Ephesians 2:14-22

Ephesians 2:14-22
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 27


14 For he is our peace;A in his flesh he has madeB both into oneC

Notes on verse 14a

A “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)
B “made” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
C “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.

and has broken downD the dividing wall,E that is, the hostilityF between us, 

Notes on verse 14b

D “broken down” = luo. This is to loose, release, or untie. Figuratively, it can mean to break, destroy, or annul. This is releasing what had been withheld.
E “dividing wall” = mesotoichon + ho + phragmos. Mesotoichon is 1x in NT. From mesos (middle, among, center); {perhaps from meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action)} + toichos (a wall; a house or a city wall). This is a partition, a wall in the middle.  Phragmos is 4x in NT. From phrasso (to stop, fence in, obstruct); perhaps from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is a fence, barrier, wall, or hedge. It is a fence literally or figuratively.
F “hostility” = echthra. 6x in NT. From echthros (hated, an enemy; someone at enmity – deep, personal hatred that cannot be reconciled because it is determined to cause harm; often refers to Satan); from echthos (hatred). This is enmity, hostility, or alienation.

15 GabolishingH the lawI

Notes on verse 15a

G {untranslated} = en + ho + sarx + autos. Literally, “in his flesh.” Sarx nay be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
H “abolishing” = katargeo. From kata (down, against, according to, among) + argeo (to delay, linger, be at rest, be idle, do nothing); {from argos (inactive, idle, lazy, thoughtless, useless, unemployed, unprofitable) {from a (not) + ergon (word, task, action, employment)}}. This is making something inactive or bringing it to nothing. So, it could mean making something inoperative or powerless, annulling, or severing. It can also mean to make something ineffective or invalid.
I “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.

with its commandmentsJ and ordinances,K that he might createL in himself one newM humanityN in place of the two,O thus making peace, 

Notes on verse 15b

J “commandments” = entole. From entellomai (to charge, command, give orders or instructions) {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish); {from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one)}}. This is an order, command, ordinance, or law. It focuses on the purpose of the command and its end result.
K “ordinances” = dogma. 5x in NT. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); {from dokos (opinion). This is opinion, ordinance, or decree. It could be civil or religious. It is where the word “dogma” comes from.
L “create” = ktizo. 15x in NT. Probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is to build, create, form, shape. It refers to God’s acts of creation.
M “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
N “humanity” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
O “two” = duo. This is two or both.

16 and might reconcileP both to GodQ in one bodyR through the cross,S thus putting to deathT that hostility through it. 

Notes on verse 16

P “reconcile” = apokatallasso. 3x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + katallasso (to reconcile, change, or exchange; a moment when two parties come together in reconciliation and both parties change because of it); {from kata (down, against, among) + allasso (to change, transform) {from allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type)}. This is to reconcile – to move from one place of feeling to a new one.
Q “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
R “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
S “cross” = stauros. From the same as histemi (to stand, cause to stand). This is an upright stake, cross. Literally refers to the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die.
T “putting to death” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.

17 So he cameU and proclaimedV peace to you who were far offW and peace to those who were near,X 

Notes on verse 17

U “came” = erchomai. This is to come, go.
V “proclaimed” = euaggelizo. 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 evangelize – literally to preach the good news. It can be those who hear the news, the news, or a way to say gospel.
W “far off” = makran. 9x in NT. From makros (long, long lasting); from mekos (length); probably related to megas (great or large). This is far off, remote, far away in a literal or figurative sense.
X “near” = eggus. Perhaps from agcho (to squeeze). This is nearby or near in time.

18 for through him both of us haveY accessZ in one SpiritAA to the Father.BB 

Notes on verse 18

Y “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
Z “access” = prosagoge. Related to “proclaimed” in v17. 3x in NT. From prosago (to bring near, approach, summon, present); {from pros (at, to, toward, with) + ago (see note V above)}. This is to approach, access, come near, interact with in person.
AA “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). 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.
BB “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

19 So then, you are no longer strangersCC and aliens,DD but you are fellow citizensEE with the saintsFF and also members of the householdGG of God, 

