Reading Time: 14 minutes
This is the complete translation of the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians for the series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians. The English text was translated directly from the Greek (Nestle-Aland text) by Lionel Windsor.
To read or listen to the relevant reflection in the series Lift Your Eyes, click on any verse number in the text below (i.e. the small numbers in superscript). There are 70 reflections in total, including the Introduction.
Chapter 1:1a Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. 1b To the holy ones—those who are also believers in Christ Jesus. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ! 4 For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence; in love 5 he predetermined that we should be adopted through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the pleasure of his will, 6a to the praise of the glory of his grace. 6b He has given us this grace in the one he dearly loves. 7 In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of his grace. 8 God lavished his grace on us, in all wisdom and understanding, 9 by disclosing to us the secret of his will. This was according to his good pleasure, which he displayed in Christ, 10 leading to the administration of the fulfilment of time. It is to sum up all things in Christ: things in heaven and things on earth, in him.
11 In Christ we were also claimed by God as his inheritance, having been predetermined according to the design of the one who acts in everything according to the purpose of his will, 12 so that we might be for the praise of his glory—we who first hoped in Christ. 13 In Christ, you too—having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and also having believed in him—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 The Holy Spirit is the first instalment of our inheritance, guaranteeing that God will redeem his possession, to the praise of his glory.
15 Because of this, I too, having heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all of the holy ones, 16 don’t quit from giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation as you understand him—18 having had the eyes of your hearts enlightened—so that you would know what is the hope of his calling: what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the holy ones. 19 And I pray that you would know what is the outstanding greatness of his power towards us believers, according to the activity of his mighty strength. 20 He enacted this in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And God subjected everything under Christ’s feet, and he gave him, the head over all things, to the church, 23 which is his body, the fulfilment of the one who is being fulfilled in all things in every way.
Chapter 2:1 And as for you, you were dead because of your offenses and sins, 2 in which you once walked, according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who is now acting in those who are disobedient. 3 Among those who were disobedient, we too—all of us—once lived our lives in our fleshly desires, carrying out the cravings of that flesh and its ways of thinking. And we were, by nature, children of wrath, just as the rest of people were too. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us—5 we who were dead because of our offences—made us alive together with Christ—it is by grace that you are saved. 6 And God raised us together with Christ, and seated us together with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he could demonstrate the outstanding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not from works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his product, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God pre-prepared for us to walk in.
11 Therefore, remember that although you who were once the gentiles in the flesh—the ones called “foreskin” by that which is called “circumcision” in the flesh and made by hand, 12 because you were at that time apart from the Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world—13 yet now, in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought close by the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself is our peace: he made both one, and broke down the dividing-wall of separation—the hostility, 15 having made the law of the commandments in decrees null and void in his flesh. He did this to form the two, in himself, into one new humanity, so making peace, 16 and to reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility by it. 17 And Christ came and preached the gospel: peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were close—18 because through him, both of us have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and resident aliens, but you are fellow-citizens of the holy ones and members of God’s family. 20 You were built on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets—Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. 21 In him, every act of building, being connected together, causes growth into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him, you too are being built together into a dwelling-place for God by the Spirit.
Chapter 3:1 For this reason, I, Paul, the bound prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you gentiles—2 assuming that you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the secret was made known to me according to revelation (as I briefly wrote before). 4 As you read about these things, you can understand my insight into the secret of Christ. 5 In other generations, this secret was not made known to humanity as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 The secret is this: that the gentiles are heirs together, and members of the body together, and sharers of the promise together—in Christ Jesus, through the gospel. 7 I became a minister of the gospel according to the gift of God’s grace that he gave to me, according to the activity of his power. 8 To me, the leastest of all the holy ones, this grace was given: to preach to the gentiles the gospel—the unfathomable riches of Christ. 9 And it was granted to me to enlighten everyone about the administration of the secret that was hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that now, the multidimensional wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, through the church, 11 according to the eternal design which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In Christ, we have boldness and access to God, with confidence, through faith in him. 13 So I ask you: don’t become discouraged by my afflictions for your sake, which are your glory.
14 For this reason, I bend my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that the Father would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being—17 that is, to have Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, having been rooted and founded in love. 18 I pray so that you would be able to grasp, together with all the holy ones, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which goes beyond knowledge, so that you might be fulfilled with all the fulfilment of God. 20 So to the one who is able to do far, far more than anything we could ask or imagine, according to the power that is active in us: 21 to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Chapter 4:1 So then, I urge you—I, the bound prisoner in the Lord—to walk in a way that is worthy of the calling with which you were called. 2 Walk with all humility and littleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, 3 making sure you maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were also called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. 7 And to each one of us grace was given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says: “Having ascended to the height, he captured prisoners-of-war; he gave gifts to people”. 9 Now, what is the point of saying he “ascended”, except to imply that he also descended into the lower places, the earth? 10 The very same one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fulfil all things. 11 And Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare the holy ones, for the work of ministry, for building the body of Christ, 13 until we arrive—all of us—at the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, at the grown-up man, at the measure of maturity, the fulfilment of Christ. 14 This is Christ’s purpose: that we might no longer be infants, sea-tossed and carried around by every wind of teaching by human trickery, by craftiness in lying schemes; 15 but rather, speaking the truth in love, we might grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Christ the head, the entire body, being connected and held together by every supporting ligament, according to the activity of every single part, brings about the growth of the body, so that it builds itself in love.
