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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 4

Ephesians 4:6. After πᾶσιν Elz. has, with min. Chrys. Theodoret, ὑμῖν; for which D E F G K L and many min., also several vss. and Fathers, read ἡμῖν. So Griesb. and Scholz. But neither pronoun is present in A B C א and several min. vss. and Fathers. The pronouns are exegetic additions, designed to secure the reference of πάντων, πάντων, πᾶσιν to the Christians.

Ephesians 4:7. The article of χάρις is wanting in B D* F G L, Dam. min. Deleted by Lachm. But it was more easily absorbed through the preceding H than brought in through writing it twice; and in its favour tell the readings χάρις αὕτη in C** 10, 31, Cyr., and χάρις αὐτοῦ in Aeth., in which the article is glossed.

Ephesians 4:8. Before ἔδωκε Elz. Scholz, and Tisch. have καί, which has against it A C** D* E F G א * 17, Copt. Slav. ant. Vulg. It. and several Latin Fathers, and hence is suspected by Griesb., and deleted by Lachm. But considerable witnesses still remain in favour of καί; and since the LXX. does not have it at Psalms 68:19, the omission seems to have taken place in accordance with the LXX.

Ephesians 4:9. After κατέβη Elz. has πρῶτον, in opposition to decisive witnesses, although defended by Reiche. A more precisely defining addition, as is also μέρη in Elz. after κατώτ. Less weighty authority, it is true, testifies against this μέρη (hence it is retained not only by Reiche, but also by Lachm. Scholz, and Rück.), but it betrays itself as a glossing product of the very old explanation of the descent into hell, in order to designate the place whither Christ descended as subterranean.

Ephesians 4:15. Instead of χριστός, A B C א * min. Fathers have merely χριστός. So Lachm. and Tisch. To be preferred, on account of the oldest MS. attestation.

Ephesians 4:16. μέρους] A C, 14, 66 (on margin), Syr. Arr. Copt. Arm. Vulg. and several Fathers have μέλους, which, after Grot. Mill, and Bengel, is recommended by Griesb. and adopted by Rück. (not Lachm.). An interpretation in accordance with the context. G has μέτρους, which likewise testifies in favour of μέρους.

Ephesians 4:17. λοιπά] is wanting with A B D* F G א, min. Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Vulg. It. Clem. Cyr. and Lat. Fathers. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. and Rück. But how naturally might it be omitted, since Paul was speaking to Gentiles who were now Christians, and upon a comparison with 1 Thessalonians 4:5 !

Ephesians 4:18. ἐσκοτισμένοι] Lachm. Tisch. read ἐσκοτωμένοι, following A B א, Ath. Rightly; the current form was brought in.

Ephesians 4:26. The article before παροργ., deleted by Lachm., is wanting in A B א *, and is more likely to have been added on account of the definite reference in the text, than to have been omitted.

Ephesians 4:27. μήτε] All uncials have μηδέ. On that account, even apart from the greater linguistic probability, rightly approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Tisch. Scholz, Rück. and Harless.

Ephesians 4:28. τὸ ἀγαθὸν ταῖς χερσίν] Many variations, among which ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶ τὸ ἀγαθόν (so Lachm. and Rück.) is by far the best attested reading (A D E F G א * min. Ar. pol. Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Arm. Vulg. It. Basil, Epiph. Naz. Jer. Aug. Pel.). The shortest readings are: merely τὸ ἀγαθόν with Clem., and merely ταῖς χερσίν with Tertull. Harless (comp. Mill) conjectures that the latter is the original form, and that 1 Corinthians 4:12, Galatians 5:10 gave occasion to glosses. But only 1 Corinthians 4:12 is here parallel, because Galatians 6:10 does not speak of literal labour. There would hence be more warrant for regarding the simple τὸ ἀγαθόν in Clement as original. But in opposition to this, it may be urged that ταῖς χερσίν is wanting in no other witness, and is in the highest degree appropriate to the connection; whereas τὸ ἀγαθόν, since the mention is of manual labour, might easily appear inappropriate. The true reading accordingly I hold to be ταῖς χερσὶ τὸ ἀγαθόν, which remains, if we delete ἰδίαις in Lachm., as an addition from 1 Corinthians 4:12. And with this agree also B א ** Amiat. Ambrosiast., which actually read ταῖς χερσὶ τὸ ἀγαθόν.

Ephesians 4:29. χρείας] D* E* F G, 46, Arm. in several codd. of Vulg., codd. of It., Lat. codd. in Jer. and several Fathers: πίστεως. An interpretation.

Ephesians 4:32. δέ] is wanting, no doubt, in B and min. Clar. Germ. Clem. Dam. Oec., and is deleted by Lachm., but was easily dropped out through the last syllable of γίνεσθε. Omitted, it was then in accordance with Ephesians 5:1 made up for, in many witnesses, by οὖν (D* F G, lect. 6, 14, codd. of It.).

ὑμῖν] Lachm.: ἡμῖν, after B** D E K L, min. Syr. utr. Ar. pol. Sahid. Arm. Chrys. in comm., Theodoret, Theophylact. But ἡμῖν appears an alteration in accordance with Ephesians 5:2; where, no doubt, the variations ὑμᾶς and ὑμῶν are found, but in opposition to so decisive a preponderance of witnesses reading ἡμᾶς and ἡμῶν, that ὑμᾶς and ὑμῶν only become an evidence for the originality of our ὑμῖν.

CONTENTS.

The paraenetic portion of the Epistle begins with the general exhortation to the readers to live worthily of their vocation, whereupon, especially, mutual loving forbearance and the preservation of Christian unity are brought prominently forward (Ephesians 4:1-3). Thereon follows, Ephesians 4:4-16, a detailed exhibition of those relations, which render the preservation of Christian unity a duty, namely—(a) that there is one body, one Spirit, etc., Ephesians 4:4-6. Further, (b) that to every individual is grace given in the measure in which Christ apportions His gift, Ephesians 4:7-10. And (c) that Christ has given the different teachers, until all should have attained to unity of the faith and of knowledge, in order that dependence on false teaching may cease, and, on the other hand, the truth may be acknowledged in love, and thus all may grow in relation to Christ the head, from whom the whole church, the body, accomplishes in love its organic development to perfection, Ephesians 4:11-16. Hereupon the discourse returns to the form of exhortation, namely, that they no longer walk after a Gentile manner (Ephesians 4:17-19). They had, indeed, been quite otherwise taught, namely so, as it is truth in Jesus, that they should lay aside the old man, and, on the other hand, should be renewed in their mind and should put on the new man (Ephesians 4:20-24). Lastly, thus grounded, there follow the special exhortations no longer to lie, but to speak the truth; not to sin in anger, etc.; no longer to steal, but to work, etc.; to hold no bad discourse, but, etc.; not to be bitter, passionate, etc., but kind, compassionate, forgiving (Ephesians 4:25-32).


Verse 1

Ephesians 4:1. See on Ephesians 4:1-6, Winzer, Commentat., Lips. 1839.

παρακαλῶ] “Parte doctrinae absoluta venit, ut solet, ad adhortationes,” Grotius. No doubt, there presently begins again at Ephesians 4:4 a doctrinal exposition as far as Ephesians 4:16, but it is subservient to the paraenesis, and is itself pervaded by the paraenetic element (Ephesians 4:14-15).

οὖν] deduces the exhortation from the immediately preceding Ephesians 3:21. For a walk in keeping with the vocation, through which one belongs to the church, is what is practically in keeping with the praise of God in the church. The suitableness of this nearest reference gives it the preference over the more vague ordinary view, that οὖν draws its inference from the whole contents of the first three chapters. Comp. on Romans 12:1.

ἐγὼ δέσμιος ἐν κυρ.] gives to the παρακαλῶ οὖν a touching force “ad excitandum affectum, quo sit efficacior exhortatio,” Estius; comp. Calvin. Similarly Ignat. Trall. 12: παρακαλεῖ ὑμᾶς τὰ δεσμά μου, ἕνεκεν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ περιφέρω. But all that has been said about exciting sympathetic feeling (Koppe and older expositors), cheering obedience,(197) and the like, is quite inappropriate, since it was just in his sufferings that Paul was conscious of all his dignity with holy pride (comp. Ephesians 3:13 and on Galatians 6:17). So here, too, in the παρακαλῶ, the reader was to be affected by the consciousness of the dignity and greatness of the martyr who utters it.(198) According to others, Paul wishes to present himself as an example (Harless, Olshausen; comp. also Koppe). In that case he must at least have written: παρακαλῶ οὖν ἐγὼ δέσμ. ἐν κυρ. καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀξίως περιπ. κ. τ. λ.

ἐν κυρίῳ] does not belong to παρακαλῶ (Semler, Koppe with hesitation; Zanchius already suggested, but did not approve it), but to δέσμιος, beside which it stands, and which alone needs its significant reference; comp. Ephesians 3:1; Philippians 1:13. Paul was the prisoner in the Lord (the article as Ephesians 3:1), for he did not endure a captivity having its ground apart from Christ,—such as one suffers who for any other reason is placed in bonds,—but in Christ his being bound had its causal basis, just because he was bearing the chains for Christ’s sake; without, however, ἐν κυρίῳ signifying “for Christ’s sake” (comp. on Galatians 1:24), as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and many would have it. Comp. rather, συνεργὸς ἐν χριστῷ, ἀγαπητὸς ἐν κυρίῳ, δόκιμος ἐν χριστῷ, ἐκλεκτὸς ἐν κυρίῳ, Romans 16:3; Romans 16:8-10; Romans 16:13, al. It gives to the δέσμιος its specific character, by which therefore the captivity was essentially distinguished from any other.

ἐν κυρίῳ] is annexed without an article, because it is blended with δέσμιος into a unity of conception. The genitive designation, Ephesians 3:1, expresses the same thing, but otherwise conceived of.

ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι κ. τ. λ.] i.e. to lead such a life-walk as is appropriate to the call to the Messianic kingdom issued to you (at your conversion), “ne sint tanta gratia indigni,” Calvin. Comp. Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Matthew 3:8; Romans 16:2; Bernhardy, p. 140. The future possession of the kingdom, forsooth, is destined only for those whose ethical frame is renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. See Ephesians 4:21 ff., Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8:4 ff; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:21 f.; 1 Corinthians 6:9 f., al.

ἧς] as at Ephesians 1:6; and see on 2 Corinthians 1:4. Attracted instead of ἥν. Yet Paul might have written , 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:20.


Verse 2

Ephesians 4:2. ΄ετὰ πάσ. ταπεινοφρ. κ. πραότ.] the characteristic dispositions accompanying this περιπατῆσαι; see Winer, p. 337 [E. T. 471], and with regard to πάσης, on Ephesians 1:8; it belongs to both substantives. On the subject-matter, comp. Matthew 11:29; Colossians 3:12. The opposite of humility: τὰ ὑψηλὰ φρονεῖν, Romans 12:16; Romans 11:20; 1 Timothy 6:17; δοκεῖν εἶναί τι, Galatians 6:3. On the notion of πραότης, gentleness, see Tittmann, Synon. p. 140.

μετὰ μακροθ.] is attached by Calvin, Estius, Zeltner, Calixtus, Baumgarten, Michaelis, Zachariae, Rückert, Holzhausen, Harless, Olshausen, to the following ἀνεχόμενοι. But the very repetition of the preposition, to which appeal is made, most naturally points backwards, so that μετὰ μακροθ. appears as parallel to μετὰ π. ταπεινοφρ. κ. πραότ., inasmuch, namely, as Paul makes the general be followed by the special, and then gives to the latter the elucidation ἀνεχόμενοι κ. τ. λ. Besides, μετὰ μακροθ., if it belonged to ἀνεχόμ., would have an undue emphasis, since without long-suffering the ἀνέχεσθαι ἀλλήλων would not exist at all; Colossians 3:12 f. Bengel and Matthies, following Theodoret and Oecumenius, have attached the whole μετὰ π. ταπ. κ. πραότ., μετὰ μακροθ. to ἀνεχόμενοι. But in this way we lose the gradual transition from the general ἀξίως περιπατ. τ. κλ. to the special ἀνεχόμ. ἀλλήλ., which under our construction is very naturally brought about.

ἀνεχόμ. ἀλλήλ. ἐν ἀγάπῃ] The reciprocal forbearance in (ethical habit) love (comp. Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:2) is the practical expression of the μακροθυμία. Comp. Colossians 3:13. It consists in the fact that we “aliorum infirmitates aequo animo ferimus, nec ob ea, quae nobis in proximo displicent, ab ejus amicitia recedimus, sed personam constanter amamus, etsi vitia in odio habeamus,” Calovius. The nominative of the participle (comp. Colossians 1:10) is put κατὰ τὸ νοούμενον, because the logical subject of ἀξίως περιπατ., Ephesians 4:1, is ὑμεῖς. See on Ephesians 3:18; comp. on 2 Corinthians 1:7, and Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 970. Ignoring this familiar construction, Heinsius, Knatchbull, and Homberg have placed a full stop after Ephesians 4:1, and then supplied estote to the participles—a course, which would only be admissible if, as in Romans 12:9, this concise, pregnant mode of expression were implied in the context.

ἐν ἀγάπῃ] belongs to the preceding. On the thing itself, comp. 1 Corinthians 13:4. Lachmann, Holzhausen, and Olshausen attach it to σπουδάζοντες. The reason given by Olshausen, that, as the μακροθ. is only a form of expression of love, ἐν ἀγάπῃ could not belong to what precedes, would be set aside, even if it were in itself valid, by the correct separation of μετὰ μακροθ. from ἀνεχόμ. And ἀνεχόμ. ἀλλήλ., taken alone, renders the discourse simply abrupt. How harmonious is the structure, when both participial clauses begin with the participle and close with the definitions attached by ἐν, in which definitions there is opened up the whole ethical domain (love and peace) to which the before-named special virtues belong (1 Corinthians 13)!


Verse 3

Ephesians 4:3. Parallel of ἀνεχόμενοι κ. τ. λ., which is characterized as respects the effort by which it must be upheld.

τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος] The πνεῦμα is not the human spirit, so that in general animi studiorumque consensus is meant (Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Erasmus, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, Wolf, Koppe, and many, including Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Rückert, according to whom Paul did not write τοῦ νοός, because he derives the unity of the spirit from the Divine Spirit), but, as is shown from Ephesians 4:4, and is in itself clear from the exhortation to the Christian life (Ephesians 4:1), the Holy Spirit, instead of which we have not, with de Wette and Schenkel, to understand the Christian spirit of the community; the N.T. knows not this modern notion, but knows only the Holy Spirit of God, as that which rules in the church (Ephesians 2:22), and upholds and developes its specific life, so that the latter has precisely in the κοινωνία τοῦ πνεύματος (Philippians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 13:13) its common source and support. Rightly already Chrysostom ( τὸ πνεῦμα τοὺς γένει καὶ τρόποις διαφόροις διεστηκότας ἑνοῖ) and his successors, Beza, Calovius, Bengel, and others, including Harless, Winzer, Bleek, and Ch. F. Fritzsche, Nova opp. acad. p. 244: the unity, which the Spirit produces. Comp. Philippians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 17:21. And this unity is the identity of faith, of love, of sentiment, of hope, etc., in the different subjects who are moved by the Spirit.

ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης] is attached by Lachmann to what follows, whereby the parallelism with the preceding participial clause is destroyed. And after the definition by ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρ. being prefixed, several of the following elements of unity would not be appropriate, since even without the bond of peace there is one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father.

