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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Ephesians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Ephesians 4:1. παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ: I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech (or, exhort) you. In more exact accordance with the order of the words—“I beseech you, therefore, I the prisoner in the Lord”. The οὖν connects the practical charge with the preceding statement of doctrine and privilege, and establishes the one upon the other. The connection is taken by some to be with the statement just made in Ephesians 3:21 regarding the Church (Mey.). A reference of a larger scope, however, seems more in harmony with the contents of the paragraph. It is best, therefore, to understand the οὖν as basing the exhortations which follow on the whole preceding statement of the great things done for the readers by God’s grace—from chap. Ephesians 3:6 onwards. The verb παρακαλῶ is rendered “beseech” by Wicl., Cov. (Test.), Rhem., AV, RV, while the Genevan gives “pray”. But in Tynd., Cov., Cran., Bish., it is “exhort,” and this is the more probable shade of meaning here in view of the context (Alf., Ell.). In classical Greek the dominant idea of the verb, except when it is used with reference to the gods, is that of admonishing or exhorting. In later Greek and in the NT the idea of entreating has its place along with the other. For the force of the article in δέσμιος and the anarthrous ἐν κυρίῳ, see under Ephesians 3:1 above. The ἐν κυρίῳ belongs not to the παρακαλῶ (Semler), but to the δέσμιος. It expresses the sphere within which his captivity subsisted or the ground of that captivity. He was a prisoner because of his connection with Christ, the Lord, and for no other reason. As in chapter 3, so here the idea of the dignity of his office seems to lie behind the mention of his imprisonment. He designates himself “the prisoner in the Lord” not with a view to stir the sympathy of the readers and enforce his exhortation by an appeal to feeling, but as one who could rejoice in his sufferings and speak of his tribulations as their “glory” (Ephesians 3:13; Galatians 6:17).— ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε: to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called. As the phrase καλεῖν κλήσει occurs (cf. 2 Timothy 1:9, and, with ἐν, 1 Corinthians 7:20), the ἧς may be by attraction for . As that, however, is a doubtful application of the law of attraction, and as the formula κλῆσιν καλεῖν is found in Arrian, Epict., p. 122, it is to be explained rather as = ἥν (cf. Ephesians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 1:4; and Win.-Moult., p. 202). With the ἀξίως τῆς κλήσεως cf. πολιτεύεσθαι ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, Philippians 1:27; περιπατεῖν ἀξίως τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καλοῦντος ( καλέσαντος), 1 Thessalonians 2:12; περιπατῆσαι ἀξίως τοῦ κυρίου, Colossians 1:10.


Verses 1-16

Ephesians 4:1-16. With the fourth chapter begins the second main division of the Epistle. As in others of Paul’s Epistles the doctrinal statement is followed by the practical enforcement of duty. Doctrinal considerations are at the same time introduced again from point to point in support of the duties enjoined. The hortatory section commences with the earnest recommendation of a life in conformity with the Christian vocation, with special reference to the need of humility, loving consideration and unity.


Verse 2

Ephesians 4:2. μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πρᾳότητος: with all lowliness and meekness. Statement of moral dispositions which should attend their walk; μετά conveying the idea of accompaniment, relation, association, while σύν suggests closer conjunction, fellowship, especially a fellowship which helps. Krüger (Sprachl., § 68, 13, 1) puts the distinction thus—“ σύν τινι denotes rather coherence, μετά τινος rather coexistence” (cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 470, 488). As in the case of πᾶσα σοφία (Ephesians 1:8), πᾶσα ταπεινοφροσύνη can mean only “all lowliness,” “all possible lowliness,” or “every kind of lowliness,” not summa humilitas. The word ταπεινοφροσύνη is of very rare occurrence in non-biblical Greek, and when it does occur it has the sense of pusillanimity (Epictet., Diss., 3, 24, 56; Joseph., Jewish Wars, iv., 9, 2). It is not used in the OT but in the NT it denotes one of the passive graces, unrecognised or repudiated in Græco-Roman ethics, which Christianity has glorified—the lowliness of mind which springs from a true estimate of ourselves—a deep sense of our own moral smallness and demerit (cf. Acts 20:19; Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 5:5; Colossians 2:18; Colossians 2:23, of a false humility). πρᾳότης, or better πραΰτης (TTrWH) in the later form and without iota subscript; cf. Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 26 (who regards the form πρᾷος as apparently “unknown to the language of the NT”); and Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 7 (who thinks there is not sufficient evidence to decide between πραότης and πρᾳότης). It means more than modestia (Vulg.), mansuetudo, ἀταραξία, gentleness, or equanimity, inasmuch as it has regard to our attitude towards God as well as towards men, and includes more than outward behaviour or natural disposition. It is a grace of the Spirit, the disposition of loving submissiveness in the first place to God and His dealings with us, and, as the consequence of that, of quiet restraint, mildness and patient abnegation of self in face of the provocations of others. It is a moral quality, therefore, with a far wider scope, a larger significance, a deeper and more vital relation to character than was thought of by the philosophers and moralists of the old world, who regarded it only as the opposite of ἀγριότης, savageness (Plato, Symp., 197 d), χαλεπότης, harshness (Arist., Hist. Anim., ix., 1), or ἀποτομία, roughness (Plut., De lib. ed., 18); cf. Trench, Syn., pp. 143, etc.; Schmidt, Synon., 98, 2.— μετὰ μακροθυμίας: with long-suffering. This is best taken as an independent clause, which is developed in the following sentence. Some (Theod., Beng., etc.) attach both the μετὰ πάσης ταπ., etc., and the μετὰ μακρ. to the ἀνεχόμενοι clause. But this gives one long sentence, which obscures the transition from idea to idea and makes the several clauses less distinctive. Others (Calv., Harl., Rück., Ols., etc.) attach the μετὰμακρ. to ἀνεχόμενοι; but to make it part of that clause takes from the point of the μακροθυμία and disturbs the balance of the clauses, in which we have first the general idea of worthiness of walk, then certain particulars involved in that, and then the further explanation (in the ἀνεχόμενοι clause) of these various particulars or of the one last noticed. The term μακροθυμία means both endurance or constancy in presence of illness and trouble (Colossians 1:11; 2 Timothy 3:10; Hebrews 6:12; James 5:10), and, as here (cf. also Romans 2:4; Romans 9:2; 2 Corinthians 6:6, etc.), the abnegation of revenge in presence of wrong—the opposite of ὀργή (Proverbs 16:32), ὀξοθυμία (James 1:19), etc., and akin to ὑπομονή (2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Colossians 1:11; 2 Timothy 3:10; James 5:10-11). The word belongs to later Greek (Plut., Macc., etc.), and the LXX but in neither has it the exact sense it gets in the NT.— ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ: forbearing one another in love. Explanation and application of the μακροθυμία. By a natural and familiar irregularity which gives effect to the logic of the statement rather than to the construction the partic. reverts from the acc. to the nom. (cf. Colossians 1:10; Krüger, Sprachl., § 56, 9, 4). To attach ἐν ἀγάπῃ (Orig., Lachm., Olsh., etc.) to the following σπουδάζοντες is to make the ἀνεχόμενοι abrupt and bare, and to disturb the harmonious form of the participial sentences. The duty of mutual forbearance is to be practised in love. It was to be a loving forbearance—a forbearance having its motive, its inspiration, its life, in love.


Verse 3

Ephesians 4:3. σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος: giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit. Further description of the mutual forbearance in respect of the inward effort required, but introducing also the larger, fundamental idea of unity. σπουδάζω, which conveys the idea of exertion, is better rendered “giving diligence” (RV) or “earnestly striving” (Alf.), than “endeavouring” (AV). τηρεῖν = keep, in the sense of maintaining with watchful care; suggesting also that what is to be kept is something already in our possession. τοῦ πνεύματος is the gen. of originating cause, = the unity which the Spirit produces or works, and here the oneness in feeling, interest and purpose which is appropriate to the oneness in doctrine and privilege whereof the readers are immediately reminded. Commentators, even of the rank of Calvin, have interpreted the πνεύματος here as the human spirit, the Christian spirit of concord; while others (De Wette, etc.) have taken it to denote the spirit of the Christian community. But the ἓν πνεῦμα of the following verse, the general NT doctrine of the Spirit of God as operating in the believer and in the Church (cf. Ephesians 2:22), and the analogy of such passages as 1 Corinthians 12:13, point clearly to the Holy Spirit.— ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης: in the bond of peace. This is not to be attached to the next verse (Lach.), a connection which would again disturb the symmetry of the participial sentences and rob some of the statements which follow of their appropriateness. It defines the way in which the unity is to be kept. The ἐν is not the instrumental ἐν, = “by means of the bond of peace”; but, as in ἐν ἀγάπῃ, the local ἐν or that of relation specifying the sphere (Ell.), or the ethical relation (Mey.) in which the unity is to be maintained. The εἰρήνης might be the gen. obj., = “the bond by which peace is kept,” to wit, love (Beng., etc.). But it is best understood as the gen. of apposition (Mey.), or identity (Ell.), = “the bond which is peace”. The unity, therefore, which is wrought among these Ephesians by the Spirit of God will be theirs in so far as they make peace the relation which they maintain one to another, or the bond in which they walk together. In Colossians 3:14 love is the “bond of perfectness”; but the construction and the idea are different here.


Verse 4

Ephesians 4:4. ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα: There is one body and one Spirit. This is not to be taken as part of the exhortation, ἐστέ or γίνεσθε being understood (Calv., Est., Hofm., etc.); for that would not be consistent with the following εἷς κύριος, εἷς θεός. It is a positive statement, made all the more impressive by the lack of γάρ or any connecting particle, and giving the objective ground, or basis in fact, on which the walk in lowliness, meekness, long-suffering and loving forbearance is urged, and of which it should be the result. The σῶμα is the whole fellowship of believers, the mystical body of Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:16; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:24). The πνεῦμα, as in Ephesians 2:18, is the Holy Spirit who is in the Church and in whom we are “baptised into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The idea that this great sentence means only that we are to be united so as to be one body and one soul, though supported by Calvin, is out of harmony with the larger scope of the following verses, and in any case stands or falls with the view that this verse is part of the exhortation.— καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν: even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling. καθὼς (late Greek for the καθά, καθό, καθάπερ of the Atticists and the earlier writers; cf. under Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 3:3 above) illustrates and enforces the unity as something entirely in accordance with their calling, the καί marking this as a second thought suggested by the first. The ἐν may be instrumental (so Mey., referring to Galatians 1:6), the point then being that the calling came by means of one hope, viz., that of the Messianic salvation. But it is rather = in, expressing the ethical domain or element in which the calling took place (Ell.). The κλήσεως is the gen. of origin or efficient cause, = the hope originated or wrought in you by your calling, as in Ephesians 1:18 (Ell., Mey.); rather than the gen. of possess., = the hope belonging to your calling. The fact that, when they were called out of heathenism, one and the same hope was born in them, is a fact in perfect keeping with the unity of the Christian body and the unity of the Divine Spirit operating in it, and the one confirms and illumines the other.


Verse 5

Ephesians 4:5. εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. “One Lord,” that is Christ, He alone and He for all equally whether Gentile or Jew. “One faith,” i.e., one belief having Him as its object; πίστις having here its usual subjective sense of saving trust, not = that which is believed, the Christian doctrine or creed (Grot.)—a meaning which is at the best very rare in the NT and not quite certain even in most of the passages usually cited in support of it (Acts 6:7; Galatians 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:21), but most probable in Judges 3:20. “One baptism”—the rite, one and the same for all, by which believers in Christ are admitted into the fellowship of His Church, and which is described as “into Christ” (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27), into His name (Acts 10:38; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5), into the “name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). No mention is made of the Lord’s Supper. This is the more remarkable in view of the fact that elsewhere it is referred to as a token of unity (1 Corinthians 10:17). Various explanations of the omission have been given—e.g., the desire to preserve the rhythmical form of the sentence, together with the fact that the Lord’s Supper did not as yet stand by itself, but was combined with ordinary Christian meals (Mey.); the fact that it was more a representation than a condition of unity (De Wette); the consideration that it is not like baptism an initial, fundamental rite, but one that comes to be observed after admission (Harl.). None of these reasons can be called satisfactory, nor have we the materials for an adequate explanation.


Verse 6

Ephesians 4:6. εἶς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων: one God and Father of all. This supreme name, θεὸς or θεὸς καὶ πατήρ, is used both absolutely (1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 5:20; James 1:27), and with defining terms, e.g., τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, Ephesians 1:10 (Romans 15:6; Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3), ἡμῶν (Galatians 1:4; Philippians 4:20; 1 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16), πάντων (here; cf. the longer designation εἷς θεὸς πατὴρ ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα, 1 Corinthians 8:6). Christian unity being here in view, the name applies to the special Fatherhood of God in grace, not (with Holz., Abb.) to the universal Fatherhood of God and His relation to all men. Attention is rightly called by Mey. and others to the advance in the thought in these verses from Church to Christ, and from Christ to God who is One in the highest and most absolute sense—the One source of life and good in all His people, the one to whom both Christ and the Spirit are related.— ἐπὶ πάντων, καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑμῖν: who is over all, and through all, and in [you] all. The ὑμῖν of the TR (following some cursives and Fathers), and the variant ἡμῖν (in (359) (360) (361) (362), Lat., Syr., Goth., etc.) must be omitted (with LTTrWHRV) as having no support from (363) (364) (365) (366), 17, Copt., Eth., etc. The πάντων and the πᾶσιν are most naturally taken as masculines here, in harmony with the previous πάντων. The clause, therefore, expresses a three-fold relation of the One God and Father to the all who are His: first, the relation of transcendence (Mey.) or sovereigntyἐπί (= ὑπεράνω, over or above) expressing the supremacy of absolute Godhead and Fatherhood; second, that of immanenceδιά (= through) expressing the pervading, animating, controlling presence of that One God and Father; and third, that of indwelling—the ἐν expressing the constant abode of the One God and Father in His people by His Spirit. Neither the creative action of God (Est.), nor His providential rule (Chrys., Grot.), is in view, but what He is to the Christian people in His dominion over them and His gracious operative presence in them.


