on Ephesians 1 :1
To the saints which are at Ephesus - As some learned men think that this epistle was written to the Church of the Laodiceans, and that the words εν Εφεσῳ, in Ephesus, were not originally in this epistle, the consideration of the subject has appeared to be more proper for the preface; and to that the reader is referred for a particular discussion of this opinion. By the term saints we are to understand those who in that place professed Christianity, and were members of the Christian Church. Saint properly signifies a holy person, and such the Gospel of Christ requires every man to be, and such every true believer is, both in heart and life; but saint appears to have been as ordinary a denomination of a believer in Christ in those primitive times, as the term Christian is now. Yet many had the name who had not the thing.
The faithful in Christ Jesus - Πιστοις· the believers - the persons who received Christ as the promised Messiah, and the Savior of the world, and continued in the grace which they had received.
on Ephesians 1 :1
Paul, an apostle; - see the notes at Romans 1:1.
By the will of God - see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:1.
To the saints - A name often given to Christians because they are holy; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:2.
In Ephesus - see the introduction, sections 1 and 5.
And to the faithful in Christ Jesus - This evidently refers to others than to those who were in Ephesus, and it is clear that Paul expected that this Epistle would be read by others. He gives it a general character, as if he supposed that it might be transcribed, and become the property of the church at large. It was not uncommon for him thus to give a general character to the epistles which he addressed to particular churches, and so to write that others than those to whom they were particularly directed, might feel that they were addressed to them. Thus, the First Epistle to the Corinthians was addressed to "the church of God in Corinth - with all that in every place call upon the name of Christ Jesus our Lord." The Second Epistle to the Corinthians in like manner was addressed to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia." Perhaps, in the Epistle before us, the apostle referred particularly to the churches of Asia Minor which he had not visited, but there is no reason for confining the address to them.
All who are "faithful in Christ Jesus" may regard the Epistle as addressed by the Holy Spirit to them, and may feel that they are as much interested in the doctrines, promises, and duties set forth in this Epistle, as were the ancient Christians of Ephesus. The word "faithful" here is not used in the sense of "trustworthy," or in the sense of "fidelity," as it is often employed, but in the sense of "believing," or "having faith" in the Lord Jesus. The apostle addresses those who were firm in the faith - another name for true Christians. The Epistle contains great doctrines about the divine purposes and decrees in which they, as Christians, were particularly concerned; important "mysteries" Ephesians 1:9, of importance for them to understand, and which the apostle proceeds to communicate to them as such. The fact that the letter was designed to be published, shows that he was not unwilling that those high doctrines should be made known to the world at large; still they pertained particularly to the church, and they are doctrines which should be particularly addressed to the church. They are rather suited to comfort the hearts of "Christians," than to bring "sinners" to repentance. These doctrines may be addressed to the church with more prospect of securing a happy effect than to the world. In the church they will excite gratitude, and produce the hope which results from assured promises and eternal purposes; in the minds of sinners they may arouse envy, and hatred, and opposition to God.
on Ephesians 1 :1
1:1 By the will of God - Not by any merit of my own. To the saints who are at Ephesus - And in all the adjacent places. For this epistle is not directed to the Ephesians only, but likewise to all the other churches of Asia.