Ephesians 1:10
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
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(10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times.—The connection marked in our version seems certainly erroneous. The words should be connected with the previous verse, and translated thus: which He purposed in Himself for administration (or disposal) of the fulness of the (appointed) seasons, to gather, &c. We note (1) that the word “dispensation” is usually applied to the action of the servants of God, as “dispensers of His mysteries.” (See Ephesians 3:2; 1Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25.) Here, however, and in Ephesians 3:10, it is applied to the disposal of all by God Himself, according to “the law which He has set Himself to do all things by.” Next (2) that the word “fulness,” or completeness, frequently used by St. Paul, is only found in connection with time in this passage, and in Galatians 4:4 (“when the fulness of time was come”). There, however, the reference is to a point of time, marking the completion of the preparation for our Lord’s coming; here, apparently, to a series of “seasons,” “which the Father hath put in His own power” (Acts 1:7) for the completion of the acts of the Mediatorial kingdom described in the words following. (Comp Matthew 16:3; Luke 21:24; 1Thessalonians 5:1; 1Timothy 2:6; 1Timothy 4:1; 1Timothy 6:15; Titus 1:3.)

That he might gather together in one all things in Christ.—In these words St. Paul strikes the great keynote of the whole Epistle, the UNITY OF ALL IN CHRIST. The expression “to gather together in one” is the same which is used in Romans 13:9 (where all commandments are said to be “briefly comprehended,” or summed up, “in the one saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”). Here, however, there is the additional idea that this gathering up is “for Himself.” The full meaning of this expression is “to gather again under one head” things which had been originally one, but had since been separated. The best comment upon the truth here briefly summed up is found in the full exposition of the Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 1:16-20), “In Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth . . . all things were created by Him and for Him . . . and in Him all things consist. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell, and . . . by Him to reconcile all things to Himself . . . whether things on earth or things in heaven.” In Christ, as the Word of God in the beginning, all created things are considered as gathered up, through Him actually made, and in Him continuing to exist. This unity, broken by sin, under the effect of which “all creation groans” (Romans 8:22), is restored in the Incarnation and Atonement of the Son of God. By this, therefore, all things are again summed up in Him, and again made one in Him with the Father. In both passages St. Paul uses expressions which extend beyond humanity itself—“things in heaven and things in earth,” “things visible and things invisible,” “thrones and principalities and powers.” In both he immediately proceeds from the grand outline of this wider unity, to draw out in detail the nearer, and to us more comprehensible, unity of all mankind in Christ. (Comp. Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:21.) So also writes St. John (John 1:3-4; John 1:12), passing from the thought that “all things were made by Him,” first to the declaration, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men,” and next to the power given to those who believed on Him to become sons of God. The lesser part of this truth, setting forth the unity of all mankind in the Second Adam, forms the basis of the argument of 1 Corinthians 15, that “in Christ all shall be made alive,” in the course of which the existence of the Mediatorial kingdom of Christ is described, and its continuance till the final triumph, when it “shall be delivered up to God, even the Father,” “that God may be all in all” (1Corinthians 15:24; 1Corinthians 15:28). In virtue of it, those who are His are partakers of His death and resurrection, His ascension, even His judgment (Ephesians 2:6; Matthew 19:28; Romans 6:3-10; 1Corinthians 6:2-3; Colossians 3:1-3).

(10, 11) Even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance.—We have here (in the repetition, “even in Him”) an emphatic transition to the truth most closely concerning the Apostle and his readers. The word “we” is not here emphatic, and the statement might be a general statement applicable to all Christians; but the succeeding verse seems to limit it to the original Jewish believers—the true Israel, who (like the whole of Israel in ancient days) have become “a people of inheritance” (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29; Deuteronomy 32:9), so succeeding to the privileges (Romans 11:7) which their brethren in blindness rejected. Possibly this suggests the peculiar word here (and here only) used, meaning either “we were made partakers of a lot” in God’s kingdom (to which Colossians 1:12, “who has made us meet for a part of the lot of the saints,” closely corresponds), or “we were made His lot or inheritance;” which perhaps suits the Greek better, certainly accords better with the Old Testament idea, and gives a more emphatic sense. A third possible sense is “were chosen by lot.” This is adopted by the Vulgate, supported by the only use of the word in the Septuagint (1Samuel 14:41), and explained by Chrysostom and Augustine as signifying the freedom of election without human merit, while by the succeeding words it is shown not to be really by chance, but by God’s secret will. But this seems quite foreign to the genius of the passage.

Being predestinated . . . that we should be to the praise of his glory.—This is an application of the general truth before declared (Ephesians 1:5-6) that the source of election is God’s predestination, and the object of it the manifestation of His glory.

After the counsel of his own will.—The expression evidently denotes not only the deliberate exercise of God’s will by “determinate counsel and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23), but also the guidance of that will by wisdom to the fulfilment of the Law Eternal of God’s righteous dispensation. Hooker, in a well-known passage (Eccl. Pol. i. 2), quotes it as excluding the notion of an arbitrary will of God, “They err, who think that of God’s will there is no reason except His will.”

1:9-14 Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's showing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and the method of redemption and salvation. But these must have been for ever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by his written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth. Christ united the two differing parties, God and man, in his own person, and satisfied for that wrong which caused the separation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith and love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. He dispenses all his blessings, according to his good pleasure. His Divine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of those truths, which others were left to blaspheme. What a gracious promise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs of heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. For this we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is the great design of God in all that he has done for us; let all be ascribed unto the praise of his glory.That in the dispensation - The word rendered here as "dispensation," οἰκονομία oikonomia, means properly "the management of household affairs." Then it means stewardship or administration; a dispensation or arrangement of things: a scheme or plan. The meaning here is, that this plan was formed in order (εἰς eis) or "unto" this end, that in the full arrangement of times, or in the arrangements completing the filling up of the times, God might gather together in one all things. Tyndale renders it: "to have it declared when the time was full come," etc.

The fulness of times - When the times were fully completed; when all the periods should have passed by which he had prescribed, or judged necessary to the completion of the object. The period referred to here is that when all things shall be gathered together in the Redeemer at the winding up of human affairs, or the consummation of all things. The arrangement was made with reference to that, and embraced all things which conduced to that. The plan stretched from before "the foundation of the world" to the period when all times should be completed; and of course all the events occurring in that intermediate period were embraced in the plan.

He might gather together in one - The word used here - ἀνακεφαλαιόω anakephalaioō - means literally, to sum up, to recapitulate, as an orator does at the close of his discourse. It is from κεφαλή kephalē, the head; or κεφάλαιον kephalaion, the sum, the chief thing, the main point. In the New Testament, the word means to collect under one head, or to comprehend several things under one; Romans 13:9. "It is briefly comprehended," i. e., summed up under this one precept," sc., "love." In the passage before us, it means that God would sum up, or comprehend all things in heaven and earth through the Christian dispensation; he would make one empire, under one head, with common feelings, and under the same laws. The reference is to the unity which will hereafter exist in the kingdom of God, when all his friends on earth and in heaven shall be united, and all shall have a common head. Now there is alienation. The earth has been separated from other worlds by rebellion. It has gone off into apostasy and sin. It refuses to acknowledge the Great Head to which other worlds are subject, and the object is to restore it to its proper place, so that there shall be one great and united kingdom.

