Ephesians 1:3-14

Ephesians 1:3-14
Christmastide ABC


3 BlessedA be the GodB and Father of our LordC JesusD Christ,E who has blessedF us in Christ with every spiritualG blessingH in the heavenly places,I 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundationJ of the worldK to be holyL and blamelessM beforeN him in love.O 

Notes on verses 3-4

A “blessed” = eulogetos. 8x in NT. From eulogeo (to speak well of, praise, bless; to speak or reason so as to benefit another; religiously bless, thank, or call for a benediction on someone). From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, speech, analogy, expression of thought, saying; by implication, a topic and so reasoning, motive; used for Christ as the Word) [from lego (to say)]. This is blessed, worthy of praise, someone who is well spoken of or celebrated by praising. This shares common roots with “eulogy.”
B “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
C “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
D “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
E “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
F “blessed” = eulogeo. Related to “blessed” in v3. See note A.
G “spiritual” = pneumatikos. From pneuma (wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit.); from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is spiritual – spiritual people or things. That which is ethereal, divine, supernatural, religious.
H “blessing” = eulogia. 16x in NT. Related to “blessed” & “blessed” in v3. See note A. This is praise, blessing, adoration, gift, bounty, elegance of language, benediction, consecration, largesse.
I “heavenly places” = epouranios. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, fitting) + ouranos (heaven, atmosphere, sky, air, starry heaven, spiritual heaven) [perhaps from oros (mountain, hill); probably from oro (to rise)] . This is heavenly, heavenly thing, high, heavenly one, celestial, or what is fitting from a heavenly perspective.
J “foundation” = katabole. 11x in NT – 10x of “foundation of the world” and 1x of procreation. From kataballo (to cast down or lay a foundation) [from kata (down, against, according to) + ballo (to throw, cast, put, drop)]. This is a foundation or making a cast following a blueprint. Either the foundation or the plan for it. Used figuratively for beginning, founding, sowing, or conceiving.
K “world” = kosmos. This is the world or the inhabitants of the world, worldly affairs, the universe. Literally, it is something that is ordered. Hence, a system that is ordered like the universe. It can also refer to adornment as that which beautifies and, therefore, brings into order. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
L “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
M “blameless” = amomos. 9x in NT. From a (not, without) + momos (blame, disgrace, or blemish; literally refers to a spot or blot so figuratively that which stains a reputation and brings blame or disgrace) [perhaps from memphomai (to blame, find fault, be disgraceful – rejected because of wrongs one has done); from mempteos (rejected because one is condemned)]. This is blameless, faultless, or, more literally, without blemish. Figuratively, it is morally or spiritually blameless. The same word can refer to amomum, which is a fragrant plant from India used in ointment. It may be black cardamom. See also https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BC%84%CE%BC%CF%89%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BD#Ancient_Greek.
N “before” = katenopion. 3x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to) + enopios (in sight of, before, presence; literally in the face of, but also used figuratively) [from en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (the eye, face)]. This is literally down in the eye. It implies being in someone’s line of sight, being gazed upon or directly in front of them.
O “love” = agape. From agapao (to wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; to love morally or socially, to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is divine love – love according to God’s preference.

5 He destinedP us for adoption as his childrenQ through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasureR of his will,S to the praiseT of his gloriousU graceV that he freely bestowedW on us in the Beloved.X 

Notes on verses 5-6

P “destined” = proorizo. 6x in NT. From pro (before, above, ahead, earlier than) + horizo (to determine, separate, mark boundaries, set limits; literally to determine horizons so ordain, decree, fix) [from horos (boundary, limit)]. This is to predetermine or foreordain. Literally, to mark out the limits ahead of time so to predestine.
Q “adoption as his children” = huiothesia. 5x in NT. From huios (son, descendant; used for kinship literal or figurative) + derivate of tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish). This is legally making someone a son i.e. adoption.
R “good pleasure” = eudokia. 9x in NT. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is what someone sees as good or beneficial – satisfaction, goodwill, delight, desire, kind intention. Objectively, it can refer to kindness, a wish, or a purpose.
S “will” = thelema. From thelo (to desire, wish, will, intend). This is a choice or purpose. Can be used abstractly to describe volition generally or an inclination towards something or someone.
T “praise” = epainos. 11x in NT. From epi (on, upon, fitting) + ainos (praise, proverb, a story; praise of God). This is praise, approval, fame. It is acknowledgement or recognition that is fitting. This is recognizing that which is worthy of praise – something or someone that is commendable.
U “glorious” = doxa. Related to “good pleasure” in v5. From dokeo (see note R above). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
V “grace” = charis. This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
W “freely bestowed” = charitoo. 2x in NT – here and when the Angel Gabriel greets Mary “greetings, favored one” (Lk 1:28). Related to “grace” in v6. From charis (see note U above). This is to make graceful or grant grace to, to freely bestow or favor highly. This refers to one’s honor because of receiving grace from God.
X “beloved” = agapao. Related to “love” in v4. See note O above.

