to the church [καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ].—Thus is set forth the office (SCHENKEL) of Christ, and the sphere of His efficiency. Αὐτὸν is in emphatic position, Him. Such an one, thus placed [thus exalted, thus glorified]. We must regard Him too as a gift, a present. Διδόναι is not=τιθέναι. the Apostle might otherwise have said ἔθηκεν or κατέστησεν; it is quite different in 1 Cor. 12:28: “And God hath set (ἔθετο) some in the church.” He gave Him to be “Head over all things-to the church.” We say with equal exactness: He gave Him to be Head, or as Head for the Church. As Head! not as καρδιά, but as κεφαλή. In the head lies the organizing power. SCHUBERT (Geschichte der Seele, p. 163) describes the relation of head and body “as a figure of a love, descending from above to beneath, grasping and moving the corporeal, and of a longing rising from below to above, the work of which it is, to constantly transform the lower nature of that which longs into the higher nature of that which is longed for.” MARTIN Boos boldly says: “Christ dwelling in our humanity is as active as in that which He assumed from Mary.” GERLACH beautifully says: “At once Ruler and Member of His Body.” “Head” designates elsewhere superiority also (1 Cor. 11:3).
The qualifying phrase “over all” is governed by “gave him to be head,” and marks the might (ὑπὲρ) of this Head; πάντα is all without limitation, He is Head over all—to the church, to Christendom; “Head” is not to be supplied again (MEYER). The presence κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα between ἔδωκεν and τῆἐκκλησίᾳ does not at all alter the construction (against HOFMANN, Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 117). The sense is precisely this: “Christ is such a Head of the Church, that He is for all that the Lord over all, over devils, world, etc.” (LUTHER). The whole economy of Creation stands at His disposal as the basis and sphere of activity for the economy of redemption (BECK). Accordingly ὑπὲρ πάντα is not to be joined per trajectionem to αὐτόν (Syriac, GREEK FATHERS, ERASMUS and others), nor is ὑπὲρπάντα to be taken as meaning: above all the good which God has given stands this that He gave Christ as Head of the Church (CHRYSOSTOM), nor is it=præcipue, μάλιστα πάντων (BAUMGARTEN), nor=ὑπερέχουσα πάντων, caput summum (BEZA, RUECKERT: Oberhaupt, OLSH.: the prophets also were heads); nor are we to understand it of bona virtutum (ANSELM), or dona gratiæ, nor is “the natural limitation to be found in τῇ ἐκκλησία” and this dative taken as in commodum ecclesiæ, for the Church (HARLESS). It is altogether unwarrantable to take the neuter for the masculine (JEROME, WAHL).
[The view of Braune is in the main that of modern English commentators. We must reject any sense of the verb but the simple one of “give,” since the dative follows. Christ is given to the church—and given as Head, for the next clause renders this view imperative. The only trouble then is with “over all things;” what is His relation to them? Evidently that of Head also. No other view is admissible exegetically; the question becoming thus a purely grammatical one: Shall we accept a brachyology and understand a second κεφαλήν before τῇ ἐκκλησία (MEYER, STIER, HODGE approvingly): “gave Him the Head over all things (to be the Head) to the church,” or take κεφαλήν as a species of tertiary predicate (ALFORD, EADIE, ELLICOTT): “gave Him as Head over all things to the Church.” The latter seems to be Braune’s view, and is certainly the simpler grammatically. Nor does it throw out of view the grand thought that Christ is Head of the Church. ALFORD: “CHRIST is Head over all things: the Church is the Body of Christ, and as such is the fulness of Him who fills all with all: the Head of such a Body, is Head over all things; therefore when God gives Christ as Head to the Church, He gives Him as Head over all things to the Church, from the necessity of the case.”—R.]
The choice of the word ἐκκλησία for the Christian Church (3:10, 21; 5:23, 25, 27, 29, 32; Phil. 3:6; 1 Cor. 6:4; 12:28) is very apt. GERHARD (Loc. ed, Cotta. x. 3, 20): Chemnitius notat σύγκλησιν de primoribus, magnatibus, consulibus et eorum conventu, διάκλησιν de colluvie promiscuæ multitudinis quando fit congregatio ab agris, ἐκκλησίαν vero de civibus, quando σύνοδος τῶν κατὰ τὴν πόλιν celebratur, eorum scilicet, qui certis legibus sibi devincti unius reipublicæ cives sunt. Appellatio igitur ecclesiæ ad populum Dei translata ostendit, ECCLESIAM DEI NON ESSE COLLUVIEM PROMISCUÆ MULTITUDINIS, sed eorum, qui certis legibus a Deo vocati et sibi invicem sunt obstricti. Athenis erant usitati duplices conventus, ἐκκλησίαι et ἀγοραί vel ἀγοραίαι. Illæ significabant CONVENTUS ORDINATOS, quando universitas civium, eorum scilicet, qui jus civitatis habebant, ordine, justo, a magistratu convocati congregabantur; hæ vero significabant congregationes promiscuas et inordinatas, quando promiscua multitudo hominum in civitatibus et oppidis sine observatione ordinis in unum coibat.—Appellationi igitur ecclesiæ ad populum Dei translatæ inest significatio εὐταξίας καὶ εὐνουίας, qualis est in aristocratia civili, cui opponitur δημοκρατία, ἀκαταστασίας καὶ ἀταξίας plenissima.—Ut civitas non consistit ex medico et medico, aut ex rustico et rustico, sed ex medico et rustico, sicut Aristoteles in ethicis loquitur, ITA QUOQUE ECCLESIA NON CONSTAT EX PASTORE ET PASTORE SEU EX AUDITORE ET AUDITORE, SED EX DOCENTIBUS ET DISCENTIBUS, ATQUE INTER IPSOS AUDITORES SUNT VARII VITÆ STATUS ATQUE ORDINES.
Accordingly the ἐκκλησία has two main features in it, one the ordained unity and the other the calling, which includes in itself a separating out (ἐκλέγεσθαι) from the world not yet called or rejecting the call, and which is consummated through intellectual means. See further under Doctr. Note 5.
Eph 1:23. Which is his body, ῆτις ἐστὶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ—The pronoun ὅστις has an “explanatory element,” introducing the statement of a reason, and is=the old German als welcher, “as which.” So Rom. 2:15: οἵτινες=ut qui (BEZA), qui quidem ostendant (CASTALIO); LUTHER renders it quite well: damit dass sie beweisen, and here: welche da ist. [ALFORD: which same; EADIE, ELLICOTT: which indeed. MEYER: “ut quæ, defining the attribute as belonging to the being of the church”—is perhaps too strong—though true enough.—R.] He is the Head of the church, since it is His Body, τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ (2:16; 4:4, 12, 16; 5:23, 30; Col. 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 6:15; 10:17; 12:13, 27). From this citation of passages, in all of which this view of the Apostle is contained, the frequency of the figure, especially in this Epistle, may be seen. The membership making up the whole, the indispensableness of Christ and the vital fellowship with Him are marked. We must also remember, that here, on account of the ἥτις, only that is treated of, which the church is and has in Christ, and not what He has in it; this is only an inference, though a correct one, and remains in the background, should it enter at all.
