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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians

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1.3–14 : Praise of God.

The greeting (vv. 1–2 ) is followed not by the usual thanksgiving, but by a long prayer of praise for what God has done in Christ. Praise of God is frequent in the OT and in Jewish prayer; compare 2 Cor. 1.3–4 .

3 :

In the NT, the phrase in the heavenly realms (or a variation of it) occurs only in this letter ( 1.20; 2.6; 3.10; 6.12 ). Apocalyptic literature speaks of a series of heavens (frequently seven) extending above and beyond the earth, with the throne of God in the highest heaven. At times, the heavenly realms were thought of as accessible to human beings only in the future age to come, but at other times as immediately available to the dead. Here the faithful, through union with Christ ( 2.6 ), share his exaltation in the heavenly realms (see v. 14 n. ).

4 :

The choosing of a “people of God” (the church) is traced back beyond creation. Without blemish: see Col. 1.22 n.

10 :

Although the main theme of the letter is the church, here the universe is viewed as intended for the unity destined to be achieved in Christ.

11–13 :

In the preceding verses “we” includes all Christians. This passage, however, suggests a contrast between we (v. 11 ) and you (v. 13 ), with we here meaning Jewish Christians (first … Christ) and you (in Christ … also), later Gentile converts. Seal … Holy Spirit means baptism.

14 :

The pledge: see 2 Cor. 5.5 n. The present possession of the Spirit is the guarantee of the coming full possession of their inheritance. Then the redemption of God's people will be complete.

1.15–23 : Thanksgiving and prayer.

20 :

Enthroned him at his right hand: see Ps. 110.1 ; the NT frequently applies this OT verse to the ascended Christ (e.g. Acts 2.33–34 ).

21 :

Government … authority … title: see 1 Cor. 2.6–8 n.; Col. 1.16 .

22–23 :

Head, body: see Col. 1.18 n. The subjection of all to Christ is expressed by a paraphrase of Ps. 8.6 , one of the favorite proof texts of the early church; compare 1 Cor. 15.27 . On Christ as the fullness of God, see Col. 1.19 n. Here the church is conceived of as the fullness of Christ.

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