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APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, To the holy ones who are at Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. When beginning his letters, it was Paul’s custom to identify himself as an apostle, who had been specifically chosen by Jesus and appointed by God. (Cf. Rom. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1.) Paul was not boasting about his position of authority.

In numerous instances, he had to defend his position within the church because it was regularly being challenged. However, as with other letters, it seems to be descriptive only. The Greek term rendered apostle (ἀπόστολος apostolos) here is Paul describing himself as a representative (envoy), a special messenger of Jesus Christ, chosen specifically by Jesus himself, active in proclaiming the message of the gospel. Describing himself as such gave him authority and would discourage enemies of the church to slow their criticism.

In Paul’s letters, Christ (Χριστός Christos) is used as a proper name for Jesus of Nazareth, not the long-awaited Messiah a title for the Anointed One, i.e., God’s special choice (Mt 2:4; Jn 1:41; 4:25) There are forty-six occurrences of “Christ” in Ephesians, and of those, twenty-three have the article, which may refer to Jesus as the titled Messiah. – 1:10; 2:13; 4:20.

Through the will of God. Paul was not given his commission as an apostle by the other apostles, like Mattathias, who replaced Judas Iscariot. Rather it was by the will of God and through a personal appearance of Jesus Christ himself, a special revelation during his conversion. It became widely know that God directly commissioned Paul and that he was not imposing his own authority on the church. (Cf. Gal. 1:11-12; 1Cor. 9:1-6; 2Cor. 11:22-33; 2Cor. 12:1-12) We likely recall that the false teachers in Corinth had challenged Paul’s authority as an apostle (Cf. 2Cor. 10:8-10), making him spend valuable letter space in his two letters to them defending his divine commission.

To the holy ones. Holy Ones, Saints: (Heb. קָדוֹשׁ qadosh; Gr. ἅγιος hagios) Persons who are dedicated to God physically, mentally, spiritually, and morally. These ones are God’s people, who have been accredited a righteous standing before God based on the ransom sacrifice of Christ (Matt. 20:28), who are declared holy, pure, and clean in God’s eyes. Those who are clean mentally, but especially spiritually or morally. Hagios also denotes persons who are set apart for service of God, in heaven or on earth. Holy Ones are persons who have been brought into a relationship with God through the new covenant, and they are sanctified, cleansed, and set apart for God’s service by “the blood of the covenant,” that is, the blood of Jesus Christ. (Heb 10:29; 13:20) As a result of that, they are marked out as “holy ones.” Hence, they do not become “holy ones” by the proclamation of a man, but by God. Only God can bring them into a covenant relationship through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. – Mark 6:20; 1 Cor. 6:2; Php 1:1; 4:22; Rev 18:20; Rev 22:21.

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

In Ephesus. Some scholars claim that the letter to the Ephesians was not to those at Ephesus but was the letter to the Laodiceans, mentioned in Colossians 4:16. They say that the words “at Ephesus” are an addition to the text. Are they correct?

Ephesians 1:1b

TR WH NU τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν [ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
“to the saints being in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus”
B2 D F G Ψ 33 Maj syr cop

Variant 1 τοις αγιοις πασιν τοις ουσιν εν Εφεσω και πιστοις εν Χριστω Ιησου
“to all the saints being in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus”
א2 A P itb copbo

Variant 2 τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν και πιστοις εν Χριστω Ιησου
“to the saints being —— and faithful in Christ Jesus”
P46 א* B* 1739 Marcion

Ephesians 1:1 Updated american Standard Version (UASV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God,
To the holy ones who are at Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus:

We need to consider the letter to the Ephesians. The opening reads: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, To the holy ones who are at Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 1:1) However, many manuscripts omit “at Ephesus” and in the Greek merely read “to the saints which are”, without naming any congregation. They omit “at Ephesus” saying “who are” according to Codex Sinaiticus (א), Codex Vatican (B), and the Chester Beatty Papyrus P46. Alternatively, the expression “who are at Ephesus” is found in the manuscripts known as Alexandrine, Bezae, Vulgate, and Peshitta Syriac versions.

It is for this reason, some have argued that the epistle to the Ephesians was a form letter and that Paul had made numerous copies wherein he left a space after the words “who are ______________,” and the space would have been filled in when it was sent out to a specific location. If we are wrong that the Laodiceans received their own letter and Paul sent the one meant for Ephesus also to Laodicea, meaning that the Laodicean letter would have been an exact copy of the one sent to the Ephesians, there would have been no need to make it canonical as well. Therefore, the one sent specifically to the Ephesians was the one chosen to be preserved.

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Philip Comfort writes,

The insertion of πασιν (“all”) in the first variant is clearly a scribal attempt to harmonize this opening verse with several other opening verses in Paul’s Epistles, where Paul addresses “all” the saints in a particular locality (see Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1).

