[b-greek] "You" and "we" in Eph 2:1 - 22 (To Daniel Buck)

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (moon@saint.soongsil.ac.kr)
Date: Sun Oct 22 2000 - 04:37:42 EDT

Dear Bgreekers,

in recent discussions on Eph 2:1, Daniel Buck wrote:

If you note the parallel structure between verse 1 and verse 5 I would
suggest that the initial thought of verse 1 is resumed in verse 5. Also
structure of KAI hUMAS ... KAI hHMAS may be read as both you (Gentiles
believers) ... and we (Jewish believers). Both are dead in trespasses,
though the former situation of the Gentile believers receives further
expansion. But finally verse 5 gives us the verbal thought of this entire
temporal and parenthetical comment setting up the situation of the
in contrast with the mercy of God (v. 4) and His above and beyond grace


This interpretation is interesting because
this theme of Christ making both Jews and Gentiles one body is
quite visible in the letter, e.g. 2:11-22. The most important verses in
this regard seem to be 17-18:

he came and preached peace to you [Gentiles] who were far off and peace to
those [Jews] who were near, 2:18 so that31 through him we both have access
in one Spirit to the Father.

But before I consider your interpretation seriously, I would like to solve
two problems.

Q1: According to your reading, it seems natural to take "KAI hHMEIS
PANTES" in to refer to Jews in 2:3:
"among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings
of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by
nature children of wrath even as the rest"

But, it would have been natural for Paul to identify with his flock as
its leader, and would have naturally use "we" when he
referred to his flock, the Gentile believers. Moreover, "were
by nature children of wrath like the rest [of the Gentiles]"
fits well to 2:12
 "you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the
 citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise,
 having no hope and without God in the world."

So, the fact that Paul uses "us" in 2:5 does not seem to imply that
he has in mind a different group than in 2:1.

Q2: In verse 2:4, "God, .... because of the great love with which he loved
US", the "US" would refer to the same group as "you".

Q3: In 2:5 immediately after "KAI hHMAS ONTAS...", Paul immediately
says "By Grace YOU are saved" as a remark in parenthesis.

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