[The questions, what constitutes the church? who are true members of the true church? do not enter here; but that Paul here teaches a mystical union, above and beyond any federal or representative union, or ethical union of thought and feeling, seems perfectly clear. We call this a figure, but is it not the reality, and the organic unity of the body the figure? Really and truly the church is the body of Christ, and out of this truth spring many lessons respecting our personal union with Christ. ALFORD: “It is veritably His body: not that which in our glorified humanity He personally bears, but that in which He, as the Christ of God, is manifested and glorified by spiritual organization. He is its Head; from Him comes its life; in Him, it is exalted; in it, He is lived forth and witnessed to; He possesses nothing for Himself,—neither His communion with the Father, nor His fulness of the Spirit, nor His glorified humanity,—but all for His Church, which is in the innermost reality, HIMSELF.” Comp. Col. 1:24, which admits of no satisfactory explanation, unless we accept the fact that the Apostle was conscious of such a union as this.—R.]
The fulness of him who filleth all in all [τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου.]—As respects syntax, this is the intrusion of an apposition, forming a parallel clause, in order to express without a figure, what has just been figuratively explained: “fullness” corresponds to “body,” “of Him filling all in all” to “His.”
On πλήρωμα, comp. Eph 1:10 and PASSOW sub voce. Words ending in—μός as a rule represent the abstract action of the verb, those in—μα the concrete effect, so “that they are for the most part equivalent to the perfect participle passive” (BUTTMANN), like πρᾶγμα, σπέρμα, κήρυγμα, especially here σῶμα (id quod σώζεται). The word is not=πλήρωσις, the act of filling, but is to be taken in the passive sense: all that, or with which any thing is filled, the fulness. So here. [This simple passive sense is adopted by FRITZSCHE, DE WETTE, OLSHAUSEN, STIER, MEYER, and by ALFORD, EADIE, ELLICOTT (“that which is filled, the filled-up receptacle).” As the word was a favorite among the Gnostics (in after times however), so it has been a favorite plaything with commentators since, who have thrown not a little confusion upon its meaning. The simple passive sense is the most natural one; though perhaps not the most usual one, it is certainly allowable. The active sense, the filling up is adopted by HARLESS, who says there is no other sense used in the New Testament, in which view HODGE seems to acquiesce. But what is meant by the active sense: implendi actionem, or id quod res impletur? ELLICOTT speaks of the latter as passive, while HODGE evidently regards it as active (so Braune apparently under 2 below). ALFORD deems it a transition from the abstract sense, denying any active sense to such nouns, but saying that what is thus termed is “a logical transference from the effect to that which exemplifies the effect.” From this it is evident how impossible it is to speak intelligibly about the word in its active and passive senses, until this meaning: that by which any thing is filled, is properly labelled. That is the work of the grammarian, yet it is evident that it is active or passive, according to the point of view: “whether one thinks first of the container, and then of the contained, or the reverse.” HARLESS and HODGE are not justified in saying that the word is always used actively in the New Testament, though this sense is a common one.94 It would give here the meaning complement, or supplement, which seems appropriate in view of the figure of Head and Body. But, on the other hand, this gives a sense which is so remarkable as to raise doubts; for how can Christ be filled by the church? Then again, we are almost forced by this interpretation to take the following participle in a passive sense, which is objectionable grammatically and logically. These reasons are strong enough to lead us to adopt the passive sense, which may be done without any fear of running counter to the usus loquendi of the New Testament.—R.]
Nor does the difficulty lie in the genitive: τοῦ πληρουμ ένου, which refers to Christ. The participle is middle, and, as usage requires in the case of such
correlated words, is used in the same sense as the preceding noun: of Him who fills from out Himself, through Himself (WINER, p. 242), or fills for Himself (FRITZSCHE: qui sibi complet). [The latter sense is adopted by MEYER (in 4th edition, Braune quotes him as accepting a deponent sense), ELLICOTT, EADIE. This reciprocal sense seems to have escaped the notice of Dr. HODGE, who agrees with ALFORD in accepting the active sense, though he admits it is favored only by classical usage. Certainly the active meaning of the participle is not so justifliable as the passive sense of the noun πλήρωμα.—R.] The present tense must also be taken into the account: He is conceived of in the process of filling; whether He succeeds, the result will show; the process is now going on.
The real difficulty lies in τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν, “all in all.” The object τὰπαντα is of course, in accordance with what precedes, to be referred to the entire world of creatures, which Christ fills, naturally as a soul the body, the former however working out beyond the latter, not exclusively in and upon it, and not only working, but being actively present, hence not as blood fills the heart, or water a vessel. “All” is filled by Christ, as is the Church, His Body, hence not mechanically, chemically, or the like. The most difficult point still remains: ἐνπ ᾶσιν “in all.” The preposition ἐν joined with πληροῦσθαι and πλήρωμα must designate that in which He fills; if this is inconceivable, then the Apostle must and would have expressed himself otherwise. Accordingly the neuter cannot be accepted here, since then idem per idem would be asserted, or an exaggeration occur: Alles in Allem [all things in all things, see below under (7)—R.] Following the rule, that those cases which belong to both genders (πάντων, πᾶσι) are to be taken as masculine, unless the context absolutely requires the neuter, we render: in Allen, “in all persons” (so LUTHER originally, but “in Allem” afterwards crept in); it thus marks His filling efficiency in persons, in heavenly spirits and human souls, of which also His relation as Head of the Church obliges us to think. He is the central Personality, working through all things, working in all. Such a Head has the Church, the central sphere of the world which is to be perfected (STIER).95 This explanation is in no particular without supporters, but there is also no incorrect explanation possible which has not been made here.
(1) The connection is viewed incorrectly, by joining the parallel clause “the fulness,” etc., with “him” (Eph 1:22), and taking “which is his body” as parenthetical (ERASMUS), when it is too important to admit of this. BENGEL, too, following SEMLER, is incorrect: “Hoc neque de ecclesia prædicatur, ut plerique censent, neque, ut aliis visum, cum DEDIT construitur, sed absolute ponitur accusativo casu, uti τὸ μαρτύριος, 1 Tim. 2:6. Esther enim epiphonema eorum, quæ a Eph 1:20 dicuntur, innuitque apostolus, in Christo esse PLENITUDNEM patris omnia implentis in omnibus.”
