Structure of Ephesians

From: Perry L. Stepp (
Date: Wed Sep 17 1997 - 14:48:17 EDT

Hello all. I hope this is not too far afield--it's greek, but it's
probably more interpretive than most of our discussions.

I've been reading Ephesians, looking for clues as to it's rhetorical
structure. I've found some things I think are interesting, and want input
from members of the group.

As I read it, Ephesians is organized around a series of statements where
Paul describes something God has done and then tells us God's purpose for
that action: "God did/does x so that y."

These statements are:
1.4-6 God chose and predestined us so that His grace would be praised (EIS
denoting purpose in 1.6).

1.9-10 God made His mystery/plan known to us (that all things would be
brought together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ) so that we could
receive commission in that plan (EIS denoting purpose in 1.10). (Remember:
to the Semitic mind, MYSTERION refers to something that has been revealed,
not a mystery that is still hidden.)

1.11-12 God made us heirs (see NRSV or the NIV margin for the proper
translation of
KLHROW) so that we would live for the purpose of bringing praise to Him/His
glory (EIS denoting purpose in 1.12).

2.3-7 God made us alive in Christ so that He could demonstrate the
richness of His grace (hINA in 2.7).

2.10 God made us (new?) in Christ, so that we would do the good works He
prepared for us (hINA in 2.10).

2.14-16 God made the divided peoples one people, making peace between them
so that He could make peace between them and Himself (hINA in 2.15).

3.10ff God gave Paul a commission to preach to the Gentiles, making the
mystery (1.9-10) known, so that through the Church He could make His wisdom
known universally (hINA in 3.10).

4.7, 11-14 God through Christ gave gifts to the people of His Church, so
that the body of Christ would be built up and made strong and mature (EIS
denoting purpose in 3.12, hINA in 3.14--I'm taking them as parallel, even
though Paul doesn't use the same terms).

There may be other purpose statements later in the letter, but these are
enough to illustrate what I'm looking for.

What do you think? Has anyone proposed such a reading, and has that
proposal been debated anywhere?

If you think this *does* produce a coherent reading, what explanation can
be offered for alternating between hINA and EIS?

Grace and peace,

Perry L. Stepp

DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
Ph.D. candidate in New Testament, Baylor University
Keeper of the Top-10 List,
#1 Cowboy homer

I've railed against a mountain with a pickaxe and a file
there's no minefield like presumption,
there's no deathwish like denial

there's no gunshot like conviction
there's no conscience bulletproof
there's no strength like utter weakness
there's no insult like the truth
          --Charlie Peacock


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