Do you feel like a “glorious inheritance”? (Eph 1:18) - Mondays with Mounce 260
In the words of Iron Man, “It’s good to be back.” I had a good session with the CBT on the NIV, except that a good friend dropped dead at 42 years of age and I left early to do the funeral. Good break this summer, fantastic board meeting for BiblicalTraining.org topped off with a trip to the Bahamas. Now it is back to work.
I have been reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. It is an exceptionally good book and I encourage all of you to read it. This part caught my eye on the flight back yesterday. “The wildest part is that Jesus doesn’t have to love us. His being is utterly complete and perfect, apart from humanity. Yet He wants us, chooses us, even considers us His inheritance (Eph. 1:18). The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us.”
In part Ephesians 1:18 says, “in order that you may know … the riches of his glorious inheritance (ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ) in his holy people (ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις)” (NIV). I don’t have any earth-shaking thing to say other than I don’t think I ever really thought through the use of ἐν in this verse. The normal translations don’t fit here: “in, among, into, with.”
Arnold points out how Israel was often pictured as God’s inheritance (Deut 9:29; 2 Sam 21:3, etc). But through the work of Jesus, we are now God’s possession” (1:14), his inheritance. His inheritance is “in” all of us.
The other interesting translation note is the NIV’s treatment of δόξης as an Hebraic genitive (“glorious”) although the NET describes the same translation differently: “Here ‘inheritance’ is taken as an attributed genitive and the head noun, ‘glory,’ is thus translated as an adjective, ‘glorious inheritance.’”
Just think of it. The God who needs nothing is crazy about you and me (Chan’s language). But even more than that, we are his glorious inheritance. We have a guaranteed inheritance (1:14), but we are also His inheritance. He looks forward to us.
Boggles the mind.
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics on the ZA Blog. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.
Learn more about Bill’s Greek resources at BillMounce.com.
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