If you have the bible in translation, realize that it is also a commentary on the text. If you compare several, you can gain insight. Here is a test case, using a rather meaningless phrase from Ephesians 1:5.
According to the purpose of his will.
This phrase is a literal translation of the original. As is often the case in translation, a literal word for word translation does not say much of anything. So I have looked for other translations that capture the meaning of these words. Here are two of them.
The New Century Version says,
“That is what he wanted and what pleased him.”
This shows that our adoption was something that God wanted to do. When parents tell their adopted children the truth, they often say, “We chose you.” God chose us. Why? It is not because he had to, but because he wanted to. It was something that pleased him.
The New Living translation says:
“This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
This is the translation I like best. I get no real sense from reading “according to his purpose”. But when I hear that God wanted to adopt me, and that it gave him pleasure to adopt me, that is meaningful.
A good place to compare translations in English and other languages is www.biblegateway.com