Bible Query from
Q: In Eph 1:1, was the letter to the Ephesians really written to the Ephesians?
A: It was certainly to churches in the area, but some early manuscripts do not have the words "in Ephesus".
Evidence that "in Ephesus" was added later:
1. p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has no gaps and no space for these two words. This manuscript also contains Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and in each case the city appears where it should. (While it has parts of Romans, Romans 1-4 was not present.)
2. The Alexandrian manuscripts Vaticanus 325-350 A.D. Sinaiticus 340-350 A.D. both did not have it. On both it was written in later by a corrector.
3. Early writers who do not have "in Ephesus" are Tertullian (wrote 207 A.D.) and Origen (225-253/254 A.D.).
4. Today's Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.294 mentions that if Paul had written it just to the Ephesians, one would have expected personal greetings to people with whom he had lived three years, but there are none.
5. Origen and Jerome said that "in Ephesus" was not in the best manuscripts they had, though Jerome, in listing the writings of the church, said Paul wrote one letter to the Ephesians (Jerome and Gennadius (c.485-492 A.D.) chapter 5)
Evidence that "in Ephesus" was original:
1. The early writer Ignatius in his Letter to the Ephesians 110-117 A.D. in ch.12 says that Paul makes mention of the Ephesians in his letter.
2. As for having the words "in Ephesus", both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus have these words added in the manuscript by another hand
3. Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.), the Claromontanus (5th/6th century) and the Byzantine Lectionary has "in Ephesus".
4. The church writer John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) has it in his commentary. Chrysostom's commentaries have direct quotes of the scripture.
Conclusion: either "in Ephesus" was taken out of some manuscripts, such Chester Beatty II prior to 100-150 A.D., or it was added to some manuscripts prior to c.117 A.D.. This is an example of a very early variant in scripture where we are not certain either way.
Q: In Eph 1:3,17 and 1 Pet 1:3, is the Father the God of Jesus?
A: Within the Trinity, yes. Hebrews 1:9 shows multiple senses of the word "God" when it says "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you." One must distinguish between nature and role. All three are God in the Trinity, but within the Trinity, the Father has the pre-eminent role, as God to Jesus. The Son is not inferior to the Father, but His role is subordinate to the Father.
Q: Since Eph 1:3-14 is said by Bart Ehrman to be all one sentence in Greek, as is Colossians 1:3-8, does sentence length indicate that these were not written by Paul, who generally wrote short sentences? (Bart Ehrman claimed this in Jesus, Interrupted p.126)
A: No. Not only is Ehrman against the consensus of where the sentence breaks are, the sentences are not much longer than sentences Ehrman agrees most likely were written by Paul. There are four points to answer this claim.
1) The early Greek manuscripts did not have punctuation, so one can only infer what was a period versus a semicolon or comma.
2) Even if God were to reveal to us "divinely inspired punctuation", it would still be a bogus statistic, for the longest sentence would depend on not only the length of the book but also the subject matter. For example, did Paul write more deep theology at the beginning part of his books, and more short greetings at the end, and was the ratio of beginning theology, middle application, and ending greetings different for different books.
3) Eph 1:3-6, 1:7-10, and 1:11-12, and 13-14 are not one but four sentences, according to Aland et al.'s The Greek New Testament, 4th revised edition (1998). The Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (1993), says the same. Ehrman never gave the source for why he thought it was only one sentence. However, 23 years earlier, the 1975 3rd edition Aland et al's, The Greek New Testament showed them as one sentence, so I suspect he was using the much older version. Again though, the original Greek had no punctuation, so building an argument on where late 20th century people think the periods go, before they changed their minds, is a sketchy argument at best.
4) In contrast to the third point, Ehrman, Aland et al. 4th revised edition, Aland et al. 3rd edition, and Nestle-Aland all agree that Colossians 1:3-8 is one sentence. It is 156 words. Ehrman writes, "Colossians 1:3-8 is all one sentence in Greek; it's a whopper, and quite unlike the kind of sentence Paul typically wrote. Ephesians 1:3-14 is even longer, twelve verses - not like Paul at all." (Jesus, Interrupted p.126). Ehrman gives no basis for comparison, but I have provided one below.
|Sentence||Word count of the longest sentences||Total Greek words in the book||References|
|2 Thessalonians||158, 57, 54||
|2 Th 1:3-10, 2 Th 2:8-10; 2 Th 2:1-3a|
|Colossians||156, 123, 102||
|Col 1:11b-20, Col 1:24-29, Col 1:3-8|
|Romans||139, 123, 113||
|Rom 9:19-26; Rom 4:16-21; Rom 2:2-8|
|Hebrews||135, 72, 65||
|Heb 8:8-12; Heb 1:1-4, Heb 2:2-5|
|Ephesians||124, 124, 104||
|Eph 2:1-7, Eph 4:11-16, Eph 3:1-7|
|2 Corinthians||118, 86||
|2 Cor 6:2b-10; 1:8-11|
|2 Timothy||105, 61, 34||
|2 Tim 1:8-12; 2 Tim 1:3-5; 2 Tim 1:6-7|
|1 Thessalonians||104, 81||
|1 Thess 3:9-13; 1 Thess 1:2-5|
|1 Corinthians||95, 72||
|1 Cor 1:20-25; 1 Cor 12:15-18|
|Phm 8-14; Phm 4-6|
|Gal 2:6-10; Gal 2:14-16|
|Php 1:3-7; Php 1:27-30|
|Titus 1:1-4; Titus 3:4-7|
|1 Timothy||56, 56||
|1 Tim 1:8-11; 1 Tim 3:2-6|
|Lk 1-7||165, 95, 77||
|Lk 3:23-28; Lk 1:67-75; Lk 3:15-17|
|Acts 1-6||108, 89, 87||
|Acts 4:5-10; Acts 3:12-15; Acts 1:1-5|
|Acts 7-12||72, 65, 64||
|Acts 7:38-40; Acts 10:36-38; Acts 7:44-46|
Q: In Eph 1:4, how are we chosen by God?
A: Some think God foreknew everything before He made any choices or predestined anything. Others believe God predestined everything before He made use of His foreknowledge. There are only two verses where God's foreknowledge and predestination/election of us are in the same verse.
Romans 8:29 "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined" (NASB, NKJV)
1 Peter 1:2 "elect according to the foreknowledge" (NKJV)
In these verses foreknowledge comes prior to predestination/election.
With the crucifixion of Jesus the order is reversed.
Acts 2:23 "Him [Jesus] being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (NKJV)
However no verse in the Bible says God had to completely have one before He had the other.
In summary, God can choose us any way He wants. We do know that God has revealed that He is just, generous, and does nothing without any reason whatsoever. However, God does not seem to feel obligated to tell us all of His reasons.
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, is everything predestination?
A: Everything that exists is predestined, even the reality of God permitting us the freedom to make choices without God's total control. Nothing happens except what God knows, permits, and is a part of His plan. However, God permits people to do things He specifically did not desire the evil things mentioned in Jeremiah 5:28; 8:19; 12:8; Ezekiel 8:6)
As Francis Schaeffer said in The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century: "We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous." (Hymns for the People of God no.364) See also the next question for more info.
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, should Christians believe in predestination?
A: I had a fairly mature Christian once tell me that he did not believe in predestination. I happened to know that he read his Bible regularly, though I must admit I had my doubts, after he made that foolish statement.
Ephesians 1:5 and other verses show that believing in predestination is not an option for a Christian, any more than believing God is holy is an option. Now people may believe various truths and errors about predestination, but the word itself is clear in the Bible. God not only knows everything about everyone before we were born, but God chose our destiny before anyone was born. Predestination is not a "Calvinist" doctrine. Rather, it is a Biblical doctrine. Regardless of whether a Christian calls himself a Calvinist, non-Calvinist, or Arminian, believing that an all-knowing God chose us before we were born should be a part of your theology.
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, how does God's predestination fit in?
A: Here are a few things that Scripture has revealed.
1. God can do as He pleases. He is Sovereign over every detail, in that nothing happens beyond what God permits (Job 1:12; James 4:15).
2. God can do as He pleases. He directly and expressly controls every event He desires (Isaiah 14:24,27; 43:13; 55:11; John 10:26; Hebrews 6:17).
3. God can do as He pleases. He has not chosen to directly and expressly control some events (Jeremiah 5:29; 8:19: 12:8; Ezekiel 8:6).
4. God can do as He pleases. Every event, even those permitted and not controlled, is woven into His ultimate purpose (Ephesians 1:11; Proverbs 16:4,33; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, what are some misconceptions about predestination?
A: In Ephesians 1:4, when it says that God predestined us, then if we believe in the authority of scripture, we have to believe that God predestined us. We also have free will, correctly defined. Perhaps you have a hard time with predestination though, because there are some misconceptions being taught about it. Let me share four topics that might help.
