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Ephesians - A Mine of Rubies, Emeralds & Diamonds - Download PDF Article

The book of Ephesians is 'a' if not 'the' pinnacle of the Christian faith. To discover and understand these jewels of truth, we must mine below the surface, a labyrinth of tunnels that lay hundreds of feet below the opening, passages ever leading us on to open the eyes of our heart, enabling us to behold our glorious Creator, Yahweh Elohim of Host and His triumphal Son, Christ Yahshua. Ephesians is difficult to comprehend because of its sentence syntax.FN1 After the general introduction, the book begins with a 278 word sentence, Ephesians 1:3-14 and this is just the introduction to this glorious adventure. As spelunkersFN2 explore different levels of caverns, we also choose the depth we are willing to explore, expecting gems around every bend, hoping for a grand cavern filled with wonders beyond our greatest expectations. This journey is into the super sentences of Ephesians, of which there are many.  Understanding these devises of communication will allow us to behold and fulfill our vital purpose upon the earth, bringing glory unto our Father.

These super sentences are called cumulative sentences. Cumulative sentences (also known as loose sentences) begin with a subject and a predicate and then add a series of phrases and or subordinate clauses that amplify or explain the idea in the independent or main clause. This construction puts the main idea first and supports it with phrases containing details. The cumulative sentences we will explore will be Ephesians 1:3-14, 15-23; 2:1-9, 11-15, 19-22; 3:1-13, 14-21 and 4:1-6, 7-16. The great literal Bible translators, such as Joseph Rotherham, Robert Young and Jay Green Sr. do not always agree on the same punctuation in every case but they are fairly consistent between their translations.  Other Bible translations, such as the NIV, NKJV and Amplified Version seek to please the modern English reader, who desires short sentences over accuracy, by inserting periods for readability, thereby losing and changing the original meaning of Yahweh's thoughts. For example, Ephesians 1:3-14 is one sentence comprising of a total of 278 words. The following list of Bible translations demonstrates how it has been preserved or modified.

   Bible Translations  Number of Sentences   Bible Published
     
Rotherham Emphasized 1 1902
American Standard (ASV)   1 1901
J.P. Green (LITV)  1 1987
Young (YLT) 1 1898
B. F. Westcott (Ephesians)FN3 1 1906
Modern King James (MKJV) 2 1962
 King James (KJV)  3 1611
New King James (NKJV) 4 1982
New American Standard (NASV) 4 1960
New Revised Standard (NRSV) 6 1989
J.B. Phillips (PHL) 6 1958
New American Bible (NAB) 6 1970
New English Translation (NET) 7 1997
New International Version (NIV) 8 1973
New Living Translation 15 1996

It should be clear from any reasonable study of sentence length that modern translations reject what previously was the norm. One of the classic objections to literal translations is that the sentences are too long and the wording too rough -- yet this is precisely the very trait to be found in most biblical Greek manuscripts.

Review on English Grammar

Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject. The predicate includes the verb that describes what the subject is doing.  To determine the subject of a sentence, first isolate the verb and then make a question by placing "who?" or "what?" before it -- the answer is the subject. A complete sentence will have a main clause FN4 (subject and predicate) also known as the kernal elements.FN5 To this sentence can be added many modifing phrases,FN6 which modify the main clause acting as adverbs and adjectives. In addition, the sentence can also have subordinating clauses, which are attached to the main clause that completes the meaning of the sentence. For example, the sentence, 'Praise be to Yahweh, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in the heavenlies,' is a sentence with a main clause (Praise be to Yahweh), a suborinate clause (who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings), and a modifing phrase (in the heavenlies).    

Sentences can also have an ellipsis. An ellipsisFN7 is "the ommission of one or more words in a sentence, which would be needed to complete the grammatical construction or to fully express the sense." An example of an ellipsis is presented in Ephesians 1:3. The sentence begins by saying, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." This statement never indentified who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is YAHWEH. The sentence could be rewritten as, "Blessed be (Yahweh) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The omission or ellipsis of this sentence is the word Yahweh, which we will put in parenthesis to show that it is an ellipsis or omission.  

Ephesians 1:3-14

The subject of this one sentence is, 'Yahweh,' who is the Elohim and Father of our Lord Yahshua Christ. The predicate of this sentence is, 'Blessed be,' which means 'Praise be.'FN8 'Praise be to Yahweh' is a complete sentence by itself but as we will see, this is just the entrance to a wonderful world buried beneath the surface, where glorious modifying phrases and enlightening subordinate clauses are opening our eyes to why we should be 'Praising Yahweh.' B. F. Westcott, of Westcott and Hort, who compiled the Greek New Testament that most Bible translations use as their text, called this sentence, "A Hymn of Praise to Yahweh for the redemption and consummation of things in Christ."FN9 We will first begin our study on this sentence by examining how a main thought, clause or kernel element gets lost when we change one sentence, which has one main clause into eight sentences, having eight main clauses. The NIV Bible translation, the number one selling Bible in the world, will be our example:

NIV Eph. 1:3-14

(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (subject = God, predicate = Praise be)

(4)  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (subject = he, predicate = chose us)

In love (5) he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— (6) to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (subject = he, predicate = predestined us)

(7)  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace (8) that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (subject = we, predicate = have redemption)

