Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
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1:1,2. All Christians must be saints; if they come not under that character on earth, they will never be saints in glory. Those are not saints, who are not faithful, believing in Christ, and true to the profession they make of relation to their Lord. By grace, understand the free and undeserved love and favour of God, and those graces of the Spirit which come from it; by peace, all other blessings, spiritual and temporal, the fruits of the former. No peace without grace. No peace, nor grace, but from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ; and the best saints need fresh supplies of the graces of the Spirit, and desire to grow.Paul, an apostle; - see the notes at Romans 1:1.

By the will of God - see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:1.

To the saints - A name often given to Christians because they are holy; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:2.

In Ephesus - see the introduction, sections 1 and 5.

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus - This evidently refers to others than to those who were in Ephesus, and it is clear that Paul expected that this Epistle would be read by others. He gives it a general character, as if he supposed that it might be transcribed, and become the property of the church at large. It was not uncommon for him thus to give a general character to the epistles which he addressed to particular churches, and so to write that others than those to whom they were particularly directed, might feel that they were addressed to them. Thus, the First Epistle to the Corinthians was addressed to "the church of God in Corinth - with all that in every place call upon the name of Christ Jesus our Lord." The Second Epistle to the Corinthians in like manner was addressed to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia." Perhaps, in the Epistle before us, the apostle referred particularly to the churches of Asia Minor which he had not visited, but there is no reason for confining the address to them.

All who are "faithful in Christ Jesus" may regard the Epistle as addressed by the Holy Spirit to them, and may feel that they are as much interested in the doctrines, promises, and duties set forth in this Epistle, as were the ancient Christians of Ephesus. The word "faithful" here is not used in the sense of "trustworthy," or in the sense of "fidelity," as it is often employed, but in the sense of "believing," or "having faith" in the Lord Jesus. The apostle addresses those who were firm in the faith - another name for true Christians. The Epistle contains great doctrines about the divine purposes and decrees in which they, as Christians, were particularly concerned; important "mysteries" Ephesians 1:9, of importance for them to understand, and which the apostle proceeds to communicate to them as such. The fact that the letter was designed to be published, shows that he was not unwilling that those high doctrines should be made known to the world at large; still they pertained particularly to the church, and they are doctrines which should be particularly addressed to the church. They are rather suited to comfort the hearts of "Christians," than to bring "sinners" to repentance. These doctrines may be addressed to the church with more prospect of securing a happy effect than to the world. In the church they will excite gratitude, and produce the hope which results from assured promises and eternal purposes; in the minds of sinners they may arouse envy, and hatred, and opposition to God.

SCOFIELD REFERENCE NOTES (Old Scofield 1917 Edition)

Book Introduction

[1] in Christ

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians

WRITER. The Apostle Paul (1.1)

DATE. Ephesians was written from Rome in A.D. 64. It is the first in order of the Prison Epistles. Acts 20:1-27:44. See Scofield Note: "Acts 28:30" and was sent by Tychicus, concurrently with Colossians and Philemon. It is probable that the two greater letters had their occasion in the return of Onesimus to Philemon. Ephesians is the most impersonal of Paul's letters. Indeed the words, "to the Ephesians," are not in the best manuscripts. Col 4:16 mentions an epistle to the Laodiceans. It has been conjectured that the letter known to us as Ephesians is really the Laodicean letter. Probably it was sent to Ephesus and Laodicea without being addressed to any church. The letter would then be "to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus" anywhere.

THEME. The doctrine of the Epistle confirms this view. It contains the highest church truth, but has nothing about church order. The church here is the true church, "His body," not the local church, as in Philippians, Corinthians, etc. Essentially, three lines of truth make up this Epistle: the believer's exalted position through grace; the truth concerning the body of Christ; and a walk in accordance with that position.

There is a close spiritual affinity between Ephesians and Joshua, the "heavenlies" answering in Christian position to Canaan in Israel's experience. In both there is conflict, often failure, but also victory, rest, and possession Josh 21:43-45 Eph 1:3 3:14-19 6:16,23. As befits a complete revelation, the number seven is conspicuous in the structure of Ephesians.

The divisions are, broadly, four:

I. The apostolic greeting. 1.1,2

II. Positional; the believer's standing "Christ" and "in the heavenlies" through pure grace, 1.3-3.21.

III. Walk and service, 4.1-5.17

IV. The walk and warfare of the Spirit-filled believer, 5.18-6.24.

[1] in Christ

The believer's place as a member of the body of Christ, vitally united to Him by the baptism with the Holy Spirit 1Cor 12:12,13.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,.... See Gill on Romans 1:1. See Gill on 1 Corinthians 1:1. See Gill on 2 Corinthians 1:1. See Gill on Galatians 1:1.