God knows everything about the future with certainty, but His knowledge does not restrict our free will or lessen our knowledge. We cannot say, "God knew I was going to do it, so I had no choice, I had to do it." In Acts 2:23, Jesus Christ was handed over to the Jews by God's set purpose and foreknowledge, yet those who crucified Jesus were guilty of sin (John 19:11). Here is an example. He can read a book about George Washington crossing the Delaware River over 200 years ago. Our near-certain knowledge from the book did not force George Washington to do this. Suppose we could go back in a time machine to 400 years ago, and take the book with us. We have still done nothing that forced George Washington to do anything. God exists outside of time (Titus 1:2), as well as inside of it, and His foreknowledge did not force us to do anything.
God's foreknowledge of us precedes His predestination / choosing in the two verses that mention both together (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2). Calvinists tend to place these backwards. God chooses everyone He chooses, and then He foreknows. Arminians tend to say God chose before the beginning of time based on His foreknowledge. However, if God truly is outside of time, then both could be simultaneous.
The sovereignty of Almighty God does not negate our free will, though Calvinists often say otherwise. Some things happened that "did not enter God's mind" such as the infant sacrifices in Jeremiah 32:35, and people died who should not have in Ezekiel 13:19. Some things happen that make God sad. Yet on the other hand, everything works together according to God's plan (Ephesians 1:11). How do you reconcile these two ideas? - by the concept of "delegated sovereignty". God could have total control over everything, in such a way that nothing could displease Him and we are all robots. However, God, who can do anything, apparently chose to delegate His sovereignty, for a time and within limits, such that we have the ability to choose to obey or disobey God. God apparently highly valued man, made in His image, that God made people where they could freely choose to love God. God values this so highly, that He permits people to reject Him and suffer the consequences of their choice.
What is free will? Martin Luther wrote an entire book The Bondage of the Will where he said free will was a false doctrine. Luther missed the boat here, because he took things to unbiblical extremes. We are born with a will that is enslaved to sin (as Luther would agree), but we have free-agency to still cry out for help. We have free will, and a drug addict still has free will too. The drug addict might not have the power to break free of his habit, but he can stumble into a rehab center, fall on the ground and say "help me". Some people would make the distinction between a morally-neutral, unbound free-will (which is unscriptural), and what we have, calling the latter free-agency. Other people, especially Christians in the early church, use the term free-will to refer to the Biblical concept.
In summary, God predestines us, and we also have free-will, properly understood. Before time began, God's choosing who would go to heaven was not blind or capricious, but every single day of our lives was written in God's book (Psalm 139:16) as He chose us.
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, since we are predestined for salvation according to God's pleasure and will, what about God's pleasure and will for those predestined for Hell?
A: The situation is similar to the time George Washington's friend was convicted to hang for treason. Washington loved his friend, and did not want to see him die. Yet, George Washington also wanted to see justice done. Washington made no effort to intervene with that man's just sentence for his choices.
Q: In Eph 1:4-13, before time began God foreknew who would become saved and who wouldn't. Why then, does he need to predestine us to be "adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ", which seems kind of redundant? What I mean is, since he knows it's going to happen (because he exists outside of time), there is no need for predestining it. Wouldn't the situations have occurred anyway if he didn't predestine it? Why isn't foreknowledge sufficient enough? Perhaps my confusion comes from my understanding of the word predestination. Hopefully you can understand where I am having trouble understanding this concept.
A: God's predestining us has at least three aspects.
1. Ultimately, the choice on who is saved belongs with God, not us.
2. God works all things together for good for the predestined (See Romans 8:28). In other words, our lives are a "preparation process" for Heaven.
3. God prepares a place for us in Heaven too. Jesus said that in His Father's house are many mansions. There will not be any empty mansions in Heaven, and nobody in Heaven will fail to have a place prepared by God for them.
Someone gave this analogy. Perhaps the gates to Heaven have two inscriptions. On the outside it says "whosoever will" and on the inside it says "Welcome, you who were chosen from the foundation of the world.
So on one hand, do not be like many Calvinists who say that since God makes the choice, our role is simply passive, like a puppet. On the other hand, do not be like some Arminians and think that since we make the choice, God's role is merely a passive judge. The Holy Spirit actively works in people's lives, and the Father draws people to Himself, or else nobody would every get saved.
There is a theological term for people's will choosing something, and yet God choosing to use their choice. It is called "concurrency". People can argue whether God foreknows everything, and only predestines based on foreknowledge, or else God first predestines everything and foreknows after that. In the two places where both words are used of people, foreknowledge is first. However, there is no need to say a God is restricted to doing all of one before the other; both could have been at the same "time", from the perspective of a timeless God.
Q: In Eph 1:4-5, what are some useful Calvinist insights on free will?
A: Though I am not a Calvinist, I can appreciate some of the concepts certain Calvinists have raised. It should be mentioned that other Calvinists might disagree with these, though.
Mystery: Loraine Boettner explains: we have free agency (but not free will) like goldfish can swim freely in a bowl. "Predestination and free agency are the twin pillars of a great temple, and they meet above the clouds where the human gaze cannot penetrate. Or again, we may say that predestination and free agency are parallel lines; and while the Calvinist may not be able to make them unite, the Arminian cannot make them cross each other." (p.222)
Permissive Decrees: Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary, said, "God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden." (Curt Daniel's Dissertation p.230). In Chosen by God p.97 R.C. Sproul writes "[God] ordained the Fall in the sense that he chose to allow it, but not in the sense that he chose to coerce it."
Concurrence: Louis Berkhof says, "Concurrence may be defined as the cooperation of the divine power with all subordinate powers, according to the pre-established laws of operation, causing them to act and to act precisely as they do." Curt Daniel (p.201) adds "He acts in, with and under the things of Nature."
Dependent Decrees: God did not expressly decree everything independently. As W. D. Smith and Charles Hodge mention, while the working of good can produce evil reactions by evil men, the evil reactions are not chargeable to God, though God accounts for those too, in His plan. Like a cosmic movie-maker, God expressly decreed a number of specific events and let the film roll. After previewing a number of "takes", He decreed the take that pleased Him the most. If we are able to erase and edit videotapes as we please, cannot God do the same?
Interaction: Combining the above explanations, the following is a non-Calvinist solution of sovereignty and freedom. We cannot hope to know everything about God's work (like Boettner's mystery), but we can learn what is revealed in the balance of the general thrusts of scripture without denying the details of any verses. God had a decreed will (like Pink's decrees), permissive will (like Hodge's decrees), and a commanded will (i.e. all are to obey God). God's will in many matters is interactive with our will (like Berkhof's concurrence) to the extent that God desires. Perhaps the most marvelous of God's decrees is a measure of freedom, with its corresponding accountability. While God does not desire, decree, or will evil directly, He permits evil (like dependent decrees) as an "existential parasite," a part of his plan to accomplish His purposes, which include people who freely choose to love Him.
All Calvinists should take to heart what the Calvinist Francis Schaeffer said in The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century: "We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous. (Hymns for the People of God no.364.)
As Jesus said in Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." God can be saddened by our will.
Q: In Eph 1:7, why does the Bible emphasize blood so much?
A: Because the blood of Jesus is so important. His blood is so precious to us, because Jesus shedding His red blood on the cross for our sins paid the way for people to go to Heaven.
Q: In Eph 1:11 and Prov 16:4,33, how are all things working together in conformance with the purpose of God's will?
A: While everyone can see how God can use good things for His glory, God makes no apologies for using evil things, too. See the answer in Genesis 45:8 for more info on this. Here are a few of the ways God can use evil.
1. To accomplish a specific, external task (Genesis 45:8; Acts 2:23)
2. To accomplish an internal change of heart (Judges 3:7-8, etc.)
3. As a warning to others (Luke 13:1-5)
4. As a means of destroying other evil (Habakkuk 1)
5. To refine our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7)
6. To help us die to sin (1 Peter 4:1)
7. To test our faith/develop perseverance (James 1:2-4)
8. Not for our sake, but for others (Colossians 1:24)
9. To be a sign for unbelievers (Philippians 1:28; John 9:1)
10. Just comes with being a Christian (2 Timothy 3:12; Philippians 1:29)
11. To show to Satan and others the quality of our lives (Job)
12. Sometimes we can see no other reasons, except that our persevering glorifies God (See Job 1:8-12; 2:2-6).
Q: In Eph 1:13, since we were included in Christ when we heard the Gospel, how were we included before the beginning of time as Eph 1:4 teaches, and in the future as Eph 1:14 and Heb 9:29 show?
A: The Bible implies that God is timeless as well as within time. For a timeless God, the answer is all three: past, present, and future.
Chuck Swindoll has written an excellent Bible study booklet on salvation discussing these aspects.
Past foreknowledge and predestination aspects: Before time began, God, knew the end from the beginning and all our days (Psalm 139:16; Isaiah 44:7; Ephesians 1:4; Titus 1:2).
Present event aspects: When we heard the word of truth, and called upon the Lord (Romans 10:9-10), we have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Hebrews 4:2 and Acts 10:44 also show the present aspects.
Present continuing aspects: As we work out in our lives the salvation that is in us, God is in the process of transforming our lives (Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 3:14; 4:11; 6:11).
