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Ephesians 4:9

ESV (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?
NIV (What does 'he ascended' mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
NASB (Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
CSB But what does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth?
NLT Notice that it says 'he ascended.' This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.
KJV (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

What does Ephesians 4:9 mean?

Verses 9 and 10 are an interesting side-note in Paul's main flow of the passage. The change in topic is abrupt enough that most translations include these words in parentheses. In this aside, Paul infers that, if Jesus "ascended," Jesus had to first come to earth.

Some translators have understood "lower regions" as a reference to hell, or the underworld. The Apostles' Creed speaks of Jesus "descending into hell," based partly on this passage. However, the text does not require this interpretation nor does it make the best sense in this context. Instead, Paul contrasts Jesus' ascension with His time on earth.

On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). He did not need to descend into hell as His suffering was over. No additional payment was needed for salvation. Also, Jesus promised in Luke 23:43 that the thief on the cross who believed would be with Him "today" in paradise. This would not be possible if Jesus had spent three days in hell.
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