(2) Πλήρωμα is taken in the active sense as supplementum. So the GREEK FATHERS, ESTIUS, CALVIN, BEZA (“ut sciamus Christum per se non INDIGERE hoc supplemento, ut qui efficiat omnia in omnibus revera,” even HARLESS, who holds with BAEHR as the undoubted result of investigation, that πλήρωμα is used in the New Testament only in its active sense, says: “She is the fulness of Christ, not as though she were the glory which dwells in Him, but because He permits His glory, as in all, so to dwell in her; she is the glory, not of one who would be in want without her, but of Him who fills all in all parts,” so HOFMANN (Schniftbeweis, II. 2, p. 118–120). Even STIER points to this, bringing it over out of the middle form; yet this is not se implere, se supplere, but sibi. It is quite as incorrect to take it as=πλῆθος (HESYCHIUS, WAHL: copia cultorum Dei sive Christi, SCHÖTTGEN: multitudo, cui Christus præest).—RUECKERT, too, who is helpless here, is in error, in taking the Church, πλήρωμα, as the means of filling for Christ’s executive efficiency, since the Church can do nothing without Him.—The explanation of CAMERON is a curiosity: full bodily mass.96
(3) The participle τοῦ πληρουένου is taken as passive (CHRYSOSTOM, Vulgate); ἀντὶτοῦ πληροῦντος (THEODORET, ŒKUMENIUS, OLSHAUSEN, HARLESS); as deponent (MEYER). BENGEL remarks: “i.e., πληροῦτος; sed major via mediæ vocis, in denotanda relations ejus, qui implet et eorum, qui implentur”—quite correct!
(4) The meaning of the verb is certainly not: to make complete (Vulgate, ESTIUS: adimpletur).
(5) As regards the subject of the verb, HARLESS, referring to THEODORET: τοῦ μὲν Χριστοῦ σῶμα, τοῦ δὲ παπρὸς πλήρωμα—οἰκεῖ ἐν αὐτῆ τῆ (ἐκκλησίᾳ) καὶ ἐμπεριπατέῖ κατὰ τὴν προφητικὴν φωνήν says: it must be referred to Christ, while STIER, who founds his proof less on the passage in question than on the organism of the Epistle, says: God must be considered the subject. [So ALFORD, but the great majority of commentators adopt the other reference.—R.]
(6) Τὰ πάντα has been limited to the members of the Church, to members of the body of Christ (ESTIUS, STIER), to the spiritual results wrought by Christ, or the Christian’s faculties of soul (GROTIUS: Christus in omnibus (credentibus) implet omnia, mentem luce, voluntatem piis affectibus, corpus ipsum obsequendi facultate), to different peoples, nations (FLATT, MORUS).
(7) The preposition ἐν is taken as instrumental (MEYER). [ALFORD: “The thing with, or by, or in which as an element, the filling takes place. So that the expression will mean, with all, not only gifts, not only blessings, but things.” So ELLICOTT, who thus explains the whole verse: “The Church is the veritable mystical Body of Christ, yea the recipient of the plenitudes of Him who filleth all things, whether in heaven or in earth, with all the things, elements, and entities, of which they are composed.” This view accepts πᾶσιν as neuter, and is on the whole preferable to every other interpretation, unless that of Braune be an exception. See above.—R.]
(8) Πᾶσιν is taken as neuter and rendered: in all parts (HARLESS and others), or in all places, everywhere (FLATT). BENGEL, (neutrum, masculini potestatem) does not belong here, nor does he waver; he refers it to μέλεσι τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, to persons. It is also taken adverbially: ἐν παντί (JEROME: sicut adimpletur imperator, si quotidie ejus augetur exercitus—ita et—Christus—sic tamen, ut omnia adimpleantur in omnibus, i.e., ut qui in eum credunt, cunctis virtutibus pleni sint). Indeed, πάνταἐνπᾶσιν has been taken adverbially (SCHÖTTGEN: omnia omnino), or referred to the eternal (HOLZHAUSEN).
(9) It is entirely groundless to find a polemic purpose here, especially an account of the word πλήρωμα used afterwards by the Gnostics also (MEIER, BAEHR).
(10) Quite as groundless is the assumption that the ubiquity of the glorified Body is taught here (CALOVIUS).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. God, whose power and glory is so exceeding great (Eph 1:19), at whose command and disposal are all things, even Christ, whom He raised and exalted above all heavenly and earthly, personal and unpersonal powers (Eph 1:20–22), works freely, but without arbitrariness, conditioning Himself, upon men—not without faith (Eph 1:19), not without Christ (Eph 1:22, 23), so that the prayer also (Eph 1:16, 17: ἵνα), which is offered believingly in the name of Christ, has a prospect of being granted. Precisely in the work of Redemption is manifested the worshipful glory of God, who in self-conditioning love moderates Himself, lowers and limits Himself, in order to employ and to show His unbounded love, to impart of His nature and to make blessed. His whole power, strength, might and efficacy stand in the service of His love.
2. Christ, who as to His human nature has in His Father His God (Eph 1:17), is our Lord, the Head of His Church, at the right hand of God in glory, of unlimited power over angels and men, ministering and hostile spirits, as well as over the economy of the creation and of salvation. He cannot be put down to the level of Divine humanity and God likeness. Yet our section says nothing of His state of humiliation, speaks only of His state of exaltation, beginning with the resurrection from the dead, refers to the humanity, which He assumed, appropriated, and did not afterwards relinquish,97 only that in what the Father did in Him, we might have a standard for what the Almighty God, who through Him is our Father, will and shall do and work in us (Eph 1:19, 20: εἰς ἡμᾶς—κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν—ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ). He is the Head, to whom there will not be wanting a body, which He will prepare for Himself; He cannot be a “mere Head.” But he has also no vicar, such as the Pope. Sancta enim Christiana sive Catholica ecclesia consistere absque ISTO capite optime potest et constitisset certe rectius, ac melius cum eo ageretur, nisi diabolus illud caput in medium projecisset et exaltasset (Articles of Smalkald).
3. The connection between creation and redemption is presupposed here; the two spheres do not fall asunder; Christ, the acme in both, holds them together; the former must serve the latter (Eph 1:21–23).
4. Respecting the angels, who are included in Eph 1:21. “over above all principality, and power, and might, and lordship,” it is only indicated that they are personalities, and affirmed that they have power and might. From the series of these designations, which can scarcely be taken as a descending climax [though this is the most plausible hypothesis—R.], nothing can be inferred as to the ranks or groups of angels.98 [“On the nature of angels, consult the able treatise by TWESTEN, Dogmatik, Vol. II. especially § 1, 4, the essay by STUART, Bibliotheca Sacra for 1843, p. 88–154, EBRARD, Dogmatik, § 228 sq., Vol. I. p. 276, and the remarks of LANGE, Leben Jesu, Part II. p. 41 f.” (ELLICOTT).—All that is expressed is well set forth by Wesley: “We know that the king is above all, though we cannot name all the officers of his court. So we know that Christ is above all, though we are not able to name all His subjects.”—R.]
