The Book of Ephesians: All Things!

22” And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22–23 (ESV)

The person doing the action in today’s text remains God the Father. The individual receiving the action is God the Son: Jesus Christ. God the Father placed or put all things under His (Jesus’) feet. What does this mean?

The word put (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso) is an active verb. The word means to bring under control, to become subordinate or subject to an authority. God the Father placed all things, or everything, under the authority and control of God the Son: Jesus Christ. Under His feet is another way of saying that all things are under Jesus’ authority.

God the Father also gave Jesus something more. He made Jesus the head of the church. The word head (κεφαλή; kephale) means the One who has superior status. In other words, Jesus Christ is superior and the supreme authority over the church.

The Apostle Paul then refers to the church using one of the most familiar biblical metaphors: the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). The image implies not only unity but also functionality.

The phrase “the fullness of him who fills all in all” is a description of the church. However, its meaning is somewhat obscure. The phrase literally means that the church is completely complete in Christ.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “The meaning of this description of His body is difficult to determine. The verb “fills” can be taken passively, meaning that Christ, the Head of the body, is filled by the church. That is, as the church grows it completes Christ. However, it is better to understand the word “fills” as in the Greek middle voice: Christ, the Head of the body, fills (for Himself) the church with blessings. The verse could then be rendered, “which is His body, which is being filled by the One who fills all things with all things (blessings).” This interpretation is preferred for these reasons: (1) Nowhere else does the New Testament state that Christ finds fullness from the church. (2) This view fits the context well because the Persons of the Godhead are completing the actions (cf. Eph. 1:10). (3) This view correlates well with 4:10–11 which speaks of Christ giving all things (“the whole universe” is lit., “all things”), namely, gifted people to the church.”  

Today’s text concludes the Apostle Paul’s prayer which began in 1:15. Paul prayed that believers would come to know God intimately (v. 17) in order that they might know three facts: (1) the past call of salvation that produced hope (v. 18), (2) the future inheritance that God has in His saints (v. 18), and (3) the present power of God that is available to believers, which (a) was manifested in the past in Christ’s resurrection and Ascension, (b) will be manifested in the future in Christ’s headship over Creation, and (c) is presently manifested in Christ’s headship over the church.

When you pray today, take the opportunity to thank the Lord for the many blessings which He has given each believer in Christ: pasta, present and future. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

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