Introduction to Ephesians
Twice in this epistle Paul referred to himself by name as the author of the book (Eph. 1:1; Eph. 3:1). Yet the Pauline authorship of Ephesians has been greatly disputed in recent years. Some critics think that the book reflects aspects of vocabulary, style, and doctrine that differ from Paul’s writings. Though the book has a close affinity with Colossians, critics claim that Ephesians is uncharacteristic of Paul. They suggest that the book was pseudonymous, that is, it was written by someone who did not use his own name but who instead claimed to be Paul.
However, pseudonymity was not practiced by the early Christians. Also this book is regarded by many as the crown of all Paul’s writings. Thus it seems strange that a disciple of Paul would be greater than Paul in theological and spiritual perception. Furthermore, Ephesians was extensively and undisputably accepted in the early church as Paul’s letter. There is no strong reason for rejecting the Pauline authorship of Ephesians.
Some scholars view this epistle as encyclical, a circular letter to be distributed to several undesignated local churches in the province of Asia or some other area. This is supported by two observations: (1) the words “in Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1) do not appear in three early Alexandrian Greek manuscripts, and (2) it is strange for Paul not to mention by name any of the individuals in a church where he had lived and worked for three years (Acts 20:31). However, it seems better to accept “in Ephesus” as genuine because of the wide geographical distribution of the Greek manuscripts that do include those words. Also no manuscripts of this epistle mention any other city, and none have only the word “in” followed by a space to insert a city’s name. The prescript or title “To the Ephesians” appears in all manuscripts of this epistle. Furthermore, all the letters Paul wrote to churches mention their destinations.
With regard to the absence of names of individuals in Ephesus, it may be that Paul did not want to single out certain persons in this short epistle since he knew so many people there.
Even so, the epistle may still be considered a circular letter, with Ephesus being the primary church addressed since Paul had stayed there so long and since it was the capital city of the province of Asia. This helps explain the absence of personal names of Ephesian believers. If this epistle were routed to other churches after the Ephesians read it, it may have gone to Laodicea and Colosse, for Paul in writing Colossians urged the believers there to “read the letter from Laodicea” (Col. 4:16), possibly a reference to the Ephesian epistle.
Ephesians was probably delivered by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21-22), who also took Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. 4:7-9).
Ephesus was a leading center in the Roman Empire. Paul had spent a short time in Ephesus on his way back to Antioch from his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-22). On his third missionary journey he stayed in Ephesus three years (Acts 20:31). Several remarkable things happened in Ephesus. Paul baptized a dozen of John the Baptist’s followers (Acts 19:1-7). He had discussions in the hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:8-10). Unusual miracles occurred (Acts 19:11-12), strange events took place (Acts 19:13-16), sorcerers were converted (Acts 19:17-20), and the city rioted over silversmith Demetrius’ loss of business because of people who turned to Christ from worshiping the great Ephesian goddess Artemis (Acts 19:23-41). On Paul’s return to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey he gave a moving farewell address to the Ephesian elders at the coastal town of Miletus (Acts 20:13-35). That was his last time to see them (Acts 20:36-38), unless Paul visited Ephesus after he was in Rome (cf. 1 Tim. 1:3 with 1 Tim. 3:14).
Place and Date
Paul was a prisoner at the time he wrote this letter (Eph. 3:1; Eph. 4:1; Eph. 6:20). Scholars differ on whether Paul wrote this letter while he was imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 24:27) in a.d. 57-59, or in Rome (Acts 28:30) in a.d. 60-62. All things considered, the Roman imprisonment seems more likely. Along with Ephesians, the Books of Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are thought to have been written during the same time period and hence are called the “Prison Epistles” (cf. Phil. 1:7; Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:9). Since Ephesians gives no hint of his release from prison, as do Philippians (Phil. 1:19-26) and Philemon (Philemon 1:22), it is reasonable to think that he wrote it in the early part of his stay, or about a.d. 60. This would have been when Paul was kept under guard in rental quarters (Acts 28:30). Following his release he traveled, wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, was arrested again, wrote 2 Timothy, and was martyred in Rome.
Though no particular problem is raised in the book, the reason for writing this epistle becomes clear when one considers the contacts the apostle had with the Ephesians. On the return from his third missionary journey Paul told the Ephesian elders at Miletus (a.d. 57) to beware of evil teachers from without and of professing believers within who would teach perverse things (Acts 20:29-30). From Revelation one can see that the Ephesian church had succeeded in keeping out the false teachers (Rev. 2:2) but had failed to maintain the vibrancy of their first love for Christ (Rev. 2:4). This is substantiated in 1 Tim. 1:5, when Paul wrote from Macedonia to Timothy at Ephesus (ca a.d. 62) that the goal of his instruction was “love which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Thus the theme of love needed to be stressed for the saints at Ephesus.
This is in harmony with the contents of Ephesians, for the verb form of “love” (agapaō) is used 9 times in Ephesians, whereas Paul used it only 23 times in all his other letters. Paul used the noun (agapē, “love”) 10 times in Ephesians compared with 65 times in his other epistles. Therefore, of the 107 times Paul used the verb or noun “love,” 19 are in Ephesians. Thus more than one-sixth of his references to “love” appear in this small epistle to the Ephesians. This letter begins with love (Eph. 1:4, 6) and ends with love (Eph. 6:23-24).
Also Ephesians teaches that Jewish and Gentile believers are one in Christ, which is demonstrated by their love for one another. This love can come only from God. Possibly Paul, realizing they were starting to forsake their first love, wrote this epistle to encourage them to love both God and their fellow saints.
Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, “Introduction to Ephesians”.
Paul (Latin – means “small”).
apostle (Gk. “apostolos” – means “one sent from someone else with credentials on a mission as a representative”).
Christ (Gk. “Cristos” – means “Anointed” or “Messiah”; it signifies being set apart for God or consecrated to a sacred purpose).
Jesus (Gk. “Iesous” – means “Jehovah saves,” Savior, or deliverer).
saint (Gk. “hagios” – means “set apart for God”; same word used for “holy”, Eph. 1:4).
and (Gk. “kai” – can and should be translated “even”, here).
faithful (Gk. “pistos” – means trusting).
grace [Gk. “charis” – means “unmerited/undeserved favor”, and refers to God’s offer of salvation with all that that implies, which salvation was procured at Calvary’s Cross with all the personal sacrifice which that included, offered to one who is His bitter enemy, and who is not only undeserving of that salvation but deserves punishment for his/her sins, offered without any expectation of return, but given out of the bounty and free-heartedness of the giver].
peace (Gk. “eirene” – refers to that state of untroubled, undisturbed tranquility and well-being produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit).
blessed (Gk. “eulogetos” – means “to speak well of”).
God … of our Lord Jesus Christ (that is, as Jesus is seen in His humanity).
and Father… [Jesus’ own (Gk. “idios”), private, peculiar, individual Father (Jn. 5:18) from whom He proceeds from all eternity, and Jesus is, therefore, seen in His deity].
blessed us (Gk. “eulogesas” – means God did us good).
every (the context would indicate particularly that of election, adoption, redemption, and sealing).
spiritual (Gk. “pneumatikos” – Spirit-produced).
in the heavenly places (that are found or have their origin in heaven and brought from there to us).
in Christ (by virtue of union with Christ).
chose (Gk. “exelexato” – means picked out for Himself for a definite object or calling).
in Him (in Christ; by virtue of what He was to do in their behalf as Redeemer).
foundation (Gk. “katabole” – means “a throwing or laying down”; speaking a material universe into existence which was not before).
holy (Gk. “hagios” – means a separated people, in character as Christians; separated from evil and dedicated to the worship and service of God; same word used for “saint”, Eph. 1:1).
blameless (Gk. “amomos” – means free from fault; “spotless, without blemish”).
predestined (Gk. “prooriso” – means to previously put limitations upon a person, thus to determine a person’s destiny beforehand; previously marked out).
adoption (Gk. “huiothesia” – refers to the act of God placing these selected-out ones as adult sons).
according to the kind intention (Gk. “eudokian” – because it pleased Him).
will (Gk. “thelema” – a desire which proceeds from one’s heart or emotions). [God’s choosing and predestining us to adoption are not due to any merit or deservingness on our part, but are acts of God’s own pure goodness, originating wholly in the freedom of His own thoughts and loving counsel – Wuest’s Word Studies.].