Verse 7

Ephesians 4:7. ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη χάρις: but unto each one of us was given the grace. For ἡμῶν some few authorities (including, however, B) read ὑμῶν. After χάρις some few insert αὕτη ((367)2, 31, etc.). The article before χάρις is omitted in (368) (369)1(370) (371), etc., but inserted in (372) (373) (374) (375)3(376), etc. The evidence is pretty evenly balanced. Hence WH bracket ; TRV retain it; LTr omit it. The article defines χάρις as the grace of which the writer and his fellow-believers had experience, which they knew to have been given them ( ἐδόθη), and by which God worked in them. What is given is not the χάρισμα but the χάρις, the subjective grace that works within and shows itself in its result—the charism, the gracious faculty or quality. The emphasis is on the ἑκάστῳ, and the δέ is rather the adversative particle than the transitional. It does not merely mark a change from one subject to another, but sets the each over against the all, and this in connection with the injunction to keep the unity of the Spirit. God’s gracious relation to all is a relation also to each individual. Not one of them was left unregarded by Him who is the God and Father of all, but each was made partaker of Christ’s gift of grace, and each, therefore, is able and stands pledged to do his part toward the maintenance of unity and peace. (Cf. Romans 12:6.)— κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ χριστοῦ: according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Statement of the law of the bestowal of grace. Each gets the grace which Christ has to give, and each gets it in the proportion in which the Giver is pleased to bestow it; one having it in larger measure and another in smaller, but each getting it from the same Hand and with the same purpose. The δωρεᾶς is the gen. of the subject or agent—the gift which Christ gives, as is shown by the following ἔδωκε δόματα.


Verse 8

Ephesians 4:8. διὸ λέγει: wherefore He saith, when He ascended on high. The διό introduces the words which follow as a confirmation of what has just been said; and these words are not a parenthesis, but part of a direct and continuous statement; = “the fact that it is thus with Christ and His gift, and that the grace which we possess is bestowed by Him on each of us in varying measures as He distributes it, has the witness of God Himself in OT Scripture”. The quotation which follows is obviously taken from Psalms 68:18, and in the main in the form in which it is given in the LXX. There are difficulties in the rendering which Paul uses and in the application he makes of it. But they are not such as to justify the assertion that the passage is a quotation from some Christian hymn, and not from Scripture. There is nothing in the verse or in the context to suggest anything else than the Psalm. The question is raised whether the introductory λέγει is personal or impersonal; and whether, if personal, θεός, or γραφή, or τὸ πνεῦμα is to be understood. OT quotations are usually introduced by the personal term in such forms as προφήτης λέγει (Acts 2:17), γραφὴ λέγει (Romans 10:17), ἡσαΐας λέγει (Romans 10:16; Romans 10:20), ΄ωυσῆς λέγει (Romans 10:19), δαβὶδ λέγει (Romans 4:6), δὲ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη λέγει (Romans 10:6). Sometimes, again, passive forms are used, γέγραπται (Romans 10:15), μαρτυρεῖται (Hebrews 7:17), etc. In other cases the simple φησί (1 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 8:5), εἴρηκε (Hebrews 4:4), or λέγει (Galatians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 5:14) is used; and in one case the λέγει is introduced as continuing γέγραπται (Romans 15:10). Some, therefore, hold that, in cases like the present, λέγει is impersonal, = “it is said,” as φησί is used impersonally in Attic (Abb.; cf. Light, on Galatians 3:16). As the NT, however, makes a very limited use of impersonal verbs of any kind, most take these undefined verbs by which quotations are introduced as personal, and so it is with λέγει here. The subject to be supplied must be the one most readily suggested by the context; and here, as in most cases, that will be neither γραφή nor τὸ πνεῦμα, but θεός. The full formula λέγει θεός occurs in Acts 2:17, and is implied in the πάλιν τινὰ ὁρίζει ἡμέραν, “ σήμερον,” ἐν δαυεὶδ λέγων of Hebrews 4:7. It is also confirmed in some degree by the analogous mention of the Holy Ghost in Hebrews 10:15 (cf. Win.-Moult., p. 656; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 75).— ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος: when He ascended on high. In the Psalm the victorious Subject is addressed in the second person; here the “Thou” becomes “He”. In the Psalm the ascent expressed by עָלִיתָ לַמָּרו̇ם (= “Thou hast gone up to the height”) is the triumphant ascent of the God of Israel to Zion, the place of His earthly rest, or (better) to heaven His proper habitation, after the victory He achieved for His people. Here it is the ascension of Christ to the right hand of God (cf. Acts 2:33). The aor. part. has its most proper temporal force, denoting something that preceded the main event in view. It means here, therefore, that Christ’s ascension had taken place before He distributed the gifts of grace.— ᾐχμάλωτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν: He led captivity captive. In the original שָׁבִיתָ שֶׁבִי, the abstract αἰχμαλωσίαν (= “a body of captives”) chosen according to a familiar usage (cf. Numbers 31:12; 2 Chronicles 28:11; see Win.-Moult., p. 282), instead of the concrete αἰχμαλώτους (“captives”), adds to the force of the sentence. The verb αἰχμαλωτεύω belongs to late Greek; it is pretty freely used in the LXX and the Apocrypha. The phrase is a general one, meaning nothing more than that He made captives (cf. Judges 5:12), and suggesting nothing as to who these captives were. Neither in the Psalm nor in Paul’s use of it here is there anything to warrant the idea that the captives are the redeemed (Theod.), or men in the bonds of sin on earth (Harl.), or souls detained in Hades (Est., König, Delit., etc.). The most that the words themselves, or passages more or less analogous (1 Corinthians 15:25-26) warrant us to say is that the captives are the enemies of Christ; just as in the Psalm they are the enemies of Israel and Israel’s God. But these are left quite undefined, and the whole idea of the clause is subordinate to that next expressed, viz., the giving of the gifts.— καὶ ἔδωκε δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: and gave gifts unto men. The καί of the TR is found in (377) (378) (379)3(380)3 (381) (382), etc.; but is omitted in (383) (384) (385) (386)2(387)*(388), 17, etc. It is put in brackets by WH, and omitted by LT, but retained (on the whole rightly) by RV. Here the quotation diverges widely, both from the original Hebrew, which has בָּאָדָם לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּכוֹת (= “Thou hast received gifts among men”); and from the LXX which renders it ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ (or ἀνθρώποις). The idea in the Psalm is that of Jehovah, the Conqueror, receiving gifts, that is to say, gifts of homage; or, possibly, receiving the captured men themselves regarded as gifts or offerings, the בָּאָדָם being capable of that sense (cf. Ewald, Aus. Lehrb. d. Hebr. Sprache, § 287 h). The idea expressed here is that of the ascended Christ giving gifts to men; ἔδωκε being substituted for ἔλαβες, and τοῖς ἀνθρώποις for the generic ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ (or ἐν ἀνθρώποις).—Thus in order to suit the purpose of a testimony to the statement made regarding Christ and the gift of grace, the OT passage is materially changed. OT quotations introduced in the NT are given without much regard to the literal faithfulness with which quotations are expected to be made in modern times; and in other passages made use of by Paul (e.g., Romans 10:6-10) we discover a remarkable liberty both in reproduction and in application. But in none is the change so great as in the present case. There is first the departure from the historical meaning of the Psalm; in which, however, this passage stands by no means alone. The Psalm in which this magnificent description of the victorious march of Israel’s God occurs, celebrates the establishment of Jehovah’s kingdom in the past and proclaims the certainty of its triumph over all enemies and in all nations in the future. It does this in connection with some great event in the history of Israel. All possible opinions have been expressed as to the particular occasion of the Psalm. It has been identified with the removal of the Ark to Zion in David’s time (2 Samuel 6:12, etc.; 1 Chronicles 15); with some unnamed victory of David or with David’s victories generally; with the placing of the Ark in Solomon’s Temple; with the victory of Jehoshaphat and Jehoram over Moab (2 Kings 3; Hitzig); with the check given to the Assyrians in Hezekiah’s time; with the consecration of the Temple of the Restoration (Ewald); with the return from the captivity (Hupfeld); with the struggle between Egypt and Syria for the possession of the Holy Land towards the close of the third century B.C.; with the victories of Jonathan or Simon in the Maccabean wars (Olsh.); with the struggle between Ptolemy Philometor and Alexander Balas (1 Maccabees 14), etc. But all this uncertainty as to the particular date and occasion does not affect the fact that what is dealt with is some great passage in the history of the Jewish nation. The probabilities are that the Psalm belongs to the latter part of the Babylonian exile; but Paul passes by the actual historical intention of the words and puts on them a quite different sense. There is, secondly, the notable change from Jehovah receiving gifts to Christ giving gifts. Some have explained this by supposing that Paul followed a Hebrew text which read נתת, or some such form, instead of לקחת; but of this there is no evidence. It is possible, indeed, that the Apostle adopted a traditional version or interpretation of the passage which was familiar, and of which some indication is found in the Peshitta Syriac and the Chaldee Paraphrase (both having a rendering = “Thou didst give gifts to the children of men”). Something also may be said in support of the explanation that the לָקַח of the original, which is used elsewhere in the sense of fetching or taking in order to give (Genesis 18:5; Genesis 27:13; Genesis 42:16; Genesis 48:9, etc.), has that meaning here. But after all such explanations the fact remains that both the terms and the idea are changed. There is thirdly the Messianic interpretation. It is here that the justification of the change is found. The Psalm, there is good reason to believe, had been regarded as a Messianic Psalm; and the use made of it by Paul was in all probability in accordance with views of Messianic prophecy which had become current, and with a method of dealing with the OT which was generally understood. But in any case it is an application rather than an interpretation in the strict sense of the word that we have here. And the justification of such an application lies in the fact that the unknown event celebrated in the Psalm was a victory of the Theocratic King, and in that sense a part of that triumph of the Kingdom of God which was to be carried to its consummation by the Messiah.


Verse 9

Ephesians 4:9. τὸ δέ, ἀνέβη, τί ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη πρῶτον: Now this, “He ascended,” what is it but that He also descended [first]? The TR inserts πρῶτον, with (389) (390)3(391)3(392) (393) (394), most cursives, Syr., Vulg., Goth., Arm., etc. The omission of πρῶτον is supported by (395) (396) (397) (398)*(399) (400), 17, Boh., Sah., Eth., etc. The documentary evidence is pretty fairly balanced. The preponderance, however, on the whole, is on the side of the omission, especially in view of transcriptional probabilities. The word is deleted by LTTr; while WH and RV give it a place in the margin. The δέ has its usual transitional force, but with something added. It continues the thought, but does that in the form of an explanation or application; cf. Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 5:3; see also Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 303; Winer.-Moult., p. 553. What the precise point of the quotation is, and what the explanation amounts to which is thus introduced, are questions of no small difficulty. The answer will appear when the particular terms have been examined. The clause τὸ δέ, ἀνέβη is not to be taken as if Paul were limiting himself to a play upon the word. What follows shows that he had in view the historical fact expressed in the ἀναβάς, viz., the Ascension. As in Matthew 9:3; John 10:6; John 16:17, the τί ἐστιν has the force of—What does it mean? What is implied in the statement? And the reply given by Paul in ὅτι καὶ κατέβη is that the ascent presupposes a previous descent. This of course is not given as an inference of universal application, but as one that holds good in the case in view, and one which gives Paul the warrant to use the quotation as he does. In the Psalm it was Jehovah that ascended, but that was only after He had first descended to earth in behalf of His people from His proper habitation in heaven. And so the Giver of gifts to whom Paul desires to direct his readers was One who had first come down to earth before He ascended. It was the belief of those whom Paul addressed (cf. the express statement in John 3:13) that Christ’s proper abode was in heaven. That belief is here taken for granted, and the conclusion consequently is drawn that the Giver who ascended is Christ.— εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς: into the lower parts of the earth. The locality or the extent of the descent is now defined. The question is whether the locality in view is this world as a scene of existence lower than heaven, or the under world as a deeper depth than earth itself. Does the sentence refer to Christ’s incarnation and the subjection to which He humbled Himself on earth even unto death? Or does it point to His descent to Hades? And if the latter is the case, in what aspect and with what particular significance is His visit to the world of the dead presented? On these questions there has been and there continues to be great diversity of opinion. Both interpretations have large support. That the “lower parts of the earth” mean simply earth itself in distinction from heaven is the view of Calv., Grot., Mich., Winer., Harl., Thom., Reiche, de Wette, Hofm., Beyschlag, Schweitzer, Weiss, Pfleid., Bisping, Abb., Haupt and others. That they mean Hades is the view favoured by the Copt. and Eth. Versions, and by such interpreters as Iren., Tertull., Jer., Erasm., Estius, Beng., Rück., Olsh., Del., Bleek, Mey., Alf., Ell. (on the whole), etc. Those who adopt this latter view, however, are not wholly at one. The great majority indeed, especially among Patristic and Lutheran exegetes, understand Paul to affirm that Christ after His death made a manifestation of Himself in triumph to the world of the departed, and fulfilled a certain ministry there. That ministry is understood by some, especially among the Fathers, to have been concerned with the release of the souls of OT saints from the Limbus Patrim; by others, especially among certain classes of modern commentators, to have been a new proclamation of grace to the whole world of the departed or to certain sections of the dead; cf. Pearson on the Creed, sub Art. v.; Salmond’s Christian Doctrine of Immortality, p. 421, etc. But there are those, especially Calvinistic theologians, who take the writer to mean nothing more, if he refers to Hades at all, than that like other men Christ passed at death into the world of the departed and had experience there of the power of death for a time. Some (e.g., Chrys., Theod., Oec.) are of opinion that the phrase points to the death or the burial of Christ, but do not press it beyond that. On the other hand, there are those (e.g., Von Soden, Abb.) who take the descent to be to earth and not to Hades, but instead of identifying it with the incarnation regard it as subsequent to the ascension. What then is the most reasonable interpretation?

