Is Faith A Gift? A Study Of Ephesians 2:8 -- By: Gregory P. Sapaugh

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 07:1 (Spring 1994)
Article: Is Faith A Gift? A Study Of Ephesians 2:8
Author: Gregory P. Sapaugh

Is Faith A Gift?
A Study Of Ephesians 2:8

Gregory P. Sapaugh

Kingwood, Texas

I. Introduction

The nature of faith is a prominent part of the soteriological discussions of recent years. Some believe that salvation is a gift from God and even the faith a person exercises in order to be saved comes from God. Others likewise hold that salvation is a free gift but see faith as being personal. In other words, believing is the role of the individual in securing the gift of salvation.

Ephesians 2:8 is a significant passage in this debate. It says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” This article will interpret the verse and render a conclusion regarding the source of faith.

II. The Text

The transliterated Greek text of Eph 2:8 is as follows: tē gar chariti este sesōsmenoi dia tēs pisteōs; kai touto ouk ex hymōn, Theou to dōron.1 The only textual variant concerns the presence or omission of the article tēs in the prepositional phrase dia tēs pisteōs. The inclusion of tēs is supported by A, D (first corrected copy), Athos, and the great majority of the manuscripts (i.e., the Majority Text). On the other hand Aleph, B, D (original copy), F, G, P. 6, 33, 104, 1175, 1739, 2464, 2495, and a few Coptic versions omit the article.

Since the presence of tēs is supported by the majority of manuscripts as well as one important uncial in the Alexandrian family (and is therefore of great antiquity), it can be concluded from the external evidence that the article is original.

With regard to internal data, the preposition dia plus the genitive of pistis occurs two other times in Ephesians. In both 3:12 and 17 the article tēs is used by Paul. This would tend to support the appearance of the article in 2:8.

Although the external and internal data support the inclusion of the article tēs in 2:8, its presence or absence is not of critical importanc...

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