7 In him we have redemptionY through his blood, the forgivenessZ of our trespasses,AA according to the richesBB of his grace 8 that he lavishedCC on us.

Notes on verses 7-8a

Y “redemption” = apolutrosis. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + lutroo (to release someone once the ransom is paid, redeem, liberate; figuratively, to restore someone or something to its rightful owner – to rescue from the power of someone or something else) [from lutron (ransom, the money used for manumission of slaves; also the sacrifice or offering that grants expiation; most literally, this is something to set loose with so it is used figuratively when describing atonement); from luo (to loose, release, dissolve, untie; figuratively to break, destroy, unleash, or annul)]. This is redemption, deliverance, or release. As noted above, this is liberation that comes when a price is paid – a buying back or winning back of what was lost. The word focuses on the distance separating that which is lost from its home as it is being restored. Used figuratively to describe salvation.
Z “forgiveness” = aphesis. 17x in NT. From aphiemi (to send away, let go, release, leave alone, abandon, allow, yield) [from apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send, to go)]. This is sending away, dismissing, letting go, or pardoning. It can refer to forgiving debts as well as granting freedom or liberty. Used figuratively for forgiveness of sin.
AA “trespasses” = paraptoma. From para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + pipto (to fall, fall down, fail, fall under condemnation; falling literally or figuratively). This is a false step, a lapse, or a falling away. Literally, this refers to slipping up after one had been close beside i.e. on the right track, faithful. This can include unintentional or unknowing sin like a momentary lapse. It can also include intentional error.
BB “riches” = ploutos. From plous (much, many, plenteous, abundant) OR from pluo (to flow as water) OR pletho (to fill, fulfill, accomplish, complete; this is to fill to individual capacity – as full as it can go). This word is for abundance or wealth in a material or spiritual sense.
CC “lavished” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, exceeding, preeminent, vehement); from peri (all around, encompassing, full). This is abounding, overflowing, more than what is ordinary or necessary, abundant in number or quality.

With all wisdomDD and insightEE 9 he has made known to us the mysteryFF of his will,GG according to his good pleasure that he set forthHH in Christ, 10 as a planII for the fullnessJJ of time,KK to gather upLL all things in him, things in heavenMM and things on earth. 

Notes on verses 8b-10

DD “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (skilled, wise, learned, cultivated, clever); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, or clarity. It refers to knowledge of a practical skill or wise in a broad sense.
EE “insight” = phronesis. 2x in NT. From phroneo (to have understanding, think, judge, observe, care for, have an opinion or predisposition towards an idea); from phren (literally the diaphragm or region around the heart; used figuratively for the heart, mind, intellect, thought, or understanding; it refers to personal outlook or mindset by which we decide on the actions we take; it can look at how thoughts and feelings unique to us guide us in our general outlook); may be from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is understanding, practical wisdom, prudence, or insight. This word implies insight that leads one to do the right thing – moral insight.
FF “mystery” = musterion. From mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate into mysteries – to instruct, learn; properly, to shut one’s eyes and/or mouth to experience mystery); from muo (to shut one’s eyes or mouth). This word is mystery or secret doctrine. It refers to a mystery that one must be initiated in order to learn – language from mystery cults contemporary with the writing of scripture. In the Bible, used for revelation from God about that which had not been known, but is now knowable in Christ. This is where the English word “mystery” comes from.
GG “will” = thelema. Same as “will” in v5.
HH “set forth” = protithemi. 3x in NT. Related to “adoption as his children” in v5. From pro (before, above, ahead, earlier than) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish). Properly, to place before i.e. setting forth ahead of time, determining, purposing, displaying publicly.
II “plan” = oikonomia. 9x in NT. From oikonomeo (to be a steward or manage a household or estate); from oikonomos (household manager, steward, guardian – usually a slave who had been freed and now worked to oversee a house; was also used for any employee doing that job; also came to mean a treasurer and figuratively, one who preached the Gospel) [from oikos (house – the building or the family; lineage, nation; the temple) + derivative of nomos (law, custom, principle whether from God or humanity; can refer to the Torah or the Old Testament as a whole; this is law in the sense that it is that which is prescribed for one to do); from nemo (to allot, parcel out, apportion)]. This is stewardship, administration, management, or dispensation. Literally, management a household or estate, but here used figuratively to describe the greater “economy” of the cosmic religious estate.
JJ “fullness” = pleroma. 18x in NT. From pleroo (to fill, fulfill, complete; fill to individual capacity); from pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in). This is fullness or superabundance.
KK “time” = kairos. This is time, season, opportunity. It is the right time, spiritual time – does not refer to time as chronological, but as spiritually significant.
LL “gather up” = anakephalaioo. 2x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + kephalaioo (to strike on the head, summarize) [from kephalaion (of the head, main point, principle thing, sum of money); from kephale (head; figurative for cornerstone, uniting two walls; ruler, lord, chief); from kapto (to seize)]. This is literally to head up – gathering or summarizing things together into a whole around a central head. In this gathering or summarizing, all parts work together harmoniously (either in the material plane or within the logical plane of ideas working together in concert).
MM “heaven” = ouranos. Related to “heavenly places” in v3. Perhaps from oros (see note I above). This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.