5. The Church. On this subject our section teaches more. As regards its origin the name ἐκκλησία (Eph 1:22), “the calling of God” (Eph 1:18) show what is indicated by “Head” or “gave Him to be Head” (Eph 1:22) viz.: The Church results not from a physical or purely world-historical process without the creative power and fatherly love of God; it is His work, His gracious gift, and indeed His Word is efficient therein, Christ, also, as the Eternal Word, as the power organizing the whole (τὸ σῶμα), through the word, as the intellectual means of the ingathering. The extent of the Church is also pointed out in two directions:
a) On earth: “the faith which is among you in the Lord Jesus” (Eph 1:15) and “to us-ward who believe” (Eph 1:19)—the faith in Jesus, wrought in men through the word, describes the domain of the Church: where (καθʼ ὐμᾶς) faith is there is the Church, the congregation, even if it is wanting in particular persons or in many. The extent is not to be limited by Donatist or Anabaptist notions of the Church; she has, according to the purity of the word, the power of the preaching, the vitality of the faith, her degrees, quo purior et sincerior est verbi prœdicatio, eo etiam purior est ecclesiæ status (JOHN GERHARD, Loc. XI. p. 195). But it should not be said, that there is no Church where sinners are and are tolerated (Anabaptists, SCHWENKFELD and others).
b) On earth and in heaven: “the fulness of Him who filleth all in all” (Eph 1:23); she is not merely a temporal institution, within the visible world, she embraces men after as well as before death. “Of all the names which the Church can and does bear, not one is so immeasurably deep and yet so transparently clear, so sharply defined and yet so inexhaustibly rich, at once so real and spiritual, external and internal, obvious and mysterious as this one: she is the Body of Christ. It is this name and no other, which the New Testament Church has not in common with the Old Testament Church, and in which all her superiority over the latter is included; time and eternity, suffering and glory, blessing and curse, for all over whom the name of Christ is named, lie in its lap, and itself a riddle, to be first solved hereafter, yet all the riddles proposed to us by the present life find in it their solution” (DELITZSCH).
The completion of the Church is an object of the Divine government of the world, and has begun here in Christendom by the path of faith, to which the inheritance in the saints is certain (Eph 1:18, 19, 23).
6. Faith has its ground “in the Lord Jesus (Eph 1:15), its place of manifestation in the Church (καθʼ ὑμᾶς Eph 1:5), its worth and its position before love (Eph 1:15), its importance and value for God, who requires it as the condition of salvation (Eph 1:19: “to us-ward who believe”), from which may be inferred at the same time, that it has different degrees, since the Apostle joins together himself and others, also since the participle is present, that it is not to be conceived of as an act once for all, but as “a continuing life-movement to be constantly renewed.”
7. Beside faith stands love, which is germinally included in the former, since this “is an act of self-emptying and surrender to a gracious God,” who is Love. But it is not to be regarded as a virtue, by means of which we become well-pleasing to the beloved Love; it comes into existence with faith, which lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and thus attains to righteousness before God, and is the mother of all virtues.—In the phrase “unto all the saints” no limitation can be perceived, since he who loves all the members of the Church, the orthodox and the erring too, will imitate his Lord Jesus, the Good Samaritan of the world in Samaritan love (Luke 10:37: “Go thou and do likewise”). The context leads only to this emphasizing of love.
8. The ground of hope is the calling of God and its goal the “inheritance” of God. It comes from above, points and looks upward; it lifts us out of the natural ego and above the visible world about us.99
9. Knowledge is both path (ἐν ἐπιγώσει, Eph 1:17) and goal (εἰς τὸ εἰδέςαι, Eph 1:18); it is a matter capable of growth, for it has but to ponder the thoughts of the eternal, creative God. Man’s knowledge is not perfect within the domain of creation, still less can he know the things of the invisible world. Only by living in a sphere does he gather knowledge of what is found there; knowledge comes from experience of occurrences. Without a disposition of the heart the sense of the understanding is not enlarged and sharpened. Sensible, mental, spiritual knowledge refers to life-spheres, in which he who knows must move. Only the believing, loving, longing one knows and grows in knowledge unto knowledge.
10. The prayer of the Apostle has it starting-point in what God has given, and its goal in what God should give. From thankful acknowledgment, he proceeds to requests, petitions; with the faith and love of the church before his eyes, he rises to supplication for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, for wider knowledge of what God is, on behalf of their inner life. This occurs daily. Thus have we all, ministers and members of the church, especially the former, to learn, in order to practise it, what furthers the Kingdom of God in general and in particular: such prayer is a means of grace full of blessing for those who offer it, as well as for those for whom it is offered.
11. The consummation in the case of individuals is conditioned by the church and conditions its consummation. Hence “His inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:18). Outside the church we do not advance, nor salvation become ours, whatever we may be, or accrue to us, wherever we stand; it is a gift, for which we must be prepared. The fulness of the gift and our perfection finally coincide.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
It is a joy, when in social circles one hears from another, just as of city and state events, so especially of the kingdom of God, the church of Christ, of the faith and love of Christians.—We should not judge the faith of particular persons in a church, but rejoice in the faith within the church, though it be only among the minority; so long as there is believing preaching, supplication for all that concerns the church, order in the administration of the sacraments, grace at table and family worship, use of the best hymns, since we have so many poor ones, and many another sign of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the church, a stranger who does not know the individuals at all, may and ought to rejoice therein and speak thereof.—Love to all Christians! As we must pray every Sunday for love toward all men, so love to all Christians is not so easily brought about. The orthodox, pietists, and those who deal earnestly with God’s word and the confessions of the church, are least likely to encounter love from those, who regard themselves as precisely the liberal Christians; such fall in much more readily with those who are against the Church of Christ than with these. Always reckon among “all Christians” those first, who are to you the most unpleasant, thus you will best perceive the weight of this injunction and your own weakness.—Who of us always begins his prayers with thanksgiving, as did the Apostle? We rather pray for what we lack, than thank for what we have received. This should not be.
Men rejoice much, if they are thought of at a distance; they part well-nigh always with the request: Remember me! It is something beyond this, when such remembrance rises into intercession, and one remembers the absent, not merely pleasantly or listlessly, in conversation with men, but devoutly in prayer to God.—Without knowledge we do not attain to knowledge; only in the light do we see light. The Apostle does not indeed preach the Word of learning or science, but still it is spoken against ignorance, indiscretion, narrowness. Only that the centre of man, the heart and temper with the will be open to the light, to knowledge!—As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10), so the starting point for this is insight into our misery and poverty; poor human beings generally swell out with their own worth, and just in this way fritter away what they have of God’s gifts. We must in the end seek our worth above, if we would find it; else we get into a pitiful satisfaction.
