↑ 1.Salutation late summer 58ce (Ephesus)
APOSTLE of Christ Jesus, commissioned by the will of God,
to God's people at Ephesus, believers incorporate in Christ Jesus.
2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. 4In Christ he chose us before the world was founded, to be dedicated, to be without blemish in his sight, to be full of love, 5and he destined us?such was his will and pleasure?to be accepted as his sons through Jesus Christ, 6in order that the glory of his gracious gift, so graciously bestowed on us in his Beloved, might redound to his praise. 7For in Christ our release is secured and our sins are forgiven through the shedding of his blood. 8Therein lies the richness of God's free grace lavished upon us, imparting full wisdom and insight. 9He has made known to us his hidden purpose—such was his will and pleasure determined beforehand in Christ— 10to be put into effect when the time was ripe: namely, that the universe, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.
11In Christ indeed we have been given our share in the heritage, as was decreed in his design whose purpose is everywhere at work. 12For it was his will that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, should cause his glory to be praised. 13And you too, when you had heard the message of the truth, the good news of your salvation, and had believed it, became incorporate in Christ and received the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14and that Spirit is the pledge that we shall enter upon our heritage, when God has redeemed what is his own, to his praise and glory.
15Because of all this, now that I have heard of the faith you have in the Lord Jesus and of the love you bear towards all God's people, 16I never cease to give thanks for you when I mention you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, may give you the spiritual powers of wisdom and vision, by which there comes the knowledge of him. 18I pray that your inward eyes may be illumined, so that you may know what is the hope to which he calls you, what the wealth and glory of the share he offers you among his people in their heritage, 19and how vast the resources of his power open to us who trust in him. They are measured by his strength and the might which he exerted in Christ 20when he raised him from the dead, when he enthroned him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all government and authority, all power and dominion, and any title of sovereignty that can be named, not only in this age but in the age to come. 22 [ Ps.8.6. ] He put everything in subjection beneath his feet, and appointed him as supreme head to the church, 23which is his body and as such holds within it the fullness of him who himself receives the entire fullness of God.
↑ 2.From Death to Life
1TIME WAS when you were dead in your sins and wickedness, 2when you followed the evil ways of this present age, when you obeyed the commander of the spiritual powers of the air, the spirit now at work among God's rebel subjects. 3We too were once of their number: we all lived our lives in sensuality, and obeyed the promptings of our own instincts and notions. In our natural condition we, like the rest, lay under the dreadful judgement of God. 4But God, rich in mercy, for the great love he bore us, 5brought us to life with Christ even when we were dead in our sins; it is by his grace you are saved. 6And in union with Christ Jesus he raised us up and enthroned us with him in the heavenly realms, 7so that he might display in the ages to come how immense are the resources of his grace, and how great his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by his grace you are saved, through trusting him; it is not your own doing. It is God's gift, not a reward for work done. 9There is nothing for anyone to boast of. 10For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to devote ourselves to the good deeds for which God has designed us.
One in Christ
11Remember then your former condition: you, Gentiles as you are outwardly, you, 'the uncircumcised' so called by those who are called 'the circumcised' (but only with reference to an outward rite) 12you were at that time separate from Christ, strangers to the community of Israel, outside God's covenants and the promise that goes with them. Your world was a world without hope and without God. 13But now in union with Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near through the shedding of Christ's blood. 14For he is himself our peace. Gentiles and Jews, he has made the two one, and in his own body of flesh and blood has broken down the enmity which stood like a dividing wall between them; 15for he annulled the law with its rules and regulations, so as to create out of the two a single new humanity in himself, thereby making peace. 16This was his purpose, to reconcile the two in a single body to God through the cross, on which he killed the enmity.
17 [ Is.57.19, Is.52.7, Zch.9.10. ] So he came and proclaimed the good news: peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near by; 18for through him we both alike have access to the Father in the one Spirit. 19Thus you are no longer aliens in a foreign land, but fellow-citizens with God's people, members of God's household. 20You are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus himself is the foundation-stone. 21In him the whole building is bonded together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you too are being built with all the rest into a spiritual dwelling for God.
↑ 3.Paul's Ministry to the Gentiles
1WITH THIS IN MIND I make my prayer, I, Paul, who in the cause of you Gentiles am now the prisoner of Christ Jesus— 2for surely you have heard how God has assigned the gift of his grace to me for your benefit. 3It was by a revelation that his secret was made known to me. I have already written a brief account of this, 4and by reading it you may perceive that I understand the secret of Christ. 5In former generations this was not disclosed to the human race; but now it has been revealed by inspiration to his dedicated apostles and prophets, 6that through the Gospel the Gentiles are joint heirs with the Jews, part of the same body, sharers together in the promise made in Christ Jesus. 7Such is the gospel of which I was made a minister, by God's gift, bestowed unmerited on me in the working of his power. 8To me, who am less than the least of all God's people, he has granted of his grace the privilege of proclaiming to the Gentiles the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9and of bringing to light how this hidden purpose was to be put into effect. It was hidden for long ages in God the creator of the universe, 10in order that now, through the church, the wisdom of God in all its varied forms might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the realms of heaven. 11This is in accord with his age-long purpose, which he achieved in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him we have access to God with freedom, in the confidence born of trust in him. 13I beg you, then, not to lose heart over my sufferings for you: indeed, they are your glory.
To Know the Love of Christ
14With this in mind, then, I kneel in prayer to the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, 16that out of the treasures of his glory he may grant you strength and power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts in love. With deep roots and firm foundations, 18may you be strong to grasp, with all God's people, what is the breadth and length and height and depth 19of the love of Christ, and to know it, though it is beyond knowledge. So may you attain to fullness of being, the fullness of God himself.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or conceive, by the power which is at work among us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus from generation to generation evermore! Amen.
