A scene from The Canterbury Psalter (12th century)

Euthalian Ephesians

I’ve been pondering the section divisions within Ephesians. A lot of the book falls easily into obvious units of a dozen or so verses, two of which together make a chapter. There’s not much disagreement about where those chapter breaks ought to happen, and our standard, six-chapter division of Ephesians makes pretty good sense (though the chapters run to very different lengths).

But if you wanted to shake up our standard approach to chapter divisions, here’s an older option. The earliest witnesses we have to somebody’s division of Ephesians into chapters is in the Euthalian Apparatus, an ancient set of reader’s textual aids dating back to perhaps the fourth century (Wikipedia entry here; De Gruyter book here).

The Euthalian Apparatus breaks Ephesians down into ten chapters:

From Vermund Blomkvist, Euthalian Traditions: Text, Translation and Commentary (DeGruyter, 2012), 51.

There are several interesting things going on here, and some of the titles are excellent (more on this later). But the main reason I’m posting this is as a spur to consider a ten-chapter Ephesians. To put it in terms of a discussion question, how does approaching Ephesians as having ten chapters affect how you think about the book’s structure?


I (1:3) About our election, our initiation and our perfection in Christ.

II (1:15) Prayer for understanding of the benefits brought to us in Christ.

III (2:1) About Gentiles and Jews becoming God’s own through Christ, for the sake of hope, according to grace.

IV (3:1) About divine wisdom, given to him, so that he may illuminate the Gentiles and rebuke the demons.

V (3:14) Prayer on behalf of the Church for the power and love of God.

VI (4:1) Exhortation about unifying love, even if the gifts of grace are distributed to common benefit.

VII (4:17) About prudence and righteousness, which make us God-like.

VIII (5:3) About living in a manner worthy of the sanctification, rebuking evil with deeds, not with words, through hymns being filled with the Spirit, not with wine.

IX (5:22) Regulation of the domestic duties of those who are ruled and of those who rule, according to Christ.

X (6:10) About the power of Christ, in the image of preparing for battle.

About This Blog

Fred Sanders is a theologian who tried to specialize in the doctrine of the Trinity, but found that everything in Christian life and thought is connected to the triune God.

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