Ephesians 1:22
And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
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(22) And hath put all things under his feet.—See 1Corinthians 15:25-28, where St. Paul deals with the quotation from Psalm 8:6, in application to our Lord’s Mediatorial kingdom. In this passage these words fill up the picture of our Lord’s transcendent dignity, by the declaration of the actual subjugation of all the powers of sin and death, rising up against Him, in the spiritual war which is to go on till the appointed end. They therefore form a natural link between the description of His lordship over all created being, and of His headship over the Church, militant on earth, as well as triumphant in heaven.

And gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.—This is the first time that this celebrated phrase is used, describing Christ as the Head, and viewing the Church as a whole as His body. It is characteristic that in 1Corinthians 11:3, Christ is called “the Head of each man,” as “the man of the woman;” whereas in this Epistle Christ is the Head of the whole Church, on occasion of the same comparison (see Ephesians 5:23). The consideration of all Christians as the “body of Christ” is indeed found in Romans 12:4; 1Corinthians 12:12-27 : but it is notable that in these passages the leading idea is, first, of the individuality of each member, and then, secondarily, of their union in one body; and in 1Corinthians 12:21, “the head and the foot,” just as much as “the eye and the hand,” are simply looked upon as members. (Comp. also 1Corinthians 6:15; 1Corinthians 10:17.) Here, in accordance with the great doctrine of this Epistle—the unity of the whole of humanity and of the whole Church, ideally co-extensive with that humanity, with Christ—the metaphor is changed. The body is looked upon as a whole, Christ as its Head. The idea is wrought out again and again (see Ephesians 4:15-16; Ephesians 5:28; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:19) in these Epistles of the Captivity. It is from these that it has become a household word in all Christian theology. With some variation it is expressed also in other metaphors—the building and the corner-stone, the bride and the bridegroom. But under the title of the “Head” Christ is looked upon especially in His ruling, guiding, originating power over the Church. Probably the idea of His being the seat of its life, though not excluded, is secondary; whereas in His own figure of the vine and the branches (John 16:6) it is primary.

Ephesians 1:22-23. And hath put — Greek, υπεταξεν, hath subjected; all things under his feet — This is said in allusion to Psalm 110:1, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. The psalm is a prophecy, not only of Christ’s exaltation to universal dominion in the human nature, (1 Corinthians 15:27,) but also of the entire subjection of all his enemies, 1 Corinthians 15:25. For in ancient times conquerors put their feet on the necks of their enemies in token of their subjection, Joshua 10:23-24. And gave him to be head over all things to the church — As it is here declared that Christ is raised to universal dominion for the sake of his church, that is, for the noble purpose of erecting and establishing it, and uniting the angels who are in heaven, and all the good men, who have lived and are to live on earth, in one harmonious society, that they may worship and serve God together, and be happy in one another’s society to all eternity, it was necessary for accomplishing this grand purpose, that the evil angels should be subjected to him; and even that the material fabric of the world, with every thing it contains, should be under his direction, that he might order all the events befalling his people, in such a manner as to promote their holiness, and prepare them for heaven. Add to this, he is in such a sense made head over all things to his church, as to cause even its enemies, however undesignedly by them and unwillingly, to serve its interests; and all events, whether apparently prosperous or adverse, and all persons and things, to work together for the good of its members. To these he is a head, not merely of government, but likewise of guidance, life, and influence, as is implied in the next clause. Which is his body — The church is called the body of Christ, to signify that the true and living members thereof are united to, and animated by him; that they are under his direction, and the objects of his care, and that they are united to one another in love, after the manner of the members of the human body, which are governed by the head, and united to one another by various joints, ligaments, nerves, arteries, veins, and other vessels of communication and intercourse. The fulness of him that filleth all in all — This expression may mean that his church, that is, the spiritual part of it, is completed, or completely filled by him, namely, with all sorts of gifts and graces. So Locke understands it. Thus believers are said to receive out of Christ’s fulness, grace for, or upon grace. Macknight, however, takes the clause in a different sense, observing, that by calling the church το πληρωμα, the fulness of Christ, the apostle intimates, that he who is universal Lord would want a principal part of his subjects, if the church among men on earth were not united and subjected to him as its head. Who filleth all in all — That is, who filleth all his members with all their spiritual gifts and graces, according to the place and office in his body which he hath assigned them. 1:15-23 God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom. Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke, though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do we not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.And hath put all things under his feet - See the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:27.

