Ephesians 1 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Ephesians 1)
1:1 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.

1:3 2 Blessed [be] the God 3 and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who hath blessed us with b all spiritual blessings in c heavenly [places] in 5 Christ:

(2) The first part of the epistle, in which he handles all the parts of our salvation, setting forth the example of the Ephesians. And he uses various exhortations, and begins after his manner with thanksgiving. (3) The efficient cause of our salvation is God, not considered generally, but as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (4) The next final cause, and in respect of us, is our salvation, all things being bestowed upon us which are necessary to our salvation, which type of blessings is heavenly and proper to the elect.
(b) With every type of gracious and bountiful goodness which is heavenly indeed, and from God alone.
(c) Which God our Father gave us from his high throne from above: or because the saints have those gifts bestowed on them, which belong properly to the citizens of heaven. (5) The matter of our salvation is Christ, in whom alone we are endued with spiritual blessing and that to salvation.

1:4 6 According as he hath chosen us in d him before the foundation of the world, 7 that we e should f be holy and without blame g before him in love:

(6) He declares the efficient cause, or by what means God the Father saves us in his Son: because, he says, he chose us from everlasting in his Son.
(d) To be adopted in him. (7) He expounds the next final cause which is twofold, that is, sanctification and justification, of which he will speak later. And by this also two things are to be noted, that is, that holiness of life cannot be separated from the grace of election: and again, whatever pureness is in us, is the gift of God who has freely of his mercy chosen us.
(e) God then, did not choose us because we were, or otherwise would have been holy, but to the end we should be holy.
(f) Being clothed with Christ's righteousness.
(g) Truly and sincerely.

1:5 8 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ h to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

(8) Another plainer exposition of the efficient cause, and also of eternal election, by which God is said to have chosen us in Christ, that is, because it pleased him to appoint us when we were not yet born, whom he would make to be his children by Jesus Christ. So that there is no reason for our election to be looked for here, except in the free mercy of God. And neither is faith which God foresaw the cause of our predestination, but the effect.
(h) God respects nothing, either anything that is present, or anything that is to come, but himself only.

1:6 9 To the i praise of the glory of his grace, 10 wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

(9) The uttermost and chiefest final cause is the glory of God the Father, who saves us freely in his Son.
(i) That as his bountiful goodness deserves all praise, so also it should be set forth and proclaimed.
(10) Another final cause more near is our justification, in that he freely accounted us as being righteous in his Son.

1:7 11 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

(11) An expounding of the material cause, how we are made acceptable to God in Christ, for it is he alone whose sacrifice by the mercy of God is imputed to us, for the forgiveness of sins.

1:8 12 k Wherein he hath abounded toward us in l all wisdom and prudence;

(12) Now he comes at length to the formal cause, that is to say, to vocation or preaching of the Gospel, by which God executes that eternal counsel of our free reconciliation and salvation in Christ. And putting in place of the Gospel all wisdom and understanding, he shows how excellent it is.
(k) By which gracious goodness and bountifulness.
(l) In perfect and sound wisdom.

1:9 Having made known unto us the m mystery of his will, 13 according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

(m) For unless the Lord had opened to us that mystery, we could never have so much as dreamed of it ourselves.
(13) Not only the election, but also the calling proceeds from grace alone.

1:10 14 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might n gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:

(14) The Father exhibited and gave Christ, who is the head of all the elect to the world, at that time which was convenient according as he most wisely disposed all times from everlasting. And Christ is he in whom all the elect from the beginning of the world (otherwise wandering and separated from God) are gathered together. And some of these elect were in heaven, when he came into the earth, that is, those who by faith in him to come, were gathered together. And others being found upon the earth were gathered together by him, and the rest are daily gathered together.
(n) The faithful are said to be gathered together in Christ, because they are joined together with him through faith, and become as it were one man.

1:11 15 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh o all things after the counsel of his own will:

(15) He applies respectively the benefit of calling to the believing Jews, going back to the very source, so that they also may not attribute their salvation either to themselves, nor to their stock, nor any other thing, but only to the grace and mercy of God, both because they were called, and also because they were first called.
(o) All things are attributed to the grace of God without exception, and yet for all that we are not statues, for he gives us grace both to want, and to be able to do those things that are good; (Philippians 2:13).

1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who p first trusted in Christ.

(p) He speaks concerning the Jews.

1:13 16 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the q word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were r sealed with that holy s Spirit of promise,

(16) Now he makes the Ephesians (or rather all the Gentiles) equal to the Jews, because even though they came last, being called by the same Gospel, they embraced faith, and were sealed up with the same Spirit, who is the pledge of election, until the inheritance itself is seen. And this is so that in them also the glory of God might shine forth and be manifested.
(q) That word which is truth indeed, because it comes from God.
(r) This is a metaphor taken of a seal, which being put on anything, distinguishes between those things which are authentic, and those things which are not.
(s) With the Spirit, who does not bring the Law, but the promise of free adoption.

1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the t redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

(t) Full and perfect.

1:15 17 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

(17) He returns to the former account of the good received from God, concluding two things together about those things that went before: the first is that all good things come to us from God the Father in Christ, and by Christ, so that for them he may be praised by us. The second is, that all those things (which he brings to two heads, that is, faith and charity) are increased in us by certain degrees, so that we must desire an increase of his grace, from whom we have the beginning, and from whom we hope for the end.

1:17 18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of u glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the x knowledge of him:

(18) The causes of faith are God the Father enlightening our minds with his Holy Spirit, so that we may embrace Christ revealed to us in the Gospel, to the obtaining of everlasting life, and the setting forth of God's glory.
(u) Full of majesty.
(x) For it is not enough for us to have known God once, but we must know him every day more and more.

1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the y hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

(y) What blessings they are which he calls you to hope for, whom he calls to Christ.

1:19 19 And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

(19) The excellency of faith is declared by the effects, because the mighty power of God is set forth and shown in them.

1:20 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own z right hand in the heavenly [places],

(20) The apostle wishes us to behold in our most glorious Christ (with the eyes of faith) that most excellent power and glory of God, of which all the faithful are partakers, even though it is as yet very dim in us, by reason of the shame of the cross, and the weakness of the flesh.
(z) To be set on God's right hand is to be a partaker of the sovereignty which he has over all creatures.

1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every a name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

(a) Everything, whatever it may be, or above all things, even if they are of ever so much power or excellency.

1:22 21 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the b head over all [things] to the church,

(21) So that we should not think that the excellent glory of Christ is a thing with which we have nothing to do, he witnesses that Christ was appointed by God the Father as head over all the Church, and therefore the body must be joined to this head, which otherwise would be a maimed thing, without the members. However, this is not because of necessity (seeing that it is rather the Church which is made alive and sustained by the holy power of Christ, so it is far from being true that he needs the fulness of it), but because of the infinite goodwill and pleasure of God, who condescends to join us to his Son.
(b) Insomuch that there is nothing that is not subject to him.

1:23 Which is his body, the c fulness of him that filleth all in all.

(c) For the love of Christ is so great towards the Church, that even though he fully satisfies all with all things, yet he considers himself but a maimed and unperfect head, unless he has the Church joined to him as his body.