Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Be sealed with the Holy Spirit: Behind the metaphor in Ephesians 1:13

Robby I. Chandra, Agustinus M.L. Batlajery, A. Christian Jonch
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a9308 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.9308 | © 2023 Robby I. Chandra, Agustinus M.L. Batlajery, A. Christian Jonch | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2023 | Published: 30 November 2023

About the author(s)

Robby I. Chandra, Faculty of Theology, Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Cipanas, Cipanas, Indonesia
Agustinus M.L. Batlajery, Faculty of Theology, Universitas Kristen Indonesia Maluku (UKIM), Ambon, Indonesia
A. Christian Jonch, Faculty of Theology, Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Cipanas, Cipanas, Indonesia; and Faculty of Theology Sekolah Tinggi Teologi IMAN Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia


This study explores the phrase ‘sealed with the Holy Spirit’ of Ephesians 1:13 as a metaphor, which relates the status of the recipients with the seal. Past studies view that the metaphor teaches about covenant or unity in God’s protection, assurance, and ownership. This study hypothesises that the author uses metaphor to address the recipients who have a deeper sentiment with a seal meaning they are both Jewish and Gentile Christians but especially those who are slaves. The study combines the Ephesians’ background, lexical, and exegetical analyses with the cognitive-linguistic metaphor exploration. The result shows that the metaphor ‘seal’ is closely related to the personal experience of the Gentile Christians especially the slaves more than to others as it teaches that the endowment with the Spirit makes them worthy and united in the same identity as God’s chosen people.

Contribution: This article seeks to contribute to the ongoing challenges that Indonesian Christians face in manifesting their unity because of their diverse cultural or historical backgrounds as part of a formerly colonialised nation especially those who are underprivileged and live in rural areas. By recognising that God has redeemed, endowed them with the Holy Spirit, and united with each other, they are free from various status bondages, especially as a minority group among the largest Muslim population in the world.


Holy Spirit; seal; unity; metaphor; slaves; bondage.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals


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