some great questions on Ephesians

from Theilman’s introduction to the Ephesians (his new commentary in the BECNT series is just out).  In his introduction Theilman writes regarding the literary aspects of the letter:

Second, Ephesians is full of grammatical and lexical ambiguities that affect the meaning of the text. Does Paul pray in 1:17 that God will give his readers a wise spirit or that he will give them God’s Spirit, who in turn will give them wisdom? In 1:18, does he pray that God will give his readers a wise spirit or the Spirit? In 1:23, does the church fill up the one who fills all things, or is it full of the one who fills all things? Does it fill up the one who is entirely filled, or is it full of the one who is entirely filled? Why does Paul begin the sentence after 1:23 with “and” when it has no clear connection to what precedes it (2:1)? When Paul says that his readers once walked “according to the Ruler of the realm of the air, of the spirit of the one now at work among the sons of disobedience” (2:2), does he refer to a hierarchy of spiritual enemies, or does he elaborately describe one of these enemies (presumably the devil)? When he says that Christ “tore down the middle wall of the partition, the enmity in his flesh” (2:14), do the terms “middle wall,” “partition,” and “enmity” all refer to the same object? Did Christ destroy them “in his flesh,” or was the enmity Christ tore down somehow located “in his flesh”? In 2:21, does “every building” hold together in Christ, or does “the whole building” hold together in him? Does Paul command his readers to be rooted and grounded in love in 3:17, or does he say that they have been rooted and grounded in love? The letter’s final sentence pronounces a blessing on those who love Christ “in incorruption” (6:24), but what could this phrase mean?


I don’t know about you but those sure are some thought provoking questions!   Any thoughts all you who have the answers?  🙂


4 responses to “some great questions on Ephesians

  1. I’d like to ask how he treats the first chapter? Does he identity a problem with the Gentiles and is rebuking them… saying hey.. First God called the Jews.. then out of the Jews he called the Apostles… then he also included you?

    A lot can be missed if this nuance is missed.

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