Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ephesians 1:3-14

This passage has a number of theologically significant words!

1.3 The word for blessing is "eulogos," or in English, eulogy. This word is used in noun, adjective and verb form in the sentence. That the verb is in the aorist is interesting in that it means that Paul is refering to an event, here the Christ event as opposed to the on-going reality of faith. Indeed, in verse 4 Paul talks about the foundation of the world being the time of choosing.
1.4 The word here for "choose" is the one that Jesus uses in John 15:16: You did not choose (ekleg-oo) me, I chose you. It is akin to the word for election. God elected us.
1.6 In Luke's Gospel, Mary, the angel says, is "highly favored." This is the same verb (charito-oo) that is used here. The root word is related the word for grace/gift.
1.6 The word for "love" here as in "the dearly loved one" is a perfect passive participle of agape; Jesus was loved but still is; the question is, what was the initial act of loving that the verb refers to?
1.7 The word here for "forgiveness" is only used once in Ephesians; once in Colossians; no where else in the Pauline corpus. (Paul does use the verb forgive (aphehi-mi), but it is either an OT quote or it means "let go," another possible meaning of the verb.
1.10 The word here for "recapitulate" (that is the latin of the Greek here: ana-kephaleh) is also used in Paul's letter to the Romans to talk about the law being summed up in "Love your neighbor as yourself." Christ is the recapitulation of all things!
1.11 There are a string of "pro" words here -- "predestined" and "preplanned," etc. For me, a helpful way of thinking about this is in 1.12 where Paul writes that we are the first to have hope in Christ. The same prefix is used here -- pro. I wonder if the idea is more that Christ was the first step (1.9 -- the word for purpose/set for here has a "pro" prefix); that we were the first determined; that we were the first to hope. In short, why make "pre" a limit; make it a beginning point for God's goodness. We were "first destined" or "pro destined"
1.12 Greek note: Their is an "articular infinitive here" eis + the + infinitive...which means "for the purpose of"
1.13 Paul makes a fascinating move here. While talking about the foundations of the world, suddenly Paul moves toward the activity of hearing the word, believing and being Baptized! Even if the "choice" is already made, we must hear the Word. Also interesting is that the only not participle verb here is "being sealed." Everything else is essentially an adverb leading up to the sealing in Baptism.

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