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Ephesians 1:9-10

Context
1:9 He did this when he revealed 1  to us the secret 2  of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth 3  in Christ, 4  1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up 5  all things in Christ – the things in heaven 6  and the things on earth. 7 

Ephesians 3:8-11

Context
3:8 To me – less than the least of all the saints 8  – this grace was given, 9  to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 3:9 and to enlighten 10  everyone about God’s secret plan 11  – a secret that has been hidden for ages 12  in God 13  who has created all things. 3:10 The purpose of this enlightenment is that 14  through the church the multifaceted wisdom 15  of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. 3:11 This was according to 16  the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

1 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.

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

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

4 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.

5 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).

6 tn Grk “the heavens.”

7 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.”

8 sn In Pauline writings saints means any true believer. Thus for Paul to view himself as less than the least of all the saints is to view himself as the most unworthy object of Christ’s redemption.

9 sn The parallel phrases to proclaim and to enlighten which follow indicate why God’s grace was manifested to Paul. Grace was not something just to be received, but to be shared with others (cf. Acts 13:47).

10 tn There is a possible causative nuance in the Greek verb, but this is difficult to convey in the translation.

11 tn Grk “what is the plan of the divine secret.” Earlier the author had used οἰκονομία (oikonomia; here “plan”) to refer to his own “stewardship” (v. 2). But now he is speaking about the content of this secret, not his own activity in relation to it.

12 tn Or “for eternity,” or perhaps “from the Aeons.” Cf. 2:2, 7.

13 tn Or “by God.” It is possible that ἐν (en) plus the dative here indicates agency, that is, that God has performed the action of hiding the secret. However, this usage of the preposition ἐν is quite rare in the NT, and even though here it does follow a perfect passive verb as in the Classical idiom, it is more likely that a different nuance is intended.

14 tn Grk “that.” Verse 10 is a subordinate clause to the verb “enlighten” in v. 9.

15 tn Or “manifold wisdom,” “wisdom in its rich variety.”

16 tn Grk “according to.” The verse is a prepositional phrase subordinate to v. 10.



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