Amplified: In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as He decided long ago. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And here is the staggering thing - that in all which will one day belong to Him we have been promised a share (since we were long ago destined for this by the one Who achieves his purposes by his sovereign will), (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in Whom also we were made an inheritance, having been previously marked out according to the purpose of the One Who operates all things according to the counsel of His will, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in whom also we did obtain an inheritance, being foreordained according to the purpose of Him Who the all things is working according to the counsel of His will,
ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE: en o kai eklehrothemen (1PAPI): (Ep 1:14; Psalms 37:18; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:18; Colossians 1:12; 3:24; Titus 3:7; James 2:5; 1Peter 1:4; 3:9)
In Him (last phrase in Eph 1:10-note) (See related discussion "in Christ") fits more appropriately at the beginning of verse 11 than at the end of verse 10. Jesus Christ is the ground or source of our divine inheritance and apart from Him the only eternal thing a person can receive from God is condemnation.
These truths are life changing...if we lay hold of them and live in the light of them as Ray Stedman exhorts us to do...
Obtained an Inheritance (only use in NT) (2820) (kleroo related word kleros) means to choose or determine by lot. In the passive sense (as in this use - passive voice) it means to obtain an inheritance or be appointed an heir. Believers became heirs of God because He predestined us according to His purpose. The “lot” in a sense then fell to believers not by chance but solely because of His gracious sovereign choice.
Paul uses the aorist tense to refer to a definite action in past. When something in the future was so certain that it could not possibly fail to happen Greek often spoke as if it had already occurred as in this case (prolepsis or proleptic in English = representation of something as existing before it actually becomes reality). To be sure, to an extent all believers have already received an inheritance (cf Eph 1:3 "every spiritual blessing...") but there is a certain future inheritance awaiting every believer for as Peter reminds his readers undergoing various trials, believers possess...
Paul explains to the Ephesian elders how in this present life to have a greater assurance of one's inheritance
John MacArthur explains the two ways that this verse can be translated...
HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE: prooristhentes (AAPMPN) kata prothesin: (Isaiah 46:10,11)
Spurgeon comments that...
Having been predestined (4309) (proorizo [word study] from pró = before + horízo = to determine) means to mark out with a boundary beforehand. Believers are what they are because of what God chose to make them before any man was created. Neither fate nor human merit determines our destiny.
The peace of the Christian Church has been disrupted due to the misunderstanding which surrounds the verb proorizo. It behooves believers to consider the divinely intended meaning of this word by carefully examining the critical passages where it is used...
Proorizo - 6x in 6v - Acts 4:28; Rom 8:29, 30; 1Co 2:7; Eph 1:5, 11
According to (2596) (kata) means not a portion of but proportional to. In other words, if a billionaire gives you $10 it is OUT OF his fortune, that would be a "portion" but if he gives you a million dollars, he is giving you "according to" (kata) his riches and thus is giving in proportion to his wealth. In the present context Paul is referring to God's purpose.
His purpose - God has an eternal purpose for all things. If God is God at all, He is sovereign. He cannot work independently of His own nature, for then He would cease to be God, something that is impossible. He is a wise God; therefore, His eternal purpose is a wise one. He is a powerful God; therefore, He is able to accomplish what He purposes. He is a loving God; therefore, what He purposes will manifest His love. He is an unchanging God; therefore, His purpose is unchanging.
Purpose (4286) (prothesis [word study] from protíthemi = set before oneself; purpose or plan) means a placing in view or openly displaying something (eg, prothesis is the Greek word used for the shewbread in the Holy Place as set before God). The idea is that of a setting forth, a plan in advance, or that which is planned or purposed in advance. In other words, it speaks of an intention or plan, and is like a "blueprint" or design of God in calling men in general, Gentiles as well as Jews"
Prothesis - 12x in 12v - Matt 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4; Acts 11:23; 27:13; Rom 8:28; 9:11; Eph 1:11; 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9; 3:10; Heb 9:2. NAS = consecrated(3), purpose(7), resolute(1), sacred(1).
William Hendriksen sums up this passage writing that...
WHO WORKS ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS WILL: tou ta panta energountos (PAPMSG) kata ten boulen tou thelematos autou: (Eph 1:8; Job 12:13; Proverbs 8:14; Isaiah 5:19; 28:29; 40:13,14; Jeremiah 23:18; 32:19; Zechariah 6:13; Acts 2:23; 4:28; 20:27; Romans 11:34; Hebrews 6:17)
Works (1754) (energeo [word study] from en = in + érgon = work. English = energetic) means to work effectively to cause something to happen. To energize, to operate, to work effectually in. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power. To work energetically, effectively and/or efficiently. To put forth energy. To be at work. To produce results.
