What is “This” in Ephesians 2:8-9

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 (AV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

8 (ignt) τη γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως και τουτο ουκ εξ υμων θεου το δωρον

9 (AV) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

9 (ignt) ουκ εξ εργων ινα μη τις καυχησηται

(for full parsing, please see the following link: https://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/eph2.pdf)

To what does the word “this”, touto  in the Greek, refer in Ephesians 2:8-9? Every pronoun must refer to a noun used in the same context, usually prior to the use of the pronoun, though not universally so, or to a concept expressed in relationship to its use. Declensions of pronouns and adjectives must match the nouns they represent or modify.

In verse 8, the pronoun “touto”, a reflexive pronoun, refers either to a noun subject that is singular and neuter or to a concept.

In the previous clause, a verbal sesosmenoi, meaning “saved ones”, is nominative (subjective case), but is plural and masculine; it cannot be represented by touto.

“Grace”, chariti, is in the dative case, and therefore is not represented by “touto”. Indeed, any grace is, by definition, a gift, as something unearned and undeserved.

The only other noun in the first clause is faith, pisteos, which is singular and feminine. In the genitive declension, it is not a subject, and does not correspond to the nominative neuter pronoun touto.

A direct translation of the sentence into English, without adjusting for awkwardness, would read:

For to the grace are you saved-ones through the faith and this not out of you (yourselves) of God the gift.

Adjusted for better English structure, it would read:

For to the grace, you are saved-ones through the faith; this not from (out of) yourselves; the gift (is) of God.

“You” and “saved-ones” are nominative, and the subject of the first clause.

“The gift” is also nominative, and is subject of the second clause. Its full declension is neuter and singular.

The word under question, touto translated as “it is”, is also nominative, singular, and neuter. It corresponds to, and most appropriately represents “the gift” at the end of the second clause, also singular, nominative, and neuter. Therefore, properly rendered, the verse would read:

“For to the grace, are (you) saved-ones through faith; this (is) not from yourselves: the gift of God…” or “…this not out of yourselves, the gift (is) of God…”

where “touto” represents “the gift of God”, matching its case and declension. Grammatically, touto cannot refer either to “faith” or “saved-ones” in the previous clause, because its case and declension do not match either word. It may only refer to “the gift (of God)” at the end of the second clause.

But what concept from the first clause is this “gift of God”? The concepts expressed are:

“you are saved-ones through faith”

being saved-ones through faith is “to the grace (of God)”

Therefore, either being saved through faith is “this…gift of God”, or “to the grace (of God)” is “this…. gift”. The New Testament specifically states that eternal life through Jesus Christ is “the gift of God” (Romans 6:23; Rom 5:15; 2 Cor 9:13-15), that the Holy Spirit given to believers is “the gift of God” (Acts 8:20, Acts 11:17), and that the miraculous sign-gifts are gifts of God (1 Cor 7:7, etc, 2 Tim 1:6, 1 Pet 4:10). Also, every good thing we receive is referred to as a gift from God in James 1:17. The only one of these concepts expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9 is that of salvation through faith, by God’s grace. Of necessity, the grammar of the verse requires that “this … gift of God” refers to being saved-ones through faith, by God’s grace. Touto cannot refer to faith based on the grammar, therefore faith is not the gift referred to in this verse. Only being “saved-ones through faith”, fits the grammar of the sentence, as the gift to which touto refers.