And gave him to be the head over all things - Appointed him to be the supreme ruler.

To the church - With reference to the church, or for ira benefit and welfare: see the notes or, John 17:2. The universe is under his control and direction for the welfare of his people.

(1) all the elements - the physical works of God - the winds and waves - the seas and rivers - all are under him, and all are to be made tributary to the welfare of the church.

(2) earthly kings and rulers; kingdoms and nations are under his control. Thus far Christ has controlled all the wicked rulers of the earth, and they have not been able to destroy that church which he redeemed with his own blood.

(3) angels in heaven, with all their ranks and orders, are under his control with reference to the church; see the notes at Hebrews 1:14; compare Matthew 26:53.

(4) fallen angels are under his control, and shall not be able to injure or destroy the church. See the notes at Matthew 16:18. The church, therefore, is safe. All the great powers of heaven, earth, and hell, are made subject to its Head and King; and no weapon that is formed against it shall prosper.

22. put … under—Greek, "put in subjection under" (Ps 8:6; 1Co 15:27).

gave … to the church—for her special advantage. The Greek order is emphatic: "HIM He gave as Head over all things to the Church." Had it been anyone save Him, her Head, it would not have been the boon it is to the Church. But as He is Head over all things who is also her Head (and she the body), all things are hers (1Co 3:21-23). He is OVER ("far above") all things; in contrast to the words, "TO the Church," namely, for her advantage. The former are subject; the latter is joined with Him in His dominion over them. "Head" implies not only His dominion, but our union; therefore, while we look upon Him at the right hand of God, we see ourselves in heaven (Re 3:21). For the Head and body are not severed by anything intervening, else the body would cease to be the body, and the Head cease to be the Head [Pearson from Chrysostom].

All things; either all his enemies, as Psalm 110:1, all except the church, which is said to be his body; or all things more generally, of which he spake before, angels and men; all are made subject to Christ, 1 Peter 3:22.

Hath put all things under his feet; put them into a perfect and full subjection to him.

Objection. All things are not yet put under him.


1. All things are so put under him that he can do with them what he please, break all his enemies in pieces when he will, though for many reasons he yet doth it not.

2. They are begun to be subjected to him, and by degrees shall be further subjected, till they be perfectly and absolutely subjected unto him, de facto, as already they are de jure.

And gave him; appointed, or constituted, or made him.

To be head; a mystical head; such a one not only as a king is to his subjects, to rule them externally by his laws, but such as a natural head is to the body, which it governs by way of influence, conveying spirits to it, and so causing and maintaining sense and motion in it, Ephesians 4:16 Colossians 2:19.

Over all things; either:

1. God hath chiefly, and above all before mentioned, given Christ to be the Head of the church; q.d. Though he be King and Lord of all, yet God hath made him the only proper Head to the church only; God hath set him above principalities and powers, but especially hath appointed him to be the Head of the church. Or:

2. Over all things may be meant, for the communication of all good things to the church, and performing all offices of a Head to her; a Head to the church, with a power over all things for her good.

To the church; the catholic church, or whole collection of believers throughout the world, and in all ages of it.

things under his feet; put them into a perfect and full subjection to him.

Objection. All things are not yet put under him.


1. All things are so put under him that he can do with them what he please, break all his enemies in pieces when he will, though for many reasons he yet doth it not.

2. They are begun to be subjected to him, and by degrees shall be further subjected, till they be perfectly and absolutely subjected unto him, de facto, as already they are de jure.

And gave him; appointed, or constituted, or made him.

