Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
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(1) By the will of God.—This phrase, used in 1Corinthians 1:1; 2Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2Timothy 1:1 (comp. the equivalent expression of 1Timothy 1:1), appears to be St. Paul’s ordinary designation of the source of his apostolic mission and authority; used whenever there was nothing peculiar in the occasion of the Epistle, or the circumstances of the Church to which it was addressed. It may be contrasted, on the one hand, with the more formal enunciation of his commission, addressed to the Roman Church (Romans 1:1-5), and the indignant and emphatic abruptness of the opening of the Galatian Epistle—“an apostle not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:1). On the other hand, to the Thessalonian churches, in the Epistles written shortly after their conversion, he uses no description of himself whatever (1Thessalonians 1:1; 2Thessalonians 1:1); in the Epistles to the Philippians and to Titus he is simply “the servant of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1): to Philemon (for special reasons) “the prisoner of Jesus Christ.” The phrase in the text stands midway between the emphasis of the one class of Epistles and the more familiar simplicity of the other.

To the saints. . . . and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.—Here, as in Colossians 1:2 (“the saints and faithful brethren”) the same persons are described by both epithets. They are “saints,” as “called” (see Romans 1:7; 1Corinthians 1:2) into “the communion of saints” by the grace of God; they are “faithful,” as by their own act believing in Christ and holding fast that faith. The two epithets are correlative to each other. Without the call and the grace of God, men cannot believe; without the energy of faith they cannot be, in effect as well as in opportunity, “saints.” Both epithets belong in capacity and profession to all members of the Church militant; and St. Paul applies them accordingly to the whole body of any church which he addresses, without hesitation or distinction. In living reality they belong only to the “Invisible Church” of the present, which shall form the “Church triumphant” of the hereafter. It has been noted that the use of the word “saints,” as the regular and ordinary name of Christians, is more especially traceable in the later Epistles of St. Paul. So in his speech before Agrippa he says, “Many of the saints did I shut up in prison” (Acts 27:10). The phrase, “in Christ Jesus,” belongs to both the words “saints” and “faithful;” but it is here more closely connected with the latter.

Which are at Ephesus.—On these words, omitted in the oldest MSS., see the Introduction.



Ephesians 1:1.

That is Paul’s way of describing a church. There were plenty of very imperfect Christians in the community at Ephesus and in the other Asiatic churches to which this letter went. As we know, there were heretics amongst them, and many others to whom the designation of ‘holy’ seemed inapplicable. But Paul classes them all under one category, and describes the whole body of believing people by these two words, which must always go together if either of them is truly applied, ‘saints’ and ‘faithful.’

Now I think that from this simple designation we may gather two or three very obvious indeed, and very familiar and old-fashioned, but also very important, thoughts.

I. A Christian is a saint.

We are accustomed to confine the word to persons who tower above their brethren in holiness and manifest godliness and devoutness. The New Testament never does anything like that. Some people fancy that nobody can be a saint unless he wears a special uniform of certain conventional sanctities. The New Testament does not take that point of view at all, but regards all true believers in Jesus Christ as being, therein and thereby, saints.

Now, what does it mean by that? The word at bottom simply signifies separation. Whatever is told off from a mass for a specific purpose would be called, if it were a thing, ‘holy.’ But there is one special kind of separation which makes a person a saint, and that is separation to God, for His uses, in obedience to His commandment, that He may employ the man as He will. So in the Old Testament the designation ‘holy’ was applied quite as much to the high priest’s mitre or to the sacrificial vessels of the Temple as it was to the people who used them. It did not imply originally, and in the first place, moral qualities at all, but simply that this person or that thing belonged to God. But then you cannot belong to God unless you are like Him. There can be no consecration to God except the heart is being purified. So the ordinary meaning of holiness, as moral purity and cleanness from sin, necessarily comes from the original meaning, separation and devotion to the service of God.

Thus we get the whole significance of Christian holiness. We are to belong to God, and to know that we do belong to Him. We are to be separated from the mass of people and things that have no consciousness of ownership and do not yield themselves up to Him for His use. But we cannot belong to Him, and be devoted to His service, unless we are being made day by day pure in heart, and like Him to whom we say that we belong. A human being can only be God’s by the surrender of heart and will, and through the continual appropriation into his own character and life, of righteousness and purity like that which belongs to God. Holiness is God’s stamp upon a man, His ‘mark,’ by which He says-This man belongs to Me. As you write your name in a book, so God writes His name on His property, and the name that He writes is the likeness of His own character.

Note, again, that in God’s church there is no aristocracy of sanctity, nor does the name of saint belong only to those who live high above the ordinary tumults of life and the secularities of daily duty. You may be as true a saint in a factory-ay! and a far truer one-than in a hermitage. You do not need to cultivate a mediaeval or Roman Catholic type of ascetic piety in order to be called saints. You do not need to be amongst the select few to whom it is given here upon earth, but not given without their own effort, to rise to the highest summits of holy conformity with the divine will. But down amongst all the troubles and difficulties and engrossing occupations of our secular work, you may be living saintly lives; for the one condition of being holy is that we should know whose we are and whom we serve, and we can carry the consciousness of belonging to Him into every corner of the poorest, most crowded, and most distracted life, recognising His presence and seeking to do His will. The saint is the man who says, ‘O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; Thou hast loosed my bonds.’ Because He has loosed my bonds, the bonds that held me to my sins, He has therein fastened me with far more stringent bonds of love to the sweet and free service of His redeeming love. All His children are His saints.

The Old Testament ritual had one sacrifice which carried this truth in it. It is the first prescribed in the Book of Leviticus, the ceremonial book-namely, the burnt offering. Its especial meaning was this, that the whole man is to be laid upon God’s altar and there consumed in the fire of a divine love. It began with expiation, as all sacrifices must, and on the footing of expiation there followed the transformation, by the fire of God, from gross earthliness into vapour and odour which went up in wreaths of fragrance acceptable to God. So we are to be laid upon the divine altar. So, because we have been accepted in the Beloved, and have received the atonement for our sins through His great sacrifice, we are to be consecrated to His service and, touched by the fire which He sends down, we are to be changed into a sweet odour acceptable to Him as were ‘the saints which are in Ephesus.’