It must be said in the first place that neither grammar nor textual criticism gives a decisive answer. The τῆς γῆς may be taken equally well as the appos. gen., = “the lower parts which are or make the earth”; the poss. gen., = “the lower parts belonging to earth,” Hades being conceived to be part of the earth, but its lower part; or the comp. gen., = “the parts lower than the earth”. But the comparative idea is not more pertinent to the one main line of interpretation than to the other. The κατώτερα may mean the parts lower than the earth itself, i.e., Hades; but it may also mean the parts lower than heaven, i.e., the earth. Nor does the variety in reading affect the sense, though much has been made of it. The word μέρη is inserted after κατώτερα by (401) (402) (403) (404)3(405) (406) (407), Syr.-P., Boh., Vulg., Arm., Chrys., etc. It is omitted by (408)*(409), Goth., Eth., Iren., etc. It must be held, therefore, to belong to the text, but it is not inconsistent with either interpretation. The main arguments in favour of Hades being in view are these; that if earth were meant, it is difficult to understand why some simpler form such as εἰς τὴν γῆν or εἰς τὴν γῆν κάτω (Acts 2:19) was not chosen; that the use of so singular a phrase as τὰ κατώτερα, which recalls the LXX rendering for תַּחְתִּיּוֹת הָאָרֶץ, one of the OT expressions for the underworld, suggests at once that something lower than earth itself, a yet deeper depth, was intended (Mey.); that the accompanying phrases ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν and ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα, being expressions of largest extension, make it reasonable to give the widest possible sense also to the κατώτερα; and that justice is done to the peculiarity and the amplitude of the various expressions only by taking Paul’s idea to be that as Christ rose in order to fill the whole world, He had first to pass in His victorious power through all the great divisions of the universe—heaven above, earth beneath, and even the subterranean world, in the assertion of His universal sovereignty. But there is much to be said on the other side. The superlative formula to, τὰ κατώτατα would have been more in point if the idea to be expressed had been that of a depth than which there was none deeper (Abb.), or that of a descent embracing all the several parts of the universe. In point of fact, too, it is not τὰ κατώτερα, but τὰ κατώτατα, that the LXX employs in reproducing the Hebrew הָאָרֶץ תַּחְתִּיּוֹת. If Hades had been intended, it is strange that Paul did not select one or other of the more familiar and quite unambiguous phrases which are used elsewhere, e.g., ἕως ᾅδου (Matthew 11:23), εἰς ᾅδου (Acts 2:27), or such a formula as εἰς τὴν καρδίαν τῆς γῆς (Matthew 12:40), εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον (Romans 10:7). It is also to be considered that, granting it is the Ascension and not merely the Resurrection of Christ that is expressed by the ἀνέβη, it was not from Hades, but from earth that He did ascend. Further, the point immediately in view is not any work that Christ did in the world and its several parts, but the identity of the Person who descended, and ascended, and gave gifts. This is made sufficiently clear by the repeated αὐτός (Ephesians 4:10-11), and the idea of a Hades-visit or a Hades-ministry has no obvious relation to that. The great paragraph in Philippians 2:5-10, which is in some sense a parallel, has also to be taken into account. There again the whole statement turns upon the two great ideas of the incarnation with the humiliation involved in it and the exaltation, and nothing is said about any visit of Christ to the underworld. Here, too, the whole idea of a descent to Hades appears to be foreign to the thought. It is not suggested by the passage in the Psalm; for there is not a word about Sheol in it. Neither is there any indication of it in the context in the Epistle. For there the bestowal of gifts is referred not to Christ’s descent, but to His ascension, and no hint is given of any work done by Him in Hades with a view to that bestowal, or of any relation in which the world of the dead stands to His prerogative of giving. For these reasons we conclude that the phrase τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς means the earth as a scene of existence, lower than His native heavens, to which Christ descended.


Verse 10

Ephesians 4:10. καταβάς, αὐτός ἐστι καὶ ἀναβάς: he that descended, he it is that also ascended (or, he himself also ascended). It was the first thought of every Christian mind that Christ had come down from heaven to live and work among men on earth for their salvation. Founding on this Paul declares that He who descended, whom all knew to be Christ, He and no other was also the Person who ascended. So he reminds his readers of the source of all the gifts in operation in the Church or enjoyed by individual Christians—the ascended Christ. A peculiar force is claimed by some (Von Soden, Abb., Bruston) for the καί in καὶ κατέβη. It is argued that it represents the descent as subsequent to the ascent, and contemporaneous with the giving of the gifts. So the point is taken to be this—that the ascent would have been without a purpose unless it had been followed by a descent. This, it is thought, is the reason why Paul pauses to say that the ascending implied also a descending and that the Person in view not only ascended but also descended. Hence what is in the writer’s mind here is held not to be the incarnation or humiliation of the pre-existent Christ, but the descent of the exalted Christ to His Church, supposed to be referred to also in such passages as Ephesians 2:17, Ephesians 3:17, Ephesians 5:31-32. But it is nowhere taught in the Pauline Epistles that a descent or a departure from heaven after the exaltation was necessary in order that the ascended Lord might bestow gifts upon His Church. The passages cited do not bear out any such idea. The first (Ephesians 2:17) does not refer to a coming of the glorified Christ; the second (Ephesians 3:17) speaks only of the spiritual presence of Christ in the heart; and the third (Ephesians 5:31-32) deals obviously with a “mystery” of relations, and has nothing to do with any coming of Christ out of heaven following on His ascension or required for the bestowal of His gifts. Nor is there any reason why the καί should have more than the familiar additive force.— ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν: up above all the heavens. So in Hebrews 7:27 our High Priest is described as ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος. There may be. an allusion here to the Jewish ideas of a gradation of heavens, a series of three or, as the case rather appears to stand, seven heavens, with which the Pauline τρίτος οὐρανός (2 Corinthians 12:2) may also be connected; on the conceptions of a plurality of heavens which prevailed among the Jews, the Babylonians and other ancient peoples, see the writer’s article on “Heaven” in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible. But the point of the phrase as we have it here is simply this—that whatever heavens there are or may be, Christ is above them all. So high has His ascension carried Him. It means the highest possible exaltation—the supremacy of One who shares in the sovereignty of God. For the term ὑπεράνω see on Ephesians 1:21.— ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα: that He might fill all things. The use of the conj. with ἵνα after a past tense may be due to the fact that the “filling” is to be viewed as a continuous action (Ell., Alf.; cf. Klotz, Devar., ii., p. 618), if it is not to be explained simply by the laxer employment of the conj. in NT Greek. The sense of fulfilling or completing hat been given by many to the πληρώσῃ. Thus the idea has been taken by some to be that of the fulfilling of prophecy (Anselm, etc.), the accomplishment of all things that Christ had to do in His redeeming mission (Rück.), the making of all perfect (Oltr.), etc. But, as in Ephesians 1:23, the verb has the sense of filling, and τὰ πάντα is to be taken again in its widest application, and is not to be restricted to the world of believers or to the Church of Jew and Gentile (Grot., Schenk., etc.). Nor is there anything to suggest that the ubiquity of Christ’s body is in view, as some Lutherans have argued (Hunn., Calov., etc.). The idea that is in the paragraph is not that of a “diffused and ubiquitous corporeity,” as Ellicott well expresses it, but that of a “pervading and energising omnipresence”. The thought is the larger one that the object of Christ’s ascension was that He might enter into regal relation with the whole world and in that position and prerogative bestow His gifts as He willed and as they were needed. He was exalted in order that He might take kingly sway, fill the universe with His activity as its Sovereign and Governor, and His Church with His presence as its Head, and provide His people with all needful grace and gifts. In OT prophecy to “fill heaven and earth” is the note of Deity (Jeremiah 23:24).—We may be in a position now to determine Paul’s object in introducing the passage from Psalms 68. and in applying it as he does. The general connection is clear enough. He bids his readers study lowliness, forbearance and unity, because there is one faith, one baptism, etc. They are not to be vexed or divided because one may have more of the gift of grace than another. All receive from Christ, each in his own way and measure as Christ wills; for, as the Psalm shows, all gifts come from Him. Now some take the point of the quotation to be this—He who is the subject of the Psalm is One whose seat is in heaven, a Sovereign Giver of gifts (Ell.). Others are of opinion that the words are cited in order to bring out the fact that Christ’s bestowal of gifts “stands in necessary connection with His general position of filling the whole universe” (Mey.). But the case appears to be less involved than that, and to turn simply on the identification of the Person who is the source of the gifts. Paul has spoken of the grace as given ( ἐδόθη, Ephesians 4:7), and he has quoted the words of the Psalm which say that “he gave gifts” ( ἔδωκεν δόματα, Ephesians 4:8). But he has not named the Giver. Now he explains that the Giver is Christ; and that this is indicated by the Psalm itself, because it sings of One who went up on high, and of an ascent which presupposed a previous descent. Thus he identifies the subject of the Psalm with Christ; as elsewhere the Jehovah of the Prophets and the Psalms is identified with the Christ of the Apostles, and what is affirmed of the former in the OT is ascribed to the latter in the NT.


Verse 11

Ephesians 4:11. καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκε τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους: and He gave some Apostles. That is, “He gave some as Apostles,” or (with RV) “some to be Apostles”. At this point Paul reverts to the statement in Ephesians 4:7, and having shown that the declaration in Psalms 68. applies to Christ, he proceeds to set forth the purpose (Ephesians 4:12) with which the gifts of the exalted Giver are bestowed and His grace given to such. But before he explains that purpose he specifies a series of gifts given with that in view. We have a somewhat similar enumeration in 1 Corinthians 12:28. But while the ruling idea there is that of appointments ( ἔθετο) and the subject is God, here the particular idea is that of gifts ( ἔδωκε) and the subject is Christ. Further, while the list in Ephesians begins with Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and continues in terms of persons, the statement in 1 Cor. takes note indeed of Apostles, prophets, and teachers, but thereafter passes from persons to gifts or ministries—miracles, healings, helps, governments, tongues. This has its significance, as we shall see. The αὐτός is again emphatic, = “he himself,” “he and no other”. The ἔδωκε is not to be taken as = ἔθετο, appointed or set. That it has its proper sense of gave is clear from its relation to the preceding ἔδωκε δόματα. The “giving” refers to the call of the Church’s Head, the point being the gift of Christ to the Church in the form of certain men chosen by Him and equipped by Him to do service toward the building up of His body and the bringing of all its members to the measure of the stature of His fulness. Further, the exhortation to unity (Ephesians 4:3) is still in view, Christ having given these “Apostles” and others in order that all His disciples may come to the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:13). All through the statement, too, the primary thing is the persons, not the offices. Nothing is said of any special order or orders in the Church possessing exceptional prerogatives, or any office or rank to which peculiar or exclusive powers of grace were attached. The men are Christ’s gifts to the Church and to every member of it; and they are given to do a certain work looking to a great end, viz., to furnish His people and every individual believer among them (Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 4:16) for their particular service and their particular contribution to the building up of Christ’s body. Nothing is said of the time when these gifts were given. But as they are the gifts of the exalted Christ, it is plain that the ἀποστόλους are not to be restricted to the original Twelve, but are to be taken in the wider sense, including not only Paul, but Barnabas (Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14), probably James (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19), Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 2:6), perhaps also Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7). The “Apostle” is described as one called by Christ (Galatians 1:1); one who has seen Christ and been a witness of His resurrection (1 Corinthians 9:1-2; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:21-23); one whose “signs” were “wrought … by signs, and wonders, and mighty works” (2 Corinthians 12:12); whose office also was not limited to a single church or locality, but was related to the world generally and to all the churches (Matthew 28:10; 1 Corinthians 11:28). See also on chap. Ephesians 1:1.— τοὺς δὲ προφήτας: and some as prophets. These are referred to along with the Apostles also in Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 3:5, and in 1 Corinthians 12:28. With NT prophets we have also NT prophetesses. Agabus, those of Antioch Judas and Silas, the four daughters o Philip, are mentioned as having the gift of prophecy. As in the case of Agabus this gift of prophecy included the prediction of events (Acts 11:28; Acts 21:10), but its chief function was edification. The prophets were preachers or exhorters, to whom revelations of spiritual truth were imparted, and who spoke in the Spirit ( ἐν πνεύματι; Ephesians 3:5; Revelation 1:10), but not in ecstacy or as one in a trance ( ἐν ἐκστάσει, Acts 10:10; Acts 22:17). Further, he was usually, if not always, itinerant. This order of prophets continued to have a place in the Church for a considerable period. Large mention is made of it in the Didaché, and in Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., v., 17, reference is made to Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia. This may take the order on to Hadrian’s time; cf. Selwyn, The Christian Prophets, and Gwatkin’s article in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, iv., p. 127. See also on Ephesians 2:20 above.— τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς: and some as evangelists. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 the evangelist is not mentioned. Here he is distinguished from the Apostle and the prophet and named as the third in the order of Christ’s gifts to the Church. The εὐαγγελιστής is mentioned only twice again in the NT, viz., in Acts 21:8, where Philip, one of the seven deacons is so designated; and 2 Timothy 4:5, where Timothy is charged to “do the work of an evangelist”. Like the prophets the evangelists were generally itinerant preachers or missionaries, though sometimes they had a stated place of abode or ministry. The term seems, therefore, to belong to the Pauline vocabulary. These evangelists were inferior to the Apostles, assisting them or delegated by them, but without their authority. They had the gift ( χάρισμα) of the Spirit, as in the case of Timothy (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6); but, if we may judge by Philip’s case (Acts 8:5-18), they could not impart the Holy Ghost. Nor do they seem to have had the special revelations which were given to the prophets.— τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους: and some as pastors and teachers. The ποιμένες and διδάσκαλοι are distinguished from the former orders as being connected with particular churches, resident and not missionary or itinerant. The absence of the τοὺς δέ before διδασκάλους indicates also that the ποιμένες and the διδάσκαλοι were not two distinct orders, but designations of the same men (cf. the πρεσβύτεροι or ἐπίσκοποι; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:2), in different functions, the former defining them according to their office of oversight, the latter according to their office of instruction and guidance. The ποιμήν would naturally also be a διδάσκαλος; but there is not the same reason for supposing that every διδάσκαλος would also be a ποιμήν. Nothing is said here of πρεσβύτεροι, ἐπίσκοποι, διάκονοι. The absence of such official terms points perhaps to the comparatively early date of the Epistle.