↑ 4.The Unity of the Body
1I ENTREAT YOU, THEN—I, a prisoner for the Lord's sake: as God has called you, live up to your calling. 2Be humble always and gentle, and patient too. Be forbearing with one another and charitable. 3Spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives.
4There is one body and one Spirit,
as there is also one hope held out in God's call to you;
5one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7But each of us has been given his gift, his due portion of Christ's bounty.
8 [ Ps.68.18. ] Therefore Scripture says:
The Old Life and the New
17This then is my word to you, and I urge it upon you in the Lord's name. Give up living like pagans with their good-for-nothing notions. 18Their wits are beclouded, they are strangers to the life that is in God, because ignorance prevails among them and their minds have grown hard as stone. 19Dead to all feeling, they have abandoned themselves to vice, and stop at nothing to satisfy their foul desires. 20But that is not how you learned Christ. 21For were you not told of him, were you not as Christians taught the truth as it is in Jesus? 22—that, leaving your former way of life, you must lay aside that old human nature which, deluded by its lusts, is sinking towards death. 23You must be made new in mind and spirit, 24and put on the new nature of God's creating, which shows itself in the just and devout life called for by the truth.
Rules for the New Life
25Then throw off falsehood; speak the truth to each other, for all of us are the parts of one body.
26If you are angry, do not let anger lead you into sin, do not let sunset find you still nursing it; 27leave no loop-hole for the devil.
28The thief must give up stealing, and instead work hard and honestly with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the needy.
29No bad language must pass your lips, but only what is good and helpful to the occasion, so that it brings a blessing to those who hear it. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, for that Spirit is the seal with which you were marked for the day of our final liberation. 31Have done with spite and passion, all angry shouting and cursing, and bad feeling of every kind.
32Be generous to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.
↑ 5.1In a word, as God's dear children, try to be like him, 2and live in love as Christ loved you, and gave himself up on your behalf as an offering and sacrifice whose fragrance is pleasing to God.
3Fornication and indecency of any kind, or ruthless greed, must not be so much as mentioned among you, as befits the people of God. 4No coarse, stupid, or flippant talk; these things are out of place; you should rather be thanking God. 5For be very sure of this: no one given to fornication or indecency, or the greed which makes an idol of gain, has any share in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Walk as Children of Light
6Let no one deceive you with shallow arguments; it is for all these things that God's dreadful judgement is coming upon his rebel subjects. 7Have no part or lot with them. 8For though you were once all darkness, now as Christians you are light. Live like men who are at home in daylight, 9for where light is, there all goodness springs up, all justice and truth. 10Try to find out what would please the Lord; 11take no part in the barren deeds of darkness, but show them up for what they are. 12The things they do in secret it would be shameful even to mention. 13But everything, when once the light has shown it up, is illumined, and everything thus illumined is all light. 14And so the hymn says:
Wives and Husbands
21Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord; 23for the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ also is the head of the church. Christ is, indeed, the Saviour of the body; 24but just as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it, 26to consecrate it, cleansing it by water and word, 27so that he might present the church to himself all glorious, with no stain or wrinkle or anything of the sort, but holy and without blemish. 28In the same way men also are bound to love their wives, as they love their own bodies. In loving his wife a man loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own body: on the contrary, he provides and cares for it; and that is how Christ treats the church, 30because it is his body, of which we are living parts. 31 [ Gn.2.24. ] Thus it is that (in the words of Scripture) 'a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'.
32It is a great truth that is hidden here. I for my part refer it to Christ and to the church, 33but it applies also individually: each of you must love his wife as his very self; and the woman must see to it that she pays her husband all respect.
↑ 6.Children and Parents
1Children, obey your parents, for it is right that you should. 2 [ Ex.20.12, Dt.15.16. ] 'Honour your father and mother' is the first commandment with a promise attached, in the words: 3'that it may be well with you and that you may live long in the land'.
4You fathers, again, must not goad your children to resentment, but give them the instruction, and the correction, which belong to a Christian upbringing.
Slaves and Masters
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, single-mindedly, as serving Christ. 6Do not offer merely the outward show of service, to curry favour with men, but, as slaves of Christ, do whole-heartedly the will of God. 7Give the cheerful service of those who serve the Lord, not men. 8For you know that whatever good each man may do, slave or free, will be repaid him by the Lord.
9You masters, also, must do the same by them. Give up using threats; remember you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favourites.
The Battle against Evil
10Finally then, find your strength in the Lord, in his mighty power. 11Put on all the armour which God provides, so that you may be able to stand firm against the devices of the devil. 12For our fight is not against human foes, but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and potentates of this dark world, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavens. 13Therefore, take up God's armour; then you will be able to stand your ground when things are at their worst, to complete every task and still to stand. 14 [ Is.11.5. ] Stand firm, I say. Buckle on the belt of truth; for coat of mail put on integrity; 15 [ Is.52.7, Na.1.15. ] let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, to give you firm footing; 16and, with all these, take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 [ Is.59.17. ] Take salvation for helmet; for sword, take that which the Spirit gives you—the words that come from God. 18Give yourselves wholly to prayer and entreaty; pray on every occasion in the power of the Spirit. To this end keep watch and persevere, always interceding for all God's people; 19and pray for me, that I may be granted the right words when I open my mouth, and may boldly and freely make known his hidden purpose, 20for which I am an ambassador—in chains. Pray that I may speak of it boldly, as it is my duty to speak.
21You will want to know about my affairs, and how I am; Tychicus will give you all the news. He is our dear brother and trustworthy helper in the Lord's work. 22I am sending him to you on purpose to let you know all about us, and to put fresh heart into you.
23Peace to the brotherhood and love, with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24God's grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, grace and immortality.