To the saints which are at Ephesus; of this place, see the note above upon the title of the epistle, and See Gill on Acts 18:19. The persons residing there, to whom the epistle is written, are described by their character, as "saints"; being separated by the grace of God the Father in eternal election; whose sins were expiated by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and to whom he himself was made sanctification; and who were internally sanctified by the Spirit of God, and lived holy lives and conversations. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "to all the saints"; whether officers of the church, or private members, whether rich or poor, bond or free, strong or weak believers, of greater or lesser abilities.

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus: who were in Christ, not only by electing grace, but were openly and manifestly in him, through converting grace; and abode in him as branches in the vine; continued constant, and persevered in faith and holiness; and were faithful to the cause and interest of Christ, and to his Gospel and ordinances; and were hearty and sincere in the profession of their faith in Christ, and love to him and his: or, as the Arabic version renders it, "and to them that believe in Jesus Christ"; with all their hearts, to the saving of their souls; who look unto him, venture on him, rely upon him, and trust in him for life and salvation, and who shall certainly be saved; of such the church at Ephesus consisted, to whom this epistle was written: of the church there; see Gill on Acts 20:17.

(a) L. 5. c. 29. (b) Plin. ib. Justin ex Trogo, l. 2. c. 4. (c) Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 8. c. 3.

Paul, {1} an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the {a} faithful in Christ Jesus:

(1) The inscription and salutation, of which we have spoken in the former epistles.

(a) This is the definition of the saints, showing what they are.

By the will of God

As frequently in the introductions of the epistles, to emphasize his divine appointment. In Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1, called is added.

To the saints

See on Romans 1:7; see on Colossians 1:2; see on Philippians 1:1.

At Ephesus

There is much discussion as to the genuineness of these words. They are bracketed by both Westcott and Hort, and Tischendorf. On their omission or retention turns the question whether the epistle was addressed to the church at Ephesus, or was a circular epistle, addressed to Ephesus along with several other churches. For Ephesus, see on Revelation 2:1.

The faithful

Not faithful in the sense of fidelity and perseverance, but believing, as John 20:27; Acts 10:45. It is to be included with the saints under the one article.

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE EPHESIANS Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

The headings (Eph 1:1, and Eph 3:1, show that this Epistle claims to be that of Paul. This claim is confirmed by the testimonies of Irenæus, [Against Heresies, 5.2,3; 1.8,5]; Clement of Alexandria, [Miscellanies, 4, P. 65, and The Instructor, 1.8]; Origen, [Against Celsus, 4,211]. It is quoted by Valentinus, A.D. 120, namely, Eph 3:14-18, as we know from Hippolytus [The Refutation of All Heresies, p. 193]. Polycarp [Epistle to the Philippians, 12], testifies to its canonicity. So Tertullian [Against Marcion, 5,17]. Ignatius [Epistle to the Ephesians, 12], which alludes to the frequent and affectionate mention made by Paul of the Christian state, privileges, and persons of the Ephesians in his Epistle.

Two theories, besides the ordinary one, have been held on the question, to whom the Epistle is addressed. Grotius, after the heretic Marcion, maintains that it was addressed to the Church at Laodicea, and that it is the Epistle to which Paul refers in Col 4:16. But the Epistle to the Colossians was probably written before that to the Ephesians, as appears from the parallel passages in Ephesians bearing marks of being expanded from those in Colossians; and Marcion seems to have drawn his notion, as to our Epistle, from Paul's allusion (Col 4:16) to an Epistle addressed by him to the Laodiceans. Origen and Clement of Alexandria, and even Tertullian, who refers to Marcion, give no sanction to his notion. No single manuscript contains the heading, "to the saints that are at Laodicea." The very resemblance of the Epistle to the Ephesians, to that to the Colossians, is against the theory; for if the former were really the one addressed to Laodicea (Col 4:16), Paul would not have deemed it necessary that the churches of Colosse and Laodicea should interchange Epistles. The greetings, moreover (Col 4:15), which he sends through the Colossians to the Laodiceans, are quite incompatible with the idea that Paul wrote an Epistle to the Laodiceans at the same time, and by the same bearer, Tychicus (the bearer of our Epistle to the Ephesians, as well as of that to Colosse, Eph 6:21; Col 4:7); for who, under such circumstances, would not send the greetings directly in the letter to the party saluted? The letter to Laodicea was evidently written some time before that to Colosse, Archbishop Usher has advanced the second theory: That it was an encyclical letter headed, as in Manuscript B., "to the saints that are … and to the faithful," the name of each Church being inserted in the copy sent to it; and that its being sent to Ephesus first, occasioned its being entitled, as now, the Epistle to the Ephesians. Alford makes the following objections to this theory: (1) It is at variance with the spirit of the Epistle, which is clearly addressed to one set of persons throughout, co-existing in one place, and as one body, and under the same circumstances. (2) The improbability that the apostle, who in two of his Epistles (Second Corinthians and Galatians) has so plainly specified their encyclical character, should have here omitted such specification. (3) The still greater improbability that he should have, as on this hypothesis must be assumed, written a circular Epistle to a district, of which Ephesus was the commercial capital, addressed to various churches within that district, yet from its very contents (as by the opponents' hypothesis) not admitting of application to the Church of that metropolis, in which he had spent so long a time, and to which he was so affectionately bound. (4) The inconsistency of this hypothesis with the address of the Epistle, and the universal testimony of the ancient Church. The absence of personal greetings is not an argument for either of the two theories; for similarly there are none in Galatians, Philippians, First and Second Thessalonians, First Timothy. The better he knows the parties addressed, and the more general and solemn the subject, the less he seems to give of these individual notices. Writing, as he does in this Epistle, on the constitution and prospects of Christ's universal Church, he refers the Ephesians, as to personal matters, to the bearer of the Epistle, Tychicus (Eph 6:21, 22). As to the omission of "which are at Ephesus" (Eph 1:1), in Manuscript B., so "in Rome" (Ro 1:7) is omitted in some old manuscripts: it was probably done by churches among whom it was read, in order to generalize the reference of its contents, and especially where the subject of the Epistle is catholic. The words are found in the margin of Manuscript B, from a first hand; and are found in all the oldest manuscripts and versions.