God energizes every believer with all the power necessary for his spiritual completion. God operates with His divine energy in all things. The same word occurs in Eph 1:19-note and Eph 1:20-note, in reference to the energetic operation of the Father's infinite might which He energetically exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. The conclusion is that nothing, absolutely nothing can upset the elect’s future spiritual blessings in glory.
The present tense indicates continuous action and the active voice indicates God is the initiator. In short, God is continually working out His perfect will whether we see it or acknowledge it in our lives.
MacArthur has an interesting comment noting that...
Energeo - 21x in 19v - Matt 14:2; Mark 6:14; Rom 7:5; 1 Cor 12:6, 11; 2 Cor 1:6; 4:12; Gal 2:8; 3:5; 5:6; Eph 1:11, 20; 2:2; 3:20; Phil 2:13; Col 1:29; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Thess 2:7; Jas 5:16. accomplish(1), brought about(1), effective(2), effectually worked(2), performs...work(1), work(6), working(2), works(7).
All (3956) (pas) has idea of “whole” as well as the idea of oneness or a totality
According to (2596) (kata) So what God energizes He will complete
Counsel (1012) (boule) when used of man expresses a decision, a purpose or a plan which is the result of inner deliberation. Boule is that which has been purposed and planned. Boule has in it the ideas of intelligence and deliberation. In other words boule describes the result of deliberate determination which in the present context reflects the product of not just a "mastermind" but God's heart of infinite love.
NIDNTT says that in secular Greek boule...
denotes an intention, a deliberation. It also stands for the result of a deliberation in the sense of a decision of the will, a resolution, a counsel or an edict. So already in Homer (Il. 2, 53) an assembly of men is called a boule, when it became an institutional body (e.g. the Council of the Five Hundred in Athens, Herodotus 5, 72; 9, 5).
(a) the weighty preconsideration which precedes the effecting of the will (e.g. Dt 32:28). It can even be found in the sense of “wisdom” (e.g. "discretion" [Hebrew = mezimmah - 04209 = purpose, discretion, device] in Pr 2:11; Pr 8:12 = "prudence"; Pr 20:5 = "plan"). The Spirit “of counsel”, i.e. of considered reflection, is a gift of God (Is 11:2);
(b) counsel (e.g. Isa. 9:6 as a characteristic of the Messiah) and advice, whether good (Ge 49:6; 1Ki. 12:8) or foolish (Ps 1:1; Ps 106:43, Pr 21:30 = "counsel", Is 19:11);
(c) as in secular Greek, the council as a political institution, e.g. the assembly of the people (1Macc. 14:22), the deliberations of such a board (Jdg 2:2), and the resolution of an assembly (3 Macc. 7:17); "council of the holy ones" (Ps 89:7), "company" (Ps 111:1) "assembly" in Ps 1:5
(d) also, and above all, the counsel or purpose of God (e.g. “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to naught...the counsel of the LORD stands for ever”, Ps 33:10, 11; “Thou dost guide me with Thy counsel”, Ps 73:24, 106:13, 107:11, Pr 8:14, 19:21). God’s purposes are trustworthy and true; Israel can therefore rely on them (Is 25:1). His purpose includes Israel’s salvation (Is 14:26; cf. also Is 5:19; Mic 4:12). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Boule - 118 x in Septuagint (LXX) translated variously as "counsel", "advice", "discretion", "counselor" - Ge 49:6; Nu 16:2; Dt 32:28; Jdg 19:30; 20:7; 2Sa 15:31, 34; 16:20, 23; 17:7, 14, 23; 1Kgs 12:8, 13, 14, 24; 2Kgs 18:20; 1Chr 12:19; 2Chr 10:8, 13, 14; 22:5; Ezra 4:5; 10:8; Neh 4:15; Esther 4:17; 9:31; Job 5:12, 13; 10:3; 12:13; 18:7; 22:18; 29:21; 38:2; 42:3; Ps 1:1, 5; 13:2; 14:6; 20:4; 21:11; 33:10f; 66:5; 73:24; 89:7; 106:13, 43; 107:11; 111:1; Pr 1:25, 30; 2:11, 17; 3:21; 8:12, 14; 9:10; 11:13f; 15:22; 19:21; 20:5; 21:30; 22:20; 25:28; 31:4; Eccl 2:12; Isa 3:9; 4:2; 5:19; 7:5, 7; 8:10; 9:6; 10:25; 11:2; 14:26; 19:3, 11, 17; 25:1, 7; 28:8; 29:15; 30:1; 31:6; 32:7, 8; 36:5; 41:21; 44:25, 26; 46:10; 47:13; 55:7, 8; Je 18:18, 23; 19:7; 32:18; 49:7, 20, 30; 50:45; Ezek 7:26; 11:2; 27:9; Da 2:14; 4:27; 6:4; 7:8; Ho 10:6; Mic 4:9, 12; 6:16; Zech 6:13.
