From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
The New Testament > Ephesians > Chapter 2
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 Lexical notes
- In the Joseph Smith Translation, a single word is added in verse 8, apparently to emphasize the contrast: but it is the gift of God.
- The Greek word here for "grace" (charis, which is etymologically related to the English word "charity") may not have had the theological overtones at the time Paul wrote this as it does today. Charis comes from the verb chairo, which means "to be happy" or "to rejoice," so in its original sense charis means "that which causes joy or pleasure." In a broader sense, it can be understood to mean "lovingkindness," "loving favor," "good will" and things along that line — the kind of love that flows out of a person and whose expression makes that person happy. In other words, to oversimplify a bit, Paul's use of this word indicates that it is God's freely given love for us that saves us.
- Paul in verse 10 puts what precedes into context. The purpose of the atonement and the salvation it brings is that we may do the good works that God assigned to us even before we were born. Some commentators over the years have contrasted this section of Ephesians with James 2:17, but in fact they complement each other. If the whole purpose of our creation is to do good, of what value is the salvation we receive through faith if it doesn't result in doing good?
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