to the praise of the glory of His grace [the ultimate purpose or aim of our predestination to adoption is “the adoring recognition and verbal exaltation (praise) of the manifested excellence (glory) of God’s favor to the undeserving (grace)”.].
the Beloved (refers to the Lord Jesus; this grace was freely bestowed on us in the sphere of Christ and His work on the cross).
redemption [Gk. “apolutrosis” in the present, durative tense – means “a releasing or deliverance affected by payment of ransom”. Durative tense, an abiding fact from the past through the present into the future].
forgiveness (Gk. “aphesis” – means a release, the letting go as if they had not been committed; a remission/canceling of their penalty).
trespasses (Gk. “paraptoma” – means a lapse, false step, blunder or “deviation, from uprightness and truth” – Vine’s).
riches (Gk. “ploutos” – means “abundance, wealth or plentitude”).
all (Gk. “pase” – means “full or perfect”).
wisdom (Gk. “sophia” – refers to supreme intelligence; the ability to apply knowledge to the best advantage to attain the highest goal).
insight (Gk. “phronesis” – means “understanding”; the right and effective use of wisdom).
mystery (Gk. “musterion” – means a secret; something which is not understood until revealed, such as God’s secret purposes which He intends to carry out).
will (see Eph. 1:5 note).
kind intention (Gk. “eudokia” – means that which seems good or well to one; pleasure/satisfaction).
purposed (Gk. “protithemi” – means “determined”).
in Him (in Himself; in His own mind, with no outside influence).
administration (Gk. “oikonomia” – means “management”).
fullness (Gk. “pleroma” – means “completeness”).
times (Gk. “kairos” – “seasons”. It refers to the various periods of human history as they have to do with Israel and the Church in which God deals with these in particular manner, each season or age being marked by a separate and distinct manner of dealing, such as the Age of Law and the Age of Grace.).
fullness of the times [the time when the succession of the ages has come to a close in the plan of God; at the close of the Messianic kingdom (Millennium), the Great White Throne judgment will take place at which all lost (unsaved) human beings, fallen angels, and demons will be judged. The material universe cursed by sin will be brought back into its original, uncorrupted state, the saved of the human race will live on the new earth, and the endless eternal ages will begin, Rev. 20:7 – 21:8.].
summing up (Gk. “anakephalaioo” – “gathering together”).
all things [all God’s elect people (into one body), His Church, see Col. 1:20-27; Eph. 2:11-13. Or, possibly all created beings and things, see Rom. 8:21; Heb. 2:8.].
in Christ (in and through the Lord Jesus and His atoning death on the Cross).
also (besides obtaining redemption, forgiveness of sins, etc.).
we (Paul and Jewish Christians, as contrasted with the Gentiles believers, Eph. 1:13).
inheritance (all the blessings of salvation both in this life and in the life to come).
predestined (see Eph. 1:5 note).
purpose [Gk. “prosthesis” – God’s plan (i.e., that we should be holy and blameless, sons of God, destined to glorify Him forever) is fixed, and neither fate nor human merit determine our destiny; God’s design and what it aims to accomplish.].
works (Gk. “energeo” – operate with His divine energy in).
all things (Gk. “panta” – everything universally. Everything is comprehended in His purpose and everything is ordered by His efficient control).
counsel (Gk. “boule” – intelligent, deliberate plan).
His will (Gk. “thelema” – sovereign choice, desire, or determination, not determined by anything outside of Himself, such as, the objects themselves).
we (Jewish Christians).
hope (Gk. “proelpizo” – a confident assurance/expectation; to hope in a person or thing before the event confirms it).
praise (Gk. “epainos” – high or great regard or esteem; verbal, adoring recognition).
His glory [Gk. “doxa” – God’s manifested excellence, glorious nature, majesty, splendor, great kindliness; what He essentially is and does, as exhibited in how He reveals Himself (e.g., by saving a people for Himself). This is the ultimate end in God’s predestining us. It’s to be “to the praise of His glory”.].
you also (Gentile Christians).
sealed (Gk. “sphragizo” – marked with a seal. A seal signifies:
- To guarantee the genuine character of (Esther 3:12; 1 Cor. 9:2).
- A finished transaction (Jer. 32:9-10; Jn. 17:4; 19:30).
- Ownership (Jer. 32:11-12; Song of Solomon 8:6; 2 Tim. 2:19).
- Security (Esther 8:8; Dan. 6:17; 2 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 4:30).
- To protect against tampering or harm (Matt. 27:66; Rev. 5:1).
with the Holy Spirit of promise (with the promised Holy Spirit who was promised, or who comes in virtue of the promise. See Acts 2:16; 1:14; Joel 2:28; Zech. 12:10; Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Jn. 7:39).
pledge (Gk. “arrabon” – a guarantee; a part given in advance of what will be bestowed fully afterwards).
inheritance (salvation in heaven with glorified bodies).
redemption (the final deliverance from all evil, which is to take place at Christ’s second coming, Lk. 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 4:30).
possession [Gk. “peripeiesis” – the thing acquired, preserved, or gained for one’s self; here, it means God’s people (see Mal. 3:17; Acts 20:28).].
to the praise of His glory (They received an inheritance, were sealed, and received the Holy Spirit in order that God’s excellencies may be praised or highly and adoringly spoken of. This is the highest end of redemption.).
For this reason [Either because of what is stated in Eph. 1:3-14, or because of what is said in Eph. 1:13 (that because these Gentile Christians have obtained a portion in this inheritance).].
I too (as well as others and especially yourselves). [The Ephesians might well be expected to be filled with gratitude for their conversion.].
love (Gk. “agape” – an attitude of seeking the other person’s best welfare in accordance with God’s value system and truths, and follows through with the corresponding actions that that attitude prompts).
do not cease (Gk. “pauo” – don’t stop or make an end; in other words, regularly.).
the Father of glory (the Father who is glorious, or the glorious Father).
spirit of wisdom [Gk. “pneuma”, means spirit or Spirit – wisdom from the Holy Spirit (see Jn. 15:26; Rom. 8:15). A figure of speech (metonymy) is the use of the name of one thing for that of another associated with or suggested by it (e.g., the White House is used when speaking or writing about the President).].
knowledge of Him (Gk. “epignosis” – an accurate, precise, true, thorough, full, experiential knowledge of God).
eyes of your heart may be enlightened (The ‘heart’ is the inner nature or being of man: emotions, intellect, and will. ‘Be enlightened’ is a perfect participle referring to a past completed act having present results. So Paul’s prayer is that the vision of their spiritual capabilities having been opened up with the present result that they are in a state of illumination.).
know (Gk. “eidenai” – “to perceive”).
hope (assured or confident expectation of the eternal blessedness).
of His calling (of God’s bringing you to salvation with its future glories).
riches of the glory of His inheritance [the greatness or marvelous magnitude of the excellence of that inheritance (all the blessings of salvation) of which God is the author.].
in the saints (among or together with all of God’s people).
surpassing greatness (Gk. “huperballon” – exceeding; beyond measure; more than enough).
power (Gk. “dunamis” – inherent ability to perform anything).
toward us who believe [in the interests of believers (that the hope may be realized and the inheritance obtained).].
these (this greatness of His inherent ability to perform anything).
in accordance with (is measured by).
working (Gk. “energeia” – power in exercise; operative energy).
strength (Gk. “kratos” – manifested strength).
might (Gk. “ischuos” – great inherent strength; power as an endowment).