Notes on verse 19

CC “strangers” = xenos. 14x in NT– including 5x in Matthew 25 of the judgment of the nations “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” This is foreign or foreigner, an alien or guest. It could also be something new, novel, or strange. This is where the word “xenophobia” comes from.
DD “aliens” = paroikos. 4x in NT. From para (by, beside, in the presence of) + oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a stranger, foreigner. Literally, it is someone who lives near on a temporary basis. It is one who is not a citizen and does not have full rights or identification.
EE “fellow citizens” = sumpolites. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + polites (citizen, townsperson); {from polis (a city or its inhabitants; is a town of variable size, but one that has walls); probably from the same as polemos (war, quarrel, strife; battle, whether one time or on-going); {from pelomai (to bustle) or from polus (much, many, abundant)}. This is a fellow citizen. Figuratively, it can refer to another Christian.
FF “saints” = 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.
GG “household” = oikeios. Related to “aliens” in v19. 3x in NT. From oikos (see note DD above). This is domestic or related to a family. It could be a relative or adherent.

20 builtHH upon the foundationII of the apostlesJJ and prophets,KK

Notes on verse 20a

HH “built” = epoikodomeo. Related to “aliens” and “household” in v19. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + oikodomeo (to build a house or be a house builder. Figuratively, it can mean to edify or encourage, be strong or embolden); {from oikos (see note DD above) + domeo (to build)}. This is to build or build on. It is building done on top of a foundation done according to specifications. Figuratively, it can be to raise someone.
II “foundation” = themelios. 16x in NT. From tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is related to a foundation, building substructure. It is a foundation in a literal or figurative sense.
JJ “apostles” = apostolos. Related to “cross” in v16. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for); {probably from histemi (see note S above)}}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
KK “prophets” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.

with ChristLL JesusMM himself as the cornerstone;NN 

Notes on verse 20b

LL “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.
MM “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.
NN “cornerstone” = akrongoniaios. 2x in NT. From akron (end, tip, top, extreme); {related to akantha (thorn bush, thorn); from ake (point, edge)} + gonia (corner, quarter, hidden place); {from gonu (knee, feet)}. This is a corner or cornerstone.

21 in him the wholeOO structurePP is joined togetherQQ

Notes on verse 21a

OO “whole” = pas. This is all or every.
PP “structure” = oikodome. Related to “aliens” and “household” in v19 & “built” in v20. 18x in NT. From oikos (see note DD above) + doma (house, housetop; often used to refer to the roof) {from demo (to build a house)}. This is the act of building, structure, architecture, a building, upbuilding. It is a building that is used as a home. Figuratively, this refers to spiritual progress – becoming a person who is a better home in which God can reside.
QQ “joined together” = sunarmologeo. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + harmos (joining, joint); {from ararisko (to join together) or harma (a chariot or other vehicle); {probably from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)} + lego (to speak, say, name, call, command; to convey verbally.). This is to join together, fit, be interconnected. It refers to a harmonious whole.

and growsRR into a holySS templeTT in the Lord,UU 

Notes on verse 21b

RR “grows” = auxano. From auksano (to grow or enlarge, whether literal or figurative). This is growing whether in size or mature or greatness or some other metric.
SS “holy” = hagios. Same as “saints” in v19. See note FF above.
TT “temple” = naos. From naio (to dwell, inhabit). This is a place for God (or a god) to live – a sanctuary, shrine, or temple. It is a place for God or a god to manifest. For the Jewish Temple, it is used of the Temple itself and the two inner chambers.
UU “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.

22 in whom you also are built togetherVV spirituallyWW into a dwelling placeXX for God.

Notes on verse 22

VV “built together” = sunoikodomeo. Related to “aliens” and “household” in v19 & “built” in v20 & “structure” in v21. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + oikodomeo (see note HH above). This is build together, construct. Figuratively, building up together with the church.
WW “spiritually” = Pneuma. Same as “Spirit” in v18. See note AA above.
XX “dwelling place” = katoiketerion. Related to “aliens” and “household” in v19 & “built” in v20 & “structure” in v21 & “built together” in v22. 2x in NT. From katoikeo (to live or settle on a permanent basis); {from kata (down, against, according to, among) + oikeo (to settle or be established somewhere in a permanent way, to make a home or live at home); {from oikos (see note DD above)} + –terion (a place). This is an abode or place where one lives.

Image credit: “Hexagonal Origami Box with Lid #24.” Photo by Dominic Alves, 2012.

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