II. Further, Christian men are saints because they are believers.

‘The saints’ and ‘the faithful’ are not two sets of people, but one. The Apostle starts, as it were, on the surface, and goes down; takes off the uppermost layer and lets us see what is below it; begins with the flowers or the fruit, and then carries us to the root. The saints are saints because they are first of all faithful. ‘Faithful’ here, of course, does not mean, as it usually does in our ordinary language, ‘true’ and ‘trusty,’ ‘reliable’ and ‘keeping our word,’ but it means simply ‘believing’; having faith, not in the sense of fidelity, but in the sense of trust.

So, then, here is Paul’s notion-and it is not only Paul’s notion, it is God’s truth-that the only way by which a man ever comes to realise that he belongs to God, and to yield himself in glad surrender to His uses, and so to become pure and holy like Him whom He loves and aspires to, is by humble faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to talk in theological terminology, sanctification follows upon faith. It is when we believe and trust in Jesus Christ that all the great motives begin to tell upon life and heart, which deliver us from our selfishness, which bind us to God, which make it a joy to do anything for His service, which kindle in our hearts the flame of fructifying and consecrating and transforming love. Faith, the simple reliance of a desperate and therefore trusting heart upon Jesus Christ for all that it needs, is the foundation of the loftiest elevation and attainment of the Christian character. We begin down there that we may set the shining topstone of ‘Holiness to the Lord’ upon the heaven-pointing summit of our lives.

Note how here Paul sets forth the object of our faith and the blessedness of it. I do not think I am forcing too much meaning into his words when I ask you to notice with what distinct emphasis and intentional fulness he employs the double name of our Lord here to describe the object upon which our faith fixes, ‘Faithful in Christ Jesus.’ We must lay hold of the Manhood, and we must lay hold of the office. We must rest our soul’s salvation on Him as our brother, Jesus who was incarnate in sinful flesh for us; and we must also rest it on Him as God’s anointed, who came in human flesh to fulfil the divine loving-kindness and purposes, and in that flesh to die. A faith in a Jesus who was not a Christ would not sanctify; a faith in a Christ who is not Jesus would be impalpable and impotent. We must take the two together, believing and feeling that we lay hold upon a loving Man, ‘bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh’; and also upon Him who in His very humanity is the Messenger and Angel of God’s covenant; the Christ for whom the way has been being prepared from the beginning, and who has come to fulfil all the purposes of the divine heart.

And notice, too, how there is suggested here also, the blessedness of that faith, inasmuch as it is a faith in Christ. The New Testament speaks in diverse ways about the relation between the believing soul and Jesus Christ. It sometimes speaks of faith as being towards Him, and that suggests the going out of a hand that, as it were, stretches towards what it would lay hold of. It sometimes speaks of faith as being on Him, which suggests the idea of a building on its foundation, or a hand leaning on a support. And it sometimes speaks, as here, of faith being ‘in Him,’ which suggests the folded wings of the dove that has found its nest, the repose of faith, the quiet rest in the Lord, and ‘waiting patiently for Him.’ Such trust so directed is the one condition of such tranquillity. Then, again, note a Christian is all that he is because he is ‘in Christ.’ That phrase ‘in Him’ is in some sense the keynote of this Epistle to the Ephesians. If you will look over the letter, and pick out all the connections in which the expression ‘in Him’ occurs, I think you will be astonished to see how rich and full are its uses, and how manifold the blessings of which it is the condition. But the use which Paul makes of it here is just this-everything in our Christian life depends upon our being rooted and grafted in Jesus. Dear brethren, the main weakness, I believe, of what is called Evangelical Christianity has been that it has not always kept true to the proportionate prominence which the New Testament gives to the two thoughts, ‘Christ for us,’ and ‘Christ in us.’ For one sermon that you have heard which has dwelt earnestly and believingly on the thought of the indwelling Christ and the Christian indwelling in Him, you have heard a hundred about the Sacrifice on the Cross for sins, and the great atonement that was made by it. Those of you, who have listened to me from Sunday to Sunday, know that I am not to be charged with minimising or neglecting that truth, but I want to lay upon all your hearts this earnest conviction, that a gospel which throws into enormous prominence ‘Christ for us,’ and into very small prominence ‘Christ in us,’ is lame of one foot, is lopsided, untrue to the symmetry and proportion of the Gospel as it is revealed in the New Testament, and will never avail for the nourishment and maturity of Christian souls. ‘Christ for us’ by all means, and for evermore, but ‘Christ in us,’ or else He will not be ‘for us.’

III. Lastly, a Christian may be a saint, and a believer, and in Christ Jesus, though he is in Ephesus.

Many of you know that probably the words ‘in Ephesus’ are no part of the original text of this epistle, which was apparently a circular letter, in which the designation of the various churches to which it was sent was left blank, to be filled in with the name of each little community to which Paul’s messenger from Rome carried it. The copy from which our text was taken had probably been delivered at Ephesus; and, at any rate, one of the copies would go there. What was Ephesus? Satan’s very headquarters and seat in Asia Minor, a focus of idolatry, superstition, wealth, luxury springing from commerce, and moral corruption. ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians.’ The books of Ephesus were a synonym for magical books. Many of us know how rotten to the core the society of that great city was. And there, on the dunghill, was this little garden of fragrant and flowering plants. They were ‘saints in Christ Jesus,’ though they were ‘saints in Ephesus.’

Never mind about surroundings. It is possible for us to keep ourselves in the love of God, and in the fellowship of His Son wherever we are, and whatever may lie around us. You and I have too to live in a big, wicked city, and to work out our religion in a society honeycombed with corruption, because of commerce and other influences. Do not let us forget that these people whom Paul called ‘saints’ and ‘faithful’ had a harder fight to wage than we have, with less to hearten and strengthen them in it. Only remember if the ‘saints in Ephesus’ are to be ‘in Christ,’ they need to keep themselves very straight up. The carbonic acid gas is heavy and goes down to the bottom of the cave, and if a man will walk bolt upright, he will keep his nostrils above it; but if he stoops, he will get down into it. Walk straight up, with your head erect, looking to the Master, and your respiratory organs will be above the poison. If we are to be in Christ when we are in Ephesus, we need to keep ourselves separate and faithful, and to keep ourselves in Christ. If the diver comes out of the diving-bell he is drowned. If he keeps inside its crystal walls he may be on the bottom of the ocean, but he is dry and safe. Keep in the fortress by loyal faith, by humble realisation of His presence, by continual effort, and ‘nothing shall by any means harm you,’ but ‘your lives shall be holy, being hid with Christ in God.’

