Ephesians 1:3-6 The Break Down

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Okay, so today is going to be a little different because the next section isn’t as simple as a single verse break down. The next section actually spans verse 3 through verse 14. In the Greek its actually one long run on sentence. The King James translators thankfully broke it up a little bit. However, there are still some rather long sentences that can be broken down even more. This section is what theologians consider a doxology. It’s what you’d call a liturgical formula of praise to God, or a short hymn or poem of praise to God. They’re typically presented at the end of a service. However, Paul puts this one at the beginning of his letter. Since there is no use of punctuation in the original letter, I can only imagine that Paul was intending for this to be a sort of stream of consciousness type song of praise. Because of this I’m hesitant to break it down. However, my brain just can’t grasp it in this form, so I’ve got to do something about it.

Since this is such a large section, and since it’s technically just one long run of sentence, I’m first going to break it down into more appropriate, manageable sentences. Then I’ll go ahead and unpack those smaller chunks. So, let’s first see how many new sentences we can break this down into. This will give us a better idea of how much unpacking we’ll need to do. I’m going to start with verses 3-6. And in the NKJV those verses comprise the first sentence. Oh, I probably should have mentioned this in my first post. I’ll mostly be using the NKJV. I know there are other versions that break this passage down better, but I still just like flow and language of this version best. I also should probably point out that theologians typically separate verses 3-14 into three subject areas. Verses 3-6 describe the will of the Father, while verses 5-12 describe the works of the Son, and verses 13-4 describe the witness of the Holy Spirit. Well, let’s get started.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

I know right! That is one sentence! Yes, I suppose you could say it is grammatically correct. But it’s also grammatically atrocious. I should probably interject here that I’m not an expert Grammarian or Linguist. I do have a degree English, with a creative studies focus, but it is still a totally separate field. English majors use grammar and linguistics, and I even had to take courses in those subjects. However, they are still their own field of study with their own experts. English majors are experts in using language to convey ideas. So lets just say I’ll be breaking this down so it presents a more clarified idea of what Paul is saying.

Now, as you can see where the translators attempted to show a break with commas. However, most could just as easily be made a period. As I said I’m just going rewrite the entire segment and then start unpacking. I’m probably going to start unpacking sentences in the next couple posts because of the weightiness of this passage. So, anyway, here we go.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

He predestined us to adoption as sons(and daughters) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

This is to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

I’m sure you can see I did have to change up the wording slightly in order to make these grammatically correct complete thoughts. You have to realize that any translation of any text from any language is not going to have the same exact structure or meaning anyway. So, sometimes it’s okay to play around with the text of a translation. It’s up to the translator to do their best to form sentence structures in their own language which conveys the idea as closely as possible. But, then it’s up to the theologians and laypersons to do their best to understand interpret those ideas and then combine as a whole with the other ideas from the text and cannon as a whole. This is called hermeneutics.

Alright, well I think that is enough for today. I’m just going to let these new sentences brew and sink in a little more. I hope y’all learned something.

Grace and Peace

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