(9)  And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, (10)  to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (subject = he, predicate = made known to us)

(11)  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (12) in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (subject = we, predicate = were chosen)

(13)  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. (subject = you, predicate = were included)

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, (14) who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. (subject = you, predicate = were marked)

The NIV Bible, by changing one sentence into eight sentences has eight subjects (God, he, he, we, he, we, you and you) and eight predicates (Praise be, chose us, predestined us, have redemption, made known to us, were chosen, were included and were marked). Yahweh's Word has only one main clause, ringing throughout this 278 word Hymn, which is, 'Praise be to Yahweh.'  I will insert, in parenthesis, the main clause including the ellipsis (Praise be to Yahweh) throughout this sentence in order that we do not lose our kernel element or theme of this entire sentence. (See Appendix A for an English and Greek sentence diagram of Eph. 1:3-14)FN10

Rotherham Emphasized Bible Eph. 1:3-14

(vs. 3) Praise be (to Yahweh),
the Elohim and Father of our Lord Yahshua Christ,
who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing,
in the heavenlies,
in Christ,

(vs. 4)  (Praise be to Yahweh because) he made choice of us,
in Him,
before the founding of a world,
that we might be holy and blameless in His presence;
in love, (vs. 5)  marking us out beforehand unto sonship,
through Yahshua Christ,
for Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will,
(vs. 6)  Unto the praise of the glory of His favour

(Praise be to Yahweh because) He favoured us in the Beloved One,

(vs. 7)  (Praise be to Yahweh because) we have the redemption through his (Christ) blood,
the remission of our offences,

(vs. 8)  (Praise be to Yahweh because) He made to superabound towards us
the riches of His favor;
in all wisdom and prudence,
(vs. 9)  making known to us the sacred secret of His will,
according to His good pleasure

(Praise be to Yahweh because) He purposed in him (Christ),
(vs. 10)  for an administration of the fullness of the seasons,
to reunite for Himself
(under one head)
the all things in the Christ,
the things upon the heavens, and the things upon the earth,
in Him:

(vs. 11)  (Praise be to Yahweh because) we were taken as an inheritance,
according to the purpose of Him who energiseth all things
according to the counsel of His will,
(vs. 12)  That we should be for the praise of His glory
we who had hoped beforehand in the Christ,
(vs. 13)  In whom, ye also––hearing the word of the truth,
the glad–message of your salvation,
in whom also believing,

(Praise be to Yahweh because we) were sealed with the spirit of the promise, the holy,
(vs. 14)  which is an earnest of our inheritance,
unto the redemption of the acquisition;
unto His glorious praise.

Why are we instructed, in Ephesians 1:3, that 'Praises are to be to Yahweh?' The answers are unearthed in verses 3-14. Praise be to Yahweh because Yahweh has:

Blessed us with every spiritual blessings, in the heavenlies, in Christ; (vs. 3)
Chosen us in Him before the founding of the world; (vs. 4)
Marked us out beforehand unto sonship; (vs. 5)
Redeemed us through Christ's blood, and gave us the remission of our sins; (vs. 7)
Made the riches of His favor to superabound towards us; (vs. 8)
Made known to us the sacred secret of His will; (vs. 9)
Reunited for Himself the all things in the Christ, which includes us; (vs. 10)
Taken us as an inheritance; (vs. 11)
Sealed us with the spirit of the promise, the holy. (vs. 13)

We have been called to be the praise of His glory, holy and blameless in His presence, unto His glorious praise. Therefore 'Praises be to Yahweh,' for the above mentioned surpassing wealth bestowed upon us!

(To be continued on the PDF article)

Appendix A

"Unexpressed subjects are always indicated by (X), the identification of the subject left to the reader." Any word in parenthesis ( ) is an ellipsis.

FN1Orderly or systematic arrangement of parts or elements; constitution (of body); a connected order or system of things. OED

FN2 cave explorers

FN3 St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians; pg. 5. B. F. Westcott was the translator that made the Westcott - Hort Greek New Testament Text.

FN4 Clauses contain a subject and verb. If they form complete thoughts, we call them independent clauses. If they form incomplete thoughts, we call them dependent or subordinate clauses.

FN5 The kernel elements are those expressing the core of the subject and predicate: the subject is the noun or pronoun naming the clause's topic, and the predicate consists minimally of the verb, though many if not most verbs also demand a complement (such as a direct object or a predicate nominative). The kernel elements then, are subject, verb, and, if required, complement. The most reliable way to locate the kernel is to find the verb and express it in its proper voice, then ask "who or what?" before the verb to find its subject, then ask "who(m) or what?" after the verb to find any complement. A verb that does not require a complement will not lend itself to the complement question.

FN6 Phrases are word clusters lacking subject and verb combinations.

FN7 Ellipsis is a Greek word meaning 'a leaving in.' The figure is so called, because some gap is left in the sentence. The English name of the figure of speech would therefore be called 'Omission.' E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible.

FN8 The Greek word translated Blessed is eulogetos which is derived from eulogeo, which is defined as to praise, celebrate with praises

FN9 St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians; pg. 2

FN10 BibleWorks New Testament Greek Sentence Diagrams; Prepared by Randy A. Leed

 

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(*When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew word Yahshua for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and Anointed for Christ.)

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