The Bad: V 1 – apparently the oldest and best manuscripts do not include the word Ephesus; add to that the fact that we know this letter was not actually written by Paul, but by one of his followers some years after Paul’s death, and what we have is an undated letter, written by an anonymous impostor passing himself off as Paul, to an unknown group of people. But it’s included in the bible which is supposed to be infallible, yeah sure.
V 5 sounds like pre-destiny. It only describes people being chosen in advance to follow Christ; nothing is said about those who aren’t chosen – but the implications can’t be good, right? And if people are predestined for heaven anyway, then why the big debate about faith vs works being the requirement for being saved? – it’s a moot point.
The Ugly: v 7, which the SAB paraphrases thus: “God had his son murdered to keep himself from hurting others for things they didn’t do.” Exactly. V 10-11 creep me out. What is this, some kind of end-of-the-world scenario? And there’s that pre-destination idea again. V 14 “…he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (NLT) Sick megalomaniac!
Quotes: All of the syrupy Christian platitudes find their way into memes, but so, predictably, do the verses I find most abhorrent.
The Bad: V 11-17 describe Christ uniting the Jews and Gentiles, and creating peace, so that everyone can come to the father in the same holy spirit. Uh, no, sorry. Jews and Gentiles are still two separate religious and cultural groups, and furthermore, each of them has splintered into thousands of different competing sects. Epic fail.
The Ugly: V 1-3 The author claims that until we found Jesus, we all used to follow the inclinations of our inherently sinful nature and obey the devil. Let him speak for himself. I’m tired of this hateful vitriol and can’t stand the thought of it being taught to innocent children. What sick mind thinks it up?
A note about v 2 – in the KJV the devil is referred to as the ‘prince of power in the air’, and in the SAB there’s an annotation explaining that until modern times Christians believed that Satan was responsible for storms and droughts. The NLT rephrases this to ‘the devil – the commander of power in the unseen world’, and the NIV says ‘the ruler of the kingdom of the air’. All of which prove that the author knew no more about science than anyone else of his era.
The Repetitive: The rest of the chapter consists of the following Basic Christian Beliefs and I’m tired of reading and commenting on them, so I will make a list. When I find additional points in subsequent chapters I will just continue numbering. Because after a few times reading the same schlock, my eyes glaze over. zzzzzzz
1. We are all miserable sinners.
2. God is so merciful, and he loved us so much, that even though we were miserable sinners, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.
3. It is only by God’s grace that we are saved, and/or God saved you by his grace when you believed.
4. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, it is a gift from god.
5. God has created us anew in Christ Jesus.
6. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
7. Christ brings the Good News of peace
8. God’s house is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself
9. All those who believe in Jesus enjoy the same blessings/salvation.
Quotes: Christians just love to analyze and create memes about all these sappy verses. This is this lesson poster from an actual online course. People wallow in this stuff – hurk!
The Bad: V 3 “As I briefly wrote earlier…” There is no other letter to the Ephesians, so if there was at one time, it’s been lost.
The Repetitive: Add v 17 and 19 to the list from the previous chapter:
10. Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.
11. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
File the rest of this chapter under “Boring Christian Sermons” zzzzzz
Quotes: V 20 and 21, with slightly different wording, were recited in my Anglican church. They concluded the Morning Prayer (Mattins) service.
“Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation, in the church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever, Amen.”
Funny how these memories are triggered; I recognized this passage immediately even though this exact wording does not appear in any of the 3 translations appearing simultaneously on my screen.