Here is an interesting use in the Septuagint (LXX) where the Greek seems to amplify the thrust of the Hebrew text (source of the NAS)...
NAS = Proverbs 25:28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit.
LXX = Proverbs 25:28 As a city whose walls are broken down, and which is unfortified, so is a man who does anything without counsel (boule).
Richards says that...
Boule is a strong term, indicating God's fixed intention. That which is his purpose stands utterly fixed and cannot be changed by any action of others. Of its twelve occurrences in the NT, seven times boule is used in reference to God's will and purpose (Lk 7:30; Ac 2:23; 4:28; 13:36; 20:27; Ep 1:11; He 6:17). When used of human beings, the word has a weaker force, expressing an intention or plan that may or may not be achieved. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Ellicott says boule
solemnly represents the almighty will as displayed in action; thelema designating the will generally, boule the more special expression of it
Thelema therefore, is will, the result of desire—voluntas; boule is counsel, the result of a formal decision—propositum. Here (Ep 1:11) boule is the ratified expression of will—the decision to which His will has come. The Divine mind is not in a state of indifference, it has exercised thelema—will; and that will is not a lethargic velleity, for it has formed a defined purpose, boule, which it determines to carry out. His desire and His decrees are not at variance, but every resolution embodies His unthwarted pleasure. This divine fore-resolve is universal in its sweep—“He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” The plan of the universe lies in the omniscient mind, and all events are in harmony with it. Power in unison with infinite wisdom and independent and undeviating purpose, is seen alike whether He create a seraph or form a gnat—fashion a world or round a grain of sand—prescribe the orbit of a planet or the gyration of an atom. The extinction of a world and the fall of a sparrow are equally the result of a free pre-arrangement. Our “inheritance” in Christ springs not from merit, nor is it an accidental gift bestowed from casual motive or in fortuitous circumstances, but it comes from God's fore-appointment, conceived in the same independence and sovereignty which guide and control the universe. (Commentary)
Salmond says: "The distinction between boule and thelema is still much debated, scholars continuing to take precisely opposite views of it." Nevertheless he concludes: In a connection like the present it is natural to look for a distinction, and in such cases theidea of intelligence and deliberation seems to attach to the boule. This appears to be supported by the usage which prevails in point of fact in the majority of NT passages, and particularly by such occurrences as Matt. 1:19. Here, therefore, the will of God which acts in His foreordaining purpose or decree, in being declared to have its boule or "counsel," is set forth not arbitrarily, but intelligently and by deliberation, not without reason, but for reasons, hidden it may be from us, yet proper to the Highest Mind and Most Perfect Moral Nature (Earle, R. Word Meanings in the New Testament).
Wuest in commenting on o 8:29 has an interesting thought noting first that boule is
used in classical Greek of a council convened for the purpose of administering the affairs of government, such as the Roman Senate, or of the camp-fire council of Xenophon and his officers on their march back to Greece. Out from the deliberations of this latter council, for instance, would come counsel, a pre-determined course of action that would best meet the circumstances they had to face on the march. Here (Ro 8:29) we have the Triune God in council convened, the purpose of which was to select out from the three Persons of the Godhead, the Lamb for sacrifice who would pay the penalty for man’s sin. The result of the deliberations of this council, namely, the counsel that came from these deliberations was that the Son of God was to die on Calvary’s Cross. The word boule (counsel) is described by the perfect participle of horizo, “to mark out the boundaries or limits” of any place or thing, “to determine or appoint.” This verb tells us that these deliberations were for the purpose of determining something, and the fact that it is in the perfect tense shows that these deliberations had reached a successful conclusion and the counsel of the council was fixed and unchangeable. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Boule - 12x in 12v - NAS = counsel(1), decision(1), motives(1), plan(4), purpose(5).
Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.
Luke 23:51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;
Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.
Acts 5:38 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;
Acts 13:36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;
Acts 20:27 "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
Acts 27:12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
Acts 27:42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives ("secret thoughts") of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.
Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Hebrews 6:17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
Will (2307) (thelema from thelo = to will with the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a thing willed") generally speaks of the result of what one has decided. One sees this root word in the feminine name "Thelma." In its most basic form, thelema refers to a wish, a strong desire, and the willing of some event. (Note: See also the discussion of the preceding word boule for comments relating to thelema).
Zodhiates says that thelema is the...
Will, not to be conceived as a demand, but as an expression or inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy. When it denotes God's will, it signifies His gracious disposition toward something. Used to designate what God Himself does of His own good pleasure. (Zodhiates, S. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG or Logos)
Thelema has both an objective meaning (“what one wishes to happen” or what is willed) and a subjective connotation (“the act of willing or desiring”). The word conveys the idea of desire, even a heart’s desire, for the word primarily expresses emotion instead of volition. Thus God’s will is not so much God’s intention, as it is His heart’s desire.
Most of the NT uses of thelema (over 3/4's) refer to God's will and signify His gracious disposition toward something. God's will usually refers to what He has decreed, but occasionally God's will refers to what He desires but has not decreed (Mt 18:14). Of the remainder of the uses of thelema twice refers to the will of the exalted Christ (Acts 21:14, Ep 5:17), once to the will of the devil (2Ti 2:26) and 12 times to human will most often in contrast to God's will (eg Lk 23:25, Jn 1:13, Ep 2:3). Paul was an apostle only because it was the will (thelema) of God - 1Cor 1:1, 2Cor 1:1, Ep 1:1, Col 1:1, 2Ti 1:1.
Man is able to resist the will, the thelema, of God, but whatever takes place God’s determinate counsel, boulema, is never prevented from fulfillment. Thelema, when used of God, signifies a gracious design (cp. Ro 2:18; 12:2; 15:32); the similar word boulema denotes a determined resolve (see Ro 9:19).
To do the will of God, then, is to yield ourselves to the accomplishment of His designs for us by obeying Him in all that He has revealed to faith, cp. Ro 1:17; He 11:3. But since neither the desire, nor the power, to do the will of God, dwells naturally in the believer, God works in Him “both to will and to work of His good pleasure,” Php 2:13, cp. He 13:21 and 1Co 12:6. This, however, does not relieve the believer of his responsibility, for he is to “understand what the will of the Lord is,” Ep 5:17, and understanding it, he is to do it from the heart, Ep 6:6. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Thayer adds that thelema is...
what one wishes or has determined shall be done (i.e. objectively, “thing willed”)
Wuest distinguishes boule from thelema noting that...
boule is a desire based upon the reason, but thelema is a desire based upon the emotions. God’s will or desire here (Ep 1:9, 11), comes from His heart of love.
Constable adds that...
Counsel (boule) refers to God’s purpose or deliberation. Will (thelema) denotes willingness. The idea contained in Eph 1:11 is that God chose a plan after deliberating on the wisest course of action to accomplish his purpose.
Stated another way, thelema conveys the idea of desire, even a heart’s desire, for the word primarily expresses emotion instead of volition. Thus God’s will is not so much God’s intention, as it is His heart’s desire. Wuest adds that in the context of Eph 1:9 "This will or desire is according to His good pleasure. The words “according to” (Ep 1:9) are kata, the preposition meaning “down” and suggesting domination. This desire on God’s part is dominated by His good pleasure."
Wayne A Detzler writes that
in ancient secular Greek the word thelema had another meaning. Homer used it to speak of "readiness," "inclination," and "desire." When one was ready for an event, or inclined to undertake a course of action, thelo (root verb form of thelema) was used. Later the word also gained a sexual meaning, as when a man has his "will" with a woman, or vice versa. In the writings of Plato the word came to speak of intention or desire. (Wayne A Detzler. New Testament Words in Today's Language)
NIDNTT says that the root verb thelo in classic Greek ...
originally and especially in Homer and in early Attic inscriptions with the following meanings
(a) to be ready; to prefer, to be inclined;
(b) to wish, to desire (e.g. “he desired to see”, Homer, Od. 11, 566; also in the sexual sense, Homer, Od. 3, 272);
(c) to have in mind (Homer, Il. 1, 549);
(d) to will, both as determining and coming to a decision; and in particular (e) to will, in the sense of compelling, and overbearing the will (Homer, Il, 14, 120; 19, 274; Plato, Phdr. 80d).