Ephesians 1:1-2. Paul, an apostle by the will of God — Not by any merit of my own; to the saints — Or holy persons, as τοις αγιοις properly signifies; who are at Ephesus — And in all the adjacent places: for this epistle was not directed to the Ephesians only, but likewise to all the other churches of Asia; and to the faithful in Christ Jesus — Or the believers, as the word πιστος is rendered Acts 10:45; 2 Corinthians 6:15; and 1 Timothy 4:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 4:12. There seems to be no reason to suppose that the apostle gave the Christians at Ephesus this title on account of their being remarkably faithful to Christ, in relying on him alone for salvation, without that attachment to the Mosaic law, which was found in some other churches, and particularly among the Galatians. For we find he uses the same title when addressing the Colossians, (Colossians 1:2,) whom yet he reproves on this very account, Ephesians 2:16. Grace be to you, &c. — See on Romans 1:7.

1:1,2. All Christians must be saints; if they come not under that character on earth, they will never be saints in glory. Those are not saints, who are not faithful, believing in Christ, and true to the profession they make of relation to their Lord. By grace, understand the free and undeserved love and favour of God, and those graces of the Spirit which come from it; by peace, all other blessings, spiritual and temporal, the fruits of the former. No peace without grace. No peace, nor grace, but from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ; and the best saints need fresh supplies of the graces of the Spirit, and desire to grow.Paul, an apostle; - see the notes at Romans 1:1.

By the will of God - see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:1.

To the saints - A name often given to Christians because they are holy; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:2.

In Ephesus - see the introduction, sections 1 and 5.

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus - This evidently refers to others than to those who were in Ephesus, and it is clear that Paul expected that this Epistle would be read by others. He gives it a general character, as if he supposed that it might be transcribed, and become the property of the church at large. It was not uncommon for him thus to give a general character to the epistles which he addressed to particular churches, and so to write that others than those to whom they were particularly directed, might feel that they were addressed to them. Thus, the First Epistle to the Corinthians was addressed to "the church of God in Corinth - with all that in every place call upon the name of Christ Jesus our Lord." The Second Epistle to the Corinthians in like manner was addressed to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia." Perhaps, in the Epistle before us, the apostle referred particularly to the churches of Asia Minor which he had not visited, but there is no reason for confining the address to them.

All who are "faithful in Christ Jesus" may regard the Epistle as addressed by the Holy Spirit to them, and may feel that they are as much interested in the doctrines, promises, and duties set forth in this Epistle, as were the ancient Christians of Ephesus. The word "faithful" here is not used in the sense of "trustworthy," or in the sense of "fidelity," as it is often employed, but in the sense of "believing," or "having faith" in the Lord Jesus. The apostle addresses those who were firm in the faith - another name for true Christians. The Epistle contains great doctrines about the divine purposes and decrees in which they, as Christians, were particularly concerned; important "mysteries" Ephesians 1:9, of importance for them to understand, and which the apostle proceeds to communicate to them as such. The fact that the letter was designed to be published, shows that he was not unwilling that those high doctrines should be made known to the world at large; still they pertained particularly to the church, and they are doctrines which should be particularly addressed to the church. They are rather suited to comfort the hearts of "Christians," than to bring "sinners" to repentance. These doctrines may be addressed to the church with more prospect of securing a happy effect than to the world. In the church they will excite gratitude, and produce the hope which results from assured promises and eternal purposes; in the minds of sinners they may arouse envy, and hatred, and opposition to God.



The headings (Eph 1:1, and Eph 3:1, show that this Epistle claims to be that of Paul. This claim is confirmed by the testimonies of Irenæus, [Against Heresies, 5.2,3; 1.8,5]; Clement of Alexandria, [Miscellanies, 4, P. 65, and The Instructor, 1.8]; Origen, [Against Celsus, 4,211]. It is quoted by Valentinus, A.D. 120, namely, Eph 3:14-18, as we know from Hippolytus [The Refutation of All Heresies, p. 193]. Polycarp [Epistle to the Philippians, 12], testifies to its canonicity. So Tertullian [Against Marcion, 5,17]. Ignatius [Epistle to the Ephesians, 12], which alludes to the frequent and affectionate mention made by Paul of the Christian state, privileges, and persons of the Ephesians in his Epistle.