The three most important objects of our knowledge: 1. God’s call—in our need; 2. God’s heritage—in our heart; 3. God’s strength—in our longing and striving.—As the world needs revelation beside the wisdom from experience, so a man also needs besides wisdom and prudence the private revelation to teach what and how he should act and suffer and bear.—Our hope rests on Christ in God. What the Father, to whom Christ in His holy humanity prayed, praying as to His God, has done to Him, in and upon Him, when He exalted Him from the dead to His right hand, that shall occur to thee, since He works upon thee, yet only in proportion to thy faith in thy Saviour.—Be, become and remain a member of the Church which is His Body! Those are beheaded rather, who deny the Lord to save their heads, than those who in holy martyrdom lost their heads, to remain with their Head.
STARKE:—Faith has to do with the gospel, love with the law. Faith takes, love gives; the former has the benefits, the latter the duties.—We must not seek the saints only in heaven, for they are certainly already on the earth. The imperfection of sanctification and holiness does not deny the truth of these things.—See here, how a preacher should remember his congregation before God in prayer!—As it is one of the signs and duties of a faithful teacher, now to thank and now to pray to God for his congregation, so it is not less the characteristic of a good hearer, to give the teacher, whose intercession he will confidently expect as a blessing to himself, great cause for thanksgiving.—The possessions of our glorious inheritance are so great and excellent, that no man can understand them without the illumination of the Holy Ghost.—The mere science of the letter in Divine things, obtained by the natural powers of godless people is no real enlightenment nor proper knowledge of Jesus Christ.—The call to the kingdom of God must stand at the basis of every external calling which we have in our sphere of life, that we may master it.—Conversion is a great and almighty work of God, hence not the power of man, nor consisting in a mere thought of the brain, but is a great change of soul, since all its powers are turned away from sin and the world to heaven and God.—Lazarus was awakened by Christ with a word, but how many sermons did He use to awaken the spiritually dead Jews, and yet they would not let themselves be awakened. God’s power and grace for the conversion of man is in itself infinite, yet He will force no man, but leaves him the freedom to resist.—The Christian Church is the Body of Christ and hence closely united with Him. She receives all her fulness from Him; from Him, the Head, flows all strength into the members. Although she here finds herself surrounded with much weakness and misery, yet is she still glorious in her Head, who already reigns in glory.
A. H. FRANCKE:—This then is also wisdom, to know that we cannot be wise unless there be a God and we can receive it from Him in answer to prayer. The Apostle does not say, he wishes that a university might be established in the city of Ephesus, in which many professors would take, positions, that by this means the people might be made wise,—but: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom.
RIEGER:—Beside the glances into the distance and the hope of our calling in the invisible and eternal, beside the insight into the economy of God, without us, we must not disregard the insight into the necessary truths learned by experience of God’s work of grace within us, that each do their part in making the heart steadfast and full of confidence and love. If a man thinks of the depth of his fall, the throng and deceit of his foes, the powerful hindrances to his salvation, then he may well desire to look into the greatness of the power of God, which is employed in his calling and preservation unto blessedness.—In faith we can most precisely notice, how God applies His transcendent might and yet how man is not overcome by it in a violent manner, but is so disposed, that he can maintain his convictions, his love for light, his obedience under its influence.—Believing is opposed by the love of our own life so deeply inherent in us, by so many offences occurring to us in the world’s ways; therefore it requires the working of His mighty strength. This power of God and its effect is indeed still concealed in us, covered up by our weaknesses, and behind the curtain of the flesh not yet fully to be judged; but in Jesus Christ it has already attained to victory.—The Head and the Body together make a whole; in the church is seen the fulness of Him who filleth all in all; Christ applies the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him to the completing and perfecting of this His church; He does not leave her until He has also fulfilled all that is well-pleasing to God, and presented her, blameless, filled with all the fruits of righteousness.—He who stands in vital fellowship with Him, has all things.—All that is not yet disclosed to you, remains yours still in this fulness.
PASSAVANT:—Do you detect no result of this Divine power in you, no new life from God, or no hunger and thirst after deliverance out of the old nature into the new nature of the friends of the Lord; oh, do not trust yourself, do not trust thy best thoughts, thy most beautiful feelings, thy noblest strivings, thy best beliefs, for there is also a vain, a false, self-made, fancied faith, a faith leading to God as little as coming from God.—Are they holy and good, those powers, Jesus is still more holy and glorious above them; and have they on God’s account, as is the case, as angels of light an influence upon the worlds of God, upon the earth upon us, they receive from Christ their power and strength, they stand under His supreme influence; He directs them, He equips them. Are they unholy and evil, those powers, even hero Jesus will have power and maintain authority; will punish their evil nature, will restrain their corrupting influence and destroy their power, aye, has already, as the Dying and Crucified One, broken and destroyed their power.—All in all: In the angels of His power, in the glorified righteous, in His saints, and all the Blessed, their only clear and heavenly radiance, their Divine joy, their eternal peace, their blessedness, their glory. All in all: Among the angels of disobedience, about the unrighteous, the ungodly and the damned, for all the Light shining with eternal rays of anxiety and terror through their darkness; the eye, that with a flame of fire searches forever through their inmost nature; the power, that always from without and from within tends them with a rod of iron; the word, the eternal word, judging and condemning them in their own hearts, ever anew, ever more penetratingly, more irrevocably, more awfully. All in all: In all His worlds, from the lowest to the highest degrees, in all powers and glories, from the smallest to the most exalted of constellations, of suns, which excel all others in clearness and glory. He is the Divine, infinite fulness of light, of life, from out which they gladly rise in His heavens.
HEUBNER:—Thanksgiving and prayer are the inward emotions of a holy mind, the inward holy choir.—Only what proceeds from God’s revelation, which is attested to man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, is true wisdom. Every one must have his own revelation of Christianity, for he should not believe on the testimony of a stranger.—The Christian knows not only his misery, but also his blessedness, how rich and glorious is the inheritance ordained by God for the saints, and from the greatness of his blessedness he knows the greatness of Divine grace. All this can be known and valued only by an enlightened eye, because it has not the dazzling glitter of earthly things. The evil spirit blinds man, so that he does not perceive how great is the blessedness won by Christ, so that he in his blindness thinks this disturbs his happiness and lays a yoke upon him.—God’s mental power shows itself in what He has made out of man, in the transformation of the single sinner as well as of the heathen world. What philosopher could have suspected this? What did Apollonius accomplish? Nothing, save that the next generation held him to be what he was, a charlatan.—The resurrection of Christ is a token of spiritual life, of the regeneration of humanity, to take place through the Risen and Exalted Christ.—Christ is the Lord of the whole world of spirits, visible and invisible; He has authority over all ruling powers in heaven and on earth. Paul’s words are an amplification of Matth. 28:18.—This heavenly King is given to the Church as Head; she is committed to Him in specie; over her He has immediate oversight and care; she is to Him the dearest of all, because He has bought her with His own blood.—The Church is the Body of Christ, she is a communion, entirely permeated by His Spirit, the members being animated and controlled by His Spirit; she is the very centre of His efficiency.