ἐν is ordinarily taken as instrumental: through the bond of peace. In opposition to the parallelism with ἐν ἀγάπῃ; and through the unity of the Spirit the bond of peace is preserved, not the converse.(199) Hence: in the bond of peace, by which is denoted the ethical relation, in which they are to preserve the unity of the Spirit, namely, while peace one towards another must be the bond, which is to envelope them. τῆς εἰρήνης, accordingly, is genitive of apposition. Comp. σύνδεσμος εὐνοίας καὶ φιλίας, Plut. Numbers 6; Acts 8:23; Isaiah 58:6. Others: “vinculum, quo pax retinetur” (Bengel; so Theophylact, Calovius, and others, including Rückert, Meier, Harless, Winzer), and this is held to be love. Appeal is made to Colossians 3:14, and to the parallel with ἐν ἀγάπῃ. But, in Col. l.c., love in fact is expressly named, and designated as σύνδεσμος τῆς τελείοτητος; while justice is done to the parallel with ἐν ἀγάπῃ by our interpretation also, and it was at any rate most natural for the reader to understand under the bond of peace peace itself, conceived of as a bond. Expositors would not have sought for another explanation, had they not taken ἐν as instrumental, in which case the difficulty obtruded itself, that the unity of the Spirit is not preserved by means of peace, but peace by means of the unity of the Spirit.

That, moreover, no inference may be drawn from Ephesians 4:3 as to divisions prevailing in the church, Bengel has already rightly observed: “etiam ubi nulla fissura est, monitis opus est.” And particularly was such exhortation natural for the apostle, even in the absence of special occasion, considering the many saddening experiences which he had met with elsewhere on this point!


Verses 4-6

Ephesians 4:4, on to Ephesians 4:6. Objective relations of unity, to which the non-compliance with what is demanded in Ephesians 4:3 would be contradictory,(200) and which are consequently meant to incite towards compliance,—but without γάρ (comp. Dissen, ad Pind. Exc. II. p. 277), which gives greater animation to the discourse. The simple ἐστί is to be supplied (comp. 1 Corinthians 10:17); for the discourse is not hortatory, as it is taken to be by Pelagius, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Calvin, Camerarius, Estius, Zachariae, Morus, Koppe, and others, including Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 128, with which Ephesians 4:5-6 would not be in accord; for the same reason also the words are not to be attached appositionally to σπουδάζοντες (Bleek), but they are independent and purely assertive: there is one body and one Spirit. On ἓν σῶμα, by which the totality of Christians as corpus (Christi) mysticum is meant, comp. Ephesians 2:16; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; on ἓν πνεῦμα, which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of that corpus mysticum, Ephesians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13. The explanation: “one body and one soul” (“quasi diceret, nos penitus corpore et anima, non ex parte duntaxat, debere esse unitos,” Calvin), is excluded, as at variance with the context, by the specifically Christian character of the other elements, and rendered impossible by the correct supplying of ἐστί (not esse debetis).

καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθ. κ. τ. λ.] with which unity ( ἓν σ. κ. ἓν πν.) the relation also of your calling is in keeping (comp. Colossians 3:15), which took place by the fact that ( ἐν instrumental, see on Galatians 1:6) one hope (namely, that of the eternal Messianic bliss) was communicated to you; for all in fact were called by God to this very Messianic σωτηρία (Philippians 3:14).

τῆς κλήσ. ὑμῶν] genitive, as at Ephesians 1:18. Bengel, we may add, aptly remarks: “Spiritus est arrhabo, atque ideo cum ejus mentione conjongitur spes haereditatis.” Comp. also Clem. Cor. I. 46.


Verse 5

Ephesians 4:5. Continuation. There are not several Lords, but One, who is Lord of all believers, even Christ; not several kinds of faith, but one faith, inasmuch as all place their confidence upon the atoning death of Christ, on account of which they are justified and obtain salvation (Romans 3:23 ff.); not several kinds of baptism, but one baptism, namely, into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5).

εἷς κύριος at the head; because μία πίστις and the ἓν βάπτισμα accomplished in the case of those who have become believers are consequentia of εἷς κύριος.

To make of πίστις the doctrine of the faith (Grotius, Zachariae, and others), is at variance with linguistic usage; comp. on Galatians 1:23; Romans 1:5. The ἑνότης τῆς πίστεως is here represented as present, but in Ephesians 4:13 as future. Both with justice; inasmuch as here the Christian faith in the narrower sense is intended, the fides salvifica, which in all Christians was essentially the same, while at Ephesians 4:13 it is the Christian faith in the wider sense, within the compass of which there was diversity of convictions (as respects the validity of the law, the resurrection, veneration of angels, asceticism, partaking of flesh offered to idols, and other matters).

Of the Lord’s Supper, the unity of which might likewise appear as a suitable element in the connection (1 Corinthians 10:17), Paul does not make mention: according to Calovius, because it was comprehended “uno baptismatis sacramento ex paritatis ratione;” according to Harless, because Paul was mentioning only the fundamental conditions of the Christian fellowship, as they exist from the outset, at the first entrance upon it; according to Olshausen, because the specific act of the Supper, the partaking (rather, the communion, 1 Corinthians 10:16) of Christ, is included in εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις; according to de Wette, because it was less a something conditioning the unity, than something representing this unity itself.(201) But, in opposition to Calovius and Olshausen, it may be urged that, if Paul had adopted the synecdochic point of view in the selection, he would not have needed to mention πίστις, since baptism presupposes faith; in opposition to Harless, that the fundamental conditions of the Christian communion which Paul mentions are such, not specially for the beginning of it, but for its whole duration; in opposition to de Wette, finally, that the Lord’s Supper is, precisely as a representation of the unity, at the same time a powerful ethical incitement thereto, and hence would have been admirably appropriate in the series of points adduced. The ground of its not being mentioned is rather to be sought in the fact that the adducing of the Lord’s Supper would have disturbed the threefold triad of the elements adduced, and have broken through the whole rhythm of the passage. And the holy meal might the more easily remain unmentioned, because it was at that time not yet an observance subsisting by itself, but was combined with the common meals; hence, doubtless, in a context where the Lord’s Supper is spoken of, the εἷς ἄρτος (1 Corinthians 10:17) is brought forward as a symbol of the unity of Christians, but in another context the thought ἓν δεῖπνον κυρίου or μία τράπεζα κυρίου—because the Supper was not something subsisting alone like baptism, which as the constituent element of Christian standing could not remain unmentioned—did not so necessarily suggest itself.


Verse 6

Ephesians 4:6. Observe the climactic advance in Ephesians 4:4-6 : the Church, Christ, God;—and at the same time the climax in the divine Triad: Spirit, Lord, Father. Only the dominion of the Father is the absolute one, that of the Son is the derived, conferred, obtained (Philippians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 15:24 ff; 1 Corinthians 3:23, al.; comp. Ernesti, Ursprung d. Sünde, I. p. 194 ff.), in which He also disposes of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). See also Gess, von der Person Christi, p. 158 ff.

πάντων] i.e. of all believers, as those who have the υἱοθεσία (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 4:5), so that God is their God and Father. Holzhausen erroneously (seeing that the context treats of the Christian ἑνότης) thinks that all men are intended. Not even the spiritually dead members of the church are included (in opposition to Münchmeyer), as results from the sequel indicated by διά and ἐν, since they have not the Spirit and belong not to Christ (Romans 8:9), but are aloof from connection with Him and stand outside of grace (Galatians 5:4 f.; John 15:2; John 15:6), consequently have no share in the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23) and in the living temple of God (Ephesians 2:22 f.).

ἐπὶ πάντων κ. τ. λ.] The relation of the θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων to the πᾶσι in threefold manner. Comp. Romans 11:36, where, however, the prepositions define the subject, not, as here, the object. πάντων, πάντων, and πᾶσιν are equally to be taken as masculine, because the preceding πάντων was masculine, and because the discourse continues in Ephesians 4:7 with ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν, wherein the πάντες are individualized. Wrongly, therefore, many (including Erasmus, Michaelis, Morus, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius) have taken the first two as neuter, while the Vulgate, Zachariae, Koppe, et al., give the second point alone as neuter, and Matthies, on the other hand, explains all three elements of the relation of God to the world and mankind, consequently as neuter.

ἐπὶ πάντων] ἐπάνω πάντων, Chrysostom; τὴν δεσποτείαν σημαίνει, Theodoret. Comp. Romans 9:5. See Wessel, ad Diodor. xiii. 14; Lobeck, ad Phryn p. 474; Winer, p. 335 [E. T. 521]. After this relation of transcendence there follows, in διὰπᾶσιν, that of immanence.

διὰ πάντων] cannot, since the πάντες are the Christians and the relation of God to what is Christian is characterized, apply either to the creation (Estius, Wolf, and others), so that we should have to think of the all-penetrating creative power of God, or to providence (Chrysostom and his successors; Beza, Grotius: “per omnes diffundit providam suam gubernationem”); but the charismatic presence of God by means of the Holy Spirit, pervading and ruling all Christians, is meant. See also Ephesians 4:7, and comp. 1 Corinthians 12:6. The distinction from the following ἐν πᾶσιν lies not in the thing itself, since both elements denote the immanent ruling of God by virtue of His Spirit, but in the form of conception, since with ἐν the relation is conceived of as operative indwelling, and with διά as operative movement throughout all Christian hearts (“Deus enim Spiritu sanctificationis diffusus est per omnia ecclesiae membra,” Calvin). According to Harless, the thought expressed in διὰ πάντων is, that God as head works through the members. But of the conception of the head and the members there is absolutely nothing in the context; further, though mention is made of God as Father, it is not the Father, but Christ, that is Head of the members; lastly, in place of the simple ὤν, which is to be mentally supplied, there would be insensibly introduced a wholly different supplement, namely, ἐνεργῶν, or a similar verb.(202) At the bottom of this explanation there lies, indeed, the presupposition, that the relation of the Trinity is expressed in the three prepositions, as Jerome, Thomas, and many of the older expositors would have it. Against this altogether arbitrary supposition, however, Theophylact already rightly declared himself. See also Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 201. Olshausen, too, finds here, as at Romans 11:36, the Trinity; holding that God is described in His various relations to the creature [rather to the Christians] as Lord over all things, as instrument by which they are (this being held to apply to the Son), and as the element in which they are. Thus, moreover, the prepositional relation of the last two clauses is exactly reversed, inasmuch as not διὰ πάντων κ. τ. λ. is explained, but διʼ οὗ πάντες κ. τ. λ.! According to Beyschlag, Christol. d. N.T. p. 250, there is expressed, at least in the form of hint, the threefold mode of existence of God (“self-preservation, self-disclosure, self-communication”). But apart from the fact that such a threefold form of existence is not the expression of the New Testament triad, the self-communication, in fact, is implied not only in ἐν πᾶσιν, but necessarily already in διὰ πάντων. Lastly, Koppe is wrong in an opposite way: “Sententia videtur una, tantum variis formulis synonymis (!) expressa haec: cui vos omnes debetis omnia.”

Observe, further, that the great fundamental elements of unity, Ephesians 4:4-6, are matters of fact, historically given with Christianity itself, and as such are not affected by differences of doctrine; hence without reason there have been found here traces of the later age, when “upon the basis of the Pauline thought a Catholic church was built,” of which the centralization in doctrine and constitution was not derived from the adherents of Paul, but was a Petrine thought (Schwegler). The Catholic idea in our passage is just the Pauline one (1 Corinthians 12), cherished by Christ Himself (John 17:20 f.).


Verse 7

Ephesians 4:7.(203) δέ] forms the transition from the summary πάντων, πάντων, πᾶσιν, Ephesians 4:6, to each individual among the Christians. No single one, however,—in order to adduce this also as motive to the preservation of the ἑνότης τοῦ πνεύματος,—was overlooked in the endowing with grace; on every individual was it conferred, the grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, so that each individual on his part can and ought to contribute to the preservation of that unity.

χάρις] i.e. according to the context, the grace of God at work among the Christians, the communication of which is manifested in the diverse χαρίσματα; hence our passage is in harmony with the representation given, Romans 12:6.

ἐδόθη] by Christ.

κατὰ τὸ μέτρον κ. τ. λ.] τῆς δωρεᾶς is genitive subjecti (Romans 12:3; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:13). Hence: in the proportion in which the gift of Christ is meted out, according as Christ apportions to the one a larger, to the other a smaller measure of His gift (i.e. the gift of the divine χάρις).

The δωρεὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ is the gift which Christ gives (2 Corinthians 9:15), not: which Christ has received (Oeder, in Wolf; see in opposition to this view, already Calvin), in opposition to which Ephesians 4:8, ἔδωκε δόματα τ. ἀνθρ., is decisive.


Verse 8

Ephesians 4:8. If it had just been said that by Christ the endowment of grace was distributed in varied measure to each individual, this is now confirmed by a testimony of the Scripture. Nothing is to be treated as a parenthesis, inasmuch as neither course of thought nor construction is interrupted.