Verse 12

Ephesians 4:12. πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων: with a view to the full equipment of the saints. The object with which Christ gave some men as Apostles, and some as prophets, etc., is now stated in a sentence consisting of three clauses. The precise construction and meaning of these clauses are by no means easy to determine. The main difficulty is the relation in which they stand to each other and to the preceding ἔδωκε. What that relation is will be best seen when the several terms have been examined. The sentence begins with πρός, but the two clauses which follow are introduced each by εἰς. Little can be made, however, of that. The nice distinctions of the classical period were not maintained in later Greek; and, while Paul’s use of prepositions is for the most part remarkably precise, it is his habit to vary them, without any obvious difference in sense. Especially is this his way with those of kindred meaning and followed by the same case: cf. εἰς and πρός in Romans 3:25, and see Win.-Moult., pp. 512, 513. The noun καταρτισμός occurs only here in the NT in 2 Corinthians 13:9 we have κατάρτισις. The verb καταρτίζω which is found more frequently and expresses the general idea of making ἄρτιος, fit, complete, is used in the sense of repairing literally (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19), restoring in a spiritual or disciplinary sense (Galatians 6:1), perfecting or making perfect (Matthew 21:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Peter 5:10, etc.), and also in that of preparing, furnishing, equipping (Polyb., i., 47, 6; v., 2, 11; Hdt. ix. 66; Luke 6:40; Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3, also Romans 9:22, with εἰς). The noun, therefore, may well have the meaning of equipment here.— εἰς ἔργον διακονίας: for the work of ministration. ἔργον has the simple sense of business—the work done in ministration. διακονίας is taken by most in the specific sense of ministerial service, service of an official kind in the Church. But, while this is a very frequent use (Acts 1:17; Acts 1:25; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19; Romans 11:13; Romans 12:7, etc.), the word has also the more general sense of service (Hebrews 1:14; 2 Timothy 4:11). Its cognates διακονέω, διάκονος have also the same sense (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 12:26; Acts 19:22; Philemon 1:13; Colossians 1:25; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 11:15, etc.). It is quite legitimate, therefore, to give the noun here the non-official sense, if the contest points to that. This also is in harmony with the anarthrous διακονίας.— εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ: for the building up of the body of Christ. Cf. πρὸς οἰκοδομήν in Ephesians 4:29, and πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς ἐκκλησίας in 1 Corinthians 14:12. The two figures of the Church as a building and a body are combined here. But in what relation do these clauses stand to each other and to the ἔδωκε? This is very differently put. Some take them to be three parallel or coordinate clauses dependent on ἔδωκε, as if = “Christ gave some as Apostles, and some as prophets, etc., with a view to these three things—the perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ. So substantially Chrys., Theophy., Oec., Calv., Beng., Klöp., etc., and the AV. To this it is objected that the εἰς ἔργον διακονίας would occupy an awkward position, and that the natural order would have been εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, πρὸς καταρτισμὸν, etc. With this sense of maladjustment of the clauses some (Grot., etc.) have even supposed a trajection. Others (Lachm., Harl., Tisch., Bleek, Hofm., Mey., Von Soden, Ell., Alf., Abb., etc.) take the second and third clauses, each introduced by εἰς, to be parallel to each other, and directly dependent on the ἔδωκε. They thus express the immediate object, while πρὸς καταρτισμὸν κ. τ. λ. denotes the ultimate end; as if = “Christ, with a view to the full, final perfecting of the saints, gave Apostles, prophets, etc. for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”. But this gives a somewhat awkward and involved construction, and reduces the force of the third clause, which would naturally be expected to bring us to the larger, ultimate purpose of Christ’s giving. Olshausen modifies this interpretation to the effect of taking the second and third clauses as subdivisions of the first, = “Christ gave Apostles, etc., for the perfecting of the saints, on the one hand for the fulfilment of the teacher’s office, and on the other hand, as regards the hearers, for edification”. But no such distinction is in view here between teachers and hearers, the subjects being the ἅγιοι generally. None of these adjustments of the clauses quite meets the case. The proper construction, recognised so far by Erasm., Luther, De Wette, Rückert, Weiss, and more recently accepted by Haupt, is the simplest. It takes the sentence to be dependent as a whole on the ἔδωκε, and understands the three clauses as successive, the first looking to the second, the second to the third, the third forming the climax and expressing the ultimate object of the giving on the part of the ascended Christ. Thus the sense becomes—“Christ gave some men as Apostles, some as prophets, etc., with a view to the full equipment of the saints for the work of ministration or service they have each to do in order to the building up of the body of Christ”. The building up of the Church—that is the great aim and final object; to that every believer has his contribution to make; and to qualify all for this is the purpose of Christ in giving “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers”. In this way each clause fits in naturally with the next, and the ultimate object is expressed last. This, too, is the only construction which does justice to the ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ at the beginning of the statement (Ephesians 4:7) and the ἑνὸς ἑκάστου at its close. These are the terms which convey the ruling idea, viz., that each member gets the gift of grace, and each has his part to do towards that upbuilding of the Church which is the great object of Christ’s bestowments; and these Apostles, prophets, etc., are the means provided by Christ whereby all the members shall be made capable of performing their several parts in order that at last the whole Church may be built up in its completeness as the body of Christ.


Verse 13

Ephesians 4:13. μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα: until we all attain unto the unity. The AV wrongly makes it “come in”; Tynd., “grow up unto”; Cran., better, “come to”. But best, “arrive at,” or (with RV) “attain unto”. The statement of the great object of Christ’s gifts and the provision made by Him for its fulfilment is now followed by a statement of the time this provision and the consequent service are to last, or the point at which the great end in view is to be realised. It is when the members of the Church have all come to their proper unity and maturity in their Head. The tendency of late Greek to use the subj. without ἄν, especially after temporal particles, renders it doubtful whether much may be made of the unconditioned μέχρι here. The absence of ἄν, however, and the use of the subj., seem to point to the event as expected, and not as a mere hypothetical possibility; cf. Mark 13:30; and see Hartung, Partikl., ii., p. 291; Hermann, Part., ἄν, p. 66; Win.-Moult., pp. 378, 387. καταντάω, followed in NT by εἰς, elsewhere also by ἐπί, conveys the idea of arriving at a goal (cf. Acts 26:7; Philippians 3:11), the aor. subj. also having the force of “shall have attained”. οἱ πάντες evidently refers not to men generally, but to Christians and to these in their totality. The article goes appropriately with the ἑνότητα, the unity in view being the definite unity denoted by the words that follow.— τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ: of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. τοῦ υἱοῦ is the gen. obj., and it is best taken as dependent on both nouns. Some (e.g., Haupt), however, are of opinion that the repetition of the article before ἐπιγνώσεως implies that the τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ is dependent only on the latter. The καί shows that the ἐπιγνώσεως is not an epexegesis of the πίστεως; and the πίστις (here in its usual Pauline sense of trusting, saving faith) and the ἐπίγνωσις express distinct, though related, ideas (cf. Philippians 3:9-10; 1 John 4:16). The unity in view, therefore, is oneness in faith in Christ and oneness also in the full experimental knowledge of Him. The point of the clause is not any unity between faith and knowledge themselves, to the effect, e.g., of rising from the former to the latter as a higher Christian endowment (Olsh.), but a unity which shall make all the members of Christ’s body at one in believing in Him and knowing Him. The title υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ as applied to Christ occurs frequently in the Pauline as well as in the Johannine writings, but never in 2 Thess., Phil., Philem., or the Pastoral Epistles. In passages like the present, if they stood by themselves, it might be difficult to say whether the metaphysical, the theocratic, or the ethical idea is in view. But the analogy of such statements as those in Romans 1:4; Romans 8:3; Romans 8:32; Galatians 4:4, and the general Pauline conception of Christ as a transcendent Personality, different from men as such, and to be named together with God, point to a relation to God in respect of nature as the force of the designation here.— εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον: unto a perfect man. τέλειος, as in 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Hebrews 5:14, and as is suggested by the subsequent νήπιοι, means perfect in the sense of full grown. The state in which unity is lacking is the stage of immaturity; the state in which oneness in faith and knowledge is reached is the state of mature manhood in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:11). The singular ἄνδρα instead of ἄνδρας is appropriately used (as we have already had καινὸς ἄνθρωπος) when the idea of unity is in view. The goal to be reached is that of a new Humanity, regenerated and spiritually mature in all its members.— εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας: unto the measure of the stature. A clause in apposition to the former, further defining the τέλειον, and giving a fuller and yet more precise description of the goal which is to be reached. Is ἡλικίας, however, to be rendered age or stature? The noun appears to have both senses. In Luke 19:3 it is certainly = stature, and probably so also in Luke 2:52; while in John 9:21; John 9:23 it is clearly = age, and most probably so also in Matthew 6:27 and Luke 12:25, altho’ the latter two are held by some to be referable to the other meaning; cf. Field, Otium Norv., iii., p. 4. The adj. ἥλικος in the NT has the idea of magnitude (Colossians 2:1; James 3:5), and that is its most frequentsense in non-Biblical Greek. Much depends, therefore on the context. The antithesis between τέλειον and νήπιοι favours the idea of age (so Mey., Harl., Abb., etc.). But the idea of stature is suggested by the μέτρον, the πληρώματος, the αὐξήσωμεν and the αὔξησιν, and is on the whole to be preferred (so Syr., Goth., Copt., Eth. prob., AV., RV., Erasm., Grot., Beng., Rück., Alf., Ell., etc.).— τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ: of the fulness of Christ. The πλήρωμα here is taken by some in the sense of perfection. So Rück., who makes it “the perfection possessed by Christ,” and Oltramare who renders it “the measure of the height of the perfection of Christ”. But τελείοτης is one idea, and πλήρωμα another. Not less foreign to the real meaning of the noun are such interpretations as “the gracious presence of Christ” (Harl.); “the perfect age of Christ” (Luth.; cf. Calvin’s plena aetas); “the stature of the full grown Christ,” etc. Nor can the phrase be taken as a designation of the Church (Storr; also Baur, who holds it = that with which Christ fills Himself or is completed, i.e., the Church). For that would give the incongruous idea that we are to attain to the Church. The χριστοῦ is the poss. gen., and the phrase means the fulness that belongs to Christ, the sum of the qualities which make Him what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (cf. Ephesians 1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us. Thus the whole idea will be this—“the measure of the age, or (better) the stature, that brings with it the full possession on our side of that which Christ has to impart—the embodiment in us the members, of the graces and qualities which are in Him the Head”. It has also been asked whether the goal thus set before us is regarded as one to be reached in our present temporal life by way of development, or one to be attained to only in the future life. As between these two ideas the preference must be given (with Chrys., Oec, Jer., Luth., de Wette, etc.) to the former, in view of the general tenor of the exhortation introducing the paragraph, the point of Ephesians 3:19, the place given to unity and maturity, etc. So Mey. thinks it refers to the Christian condition to be reached “after the last storms and before the Parousia”. Not a few of the Fathers, however, take the resurrection to be specially in view, and interpreters like Theod., Calv., etc., think it looks to the perfected life of the other world. But Paul gives no clear indication of the time, and it may be, therefore, that he has in view only the goal itself and the attainment of it at whatever time that may take effect.


Verse 14

Ephesians 4:14. ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι: that we may be no longer children. Statement of aim following on the previous statement of goal or limit. The verse is regarded by some (Harl., etc.) as connected immediately with Ephesians 4:11-12, and coordinate with Ephesians 4:13. Others understand it as an explanation of what the attainment of the goal spoken of in Ephesians 4:13 means. But it is best to take it as subordinate to the immediately preceding statement. That is to say, as Ephesians 4:13 has set forth the goal to be reached and the limit put upon the bestowal of the gifts referred to as given by Christ, this verse now gives the purpose which was in view in setting such a goal before us and in giving the gifts of Apostles, prophets, etc. (Mey., Ell., etc.). That purpose looks to a change which has to take place in us from the condition of νήπιοι and κλυδωνιζόμενοι to that of ἀληθεύοντες, αὐξάνοντες, etc. The μηκέτι implies something different from the existing condition, and that existing condition, we see, is one of immaturity, assailed, wavering faith, and subjection to the distracting influence of false teachers. In his address to the elders at Miletus (Acts 20:29) Paul had spoken of “grievous wolves” that would enter the Ephesian Church after his departure. But the statement here is wide enough to apply to the Church generally and not merely to the Ephesians. νήπιοι, literally infants (Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 13:11), and then minors (Galatians 4:1), the immature or untaught (Matthew 11:25; Romans 2:20; Hebrews 5:13, etc.).— κλυδωνιζόμενοι: tossed to and fro. κλύδων means a dashing or surging wave (Luke 8:24; James 1:6; cf. Thayer-Grimm’s Lex., sub voce); and κλυδωνιζόμενοι means tossed about by waves (cf. LXX of Isaiah 57:20). In the changefulness and agitation which were the results of their unthinking submission to false teaching their νηπιότης or lack of Christian manhood was seen.— καὶ περιφερόμενοι πάντι ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας: and carried about by every wind of doctrine. The ἀνέμῳ is the instrum. dat.; the article τῆς denotes that doctrine in the abstract is meant—“every kind and degree of it” (Ell.). διδασκαλία means teaching, either in the sense of instructing (Romans 12:7; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 4:13; 1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:7), or in that of doctrine, the thing taught (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:1; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; Titus 2:10). Here AV, RV, Ell., etc., take the second sense. “In the fact that now this, now that, is taught according to varying tendencies, there blows, now this, now that, wind of doctrine” (Mey.).— ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων: in the sleight of men. For κυβείᾳ TWH give the form κυβείᾳ. The prep. may be the instrumental ἐν (so Mey., Haupt, etc.). But the contrast with the following ἐν ἀγάπῃ (Ephesians 4:15) points rather to the usual force of ἐν as = in (so Vulg., Copt., etc.), the κυβεία being the “element, the evil atmosphere, as it were, in which the varying currents of doctrine exist and exert their force” (Ell.). κυβεία means dice-playing (e.g., in Plato, Phaedr., p. 274 D), and then deception, fraud. Some (e.g., Beza, Von Soden, etc.) give it the sense of levity, or putting at stake—a shade of meaning occasionally expressed by the verb κυβεύειν (e.g., Plato, Prot., p. 314 A). The idea expressed here by the κυβεία itself might be simply that of hazard, unsettlement, with reference to the uncertainties into which the νήπιοι were cast by the diverse forms of false teaching under which they fell (cf. Haupt). But it is in the character, not of gamesters, but deceivers that the false teachers are immediately presented (cf. Mey.). This “sleight of men” is in contrast with “the faith and the knowledge of Christ,” or it may be with the pure, sure word of God by which the faith and knowledge of the Son of God came.— ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης: in craftiness with a view to the machination of error. The renderings of the great Versions show how difficult it is to do justice to this sentence in English. The AV takes refuge in a paraphrase, “and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive”. Wicl. gives “to the deceiving of error”; Cov., “to the deceitfulness of error”; Bish., “in craftiness to the laying in wait of error”; Rhem., “to the circumvention of error”; RV, “in craftiness, after the wiles of error”. The Vulg. has in astutia ad circumventionem erroris. πανουργία, used in 1 Corinthians 3:19, of a false wisdom, means here, as in classical and also in later Greek, cunning, knavishness, treacherous deceitfulness. The ἐν πανουργίᾳ is taken by some as a definition of the ἐν κυβείᾳ, adding to the idea of hazard and destruction contained in the latter, the idea of fraud. But it is rather a distinct clause, emphasising the dishonesty and trickery of the false teaching. Its authors used all the arts of deception to persuade the νήπιοι that their self-made doctrine was the Divine truth. The prep. πρός is not to be identified with κατά (= after, according to), but has its sense of with a view to, furthering, tending to. The noun μεθοδεία (or μεθοδία according to TWH) is nowhere found in the NT except here and once again in this same Epistle (Ephesians 6:11), and seems not to occur in non-Biblical Greek, whether that of the LXX or that of the Classics. Its meaning here, however, may be safely taken to be trickery, cunning arts, treacherous wiles; as its verb μεθοδεύω, which means primarily to pursue a plan, whether honest (Diod. Sic., i., 81), or dishonest (Polyb., xxxiv., 4, 10), came to have the sense of following craftily, practising deceitful devices (Diod., vii., 16; 2 Samuel 19:27). The gen. πλάνης is usually taken as the gen. subj., = the πλάνη which practises craft. But it may rather be the gen. obj., expressing the object or result of the μεθοδεία, = “the cunning art that works to error”. The article gives the noun the abstract sense or the force of a personification, = Error. Here, as elsewhere, πλάνη has the passive sense of error, not the active sense of seduction, or misleading (Luth., de Wette, etc.). But the question remains as to the precise idea here. The term means properly speaking error in the sense of straying from the way, wandering hither and thither. That sense is frequent in classical Greek—Aeschyl., Eurip., Plato, etc. In the NT the word is usually said to be used of mental error, wrong opinion, as e.g., in 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 2 Peter 2:18; 2 Peter 3:17; Judges 1:11; 1 John 4:6. But it is doubtful whether that sense fully meets the case in some of the passages thus cited, e.g., 1 John 4:6. In such passages as Romans 1:27; James 1:20, it denotes error in practice, a wrong way of life or action. This seems to be its force here. Consequently the idea of the clause is more definite than “in craftiness tending to the settled system of error” (Ell.). It means “in craftiness, furthering the scheming, deceitful art which has for its result the false way of life that strays fatally from truth.”


