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Ephesians chapter 1

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New International Version

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What does Ephesians chapter 1 mean?

Chapter 1 includes a brief introduction (Ephesians 1:1–2) followed by two key sections. First, Paul describes the spiritual blessings which believers have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3–14). Second, he focuses on thanksgiving and prayer for his readers (Ephesians 1:15–23).

The introduction (Ephesians 1:1–2) offers Paul's standard greeting, beginning with the author and information about him. It also mentions his audience: the Ephesians and perhaps other churches in the area. This is followed by a greeting: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:2).

The first section (Ephesians 1:3–14) begins with a word of blessing to God, beginning a long sentence in the original Greek which continues for several verses. Paul emphasizes predestination (Ephesians 1:5), which is the idea that God knew before creating that He would choose certain people to be His followers (Ephesians 1:4). Paul also highlights the importance of grace (Ephesians 1:6). Further, Paul reminds his readers of the redemption through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7), noting the revelation of God's mystery through Jesus as a fulfillment of the plan of God (Ephesians 1:9–10).

Paul further describes the inheritance of believers (Ephesians 1:11) which results in the glory of God (Ephesians 1:12). Paul's readers shared in this inheritance when they heard and believed in the gospel (Ephesians 1:13) and were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the guarantee of the believer's future heavenly hope (Ephesians 1:14).

Predestination is a clear theme in this section, noted directly twice (Ephesians 1:5, 11). God chose "us"—Paul's readers specifically, and Christian believers in general—for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:5). He also "predestined" believers for certain purposes (Ephesians 1:11). The salvation believers receive is "sealed" by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) as a guarantee of the believer's future heavenly home. These words strongly support the teaching of eternal security. This is the doctrine that a person who truly believes in Jesus for salvation can never be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:37–39).

The second section (Ephesians 1:15–23) highlights Paul's thanks and prayers. He thanks God for his readers in his prayers (Ephesians 1:16), asking the Lord to give them wisdom and knowledge (Ephesians 1:17). His words extend into praise of God for His great might (Ephesians 1:19), a description of the resurrection (Ephesians 1:20), Christ's exalted status (Ephesians 1:21), Christ's authority (Ephesians 1:22), and the significance of the church (Ephesians 1:22–23).
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