Ephesians 1:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

New Living Translation
And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

English Standard Version
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Berean Study Bible
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Berean Literal Bible
which is His body, the fullness of the One filling all in all.

New American Standard Bible
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

King James Bible
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Christian Standard Bible
which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Contemporary English Version
The church is the body of Christ and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.

Good News Translation
The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

International Standard Version
which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills everything in every way.

NET Bible
Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

New Heart English Bible
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Which is his body and the fullness of him who fills all in all.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The church is Christ's body and completes him as he fills everything in every way.

New American Standard 1977
which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

Jubilee Bible 2000
which is his body, and he is the fullness of her: who fills all things in everyone.

King James 2000 Bible
Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.

American King James Version
Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.

American Standard Version
which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Which is his body, and the fulness of him who is filled all in all.

Darby Bible Translation
which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all:

English Revised Version
which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Webster's Bible Translation
Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

Weymouth New Testament
the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.

World English Bible
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Young's Literal Translation
which is his body, the fulness of Him who is filling the all in all,
Study Bible
Spiritual Wisdom
22And God put everything under His feet and made Him head over everything for the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Cross References
John 1:16
From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.

1 Corinthians 12:6
There are different ways of working, but the same God works all things in all men.

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.

Ephesians 3:10
His purpose was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

Ephesians 3:19
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 4:10
He who descended is the very one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things.

Ephesians 4:12
to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

Ephesians 5:30
For we are members of His body.

Colossians 1:18
And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence.

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, which is the church.

Colossians 2:19
and he loses connection to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and knit together by its joints and ligaments, grows as God causes it to grow.

Colossians 3:11
Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.

Treasury of Scripture

Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.


Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, …

Ephesians 4:4,12 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one …

Ephesians 5:23-32 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head …

Romans 13:5 Why you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members …

Colossians 1:18,24 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, …

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also …


Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you …

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all …

John 1:16 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.

1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which …

1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also …

Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

Colossians 2:9,10 For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, …

(23) The fulness of him that filleth all in all.--The word pleroma, "fulness," is used in a definite and almost technical sense in the Epistles of the Captivity, and especially in the Epistle to the Colossians, having clear reference to the speculations as to the Divine Nature and the emanations from it, already anticipating the future Gnosticism. The word itself is derived from a verb signifying, first, to "fill;" next (more frequently in the New Testament), to "fulfil" or complete. It is found (1) in a physical sense of the "full contents" of the baskets, in Mark 6:43; Mark 8:20; and of the earth, in 1Corinthians 10:26-28; and in Matthew 9:16, Mark 2:21, it is applied to the patch of new cloth on an old garment. It is used next (2) of fulness, in sense of the "complete tale or number," "of time" and "seasons," in Ephesians 1:10, Galatians 4:4; of the Jews and Gentiles in Romans 11:12; Romans 11:25. In the third place (3) it is applied to the full essence, including all the attributes, of a thing or person; as of the Law (Romans 13:10), and of the blessing of Christ (Romans 15:29). Lastly (4), in these Epistles it is applied, almost technically, to the fulness of the Divine Nature. Thus, in Colossians 1:19 we have, "It pleased the Father that in Christ all the fulness"--i.e., all the fulness of the Divine Nature--"should dwell;" or (to take an admissible but less probable construction) "In Him all the fulness is pleased to dwell;" and this is explained in Ephesians 2:9, "In Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Similarly, though less strikingly, we read in this Epistle, that those who are in Christ are said (in Ephesians 3:19; Ephesians 4:13) "to be filled up to all the fulness of God," and "to come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. In which of these last senses is the Church here said to be the "fulness of Christ?" If in any, probably in the last of all. As the individual, so the Church, by the presence "of Him who filleth up all things for Himself in all," comes to be "His fulness," the complete image of Him in all His glorified humanity. But it may be questioned whether it is not better to take here a different sense, corresponding to the "patch" in Matthew 9:16, and signifying the "complement." In the original Greek of Euclid (in Book 1., Prop. 4), the cognate word, parapleroma, is used of "the complements." In this compound word the idea is, no doubt, more unequivocally expressed. But of the simple word here employed it may be reasonably contended that, if one thing or person alone is contemplated, the pleroma must be the fulness of the one nature; if, as here, two are brought in, each will be the "complement" to the other--as the patch to the garment, and the garment to the patch. So here (says Chrysostom) "the complement of the Head is the Body, and the complement of the Body is the Head." Thus by a daring expression, St. Paul describes our Lord as conceiving His glorified humanity incomplete without His Church; and then, lest this should seem to derogate even for a moment from His dignity, he adds the strongest declaration of His transcendent power, "to fill up for Himself all things in all," in order to show that we are infinitely more incomplete without Him than He without us. This sense, bold as it is, certainly suits exactly the great idea of this Epistle, which differs from the parallel Colossian Epistle in this--that while both dwell emphatically on Christ the Head, and the Church as His Body, there the chief stress is laid on the true Deity of the Head, here on the glory and privileges of the Body.