All things - τὰ παντά ta panta. It is remarkable that Paul has used here a word which is in the neuter gender. It is not all "persons," all angels, or all human beings, or all the elect, but all "things." Bloomfield and others suppose that "persons" are meant, and that the phrase is used for τοὺς πάντας tous pantas. But it seems to me that Paul did not use this word without design. All "things" are placed under Christ, Ephesians 1:22; Matthew 28:18, and the design of God is to restore harmony in the universe. Sin has produced disorder not not only in "mind," but in "matter." The world is disarranged. The effects of transgression are seen everywhere; and the object of the plan of redemption is to put things on their pristine footing, and restore them as they were at first. Everything is, therefore, put under the Lord Jesus, and all things are to be brought under his control, so as to constitute one vast harmonious empire. The amount of the declaration here is, that there is hereafter to be one kingdom, in which there shall be no jar or alienation; that the now separated kingdoms of heaven and earth shall be united under one head, and that henceforward all shall be harmony and love. The things which are to be united in Christ, are those which are "in heaven and which are on earth." Nothing is said of "hell." Of course this passage cannot teach the doctrine of universal salvation, since there is one world which is not to have a part in this ultimate union.

In Christ - By means of Christ, or under him, as the great head and king. He is to be the great agent in effecting this, and he is to preside over this united kingdom. In accordance with this view the heavenly inhabitants, the angels as well as the redeemed, are uniformly represented as uniting in the same worship, and as acknowledging the Redeemer as their common head and king; Revelation 5:9-12.

Both which are in heaven - Margin, as in Greek, "in the heavens." Many different opinions have been formed of the meaning of this expression. Some suppose it to mean the saints in heaven, who died before the coming of the Saviour; and some that it refers to the Jews, designated as "the heavenly people," in contradistinction from the Gentiles, as having nothing divine and heavenly in them, and as being of the "earth." The more simple and obvious interpretation is, however, without doubt, the correct one, and this is to suppose that it refers to the holy inhabitants of other worlds. The object of the plan of salvation is to produce a harmony between them and the redeemed on earth, or to produce out of all, one great and united kingdom. In doing this, it is not necessary to suppose that any change is to be produced in the inhabitants of heaven. All the change is to occur among those on earth, and the object is to make out of all, one harmonious and glorious empire.

And which are on earth - The redeemed on earth. The object is to bring them into harmony with the inhabitants of heaven. This is the great object proposed by the plan of salvation. It is to found one glorious and eternal kingdom, that shall comprehend all holy beings on earth and all in heaven. There is now discord and disunion. Man is separated from God, and from all holy beings. Between him and every holy being there is by nature discord and alienation. Unrenewed man has no sympathy with the feelings and work of the angels; no love for their employment; no desire to be associated with them. Nothing can be more unlike than the customs, feelings, laws, and habits which prevail on earth, from those which prevail in heaven. But the object of the plan of salvation is to restore harmony to those alienated communities, and produce eternal concord and love. Hence, learn:

(1) The greatness and glory of the plan of salvation. It is no trifling undertaking to "reconcile worlds," and of such discordant materials to found one great and glorious and eternal empire.

(2) the reason of the interest which angels feel in the plan of redemption; 1 Peter 1:12. They are deeply concerned in the redemption of those who, with them, are to constitute that great kingdom which is to be eternal. Without envy at the happiness of others; without any feeling that the accession of others will diminish "their" felicity or glory, they wait to hail the coming of others, and rejoice to receive even one who comes to be united to their number.

(3) this plan was worthy of the efforts of the Son of God. To restore harmony in heaven and earth; to prevent the evils of alienation and discord; to rear one immense and glorious kingdom, was an object worthy the incarnation of the Son of God.

(4) the glory of the Redeemer. He is to be exalted as the Head of this united and ever-glorious kingdom, and all the redeemed on earth and the angelic hosts shall acknowledge him as their common Sovereign and Head.

(5) this is the greatest and most important enterprise on earth. It should engage every heart, and enlist the powers of every soul. It should be the earnest desire of all to swell the numbers of those who shall constitute this united and ever-glorious kingdom, and to bring as many as possible of the human race into union with the holy inhabitants of he other world.

10. Translate, "Unto the dispensation of the fulness of the times," that is, "which He purposed in Himself" (Eph 1:9) with a view to the economy of (the gracious administration belonging to) the fulness of the times (Greek, "fit times," "seasons"). More comprehensive than "the fulness of the time" (Ga 4:4). The whole of the Gospel times (plural) is meant, with the benefits to the Church dispensed in them severally and successively. Compare "the ages to come" (Eph 2:7). "The ends of the ages" (Greek, 1Co 10:11); "the times (same Greek as here, 'the seasons,' or 'fitly appointed times') of the Gentiles" (Lu 21:24); "the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power" (Ac 1:7); "the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the prophets since the world began" (Ac 3:20, 21). The coming of Jesus at the first advent, "in the fulness of time," was one of these "times." The descent of the Holy Ghost, "when Pentecost was fully come" (Ac 2:1), was another. The testimony given by the apostles to Him "in due time" ("in its own seasons," Greek) (1Ti 2:6) was another. The conversion of the Jews "when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled," the second coming of Christ, the "restitution of all things," the millennial kingdom, the new heaven and earth, shall be severally instances of "the dispensation of the fulness of the times," that is, "the dispensation of" the Gospel events and benefits belonging to their respective "times," when severally filled up or completed. God the Father, according to His own good pleasure and purpose, is the Dispenser both of the Gospel benefits and of their several fitting times (Ac 1:7).

gather together in one—Greek, "sum up under one head"; "recapitulate." The "good pleasure which He purposed," was "to sum up all things (Greek, 'THE whole range of things') in Christ (Greek, 'the Christ,' that is, His Christ)" [Alford]. God's purpose is to sum up the whole creation in Christ, the Head of angels, with whom He is linked by His invisible nature, and of men with whom He is linked by His humanity; of Jews and Gentiles; of the living and the dead (Eph 3:15); of animate and inanimate creation. Sin has disarranged the creature's relation of subordination to God. God means to gather up all together in Christ; or as Col 1:20 says, "By Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, whether things in earth or things in heaven." Alford well says, "The Church of which the apostle here mainly treats, is subordinated to Him in the highest degree of conscious and joyful union; those who are not His spiritually, in mere subjugation, yet consciously; the inferior tribes of creation unconsciously; but objectively, all are summed up in Him."

Some copies join the last clause of the former verse with this, leaving out the relative which, and concluding the sentence at good pleasure, and then read: He purposed in himself, that in the dispensation, & c.; but most read it as our translators have rendered it, only some understand an explicative particle, to wit, in the beginning of this verse, to wit, that in the dispensation, &c.; but either way the scope of the words is the same, viz. to give the sum of that mystery of God’s will, mentioned before.