Future hope aspects: We long for the completion of our salvation (Hebrews 9:15,28; Romans 8:23-25; 1 Peter 1:4-5,9,13; 1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 2 Corinthians 5:5).
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.645-647 for more info.
Q: In Eph 1:14 and 2 Cor 1:22, since we are guaranteed and sealed with the Holy Spirit, why do some people fall away?
A: Being a Christian is not easy. There are a number of reasons people can fall away.
1. Some were never truly Christians in the first place (1 John 2:18-19; Acts 8:19-23).
1a. They can fool others (Matthew 7:15; 24:11).
1b. They can even fool themselves with a counterfeit conversion (Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 3:10f).
2. Some genuine Christians fall away, but come back. True Christians will persevere.
3. Genuine Christians disagree on whether a genuine Christian can fall away, never come back, and perish in Hell forever. Verses some use to show Christians can fall away include Hebrews 6:4-9; 10:26-32; 2 Peter 2:17-22. Verses some believers use to show genuine Christians will always persevere and never lose their salvation are 1 John 5:13-14; Romans 8: 29-39; John 10:28-29.
Q: In Eph 1:17, why did the Ephesians need to be given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, since all believers already have the Spirit inside them in Rom 8:9-11?
A: All genuine Christians have the Holy Spirit, but God still commands genuine Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Part of that includes being filled with wisdom and revelation.
Q: In Eph 1:20, Heb 8:2, 10:12; Acts 2:25; 7:56, and so forth, how is Jesus at God's right hand?
A: At the right hand was a term signifying the place for the guest of highest honor, as Psalms 110:1 shows.
Q: In Eph 1:21-22, since Christ is over everything, is Christ over God the Father, too?
A: 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 answers this by emphasizing that Christ is over all, yet all clearly does not include God Himself.
Q: In Eph 1:23, as the Church is Christ's body and the fullness of Christ, should Christians be venerated similar to a Catholic Mass venerating the elements of the Lord's Supper?
A: No. Mere people are not supposed to be worshipped, just as bread and wine are not supposed to be worshipped. Worship God alone.
Q: In Eph 1:23, in some way can the church be considered as part of the Trinity?
A: No. Our present and future eternal life is sustained by God. He shares many things with us, and all believers (male and female) are called sons of God, but we will never be God, or be worshipped.
Q: In Eph 2:1,5, how are we "dead" in transgressions?
A: All were dead in at least three ways: judicially, spiritually, and in a lesser way, physical decay.
Judicially: We are already dead in the way that a convicted criminal, scheduled to be executed the next day, is as good as dead. See also the question on Colossians 2:13.
Spiritually: While unbelievers can still do some relatively good things (Matthew 7:10-11; Luke 6:32-34), our spiritual deadness is so complete, that no one cannot even come to God unless the Father draws him (John 6:44) and the Holy Spirit works in the life of he unbeliever (John 16:8-11). Furthermore, as Christians, Christ is still required to sustain our salvation (Jude 24; Romans 8:29-39). Praise God for His continual work!
Physical decay: Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.393 mentions a third way. We all have the "sickness" of mortality, and every time our bodies get well after a disease, that is only a postponement of death.
See When Critics Ask p.475-476 for more on Ephesians 2:1.
Q: In Eph 2:2, who is the ruler of the air, and why is he ruling?
A: The ruler of the air is Satan. Since the Fall of man, Satan is the prince of this world (John 16:11). He is not the King, though. Satan is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:3), and the ruler of the air. The whole world is under the sway of the evil one (John 5:19). As the Epistle of Barnabas (100 A.D.) puts it, "[God] indeed is Lord for ever and ever, but [Satan] is the prince for the time of iniquity." (chapter 18) See also the discussion on Romans 8:19-22 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.61 for more info.
Q: In Eph 2:3, why were we all objects of wrath?
A: First two reasons why we all were objects of God's wrath, and then two qualifications.
Two reasons are what we did, and what we are.
What we did: Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
What we are: Romans 3:10-20 says that all turn away, and all are worthless. Apart from God, none do good.
There are also two things that do not incur additional wrath on unbelievers.
Forebearer's sin: Children are not guilty for the parents' (or ancestors') sin in Ezekiel 18; Deuteronomy 24:16. Children might still suffer curses and bad consequences, but nobody suffering in Hell will be able to say "part of this is not my fault: I was framed."
Unintentional sin: Sin is not counted where there is no law (Romans 4:15; 5:13). Ignorance of the law does not always make us innocent, though. Rather, when we found out we broke the law unintentionally, and we do not regret doing it, then we prove that we would have broken God's law deliberately if we had known.
Non-Augustinian Christians believe do NOT believe God is extremely angry with every baby that is ever born, and wants to torture reprobate babies in Hell for the sole reason that He chose to create them with a sinful nature as descendants of Adam.
However, when someone realizes they are sinful and do not want to change, they are guilty for not wanting God to change them. They are not held accountable for being born with a sin nature, but they can be held accountable for not wanting to be changed out of that initial state.
Q: In Eph 2:3 and Rom 9:22, were all objects of wrath, or are only some objects of wrath as in Rom 9:22?
A: The next verse, Ephesians 2:4, answers this. All (including Paul) were objects [present and future recipients] of God's wrath. But many have been transformed and in God's sight are no longer objects of His wrath.
Q: In Eph 2:5-8, are we saved by grace alone, or by faith plus works in James 2:14-24?
A: The language of Ephesians 2:8 is precise: "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, -and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works..." Note the following points.
1. It is by [God's] grace. - not us.
2. Through faith - not our own merits or from ourselves
3. Gift of God - not our works.
4. We were created [and saved] to do good works.
As one Indian Christian said, we are not saved by serving, but saved to serve.
The quickest way to explain this is: Ephesians 2 shows we are saved by grace through true faith alone, and James 2 shows that true faith is never alone, but is expressed through our works. Galatians 5:6 says what counts is "faith expressing itself in love." See also the next question and the discussion on James 2:14-25.
Q: In Eph 2:5-8, how do grace, faith, and works interact?
A: One can see some of the key aspects of salvation by asking: who, what, how, for what, and why.
Who: God saved us
Specifically, not us or God + us (Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9)
What: Saved by God's grace through our faith. (Hebrews 4:2; Ephesians 2:8) Specifically not through our works or anything can boast about (Ephesians 2:8-9).
How given: God's grace was given through Jesus dying on the cross to atone for us (Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2) and to be the ransom for our sins (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6: Hebrews 9:15)
How received: God's grace must be combined with our faith (Hebrews 4:2; Romans 10:10). Even our faith is nothing to boast about though, for even that is given by God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8, John 16:8-11).
For what: to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and because God loves us (John 3:16 and He wants to show His kindness to us (Ephesians 2:7)
Why: Many reasons, a few of which are: to demonstrate His kindness (Ephesians 2:7), we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), because He loves the world (John 3:16); because of His own purpose and grace, not because of anything we have done (2 Timothy 1:9)
For a discussion of when, see the question on Ephesians 1:13.
Q: In Eph 2:5-8, what are the major aspects of salvation?
A: Here is one way of looking at salvation.
1. Give gives us unmerited grace (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4,7).
2. We must believe and repent (Ephesians 1:13;Romans 10:9-11).
3. God's Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:9-11; John 14:15-18; 1 John 3:24; Ephesians 2:22; Titus 3:6).
4. Faith without the works of a transformed life is dead (James 2:14-20; 1 John 2:6-15; 1 John 3:5,6,9; Titus 2:11,14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,19).
5. God preserves His elect )John 10:28-29; Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 1:13-14).
Q: In Eph 2:6, does this promise of sitting with Christ on His throne refer to reigning with Christ on earth a thousand years, or afterward for eternity?
A: It could refer to both. However, Ephesians 2:6 says we will be seated with Christ "in the heavenly realms", so its primary meaning probably is eternal. Regardless, praise God that we will be with Christ forever.
Q: In Eph 2:9, what does the pronoun in "it" is the gift of God refer back to?
A: Some people say "grace", and some say "faith". However, both of these are grammatically feminine, and "it" is grammatically neuter, so it is likely that "it" refers to the preceding sentence, which talks about the whole concept of salvation. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.624 for more info.
Q: In Eph 2:12-13, in Old Testament times, were all non-citizens of Israel doomed to Hell, with no chance to be saved?
A: No. Job, Abraham and Isaac were not Israelites, and they demonstrate that God can reveal Himself however He pleases. Even after the Law was given to Moses, Rahab and Ruth were non-Israelites who were still saved. However, all who are saved, even in Old Testament times, are saved through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:6). As long as a person rejects the real Jesus, John 8:24 and Acts 2:37-40 show they have no other possibility to be saved.
Q: In Eph 2:14 (KJV), what is the "middle wall"?
A: This means a dividing wall, which is how other translations render it.
Q: In Eph 2:15, (KJV, NASB, uNASB, NKJV Green's Literal Translation), what does enmity mean?
