Inspirations from Greek Word Studies (Eph. 1:4-5) chose, foundation, world, without blemish, love, predestinating, sonship


The word "to choose" in Greek is "eklegomai" (eklegomai) which means "to single out, to declare, to pick out for oneself" (Thayer, p. 196). Liddel and Scott define "eklegomai" as "asked to declare beyond the grasp of the ordinary mind of understanding; to pull out." The word is composed of "ek" (ek), meaning "out", and "lego" (lego), meaning "speak." The word "ek" in "eklegomai" refers not only to the place of origin from which a person is called out, but also the process of separation and the result of being called out in its entirety (Thayer, p 192). "Ek" implies the complete and perfect action of being called out and separated. The word "lego" ("speak") in "eklegomai" indicates that Godís choosing is strongly related to His spoken word. Godís word is actually God Himself with His economy. "Lego" indicates that all of Godís choosing actions, which occur throughout a believerís entire life, are related to His fresh speaking.

The verb "eklegomai" in Eph. 1:4 is used in the middle voice. A verb in the middle voice implies that 1) the action is for personal interest, 2) there is a process involved to accomplish the action, 3) the initiator of the action is intimately involved in the process, and 4) the one taking action also participates in the result of the action (Brooks and Winbery). The middle voice becomes very significant in Eph. 1:4 when referring to Godís choosing. It indicates that Godís choosing is for God Himself and for His own interest. Godís choosing is not just one act, but a process. Furthermore, it is a process of intimacy in which God works with us in our experience of all the lessons He wants us to learn. Ultimately, God fully participates in the result of His action of choosing.

In the Septuagint "eklegomai" is used as the equivalent of the Hebrew word "bhr." Kittle says that this Hebrew word "expresses a resolve of the divine will with an element of insistence.... Related terms bring out the implied element of taking, separating, appointing, and knowing." Also implied are "the concepts of redeeming, liberating, and deliveringÖ. The Hebrew word Ďbhrí also denotes choice among possibilities. When objects are chosen, purpose is implied...for a specific end... [It] also carries an element of approval. While emotion has a part in the choice, intelligence is a more important factor" (Little Kittle, pp. 515-516). Godís choosing of us is not only with His emotion Ė His love for us Ė but is especially with His intelligence Ė His wisdom and prudence Ė accompanied by His power.


The Greek word used for "foundation" in Eph. 1:4 is "katabole" (katabolh). It is different from the Greek word "themelios," which means the foundation of a building or the first principles of a system of truth (Thayer, p 287). The word "katabole" implies something organic. It is composed of "kata," meaning "down," and "bole," meaning "throw." In Heb. 11:11 it is translated as "conceive." In 2 Cor. 4:9 it is translated as "cast down" (in context meaning to lay a foundation for further experiences of Christ and the bearing of a stronger testimony). In Rev. 12:9 Satan was cast down so that the foundation for Godís government could be laid. Therefore "katabole" refers firstly to the casting of seed (as in Heb. 11:11 and 2 Cor. 4:9), and secondly to the establishing of government (as in Rev. 12:9). "Katabole" does not refer merely to the physical and material world, but rather implies a foundation related to life. In Eph. 1:4 it also implies the establishing of Godís government from the very beginning of creation to the New Jerusalem.


"World" in Greek is "kosmos" (kosmos). This is a very inclusive word. It includes time and space with everything that exists in them, both living and material (Kittle, p. 462). Although this word is a noun, the ending "mos" denotes action. This implies that the "kosmos" includes the content of all of the diverse and multifarious actions taking place under the government of God. The "kosmos" includes all of humanity, the entire fallen creation, all the settings in history, and all the events on earth as the environment for the producing of Godís salvation (Kittle, p. 463). The "kosmos" also includes Satan and the satanic kingdom with its system (Kittle, p. 464).

The verb form of this word, "kosmeo," means "to order" or "to comand," that is, to regulate with the purpose of adorning, furnishing, or bringing honor to something (Kittle, p. 459). Outwardly speaking, the "kosmos" is confusing and chaotic. God has charged us as believers to dissociate ourselves from the negative elements in this "kosmos," particularly the world of the satanic kingdom (1 John 2:15-17). Spiritually speaking, however, the "kosmos" is always in the proper order under Godís command and regulation, according to the laws and the principles that He created. God is always in command. Even the most negative things which happen in the "kosmos," including the fall of man, are part of history for the sake of Godís salvation and His eternal purpose. In the midst of all the events in the "kosmos" God is preparing a bride for Himself. The "kosmos" is simply the setting. It is where the materials for His bride are produced. God has laid out the world as the place for us to exist as He fulfills His purpose. The word "kosmos" also implies the process of adornment that is taking place with Godís salvation. Eventually at the end of the "kosmos" the final product of Godís salvation will be manifested: the Bride of Christ, prepared and adorned for her Husband.


