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Revelation 2:1-7

Context
To the Church in Ephesus

2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, 1  write the following: 2 

“This is the solemn pronouncement of 3  the one who has a firm grasp on 4  the seven stars in his right hand 5  – the one who walks among the seven golden 6  lampstands: 2:2 ‘I know your works as well as your 7  labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate 8  evil. You have even put to the test 9  those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false. 2:3 I am also aware 10  that you have persisted steadfastly, 11  endured much for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. 2:4 But I have this against you: You have departed 12  from your first love! 2:5 Therefore, remember from what high state 13  you have fallen and repent! Do 14  the deeds you did at the first; 15  if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – that is, if you do not repent. 16  2:6 But you do have this going for you: 17  You hate what the Nicolaitans 18  practice 19  – practices I also hate. 2:7 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, 20  I will permit 21  him to eat from the tree of life that is 22  in the paradise of God.’ 23 

1 map For location see JP1 D2; JP2 D2; JP3 D2; JP4 D2.

2 tn The phrase “the following” after “write” is supplied to clarify that what follows is the content of what is to be written.

3 tn Grk “These things says [the One]…” The expression τάδε λέγει (tade legei) occurs eight times in the NT, seven of which are in Rev 2-3. “The pronoun is used to add solemnity to the prophetic utterance that follows. …In classical drama, it was used to introduce a new actor to the scene (Smyth, Greek Grammar, 307 [§1241]). But the τάδε λέγει formula in the NT derives from the OT, where it was used to introduce a prophetic utterance (BAGD, s.v. ὅδε, 1)” (ExSyn 328). Thus, the translation “this is the solemn pronouncement of” for τάδε λέγει is very much in keeping with the OT connotations of this expression.

sn The expression This is the solemn pronouncement of reflects an OT idiom. The LXX has the same Greek phrase (τάδε λέγει, tade legei) about 350 times, with nearly 320 of them having “the Lord” (Heb יהוה, Yahweh) as subject. That the author of Revelation would use such an expression seven times with the risen Christ as the speaker may well imply something of Christ’s sovereignty and deity. Cf. also Acts 21:11 in which the Holy Spirit is the speaker of this expression.

4 tn Grk “holds,” but the term (i.e., κρατῶν, kratwn) with an accusative object, along with the context, argues for a sense of firmness. (Cf. ExSyn 132.)

5 sn On seven stars in his right hand see 1:16.

6 tn Grk “lampstands of gold” with the genitive τῶν χρυσῶν (twn cruswn) translated as an attributive genitive.

7 tn Although the first possessive pronoun σου (sou) is connected to τὰ ἔργα (ta erga) and the second σου is connected to ὑπομονήν (Jupomonhn), semantically κόπον (kopon) is also to be understood as belonging to the Ephesian church. The translation reflects this.

8 tn The translation “tolerate” seems to capture the sense of βαστάσαι (bastasai) here. BDAG 171 s.v. βαστάζω 2.b.β says, “bear, endureκακούς Rv 2:2.…bear patiently, put up with: weaknesses of the weak Ro 15:1; cf. IPol 1:2; evil Rv 2:3.”

9 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the participle was broken off from the previous sentence and translated as an indicative verb beginning a new sentence here in the translation.

10 tn Because of the length and complexity of this Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the phrase “I am also aware” to link this English sentence back to “I know” at the beginning of v. 2.

11 tn The Greek word translated “persisted steadfastly” (ὑπομονή, Jupomonh) is the same one translated “steadfast endurance” in v. 2.

12 tn The Greek word translated “departed from” (ἀφίημι, afihmi; L&N 15.48) can actually be used of divorce (L&N 34.78), so the imagery here is very strong.

13 tn Grk “from where,” but status is in view rather than physical position. On this term BDAG 838 s.v. πόθεν 1 states, “from what place? from where?…In imagery μνημόνευε πόθεν πέπτωκες remember from what (state) you have fallen Rv 2:5.”

14 tn Grk “and do” (a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text). For stylistic reasons in English a new sentence was started here in the translation. The repeated mention of repenting at the end of the verse suggests that the intervening material (“do the deeds you did at first”) specifies how the repentance is to be demonstrated.

15 tn Or “you did formerly.”

16 tn Although the final clause is somewhat awkward, it is typical of the style of Revelation.

17 tn Grk “But you do have this.” The words “going for you” are supplied to complete the English idiom; other phrases like “in your favor” (NIV) or “to your credit” (NRSV) could also be supplied.

18 sn The Nicolaitans were a sect (sometimes associated with Nicolaus, one of the seven original deacons in the church in Jerusalem according to Acts 6:5) that apparently taught that Christians could engage in immoral behavior with impunity.

19 tn The expression τὰ ἔργα τῶν Νικολαϊτῶν (ta erga twn Nikolaitwn) has been translated as a subjective genitive.

20 tn Or “who is victorious”; traditionally, “who overcomes.” The pendent dative is allowed to stand in the English translation because it is characteristic of the author’s style in Revelation.

21 tn Or “grant.”

22 tn Or “stands.”

23 tc The omission of “my” (μου, mou) after “God” (θεοῦ, qeou) is well attested, supported by א A C and the Andreas of Caesarea group of Byzantine mss (ÏA). Its addition in 1611, the ÏK group, latt, and others, seems to be evidence of a purposeful conforming of the text to 3:2 and the four occurrences of “my God” (θεοῦ μου) in 3:12.



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