διὸ λέγει] wherefore, because the case stands, as has been said, Ephesians 4:7, He saith. Who says it (comp. Ephesians 5:14), is obvious of itself, namely, God, whose word the Scripture is. See on 1 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 3:16; the supplying γραφή or τὸ πνεῦμα must have been suggested by the context (Romans 15:10). The manner of citation with the simple λέγει, obviously meant of God, has as its necessary presupposition, in the mind of the writer and readers, the Theopneustia of the O. T. The citation that follows is not “ex carmine, quod ab Ephesiis cantitari sciret,” and in which Psalms 68:18 had partly furnished the words (Storr, Opusc. III. p. 309; Flatt),—which is quite an arbitrary way of avoiding the difficulty, and at variance with the divine λέγει,—but is the passage of Scripture Psalms 68:18 itself according to the LXX. with free alteration. This psalm, in its historical sense a song of triumph upon the solemn entry of God into Zion,(204) is here understood according to its Messianic significance—an understanding, which has its warrant, not indeed in the much too general and vague proposition, that one and the same God is the Revealer of the Old and of the New Covenant (Harless), but in the circumstance that the triumphal procession of Jehovah, celebrated in the psalm, represents the victory of the Theocracy; and that, as every victory of the Theocracy is of a typical and in so far prophetic Messianic character, the return of Christ into heaven appears as the Messianic actual consummation of the divine triumph. The free deviation from the original text and the LXX. consists partly in the immaterial circumstance that Paul transfers into the third person that which is said in the second, and adds to ἀνθρώποις the article wanting in the LXX.; partly in the essential point, that instead of the original sense: “Thou receivedst gifts (namely, gifts of homage) among(205) men” ( לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם, LXX.: ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ, or according to another reading: ἐν ἀνθρώποις), he expresses the sense: He gave gifts to men, נָתַן מַתָּנוֹת לַאֲנָשִׁים, while in other respects reproducing the transition of the LXX. Consequently Paul has, as regards the ἔδωκε, given a sense opposite to the original one—a degree of variation such as, with all freedom in the employment of Old Testament passages, is nowhere else met with in the writings of the apostle, on which account the book Chissuk Emuna accused him of falsifying the words of the psalm, while Whiston looked upon the Hebrew text and the LXX. in Psalms 68:18 as corrupt. This difference is not to be explained, with Rückert, by lightly asserting: “Paul did not even perhaps know exactly how the words ran,” etc.; for in this way he would be chargeable with a shallow caprice, for which there is no warrant; moreover, the agreement, in other respects, of the citation with the original text and the LXX. leads us to infer too exact an acquaintance with the passage adduced, to allow us to assume that Paul adduced the words in the full belief that נתן was read in the Hebrew, and ἔδωκε in the LXX. Rather must he have in reality understood the passage of the psalm, as to its main substance, just as he gives it. Inasmuch, namely, as he had recognised the words in their bearing upon the antitypical Messianic fulfilment, and that as a confirmation of what had been said of Christ in Ephesians 4:7, this latter special application must either have been suggested to him by another reading, which he followed ( נתת instead of לקחת), or else—with the freedom of a Messianic interpretation of the words—by an exposition of the Hebrew words, which yielded essentially the sense expressed by him. If the latter is the case (for in favour of the former there is no trace of critical support), he took לקחת, etc., in the sense: thou didst take away gifts, to distribute them among men (on the בְּ, see Ewald, Ausführl. Lehrb. der Heb. Spr. § 217 f. 1), and translated this in an explanatory way: ἔδωκε δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις; in connection with which the transposing into the third person is to be regarded as an unintentional variation in citing from memory. לקח, namely, has often the proleptic sense to fetch [Germ. holen], i.e. to take anything for a person and to give it to him. See Genesis 18:5; Genesis 27:13; Genesis 42:16; Genesis 48:9; Job 38:20 (and Hirzel in loc.); 2 Samuel 4:6, al.; see Gesen. Thes. II. p. 760, and Hoelemann, p. 97 f. Comp. Bengel: “accepit dona, quae statim daret.” The utterance, however, as thus understood,(206) Paul has reproduced, interpreting it as he has done, in order to place beyond doubt the sense which he attached to it, for the reader who might have otherwise understood the words of the LXX. The Chaldee Paraphrast likewise understood לקח in such wise, that, while interpreting the passage of Moses, he could expound: לְהוֹן מַתְנָן לִבְנֵי נָשָּׁא, dedisti dona filiis hominum. It is evident from this, since there is good reason for presupposing in the Targum—the more so, as in our passage the Peshito agrees therewith (which likewise, Psalms 68 l.c., has dedisti dona filiis hominum)—older exegetical traditions, that Paul himself may have followed such a tradition (Holzhausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Credner, Beiträge, II. p. 121 f.). To assume that he actually did so, is in itself, and in reference to the previous Rabbinical training of the apostle, free from objection, and has sufficient warrant in that old and peculiar agreement, even though we should explain the agreement between the same citation in Justin, c. Tryph. 39, 87, and the quotation of the apostle, by a dependence upon the latter (Credner, Beitr. II. p. 120). On the other hand, it is not to be said, with Beza, Calovius, and most older expositors, δὲ (the taking and giving) γεγένηναι· λαμβάνων γὰρ τὴν πίστιν ἀποδίδωσι τὴν χάριν. Comp. Oecumenius.">(207) that the explanation given by Paul really corresponds with the historic sense of the passage in the Psalm (see especially, Geier, ad Ps. l.c. p. 1181; comp. also Hoelemann, p. 98 f.), which, judging by the context, is decidedly incorrect3. Even Calvin says: “nonnihil a genuino sensu hoc testimonium detorsit Paulus;” and already Theodore of Mopsuestia aptly remarks: ὑπαλλάξας δὲ τὸ ἔλαβε δόματα οὕτως ἐν τῷ ψαλμῷ κείμενον, ἔδωκε δόματα εἶπε, τῇ ὑπαλλαγῇ περὶ τὴν οἰκείαν χρησάμενος ἀκολουθίαν· ἐκεῖ μὲν γὰρ (in the psalm) πρὸς τὴν ὑπόθεσιν τὸ ἔλαβεν ἥρμοττεν, ἐνταῦθα δὲ (in our passage) τῷ προκειμένῳ τὸ ἔδωκεν ἀκόλουθον ἦν. The deviation from the historic sense cannot be set aside with fairness and without arbitrary presuppositions. This holds not only of the opinions of Jerome and Erasmus (that in the psalm לקח is used, because the giving has not yet taken place, but is promised as future) and of Calvin (“quum de Christi exaltatione pauca verba Psalmi citasset, de suo adjecit, eum dedisse dona, ut sit minoris et majoris comparatio, qua ostendere vult Paulus, quanto praestantior sit ista Dei ascensio in Christi persona, quam fuerit in veteribus ecclesiae triumphis”), but also of the expedients to which Harless and Olshausen have recourse. According to Harless, namely, Paul wishes to express the identity of God, whose deeds at that time the word of Scripture represents in a form which, as identical with the form of Christ’s action, makes us recognise the word of the O. T. as pointing forward. to what was to come, and the Christ of the N.T. as the God who already revealed Himself under the O. T.; in the words of the psalm the captives themselves are described as sacrificial gifts, which the victor as God takes to Himself among men; the apostle changes merely the form of the words, so far as the context makes it necessary, inasmuch as he wishes to make out that those vanquished ones—who have not made themselves what they are, but have been made so of God—are those, of whom he had said that on every one according to the measure of the gift of Christ the grace had been bestowed which was already pointed to in the psalm. “There is no other there,” says the apostle, “than He who had descended to earth, to gain for Himself His own; not that they would have presented themselves to Him, but He takes them as it pleases Him, and makes them what it pleases Him.” But (1) Paul does not wish to express the identity of God, etc., but to show that what is said of Christ in Ephesians 4:7 was also already prophesied Psalms 68:18; it was a question of the identity of the thing, as to which it was self-evident that the triumph celebrated in Psalms 68 is in the N.T. fulfilment celebrated by Christ, who had come in the name of the Lord. (2) In the Ps. l.c., לקחת מתנות applies to the gifts of homage which the triumphing Jehovah has received among (from) men. Certainly, according to another explanation (see above, Ewald’s view, and comp. also Bleek), the men themselves, namely, the vanquished, may be regarded as the gifts or offerings which God has received; but who could withal read between the lines in the apostle’s citation what, according to Harless, one ought to read between them, in order in the end to find only the form of the words changed? Olshausen, who, we may mention, quite erroneously (see Ephesians 4:9-10) specifies τοῖς ἀνθρώποις as the point of the citation,(208) agrees with Harless in so far as he is of opinion that the thought of the psalmist: “Thou hast taken to Thyself gifts among men,” affirms nothing else than: “Thou hast chosen to Thyself the redeemed as offerings;” but further adds: “But the man whom God chooses as an offering for Himself, i.e. as an instrument for His aims, He furnishes with the gifts necessary to the attainment of the same; and this side (?) the apostle, in accordance with his tendency, here brings into special prominence.” Similarly also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 484 f., who is of opinion that here, in the N.T. application of the passage from the psalm, it is one and the same thing whether one say: that Christ has, for the accomplishment of the work of His honour, caused to be given to Himself by His vanquished that which they possessed, or: that He has given them gifts to this end; “for He takes that which is theirs into His service, when He gives to them what is His, to make them capable of service.” Essentially so also Delitzsch on the Psalm, l.c. Such subtleties, by means of which any quid pro quo at pleasure may easily enough be got out of the alleged light and significance of the “history of the fulfilment” (Delitzsch), may be conveniently foisted upon the words of the apostle, but with what right?

ἀναβὰς εἰς ὓψος] Whether we understand the עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם in the original text of the ascending of the victorious God into heaven (Hengstenberg, Lengerke, Hitzig, Harless, Hoelemann, and others) or to Zion (Ewald, Bleek), or leave it without more precise definition of place (Hofmann); according to the Messianic accomplishment of the divine triumphal procession, which takes place through Christ, the words apply to Christ ascended (comp. ὑψωθείς, Acts 2:33) to heaven (Psalms 102:20, al.; Sirach 13:8; Luke 1:78), who has brought in as captives enemies that have been vanquished by Him upon this triumphal march.

αἰχμαλωσία, namely, is the abstract collective for αἰχμάλωτοι (Judith 2:9; Ezra 6:5; Revelation 13:10; Diod. Sic. xvii. 70), like ξυμμαχία for ξύμμαχοι, etc. See on Ephesians 2:2. On the connection with the kindred verb (to take captive, to lead, to bring in as such), comp. 2 Chronicles 28:5; 1 Maccabees 9:72; and see, in general, Winer, p. 201 [E. T. 282]; Lobeck, Paral. p. 501. The character αἰχ΄αλωτεύω of as Greek is even worse than that of αἰχ΄αλωτίζω. See Lobeck, ad Phryn p. 442. But what subjects are meant by αἰχ΄αλωσία? Not the redeemed, as already Justin, c. Tryph. 36; further, Theodoret ( οὐ γὰρ ἐλευθέρους ὄντας ἡ΄ᾶς ᾐχ΄αλώτευσεν, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου γεγενη΄ένους ἀντῃχ΄αλώτευσε, καὶ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡ΄ῖν ἐδωρήσατο), Oecumenius, Thomas, Erasmus (“captivorum gregem e peccati diabolique tyrannide liberatum”), and others, including Meier, Harless, Olshausen (“men upon earth, so far as they are held captive by sin and in the ultimate ground by the prince of this world, and among these, in particular, the Gentile world”), Baumgarten-Crusius (“those gained for the kingdom of Christ”), have interpreted it; seeing that the captives, both according to the original text and according to our citation, are different from the ἀνθρώποι who are subsequently mentioned, namely, such vanquished ones as are visited by the victor with the hard penal fate of captives in war. Hence also it cannot be the souls delivered by Christ from Hades (Lyra, Estius, and many Catholic expositors; König, von Christi Hbllenfahrt, p. 26; Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 414; and Baur) that are spoken of. It is the enemies of Christ and His kingdom, the antichristian powers, including those of hell (but not these alone); their power is broken by the completed redeeming work of the Lord. By His resurrection and exaltation they have been rendered powerless, and subjected to His victorious might; consequently they appear, in accordance with the poetical mould of our passage, as those whom He has vanquished and carries with Him on His procession from Hades into heaven (see Ephesians 4:9), so that He, having gone up on high, brings them in as prisoners of war. Not as if He has really brought them in captivity to heaven, but under the figure of the triumphator, as which the ascended Christ appears in accordance with the prophetic view given in Psalms 68, the matter thus presents itself, namely, the overcoming of His foes displaying itself through His ascension. This vanquishing, we may add, in its actual execution still continues even after the entering upon the kingly office which took place with the exaltation of Christ; δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸν βασιλεύειν ἄχρις οὗ θῇ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ, 1 Corinthians 15:25. Not the final overcoming of the foes of Christ is thus meant, but the actual αἰχμαλωτεύειν αἰχμαλ. ofttimes recurs until the final consummation, until at length ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται θάνατος, 1 Corinthians 15:26, namely, at the resurrection on the last day. In this case, however, there is the more reason for leaving the matter without more precise definition of the hostile powers vanquished (Satanic and human), as the context suggests nothing more special, and as, speaking generally, the ᾐχμαλώτ. αἰχμαλ. does not form for the aim and connection of our passage the essential point of the psalmist’s saying, but the latter would have been quite as fully in its place here, even though that ᾐχ΄αλώτ. αἰχ΄. had not been inserted, since the element confirmatory of Ephesians 4:7 lies simply in the ἀναβὰς εἰς ὓψος ἔδωκε δό΄ατα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.(209) Yet we have not, with Morus (comp. flatt), to rationalize the conception of the apostle: “removit omnia, quae religionis suae propagationi et felicitati hominum obstarent impedimenta,” by which the sense is altered, and vanquished foes become obstacles taken out of the way.

δόματα] according to Paul, gifts in which ἐδόθη χάρις 7, thus equivalent to χαρίσ΄ατα. An appropriate commentary on the sense in which Paul has taken the citation, is Acts 2:33. But to look upon the interpretation of the ἔλαβε δό΄ατα of the Ps. l.c., in the sense of gifts of the Spirit as current among the disciples of the apostles (de Wette), is the more arbitrary, inasmuch as de Wette himself finds it probable that some apostle has allegorized the passage of the psalm.


Verse 9

is not a (Rabbinical) argument to show that the subject of the passage in the psalm is no other than Christ, in so far as of Him alone could be predicated that descending which, in speaking of ascending, must be presumed to have gone before (Michaelis, Koppe; Güder, von der Erschein

Ephesians 4:9 is not a (Rabbinical) argument to show that the subject of the passage in the psalm is no other than Christ, in so far as of Him alone could be predicated that descending which, in speaking of ascending, must be presumed to have gone before (Michaelis, Koppe; Güder, von der Erschein. Christi unter den Todten, p. 83; also my own earlier view). Such an argument would have been aimless, since the subject of the passage of the psalm in its Messianic fulfilment was self-evident; it would, moreover, not have even logical correctness, since, in fact, God Himself, as often in the O. T., might be thought of as the καταβάς who ἀνέβη. Paul rather brings out in Ephesians 4:9 what the ascension of Christ prophetically meant in Psalms 68 contains as its presupposition; and this for the end of showing(210) how the matter affirmed and supported by the passage of the psalm in Ephesians 4:7, namely, Christ’s bestowal of grace on all individuals respectively, stands in necessary connection with His general position of filling the whole universe; a function upon which He must have entered by His very descending into the depths of the earth and His ascending above all heavens (Ephesians 4:10).

δέ] carrying forward the argument: “but the ἀνέβη, in order now to show you what is therewith said,” etc.

τὸ ἀνέβη] not: the word ἀνέβη, for this does not occur in the passage of the psalm, but the predicate ἀνέβη, which was contained in ἀναβάς.

τί ἐστιν] not: what of an extraordinary nature (Hoelemann), but simply: what is said therewith, what is implied in it? Comp. Matthew 9:13; John 16:17 f., John 10:6, al.

ὅτι καὶ κατέβη] that He also (not merely ascended, but also) descended. The having ascended presupposes the having descended. The correctness of this conclusion rests upon the admitted fact that the risen Christ had His original dwelling not upon earth, as Elijah had, but in the heaven, whither He went up; consequently He could not but have descended from this, if He has ascended. Comp. John 3:13.