The noun thelema, derived from thelo and attested from Antiphon the Sophist onwards, but used very rarely in secular Greek, correspondingly denotes intention, wish, and then chiefly will.
Thelema - 62x in 58v - Mt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; 18:14; 21:31; 26:42; Mark 3:35; Luke 12:47; 22:42; 23:25; Jn 1:13; 4:34; 5:30; 6:38, 39, 40; 7:17; 9:31; Acts 13:22; 21:14; 22:14; Ro 1:10-note; Ro 2:18-note; Ro 12:2-note; Ro 15:32-note; 1Cor 1:1; 7:37; 16:12; 2Cor 1:1; 8:5; Gal 1:4; Ep 1:1-note, Ep 1:5-note, Ep 1:9-note, Ep 1:11-note; Ep 2:3-note; Ep 5:17-note; Ep 6:6-note; Col 1:1-note, Col 1:9-note; Col 4:12-note; 1Th 4:3-note; 1Th 5:18-note; 2Ti 1:1-note; 2Ti 2:26-note; He 10:7-note, He 10:9-note, He 10:10-note, He 10:36-note; He 13:21-note; 1Pe 2:15-note; 1Pe 3:17-note; 1Pe 4:2-note, 1Pe 4:19-note; 2Pe 1:21-note; 1Jn 2:17; 5:14; Rev 4:11-note. NAS = desire(1), desires(1), will(57).
Thelema is one of those words that is best understood from how it is used in Scripture. I would suggest reading the preceding NT passages (in context if you have time) and making notation of what you learn about thelema. Here are a few examples to illustrate this approach...
We are to pray for God's thelema (before we pray for our will!)...
Matthew 6:10-note 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Comment: Compare also the value of praying in His thelema or will (1Jn 5:14), the importance of doing His will and prayer (Jn 9:31), Jesus' example of submission to God's will in prayer (Mt 26:42, Lk 22:42), Jesus as the God Man doing His Father's will and His submission and obedience giving us an example to follow (Jn 4:34, Jn 5:30, 6:38, He 10:7, 9)
We can and should wrestle in prayer for each other to do God's will...
Colossians 4:12-note Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave (doulos) of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring (agonizomai) earnestly for you in his prayers (proseuche), that you may stand perfect (teleios) and fully assured in all the will of God.
Comment: Epaphras wanted the Colossians to be mature ("full grown" spiritually, not "babes") and fully convinced in regard to the will of God.
Not doing God's thelema identifies an unbeliever (regardless of whether they claim to be a believer or not!)...
Matthew 7:21-note Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Comment: Compare Lk 12:47; See also the converse or "positive" side of doing God's will as indicative of a true believer in Matthew 12:50, 1Jn 2:17)
Jesus refers to doing God's thelema and in essence is saying that we won't really know the Bible unless we are willing to obey the Bible. Or stated another way, we won't really know God's will unless we are willing to obey God's will.
John 7:17 If anyone is willing (verb thelo = the idea is a purposeful decision not a passive acquiescence! So to purpose to do God's Will, to take pleasure in it, to be fond of doing it, to take delight in it) to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.
The man who does God's will is he who will be the man after God's own heart (clearly Luke is not speaking of perfection but of direction of one's heart)...
Acts 13:22 “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’
Note that God even gives us the ability to do His will and this is something we should pray for (cp Col 4:12)...
Hebrews 13:21-note (Prayer for the God of peace to) equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen
God's will is most clearly revealed in His Word...
1Thessalonians 4:3-note For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
1Thessalonians 5:18-note in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Eph 5:17-note So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Which he goes on to clearly state) Ep 5:18-note And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (See also 1Pe 2:15-note)
The Scriptures were not written by the will of man but through God's will...
2Peter 1:21-note for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
It was God's will to create all things...
Revelation 4:11-note Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Thelema - in the Septuagint (LXX) translated as "desire", "delight", "favor" - 2Sa 23:5; 1Kgs 5:8ff; 9:11; 2 Chr 9:12; Esth 1:8; Job 21:21; Ps 1:2; 16:3; 28:7; 30:5, 7; 40:8; 103:7, 21; 107:30; 111:2; 143:10; 145:19; Eccl 5:4; 12:1, 10; Isa 44:28; 48:14; 58:3, 13; 62:4; Jer 9:24; 23:17, 26; Dan 4:35; 8:4; 11:3, 16, 36; Mal 1:10. Here is a good prayer...
Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do Your will (thelema), for You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
In Isaiah we see God's sovereign omnipotent will exercised through a human king in order to bring His people Israel back from Babylonian exile...
Isaiah 44:28 "It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire (thelema).' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.'"
Daniel 4:35 (King Nebuchadnezzar came to understand God's sovereign, omnipotent will) "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will (thelema) in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?'
The Antichrist exerts his will in...
Daniel 11:36 "Then (This important time phrase marks a dramatic shift in this prophecy vaulting forward into the future describing an evil king like the world has never seen) the king (the Antichrist) will do as he pleases (according to his will = thelema), and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation (~time of Jacob's trouble, the 3.5 year period Jesus called the Great Tribulation at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week) is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
God works out all things, even the difficult things in our life including illnesses, suffering and even death. We see through a mirror dimly in this life and surely this divine maxim is often difficult to understand and also difficult to accept. One reason is that many either do not fully comprehend or do not ascribe to God the attribute of complete sovereignty in the design and execution of His purpose. This failure to acknowledge God's control makes it difficult to understand those things in His plan which to us seem "out of place", but we can rest assured that such things will work for His glory.
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Illustration - A minister was called to the scene of a coal pit disaster. Someone placed in his hands a beautiful piece of embroidery on which the words “God is love” had been wrought. The minister held this up so that the stricken people could see the message which had been so perfectly worked according to a plan. Then he turned the canvas round and all they could see where the tangled ends of thread that certainly did not seem to make any sense at all.
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In Morning and Evening, Spurgeon writes the following devotionals on Ephesians 1:11...
Mysterious Ways - The twists and turns in the life of Jacob DeShazer sound like the plot of an intriguing war novel. But taken together, they show us the mysterious ways in which God moves.
DeShazer served the US Army Air Corps in World War II as a bombardier in the squadron of General Doolittle. While participating in Doolittle's raid on Japan in 1942, DeShazer and his crew ran out of fuel and bailed out over China. He was taken to a Japanese prison camp where he trusted Jesus as his Savior. After his release, he became a missionary to Japan.
One day DeShazer handed a tract with his story in it to a man named Mitsuo Fuchida. He didn't know that Mitsuo was on his way to a trial for his wartime role as the commander of Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor. Fuchida read the pamphlet and got a Bible. He soon became a Christian and an evangelist to his people. Eventually, DeShazer and Fuchida met again and became friends.
It's amazing how God can take two men who were mortal enemies, bring them together, and lead them to Himself. But it shows us that He is in control. And nothing—not even a world war—can stop God from working "all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11). —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
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Amplified: So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ASV: to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:
Contemporary English Version: He did this so that we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him.
ESV: so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
International Children's Bible: We are the first people who hoped in Christ. And we were chosen so that we would bring praise to God's glory.
KJV: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
NET: so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, would be to the praise of his glory.
NLT: God's purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. (NLT - Tyndale House) (Updated, most recent revision of NLT reads this way - "God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God."
Phillips: so that we, as the first to put our confidence in Christ, may bring praise to his glory! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: with a view to our being to the praise of His glory who had previously placed our hope in the Christ, (Eerdmans)
Weymouth: so that we should be devoted to the extolling of His glorious attributes—we who were the first to fix our hopes on Christ.
Young's Literal: for our being to the praise of His glory, even those who did first hope in the Christ,
TO THE END THAT WE WHO WERE THE FIRST TO HOPE IN CHRIST: eis to ... proelpikotas (RAPMPA) en to Christo: (Eph 1:6,14; 2:7; 3:21; 2Thessalonians 2:13) (Eph 1:13; Psalms 2:12; 146:3, 4, 5; Isaiah 11:10; 12:2; 32:1,2; 42:1, 2, 3, 4; 45:23,25; Jeremiah 17:5, 6, 7; 23:6; Matthew 12:18, 19, 20, 21; John 14:1; Romans 15:12,13; 2Timothy 1:12; James 1:18; 1Peter 1:21)
To the end (1519) (eis) is a common preposition which literally speaks of motion into or toward but here is used to show result.
First to hope (4276) (prolelpizo) means to hope before, to repose (place) hope in a person or thing before the event confirms it. First to hope is in the perfect tense which means hoped or trusted at some point of time in past with the effects continuing in the present. This was an abiding, permanent hope.