[Example: ‘might’ is the muscle cells; ‘strength’ is the muscle flexed; ‘working’ is the muscle exerted or used to accomplish something.]
brought about (Gk. “energeo” – made operative; hard at work; put forth power).
right hand (the place of honor and authority to administer the government of heaven and earth).
all rule and authority and power and dominion [various orders of angels (see Col. 1:16; 2:18; Eph. 3:10).].
every name that is named (any title of honor or excellence that there may be).
age (Gk. “aion” – it speaks of duration of the state of things).
all things (every creature; all creations).
under His feet (under Christ’s dominion).
gave Him as head over all things to the church (God gave Christ, who is head over all things, as head of the church).
church (Gk. “ekklesia” – a body of called out individuals; the invisible Church, composed of only saved individuals, and not to the visible, organized church on earth).
body (Gk. “soma” – used figuratively of a society; a number of people constituting a social or ethical union. In the New Testament, it’s the fellowship of believers regarded as an organic spiritual unity in a living relation to Christ.).
the fullness (Gk. “pleroma”) of Him [that which is filled by or with Christ].
who fills all in all (Christ fills all the universe in all respects or in all its parts. The union which the church sustains is with Christ, God in the flesh, who pervades and governs all things by His omnipotent power.).
dead (Gk. “nekros” – spiritually dead; destitute of a life that recognizes and is devoted to God; the state of separation from God and His life).
trespasses (Gk. “paraptoma” – not premeditated; to deviate from the right path, the truth, or uprightness).
sins (“hamartia” – to miss the mark; to fail to obey the Word of God in thought, word, deed, or motive).
walked (Gk. “peripateo” – lived; conducted yourself; behaved; regulated your life).
according (Gk. “kata” – dominated or controlled by).
course (Gk. “aion” – life, ruling principle, or spirit, or age).
world (Gk. “kosmos” – all that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective power by people who are living alienated from God).
prince (Gk. “archon” – the first in an order of persons or things; Satan).
power (Gk. “exousia” – is authority and refers to demons).
air [Gk. “aer” – the lower, denser atmosphere (below the mountaintops, where humans are).].
spirit (Gk. “pneumatos” – the evil principle or power in people that Satan controls. It refers to one’s way of thinking and acting; evil tendency).
working (Gk. “energeo” – operative; energetically engaged).
sons (Gk. “huios” – is a Hebrew idiom in which one calls a person having a peculiar quality or subject to a peculiar evil, a son of that quality).
Among them (the children of disobedience. These present saints were once one of them.
lived (Gk. “anastrepho” – ordered one’s behavior; conducted one’s self).
lusts (Gk. “epithumia” – a passionate or strong longing or craving; here, it’s an evil craving.
flesh (Gk. “sarx” – here, it refers to the totally depraved nature).
indulging (Gk. “poieo” – a present participle meaning “habitually accomplishing”).
desires (Gk. “theloma” – desires that come from the emotions; unrighteous cravings).
mind (Gk. “dianoia” – when used in the plural, as it is here, it refers to the thoughts; here, evil thoughts).
were (is in the imperfect tense, which means a “continuous state of being”).
nature (Gk. “phusis” – means innate, here; as descendants of Adam).
children [Gk. “teknon”] of wrath (a Hebrew idiom meaning “objects of God’s settled indignation”).
the rest (the rest of mankind).
rich (Gk. “plousios” – abounding with; abundant).
made alive together with Christ (our identification with Christ in His resurrection resulted in the impartation of divine life to us believers).
by grace you have been saved (This participle in the perfect tense speaks of an action that took place in the past time and was completed in past time, having results existent in present time. The verb “to be” is in the present tense which gives durative force to the finished results. So it is saying, ‘by grace you have been saved in past time completely, with the result that you are in a state of salvation which persists through present time.’).
raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (as to spiritual state and condition, Christians are raised up and seated with Christ in heaven because of the believer’s identification and union with Christ).
in the ages to come (means, “for all future time”).
and that (is in the neuter gender and refers to grace and faith, both of which are in the feminine gender).
the gift of God (refers to grace and faith also).
works (works of all or any kind as distinguished from faith).
workmanship (Gk. “poioma” – “something that is made.” Christians are the handiwork or product of God, made anew by Him, and our salvation, therefore, is due to Him, not to ourselves).
created in Christ Jesus for good works (made a new spiritual creature by union with Christ, with a view to doing good works).
which God prepared beforehand (These good works being the object to which these new Christians looked, were preordained, prearranged or destined by God, as the unseen source from which they would spring.).
walk in them (Gk. “peripateo” – regulate our life by them; order our behavior or conduct within the sphere of these good works; to be occupied with; a perpetual habit, not just to complete a goal).
Therefore (because of the great things done for them by God’s grace, Eph. 2:1-10).
remember (Gk. “mnemoneuo” – “to exercise the memory, rehearse, or be mindful of”).
the Gentiles in the flesh (Gentiles as seen in their being physically uncircumcised).
Uncircumcision (Gk. “akrobustia” – a name of contempt for the Gentiles, figuratively meaning, “unclean, not reverent, heathen, unregenerate, or pagan”).
so-called Circumcision (means the external people of God or the physically Jewish who have an external mark).
performed in the flesh by human hands (cut away foreskin by minor surgery).
at that time (before their conversion, in the church age since Pentecost).
separate from Christ (Gk. “apellotriomenoi” – meaning, “having been alienated, disinherited, or disowned; estranged”. Gentiles had no covenant connection with Christ as the Jews had with Him as Messiah).
the commonwealth of Israel (the Jewish state or theocracy to which God gave special blessings, that is, His law, protection, prophecies, and promises).
strangers (Gk. “xenos” – “having no share in”).
covenants of promise (with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of a Redeemer or Messiah).
having no hope (ignorant of the covenant-promise of a Redeemer. The Gentiles had nothing to hope for beyond this world.).
without God (without the knowledge of the one, true God).
in the world (in this present domain of their life).
now in Christ Jesus (in virtue of union with Christ since conversion).
far off (at a distance from the temple in which God dwelt, and spiritual distance from God).
brought near (reconciled to God).
He Himself [neither the law with its ordinances, nor human merit (good works), but Christ].
peace (Gk. “eirenen” – joining together what was separated).
both (Jew and Gentile).
one (one organic unit, the Church).
barrier of (their mutual hatred or enmity caused by).
the dividing wall (a figurative reference to the Law).
abolishing (Gk. “katargeo” – rendering inoperative; causing it to cease).
in His flesh (by Christ’s death).
the Law of commands in ordinances (the ceremonial laws, such as: circumcision, sacrifices, washings, abstaining from certain kinds of foods, etc.).
the two (Jew and Gentile).
one new man (the mystical body of Christ, the Church).
reconcile (Gk. “apokatallasso” – is to effect peace and union between parties previously at variance or disagreement).
having put to death the enmity (having removed the hostility between God and man).
He came (Christ’s first coming to earth).
preached (Gk. “euaggelizomai” – brought good news).
peace (the inner assurance that all is well between man and God because of the atoning work of salvation on the Cross by Christ (Lk. 19:10; Jn. 10:16).
far away (Gentiles).
both (Jew and Gentile).
access (Gk. “prosago” – not just freedom of approach or entrance, but introduction into His presence).
in (by means of; the inward change by which we are enabled to believe in Christ is a result of the Spirit, Jn. 3:5).
so then (because of the results of reconciliation, Eph. 2:14-18).
strangers (Gk. “xenos” – that which is of a different quality or nature than something else. Sinners are strangers to the kingdom of God.
aliens (Gk. “paroikes” – foreigners without rights of citizenship).
saints (Gk. “hagios” – the people of God; all these separated from the world and consecrated to God; probably referring to Jewish believers, here).
God’s household (means belonging to both a family and a household. Another similar illustration, but more intimate than that of the State illustration.
prophets (are the New Testament prophets not Old Testament prophets (see Eph. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:28).
the foundation of the apostles and prophets (The Gentile believers are built on the foundation which the apostles and prophets constitute.).
Christ Jesus being the corner (The whole Church rests on Christ. In addition to being part of the foundation and, therefore, supporting the superstructure, it also determines the layout of the walls and cross walls throughout, thereby determining the building’s character.).
in whom … being fitted together (because of spiritual union by faith in Christ, God’s people are in spiritual union with each other.
growing into a holy temple in the Lord (grows or rises in virtue of union with the Lord into a cleansed and consecrated building. In Christ the whole building grows into a holy temple).
in whom (in Christ).
you also (you Ephesians together with other believers are forming with them this dwelling of God).
in the Spirit (by the agency of the Holy Spirit, this building work is carried on).
For this reason (because you Gentiles are fellow-citizens of the saints, and especially because you Ephesians are included in the temple of God).
I, Paul (There is no verb of which the words, ‘I, Paul’ are the nominative. It seems most likely that Eph. 3:1-13 is a parenthetical paragraph, and that the sentence resumes in Eph. 3:14, where Paul again says, ‘For this reason’, and goes on to pray for their confirmation and growth. The purpose of the digression in Eph. 3:1-13 is to acquaint the Gentiles with their call and Paul’s knowledge and privilege to proclaim the mystery of Jew and Gentile in one body.).
the prisoner of Christ (Christ’s prisoner).
for the sake of you Gentiles (because Paul was called specifically to witness to Gentiles, the Jews hated him and this led to his imprisonment – Acts 21:17; 22:21-24).
if (Gk. “eige” – assuming that).
stewardship (Gk. “oikonomia” – management, oversight, or responsibility).
