The Exciting Grammar of Ephesians 1

Grammar is boring. Right?

What if I told you that in Ephesians chapter 1 grammar actually is pretty exciting? What if I told you that broken grammar was exciting because it conveys excitement? Paul’s “bad grammar” actually teaches us what he was feeling when he wrote it and what we should experience as we read it and reflect on it.

Most of our English translations break down verses 3-14 into six sentences so we can wrap our head around everything that’s said but Paul originally wrote it in one huge, breathless, run-on sentence.1 That tells us something: Paul is excited. Even in the English which breaks the section down into smaller chunks, they’re still run-on sentences! Paul is tripping over his own tongue trying to express the unparalleled glory of God’s grace towards his people.

Paul is seeing a cascade of blessing pour out from heaven, all to the praise of the overflowing Fountain himself. He has stopped thinking about writing simple sentences because he’s so caught up in the glory that is ours in Christ. Paul is recognizing how God’s plan, provision, grace, adoption, redemption, forgiveness, inheritance, and sealing overlap and interweave in a glorious whole. 

God isn’t stingy with his gifts. He pours them out in abundance. So Paul’s words come out in abundance.

Read Ephesians 1. If doesn’t excite you, you need to read it again. Let the “ears” of your heart be opened to hear Paul’s breathless excitement. Watch as he lets praise after praise, blessing after blessing spill forth and flood the earth with the glory of God.Grammar’s not so boring.

1 Francis Foulkes, The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series, 44.