We who were the first - As discussed below this appears to refer to the Jews who had of old the hope and promise of the Messiah (Jer 29:11 was given to Israel, and the remnant was looking for the Messiah in the NT - Lk 2:36, 37, 38, 24:21, Paul's affirmation in Acts 28:20; see The Messianic Hope of Israel) in contrast to the Gentiles who had heard of Him just then. For more discussion of the Scriptures that show that the Jew was the "first to hope in Christ" (Click "first to hope")
Although it is fair to question whether "we" refers to Jewish believers or all believers (Jew and Gentile) the majority of authorities favor the phrase "We who were the first" as a reference to Jewish believers...
Probably the reference ("We who were the first") is to those who like Paul had once been Jews and had now found the Messiah in Jesus, some of whom like Simeon and Anna had even looked for the spiritual Messiah before his coming. (The respected Greek scholar A T Robertson in Word Pictures)
We refers to Jewish Christians, and the verb describes their Messianic hope before (pro) the advent of Christ. Hence Rev., correctly, we who had (have) before hoped. In Christ should be “in the Christ,” as the subject of messianic expectation and not as Jesus, for whom Christ had passed into a proper name. It is equivalent to in the Messiah. (Another respected Greek scholar Marvin Vincent -Word studies in the New Testament 3:368-369 - note that Kenneth Wuest quotes Vincent as supporting the "we" as descriptive of Jewish believers.)
It seems obvious that there is a contrast between the “we” of verse 12 and the “you” of verse 13; most take verse 12 to refer to Christians of Jewish origin, people “who had already hoped” in the Messiah. The compound verb “to hope before” occurs only here in the New Testament; it may mean “we (Jews) hoped in the Messiah before you (Gentiles) did,” or (so Robinson; Jerusalem Bible) “we (Jews) hoped in the Messiah before he came.” (Another highly regarded source used to help those who are translating the Bible into other languages - Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. A Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. New York: United Bible Societies)
The third work of the Holy Spirit is the making of one new people, the church, out of those who were diverse peoples beforehand. This theme comes in for full and repeated treatment in chapter 2. But even here it is so prominent that John R. W. Stott, for one, organizes the outline of Ephesians 1 around it. He speaks of “the future blessing of unification” in verses 9 and 10, and of “the scope of these blessings” in verses 11–14, showing that the blessings given by God through Christ belong equally to Jewish and Gentile believers. The parallelism is perfect. In verses 11 and 12 Paul speaks of himself and other Jewish believers, saying that such were “chosen … for the praise of his glory.” In verses 13 and 14 he speaks of the Gentile believers, to whom he is writing the letter, saying that they “also were included … to the praise of his glory.” (James Montgomery Boice, J. M. Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary)
What does Paul mean when he says, “that we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ.”? Who is the “we” who first trusted in Christ? Well now the Apostle might think of the Christian church in the present age as the those who had first trusted in Christ – I’m speaking of the church to which the Apostle was speaking – he might have thought of them as the first who trusted in Christ in this church age. But it’s unlikely that that is what he’s speaking about. It’s possible that he was simply saying, “I am a Jewish man, and we Jews in Old Testament times were believers, we looked forward to the coming redeemer and thus, we were the first trusters in Christ.” What he probably means... is: we are Jewish individuals and in the church of Jesus Christ the first believers were Jewish. (Sermons on Ephesians - Dr. S Lewis Johnson - Professor of New Testament from 1950-1972 and Professor of Systematic Theology from 1972-1977 at Dallas Theological Seminary)
The "first to hope in Christ" (literally, "the Christ"—the definite article is significant) were Jews who recognized their Messiah prior to the conversion of the Gentiles. This expectation of God's coming Deliverer was distinctive to the Jews. The Gentiles entertained no such prospect (Eph 2:12). This appears to be the most satisfactory interpretation of proelpizo ("hope"), though some think that Paul had the apostles in mind as preceding other believers. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
To the end that we who were first to hope in Christ is the first statement given here about the human side of our divine inheritance in Christ. The Greek has a definite article before Christ, and a more literal translation is hope in the Christ. The meaning is not changed, but the definite article emphasizes the uniqueness of our hope: it is in the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. It also stresses the idea that the apostles and other first–generation Jewish believers were the first to receive the Messiah. (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos)
Coffman comments that the phrase "we who were first to hope in Christ" "...is generally interpreted to mean that the Jewish dispensation looked to the coming of Christ, hoping for the deliverance that he would bring. Anna (Ed: see Lk 2:38) and Simeon (Ed: see Lk 2:25, cp Isa 25:9, cp also Joseph of Arimathea - Mk 15:43, Lk 23:51 where "waiting" often used with the nuance or sense of "hoping") are representative of those who did this; but, despite the popularity of this explanation, there is also the glaring possibility that the clause might very well be a qualifier of them who shall be "unto the praise of God's glory," the same being limited to those, and only those, who had before that future event, laid hold upon the hope in Christ. Even if we agree with the vast majority of the scholars who interpret it differently, it must be admitted that the alternate understanding suggested here does no violence to the truth. (James Burton Coffman's Comments - Who is J B Coffman?)