17 So I say this, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the gentiles walk: in the futility of their minds, 18 having been darkened in their thinking, separated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, through the hardening of their hearts; 19 having become callous, they have given themselves to unrestrained sensuality, greedy for every impure practice. 20 But you didn’t learn Christ that way—21 assuming that you heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. 22 I assume you were taught to take off the old humanity, according to the former way of life, which is being corrupted according to deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed by the Spirit of your minds 24 and put on the new humanity, which has been created according to God in the righteousness and devotion that come from the truth. 25 Therefore, having taken off lying, speak the truth—each one of you—with your neighbour, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and don’t sin. Don’t let the sun set on your provocation 27 and so give a place to the devil. 28 The one who steals should steal no longer; rather, he should labour, doing good work with his own hands, so that he might have something to share with those in need. 29 Make sure no rotten word goes out of your mouth, but only what is good for building, as needed, so that you might give grace to those who hear; 30 don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness and rage and anger and shouting and slander should be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Become kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God also forgave you in Christ.
Chapter 5:1 So then, become imitators of God, as dearly loved children, 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and sacrifice to God, a fragrant aroma. 3 But sexual immorality and every kind of impurity or greed should not even be named among you, as is fitting for holy people: 4 so no filth, and no stupid talk or witty innuendo, which are out of line, but rather thanksgiving. 5 You must understand this: everyone who is sexually immoral, or impure, or greedy—which is idolatry—has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty words. It’s because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience. 7 So don’t become partners with them. 8 For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light: 9 the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Test to see what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For the things that are done in secret by them are shameful even to mention. 13 But all the things that are exposed by the light become visible; 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. This is why it says: “Get up, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Watch carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise but as wise people, 16 reclaiming the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but grasp what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be fulfilled by the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, 20 constantly giving thanks for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to our God and Father. 21 Submit to one another through respect for Christ: 22 wives, to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 because a husband is head of his wife as also Christ is head of the church: he himself is saviour of the body. 24 But as the church submits to Christ, in this way also wives are to submit to their husbands, in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her, 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her, by the washing of water, through the word, 27 to present the church to himself in splendour, having no stain or wrinkle or anything of the kind, but so that she might be holy and unblemished. 28 In this way husbands too must love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it—just as Christ also did for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”. 32 This secret is profound, and I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 But you also—each husband among you—should in this way love his own wife as himself, that the wife should respect her husband. Chapter 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honour your father and mother”, which is the first commandment associated with the promise: 3 “so that it may be well with you and you may have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, don’t provoke your children, but nurture them in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, with whole-hearted sincerity, as obeying Christ, 6 not just serving to be seen, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ doing God’s will from within, serving with a good attitude, 7 as rendering service to the Lord and not human beings, 8 recognising that for each one of us, whatever good we have done, this we will get back from the Lord—whether slave or free. 9 Masters, act the same way towards your slaves, giving up the use of threats, by recognising that both their and your Master is in heaven and shows no favouritism.
10 Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in his mighty strength. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes: 12 because our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armour of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground in the evil day, and having accomplished everything, to stand. 14 Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the armoured vest of righteousness, 15 and having wrapped your feet with the preparedness of the gospel of peace—16 in all things having taken up the shield of faith, by which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—that is, God’s word—18 praying with every kind of prayer and petition, at every opportunity, by the Spirit. To that end, stay alert with all perseverance and every kind of petition for the holy ones 19 and for me. Pray that the word would be given me as I open my mouth, so that I can boldly make known the secret of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I would be bold in speaking it, as I must.
21 So that you may also know about my circumstances and what I am doing, Tychicus will make everything known to you. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. 22 I have sent him to you for this very reason: that you might know our news and that he might encourage your hearts. 23 Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ, in immortality.
This post is part of a series of 70 reflections covering every sentence in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It’s also available in audio podcast format. You can see all the posts in the series, and connect to the audio podcast using the platform of your choice, by following this link.
The academic details behind these reflections
In this series, I don’t go into detail justifying every statement I make about the background and meaning of Ephesians. I’ve done that elsewhere. If you’re interested in the reasons I say what I say here, and want to chase it up further with lots of ancient Greek, technical stuff, and footnotes, check out my book Reading Ephesians and Colossians After Supersessionism: Christ’s Mission through Israel to the Nations.