Ephesians 1:3-14 is a single sentence in Greek. It has more than 200 words. How does a preacher even begin!
Well, to start, I isolated the indicative verbs, which is as simple as typing
into the search entry bar in Accordance software. I wanted to start there because I thought indicative verbs (as opposed to the participles) would be the best place to begin breaking down the flow of Paul’s argument.
Then I cross-highlighted the verbs in an English translation in parallel (though I had done my own translation, too) so I could see them in both languages. The result was this (click/tap to enlarge):
From there, you guessed it, a three-point outline emerged, which shaped my sermon on this beautiful passage. I found that the indicative verbs themselves coalesce pretty nicely into three main points.
I’m preaching on the passage tomorrow–great stuff, and much more to share, but just this simple search (with, of course, instantaneous results) has been essential in guiding my exegesis and preparation.
8 thoughts on “Ephesians 1:3-14 is One Sentence in Greek: Where to Start”
Personally, I think starting with participles would be a splendid idea! (0:
Maybe next passage! 😉
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Such a rich passage.
I’m preaching now on the second half of chapter 1, but I keep coming back to the first half of it! So much there.
I am teaching Eph 1:3-14 on Monday and am fascinated by the verb tenses, but I am not a scholar. Can you give me a simple way of explaining what God has done for us in these 200 words?
Hi, Diane! Ah, answering that question will be the joy you have in wrestling through the passage! 🙂
How the insight from the blog post made its way to a sermon outline was something like this:
1. God has chosen us in love… for a purpose (1:4, 1:11)
2. God has lavished grace on us in Jesus… with delight! (1:5-9)
3. God has marked us with a seal: the promised Holy Spirit (1:13)
Hope this helps!