In the dispensation; in that administration or distribution of the good things of God’s house; which he had determined should be in the fulness of time. It is a metaphor taken from a steward, who distributes and dispenseth according to his master’s order to those that are in the house, Luke 12:42. The church is the house of God, God himself the Master of the family, Christ the Steward that governs the house; those spiritual blessings, mentioned Ephesians 1:3, are the good things he gives out. These treasures of God’s grace had been opened but to a few, and dispensed sparingly under the Old Testament, the more full communication of them being reserved till the fulness of times, when they were to be dispensed by Christ.

The fulness of times; the time appointed of the Father for the appearance of Christ in the flesh, (according to former promises), the promulgation of the gospel, and thereby the gathering together in one all things in Christ. It is spoken in opposition to the times and ages before Christ’s coming, which God would have run out till the set time came which he had pitched upon, and believers expected: see Galatians 4:2,4.

Gather together in one; to recapitulate; either to sum up as men do several lesser numbers in one total sum, which is the foot of the account, but called by the Greeks the head of it, and set at the top; or as orators do the several parts of their speeches in fewer words; thus all former prophecies, promises, types, and shadows centred, and were fulfilled, and as it were summed up, in Christ: or rather, to unite unto, and gather together again under, one head things before divided and scattered.

All things; all intellectual beings, or all persons, as Galatians 3:22.

In Christ; as their Head, under which they might be united to God, and to each other.

Which are in heaven; either saints departed, who have already obtained salvation by Christ, or rather the holy angels, that still keep their first station.

Which are on earth; the elect of God among men here upon earth in their several generations. The meaning of the whole seems to be, that whereas the order and harmony of God’s principal workmanship, intellectual creatures, angels and men, had been disturbed and broken by the entering of sin into the world; all mankind, and many of the angels, having apostatized from him, and the remnant of them being in their own nature labile and mutable; God would, in his appointed time, give Christ (the Heir of all things) the honour of being the repairer of this breach, by gathering together again the disjointed members of his creation in and under Christ as their Head and Governor, confirming the good angels in their good estate, and recovering his elect among men from their apostate condition. Though it be true, that not only believers under the Old Testament were saved, but the elect angels confirmed before Christ’s coming, yet both the one and the other was with a respect to Christ as their Head, and the foundation of their union with God; and out of whom, as the one, being lost, could not have been restored, so the fall of the other could not have been prevented, nor their happiness secured. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times,.... Or "according to the dispensation", &c. as the Alexandrian copy reads; the fulness of time appointed by God, and fixed in the prophets; after many times and seasons were elapsed, from the creation of the world; at the most suitable and convenient time, when a new economy or dispensation began, within which all this was to be effected, hereafter mentioned:

he might gather together in one all things in Christ; this supposes, that all things were once united together in one; angels and men were united to God by the ties of creation, and were under the same law of nature, and there were peace and friendship between them; and this union was in Christ, as the beginning of the creation of God, in whom all things consist: and it supposes a disunion and scattering of them; as of men from God, and from good angels, which was done by sin; and of Jews and Gentiles from one another; and of one man from another, everyone turning to his own way; and then a gathering of them together again: the word here used signifies to restore, renew, and reduce to a former state; and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions render it; and according to this sense, it may seem to have respect to the times of the restitution of all things, the restoration and renovation of the universe; when there will be new heavens and a new earth, and new inhabitants in them: the word is also used to recapitulate, or sum up the heads of a discourse; and according to this sense, it may intend the meeting together, and summing up of all things in Christ, that had been before; as of all the promises and blessings of the covenant; of all the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament; of all the types and shadows, and sacrifices of the former dispensation; yea, all the sins of Old Testament saints, and all the curses of the law, met on him: the word is likewise used for the collection of numbers into one sum total; and Christ is the sum total of elect angels and men; or the whole number of them is in him; God has chosen a certain number of persons unto salvation; these he has put into the hands of Christ, who has a particular and personal knowledge of them; and the exact number of them will be gathered and given by him: once more, it signifies to reduce, or bring under one head; and Christ is an head of eminence and of influence, both to angels and men: and there is a collection of these together in one, in Christ; by virtue of redemption by Christ, and grace from him, there is an entire friendship between elect angels and elect men; they are social worshippers now, and shall share in the same happiness of the vision of God and of Christ hereafter: hence it follows,

both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even

in him; by things in heaven are not meant the souls of saints in heaven; though it is true that the souls of departed saints are in heaven; and that the saints in heaven and on earth were gathered together in Christ, and represented by him, when he hung upon the cross; and that they all make up one body, of which Christ is the head; and that they will be all collected together one day; and that their souls which are in heaven, and their bodies which are in the earth, will come together and be reunited, and dwell with Christ for ever; but rather the angels are meant, whose origin is heaven; where they have their residence, and from whence they never fell; and whose employment is in heaven, and of an heavenly nature: and by things on earth, are not intended every creature on earth, animate and inanimate; nor all men, but all elect men, whether Jews or Gentiles, and some of all sorts, ranks, and degrees; whose origin is of the earth, and who are the inhabitants of it: all these angels in heaven, and elect men on earth, are brought together under one head, even in him, in Christ Jesus, and by him; and none but he was able to do it, and none so fit, who is the Creator of all, and is above all; and was typified by Jacob's ladder, which reached heaven and earth, and joined them together, and on which the angels of God ascended and descended.

{14} That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might {n} gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

(14) The Father exhibited and gave Christ, who is the head of all the elect to the world, at that time which was convenient according as he most wisely disposed all times from everlasting. And Christ is he in whom all the elect from the beginning of the world (otherwise wandering and separated from God) are gathered together. And some of these elect were in heaven, when he came into the earth, that is, those who by faith in him to come, were gathered together. And others being found upon the earth were gathered together by him, and the rest are daily gathered together.

(n) The faithful are said to be gathered together in Christ, because they are joined together with him through faith, and become as it were one man.

Ephesians 1:10. Εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώμ. τῶν καιρ.] Unto the dispensation of the fulfilling of the times, belongs not to γνωρίσας (Bengel), but to the immediately preceding ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ, which is inserted solely with a view to attach to it εἰς οἰκον. κ.τ.λ.; and εἰς does not stand for ἐν (Vulgate and several Fathers, also Beza, Piscator, and others), but denotes what God in forming that purpose had in view, and is thus telic: with a design to. With the temporal rendering, usque ad (Erasmus, Calvin, Bucer, Estius, Er. Schmid, Michael., and others), we should have to take προέθετο in a pregnant sense, and to supply mentally: “consilio secretum et abditum esse voluit” (Erasmus, Paraphr.), which, however, with the former explanation is superfluous, and hence is arbitrary here, although it would in itself be admissible (Winer, p. 577 [E. T. 776]).

