What does Ephesians 1:13 mean?
ESV: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
NIV: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
NASB: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise,
CSB: In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.
NLT: And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.
KJV: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
NKJV: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Verse Commentary:
Paul describes three things that took place in the lives of the Ephesian believers. First, they heard the gospel, known as the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18).

Second, rather than rejecting the message as many Jews had done, these Gentile believers both heard and believed the gospel and were saved as a result (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8–9).

Third, Paul noted that when they became believers they "were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit." This specific description of the Holy Spirit is only used in the book of Ephesians here, and in Ephesians 4:30, among a dozen total references to the Spirit in the letter. A "seal" was a mark indicating a letter or scroll was closed, or completed. When a king or dignitary wanted to show an identifying mark with a letter, he would seal it with a resin imprint of his ring. The Holy Spirit likewise shows that believers belong to the Lord.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 1:3–14 praises God for the blessings He has provided. Paul ties together the ideas of predestination, God's glory, the salvation of His people, and the rights we have as children of God. In particular, believers are blessed because God chose, before creation, to save us. That salvation came at a great cost: the death of Jesus Christ. As children of God, we can be confident that God will give us what He has promised: namely, an eternity with Him in heaven.
Chapter Summary:
The first chapter of Ephesians contains two main passages. The first describes the blessings Christians have been given as a result of our salvation through Christ. Paul explains these through praises directed to God the Father. The second section both commends the Ephesians for their reputation, and prays that Christ would bring them into an even fuller and more aware faith.
Chapter Context:
The first three chapters of Ephesians are doctrinal, while the last three are practical. Chapter 1 establishes Paul's view on the value of our salvation in Christ, and the blessings we obtain from it. He does this in the form of praise, directed at God, and describing in detail what it means to have an inheritance in heaven. Later chapters will build on these ideas as Paul connects who we are in Christ to how we should live as Christians.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
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