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Ephesians 1:5-9

Context
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 – 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace 5  that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. 6  1:7 In him 7  we have redemption through his blood, 8  the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 1:8 that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. 1:9 He did this when he revealed 9  to us the secret 10  of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth 11  in Christ, 12 

1 tn Grk “by predestining.” Verse 5 begins with an aorist participle dependent on the main verb in v. 4 (“chose”).

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 Or “to the praise of his glorious grace.” Many translations translate δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (doxh" th" carito" autou, literally “of the glory of his grace”) with τῆς χάριτος as an attributed genitive (cf., e.g., NIV, NRSV, ESV). The translation above has retained a literal rendering in order to make clear the relationship of this phrase to the other two similar phrases in v. 12 and 14, which affect the way one divides the material in the passage.

6 tn Grk “the beloved.” The term ἠγαπημένῳ (hgaphmenw) means “beloved,” but often bears connotations of “only beloved” in an exclusive sense. “His dearly loved Son” picks up this connotation.

sn God’s grace can be poured out on believers only because of what Christ has done for them. Hence, he bestows his grace on us because we are in his dearly loved Son.

7 tn Grk “in whom” (the relative clause of v. 7 is subordinate to v. 6). The “him” refers to Christ.

8 sn In this context his blood, the blood of Jesus Christ, refers to the price paid for believers’ redemption, which is the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross.

9 tn Or “He did this by revealing”; Grk “making known, revealing.” Verse 9 begins with a participle dependent on “lavished” in v. 8; the adverbial participle could be understood as temporal (“when he revealed”), which would be contemporaneous to the action of the finite verb “lavished,” or as means (“by revealing”). The participle has been translated here with the temporal nuance to allow for means to also be a possible interpretation. If the translation focused instead upon means, the temporal nuance would be lost as the time frame for the action of the participle would become indistinct.

10 tn Or “mystery.” In the NT μυστήριον (musthrion) refers to a divine secret previously undisclosed.

11 tn Or “purposed,” “publicly displayed.” Cf. Rom 3:25.

12 tn Grk “in him”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.

sn In Christ. KJV has “in himself” as though the antecedent were God the Father. Although possible, the notion of the verb set forth (Greek προτίθημι, protiqhmi) implies a plan that is carried out in history (cf. Rom 1:13; 3:25) and thus more likely refers to Christ.



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