God’s grace (found in Eph. 3:6).
revelation (Gk. “apokalupsis” – an uncovering).
mystery (Gk. “musterion” – a secret purpose of God undiscoverable by human reason which when uncovered in understood by the Spirit-taught believer.
as I wrote before in brief (refers to Eph. 2:11-22).
this (what Paul had written in Eph. 2:11-22).
mystery of Christ (the whole plan of salvation in Christ).
sons of men (people, in general).
as it now has been revealed (the mystery of the Gentiles partaking of Messiah’s reign, and to be united as one body with the Jews in His kingdom was not fully or clearly revealed as it now was under the Gospel (i.e., Rom. 9:25-33).
in the Spirit (by – divine communication from – the Spirit).
fellow-heirs (have the same right to the inheritance as the Jews, that is, all the benefits of the covenant of grace: the knowledge of the truth, all church privileges, justification, adoption, sanctification, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, life everlasting, etc.).
of the promise (of redemption).
in Christ (in virtue of their union with Christ).
through (which is brought about by).
according to the gift of God’s grace (Paul’s call to be an apostle).
the working of His power [Paul’s call involved his conversion of soul (bringing a sinner into a state of holiness) by God’s power].
the very least of all saints (because Paul had persecuted Christ, 1 Cor. 15:9, by persecuting Christians).
grace (undeserved privilege as an apostle).
unfathomable (Gk. “anexichniastos” – past finding out; impossible to track; inscrutable; unable to follow or fully comprehend).
riches of Christ (the fullness of the Godhead, of all divine glories and perfections which dwell in Him, that is, the fullness of grace to pardon, to sanctify, save, etc.).
to bring to light (to teach or make known to the minds of people through the Gospel.
administration of the mystery (plan of redemption).
all things (the universe).
manifold wisdom [refers to various aspects under which the wisdom of God is displayed in redemption: in reconciling justice and mercy; in exalting the unworthy while it effectually humbles them; the Redeemer’s work (how He carried it out); the Holy Spirit’s operations (drawing, convicting, convincing, etc.); etc.].
through the church (through the church being a mirror of such things as the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile to God and to each other through the Cross).
to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (to all orders of intelligent beings, that is, good angels).
eternal purpose (God’s plan formed in eternity; one of God’s designs for the Church was to serve as a school in which the angels may learn more about God’s wisdom).
carried out in Christ (executed in Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and formation of the Church).
boldness (Gk. “parresia” – freedom from apprehension of rejection or of evil; fearlessness; undoubting confidence).
access (Gk. “prosagoge” – free and unrestricted access to God, as children to a father; access with intimate “face-to-face” interaction; see Eph. 2:18 note).
Therefore (because they have been redeemed and have this access to God).
at my tribulation on your behalf, for they are your glory (at Paul’s imprisonment for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles because it was for their salvation).
For this reason (This verse resumes the connection interrupted in Eph. 3:1. The prayer that Paul started there begins anew in this verse: Because you Ephesians are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ and because He’s dealt so kindly with you Ephesians and with me.
bow my knees (a posture expressing humility).
every (Gk. “pasa” – the whole).
family (Gk. “patria”) derives its name [as ‘the Father’s family’, derives its name from His name, Father].
in heaven and on earth (Whether in heaven or on earth, as it’s just one spiritual Church).
riches of His glory (the whole of God’s perfections, excellencies, or attributes).
strengthened with power through the Spirit (strengthened with Spirit-imparted power).
the inner man (the new nature; the inner principle of spiritual life in the heart of believers).
dwell (Gk. “katoikesia” – settle down and feel completely at home; take more possession of us; fill).
hearts (used figuratively of one’s soul, that is, inner being – intellect, will, and emotion).
through faith (by means of faith in appropriating the truth of God’s Word and present our lives to His control).
being rooted and grounded in love (being securely settled and deeply founded in God’s love).
comprehend (Gk. “katalambano” – seize; take possession of; to grasp conceptually).
with all the saints (all Christians).
what is the breath… (Paul doesn’t specify of ‘what’, but it’s probably the vastness of God’s love.).
to know (Gk. “ginosko” – to know practically through experience more and more).
surpasses (Gk. “huperballo” – transcends).
knowledge (experiential knowledge. No matter how much you experience the love of Christ, there is so much more that you have not experienced.).
filled up … of God (filled unto the complete fullness or perfection of God, that is, Eph. 4:13. As one knows experientially more and more Christ’s love which is infinite, excellent, wonderful, free, constant, etc. then that person will be motivated to love as God loves, Eph. 5:1-2).
ask (Gk. “aiteo” – ask for one’s self).
think (Gk. “noeo” – consider).
power (Gk. “dunamis”) that works (Gk. “energeo”) within us [the ability to perform anything, being exercised within Christians by the Holy Spirit].
to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (glory/honor belongs to God because of what He’s accomplished in the church through Christ, that is, Jew and Gentile are reconciled to God and each other).
Therefore (because they are partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ with all its blessings).
prisoner of the Lord (prisoner because of his connection with Christ, and as one who could rejoice in his sufferings).
entreat (Gk. “parakalo” – beg of you, please).
walk (Gk. “peripateo” – live; order your behavior).
calling (Gk. “klesis” – the divine summons into salvation and sonship of God; to be a saint).
humility (Gk. “tapeinophrosune” – a deep sense of our own moral smallness and unworthiness).
gentleness (Gk. “prautetos” – that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and, therefore, without disputing; or to bear without irritation or resentment the faults or injuries of others).
patience (Gk. “makrothumia” – not being easily provoked by injurious people or blazing up in anger; endures vexing people for a long time without retaliation).
forbearance (putting up with or enduring another with love, that is, seeking his/her best welfare).
diligent (Gk. “spoudazo” – do your best; to make haste; determined effort; exerting yourself).
preserve (Gk. “tereo” – to safeguard).
unity (Gk. “henotes”) of the Spirit [unity, agreement, oneness, or harmony (of views) of which the Spirit is the author].
in the bond of peace (Gk. “eiene” – in that bond which is peace or harmonious relationship).
one body (Gk. “soma” – one spiritual body, the Church consisting of believing Jews and Gentiles in heaven and on earth. The nature or ground of the unity which Christians are to preserve is this one along with the following six things; Rom. 12:5).
one Spirit (Gk. “pneuma” – the Holy Spirit).
one hope of your calling (one expectation of their salvation, that is, fellowship with God in heaven for eternity).
one Lord (Jesus Christ – our owner and sovereign).
one faith (reliance on or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation).
one baptism (Gk. “hen baptisma” – means one placing into, and refers to spirit baptism, where new believers are placed into the Body of Christ, the Church by the Holy Spirit).
one God and Father of all (one sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Father of all Christians).
who is over all and through all and in all (God the Father rules over all the Church, pervades all its parts, and abides or dwells in all the Church by His presence).
grace (Gk. “charis” – the inward spiritual gift and the influence, function, or office flowing from it).
according to the measure of Christ’s gift (as Christ sees fit to give, whether in kind, number, or extent).
Therefore it says (the position which the preceding verse assigns to Christ as the source of all the gifts in the Church is so exalted that Paul interrupts himself to show that this representation is in accordance with what Scripture had already taught on this subject – Psa. 68:18).
He led captive a host of captives (Christ’s conquering of His enemies: Satan, demons, sin and death – Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14).
He gave gifts to men [Psa. 68:18 says that David received gifts ‘for’ men, but David received them in order to give them to Israel (Psa. 68:12). Also, Paul does not always quote the exact words of Scripture, but after referring to the passage, satisfies himself with conveying the substance of it in his own language. So Paul, having made a brief quotation from the Psalm, took the liberty of adding a statement or word, which, though not contained in the Psalm, is true in reference to Christ.].
descended into the lower parts of the earth (means the earth as opposed to heaven, that is, Isa. 44:23).
above all the heavens (means above the whole universe; above all that is created, visible and invisible).
that He might fill all things (meaning the universe with His presence and power, similar to Eph. 1:23; also see Matt. 28:18; Phil. 2:8-10).
