The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 50 of 261
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The testimony of such words as "Gentile",
"Fathers", "People" in the two epistles.
pp. 112 - 115
We have seen the evidence which the absence both of the name and office of the
writer provides regarding the dispensational place of the epistle to the Hebrews. We now
turn from the question, By whom were these epistles written? to the question, To whom
were they written?
The two epistles are alike in that the titles "Ephesians" and "Hebrews" may possibly
form no part of the inspired work. In some MSS the words "at Ephesus" appear in
verse 1, and in some they are omitted, a space being left instead, indicating that in some
cases at least the epistle was designed as a circular letter rather than an epistle addressed
specifically to one assembly. The title "to the Hebrews" also forms no part of the
inspired text, being added afterwards, yet very early, for it not only occurs in the Greek
MSS in our possession, but in very early versions, like the Syriac. (No such question
arises as to the epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians, etc., as the
place names are imbedded in the text.) It is therefore only by internal evidence that we
can hope to ascertain to whom the two epistles we are comparing were originally
In our first comparison we found that it was by nothing the presence or absence of the
name and office of Paul that something of the essential difference that exists between
these two epistles could be discovered. This difference is emphasized by the choice
made in the two epistles of ethnos, "Gentile", and laos, "people", to indicate the two
companies addressed.
It takes no more than a cursory reading of the epistle to the Ephesians to see that it
was addressed to Gentiles.
"Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called
Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands"
(Eph. 2: 11).
Here is most definite distinction is drawn, "Gentiles . . . . . Uncircumcision".
Ethnos, the word translated "Gentile", occurs five times in Ephesians, and each
reference has a specific bearing upon the calling revealed in that epistle. Ethnos is never
employed in writing of the Hebrews, no circumstance ever arising in which the Gentile
has a place or share. This we must now set out before the reader as a second proof that
Ephesians and Hebrews minister to two distinctly different callings.
Ethnos, "Gentile", in Ephesians.
(1) In Eph. 2: 11, those who are addressed are reminded that they were Gentiles in
the flesh, called Uncircumcision, and that they were "without Christ, being aliens from