John Eadie offers a more detailed analysis for those interested -- The main struggle has been to determine who are meant by the we who were first to hope. Koppe, followed by Holzhausen, understands the apostle to use the style royal, and to mean himself. The majority of commentators suppose the words to denote the believing Jews, so called, in the opinion of Beza, Grotius, Estius, Bodius, Bengel, Flatt, Olshausen, and Stier, because their faith in Christ preceded in point of time that of the Gentiles. This exegesis admits of various modifications. The hope of the Jews in Christ preceded that of the Gentiles, either, as Harless imagines, because they had heard of Him earlier; or, as Rosenmuller, Meyer, Olshausen, Chandler, and others affirm, because they possessed the Old Testament prophecies, and so had the hope of Him before He came into the world. But it may be replied, that this sudden change of meaning in hemeis (we). So different from all the preceding verses, is a gratuitous assumption; for the "we" and the "us" in the preceding context denote the community of believers (Ed: Which includes Gentiles) with whom the apostle identifies himself, and why should he so sharply and abruptly contract the signification, and confine it to himself and his believing (Ed: Jewish) countrymen? There is no hint that such particularization is intended, and there is nothing to point out the Jews as its object. Were this the idea, that the Christian Jews were distinguished from the Gentiles by the fore hope of a Messiah, as the great object of their nation's anticipations and desires, then we might have expected that the phrase would have been proelpikotes eis ton Christon. Nor do we apprehend that there is anything in the participle to limit its meaning to the Hebrew portion of the church. The (preposition) pro may not signify before or earlier in comparison with others, but, as de Wette maintains, it may simply mean "already"— prior to the time at which the apostle writes...The preposition indeed has often a more distinctive meaning, but there is thus no necessity caused by the words of the clause to refer it to Jews. The use of humeis in the following verse might be said to be a direct transition, natural in writing a letter, when the composer of it passes from general to more special allusions and circumstances. The verb elpizo (to hope) also is used in reference to the Gentiles, Mt 12:21, Ro 15:12; and it might here denote that species of trust which gives the mind a firm persuasion that all promises and expectations shall be fully realized. But while these difficulties stand in the way, still, on a careful review of the passage, we are rather inclined from the pointed nature of the context to refer the hemas ( = we) to believing Jews. The participle may certainly bear the meaning of having hoped beforehand—that is, before the object of that hope appeared; or it may mean before in comparison with others, Acts 20:13. Thus the humeis of the following verse forms a sharp contrast to the expressed hemas and the tous proelpikotas, which is a limiting predication, with emphasis upon it, as indicated by its position and by the specifying article....So understood, the claim describes the privilege of believing Jews in contrast with Gentiles. (Eadie's excellent Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians)
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio to anoint, consecrate to an office ~ The Anointed One ~ The Messiah Greek here has a definite article before Christ, and a more literal translation is hope in the Christ."
WOULD BE TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY: eis to einai (PAN) hemas eis epainon doxes autou:
Praise (1868) (epainos [word study] from epí = upon + ainos = praise). In our humanly–oriented society, God’s wanting exclusive credit seems inappropriate only because men have no concept of His greatness, holiness glory. "
Epainos - 11x in 11v - Rom 2:29; 13:3; 1 Cor 4:5; 2 Cor 8:18; Eph 1:6, 12, 14; Phil 1:11; 4:8; 1 Pet 1:7; 2:14. fame(1), praise(9), worthy of praise(1).
Glory (1391) (doxa [word study]) means to give a proper opinion or estimate of. God desires creatures that will give Him glory by both proclaiming and displaying His glory. For that reason He redeems men. God alone deserves glory
In other words, believers (in this case "we who were the first to hope") are trophies of the grace of God, exhibiting what He can do with such unlikely raw materials, and thus bringing glory to Him.