15 For this reason,[a] because I[b] have heard[c] of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[d] for all the saints,
Ephesians 1:15sn The conjunctive phrase For this reason points back to the preceding section, vv. 3-14, which is also summed up in this verse in the expression because I have heard of your faith. In other words, the author’s prayer can be made for his audience because he knows that they are true believers.
Ephesians 1:15tcP46א* A B P 33 1739 1881 2464 Hier lack “your love” (τὴν ἀγάπην, tēn agapēn), while various other groups of mss have different arrangements of the phrase “your love toward all the saints” (τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους, tēn agapēn tēn eis pantas tous hagious). Most witnesses, especially the later ones (א2 D1Ψ 1241 1505 M latt sa), read τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους. Externally, the shorter reading is superior. Internally, the omission of τὴν ἀγάπην is a significantly harder reading, for the saints become an object of faith on par with the Lord Jesus. If this reading is authentic, however, the force of πίστις (pistis) is probably closer to “faithfulness,” a meaning that could perhaps be suitable toward both the Lord and the saints. Nevertheless, if the shorter reading is authentic, later scribes would no doubt have been tempted to alter it. With the parallel in Col 1:4 at hand, τὴν ἀγάπην would have been the most obvious phrase to add. (Metzger TCGNT 533 suggests that ἣν ἔχετε would have been added instead of the second τήν if the shorter reading were original, in conformity with Col 1:4, but this is not necessarily so: Scribes often altered the text as minimally as possible, and since the second τήν was already present, replacing it with ἣν ἔχετε, when the meaning was not significantly different from the second τήν, seems unlikely.) Further, ἀγάπην comes after “saints” (thus, τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίουςἀγάπην) in some witnesses (81 104 326 365 1175), and the second τήν is lacking (thus, τὴν ἀγάπην εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους) in others (D* F G). Such a floating text normally indicates inauthenticity (in this case, for ἀγάπην). On the other hand, τὴν ἀγάπην could easily have dropped out of the text by way of haplography, the Alexandrian scribes’ eyes skipping from τήν to τήν. The weak first declension feminine article-noun-article construction is common enough in the NT, occurring over 40 times, yet in four of these texts there is some ms evidence for an omission similar to Eph 1:15 (Rom 11:17; 2 Tim 3:10; Rev 11:2; 21:9). But in none of these places is the Alexandrian testimony united in the omission as it is here. Further, a wholesale Alexandrian omission of τὴν ἀγάπην presupposes a much stronger genealogical relation among the Alexandrian mss than many scholars would embrace. What seems to tip the scales in favor of the longer reading, however, is the intrinsic evidence: The question of whether πίστις could be used to mean faithfulness in the general sense toward both the Lord and the saints is quite problematic. All in all, a decision is difficult, but the longer reading is, with hesitation, preferred.
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