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Blessed, Blessed, Blessed: Ephesians 1:3

The word blessed has so many implications. We see it on wall art, t-shirts, and coffee mugs.

If I’m honest with myself, I question if I am blessed, I wonder if I can earn that state of being. Sometimes it can seem like those written statements are the only evidence toward being blessed. The sun isn't always shining. There are floods, fires, and sudden deaths.


Are we blessed, even in floods, fires, and other trials?

When asked, “How are you?” one of my professors consistently responded, “Blessed.” It was a good reminder to hear as semester burdens grew. As we got to know her, we realized her life was not easy, but she was choosing to testify to what God had done.


As I looked into Ephesians 1:3, I was surprised by how meaningful the word can be.


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3)[1]


Yes, God is to be blessed! He is the Father of our Lord! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing! That verse is flooded with blessings.


The beautiful beatitudes spoken by Jesus are found in Matthew 5 and each line begins with “Blessed.” The first is Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [2] Each statement begins with the same word: μακάριος (pronounced: makarios; mak-ar'-ee-os). This word can mean blessed, happy.


I expected that Ephesians 1:3 would begin with the same Greek word, but it doesn’t. The first word in Ephesians 1:3 is translated “blessed” and in Greek this particular word (εὐλογητός (pronounced: eulogētos; yoo-log-ay-tos') can mean blessed, praised. Yes, God is praised!


Here is what one commentator tells about this: “In the New Testament the word blessed (eulogētos) is used only of God. He alone is worthy to be blessed. People are blessed when they receive his blessings; God is blessed when he is praised for all that he freely bestows on humanity and on his world. Above all he is blessed as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 15:6; 1 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 1:6); for he is revealed to us supremely in Christ who, as Son, is the perfect image of the Father (see John 1:18 and Heb. 1:1–3).” [3]


There is much more here than my limited understanding can follow. Please note that I am just beginning to look into Greek. This I am learning now, there is an implicit reverence we are missing as we translate this word into English.


Ephesians 1 uses the word blessed elsewhere. When I looked at Ephesians 1:6 I still expected to see that the word blessed would be like one of the words we’ve already looked at. Here’s the verse in the English Standard Version: “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” [4] What is the Greek word this is gathered from? χαριτόω (pronounced: charitoó; khar-ee-to'-o) meaning to bestow favor on, to highly favor, to bless. In this verse we find that favor is bestowed on us from God in the Beloved Son of God.


Let’s go back to Ephesians 1:3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3)[5]

The second time blessed is used in this verse it is εὐλογήσας which is very similar to the first one. This however can mean praise, flattery, blessing, consecration, bounty.[6] Notice how deliberately chosen this word is. The origin of the blessed state is God alone!


This is such a good reminder that every blessing is from God in Christ! We, along with Paul, have received every spiritual blessing!


Blessed may be written on a favorite t-shirt or mug, yet it means so much more. We are fully dependent on God for that blessing. In our very being we are blessed by God through Christ.

When we say “Have a blessed day” to those around us, let’s ponder the fact that God alone is the giver of blessings, He alone is praised! Our identity comes from Him. Circumstances change, our God remains. His name be blessed forever.



This Doxology print is made by DaySpring's Lyrics for Life: Sing Praise Collection.

Dear God,

Thank You for being worthy of all praise! Thank you that You have given us every spiritual blessing. Let your name be glorified forever! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Why is it significant that the word “blessed” at the start of Ephesians 1:3 only referred to God?


How does reading Ephesians 1:3 change one’s perspective on identity?


Summary:


Blessed: (Ephesians 1:3) εὐλογητός (pronounced: eulogētos; yoo-log-ay-tos') blessed, praised This word is used to speak only of God.


Blessed: (Matthew 5:3) μακάριος (pronounced: makarios; mak-ar'-ee-os) blessed, happy


Blessed: (Ephesians 1:6) χαριτόω (pronounced: charitoó; khar-ee-to'-o) to bestow favor on, to highly favor, to bless




Footnotes:

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[3] Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 10, p. 54). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[6] A Reader’s Greek New Testament 3rd Edition (2015). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Note: Phonetic Spellings are taken from Strong’s Concordance https://biblehub.com/str/greek/2128.htm

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