The second variant represents the original text as it was written by Paul. There are three good reasons why we can be confident about this: (1) This reading has the support of the three earliest manuscripts (𝔓46 א B), as well as 1739—a manuscript known for its textual integrity in the Pauline Epistles. None of these manuscripts include the words εν Εφεσω (“in Ephesus”). (2) If the text had originally included εν Εφεσω, there is no reason to explain why the words would have been deleted. In fact, the absence of εν Εφεσω makes for a very difficult sentence, grammatically speaking, because something has to follow the participial phrase τοις ουσιν. (3) The scribes of 𝔓46 א 1739 could have done something to fix this grammatical problem, but they stayed true to their exemplars, which retained the original form as it left the hand of Paul’s amanuensis. Thus, in the original document (supported by 𝔓46 א B 1739 Marcion) a blank space was likely left between τοις ουσιν (“the ones being”) and και πιστοις εν Χριστω Ιησου (“and faithful ones in Christ Jesus”). The blank would be filled in with the name of each local church (“in Ephesus,” “in Laodicea,” “in Colossae,” etc.) as the epistle circulated from city to city. Later manuscripts reflect the insertion of “in Ephesus” because Ephesus was the leading city in that region.

Paul intended this epistle to be a general encyclical sent to the churches in Asia, of which Ephesus was one of the leading churches. No doubt, the epistle would have gone to Ephesus (perhaps first) and then on to other churches. Each time the epistle went to another church, the name of the locality would be supplied after the expression “to the saints in ——.” Zuntz (1953, 228) indicated that this procedure also occurred with some multiple copies of royal letters during the Hellenistic period; the master copy would have a blank for the addressee and would be filled in for each copy. Zuntz considered the blank space in the address to the Ephesians to go back to the original. In the later textual tradition, certain scribes identified this epistle with Ephesus and therefore inserted “in Ephesus.” In his own NT canon, Marcion listed this letter as the Epistle to the Laodiceans. But this designation was never inserted into any manuscript that we know of. However, Marcion’s designation signals that the epistle had probably gone to Laodicea. This epistle is probably one and the same as the letter Paul mentions in Col 4:16, where he tells the Colossians, “see to it that you also read the letter from Laodicea.” This language indicates that a letter (presumably written by Paul) would be coming to the Colossians from Laodicea. Since it is fairly certain that Ephesians was written and sent at the same time as Colossians (Tychicus carried both epistles—Eph 6:21; Col 4:7–9), it can be assumed that Paul would expect that the encyclical epistle now known as Ephesians would eventually circulate from Colossae to Laodicea. Coming from Rome, Tychicus would have first arrived at Ephesus along the coast, then traveled north to Smyrna and Pergamum, then turned southeast to Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea—and then on to Colossae (as perhaps the last stop). We can surmise that this circulation route would have been similar to the one for the book of Revelation (Rev 1:11), which was also sent to the churches in Asia Minor. (The book of Revelation was circulated from Ephesus to Smyrna to Pergamum to Thyatira to Sardis to Philadelphia to Laodicea.) Just to the southeast of Laodicea was Colossae, thereby making it the next logical stop.

The content of this epistle affirms its general nature, for it lacks the usual references to local situations and persons as found in Paul’s other epistles. Paul had lived with the Christians at Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31). He knew them intimately; and yet in this epistle there are no personal greetings or specific exhortations. When we consider Paul’s manner in many of his other epistles (see the conclusions to Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, and Colossians), it would be quite unlike him to have excluded these personal expressions.

Thus, the position that Ephesians was an encyclical helps to substantiate Pauline authorship of Ephesians. Those who doubt Paul’s authorship argue that Ephesians has wording which makes it sound as if Paul did not know his readers. For example, in 1:15, Paul wrote, “ever since I heard about your faith,” and in 3:2, “surely you have heard about my stewardship.” But this epistle was intended for an audience much greater than Ephesus. Paul was addressing those believers who had never had face-to-face contact with him.

In the end it must be said that this textual variant has significant import on the exegesis of this book. If the addressee is assumed to be a particular local church (Ephesus), then this church is called upon to be far more than any local church could ever hope to be. If the addressee is assumed to be the church at large, then it is easier to view this epistle as Paul’s treatise on the universal church, the body of Christ. As such, it is not encumbered with local problems. It soars high above any mundane affairs and takes us into heaven, where we are presented with a heavenly view of the church as it fits into God’s eternal plan. In this epistle Paul paints the church with multifarious splendor. He depicts her as God’s inheritance (1:11, see NRSVmg NLTmg), Christ’s body, his fullness (1:22–23), God’s masterpiece (2:10), the one new person (2:15), the household of God (2:19), the habitation of God (2:21–22), the joint body comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers (3:6), the vessel for God to display his multifarious wisdom (3:10), the body equaling Christ’s full stature (4:12–13), the full-grown, perfect person (4:13), the body growing into a building (4:16), the bride of Christ (5:23–32), the object of Christ’s love (5:25), the very members of Christ’s body (5:30), and God’s warrior against Satan (6:11–18). The church he pictured with words was the church in ideal perfection, the church as seen from heaven—but not yet manifested on earth in fullness. There is not one local church throughout all history that has ever come close to matching this ideal. This is the goal of the universal church.