To be head; a mystical head; such a one not only as a king is to his subjects, to rule them externally by his laws, but such as a natural head is to the body, which it governs by way of influence, conveying spirits to it, and so causing and maintaining sense and motion in it, Ephesians 4:16 Colossians 2:19.

Over all things; either:

1. God hath chiefly, and above all before mentioned, given Christ to be the Head of the church; q.d. Though he be King and Lord of all, yet God hath made him the only proper Head to the church only; God hath set him above principalities and powers, but especially hath appointed him to be the Head of the church. Or:

2. Over all things may be meant, for the communication of all good things to the church, and performing all offices of a Head to her; a Head to the church, with a power over all things for her good.

To the church; the catholic church, or whole collection of believers throughout the world, and in all ages of it. And hath put all things under his feet,.... These words are taken out of Psalm 8:6. See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:27.

And gave him to be the head over all things to the church; the Vulgate Latin version reads, "and gave him to be the head over every church", or "all the church"; the Ethiopic version, "the whole church"; which intends not barely professors of religion, or a family of faithful persons, or a particular congregation, in which sense the word is sometimes used; but the whole body of God's elect, the church, which is built on Christ the rock, for which he gave himself, and which is the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven: Christ is an head to this church; in what sense he is so; see Gill on 1 Corinthians 11:3. And this headship of Christ is the gift of God; and it is an honourable gift to him, as Mediator; it is a glorifying of him, and a giving him in all things the pre-eminence; and it is a free grace gift to the church, and a very special, valuable, and excellent one, and of infinite benefit and advantage to it; and which is expressed in his being head "over all things" to it; to overrule all things for its good; to communicate all good things to it; and to perform all the good offices of an head for it: the Syriac version reads, "and him who is above all things, he gave to be the head to the church" even him who is God over all, blessed for evermore.

{21} And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the {b} head over all things to the church,

(21) So that we should not think that the excellent glory of Christ is a thing with which we have nothing to do, he witnesses that Christ was appointed by God the Father as head over all the Church, and therefore the body must be joined to this head, which otherwise would be a maimed thing, without the members. However, this is not because of necessity (seeing that it is rather the Church which is made alive and sustained by the holy power of Christ, so it is far from being true that he needs the fulness of it), but because of the infinite goodwill and pleasure of God, who condescends to join us to his Son.

(b) Insomuch that there is nothing that is not subject to him.

Ephesians 1:22. While Paul has before been setting forth the exaltation of Christ over all things, he now expresses the subjection therewith accomplished of all things under Christ: καὶ πάντααὐτοῦ, with which consequently the same thing—the installation into the highest κυριότης (Php 2:10 f.)—is expressed, only from another point of view (from below, from the standpoint of the object subjected; previously from above, from the seat of the exalted Lord), in order to present it in a thoroughly exhaustive manner. Such a representation is not tautological, but emphatic. Theodoret, with whom Harless agrees, makes the purpose: καὶ τὴν προφητικὴν ἐπήγαγε μαρτυρίαν. But the words, while doubtless a reminiscence of Psalm 8:7 (6), in such wise that Paul makes the expression of the Psalm his own, are not a citation, since he does not in the least indicate this, as he has done at 1 Corinthians 15:27 by the following ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ. Certainly, however, he recognised that, which is said in Psalms 8. of man as such, as receiving its antitypical fulfilment in the exalted Christ (see on 1 Cor. l.c., comp. also Hebrews 2:8), and thereby it was the more natural for him, when speaking here of the dominion of Christ. to appropriate the words of the Psalm.

πάντα has the emphasis, like πάσης and παντός before. All—all that is created

God has subjected to Christ If Paul had meant simply all that resists Christ (Grotius, Rosenmüller, Holzhausen, Olshausen), he must have said so, since there is no mention of subjecting what is hostile either before or in the eighth Psalm.

καὶ αὐτὸν κ.τ.λ.] and Him, the One thus exalted and ruling over all, Him even He gave, etc.; observe the emphasis of the αὐτόν prefixed. What dignity of the church in Him!