οἰκονομία] house-management (Luke 16:2), used also in the ethico-theocratic sense (1 Timothy 1:4), and specially of the functions of the apostolic office (1 Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25), here signifies regulation, disposition, arrangement in general, in which case the conception of an οἰκονόμος has receded into the background. Comp. Ephesians 3:2; Xen. Cyr. v. 3. 25; Plut. Pomp. 50; frequently in Polyb. (see Schweighaeuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 402); comp. also 2Ma 3:14; 3Ma 3:2; Act. Thom. 57.

The πλήρωμα τῶν καιρῶν, id quo impleta sumt (comp. on Ephesians 3:19) tempora, is not in substance different from τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, Galatians 4:4; nevertheless, in our passage the pre-Messianic period running on from the beginning is conceived of not as unity, as at Gal. l.c., but according to its different sections of time marked off by different epochs, the last of which closes with the setting in of the Messianic work of redemption, and which thus with this setting in become full (like a measure), so that nothing more is lacking to make up the time as a whole, of which they are the parts. This πλήρωμα is consequently not, in general, tempus justum (Morus: at its time), but the fulness of the times, i.e. that point of time, by the setting in of which the pre-Messianic ages are made full,[99] that is, are closed as complete. Comp. Herod. iii. 22: ὀγδώκοντα δʼ ἔτεα ζόης πλήρωμα ἀνδρὶ μακρότατον προκέεσθαι (implementum vitae longissimum, i.e. longissimum tempus, quo impletur vita), and see on Galatians 4:4; Wetstein on Mark 1:15. Fritzsche (in Thesauri quo sacrae N.T. glossae illustr. specim., Rostock 1839, p. 25, and ad Rom. II. p. 473) conceives it otherwise, holding that τὸ πλήρωμα is plenitas, the abstract of πλήρης, hence ΠΛ. Τ. Κ. plenum tempus, οἱ πλήρεις καιροί. But while ΠΛΉΡΩΜΑ doubtless signifies impletio, like πλήρωσις, in Ezekiel 5:2; Daniel 10:3; Soph. Track. 1203; Eurip. Tro. 824, it never denotes the being full.

Now, in what way is the genitive-relation
οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρώματος to be understood? A genitive of the object (Menochius, Storr, Baumgarten-Crusius) τοῦ πληρώμ. cannot be, inasmuch as it may doubtless be said of the ΠΛΉΡΩΜΑ ΤῶΝ ΚΑΙΡ. as a point of time fixed by God: it comes (Galatians 4:4), but not: it is arranged, οἰκονομεῖται. Harless takes the genitive as epexegetic. But a point of time (πλήρ. τ. καιρ.) cannot logically be an appositional more precise definition of a fact (οἰκονομία). The genitive is rightly taken as expressing the characteristic (temporal) peculiarity, as by Calovius: “dispensatio propria plenitudini temporum.” Comp. Rückert. Just as κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμέρας, Judges 1:6. Hence: with a view to the dispensation to be established at the setting in of the fulness of the times. For, ὅτε ἦλθε τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, Gal. l.c., and on His emergence πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός, Mark 1:15. There was no need that the article should stand before οἰκον. just because of the complete definition contained in the following genitive. Comp. on ver: 6. It would only be required, if we should have mentally to supply to οἰκονομίαν a genitival definition, and thus to make it an independent idea, as is done by many (Wolf, Olshausen, and others), who explain it as administrationem gratiae,—a view which is erroneous, just because a genitive already stands beside it, although οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, taken together, is the Christian dispensation of grace. This genitival definition standing alongside of it also prevents us from taking, with Luther, εἰς οἰκονομίαν (sc. τοῦ μυστηρίου) as: “that it should be preached;” or from supplying, with Grotius and Estius (comp. Morus), τῆς εὐδοκίας αὐτοῦ with ΟἸΚΟΝ., in neither of which cases would there be left any explanation of the genitive sense applicable to ΤΟῦ ΠΛΗΡΏΜΑΤΟς Τ. Κ. Quite erroneous, lastly, is the view of Storr, Opusc. I. p. 155, who is followed by Meier, that οἰκονομία τοῦ πληρ. τ. κ. is administratio eorum quae restant temporum. For to take τ. πλήρ. τ. κ. in the sense of reliqua tempora, i.e. novi foederis, is in the light of Galatians 4:4, Mark 1:15, decidedly to misapprehend it.

ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ] epexegetical infinitive, which gives information as to the actual contents of that οἰκονομία: (namely) again to gather up together, etc. Therein the arrangement designated by οἰκονομία τ. πλ. τ. κ. was to consist. This connection is that which naturally suggests itself, and is more in keeping with the simple mode followed in the context of annexing the new portions of the discourse to what immediately precedes, than the connection with ΠΡΟΈΘΕΤΟ (Zachariae, Flatt, and others), or with ΤῸ ΜΥΣΤΉΡ. ΤΟῦ ΘΕΛ. ΑὐΤΟῦ (Beza: Paul is explaining quid mysterii nomine significare voluerit; also Harless, comp. Olshausen, Schmid, bibl. Theol. II. p. 347, and others). We may add that Beza, Piscator, and others have taken εἰς οἰκον. τ. πλ. τ. κ. along with ἈΝΑΚΕΦΑΛ. as one idea; but in that case the preceding ἫΝ ΠΡΟΈΘΕΤΟ ἘΝ ΑὙΤῷ must appear quite superfluous and aimless, and ΕἸς ΟἸΚΟΝΟΜ. Κ.Τ.Λ., by being prefixed to ἈΝΑΚΕΦΑΛ., irrelevantly receives the main emphasis, which is not to be removed from ἈΝΑΚΕΦΑΛ.

in the verb ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΌΩ means, as it does also in classical usage, chief thing, main point (see Wetstein, ad Romans 13:9); hence κεφαλαιόω: summatim, colligere, as in Thuc. iii. 67. 5, vi. 91. 6, viii. 53. 1; Quinctil. i. 6. Comp. συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι, Xen. Cyr. viii. 1. 15; Polyb. iii. 3. 1, 7, iv. 1. 9. Consequently ἀνακεφαλαιόω: summatim recolligere, which is said in Romans 13:9 of that which has been previously expressed singulatim, in separate parts, but now is again gathered up in one main point, so that at Rom. l.c. ἐν τούτῳ τῷ λόγῳ denotes that main point, in which the gathering, up is contained. And here this main point of gathering up again, unifying all the parts, lies in Christ; hence the gathering up is not verbal, as in Rom. l.c., but real, as is distinctly apparent from the objects gathered up together, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς κ.τ.λ. It is to be observed withal, (1) that ἈΝΑΚΕΦΑΛ. does not designate Christ as κεφαλή—although He really is so (Ephesians 1:22)—so that it would be tantamount to ὑπὸ μίαν κεφαλὴν ἄγειν (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Piscator, Calovius, Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Koppe, Matthies, Meier, de Wette, and others), but as ΚΕΦΆΛΑΙΟΝ, which is evident from the etymology; (2) that we are not to bring in, with Grotius and Hammond, the conception of scattered warriors, or, with Camerarius, that of an arithmetical sum (ΚΕΦΆΛΑΙΟΝ, see Wetstein, l.c.), which must have been suggested by the context; (3) that the force of the middle is the less to be overlooked, inasmuch as an act of government on God’s part is denoted: sibi summatim recolligere; (4) that we may not give up the meaning of ἀνα, iterum (Winer, de verbor. cum praep. conj. in N.T. usu, III. p. 3 f.), which points back to a state in which no separation as yet existed (in opposition to Chrysostom, Castalio, and many others). This ἀνα has had its just force already recognised by the Peshito and Vulgate (instaurare), as well as by Tertull. de Monog. 5 (ad initium reciprocare),[100] although κεφαλαιόω is overlooked by the former, and wrongly apprehended by the latter. See the more detailed discussion below.

ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ] is referred by many (see below) merely to intelligent beings, or to men, which, according to a well-known use of the neuter, would be in itself admissible (Galatians 3:22), but would need to be suggested by the context. It is quite general: all created things and beings. Comp. Ephesians 1:22-23.

τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς] that which is on the heavens and that which is on the earth. ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐραν. (see the critical remarks) is so conceived of that the heavens are the stations at which the things concerned are to be found. Comp. the well-known ἐπὶ χθονί (Hom. Il. iii. 195, al.); ἐπὶ πύλησιν (Il. iii. 149); ἐπὶ πύργῳ (Il. vi. 431). Even in the classical writers, we may add, prepositions occurring in close succession often vary their construction without any special design in it. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1. 20. Comp. as to the local ἐπί with genitive and dative, e.g. Hom. Il. i. 486. As regards the real sense, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐραν. is not to be arbitrarily limited either to the spirits in heaven generally (Rückert, Meier), or to the angels (Chrysostom, Calvin, Cameron, Balduin, Grotius, Estius, Calovius, Bengel, Michaelis, Zachariae, Bosenmiiller, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), or to the blessed spirits of the pious men of the O. T. (Beza, Piscator, Boyd, Wolf, Moldenhauer, Flatt, and others), nor must we understand by it the Jews, and by τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς the Gentiles (Locke, Schoettgen, Baumgarten, Teller, Ernesti), as, indeed, Koppe was able to bring out of it all mankind by declaring heaven and earth to be a periphrasis for κόσμος; but, entirely without restriction, all things and beings existent in the heavens and upon earth are meant, so that the preceding τὰ πάντα is specialized in its two main divisions. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. iii. 18, quite arbitrarily thought of all events which should have come to pass on earth or in heaven, and which God gathers up, i.e. brings to their complete fulfilment, in Christ as in their goal. Comp. Chrys.: τὰ γὰρ διὰ μακροῦ χρόνου οἰκονομούμενα ἀνηκεφαλαιώσατο ἐν Χριστῷ, τουτέστι συνέτεμε.

But how far has God gathered together again all things, things heavenly and things earthly, in Christ? Before the entrance of sin all created beings and things were undividedly united under God’s government; all things in the world were normally combined into organic unity for God’s ends and in His service. But through sin this original union and harmony was broken, first of all in heaven, where a part of the angels sinned and fell away from God;[101] these formed, under Satan, the kingdom antagonistic to God, and upon earth brought about the fall of man (2 Corinthians 11:3), extended their sway farther and farther, and were even worshipped in the heathen idols (1 Corinthians 10:20 f.). With the fall of man there came to an end also the normal state of the non-intelligent κτίσις (Romans 8:19 ff.); heaven and earth, which had become the scene of sin and of the demoniac kingdom (Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12), were destined by God to destruction, in order that one day a new heaven and a new earth—in which not sin any more, but moral righteousness shall dwell, and God shall be the all-determining power in all (1 Corinthians 15:28)—shall come imperishable (Romans 8:21) in its place (2 Peter 3:13). The redeeming work of Jesus Christ (comp. Colossians 1:20) was designed to annul again this divided state in the universe, which had arisen through sin in heaven and upon earth, and to reestablish the unity of the kingdom of God in heaven and on earth; so that this gathering together again should rest on, and have its foundations in, Christ as the central point of union and support, without which it could not emerge. Before the Parousia, it is true, this ἀνακεφαλαίωσις is still but in course of development; for the devil is still with his demons ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἘΠΟΥΡΑΝΊΟΙς (Ephesians 6:12), is still fighting against the kingdom of God and holding sway over many; many men reject Christ, and the ΚΤΊΣΙς longs after the renewal. But with the Parousia there sets in the full realization, which is the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:10 ff.); when all antichristian natures and powers shall be discarded out of heaven and earth, so that thereafter nothing in heaven or upon earth shall be excluded from this gathering together again. Comp. Photius in Oecumenius. Finally, the middle voice (sibi recolligere) has its warrant in the fact that God is the Sovereign (the head of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:4; 1 Corinthians 3:23), who fulfils His will and aim by the gathering up again, etc.; so that, when the ἀνακεφαλαίωσις is completed by the victory over all antichristian powers, He resumes even the dominion committed to the Son, and then God is the sole ruling principle (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). Our passage is accordingly so framed as to receive its historically adequate elucidation from the N.T., and especially from Paul himself; and there is no reason for seeking to explain it from a later system of ideas, as Baur does (p. 424), who traces it to the underlying Gnostic idea, that all spiritual life which has issued from the supreme God must return to its original unity, and in that view the “affected” expression ΕἸς ΟἸΚΟΝ. Τ. ΠΛΗΡ. Τ. ΚΑΙΡ. is held to convey a covert allusion to the Gnostic pleroma of aeons and its economy. See, on the other hand, Räbiger, Christol. Paulina, p. 55. The “genuinely Catholic consciousness” (Baur, Christenth. d. drei erst. Jahrh. p. 109) of the Epistle is just the genuinely apostolic one, necessarily rooted in Christ’s own word and work. The person of Christ is not presented “under the point of view of the metaphysical necessity of the process of the self-realizing idea” (Baur, neutest. Theol. p. 264), but under that of its actual history, as this was accomplished, in accordance with the counsel of the Father, by the free obedience of the Lord.

[99] The apostolic idea of the πλήρωμα τῶν καιρῶν excludes the conception of a series of worlds without beginning or end (Rothe). See Gess, v. d. Pers. Chr. p. 170 ff.

[100] Comp. Goth.: “aftra usfulljan” (again to fill up).

