1:5 He did this by predestining 1 us to adoption as his 2 sons 3 through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure 4 of his will –
1:11 In Christ 5 we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, 6 since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will 1:12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope 7 on Christ, 8 would be to the praise of his glory. 1:13 And when 9 you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ 10 – you were marked with the seal 11 of the promised Holy Spirit, 12 1:14 who is the down payment 13 of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, 14 to the praise of his glory.
sn By predestining. The aorist participle may be translated either causally (“because he predestined,” “having predestined”) or instrumentally (“by predestining”). A causal nuance would suggest that God’s predestination of certain individuals prompted his choice of them. An instrumental nuance would suggest that the means by which God’s choice was accomplished was by predestination. The instrumental view is somewhat more likely in light of normal Greek syntax (i.e., an aorist participle following an aorist main verb is more likely to be instrumental than causal).
2 tn Grk “to himself” after “through Jesus Christ.”
3 tn The Greek term υἱοθεσία (Juioqesia) was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. BDAG 1024 s.v. notes, “a legal t.t. of ‘adoption’ of children, in our lit., i.e. in Paul, only in a transferred sense of a transcendent filial relationship between God and humans (with the legal aspect, not gender specificity, as major semantic component).” Although some modern translations remove the filial sense completely and render the term merely “adoption” (cf. NAB, ESV), the retention of this component of meaning was accomplished in the present translation by the phrase “as…sons.”
sn Adoption as his sons is different from spiritual birth as children. All true believers have been born as children of God and will be adopted as sons of God. The adoption is both a future reality, and in some sense, already true. To be adopted as a son means to have the full rights of an heir. Thus, although in the ancient world, only boys could be adopted as sons, in God’s family all children – both male and female – are adopted.
4 tn Or “good pleasure.”
5 tn Grk “in whom,” as a continuation of the previous verse.
6 tn Grk “we were appointed by lot.” The notion of the verb κληρόω (klhrow) in the OT was to “appoint a portion by lot” (the more frequent cognate verb κληρονομέω [klhronomew] meant “obtain a portion by lot”). In the passive, as here, the idea is that “we were appointed [as a portion] by lot” (BDAG 548 s.v. κληρόω 1). The words “God’s own” have been supplied in the translation to clarify this sense of the verb. An alternative interpretation is that believers receive a portion as an inheritance: “In Christ we too have been appointed a portion of the inheritance.” See H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 226-27, for discussion on this interpretive issue.
sn God’s own possession. Although God is not mentioned explicitly in the Greek text, it is clear from the context that he has chosen believers for himself. Just as with the nation Israel, the church is God’s chosen portion or possession (cf. Deut 32:8-9).
7 tn Or “who had already hoped.”
8 tn Or “the Messiah.”
10 tn Grk “in whom also having believed.” The relative pronoun “whom” has been replaced in the translation with its antecedent (“Christ”) to improve the clarity.
11 tn Or “you were sealed.”
12 tn Grk “the Holy Spirit of promise.” Here ἐπαγγελίας (epangelias, “of promise”) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
13 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit.”
sn Down payment. The Greek word ἀρραβών (arrabwn) denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God (it is used also in 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5). In the “already – not yet” scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers (“already”) can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future (“not yet”).
14 tn Grk “the possession.”