Ephesians 2:17
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
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(17) And came and preached peace.—The word “came” certainly carries back our thoughts to our Lord’s own preaching, when, after the Resurrection, He came “and stood in the midst of them, and said, Peace be unto you” (Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:21). But we note that at that very time He repeated the salutation “Peace be unto you,” with the expressive addition, “As my Father hath sent Me, even so send I you,” and with the charge, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” for the future mission “to remit or retain sins.” In the same connection we have in John 14:25-28, the promise of the Comforter, and the words “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you. . . . I go away and come again to you.” Hence we cannot limit His “coming” to the appearance after the Resurrection. At all times through the witness of the Holy Spirit, whether with or without the preaching of His servants (John 15:27), He “stands at the door and knocks” (Revelation 3:20) with the message of peace. For since the “peacemakers” are “called the children of God,” He, the Son of God, must be emphatically the Peacemaker.

To you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.—As the enmity was the enmity with God, so the peace is peace with God; but still the Apostle, having the idea of reunion between Jew and Gentile present to his mind, cannot refrain from bringing out clearly the call of both to one peace, and therefore to unity with one another. The passage is a quotation from Isaiah 57:19.

2:14-18 Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ was their Peace, the author, centre, and substance of their being at peace with God, and of their union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.And came and preached peace - That is, the system of religion which he proclaimed, was adapted to produce peace with God. This he preached personally to those who "were nigh," that is, the Jews; to those who were "afar off " - the Gentiles - he preached it by his apostles. He was the author of the system which proclaimed salvation to both.

The word "peace" here refers to reconciliation with God.

To you which were afar off, ... - see the notes at Ephesians 2:13; compare the notes at Acts 2:39.

17. Translate, "He came and announced glad tidings of peace." "He came" of His own free love, and "announced peace" with His own mouth to the apostles (Lu 24:36; Joh 20:19, 21, 26); and by them to others, through His Spirit present in His Church (Joh 14:18). Ac 26:23 is strictly parallel; after His resurrection "He showed light to the people ('them that were nigh') and to the Gentiles ('you that were afar off')," by His Spirit in His ministers (compare 1Pe 3:19).

and to them—The oldest manuscripts insert "peace" again: "And peace to them." The repetition implies the joy with which both alike would dwell again and again upon the welcome word "peace." So Isa 57:19.

And came; partly in his own person, as to the Jews, and partly by his apostles, whom he appointed to preach the gospel to the Gentiles: so 2 Corinthians 13:3.

And preached peace to you which were afar off; far from the knowledge of the truth, from Christ, and salvation by him, as Ephesians 3:13.

And to them that were nigh; nigh in comparison of the Gentiles, nigh by the knowledge of God and his law, and the promises of the Messiah: see Isaiah 57:19.

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off,.... Which is to be understood not of Christ's coming in the flesh; for when he came in the flesh, he came only to the Jews that were nigh, and preached the Gospel in his own personal ministry to them, and not to the Gentiles, who are the persons afar off; Ephesians 2:12 but of his coming by his Spirit in the ministry of his apostles, to whom he gave a commission after he had made peace and reconciliation by the blood of his cross, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in the furthest parts of the earth; and on whom he bestowed gifts, qualifying them for such service, and succeeded them in it by his power and grace: and the subject of their ministry was peace, Christ who is our peace, and peace made by his blood, and the Gospel of peace, which declares both these; and it is the means of making persons of peaceable dispositions; its doctrines and promises, when powerfully applied, give peace to distressed minds, and quiet to doubting saints; and it shows the way to eternal peace:

and to them that were nigh; to the Jews, to whom the Gospel of peace was preached in the first place, not only by Christ and his apostles, before his death; but by his apostles after his resurrection, and after the commission was given to preach it to the Gentiles; though they are mentioned last, because the apostle was speaking to Gentiles; and this also verifies what Christ says, the first shall be last, and the last first: the Alexandrian copy, some others, and the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read "peace", in this clause, as in the former; the apostle seems to have respect to Isaiah 57:19 a like description and distinction of Jews and Gentiles may be observed in the writings of the Jews (h); so they say,

"the Israelites are near unto the holy King, and the rest of the nations are far from him.''

(h) Zohar in Numb. fol. 89. 3.

{13} And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

(13) The preaching of the Gospel is an effectual instrument of this grace, common to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles.