The depth, however, into which He descended—whether, namely, merely to the earth, or deeper still into the subterranean world—is not to be inferred from the ἀνέβη itself, but was fixed with historic certainty in the believing consciousness of the readers; hence Paul could with good reason write not merely ὅτι καὶ κατέβη, but ὅτι καὶ κατ. εἰς τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς, i.e. into that which is deeper down than the earth, into Hades ( κατέβην δόμον ἄϊδος εἴσω, Hom. od. xxiii. 252; ἀΐδαο δόμους ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης ἔρχεαι, Il. xxii. 482; comp. Od. xxiv. 204; Soph. Ant. 816, Trach. 1088). He might also have designated Hades by τὰ κατώτατα τῆς γῆς, the lowest depth of the earth ( תַּחְתִּיּוֹת הָאָרֶץ, LXX. Psalms 63:10 ; Prayer of Azar. 13; not Psalms 139:15, where “in the depths of the earth” is only a sensuous form of the conception “in secret”); but has purposely chosen that comparative expression—in which the genitive is that of comparison, not the partitive genitive—in order to impart as strong a colouring as possible to the depth of Hades, in contradiction to that heaven from which Christ descended; He descended deeper than the earth is (the earth being conceived of as a plane), in that He descended even into the sub terranean region beyond, into Hades. The goal of the humiliation Paul here designates locally, whereas at Philippians 2:8 he specifies it as respects the degree, namely, by μέχρι θανάτου κ. τ. λ., which, however, is as to substance in agreement with our passage, since the death of Christ had as its immediate consequence His descent into Hades (Luke 23:43; Matthew 12:40; Acts 2:27; 1 Peter 3:19), as, indeed, also at Philippians 2:10 ( καταχθονίων) this descent is presupposed as having taken place in death. The explanation of the so-called descent into hell (Irenaeus in Pitra, Spicileg. Solesmense, I. p. 7; Tertullian, Jerome, Pelagius, Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Estius, Calovius, Bengel, and many others, including Rückert, Olshausen, Delitzsch, Lechler, Ewald, Hoelemann, Bleek; Baur scenting Gnosticism) is therefore the right one,(211) because the object was to present Christ as the One who fills the whole universe, so that, with a view to His entering upon this His all-filling activity, He has previously with His victorious presence passed through the whole world, having descended from heaven into the utmost depth, and ascended from this depth to the utmost height—a view, which of necessity had to extend not merely to the earth, but even into the nether world, just because Christ, as was historically certain for every believer, had been in the nether world, and consequently, by virtue of His exaltation to the right hand of God, really had the two utmost limits of the universe, from below upwards, as the terminos a quo and ad quem of His triumphal progress. Further, had Paul intended only the descent to earth (Thomas, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Hammond, Michaelis, Fischer, de vitiis Lex. N.T., and many, including Winer, p. 470 [E. T. 666], Holzhausen, Meier, Matthies, Harless, Raebiger, p. 68 ff., Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hofmann, p. 345, Bisping, Schenkel, Schmid, Bibl. Theol. II. p. 291, Reiche, Comm. crit. p. 174 f., Beyschlag, Christol. d. N.T. p. 228), it would not be easy to see why he should not have written merely κατέβη, or at any rate simply κατέβη εἰς τὴν γῆν or κατέβη εἰς τὴν γῆν κάτω (Acts 2:19), instead of employing the circumstantial and affected, but yet only feebly paraphrasing expression: into the lower regions, which are the earth (for so we should have to explain εἰς τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς, understood only of the earth; see Winer, l.c. [E. T. 666]). This expression is only accounted for, sharp and telling, when it points the reader to a region lower than the earth, to that Hades, whither every reader knew that Christ had descended. Doubtless the apostle might have written simply εἰς ᾅδου (Acts 2:27) or ἕως ᾅδου (Matthew 11:23), or also εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον (Romans 10:7) or εἰς τὴν καρδίαν τῆς γῆς (Matthew 12:40); but the whole pathos of the passage, with its contrast of the extremes of depth and height, very naturally suggested the purposely chosen designation εἰς τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς. The ordinary objection, that, in fact, Christ did not ascend from Hades, but from earth to heaven, is of no effect, because He has in reality returned, arisen and ascended from Hades, consequently Hades was the deepest terminus a quo of His ascension, as it had previously been the deepest terminus ad quem of His descent, and on this deepest turning-point all here depended, even apart from the fact that the long interval of forty days between resurrection and ascension is historically very problematic (see Remark subjoined to Luke 24:51). Nearest to our view come Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Bullinger, Drusius, Zachariae, and others, who, however, refer the passage only to the death and the burial (comp. also Erlang. Zeitschr. 1856, p. 284); whereas Calomesius, Witsius, Calixtus, and others (already Beza, by way of suggestion), appealing to Psalms 139:15, strangely enough interpret it of the descent into the womb.


Verse 10

Ephesians 4:10. Result from Ephesians 4:9, without οὖν, but thereby coming in the more vividly and with a certain triumph; “alio gravi dicto antecedentia complectitur aut absolvit” (Dissen, ad Pind. Exc. II. p. 278).

The prefixed καταβάς has the emphasis, which is further augmented by αὐτός:(212) The one who descended, just He, He precisely (identity of the person), is also the one who ascended on high above all heavens.

ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐραν.] points back to that ἀναβὰς εἰς ὓψος, Ephesians 4:8, more precisely defining this εἰς ὓψος as the region highest of all. The expression “above all heavens” has its basis in the conception of seven heavens, which number is not to be diminished to three (Harless: ἀήρ, αἰθήρ, τρίτος οὐρανός; comp. Grotius, Meier, and others). See on 2 Corinthians 12:2. The ὑπεράνω (in the N.T. only here and Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 9:5) describes the exaltation of Christ—clearly to be maintained as local—as the highest of all (comp. ὑπερύψωσε, Philippians 2:9), in such wise that He, having ascended through all heavens ( διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς, Hebrews 4:14), has seated Himself above in the highest heaven, as the σύνθρονος of the Father, at the right hand of God. Comp. Hebrews 7:26 : ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενό΄ενος. The spiritualistic impoverishing of this concrete conception to a mere denial of all “enclosure within the world” (Hofmann, II. 1, p. 535) is nothing but a rationalistic invention. Comp. Acts 7:56; Acts 3:21; Acts 1:9-11.

ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα] points back to the bestowal of grace expressed in Ephesians 4:7, and prophetically confirmed in Ephesians 4:8, and that as expressing the universal relation into which Christ has entered towards the whole world by His exaltation from the lowest depth to the loftiest height; in which universal relation is also of necessity contained, as a special point, that bestowal of grace on all individuals. As intended aim, however ( ἵνα), this πληροῦν τὰ πάντα stands related to the previous ascension of Christ from the uttermost depth, into which He had descended, to the uttermost height of heaven; because He had first, like a triumphing conqueror (see Ephesians 4:8), to take possession of His whole domain, i.e. the whole world from Hades to the highest heaven, in order now to wield His kingly sway over this domain, by virtue of which He was to fill the universe with His activity of sustaining and governing, and especially of providing all bestowal of grace. This was to be the all-embracing task of His kingly office, until the consummation indicated at 1 Corinthians 15:28. It is according to this view, and from Ephesians 1:23, self-evident that we have to explain πληρ. τὰ πάντα, neither with Koppe (following Anselm and others), de vaticiniorum complemento, nor with Rückert and Matthies, of the completion of the redeeming work; nor yet possibly to limit τὰ πάντα to the whole Christian community (Beza, Grotius, Morus, Flatt, Schenkel, and others). Comp. rather on Ephesians 1:23, and observe that in our passage that ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη κ. τ. λ. of Ephesians 4:7 stands to this ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα in the same relation of the species to the genus, as in Ephesians 1:23 τὸ πλήρω΄α ( χριστοῦ) does to τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρου΄ένου. The ubiquity of the body of Christ (Faber Stapulensis, Hunnius, and others; specially contended for by Calovius) is not here, any more than at Ephesians 1:23 or elsewhere, spoken of;(213) although, with Philippi, Hoelemann has still found it here, holding the conception of the purely dynamic πληροῦν τὰ πάντα as unrealizable, because Christ is in a glorified body. If this reason were valid, an absolute bodily omnipresence would result: it proves too much, and leads to a contradictio in adjecto, which could only receive a Docetic solution.


Verse 11

Ephesians 4:11.(214) And he has, etc. From the general πληροῦν τὰ πάντα, Ephesians 4:10, there is now brought into prominence in reference to the church, with a retrospective glance at Ephesians 4:7, the special point with which the apostle was here concerned, in order to give the clinching argument to his exhortation as to the keeping of the unity of the Spirit. Christ, who has ascended from the lowest depth to the loftiest height, in order to fill all things, precisely He, has—such is His autonomy in His church—given the different teachers and leaders of the church, until we all shall have attained to the unity of the faith, etc.

We are not to treat as a parenthesis either Ephesians 4:8-10 (Griesbach and others) or Ephesians 4:9-10 (Koppe), since the continuation of the discourse with καὶ αὐτός emphatically attaches itself to the preceding αὐτός.

ἔδωκε] is not, any more than at Ephesians 1:22, equivalent to ἔθετο (Theophylact and many, including Meier, Harless, Baumgarten-Crusius), seeing that, in fact, the giving in the proper sense, to which Paul here looks back, has preceded, and Christ has in reality given the apostles, etc., to the church,(215) namely, through the specific charismatic endowment and, respectively also, by His own immediate calling ( ἀποστόλους) of the persons in question. Calvin rightly remarks on ἔδωκε: “quia nisi excitet, nulli erunt.” This raising up and granting of the appropriate persons for the perfecting of the church as His body, not the institution of a spiritual office in itself, which as such has exclusively to administer His means of grace, is here ascribed to Christ. Comp. (in opposition to Münchmeyer) Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 283 ff.; Müller in the Deutsche Zeitschr. 1852, No. 21. The appointing to the service of the individual congregations (as ποιμένας καὶ διδασκ.) of such persons given by Christ lay in the choice of the congregations themselves, which choice, conducted by apostles or apostolic men, Acts 14:23, took place under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Acts 20:28. Thus Christ gave the persons, and the community gave to them the service. As regards the time of the ἔδωκε, it is to be observed that this was indeed a potiori the time after the ascension (among the apostles in the narrower sense, also as respects Matthias and Paul), but that, as was obvious for the readers, the earlier appointment of the original apostles was not thereby excluded. The latter, namely, are not alone meant by ἀποστόλους, but (comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:7) also men like Barnabas and James the Lord’s brother must be reckoned among them.

The order in which they are brought up is such, that those not assigned to a single church precede ( ἀποστ., προφ., εὐαγγ.), and these are arranged in the order of rank. Hence the ποι΄ένες, because belonging to particular churches, had to follow, and it is without reason that a Montanistic depreciation of the bishops (Baur) is found here.

τοὺς ΄ὲν ἀποστόλους] some as apostles. Their characteristics are their immediate calling by Christ, and their destination for all nations. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 12:28.

προφήτας] As to these speakers, who, on the receipt of revelation and through the Holy Spirit, wrought with highly beneficial effect, yet without ecstasy, who likewise in Ephesians 3:5 are mentioned after the apostles, see on 1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 11:27.

εὐαγγελιστάς] who περιϊόντες ἐκήρυττον, Theodoret (see Nösselt, ad Theodoret. p. 424); missionary assistants to the apostles. See on Acts 21:8. Oecumenius would, at variance with the context (for Paul is speaking only of the exercise of teaching in the church), and probably also at variance with history (at least as regards our canonical gospels), understand the authore of the Gospels, which is adduced as possible also by Chrysostom.

τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκ.] denotes not the presbyters and deacons (Theophylact), nor the presbyters and exorcists (Ambrosiaster), nor yet the presbyters and teachers as two separate offices (Beza, Calvin, Zanchius, Grotius, Calixtus, and others, including de Wette), the latter in the sense of 1 Corinthians 12:28; but, as the non-repetition of τοὺς δέ shows, the presbyters and teachers as the same persons, so that the presbyters are designated by ποιμένας in stated figurative appellation (1 Peter 5:2; Acts 20:28; John 21:15 ff.) with reference to their function of guiding oversight over doctrine, life, and order in the church, consequently as ἐπίσκοποι (see on Acts 20:28, and Ch. F. Fritzsche, in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 42 ff.); and by διδασκάλους, with reference to their function of teaching. We may add, that the διδάσκαλοι were not, as such, at the same time presbyters, for the διδαχή was imparted by a special χάρισ΄α, which even ordinary members of the church might possess (1 Corinthians 14:26); but every presbyter was at the same time διδάσκαλος, and had to be endowed with this χάρισ΄α; hence Paul here puts together ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, and, 1 Timothy 3:2, it is laid down as the requirement of an ἐπίσκοπος that he should be διδακτικός.

Comp. Titus 1:9. See also Augustine, Ep. lix. Comp. Jerome: “Nemo … pastoris sibi nomen assumere debet, nisi possit docere quos pascit.” 1 Timothy 5:17 is not opposed to this (see Huther in loc.).


Verse 12

Ephesians 4:12. Behoof, for which Christ has given, etc. “Non potuit honorificentius verbi ministerium commendare, quam dum hunc illi effectum tribuit,” Calvin.

The three clauses are not co-ordinate (Chrysostom, Wolf, Bengel, Semler, Holzhausen, and others). Against the co-ordination may be decisively urged not the varying of the prepositions, for Paul is fond of interchanging them (comp. Romans 3:30; Romans 5:10; Romans 15:2; 2 Corinthians 3:11), but the circumstance that εἰς ἔργον διακονίας in its position between the first and third points would be unsuitable.(216) Rather are εἰς ἔργ. διακον. and εἰς οἰκοδ. τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ χρ. two definitions to ἔδωκε, not parallel to πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων, but parallel to each other; so that we have thus, with Lachmann, Harless, Tischendorf, Bleek, to delete the comma after ἁγίων. πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων contains, namely, the aim for which Christ has given those designated in Ephesians 4:11 εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χρ. He has, on behalf of the full furnishing of the saints, given those teachers for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ. The objection that the οἰκοδ. τοῦ σώμ. is a yet higher aim than that of the καταρτ. τῶν ἁγίων (de Wette) is incorrect; since, on the contrary, the καταρτ. τ. ἁγ. is the higher point, which is to be attained by the edification of the body of Christ, and consequently might be conceived of as aimed at therein. Comp. also Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 128. Observe, withal, the expression of perfection: καταρτ., and the expression of development: οἰκοδομή. Many others, including de Wette, have made the two clauses with εἰς dependent on καταρτισμόν, so that the sense would be: “for the qualifying of believers that they may in each and every way themselves labour for the advancement and edification of the church,” Meier; comp. Flatt, Schott, Rückert, Schenkel, and others, as already Erasmus. But (a) διακονία, where the context is speaking of those engaged in the service of the church, always denotes the official service (Romans 11:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 6:3; comp. Acts 6:4; 2 Corinthians 3:7 ff; 2 Corinthians 9:12, al.), and hence may not here be transmuted into the general notion of rendering service to, furthering (see especially 1 Peter 4:10). And if we should in that connection retain the official notion of διακονία (Flatt, Schott; comp. also Zachariae), the training of the ἅγιοι to be teachers would be the thought resulting; which would be inappropriate, because Paul regarded the Parousia as so near, and conceived of the χαρίσματα as continuing till then (see 1 Corinthians 13:8), and therefore the thought that teachers had to be trained was remote from his mind. (b) But if he had merely meant to say: “to make the individual Christians jointly and severally meet for co-operating to the furtherance of the church” (Rückert), then πάντων would have been to τῶν ἁγίων an essential element, which could not have been left out. Olshausen regards the two clauses introduced by εἰς as a partition of the καταρτισμὸς τῶν ἁγίων: “for the perfecting of the saints, and that, on the one hand, of those furnished with gifts of teaching for the fulfilment of the teacher’s office; on the other hand, as regards the hearers, for the edifying of the church.” Incorrectly, seeing that οἱ ἅγιοι are the objects of the teaching labours mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 and consequently cannot include the teachers themselves, and seeing, moreover, that the οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ χρ. most appropriately describes the working of the teacher, so that no reader could, especially after εἰς ἔργ. διακ., conjecture that εἰς οἰκοδ. κ. τ. λ. was to apply to the hearers, inasmuch as no one could read the “on the one hand” and the “on the other” between the lines. Lastly, in quite an arbitrary and erroneous way, Grotius, Michaelis, Koppe have even assumed a trajection for εἰς ἔργ. διακ. πρὸς τὸν καταρτ. τῶν ἁγ. εἰς οἰκ. τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ χρ., in connection with which there have been very various explanations.(217)

καταρτισ΄ός, not elsewhere found in the N.T. (in Galen used of the adjustment of a dislocated limb), means, like κατάρτισις, 2 Corinthians 13:9, the putting of a person or thing into its perfect state, so that it is as it should be ( ἄρτιος). Vulgate: ad consummationem. Comp. Morus, and see καταρτίζω, Luke 6:40; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 5:10. Translations like ad coagmentationem (Beza) and ad instaurationem (Erasmus) would need to be suggested by the context.(218)

ἔργον διακονίας] does not stand for the simple διακονία (Koppe; see, on the other hand, Winer, p. 541 f. [E. T. 768]; Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 117), but means the work of the διακονία, i.e. the labour which is performed in the ministerial office of the church.

εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώμ. τοῦ χρ.] for the upbuilding (= εἰς τὸ οἰκοδομεῖν τὸ σῶμ. τοῦ χρ., comp. 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:29) of the body of Christ. This is that ἔργον; and so an appositional more precise definition of that which precedes. But on that account to take ἔργον as a building (Schellhorn in Wolf, Holzhansen) is an undue anticipation. The expression οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ σώματος is a blending of two figures, both of which were, from what precedes, present in the conception of the apostle (Ephesians 1:23, Ephesians 2:20 ff., Ephesians 3:6),—the church as the body of Christ and as an edifice. Comp. Ephesians 4:16.


Verse 13

Ephesians 4:13. Goal, up to the contemplated attainment of which Christ has bestowed the different teachers, Ephesians 4:11, for the purpose specified in Ephesians 4:12. μέχρι is put without ἄν (comp. Mark 13:30) because the thought of conditioning circumstances is remote from the apostle’s mind. See Lobeck, ad Phryn p. 14 ff.; Hartung, Partikellehre, II. p. 291 ff.

καταντήσωμεν] shall have attained to unity, i.e. shall have reached it as the goal. Comp. Acts 26:7; Philippians 3:11; 2 Maccabees 6:14; Polyb. iv. 34; Diod. Sic. i. 79, al. Some have found therein the coming together from different places (Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, and others), or from different paths of error (Michaelis); but this is purely imported.

οἱ πάντες] the whole, in our totality, i.e. the collective body of Christians, not all men (Jerome, Moras, and others), Jews and Gentiles (Hammond), which is at variance with the use of the first person and with the preceding context ( πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων).

εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστ. καὶ τῆς ἐπιγν. τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ] does not stand for ἐν τῇ ἑνότητι κ. τ. λ. (Grotius), but is that which is to be attained with the καταντ. The article is put with ἑνότ., because not any kind of unity is meant, but the definite unity, the future realization of which was the task of the teachers’ activity, the definite ideal which was to be realized by it.

τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ is the object—accordant with their specific confession(219)—not only of the ἐπίγνωσις, but also of the πίστις (see on Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16). The goal then in question, to which the whole body of believers are to attain, is, that the πίστις in the Son of God and the full knowledge (more than γνῶσις; see Valckenaer in Luc. p. 14 f., and comp. on Ephesians 1:17) of the Son of God may be in all one and the same; no longer—as before the attainment of this goal—varying in the individuals in proportion to the influences of different teaching (Ephesians 4:14). καὶ τῆς ἐπιγν., however, is not to be taken as epexegesis of τῆς πίστ. (Calvin, Calovius, and others), which is precluded not by καί (see on Galatians 6:16), but by the circumstance that there is no ground at all for the epexegetic view, and that πίστις and ἐπίγνωσις are different notions, although the two are mutually related, the former as the necessary condition of the latter (Philippians 3:9-10; 1 John 4:16). Peculiar, but erroneous, is the view of Olshausen (whom Bisping has followed), that the unity between faith and knowledge is to be understood, and that the development, of which Paul speaks, consists in faith and knowledge becoming one, i.e. in the faith, with which the Christian life begins, becoming truly raised to knowledge. At variance with the context, since the connection speaks of the unity which is to combine the different individuals (Ephesians 4:3 ff.); and also opposed to the whole tenor of the apostle’s teaching elsewhere, inasmuch as faith itself after the Parousia is not to cease as such (he merged in knowledge), but is to abide (1 Corinthians 13:13).

εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον] concrete figurative apposition to what precedes: unto a full-grown man, sc. shall have attained, i.e. shall have at length grown up, become ultimately developed into such an one.(220) The state of the unity of the faith, etc., is thought of as the full maturity of manhood; to which the more imperfect state, wherein the ἑνότης is not yet attained (Ephesians 4:14), is opposed as a yet immature age of childhood. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:11. Paul does not say εἰς ἄνδρας τελείους, because he looks upon the πάντες as one ethical person; comp. Ephesians 2:15 f. On τέλειος, of the maturity of manhood, comp. 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Hebrews 5:14 (and Bleek thereon); Plato, Legg. xi. p. 929 C, i. p. 643 D Xen. Cyr. i. 2. 4; Polyb. iv. 8. 1, v. 29. 2. Comp. also, for the figurative sense, Philo, de agric. I. p. 301, Leg. ad Caium, init.

εἰς μέτρον κ. τ. λ.] second apposition, for the more precise definition of the former. The measure of the age of the fulness of Christ is the measure, which one has attained with the entrance upon that age to which the reception of the fulness of Christ is attached (see the further explanation below), or, without a figure: the degree of the progressive Christian development which conditions the reception of that fulness. The ἡλικία in question, namely, is conceived of as the section of a dimension in space, beginning at a definite place, so that the ἡλικία is attained only after one has traversed the measured extent, whose terminal point is the entrance into the ἡλικία. Comp. Hom. Il. xi. 225: ἐπὶ ῥʼ ἥβης ἐρικυδέος ἵκετο μέτρον, Od. xi. 317: εἰ ἥβης μέτρον ἵκοιτο, 18:21. ἡλικία, however, is not statura (Luke 19:3), as is supposed by Erasmus, Beza, Homberg, Grotius, Calixtus, Erasmus Schmid, Wolf, Bengel, Zachariae, Rückert, and others, which would be suitable only if the ἀνὴρ τέλειος always had a definite measure of bodily size; but it is equivalent to aetas (Matthew 6:27), and that not, as it might in itself imply (Dem. 17. 11; 1352. 11; Xen. Mem. iv. 2. 3), specially aetas virilis (so Morus, Koppe, Storr, Flatt, Matthies, Holzhausen, Harless, and others), since, on the contrary, the more precise definition of the aetas in itself indefinite is only given by τοῦ πληρ. τ. χρ., which belongs to it (Winer, p. 172 [E. T. 238]); so that ἡλικία τοῦ πληρ. τ. χρ. taken together characterizes the adult age of the Christians.

τοῦ πληρώματος τ. χρ.] defines the age which is meant, as that to which the fulness of Christ is peculiar, i.e. in which one receives the fulness of Christ. Before the attainment thereof, i.e. before one has attained to this degree of Christian perfection, one has received, indeed, individual and partial charismatic endowment from Christ, but not yet the fulness, the whole largas capias of gifts of grace, which Christ communicates. πλήρωμα is here, just as at Ephesians 3:19, not the church of Christ (Storr, Koppe, Stolz, Flatt, Baumgarten-Crusius), which in Ephesians 1:23 is doubtless so characterized, but not so named. This also in opposition to Baur, p. 438, according to whom τὸ πλήρ. τ. χρ. means: “Christ’s being filled, or the contents with which Christ fills Himself, thus the church.” All explanations, moreover, which resolve πλήρωμα into an adjectival notion ( πληρωθείς) are arbitrary changes of the meaning of the word and of its expressive representation, whether this adjectival notion be connected with ἡλικίας(221) or with τοῦ χριστοῦ.(222) Grotius, doubtless, leaves πλήρ. as a substantive; but, at variance with linguistic usage, makes of it the being full, and of τ. χρ (so already Oecumenius), the knowledge of Christ (“ad eum staturae modum, qui est plenus Christi, i. e. cognitionis de Christo”). Rückert takes πλήρωμα as perfection, and τοῦ χριστοῦ as genitive of the possessor. The meaning of the word he takes to be: “We are to become just as perfect a man as Christ is.” Christ stands before us as the ideal of manly greatness and beauty, the church not yet grown to maturity, but destined to be like Him, as perfect as He is,—which is a figure of spiritual perfection and completion. But πλήρωμα nowhere signifies perfection ( τελειότης), and nowhere is Christ set forth, even in a merely figurative way, as an ideal of manly greatness and beauty. He stands there as Head of His body (Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:15-16). As little, finally, as at Ephesians 3:19, does πλήρωμα τοῦ χρ. here signify the full gracious presence of Christ (Harless; comp. Holzhausen). So also Matthies: “the fulness of the Divinity manifest in Christ and through Him also embodied in the church.” Where the πλήρωμα τοῦ χρ. is communicated, there the full gracious presence of Christ is in man’s heart (Romans 8:10; Galatians 3:20), but τὸ πλήρ. τοῦ χρ. does not mean this.

(219) The sum of the confession, in which all are to become one in faith and knowledge,—not merely, as Bleek turns it, are to feel themselves one in the communion of faith and of the knowledge of Christ.

REMARK 1.

The question whether the goal to be attained, indicated by Paul in Ephesians 4:13, is thought of by him as occurring in the temporal life, or only in the αἰὼν μέλλων, is answered in the former sense by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Thomas, Luther, Cameron, Estius, Calovius, Michaelis, Morcs, and others, including Flatt (who thinks of the last times of the church on earth), Rückert, Meier, de Wette, Schenkel; in the latter sense,(223) by Theodoret ( τῆς δὲ τελειότητος ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι βίῳ τευξόμεθα), Calvin, Zanchius, Koppe, and others, including Holzhausen; while Harless judges that Paul sets forth the goal as the goal of the life of Christian fellowship here upon earth, but says nothing on the question as to “whether it is to be attained here or in the life to come; as also Olshausen is of opinion that Paul had not even thought of the contrast between here below and there. But Ephesians 4:14-15 show most distinctly that Paul thought of the goal in Ephesians 4:13 as setting in even before the Parousia; and to this points also the comparison of Ephesians 3:19, where, in substance, the same thing as is said at our passage by εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας κ. τ. λ., is expressed by ἵνα πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ. The development of the whole Christian community to the goal here described Paul has thus thought of as near at hand, beyond doubt setting in (Ephesians 4:14) after the working of the antichristian principle preceding the Parousia (see on Ephesians 6:11; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 348 f.), as a consequence of this purifying process, and then the Parousia itself. We have consequently here a pointing to the state of unity of faith and knowledge,(224) which sets in after the last storms τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος αἰῶνος πονηροῦ (Galatians 1:4), and then is at once followed by the consummation of the kingdom of Christ by the Parousia.(225) With this view 1 Corinthians 13:11 is not at variance, where the time after is compared with the age of manhood; the same figure is rather employed by Paul to describe different future conditions, according as the course of the discussion demanded. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Corinthians 3:1. On the other hand, the reason adduced for the reference to an earthly goal (Calovius and Estius), namely, that after the Parousia there is not faith, but sight, is invalid; for see on 1 Corinthians 13:13.

REMARK 2.

΄έχρι καταντήσωμεν κ. τ. λ. is not to be interpreted to the effect, that with the setting in of the unity, etc., the functions thought of in Ephesians 4:11 would cease,—which rather will be the case only at the Parousia (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 3:13 ff.),—but the time of the unity, etc., is itself included in the (last) period of the duration of those churchly ministrations, so that only the Parousia is their terminus. The distinction made by Titmann, Synon. p. 33 f., between ἄχρι and μέχρι—which in fact receive merely from the connection the determination of the point, whether the “until” is to be taken inclusively or exclusively—is invented. See Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 308 f. The distinction of the two words lies not in the signification, but in the original sensuous mode of conception which was associated with the until: “quum altera particula spatium illud, quoad aliquid pertinere diceretur, metiretur ex altitudine, altera vero ex longitudine,” Klotz, ad Devar. p. 225.


Verse 14

Ephesians 4:14. ἵνα] cannot, at all events, introduce the design of the attained goal in Ephesians 4:13, in opposition to which αὐξήσωμεν, Ephesians 4:15, clearly testifies; since, in the case of him who has already become the ἀνὴρ τέλειος, the αὐξάνειν no longer has place. But it is also arbitrary to refer the affirmation of aim to Ephesians 4:11-12 (Koppe, Flatt; comp. Michaelis and Zanchius), as Harless would do (comp. Bleek), who holds Ephesians 4:13 and Ephesians 4:14 ff. as co-ordinate, so that Ephesians 4:13 describes the final goal up to which the arrangement endures, and Ephesians 4:14 ff. the design of this same. That Ephesians 4:14 stands in a subordinate relation to Ephesians 4:13, is shown by the retaining of the same figure, as by ἵνα itself, which is not preceded by another ἵνα, or something similar, to which it would be parallel. If Paul had referred ἵνα to Ephesians 4:11-12, it would have been logically the most natural course to arrange the verses thus: Ephesians 4:11-12; Ephesians 4:14-15; Ephesians 4:13; Ephesians 4:16. The relation of our sentence expressive of aim to the preceding is rather as follows: while in Ephesians 4:13 there was expressed the terminus ad quem, which is appointed to the labour-task, contained in Ephesians 4:12, of the teachers given according to Ephesians 4:11 by Christ, there is now adduced that which is aimed at in the case with a view to the ultimate attainment of that terminus ad quem, namely, the change, which meanwhile, in accordance with that final aim, is to take place in the—till then still current—condition of the church. This change, divinely aimed at, is characterized Ephesians 4:14 in its negative nature ( μηκέτι κ. τ. λ.), and Ephesians 4:15 in its positive nature ( ἀληθεύοντες δὲ κ. τ. λ.).

μηκιέτι] no longer, as this is still at present the case. It points to the influence, which had at that time not yet ceased, of false teachers in the Christian church at large (see Ephesians 4:13). Of false teachers in Ephesus itself there is in our Epistle still no trace, although in Acts 20:29 f. Paul had already expressed their future emergence.

νήπιοι] for, in order to attain to full maturity, one must first emerge out of the state of childhood. What Paul here represents as νηπιότης, namely, the dependence on false teachers, in connection with which the ἑνότης described in Ephesians 4:13 cannot set in, he himself expresses by κλυδωνιζόμενοι, becoming tossed by waves (Isaiah 57:20) and driven to and fro (as a ship abandoned to the breakers), on which figurative representation of restless passive subjection to influences, comp. Hebrews 13:9; James 1:6; Jude 1:12 f.; Josephus, Antt. ix. 11. 3; Aristaenet. i. 27; Dio Chrys. Orat. 32.

παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλ.] τῇ τροπῇ δὲ ἐμμένων καὶ ἀνέμους ἐκάλεσε τὰς διαφόρους διδασκαλίας, Theophylact. Comp. Plut. de aud. poet. p. 28 D: μὴ παντὶ λόγῳ πλάγιον, ὥσπερ πνεύματι, παραδιδοὺς ἑαυτόν. The use of the article with διδασκαλ. denotes the doctrine in abstracto. In the fact that now this, now that, is taught according to varying tendencies, there blows now this, now that, wind of doctrine. That Paul false teachers before his mind, is evident from the context.

ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπ.] instrumental: becoming tossed and driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine in virtue of the deceit of men. After διδασκ. no comma is to be placed (comp. Lachmann and Tischendorf). κυβεία, from κύβος (cubus), a die, means properly dice-play (Plato, Phaedr. p. 274 D Xen. Mem. i. 3. 2; Athen. x. p. 445 A); then in a derived signification fraudulentia (Arrian. Epict. ii. 19, iii. 21, and see Oecumenius). Comp. the German Spiel. In this signification the word has also passed over to the language of the Rabbins קוּבְיָא . See Schoettgen, Horae, p. 775; Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1984. Others have explained it as: levitas, temeritas (Beza, Salmasius, Morus, Flatt, and others),—which notion (like the German auf’s Spiel setzen: to put at stake) κυβεύειν really expresses in Plat. Prot. p. 314 A Meleag. 73 (see Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 89),—but this is opposed to the context, which represents the false teachers as deceivers.