Two theories, besides the ordinary one, have been held on the question, to whom the Epistle is addressed. Grotius, after the heretic Marcion, maintains that it was addressed to the Church at Laodicea, and that it is the Epistle to which Paul refers in Col 4:16. But the Epistle to the Colossians was probably written before that to the Ephesians, as appears from the parallel passages in Ephesians bearing marks of being expanded from those in Colossians; and Marcion seems to have drawn his notion, as to our Epistle, from Paul's allusion (Col 4:16) to an Epistle addressed by him to the Laodiceans. Origen and Clement of Alexandria, and even Tertullian, who refers to Marcion, give no sanction to his notion. No single manuscript contains the heading, "to the saints that are at Laodicea." The very resemblance of the Epistle to the Ephesians, to that to the Colossians, is against the theory; for if the former were really the one addressed to Laodicea (Col 4:16), Paul would not have deemed it necessary that the churches of Colosse and Laodicea should interchange Epistles. The greetings, moreover (Col 4:15), which he sends through the Colossians to the Laodiceans, are quite incompatible with the idea that Paul wrote an Epistle to the Laodiceans at the same time, and by the same bearer, Tychicus (the bearer of our Epistle to the Ephesians, as well as of that to Colosse, Eph 6:21; Col 4:7); for who, under such circumstances, would not send the greetings directly in the letter to the party saluted? The letter to Laodicea was evidently written some time before that to Colosse, Archbishop Usher has advanced the second theory: That it was an encyclical letter headed, as in Manuscript B., "to the saints that are … and to the faithful," the name of each Church being inserted in the copy sent to it; and that its being sent to Ephesus first, occasioned its being entitled, as now, the Epistle to the Ephesians. Alford makes the following objections to this theory: (1) It is at variance with the spirit of the Epistle, which is clearly addressed to one set of persons throughout, co-existing in one place, and as one body, and under the same circumstances. (2) The improbability that the apostle, who in two of his Epistles (Second Corinthians and Galatians) has so plainly specified their encyclical character, should have here omitted such specification. (3) The still greater improbability that he should have, as on this hypothesis must be assumed, written a circular Epistle to a district, of which Ephesus was the commercial capital, addressed to various churches within that district, yet from its very contents (as by the opponents' hypothesis) not admitting of application to the Church of that metropolis, in which he had spent so long a time, and to which he was so affectionately bound. (4) The inconsistency of this hypothesis with the address of the Epistle, and the universal testimony of the ancient Church. The absence of personal greetings is not an argument for either of the two theories; for similarly there are none in Galatians, Philippians, First and Second Thessalonians, First Timothy. The better he knows the parties addressed, and the more general and solemn the subject, the less he seems to give of these individual notices. Writing, as he does in this Epistle, on the constitution and prospects of Christ's universal Church, he refers the Ephesians, as to personal matters, to the bearer of the Epistle, Tychicus (Eph 6:21, 22). As to the omission of "which are at Ephesus" (Eph 1:1), in Manuscript B., so "in Rome" (Ro 1:7) is omitted in some old manuscripts: it was probably done by churches among whom it was read, in order to generalize the reference of its contents, and especially where the subject of the Epistle is catholic. The words are found in the margin of Manuscript B, from a first hand; and are found in all the oldest manuscripts and versions.

Paul's first visit to Ephesus (on the seacoast of Lydia, near the river Cayster) is related in Ac 18:19-21. The work, begun by his disputations with the Jews in his short visit, was carried on by Apollos (Ac 18:24-26), and Aquila and Priscilla (Ac 18:26). At his second visit, after his journey to Jerusalem, and thence to the east regions of Asia Minor, he remained at Ephesus "three years" (Ac 19:10, the "two years" in which verse are only part of the time, and Ac 20:31); so that the founding and rearing of this Church occupied an unusually large portion of the apostle's time and care; whence his language in this Epistle shows a warmth of feeling, and a free outpouring of thought, and a union in spiritual privileges and hope between him and them (Eph 1:3, &c.), such as are natural from one so long and so intimately associated with those whom he addresses. On his last journey to Jerusalem, he sailed by Ephesus and summoned the elders of the Ephesian Church to meet him at Miletus, where he delivered his remarkable farewell charge (Ac 20:18-35).

This Epistle was addressed to the Ephesians during the early part of his imprisonment at Rome, immediately after that to the Colossians, to which it bears a close resemblance in many passages, the apostle having in his mind generally the same great truths in writing both. It is an undesigned proof of genuineness that the two Epistles, written about the same date, and under the same circumstances, bear a closer mutual resemblance than those written at distant dates and on different occasions. Compare Eph 1:7 with Col 1:14; Eph 1:10 with Col 1:20; Eph 3:2 with Col 1:25; Eph 5:19 with Col 3:16; Eph 6:22 with Col 4:8; Eph 1:19; 2:5 with Col 2:12, 13; Eph 4:2-4 with Col 3:12-15; Eph 4:16 with Col 2:19; Eph 4:32 with Col 3:13; Eph 4:22-24 with Col 3:9, 10; Eph 5:6-8 with Col 3:6-8; Eph 5:15, 16 with Col 4:5; Eph 6:19, 20 with Col 4:3, 4; Eph 5:22-33; 6:1-9 with Col 3:18; Eph 4:24, 25 with Col 3:9; Eph 5:20-22 with Col 3:17, 18. Tychicus and Onesimus were being sent to Colosse, the former bearing the two Epistles to the two churches respectively, the latter furnished with a letter of recommendation to Philemon, his former master, residing at Colosse. The date was probably about four years after his parting with the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Ac 20:6-38), about A.D. 62, before his imprisonment had become of the more severe kind, which appears in his Epistle to the Philippians. From Eph 6:19, 20 it is plain he had at the time, though a prisoner, some degree of freedom in preaching, which accords with Ac 28:23, 30, 31, where he is represented as receiving at his lodgings all inquirers. His imprisonment began in February A.D. 61 and lasted "two whole years" (Ac 28:30) at least, and perhaps longer.

The Church of Ephesus was made up of converts partly from the Jews and partly from the Gentiles (Ac 19:8-10). Accordingly, the Epistle so addresses a Church constituted (Eph 2:14-22). Ephesus was famed for its idol temple of Artemis or Diana, which, after its having been burnt down by Herostratus on the night that Alexander the Great was born (355 B.C.), was rebuilt at enormous cost and was one of the wonders of the world. Hence, perhaps, have arisen his images in this Epistle drawn from a beautiful temple: the Church being in true inner beauty that which the temple of the idol tried to realize in outward show (Eph 2:19-22). The Epistle (Eph 4:17; 5:1-13) implies the profligacy for which the Ephesian heathen were notorious. Many of the same expressions occur in the Epistle as in Paul's address to the Ephesian elders. Compare Eph 1:6, 7; 2:7, as to "grace," with Ac 20:24, 32: this may well be called "the Epistle of the grace of God" [Alford]. Also, as to his "bonds," Eph 3:1, and 4:1 with Ac 20:22, 23. Also Eph 1:11, as to "the counsel of God," with Ac 20:27. Also Eph 1:14, as to "the redemption of the purchased possession," with Ac 20:28. Also Eph 1:14, 18; 2:20; 5:5, as to "building up" the "inheritance," with Ac 20:32.

