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Ephesians 1:17-22

Context
1:17 I pray that 1  the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, 2  may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation 3  in your growing knowledge of him, 4  1:18 – since the eyes of your 5  heart have been enlightened 6  – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, 7  what is the wealth of his glorious 8  inheritance in the saints, 1:19 and what is the incomparable 9  greatness of his power toward 10  us who believe, as displayed in 11  the exercise of his immense strength. 12  1:20 This power 13  he exercised 14  in Christ when he raised him 15  from the dead and seated him 16  at his right hand in the heavenly realms 17  1:21 far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 1:22 And God 18  put 19  all things under Christ’s 20  feet, 21  and he gave him to the church as head over all things. 22 

1 tn The words “I pray” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to clarify the meaning; v. 17 is a subordinate clause to v. 16 (“I pray” in v. 17 is implied from v. 16). Eph 1:15-23 constitutes one sentence in Greek, but a new sentence was started here in the translation in light of contemporary English usage.

2 tn Or “glorious Father.” The genitive phrase “of glory” is most likely an attributive genitive. The literal translation “Father of glory” has been retained because of the parallelism with the first line of the verse: “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”

3 tn Or “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” or “a spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Verse 17 involves a complex exegetical problem revolving around the Greek term πνεῦμα (pneuma). Some take it to mean “the Spirit,” others “a spirit,” and still others “spiritual.” (1) If “the Spirit” is meant, the idea must be a metonymy of cause for effect, because the author had just indicated in vv. 13-14 that the Spirit was already given (hence, there is no need for him to pray that he be given again). But the effect of the Spirit is wisdom and revelation. (2) If “a spirit” is meant, the idea may be that the readers will have the ability to gain wisdom and insight as they read Paul’s letters, but the exact meaning of “a spirit” remains ambiguous. (3) To take the genitives following πνεῦμα as attributed genitives (see ExSyn 89-91), in which the head noun (“S/spirit”) functions semantically like an adjective (“spiritual”) is both grammatically probable and exegetically consistent.

4 tn Grk “in the knowledge of him.”

sn The point of the knowledge of him has nothing to do with what God knows, but with what believers are to know (hence, “your…knowledge”). Further, the author’s prayer is that this knowledge of God would increase, not simply be initiated, since he is writing to believers who already know God (hence, “your growing knowledge of him”).

5 tc ‡ Most witnesses, especially of the Byzantine and Western texttypes, though with a few important Alexandrian witnesses (א A D F G Ψ 0278 Ï latt sy), add ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) after καρδίας (kardias, “heart”), though it is clearly implied in the shorter (Alexandrian) reading (found in Ì46 B 6 33 1175 1739 1881 pc). The longer reading thus looks to be a clarifying gloss, as is frequently found in the Byzantine and Western traditions. The translation above also uses “your” because of English requirements, not because of textual basis.

tn Grk “the.”

6 tn The perfect participle πεφωτισμένους (pefwtismenou") may either be part of the prayer (“that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”) or part of the basis of the prayer (“since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened”). Although the participle follows the ἵνα (Jina) of v. 17, it is awkward grammatically in the clause. Further, perfect adverbial participles are usually causal in NT Greek. Finally, the context both here and throughout Ephesians seems to emphasize the motif of light as a property belonging to believers. Thus, it seems that the author is saying, “I know that you are saved, that you have had the blinders of the devil removed; because of this, I can now pray that you will fully understand and see the light of God’s glorious revelation.” Hence, the translation takes the participle to form a part of the basis for the prayer.

7 tn Or “the hope to which he has called you.”

sn The hope of his calling. The translation is more formally equivalent for this and the following two phrases, because of the apparently intentional literary force of the original. There is a natural cadence to the three genitive expressions (hope of his calling, wealth of his glorious inheritance, and extraordinary greatness of his power). The essence of the prayer is seen here. Paraphrased it reads as follows: “Since you are enlightened by God’s Spirit, I pray that you may comprehend the hope to which he has called you, the spiritual riches that await the saints in glory, and the spiritual power that is available to the saints now.” Thus, the prayer focuses on all three temporal aspects of our salvation as these are embedded in the genitives – the past (calling), the future (inheritance), and the present (power toward us who believe).

8 tn Grk “of the glory of his inheritance.” Here “inheritance” is taken as an attributed genitive and the head noun, “glory,” is thus translated as an adjective, “glorious inheritance.”

9 tn Or “immeasurable, surpassing”

10 tn Or “for, to”

11 tn Grk “according to.”

12 tn Grk “according to the exercise of the might of his strength.”

sn What has been translated as exercise is a term used only of supernatural power in the NT, ἐνέργεια (energeia).

13 tn Grk “which” (v. 20 is a subordinate clause to v. 19).

14 tn The verb “exercised” (the aorist of ἐνεργέω, energew) has its nominal cognate in “exercise” in v. 19 (ἐνέργεια, energeia).

15 tn Or “This power he exercised in Christ by raising him”; Grk “raising him.” The adverbial participle ἐγείρας (egeiras) could be understood as temporal (“when he raised [him]”), which would be contemporaneous to the action of the finite verb “he exercised” earlier in the verse, or as means (“by raising [him]”). 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.

16 tc The majority of mss, especially the Western and Byzantine mss (D F G Ψ Ï b r Ambst), have the indicative ἐκάθισεν (ekaqisen, “he seated”) for καθίσας (kaqisa", “when he seated, by seating”). The indicative is thus coordinate with ἐνήργησεν (enhrghsen, “he exercised”) and provides an additional statement to “he exercised his power.” The participle (found in Ì92vid א A B 0278 33 81 1175 1505 1739 1881 2464 al), on the other hand, is coordinate with ἐγείρας (egeiras) and as such provides evidence of God’s power: He exercised his power by raising Christ from the dead and by seating him at his right hand. As intriguing as the indicative reading is, it is most likely an intentional alteration of the original wording, accomplished by an early “Western” scribe, which made its way in the Byzantine text.

17 sn Eph 1:19-20. The point made in these verses is that the power required to live a life pleasing to God is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. For a similar thought, cf. John 15:1-11.

18 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Grk “subjected.”

20 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 sn An allusion to Ps 8:6.

22 tn Grk “and he gave him as head over all things to the church.”



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