Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Ephesians 1:1


From Paul, 1  an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints [in Ephesus], 2  the faithful 3  in Christ Jesus.


Nu 12:7; Lu 16:10; Ac 16:15; Ac 19:1-20:38; Ro 1:1; Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:1; 1Co 1:2; 1Co 4:12,17; 2Co 1:1; Ga 1:1; Ga 3:9; Eph 6:21; Col 1:2; Re 2:10,13; Re 17:14

NET © Notes

tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

tc The earliest and most important mss omit “in Ephesus” (Ì46 א* B* 6 1739 [McionT,E]), yet the opening line of this epistle makes little sense without the phrase (“to the saints who are and are faithful…”? or perhaps “to the saints who are also faithful,” though with this sense the οὖσιν [ousin] is redundant and the καί [kai] is treated somewhat unnaturally). What is interesting is Marcion’s canon list which speaks of the letter to the Laodiceans among Paul’s authentic epistles. This, coupled with some internal evidence that the writer did not know his audience personally (cf. 1:15; 3:2; absence of personal names throughout), suggests that Ephesians was an encyclical letter, intended for more than one audience. Does this mean that the shorter reading is to be preferred? Yes and no. A plausible scenario is as follows, assuming Pauline authorship (though this is strongly contested today; for arguments on behalf of Pauline authorship, see M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:36-50; P. T. O’Brien, Ephesians, 4-47; and H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 2-61): Paul sent the letter from Rome, intending it first to go to Ephesus. At the same time, Colossians was dispatched. Going counterclockwise through Asia Minor, this letter would first come to Ephesus, the port of entry, then to Laodicea, then Colossae. Tychicus’ instructions may well have been for each church to “fill in the blank” on the address line. The church at Ephesus would have certainly made the most copies, being Paul’s home base for nearly three years. Hence, most of the surviving copies have “in Ephesus” in v. 1 (so א2 A B2 D F G Ψ 0278 33 1881 Ï latt sy co). But one might expect a hint of evidence that Laodicea also made a few copies: Both Marcion’s list and Col 4:16 may well imply this. What is to account for the early Alexandrian evidence, then? These mss were perhaps made from a very early copy, one reflecting the blank line before each church filled it in. Although it is of course only speculation (as is necessary in a historical investigation lacking some of the pieces to the puzzle), this scenario accounts for all of the data: (1) “in Ephesus” in most mss; (2) Laodicea in Marcion’s list and Col 4:16; (3) the lack of an addressee in the earliest witnesses; (4) why the earliest witnesses’ reading must be rejected as too hard; and (5) why the author seems not to know the readership. In sum, is “in Ephesus” original? Yes and no. Some address belongs there; ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ (en Efesw) is the predominant address, but several other churches also received this circular letter as their own. For this reason the phrase has been placed in single brackets in the translation. NA27 also lists the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.

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

tn Grk “and faithful.” The construction in Greek (as well as Paul’s style [and even if this letter is not by Paul it follows the general style of Paul’s letters, with some modifications]) suggests that the saints are identical to the faithful; hence, the καί (kai) is best left untranslated. See M. Barth, Ephesians (AB 34), 1:68 and ExSyn 282.

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