(from: _Apostolic Fathers_ Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation)
IGNATIUS to the Ephesians
0:0 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her which
hath been blessed in greatness through the plentitude
of God the Father; which hath been foreordained before
the ages to be for ever unto abiding and unchangeable
glory, united and elect in a true passion, by the will
of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God; even unto
the church which is in Ephesus [of Asia], worthy of
all felicitation: abundant greeting in Christ Jesus
and in blameless joy.
1:1 While I welcomed in God [your] well-beloved name
which ye bear by natural right, [in an upright and
virtuous mind], by faith and love in Christ Jesus our
Saviour -- being imitators of God, and having your
hearts kindled in the blood of God, ye have perfectly
fulfilled your congenial work --
1:2 for when ye heard that I was on my way from
Syria, in bonds for the sake of the common Name and
hope, and was hoping through your prayers to succeed
in fighting with wild beasts in Rome, that by so
succeeding I might have power to be a disciple, ye
were eager to visit me: --
1:3 seeing then that in God's name I have received
your whole multitude in the person of Onesimus, whose
love passeth utterance and who is moreover your bishop
[in the flesh] -- and I pray that ye may love him
according to Jesus Christ and that ye all may be like
him; for blessed is He that granted unto you according
to your deserving to have such a bishop: --
2:1 But as touching my fellow-servant Burrhus, who
by the will of God is your deacon blessed in all
things, I pray that he may remain with me to the
honour of yourselves and of your bishop. Yea, and
Crocus also, who is worthy of God and of you, whom I
received as an ensample of the love which ye bear me,
hath relieved me in all ways -- even so may the Father
of Jesus Christ refresh him -- together with Onesimus
and Burrhus and Euplus and Fronto; in whom I saw you
all with the eyes of love.
2:2 May I have joy of you always, if so be I am
worthy of it. It is therefore meet for you in every
way to glorify Jesus Christ who glorified you; that
being perfectly joined together in one submission,
submitting yourselves to your bishop and presbytery,
ye may be sanctified in all things.
3:1 I do not command you, as though I were somewhat.
For even though I am in bonds for the Name's sake, I
am not yet perfected in Jesus Christ. [For] now am I
beginning to be a disciple; and I speak to you as to
my school-fellows. For I ought to be trained by you
for the contest in faith, in admonition, in endurance,
3:2 But, since love doth not suffer me to be silent
concerning you, therefore was I forward to exhort you,
that ye run in harmony with the mind of God: for Jesus
Christ also, our inseparable life, is the mind of the
Father, even as the bishops that are settled in the
farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus
4:1 So then it becometh you to run in harmony with
the mind of the bishop; which thing also ye do. For
your honourable presbytery, which is worthy of God, is
attuned to the bishop, even as its strings to a lyre.
Therefore in your concord and harmonious love Jesus
Christ is sung.
4:2 And do ye, each and all, form yourselves into a
chorus, that being harmonious in concord and taking
the key note of God ye may in unison sing with one
voice through Jesus Christ unto the Father, that He
may both hear you and acknowledge you by your good
deeds to be members of His Son. It is therefore
profitable for you to be in blameless unity, that ye
may also be partakers of God always.
5:1 For if I in a short time had such converse with
your bishop, which was not after the manner of men but
in the Spirit, how much more do I congratulate you who
are closely joined with him as the Church is with
Jesus Christ and as Jesus Christ is with the Father,
that all things may be harmonious in unity.
5:2 Let no man be deceived. If any one be not within
the precinct of the altar, he lacketh the bread [of
God]. For, if the prayer of one and another hath so
great force, how much more that of the bishop and of
the whole Church.
5:3 Whosoever therefore cometh not to the
congregation, he doth thereby show his pride and hath
separated himself; for it is written, _God resisteth
the proud._ Let us therefore be careful not to resist
the bishop, that by our submission we may give
ourselves to God.
6:1 And in proportion as a man seeth that his bishop
is silent, let him fear him the more. For every one
whom the Master of the household sendeth to be steward
over His own house, we ought so to receive as Him that
sent him. Plainly therefore we ought to regard the
bishop as the Lord Himself.