Ephesians 2:17. After Christ has established peace, He has come and has also proclaimed it, to the Gentiles and the Jews. This proclamation, namely, cannot be regarded as preceding the fact by which the peace was established, so that ἐλθών would apply to the bodily advent of Christ upon earth (Chrysostom, Anselm, Estius, Holzhausen, Matthies, Harless), and the connection with Ephesians 2:14 would be: “Christ is peace in deed (Ephesians 2:14) and word (Ephesians 2:17); He not only is peace, but He proclaimed it Himself at His appearing on earth,” Harless. For, when it is said in Ephesians 2:14, αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, the time thought of is, as Ephesians 2:14-16 show, the time after the crucifixion of Christ, through which and since which He is our peace, so that καὶ ἐλθὼν κ.τ.λ. does not merely attach itself to αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν and leave all that intervenes out of view; but, on the contrary, this intervening matter is so essentially bound up with αὐτὸς γ. . ἡ εἰρ. ἡμ., that now καὶ ἐλθὼν κ.τ.λ. can introduce not a πρότερον, but only a ὕστερον of the crucifixion, annexing as it does the further course of the matter. Rightly, therefore, most expositors have understood in ἐλθών an advent following the crucifixion of Christ, in connection with which either the resurrection of Christ has been thought of (Bengel, Rückert), or His having come in His Spirit (Olshausen), or in the preaching that took place through the apostles (so most), in which latter view ἐλθών is wrongly by many, as Raphel, Grotius, Wolf, Zachariae, Koppe, Rosenmüller (comp. Meier), regarded as without significance; it is in truth an “insigne verbum,” Bengel. The correct explanation (comp. Ephesians 2:18) is given by Olshausen; comp. Baumgarten-Crusius and de Wette, also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 475, and Bleek. In the Holy Spirit, namely, not only according to John (John 14:18, al.), but also according to Paul, Christ Himself has come (in so far as it is Christ’s Spirit) from heaven to those who have received the Spirit, and dwells and rules in them (Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20), and this proclamation has taken place at the instance of the Spirit (Romans 8:16), and through the Spirit Himself (Romans 15:18; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:3). The point of time expressed by εὐηγγελίσατο is the conversion of the persons concerned, at which they received the Spirit (Galatians 3:2; Ephesians 1:13). Accordingly the apostle could, without writing at variance with history, name first the readers as original Gentiles (ὑμῖν τοῖς μακράν), and then the Jews; for when the Ephesians became Christians, there had already long since been converted not merely Jews, but Gentiles and Jews. Had he, on the other hand, meant the actual coming of Christ upon earth and His oral preaching, the historical necessity would have presented itself of mentioning first those that were near and then those that were afar off.

We may add that the concrete and vividly depicting expression ἐλθὼν εὐηγγ., can the less occasion surprise, as the whole passage bears the impress of emotion. Comp. also Acts 26:23.

εἰρήνην] has been, from the time of Chrysostom, ordinarily explained of peace with God, while only a few, as Estius and Koppe, suppose peace with each other to be included; but Olshausen rightly understands the latter alone, as does also Bleek. Only this is in keeping with the whole connection (see, moreover, the immediately preceding ἀποκτ. τὴν ἔχθραν, and comp. Ephesians 2:19), and, moreover, has Ephesians 2:18 not against it, but in its favour (see on Ephesians 2:18).

ὑμῖν τοῖς μακράν and τοῖς ἐγγύς] (both to be explained in accordance with Ephesians 2:12, and comp. Isaiah 57:19) are dependent on εὐηγγελίσατο,—the view which immediately and most naturally suggests itself. Harless would attach both very closely to εἰρήνην,—a course to which he was impelled by his explanation of ἐλθὼν εὐηγγ., in order not to present the apostle as saying what is inconsistent with history (Matthew 15:24, comp. Matthew 10:5 f.; John 10:16; Matthew 21:43, al.). But the inconsistency with history would still remain.[156]

The repetition of εἰρήνην (see the critical remarks) has rhetorical emphasis, John 14:27; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. 398]. This ἐπιμονή of the expression, however (Nägelsbach on Hom. Il. i. 436), excludes the view of Wieseler, p. 444, that τοῖς ἐγγύς also is in apposition to ὑμῖν, and means specially the Jewish-Christians in Ephesus.

[156] If Paul had understood ἐλθ. εὐηγγ. in the sense of Harless, he must at all events have written εἰρ. τοῖς ἐγγὺς κ. εἰρ. ὑμῖν τοῖς μακράν. Harless himself has paraphrased (comp. Erasm. Paraphr.): “The contents of his message was a peace which availed for all, Jews as well as Gentiles.” Evidently under an involuntary sense of the historical relation, but in opposition to the words, according to which Harless ought to have paraphrased: “availed for all, Gentiles as well as Jews.”