τῶν ἀνθρώπων] Instead of being under the gracious influence of Christ (Ephesians 4:13), and thereby becoming strong and firm (comp. Ephesians 3:16 ff.), one is given up to the deceptive play of men!

ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης] more precisely defining parallel to the preceding: by means of cunning, which is effectual for the machination of error. On πανουργία, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Plat. Menex. p. 247 A. μεθοδεία is preserved only here and Ephesians 6:11, but from the use of μέθοδος (2 Maccabees 13:18; Esth. 16:13; Plut. Mor. p. 176 A Artem. iii. 25; Aristaen. i. 17) and μεθοδεύω (2 Samuel 19:27; Aquila, Exodus 21:13; Diod. Sic. vii. 16; Charit. vii. 6) is not doubtful as to its signification. πλάνη means error, also at Matthew 27:64; Romans 1:27; 2 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:18; James 5:20. Whether this has been brought about through the fault of lying and immorality (Harless) must be decided by the context, as this must in reality be assumed to be the thought of the apostle in the present case, both from the connection and from the view which Paul had formed on the basis of experience (not, as Rückert pronounces, from a certain dogmatical defiance, which had remained with him as his weak side; comp. on the other hand, on 2 Corinthians 11:12) with regard to the false teachers of his time (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 11:13 f.; Galatians 2:4; Galatians 6:12; Philippians 2:21), although it is not involved in the word in itself. To take πλάνη as seduction (Luther, Beza, and others, including Rückert, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) is not to be justified by linguistic usage, since it always (also 2 Thessalonians 2:11) means error, delusion, going astray; as with the Greek writers also it never has that active meaning.

πλάνης is genitivus subjecti; the πλάνη, which μεθοδεύει, is personified, in which, case, however, it would be quite arbitrary to say, with Bengel: erroris, i.e. Satanae. Compare rather the frequent personifications of ἁμαρτία, δικαιοσύνη, (Romans 6:16 ff., al.), and the like. The article is not necessary before πρὸς τ. μεθοδ. (in opposition to Rückert), since πανουργ. has no article; hence no reason whatever exists for attaching πρὸς τ. μεθοδ. κ. τ. λ., with Rückert, to the participle (“driven about … according to the several arts of seduction”), by which ἐν πανουργ. is singularly isolated.

We may add that, when it is said that the fluctuation between different doctrinal opinions, here presupposed as a matter of fact, is not suitable to the apostolic age (Baur, p. 448), too much is asserted. Paul had experienced enough of this sort of wavering: all his Epistles testify of it.


Verse 15

Ephesians 4:15. Still connected with ἵνα, Ephesians 4:14.

δέ] after the negative protasis: on the other hand, yet doubtless. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 171 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 360 f. In order that we … on the other hand, confessing the truth, may grow in love, etc. ἀληθεύειν means nothing else than in Galatians 4:6, verum dicere, opposite of ψεύδεσθαι (comp. Xen. Anab. i. 7. 18, iv. 4. 15; Mem. i. 15; Plat. Demod. p. 383 C Phil. Leg. Alleg. II. p. 84 A de resip. Noë, p. 280 E), which here, as contrast to the περιφέρεσθαι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας, is the confession of the evangelic ἀλήθεια. ἐν ἀγάπῃ belongs to αὐξήσ. (comp. already Lucifer: “crescamus in caritate”), the ethical element of which it denotes; for love (to the brethren) is the sphere, apart from which the growth of the mystic body, whose members are held together by love (comp. Chrysostom), does not take place, Ephesians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 12:12 ff., comp. 1 Corinthians 13:1. With how great weight is this element here placed at the beginning and Ephesians 4:16 at the end; and how definitely is the hint already thereby given to take ἐν ἀγάπῃ together with αὐξήσ., in keeping with its connection in Ephesians 4:16! Others, nevertheless, connect it with ἀληθεύοντες, in doing which some explain, yet not without diversities in specifying the sense,(226) veritatem sectantes cum caritate (Valla, Erasmus, Calvin, Bullinger, Calovius, Wolf, Michaelis, Zachariae, Koppe, Stolz, Flatt, Rückert, Bleek, de Wette? et al.), others: sincere diligentes (Luther, Bucer, Grotius, Loesner, Morus, et al.; comp. also Beza and Matthies). But neither of these interpretations is to be linguistically justified, since ἀληθεύειν never means to strive after truth, or to hold fast the truth, to possess the truth, or the like, but always to speak the truth (comp. also Proverbs 21:3; Sirach 31:4), to which, likewise, the sense of to verify, to prove as true, found e.g. in Xen. Anab. vii. 7. 25, Isaiah 44:26, may be traced back. Against the second of these interpretations (Luther, etc.) there is also in particular the context, seeing that sincere love would be a quite unsuitable contrast to the spiritual immaturity given up to the false teachers, which is described Ephesians 4:14. If, however, we should seek to connect ἀληθεύειν in the correct sense of verum dicere with ἐν ἀγάπῃ (confessing the truth in love), then only the love not towards others in general (this in opposition to Hofmann), but towards those of another confession, could be meant; and this too, would here, where the latter are described as deceptive teachers of error, be at variance with the context. Harless, it is true, rightly connects ἐν ἀγάπῃ with αὐξήσ., but explains ἀληθεύοντες: being true in evangelical disposition, and then brings ἐν ἀγάπῃ εἰς αὐτόν together. Against this may be urged, not indeed the hyperbaton (Bernhardy, p. 460; Kühner, II. p. 627 f.), but the fact that ἀληθ. is not taken in accordance with correct linguistic usage, and that the definition “in evangelical disposition” is imported at variance with the context (since we have here a contrast not to the πανουργία of the false teachers, but to the childish περιφέρεσθαι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ κ. τ. λ.); as also that the corresponding ἐν ἀγάπῃ of Ephesians 4:16 shows that ἐν ἀγάπῃ in Ephesians 4:15 does not mean love to Christ. Wrongly also Baumgarten-Crusius, although connecting with αὐξ., renders: possessing the truth.

αὐξήσωμεν] dependent on ἵνα, Ephesians 4:14, is not to be taken, according to classic usage, transitively (1 Corinthians 3:6 f.; 2 Corinthians 9:10), as Valla, Moldenhauer, and others held, but intransitively (comp. Ephesians 2:21, and see Wetstein, I. p. 335), to grow; for, in keeping with the figure ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι, it represents the progressive development of the Christian life. Comp. Ephesians 4:16. Bengel aptly observes: “haec αὔξησιςmedia est inter infantes et virum.”

εἰς αὐτόν] in reference to Him. Christ is indeed the Head of the body, the growth of the members of which thus stands in constant relation to Christ, can never take place apart from relation to Him as determining and regulating it, to whom the course of the development must harmoniously correspond. The commentary to εἰς αὐτόν is furnished by the following ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα κ. τ. λ.; the relation of the growth to the head, which is expressed in an ascending direction by, εἰς αὐτόν, is expressed in a descending direction by ἐξ οὗ.(227) The sense: into the resemblance of Christ (Zanchius and others), is opposed to the context (since Christ is thought of as head); as also the explanation of Koppe and Holzhausen (comp. de Wette and Bleek): “to grow up in Him,” is inappropriate, since the body as little grows up to the head, or reaches forth to the head (Hofmann), as it grows into the head (in opposition to Matthies: “to grow into Him, i.e.… ever more deeply to become absorbed into His infinitely true and holy nature”). Others have taken εἰς for ἐν,(228) but this was a mistaken makeshift, whether it was explained with Cornelius a Lapide: “Christi capitis virtute et influxu,” or even with Grotius: “ipsius cognitione.”

τὰ πάντα] is rightly explained: in all points, in every respect (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 11:2, and see on Acts 20:35), in which case, however, the article has not generally been attended to (so still Meier and Matthies). Harless refers it to the previously mentioned ἑνότης in its contrast to the wavering of unsettled knowledge. But since the ἑνότης of Ephesians 4:12 appears as the goal to be attained by the growth, and since, moreover, not several things (a plurality) are thereby denoted, to which the plural τὰ πάντα might relate, this view cannot appear in keeping with the context. The explanation which most naturally suggests itself is: in all the points of our growth, wherein the emphasis remains upon εἰς αὐτόν. Our growth shall, in all points in which we grow, proceed in relation to Him, who is the Head, etc. Koppe, Wahl, and Holzhausen regard τὰ πάντα as nominative, explaining it of all the members. But in that case οἱ πάντες must have been written. Comp. Ephesians 4:13.

ὅς ἐστιν κεφαλὴ χριστός] significant more precise definition and very emphatic naming of the subject intended by εἰς αὐτόν, although this subject was self-evident. Paul did not write τὸν χριστόν (as apposition to αὐτόν), but in accordance with the usual Greek construction he drew the apposition into the accessory clause. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 41 A: εὑρήσει τοὺς ὡς ἀληθῶς δικαστάς, οἵπερ καὶ λέγονται ἐκεῖ δικάζειν ΄ίνως τε καὶ ῥαδάμανθος καὶ αἴακος. Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 771. Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:13; Winer, p. 469 [E. T. 669]; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 368. According to de Wette, χρ. is merely to serve for facilitating the construction with the following ἐξ οὗ, and thus to have merely a formal significance. But of such a facilitating there was no need whatever.


Verse 16

Ephesians 4:16. Harmony of what is said, Ephesians 4:15, for all individuals, with the objective relation of Christ to the whole as the organism growing by way of unity out of Christ. Comp. Colossians 2:19.

From whom the whole body, becoming fitly framed together and compacted (becomes compacted and), by means of each sensation of the supply (of Christ), according to an operation proportionate to the measure of each several part, bringeth about the growth of the body, to the edifying of itself in love.

ἐξ οὗ] is equivalent neither to εἰς ὅν (Koppe), nor to per quem (Morus, Flatt, Holzhausen), but denotes the causal going forth, as Col. l.c.; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 13:4; and frequently. See Bernhardy, p. 225.

πᾶν τὸ σῶμα] πᾶν has the emphasis: the whole body, thus no member being excepted; it glances back to οἱ πάντες, Ephesians 4:13.

συναρμολ. κ. συμβιβαζ.] Present participle, expressing what was continuously in actu. As to συναρμολ., comp. on Ephesians 2:21; συμβιβάζω is employed by classical writers of men or of single parts of things, which one brings together into an alliance, to reconciliation, to a unity (Herod, i. 74; Thuc. ii. 29. 5; Plato, Rep. p. 504 A comp. Colossians 2:2), and might be employed here the more aptly, inasmuch as the single parts of which the collective mass designated by πᾶν τὸ σῶμα consists, are the different Christian individuals. A distinction in the notion of the two words, such as is asserted by Bengel ( συναρμολ. denotes the fitting together, and συμβιβ. the fastening together) and Grotius (the latter denotes a closer union than the former), is arbitrarily assumed. The distinction consists only in this, that συναρμολ. corresponds to the figure, and συμβιβ. to the thing figuratively represented. With regard to the former, observe that ἁρμονία also, with the Greeks often denotes the harmonious relation of unity between the body and its parts. See Jacobs, Delect. epigr. vii. 3.

The verb to ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμ. κ. συμβιβ. is τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώμ. ποιεῖται, in which the repetition of τοῦ σώματος is neither negligence (Rückert) nor a Hebraism (Grotius), but is introduced for the sake of perspicuity on account of the intervening definitions, as is often the case with classical writers (see Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxv.; Krüger, Anab. p. 27; Ellendt, ad Arrian. Exp. Al. i. 55).

διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.] belongs not to συμβιβαζ. (so ordinarily), to which connection the erroneous interpretation of ἁφή as band (see below) led, but to τὴν αὔξησιν ποιεῖται (Zanchius, Bengel, and others). It is not the union that is brought about by the ἁφαὶ τῆς ἐπιχορηγ., but the growth, inasmuch as Christ, from whom as Head the union proceeds, bestows the ἐπιχορηγία for the growth. ἁφή is usually explained junctura (Vulgate), commissura, means of connection, joint, and the like. But without any support from linguistic usage. It may signify, as in Lucian, de luctu 9, and often in Plutarch, contact, also holding fast, adhesion, and the like(229) (comp. Augustine, de civ. Dei, xxii. 18: “tactum subministrationis,” and see Oecumenius: ἀπὸ τοῦ χριστοῦ κατιοῦσα πνευματικὴ δύναμις ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέλους αὐτοῦ ἁπτομένη), but it never means vinculum ( συναφή). Rightly Chrysostom and Theodoret have already explained it by αἴσθησις, feeling, perception. See Plato, Locr. p. 100 D, E Pol. vii. p. 523 E and the passages in Wetstein. So also Colossians 2:19. Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 132, prefers the signification: contact, and understands the connection of the several parts of the body, whereby the one supplies to the other that which is necessary to growth, which supply in the case of the recipient takes place by means of contact with it. In this way πᾶσα ἁφὴ τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. would be every contact which serves for supplying, and the ἐπιχορηγία would be the communication of the requisites for growth by one part of the body to the other. But the former Paul would have very indistinctly expressed by the mere genitive (instead of τῆς ἐπιχορ. he might have written τῆς πρὸς τὴν ἐπιχορηγίαν), and the latter is imported, since the reader after ἐξ οὔ could only understand the ἐπιχορηγία proceeding from Christ. If we were to take ἁφή in the sense of contact, the above explanation of Oecumenius would be the simplest (every contact, which the body experiences through the ἐπιχορηγία of Christ); but there may be urged against it, that the expression instead of the mere διὰ πάσης ἐπιχορηγίας would be only diffuse and circumstantial without special reason, while the expression: “sensation of the ἐπιχορηγία,” very appropriately points to the growth through the influence of Christ from within outward.

τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.] Genit. objecti: every feeling in which the supply is perceived, experienced. What supply is meant by the ἐπιχορηγία with the article becomes certain from the context, namely, that which is afforded by Christ (through the Holy Spirit), i.e. the influence of Christ, by which He supplies to His body the powers of life and development necessary to a growth in keeping with its destiny ( ἐπιχορηγεῖ, 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5, exhibet; the substantive occurs only further at Philippians 1:19, not in Greek writers). Those who understand ἁφή as bond, take τῆς ἐπιχορηγ., partly correctly in this same sense (Rückert, Harless, Olshausen), save that they explain the genitive as a genitive of apposition, partly (so Luther and most expositors, including Matthies, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) of the reciprocal service-rendering of the members,—an explanation which,(230) originating in the erroneous interpretation of ἁφή, introduces into the context something heterogeneous. Beza transmutes τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. into an unmeaning participle: “per omnes suppeditatas commissuras.”

κατʼ ἐνέργ. ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκ. μέρ.] belongs neither to τῆς ἐπιχορηγ. (Koppe, Meier, de Wette, and many), in which case, it is true, the non-repetition of the article, might be justified on the ground of a blending of ἐπιχορηγία κατʼ ἐνέργειαν κ. τ. λ. into one conception, but on the other hand may be urged the fact that ἐν μέτρῳ κ. τ. λ., as a specification of measure, points of itself to the growth, not to the ἐπιχορηγία; nor to συμβιβαζ. (Harless), to which even what precedes did not belong, but: after Paul has stated whereby the body grows ( διὰ πάσ. ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγ.), he now also adds the relation in which it brings about its growth, namely, according to an efficacy in keeping with the measure of each several part, i.e. so that the growing body in its growth follows an activity of development in keeping with the measure peculiar to each several part of the body,—consequently no disproportioned monstrous growth results, but one which is pursuant to proportion, adapted to the varied measure of the several parts (so that, e.g., the hand does not grow disproportionately larger than the foot, etc.). Without figure: From Christ the church accomplishes its progressive development according to an efficacy, which is not equal in all individuals, but appropriate to the degree of development appointed for each several individual. Rückert and Bretschneider take κατʼ ἐνέργειαν adverbially: after a powerful manner. But ἐνέργεια in itself does not denote powerful working, but efficacy, activity in general, so that it would need a more precise definition for the sense supposed (Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 3:7; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:11).

