Ephesians 1:20-23

20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

which (v.20) — referring back to God’s power in v.19

worked (v.20) = to be at work, put forth power

from the dead (v.20) = out from among the dead

principality (v.21) = a first one, a leader — angels

power (v.21) = delegated authority — again, angels

might (v.21) = power

dominion (v.21) = lordshp

This list encompasses both earthly and heavenly authorities, including evil spirits.

and every name that is named (v.21) = and in a word, every name — whatever a name can be given to

this age (v.21) — the present state of things

that which is to come (v.21) — the state of things in the future

put … under (v.22) = to put in subjection under one — a military term

church (v.22) = a body of called out individuals — the body of Christ — all those who are saved

which (v.23) = which is of such a nature as

body (v.23) — the word soma, which passes readily from its literal meaning into the figurative sense of a society, a number of men constituting a social or ethical union (compare Ephesians 4:4), is frequently applied in the N.T. epistles to the Church … as the mystical body of Christ, the fellowship of believers regarded as an organic spiritual unity in a living relation to Christ, subject to Him, animated by Him, and having His power operating in it. The relation between Christ and the Church, therefore, is not an external relation, or one simply of Superior and inferior, Sovereign and subject, but one of life and incorporation. The Church is not merely an institution ruled by Him as President, a Kingdom in which He is the Supreme Authority, or a vast company of men in moral sympathy with Him, but a Society which is in vital connection with Him, having the source of its life in Him, sustained and directed by His power, the instrument also by which He works. — Wuest, pages 56-57


fulness (v.23) — That which has been filled; used of a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e., manned) with sailors, rowers and soldiers; in the N.T., the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ … the meaning being, that the Church, being the Body of Christ, is dwelt in and filled with God: it is His pleroma (fulness) in an especial manner — His fulness abides in it and is exemplified by it … The idea is that the Church is not only Christ’s body but that which is filled by Him. In Colossians 1:19 and Colossians 2:9, the whole pleroma or every plenitude of the Godhead, the very fulness of the Godhead, the totality of the divine powers and qualities, is said to be recognized as Framer and Governor of the world, and there is neither need nor place for any intermediate beings as agents in those works of creating, upholding and administering. Here the conception is that this plenitude of the divine powers and qualities which is in Christ is imparted by Him to His Church, so that the latter is pervaded by His presence, animated by His life, filled with His gifts and energies and graces. He is the sold Head of the universe, which is supplied by Him with all that is needed for its being and order. He is also the sole Head of the Church, which receives from Him what He Himself possesses, and is endowed by Him with all that it requires for the realization of its vocation. “The all things” is the whole system of things, made by Christ, and having in Him the ground of its being, its continuance, its order (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 8:6), “with all things,” the universe itself and all the things that make its fulness.” [Wuest’s translation] And all things He put in subjection under His feet, and Him He gave as Head over all things to the Church, which is of such a nature as to be His body, the fulness of the One who constantly is filling the all things with all things. — Wuest, pages 57-58

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