Ephesians 2:17. καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν καὶ εἰρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς: and He came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh. The TR reads simply καὶ τοῖς ἐγγύς (with [168] [169], the mass of cursives, the Syr., etc.). The primary uncials and other important authorities ([170] [171] [172] [173] 17, Vulg., etc.) insert εἰρήνην (so LTTrWHRV). The repetition has rhetorical force. The καί, again, does not merely connect this statement with the former. It adds to the thought. Not only did Christ effect the reconciliation, but He also came and preached the glad tidings of it, and that not to one class but to both. The aor. partic. has probably its proper force of priority in relation to the def. aor. εὐηγγελίσατο. The coming in question preceded the preaching. The best rendering, therefore, will be neither “coming” (Eadie), nor “came and preached” (AV and RV), but “having come” (Mey., Ell., etc.). But to what coming does the ἐλθών refer? Not to the incarnation (Chrys., Anselm, Harl., etc.); for the preceding sentences, which speak of His blood and of the peace effected through His cross, make it clear that the time in view is not before the crucifixion but after it. Nor can the reference well be to the event of His Resurrection, nor even to His own direct teaching during the forty days (Beng.). What is in view is rather His coming in His Spirit (cf. John 14:18; Acts 26:23, etc.). That the idea of His spiritual Advent in the Holy Ghost which is prominent in the Fourth Gospel is not a Johannine idea only, but one entirely consistent with Paul’s teaching, appears from the Pauline doctrine of the dwelling of Christ Himself or His Spirit in the believer (Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 12:17; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20); as also from the relation of the Holy Ghost to the Apostle’s preaching (Romans 15:18), etc. The preaching meant by the εὐηγγελίσατο, therefore, is Christ’s mediate preaching through His Apostles and others, especially that declaration of His truth which made these Gentiles Christians. Those “afar off” are mentioned first, as the Gentiles in the persons of these Ephesians and other Asiatics were the writer’s immediate concern.

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

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

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

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

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

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

17. and came] from the work of the Cross, from the Grave. “Peace” was His first word in Resurrection-life to His gathered Church (John 20:19); and that Church was then, and not till then, sent to the world, “far off” as well as “nigh,” to be an “ambassador on behalf of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), representing Him in His preaching ministry of peace. Thus vicariously, but really, had He “come” to the Ephesians among others.—Cp. Acts 3:26; “God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you;” and, for the phrase “preaching peace,” Acts 10:36.

peace] The word and thought still, as before, refer immediately to the inner harmony of the New Israel, ultimately to that Israel’s “peace with God.” The next verse suggests this double reference; (1) “we both have access &c.;” (2) “we have access unto the Father.”

to you … nigh] See on Ephesians 2:13. The whole phrase is from Isaiah 57:19, “Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, saith the Lord” (LXX., “to them that are far off &c.”). The Apostle implicitly claims the Prophet as foretelling (whether he knew it or not) peace in and to the New Israel.—The best reading here repeats “peace;” “and peace to them that were nigh.”

Ephesians 2:17. Ἐλθὼν, having come) from death, from His descent into hell, and from His resurrection, He, Himself a joyful conqueror, spontaneously[34] preached. A remarkable expression; 2 Timothy 1:10; John 14:18.—ΕὐΗΓΓΕΛΊΣΑΤΟ, preached) The verb for the participle; comp. ποιήσας, Ephesians 2:14. He announced peace with His own mouth to the apostles, Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26; and by them to others.—εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν, Κ.Τ.Λ.) Acts 2:39, note.—ΚΑῚ ΤΟῖς) There is great elegance in mentioning ΕἸΡΉΝΗΝ, peace, only once in this passage. The peace of both is undivided.

[34] Implied in ἐλθὼν.—ED.

Verse 17. - And having come, he preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to these that were nigh. The coming denoted by ἐλθὼν is subsequent to the transactions of the cross. It cannot denote what Christ did personally, but what he did by sending his Spirit to the apostles and other early preachers. It was only after the cross and after the resurrection that peace could be proclaimed on the footing of faith in a Savior who had died and was alive. And only in the sense of having sent his preachers and given them his Spirit could Jesus be said to have preached to the Ephesians. The repetition of the word "peace" in the R.V. is expressive; if the subject had been merely peace between the two classes of men, we should not have had the repetition; the repetition denotes peace between each of the two classes and a third party, viz. God. It is remarkable that the Gentiles, "those that were far off," are mentioned here before the Jews, "those that were nigh." In point of chronology, the Jews came first; but the order is here transposed, probably to emphasize the offer of the gospel to the Gentiles, and to show that spiritually they were as near as the Jews. Ephesians 2:17You which were afar off


Them that were nigh

Jews. See on Romans 3:30. As children of the messianic covenant. See on Ephesians 2:12. Compare Isaiah 57:9, where the Septuagint reads, peace upon peace to those who are far and to those who are near.

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