Reading Ephesians

I’ve been reading through Ephesians for lectio and its taking me forever to get through it.

(And that’s a good thing.)

I keep getting caught on passages and will sometimes just sit there and chew on a few words for my entire allotted time. In particular right now, I’m fascinated by the section at the end of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4.

Paul’s prayer at the end of 3 from 14-21 describes for me what the interior life of the Christian should look like. That is, the experience of divine power confirmed and made manifest in love. Furthermore, this power and grace leads naturally to the section from 4:1-16. Knowledge, power, and love do not exist for their own sake nor for the individual’s sake. Rather, all of these are directed into building the entire community into a community founded on the humility and love of Christ which is a power unrecognized by worldly power.

I do believe the single worst mistake that one could make in reading Ephesians generally and these sections in particular is to misread the grammatical number of “you”. All of the “you”s in this section are plural. Paul is not speaking to individuals here but to us collectively.

Furthermore—just as in 1 Cor—4:11-12 on “leadership” roles in the church must be read within the whole. The entire function of these roles is to serve the basic needs of the community as a whole especially the full growth into Christian maturity. Shades indeed of James 3.

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2 Responses to Reading Ephesians

  1. Of course a proper Southern translation would use “y’all,” and there would be no possibility for confusion.

  2. Actually, all sorts of common errors in popular New Testament interpretation could be avoided by the judicious use of “y’all” and “all y’all” in biblical translation…

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