The object of the Epistle is "to set forth the ground, the course, and the aim and end of THE Church of the Faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type or sample of the Church universal" [Alford]. Hence, "the Church" throughout the Epistle is spoken of in the singular, not in the plural, "churches." The Church's foundation, its course, and its end, are his theme alike in the larger and smaller divisions of the whole Epistle. "Everywhere the foundation of the Church is in the will of the Father; the course of the Church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the Church is the life in the Holy Spirit" [Alford]. Compare respectively Eph 1:11; 2:5; 3:16. This having been laid down as a matter of doctrine (this part closing with a sublime doxology, Eph 3:14-21), is then made the ground of practical exhortations. In these latter also (from Eph 4:1, onward), the same threefold division prevails, for the Church is represented as founded on the counsel of "God the Father, who is above all, through all, and in all," reared by the "one Lord," Jesus Christ, through the "one Spirit" (Eph 4:4-6, &c.), who give their respective graces to the several members. These last are therefore to exercise all these graces in the several relations of life, as husbands, wives, servants, children, &c. The conclusion is that we must put on "the whole armor of God" (Eph 6:13).

The sublimity of the STYLE and LANGUAGE corresponds to the sublimity of the subjects and exceeds almost that of any part of his Epistles. It is appropriate that those to whom he so wrote were Christians long grounded in the faith. The very sublimity is the cause of the difficulty of the style, and of the presence of peculiar expressions occurring, not found elsewhere.


Eph 1:1-23. Inscription: Origin of the Church in the Father's Eternal Counsel, and the Son's Bloodshedding: The Sealing of It by the Spirit. Thanksgiving and Prayer that They May Fully Know God's Gracious Power in Christ towards the Saints.

1. by—rather, "through the will of God": called to the apostleship through that same "will" which originated the Church (Eph 1:5, 9, 11; compare Ga 1:4).

which are at Ephesus—(See [2359]Introduction.)

to the saints … and to the faithful—The same persons are referred to by both designations, as the Greek proves: "to those who are saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus." The sanctification by God is here put before man's faith. The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented, God's grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God's gift, laying hold of salvation (2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2).

Ephesians Chapter 1

Eph 1:1,2 After saluting the Ephesians,

Eph 1:3-6 Paul blesseth God for his spiritual blessings on

those whom he had chosen in Christ, and predestinated

to the adoption of children,

Eph 1:7-10 for our redemption by his grace, according to his

revealed purpose of gathering together all in one

under Christ,

Eph 1:11,12 for the inhertance already obtained by those who

first trusted in Christ,

Eph 1:13,14 and for the Spirit given to after believers, as an

earnest of the same.

Eph 1:15-19 He declareth his continual thankfulness to God for

their faith, and his prayers that God would perfect

them in the knowledge of those things which concerned

their state in Christ,

Eph 1:20-23 whom God had raised up, and exalted to be the supreme

Head of his body the church.

The faithful; this may be understood either:

1. By way of restriction, of those that are sincere and constant to Christ, and so not only saints by profession, but true to their profession; or rather:

2. By way of explication: he defines those saints he spake of, and calls them faithful in Christ here, whom he called saints before.

Christ Jesus; the Author and Fountain of that holiness which denominates them saints.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,.... See Gill on Romans 1:1. See Gill on 1 Corinthians 1:1. See Gill on 2 Corinthians 1:1. See Gill on Galatians 1:1.

To the saints which are at Ephesus; of this place, see the note above upon the title of the epistle, and See Gill on Acts 18:19. The persons residing there, to whom the epistle is written, are described by their character, as "saints"; being separated by the grace of God the Father in eternal election; whose sins were expiated by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and to whom he himself was made sanctification; and who were internally sanctified by the Spirit of God, and lived holy lives and conversations. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "to all the saints"; whether officers of the church, or private members, whether rich or poor, bond or free, strong or weak believers, of greater or lesser abilities.

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus: who were in Christ, not only by electing grace, but were openly and manifestly in him, through converting grace; and abode in him as branches in the vine; continued constant, and persevered in faith and holiness; and were faithful to the cause and interest of Christ, and to his Gospel and ordinances; and were hearty and sincere in the profession of their faith in Christ, and love to him and his: or, as the Arabic version renders it, "and to them that believe in Jesus Christ"; with all their hearts, to the saving of their souls; who look unto him, venture on him, rely upon him, and trust in him for life and salvation, and who shall certainly be saved; of such the church at Ephesus consisted, to whom this epistle was written: of the church there; see Gill on Acts 20:17.

(a) L. 5. c. 29. (b) Plin. ib. Justin ex Trogo, l. 2. c. 4. (c) Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 8. c. 3.

Paul, {1} an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the {a} faithful in Christ Jesus:

(1) The inscription and salutation, of which we have spoken in the former epistles.

(a) This is the definition of the saints, showing what they are.

Ephesians 1:1-2. Διὰ θελήμ. Θεοῦ] See on 1 Corinthians 1:1.

τοῖς ἁγίοις] See on Romans 1:7.

καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χ. .] furnishes, with τοῖς ἁγίοις] the completeness of the conception, hence it is not epexegesis (Beza, Vorstius, Calovius, and others), but an appended element, and καί is the closely copulative and. Comp. Colossians 1:2. It is not, however, the conception of fidelity and perseverance which is appended (Grotius, Locke, Baumgarten, Rosenmüller, Meier; see, on the other hand, already Calovius), but the notion of faith in Christ, since in the address, where the persons are to be designated very distinctly, τοῖς ἁγίοις alone would not yet characterize the readers expressly as Christians. Comp. Php 1:1.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] does not belong to ἁγίοις and πιστοῖς, so that it would denote the sphere, within which the Christians are saints and believing (Harless; comp. Boyd, Storr, Opusc. II. p. 121, Meier, Schenkel), for otherwise (comp. on Colossians 1:2) καὶ πιστοῖς would be quite superfluous and a tame and heavy addition, inasmuch as the notion of ἅγιος ἐν Χριστῷ presupposes the notion of πιστὸς ἐν Χριστῷ; but merely to πιστοῖς: fidem in Christo reponentibus. Comp. Ephesians 1:15, and see on Mark 1:15; Galatians 3:26.

Ephesians 1:2. See on Romans 1:7.

