Posts Tagged ‘ephesians’

More On Ephesians

In reference on March 31, 2008 at 8:09 pm

I realized yesterday that after posting my nifty little diagram, I didn’t actually say anything about the passage…

As Paul does fairly often in his letters, he opens up Ephesians with a doctrinal explanation before exhorting his readers towards godly living. This passage in Ephesians 1:3-14 seems to be Paul praising God for what He has done. He starts off by saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has…” A friend of mine made the point that all praise comes from doctrine; you praise God because of what you know about Him through His revelation to us and you praise Him because of what He’s done knowing that doctrine teaches you what God does and does not do. For example, you praise God for His creation but doctrine teaches you that He was the one that created it.

Paul then explains what God has done for us in Jesus. He:

  • chose/elected us (v4)
  • predestined us for adoption (v5)
  • redeemed us and forgave our sins (v7)
  • gave us an inheritance (v11)
  • sealed us with the Holy Spirit (v13)

And this seems to be the main point of this passage, that we praise God for giving us every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.

But along the way, Paul makes these great little sidetracks that dig deeper into what Christ has done for us. In v11 Paul says that we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the council of His will. Whatever your view of predestination is, these passages make us thankful that God is sovereign because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are perfect and therefore we can trust in His will for our lives. It reminds me of Christ telling us not to worry about anything in Matthew 6:25-34.

Even with these sidetracks, which we could get lost in thoughts about God’s sovereignty for hours from, Paul always ends up praising God by saying that all things are to the praise of His glory. This seems to be what Paul wanted his readers to see, that we are so blessed in Christ and that it was all done to the praise of His everlasting glory.


Diagramming Ephesians 1:3-14

In reference on March 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Ephesians diagramThe first section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has always been confusing to me. This is classic Paul-authorship; lots of commas and run-on sentences that provide so much good stuff that your brain can’t stay with Paul’s train of thought. Here is the text from the ESV (I’m really thankful for the folks at Crossway for making the ESV so web-friendly and providing us with a great API):

Ephesians 1:3-14 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Try and read it very quickly and you’ll know what I mean about being confused. While I was studying this passage, it was helpful for me to break it up into smaller chunks so I could try and get a feel for what the flow of Paul’s thoughts were. I started doing this in PowerPoint by adding indentations to the breaks and italics where Paul’s mind seems to wander a bit and I realized that arrows and highlights were needed so I switched to Microsoft Visio to help me out with that. Here is what I came up with (click on the picture for a larger version):

Ephesians Diagramming Large

Ephesians Diagramming Small

Click here for a smaller version that might fit better on your screen so you don’t have to scroll all over the place to read it.

I found this helpful for myself to diagram what Paul was trying to say here. If you read from top to bottom, left to right, you’ll see how I broke the passage up into sections. I tried using highlighted blocks to denote similar passages, the blueish color denotes the blessings that Paul mentions we have in Christ in v3, the clouds represent tangents that Paul takes that, while theologically are topics all in themselves, makes it difficult to get a grasp of the whole passage when you get caught up praising God for what He’s done while you read them.

I would like to learn more about diagramming sentences (I will admit I did not pay close enough attention in grammar school to this). If anyone knows of any good resources, please post them in the comment sections. These don’t have to be “Christian” references either, I know there are a lot of fine English grammar books that deal with this topic that would be helpful to me. I found BibleArc to be a good place with a pretty good interface for “arcing” passages, does anyone have others? Thanks!

EDIT: I found this post from Challies blog. On it, there is what looks to be a good, free book from Desiring God Ministries and a few chapters of a book from Thomas R. Schreiner.