Verse 15

Ephesians 4:15. ἀληθεύοντες δέ: but truthing it. A participial clause qualifying the following αὐξήσωμεν and introducing the positive side of the change in view as contrasted with the negative aspect of the same in the μηκέτι clause. The δέ has the force of “but rather” or “but on the other hand”. Opposition of one thing to another is usually expressed by ἀλλά; but the advers. δέ is also used at times with that force, with the difference, however, that δέ connects while it contrasts or opposes; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 551. The precise meaning of ἀληθεύοντες is disputed. The RV marg. makes it “dealing truly”; but that is a doubtful sense. Calvin takes it = veritati operam dare; Rückert, “holding fast the truth”; Ell., “holding the truth”; Olsh., “walking in truth”; Alf., “being followers of truth”. But in classical Greek the verb seems to mean to speak truth as opposed to ψεύδεσθαι (Plato, Rep., p. 589 c; Xen., Anab., i., 7, 18, iv., 4, 15, etc.), and that is its sense also in Galatians 4:16. It is best to take it here, too, as = “speaking truth”; or more definitely “confessing the truth”. The point of this brief, but significant clause, therefore, may be this—these Ephesians had learned the saving truth ( ἀληθεία; cf. Galatians 2:5; Galatians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 1:22; Hebrews 10:26, etc.) of Christ. They had been exposed to the treacheries and risks of false teaching. Christ had given them Apostles, prophets, and evangelists to secure them against all teachers of craft, and they are here charged to continue to confess the truth in which they had been instructed and so grow to the maturity of the Christian life.— ἐν ἀγάπῃ: in love. The question is—to what is this to be attached? It is connected by many (Syr., Eth., Theophy., Oecum., Erasm., Calv., Rück., Bleek, de Wette, Alf., AV, RV, etc.) with the ἀληθεύοντες, and it is taken to express the idea that love is the element in which truth is to be spoken (or the truth confessed), if it is to conduce to unity and brotherliness. This construction is supported by the considerations that the simple ἀληθεύοντες δέ would be somewhat bald if it stood wholly by itself; that it is natural to associate love and truth; that the position of ἐν ἀγάπῃ after the ἀληθεύοντες and also the parallel structure of Ephesians 4:14 point to this connection; and that we thus get a contrast between πανουργία and ἀγάπη and again between πλάνη and ἀληθεύειν. The main argument for connecting the clause rather with the following αὐξήσωμεν (= “but speaking truth (or rather, confessing the truth) may in love grow up”) is the fact that in Ephesians 4:16, where the climax is reached, ἐν ἀγάπῃ qualifies the main thought—that of the growth or the edification of Christ’s body. This is a consideration of such weight as to throw the probability on the whole on the side of the second connection (Mey., Alf., Haupt, etc.).— αὐξήσωμεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα: may grow up unto him in all things, αὐξήσωμεν, which is under the regimen of the ἵνα, has here, as in Ephesians 2:21 and in various other passages of the NT, the intr. sense of growing. In earlier classical Greek it meant to cause to grow. That sense it has in the LXX and also occasionally in the NT (1 Corinthians 3:6-7; 2 Corinthians 9:10), while the pass. is used to express growing. But from Arist. onwards it came also to have the intr. sense. Meyer takes εἰς αὐτόν to mean simply “in reference to him”. The idea then would be that it is only by being in relation to Christ that we can grow. But while it is true that the growth which is set before us as our aim depends wholly on our remaining in living relation to Christ, the phrase εἰς αὐτόν can scarcely bear this out, but, as restricted by Meyer, would mean only “as regards him”. The εἰς αὐτόν must have a more definite sense. It might mean “into him” (AV, RV, Ell., etc.), in the sense of becoming wholly incorporated in Him, or made one with Him, or in the sense of growing till our life has “its centre in Him,” as Ell. would put it. But this is an idea difficult to grasp, and not quite in harmony with the conception of Christ as Head. For the members to grow into the head is not a congruous idea. It is best, therefore, to give εἰς the sense of “unto,” Christ the Head being the end and object of the growth of the members. This means more than that we are to grow into resemblance to Him, or that our growth is be according to His example. It means that as He is the source from which ( ἐξ οὗ, Ephesians 4:16) the grace or power comes that makes it possible for us to grow, He is also the object and goal to which our growth in its every stage must look and is to be directed. This is more in harmony with the previous εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον and εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας, κ. τ. λ. The extent or scope of this growing into Christ is expressed by τὰ πάντα (the acc. of def. or acc. of quantitative object.; cf. Krüger, Sprachl., § 46, 5, 4), = in all that belongs to our growth; in all the power and circumstances of our growth. The simple πάντα is so used in 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 11:2. Here τὰ πάντα is in place, the idea being, as Meyer rightly observes, the definite idea of all the points in which we grow.— ὅς ἐστιν κεφαλή, χριστός: who is the head even Christ. With (410) (411) (412) (413), Chrys., etc., the TR reads χριστός. The article is rightly omitted, however, by LTTrWHRV on the authority of the oldest and best MSS., (414) (415) (416) (417), with Bas., Cyr., etc. Instead of the ordinary form of direct apposition εἰς αὐτὸν, χριστόν, the relative form is adopted, probably with a view both to emphasis, and to definiteness in the connection with ἐξ οὗ, κ. τ. λ. Such constructions were usual in Greek of all periods; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 665; also 2 Corinthians 10:13; Plato, Apol., p. 41 A Eur., Hec., 764.


Verse 16

Ephesians 4:16. ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα: from whom the whole body. Statement of the relation of the whole, following that already made regarding the several members. πᾶν τὸ σῶμα looks back on the οἱ πάντες. The ἐξ has its proper force of origin (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 13:4, and especially the precise parallel in Colossians 2:19), and cannot be reduced to mean per quem (Morus., etc.). All growth in the body has its source in Christ, the Head.— συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον: being fitly framed together and compacted. Or, as RV, “fitly framed and knit together”. The participles are presents, as expressing a process that is going on. For the former see on chap. Ephesians 2:21 above. The latter, to which TWH give the form συνβιβαζόμενον, expresses the general idea of putting together, but with various shades of meaning, e.g., reconciling one to another (Herod., i., 74); considering or concluding (Acts 16:10); demonstrating (Acts 9:22); instructing (1 Corinthians 2:16); and (as here and in Colossians 2:19) compacting or knitting together into one whole. Distinctions have been drawn between the two terms; e.g., by Bengel, who took the συναρμολογουμένη to express specially the harmony of the building and the συμβιβαζόμενον its solidity; and by Ellicott, who thinks the idea of the former is that of the aggregation of the parts, and of the latter that of their inter-adaption. But at the most the difference does not seem to go beyond the notions of joining ( ἁρμός = a joint) and compacting or making to coalesce.— διὰ πἅσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας: by means of every joint of the supply. Here the AV and the RV are in substantial agreement, the former giving “by that which every joint supplieth”; the latter, “through that which every joint supplieth,” with the marginal rendering “through every joint of the supply”. The Vulgate gives per omnem juncturam. The old English Versions vary, e.g., Wicl., “by each jointure of under serving”; Tynd., “in every joint wherewith one ministereth to another”; Cov., “every joint of subministration”; Gen., “by every joint for the furniture thereof”; Bish., “by every joint yielding nourishment”. The clause is one of much difficulty, especially as regards the ἁφῆς. The word occurs only twice in the NT, here and in Colossians 2:19. The question is whether it means joint, contact, or sensation. In classical Greek it has a variety of meanings, e.g., touch (Aeschyl., Prom., 850), the sense of touch (Plato, Rep., 523 E), grasp (Plut., 2, 86 F), a junction or joint in the body (Arist., De Gen. et Corr., i., 8, 24), and also, it is contended, feeling (Plato, Locr., p. 100 D, E Pol., vii., p. 523 E, etc.). In the present passage Chrys. and Theod. give it this last sense, αἴσθησις, feeling, perception; and among others Mey. follows this, rendering the clause “by means of such sensation of the supply” and denying indeed that ἁφή ever has the sense of συναγή, vinculum. But it seems clear that in the passage in Aristotle referred to above and in others, (e.g., Arist., De Coelo, i., 11; Plato, Axioch., p. 365 A) it has the sense of joining, juncture, joint. It is also clear that it has the sense of adhesion, contact (Arist., Metaphys., iv., 4, x., 3; Phys. Ausc., iv., 6; De Gen. et Corr., i., 6). The meaning indeed for which Mey. contends seems to have little or no foundation in ancient Greek use. The choice lies between the other two. The sense of contact is preferred by some (e.g., Oec, von Hofm.), the idea then being “by means of every contact which serves for supplying,” or “by means of every contact of each member of the body with the power which Christ supplies”. But most prefer the sense of “joint,” both because all the most ancient Versions understand the clause to have the members of the body and their relation one to another in view, and because in the parallel passage (Colossians 2:19) ἁφῶν is coupled with συνδέσμων. If the sense of feeling is adopted the clause will naturally be attached to the following αὔξησινποιεῖται, and will specify the way in which the growth is to be made. With the sense of joint the clause will be best attached to the participles preceding it (especially in view of the clause in Colossians 2:19), and will define the means by which the framing and compacting are effected. (See especially Light. on Colossians 2:19.) The term ἐπιχορηγία, which occurs again in Philippians 1:19, means supply, perhaps with something of the idea of the large and liberal, as Ell. suggests, belonging to the primary use of ἐπιχορηγεῖν. The τῆς points to the particular supply that comes from Christ, and the gen. may be taken as that of inner relation or destination (cf. σκεύη τῆς λειτουργίας, Hebrews 9:21; see Win.-Moult., p. 235). The idea, therefore, appears to be that the body is fitly framed and knit together by means of the joints, every one of them in its own place and function, as the points of connection between member and member and the points of communication between the different parts and the supply which comes from the Head. The joints are the constituents of union in the body and the media of the impartation of the life drawn by the members from the head. Precisely so in Colossians 2:19 the joints and ligaments are mentioned together and are described as the parts by which the body receives its supplies ( ἐπιχορηγούμενον) and is kept compact together ( συμβιβαζόμενον).— κατʼ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους: according to an efficiency in the measure of each individual part. For μέρους some good MSS., etc., read μέλους (AC, Syr., Boh., Vulg., etc.), and WH give it a place in their margin. But μέρους is to be preferred, as supported by such authorities as (418) (419) (420) (421) (422) (423) (424), Arm., etc. ἐνέργειαν = energy in the sense of activity, working. ἐν μέτρῳ = in the measure, i.e., proportionate to, in keeping with (Mey.), or commensurate with (Ell.). ἐν can never have the sense of κατά. But it is used occasionally like the Heb. בְּ, in phrases expressing the proportion or law in accordance with which something is done (Thuc., i., 77, 8:89; Hebrews 4:11; see Win.-Moult., p. 483). The clause is connected by some (de Wette, etc.) with τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας; by others (Harl., etc.) with the συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον; but it is best attached to the αὔξησινποιεῖται. So it defines the nature, law, or order of the growth, describing it as proceeding in accordance with an inward operation that adapts itself to the nature and function of each several part and gives to each its proper measure. It is a growth that is neither monstrous nor disproportioned, but normal, harmonious, careful of the capacity and suited to the service of each individual member of Christ’s body.— τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται: maketh the growth of the body. αὔξησις, common enough, together with αὔξη, in classical Greek, occurs only twice in the NT, here and Colossians 2:19. The Mid. ποιεῖται conveys the idea of making for oneself; or it may rather strengthen the sense, suggesting “the energy with which the process is carried on” (Ell.). See especially Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 438, for the use of the appropriative and intensive Middle. The repetition of the σῶμα, “the whole body … makes the increase of the body,” is due probably to the desire to avoid ambiguity, as the pronoun might have been taken to refer to the μέρους.— εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ: unto the building up of itself in love. εἰς expresses the object and end of the carrying on of the growth, viz., the completion of the body. The ἐν ἀγάπῃ might qualify the αὔξησιν ποιεῖται (so Mey.); but it is more fitly connected with the οἰκοδομήν, as denoting the ethical element or condition of that consummation and completion of the Church which is the object of the long-continued process of growth.


