Eph 2. 5


Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Why is there parentheses around “by grace ye are saved”?



Because a translator thought that it sounded like it should be enclosed in parentheses. The original Greek had no punctuation of any kind, and the punctuation that has been added over the centuries has been guesswork. In most cases, very educated guesswork, but still guesswork.


When we are dead in sins, we cannot, without grace, even respond to God’s call.

We cannot participate in any hagios ergos (good works) until we are in a state of grace, where we cannot get apart from His grace.


It is in parentheses because of grammar. Consider the following sentences:

“Buzz Aldrin — the second man on the Moon — is now as famous as Neil Armstrong.”

“Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, is now as famous as Neil Armstrong.”

“Buzz Aldrin (the second man on the Moon) is now as famous as Neil Armstrong.”

Each sentence uses a different method to grammatically separate the middle phrase from the rest of the sentence. The middle phrase is called a subordinate clause. Subordinate clauses are clauses which express a related thought regarding what the writer is talking about.

In Eph. 2:5, the Greek grammar indicates that the phrase “by grace you have been saved” is a subordinate clause within the main sentence. The particular translation you quoted chose to use parentheses to indicate that in English. Other translations use different methods.

If my understanding is correct, all translations of Ephesians 2:5 ought to use some method to indicate that “by grace you have been saved” is a subordinate clause, because that is what the Greek grammar indicates. One method of doing so is through parentheses. As the Neil Armstrong example shows, there are other ways too. Thus it is up to the translator how to do it based on which method he thinks is best.

I hope that helps. God bless!


Some years ago, I found out first hand that having Neil Armstrong as a guest event speaker cost $100k. Buzz was only $50k (so we hired Buzz).



I was wondering if it had to do with some manuscripts not having those words.




DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.