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A consideration of
Eph. 3: 6.
pp. 177, 178
In our attempt to bring before the reader the peculiar character of the church of the
Mystery, we have translated the words found in Eph. 3: 6 "joint-heirs", "joint-body"
and "joint-partakers". One of our readers has questioned the accuracy both of the
translation and the intentional insistence upon equality that underlies it, drawing our
attention to two passages in Romans:
"For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things" (Rom. 15: 27).
"If some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert
grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root and fatness of
the olive tree" (Rom. 11: 17).
Here, before the Mystery was made known, the Gentiles are found "partakers" of the
spiritual things belonging to Israel. Where then does the distinctiveness of Eph. 3: 6
come in, is the question.
We must consider this matter under several heads:
The actual words used.
The actual blessings that are symbolized.
Wherein they are the same, or wherein they differ.
First of all, the word which we have translated "joint-partaker" in Eph. 3: 6, is
summetochos, whereas the word translated "partaker" in Rom. 15: 27 is koinoneo, and
in Rom. 11: 17 it is sugkoinonos. At the outset therefore we are faced with the fact that
the inspired writer was led to use different words. He uses the simple koinoneo in
Romans 15: 27, and the more advance sugknoinonos in Rom. 11: 17, evidently
indicating even there that some difference must be observed between the subject of the
two chapters, and the fact that neither of these words are used in Eph. 3: 6, should make
us pause if tempted to think of them as of one aspect of truth only. Let us become
acquainted with the meaning and usage of these words.
Koinoneo comes from the word koinos which means "common".
"They had all things common" (Acts 20: 44).
"The common faith" (Titus 1: 4).
"The common salvation" (Jude 3).