6:2 Now Onesimus of his own accord highly praiseth
your orderly conduct in God, for that ye all live
according to truth,and that no heresy hath a home
among you: nay, ye do not so much as listen to any
one, if he speak of aught else save concerning Jesus
Christ in truth.
7:1 For some are wont of malicious guile to hawk
about the Name, while they do certain other things
unworthy of God. These men ye ought to shun, as wild-
beasts; for they are mad dogs, biting by stealth;
against whom ye ought to be on your guard, for they
are hard to heal.
7:2 There is one only physician, of flesh and of
spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life
in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible
and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.
8:1 Let no one therefore deceive you, as indeed ye
are not deceived, seeing that ye belong wholly to God.
For when no lust is established in you, which hath
power to torment you, then truly ye live after God. I
devote myself for you, and I dedicate myself as an
offering for the church of you Ephesians which is
famous unto all the ages.
8:2 They that are of the flesh cannot do the things
of the Spirit, neither can they that are of the Spirit
do the things of the flesh; even as faith cannot do
the things of unfaithfulness, neither unfaithfulness
the things of faith. Nay, even those things which ye
do after the flesh are spiritual; for ye do all things
in Jesus Christ.
9:1 But I have learned that certain persons passed
through you from yonder, bringing evil doctrine; whom
ye suffered not to sow seed in you, for ye stopped
your ears, so that ye might not receive the seed sown
by them; forasmuch as ye are stones of a temple, which
were prepared beforehand for a building of God the
Father, being hoisted up to the heights through the
engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, and using
for a rope the Holy Spirit; while your faith is your
windlass, and love is the way that leadeth up to God.
9:2 So then ye are all companions in the way,
carrying your God and your shrine, your Christ and
your holy things, being arrayed from head to foot in
the commandments of Jesus Christ. And I too, taking
part in the festivity, am permitted by letter to bear
you company and to rejoice with you, that ye set not
your love on anything after the common life of men,
but only on God.
10:1 And pray ye also without ceasing for the rest
of mankind (for there is in them a hope of
repentance), that they may find God. Therefore permit
them to take lessons at least from your works.
10:2 Against their outbursts of wrath be ye meek;
against their proud words be ye humble; against their
railings set ye your prayers; against their errors be
ye _stedfast in the faith;_ against their fierceness
be ye gentle. And be not zealous to imitate them by
10:3 Let us show ourselves their brothers by our
forbearance; but let us be zealous to be imitators of
the Lord, vying with each other who shall suffer the
greater wrong, who shall be defrauded, who shall be
set at nought; that no herb of the devil be found in
you: but in all purity and temperance abide ye in
Christ Jesus, with your flesh and with your spirit.
11:1 These are the last times. Henceforth let us
have reverence; let us fear the long-suffering of God,
lest it turn into a judgment against us. For either
let us fear the wrath which is to come or let us love
the grace which now is -- the one or the other;
provided only that we be found in Christ Jesus unto
11:2 Let nothing glitter in your eyes apart from
Him, in whom I carry about my bonds, my spiritual
pearls in which I would fain rise again through your
prayer, whereof may it be my lot to be always a
partaker, that I may be found in the company of those
Christians of Ephesus who moreover were ever of one
mind with the Apostles in the power of Jesus Christ.
12:1 I know who I am and to whom I write. I am a
convict, ye have received mercy: I am in peril, ye are
12:2 Ye are the high-road of those that are on their
way to die unto God. Ye are associates in the
mysteries with Paul, who was sanctified, who obtained
a good report, who is worthy of all felicitation; in
whose foot-steps I would fain be found treading, when
I shall attain unto God; who in every letter maketh
mention of you in Christ Jesus.
13:1 Do your diligence therefore to meet together
more frequently for thanksgiving to God and for His
glory. For when ye meet together frequently, the
powers of Satan are cast down; and his mischief cometh
to nought in the concord of your faith.
13:2 There is nothing better than peace, in which
all warfare of things in heaven and things on earth is
14:1 None of these things is hidden from you, if ye
be perfect in your faith and love toward Jesus Christ,
for these are the beginning and end of life -- faith
is the beginning and love is the end -- and the two
being found in unity are God, while all things else
follow in their train unto true nobility.
