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Ephesians 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Ephesians 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

"Paul ... to the saints which are at Ephesus"
Although Ephesians claims to have been written by Paul, most scholars think it was written after his death by one of his followers. Also, the words "to the saints which are in Ephesus" does not occur in the best manuscripts.1
Just as Macbeth wasn't written by Shakespeare, but by someone calling himself Shakespeare, so an epistle with the title Paul isn't written by Paul but by someone calling himself Paul. You can't argue with that, can you?
Evidence isn't necessary for the modern scholar. But the church would not have accepted this epistle in the canon, if they had not been sure it was written by Paul himself. At the end of this epistle we learn who brought this epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21-22), Tychicus, while Paul was held in Rome (Eph. 6:20). Because of these reasons, the church kept the autographs, which were still available in the 3rd century as Tertullian of Carthage wrote in the beginning of that century:

Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves).

And on the “best manuscripts”, those are of course the usual suspects. But note that the missing words are found in the margin of Codex B (Vaticanus), and occur in all the oldest manuscripts.

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

(1:4-5, 11) "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. Having predestinated us ... according to the good pleasure of his will."
We are predestined by God to go to either heaven or hell. None of our thoughts, words, or actions can affect the final outcome.
Do humans have free will?
What must you do to be saved?
What the Bible says about determinism and free will
Where does this verse say that God has predestined people to go to hell? And where in this chapter? It doesn't say that all. What is does say that no men will be saved by himself. If God does not save people, none would ever be saved.
On if humans have free will, no longer do they have a will free from sin, and no longer can they freely choose between good and evil, but they are inclined to all kinds of evil. More in my comment on Acts 13:48 and Rom. 8:29.
On what you must do to be saved, see Acts 16:30-31.

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

"We have redemption through his blood."
God had his son murdered to keep himself from hurting others for things they didn't do.
The punishment for sin was death, Gen. 2:17. How can humans, having sinned and deserving the punishment for sin, be saved? Must we make God a liar? Must God say: although I told you, you would die, I've changed my mind? Could such a God be trusted with our salvation? Maybe he would change his mind at some time? But God did not lie, and will exact the punishment of sin upon all of us. To escape that punishment, it must be paid. And that is what God's Son did. And he did it willingly and he gave himself freely.

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 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,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.