Is “to us ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19) a King James error?

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King James Bible
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Young’s Literal Translation
and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us who are believing, according to the working of the power of His might,

Darby Bible Translation
and what the surpassing greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of the might of his strength,

New International Version
and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength

The greatness of His power in relation to us who believe. Theconstruction is as in the preceding portion, and consequently such, that εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστ. attaches itself not to τῆς δυνάμ. αὐτοῦ (Meier, Harless, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek, after many older expositors; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:4), but to the ἐστί to be mentally supplied after τί.

εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας: to us-ward who believe. No better rendering of εἰς ἡμᾶςhere could be devised than the “to us-ward” of the AV which is wisely retained by the RV. The clause is best attached to the whole thought of the preceding sentence, and not to the δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ alone. The εἰςexpresses the idea of “ethical direction” (Ell.), indicating the objects toward whom this Divine power will go forth—those, namely, who are believers. Theἡμᾶς connects these Ephesian believers, in whom the Divine power has worked mightily even now (cf. the conjunction of faith and the power of Godin 1 Corinthians 2:5), with that whole community of the saints which was mentioned in the former sentence as the circle within which at last the complete possession of the inheritance will be made good.

i. Many Christians do not know this power – or they only know it from a distance. God wants resurrection life to be real in the life of the believer. “The very same power which raised Christ is waiting to raise the drunkard from his drunkenness, to raise the thief from his dishonesty, to raise the Pharisee from his self-righteousness, to raise the Sadducee from his unbelief.” (Spurgeon)

ii. This ends the “request” portion of Paul’s prayer. The following section explains more of this mighty power and what it did. Paul asked these things because they were important to ask for. We could say that the prayer of Ephesians 1:17-19 is essentially a request that the promises of Ephesians 1:3-14 be found as real in the lives of the Ephesian Christians.

iii. “Perhaps the first and best response is the Amen of holy silence … These sentences were written first and supremely to be believed, received, and – in a worshipping and serving life – lived out.” (Moule)

iv. In the same way, your prayers for the spiritual growth and enlightenment of others are important. If Paul believed it was important to pray these things for the Ephesian Christians, it is important for us to pray them for others – and ourselves.

King James Error Phrase (on top) – Modern English (on bottom)
adoption
“sonship”, as in Romans 8:23, 9:4, Ephesians 1:5.
sincerity
“with incorruption”, as in Ephesians 6:24.
sons of God => “angels”, as in Job 1:6.
spiritual wickedness
“wicked spirits”, as in Ephesians 6:12.

Berean Study Bible
and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. He displayed this power in the working of His mighty strength,

Berean Literal Bible
and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us believing according to the working of the power of His might,

New American Standard Bible
and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.

International Standard Version
and the unlimited greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his mighty strength,

NET Bible
and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength.

New Heart English Bible
and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And what is the excellence of the greatness of his power in us, by those things which we believe, according to the action of the immensity of his power,

GOD’S WORD® Translation
You will also know the unlimited greatness of his power as it works with might and strength for us, the believers.

New American Standard 1977
and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

Jubilee Bible 2000
and what is the exceeding greatness of his power in us who believe, by the operation of the power of his strength,

American Standard Version
and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

Douay-Rheims Bible
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us, who believe according to the operation of the might of his power,

English Revised Version
and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

Webster’s Bible Translation
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Weymouth New Testament
and what the transcendent greatness of His power in us believers as seen in the working of His infinite might

World English Bible
and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

16 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply January 4, 2019

    Troy Day

    all right GOOD scholars and BIBLE friends – help me out with this one now Who can jump first and figure out the KJV?

    —εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας: to us-ward who believe. No better rendering of εἰς ἡμᾶςhere could be devised than the “to us-ward” of the AV which is wisely retained by the RV. The clause is best attached to the whole thought of the preceding sentence, and not to the δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ alone. The εἰςexpresses the idea of “ethical direction” (Ell.),

  • Joe Absher
    Reply January 4, 2019

    Joe Absher

    …the gospel..
    Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
    And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”
    – Romans 1:2-4
    The Risen Saviour is our source of grace peace comfortt strength and joy. It is by him we are saved and delivered and useful. And of his dynamis and mighty power toward us there would be no end of testimonies and praise. As it is written…
    And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
    John 21:25

  • Troy Day
    Reply January 4, 2019

    Troy Day

    the phrase <> in the KJV means to protect us OR at least could be read that way. It is not in the Greek

    εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας – lit. toward us the believing ones

    It is NOT in any modern or literal translations either

  • Troy Day
    Reply January 4, 2019

    Troy Day

  • Cameron C Smith
    Reply January 4, 2019

    Cameron C Smith

    Seems like a distinction without a difference. We just talk differently nowadays so it’s rendered differently. I don’t see how it could possibly make a difference

    • Troy Day
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Troy Day

      How so? when the wording of KJV to us ward

      Could be read and has been read as

      to us A ward – meaning protection of the believer by the power of God

      Which is NOT in the Greek text of this verse AT all

    • Cameron C Smith
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Cameron C Smith

      Are you saying it could be read: To us A (ward) ? As in we have a Ward?

    • Troy Day
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Troy Day

      Ward means protection, to guard in the KJV sense and NO I am not saying it means that BUT KJV seems to be the way they worded it

    • Cameron C Smith
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Cameron C Smith

      Troy Day I think someone would have to do some really hard twisting to make it say that. If I heard a pastor preach that than I’d have a really hard time taking anything else he said seriously. If somebody said that, I don’t think you’d be able to blame the KJV

    • Troy Day
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Troy Day

      thats how it reads in the KJV – how else would you read <> ?

    • Cameron C Smith
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Cameron C Smith

      Troy Day it means “toward us”
      You’d have to change the meaning of the whole sentence to read it the other way. It would not make sense. It would be two fragmented sentences

    • Troy Day
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Troy Day

      Cameron C Smith I know what it should mean but it doesnt read that way today – wouldnt you agree?

    • Cameron C Smith
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Cameron C Smith

      Troy Day *I want to first say that what I’m typing is meant to be read in a completely respectful tone. There is ZERO sarcasm intended in what I’m saying *
      Sorry, but I just don’t see it.Thats one of the first verses I highlight any time I get a new Bible. I’ve known it for a long time and it has never occurred to me once to think of it that way

    • Troy Day
      Reply January 5, 2019

      Troy Day

      I understand that but it has been debated before – KJ seems to err right here

  • Troy Day
    Reply January 6, 2019

    Troy Day

    Shane Brown I saw your video on the verse. How do you inerpret this to-us ward ?

    • Shane Brown
      Reply January 6, 2019

      Shane Brown

      In my video I read from the New King James which says “….toward us who believe”, which would be the interpretation. So us ward would mean “toward us”. The exceeding greatness of God’s power is towards the one who is a true believer.

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