EXAMINING EPHESIANS 3:14-15

i-kneelNew International Version:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

King James Bible:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English:

And I bow my knees to The Father of our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, Him from whom every fatherhood is named, that is in Heaven and in Earth,

The problem here is that no family, whether in heaven or on earth, is actually called by the Father’s name, in any language, not even Hebrew. And which of God’s names could possibly apply to ‘every family’ or the ‘whole family’ ‘in heaven and on earth’? We cannot even stretch the concepts of family or fatherhood that far.

So we know that “every family” didn’t receive their name ‘from God,’ and isn’t named ‘of God’—so what is being said here?

The first thing to see is that ‘from whom’ or ‘of whom’ can equally be translated ‘by whom.’ The word almost universally rendered ‘family’ can also mean lineage, kindred, nation, ancestry, tribe, people; so ‘every people’ is just as accurate. This allows ‘all people’ to work rather better in English. Finally, the Greek word ‘onomazō’ [3687] doesn’t only mean ‘named,’ it also means ‘called by name.’

The point Paul is making is simply that God’s gracious invitation—to freedom in Christ and eternal life—is for everyone, regardless of their situation, heritage or history. All they have to be is on earth, under our skies, or even in space, though not of course, in the spiritual heaven. And each one is called, personally, by his own name.

The Mouse Companion Version (MCV):

For this reason I kneel to the Father, by whom all people, in the heavens and on earth, are being called by name, >ᴥ<

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