Ephesians 1:1-2. Address and Salutation.—In the form of his Epistles, especially in the opening address and in the conclusion, Paul follows the methods of letter writing which were customary in the ancient world, in particular in Greece and Rome, in his own time. We now possess a considerable collection of ancient letters, especially communications of a business kind and letters of familiar intercourse. Not a few of these belong to the periods immediately preceding and following the birth of Christ. They help us to a better understanding of some things in Paul’s Epistles. They also let us see how he infused the new spirit of Christianity into the old accustomed heathen forms of epistolary correspondence.

This Epistle opens in Paul’s usual way, with a greeting in which both the writer and the readers are specifically designated. At the same time the address has certain features of its own, which have their explanation in the circumstances.—Παῦλος. In the Epistles which he addresses to Churches, Paul usually associates some one else, or more than one, with himself in the superscription—Sosthenes in 1 Corinthians; Timothy in 2 Corinthians, Philippians and Colossians; Silvanus and Timothy in 1 and 2 Thessalonians; “all the brethren” in Galatians. The only exception is the Epistle to the Romans. In Philemon, too, a letter of a personal and private character, though meant also for the Church in the house of the recipient (Ephesians 1:2), he names Timothy with himself. But in the present Epistle no one is conjoined with him in the greeting. It is difficult to suppose that he was absolutely alone at the time when he wrote this letter. The explanation lies probably in the fact that the Epistle was written as a communication of a general character, intended to go round a considerable circle of Churches.—ἀπόστολος. Usually this term has the definite, official sense of a delegate, a messenger with a commission. Occasionally it has a wider and less specific meaning, as in Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14, 1 Corinthians 9:5-6; Galatians 2:9, and probably Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 15:5; 1 Corinthians 15:7; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:6. In the Gospels, while it occurs oftener in Luke, it is found only once in each of the other three. In the LXX it occurs once, as the representative of שָׁלוּחַ (1 Kings 14:6). In later Judaism it denotes one who is sent out on foreign service, e.g., to collect the Temple-tribute. See Light., Galatians, pp. 92–101. Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. This order is to be preferred, with the RV and TTrWH, to the Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ of the TR and the AV. The genitive may be the ordinary possessive genitive, “an apostle belonging to Christ Jesus”; or it may be the genitive of derivation or source, “an apostle sent by Christ Jesus,” the term ἀπόστολος retaining something of its original sense of one sent by another. The former is the more probable view, looking to the analogy of such phrases as οὗ εἰμι (Acts 27:23). The name Χριστός, which in the Gospels preserves its technical sense of “the Christ” in all but a few instances (e.g., Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:18; Mark 1:1; John 17:3), has become a personal name in the Pauline Epistles. The combination “Jesus Christ,” or “Christ Jesus,” which is rare in the Gospels, occurs frequently in the Book of Acts and most frequently in the Epistles.

There is a variety in the way in which Paul designates himself in his Epistles that is of interest and has its meaning. In some he gives only his name, and makes no reference to his being either an apostle or a servant of Jesus Christ. So in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. In one (Philemon) he describes himself as a “prisoner of Jesus Christ”. In one (Philippians) he is “servant” only; in two (Romans and Titus) he is both “servant” and “apostle”. In seven (1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians , 1 and 2 Timothy, and here in Ephesians) it is only the apostleship that is instanced, but in each case with a further statement of how it came to him.—διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ. So also in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Colossians and 2 Timothy. In Galatians we have οὐκ ἀκʼ ἀνθρώπων, οὐδὲ διʼ ἀνθρώπου, ἀλλὰ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ Θεοῦ πατρός, κ.τ.λ.; and in 1 Timothy: κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν Θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (RV); cf. κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Θεοῦ, with reference to the commission to preach (Titus 1:3). The phrase used here in Ephesians defines the apostleship as an office which came to Paul neither by his own will nor by the act of any man, but by direct Divine call and appointment. His Epistles certainly reflect his consciousness of this fact. His work, his discourses, his letters all alike reveal the conviction that he was in actuality what he had been declared to be in the message to Ananias—“a vessel of election” (Acts 9:15). This is the main idea in the defining sentence and its equivalents. They vindicate Paul’s authority, indeed, when that is challenged, but they express primarily the fact that it was by grace he was what he was (1 Corinthians 15:10).—τοῖς ἁγίοις. Those addressed are designated first by a term which expresses the great Old Testament idea of their separation. It does not immediately or distinctively denote their personal piety or sanctity in our sense of the word, though that is dealt with as going with the other. It expresses the larger fact that they are set apart to God and taken into a special relation to Him. In three of the Epistles of the Captivity (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) it takes the place which the Church has in the superscriptions of the earlier Epistles (Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians). The reason for the variation is not easy to see. It has been supposed to be due to the desire to give “a more personal colouring to the Epistle as if addressed to the members of the Church as individuals rather than as a body” (Abbott). The distinction, indeed, is not carried through the two groups of Epistles; for in Philemon it is again “the Church,” not “the saints”.—τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ. The local definition ἐν Ἐφέσῳ (on which see more in the Introduction) is inserted by the vast majority of manuscripts, both uncial and cursive, and Fathers, and, as far as we know, by all the Versions. It is supported also to some extent by the fact that in the oldest manuscripts the title of the Epistle is προς Εφεσιους; by the apparently unanimous tradition of the Early Church that this Epistle was addressed to the Ephesians; by the absence of all evidence indicating that the Epistle was claimed in ancient times for any other Church definitely named; and by certain parallels in Ignatius. On the other hand, it is omitted by the two oldest and most important uncials, [13] and [14] (in which it has been inserted by later hands); it is expurged from the cursive 67 by a corrector who seems to have had an older document before him; it did not belong to the text of the manuscripts followed by Origen early in the third century, nor to that of those mentioned by Basil about a century and a half later. The omission is supported also to some extent by a statement made by Tertullian regarding Marcion; and more decidedly by the general character of the Epistle (its lack of personal references, salutations to individuals, etc.), as well as by the difficulty of understanding why the phrase should have been dropped if it did belong to the original text. Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort and others, therefore, bracket it in their texts; Tregelles brackets it in his margin and the Revisers give it as an alternative reading in their margin.