He gave apostles (Christ gave to the Church apostles as a gift, not that He gave to some men the gift of apostleship. The distinguishing features of an apostle were: a commission directly from Christ; being a witness of the resurrection; special inspiration; supreme authority; accrediting by miracles; unlimited commission to preach and to found churches. Basically, it included the original 11 and Paul.).
prophets [One who spoke by inspiration, which was occasional; preachers and expounders under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit (this distinguished them from teachers); persons who received direct revelations from God in the beginning days of the Church before the New Testament was written. This gift, along with apostles, seems to have been done away with by the end of the first century, being superseded by the full revelation in the New Testament scripture.].
evangelists (traveling missionaries who preach the Gospel).
pastors and teachers (one who shepherds and instructs the Word of God to God’s flock).
for the equipping of the saints (the reason Christ gave gifted people as leaders to the Church was for them to equip all Christians).
for the work of service (in order for all the Christians to render specific services or ministering of various kinds).
to the building up of the body of Christ [so as to build up the Church, by both adding converts (quantity) to its membership and by spiritual development (quality) of all the individual Christians in it].
unity of the faith in the Son of God (oneness of reliance upon or trust in the Son of God in every aspect or way that He expects, that is, His promises, etc.).
the knowledge (Gk. “epignosis”) of the Son of God (the full, precise, correct, complete knowledge of Jesus Christ).
to a mature man (Gk. “teleion” – to a fully or completely developed Christian, spiritually).
to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (to complete conformity to Christ in holiness, godliness, or spirituality in both character and mission).
As a result (what is stated in Eph. 4:11-13).
to be children (Gk. “nepios” – to continue to be an infant; childish; immature).
tossed here and there (Gk. “kludonizomai”) by waves (thrown about religiously and philosophically; to be agitated mentally).
carried about by every wind of doctrine (driven or swept along by every philosophical or religious viewpoint or teaching).
speaking the truth in love (professing and embracing the truth about God and the gospel with love).
grow up into all aspects into Him (grow up spiritually in every area into Christlikeness or perfect holiness, in character and mission).
from whom … for the building up of itself [Christ is the source of the body’s (Church’s) growth. From Him the whole body (Church) receives its life and coordination; its vitality and direction in all its parts through the joints (different spiritually-gifted people) which hold it together, unite it to its head, and make possible communication, nourishment, and coordinated action, so the Church is supplied by its head with all that it requires for spiritual growth. It’s necessary for each individual Christian to exercise his or her spiritual gift for the proper growth of the whole (Church).].
in love (in the sphere of love; the way each Christian will exercise his or her spiritual gift for the best welfare of the whole body, the Church).
therefore (because of your high calling, your duty to render service with a view to building up Christ’s body, Eph. 4:1-16).
affirm (Gk. “marturomai” – solemnly declare).
the futility (Gk. “mataiotes” – moral and intellectual worthlessness; purposelessness; uselessness).
mind (Gk. “nous” – the reason, understanding, conscience, aim, and affection; the intellectual faculty and the faculty for recognizing moral good and spiritual truth).
darkened (Gk. “skotoo” – blind).
understanding (Gk. “dianoia” – intelligence; thinking).
life of God (spiritual life).
ignorance (Gk. “agnoia” – moral blindness; ignorance, especially of divine things).
hardness (Gk. “porosis” – mental or moral callousness. Because they rejected the general revelation of God, Rom. 1:21).
heart (Gk. “kardias” – inner being; soul; the center of the rational-spiritual nature of man).
callous (Gk. “apalgeo” – to cease to feel pain or grief; moral insensibility or deadness).
sensuality (Gk. “aselgeia” – desire and feeling for evil indulgence).
learn Christ (Christ Himself, Christ personally; Christ’s life. He didn’t live like Eph. 4:19. Their acceptance of Him obligated them to live in a manner appropriate to the Christ whose name they bore and whose life they shared; the Holy One of God. The aorist tense of ‘learn’ marks a specific time – it was at their conversion, when they were instructed in Christ’s precepts.).
if indeed (Gk. “ei ge” – means ‘if, as is the case’ or if, as I take it to be the fact. It’s a particle of a fulfilled condition. It’s used with the indicative mode which implies the truth of the supposition.).
have heard Him (Christ Himself was the subject and the sum of the preaching which they heard; His holy life).
in Him (in the sphere of Christ; Christian living).
truth is in Jesus [the true standards of living (holiness) are embodied in the historical Jesus].
lay aside (Gk. “apotithemi” – renounce; remove; give up; put off).
the old self (the influence and operation of the totally depraved sin nature; the natural, unregenerate self).
being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (the sin nature is progressively worsening in experience because of the sinful lusts of deceit that dominate it. Deceit’s promises gratify our sinful lusts and trick us into rationalizing sins which progressively corrupts our sin nature in experience).
be renewed (Gk. “ananeoo” – is a present infinitive and emphasizes the need of being continually renewed: continually be made new, pure, or spiritually developed or transformed. This renewal is the work of the Holy Spirit made operative when the Christian surrenders to Christ’s Lordship.).
in the spirit of your mind (refers to the human spirit which uses man’s mind as its instrument; or, that part or faculty of man which gives him God-consciousness; that higher life-principle or faculty which gives the mind both its bent and its material of thought, or furnishes the mind with pure and right impulses and motives, through which it acts).
put on (Gk. “enduo” – appropriate; utilize experientially).
new self (the new nature).
in righteousness and holiness of the truth (in our having right conduct toward men and God which truth, that is, acceptance of the gospel, produces, Eph. 1:13).
Therefore (since you’ve been told to put off the old nature and put on the new nature).
laying aside (aorist participle, once for all).
falsehood (Gk. “pseudos” – is a conscious and intentional falsehood; lying).
speak (Gk. “laleo” – is a present imperative, commanding it to be done continuously; or, to show oneself a lover of truth in conversation with others).
neighbor (Christians with whom you have encountered).
Be angry [Gk. “orgizo” – is an anger which is an abiding and settled habit of the mind that is aroused under certain conditions. It’s a present imperative, commanding a continuous action. It’s a settled attitude of righteous indignation against sin and sinful things, together with the appropriate actions when conditions make them necessary. Christ is an example of One who had righteous anger (Mk. 3:5). There are three Greek words for ‘anger’. One has just been mentioned. Another is at the end of this verse. And the third ‘wrath’ is in Eph. 4:31.].
and yet do not sin [Do not over-indulge in anger (or wander from the path of uprightness) so that it turns into personal vindictiveness (sin) rather than because of your zeal for the glory of God.].
do not give the devil an opportunity (giving the Accuser the power or occasion for acting, that is, an opportunity to lead/entice you into sin because being angry makes you more susceptible to the evil suggestions of the Tempter, who appeals to you with a motive for revenge, resentment, etc.).
steals (Gk. “klepton” – a present participle meaning that stealing was still going on. Many of the early Christians came from the ranks of slaves, where pilfering was a way of life).
labor (Gk. “kopiao” – honest work; to labor with wearisome effort; to toil).
in order that… (By working, the individual not only removes the temptation to steal because he has his own physical needs met, but also has some extra to assist others in need and, thereby, remove their temptation to steal also.).
unwholesome (Gk. “sapros” – corrupt, rotten, unfit for use, worthless, putrid; figuratively, injurious – see Matt. 12:36 – idle, useless talk).
edification (Gk. “oikodome” – build up; helpfulness).
according to the need (that which is suited to the occasion; that which meets or fills the need).
give grace (Gk. “charis” – confer favor; give profit or delight/pleasure; benefit).
And (It’s the utterance of corrupt, worthless, or injurious words that grieves the Holy Spirit).
grieve (Gk. “lupeo” – cause sorrow to; wound the love of).
sealed (sphragizo) for the day of redemption [aorist indicative passive, those who were marked for ownership and guaranteed as God’s possession for the final phase of redemption at Christ’s coming when our physical bodies will be glorified, Phil. 3:20-21].
all (Gk. “pasa” – all manner of; in all its forms of).
bitterness (Gk. “pikria” – resentfulness, harshness, poisoning or corroding of the mind).
wrath (Gk. “thumos” – a violent outbreak of anger, boiling up and soon subsiding again; a turbulent commotion; fury).
anger (Gk. “orge” – the settled disposition of indignation, as controlled by our sin nature rather than by the Holy Spirit and that’s not directed toward injustice or sin).
clamor (Gk. “krauge” – the outward manifestation of anger in loud outcry, quarreling, or yelling).
slander (Gk. “blasphemia” – a false statement about another, that is insulting and injurious).
put away (Gk. “airo” abandoned; be removed).
malice (Gk. “kakia” – ill will, spite, evil inclination of the mind that takes delight in inflicting hurt).
kind (Gk. “chestos” – gracious; disposed to do good; gentle mannered).
tender-hearted (Gk. “eusplagchnos” – having compassion toward the suffering; displaying warm sympathy and compassion by being understanding of others and patient).
just as God in Christ (freely, generously, wholeheartedly, eagerly, completely).