STIER:—The most powerful and yet most humble way of exhorting is with this introduction: I pray for thee!—No thanksgiving without petition, so long as perfection and completeness are not yet there.—Our state of grace does not indeed begin with this deeper insight, but only through this does it indeed advance: may all preachers then learn from the Apostles, to work properly in their sermons and in their congregations for this end.—The Spirit of God cannot begin entirely without knowledge, nor work through dim feeling toward new will and life.—Illumination is not itself as yet sanctification, but is the immediately vital transition thereto from faith, which is at first, in and before experience, a matter of knowledge.—To know God—the highest aim of all wisdom of the spirit.—In the heart is all decided, faith, insight, desire, will.—The Apostle unfolds and portrays the supremacy of the Exalted One in the domain of power, especially in the kingdom of grace, of the Spirit, making alive again the dead in sin on the earth, in the church.—In this world there are many names before God and Christ, that we do not know or name, but hereafter we shall learn them.—Church is the assembly or unity of those called to the fellowship of salvation in Christ; it is the growing, developing body of Christ.
LEUPOLD (Sermons for Whitsunday on Eph 1:15–19): The heavenly gifts, in which the children of God rejoice with praise to-day. 1) The grace of God, enriching us in the knowledge of salvation; 2) The power of God, causing this knowledge to become a might; 3) The faithfulness of God, carrying forward the good work already begun to the blessed goal.—How do we prove ourselves thankful for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and His gifts? 1) By our knowing His gifts better; 2) ever imploring them more faithfully for ourselves and others; 3) by letting ourselves be filled by them and their power become more perceptible and precious in us.—What are the Christian’s festival petitions? 1) That he may grow in the knowledge of salvation; 2) that he may grow in fellowship with the Saviour and all saints; 3) that he may not forget to give thanks for the unmerited favors of God.—The high significance of the Pentecostal gift: 1) It comes from the Lord; prayer is its condition; 2) In it the Lord comes to us; knowledge of God and His plan of salvation, of Christ and His saving work, is its proof; 3) Through it we come to the Lord; living faith, working in love is its crown.—The fellowship of believers, holy and glorious: 1) The spirit of revelation endows it; 2) faith in the Lord Jesus founds it; 3) Love to all saints strengthens it; 4) Fraternal intercession crowns it.
WINTER (Eph 1:20–23):—The ascension of Christ His exaltation to the right hand of God in heaven: 1. Let us so consider it. 2. Let us perceive the transcendent consolation therein inherent for us: a) now is He properly attested as our Saviour and Deliverer; b) now we know, not only that He still lives, but has power to defend us and His kingdom; c) now we may cheerfully go there too. 3. The high and holy duties proceeding from this: a) that we obey Him in all things; b) commit to Him ourselves and our whole life; c) seek not what is below, but what is above, and have our conversation in heaven.—Christ all in all! 1) The Lord of all in heaven; 2) the Almighty Head of His Church on earth.
[HODGE:—In praying that the Ephesians might be enlightened with spiritual apprehensions of the truth, the Apostle prays for their sanctification. In praying that they might have just conceptions of the inheritance to which they were called, he prayed that they might be elevated above the world. And in praying that they might know the exceeding greatness of the power exercised in their conversion, he prayed that they might be at once humble and confident,—humble, in view of the death of sin from which they had been raised; and confident, in view of the omnipotence of that God who had begun their salvation.
Eph 1:15. Community of faith begets community of feeling, and this brother-love is an instinctive emotion, as well as an earnest obligation. In that spiritual temple which the Spirit is rearing in the sanctified bosom, faith and love are the Jachin and Boaz, the twin pillars that grace and support the structure.
Eph 1:16. The Apostle, though he had visited them, does not felicitate himself on his pastoral success among them, but gives thanks on this account to God.—The Apostle gave thanks, and his thanks ended in prayer.
Eph 1:17. It is only when the prayerful study of the Bible is blessed by spiritual influence that wisdom is acquired.—This knowledge of God concerns not the works of His creation, which is but the “time-vesture” of the Eternal, but the grace and the purposes of His heart, His possession and exhibition of love and power.
Eph 1:18. If the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God be conferred, then the scales fall from the moral vision, and the cloudy haze that hovers round it melts away.—Not only had they been the objects of God’s affection—but also, and especially, of God’s power. Infinite love prompted into operation omnipotent strength.
Eph 1:19. If the resurrection of Jesus be the normal exhibition of Divine power, other similar exhibitions are pledged to Christ’s people.
Eph 1:20. The specimen and pledge of that power displayed in quickening us, is Christ’s resurrection. 1. It is transcendent power. 2. It is power already experienced by belieEph 1:3. It is resurrectionary power, displayed in restoring life. 4. The resurrection of Jesus is in this respect not merely a specimen or illustration—it is also a pledge. Present spiritual life and future resurrection are both involved.—Jesus was placed at the Father’s “right hand.” 1. It is the place of honor. 2. It is the place of power. 3. It is the place of happiness—happiness possessed, and happiness communicated.
Eph 1:22. The brow once crowned with thorns now wears the diadem of universal sovereignty; and that hand, once nailed to the cross, now holds in it the sceptre of unlimited dominion. He who lay in the tomb has ascended the throne of unbounded empire. Jesus, the brother-man, is Lord of all: He has had all things put under His feet—the true apotheosis of humanity.—The history of the church is a proof extending through eighteen centuries; a proof so often tested, and by such opposite processes, as to gather irresistible strength with its age; a proof varied, ramified, prolonged, and unique, that the exalted Jesus is Head over all things to the church.
Eph 1:23. Head and body are correlative, and are organically connected. There is first a connection of life—at the same time a connection of power,—and, in fine, a connection of sympathy.—The Head of the Church is at the same time Lord of the Universe. While He fills the Church fully with those blessings which have been won for it and are adapted to it, He also fills the universe with all such gifts as are appropriate to its welfare—gifts which it is now His exalted prerogative to bestow.—R.]
 Eph 1:15.—א.1 A. B. and some other authorities omit τὴν ἀγάπην; א.3 adds it. The omission is an evident error of the transcriber. [K. L., nearly all versions, most fathers support the longer reading, which is adopted by Tischendorf, Meyer, Ellicott and the great majority of editors and commentators. The repetition of τήν readily accounts for the omission, while there is little reason for accepting an insertion from Col. 1:4.—In the above emendations Ellicott has been followed. For this cause is adopted in preference to wherefore (the rendering for διό) and on this account (which is more modern). The more indefinite participial construction, having heard, is necessary here; the faith which is among you is more exact than your faith (see Exeg. Notes), while the love which ye have brings out the force of the second τήν.—R.]