[101] For this falling away is the necessary presupposition for the Satanic seduction of our first parents, Ephesians 1:10. εἰς οἰκονομίαν: unto a dispensation. This expresses the end which God had in view in that which He purposed. Some (Erasm., Calv., etc.) give εἰς the temporal sense of usque ad. But the idea is rather the more definite one of design. God had His reason for the long delay in the revelation of the “mystery”. That reason lay in the fact that the world was not ripe for the dispensation of grace which formed the contents of the mystery. In classical Greek the word οἰκονομία had the two meanings of (a) administration, the management of a house or of property, and (b) the office of administrator or steward. It was used of such things as the arrangement of the parts of a building (Vitruv., i., 2), the disposition of the parts of a speech (Quint., Inst., iii., 3), and more particularly of the financial administration of a city (Arist., Pol., Ephesians 3:14; cf. Light., Notes, sub voc.). It has the same twofold sense in the NT—an arrangement or administration of things (in the passages in the present Epistle and in 1 Timothy 1:4), and the office of administrator—in particular the stewardship with which Paul was entrusted by God (1 Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25). The idea at the basis of the statement here, therefore, as also in the somewhat analogous passage in Galatians 4:1-11, is that of a great household of which God is the Master and which has a certain system of management wisely ordered by Him. Cf. the figure of the Church as the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:2-6; 1 Peter 4:17), and the parables which run in terms of God as οἰκοδεσπότης (Matthew 13:27; Matthew 20:1; Matthew 20:11; Matthew 21:33; Luke 13:25; Luke 14:21).—τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν: of the fulness of the times. That is, a dispensation belonging to the fulness of the times. The gen. cannot be the gen. objecti (Storr, etc.), nor the epexegetic gen. (Harl.), but must be that of characteristic quality, “a dispensation proper to the fulness of the times” (Mey.), or it may express the relation of time, as in ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς (Romans 2:5), κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμέρας (Judges 1:6). In Galatians 4:4 the phrase takes the more general form τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου; here it has the more specific form τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν καιρῶν, the fulness of the seasons, or series of appointed, determinate times. The idea of the fitness of the times, it is probable, is also expressed by the καιρῶν as distinguished from χρόνων, the former being a qualitative term, the latter a quantitative (see Light., Notes, p. 70). Cf. Hebrews 1:1, and especially the πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός of Mark 1:15. In classical Greek πλήρωμα appears to have both the passive sense, “that which is filled,” and the active, “that which fills”. The former is rare, the latter is sufficiently common. See Lidd. and Scott, Lex., and Rost u. Palm., Worth., sub voce. In the NT likewise it seems to have both senses (though this is questioned); the passive being found in the great doctrinal passages in the Pauline Epistles (Ephesians 3:19; Ephesians 4:13, etc.), the active occurring more frequently and in a variety of applications (Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; Mark 6:43; Mark 8:20; Romans 11:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26). With reference to time it means “complement”—the particular time that completes a long prior period or a previous series of seasons. The purport of the statement, therefore, appears to be this: God has His household, the kingdom of heaven, with its special disposition of affairs, its οἰκονόμος or steward (who is Christ), its own proper method of administration, and its gifts and privileges intended for its members. But these gifts and privileges could not be dispensed in their fulness while those for whom they were meant were under age (Galatians 4:1-3) and unprepared for them. A period of waiting had to elapse, and when the process of training was finished and the time of maturity was reached the gifts could be bestowed in their completeness. God, the Master of the House, had this fit time in view as the hidden purpose of His grace. When that time came He disclosed His secret in the incarnation of Christ and introduced the new disposition of things which explained His former dealings with men and the long delay in the revelation of the complete purpose of His grace. So the Fathers came to speak of the incarnation as the οἰκονομία (Just., Dial., 45, 120; Iren., i., 10; Orig., C. Cels., ii., 9, etc.). This “œconomy of the fulness of the seasons,” therefore, is that stewardship of the Divine grace which was to be the trust of Christ, in other words, the dispensation of the Gospel, and that dispensation as fulfilling itself in the whole period from the first advent of Christ to the second. In this last respect the present passage differs from that in Galatians 4:4. In the latter “the fulness of the time” appears to refer definitely to the mission of Christ into the world and His work there. Here the context (especially the idea expressed by the next clause) extends the reference to the final completion of the work—and the close of the dispensation at the Second Coming.—ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι: to sum up. Or, having regard to the Middle Voice, “to sum up for Himself”. The sentence thus introduced is one of the select class of passages which refer to the cosmical relations of Christ’s Person or Work. It is one of great doctrinal importance. Its exact import, however, is very differently understood by different interpreters. Every word in it requires attention. There is first the question of its precise relation to the paragraph of which it forms part. The inf. is taken by most (Mey., Ell., etc.) to be the epexegetic inf., conveying something complementary to, or explanatory of, the preceding statement, and so = “namely (or to wit), to sum up”. It is that inf., however, in the particular aspect of consequence or contemplated result = “so as to sum up” (so Light.; cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 399, 400). But with what part of the paragraph is this complementary sentence immediately connected? The doctrinal significance of the sentence depends to a considerable extent on the answer to the question, and the answer takes different forms. Some understand the thing which is explained or complemented to be the whole idea contained in the statement from γνωρίσας onwards, “at once the content of the μυστήριον, the object of the εὐδοκία, and the object reserved for the οἰκ.” (Abb.). Others limit it to the μυστήριον (Bez., Harl., Kl[55]), or to the προέθετο (Flatt, Hofm.). Others understand it to refer to the εὐδοκίαν in particular, the ἣνκαιρῶν clause being regarded as a parenthesis (Alf., Haupt); and others regard it as unfolding the meaning of the immediately preceding clause—the οἰκονομίαν τ. π. τ. κ. (Mey., etc.). The last seems to be the simplest view, the others involving more or less remoteness of the explanatory sentence from the sentence to be explained. So the point would be that the œconomy, the new order of things which God in the purpose of His grace had in view for the fulness of the seasons, was one which had for its end or object a certain summing up of all things. But in what sense is this summing up to be understood? The precise meaning of this rare word ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι has to be looked at. In the classics it is used of repeating summarily the points of a speech, gathering its argument together in a summary form. So Quintilian explains the noun ἀνακεφαλαίωσις as rerum repetitio et congregatio (vi., 1), and Aristotle speaks of the ἔργον ῥητορικῆς as being ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι πρὸς ἀνάμνησιν (Frag., 123). In late Greek the verb means also to present in compendious form or to reproduce (Protev. fac., 13). The simple verb κεφαλαιοῦν in the classics denotes in like manner to state summarily, or bring under heads (Thuc. iii., 67, vi., 91, etc.), and the noun κεφάλαιον is used in the sense of the chief point (Plato, Laws, 643 D), the sum of the matter (Pind., P., 4, 206), a head or topic in argument (Dionys. Hal., De Rhet., x., 5), a recapitulation of an argument (Plato, Tim., 26, etc.). In the NT the verb ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι occurs only twice, namely here and in Romans 13:9; in which latter passage it is used of the summing up of the various commandments in the one requirement of love to one’s neighbour. The simple verb κεφαλαιοῦν occurs only once, viz., in Mark 12:4, where it has the sense of wounding in the head; but the text is uncertain there, TTrWH reading ἐκεφαλίωσαν with [56] [57] [58], etc. The noun κεφάλαιον is found twice, viz., in Acts 22:28, where it has the sense of a sum of money (as in Leviticus 6:5; Numbers 5:7; Numbers 31:26), and in Hebrews 8:1, where it means the chief point in the things that the writer has been saying. The prevailing idea conveyed by these terms, therefore, appears to be that of a logical, rhetorical, or arithmetical summing up. The subsequent specification of the objects of the ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι, however, makes it plain that what is in view here is not a logical or rhetorical, but a real or objective summing up. Further, as the verb comes not from κεφαλή but from κεφάλαιον, it does not refer to the summing up of things under a head, and the point of view, therefore, is not that of the Headship of Christ—which comes to distinct expression at the close of the chapter. On the other hand it does not seem necessary to limit the sense of the word (with Haupt) to the idea of a résumé or compendious presentation of things in a single person. The question remains as to the force of the prep. in the compound verb. The ἀνα is taken by many to add the idea of again, and to make the result or end in view the bringing things back to a unity which had once existed but had been lost. So it is understood by the Pesh., the Vulg., Tertull. (e.g., in his Adv. Marc., v., 17, “affirmat omnia ad initium recolligi in Christo”; in the De Monog., 5, “adeo in Christo omnia revocantur ad initium,” etc.), Mey., Alf., Abb., etc. On the other hand, Chrys. makes the compound verb equivalent to συνάψαι; and the idea of a return to a former condition is negatived by many, the ἀνα being taken to have simply the sense which it has in ἀναγινώσκειν, ἀνακρίνειν, ἀνακυκᾶν, ἀναλογίζεσθαι, ἀναμάνθανειν, etc., and to express the idea of “going over the separate elements for the purpose of uniting them” (Light., Notes, p. 322). Usage on the whole is on the side of the latter view, and accordingly the conclusion is drawn by some that this “summing up” is not the recovery of a broken pristine unity, but the gathering together of objects now apart and unrelated into a final, perfect unity. Nevertheless it may be said that the verb, if it does not itself definitely express the idea of the restoration of a lost unity, gets that idea from the context. For the whole statement, of which the ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι clause forms part, runs in terms of a redemption, and the cognate passage in Colossians 1:20 speaks of a final reconciliation of all things.—τὰ πάντα: all things. An all-inclusive phrase, equivalent to the totality of creation; not things only, nor yet men or intelligent beings only (although the phrase might bear that sense, cf. Galatians 3:22), but, as the context shows, all created objects, men and things. Cf. the universal expression in Colossians 1:20.—ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ: in Christ, or rather “in the Christ,” the introduction of the article indicating that the term has its official sense here. The same is clearly the case in Ephesians 1:12, and, as Alford notices, the article does not seem to be attached to the term Χριστός after a prep. unless some special point is in view. The point of union in this gathering together of all things is the Christ of God. In Him they are to be unified.—τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς: the things in the heavens. and the things upon the earth. Or, according to the better reading and as in RV marg., the things upon the heavens, and the things upon the earth. The reading of the TR, though supported by [59] [60] [61], most cursives, Chrys., etc., must give place to τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, which is adopted by LTTrWH on the basis of [62] [63] [64] [65], etc. It is an unusual form for the compound phrase, the term ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς being ordinarily coupled with ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (cf. Ephesians 3:15; also the parallel in Colossians 1:20, where the ἐπί is poorly attested). The ἐπί in ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, however, may have the force of at, which it has in such phrases as ἐπὶ πύλῃσιν (Il., iii., 149), ἐπὶ πύργῳ (Il., vi., 431), ἐπὶ τῇ προβατικῇ (Acts 3:10-11), the heavens being regarded, as Meyer thinks, as “the stations at which the things concerned are to be found”. The phrase in its two contrasted parts defines the preceding τὰ πάντα, making the all-inclusive nature of its universality clear by naming its great divisions. It is not to be understood as referring in its first section to any particular class, spirits in heaven, departed saints of Old Testament times, angels (as even Chrys. and Calv. thought), Jews, and in its second section specifically to men or to Gentiles. It explains the universality expressed by τὰ πάντα as the widest possible and most comprehensive universality, including the sum total of created objects, wherever found, whether men or things.—ἐν αὐτῷ: in him. Emphatic resumption of the ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ and transition to the following statement, solemnly re-affirming also, as Ell. suggests, where the true point of unity designed by God, or the sphere of its manifestation, is to be found.

