The Greek word for the English word “in” is “ἐν (en)” it appears 2694 times in the NASB New Testament.
The Greek Word for the English word “Christ” is “Χριστός (Christós)” and it appears 528 times in the NASB New Testament.
The combination of “ἐν” with “Χριστός” seems to be the way that English readers understand the Greek words for the phrase “in Christ.” The Greek and English languages are not similar in the way that the two languages work and form sentences, so running a search for “ἐν Χριστός” in that order does not bear many results. Also, what tends to happen is that other Greek pronouns and acronyms for Jesus are also used.
So what will work for this type of study will be to evaluate the Greek at each occurrence of the English phrase “In Christ” in Ephesians. That is what I am set out to do.
The first one is in verse one of chapter one:
Ephesians 1:1 (NASB)Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament 28th Edition reads like this:
1 Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν [ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
This is actually one of the times where it reads very closely to the English text. The last word there “Ἰησοῦ” translates to “Jesus.”
So the Greek to English translation reads literally as the NASB has it “in Christ Jesus.”
So what does this phrase actually mean? Are we to physically be inside of Jesus Christ? Of course not!
A good understanding would be “in union with Christ Jesus.” Some translation have tried some phrasing that just do not seem to convey enough meaning: “faithful in Christ Jesus” (RSV), “loyal Christians” (Barclay [Brc]) or “faithful Christians” (Phps). The French common language translation (FrCL) “who are faithful in union with Jesus Christ” offers a better meaning of the Greek phrase (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).
Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. UBS Handbook Series (5). New York: United Bible Societies.
This phrase “In Christ” appears in the book of Ephesians 18 times in the NASB. The next few weeks I am going to explore these phrases in these verse. “In Christ” there is a lot of blessings and hope!
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Exported from Logos Bible Software 5, 2:18 PM June 28, 2013.