New Life Individually
1 And although you were#tn The adverbial participle “being” (ὄντας, ontas) is taken concessively. dead#sn Chapter 2 starts off with a participle, although you were dead, that is left dangling. The syntax in Greek for vv. 1-3 constitutes one incomplete sentence, though it seems to have been done intentionally. The dangling participle leaves the readers in suspense while they wait for the solution (in v. 4) to their spiritual dilemma. in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which#sn The relative pronoun which is feminine as is sins, indicating that sins is the antecedent. you formerly lived#tn Grk “walked.” sn The Greek verb translated lived (περιπατέω, peripatew) in the NT letters refers to the conduct of one’s life, not to physical walking. according to this world’s present path,#tn Or possibly “Aeon.”sn The word translated present path is the same as that which has been translated [this] age in 1:21 (αἰών, aiwn). according to the ruler of the kingdom#tn Grk “domain, [place of] authority.” of the air, the ruler of#tn Grk “of” (but see the note on the word “spirit” later in this verse). the spirit#sn The ruler of the kingdom of the air is also the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience. Although several translations regard the ruler to be the same as the spirit, this is unlikely since the cases in Greek are different (ruler is accusative and spirit is genitive). To get around this, some have suggested that the genitive for spirit is a genitive of apposition. However, the semantics of the genitive of apposition are against such an interpretation (cf. ExSyn 100). that is now energizing#tn Grk “working in.” the sons of disobedience,#sn Sons of disobedience is a Semitic idiom that means “people characterized by disobedience.” However, it also contains a subtle allusion to vv. 4-10: Some of those sons of disobedience have become sons of God. 3 among whom#sn Among whom. The relative pronoun phrase that begins v. 3 is identical, except for gender, to the one that begins v. 2 (ἐν αἵς [en Jais], ἐν οἵς [en Jois]). By the structure, the author is building an argument for our hopeless condition: We lived in sin and we lived among sinful people. Our doom looked to be sealed as well in v. 2: Both the external environment (kingdom of the air) and our internal motivation and attitude (the spirit that is now energizing) were under the devil’s thumb (cf. 2 Cor 4:4). all of us#tn Grk “we all.” also#tn Or “even.” formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath#sn Children of wrath is a Semitic idiom which may mean either “people characterized by wrath” or “people destined for wrath.” even as the rest…#sn Eph 2:1-3. The translation of vv. 1-3 is very literal, even to the point of retaining the awkward syntax of the original. See note on the word dead in 2:1.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved!#tn Or “by grace you have been saved.” The perfect tense in Greek connotes both completed action (“you have been saved”) and continuing results (“you are saved”). – 6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 to demonstrate in the coming ages#tn Or possibly “to the Aeons who are about to come.” the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward#tn Or “upon.” us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved#tn See note on the same expression in v. 5. through faith,#tc The feminine article is found before πίστεως (pistews, “faith”) in the Byzantine text as well as in A Ψ 1881 pc. Perhaps for some scribes the article was intended to imply creedal fidelity as a necessary condition of salvation (“you are saved through the faith”), although elsewhere in the corpus Paulinum the phrase διὰ τῆς πίστεως (dia th" pistew") is used for the act of believing rather than the content of faith (cf. Rom 3:30, 31; Gal 3:14; Eph 3:17; Col 2:12). On the other side, strong representatives of the Alexandrian and Western texts (א B D* F G P 0278 6 33 1739 al bo) lack the article. Hence, both text-critically and exegetically, the meaning of the text here is most likely “saved through faith” as opposed to “saved through the faith.” Regarding the textual problem, the lack of the article is the preferred reading. and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from#tn Or “not as a result of.” works, so that no one can boast.#tn Grk “lest anyone should boast.” 10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.#tn Grk “so that we might walk in them” (or “by them”).sn So that we may do them. Before the devil began to control our walk in sin and among sinful people, God had already planned good works for us to do.
