Eugene Peterson, in his new book, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ examines the poetic significance of Ephesians 1:3-14, one long, long sentence in Greek — and it’s all about God. (I post the passage after the jump.)
“201 nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions cascading off Paul’s pen!” (55).
The passage is about God, and it reminds me of this question:
How can we learn to be better “theo”centric Bible readers? How can we learn to focus on God more?
“We have short attention spans. Having been introduced to God, we soon lose interest in God and become preoccupied with ourselves. Self expands and soul atrophies. Psychology trumps theology. … [And this] usually adds up to a workable life … But — it is not the practice of resurrection, it is not growing up in Christ, it is not living in the company of the Trinity, it is not living out of our beginnings, our begettings” (56).
Nine verbs of what God does/did: blessed, chose, destined, bestowed, lavished, made known and gather up. [These are his list; I have emboldened some others that English readers might observe.]
1:3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. 1:4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. 1:5 He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will – 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 1:8 that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. 1:9 He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ – the things in heaven and the things on earth. 1:11 In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will 1:12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, would be to the praise of his glory. 1:13 And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, 1:14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.