[55] Klöpper.

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

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

[58] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[59] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[60] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[61] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

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

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

[64] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[65] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

The passage has been supposed (Orig., Crell., etc.) to teach the doctrine of a Universal Restoration. But interpreted as above it has nothing to do with any such doctrine, whether in the sense of a final salvation of all unrighteous and unbelieving men or in that of a final recovery of all evil beings, devils and men alike. Nor, again, does it refer particularly to the case of the individual. It speaks, as Meyer notices, of the “aggregate of heavenly and earthly things,” and of that as destined to make a true unity at last. Another view of the general import of the statement, which has been elaborated with much ability by Haupt, requires some notice. Pressing to its utmost the sense of a résumé or summary, which he regards as the idea essentially contained in the terms in question, he contends that the meaning of the statement is that in Christ, who belongs at once to humanity and to the heavenly world, should be seen the compendious presentation of all beings and things—that in His person should be summarised the totality of created objects, both earthly and heavenly, so that outside Him nothing should exist. He looks for the proper parallel to this not in Colossians 1:20, but in Colossians 1:16-17, where it is said of Christ that “in Him were all things created” and that “in Him all things consist”. And he appeals in support of his view to the use of the kindred verb συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι in Xen. (Cyr., viii., 1, 15, viii., 6, 14), where it expresses the organisation of a multitude of slaves under one representative, in whom they and their acts were so embodied that Cyrus could transact with all when dealing with the one. But the idea of Christ’s agency in the first creation and the continuous maintenance of things is not expressed in the passage in Ephesians, and while it is the pre-existent Christ that is in view in Colossians 1:16, here it is the risen Christ. It remains, therefore, that the present passage belongs to the same class as Romans 8:20-22; Colossians 1:20, etc., and expresses the truth that Christ is to be the point of union and reconciliation for all things, so that the whole creation shall be finally restored by Him to its normal condition of harmony and unity.10. in the dispensation, &c.] Lit., in view of the stewardship of the fulness of the seasons. The word rendered “dispensation” is lit. “stewardship, house-management.” Its special meaning here seems to be that the eternal Son is the True Steward in the great House of the Father’s spiritual Church; and that into His hands is to be put the actual government of it as it stands complete in the “fulness, or, fulfilment, of the seasons” (cp. for the phrase Galatians 4:4); i.e. in the great Age of the Gospel, in which the universality of the Church, long indicated and prepared for by successive “seasons,” or stages, of providence and revelation, is at length a patent fact. In other words, the Father “purposed” that His Son should be, in a supreme sense, the manifested Governor and Dispenser of the developed period of grace, of which “glory” is but the outburst and flower.

