Ephesians 1:15-23

Ephesians 1:15-23
Ascension of the Lord ABC


15 I have heardA of your faithB in the LordC JesusD and your loveE toward all the saints,F and for this reason 

Notes on verse 15

A “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
B “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
C “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
D “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
E “love” = agape. This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
F “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

16 I do not ceaseG to give thanksH for you as I rememberI you in my prayers.J 

Notes on verse 16

G “cease” = pauo. 15x in NT. To stop, refrain, pause, restrain, quit, or come to an end.
H “give thanks” = eucharisteo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}. This is giving thanks, being thankful. It is a recognition that God’s grace is good and actively showing gratitude. It can also be used for saying grace before eating. This is where “eucharist” comes from.
I “remember” = mneia. 7x in NT – all uses in epistles for remembering you in prayers and 1x to remember us kindly (1 Th 3:6). From mimnesko  (to remind or remember; memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful; not incidentally or accidentally remembering); from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). Properly, this is bringing someone or something to mind or mentioning them. It can also be a memory or commemoration. Further, it can be a specific focus on an aspect of someone or something.  
J “prayers” = proseuche. From proseuchomai (to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate; more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s); {from pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray)}. This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays.

17 I pray that the GodK of our Lord Jesus Christ,L the Father of glory,M may give you a spiritN of wisdomO and revelationP as you come to knowQ him, 

Notes on verse 17

K “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
L “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
M “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
N “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
O “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, clarity. It is wisdom as applied through a practical skill or shrewdness. It is not thoughtfulness or the mere gaining of intelligence for its own sake. Sophia is wisdom in action for everyday living.
P “revelation” = apokalupsis. 18x in NT. From apokalupto (properly to uncover; revealing something that was hidden or obstructed; particularly refers to revealing the essence of something; to make plain or manifest); {from apo (from, away from) + kalupto (to cover, hide, conceal; figuratively, to keep hidden or secret) {related to kalube (hut, cabin)}. This is uncovering, unveiling, appearing, manifestation, or revelation. This is where the word “apocalypse” comes from.
Q “come to know” = epignosis. From epiginosko (to perceive, discern, acknowledge, recognize, know exactly because of direct interaction) ; {from epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is knowledge, intuition, or discernment. It is firsthand knowledge of someone or something gained through contact or experience. This is full discernment or true knowledge.

18 so that, with the eyes of your heartR enlightened,S you may knowT what is the hopeU to which he has calledv you, what are the richesW of his glorious inheritanceX among the saints, 

Notes on verse 18

R “heart” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
S “enlightened” = photizo. 11x in NT. From phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); {from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light)} This is to shine or give light, illumine or reveal. Properly, it is to enlighten in a literal or figurative sense. It can mean to brighten up or to make one see.
T “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
U “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
V “called” = klesis. 11x in NT. From kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is a calling or invitation. In the Bible, this word always refers to a call from God.
W “riches” = ploutos. From polus (much, many, abundant) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is abundance, wealth, or riches. It could refer to money/possessions or spiritual abundance. It can also be used for a valuable bestowment.
X “inheritance” = kleronomia. 14x in NT. From kleronomos (heir); {from kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is inheritance, heritage, or possession.

19 and what is the immeasurableY greatnessZ of his powerAA for us who believe,BB according to the workingCC of his greatDD power.EE 

Notes on verse 19

Y “immeasurable” = huperballo. 5x in NT. From huper (over, above, beyond) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, rush, drop). This is to surpass, exceed, or excel. Properly, it is to throw beyond or run beyond. So, it is transcending, eminent, or surpassing. This shares the same root as “hyperbole.”
Z “greatness” = megethos. 1x in NT. From mega (great, large, abundant; great literal or figurative). This is properly vastness or magnitude. Figuratively, it means greatness.
AA “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
BB “believe” = pisteuo. Related to “faith” in v15. From pistis (see note B above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
CC “working” = energeia. 8x in NT. From energes (active, effective, operative, energized, powerful); {from en (in, at, by, with, among) + ergon (word, task, action, employment); {from ergo (to work, accomplish) or from erdo (to do)}}. This is activity, working, efficiency, strong, or divine energy. It is also where the work “energy” comes from.
DD “great” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
EE “power” = ischus. 10x in NT. Perhaps from is (force) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is strength, might, power, force, or ability. It is power that engages immediate resistance.

20 God put this power to workFF in Christ when he raisedGG him from the dead and seated him at his right handHH in the heavenly places,II 

Notes on verse 20

FF “work” = energeo. Related to “working” in v19. From energes (see note CC above). This is to work, be operative, accomplish, or be effectual. It can also mean to be mighty or fervent.
GG “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
HH “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
II “heavenly places” = epouranios. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}. This is heavenly, celestial, high, heavenly one, heavenly thins. It is the heavenly sphere in contrast to the earthly one, the place of spiritual activity. Figuratively, it can mean divine or spiritual. Properly, this describes that which is fitting from heaven’s perspective.

21 far above all ruleJJ and authorityKK and power and dominion,LL and above every nameMM that is named,NN not only in this ageOO but also in the age to come.PP 

Notes on verse 21

JJ “rule” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for wat is preeminent.
KK “authority” = exousia. From exesti (to be permitted or lawful); {from ek (out, out of) + eimi (to be, exist)}. This is power to act or weight. It especially denotes moral authority or influence. It can mean domain, liberty, freedom, capacity, mastery, right, force, or strength.
LL “dominion” = kuriotes. Related to “Lord” in v15. 4x in NT. From kurios (see note C above). This is lordship, authority, or domination. It an also refer to mastery or dignity.
MM “name” = onoma. Perhaps related to “know” in v17. May be from ginosko (see note Q above). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
NN “named” = onomazo. Perhaps related to “know” in v17 & related to “name” in v21. 10x in NT. From onoma (see note MM above). This is to name, whether in giving someone or something a designation or to call them by that name. It can also be so-called.
OO “age” = aion. From the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.
PP “come” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.

22 And he has putQQ all things under his feet and has made him the headRR over all things for the church,SS 23 which is his body,TT the fullnessUU of him who fillsVV all in all.

Notes on verses 22-23

QQ “put” = hupotasso. From hupo (by, under, about, under one’s authority) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine). This is to place under. So it is to subject, submit, obey, or subordinate.
RR “head” = kephale. This is head or chief. It can be a literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord. It can also refer to a corner stone. This is where the word “cephalic” comes from.
SS “church” = ekklesia. Related to “called” in v18. From ek (from, from of) + kaleo (see note V above). Literally, a calling out – people called out to somewhere. So, it is an assembly or congregation. This is where the term “ecclesiastical” comes from.
TT “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
UU “fullness” = pleroma. 18x in NT. From pleroo (to fill, make full or complete; properly, filling something up to the maximum extent or induvial capacity; used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill); from pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is fullness, supply, completion, superabundance, or multitude.
VV “fills” = pleroo. Related to “fullness” in v23. See note UU above.

Image credit: “Ascension” by Rembrandt.

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