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قراءة كتاب St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians: A Practical Exposition

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St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians: A Practical Exposition

St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians: A Practical Exposition

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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allusions and greetings into his epistles; but the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians is destitute of them altogether, contrasting in this respect even with the Epistle to the Colossians, written at the same time to a church which St. Paul himself never visited. This would be a most inexplicable fact if the Epistle to the Ephesians were really a letter to this one particular church. More than this, St. Paul speaks in several passages in a way which implies that he and those he wrote to were dependent on what they had heard for mutual knowledge—'having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus that is among you'—'if so be ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given me to youward.' Such language is much more natural if he is writing to others besides the Ephesians. And this evidence internal to the substance of the epistle coincides with evidence of the manuscripts. Very early manuscripts, some of those which remain to us and some which are reported to us by primitive scholars, omit the words 'in Ephesus' from St. Paul's opening greeting 'To the saints and faithful brethren which are [in Ephesus].' This fact, coupled with the absence of personal reminiscences in the epistle, has suggested the idea that it was in fact a circular letter to the saints and faithful brethren at a number of churches of the Roman province of Asia, and that where the words 'in Ephesus' stand in our text, there was perhaps a blank left in the epistle as St. Paul dictated it, which was intended to be filled up in each church where it was read. This is a view which has to a certain extent a special interest for us in Westminster because, if it was first suggested by the Genevan commentator Beza, it was elaborated by Archbishop Ussher, who is identified with our Abbey by residence and by the memorable record of his entombment in our abbey church with Anglican rites by the command of Cromwell. It follows naturally from such a view that when St. Paul writes to the Colossians and bids them send their letter to Laodicea, and read that which comes from Laodicea[49], the letter which they should expect from Laodicea would be none other than the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians which was to be read by them as well as the other Asiatic Christians.

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