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Full Version: Epistole Pros Ephesious, Ignatios Theophoros (died 107-117)
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Below is the "short recension" (the "longer recension" is 4th-century revision full of interpolations) of Ignatios' letter to the Ephesians. Paulos and Timotheos are mentioned in connection with Ephesos, but notice the complete lack of any mention of Ioannis (John), which shows that Ignatios, Episkopos (Bishop) of Antiochia, was somehow ignorant of Yokhanan bar Zavdee of the Twelve writing the city (much less living there) even after his meeting with Onesimos the current Episkopos (Bishop) of Ephesos.


Ignatios, who is also called Theophoros, to the Ekklesia which is at Ephesos, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fulness of Theos the Father, and predestinated before the beginning[1] of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united[2] and chosen through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Iesous Khristos, our Theos: Abundant happiness through Iesous Khristos, and His undefiled grace.


I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in Theos, which ye have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Iesous Khristos our Saviour. Being the followers[4] of Theos, and stirring up[5] yourselves by the blood of Theos, ye have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you. For, on hearing that I came bound from Syria for the common name and hope, trusting through your prayers to be permitted to fight with beasts at Rome, that so by martyrdom I may indeed become the disciple of Him "who gave Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to Theos,"[6][ye hastened to see me[7]]. I received, therefore,[8] your whole multitude in the name of Theos, through Onesimos, a man of inexpressible love,[9] and your episkopos in the flesh, whom I pray you, by Iesous Khristos, to love, and that you would all seek to be like him. And blessed be He who has granted unto you, being worthy, to obtain such an excellent episkopos.


As to my fellow-servant Burrhus, your deacon in regard to Theos and blessed in all things,[1] I beg that he may continue longer, both for your honour and that of your episkopos. And Crocus also, worthy both of Theos and you, whom I have received as the manifestation[2] of your love, hath in all things refreshed[3] me, as the Father of our Kurios Iesous Khristos shall also refresh[3] him; together with Onesimos, and Burrhus, and Euplus, and Fronto, by means of whom, I have, as to love, beheld all of you. May I always have joy of you, if indeed I be worthy of it. It is therefore befitting that you should in every way glorify Iesous Khristos, who hath glorified you, that by a unanimous obedience "ye may be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and may all speak the same thing concerning the same thing,"[5] and that, being subject to the episkopos and the presbytery, ye may in all respects be sanctified.


I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person. For though I am bound for the name[of Khristos], I am not yet perfect in Iesous Khristos. For now I begin to be a disciple, and I speak to you as fellow-disciples with me. For it was needful for me to have been stirred up by you in faith, exhortation, patience, and long-suffering. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken[6] upon me first to exhort you that ye would all run together in accordance with the will of Theos. For even Iesous Khristos, our inseparable life, is the [manifested] will of the Father; as also episkopoi, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds [of the earth], are so by the will of Iesous Khristos.


Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your episkopos, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of Theos, is fitted as exactly to the episkopos as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Iesous Khristos is sung. And do ye, man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of Theos in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Iesous Khristos, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus ye may always enjoy communion with Theos. love, of which Iesous Khristos is the Captain and Guardian, do ye, man by man, become but one choir; so that, agreeing together in concord, and obtaining[1] a perfect unity with Theos, ye may indeed be one in harmonious feeling with Theos the Father, and His Beloved Son Iesous Khristos our Kurios. For, says He, "Grant unto them, Holy Father, that as I and Thou are one, they also may be one in us."[2] It is therefore profitable that you, being joined together with Theos in an unblameable unity, should be the followers of the example of Khristos, of whom also ye are members.


For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your episkopos--I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature--how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Ekklesia is to Iesous Khristos, and as Iesous Khristos is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity ! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of Theos. For if the prayer of one or two possesses[4] such power, how much more that of the episkopos and the whole Ekklesia! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Ekklesia, has even[5] by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, "Theos resisteth the proud."[9] Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the episkopos, in order that we may be subject to Theos.


Now the more any one sees the episkopos keeping silence,[10] the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household,[11] as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the episkopos even as we would upon the Kurios Himself. And indeed Onesimos himself greatly commends your good order in Theos, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect[2] has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Iesous Khristos speaking in truth. slothful men."[1] And indeed Onesimos himself greatly commends your good order in Theos, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect ' has any dwelling-place among you. Nor indeed do ye hearken to any one rather than to Iesous Khristos, the true Shepherd and Teacher. And ye are, as Paulos wrote to you, "one body and one spirit, because ye have also been called in one hope of the faith.[3] Since also "there is one Kurios, one faith, one baptism, one Theos and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all."[4] Such, then, are ye, having been taught by such instructors, Paulos the Khristophoros, and Timotheos the most faithful.