[13] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[14] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

If ἐν Ἐφέσῳ is retained, all is plain. If the hypothesis is accepted (on which see Introduction) that a blank space was left after the τοῖς οὖσιν to be filled in with the names, each in its turn, of the particular Churches in the Province of Asia to which the letter came in its rounds among the congregations, all still remains plain. But if the clause is omitted and if the hypothesis mentioned is not accepted, a difficulty arises in dealing with the combination τοῖς οὖσιν καὶ πιστοῖς. There are far-fetched expedients which need only to be named in order to be dismissed—such as Origen’s notion that the τοῖς οὖσιν has a transcendental sense, meaning that the saints ARE, as God is called I AM, and expressing the idea, as it may be, that they are those who have been called out of non-existence into real existence or an existence worthy of the name; and the somewhat similar idea that the τοῖς οὖσιν denotes the reality of their sainthood: “the saints who are really such”; or the reality of their sainthood and faith: “the saints and believers who are truly such”. The choice lies between two explanations, viz., (1) “to the saints who are also believers in Christ Jesus,” and (2) “to the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus”. The former gives to πιστοῖς the special New Testament sense which it has in such Pauline passages as 2 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 3:9; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:6. It takes the term to be added in order to complete the description of the readers as Christians—not merely set apart, as might be the case with Jews (the τοῖς ἁγίοις by itself not going necessarily beyond the OT idea and the Israelite relation), but specifically believers in Christ. The latter gives the adjective the sense of trustworthy, steadfast, which is its classical sense, but which it also has in a later passage of this Epistle (Ephesians 6:21), in other Pauline Epistles (Colossians 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 2:2), and occasionally elsewhere in the NT (e.g., 1 Peter 5:12; Hebrews 2:17). The term thus defines the readers, who are understood to be Christians, as faithful, constant in their Christian profession. This is favoured by the designation of the brethren in Colossians 1:2, which is the closest parallel and in which the πιστοῖς seems to have the sense of faithful. It is objected that, if this were the meaning, the πιστοῖς should have been followed by the simple dative Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, as in Hebrews 3:2. In like mannet it is objected to the former explanation that in connecting the πιστοῖς immediately with the ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, “believing in Christ Jesus,” it has usage against it, πιστὸς ἐν not being found in that sense in the NT although we find πίστις ἐν occasionally in Pauline passages (Ephesians 1:15; Galatians 3:26) and πιστεύειν ἐν at least once elsewhere (Mark 1:15). But in point of fact the ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is best taken here in the definite Pauline sense which it has as an independent phrase expressing a distinct and profound idea—that of fellowship or union with Christ, or standing in Him. It is doubtful whether it is meant to qualify both the ἁγίοις and the πιστοῖς (so Abbott, etc.). More probably it qualifies the nearer adjective, and expresses the fact that it is in virtue of their union with Christ that the readers are πιστοί. Their constancy has its meaning and its life in their fellowship with Him. Of the two explanations the second is to be preferred on the whole (with Lightfoot, etc.), although the first has the support of Meyer, Ellicott, etc.

Ch. Ephesians 1:1-2. Greeting

1. Paul] See Acts 13:9 for the first occurrence of this name of the Apostle. He probably bore, from infancy, both the two names, Saul (Saoul, Saulus) and Paulus, the first as a Hebrew home-name, the latter for use in the Gentile world. Paulus (Paul) would thus naturally become the prevalent name during the Christian life-work of the bearer.

an apostle] Lit., an envoy, a missionary; in the Gospels and Acts always in the special sense of an immediate Delegate from the Saviour; except perhaps Acts 14:14, where Barnabas bears the title. In Romans 16:7 the sense is perhaps more extended; certainly so in 2 Corinthians 8:23. It always, however, in N. T., designates at least a sacred messenger, not excepting Php 2:25, where see note in this Series. St Paul needed often to insist on the fact and rights of his apostleship in the highest sense of the word; 1 Corinthians 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 1:1.—See further, Appendix F.

of Jesus Christ] Of Christ Jesus is the order in many documents. The sacred name (Jesus) and title (Christ) occur together in the Gospels five times, in the Acts often, in the Epistles perpetually. It is most important to remember that Christ is merely the Greek version of the Hebrew Messiah (Anointed). In the N. T. it thus constantly refers back to O. T. prophecy and to the truth (uttered by the Messiah Himself, John 4:22), that “salvation is of the Jews.”

by the will of God] So, in the same connexion and position, 1 Cor., 2 Cor., Col., 2 Tim. In 1 Tim. (and Titus 1:3) we have “according to the commandment” of God. See Galatians 1:1 for the deep certainty of a direct Divine commission which underlay such a phrase in St Paul’s mind. He knew himself to be “a vessel of choice, to bear the name” (Acts 9:15) of his Lord.

saints] Holy ones; persons possessed of holiness, separated from sin to God. It is true that this is “the language of charitable presumption” (Pearson, Exposition of the Creed, Art. ix); when a community is thus described, St Paul does not thereby positively assert that each individual answers the description. But observe that this presumptive use of the word “saint” does not lower the true sense of the word, so as to make it properly mean, e. g., merely a member of a Christian community, a possessor of visible Church privileges.

which are at Ephesus] “Some very ancient authorities omit at Ephesus” (margin of Revised Version). On the question thus raised, see Introduction, ch. 4.

and to the faithful] I. e. “the saints,” under a different aspect. For the word as used, of Christian believers, see Acts 10:45 (“the faithful of the circumcision”); Acts 16:1 (“a faithful Jewess”); 2 Corinthians 6:15 (“the faithful with the unfaithful,” i.e. the believer with the unbeliever); Colossians 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:3 (“them who are faithful and know, &c.), 1 Timothy 4:12 (“the faithful”), 1 Timothy 5:16 (“any faithful man or faithful woman”), 1 Timothy 6:2 (“faithful,” i.e. Christian, “masters”); Titus 1:6. These and similar passages, and the contrast of the word “unfaithful” (infidelis, infidel), shew that as a designation of Christians it means not trustworthy but trustful; full of faith, in the Christian sense. On its application to the community, see on “saints,” above.

in Christ Jesus] See, for parallels to this all-important phrase, Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17, &c. And compare the Lord’s language, John 6:56; John 14:20; John 15:2-7; and the illustration given by e.g. Ephesians 5:30. The “saints and faithful” are regarded as solidaire with their Lord, in respect both of inseparable interest, holy dearness, and oneness of spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17); specially the latter. The Epistle itself is a large comment on the phrase.