Verse 17

Ephesians 4:17. τοῦτο οὖν λέγω καὶ μαρτύρομαι ἐν κυρίῳ: this I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord. The οὖν has here its simple, resumptive force (cf. Donald., Greek Gram., § 548, 31; Win.-Moult., p. 555). It takes up the train of thought which had been broken off at Ephesians 4:4. The τοῦτο refers to the exhortation that follows. μαρτύρομαι is used of a solemn declaration, protest, or injunction of the nature of an appeal to God (cf. Acts 20:26; Acts 26:22; Galatians 5:3, etc.). ἐν κυρίῳ, not = by the Lord, nor on the Lord’s authority, but in the Lord, the writer identifying himself with Christ and giving the exhortation as one made by Christ Himself (cf. Romans 9:1; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; also the classical εἶναι ἔν τινι, as in Soph., Oed. Tyr., 314; Oed. Col., 247, etc., and Abb., in loc.).— μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν: that ye no longer walk. The exhortation began (Ephesians 4:1) as a positive injunction to a worthy walk. It is now resumed in the negative form of an injunction against an unworthy Pagan walk. The περιπατεῖν, the ordinary objective inf., expresses the object of the ruling verb. After verbs like μαρτύρομαι such inf. conveys the idea of what ought to be and has something of the force of an imper. (cf. Acts 21:4; Acts 21:21; Titus 2:2, etc.). It requires no δεῖν to be supplied (see Jelf, Greek Gram., p. 884, 4; Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 273; Win.-Moult., pp. 403, 405).— καθὼς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ: as the [rest of the] Gentiles also walk. λοιπὰ is inserted by the TR before ἔθνη, and is supported by (425)4(426)2, 3(427) (428), Syr., Goth., Chrys., etc. It is omitted, however, by (429) (430) (431) (432) (433)*(434), Boh., Eth., Vulg., etc., and must be deleted here (with LTTrWHRV). The καί associates the walk which they are charged to continue no longer with that of the Gentiles generally, and with their own former walk in their non-Christian days.— ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν: in the vanity of their mind. νοῦς is not merely the intellectual faculty or understanding, but also the faculty for recognising moral good and spiritual truth (Romans 1:28; Romans 7:23; 1 Timothy 6:5, etc.). ματαιότης, a peculiarly biblical and ecclesiastical term, occurring in NT only here and in Romans 8:20; 2 Peter 2:18, and corresponding to the Heb. הֶבֶל, שָׁוְא, means vanity in the sense of purposelessness, uselessness. There is nothing in the clause to restrict it to the case of idol-worshippers or to that of the heathen philosophers (Grot.). It is a description of the walk of the heathen world generally—a walk moving within the limits of intellectual and moral resultlessness, given over to things devoid of worth or reality (cf. Romans 1:21, ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς σιαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν).


Verses 17-24

Ephesians 4:17-24. A paragraph which takes up again the practical address begun with the first verse of the chapter, but interrupted at Ephesians 4:4, and contains solemn exhortations to withdraw from all conformity with the old vain pagan life.


Verse 18

Ephesians 4:18. ἐσκοτισμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες: being darkened in their understanding. For ἐσκοτισμένοι of the TR, with (435) (436) (437) (438) (439), etc., the more classical form ἐσκοτωμένοι is given in (440) (441) (442), etc., and is preferred by LTTrWH. The ὄντες is more appropriately attached (with LTTrWHRV, Theod., Beng., Harl., de Wette, Alf., Ell., Abb., Mey., etc.) to this clause than to the following ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι, (Beza, Rück., etc.). The parallelism of the two clauses is better kept in this way, while the emphasis is thrown first on the ἐσκοτωμένοι and then on the ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι. The sentence is a further description of the walk of the Gentiles and an explanation of its vanity. Their walk is what it is because of the condition of moral darkness into which they fell and in which they continue. With ἐσκοτωμένοι compare the ἐσκοτίσθη, κ. τ. λ. of Romans 1:21, and contrast the πεφωτισμένοι as the note of the new condition in Ephesians 1:18. The τῇ διανοίᾳ is not to be taken as if this clause referred only to the intellectual condition. διάνοια covers the ideas not only of understandings, but also of feeling and desiring. It is the faculty or seat of thinking and feeling (Matthew 22:37; Luke 1:51; Luke 10:27; Colossians 1:21; 2 Peter 3:1). The dat. is that known as the dat. of sphere or reference (cf. Bernh., Synt., p. 84; Win.-Moult., pp. 263, 270), or the “local dat. ethically used” (Ell. on Galatians 1:22; Donald., Greek Gram., p. 488).— ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι: alienated. Being in a state of moral darkness they also become alienated from the true life. The word is used of those who have estranged themselves from God, here and in Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21 (cf. the OT זוּר in Psalms 58:3; Ezekiel 14:5; Ezekiel 14:7.— τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ: from the life of God. This cannot mean the godly life, the way of life approved by God. For ζωή in the NT seems never to mean the course of life, but life itself, the principle of life as opposed to death. The two things are distinguished, e.g., in Galatians 5:25. Nor is there any reference here to the life of the Logos (John 1:3) in the pre-Christian world (Harl.). For it is the ἔθνη as they were known to him that Paul has in view here. The θεοῦ, therefore, is best taken as the gen. of origin (as in δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, Romans 1:17; εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ, Philippians 4:7; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 233), = “the life that comes from God,” the spiritual life communicated by God. Some (Ell., Abb., etc.) think that the phrase means more than this, and indicates that the life thus imparted to us by God is His own life, the very life possessed by Himself, in the profoundest and most real sense “the life of God” in us.— διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς: because of the ignorance that is in them. Explicit statement of the cause of their estrangement, which was implicitly given in the ἐσκοτωμένοι. The term ἄγνοια again is not a term merely of intellect. It denotes an ignorance of Divine things, a want of knowledge that is inexcusable and involves moral blindness (Acts 3:17; Acts 17:30; 1 Peter 1:14). It is further defined here not simply as αὐτῶνtheir ignorance,” but as an ignorance οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς—surely a phrase that is neither tautological nor without a purpose, but one that describes their ignorance in respect of its seat. Their alienation had its cause not in something external, casual, or superficial, but in themselves—in a culpable ignorance in their own nature or heart (cf. the ἐσκοτίσθη ἀσύνετος αὐτῶν καρδία in Romans 1:21).— διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν: because of the hardening of their heart. This clause, introduced by διά, as the former also is, is taken by most (Harl., Olsh., de Wette, Ell., Alf., etc.) to be an independent statement, coordinate with the διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν, and giving a further explanation of the alienation. Such coordination of clauses is somewhat frequent with Paul (cf. Galatians 4:4, etc.). Others (Mey., Abb., etc.) attach it to the former clause, and take it to be a statement of the cause of the ἄγνοια. Thus their alienation would be due to their ignorance, and this ignorance would be caused by the hardening of their hearts. The τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς thus loses its significance, and we should have to regard it as adopted instead of the simple αὐτῶν merely with a view to clearness of connection between the ἄγνοιαν and the διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν. The noun πώρωσις means hardness, not blindness. Formed from πῶρος = hard skin or induration, it means literally the covering with a callus, and in its three occurrences in the NT (here and Mark 3:5; Romans 11:25) it is used of mental or moral hardening; as is also the verb πωρόω (Mark 6:52; Mark 8:17; John 12:40; Romans 11:7; 2 Corinthians 3:4).


Verse 19

Ephesians 4:19. οἵτινες ἀπηλγηκότες: who having become past feeling. οἵτινες has its usual qualitative or explanatory force, = “who as men past feeling”. The ἀπηλγηκότες is naturally suggested by the πώρωσιν. It expresses the condition, not of despair merely (Syr., Vulg., Arm., etc.), but of moral insensibility, “the deadness that supervenes when the heart has ceased to be sensible of the ‘stimuli’ of the conscience” (Ell.). A few MSS. ((443) (444) (445), etc.) mistakenly read ἀπηλπικότες or ἀφηλπικότες, = desperantes (Latt., Syr., Arm., etc.).— ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ: gave themselves up to lasciviousness. In Romans 1:26 Paul gives us the other side of the same unhappy fact— πάρεδωκεν αὐτοὺς θεός. It is at once a guilty choice of men and a judicial act of God. ἀσέλγεια is wantonness, shameless, outrageous sensuality (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; 2 Peter 2:7, etc.).— εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ: to the working of all uncleanness with greediness. The noun ἐργασία is used sometimes of work or business (Acts 19:25); sometimes of the gain got by work (Acts 16:19; perhaps also Acts 16:16; Acts 19:24); sometimes of the pains or endeavour (Luke 12:58). Hence some give it the sense of trade here (Koppe, RV marg. = “to make a trade of”). It might perhaps be rendered here “so as to make a business of every kind of uncleanness”. But it seems rather to be simply = τὸ ἐργάζεσθαι. The εἰς denotes the object, the conscious object (Ell.) of the self-surrender. πάσης = every kind of; ἀκαθαρσία is moral uncleanness in the widest sense; ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ, describes the condition or frame of mind in which they wrought the ἀκαθαρσία, viz., that of covetousness or greediness. πλεονεξία is taken by some to mean ἀμετρία, inordinate desire or insatiableness (Chrys., Oec., Calv., Trench, etc.). It is repeatedly coupled indeed with sins of the flesh in the NT (1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5) and is akin to them as they all involve self-seeking. But its own proper meaning is greed, covetousness, and that sense is quite applicable here. See further on Ephesians 5:3; Ephesians 5:5. These two things ἀκαθαρσία and πλεονεξία ranked as the two great heathen vices. So the Gentiles, darkened and alienated from the life of God, had become men of such a character that they gave themselves wilfully over to wanton sensuality, in order that they might practise every kind of uncleanness and do that with unbridled greedy desire.


Verse 20

Ephesians 4:20. ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν: but ye did not thus learn the Christ. ὑμεῖς, in emphatic contrast with the ἔθνη yet unconverted. The οὐχ οὕτως is an obvious litotes, suggesting more than is expressed. Meyer compares Deuteronomy 18:14. The phrase ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν has no precise parallel except the following αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε. The nearest analogies to it are the phrases which speak of preaching Christ ( κηρύσσειν τὸν χριστόν; Galatians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Philippians 1:15), the γνῶναι αὐτόν in Philippians 3:10, and the παρελάβετε τὸν χριστὸν ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον in Colossians 2:6. It cannot = “ye learned the doctrine of Christ”; nor can it be taken as = “ye learned to know Christ”; for there are no relevant examples of such usages. χριστόν must be taken as the object of the learning, and the form τὸν χριστόν, especially looking to the following ἰησοῦ (Ephesians 4:21), probably indicates that the official sense is in view here. The aor. further points to the definite time of their conversion. The Christ, the Messiah, He personally—that was the contents of the preaching which they heard, the sum of the instruction they received and the knowledge they gained then.


Verse 21

Ephesians 4:21. εἴγε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε: if indeed ye heard Him. On εἴγε, = “if so be that,” “if as I assume it to be the case,” see in Ephesians 3:2 above. In the form of a delicate supposition it takes it as certain that they did hear. The αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε is to be understood as the ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν. The pronoun is placed for emphasis before its verb. The point, therefore, is this—“if, as I take it to be the fact, it was He, the Christ, that was the subject and the sum of the preaching which you heard then”.— καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε: and in Him were instructed. ἐν αὐτῷ is not to be reduced to “by Him” (Arm.; also AV “taught by Him”), or “about Him,” or “in His name” (Beng.), but has its proper sense of “in Him”. The underlying idea is that of union with Christ. The ἐδιδάχθητε, therefore, refers probably to instructions subsequent to those which were given them at their first hearing ( ἠκούσατε). It was in fellowship with Christ that they received these instructions.— καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ: even as truth is in Jesus. WH give καθώς ἐστιν ἀληθείᾳ, ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ as a marginal reading. The meaning of the clause is much disputed. That it expresses in some way the manner or standard of the instructions ( ἐδιδάχθητε) is clear from the καθώς. But what the point and connection of the clause are it is by no means easy to determine. Wicl. gives “as is truth in Jesus”; AV and other old English Versions, “as the truth is in Jesus,” as if it were ἀλήθεια. Some dispose of it as a parenthesis (Bez., Rück., etc.), as if = “if ye were so instructed about Christ, that would be false” (as in Him there is only truth, moral and religious truth). Others (Grot., etc.) make it = “as it really is,” i.e., “if ye were instructed in the Gospel as it really is in Jesus”; or (Jer., Erasm., Est., etc.) they supply a οὕτως to the ἀποθέσθαι and understand the καθὼς clause to refer to Jesus as the Pattern of moral truth or holiness. Jerome’s explanation, e.g., is this—quomodo est veritas in Jesu sic erit et in vobis qui didicistis Christum. Somewhat similarly others, connecting it with ἀποθέσθαι, take it to mean that as moral truth is in Jesus, so they on their part are to lay aside the old man (Harl., Olsh., etc.). Or, connecting it with ἐδιδάχθητε, they understand the point to be that they were instructed in a way implying a moral change, as in Jesus there is truth and, therefore, holiness (so de Wette substantially). Meyer makes the ἀποθέσθαι dependent on the καθὼς clause, so that the sense becomes this—“truth it is in Jesus that ye put off the old man”; and Abbott appealing to the use of ἀλήθεια in Ephesians 4:24 and in John 3:21, makes it = “as it is true teaching in Jesus that ye should put off,” etc. All these interpretations involve dubious constructions or impose unjustifiable senses on the ἀλήθεια. Feeling this others have adopted the bolder expedient of making χριστός the subject of ἐστιν, the sense then becoming “as He (Christ) is truth in Jesus” (Cred., Von Soden). A better turn is given to this by WH, who would read ἀληθείᾳ and so get the sense “as He (Christ) is in Jesus in truth”. In support of this it is urged that the αὐτόν, ἐν αὐτῷ show that Christ, the Messiah, is the leading subject. But this construction means that it was not enough to be instructed in a Messiah; that they had also to recognise that Messiah in the historical Jesus, and that in Him they would see the life which signified for them a putting off of the old man. There is no indication, however, in the context or in any word of Paul’s belonging to this period of a form of false Christian teaching which distinguished between Christ and Jesus, or of Gentiles professing to believe in a Messiah but not in Jesus as that Messiah. It only remains, therefore, to fall back on the interpretation “if ye were instructed according to that which is truth in Jesus”. The clause will then describe the nature or manner of the instruction, as the following clause expresses its substance. In form or character the instruction was in accordance with what was true, with what was true in Jesus, that is to say, with truth as seen embodied in Him (cf. Alf., Ell.). And instruction of that kind meant that they should put off the old man.


