I was struck with the oddness of a groom "presenting" one's bride "to himself" as it doesn't match our culture where the father of the bride "gives away" his daughter. As I looked at this familiar passage for weddings I also notice that "the assembly" (commonly translated "the Church") is feminine but what he presents to himself is masculine:


And to make it more interesting, rather than being in the accusative it is in the nominative!

Can someone with some Greek skills unpack this and show what Christ presents to himself?

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] Eph 5:27 ἵνα παραστήσῃ αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ ἔνδοξον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, μὴ ἔχουσαν σπίλον ἢ ῥυτίδα ἤ τι τῶν τοιούτων, ἀλλ' ἵνα ᾖ ἁγία καὶ ἄμωμος.

Here is the ESV:

so that he might present the church ["him"] to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

  • The Textus Receptus (I am quoting from the Stephens 1550 text) has αυτην, auten, which translates to her, the feminine.
    – Nigel J
    May 27, 2018 at 15:28
  • @NigelJ Yes, but that manuscript first appeared in 1550 and has very little credibility. NA doesn't seem to register it as a significant variant. biblehub.com/text/ephesians/5-27.htm
    – Ruminator
    May 27, 2018 at 15:49
  • There is a 'significant' division regarding the TR and the NA. I was trying to draw attention to the much more sensible feminine as against the nonsensical masculine.
    – Nigel J
    May 27, 2018 at 16:42
  • @NigelJ I understand and that is fine however, the TR is evidently manhandled and is not significant as textual evidence. There may be other witnesses that are more credible, I don't know.
    – Ruminator
    May 27, 2018 at 16:48
  • I think you have chosen one of the very places which indicates the superiority of the Received Text to the later incorporation of Sinaiticus/Vaticanus. 50 years of following the arguments have not persuaded me to move an inch from the TR.
    – Nigel J
    May 27, 2018 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


αὐτὸς is not the object "him" but the subject "he" and is usually implied rather than explicit so I take this as an emphasis. Paul is saying that the bride does not prepare herself but rather he prepares his bride:

"so that he may present her to himself as a glorious assembly without spot or wrinkle".

This connects well with the self-interest he highlights later about "he that loves his wife loves himself".

Disclaimer: I'm not very qualified in Greek so if I'm talking nonsense, please correct. Thanks.

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