Paul's first visit to Ephesus (on the seacoast of Lydia, near the river Cayster) is related in Ac 18:19-21. The work, begun by his disputations with the Jews in his short visit, was carried on by Apollos (Ac 18:24-26), and Aquila and Priscilla (Ac 18:26). At his second visit, after his journey to Jerusalem, and thence to the east regions of Asia Minor, he remained at Ephesus "three years" (Ac 19:10, the "two years" in which verse are only part of the time, and Ac 20:31); so that the founding and rearing of this Church occupied an unusually large portion of the apostle's time and care; whence his language in this Epistle shows a warmth of feeling, and a free outpouring of thought, and a union in spiritual privileges and hope between him and them (Eph 1:3, &c.), such as are natural from one so long and so intimately associated with those whom he addresses. On his last journey to Jerusalem, he sailed by Ephesus and summoned the elders of the Ephesian Church to meet him at Miletus, where he delivered his remarkable farewell charge (Ac 20:18-35).

This Epistle was addressed to the Ephesians during the early part of his imprisonment at Rome, immediately after that to the Colossians, to which it bears a close resemblance in many passages, the apostle having in his mind generally the same great truths in writing both. It is an undesigned proof of genuineness that the two Epistles, written about the same date, and under the same circumstances, bear a closer mutual resemblance than those written at distant dates and on different occasions. Compare Eph 1:7 with Col 1:14; Eph 1:10 with Col 1:20; Eph 3:2 with Col 1:25; Eph 5:19 with Col 3:16; Eph 6:22 with Col 4:8; Eph 1:19; 2:5 with Col 2:12, 13; Eph 4:2-4 with Col 3:12-15; Eph 4:16 with Col 2:19; Eph 4:32 with Col 3:13; Eph 4:22-24 with Col 3:9, 10; Eph 5:6-8 with Col 3:6-8; Eph 5:15, 16 with Col 4:5; Eph 6:19, 20 with Col 4:3, 4; Eph 5:22-33; 6:1-9 with Col 3:18; Eph 4:24, 25 with Col 3:9; Eph 5:20-22 with Col 3:17, 18. Tychicus and Onesimus were being sent to Colosse, the former bearing the two Epistles to the two churches respectively, the latter furnished with a letter of recommendation to Philemon, his former master, residing at Colosse. The date was probably about four years after his parting with the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Ac 20:6-38), about A.D. 62, before his imprisonment had become of the more severe kind, which appears in his Epistle to the Philippians. From Eph 6:19, 20 it is plain he had at the time, though a prisoner, some degree of freedom in preaching, which accords with Ac 28:23, 30, 31, where he is represented as receiving at his lodgings all inquirers. His imprisonment began in February A.D. 61 and lasted "two whole years" (Ac 28:30) at least, and perhaps longer.