Therefore (because God has forgiven us Christians and given us His example).
be imitators of God (in reference to our being forgiving of others. ‘Be’ is in the present tense and suggests that this should be a continuing and increasing experience.).
as beloved children (and they should also imitate God in this forgiving manner because as children experiencing God’s love they should want to copy their Father).
walk in love (constantly order your behavior in the sphere which seeks the best welfare for the person loved according to God’s value system and truths).
just as Christ … gave Himself up (sacrificially, even to the point of death).
for us (instead of us; in our place).
as a fragrant aroma (being well-pleasing).
immorality (Gk. “porneia” – unlawful sexual intercourse in general).
impurity (baseness or uncleanness of thought, words, or desire).
greed (selfishness; excessive desire for materialism).
don’t let … even be named among you (so far should you be removed from these sins that the very suspicion of its existence among you should be banished once and for all).
as is proper among saints (since they bear the name ‘separated ones’, that is, saints).
filthiness (Gk. “aischrotes” – whatever is vile, shameful, disgusting, or obscene in speech or conduct).
silly talk (Gk. “morologia” – speech that lacks forethought and wisdom; godless; senseless; frivolous speech).
coarse jesting [Gk. “eutrapelia” – it originally meant, that which easily turns and adapts itself to the moods and conditions of those with whom it may be dealing at the moment. Here, it means polished and witty speech as the instrument of sin: flippant; satirical; vulgar talk (that is, an off-color joke, spicy story, joking about the sins of others, etc.). Speech which makes light of sin.].
not fitting [not the way Christian cheerfulness should express itself; not proper of the calling with which believers have been called (Eph. 4:1), to be a saint and child of God].
For this you know (Paul reverts to what is said in verse three, and enforces the exhortation).
covetous man, who is an idolater [desiring anything (that is, money, materialism, etc.) above or more than God in worshiping it and making it your god].
has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God (none of the three types of people mentioned in this verse will participate in Christ’s kingdom. Only those who through acceptance of Christ as Savior find salvation.).
deceive (Gk. “apatao” – that which gives a false impression, here, used of words that belittle the true character of the sins of verse five).
empty (Gk. “kenos” – hollow; seemingly true or acceptable but actually devoid of truth, that is, that the sins of verse five are not wrong or hurtful).
these things (the sins mentioned in verse five).
the wrath of God to come (judgment hereafter and sometimes here, resulting in loss, pain, and suffering).
sons of disobedience (See Eph. 2:2. Those whose lives are characterized by disobedience to God’s revealed will).
Therefore (Because God’s wrath comes upon those whose lives are characterized by disobedience).
partakers (Gk. “summetochos” – participate).
darkness (ignorant, polluted, and wretched; lacked the true knowledge of God and depraved, Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:4).
light in the Lord [enlightened, righteous, holy, spiritually regenerated in virtue of union (Eph. 4:4; 2 Cor. 4:6; Jn. 1:4) with the Lord (conversion).].
walk as children of light (live as people characterized by righteousness, holiness, and spiritual regeneration).
fruit of the light (result of regeneration).
all (all forms of).
goodness (Gk. “agathosune” – denotes doing a kind, generous, sympathetic, friendly, serviceable action for another).
righteousness (Gk. “dikaiosune” – adherence to right and law; conduct according to moral principle).
truth (Gk. “aletheia” – denotes honesty, sincerity, moral and religious correctness).
trying to learn (Gk. “dokimazo” – examining and determining; testing for the purpose of approving. The Christian is to examine all his/her thoughts, words, and deeds in order to bring his/her life into a continual conformity to God’s will.).
expose (Gk. “elegcho” – shed light or exhibit as its true nature, that is, the sinfulness of these deeds of darkness, by speaking God’s Word and letting the light of divine truth shine into the darkened minds of people and their evil deeds).
it is disgraceful even to speak… (Some sins are so repulsive that it’s better not to give a detailed description of the vice. Or it could mean, that to pure people who are sensitive to evil, it is offensive to mention some of these vile sins, even when Christian duty demands that such be dealt with and rebuked. Christians are not called upon to act continually as moral detectives and to spy out the secret sins of the ungodly. When people you regularly come into contact with make known their disgraceful sins or are made known in some other concrete, objective way, then it’s the Christian’s responsibility to expose or confront them.).
all things (all the secret sins just mentioned).
visible (Gk. “phaneroo” – to make known what has been hidden; known for what they really are, sinful).
the light (of divine truth, i.e., God’s Word).
for everything that becomes visible is light [For all these sins that are made known to the person through God’s Word, led him/her to acceptance of the gospel is then spiritually regenerated (2 Cor. 4:4, 6; Jn. 3:20-21).].
For this reason (Because the light of God’s Word, the gospel, is spiritually regenerating).
Awake … and Christ will shine on you (Probably a free-rendering of the gist – Isa. 60:1; 26:19. ‘Sleeper’ being the spiritually dead. ‘Dead’ being spiritual death. ‘Christ will shine on you’ is that Christ will illuminate your life with His presence.).
Therefore (Goes back to Eph. 5:10-11. Because believers aren’t to participate in sin but rather expose it as evil).
be careful how you walk (pay careful attention to how you live or conduct yourself, accurate to the demands of the Bible).
as wise (as enlightened by God’s divine truth to do His will, Eph. 2:10).
making the most of (Gk. “exagorazo”) your time (Gk. “kairos”) – [taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves; or seizing upon every fitting opportunity for doing good and bearing fruit].
evil (Gk. “poneros”; morally corrupt; days in which sin abounds. Implicit in the statement may be the prospect of impending persecution on a much greater scale, and thus the need to seize every remaining chance before such opportunities are gone).
So then (Because we are to walk as wise people).
be (Gk. “ginomai”, is the present imperative meaning, to continue going on being).
foolish (Gk. “aphron” – senseless, stupid, unthinking, without reflection or intelligence, rash; undiscriminating between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, important and unimportant).
understand (Gk. “suniemi” – to join together in the mind; reflectively think; the opposite of foolish).
the will of the Lord (the divine plan; the revealed knowledge as found in the Bible).
dissipation (Gk. “asotia” – extremely wasteful or tends to destruction or recklessness).
filled (Gk. “pleroo” – is in the present imperative, thus making it a continuous obligation, and meaning keep being flooded or diffused throughout. Here, it has the sense of being controlled by another influence, the Holy Spirit.).
speaking to one another (communicating or expressing to other Christians in their social fellowship).
psalms (one of the sacred poems contained in the book of Psalms and designed to be sung with the accompaniment of instrumental music, or a sacred poem formed on the model of the Old Testament Psalms).
hymns (songs of praise to God).
spiritual songs (songs that were either secular or sacred, but here, they’re designated as spiritual, that is, expressing spiritual thoughts and feelings).
singing and making melody (are two forms of expressing the same thing).
with your heart (inward rather than audible).
always giving thanks (not once for all but continual grateful recognition or acknowledgement – before, during, and/or after the blessings are received).
all things (In the context here, it means all the blessings one has received, physical and spiritual, that is, the mercies and grace of God).
in the name of our Lord (in virtue of all that Christ is known to be, that is, our Lord and Master, and has obtained for us).
be subject (Gk. “hupotasso”) to one another [cooperatively complying with fellow believers, that are in positions of authority by obeying them when you have placed yourself under them, such as in the Church and within the realm of their authority, such as in a particular activity or area of ministry. It does not mean that husbands are to submit to wives, for that would render verse 22 meaningless and destroy the very pattern of authority which is being taught. Rather, an independent spirit is being exhorted against by anyone in the church (Homer Kent, Ephesians, the Glory of the Church).]
in the fear of Christ (out of reverence for Christ; a regard for His will and for His glory).