14:2 No man professing faith sinneth, and no man
possessing love hateth. _The tree is manifest from its
fruit;_ so they that profess to be Christ's shall be
seen through their actions. For the Work is not a
thing of profession now, but is seen then when one is
found in the power of faith unto the end.
15:1 It is better to keep silence and to be, than to
talk and not to be. It is a fine thing to teach, if
the speaker practise. Now there is one teacher, who
_spake and it came to pass:_ yea and even the things
which He hath done in silence are worthy of the
15:2 He that truly possesseth the word of Jesus is
able also to hearken unto His silence, that he may
be perfect; that through his speech he may act and
through his silence he may be known.
15:3 Nothing is hidden from the Lord, but even our
secrets are nigh unto Him. Let us therefore do all
things as knowing that He dwelleth in us, to the end
that we may be His temples and He Himself may be in us
as our God. This is so, and it will also be made clear
in our sight from the love which we rightly bear
16:1 Be not deceived, my brethren. Corrupters of
houses _shall not inherit the kingdom of God._
16:2 If then they which do these things after the
flesh are put to death, how much more if a man through
evil doctrine corrupt the faith of God for which Jesus
Christ was crucified. Such a man, having defiled
himself, shall go into the unquenchable fire; and in
like manner also shall he that hearkeneth unto him.
17:1 For this cause the Lord received ointment on
His head, that He might breathe incorruption upon the
Church. Be not anointed with the ill odour of the
teaching of the prince of this world, lest he lead you
captive and rob you of the life which is set before
17:2 And wherefore do we not all walk prudently,
receiving the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ?
Why perish we in our folly, not knowing the gift of
grace which the Lord hath truly sent?
18:1 My spirit is made an offscouring for the Cross,
which is a stumbling-block to them that are
unbelievers, but to us salvation and life eternal.
_Where is the wise? Where is the disputer?_ Where is
the boasting of them that are called prudent?
18:2 For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in
the womb by Mary according to a dispensation, of the
seed of David but also of the Holy Ghost; and He was
born and was baptized that by His passion He might
19:1 And hidden from the prince of this world were
the virginity of Mary and her child-bearing and
likewise also the death of the Lord -- three mysteries
to be cried aloud -- the which were wrought in the
silence of God.
19:2 How then were they made manifest to the ages? A
star shone forth in the heaven above all the stars;
and its light was unutterable, and its strangeness
caused amazement; and all the rest of the
constellations with the sun and moon formed themselves
into a chorus about the star; but the star itself far
outshone them all; and there was perplexity to know
whence came this strange appearance which was so
19:3 From that time forward every sorcery and every
spell was dissolved, the ignorance of wickedness
vanished away, the ancient kingdom was pulled down,
when God appeared in the likeness of man unto _newness
of_ everlasting _life;_ and that which had been
perfected in the counsels of God began to take effect.
Thence all things were perturbed, because the
abolishing of death was taken in hand.
20:1 If Jesus Christ should count me worthy through
your prayer, and it should be the Divine will, in my
second tract, which I intend to write to you, I will
further set before you the dispensation whereof I have
begun to speak, relating to the new man Jesus Christ,
which consisteth in faith towards Him and in love
towards Him, in His passion and resurrection,
20:2 especially if the Lord should reveal aught to
me. Assemble yourselves together in common, every one
of you severally, man by man, in grace, in one faith
and one Jesus Christ, who after the flesh was of
David's race, who is Son of Man and Son of God, to the
end that ye may obey the bishop and presbytery without
distraction of mind; breaking one bread, which is the
medicine of immortality and the antidote that we
should not die but live for ever in Jesus Christ.
21:1 I am devoted to you and to those whom for the
honour of God ye sent to Smyrna; whence also I write
unto you with thanksgiving to the Lord, having love
for Polycarp as I have for you also. Remember me, even
as I would that Jesus Christ may also remember you.
21:2 Pray for the church which is in Syria, whence I
am led a prisoner to Rome -- I who am the very last of
the faithful there; according as I was counted worthy
to be found unto the honour of God. Fare ye well in
God the Father and in Jesus Christ our common hope.
Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings
Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!