Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:1-2

Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ τοῖς ἁγίος τοῖς οὗσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints living in Ephesus and to the faithful ones in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul is the author of the epistle to the Ephesians. Paul is an apostle Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. Indeed, our phrase is a genitive of possession, which indicates Paul is an apostle belonging to Christ Jesus. This fact harkens back to the event when Saul is met by Jesus, becomes Paul and also an apostle alongside the Twelve.

The Apostle Paul is writing to the saints in Ephesus by the will of God. The preposition διὰ is a genitive of agency here, and it points to the fact that the Apostle Paul was made an apostle by God’s will. It was by God’s will that Paul became an apostle of Jesus Christ.

The apostle is writing to the saints literally “being” in Ephesus, or for a smoother translation the ones “who are” in Ephesus. The use of the dative article points to the dative of recipient, which indicates that the saints, whomever they may be, were the ones being written to. The prepositional phrase ἐν Ἐφέσῳ identifies that the recipients of the epistle are located in the place of Ephesus, because it is a dative of place or sphere.

There is a small problem here, however. The dative prepositional phrase ἐν Ἐφέσῳ is omitted by the best textual witnesses. Scholars are uncertain as to whether or not ἐν Ἐφέσῳ was part of the original text. If it is not, then the recipients are the saints who are indeed faithful in Christ Jesus . The dative prepositional phrase is widely attested despite not being located in the three earliest and best manuscripts (Papyrus 46 and the original א and B), being found in some relatively early translations (Syriac and Coptic) along with some other manuscripts (A D and the second corrector of א and B). Although we cannot say with indisputable certainty, we can be fairly certain that the document originally included ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, since the phrase has some early support (though not the earliest) and wide attestation. It could easily not have been placed in the earliest manuscripts for the sake of passing the copies around in circulation; the general style of Ephesians is less personable than some of the other letters, so by making the introduction much more general (“to the saints who are indeed faithful in Christ”), it makes the letter much more applicable in a direct sense to the readers of the time. It is best to include  ἐν Ἐφέσῳ.

Paul’s greeting extends grace and peace to his recipients from God. The genitive preposition ἀπὸ is probably one of source; therefore, grace and peace do not come from Paul, but from God who is their source. Paul uses the first person plural in the rest of the phrase ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, thus identifying himself with the recipients and recognizing that God is the Father of all of them. The conjunction καὶ is important, because it ties Jesus in with God. The conjunction is a coordinating conjunction, linking God and Jesus together. Jesus is connected with God as the source of grace and peace. Paul extends God’s and the Lord’s grace and peace to his recipients.

And just who is this Lord? The Lord is Jesus Christ. The use of the genitive by all the nouns here indicates simple apposition; hence, the nouns are referring to the same thing or person, which is Jesus Christ. Grace and peace sourced in God and the Lord–who is Christ Jesus–is extended to the recipients of the epistle.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, to the saints who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus, grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul identified himself as an apostle by God’s will. He was made an apostle by the will of God. He is writing to the faithful saints located in Ephesus. He extends grace to his readers and peace from God. He is seeking to contact them, but he is also seeking grace and peace on their behalf. We should have this mentality among ourselves today. We need to be seeking grace and peace for others in all our communications. When there are issues to address, positively or negatively, we need to do it with grace and peace.


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