Wives be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord [Her obedience to her husband is to be regarded as part of her obedience to the Lord – Hodge, Hendriksen, Wuest, Erdman, Kent and Matthew Henry. Wives cannot obey Christ without yielding obedience to their husbands – Calvin. There is no hint of any inferiority except in position. The wife is subject to the authority of the husband – Kent.]
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is head of the church (because the husband holds the same relation or position, that of headship or rulership, as Christ holds to the Church – Wuest, Hendriksen and Kent. God has given to the husband authority over the wife; and a resemblance of this authority is found in Christ over the Church – Calvin).
He Himself being the Savior of the body (Christ differs from the husband in that Christ is the Savior of the body, whereas the husband is not the savior of the wife – Hodge, Wuest and Vincent).
But (though Christ is Savior of the body, the husband is not savior of the wife, nevertheless, the question of obedience is not affected thereby – Wuest, Hodge and Vincent).
as the church is subject (Gk. “hupotasso”) to Christ so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything [It is voluntary, wholehearted, sincere, enthusiastic submission because God demands it. This obedience is not partial, so that the wife obeys her husband when her husband’s wishes happen to coincide with her own, but complete – in everything. The only exception would be if he demands her to do something contrary to God’s established moral and spiritual principles (i.e., Acts 5:29) – Hendriksen. (It needs to be specific, objective command, not a subjective interpretation.) The subjection is not limited to anyone sphere or department of the social life, but extends to all. The wife is not subject to some things, and independent as to others, but she is subject to all. The only exception is to not do what God forbids and to do what God commands – Hodge.].
Husbands love (Gk. “agapao”) your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her [Christ so loved the church as to die for it. Husbands, therefore, should be willing to die for their wives. Elsewhere Christ’s love is declared to be infinite, but we cannot love as He loved in that sense, but rather, here, it means sacrificially – Hodge.].
love [Gk. “Agapao” – a self-sacrificial love for the well-being of the wife – Hendriksen and Wuest. The love here enjoined is not a conjugal (marital) love, but an attitudinal love which God displayed in saving people (John 3:16) – Kent. This highest expression of love is demanded of all Christians for all other Christians as well and not just for husbands to have for wives (see Eph. 5:1-2; Jn. 13:34; 15:12-13; 1 Jn. 3:11, 16; 4:10-11) – Kent. Yet there is still a higher commitment and priority of love, obedience, and loyalty than to one’s wife or anyone else, and that is to Christ, His Kingdom, and the preaching of the Gospel (see Lk. 14:26; 18:28-30; Mk. 10:28-30). This supreme love for Christ and the preaching of the gospel may mean leaving your wife and family, (not unprovided for or because you don’t love them, but) because your love for Christ and helping usher in the kingdom of God by preaching the gospel and making disciples demands more of your time and attention, than apparently your wife wants. The promise of reward for giving up these family relationships is for all true followers of the Lord, not just for the Twelve or for the larger circle of believers living at the time Jesus was on earth. It is for all who have chosen Christ above all else, even above their dearest relatives – Hendriksen. Interestingly, it was Peter, who from all indications was married (Lk. 4:38; Mk. 1:30) that said he had left everything (i.e., his home, wife, etc. – Lk. 18:28; Mk. 10:28). ‘Agape’ love can be expressed in different ways, one of which is through discipline or confrontation of sin (Heb. 12:5-11). Christ gave Himself up for the Church for a purpose (see Eph. 5:26-27).].
that He might sanctify her (Christ’s love, demonstrated by His death for the Church, was for her good, but also for His own ultimately as well, Eph. 5:27 – Hodge).
sanctify (Gk. “hagiago” – means to set apart for a sacred use or separate unto God and to His service – Wuest and Hendriksen).
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [Gk. “rhemati” – a spoken utterance; the Word of God (specifically, the gospel – Col. 1:5, 25-28) spoken by Jesus (Jn. 15:3 with Jn. 13:10; 12:46; 6:35, 40, 47, 63, 68) and recorded as Scripture and preached to people is Christ’s instrument to cleanse His church (the Word being typified by water – Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:23) from sinful defilement – Kent and Wuest].
that He might present… (The reason Christ gave Himself up for the Church is to present to Himself as a bride, the church in all her excellence, brilliant purity, beauty, and perfection.).
no spot or wrinkle (no moral or spiritual stain or defect).
holy (Gk. “hagis” – separate from evil or sin).
blameless (Gk. “amomos” – faultless).
So (as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it, and as the church is His body).
Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies (as being or because they are their own bodies. It does not indicate the measure of the husband’s love, as though the meaning were, he should love his wife as much as he loves his own body, but rather he should love his wife because she is his body – Hodge, Vincent, Wuest, Kent and Hendriksen).
He who loves his own wife loves himself [because they are one flesh (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6) intimately united together – Hodge and Hendriksen; at least in body (intercourse) – Leupold and Keil-Delitzsch; the relation of head and body means that the wife is part of the husband’s self – Wuest].
for no one ever hated his own flesh (This gives the natural reason why husbands ought to love their wives as being their own bodies. Flesh means body, here. Even suicide is an expression of self-love since to escape problems one feels is better than to face them.).
nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ also does the Church (supplies it or provides for its needs, that is, food, clothing and shelter – Hendriksen; and values it highly by tenderly taking good care of it with what is good for it – Matthew Henry; as the Lord furnishes all things that He sees needful or good for the Church for its welfare – Matthew Henry).
because we are members of His body (is a reason Christ nourishes and cherishes the Church. Spiritually members of Christ’s body, He being the Head).
For this cause… [The word “for” does not connect with anything in the preceding verse(s), but rather belongs to the Genesis context.].
one flesh (The reference is, at least, to sexual union – Hendriksen).
This mystery is great [The revealed truth (i.e., mystery) regarding marriage is of profound importance (great) – Hendriksen].
but I am… (However, marriage pictures an even greater union, that between Christ and the Church – Kent, Robertson and Hendriksen. Not calling your attention to the mere human relationship but to the mysterious relation between Christ and the Church – Wuest).
Nevertheless (To resume my subject – Hodge; not to dwell on this spiritual analogy or aspect of the subject but to return to the obligations of husbands and wives – Erdman and Vincent; not to get lost in this illustration about Christ – Kent).
as himself (as being part of himself – Kent, Wuest and Vincent).
respect (Gk. “phobeo”) her husband [to treat with yielding wishes, opinions, judgments, etc. or reverential obedience – Wuest and Erdman; it consists of love and esteem which produces a care to please – Matthew Henry].
Why is the husband head of the wife and the wife to subject herself to the husband?
- Because it’s God’s order of authority in the universe – 1 Tim. 2:11-13; 1 Cor. 11:3, 8-9.
- Because women are more easily deceived and need to be protected – 1 Tim. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 3:6-7.
- Because the husband-wife relationship pictures Christ and the Church’s relationship – Eph. 5:23-27.
God has given the man pre-eminence, and a right to direct and govern by creation (Gen. 3:16). Whatever there is of uneasiness in that, it is an effect of sin coming into the world – Matthew Henry.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord [‘in the Lord’ would suggest the due limitation of the obedience required (i.e., Acts 5:29) – Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown; parents are to be obeyed, so far only as is consistent with loyalty and devotion to God, which comes first in order – Calvin; it describes the sphere in which this obedience is expected (i.e., Christian families) – Homer Kent; some take it as a limitation meaning, as far as is consistent with your duty to God, for our obligation to God is prior and superior to all others – Matthew Henry; other commentators think that, ‘in the Lord’ means which is the will of the Lord or for the Lord has commanded it – Hodge, Matthew Henry and Hendriksen. Love and obedience to Christ takes priority over parents if in order to obey your parents you have to disobey God and His commandments or spiritual principles – Lk. 14:26; Matt. 10:34-37; 12:46-50; Lk. 2:42-49; Mk. 10:28-30; Lk. 9:59-62; 18:28-30].
for this is right (because it accords with the law of God which commands it).
