Ephesians 1

1:1 Paul [wrote Ephesians circa AD 61–62 during his first imprisonment in Rome], an apostle [one sent on behalf of another; cf. Acts 26:16-18 re: Paul’s claim to be an apostle] of Christ Jesus by the will of God [emphasized divine origin of Paul’s commission], To the saints [means “holy ones” or “separated;” common way of referring to believers in Christ] in Ephesus [large city and important seaport in Western Asia Minor], the faithful [combines ideas of trust and loyalty] in Christ Jesus [the object of their faith]:

1:2 Grace [the undeserved and unmerited favor of God] and peace [denotes wholeness or prosperity, especially in spiritual things; peace comes after grace] to you from [the source of grace and peace] God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note: How have grace and peace impacted your life? Can you have one without the other?

1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who [God is the source of blessings] has blessed us in the heavenly realms [expression also occurs in 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12 but nowhere else in NT; invisible spiritual realm in which the unseen forces (both good and evil) struggle to dominate people] with every [God provides what our spiritual lives require] spiritual [rather than natural or material] blessing in Christ.

Note: Verses 3-14 are one long sentence in the Greek.

1:4 For he chose us in him [no salvation apart from Christ] before the creation of the world [phrase means “from all eternity;” indicates that redemption was part of God’s eternal plan, rather than a response to an unforeseen emergency] to be [note that election in Christ has a moral purpose…] holy [set apart for God] and blameless [free from blemish (like sacrificial animals)] in his sight. In love

1:5 he predestined [to mark out with a boundary beforehand; expresses that God’s plan for His people is from eternity] us to be adopted [Roman law decreed that adopted child enjoy same status/privileges as child by birth] as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure [good favor or kind intention] and will [stresses God’s active resolve and redemptive purpose]

1:6 to [points to the goal of believers’ adoption] the praise of his glorious [abundant demonstration of] grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves [the Beloved; Jesus Christ].

1:7 In him [Jesus] we have [and are still having] redemption [to purchase with a price] through his blood [refers to Christ’s sacrificial death; the ransom price], the forgiveness [releasing or sending away; removal of sin’s guilt; pardon of the sinner] of sins [departing from the right path], in accordance with the riches [emphasizes the abundance of His grace] of God’s grace

Note: What is involved in redemption? What is the means of God’s redemption of us? What is the purpose of redemption?

1:8 that he lavished [to cause to abound; to provide far more than is needed] on us with all wisdom [to see things as they truly are] and understanding [practical discernment and insight that leads one to take the right action].

1:9 And he made known to us the mystery [a truth once hidden but now “made known;” a secret revealed by God, namely, God revealed what He purposed to do in Christ] of his will according to his good pleasure [not from any effort/merit on our part], which he purposed in Christ,

1:10 to be put into effect [suggests the putting into effect of God’s redemptive plan] when the times [particular times; the opportune moment] will have reached their fulfillment [in the fullness of time (cf. Gal. 4:4)] [note what God has purposed…] to bring all things [the whole creation] in heaven and on earth [these words point to the universe as a whole] together under one head [under the lordship of], even Christ.

1:11 In him we were also chosen [reminder that we did nothing to make ourselves God’s children], having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

1:12 in order that we, who were the first [refers to those Jews who first heard and responded to the gospel or to believers (those who already have hoped) in general] to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

1:13 And you [Paul’s readers] also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth [the gospel], the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal [illustration of sealing documents with hot wax and placing an identifying mark or impression on the wax with a ring or other instrument], the promised Holy Spirit [God’s seal; marks believers as belonging to God],

Note: Why do some believers have doubts about their salvation? How has the Holy Spirit brought assurance of your salvation?

1:14 who is a deposit [earnest money that guarantees completion of transaction] guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

1:15 For this reason [refers to 1:3-14 (one sentence in the Greek)], ever since I heard about your faith [a reference to their general faith and trustworthiness] in the Lord Jesus [they had confessed Jesus as Lord] and your love [their love for others was one expression of their faithfulness] for all the saints [those set apart as holy to the Lord; refers to those who have confessed Jesus as Lord],

Note: Verses 15-23 are one long sentence in the Greek.

1:16 I [emphasizes Paul’s personal concern and attention for the Ephesian believers] have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Note: What do you continually pray about?

1:17 I keep asking that [note Paul’s wish or desire for the Ephesians…] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit [NIV translates this to refer to the Holy Spirit; KJV understands “spirit” to refer to a teachable spirit that is the result of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life] of wisdom [the ability to see life from God’s perspective] and revelation [enlightened understanding], so that you may know [we must strive to know Him and not just facts about Him] him [God] better.

Note: Why should you desire to know God better? What evidence in your life shows that you are coming to know God better? What specific things can you do to get to know God better?

1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened [the Holy Spirit illuminates spiritual truths] in order that you may know [to see; to understand; to recognize; to experience; note three realities that Paul desired for them to know…] [1] the hope [refers to the future; the assurance that God will do what He has promised] to which he has called you, [2] the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints [seems to indicate that the saints are God’s inheritance],

1:19 and [3] his incomparably [exceeding, surpassing] great power for us who believe. That power [Gr. (dunamis): capability or potential] is like the working [Gr. energeian: effective or active power] of his mighty [Gr. kratous: a force that overcomes resistance (used only of God)] strength [Gr. ischuos: vital power in God],

Note: What difference has God’s power made in your life lately?

1:20 which [power] he [God] exerted [note three instances where God’s power was exerted…] in Christ when [1] he raised him from the dead and [2] seated [cf. Acts 7:56 re: Jesus “standing”] him at his right hand [place of honor and authority; signified position of equality; cf. Ps. 110:1] in the heavenly realms [refers to God’s presence],

1:21 far above [indicates superiority] all [both in the visible and invisible world] rule and authority [refer to evil spiritual powers (cf. Eph. 6:12); Jews used these terms to refer to angels], power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

1:22 And [3] God placed all things under his [Christ’s] feet [cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-28] and appointed him [Jesus] to be head [in Jewish thought: source, origin, ruler, authority; Jesus is the Ruler who has authority over everything] over everything [without exception] for [for the sake of] the church,

Note: How do you acknowledge Christ’s lordship in your life?

1:23 which [the church] is his body [a reminder that the church is not a building], the fullness [completeness, without any lack] of him who fills everything in every way [the church is completely filled by the mighty power and work of Christ].

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