Verse 22

Ephesians 4:22. ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον: that ye put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man. This is best connected with the ἐδιδάχθητε. It gives the purport or contents of the instruction. The inf., therefore, is the objective inf. (cf. in μηκέτι περιπατεῖν, Ephesians 4:17 above, and Donald., Greek Gram., § 584). It has something of the force of an imperative, but is not to be taken as the same as an imperative, that use of the inf. being very rare in the NT, and found generally indeed only in the case of oracles, laws and the like (cf. Win.-Moult., p. 397). In such constructions as the present the inf. does not require the pronoun; but ὑμᾶς is introduced here with a view to lucidity, after the reference to Jesus in Ephesians 4:21 (so Ell., Alf., etc.). The figure in the ἀποθέσθαι is taken from the putting off of garments, and is parallel to the ἐνδύσασθαι of Ephesians 4:24. The κατὰ clause defines that in respect of which this putting off is to take effect, the prep. having here the general sense of “in reference to,” not that of “in conformity with”. τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον, contrasted with the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος (Ephesians 4:24), the νέος ἄνθρωπος (Colossians 3:10), the καινὴ κτίσις (Galatians 6:15), is the former unregenerate self in its entirety (cf. Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:9).— τὸν φθειρόμενον: which waxeth corrupt. The pres. part. marks the corruption as a process that goes on, a condition that progresses. The point is missed by the “is corrupt” of the AV, but is well put by “waxeth corrupt” (Ell., RV); cf. also Galatians 6:8. The “corruption,” however, is to be understood as “destruction”. The “old man” is in a condition of advancing destruction or ruin, and, therefore, should all the more be “put off”. Some (e.g., Meyer) take eternal destruction to be in view, the pres. part. expressing what is to issue in destruction or indicating the certainty of the future.— κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης: according to the lusts of deceit. ἀπάτης is the gen. subj., not = “the deceitful lusts” (AV), but = the lusts which deceit uses or which are its instruments. The ἀπάτη is in contrast with ἀλήθεια, the article giving it the abstract force approaching a personification. κατά here = in accordance with. The process of corruption or ruin goes on in precise conformity with the nature of the lusts which the deceitful power of sin has in its service.


Verse 23

Ephesians 4:23. ἀνανεοῦσθαι δέ: and that ye be renewed. For ἀνανεοῦσθαι a few MSS. ((446)2 17, 47, etc.) and some Versions (Syr., Copt., Vulg.) read ἀνανεοῦσθε, while δέ is omitted by (447). In such connections δέ expresses both addition and contrast. It introduces a statement connected with the foregoing but giving the other side of that. Here it is the positive change which must follow the putting off. As the middle of this verb has the active sense, ἀνανεοῦσθαι must be taken as passive here, = “be renewed,” not “renew yourselves” (Luth.). The verb expresses a spiritual change, a transformation from old to new. Whether it also conveys the idea of restoration to a former or a primal state is doubtful, so many compounds with ἀνά ( ἀναπληροῦν, ἀνακοινοῦν, ἀνισοῦν, ἀνιεροῦν, etc.) expressing nothing more than change. For the supposed distinction between ἀνανεοῦσθαι as expressing renovation, making new, or giving a fresh beginning, and ἀνακαινοῦσθαι as referring to regeneration or change of nature, see Haupt and Ell. in loc., and Meyer on Colossians 3:10.— τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν: in the spirit of your mind. The position of the ὑμῶν gives it a measure of emphasis, “your mind,” “the mind that is in you,” unless it be taken (with Haupt) to be placed last because it qualifies not the νοὸς only but the whole idea in τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοός. This difficult sentence has been understood to refer to the Holy Spirit, the νοός being dealt with as some form of the poss. gen. or the gen. subj., and the πνεύματι as dat. instr. Thus the sense would be “renewed by the Holy Spirit bestowed on, or possessed by, your mind” (Œc., Theophy., Bull, Waterland, Fritz., etc.). This proceeds on the NT doctrine that it is by the Spirit of God that we are regenerated or renewed. But it leaves the point of the addition of τοῦ νοός obscure. This ancient interpretation has been adopted by some recent exegetes with certain modifications. Thus Ellicott is of opinion that the πνεύματι refers not to the Holy Spirit distinctly and separately as the Divine Agent, but to that Spirit as united with the human spirit. In this way he thinks the poss. gen. is in point, and the introduction of the νοός accounted for as the receptaculum of the πνεῦμα. But, while it is true that it is often difficult to say whether the regenerated mind of man or the Divine Spirit is particularly in view in the Pauline use of πνεῦμα, there seems to be no case in which the NT speaks of the Holy Spirit as man’s Spirit, or attaches to πνεῦμα in the sense of the Divine Spirit any such defining term as ὑμῶν or τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν. Nor can it be said that πνεῦμα, in the sense of the Divine Spirit in union with man’s spirit, has anywhere else any such designation as the one in the text. Nor, again, does the interpretation which turns upon this idea of union between God’s Spirit and our spirit, and not simply on the indwelling of the Divine Spirit in us, really account in any satisfactory way for the νοός. It is necessary, therefore, to take πνεῦμα here as = our spirit, and that as at once distinguished from and related to the νοῦς. The πνεῦμα, then, appears to be the higher faculty in man, the faculty that makes him most akin to God, the organ of his spiritual life and his fellowship with God, under the bondage of sin by nature, but set free from that and made fit for the purposes of the Divine life by the Holy Spirit. The νοῦς (cf. on Ephesians 4:17 above) is the faculty of understanding, feeling, and determining, distinguished by Paul from the πνεῦμα (1 Corinthians 14:14), represented as capable of approving the law, but incapable of withstanding the motions of sin (Romans 7:23), and itself the subject or seat of renewal ( ἀνακαίνωσις, Romans 12:2). Further the regenerate human spirit and the Divine Spirit are described as distinct and yet co-operant (Romans 8:16). Here then the πνεύματι must be taken not as the instrumental dative (for renewal does not take effect by means of our spirit), but as the dat. of ref., and the νοός will be the gen. subj. Thus the sense becomes “renewed in respect of the spirit by which your mind is governed” (Mey.), that is, in respect of the spiritual faculty, the moral personality whose organ is the mind or reason. Some, holding by the interpretation of πνεῦμα as our spirit, take the νοός to be the gen. of appos. (e.g., August., de Trin., xiv., 16, spiritus quae mens vocatur), or the part. gen., = “the governing spirit of your mind” (De Wette). But the above construction is better, and it is the one adopted substantially by the AV and the other old English Versions, the RV, Mey., Haupt, Abb., and most commentators.


Verse 24

Ephesians 4:24. καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινον ἄνθρωπον: and put on the new man. For ἐνδύσασθαι the imper. ἐνδύσασθε is read by some authorities of consequence ((448) (449) (450)1(451)2, etc.). The aor. is appropriately used again, as before in Ephesians 4:22; “putting off” and “putting on” being acts, while renewal ( ἀνανεοῦσθαι) is a process. For καινὸς ἄνθρωπος see on Ephesians 2:15 above.— τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα: which after God was created. The aor. κτισθέντα suggests that the “new man” is regarded here not as a nature created anew for the individual, but as “the holy form of human life which results from redemption,” created once for all in and by Christ, and participated in by the individual convert. (See Ell., in loc., and Müller, Christ. Doctr. of Sin, ii., p. 392). The phrase κατὰ θεόν has sometimes the simple sense of “godly,” “in a godly manner” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). Hence it is held by some to mean nothing more here than created “divinely” (Hofm.) or “according to the will of God” (Abb.). But κατά is also used to express likeness (1 Kings 11:10; Hebrews 8:8; Galatians 4:28; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 4:6). Here, therefore, it may mean “like God” or “after the image of God”. That this is the sense is confirmed by the use of κτισθέντα (which recalls Genesis 1:27), and by the fuller parallel statement in Colossians 3:10 : τὸν νεὸν, τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν κατʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν. The clause, therefore, affirms a new creation of man, and describes that creation as being according to the image or likeness of God. It neither states nor suggests, however, that the image of God in which man was first created was lost and has been restored in Christ. What it does state is simply that this second creation, like the first, was in conformity with the Divine likeness or after the example of what God is.— ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας: in righteousness and holiness of the truth. For τῆς ἀληθείας some few authorities give καὶ ἀληθείᾳ ((452)1(453), Cypr., Hil., etc.). This clause specifies the things in which the new man was created and in which the likeness between him and God consisted. ἐν, therefore denotes the quality or ethical condition in which the creation realised itself. δικαιοσύνη and ὀσιότης are coupled again in Luke 1:75 (cf. also Wisdom of Solomon 9:3; Clem. Rom., First Corinthians, xlviii., 4). Plato distinguishes in two ways between the idea of δίκαιος and that of ὅσιος. He defines δίκαιος as the generic term and ὅσιος as the specific (Euthyp., p. 12 E); and he describes the former as having regard to our relations to men, the latter to our relations to God (Gorg., p. 507 B). The latter distinction is also given by other Greek writers (Polyb., xxiii., 10, 8, etc.). It is not easy, indeed, to say how far this distinction holds good in the NT. But both in profane and in biblical Greek the two words, adjective, adverb or noun, are often combined in one statement (e.g., Plato, Protag., 329 C Theaet., 176 B Rep., x., 615 B Laws, ii., 663 B Joseph., Antiq., viii., 9, 1; Luke 1:75; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Titus 1:8). In many of these cases the distinction between integrity and piety is certain, and it is suitable to all. The NT also clearly distinguishes between δίκαιος and εὐλαβής (Luke 2:25). It may be said, therefore, that δικαιοσύνη and ὁσιότης are not used vaguely or interchangeably, but that, while both are of grace and both consequently have a new meaning Godward, the former expresses the right conduct of the Christian man more distinctively in its bearings on his fellow-men, and the latter the same conduct distinctively in its relation to God. τῆς ἀληθείας is not to be reduced to “true holiness” as in AV, but is to be taken as the gen. of origin and as qualifying both nouns. Further, ἀλήθεια with the article, contrasting with τῆς ἀπάτης of Ephesians 4:22, seems to be more than Truth in the abstract or a quasi-personification of Truth. It may mean “the truth” par excellence, the evangelical message, the objective truth given in the Gospel ( ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, Galatians 2:5; Galatians 2:14; or simply, as here, ἀλήθεια, John 8:32; John 8:40; John 17:19; Galatians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 13:8, etc.). The creation of the new man in the Divine likeness realises itself, therefore, in something better than the ceremonial rectitude of the Jew or the self-contained virtue of the heathen—in a righteousnes and a holiness born of the new truth contained in the Evangel.


Verse 25

Ephesians 4:25. διὸ ἀποθέμενοι τὸ ψεῦδος, λαλεῖτε ἀλήθειαν ἕκαστος μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ: Wherefore, putting off falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbour. διό, with the enlarged forms διότι, διόπερ, is rare in the NT except in Luke and Paul, but frequent with these, especially with the latter. It is = quamobrem, on which account, and refers here to what was said about the new man and his creation κατὰ θεόν as the ground for what follows. τὸ ψεῦδος includes falsehood in every form, of which lying τὸ ψεύδεσθαι (Colossians 3:8) is one chief instance. The partic. has its proper aor. force, expressing a thing understood to be done, completely and finally, = “having put off then once for all falsehood in its every form”. λαλεῖτε, the continuous pres. following on the past act, has the force of “speak truth and speak it continually,” as the result of that prior “putting off”. The prep. μετά is appropriate here as the prep. of personal association and mutual action (Win.-Moult., pp. 470, 471). It is truth in intercourse between Christian brethren ( τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ), not between Christians and their fellowmen in general, that is in view here (cf. Zechariah 8:16).— ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλων μέλη: for we are members one of another. Reason for this practice of truth—a reason drawn not from the common conceptions of duty or social weal, but from the profound Christian idea of union one with another through union with Christ. As in the human body each member is of the other in connection and for the other in service, so in the spiritual body of which Christ is the Head the members belong one to another and each serves the other; cf. Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:15. But can untruth consist with a union in which each is of and for the other? Why the sin of falsehood is first named, and why the sins of anger, dishonesty and corrupt speech are next dealt with, we have no means of determining. The explanation lies no doubt in local and congregational circumstances which Paul did not need to particularise.


Verses 25-32

Ephesians 4:25-32. A paragraph containing a series of detached, practical exhortations, dealing with certain evils to be forsworn and duties to be fulfilled. These injunctions are all based on the preceding statement, or are delivered as applications of the foregoing charge to put off the old man and put on the new.


Verse 26

Ephesians 4:26. ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε: be ye angry, and sin not. The words are taken from Psalms 4:4, and follow the LXX rendering. The original Hebrew, רִגְזוּ וְאַל־תֶּחֱטָאוּ, is rendered by some “Tremble and sin not” (Ewald; AV, “Stand in awe and sin not”), i.e., = “let wholesome fear keep you from this sinful course”; by others, as the LXX gives it (Hitz., Del., etc.). As used by Paul here the words recognise the fact that anger has its rightful place and may be a duty, while they indicate also how easily it may pass into the sinful. Great difficulty has been felt with this, and in various ways it has been sought to empty the injunction of its obvious meaning. Some take the first imperative conditionally, as if = “if ye are angry, do not sin” (Olsh., Bleek, etc.); others, in a way utterly at variance with the quotation, take ὀργίζεσθε as an interrogative (Beza, Grot.); others declare it impossible to take the first command as direct (Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 290), or deal with the first imper. as permissive, and with the second as jussive (Winer, De Wette, etc.), as if = “be ye angry if it must be so, but only do not sin”. Such a construction might be allowable if the first imper. were followed by ἀλλὰ καί or some similar disjunctive: but with the simple καί it is inadmissible. Both impers. are real jussives, the only difference between them being in the μή—which also throws some emphasis on the second. The καί has here the rhetorical sense which is found also in atque, adding something that seems not quite consistent with the preceding or that qualifies it, = “and yet” (cf. Matthew 3:14; Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:29, etc.). Nor is the difficulty in admitting ὀργίζεσθε to be a real injunction of anger anything more than a self-made difficulty. Moralists of different schools, the Stoics excepted. have recognised the place of anger in a moral nature; cf., e.g., Plato’s τὸ θυμοειδές; Butler’s statement of the function of anger in a moral system as “a balance to the weakness of pity” and a “counterpoise to possible excess in another part of our nature,” Sermons, Carmichael’s ed., pp. 126, 128. A righteous wrath is acknowledged in Scripture as something that not only may be but ought to be, and is seen in Christ Himself (Mark 3:5). So Paul speaks here of an anger that is approvable and to be enjoined, while in the καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε he forbids only a particular form or measure of anger. As the following clause suggests, even a righteous wrath by over-indulgence may pass all too easily into sin.— ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ τῷ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν: let not the sun go down upon your provocation. For the expression ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω cf. Deuteronomy 24:13; Deuteronomy 24:15; Jeremiah 15:9; also Hom., Il., ii., 413, and Plutarch’s statement of the Pythagorean custom— εἴποτε προαχθεῖεν εἰς λοιδορίας ὑπ ὀργῆς, πρὶν τὸν ἥλιον δῦναι τὰς δεξιὰς ἐμβάλλοντες ἀλλήλοις καὶ ἀσπασάμενοι διέλυοντο (De Am. frat., p. 488 B). τῷ, inserted by the TR, is supported by (454) (455) (456) (457) (458)3, etc.; it is omitted by the best critics (LTTrWHRV) on the authority of (459) (460)1(461), etc. The noun παροργισμός occurs only here in the NT never, as it would appear, in non-biblical Greek; but occasionally in the LXX (1 Kings 15:30; 2 Kings 23:26; Nehemiah 9:18). It differs from ὀργή in denoting not the disposition of anger or anger as a lasting mood, but provocation, exasperation, sudden, violent anger. Such anger cannot be indulged long, but must be checked and surrendered without delay. To suppose any allusion here to sunset as the time for prayer or to night as increasing wrath by giving opportunity of brooding, is to import something entirely foreign to the simplicity of the words as a statement of limitation.


