For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them – Ephesians 2:10
Meaning of Ephesians 2:10
The meaning of the verse, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” is that every person is God’s creation and is born to live up to His purpose and plan for them. In this verse, Apostle Paul wants to tell His readers that the next step of salvation is fulfilling the purpose God before they end their earthly life. The New Testament repeatedly explains that every believer of Christ is meant to work for God’s kingdom and is supposed to follow God’s plan for their life. Furthermore, every believer has a different purpose. Also, the readers are asked to fulfill this particular purpose through the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Paul also mentions that this purpose was planned and prepared for everyone before their birth, that I also called destiny.
Interpretations of Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians 2:10 is a commonly quoted verse in the Churches and among Christians. However, it can also be misinterpreted sometimes. Here are a few examples.
Interpretation #1 The verse confirms Genesis Chapter 1
The first interpretation of the verse, “For we are his workmanship” is that the verse is a confirmation of Genesis chapter 1. The reader believes that Apostle Paul is referring to the first chapter in Genesis where it is written that God created man and woman on the seventh day. It is also believed that He sculpted the man, Adam from earth. The chapter says that God created the earth and everything thing in it like rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, etc. It also says that He first created man and then woman. Hence, the reader understands that Paul is confirming the creation and formation of humans by God.
Interpretation #2 Christians must do exactly what Jesus said
The meaning of the verse, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” is that Christians should do exactly what Jesus says to them. The reader believes that Paul is asking every believer to follow the commands of Jesus written in the New Testament. The New Testament provides many guidelines for Christians on how to live their lives in a Godly way. For example, the sermon on the mount and teachings on prayer and obedience. It also offers an insight into the Dos and Don’ts to be blessed and live a fulfilling life. Therefore, the reader interprets that God is asking all the readers to walk in Jesus’ path and follow His instructions.
Interpretation #3 Christians are called to travel and preach
In this interpretation, the reader believes that Christians are being commanded to travel around the world and preach. The time during which Paul wrote this verse, most of the Apostles were travelling far and wide to preach the “Good News” which is salvation through Christ Jesus. Hence, the reader understands that all the Christians are being asked to become missionaries or evangelists wherever they can and spread the message about Jesus and salvation. Additionally, the Bible commands Christians to share the gospel as much as they can so that people can become followers of Jesus.
Interpretation #4 Christians are called to obey God
The final interpretation of the verse, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” is that Christians are commanded to obey God, which includes following the Old and the New Testament teachings. The reader believes that every believer of Jesus is meant to dedicate their lives for God’s purpose. A person’s works do not give him or her salvation, but good works are a result of salvation. Hence, Apostle Paul asks the readers to obey God’s will for their life and fulfill the purpose they were specifically created for. Additionally, Churches encourage Christians to keep this purpose in the forefront of their lives rather than their family, career, job, etc.
Historical background of Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians is a letter written by Apostle Paul and is believed to be written when he was imprisoned in Rome around AD 62. He was writing this letter to Ephesus, where he worked for about two years. The second chapter focuses on Christians’ reconciliation with God through Jesus and how that leads to being born again. He also talks about Jews and Gentiles being equal in God’s eyes. The tenth chapter, in particular, is a reminder for Christians from Paul about their purpose for their life as they are created and made in Christ Jesus.
Literary Devices of Ephesians 2:10
The verse of Ephesians 2:10 is Paul’s affirmation for Christians about their identity and also consists of some noteworthy literary devices. Here are some examples.
Theme – The major themes of Ephesians 2:10 are evangelism, obedience, dedication, and belief.
Alliteration – In spite of being a one sentence verse, the verse has a good use of consonant sounds in repetition. For example, the sound of /w/, the sound of /k/, the sound of /g/ in ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’.
Assonance – The verse Ephesians 2:10 has a good use of vowel sounds, though not in quick successions. For example, The sound of /i/, the sound of /uh/ and the sound of /oo/ in ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works’.
Consonance – The verse also has a repeated use of consonant sounds. However, some are not used in quick successions. For example, the sound of /r/, the sound of /s/, the sound of /t/, the sound of /d/, and the sound of /n/ in ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’.
Hyperbole – Ephesians 2:10 is also a good example of hyperbole as the author appears to exaggerate the creation of humans and even appears demanding to only work of God, abandoning ordinary life.
Extended Metaphor – The phrase in the verse ‘created in Christ Jesus unto good works’ is an extended metaphor for obedience.