Is “by Jesus Christ” in The Original Ephesians 3:9

In Ephesians 3 there is a phrase at the end “by Jesus Christ” in verse 9. This implies that God created all things “by Jesus Christ”.

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: KJV

Apart from the KJV and the NKJV which use the Textus Receptus. There is nothing wrong with this except that since the KJV was translated many more manuscripts (MSS) have been unearthed. So the science of good textual criticism (comparing and contrasting the ancient writings) has come a long way towards accuracy in alignment with what the original authors penned.

Modern English translations such as the NIV, RSV, ESV, NRSV, NASB (found below) all omit the phrase, although they state their editing boards are Trinitarian in doctrine. This significant as believers in the Trinity doctrine you would expect them to include the phrase “by Jesus Christ” if they thought it was in the original.

Following are bible translations of Ephesians 3:9

NASB and to enlighten all people as to what the plan of the mystery is which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;

ESV and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,

NRSV and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;

ASV and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God who created all things;

NIV and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

NLT I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

ESV and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,

The phrase, “by Jesus Christ” is considered even by modern Trinitarian textual critics to have been a later scribal addition.

Normally, we do not dismiss texts which at first reading appear to contradict the Bible’s obvious Unitarian message. We like to deal with them as though genuine because nearly always there is a better Biblical Unitarian solution even when citing the difficult passage. It is important that we use exegesis which agrees with alternative and well-attested textual variants.

However, “the words“, as noted even by the Trinitarian The Expositor's Greek New Testament states,“… must be omitted as the best authorities do not give them”. We may be sure that if this commentary makes this unflinching asseveration that we are on solid ground to reject the phrase as genuine.

We must also note that the strongly Trinitarian The Expositor’s Bible Commentary [Revised Edition] fails to comment on the phrase, which is most unusual for them as they would want to support their Trinitarian doctrine. This is a tacit omission from these editors also, that the phrase is not in the original MSS!

This fact may also be backed up by the strong supportive evidence that no other NT verse claims that God created all things in the original Genesis creation of the heavens and the earth “by Jesus Christ”.

Furthermore we know that the phrase “by Jesus Christ” in Ephesians 3:9 cannot be original for the simple reason it contradicts other Scriptures. Notably, verses such as Isaiah 44:24 … I am the LORD (YHWH) Who makes all (things), Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself. The verbs and pronouns are all first person singular.

Paul’s point is that the mystery he is revealing, namely that both Jew & Gentile now belong to one body in Messiah was part of God’s original plan from the very beginning.

Ephesians 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Paul makes this point repeatedly in his letters. The Jews did not realise that they were not the only nation that God was going to save and as part of the Abrahamic promise. This would have been quite a shock for them. They had endured so much hardship and persecution for their God. They would have been a bit upset.

Other Scriptures that Point to Creation By Jesus Christ

Colossians 1:16 is one of these. There is a mistranslation in Colossians 1:16 by most modern translations which should read “for in him [not “by him”] all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones or dominions or rulers or powers …” were created.

For more on Colossians please read this detailed post Jesus created all things Colossians 1:16-18 ?

Without getting too technical with the Greek grammar, Colossians 1:16ff is stating that the new creation (as per context from verses 9 onwards) has all been rearranged according to the Lordship of the risen and now exalted Messiah). Which is to say, the newly redeemed creation has been inaugurated with a view to Christ Jesus and the redeemed saints, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies such as found in Daniel 7. Colossians 1:16 succinctly states that “all things have been created with a view to Christ. Definitely not by him!

Hebrews 1:2 has a similar explanation, which for no grammatical reason is often translated as that God “through him (i.e. the Son) created the worlds”. Some translations such as the NIV go so far as to say that God, through the Son “created the universe”. Totally unwarranted, because the Greek words here simply say that God, through the now risen and exalted Son, has “marked out/appointed the ages” for Christ the Son as the rest of the following verses lay out. Once again, as per Colossians 1 the message of Hebrews 1:2ff consistently is that God the Father has prepared all things “with a view to” or “for” the Son (and the saints).

Paul’s doxologies of praise to God the Creator are always to the Father, “from whom, and through whom and for whom are all things” (e.g. Romans 11:36). Even Jesus’ own testimony is that “He Who made them (male and female) in the beginning” was a He (singular masculine personal pronoun — definitely not we who made them!). Jesus never once claimed that he had created with God in the beginning of Genesis.

Conclusion

It can be seen that the phrase “by Jesus Christ” in Ephesians 3:9 was not in the original letter written by Paul to the Colossians. Also that 2 other scriptures that seem to say the same thing in Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2 have not be translated properly and the context of the New Creation needs to be applied to understanding this text. We cant read into Colossians and Hebrews the Genesis creation without looking at the context which states that it is this new creation in Christ and not the Genesis creation.

Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 3 that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and partakers of God’s promise in Christ by the gospel and that this is the mystery.

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