Verse 23. - Which is his body. The Church is Christ's body in a real though spiritual sense. He is the Head, his people the members; he the Vine, they the branches. He dwells in the Church as life dwells in a living body. He fills it with his life, replenishes it with his strength, feeds it with his body and blood, beautifies it with his comeliness, calms it with his peace, brightens it with his holiness, and finally glorifies it with his glory. All things are delivered unto him of the Father; and all that he has he has for the Church: "My beloved is mine, and I am his." The fullness of him that filleth all in all. The grammatical structure of the words would lead us to construe "fullness" with "the Church," and to regard the Church as Christ's πλήρωμα. Some object to this, inasmuch as, in point of fact, the Church is often very empty, and therefore not worthy of the term "fullness." But it is not meant that the Church has actually received all the fullness of him who filleth all in all, but only that she is in the course of receiving it. The Church on earth is an ever-changing body, perpetually receiving new members, who are at first empty; so that it must always in this state be in the course of filling, never filled. It is in the course of being filled with all Divine things - with all the treasures of heaven. As the empty cells of the honeycomb are being filled with the sweet essences of flowers, so the empty vessels of the Church are being filled with the glorious treasures of God; or, as the courts and compartments of a great international exhibition get filled up with the choicest products of the lands, so the Church gets filled with the handiwork of the grace of God. When the Church is completed, it will be a representation of the fullness of God; all of God that can be communicated to men will be made manifest in the Church. For he whose fullness the Church is, is he that filleth all in all, or filleth all with all. He possesses all things, and he fills all space with the all things. He fills the ocean with water, the organic world with life, the firmament with stars, the entire creation with forms innumerable, alike beautiful and useful. So also he fills the Church. Thus appropriately concludes this chapter, beginning (ver. 3) with thanksgiving to him who had blessed the Ephesians with every blessing of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, and now ending with a sublime picture of the Infinite One filling the Church with these Divine blessings out of the infinite stores of the kingdom of heaven. Thus we see the quality of richness, exuberance, overflowing abundance which is so conspicuously ascribed in this Epistle to the grace of God (comp. Psalm 36:8; Psalm 103:3-5; Matthew 5:3, etc.).

Which is his body,.... That is, which church is the body of Christ; as an human body is but one, consisting of various members, united to each other, and set in an exact proportion and symmetry, and in a proper subservience to one another, and which must be neither more nor fewer than they are; so the church of Christ is but one general assembly, which consists of many persons, of different gifts and usefulness, and are all united together under one head, Christ, whose name they bear, and are made to drink of the same Spirit; and these are placed in such order, as throw a glory and comeliness on each other, and to be useful to one another, so that it cannot be said of the meanest member, that there is no need of it; and the number of them can neither be increased nor diminished; and this is Christ's body, his mystical body, which becomes his by the Father's gift to him, and by his own purchase; to which he is united, and of which he is the only head; and which he loves as his own body, and supplies, directs, and defends:

the fulness of him that filleth all in all; besides the personal fulness which Christ has as God, and his fulness of ability and fitness for his work as Mediator, and his dispensatory fulness, which dwells in him for the use of his people, the church is his relative fulness, which fills him, and makes up Christ mystical; and which is filled by him, and is complete in him: and then will the church appear to be Christ's fulness, when all the elect, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be gathered in; and when these are all filled with the grace designed for them; and when they are all grown up to their full proportion, or are arrived to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; which will be a glorious sight to see, and very desirable: and this shows the certainty of the saints' perseverance and salvation: for if anyone member, even the meanest, could be lost, the church would not be the fulness of Christ: and this may be further concluded, from its being his fulness, who

filleth all in all; which may be understood either more extensively; for he fills both worlds with inhabitants; he fills all places with his omnipresence, and all creatures with proper food and sustenance: or with a limitation to the church and people of God; he fills all his churches and ordinances with his gracious presence; and he fills the various societies of his saints with members and with officers; and these with the gifts and graces of his Spirit, suitable to their place and station; he fills all and every of the saints, all the vessels of mercy, whether greater or lesser, all sorts of them, of larger or meaner capacities; he fills all the powers and faculties of their souls, their hearts with joy, their minds with knowledge, their consciences with peace, their wills with spiritual desires, submission and resignation, and their affections with love to himself and people: in short, he fills them with all grace and goodness, and the fruits of righteousness; and so makes them meet for usefulness here, and for happiness hereafter; the fulness of the earth in Psa_24:1 is by the Jews interpreted of the souls of the righteous, and of the congregation of Israel (h).

(h) Zohar in Gen. fol. 50. 2. & in Exod. fol. 21. 2.23. his body—His mystical and spiritual, not literal, body. Not, however, merely figurative, or metaphorical. He is really, though spiritually, the Church's Head. His life is her life. She shares His crucifixion and His consequent glory. He possesses everything, His fellowship with the Father, His fulness of the Spirit, and His glorified manhood, not merely for Himself, but for her, who has a membership of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Eph 5:30).

fulness—"the filled-up receptacle" [Eadie]. The Church is dwelt in and filled by Christ. She is the receptacle, not of His inherent, but of His communicated, plenitude of gifts and graces. As His is the "fulness" (Joh 1:16; Col 1:19; 2:9) inherently, so she is His "fulness" by His impartation of it to her, in virtue of her union to Him (Eph 5:18; Col 2:10). "The full manifestation of His being, because penetrated by His life" [Conybeare and Howson]. She is the continued revelation of His divine life in human form; the fullest representative of His plenitude. Not the angelic hierarchy, as false teachers taught (Col 2:9, 10, 18), but Christ Himself is the "fulness of the Godhead," and she represents Him. Koppe translates less probably, "the whole universal multitude."

filleth all in all—Christ as the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the world, constituted by God (Col 1:16-19), fills all the universe of things with all things. "Fills all creation with whatever it possesses" [Alford]. The Greek is, "filleth for Himself." 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.
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