Bible blog 2272


I should have mentioned in my introduction that in the earliest manuscripts of this letter, there is no mention at all of the destination of the letter. Later MSS have the name Ephesus in the first verse. One theory is that it was a round-robin letter to a number of churches, including Ephesus.

Also important is the fact that the author of this letter clearly had a copy of the Letter to Colossians before him, and used many words and phrases from it, albeit often in a different sense from the original. Why he did so is a mystery, although there are of course many competing answers available from bible scholars.

Image of the Cosmic Jesus


So, because I have heard of your trust in the Master Jesus, and your love for all God’s holy people, I am always giving thanks for you when I mention you in my prayers, that the God of our Master Jesus Messiah, the Splendid Father, may give you a spirit of wise instruction that leads to full knowledge of him. May your heart’s eyes be opened to the light, so that you may know the nature of the hope to which he calls you, the wealth of his splendid heritage offered to his holy ones, and the over-the-top greatness of his power amongst us who trust him, through the working of his mighty strength. He worked this in Messiah, by arousing him from the dead and setting him at his right hand in the heavens, far above all rule, authority, might and sovereignty, and any name that can be celebrated, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet, (as the psalm says) and given him as head over everything to the Assembly, which is his body, the completeness of him who completes the universe.

More close argument here. As with Paul, the mention of the author’s prayers for the recipients, creates an opportunity for teaching. The author’s thanksgiving praises the essential qualities of any church of Jesus, namely, love for other individuals and assemblies, and trust in Jesus. He prays for,literally, wisdom and revelation/ disclosure/ instruction, which I have rendered as “wise instruction”, it being part of wisdom to open oneself to greater understanding of God. This chimes well with the prayer for the eyes of their hearts to be opened to the light. In this case the light is the astonishing reality of which they have become a part, namely the church’s participation in the resurrection life of Jesus, who is superior in every way to the powers, both human and spiritual, who purport to rule the world. Paul himself would doubtless have qualified this vision by admitting that it had not yet arrived in its fulness.This author shows no such restraint. Jesus already rules and the Assembly rules in him. The worldly powers still fight to protect their enslavement of humanity, but as we will later see, the church has access to the weapons of God. Because Jesus is already victorious, as indicated by the quotation from Psalm 8, the Assembly is not helpless against the powers of darkness. But it must trust in the reality it cannot see, its incorporation in the living Jesus, in whom God is completing his creation of the universe.

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