ἔδωκε] is usually taken in the sense of τίθημι (Harless: “and installed Him as Head over all things for the church;” comp. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 117); but here as arbitrarily as at Ephesians 4:11. Grotius and Rückert rightly take it as: He gave Him … to the church. If Paul had conceived of τῇ ἐκκλ. not as dependent on ἔδωκε, but as attached to κεφ. ὑπὲρ πάντα, it would be difficult to see why he should not have written τῆς ἐκκλησίας.[117] Comp. Colossians 1:18.

ὑπὲρ πάντα] exalted above all things, is neither transposed (Peshito, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Grotius, Estius, and others): “ipsum super omnia (sc. positum) dedit ecclesiae ut caput ejus,” Grot.; nor does it signify especially (ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, Ephesians 6:16), as Boyd and Baumgarten would have it; nor is it, in its true connection with κεφαλ., to be taken as summum caput (Beza, Morus, Koppe, Rückert, Holzhausen, Meier, Olshausen, Bleek, comp. Matthies); by which, according to Koppe and Olshausen, it is meant to be indicated that Christ is higher than the apostles, bishops, etc. In opposition to this interpretation, it may be decisively urged that only One Head to the church can at all be thought of, and that πάντα here calls for the same explanation as above in the case of πάντα ὑπέταξ. Hence rather: and Him He gave as Head over all things (to which position, as just shown, He had exalted Him) to the church (Christians as a whole). Since He, as Head over all things, was given to the church, it is obvious that He was to belong to her in a very special sense as her own Head; hence it is, in accordance with a well-known breviloquentia (Matthiae, p. 1533; Kühner, II. p. 602), unnecessary to supply κεφαλήν again before τῇ ἐκκλ.

