A. 1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
B. 2 I know thy works,
C. and thy labour,
D. and thy patience,
E. and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:
F. and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
E’. 3 And hast borne,
D’. and hast patience,
C’. and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
B’. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;
A’. or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Note: there is no doubt about the inversion of the order of “works”, “labour”, “patience”, and “borne”. The centre of the chiasm is the way the Ephesians had dealt with the false teachers that Paul warns them about in Acts 20. However , the parallel BB’ point up the deficiency of the works the Lord saw in verse 2 – these were not the works of love that the Ephesian ecclesia had shown in the beginning (Eph 1:15). Doctrinal purity without love in unacceptable to the Lord.
One thought on “Revelation 2:1-7”
It might also be worth looking at the other letters, as they certainly all have structural similarities:
a: These things saith he…
(description of the Son of Man)
b: I know thy works…
(description of works)
(Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee…)
c: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches
“Him that overcometh” is also often repeated, but not always in the same part of the letter.