For some are in the habit of carrying about the name[of Iesous Khristos] in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of Theos, whom ye must flee as ye would wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, against whom ye must be on your guard, inasmuch as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; Theos existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of Theos; first possible and then impossible,[7] even Iesous Khristos our Kurios.


Let not then any one deceive you, as indeed ye are not deceived, inasmuch as ye are wholly devoted to Theos. For since there is no strife raging among you which might distress you, ye are certainly living in accordance withTheos' will. I am far inferior to you, and require to be sanctified by your Ekklesia of Ephesos, so renowned throughout the world. They that are carnal cannot do those things which are spiritual, nor they that are spiritual the things which are carnal; even as faith cannot do the works of un-belief, nor unbelief the works of faith. But even those things which ye do according to the flesh are spiritual; for ye do all things in Iesous Khristos.


Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you, but stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them, as being stones[1] of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of Theos the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Iesous Khristos, which is the cross,[2] making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to Theos. Ye, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travellers, are Theos-bearers, temple-bearers, Khristos-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Iesous Khristos, in whom also I exult that I have been thought worthy, by means of this Epistle, to converse and rejoice with you, because with respect to your Khristik life[7] ye love nothing but Theos only.


And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men. For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to Theos. See,[2] then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way. Be ye meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return[4] your prayers; in contrast to their error, be ye stedfast[5] in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness. While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all true kindness; and let us seek to be followers of the Kurios (who ever more unjustly treated, more destitute, more condemned?), that so no plant of the devil may be found in you, but ye may remain in all holiness and sobriety in Iesous Khristos, both with respect to the flesh and spirit. That goes astray return ?"[1] Permit them, then, to be in structed by you. Be ye therefore the ministers of Theos, and the mouth of Khristos. For thus saith the Kurios, "If ye take forth the precious from the vile, ye shall be as my mouth."[3] Be ye humble in response to their wrath; oppose to their blasphemies your earnest prayers; while they go astray, stand ye stedfast in the faith. Conquer ye their harsh temper by gentleness, their passion by meekness. For "blessed are the meek ;"[6] and Moses was meek above all men;[7] and David was exceeding meek.[8] Wherefore Paulos exhorts as follows: "The servant of the Kurios must not strive, but be gentle towards all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."[9] Do not seek to avert e ourselves on those that injure you, for says[the Scripture], If I have returned evil to those who returned evil to me."[10] Let us make them brethren by our kindness. For say ye to those that hate you, Ye are our brethren, that the name of the Kurios may be glorified. And let us imitate the Kurios, "who, when He was reviled, reviled not again ;"[11] when He was crucified, He answered not; "when He suffered, He threatened not ;"[12] but prayed for His enemies, "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."[13] If any one, the more he is injured, displays the more patience, blessed is he. If any one is defrauded, if any one is despised, for the name of the Kurios, he truly is the servant of Khristos. Take heed that no plant of the devil be found among you, for such a plant is bitter and salt. "Watch ye, and be ye sober,"[14] in Khristos Iesous.


The last times are come upon us. Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of Theos, that it tend not to our condemnation. For let us either stand in awe of the wrath to come, or show regard for the grace which is at present displayed--one of two things. Only[in one way or another] let us be found in Khristos Iesous unto the true life. Apart from Him, let nothing attract[16] you, for whom I bear about these bonds, these spiritual jewels, by which may I arise through your prayers, of which I entreat I may always be a partaker, that I may be found in the lot of the Khristianoi of Ephesos, who have always been of the same mind with the apostoloi through the power of Iesous Khristos.


I know both who I am, and to whom I write. I am a condemned man, ye have been the objects of mercy; I am subject to danger, ye are established in safety. Ye are the persons through(1) whom those pass that are cut off for the sake of Theos. Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paulos, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet(4) may I be found, when I shall attain to Theos; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Khristos Iesous. But ye have been the objects of mercy, and are established in Khristos. I am one delivered over [to death], but the least of all those that have been cut off for the sake of Khristos, "from the blood of righteous Abel"(2) to the blood of Ignatius. Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paulos, the holy, the martyred, inasmuch as he was "a chosen vessel;"(3) at whose feet may I be found, and at the feet of the rest of the saints, when I shall attain to Iesous Khristos, who is always mindful of you in His prayers.


Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to Theos, and show forth His praise. For when ye assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims(7) is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, both in heaven and earth,(8) is brought to an end.


