Ephesians 2:11-18

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh - who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" that is performed on the body24 by human hands - that you were at that time without the Messiah,25 alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise,26 having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.27 For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one28 and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified29 in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man30 out of two,31 thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed.32 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that33 through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. [NET]

24tn Grk "in the flesh."

25tn Or "without Christ." Both "Christ" (Greek) and "Messiah" (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean "one who has been anointed." Because the context refers to ancient Israel's messianic expectation, "Messiah" was employed in the translation at this point rather than "Christ."

26tn Or "covenants of the promise."

27tn Or "have come near in the blood of Christ."
sn See the note on "his blood" in 1:7.

28tn Grk "who made the both one."

29tn Or "rendered inoperative." This is a difficult text to translate because it is not easy to find an English term which communicates well the essence of the author's meaning, especially since legal terminology is involved. Many other translations use the term "abolish" (so NRSV, NASB, NIV), but this term implies complete destruction which is not the author's meaning here. The verb (katargew) can readily have the meaning "to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness" (BDAG 525 s.v. 2, where this passage is listed), and this meaning fits quite naturally here within the author's legal mindset. A proper English term which communicates this well is "nullify" since this word carries the denotation of "making something legally null and void." This is not, however, a common English word. An alternate term like "rendered inoperative [or ineffective]" is also accurate but fairly inelegant. For this reason, the translation retains the term "nullify"; it is the best choice of the available options, despite its problems.

30tn In this context the author is not referring to a new individual, but instead to a new corporate entity united in Christ. This is clear from the comparison made between the Gentiles and Israel in the immediately preceding verses and the assertion in v. 14 that Christ "made both groups into one." This is a different metaphor than the "new man" of Eph 4:24; in that passage the "new man" refers to the new life a believer has through a relationship to Christ.

31tn Grk "in order to create the two into one new man." Eph 2:14-16 is one sentence in Greek. A new sentence was started here in the translation for clarity since contemporary English is less tolerant of extended sentences.

32tn Grk "by killing the hostility in himself."

33tn Or "for." BDAG gives the consecutive (Joti) as a possible category of NT usage (BDAG 732 s.v. 5.c).

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Chris HH said...

United in Christ.

Jesus did not just reconcile us to God, but he has also reconciled us to each other. In both cases any dividing barrier has been destroyed.

In Jesus we are one body, in covenant not only with God, but with each other. In Christ people who would never otherwise have associated with each other, become not only friends but brothers. We are one united family in him.

Anna Sacha said...

and thats the key to advancing the Kingdom. its not left to a few elite preachers, rather it is the goal of the Body to advance the Kingdom of God throughout the world.