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Ephesians 1:1


1:1 From Paul, 1  an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints [in Ephesus], 2  the faithful 3  in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:15

Prayer for Wisdom and Revelation

1:15 For this reason, 4  because I 5  have heard 6  of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love 7  for all the saints,

1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2 tc The earliest and most important mss omit “in Ephesus” (Ì46 א* B* 6 1739 [McionT,E]), yet the opening line of this epistle makes little sense without the phrase (“to the saints who are and are faithful…”? or perhaps “to the saints who are also faithful,” though with this sense the οὖσιν [ousin] is redundant and the καί [kai] is treated somewhat unnaturally). What is interesting is Marcion’s canon list which speaks of the letter to the Laodiceans among Paul’s authentic epistles. This, coupled with some internal evidence that the writer did not know his audience personally (cf. 1:15; 3:2; absence of personal names throughout), suggests that Ephesians was an encyclical letter, intended for more than one audience. Does this mean that the shorter reading is to be preferred? Yes and no. A plausible scenario is as follows, assuming Pauline authorship (though this is strongly contested today; for arguments on behalf of Pauline authorship, see M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:36-50; P. T. O’Brien, Ephesians, 4-47; and H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 2-61): Paul sent the letter from Rome, intending it first to go to Ephesus. At the same time, Colossians was dispatched. Going counterclockwise through Asia Minor, this letter would first come to Ephesus, the port of entry, then to Laodicea, then Colossae. Tychicus’ instructions may well have been for each church to “fill in the blank” on the address line. The church at Ephesus would have certainly made the most copies, being Paul’s home base for nearly three years. Hence, most of the surviving copies have “in Ephesus” in v. 1 (so א2 A B2 D F G Ψ 0278 33 1881 Ï latt sy co). But one might expect a hint of evidence that Laodicea also made a few copies: Both Marcion’s list and Col 4:16 may well imply this. What is to account for the early Alexandrian evidence, then? These mss were perhaps made from a very early copy, one reflecting the blank line before each church filled it in. Although it is of course only speculation (as is necessary in a historical investigation lacking some of the pieces to the puzzle), this scenario accounts for all of the data: (1) “in Ephesus” in most mss; (2) Laodicea in Marcion’s list and Col 4:16; (3) the lack of an addressee in the earliest witnesses; (4) why the earliest witnesses’ reading must be rejected as too hard; and (5) why the author seems not to know the readership. In sum, is “in Ephesus” original? Yes and no. Some address belongs there; ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ (en Efesw) is the predominant address, but several other churches also received this circular letter as their own. For this reason the phrase has been placed in single brackets in the translation. NA27 also lists the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.

map For location see JP1 D2; JP2 D2; JP3 D2; JP4 D2.

3 tn Grk “and faithful.” The construction in Greek (as well as Paul’s style [and even if this letter is not by Paul it follows the general style of Paul’s letters, with some modifications]) suggests that the saints are identical to the faithful; hence, the καί (kai) is best left untranslated. See M. Barth, Ephesians (AB 34), 1:68 and ExSyn 282.

4 sn The conjunctive phrase For this reason points back to the preceding section, vv. 3-14, which is also summed up in this verse in the expression because I have heard of your faith. In other words, the author’s prayer can be made for his audience because he knows that they are true believers.

5 tn Grk “even I.”

6 tn Grk “having also heard.”

7 tc Ì46 א* A B P 33 1739 1881 2464 Hier lack “your love” (τὴν ἀγάπην, thn agaphn), while various other groups of mss have different arrangements of the phrase “your love toward all the saints” (τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους, thn agaphn thn ei" panta" tou" Jagiou"). Most witnesses, especially the later ones (א2 D1 Ψ Ï latt sa), read τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους. Externally, the shorter reading is superior. Internally, the omission of τὴν ἀγάπην is a significantly harder reading, for the saints become an object of faith on par with the Lord Jesus. If this reading is authentic, however, the force of πίστις (pisti") is probably closer to “faithfulness,” a meaning that could perhaps be suitable toward both the Lord and the saints. Nevertheless, if the shorter reading is authentic, later scribes would no doubt have been tempted to alter it. With the parallel in Col 1:4 at hand, τὴν ἀγάπην would have been the most obvious phrase to add. (TCGNT 533 suggests that ἣν ἔχετε would have been added instead of the second τήν if the shorter reading were original, in conformity with Col 1:4, but this is not necessarily so: Scribes often altered the text as minimally as possible, and since the second τήν was already present, replacing it with ἣν ἔχετε, when the meaning was not significantly different from the second τήν, seems unlikely.) Further, ἀγάπην comes after “saints” (thus, τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους ἀγάπην) in some witnesses (81 104 326 365 1175), and the second τήν is lacking (thus, τὴν ἀγάπην εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους) in others (D* F G). Such a floating text normally indicates inauthenticity. On the other hand, τὴν ἀγάπην could easily have dropped out of the text by way of haplography, the Alexandrian scribes’ eyes skipping from τήν to τήν. The weak first declension feminine article-noun-article construction is common enough in the NT, occurring over 40 times, yet in four of these texts there is some ms evidence for an omission similar to Eph 1:15 (Rom 11:17; 2 Tim 3:10; Rev 11:2; 21:9). But in none of these places is the Alexandrian testimony united in the omission as it is here. Further, a wholesale Alexandrian omission of τὴν ἀγάπην presupposes a much stronger genealogical relation among the Alexandrian mss than many scholars would embrace. What seems to tip the scales in favor of the longer reading, however, is the intrinsic evidence: The question of whether πίστις could be used to mean faithfulness in the general sense toward both the Lord and the saints is quite problematic. All in all, a decision is difficult, but the longer reading is, with hesitation, preferred.

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