ἐν μέτρῳ] according to measure, pro mensura; see Bernhardy, p. 211; Winer, p. 345 [E. T. 483].

μέρους] is held by Harless to denote the several parts, which again in their turn appear as having the control of the other members (pastors, etc., Ephesians 4:11). Against this is ἑνὸς ἑκάστου. It denotes, according to the context, in contradistinction to the whole of the body each part of the body, whether this part may be a whole member or in turn only a portion of a member (comp. Luke 11:36), and is hence of wider meaning than μέλους.

αὔξησιν] in the N.T. only further at Colossians 2:19, often with Greek writers,(231) also 2 Maccabees 5:16.

ποιεῖται] produces for itself (sibi), hence the middle; comp. subsequently εἰς οἰκοδομ. ἑαυτοῦ.

The sense: for the perfecting of itself (aim of τὴν αὔξησ. ποιεῖται), is expressed, as at Ephesians 4:12, in another, dissimilar, but likewise very familiar figure, by εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ.

ἐν ἀγάπῃ] Love of all one to another is the ethical sphere, within which the αὔξησιν ποιεῖσθαι εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ on the part of the whole body proceeds—outside of which this cannot take place. Comp. Ephesians 4:15. On account of Ephesians 4:15, the connection with τὴν αὔξησιν ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ is more in keeping with the context than the usual one with the mere εἰς οἰκοδ. ἑαυτοῦ.

We may add, that the mode of regarding the church in our passage is not “genuinely Gnostic,” as Baur pronounces, but genuinely Pauline. Comp. especially 1 Corinthians 12:14-27.


Verse 17

Ephesians 4:17. That οὖν, like the Latin ergo, here resumes Ephesians 4:1 (Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 22 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 718), is rightly assumed; since the exhortation begun Ephesians 4:1-3 is really interrupted by the digression, Ephesians 4:4-16, and the duty now following μηκέτι περιπατεῖν κ. τ. λ., is but the negative side of the ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι κ. τ. λ. of Ephesians 4:1. Theodoret aptly observes: πάλιν ἀνέλαβε τῆς παραινέσεως τὸ προοίμιον.

τοῦτο] to be referred forwards: What follows then (now to return to my exhortations) I say and asseverate, etc.

μαρτύρομαι] does not signify obsecro, but I testify, i.e. I asseverate, aEphesians Ephesians 4 :See on Galatians 5:3. Since, however, there lies in this expression and in λέγω the notion of exhortation and precept, there is no need of supplying δεῖν to the following infinitive. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 2. 1; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 235 [E. T. 273]; also Heind. ad Plat. Prot. p. 346 B.

ἐν κυρίῳ] not per Dominum (Theodoret: ὑπὸ μάρτυρι γάρ φησι τῷ κυρίῳ ταῦτα λέγω, so already Chrysostom and most expositors, including Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen), which would be πρὸς κυρίου (comp. on Romans 9:1), and with μαρτύρομαι would have to be denoted by τὸν κύριον (I call the Lord to witness, Plat. Phil. p. 12 B Eur. Phoen. 629; Soph. Oed. Col. 817); but rather, as at Romans 9:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:1 : in the Lord, so that Paul expresses that not in respect of his own individuality does he speak and aver, but that Christ withal is the element, in which his thinking and willing moves,—through which, therefore, the λέγω and μαρτύρ. has its distinctively Christian character.

μηκέτι] after that ye, from being Gentiles, have become Christians.

καθὼς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἔθνη κ. τ. λ.] The καί has its reference in the former walk of the readers. These are no longer to have such a walk, as was, like their previous walk, that also of the other, i.e. the still unconverted (comp. Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13) Gentiles.

τὰ λοιπά] for the readers, although Christians, belonged nationally to the category of Gentiles.

ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν] (not αὑτῶν) is the subjective sphere, in which the walk of the other Gentiles takes place, namely, in nothingness (truthlessness) of their thinking and willing ( νοῦς), which, however, neither denotes, after the Hebrew הֶבֶל, idol-worship (see, in opposition to this, Fritzsche, ad Rom. i. 21), nor is it to be referred, with Grotius, especially to the philosophers (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:20 ), but is to be understood of the whole intellectual and moral character (comp. 2 Peter 2:18) of heathenism, in which the rational and moral principle (the νοῦς) is theoretically and practically estranged from the truth (Ephesians 4:18), and subject to error and the service of sin (Ephesians 4:19). We may add, that the ματαιότης is not an inborn one (Zanchius, Calovius, and others; comp. Calvin), but (Romans 7:7 ff.) one that has come to pass, although it has come to pass φύσει (Ephesians 2:3). Comp. Romans 1:21; Romans 2:15.


Verse 18

Ephesians 4:18 exhibits the ground of the fact, that the Gentiles walk ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν, which ground is twofold according to the twofold power belonging to the νοῦς, the intelligent and the practical. To the former ἐσκοτωμένοι relates (see the critical remarks), to the latter ἀπηλλ. τ. ζωῆς τ. θεοῦ: since they are darkened (comp. Joseph. Antt. ix. 4. 3; the opposite: φωτίζειν τὴν διάνοιαν, viii. 5. 3) in respect of their exercise of thinking and willing ( διανοίᾳ, comp. Luke 1:51; Colossians 1:21; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 John 5:20); estranged from the life of God.

ἐσκοτ.… ὄντες is to be taken together (Clem. Al. Protrep. ix. p. 69, Potter; Theodoret, Bengel, Knapp, Lachmann, Harless, de Wette), since, if ὄντες ἀπηλλοτρ. are joined (Beza and many, including Rückert, Meier, Matthies, Scholz), the logical and formal parallelism is disturbed, inasmuch as then ἔσκοτ. τῇ διανοίᾳ would be merely predicate and ὄντες ἀπηλλοτρ. specifying the reason (subordinate to the former), and the emphatic prefixing of the two perfect participles, as brought into prominence by our punctuation, would go for nothing. And that the second clause does not specify the reason, why the darkening has come over the minds of the Gentiles (in opposition to Rückert), is clear from the following διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν κ. τ. λ., wherein, conversely, the ignorance is indicated as the cause of the estrangement from God. Rückert, moreover, thinks that, according to our punctuation, ὄντες would stand before τῇ διανοίᾳ; but this is groundless, since ἐσκοτ. τῇ διανοίᾳ is conceived of together. Comp. Herod. i. 35: οὐ καθαρὸς χεῖρας ἐών, Xen. Ages. xi. 10: πραότατος φίλοις ὤν.

ἀπηλλοτρ.] See on Ephesians 2:12, and, concerning the constructio κατὰ σύνεσιν, Buttmann, neut. Gram. pp. 114, 242 [E. T. 281].

τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ] from the life of God, does not admit of any explanation, according to which ζωή would be life-walk, which it never means in the N.T., not even in 2 Peter 1:3.(232) Hence not: the life pleasing to God (Michaelis, Zachariae, Koppe, Morus, and others; comp. Theodore, Theophylact, Grotius, and Flatt), but, as Luther aptly renders: “the life, which is from God.” The genitive is genitive originis (comp. δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, Romans 1:17, and see Winer, p. 167 f. [E. T. 233]), and ζωή is the counterpart of θάνατος, so that it is to be understood as: “tota vita spiritualis, quae in hoc seculo per fidem et justitiam inchoatur et in futura beatitudine perficitur, quae tota peculiariter vita Dei est, quatenus a Deo per gratiam datur,” Estius. Comp. Calvin and Cajetanus. It is at all events the life of Christian regeneration, which is wrought by God in believers through the Spirit (Romans 8:2);(233) while the Gentiles are by their heathen nature alien to this divine life. This in opposition to Harless, who understands it as the estrangement from the life and light of the λόγος in the world (John 1:3). Paul in fact is speaking of the Gentiles of that time (not of those who have lived in the time before Christ), in their contrast to the Christians (Ephesians 4:17) as persons who were partakers of divine life through the παλιγγενεσία (comp. Ephesians 2:5; Romans 6:4). Various elements are mixed up by Beza: “vitam illam, qua Deus vivit in suis quamque praecipit et approbat;” and Olshausen: “the life, which God Himself is and has, and which pertains to the creature so long as it remains in fellowship with God.”

διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιανκαρδίας αὐτῶν] on account of, etc.; the cause of this estrangement of the Gentiles from the divine life is the ignorance which is in them through hardening of heart, consequently due to their own fault. διὰ τ. πώρ. τ. κ. attaches itself to τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς, and is consequently subordinated to the preceding διὰ τ. ἄγνοιαν τ. οὖσ. ἐν αὐτ. Usually διὰδιά are regarded as co-ordinate elements; and indeed, according to Harless and Olshausen, who are followed by de Wette, this twofold specification of reason has reference not merely to ἀπηλλοτρ. τ. ζ. τ. θ., but also to ἐσκοτ. τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες, in which case Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Schenkel (comp. Grotius and Bengel) assume that διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν κ. τ. λ. corresponds to ἐσκοτ. κ. τ. λ., and then διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν κ. τ. λ. to ἀπηλλοτρ. τ. ζ. τ. θ. The ἄγνοια, however, cannot be the cause, but only the consequence of ἐσκοτ. τῇ διανοίᾳ, since ἄγνοια (used by Paul only here, but ἀγνοεῖν occurs frequently) is not dulness of the higher faculty of cognition (Rückert), but nothing else than ignorance (Acts 3:17; Acts 17:30; 1 Peter 1:14). The Gentiles were not darkened on account of their ignorance, seeing that in fact ignorance is not inaccessible to the light, as the example of all converted Gentiles shows; but their being estranged from the life of God was occasioned by their ignorance, and, indeed, by their ignorance for which they were to blame on account of hardening of heart. Accordingly, the commas after θεοῦ and αὐτοῖς are to be deleted. Meier is quite wrong in holding that the ignorant are the Gentiles, and the hardened the Jews. Paul speaks only of the Gentiles.

τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς] not: quae iis innata est, nor yet said in contrast to external occasions (Harless), which is not at all implied in the context, but: because Paul wished to annex the cause of the ἄγνοια, he has not put διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν αὐτῶν, but, in order to procure the means of annexation, has employed the participial expression paraphrasing the αὐτῶν: τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς. This expression confirms the view that the second διά is subordinate to the first.


Verse 19

Ephesians 4:19. The estrangement of the Gentiles from the divine life, indicated in Ephesians 4:18, is now more precisely proved in conformity with experience: οἵτινες, quippe qui, etc.: being such as, void of feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness.

ἀπηλγηκότες] ἀναίσθητοι γενόμενοι, Hesychius. The “verbum significantissimum” (Bengel), from ἀλγεῖν and ἀπό, is equivalent to dedolere, to cease to feel pain, then to be void of feeling, whether there be meant by it the apathy of intelligence, or the state of despair, or, as here, the moral indolence, in which one has ceased to feel reproaches of conscience,(234) consequently the securitas carnalis; see Wetstein, and also Matthaei, ed. min. in loc. The explanation having despaired (comp. Polyb. ix. 40. Ephesians 4 : ἀπαλγοῦντες ταῖς ἐλπίσι) imports a special definition of the meaning without warrant from the context, but is found already in Syr. Arm. Vulg. It. Ambrosiaster, and from it has arisen the reading ἀπηλπικότες (D E F G have ἀφηλπικ.), which probably already those vss. followed.

ἑαυτούς] with deterrent emphasis. To bring into prominence what was done on the part of their own freedom, was here in accordance with the paraenetic aim. It is otherwise put at Romans 1:24 : παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς θεός. The two modes of regarding the matter are not contrary to one another, but go side by side (see on Romans 1:24); and according to the respective aims and connection of the discourse, both have their warrant and their full truth.

τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ] personified. It is to be understood of sensual lasciviousness (comp. on Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19), as, subsequently, ἀκαθαρσίας of sensual filthiness (comp. Romans 1:24; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19), not of ethical wantonness and impurity generally (Harless, Matthies, Meier, and others), since the πλεονεξία connected with it is likewise a special vice, as indeed, on the other hand (Romans 1:24; comp. Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 3:5), unchastity appears as the first and chief vice of the Gentiles.

εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης] aim of this self-surrender to the ἀσέλγεια (comp. Romans 6:19): for the prosecution of every uncleanness, in order to practise every sort of uncleanness. On ἐργασία, comp. LXX. Exodus 26:1; 2 Chronicles 15:7; Isaiah 1:31, al.; Plat. Prot. p. 353 D: τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐργασίαν, Eryx. p. 403 E: ἐργασίας πραγμάτων μοχθηρῶν. Koppe takes it as trade (Acts 16:16; Acts 19:19; Acts 24:2-9). But could the trade of prostitution (Dem. 270. 15, Reiske, and thereon Dissen, de Cor. p. 301) be thus generally predicated with truth of the Gentiles? This at the same time tells in opposition to the explanation followed by Grotius, Bengel, Stolz, Koppe, Flatt, and Meier, of the ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ that follows as quaestus ex impudicitia (on the thing itself, see Aristaen. i. 14). In fact, ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ adds to the vice of sensuality the other chief vice of the heathen, and signifies: with covetousness. The explanations: with unsatiableness (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, and others, including Matthies), or certatim (“quasi agatur de lucro, ita ut alius alium superare contendat,” Beza), or with haughtiness (Holzhausen), or in gluttony (Harless(235)), are all of them at variance with linguistic usage, partly in general, partly of the N.T. in particular, in which πλεονεξία never means anything else than covetousness. Sensuality and covetousness are the two cardinal vices of the heathen, which are to be avoided by the Christians. See Ephesians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 5:10 f.; Colossians 3:5. Comp. 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:14.


Verse 20

Ephesians 4:20. ὑμεῖς δέ] opposed to the unconverted Gentiles.

οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν] but ye have not in such manner (so that this instruction would have directed you to that Gentile conduct of life, Ephesians 4:17 ff.) learned Christ. Observe the litotes in οὐχ οὕτως (quite otherwise, comp. Deuteronomy 18:14). The proposal of Beza: “Quid si post οὕτως distinctionem adscribas?” is, although adopted by Gataker and Colomesius, quite mistaken, since Ephesians 4:21 contains the confirmation not of the mere fact ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν, but of the mode in which the readers have learned Christ, hence οὐχ οὕτως must necessarily belong to ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν.

χριστός does not mean the doctrine of Christ or concerning Christ (so most expositors before Rückert; but see Bengel and Flatt), nor does μανθάνειν τινά mean to learn to know any one, as it has usually in recent times been explained (by Rückert, Holzhausen, Meier, Matthies, Harless), wherefore Raphel wrongly appeals to Xen. Hellen. ii. 1. 1 ( ἵνα ἀλλήλους μάθοιεν ὁπόσοι εἴησαν, comp. Herod. vii. 208, where it means to perceive); but Christ is the great collective object of the instruction which the readers have received (Galatians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Philippians 1:15, al.), so that they have learned Christ. This special notion is required by the following εἴγεἐδιδάχθ.