11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,NN having been destinedOO according to the purposePP of him who accomplishesQQ all things according to his counselRR and will,SS 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hopeTT on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 

Notes on verses 11-12

NN “obtained an inheritance” = kleroo. 1x in NT. From kleros (a lot or portion assigned by lot; thus, inheritance as secured by the casting of lots). This is to cast lots, choose by lot, receive a share or inheritance.
OO “destined” = proorizo. Same as “destined” in v5.
PP “purpose” = prothesis. 12x in NT. Related to “adoption as children” in v5 & “set forth” in v9. From pro (before, above, ahead, earlier than) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish). This is literally a setting forth. It is used figuratively for a proposal, a purpose, or predetermination. Can also means sacred or consecrated or refer to the showbread in the Temple.
QQ “accomplishes” = energeo. From energes (at work, active) [from en (in, on, at, by, with) + ergon (work, task, employment, action; something made) {from erdo (to do)}]. This is to do, be at work, accomplish, be mighty, be effectual.
RR “counsel” = boule. 12x in NT. From boulomai (to will, intend, desire, wish; to plan with purpose, diligence, and focus). This is counsel, motive, purpose, deliberative wisdom, decree. Properly, it is a resolved plan, but can mean objective advice or individual purpose.
SS “will” = thelema. Same as “will” in v5 & 9.
TT “first to set our hope” = proelpizo. 1x in NT. From pro (before, above, ahead, earlier than) + elpizo (to expect, hope, trust; hope as active waiting) [from elpis (expectation, hope, trust, confidence, faith); from elpomai (to anticipate, expect, welcome; generally anticipating with pleasure; can refer to expectation in the abstract or be used concretely for confidence)]. Literally to hope before or be the first to hope. It is hoping before there are confirming signs.

13 In him you also, when you had heard the wordUU of truth,VV the gospelWW of your salvation,XX and had believedYY in him, were marked with the sealZZ of the promisedAAA Holy Spirit;BBB 14 this is the pledgeCCC of our inheritanceDDD toward redemption as God’s own people,EEE to the praise of his glory.

Notes on verses 13-14

UU “word” = logos. Related to “blessed” in v3. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
VV “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, truthful, unconcealed) [from a (not) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)]. This is truth not just in contrast to a lie, but also reality, sincerity, moral truth, straightforwardness. This is that which can’t be hidden. It is reality as opposed to illusion.
WW “gospel” = euaggelion. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel) [from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide)]. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
XX “salvation” = soteria. From soter (savior, deliverer, preserver); from sozo. (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively.); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is salvation, deliverance, welfare, preservation, or safety. “Soteriology” is the area of theology that deals with doctrines of salvation and is taken from this root.
YY “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
ZZ “marked with the seal” = sphragizo. 15x in NT. From shpragis (seal, signet ring, impression from a seal, proof; an item used to mark privacy or genuineness like a brand or signature). This is to seal or put a seal on something. This is sealing so as to mark ownership or authorization under the authority of the owner of that seal. In the ancient world, this was the way to sign documents to guarantee the contents, arrangement, agreement, promise, etc.
AAA “promised” = apaggelia. Related to “gospel” in v13. From epaggellomai (to proclaim, promise, profess – a fitting promise the genuinely applies) [from epi (on, upon, fitting) + aggello (see note WW above)]. This is a promise, summons, message, or pledge. It is a promise that has been officially sanctioned. As used in the New Testament, this refers to promises from the Old Testament.
BBB “Spirit” = pneuma. Related to “spiritual” in v3. From pneo (see note G above). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
CCC “pledge” = arrabon. 3x in NT. From Hebrew erabon (a pledge like a pawn in a pawn shop); from arab (to give or take in pledge, exchange; to braid, intermix, to trade by barter, mortgage). This is earnest money, a down payment, an installment, or a deposit. It is given in advance with the understanding that the balance will be paid in full. Usually used in business and legal arrangements.
DDD “inheritance” = kleronomia. 14x in NT. Related to “obtained an inheritance” in v11 & “plan” in v10. From kleronomos (heir or inheritor) [from kleros (see note NN above) + derivative of nomos (see note II above)]. This is inheritance, heritage, or possession.
EEE “own people” = peripoiesis. 5x in NT. From peripoieo (to preserve, acquire, earn, purchase, make one’s own, preserve alive) [from peri (all around, encompassing, full) + poieo (to do, make, act, accomplish)]. This is preservation, acquisition, possession. To completely obtain or possess.

Image Credit: “Holy Family” by the Jesus MAFA community in Cameroon, 1973.

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