New Life Corporately
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh – who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body#tn Grk “in the flesh.” by human hands – 12 that you were at that time without the Messiah,#tn Or “without Christ.” Both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.” Because the context refers to ancient Israel’s messianic expectation, “Messiah” was employed in the translation at this point rather than “Christ.” alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise,#tn Or “covenants of the promise.” having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.#tn Or “have come near in the blood of Christ.”sn See the note on “his blood” in 1:7. 14 For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one#tn Grk “who made the both one.” and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, 15 when he nullified#tn Or “rendered inoperative.” This is a difficult text to translate because it is not easy to find an English term which communicates well the essence of the author’s meaning, especially since legal terminology is involved. Many other translations use the term “abolish” (so NRSV, NASB, NIV), but this term implies complete destruction which is not the author’s meaning here. The verb καταργέω (katargew) can readily have the meaning “to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness” (BDAG 525 s.v. 2, where this passage is listed), and this meaning fits quite naturally here within the author’s legal mindset. A proper English term which communicates this well is “nullify” since this word carries the denotation of “making something legally null and void.” This is not, however, a common English word. An alternate term like “rendered inoperative [or ineffective]” is also accurate but fairly inelegant. For this reason, the translation retains the term “nullify”; it is the best choice of the available options, despite its problems. in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man#tn In this context the author is not referring to a new individual, but instead to a new corporate entity united in Christ (cf. BDAG 497 s.v. καινός 3.b: “All the Christians together appear as κ. ἄνθρωπος Eph 2:15”). This is clear from the comparison made between the Gentiles and Israel in the immediately preceding verses and the assertion in v. 14 that Christ “made both groups into one.” This is a different metaphor than the “new man” of Eph 4:24; in that passage the “new man” refers to the new life a believer has through a relationship to Christ. out of two,#tn Grk “in order to create the two into one new man.” Eph 2:14-16 is one sentence in Greek. A new sentence was started here in the translation for clarity since contemporary English is less tolerant of extended sentences. thus making peace, 16 and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed.#tn Grk “by killing the hostility in himself.” 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, 18 so that#tn Or “for.” BDAG gives the consecutive ὅτι (Joti) as a possible category of NT usage (BDAG 732 s.v. 5.c). through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 20 because you have been built#tn Grk “having been built.” on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,#sn Apostles and prophets. Because the prophets appear after the mention of the apostles and because they are linked together in 3:5 as recipients of revelation about the church, they are to be regarded not as Old Testament prophets, but as New Testament prophets. with Christ Jesus himself as#tn Grk “while Christ Jesus himself is” or “Christ Jesus himself being.” the cornerstone.#tn Or perhaps “capstone” (NAB). The meaning of ἀκρογωνιαῖος (akrogwniaio") is greatly debated. The meaning “capstone” is proposed by J. Jeremias (TDNT 1:792), but the most important text for this meaning (T. Sol. 22:7-23:4) is late and possibly not even an appropriate parallel. The only place ἀκρογωνιαῖος is used in the LXX is Isa 28:16, and there it clearly refers to a cornerstone that is part of a foundation. Furthermore, the imagery in this context has the building growing off the cornerstone upward, whereas if Christ were the capstone, he would not assume his position until the building was finished, which vv. 21-22 argue against. 21 In him#tn Grk “in whom” (v. 21 is a relative clause, subordinate to v. 20). the whole building,#tc Although several important witnesses (א1 A C P 6 81 326 1739c 1881) have πᾶσα ἡ οἰκοδομή (pasa Jh oikodomh), instead of πᾶσα οἰκοδομή (the reading of א* B D F G Ψ 33 1739* Ï), the article is almost surely a scribal addition intended to clarify the meaning of the text, for with the article the meaning is unambiguously “the whole building.”tn Or “every building.” Although “every building” is a more natural translation of the Greek, it does not fit as naturally into the context, which (with its emphasis on corporate unity) seems to stress the idea of one building. being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.