A: It is similar to our word for enemy. The NIV, NRSV, and Williams translate this as "hostility". Either English word is accurate.
Q: In Eph 2:15, how did Jesus make one out of two?
A: Instead of there being Jews and Gentiles in God's eyes, now there are only Christians in His church.
Q: In Eph 2:16-18, who is "both" here?
A: "Both" here refers to Jews and non-Jews who all have the same access to God through Jesus Christ.
Q: In Eph 2:20-21, since the church is built on the apostles and prophets, do we need apostles and prophets today?
A: We do not need them per se, but we need their words today. This is why scripture is so important to Christians.
Q: In Eph 2:20-21, since Jesus is the chief cornerstone, do we need a man to represent Jesus Christ to rule God's church today?
A: Potentially there are many reasons some people might say that we need a vicar on earth. It would be good to reduce the following bad things:
2. Not joining with spiritual counterfeit religions
3. Devotion to others besides God
4. Intellectual stagnation (Copernicus, Galileo)
5. Killing and torture of genuine Christians
6. Killing and torture of people in general
7. Legitimizing ungodly rulers
8. Added human doctrines masquerading as divine
It would be good to also improve the following:
1. To be a shining moral example to the world
2. Encouraging more study of the scriptures
3. Christian unity (includes not persecuting Christians)
Western European Christians tried this for a thousand years; the experiment has been called "the Catholic Church" and it was a dismal failure by the time of the Middle Ages. Instead of reducing these things, it increased them. One thing good about the experience of the Catholic church is this: we can learn from past mistakes, and see the dangers of leaving the simplicity of following Christ as 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 teaches.
A skeptic might argue (tongue-in-cheek) that the entire Catholic Church was just a ploy to deliberately fulfill 1 Timothy 4:1-5. I will leave it to a Catholic to answer this false charge.
Q: In Eph 2:20-21, how is the church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone?
A: Christ is the only true head of the church. Our knowledge of God is based on the teachings of the Prophets in the Old Testament, and the apostles (and their scribes) in the New Testament.
Q: In Eph 2:21, where can the true church be found?
A: The True Church is not necessarily where the world is looking. As long as someone is looking for the "mere man" that is the head of the true church they will not see it. The true church is headed by Jesus Christ as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The true church is not built of either stone or brick, but is built of believers (1 Peter 2:5). Thus the true church is composed of genuine Christians from every denomination who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. When speaking of the true church, we can speak of "The Church Triumphant" (that is believers now in Heaven) and "The Church Militant" (that is believers still contending for the faith on earth).
Unfortunately, sometimes Christians can get so focused on their denomination they lose sight of this. When I suspect a Christian might be this way, I ask him what denomination he is. When he says "XYZ'" I tell him, "do you that there are XYZ's in heaven. There are no Baptists in heaven either, and I happen to go to a Baptist Church. Instead, there are Christians who are "XYZ'ers" in Heaven, and there are Christians who are Baptists in Heaven, but we are only in Heaven through Jesus, and not through any organization.
The lie, that the organization is more important than a personal relationship with Christ, is one tool cults such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses use to convert churchgoers to their false gospel.
On the other hand, I am not saying gathering and organizing together does not matter. Hebrews 10:25 commands us to not neglect meeting together.
There are some ramifications to what I just said though. People can be pretty messed up theologically, but as long as they are correct on the primary things (as 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 warns us), and know Jesus, all Christians are "to accept one another just as Christ accepted you..." (Romans 15:7). Genuine Christians can have messed up views on the Sabbath (Romans 14:5), or on diet (Romans 14:2-3). They can do even more serious things, like tolerating an immoral person in their midst (Revelation 2:20), or a man living with his father's wife (1 Corinthians 5:1). They can be caught up in very serious problems with legalism (Galatians 3:1). Yet even disobedient Christians under God's discipline are still Christians.
As for what are many of the things Christians agree on, click on "A Common Christian Confession" www.Biblequery.org/Doctrine/DoctrinalStatements/ACommonChristianConfession.html for a compilation.
Q: In Eph 3:1, why did Paul say he was a prisoner of Christ Jesus instead of a prisoner of Rome?
A: Paul could look close by at the Roman soldiers guarding him and see that immediate cause of his imprisonment was the evil of Rome. But Paul, looking at the bigger picture, and saw that the ultimate goal of enduring his imprisonment was for the glory of Jesus Christ our Savior. When you look at unpleasant circumstances, whether from persecution or simply bearing up under what this fallen world throws your way, do you focus in the immediate cause or do you make the ultimate goal glorifying Jesus?
Q: In Eph 3:3 Why did Paul use this word mystery, when there were pagan mystery religions?
A: A mystery here can be felt as something special, a secret that has to be experienced, not just publicly heard. Paul "took back" this meaning that idol religions were using, and he probably used this term deliberately, as a contrast to the foolishness they were teaching.
Q: In Eph 3:4-6, since men in previous generations were not able to hear about Christ, how could anybody in the Old Testament times be saved?
A: Yes. At the most basic level, it is not anything we hear, believe, or do that saves us; it is not even the Gospel that saves us. It is God who saves us. God can save anybody He wants to, but we know that God is merciful, yet just and holy.
See When Critics Ask p.476 for more info.
Q: In Eph 3:8, how is Paul the least of all the apostles?
A: Paul gave two reasons why he thought so.
1. Abnormally (last) born (1 Corinthians 15:8)
2. More importantly, Paul used to persecute the church of God. (1 Corinthians 15:8; 1 Timothy 1:13). He went the farthest of any though: from murderer to missionary.
Q: In Eph 3:8, since Christ's riches are unsearchable, why does Paul want us to know the extent of Christ's love in Eph 3:17-19?
A: Ephesians 3:18-20 answers this. Christ's riches are immeasurable, but we have the enjoyable (and never-ending) task of experiencing just how great God's love is for us.
The Greek word is interesting here; it means literally "not traceable by footprints". We cannot trace exactly why or how great God loves us, but we can enjoy the fact that He goes.
Q: In Eph 3:9, what is the mystery here?
A: Ephesians 3:10-11 answers this. Jesus Christ starting the church was the mystery. Mystery here means a secret that was not revealed until this time.
Q: In Eph 3:14 (NIV), should it say "from whom His whole family", as other translations say "from whom every family" or "from who all fatherhood"?
A: The Greek grammar is unusual here. The word "His" is not in the Greek, so the other translations likely are closer on this verse. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.631 for more info.
Q: Should Eph 3:21 say "In Christ Jesus" (NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, uNASB, NET Bible, Wuest's Expanded Translation), "by Christ Jesus" (KJV, NKJV), or "through Christ Jesus (Williams)?
A: The Greek here is "in Christ Jesus", and Aland et al. record no manuscript variations.
Q: In Eph 4:3, is Paul speaking of unity in one organization, as Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Mormons, the local church, the International Churches of Christ, and others all teach?
A: This particular verse says "unity of the spirit", not unity of an organization. It also says we ought to preserve the Spirit's unity, not try to make our own. So this particular verse does not prove anything about organizations. As to the broader issue, whether organizational unity is desirable, see the next question. See also When Cultists Ask 251-252 for more info and Building Up One Another p.62-63 for an experience where unity was important.
Q: In Eph 4:3, is organizational unity something believers should desire?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this.
No. Some Protestants say either it is not important, or it is dangerous when it becomes more important than following God in truth, as history has sadly but conclusively shown.
Yes. Catholics, Orthodox, the local church, and other Protestants say organizational unity is desirable.
Regardless, all serious Bible students should be able to agree on the following:
1. The Bible mentions unity of the spirit, and unity of Jesus' disciples, but it never once says to have unity with those who reject, deny, or obviously pervert the faith.
2. While no Christian is perfect, either in holiness or doctrine, we are to watch out for wolves and divide from heretics.
3. Generally speaking, it is sometimes difficult to have meaningful unity with people who are trying to kill you or burn you at the stake.
4. We should strive to eliminate all that is divisive among Christians and accept one another just as Christ accepted us (Romans 15:7).
5. Unity that is not centered on Jesus Christ is not desirable unity, and we should avoid that.
Q: In Eph 4:4, since there is only one body, why are there are so many churches?
A: There are at least four main reasons.
1. Just as small differences exist among various Sunni Muslim schools, Mahayana Buddhists, Vedantic Hindus, the two sects of Baha'is, and other religions, so Christians too disagree on secondary matters. As an example, Paul and Silas had a disagreement over taking John Mark with them. Later they reconciled though (Acts 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11).
2. Adding: Over the years, many have been like the Pharisees in Mark 7:6-8, in wanting to add their own complex traditions to Christianity. In general, many say you should follow the Bible plus their tradition, which is put equal to God's Word. Biblical Christianity is simply following what God says in the Bible, and recognizing human tradition as just of man.
3. Subtracting from Christianity is foretold in 2 Timothy 3:5 says in the last days some will have the form of godliness but deny its power. A number of "liberal" churches take away from God's teaching, saying God cannot perform physical miracles, and there is no Heaven and Hell, while still pretending to be Christians.
