Prepositions are words that tell us how one thing in space relates to another. They can be used to explain spatial relations in the physical realm as demonstrated in these three examples:
- The mime is in Sweden.
- The book is on the Volkswagen.
- The pig is under the blanket.
Prepositions can also explain spatial relations in the abstract realm as seen in these examples:
- The mime shouted in anger.
- Günter has a book on taxidermy.
- The pig ate under stressful conditions.
In Eph. 6:24, Paul uses the Greek preposition ἐν, often translated as in, to explain an abstract spatial relation. He concludes his letter with the words: “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Eph. 6:24). Here, the ESV translators rendered this preposition as with to indicate that Paul is describing the manner in which Christians should love the Lord. Our love for Jesus ought to be incorruptible, or undying (155).
Prepositions are powerful little words. This one contributes to communicating that believers ought to treasure Christ with a lasting love. Treasure Christ because you love Him for the sake of His perfect person and work.
Note: Mike and Rachel Aubrey have written the best treatment of Greek prepositions in the New Testament I’ve come across. Unfortunately, so far as I’m aware, their book Greek Prepositions in the New Testament: A Cognitive-Functional Approach is unavailable in print or as a standalone product. Hopefully Lexham Press will eventually offer it outside of a collection. In the meantime, if you can find some way to access it, you will surely be glad you did!
This is an edited version of a post I originally wrote for Positive Action Bible Curriculum. You can view that post here.
I really like Murray Harris’ book “Prepositions and Theology”