The Church of Ephesus was made up of converts partly from the Jews and partly from the Gentiles (Ac 19:8-10). Accordingly, the Epistle so addresses a Church constituted (Eph 2:14-22). Ephesus was famed for its idol temple of Artemis or Diana, which, after its having been burnt down by Herostratus on the night that Alexander the Great was born (355 B.C.), was rebuilt at enormous cost and was one of the wonders of the world. Hence, perhaps, have arisen his images in this Epistle drawn from a beautiful temple: the Church being in true inner beauty that which the temple of the idol tried to realize in outward show (Eph 2:19-22). The Epistle (Eph 4:17; 5:1-13) implies the profligacy for which the Ephesian heathen were notorious. Many of the same expressions occur in the Epistle as in Paul's address to the Ephesian elders. Compare Eph 1:6, 7; 2:7, as to "grace," with Ac 20:24, 32: this may well be called "the Epistle of the grace of God" [Alford]. Also, as to his "bonds," Eph 3:1, and 4:1 with Ac 20:22, 23. Also Eph 1:11, as to "the counsel of God," with Ac 20:27. Also Eph 1:14, as to "the redemption of the purchased possession," with Ac 20:28. Also Eph 1:14, 18; 2:20; 5:5, as to "building up" the "inheritance," with Ac 20:32.

The object of the Epistle is "to set forth the ground, the course, and the aim and end of THE Church of the Faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type or sample of the Church universal" [Alford]. Hence, "the Church" throughout the Epistle is spoken of in the singular, not in the plural, "churches." The Church's foundation, its course, and its end, are his theme alike in the larger and smaller divisions of the whole Epistle. "Everywhere the foundation of the Church is in the will of the Father; the course of the Church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the Church is the life in the Holy Spirit" [Alford]. Compare respectively Eph 1:11; 2:5; 3:16. This having been laid down as a matter of doctrine (this part closing with a sublime doxology, Eph 3:14-21), is then made the ground of practical exhortations. In these latter also (from Eph 4:1, onward), the same threefold division prevails, for the Church is represented as founded on the counsel of "God the Father, who is above all, through all, and in all," reared by the "one Lord," Jesus Christ, through the "one Spirit" (Eph 4:4-6, &c.), who give their respective graces to the several members. These last are therefore to exercise all these graces in the several relations of life, as husbands, wives, servants, children, &c. The conclusion is that we must put on "the whole armor of God" (Eph 6:13).

The sublimity of the STYLE and LANGUAGE corresponds to the sublimity of the subjects and exceeds almost that of any part of his Epistles. It is appropriate that those to whom he so wrote were Christians long grounded in the faith. The very sublimity is the cause of the difficulty of the style, and of the presence of peculiar expressions occurring, not found elsewhere.

CHAPTER 1

Eph 1:1-23. Inscription: Origin of the Church in the Father's Eternal Counsel, and the Son's Bloodshedding: The Sealing of It by the Spirit. Thanksgiving and Prayer that They May Fully Know God's Gracious Power in Christ towards the Saints.

1. by—rather, "through the will of God": called to the apostleship through that same "will" which originated the Church (Eph 1:5, 9, 11; compare Ga 1:4).

which are at Ephesus—(See [2359]Introduction.)

to the saints … and to the faithful—The same persons are referred to by both designations, as the Greek proves: "to those who are saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus." The sanctification by God is here put before man's faith. The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented, God's grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God's gift, laying hold of salvation (2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2).

To the saints which are at Ephesus - As some learned men think that this epistle was written to the Church of the Laodiceans, and that the words εν Εφεσῳ, in Ephesus, were not originally in this epistle, the consideration of the subject has appeared to be more proper for the preface; and to that the reader is referred for a particular discussion of this opinion. By the term saints we are to understand those who in that place professed Christianity, and were members of the Christian Church. Saint properly signifies a holy person, and such the Gospel of Christ requires every man to be, and such every true believer is, both in heart and life; but saint appears to have been as ordinary a denomination of a believer in Christ in those primitive times, as the term Christian is now. Yet many had the name who had not the thing.

The faithful in Christ Jesus - Πιστοις· the believers - the persons who received Christ as the promised Messiah, and the Savior of the world, and continued in the grace which they had received.

1:1 By the will of God - Not by any merit of my own. To the saints who are at Ephesus - And in all the adjacent places. For this epistle is not directed to the Ephesians only, but likewise to all the other churches of Asia. 1:1 The Foreordination of the Church

SUMMARY OF EPHESIANS 1:

The Salutation. Our Election and Adoption by Grace. This the Source of Salvation. The Mystery Made Known. The Inheritance. Prayer That Wisdom and Knowledge Be Given to the Saints.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. It was always the custom anciently to place the name of the writer at the beginning rather than at the end as with us.

By the will of God. Emphasis is placed in most of Paul's epistles upon the fact that he was not an apostle by the appointment of man, but by the will of God.

To the saints which are at Ephesus. All Christians were called saints in the early church. See the salutations of other Epistles.

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus. The same as the saints. There is no article in the Greek before faithful. A literal translation is To the saints dwelling in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 6:18
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