4. Perversion: As prophesied in Acts 20:29-30, there are spiritual "wolves" who through deception draw away disciples after themselves to start their own man-made religion while still claiming to follow Jesus. Many of them have their own book in addition to the Bible. These evil things were prophesied to occur in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, 2 Peter 2:1-3, and Jude 8-19.
Q: In Eph 4:5, is this water baptism, or Spirit baptism?
A: It could be either one. However, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.633 says it is unlikely to refer to Spirit baptism, since there are three sections referring to the Father, Son, and Spirit, and this is in the section referring to the Son.
Q: In Eph 4:6 and Eph 1:23, if God fills everything in every way, is pantheism true, which says that everything is a piece of God?
A: No. For example, a pile of trash is not God, and the pages of an atheist's pamphlet, denying God exists, are not God. We are not to worship the created things instead of the Creator (Romans 1:23,25). Rather, as Colossians 1:17 shows, all things are held together by Christ.
Q: In Eph 4:8, why did Paul say God "gave" gifts to men, since Ps 68:18 says God "received" gifts from men?
A: Christians have two different views.
Copyist error: "Give" may have been the original in Psalm 68:18. While "receive" is in the Masoretic text and the Greek Septuagint, "give" is in the Aramaic-language Targums and Syriac Peshitta. Furthermore, the entire Psalm, excepting possibly this one verse, speaks of what God gives to others.
From an Aramaic Targum: Another view is that Paul usually starts his scriptural quotes with "It is written", but Ephesians 4:7-8 is different with "It says". These match very closely the oral tradition in the Aramaic Targum on the Psalter and the Syriac Peshitta. Early rabbis applied this verse to Moses, saying he received the law in order to give it to the people. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.57 for more info.
Overall summary: Paul was not quoting any verse, but paraphrasing the entire Psalm 68. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.634 for more info on this view.
Either way, John Chrysostom (Homilies on Ephesians c.396 A.D.) said there was essentially no difference here. God both gives and receives things from men. Viewing at salvation as God receiving the burden of our guilt, or giving us forgiveness is simply looking at two sides of the same thing.
See When Critics Ask p.476-477 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.404 for more info.
Q: In Eph 4:9 and Acts 2:27, after He died, did Jesus go to Hell, or not?
A: While the phrase "Jesus descended into Hell" was inserted in the Apostle's Creed (Aquileian form 390 A.D.), the Bible does not explicitly say either way. Here is what the Bible says.
Ephesians 4:9 descended to the lower, earthly parts
Psalm 16:10 says "Sheol" which means grave.
Acts 2:27-28 quoting Psalm 16:10: Jesus would not be abandoned to the grave (Hades)
1 Peter 3:19 Jesus preached to the spirits in prison
According to Jewish religious thought, echoed in the Book of 1 Enoch chapter 22 and other writings, the dead went to two places: the righteous to paradise and the unrighteous to prison.
1 Peter 4:6 mentions the Gospel being preached to those dead. (NIV has "now dead" but "now" is not in the Greek). See the discussion on 1 Peter 4:6 for more info, and When Critics Ask p.477-478, When Cultists Ask p.252-254 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.637-639 for a different answer.
Q: Could Eph 4:9 mean Jesus came down to earth, rather than descending to the grave?
A: There are three views which are compatible with the context of the passage.
Descended to the earth (genitive of apposition) Believer's Bible Commentary p.1934
Descended to death (genitive of comparison)
Descended to the lower parts which belong to the earth (genitive of possession) Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.634
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 11 p.56 says that interpreting this as the incarnation to earth is acceptable (view 1). It also says this might signify death and burial (view 2).
Q: In Eph 4:11, does this mean "pastor-teacher" as one role, or pastors and teachers as two roles?
A: In this list of the Greek word kai separates pastors and teachers. This Greek word means "and/even", and in this passage it could be either way, just as in English. Now pastors do teach (Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy 5:2,17), so there is a combined role. The real question then is whether the Bible supports a role for teachers who are not pastors. The answer is a clear "yes" for at least four reasons:
Stephen witnessed to the Jews, teaching them with a detailed knowledge of scripture, though Acts said he was only a deacon.
a) Paul commended the teacher Apollos, even though Apollos was not a pastor.
b) Barnabas, Timothy, and others taught and preached the word, even when they were not pastors.
c) An elder was supposed to be able to teach (1 Timothy 5:2), which implies they were teaching before they were elders.
d) In fact, Colossians 3:16 commands Christians in general to teach and admonish one another.
Q: In Eph 4:11, since there are pastors and teachers today, are there prophets and apostles today, too?
A: Ephesians 4:11 refers to important offices in the church without delineating which extend to the present and which do not. No, there are not people with the New Testament office of apostles and the Old Testament office of prophet walking around today. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.350 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1934-1935 for more info.
Q: In Eph 4:17 (KJV), how can Gentiles walk in the "vanity of their minds"?
A: This King James Version expression was accurate, but a more familiar phrase is "futility of their thinking".
Q: In Eph 4:26, is it a sin to get angry, since Jesus and Paul got angry?
A: It is not a sin to get angry in many cases. However, Ephesians 4:26 shows that it is a sin for us to stay angry and hold a grudge. If the sun goes down on your anger, you have been angry too long. See When Critics Ask p.478-479 for a chart of good versus bad anger, and Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.245 for more info.
Q: In Eph 4:26, is it a sin to stay angry? God appears to stay angry at the people and demons in the Lake of Fire.
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. We are not to stay angry, get jealous, accept worship, or be called God, but God is not forced to do what He commands His servants to do.
2. God is infinite, and He can feel different things at the same time. He can be angry at one wicked person, and simultaneously delight in one of His children. He can do these at the same time because He is God.
3. Scripture does not say whether or not God will stay angry forever. God might just eventually not care at all about those who choose to live without Him.
Q: In Eph 4:28, why do Christians work at jobs where they are not laboring with their hands?
A: This expression means an honest living. Besides regular criminal activity, many in that time amassed considerable fortunes through bribery and corrupt political and business practices that were often legal, but were not right. (Perhaps those times were not so different from our own.) However, as Jesus loved the tax collector named Matthew, Jesus wants corrupt people today to repent of their sins, come to Jesus, and pay back their victims.
Q: In Eph 4:29, why should Christians not curse?
A: Simply because the Bible says not to do so. James 3:10-12 says it should not be that cursing comes from the same mouths as praising God. While it is true that Peter cursed when he denied Christ, Peter wept afterward, and repented of his sin.
Q: In Eph 5:11, since Christians should have nothing to do with deeds of darkness, should Christian lawyers defend clients they know are guilty?
A: Generally, being a criminal defense lawyer is a difficult way to make a living if you never lie, shade the truth, encourage your clients to never lie, and refuse to defend clients you know are lying. This is what a Christian would have to do to be a criminal defense lawyer.
However, as Now That's a Good Question p.525-527 points out, even people who enter a guilty plea need a fair trial and argue for a less severe sentence. Nevertheless all Christians should agree that lying and implying someone is innocent when they are reasonably sure they are guilty is something no Christian ought to do.
Q: In Eph 5:14, where was this verse previously said?
A: These exact words were not said in the Old Testament, We do not have it recorded where this was previously said. This poetic verse was likely from an early Christian hymn, as Paul assumed his immediate readers would recognize it.
Q: In Eph 5:15 (KJV, NKJV) what does circumspectly mean?
A: The NKJV says "See then that you walk circumspectly,...", the NET Bible says, "Therefore be very careful how you live..." and the NIV says "Be very careful then, how you live-..." Green's literal translation says, "See then how carefully you walk". Williams Translation has, "So you must be very careful how you live". The Wuest Expanded Translation says, "Be constantly taking heed therefore how accurately you are conducting yourselves,..."
Q: In Eph 5:18 (NKJV), what does dissipation mean?
A: The NET Bible and NIV translate this as "debauchery", the KJV "excess", and Williams translation "profligacy". Either way, it means things that are not only worthless for strengthening a person, and break down people's character, (not to mention their health).
Q: In Eph 5:18, what exactly is wrong with getting drunk?
A: There is one reason, and that alone is sufficient: God commands us not to get drunk. People usually get drunk for pleasure, to drown their sorrows, or when they are addicted, because of how bad they feel when they do not get their drink. A Christian should not be out of control, or have his or her self-control weakened. In addition to the harm it does to your body, it can harm relationships, affect your ability to hold a job, and affect your finances.
On a lighter note, The Communicator's Commentary 1, 2 Kings p.262 says that a popular preacher said, "some of you think you can drown your troubles in drink. I want you to remember, 'Troubles can swim!'"
Q: In Eph 5:18 (KJV), what does "wherein is excess" mean here?
A: One can translate this as "debauchery" or "the opposite of a saved life".
Q: Does Eph 5:18 refer to a one-time filling, or a continual filling with the Spirit?
A: According to The NIV Study Bible p.1798, the Greek present tense here shows it is not a once-for-all filling, but a repeated filling.
