Monday, December 27, 2010

Ephesians 1:3-14 - The Epistle Lectionary Passage for Sunday, January 2, 2011

This is the NRVS translation of the lectionary epistle lesson for Sunday. Please make any comments concerning the passage you want. Together, let’s discuss the Word of God.


3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

1 comment:

  1. We have just a week ago finished a study of "HOW WE GOT OUR BIBLE: Translation and Transmission" in our Adult Ed. program. We looked at the history of our Bible from the writing of the New Testament manuscripts to approximately the turn of the century. For the last class (excluding the final review) I had planned for the class to consider a passage of Scripture in several (actually 7) translations or paraphrases produced in the last half of the twentieth century. I selected seven translations or paraphrases that I had easy access to: NEB, TLB, TEV,NIV, NJB, NRSV and CEV. I wanted a passage that as not a simple narrative for the class to read in all seven versions. Because one of the class members was skeptical about Predestination I chose this week's epistle lesson - not realizing it would become one of the readings in the near future. So I was surprised when I looked at the lectionary and found Ephesians !; 3-14 as this weeks lesson.

    What a difference a translation makes! I wanted to place the NIV first because of my attorney's skepticism about predestination. (The NIV actually uses the word "predestined" twice in this passage.) I resisted the temptation and gave them a booklet of readings in chronological order of publication.A couple of other translations substitute the word "destined" and one (the CEV) almost tries to cover it up or write predestination out of the Bible. That doctrine is life and hope to me, a sinner, who realizes that apart from God's graceful choice, I would be doomed in my sin.

    I tried to preach on predestination once early in my ministry. The sermon raised more questions than it answered. I decided at that time never to try that again. (Only my mentor in seminary, John Gerstner, could pull that off.) For me it is better used in a teaching situation where there is more opportunity for give and take questioning. Be that as it may, there seem to be three points that emerge as one reads Ephesians !; 3-14:
    First that God has chosen us before creation; second, that God has redeemed us in Christ; and finally that God has marked (or sealed) us, whom God has chosen, with the Holy Spirit. That, in my humble opinion is the core of this passage. One must remember in addition that this core is found in the context of a hymn of praise. The NJB (New Jerusalem Bible) makes that clear by framing this passage in poetic form (as our hymns are phrased in poetic form).