Two translations (RSV and NJB) attempted to follow the shorter, original superior reading. But in order to make good English, they had to render the last part of the verse as “to the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” However, this rendering skips και and becomes a translation of τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν πιστοις εν Χριστω Ιησου, literally translated as “to the saints, the ones being faithful in Christ Jesus.” Paul’s original document addressed two groups: (1) the saints being in ——, and (2) the faithful ones in Christ Jesus. Of course, the και could function epexegetically (“the saints in ——, even the faithful in Christ Jesus”). Either way, the entire Greek text as it stands in the earliest witnesses (𝔓46 א B) has not been accurately rendered in any English translation. I would suggest the following:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through God’s will to the saints living in —— and faithful in Christ Jesus.”[1]

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

Bruce M. Metzger,

[ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] {C}[2]

The words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ are absent from several important witnesses (𝔓46 א* B* 424c 1739) as well as from manuscripts mentioned by Basil and the text used by Origen. Certain internal features of the letter as well as Marcion’s designation of the epistle as “To the Laodiceans” and the absence in Tertullian and Ephraem of an explicit quotation of the words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ have led many commentators to suggest that the letter was intended as an encyclical, copies being sent to various churches, of which that at Ephesus was chief. Since the letter has been traditionally known as “To the Ephesians,” and since all witnesses except those mentioned above include the words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, the Committee decided to retain them, but enclosed within square brackets.[3]

EASIER VERSION by Roger L. Omanson and Bruce M. Metzger,

[ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] ([in Ephesus]) {C}

Several important manuscripts do not have the words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ (in Ephesus). Along with this, some evidence from the writings of a few Church Fathers suggests that these words may not be original; and some verses within the letter itself are easier to understand if the letter was intended to be sent to several cities, and not just to Ephesus. But since all other manuscripts contain the words ἐν Ἐφέσῳ, and since the letter has been traditionally known as “To the Ephesians,” these words are included in the UBS4 text but put in brackets to indicate a high degree of uncertainty.

Some modern translations include these words (NRSV, REB, NIV) and others omit them (Moffatt, Goodspeed, RSV, NJB, TOB). (For discussions of this textual problem, see Barth, Ephesians 1–3, p. 67; and Hoehner, Ephesians, pp. 144–48.) If the words “in Ephesus” are not translated, then the word καί will be treated as an adverb rather than as a conjunction. The footnote in NRSV, for example, reads “saints who are also faithful” while the text reads “saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful.” Referring to the καί, Lincoln (Ephesians, p. 2) writes, “It is also difficult to see what it means, since what appears to be intended as a qualifying description simply repeats what by definition the saints should already be, that is, faithful in Christ Jesus.”[4]

The above just mentioned is quite a clever explanation and clears up some things. We should think of it as an intriguing possibility. Regardless, Christian Publishing House and Edward D. Andrews believe the letter to the Ephesians is exactly just that. It is not the one sent to Laodicea mentioned in Colossians 4:16. The letter to the Laodiceans may have been a form letter, or a duplication of issues already sufficiently dealt with in other canonical letters, or it may have simply been that it was not inspired, or it did not cover situations that were necessary for the next 2,000 years. It could have been any one of these reasons or another, not thought of here, as to why it was left out of the inspired Scriptures.

REASONABLE FAITH FEARLESS-1

And to the faithful in Christ Jesus. The Greek word (πιστός pistos) rendered faithful refers to those who trust into Jesus Christ. They have a steadfast affection and allegiance to Jesus; he is the object of their faith. So, this general reference is to all Christians. Therefore, faithful here pertains to their Christian life, which they maintained as loyal followers of Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus refers to their life in harmony with Jesus. B. F. Wescott writes, “He [Paul] addresses men who are consecrated to God in a Divine Society (saints), who are inspired by a personal devotion towards Him (faithful), who are in Him in Whom the Church finds its unity and life (c. 4:16).”[5]

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[1] Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008), 577–579.

[2] {C} The letter {C} indicates that the Committee had difficulty in deciding which variant to place in the text.

[3] Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 532.

[4] Roger L. Omanson and Bruce Manning Metzger, A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament: An Adaptation of Bruce M. Metzger’s Textual Commentary for the Needs of Translators (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006), 384–385.

[5] Brooke Foss Westcott and John Maurice Schulhof, eds., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians: The Greek Text with Notes and Addenda, Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909), 4.

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