Verse 27

Ephesians 4:27. μήτε δίδοτε τόπον τῷ διαβόλῳ: neither give place to the devil. The μήτε of the TR is supported by cursives and certain Fathers, but must be displaced by μηδέ, for which the evidence is overwhelming ((462) (463) (464) (465) (466) (467), etc.). μήτε properly used would have required μήτε, not μή, in the previous prohibition. μηδέ on the other hand is grammatically correct as it adds a new negative clause, = “also do not,” “nor yet” (Hartung, Partikl., i., p. 210; Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 366; Jelf, Greek Gram., § 776). τόπον, = room, opportunity; cf. Romans 12:19. διάβολος is not = calumniator (Luth., etc.), as if the reference were to heathen slanderers of Christians (Erasm.), but = the devil, the word having always that sense in the NT when used as a noun (in 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3 it is probably an adject.); cf. Matthew 4:1; Matthew 4:5; Matthew 13:39; Matthew 25:41, etc. It has that sense again in 1 Timothy 3:6. The more personal name σατανᾶς occurs more frequently in the Pauline writings, while it is used only once in John’s Gospel (John 13:27) and never in his Epistles. On the other hand διάβολος is strange to Mark.


Verse 28

Ephesians 4:28. κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω: let the stealer no longer steal. Not κλέψας, = “he who stole,” but pres. part. with a subst. force (cf. Win.-Moult., p. 444). Stealing was not wholly condemned by ancient heathen opinion. It was even allowed by the Lacedæmonians (Müller, Dor., ii., p. 310). It was a vice into which the recently converted living in the old pagan surroundings, especially when unemployed, might all too readily slip. It has been thought strange, scarcely credible indeed, that professing Christians in these Asiatic Churches could have given way to thieving. But the Epistles bear witness to the existence of grosser offences against morality in the Churches (e.g., 1 Corinthians 5:1).— μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω: but rather let him labour. μᾶλλον δέ has a corrective force, = nay rather, but on the contrary rather; cf. Romans 8:34; Galatians 4:9.— ἐργαζόμενος τὸ ἀγαθὸν ταῖς χερσίν: working the thing that is good with his hands. The readings here vary considerably, notwithstanding the simplicity of the statement. The TR adopts the reading given by (468), many cursives, Slav., Chrys., etc. In (469), am., etc., the ταῖς χερσίν precedes τὸ ἀγαθόν. This latter with ἰδίαις inserted between ἀγαθόν and ταῖς χερσίν is found in (470), some cursives, Syr.-Phil., etc.; while ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν is the reading of (471) (472)1(473) (474) (475), 37, etc., Vulg., Goth., Copt., Sah., Eth., Arm., Jer., Epiph., etc. This last is the best, and is adopted by LTTr and by WH in the marg., though not in the text. τὸ ἀγαθόν as opposed to the κακόν of theft = labour, not idleness; honest work, not stealing; the use of one’s own hands in toil, not robbing the hands of others. ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι: that he may have to give to him that has need. It has been thought strange by some that Paul simply forbids stealing and makes no reference to the duty of restitution. In point of fact he does more than that; for he declares the proper object of all Christian labour (cf. Olsh.), viz., to acquire not merely for ourselves and our own need, but with the view of being able to help others.


Verse 29

Ephesians 4:29. πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω:let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth. πᾶςμή, the well-known Hebraistic form, the negative attaching itself to the verb, = “non-utterance—let that be for every corrupt word”. λόγος = word, in the sense of a saying, speech or utterance. σαπρός, lit. rotten or worn out and unfit for use, and then worthless, bad (e.g., qualifying trees, fruit, fish as the opposite of καλός, Matthew 7:17; Matthew 12:33; Matthew 13:48; Luke 6:43, etc.). Here it does not seem to mean filthy, but, as the following clause, ἀγαθός, κ. τ. λ., suggests, bad, profitless, of no good to any one. Some, however, give it the more specific sense, = foul, as including scurrilous and unbecoming utterance (Abb.).— ἀλλʼ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας: but such as is good for edification of the need. ἀλλʼ εἴ τις, = but such as, but whatever; lit. = “but if there is any … let it proceed out of your mouth” (Mey.). ἀγαθός with πρός or εἰς is sufficiently frequent in classical Greek in the sense of suitable, serviceable for something (e.g., Plato, Rep., vii., p. 522 A). The phrase οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας is somewhat difficult to construe. Its difficulty probably accounts for the reading πίστεως instead of χρείας in (476)1(477), etc. It cannot be dealt with by inversion as it is put in the AV, “to the use of edifying”; nor as equivalent to “those who have need” (Rück.); nor as = “as there may be need” (Erasm., qua sit opus). Neither can it be a gen. of quality, as if = “seasonable edification”. The τῆς must have its full value, especially after the anarthrous οἰκοδομήν; and the χρείας is best taken either as the gen. obj., = “edification applied to the need” (Mey., Alf., Abb.), or the gen. of remote reference (Ell.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 235), “edification in reference to the need,” i.e., to the present need. So the Vulg. (am.) gives ad aedificationem opportunitatis.— ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσι: that it may give grace to the hearers. So the RV. The AV also gives “minister grace unto the hearers”. The other old English versions likewise render χάριν, grace, except Tynd., who makes it “that it may have favour,” and Cov., who renders it “that it be gracious to hear”. Not a few (Theod., Luth., Rück., etc.) make it = give pleasure. But χάρις usually means favour or benefit, and the phrase διδόναι χάριν expresses the idea of doing a kindness to one (Soph., Ajax., 1333; Plato, Laws, iii., p. 702 c; Exodus 3:21; Psalms 84:11); and in the NT it has this sense with the specific notion of gracious kindness or service (2 Corinthians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 8:6; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). So it is here. The λόγος is the subj., and the clause gives the Christian object of every speech or utterance, viz., to do good to the hearers, to impart a blessing to them (Ell.). For words with a different result cf. 2 Timothy 2:14.


Verse 30

Ephesians 4:30. καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ: and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. This is not a general exhortation, but one bearing, as the καί indicates, particularly on the preceding injunction. The utterance of evil or worthless words is repugnant to the holiness of the Spirit, and is to be refrained from as calculated to grieve Him. The injunction is made the more solemn by the designation of the Spirit as “the Holy Spirit” and the Spirit “of God”. The Spirit is here regarded as capable of feeling, and so as personal. In Isaiah 63:10 we have a similar idea, following the statement that Jehovah was afflicted in all His people’s affliction. These terms, no doubt, are anthropopathic, as all terms which we can use of God are anthropomorphic or anthropopathic. But they have reality behind them, and that as regards God’s nature and not merely His acts. Otherwise we should have an unknown God and One who might be essentially different from what we are under the mental necessity of thinking Him to be. What love is in us points truly, though tremulously, to what love is in God. But in us love, in proportion as it is true and sovereign, has both its wrath-side and its grief-side; and so must it be with God, however difficult for us to think it out.— ἐν ἐσφραγίσθητε: in whom ye were sealed. ἐν , not “by whom” (Tynd., Cranm., Gen., Bish.), or “whereby” (AV), but “in whom,” the Holy Spirit being the environment of the seal, the sphere or element in which it takes effect. On the sealing see on Ephesians 1:13 above.— εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως: unto the day of redemption. εἰς is most simply taken as = with a view to. ἀπολύτρωσις, as in Ephesians 1:14, Luke 21:28, Romans 8:23, is the redemption of the future, and here specifically that redemption in its completeness and finality. The gen. is the gen. of temporal relation, = the day on which redemption will take effect, or manifest itself; cf. ἡμέρα ὀργῆς (Romans 2:2); κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμέρας (Judges 1:6). The consideration, therefore, that it is in the Spirit they have their security and their assurance of reaching the day when their redemption shall be made perfect, is an additional reason for avoiding everything out of harmony with His holy being and action.


Verse 31

Ephesians 4:31. πᾶσα πικρία: let all bitterness. The noun πικρία occurs thrice again in the NT, and with different shades of meaning (Acts 8:23; Romans 3:14; Hebrews 12:15). Meyer makes it = fretting spitefulness here. But it seems to be more than that (cf. χολὴ πικρίας as a description of exceptional wickedness in Acts 8:23), and to mean resentfulness, harshness, virulence. In James 3:11 τὸ πικρόν is contrasted with τὸ γλυκύ, and in Ephesians 4:14 it qualifies ζῆλον which again is coupled with ἐρίθειαν. The πᾶσα has the force of “all manner of”. Harshness in all its forms whether in speech or in feeling (the latter, perhaps, being specially in view as the contrasting χρηστοί suggests) is to be put away.— καὶ θυμὸς καὶ ὀργή: and wrath and anger. These two words are often conjoined in non-biblical Greek, in the LXX and in the NT (e.g., Romans 2:8; Colossians 3:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15). So far as they differ, the distinction is that θυμός is fury, the more passionate and passing sentiment, the burst of anger, and ὀργή the settled disposition. So in Sirach 48:10 we get the phrase κοπάσαι ὀργὴν πρὸ θυμοῦ. See Trench, Syn., pp. 123–125.— καὶ κραυγή: and clamour. κραυγή is sometimes the cry of distress (Hebrews 5:7; Revelation 21:4). Here it is the outcry of passion (Acts 23:9). καὶ βλασφημία: and evil speaking. Here it is obviously slanderous or injurious speech with reference to brethren (Matthew 12:31; Matthew 15:19; Mark 3:28; Mark 7:22; Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4). So πικρία, the harsh, virulent temper, works θυμὸν καὶ ὀργήν, wrath and anger, and these again induce κραυγὴν καὶ βλασφημίαν, passionate clamour and hurtful speech.— ἀρθήτω ἀφʼ ὑμῶν σὺν πάσῃ κακίᾳ: be put away from you together with all malice. κακία may mean either wickedness generally (Acts 8:22; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Peter 2:16); or ill-will, malignity in particular (Romans 1:29; Colossians 3:8; Titus 3:3; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1). The context points to the latter here. So Wicl., Cov., Rhem., AV, RV while Tynd. gives “maliciousness,” and the Bish. “naughtiness”.


Verse 32

Ephesians 4:32. γίνεσθε δὲ εἰς ἀλλήλους χρηστοί: but become ye kind one to another. The δέ is omitted by (478), k, 177, Clem., etc., while οὖν is substituted for it in (479)1(480), 114. It is bracketed by WH and by Tr marg., and is omitted by (481). But it is quite in place, having its combined connecting and opposing force; cf. on Ephesians 4:15 above. γίνεσθε (not ἐστέ), = “become ye,” or “show yourselves,” rather than “be ye”. The idea is that they had to abandon one mental condition and make their way, beginning there and then, into its opposite. χρηστοί, = kind, benignant, used of God (Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 2:3), but here (its only occurrence in the Epistles) of ηνηεὔσπλαγχνοι: tender-hearted. There could be no better rendering. In Colossians 3:12 the same disposition is expressed by σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ. It is only in Scripture and in eccles. Greek that the adject. conveys the idea of compassion (Pray. of Manass., 7; Test. XII. Patr., Test. Zab., § 9).— χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς: forgiving each other. Partic. co-ordinate with the χρηστοί, εὔσπλαγχνοι, denoting one special form in which the kindness and tender-heartedness were to show themselves. χαρίζομαι means either to give graciously (Luke 7:21; Romans 8:32; Philippians 2:9, etc.), or to forgive (Luke 7:42; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:13). Some adopt the former sense here (Vulg., donantes; Eras., largientes). But the second is more in harmony with the context. For the use of ἑαυτοῖς as = ἀλλήλοις in classical Greek (e.g., Soph., Antig., 145) see Kühner, Greek Gram., ii., p. 497; Jelf, Greek Gram., § 54, 2. In the NT the same use prevails (1 Corinthians 6:7; Colossians 3:13; Colossians 3:16, etc.). The two forms are often conjoined in the same paragraph or sentence, both in classical Greek (Xen., Mem., ii., 7, iii., 5, 16, etc.) and in the NT (as here, Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8, etc.). If there is any distinction between them, it is that the idea of fellowship or corporate unity is more prominent in ἑαυτοῖς; cf. Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, pp. 169, 170; Light. and Ell. on Colossians 3:13.— καθὼς καὶ θεὸς ἐν χριστῷ ἐχάρισατο ὑμῖν: even as also God in Christ forgave you. καθὼς points to the Divine example; καὶ places the two instances, the Divine and the human, over against each other; the reference and the comparison indicate the supreme reason or motive for our fulfilment of the injunction. ἐν χριστῷ is not “for Christ’s sake” (AV) or per Christum (Calv.), but “in Christ” as in 2 Corinthians 5:19; the God who forgives being the God who manifests Himself and acts in the suffering, reconciling Christ. The aor. should be rendered did forgive with Wicl., Tynd., Gen., Bish., RV (not “hath forgiven” as in AV, etc.), the point being the forgiveness effected when Christ died. The reading ὑμῖν, supported by (482) (483) (484) (485), 37, Sah., Boh., Vulg., Goth., Eth., etc. is to be preferred on the whole to ἡμῖν which appears in (486) (487) (488), 17, 47, Syr., Arm., etc., L gives ἡμῖν in text; TrWHRV give it in margin.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/ephesians-4.html. 1897-1910.


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