gather together in one all things in Christ] This clause explains the clause previous; the “stewardship” was to be, in fact, the actual and manifested Headship of Christ. The Gr. may be literally represented by “that He might head up all things in Christ.” The verb is only used elsewhere (in N. T.) Romans 13:9, where A. V. reads “it is briefly comprehended,” summed up. The element “head” in the compound verb need not appear in translation; as it does not in either A. V. or R. V. (which reads “sum up”). But the Lord is so markedly seen in this Epistle (Ephesians 1:22, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 5:23; and see 1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:19) as the Head of the Church that a special reference to the thought and word seems to us almost certain here. We render, accordingly, to sum up all things in Christ as Head.—“In Christ” will here import a vital and organic connexion; as so often.

both which are in heaven, &c.] Here, and in the close parallel, Colossians 1:20, the context favours the reference of “all things” to the subjects of spiritual redemption who are in view through the whole passage; not explicitly to the Universe, in the largest sense of that word. More precisely, regenerate men are specially intended by “the things on earth,” as distinguished from “the things in heaven,” the angelic race, which also is “made subject” to the glorified Christ (1 Peter 3:22, and see Colossians 2:10). The meaning here will thus be that under the supreme Headship of the Son were to be gathered, with the “elect angels” (1 Timothy 5:21), all “the children of God scattered abroad” (John 11:52); the true members of the universal Church. So, nearly, St Chrysostom interprets the passage; making the meaning to be that “both to angels and to men the Father has appointed one Head, according to the flesh, that is Christ.” (He has previously explained the verb (see last note) to mean “sum up,” “gather together;” but here recognizes an additional reference to the Headship of Christ.)—See further Appendix A.


In the Commentary, on ch. Ephesians 1:10, we have advocated the restriction of the reference of the Headship to the Lord’s connexion with the Church. This is by no means to ignore His connexion with the whole created Universe; a truth expressly taught in the Holy Scriptures (see esp. John 1:3, and Colossians 1:16, though the latter passage makes its main reference to personal existences, not to merely material things). The connexion of the Eternal and Incarnate Son with the created World is indicated to us, directly and indirectly, as a profound and manifold connexion. But on a careful view of the whole teaching of the Ephesian Epistle we think it will be seen that the Epistle does not, so to speak, look this way with its revelations and doctrines, but is occupied supremely with the Lord’s relations with His Church, and with other intelligent existences through it. And we doubt whether the imagery of the Head is anywhere (if not here) to be found used with reference to the Universe at large, material and immaterial alike.Ephesians 1:10. Εἰς, in) Construe with γνωρίσας, having made known.—οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, the dispensation of the fulness of the times) Fulness τῶν καιρῶν, of the times,[10] is in some degree distinguished from the fulness ΤΟῦ ΧΡΌΝΟΥ, of the time, Galatians 4:4, for it involves the fulness of the benefits themselves, and of men reaping these benefits, Mark 1:15. Still each fulness is in Christ, and there is a certain peculiar economy and dispensation of this fulness, Colossians 1:25. Paul very often uses the words πληρόω and ΠΛΉΡΩΜΑ in writing to the Ephesians and Colossians.—ἈΝΑΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΏΣΑΣΘΑΙ) that all might be brought under one head. All things had been under Christ; but they had been torn and rent from Him by sin: again they have been brought under His sway. Christ is the head of angels and of men: the former agree with Him in His invisible, the latter in His visible nature.—τὰ πάντα, all things [the whole range of things]) not only Jews and Gentiles, but also those things which are in heaven and upon the earth:—angels and men, and the latter including those who are alive as well as those long ago dead, Ephesians 3:15.—τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, in the heavens) in the plural.

[10] Seasons rather.—ED.Verse 10. - With a view to the dispensation of the fullness of the times (or, seasons) (vers. 9 and 10 are one sentence, which should not be broken up). This seems to denote the times of the gospel generally; not, as in Galatians 4:4, the particular time of Christ's advent; the οἰκονομία, or economy, of the gospel being that during which, in its successive periods, all God's schemes are to ripen or come to maturity, and be fulfilled. To gather together under one head all things in Christ. Ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι is a word of some difficulty. It is true it is derived from κεφάλαιον, not κεφαλή: therefore some have thought that it does not include the idea of headship; but the relation of κεφάλαιον, to κεφαλή is as close that this can hardly be. The word expresses the Divine purpose - what God προέθετο ( ωηιξη was to restore in Christ a lost unity, to bring together disunited elements, viz. all things, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth. There is no hint here of a universal restoration. Such a notion would be in fiat contradiction to the doctrine of Divine election, which dominates the whole passage. God's purpose is to form a united kingdom, consisting of the unfallen and the restored - the unfallen in heaven, and the restored on earth, and to gather this whole body together under Christ as its Head (see Ephesians 3:15). We cannot say that this purpose has been fully effected as yet; but things are moving towards it, and one day it will be wholly realized. "He that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5). That in the dispensation, etc. (εἰς οἰκονομίαν)

The A.V. is faulty and clumsy. Εἱς does not mean in, but unto, with a view to. Dispensation has no article. The clause is directly connected with the preceding: the mystery which He purposed in Himself unto a dispensation. For οἰκονομία dispensation see on Colossians 1:25. Here and Ephesians 3:2, of the divine regulation, disposition, economy of things.

Of the fullness of times (τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν)

For fullness, see on Romans 11:12; see on John 1:16; see on Colossians 1:19. For times, compare Galatians 4:4, "fullness of the time (τοῦ χρόνου), where the time before Christ is conceived as a unit. Here the conception is of a series of epochs. The fullness of the times is the moment when the successive ages of the gospel dispensation are completed. The meaning of the whole phrase, then, is: a dispensation characterized: by the fullness of the times: set forth when the times are full.

To sum up all things in Christ (ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι)

Explanatory of the preceding phrase; showing in what the dispensation consists. For the word, see on Romans 13:9. It means to bring back to and gather round the main point (κεφαλαίον), not the head (κεφαλή); so that, in itself, it does not indicate Christ (the Read) as the central point of regathering, though He is so in fact. That is expressed by the following in Christ. The compounded preposition ἀνά signifies again, pointing back to a previous condition where no separation existed. All things. All created beings and things; not limited to intelligent beings. Compare Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:28.

The connection of the whole is as follows: God made known the mystery of His will, the plan of redemption, according to His own good pleasure, in order to bring to pass an economy peculiar to that point of time when the ages of the christian dispensation should be fulfilled - an economy which should be characterized by the regathering of all things round one point, Christ.

God contemplates a regathering, a restoration to that former condition when all things were in perfect unity, and normally combined to serve God's ends. This unity was broken by the introduction of sin. Man's fall involved the unintelligent creation (Romans 8:20). The mystery of God's will includes the restoration of this unity in and through Christ; one kingdom on earth and in heaven - a new heaven and a new earth in which shall dwell righteousness, and "the creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God."

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