"Without blemish" or "blameless" in Greek is "amomos" (amwmos), which means "irreproachable, unimpaired and perfect" (Liddle and Scott). In the Septuagint this word is related to a Hebrew word that is used to describe the physical perfection required for the offerings of the priests (Kittle). It is also used in the New Testament to describe the absolute blamelessness of God. According to Eph. 1:4 God has chosen us before creation to be in such a perfect and blameless state. Such a perfection is not merely a high moral standard. It is a perfection that is not only faultless according to human culture and blameless according to the law, but is even according to Godís divine attributes of holiness and righteousness. For us to be "blameless" means that we are perfect even under His divine light.

When God looks at us according to His holiness and righteousness His standard is obviously extremely high. It is a standard that is higher than anything in human experience, higher than any law, culture, or tradition of men. It requires a perfection that satisfies the divine life, including the law of the kingdom of God. But according to the highest standard, the standard of Godís divine attributes of holiness and righteousness, we will stand "blameless" and perfect in His sight.

The desire of God that we as believers would be found perfect in His sight, according to His divine attributes and under His divine light, was fulfilled by Christ. Due to the fall of man we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). However, Eph. 5:27 tells us that Christ has the desire and ability to present us, the church, to Himself glorious, holy and without blemish.


"Love" in Greek is "agape" (agaph). This word is related to Godís personal nature Ė "God is love" (1 John 4:8). God Himself is the source of love, and is also the experience of love. This love becomes the energy of Godís economy. In turn, for us to love God means that we have a total commitment and trust in God through the experience of the divine life in this "agape." First, we love His Person. Then, we love the things of God. The related Hebrew word has the meaning of a spontaneous feeling that inspires self-giving and involves the inner person.

These definitions show us that "agape" is not a static word, but rather speaks of something alive and implies continuous transaction. God loves us because we are so valuable to Him. In turn we love God unconditionally and absolutely according to who He is, what He has accomplished for us, and where He has placed us. This is why Eph. 1:4 says that we were chosen to be holy and without blemish before Him in the sphere and element of love.


The Greek word for "predestinate" is "prohorizo" (proorizw). This word is composed of two Greek words: "pro," meaning "before," and "horizo," meaning "to mark out, to specify, to determine, to appoint, and to institute." The strongest verse using the word "horizo" is Rom. 1:4: "Who was designated the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness out of the resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord." This verse says that in resurrection Christ was appointed (or equated) with what He already was from eternity past, according to what was divinely ordained for Him.

"Horizo" in the New Testament is always related to the person and work of Jesus Christ. "Prohorizo," however, is related to us as believers. "Prohorizo" means that we are marked out and specified, and that God is determined to appoint us and even "institute" us. We are not predestinated in position alone. In predestinating us God desires that where we stand (positionally) and who we are (dispositionally) should absolutely match one another. Predestination is positional, but is with a view towards our disposition.

God firstly chose us and then predestinated us, according to Eph. 1:4-5. However, what was marked out for us (predestined for us) was in Godís heart in eternity past. God already predetermined that we would receive the sonship thorugh Jesus Christ in eternity past. Based upon His desire, He chose us before the foundation of the world. This was outside of time, before creation. It is in the realm of time that what was predestined for us by God is realized. Godís choosing and the deciding of our destiny (our predestination) was done outside of time. Our experience and realization of Godís choosing and predestination takes place in time.


The Greek word for "sonship," "huiothesia," is made up of "huios," meaning "son," and "thesia," meaning "placing." This word is used by Paul to stress the fact that we were formerly aliens and have now become citizens. However, we are not only citizens, but sons of God who are being transformed into His image by partaking of the divine life. "Huiothesia" relates to both the act and the result of being made sons. It refers to the act of our being saved to become citizens, and the result of our becoming sons of God in the divine life.

  Copyright © 2001 T. Chu, The Church in Cleveland