[117] Hofmann no doubt thinks that, if ἔδωκε τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, were to be taken together, Paul would not have inserted κεφαλ. ὑπὲρ πάντα. But why not? The very position assigned to κεφ. ὑπ. π., as placed apart from αὐτόν, is in keeping with the importance of this definition of quality, which at the same time, so placed, brings together with striking emphasis ὑπὲρ πάντα and τῆ ἐκκλ. Christ has He given as Head over all things to the church. So high and august is His esteem for it!Ephesians 1:22. καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ: and He put all things under His feet. The ὑπέταξεν is coordinate with the previous ἐνήργησε. These two things God did: He wrought His mighty power in raising and exalting Christ and He subjected all things to Him. The idea expressed by the ὑπέταξεν here is not the limited idea of a subjection of opposing objects, which we have in 1 Corinthians 15:27, but the wider idea of placing all created things under the sovereignty of Christ. The words recall those of Psalm 8:7, but do not give these in the form of a quotation. That Psalm speaks of Man as he was meant by God to be, with dominion over all the creatures. Here that ideal is presented as made real in Christ, the exalted, sovereign Christ. The act referred to, therefore, by the aor. ὑπέταξεν may be the definite gift of absolute dominion consequent on the exaltation. The raising of Christ to God’s right hand was followed by the placing of all things under His feet and making Him, de facto, sovereign over all.—καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ: and gave Him as head over all things to the Church. The RV agrees with the AV and the Bishops’ Bible in rendering it “and gave Him to be head”. Tynd. and Cran. have “hath made Him above all things the head”; the Rhemish, “hath made Him head over all the Church”. The two ideas of Christ’s Headship over all things and His Headship over the Church appear to be in the statement. The question is how they are related, and what is the precise idea attaching to each of the significant terms. The ἔδωκεν is not to be taken in the technical sense of appointed, installed (as expressed by נָתַן, τιθέναι), but, as is indicated by the simple dat. ἐκκλησίᾳ, in its ordinary sense of gave. Christ in the capacity or position here ascribed to Him is presented as a gift of God to the Church. Having exalted Him to the highest and invested Him with supreme dominion, God gives Him to the Church. The πάντα in ὑπὲρ πάντα must have the sense it has in πάντα ὑπέταξεν, not “all authorities,” but “all things”. The κεφαλή, therefore, must express an absolute headship over all the created world, visible and invisible, not a particular, higher headship over other subordinate headships, Apostles, Bishops, etc., in the Church. Further, as the subsequent statement about the σῶμα shows, it must have the full sense of head, organic head, and neither that of sum nor that of highest dignity only. The term ἐκκλησία, again, obviously has here its widest Christian sense. Used by the Greeks to designate an assembly of the people called for deliberation (cf. Acts 19:39), and by the LXX as the equivalent of the Hebrew קָהָל, the congregation of Israel, especially when called in religious convention (Deuteronomy 31:30, etc.), it expresses in the NT the idea of the fellowship or assembly of believers meeting for worship or for administration. And it expresses this in various degrees of extension, ranging from the small company gathering for worship in one’s house (the ἐκκλησία κατʼ οἶκον, Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19, etc.), or the single congregation of village or city (Acts 5:11; Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians 4:17, etc.), to the larger Christian communities of provinces and countries (τῆς Ἀσίας, Γαλατίας, Ἰουδαίας, 1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2; Galatians 1:22), and finally to the Church universal, the Church collectively, the whole fellowship of believers throughout the world (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Php 3:6; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24, etc.). Here and in the other occurrences in this Epistle the word has this largest extension of meaning, with the further mystical idea of a unity vitally related to Christ, incorporated in Him, and having His life in it. If the terms then are to be so understood, how is their connection in the sentence to be construed? The τῇ ἐκκλησία is immediately dependent on ἔδωκεν, and cannot well be taken as a dat. commodi=“for the good of the Church” (De Wette), as if it were attached immediately to the ὑπὲρ πάντα. The κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα may then be taken either as in apposition to αὐτόν—“gave Him, head over all things, to the Church,” i.e., gave Him, this head over all things, to the Church (Chrys., Stier, etc.); or as having a predicative force—“gave Him as head overall things” (Ell., etc.). The latter is to be preferred both as the easier construction and as more congruous with the anarthrous κεφαλήν. Thus the purport of the clause is that God, in giving Christ to the Church, gave Him in the capacity of Head over all things. There is no distinction or comparison, therefore, between two headships, as if one were over the world or over the state, and the other over the Church. Christ’s Headship over the Church, so far as this clause is concerned, is rather implied than expressed. The idea of the Headship over the Church is more distinctly conveyed by the sentence which follows, with the further description of the Church as the σῶμα Χριστου. Here the great idea is still that of the Headship of Christ over all things. Having that supremacy He is given by God to the Church, and as given in the capacity of universal Head He is given to the Church as her Head also.22. and hath put] Lit. and did put; at the great act of Enthronement after Resurrection. Cp. 1 Corinthians 15:27 &c., where we have explicit reference to Psalm 110:1, and in a way which suggests here the interpretation that the subjection of all things was then accomplished in the earnest, but is not to be accomplished in final act till the “destruction of death.”—The phrase here carries the thought of Christ’s Lordship on from His relations to angels as their King to His attitude towards all opposition as its Conqueror.

and gave him] “Him” is emphatic by position; He and no other is the Head.

head] A word combining the idea of exaltation with that of the vital union necessary to an organism. The ascended Lord presides over His Church, but more—He is to it the constant Cause and mighty Source of spiritual vitality. “Because He lives, it lives also.” Its organization grows from Him, and refers to Him. Cp. 1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:19; and below, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 5:23. The idea, it will be seen, appears in this precise form (the Headship of the Body) only in Eph. and Col.; unless 1 Corinthians 12:21 is to be added.

over all things] I.e., immeasurably beyond anything else that can seem to claim headship; any fancied Power of quasi-philosophic systems.