Honor (Gk. “timao” – have an inner attitude of respect, courtesy, and reverence – Wuest, Hodge, Vincent and Kent).
first commandment with a promise [of blessing attached. The 10 Commandments were followed by many other precepts in the law of Moses, some of which had promises attached. The second commandment, which is before this one on honoring parents (the 5th commandment) contains a promise. But this is universal, applying indiscriminately to the whole law, and cannot be said to be annexed to just the second commandment – Calvin].
that it may be well… [is a general principle (of which there are exceptions according to God’s higher purposes) which can normally be expected by children who honor their parents.].
do not provoke … to anger [Gk. “paraorgizo” – do not continually rouse or excite your children to anger that’s accompanied by sudden, violent, and great irritation or embitterment (because of cruel or unjust demands, unreasonable severity, unremitting criticism and unfair treatment) – Kent, Erdman and Hodge. This is not to say that a father must never refuse to allow a child to have his/her own way, or must permit a child to do wrong for fear of arousing his/her anger. Nothing could be more unkind than to let a child believe that by an exhibition of temper he/she can secure anything he/she may desire. This is the abdication of parental authority – Erdman.].
instruction [Gk. “nouthesia” – the act of reminding one of faults or duties. Teaching by word of mouth (i.e., praise, encouragement, reproof, warning, objection, or explanation) – Kent, Wuest and Hodge].
discipline [Gk. “paideia” – training by act or education which recognizes the necessity of correction through chastisement (punishment by beating) in times of failure – Kent, Wuest and Hodge].
of the Lord (According to the Lord’s standards and will as revealed in Scripture – Kent and Erdman).
slaves (Gk. “doulos” – one who was born into this condition and bound in a permanent relation to his masters, which could only be broken by death, and whose will was swallowed up in the will of his master, even to the extent of disregarding his own interests. These were not hired servants. These were Christian slaves working for the most part for pagan masters. Slavery is accepted as an existing institution, and is neither condemned nor approved formally – Wuest and Hodge).
masters according to the flesh (owner or possessor so far as earthly and material considerations are concerned – Wuest; in their merely human relation – Vincent and Kent; the relation here is different than that between employer and employee to some degree and therefore can’t be fully applied to such a relation).
with fear and trembling (earnest or concerned zeal; eager care).
sincerity of heart (not hypocritically nor half-hearted, but conscientiously).
as to Christ (as part of their obedience to Christ, or as rendered to Christ Himself).
eyeservice (to obey simply to catch the eye of their masters for selfish purposes; or service that is rendered only when the eye of the master sees what is being done).
men-pleasers [seeking to please people (masters, here) with the ulterior motive of self-gain].
as slaves of Christ (as obligated and eager to serve Christ).
from the heart (wholeheartedly or devotedly; from inner motivation).
good will (the term implies zeal and enthusiasm).
what good … this he will receive back… [Because rewards will be given by Christ for deeds done by slaves for masters when the slave has proper motives (as done for Christ) – see also 2 Cor. 5:10].
masters, do the same things to them [This does not mean that masters were to obey commands from their slaves, but rather that they were to exhibit the same Christian principles (i.e., good will, consideration, etc.) as their slaves].
give up threatening (of vile language, torture, extreme violence, and death, since slaves were thought of as little better than beasts – Erdman and Kent).
be strong (Gk. “endunamos” – is in the passive voice meaning, be continually strengthened or clothed with strength).
in the Lord [in union with Christ (Jn. 15:5); in deriving all vigor from Christ.].
in the strength (Gk. “kratos”) of His might (Gk. “ischuos”) – [in the manifested power of His inherently endowed strength].
Put on (Gk. “enduo” – to envelop in; hide in, clothe with).
full armor (Gk. “panoply” – complete armor, both defensive and offensive).
of God (the genitive of source, meaning, provided by God. To meet our spiritual foe, we need to take to ourselves all that God provides for living and for overcoming).
stand against (stand your ground against, rather than flee).
schemes [such as, mixing error with just enough truth to make it appear plausible (Gen. 3:4-5, 22) quoting (really misquoting) Scripture (Matt. 4:6); masquerading as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14); etc.].
for our struggle … flesh and blood (The reason we need to put on the complete armor of God is because we’re not fighting against mere man.).
principalities (Gk. “arche” – leaders).
powers (Gk. “exousia” – demons of Satan in the lower atmosphere who constitute his kingdom in the air.
world forces of this darkness (Gk. “kosmokrator” – Satan and his demons under the permissive providence of God rule the world).
spiritual forces of wickedness (same as above).
in the heavenly places (is used differently here, meaning the lower heavens or atmosphere surrounding this earth; or the universe).
Therefore (Because Christians have such powerful and wicked, spirit-being enemies and because conflict is inevitable.).
take up (Gk. “analambano” – is in the aorist imperative meaning, take up in order to use and put on all the armor of God as a once-for-all act and keep that armor on during the entire course of life, not relaxing the discipline necessary for the constant use of such protection).
the evil day (the day of violent temptation and assault whenever that may come to us from demonic forces).
having done everything (having overcome, conquered, or finished the battle).
stand firm (your ground as victors).
girded (fastened with a belt).
truth (truthfulness; sincerity; honesty. Any conscious insincerity or attempt to excuse a known fault produces moral weakness which invites defeat – Wuest, Kent and Erdman. Consciousness of being in right relation to God inspires courage, however. Or, it could mean, the knowledge and belief of the truth, as it is in God. To enter spiritual conflict ignorant or doubting, would be to enter battle blind and lame. Truth gives unity to the different virtues and determinateness and consistency to character – Hodge and Vincent).
breastplate (consisted in two parts, one covering the front and the other the back and from the neck to the thighs. It covered the vital parts, such as the heart).
righteousness (Righteousness of life, made possible by the new life created in us by Christ and is the product of the Holy Spirit in the yielded Christian. This would protect us from the spiritual defeats which would come from an accusing conscience and an impure life.).
shod (past tense of shoe).
preparation of the gospel of peace (Readiness for the battle through the peace of God provided in the gospel. Thus the Christian can have inward calmness and can march unafraid to the battle).
in addition to all (just mentioned).
shield [a huge door-like shield (4’ x 2½”) that completely covered the body].
of faith (trust or confidence in God and His Word).
flaming missiles of the evil one (possibly doubts regarding God’s Word, temptations, or trials that Satan propels at Christians).
take (accept; thus to receive from God’s hand something He has prepared for us; salvation is a gift).
helmet of salvation (that which enables us to hold up our heads with confidence; the assurance that Christians are saved, children of God).
the word of God (All God’s revealed truth, see Matt. 4:1-11 as to how Jesus used it against Satan’s temptations).
with all prayer (mean all kinds of prayer; in other words: oral, mental, formal, sudden, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, etc.).
petition (request for the fulfillment of definite needs or specific benefits).
pray at all times (means on every occasion or emergency; keep in constant communication in every occasion of conflict).
in the spirit (in harmony with God’s will as revealed in the Bible under the influence of and with His assistance; or, directed and empowered by the spirit).
all perseverance (constant attention).
utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth (means the power of speech, the freedom of utterance or a message be given to Paul when he opened his mouth, had opportunity to witness or called upon to speak).
mystery (the blessed truth which would remain a secret had God not revealed it).
ambassador in chains [means representative of and for Christ in handcuffs. One who through whom a sovereign speaks. Here Paul probably did not refer to witnessing or preaching the gospel of Christ. Instead he may have referred to his need to be bold (twice he said ‘fearlessly’) and clear regarding the “mystery of the gospel” when he would be on trial before Caesar in Rome (when and if the Jewish accusers would make charges against him). The Romans looked on the Christians as a sect of the Jews, and the Jews considered them as a heretical group. In his trial Paul needed to make clear that Christians are neither a Jewish sect nor a heretical group but a new entity, the church, the body of Christ, composed of Jewish and Gentile believers – Walvoord and Zuck.].
Tychicus (An associate of Paul who traveled as his fellow bond slave/representative, Col. 4:7; Titus 3:12).
And I have sent … comfort your hearts (see Eph. 3:3).
Peace … and love with faith [These have their sources in God. Paul wanted them to continue their love for other Christians, their spiritual brothers (since they are all “members of one body,” Eph. 4:25) and to combine that love with their faith in God, for which they were well known – Walvoord.].
Grace (undeserved, unmerited favor).
with a love incorruptible [Not a fleeting, earthly love, but a spiritual and eternal one – Jamieson, Fausset and Brown. It has the idea that believers’ love for the Lord Jesus Christ is to be pure, not corrupted with wrong motives or secret disloyalties. Unfortunately some Ephesian believers later did lose the fervency of their love for Christ (Rev. 2:4) – Walvoord and Zuck.].