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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Ephesians

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

2.1–10 : The old life contrasted with the new life (cf. Col 1.21–23 ).

1–5 :

Both Gentile (you) and Jewish Christians (all of us) formerly engaged in a lifestyle of sin and lacked God's protection and blessings (were dead/children of wrath).

5,8–9 :

By grace … saved, deliverance to a new life is due solely to God's mercy and benevolence, and precludes any human boasting (Rom 3.21–30 ).

6 :

Raised … places, believers have been exalted like Christ himself ( 1.20 ).

10 :

Good works … life, a new, divinely designed lifestyle is the appropriate result of salvation.

3.1–13 : Paul reveals God's plan (cf. Col 1.24–29 ).

1 :

A prayer is interrupted by vv. 2–13 and resumed in v. 14 .

3 :

Mystery, see 1.9 n. ; here God's plan is the uniting of Jews and Gentiles into a single community. Above, in 1.9–10 and 2.11–22 or perhaps “previously” and thus a reference to an earlier Pauline letter.

8 :

Least, 1 Cor 15.8–9 .

10 :

Wisdom of God … heavenly places, the church in turn reveals God's plan (wisdom) to the spiritual powers.

13 :

Sufferings … glory, imprisonment on behalf of the Gentiles (v. 1 ) has secured their life and future glorification (2 Cor 1.6; 4.12; Col 1.24 ).

1.1–2 : Salutation (cf. Col 1.1–2 ).

Ephesus, an important city on the west coast of Asia Minor, which Paul had visited (see Acts 18.19–21; 19; 1 Cor 16.8 ); see the Introduction.

2 :

A common Pauline greeting drawing upon and transforming conventional Greek (grace) and Hebrew (peace) salutations.

1.3–14 : Blessing of God for his blessings (cf. Rom 8.15–34 ).

3 :

In Christ, a theme throughout this section, indicating Christ's mediation of divine blessings. In the heavenly places, heavenly benefits are a present reality for believers.

4–12 :

God chose us … as his children; he provides forgiveness, wisdom, and an inheritance.

4 :

See Col 1.15–17, 22–23 .

5 :

Adoption, see Rom 8.15; Gal 4.5 .

6 :

Beloved, a title for Christ; cf. “beloved son,” Mk 1.11; Col 1.13 .

7 :

His blood, Christ's sacrificial death.

9 :

Mystery, the previously hidden plan of God, which here encompasses all creation.

10 :

Fullness of time, the culmination of human history. To gather … earth, the unification of the cosmos under and through Christ.

13 :

You, the Gentiles ( 2.11; 3.1 ) have also been included in God's blessings. Promised, by the prophet Joel (Joel 2.28–32; Acts 2.14–21 ) or Jesus (Lk 24.49; Jn 14.26; Acts 1.4–5 ).

14 :

Pledge, the same Gk word is translated “first installment” in 2 Cor 1.22 .

1.15–23 : Thanksgiving prayer for wisdom and power (cf. Col 1.3–14 ).

18 :

Eyes of your heart enlightened, in contrast to their former darkened understanding ( 4.18 ).

20 :

At his right hand, a common early Christian description, dependent on Ps 110.1 , of Christ's exaltation (Acts 2.34–35; Rom 8.34; Col 3.1; Heb 8.1 ).

21 :

Rule … dominion, hostile spiritual powers subjected to Christ (1 Cor 15.20–28 ). Name, see Phil 2.9 .

22 :

Head, see Col 1.18 .

23 :

Body, see 4.11,15–16; 1 Cor 12.12–13,27 . The fullness, the church expresses God's power and presence to the world or perhaps the church has been completed by Christ.

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