Ephesians 1:1. Θελήματος, the will) So Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11.—τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσικαὶ πιστοῖς, to the saints and faithful, who are) in all those places to which Tychicus went with this epistle. It appears from the records quoted in the Apparatus, that no city was mentioned by name[1] in this inscirption, whence some have supplied Laodicea (although all that had a separate reference to the Laodiceans, was explained by Paul in the epistle written to the Colossians about the same time, ch. Ephesians 4:15-16); others, Ephesus: either of them might be before the mind of the apostle; for Paul no doubt told Tychicus whither he should go,—to Laodicea, for example, and thence to Colosse, which was in the neighbourhood of Laodicea, and either first or last to Ephesus. Wherefore our annotations are now and then specially applicable to the Ephesians. Nevertheless, in this passage, τοῖς οὖσιν, i.e. those who are present,[2] is said absolutely, as Acts 13:1, κατὰ τὴν οὖσαν ἐκκλησίαν, in the church that was at Antioch; and Romans 13:1, αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι, and the powers that be [the existing powers]. Paul, when writing to the churches planted by himself, generally mentions many circumstances concerning present and former events, having reference to himself or the churches; but he had been at Ephesus, and that too for a long time, not many years before, Acts 20:31. Why then does he write as a person unknown, Ephesians 1:15, ch. Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:4? and why does he descend less to particulars in this epistle, than in any other? Why, at ch. Ephesians 6:23-24, does he conclude in the third, and not in the second person, as he always does on other occasions? Why does he add no salutations, which, however, he does not omit even in the case of the Colossians? Why does he not mention Timothy, whom, however, he joins with himself, Colossians 1:1? For, the close resemblance of the style of writing [the texture of composition] in both, the same mention in both of their bearer, Tychicus, and many other circumstances, confirm the fact, that each of these epistles, this and the one to the Colossians, was sent at one time. Why does he only call them brethren at ch. Ephesians 6:10? Ans. All these things are indeed proofs, that Paul so drew up the whole letter, that it might be publicly read, or privately perused, both at Ephesus and in many of the churches of Asia, to which, as having been perhaps pointed out to him by name, Tychicus would go, and that all might receive it as if it had been addressed to themselves; comp. Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27. So far as this matter was concerned, full liberty (a carta bianca) was granted. “We must observe,” says Usher, at A. M. 4068, “that, in some ancient copies, this epistle was inscribed in general terms, as was usually done in writing evangelical letters, to the saints who are … and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: as if it had been sent first to Ephesus, as the principal metropolis of Asia, and was thence to be transmitted to the other churches of the same province, with the insertion of the name of each, etc.” It may be said: Paul wrote this epistle before he had seen the Ephesians. Ans. He had formerly [previous to his visit to Ephesus, Acts 19; Acts 20.] suffered no bonds so well known and so long, Acts 16:35; Acts 18:10; but these, which he mentions [in this epistle], were remarkable and distinguished, Ephesians 3:13; Ephesians 6:20. As regards the rest of the inscription, holiness is put before faith, Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:11-12, where also the word κληροῦσθαι is before hope;[3] moreover, at 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. It belongs to God to sanctify [set apart as holy to Himself] and claim us to Himself; to us, according to the gift of God, to believe.

[1] Lachm. reads ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, with AD(Δ)Gfg Vulg. and marg. of B corrected later; but B omits it, and Jerome, 7, 545a, attests that Origen did not know of the words. Basil mentions that old fathers before his time in some ancient copies omitted them. Marcion in Tertullian is accused of having added ad Laodicenos. Jerome says, that some suppose the saints at Ephesus were addressed by a title, or “vocabulum essentiœ, so that those who are should be so called from Him who is;” whilst others read simply “those who are at Ephesus.”—ED.

[2] The saints that there are.—ED.

[3] προηλπικότας, which Engl. Vers. renders trusted, instead of hope.—ED.

Verse 1. - Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus. Paul's one but all-sufficient claim on the Ephesians is his relation to Christ: he is Christ's apostle, not only as sent forth by him, but also as belonging to him; elsewhere his servant or bondman. He makes no claim to their attention on the ground of his great experience in the gospel, his profound study of it, or even his gifts, but rests simply on his being Christ's apostle; thus recognizing Christ as the only Head of the Church, and source of authority therein. By the will of God. The First Person of the Trinity, the Fountain of Godhead, has not only devised the whole scheme of mercy, but has likewise planned the subordinate arrangements by which it is carried out; thus it was by his will that Paul held the office of an apostle of Christ (see Galatians 1:1; Acts 26:7; Galatians 1:11, 12). His authority and his dignity as an apostle are thus the highest that can be: "He that heareth you, heareth me." To the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. This designation is expanded in the verses that immediately follow. "Saints" means set apart for God, and, as the result thereof, persons pure and holy; "faithful" is equivalent to "Believers;" while "in Christ Jesus" denotes the Source of their life, the element in which they lived, the Vine into which they were grafted. Such persons were the heart and nucleus of the Church, though others might belong to it. In the fervor of his salutations here and elsewhere, Paul seems to see only the genuine spiritual members of the Church; though afterwards he may indicate that all are not such (see Philippians 3:15). With regard to the clause, "that are at Ephesus," see Introduction. Ephesians 1:1By the will of God

As frequently in the introductions of the epistles, to emphasize his divine appointment. In Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1, called is added.

To the saints

See on Romans 1:7; see on Colossians 1:2; see on Philippians 1:1.

At Ephesus

There is much discussion as to the genuineness of these words. They are bracketed by both Westcott and Hort, and Tischendorf. On their omission or retention turns the question whether the epistle was addressed to the church at Ephesus, or was a circular epistle, addressed to Ephesus along with several other churches. For Ephesus, see on Revelation 2:1.

The faithful

Not faithful in the sense of fidelity and perseverance, but believing, as John 20:27; Acts 10:45. It is to be included with the saints under the one article.

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