None of these things is hid from you, if ye perfectly possess that faith and love towards Khristos Iesous(10) which are the beginning and the end of life. For the beginning is faith, and the end is love.(11) Now these two. being inseparably connected together,(12) are of Theos, while all other things which are requisite for a holy life follow after them. No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth;(13) nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit;(15) so those that profess themselves to be Khristianoi shall be recognised by their conduct. For there is not now a demand for mere profession,(16) but that a man be found continuing in the power of faith to the end.


It is better for a man to be silent and be [a Khristianos], than to talk and not to be one. It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. There is then one Teacher, who spake and it was done; while even those things which He did in silence are worthy of the Father. He who possesses the word of Iesous, is truly able to hear even His very silence, that he may be perfect, and may both act as he speaks, and be recognised by his silence. There is nothing which is hid from Theos, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples,(2) and He may be in us as our Theos, which indeed He is, and will manifest Himself before our faces. Wherefore we justly love Him. Our Kurios and Theos, Iesous Khristos, the Son of the living Theos, first did and then taught, as Luke testifies, "whose praise is in the Good News through all the ekklesiais."(1) There is nothing which is hid from the Kurios, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples,(2) and He may be in us as Theos. Let Khristos speak in us, even as He did in Paulos. Let the Holy Spirit teach us to speak the things of Khristos in like manner as He did.


Do not err, my brethren.(3) Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of Theos.(4) If, then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with any one who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of Theos, for which Iesous Khristos was crucified! Such an one becoming defiled [in this way], shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall every one that hearkens unto him.


For this end did the Kurios suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head,(7) that He might breathe immortality into His Ekklesia. Be not ye anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of Theos, which is Iesous Khristos? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognising the gift which the Kurios has of a truth sent to us?


Let my spirit be counted as nothing for the sake of the cross, which is a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to us salvation and life eternal. "Where is the wise man? Where the disputer?" Where is the boasting of those who are styled prudent? For our Theos, Iesous Khristos, was, according to the appointment of Theos, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Spirit. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.


Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Kurios; three mysteries of renown,(5) which were wrought in silence by(6) Theos. How, then, was He manifested to the world?(7) A star shone forth in heaven above all the other stars, the light of Which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation felt as to whence this new spectacle came, so unlike to everything else [in the heavens]. Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, Theos Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by Theos. Henceforth all things were in a state of tumult, because He meditated the abolition of death.


If Iesous Khristos shall graciously permit me through your prayers, and if it be His will, I shall, in a second little work which I will write to you, make further manifest to you [the nature of] the dispensation of which I have begun [to treat], with respect to the new man, Iesous Khristos, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection. Especially [will I do this 14] if the Kurios make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually,(1) in one faith, and in Iesous Khristos, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of Theos, so that ye obey the episkopos and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Iesous Khristos.


My soul be for yours and theirs(2) whom, for the honour of Theos, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Kurios, and loving Polykarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Iesous Khristos also remembered you. Pray ye for the Ekklesia which is in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome, being the last of the faithful who are there, even as I have been thought worthy to be chosen(4) to show forth the honour of Theos. Farewell in Theos the Father, and in Iesous Khristos, our common hope.
Thanks for posting the Epistles of Ignatius. It is always very encouraging to read his epistles.

I have the complete works of J.B. Lightfoot on Apostolic Fathers but I don't have the time to read them. There are Epistles of Ignatius in Syriac. I wonder whether is it possible that the Syriac version of the epistles is the original just like the Peshitta.

Larry Kelsey

Shlama Akhi Craig,

Quote:but notice the complete lack of any mention of Ioannis (John), which shows that Ignatios, Episkopos (Bishop) of Antiochia, was somehow ignorant of Yokhanan bar Zavdee of the Twelve writing the city (much less living there) even after his meeting with Onesimos the current Episkopos (Bishop) of Ephesos.

This looks even worse when you consider that Polycarp was a disciple of John (I'm going from memory here...correct me if I'm wrong on that).
Isn't this problem and others like it that have led some to believe that John the presbyter as opposed to John the Apostle was the real author of the Apocalypse? If that's the case, Elder John must have been both highly prophetical and apostolical in his gifting / anointing because the Apostle Paul showed cautiousness at times with statements like "not building on anothers' foundation", etc. Elder John (or whichever John it is) comes on like gangbusters--"Hey all you leaders of those 7 churches-you better get those flocks that have been assigned to you in order-the Lord has shown me a list of your strengths and weaknesses so you better strengthen the things that remain and repent over the things that don't remain!" <!-- sConfusedtern: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/stern.gif" alt="Confusedtern:" title="Stern" /><!-- sConfusedtern: -->

Shlama w'Burkate, Larry Kelsey