Q: In Eph 5:22, why should wives obey their husbands?
A: There are two complementary answers.
1. If a wife wants to be obedient to God, she will obey what is commanded here. Wives should obey their husbands, even if the husband is not a Christian. However, wives are supposed to disobey their husbands when there is a conflict between what the husband wants and God desires. In that case, they should follow God, the higher authority.
2. Wives obeying their husbands is not the end of the story in a Christian marriage. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). All are commanded to submit to one another in Christ, according to Ephesians 5:21.
See Today's Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.377-380 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.640-642 for more extensive answers.
Q: In Eph 5:22, is it true that the Bible never explicitly states wives are to love their husbands?
A: This is a false statement I have heard. The Bible says women are to be taught to love their husbands in Titus 2:4.
Q: In Eph 5:32, why should wives respect their husbands?
A: They should do so, even if for no other reason than God commands it. However, we can see a number of reasons why it is good for us that God gave this command. As a husband, I appreciate her respect. Children can find it easier to obey and respect their father when their mother respects him. This is why it is important for husbands and wives not to criticize each other in front of the children.
Also, children watch and model your attitudes and behavior when you are not aware, in ways you do not expect. Once I overheard my children playing house. One was going to play the role of big sister, another would be the little sister, one would be the mommy, and one would be the honey.
Q: In Eph 6:1, since children should obey their parents, what if their parents say to leave the Christian faith?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
Unbelieving parents too: Ephesians 6:1 does not say to only obey your parents if they are Christians, but to obey your parents regardless of their faith.
Only in the Lord: In Ephesians 6:1 Paul qualified the statement by saying to obey their parents in the Lord. We should obey all parental and government authority to the extent that it does not go against God's word.
As a historical note, this answer basically was given by John Chrysostom in Homilies on Ephesians c.396 A.D.
Q: In Eph 6:1,4, what is the age limit of the Greek word for "children"?
A: There is no age limit, as the Greek literally means "offspring", not "young kids".
Q: In Eph 6:2, why did Paul say this was "the first commandment", since it actually was the fifth of the Ten Commandments?
A: In the phrase "the first commandment", the word "the" is not in the Greek. First can mean primary, and this was one of the primary commandments. Wuest's Expanded Translation renders this phrase, "which is a commandment of such a nature as to be the first commandment..." Of course, this command is also the first one small children learn. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.641-642 for more info.
Q: In Eph 6:3, should the verse be translated as "in the land" or "in the earth"?
A: Paul is quoting from passages in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16. In the Hebrew and Greek (including the Greek Septuagint) of all three verses, the word can mean either "earth" or "land".
However, both Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 say "...your days may be long upon the land which the Lord our God is giving you". Thus, the context is "land of Canaan" and not "earth". Since Paul says he is citing the previous commandment, both meanings are allowed, but the primary meaning was "land".
Q: In Eph 6:3, Ex 20:12, and Dt 5:16, what exactly is promised here?
A: Christians can see this promise is true in not just one, but four ways. While everyone may not agree on which one is the primary meaning, but all four meanings are true.
Corporately: As the answer to the previous question shows, the Old Testament promise was originally made so that the people could live long in the Land of Canaan without being exiled. This can be generalized as a "corporate" principle. Looking at much of Western history, for Christianity to remain strong in a land, children must learn from their parents.
Another example of a corporate promise is 2 Chronicles 7:14, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land." (NKJV)
Individually: As Paul teaches, both this commandment and the promise apply to us today. Ephesians 6:3 does not promise that Christians will live longer than others, but with God's protection, Christian children will live longer on earth than they otherwise would. Even someone who died at age 25 has lived longer than if they died at age 20.
Another example of an individual promise is Matthew 19:29-30, where all who have left houses or family for Jesus' sake will inherit a hundred times and inherit eternal life.
Quality of Life: All three verses not only promise long-life, but that you would live well. Even the Greek word for long-lived is interesting: "macrochronious", which literally is "long-timed". There is a joke about someone who encountered an elderly drunk stumbling along, stooped over, with wrinkles, and liver spots. She asked, "How is it, old man, that you could drink so much and still live such a long life?" The drunk answered, "Old man! Why I am only 30 years old." Not only does God protect us, but our living a clean lifestyle, with no drugs, no drunkenness, and no illicit sex, will often increase your lifespan on earth.
Another example of a quality of life promise is Exodus 23:26, where God promises to the obedient Israelites that sickness and miscarriage will be taken away from them and that God will "fulfill the number of your days", which sounds very similar to the promise in Ephesians 6:3.
Millennially: Of course, in Revelation 20:4, Christians will come to life and reign with Christ for 1,000 years, prior to the rest of the dead coming back.
Other examples of promises that might be Millennial are: the resurrection of Israel in Ezekiel 37, and the Temple in Ezekiel 40-47, including the water springing from it in Ezekiel 47.
Q: In Eph 6:4, should fathers ever get their kids angry?
A: Fathers should not exasperate their children, and Colossians 3:21 likewise says fathers should not embitter their children. Godly parents to not have the right to act unreasonably toward their kids. They should not make their children angry without a good reason, such as disciplining. Corporal punishment (spanking) is OK and sometimes required, as Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; and 23:13-14 show.
Q: In Eph 6:4, should mothers pay attention here too?
A: According to both The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 11 p.82 and Gene Getz in a sermon 1/16/2000, the Greek word for fathers often generically referred to parents. The New Geneva Study Bible p.1870 also says this refers to parents. Likewise The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.642 says fathers are addressed here because "they represent the governmental head of the family on whom rests the responsibility of child discipline."
Q: In Eph 6:4, what are some ways parents embitter / anger/ exasperate their children?
A: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.642 says the Greek word parorgizete is only used here, Romans 10:19 cf. Colossians 3:21. It literally means "provoke to anger". The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 11 p.81 says this verse was truly revolutionary, as this was said in a society where the father's authority was absolute and child's feelings were not considered.
You should discipline them for their good, not based on your feelings. Treat them as though they are just as important to God as yourself, because they are. Do not bully, belittle, or discourage them. Except for where they recognize that you are disciplining them, you should show them the same respect, courtesy, and lack of bullying you would show a friend of yours who is an adult.
Here is a list of some ways parents can exasperate their children given by Gene Getz in a sermon on Jan 16, 2000.
Physical abuse, including discipline while your rage is out of control
Psychological abuse, including embarrassment
Do not try to understand them
Hypocrisy. Parents sometimes expect behavior from their children that they do not demonstrate themselves.
Expect too much from them
Put them on a performance standard
Forcing them to accept our goals and ideals will not work. It has to be their goals and ideals.
When we are unwilling to admit our mistakes.
Q: In Eph 6:4 (KJV), should this word be nurture?
A: The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 11 p.82 says the King James Version uses too weak a word. The Greek word paideia is a Greco-Roman word meaning strict discipline. It comes from the word for discipline, but it can also relate to instruction. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.642 also says the same about the Greek word. The NET Bible and NASB translate this word as "discipline". The NIV and NKJV say "training".
Williams Translation is somewhat off here, saying "sort of education".
Q: In Eph 6:5-8, does the Bible support slavery?
A: The Bible recognized that some Christians were slaves, and it allowed Christians to own slaves. However, it encouraged freedom for slaves in 1 Corinthians 7:21,23. See also the next question for more info.
The Bible tolerated both a Christian being a slave, and a Christian owning a slave, since slavery was inseparable from the culture at that time. However, Christian masters were not permitted to treat slaves like non-Christian slaveholders treated slaves. In the New Testament, masters were not ever to threaten slaves (Ephesians 6:9) and masters were to treat slaves right and fair (Colossians 4:2).
Q: In Eph 6:9 and 1 Pet 2:18, why did God not tell masters to free all their slaves?
A: Where would the slaves go? Just after a time of frequent wars, perhaps two-thirds of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves, who would have a hard time earning an honest living as free people. In that time, it would be better to have a Christian master who realized that God was the master of both of them, than to be freed without any skills or support. A Christian master would not abuse slaves, take advantage of them sexually or in other ways, and treat them as equals before God. See also the previous question.
Q: In Eph 6:10-18, what do we know about a Roman solder's armor?
A: Roman soldiers were heavily armored to defend a position against anything that came their way. They had to defend against direct attacks, from swords, spears, knives, maces, etc., and from attacks they don't see coming from arrows. The historian Polybius gave a detailed account of an infantryman. the entire armor, called the panoplia, from which we get our word panoply, was important so that they did not have any bare spots that an archer could shoot.
The breastplate, or thorax, was nicknamed the heart protector. It was bronze and covered both the front and back, though some officers had the lighter chain mail instead.
The belt, or zone, kept the armor in place, and from there was hung the scabbard, that held the sword. Faith and love are called a breastplate in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
Shields in the Roman army were rectangular. Roman soldiers fought best side by side, to make a wall of shields they called a testudo, the word for tortoise. After the siege of Dyrachium, a soldier named Sceva found 220 darts stuck to his shield. A helmet, or perikephalaia meaning head-covering, was bronze with leather attachments. The helmet of salvation is also mentioned as God wearing it in Isaiah 59:17. The helmet is called the hope of salvation in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. The order is important here. The shield was attached to the soldier with a shield handle, and the shield had to be attached before the helmet could be put on.