the church] This great word appears here in its highest reference, the Company of human beings “called out” (as the word Ecclêsia implies) from the fallen world into vital union with the glorified Christ. The word occurs nine times in this Epistle (here, Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21 Ephesians 5:23-25; Ephesians 5:27; Ephesians 5:29; Ephesians 5:32) and always in the same high connexion. Cp. for parallels Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24; Hebrews 12:23; and, in a measure, Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:9. As it stands here, the word rises above the level of visibility and external organization, and has to do supremely with direct spiritual relations between the Lord and the believing Company. In is, in fact, (see ch. 5), “the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife,” of the Revelation, only not as yet manifested in bridal splendour. It is “the called, justified, and glorified,” of Romans 8; “the Church of the Firstborn,” of Hebrews 12; “the royal priesthood, the people of possession,” of 1 Peter. All other meanings of the word Church are derived and modified from this, but this must not be modified by them. “The Church of Christ, which we properly term His body mystical, can be but one … a body mystical, because the mystery of their conjunction is removed altogether from sense. Whatsoever we read in Scripture concerning the endless love and saving mercy which God sheweth to His Church, the only proper subject thereof is this Church. Concerning this flock it is that our Lord and Saviour hath promised, ‘I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.’ They who are of this Society have such marks and notes of distinction from all others as are not objects unto our sense; only unto God who seeth their hearts … they are clear and manifest” (Hooker, Eccles. Polity, III. 1.) See further Appendix B.

which is his body] A metaphor which suggests not only vital union with the Head, but that the will of the Head is exercised through the members. They are His instruments.—A kindred but not identical use of the metaphor appears Romans 12:5; “members one of another;” and 1 Corinthians 10:17. For closer parallels cp. Colossians 1:24; Colossians 2:19; and below, Ephesians 2:16, Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16, Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:30.

the fulness of him, &c.] This mysterious phrase has been much discussed. On the whole the inferences have taken one or other of two main lines. The word “fulness” (plerôma), has been (1) explained to mean the receptacle of fulness, or filled receptacle; the vehicle, so to speak, in which the resources of the grace of Christ manifest their greatness, and which is filled by them. Among other pleas for this view is the fact that in some schools of the Gnosticism which so soon followed the apostolic age the Plerôma was the recognized term for the home, or sphere, of the great Emanations (Æons) of the Absolute Being (Bythus), and in one theory, of the Absolute Being Itself also. The word has been (2) held to mean, in all doctrinal passages of the N. T., substantially, the ideal fulness, or totality, of Divine attributes or graces; as certainly in Colossians 2:9. Bp Lightfoot (Colossians, pp. 323–339) discusses the word in an exhaustive essay. He shews that Plerôma cannot naturally mean (as it has been taken to mean in some passages) the thing which fills a void. It is the filled condition of a thing, whether the thing be a rent to be mended, an idea to be realized, or a prophetic plan to be “fulfilled.” He shews further that the word had acquired a technical theological meaning in St Paul’s time, probably in the Palestinian schools of Jewish thought; a meaning connected especially with the eternally realized Ideal of Godhead; the Divine Fulness. This Fulness resides (by the Father’s will, yet necessarily,) in the Eternal Son (Colossians 1:19); and the Son, Incarnate, Sacrificed, and Risen, is so conjoined in spiritual Union to His regenerate Church that what is true of Him is true, within sacred limits, of her. As He without measure is the Fulfilment, or Ideal, of Divine Attributes, so she in measure is the Fulfilment, or Ideal, of Divine Graces; which are, we may venture to say, the Attributes in their reception and manifestation by the regenerate Church. She is the Body through which is realized the Will of the Head, the Fulfilment in which is realized the Grace of the Head.—It will be observed that the two interpretations of the word indicated in this note have an underlying connexion. See this curiously illustrated by Bp. Lightfoot (Colossians, pp. 331, &c.), from the history of Gnostic theories.

that filleth all in all] The reference is to the Son, Who is in view through the immediate context. His vital connexion with His true Church is such that it not only is the Receptacle of His Divine grace, but is actually pervaded everywhere by His spiritual omnipresence. The form (middle) of the verb suggests intensity and richness of action; a power which is indeed living and life-giving.