 Eph 1:16.—[The Rec. reads: μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιούμενος, on the authority of D.3 E. K. L. (F. G. transposing: ποιούμενος ὑμῶν), most cursives. Vulgate, Syriac versions, Coptic, most fathers; accepted by Tischendorf (but not in all editions), Griesbach, Ellicott. Wordsworth (De Wette and Braune tacitly). In א. A. B. D.,1 and about 10 cursives, ὑμῶν is omitted; accepted by Rückert, Lachmann, Meyer, Alford. The question is a delicate one: Was the word inserted where the meaning is so obvious, or was it omitted because occurring so immediately before? The variation in position favors the former theory, but a similar omission by nearly the same authorities in 1 Thess. 1:2 is almost decisive for the latter. See Exeg. Notes for the interpretation of Meyer and Alford, resulting from the acceptance of the briefer reading.—R.]
 Eph 1:18.—Instead of καρδίας (א. A. B. D. F. E. G. K. L. and others) a few [Rec., fathers, no uncials] have διανοίας, an evident gloss from 4:18. [There should be merely a comma after enlightened in the English text.—On the reasons for rejecting the absolute construction followed in the E. V., see Exeg. Notes.—R.]
 Eph 1:18.—καί is omitted in א.1 A. B. [D.1 F.; by Lachmann, Rückert, Alford, Braune. It is found in א.3 D.3 E. K. L., nearly all cursives, retained by Tischendorf, Meyer, Ellicott, Eadie. The probability is against its genuineness, yet it may have been omitted because καί follows in Eph 1:10.—R.]—A very few authorities substitute τί for τίς.
 Eph 1:19.—[On this choice of words, see Exeg. Notes.—R.]
 Eph 1:20.—[Braune apparently accepts the reading ἐνέργησεν, which is sustained by א. D. F. K. L. (So Rec.), accepted by Ellicott among other careful critics. The perfect ἐνήργηκεν (A. B.) is adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, mainly for the sufficient reason that the more usual aorist would scarcely have been altered to the perfect, while the succeeding aorists might readily occasion the alteration from the perfect.—Hence we render: “hath wrought.”—R.]
 Eph 1:20.—א. A. B. and others read: καθίσας [adopted by Rückert, Lachmann, Alford. Tischendorf varies. The Rec. reads ἐκάθισεν, with D. F. K. L. and most cursives. So Eadie, Ellicott, and Meyer (apparently); but the change to the finite verb looks more like the attempted relief of the construction.—R.]
 Eph 1:20.—Instead of ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις in א.1 and most authorities, ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς [an evident gloss] is found in B. with a few minor authorities.
 Eph 1:21.—[Far above (E. V.) involves more than is expressed by the Greek word ὑπεράνω, according to the most exact commentators.—R.]
 Eph 1:23.—[The Rec. omits τά before πάντα, but on altogether insufficient authority. No important alterations have been made in the rendering of this clause, because it is almost impossible to change the literal rendering of the E. V., without substituting an explanation for the translation: Braune’s view would require: all things in all (persons), but the difference of gender he accepts cannot be expressed in an English rendering.—R.]
[On the other hand, the aorist must not be taken as frequentative, so as to show from such a sense, that he had frequent communication with them as a well-known church. Even EADIE, who at first adopted this view, citing Kühner and Buttmann in support of it, is disposed to defer to the judgment which WINER (p. 260) pronounces against it. HODGE seems to have been led into the same error.—R.]
[MEYER admits no distinction between the two passages, while EADIE, finding this form singular in the New Testament (though frequently used for the possessive genitive in later classical Greek), makes it denote more characteristic possession, differing thus from nearly all the commentators.—R.]
 [“In ἐπί with a genitive, the apparent temporal reference partakes somewhat of the local reference of juxtaposition,” BERNHARDY. So Alford, Ellicott, and now Eadie who formerly omitted the sub-local reference. The preposition “serves to express the concurrent circumstances and relations, in which and under which an event took place.”—R.]
[On the force of ἵνα comp. TITTMANN, Syn. N. T., II., p. 35, ff., who is perhaps the ablest defender of the frequency of its ecbatic signification. But many of the instances he cites are very doubtful. The eventual or ecbatic sense (indicative of result) is not defensible here. The very best explanation of the force of ἵνα after verbs of praying, etc., is given by ALFORD (on 1 Cor. 14:3): “The idea of purpose is inseparably bound up in this particle, and can be traced wherever it is used. At the same time, prayer being a direct seeking of the fulfilment of the purpose on account of which we pray—not like many other actions, indirectly connected with it,—the purport and purpose become compounded in the expression.” This sub-final force is accepted by ELLICOTT, denied by EADIE and by MEYER, who rejects everything short of the strict final sense. The ecbatic sense is rare, it must be admitted, and due to “Hebrew teleology,” which reverently accepted a prophecy as fulfilled—R.]
[It is perhaps unwise to press any Christological reference upon this phrase upon the ground of its parallelism with the preceding one, though this is preferable to the many distorted views, which have been adopted through fear of an Arian interpretation.—R.]
[EADIE and HODGE defend the formal reference to the Holy Spirit here, but it seems better with ALFORD and BRAUNE to accept πνεῦμα as “the complex idea, of the spirit of man indwelt by the Spirit of God, so that as such, it is His special gift.” This intermediate or complex sense is that suggested in my Excursus, Romans, p. 235, B., but too often overlooked.—R.]
 [These genitives are also characterizing genitives, it would seem. EADIE takes the latter as indicating the mode by which the wisdom is imparted, which appears illogical. Dr. HODGE does not clearly indicate what view he adopts, but apparently inclines toward that accepted above.—R.]
 [The use of the verb in this passage, applying it in the second instance to God, contradicts the position taken by EADIE, that ἐπί has in our word an additive force, referring to the successive increments of knowledge, for in that case it could not be applied to God, as indeed he affirms ἐπίγνωστς never is.—R.]
[ELLICOTT says of the phrase, “the eyes of your heart:” “A somewhat unusual and figurative expression, denoting the inward intelligence of that portion of our immaterial nature (the ψυχή) of which the καρδία is the imaginary seat.” Comp. MEYER, ALFORD, HARLESS and STIER.—R.]
 [Dr. HODGE divides the prayer of the Apostle into three leading petitions: 1. For adequate knowledge of Divine truth; 2. For due appreciation of the future blessedness of the saints; 3. For a proper understanding of what they themselves had already experienced in their conversion. This is well enough for homiletical purposes, but it is very unsatisfactory as an exegesis of the passage, since it places as co-ordinate three clauses, which hold very different relations to each other, destroying altogether the proper final force of εἰς, besides being open to other objections. ALFORD rightly takes εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι as setting forth the purpose of the πεφωτισμένους, not of the πνεῦμα σοφίας. What is now described is involved in the latter, not its object, but that of the former.—R.]