Boots were important to the Romans for not losing their footing. Soldiers had special boots called caligae. the Jewish historian Josephus (Wars of the Jews 6.1.8) says they had short, sharp nails in the bottom to keep their footing. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.87-88 says the reason that the armies of Alexander the Great and Rome could march rapidly over long distances of rough ground was due to their boots.
Sword: There were three offensive weapons of the Roman infantryman, but curiously Paul only mentions one of them. There was a spear, or pilium, and Thracian braodsword, or rhomphaia, and the gladius, or short sword, which is what Paul mentions. The gladius was the weapon of choice of close encounters.
The one downside of all of this armor is that it took awhile to put on. If someone made a surprise attack, and the soldiers were not ready, it would take a while before they could fight. Thus we even need to sleep with our armor on, so to speak.
Q: In Eph 6:10, how does a Christian who is strong in the Lord act different than one that is not strong in the Lord?
A: A Christian who is strong in the Lord might tend to excel in at least four areas.
They draw near to God with full assurance and a sincere heart as Hebrews 10:22-23 says. They are eager to share their life, and everyone can see their glow as they express their love for God in living out their faith.
They depend on God. They rely on God, think on God, and are not so prone to temptation because their thoughts rest on him. They are willing to give up other things, whether good or bad, for the sake of God as Philippians 3:7-10 shows.
They can endure, not just temptation but also hard times and loss. They are like runners running a race, as Hebrews 12:2-7 says.
They are not so concerned about themselves, but are genuinely and sincerely concerned about others. They consider the welfare of others as more important than themselves as Philippians 2:3 says.
Q: In Eph 6:11, what is the opposite of having the full armor of God?
A: The opposite of being strong in God's power is being "sifted like wheat" as Satan had asked to do to Peter in Luke 22:31. Just as no one plays American football without a helmet and shoulder pads, how much more do we need protection against spiritual forces.
Q: In Eph 6:12, what is the difference between "rulers of this darkness of this age" and "spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places"?
A: They are all evil forces, and they can be the same, but these two descriptions show different aspects. Rulers of this dark age refere to evil idea, forces, and people who can have power and authority over various institutions such as the government, schools, companies, and the media. Spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places does not refer to earthly power, but both direct demonic forces and evil religious influences, both outside and inside of churches.
Q: In Eph 6:12, exactly who or what are we struggling against?
A: It is important that we understand that our struggle is not simply against human ignorance, weakness, and prejudice. It is not just that already good people need to be informed, helped, and shown the right way. Rather, the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19), and hostile to God (Romans 8:7).
Our struggle is unusual in that God calls us to do things that would be totally ineffective if we had to do these on our own power. Rather, God expects us to do things that are impossible with, but possible with God.
Q: In Eph 6:13, exactly why is it important to be strong in the Lord and have the armor of God?
A: This is not an optional "nice-to-have", but an essential part for our safety and personal effectiveness for three reasons:
Who is against us: the devil and dark forces can be strong, intelligent and scheming, disarmingly charming, yet bloodthirsty, cruel and ruthless, and we need protection from both direct assaults and subtle attacks.
Our mission: We are to stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11), we are to struggle against powers of this dark age (Ephesians 6:12), and in the day of evil stand firm (Ephesians 6:13-14).
When we are to stand: As Christians with God's help and honor we should expect to always be able to stand, but especially when the going gets rough in the day of evil (Ephesians 6:13).
Just as a soldier should be reluctant to fight without his armor and weapons, and just as an athlete should be reluctant to compete without his pads and other sports equipment, a Christian should be just as reluctant to live and contend for the faith without his or her spiritual armor.
Q: In Eph 6:14 is the belt of truth the truth of God, our truthfulness, or our discerning the truth?
A: The Greek word here for truth, (aletheia), like the English word truth, could mean either way. But based on the context there are three views:
Believer's integrity and faithfulness, not the facts of the gospel according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.643. The NIV Study Bible p.1799 says it is our character. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1032 says it is our truthfulness with other people. The New International Bible Commentary p.1438 says it is our sincerity and personal integrity.
Truthfulness of God's Word and our confidence from the certainty of it. The New Geneva Study Bible p.1871.
The first two: The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.87
John Chrysostom in his Commentary on Ephesians as an entire homily (23) on just this verse. He focuses primarily on the first aspect, of our truthful, holy living. But on p.164 he also asks how we can gird our loins with truth and says metaphorically, "he who seeks the doctrine of truth, shall never fall down to the earth"
All three: The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1952 says, "Certainly we must be faithful in holding the truth of God's word, but it is also necessary for the truth to hold us. We must apply it to our daily lives. As we test everything by the truth, we find strength and protection in the combat."
In summary: we should be girded with all aspects of the truth: we should not only believe the source of truth: God, but let it take root in our lives to transform us, and thus be able to discern what is true and false in this world.
Q: In Eph 6:15, how does our readiness come from the gospel of peace?
A: Readiness can come from studying God's word, learning and fellowshipping with other believers, but that is not what is mentioned here. This readiness comes from our hope and excitement of the good news for us, and for all who will believe.
Q: In Eph 6:16, why do we need a shield in addition to the other armor?
Q: In Eph 6:17, why do you think the sword is mentioned last?
Q: In Eph 6:21, Col 4:7, 2 Tim 4:12; Tt 3:12; and Acts 20:4, how do you pronounce Tychicus?
Q: In Eph 6:24, should it say "in sincerity" (KJV, NKJV, Wuest), "an undying love" (NET Bible, NIV, Williams), or a love incorruptible (NASB)?
Q: What are similarities between Ephesians and other letters of Paul?
Q: In Eph, what evidence do we have that this book should be in the Bible?
Q: In Eph, how do we know that Scripture today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
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A: It is good to have protection against attack in layers. If they get pat one layer, there is still a second. They cannot get past the armor if the shield stops them. A Roman shield was usually rectangular, 2 foot by 4 foot shield and metal covered in leather. It might be 12 pounds, or perhaps as much as 15 pounds. Sometimes they would punch the enemy with their shields, to make them lose their footing. If you already have the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, you still need to extinguish Satan's fiery darts with the shield of faith. Hebrews 11 give many good examples of faith. The NIV Study Bible p.1799 adds that Roman shields were metal but covered in leather. The leather could be soaked in water to extinguish fiery darts (arrows), though that would increase the weight. The Greek historian Herodotus says that arrows were dipped in pitch and set on fire. Octavius says that Julius Caesar used fiery arrows at the naval battle of Actium. We do not know anywhere that poisoned arrows were used.
A: Before you go out with the sword, you need to have defense set in place.
A: Strong's Concordance pronounces the name (5190) as too-khee-KOS. The name comes from the Greek word for fortunate. However, Cruden's Concordance pronounces it as TIK-i-kus.
A: There is no question on the Greek word used, but all the translations here are basically correct because the Greek word has a complex meaning. It means genuine, unending, sincere, incorruptible, or undying. Some translations add love because this is an adverb that to refers to "love" earlier in the same verse. The uNASB has "incorruptible love".
A: Here are some similarities and differences with other letters of Paul. For validation purposes, we are also going to compare these books with James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1 - 3 John, and Jude, which are letters all known not to be written by Paul.
Here are a few of the similarities with Ephesians
Paul an apostle by the will of God
1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 2 Tim 1:1; ~1 Tim 1:1 (command of God)
"Grace and peace to you from God * Father and * Lord Jesus Christ"
Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; 2 Thess 1:2; Phm 3; ~1 Tim 1:2 "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord"; 2 Tim 1:2 "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!"; Tt 1:4 "Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior!" 2 Jn 3 "Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father..."
Every spiritual blessing
1 Cor 1:5 "made rich in every way"; Eph 1:3; Phm 6
Constantly in prayer for you
Rom 1:8; 1 Cor 1:4; Eph 1:16; 1 Thess 1:2; 2 Tim 1:3; ~Phm 4 "remember in prayer"
Thank God for them
Rom 1:8; Eph 1:16
Emphasis on unity of the Spirit
1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:3-5
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
2 Cor 1:3; Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3
Here are some differences from Ephesians
Paul and "Timothy our brother"
2 Cor 1:1; Col 1:1; Phm 1
Always thanking God for them
1 Cor 1:4; Php 1:3; Col 1:3; 1 Thess 1:2; 2 Thess 1:3; 2 Tim 1:3; Phm 4
A: There are at least four good reasons.
1. Paul wrote it, and He was an apostle. Peter attested that Paul's words were scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
2. Paul himself said he was apostle in 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 11:5; Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1.
3. Quotes and References from early Christian writers
Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians (110-117 A.D.) ch.1 quotes Ephesians 5:2, and he says in ch.12 that Paul makes mention of the Ephesians in his letter. Ignatius' Letter to Polycarp ch.5 quotes Ephesians 5:25.
Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians (bishop from 100-155 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 2:8-9 and 4:26, along with a number of other verses, without giving the source, except to say that quotes of Psalm 4:5 and Ephesians 4:26 are "declared then in these scriptures".
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) in numerous places. In one place he quotes Ephesians 5:30 as by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.2.2 p.528
From the heretic Marcion (before 170 A.D.) we have according to Tertullian and Epiphanius his quotes from Ephesians 1:1,18; 3:9; 4:6 5:14; 6:1,12,19
Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs (180-202 A.D.) mentions Christians having Paul's writings, without specifying which letters.
Muratorian Canon (190-217 A.D.) mentions that Paul wrote to seven churches in his epistles, Corinthians (2 letters), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians (2 letters), Romans. Paul wrote Philemon, Titus, two letters to Timothy.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) mentions the apostle writing to the Ephesians and quoting Ephesians 4:13-15. The Instructor book 1 ch.5 p.213
Tertullian wrote in 207 A.D. that it was by Paul the apostle in On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.40. Tertullian said Paul wrote to the Ephesians in Tertullian Against Marcion book 14 chapter 5 (207 A.D.). It was a book "that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles."
Theodotus (probable Montanist) (ca.240 A.D.) alludes to Ephesians. Selections from Prophetic Scriptures ch.20 p.45
Gnostic Naassenes (before 235/6 A.D.) according to Hippolytus refer to Ephesians 5:14 in The Refutation of All Heresies book 5 ch.2 p.51
Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 5:14 as Scripture in The Refutation of All Heresies book 5 ch.2 p.51.
Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 6:12 as by Paul to the Ephesians. de Principiis book 3 ch.4 p.332
Novatian (250/254-257 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 4:10 saying it is by Paul in Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.17 p.627
Treatise Against Novatian (254-256 A.D.) ch.17 p.663 quotes Ephesians 5:6,7 as by the Apostle
Cyprian bishop of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) He quotes from "the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians" in Treatise 12 the third book 7,70,72,117.
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (256 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 4:5-6 in Letters of Cyprian letter 74 ch.24 p.396.
At the Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) on p.571 Victor of Assuri paraphrases Ephesians 4:5 as "it is written".
Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) paraphrases Ephesians 5:5-13 saying, "Scripture says" in Canonical Epistle ch.2 p.18.
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes half of Eph 3:8 as b Paul in Disputation with Manes ch.34 p.207.
Adamantius (= Adamantius Judaeus) (c300 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 2:11-13 as by the apostle to the Ephesians. Dialogue on the True Faith in God second part p.99. He also refers to Ephesians 1:5 as by the Apostle, as well as Ephesians 1:6-7, and 2:17-18.
Victorinus of Petau, Austria (martyred 304 A.D.) lists the letters of Paul as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy.
Peter of Alexandria (306,285-311 A.D.) quotes from Eph 2:8-9 as by the apostle in Fragment 2 on the Godhead p.280.
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 5:28-30 as by Paul. Banquet of the Ten Virgins discourse 3 ch.2 p.317.
Athanasius (318 A.D., prior to Nicea) quotes Ephesians 3:18 as being by Paul. Incarnation of the Word ch.16 p.45.
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) quotes half of Ephesians 4:26 as "God has enjoined us not to let the sun go down upon our wrath." The Divine Institutes book 6 ch.18 p.185
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (323-326 A.D.) book 3 ch.3 p.134 (implied) He says, "Paul's fourteen epistles are well know and undisputed." Then he says some dispute whether Paul wrote Hebrews or not. He also says in book 3 ch.25 p.155 that the letters of Paul are scripture. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.155.
Eustathius (323-337 A.D.)
Asterius the Sophist (after 341 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 6:12
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) Select Demonstrations
Ammon (4th century A.D.) refers to Ephesians 6:12
Marius' Reply to Candidus the Arian (359-362 A.D.)
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (=Basil of Ancyra) (357-378/379 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 4:15,16 as "Ephesians" On the Spirit ch.5.9 p.61. Basil also quotes Ephesians 3:9 as by Paul. On the Spirit ch.11 p.7
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.)
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paul's Letter to the Ephesians as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of Ephesians 1:1.
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari (370/371 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:9; 5:9; 5:15
Marcellus of Ancyra (c.374 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:6
Titus of Bostra (before 378 A.D.)
Ephraim the Syrian hymn-writer (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:32
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) quotes Ephesians 2:10 as by the Apostle in Lecture 2.1 p.8
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Gregory of Nanzianzen (330-391 A.D.)
Gregory of Elvira (after 392 A.D.)
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) alludes to Ephesians 3:18 as "Paul ... people of Ephesus". Also, the Great Catechism ch.32 p.150
John Chrysostom 396 A.D. wrote down 23 sermons on Ephesians which we still have today. He said it was by Paul.
Didymus (398 A.D.)
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari, Sardinia (361-c.399 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 5:9,15
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) quotes half of Ephesians 4:7 as by the apostle. Defense Against the Pelagians ch.17 p.137
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Council of Carthage (218 bishops) (393-419 A.D.)
Chromatius of Aquileia (died 407 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:29
Nilus (c.430 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:32
Macarius/Symeon (4th or 5th century)
Maximinus (4th to 5th century A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:6
Augustine of Hippo (388-8/28/430 A.D.) says Paul (On the Forgiveness of Sin, and Baptism) book 1 ch.43 p.31 (vol.5) wrote the books Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians (ch.44 p.32), Galatians (ch.45 p.32), Ephesians (ch.46 p.33), Colossians (ch.47 p.33), 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy (ch.48 p.33), Titus (ch.49 p.33), Epistle to the Hebrews (doubted by some) (ch.50 p.34), John quoting Revelation 5:9 (ch.51 p.34), Acts of the Apostles (ch.52 p.34)
John Cassian (410-430 A.D.) quotes of Eph 4:28 as the Epistle to the Ephesians in Institutes of John Cassian book 10.17 p.272
Marcus of Eremita (after 430 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Theodotus of Ancyra (5th century A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (pronounced HESS-us) refers to Ephesians 5:19; 6:12
Hesychius of Jerusalem (after 450 A.D.)
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 5:14
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (c.466 A.D.)
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
Speculum (5th century) refers to Ephesians 4:19; 5:2
Theodotus of Ancyra (5th century A.D.)
Proclus (412-485 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 4:32
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The heretic Marcion according to Tertullian and Epiphanius of Salamis
The Naasenes referred to Ephesians 5:12 according to Hippolytus
The heretic Priscillian (killed 385 A.D.) refers to Ephesians 6:12
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.)
Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (428 A.D.)
Some of this is according to Aland et al. fourth revised edition, Adamantius : Dialogue on the True Faith in God, and The Books of Steps : The Syriac Liber Graduum.
A: At least 74 manuscripts and early church writers quoted or referred to verses in Ephesians. We have at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. See the previous question for some of the writers who referred to verses in Ephesians.
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of Ephesians show there are small manuscript uncertainties, but zero theologically significant errors.
p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 150 verses from Ephesians. Specifically it has Ephesians 1:1-2:7; 2:10-5:6; 5:8-6:6; 6:8-18,20-24 and other parts of Paul's letters and Hebrews. A photograph of the first page of Ephesians is in A General Introduction to the Bible p.389, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.532, and the Eerdmans' Bible Dictionary p.340. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this.
First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).
p49 + p64 (middle 3rd century) Ephesians 4:16-29; 4:31-5:13 The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p49 on p.346. It also says that p49 and p65 were written by the same scribe.
End of 3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p92 Ephesians 1:11-13,19-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5,11-12 (ca. 300 A.D.) The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p92 on p.614. It also says this is dated to late third or early fourth century because the handwriting is quite similar to P. Bodmer IX, P. Cairo Isid. 2, and P. Rylands III 389.
Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
I (Washington D.C.) 5th century Eph 3:20,4;9,29; 5:22; 6:12; 6:19-20, others?
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Fayyumic Coptic [Fay] 3rd/4th century
Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.
Claromontanus 5th/6th century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Latin Vulgate [Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 400-450 A.D.
p13 London/Florence 3rd/4th century
Philoxenian Syriac [Syr Ph] 507/508 A.D.
See www.BibleQuery.org/ephMss.html for more on early manuscripts of Ephesians.
December 2016 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(tm) 1997-2017. All rights reserved except as given in the copyright notice.
Q: In Eph 6:17, why do you think the sword is mentioned last?
Q: In Eph 6:21, Col 4:7, 2 Tim 4:12; Tt 3:12; and Acts 20:4, how do you pronounce Tychicus?
Q: In Eph 6:24, should it say "in sincerity" (KJV, NKJV, Wuest), "an undying love" (NET Bible, NIV, Williams), or a love incorruptible (NASB)?
Q: What are similarities between Ephesians and other letters of Paul?
Q: In Eph, what evidence do we have that this book should be in the Bible?
Q: In Eph, how do we know that Scripture today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714. www.BibleQuery.org