All in all:”—in other words, He is the Cause of all the holiness that is in all His members; whatever in them is filled with grace, He fills it.—It seems needless to seek a remoter meaning, as, “filleth all things (the universe) with all things” (Alford).

The true Church, in its glorious Ideal, which is meanwhile its proper Reality, only not yet fully manifested, is thus presented in spiritual and eternal union with its exalted Head. The Apostle is now about to descend to the special instance of the bringing into it of its Ephesian members. Cp. Colossians 1:21, &c.

B. ST AUGUSTINE ON THE CHURCH. (Ch. Ephesians 1:22.)

He is describing with general approval Tichonius’ Book of the Seven Rules[42] (for the elucidation of Scripture mysteries), and writes thus (De Doctrinâ Christianâ, iii. 32):—“The second Rule is that concerning the Lord’s twofold Body (de Domini corpore bipartito). The phrase is unsuitable, for that is not really the Lord’s Body which will not be with Him eternally. He should have said, ‘concerning the Lord’s true and commingled Body,’ or ‘true and feigned Body,’ or the like; for not only eternally, but now, hypocrites are not to be described as being with Him, however they may seem (quamvis videantur) to be in His Church. This rule demands a watchful reader; for [often] the Scripture, turning from one party to speak to, or about, another, seems to be still speaking to, or about, the first, as if the two constituted one Body, by reason of their temporal commingling and their equal share in sacraments.”

[42] This book is extant. See Migne’s Patrologia Latina, Vol. xviii.

In allusion to this passage Bp Ridley writes (Works, Parker Society Ed., pp. 126–127):—“That Church, which is His Body, and of which Christ is the Head, standeth only of living stones and true Christians, not only outwardly in name and title, but inwardly in heart and in truth. But forasmuch as this Church … as touching the outward fellowship, is contained within that great house [2 Timothy 2:20] and hath, with the same, outward society of the sacraments and ministry of the word, many things are spoken of that universal Church (which St Augustine calleth the mingled Church) which cannot truly be understood but only of that purer part of the Church. So that the rule of Tyconius concerning the mingled Church may here well take place, &c.”Ephesians 1:22. Πάντα ὑπέταξεν, hath put all things under His feet) 1 Corinthians 15:27.—ἔδωκε) gave. Not, however, that Christ was not formerly Head of the Church, ch. Ephesians 5:25; John 3:29.—ὑπὲρ πάντα, above [over] all things) The Church, as being above all things, above authorities, etc., the Head of which [Ephesians 1:10, ἀνα-κεφα-λαιώσασθαι, together under one Head, etc.] is Christ, Colossians 2:10, may say, Christ is my Head: I am His body. The dative of advantage to the Church is in contradistinction to the over, or above [all things].Verse 22. - And put all things under his feet; a strong, figurative expression, denoting high sovereignty. It does not refer merely to defeated and arrested enemies, but to the whole of creation and the fullness thereof. They are as thoroughly under Christ and at his disposal as if they were literally under his feet. As a military commander, proceeding even through his own country, has power to requisition everything needful for his army, and deal with all property as may be required for military purposes, so Christ has the whole creation at his disposal, animate and inanimate, hostile and friendly. And gave him to be Head over all things to the Church. The exaltation of Christ is not merely an honor conferred on himself, but has also a definite practical purpose; it is for the benefit of the Church. God gave him to the Church as Head over all things. The gift of Christ to the Church is the gift of One who has sovereign authority over all things. The official subordination of Christ to the Father is recognized throughout this remarkable passage. So in Philippians, though he was "in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." It is this Jesus, in the form of a servant and in the likeness of men, that is now Head over all things, and as such given by the Father to the Church. With such a Head, what need the Church fear, and what can she want? Put all things in subjection

Compare Colossians 1:15-18; Psalm 8:5-8.

Gave Him

Him is emphatic: and Him He gave. Not merely set Him over the Church, but gave Him as a gift. See 2 Corinthians 9:15.

The Church (τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ)

See on Matthew 16:18.

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