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Ephesians 1:7-12

Context
1:7 In him 1  we have redemption through his blood, 2  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 3  to us the secret 4  of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth 5  in Christ, 6  1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up 7  all things in Christ – the things in heaven 8  and the things on earth. 9  1:11 In Christ 10  we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, 11  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 12  on Christ, 13  would be to the praise of his glory.

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

2 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.

3 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.

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

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

6 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.

7 tn The precise meaning of the infinitive ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι (anakefalaiwsasqai) in v. 10 is difficult to determine since it was used relatively infrequently in Greek literature and only twice in the NT (here and Rom 13:9). While there have been several suggestions, three deserve mention: (1) “To sum up.” In Rom 13:9, using the same term, the author there says that the law may be “summarized in one command, to love your neighbor as yourself.” The idea then in Eph 1:10 would be that all things in heaven and on earth can be summed up and made sense out of in relation to Christ. (2) “To renew.” If this is the nuance of the verb then all things in heaven and earth, after their plunge into sin and ruin, are renewed by the coming of Christ and his redemption. (3) “To head up.” In this translation the idea is that Christ, in the fullness of the times, has been exalted so as to be appointed as the ruler (i.e., “head”) over all things in heaven and earth (including the church). That this is perhaps the best understanding of the verb is evidenced by the repeated theme of Christ’s exaltation and reign in Ephesians and by the connection to the κεφαλή- (kefalh-) language of 1:22 (cf. Schlier, TDNT 3:682; L&N 63.8; M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:89-92; contra A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 32-33).

8 tn Grk “the heavens.”

9 sn And the things on earth. Verse 10 ends with “in him.” The redundancy keeps the focus on Christ at the expense of good Greek style. Verse 11 repeats the reference with a relative pronoun (“in whom”) – again, at the expense of good Greek style. Although the syntax is awkward, the theology is rich. This is not the first time that a NT writer was so overcome with awe for his Lord that he seems to have lost control of his pen. Indeed, it happened frequently enough that some have labeled their christologically motivated solecisms an “apostolic disease.”

10 tn Grk “in whom,” as a continuation of the previous verse.

11 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).

12 tn Or “who had already hoped.”

13 tn Or “the Messiah.”



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