 [This interpretation should not be lightly passed over, since it is sustained by WINER (in earlier editions, not in 6th and 7th), DE WETTE, MEYER and ELLICOTT. The reason for adopting it is the assumption that the article should precede our phrase, were it joined directly with κληρονομίας αῦτοῦ, since that expression is so complete in itself as to admit of no qualification forming one conception with it (which is the condition of the omission of the article). Our phrase would then, according to ELLICOTT, define the sphere in which the riches, etc., are peculiarly found, felt and realized. To this view, however, there are grave objections. It is awkward to begin with; it disturbs the grammatical parallelism of the clauses, and logically it represents Paul as praying that they might know what great things are already among Christians, This last objection MEYER, who on all possible occasions adopts a reference to the future kingdom of God at the second Advent, avoids by saying that Paul conceives of it as present (vergegenwärtiges). Nor does the absence of the article interfere with the other interpretation. Comp. HARLESS and ALFORD for a clear statement of the case. We give the paraphrase of the latter: “His inheritance in, whose example and fulness, and embodying is in the saints.” EADIE and HODGE apparently restrict “inheritance” to the future blessing, the former expanding this idea with his usual felicity as a practical expositor.—R.]
[ELLICOTT agrees with SCHENKEL in taking the primary reference to be to the future, but admits a secondary present reference, which MEYER denies. See the beautiful climax ELLICOTT gives in his note. But the other view is preferable, on the grammatical grounds urged by Braune, and because of the comparison with the resurrection of Christ. See HODGE, who quotes CALVIN’S remarks against the notion that this language would be frigid hyperbole if applied to our experience in this life. Dr. HODGE, however, incorrectly takes our clause as a third petition. ELLICOTT and MEYER again supply ἐστί, with which they connect εἰς ἡμᾶς. It is better, with most, to join it with δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ.—ALFORD retains “to us-ward” as better indicating the prominence which belongs to “us” in the fact of its direction. “But it is not the power which works faith in us, except in so far indeed as faith is a portion of its whole work: here the πιστεύοντες are the material on which the power works.”—R.]
[ALFORD and ELLICOTT prefer “strength of his might;” the former says: “The latter (ἰσχύς) is the attribute subjectively considered; the former (κρώτος) the weight of that attribute, objectively esteemed.” Most commentators accept this distinction; the question is only, whether the inherent strength (ἰσχύς) is best expressed in English by the word strength or might. The former seems preferable.—R.].
 [See Textual Note 6, where the reading ἐνήργηκεν is accepted. MEYER notes its distinctive sense here in referring to an act completed, as viewed by the writer.—R.]
[ELLICOTT adopting the reading ἐκαθίσεν, says the change to the finite verb, is especially designed to enhance the importance of the truth conveyed by the participle, referring to the same page in WINER. The main thought at first is that of the resurrection, but the Apostle is speedily absorbed with the other, which accords so well with the ground-tone of the Epistle.—R.]
 [The variation in the text of Rom. 8:38 indicates certainly that the early transcribers referred δυνάμεις to angels, since there is no other motive for the change in its position; the correct reading however seems to justify a reference to earthly powers, so that as remarked above we gain nothing decisive from that passage.—R.]
[HOFMANN denies any reference to gradations in rank, admitting only a designation of various relations to God and the world, but this distinction does not seem to be tenable.—R.]
 [Alford remarks: “Not only time present and to come, but the present earthly condition of things, and the future heavenly one.” ELLICOTT: “With regard to the meaning of αἰὼν it may he observed that in all passages where it occurs, a temporal notion is more or less apparent. To this in the majority, an ethical idea is limited. In a few passages like the present a semi-local meaning seems also superadded, causing αἰὼν to approach in meaning to κόσμος, though it still may be always distinguished from it by the temporal and (commonly) ethical notions which ever form its background” Comp. Eph 2:2; Gal. 1:4.—R.]
[In many of the instances specified by HODGE, the passive sense is equally allowable. For example, Eph 1:10, “the fulness of the times” may as well be taken as meaning the state of being full on the part of the appointed periods of time, as that which fills up those periods, and so in Gal. 4:4; Eph. 3:19: “the fulness of God” affords a much better sense if taken passively (see in loco), while Mark 8:20: “the fulnesses of how many baskets,” refers not to what fills up the baskets, but “the state of fulness as respects the baskets.”—R.]
 [This interpretation is very plausible, and commends itself especially on account of the view it takes of the preposition ἐν. As τὰ πάντα immediately precedes, too much stress should not be laid on the rule mentioned above respecting the choice of the masculine. But I fully share in Dr. Braune’s dislike for the instrumental sense of ἐν (taking it as=per). One who has been puzzled by the E. V., which accepts this as one of its most usual significations, and seen how often commentators pass over it without notice, must feel that for so small a word, it has suffered more at the hands of its friends than any other in the Greek Testament. It is a good rule: never render ἐν, by if any other possible meaning accords with the context. ALFORD and ELLICOTT refer to Eph 5:18, in support of the instrumental sense, but it is very doubtful even there. If we take ἐν=in here, then the πᾶσιν must be accepted as masculine, for the neuter would not allow of any intelligible meaning, especially in view of the well-known phrase τὰ πάντα, the universe. See under (7) however.—R.]
 [HARLESS takes πλήρωμα as expressing the Divine glory=Shekinah, but that is objectionable for reasons both lexical and logical.—EADIE refers to the view of MICHAELIS and BRETSCHNEIDER (=quasi templum in quo habitat, quod occupat et regit, ut anima corpus), but this and kindred interpretations are all either too limited or too specific. Just here it becomes us to be cautious.—R.]
 [We must hold fast, especially in view of the local reference in Eph 1:20 to the truth of Christ’s actual bodily presence in heaven, over against the Lutheran doctrine of the ubiquity of His humanity (Form. Conc. ii. 8). Comp the implied opposition to this dogma in the Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 47, 48, 80 (apparently inserted afterwards). The Eucharistic controversies of the 16th century made of this a battle-field.—R.]
 [The so-called revelations of modern “spiritualism” do not seem to have shed much light on the few passages of Scripture which treat of angels. Nor do they attempt to do so. One might infer something from this fact, as to the question whether these revelations, granting them a supernatural origin, have the same origin as the statements of Scripture.—R.]
 [MEYER: “Notice here, too, the three fundamental elements of subjective Christianity: Faith and Love and Hope (Eph 1:15, 18); in faith and love the illumination through the Holy Ghost should ever bring more and more to our knowledge the glory of our hope; for the Christians’ πολίτευμα is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), whither their entire “minding” and “seeking” is directed. The centre of Christianity is still faith with its love, in connection with which, however, hope ever, encouragingly and inspiritingly, holds up the constant goal.” He adduces this against WEISS, who seeks to discover here special prominence given to hope “entirely after the Petrine mode,” which as that author thinks makes “hope” the centre.—R.]