Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 1

The people whom God chose

Ephesians 1:4

In the original Greek language, the whole passage that we are studying (1:3-14) is a single sentence. Most modern translations separate it into several sentences that seem to discuss many complex and difficult ideas. However, that is not what Paul intended.

Paul was writing for the benefit of ordinary church members, and not only for their leaders. They had only been Christians for a few years, and they came from the Gentile nations. The Gentiles are all the people who do not belong to Israel. Israel’s people, also called the Jews, are the nation that God chose to be his special holy people.

Paul’s message is that God has joined the Gentile Christians to the Jewish Christians, to be God’s own people (2:11-18). His purpose in Ephesians 1:3-14 is to remind the Gentile Christians how wonderful that is. He refers to them particularly by the word ‘you’ in verse 13.

It seems therefore that the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ in the passage refer firstly to the Jewish Christians. However, the wonderful things that Paul lists here are not for them alone. God has joined the Gentile Christians to them, so that now these wonderful things are for them all.

These things were happening for the first time during Paul’s life, but they were not new. They have been in God’s plan since the beginning of time (1:9-10). Many Christians also think that God chose each of his people before the beginning of time. Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 show that God knew and recorded each of their names then. However, Christians must be careful not to become proud. They must always remember that God urges everyone to turn to him (Acts 17:30). God will save (rescue) everyone who does that (Romans 10:13).

Next part: The people whom God adopts (Ephesians 1:5)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.