What does Ephesians 2:8 mean?
ESV: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
NIV: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
NASB: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
CSB: For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—
NLT: God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
KJV: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
NKJV: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Verse Commentary:
Paul returns again to his theme of grace in this classic verse. Salvation's source is grace; the means of salvation is faith. We believe by faith to be saved (Romans 10:9), but would never choose to believe apart from the grace of God operating in our lives. That salvation would never be available, other than as a result of the grace of God. Both parts are important in the discussion of salvation.

Immediately following this declaration, Paul repeats and clarifies it. Paul does not want anyone to think salvation is based on something they had done, or could ever do. No action is good enough to provide our own salvation. No good deeds can undo the sins we have committed. Salvation is a gift. Further, it is a gift only God can provide. No matter how much we desire to give salvation to another person, we cannot. Only God can offer the gift of eternal life. Instead, we are called to proclaim the gospel, live it, share it, pray for the salvation of others, and help people grow in the grace of God. The Lord must be the one to provide salvation and does so as He chooses.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 2:1–10 clearly explains the relationship between our lack of obedience, the grace of God, and our salvation. Those who are saved by Christ do not deserve this salvation. It is only by mercy, and by grace, that God chooses to forgive. In this section, Paul will repeat the claim that human effort has no impact on salvation whatsoever. No Christian can brag about their ''goodness,'' since we are saved entirely by the grace of God, not by our own good deeds.
Chapter Summary:
Paul repeatedly emphasizes that salvation is accomplished on the basis of grace, through faith. Good works, human effort, and our best intentions will never be enough to earn salvation. Every person is marked with sin, both deliberate and accidental, and for this reason we deserve to be separated from God. Only through His mercy and grace can we be saved, leaving no room for bragging. This also means that all who are saved, Jew and Gentile alike, are part of the same spiritual family. There is no cause for hostility between believers; we are all unworthy, and all saved by the same kindness of God.
Chapter Context:
The first three chapters of Ephesians focus on doctrinal issues; the last three show how those principles should be applied in real life. Chapter 2 makes a pair of related points about our status as saved believers. First, salvation is entirely dependent on the grace of God, not human efforts. Second, this means all Christians are part of the same family, Jew and Gentile alike. This bridges chapter 1's explanation of God's awesome glory to chapter 3's discussion of God bringing His long-awaited plan into action.
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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