Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ephesians 1 (1st Meditation)

For Solus Christus, I'm beginning a series of brief meditations on Ephesians 1. Here's the first:

Ephesians 1:1 - "Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:"

Apostle literally means, "Sent out one." So Paul's opening statement to the Ephesians could read, "Paul, one sent out by the desire and design of God for the purpose of representing Jesus Christ." Although, in my view, the office of apostleship terminated in the first century, the concept of representing God as His ambassador didn't (II Cor 5:20). An important question for contemporary Christians is, "How is Christ being represented by our lives?"

The possessive word "of" occurs twice in this verse; "...OF Jesus Christ...," and, "...the will OF God..." This clearly signifies that in Paul's mind, Christ was the object of his apostolic mission (the purpose he was sent out), and God was the One who planned his apostleship (the cause of his being sent out). The point of Paul's apostleship was to make much of Christ. The origin of Paul's apostleship was the eternal purposes of God to see to it that Christ be made much of! Therefore the beginning and the end of Paul's ministry was God! Oh for a God-encompassed ministry like this!

The word "in" is also very significant. It could be taken in the locative form ("in"), or the dative ("to"), or the instrumental ("by"). I like all three, but the key to interpretation is the intention of the author, which in this case is the Apostle Paul. Because of the remaining context of chapter one (Context is the key to interpreting phrases that can be taken several ways), I am inclined to embrace the instrumental translation, "...the saints at Ephesus and who are faithful BY Christ Jesus." Hopefully my reasoning for this view will be clear in the upcoming meditations on chapter one! Blessings!

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