Verse 21

Ephesians 4:21. εἴγε] tum certe si, as to which, however, there is no doubt (for Paul himself had preached to them Christ, and instructed them in Christ), introduces, as in Ephesians 3:2, in a delicate way the confirmation of the οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν: assuming, at least, that ye have heard him and have received instruction in him, as it is truth in Jesus, that ye lay aside, etc., that is: if, namely, the preaching, in which ye became aware of Christ, and the instruction, which was imparted to you as Christians, have been in accordance with the fact that true fellowship with Christ consists in your laying aside, etc.

αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε] to be explained after the analogy of the ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν, Ephesians 4:20; but αὐτόν, like ἐν αὐτῷ subsequently, is prefixed with emphasis.

ἐν αὐτῷ] is neither ab eo (Castalio, Gataker, Flatt), nor de eo (Piscator), nor per eum (Beza), nor “illius nomine, quod ad illum attinet” (Bengel); but it is to be explained from the conception ἐν χριστῷ εἶναι: in Him, in the fellowship of Christ, that is, as Christians. Observe the progress of the discourse, which passes over from the first proclamation of the gospel ( αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε) to the further instruction which they have thereupon received as already converted to Christ ( ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδαχθ.)—two elements, which were previously comprehended in ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν.

καθώς] in the manner how, introduces the mode of the having heard and having been instructed, so that this ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐδιδάχθητε καθὼς κ. τ. λ. corresponds to the previous οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν, affirmatively stating what οὐχ οὕτως had indicated negatively.

ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ] Truth it is in Jesus, that ye lay aside, etc., in so far as without this laying aside of your old man there would be no true, but only an apparent fellowship with Jesus.

ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ] Paul passes from the official name χριστός to the personal name ἰησοῦς, because he, after having previously recalled the preaching made to the Ephesians and instruction concerning the Messiah, now brings into prominence the moral character of this preaching and instruction, and the moral life of true Christianity is contained in believing fellowship with the historical person of the Messiah, with Jesus (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:10 ff.: for “Christi ideam perfectissime et fulgidissime explevit Jesus,” Bengel), whose death has procured for believers their justification, and by virtue of their fellowship with Him the new life (Romans 6:2-3), so that to be ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ with a retention of the old man, would be a contradictio in adjecto—would be untruth, and not ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ. We may add that this transition, unforced also at Ephesians 1:15, from χριστός to ἰησοῦς was not necessary; for, had Paul again written ἐν τῷ χριστῷ, there would therewith, as before, have been presented to the moral consciousness just the historical Christ Jesus. Comp. Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:10 f. The accusative with the infinitive ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς depends on ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ, so that it appears as subject of the sentence (Kühner, II. p. 347 f.). Usually ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς is made to depend on ἐδιδάχθητε, in which case καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ is very differently explained. Either it is regarded as a parenthesis (Beza, Er. Schmid, Michaelis), as by Rückert, who takes καθώς augmentatively, so that the sense is: “If ye are rightly instructed concerning Christ, ye have not so learned Him, for that would be false; with Him (there where Christ is, lives and rules) there is, in fact, only truth (moral, religious truth) to be met with.” Or καθώς ἐστιν κ. τ. λ. is attached to ἐδιδάχθητε, and then ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς is taken as epexegesis of καθώς ἐστιν κ. τ. λ., in which case ἀλήθεια in turn is differently explained.(236) Or the connection is so conceived of, that a οὕτως is supplied before ἀποθέσθαι, in which case Jesus appears as model.(237) So also Harless (followed by Olshausen), who, taking ἀλήθεια as moral truth (holiness), justifies ὑμᾶς from the comparison of Jesus with the readers (“as truth is in Jesus, so to lay aside on your part”), in which case ἰησοῦ, not χριστῷ, is held to be used, because the man Jesus is set forth as pattern. Matthies likewise makes ἀποθέσθαι, depend on ἐδιδάχθητε, but annexes καθώς κ. τ. λ. as more precise definition to ἐν αὐτῷ: “in Him, as or in as far as the truth is in Jesus, as He is the truth.” So Castalio appears already to have taken it. But all these explanations break down in presence of the ὑμᾶς, which, if ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς belonged to ἐδιδάχθητε, would be quite inappropriate. In particular, it may be further urged (a) in opposition to Rückert, that according to his explanation the parenthesis καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ must logically have had its place already after τὸν χριστόν; (b) in opposition to Harless, that the alleged comparison of Jesus with the readers is at variance with the order of the words, since Paul must have written: καθὼς ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ ἀλήθειά ἐστιν, ὑμᾶς ἀποθέσθαι; (c) in opposition to Matthies, that καθὼς κ. τ. λ. does not stand beside ἐν αὐτῷ, and that ἀλήθεια must have had the article. De Wette explains it to this effect: In Jesus there is (as inherent quality, comp. John 8:44) truth (especially in a practical respect), consequently there is implied in the instructions concerning Him the principle and the necessity of moral change. But even thus we may expect, instead of ἀποθ. ὑμᾶς, merely the simple ἀποθέσθαι. Others have attached ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς to Ephesians 4:17, as continuation of the μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν κ. τ. λ. (Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, Zachariae; not Wetstein, who at Ephesians 4:22 merely says “respicit comma 17”), in which case καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθ. ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ is likewise differently understood.(238) But after the new commencement of the discourse ὑ΄εῖς δὲ οὐχ οὓτως, Ephesians 4:21, this is simply arbitrary and forced. Credner takes a peculiar view (Einl. II. p. 398 f.): “Ye have not thus learned to know the Messiah, provided that ye (as I am warranted in presupposing, for it is only to such that I write) have heard Him and have been instructed in Him, as He as truth (truly, really) is in Jesus.” Thus Paul is held to distinguish his readers from such Gentiles as, won over to faith in the near advent of the world’s Redeemer, had reckoned themselves as Christians, but without believing in Jesus as that Redeemer. But of such Gentiles there is not found any trace in the N.T. (the disciples of John, Acts 19:1 ff., are as such to be reckoned among the Jews); besides, there would lack any attachment for the following ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς, and in using ἀλήθεια (instead of ἐν ἀληθ. or ἀληθῶς) Paul would have expressed himself as enigmatically as possible. Lastly, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 291), without reason, wishes to attach ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ not to καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθ., but to what follows; the in itself quite general καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια stood in need of being characterized definitely as Christian, not the ἀποθέσθαι κ. τ. λ., as to which it was already implied in the nature of the case and was self-evident.


Verse 22

Ephesians 4:22. ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς] dependent on καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ. See on Ephesians 4:21. What is truth in Jesus, Paul states, not in general (to lay aside, etc.), but individualizingly in relation to the readers; that ye lay aside.(239) Michaelis and Flatt give the strangely erroneous rendering: to lay aside yourselves! In that case there would be wanting the main matter, the reflexive ἑαυτούς; and how alien to the N.T. such a form of conceiving self-denial! Luther and others are also incorrect in rendering: lay aside. It is not till Ephesians 4:25 that the direct summons comes in, and that in the usual form of the imperative, instead of which the infinitive (Winer, p. 282 f. [E. T. 397]), and with the accusative ὑμᾶς in addition (Matthiae, p. 1267), would be inappropriate. The figurative expression of laying aside is borrowed from the putting off clothing (comp. ἐνδύσασθαι, Ephesians 4:24), and in current use, as with Paul (Romans 13:12; Romans 13:14; Colossians 3:8 ff.; Galatians 3:27), so also with Greek writers (see Wetstein in loc.); hence there was the less reason for forcing on the context any more special reference, such as to the custom (at any rate, certainly later) of changing clothes at baptism (so Grotius).

κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφήν] is not to be explained, as if the words stood: τὸν παλ. ἄνθρ. τὸν κατὰ τὴν προτέροαν ἀναστρ. (Jerome, Oecumenius, Vorstius, Grotius, Raphel, Estius, Semler, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and others), but: that ye lay aside in respect of your former life-walk the old man, so that it expresses, in what respect, in reference to what the laying aside of the old man is spoken of. “Declarat vim verbi relationem habentis deponere,” Bengel. The Pauline παλ. ἄνθρ., ideally conceived of, is not injuriously affected, as de Wette thinks, in its internal truth by this recalling of the pre-Christian walk (as if the author had conceived of it empirically). The προτέρα ἀναστρ., in fact, concerns the whole moral nature of man before his conversion, and the ἀποθέσθαι τὸν παλ. ἄνθρ. affirms that the converted man is to retain nothing of his pre-Christian moral personality, but, as concerns the pre-Christian conduct of life, is utterly to do away with the old ethical individuality and to become the new man. Such a contrast, however, as Cornelius a Lapide (comp. Anselm) found: “non quoad naturam et substantiam,” would be in itself singular and foreign to the context.

As to ἀναστροφή, see on Galatians 1:13.

τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρ.] The pre-Christian moral frame(240) is represented as a person. See on Romans 6:6.

τὸν φθειρόμενον κ. τ. λ.] an attribute of the old man serving as a motive for that ἀποθέσθαι κ. τ. λ.: which is being destroyed according to the lusts of deception. φθειρόμενον is not to be explained of putrefaction (Michaelis), seeing that παλαιὸς ἄνθρ. is not equivalent to τὸ σῶμα, nor yet of inward moral corruption (Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen, Meier, Harless, and older expositors), or self-corruption (Schenkel), seeing that the moral corruption of the old man is obvious of itself and is already present, not merely coming into existence (present participle, which is not to be taken, with Bengel, as imperfect), but of eternal destruction (Galatians 6:8), in which case the present participle: which goes to ruin (comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:18), is to be taken either of the certain future realized as present, or of the destruction in the course of development (so Grotius: “qui tendit ad exitium”). The latter appears more appropriate to the contrast of τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα, Ephesians 4:24.

κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῦς ἀπάτης] τῆς ἀπάτης is genitive subjecti, and ἀπάτη is personified (comp. Hesiod. Theog. 224). Hence: in accordance with the lusts of deception, with which it has had designs on the corruption of the old man. What ἀπάτη is meant, cannot be doubtful according to the context, and according to the doctrine of the apostle as to the principle of sin in man, namely, the power of sin deceiving man (Romans 7:11). Comp. Hebrews 3:13, also 2 Corinthians 11:3. The adjectival resolution into cupiditates seducentes (Grotius), followed by many, is in itself arbitrary and not in keeping with the contrast in Ephesians 4:24 ( τῆς ἀληθείας).


Verse 23

Ephesians 4:23. Positive side of that which is truth in Jesus: that ye, on the other hand, become renewed in the spirit of your reason.

ἀνανεοῦσθαι] passive, not middle (renew yourselves, Luther), since the middle has an active sense (1 Maccabees 12:1; Thuc. v. 18, 43; Polyb. vii. 3. 1, and often). The renewal is God’s work through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1 f.; Titus 3:5), and without it one is no true Christian (Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:15), consequently there can be no mention of ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ. Respecting the distinction between ἀνανεόω (only here in the N.T.) and ἀνακαινόω, recentare and renovare, as also respecting ἀνα, which does not refer to the restitution of human nature, as it was before the fall, but denotes the recentare in reference to the previous (corrupt) state, see on Colossians 3:10.

τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν] The genitive is at any rate that of the subject; for instead of simply saying τῷ πνεύματι ὑμῶν,(241) Paul makes use of the more precise designation in the text. But the τῷ πνεύματι may be either instrumental or dative of reference. In the former case, however, we should, with Oecumenius, Castalio, and others, including Ch. F. Fritzsche in his Nov. Opusc. p. 244 f., and Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 28, have to understand the Holy Spirit, who has His seat in the νοῦς of the man on whom He is bestowed, and through whom (dative) the ἀνακαίνωσις τοῦ νοός, Romans 12:2, is effected, so that now the old ματαιότης of the νοῦς (Ephesians 4:17) no longer occurs, and the καινότης, which, on the other hand, has set in (Romans 4:4), is a καινότης τοῦ πνεύματος. Comp. Titus 3:5. But, in opposition to this view, we may urge, first, that the Holy Spirit bestowed on man is never in the N.T. designated in such a way that man appears as the subject of the Spirit (thus never: τὸ πνεῦμα ὑμῶν and the like, or as here: τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν); and secondly, that it was the object of the apostle to put forward the aspect of the moral self-activity of the Christian life, and hence, he had no occasion expressly to introduce the point, which, moreover, was obvious of itself: through the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, there remains as the right explanation only the usual one (dative of reference), according to which the πνεῦμα is the human spirit, different from the divine (Romans 8:16). Consequently: in respect of the spirit of your νοῦς, that is, of the spirit by which your νοῦς is governed. The πνεῦμα, namely, is the higher life-principle in man, the moral power akin to God in him, the seat of moral self-consciousness and of moral self-determination. This πνεῦμα, which forms the moral personality of man, the Ego of his higher ζωή turned towards God, has as the organ of its vital exercise—as the faculty of its moral operation—the νοῦς, that is, the reason in its ethical quality and activity (comp. on Romans 7:23), and puts the νοῦς(242) at the service of the divine will (Romans 7:25), in an assent to the moral practice of this divine will revealed in the law and a hatred of the contrary (Romans 7:14 ff.). But, since this Ego of the higher life, the substratum of the inward man—the πνεῦμα, in which the νοῦς has its support and its determining agent—is under the preponderant strength of the power of sin in the flesh non-free, bound, and weak, so that man under the fleshly-psychical influence of the natural character drawing him to sin becomes liable to the slavery of immoral habit, the πνεῦμα τοῦ νοός needed renewal unto moral freedom and might, which consecration of power it receives in regeneration by means of the Holy Spirit, in which case, however, even the regenerate has always to contend against the σάρξ still remaining in him, but contends victoriously under the guidance of the divine πνεῦμα (Galatians 5:16-18).


Verse 24

Ephesians 4:24. Observe the change of tenses. The laying aside of the old man is the negative commencement of the change, and hence is represented as a momentary act; the becoming renewed is an enduring process, the finishing act of which is the putting on of the new man, correlative to the ἀποθέσθαι,. Hence ἀποθέσθαι, aorist; ἀνανεοῦσθαι, present; ἐνδύσασθαι, aorist.

τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον] As previously the old immoral state is objectivized, and objectivized indeed as a person, so is it also here with the new Christian moral state. Thus this new habitus appears as the new man, which God has created ( κτισθέντα), but man appropriates for himself ( ἐνδύσασθαι), so that thus moral freedom is not annulled by God’s ethical creative action.

κτισθέντα] not present, but the new moral habitus of the Christian is set forth as the person created by God, which in the individual cases is not first constituted by growth, but is received, and then exhibits itself experimentally in the case of those who, according to the figurative expression of the passage, have put it on.

κατὰ θεόν] Comp. Colossians 3:10; not merely divinely, and that in contrast to human propagation (Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 289), but: according to God, i.e. ad exemplum Dei (Galatians 4:28). Thereby the creation of the new man is placed upon a parallel with that of our first parents (Genesis 1:27), who were created after God’s image ( κατʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος, Colossians 3:10); they, too, until through Adam sin came into existence, were as sinless ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας.(243)

ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ κ. τ. λ.] belongs to τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα, expressing the constitution of the new man created after God; furnished, provided with rectitude and holiness of the truth (on ἐν, see Matthiae, p. 1340). The truth is the opposite of the ἀπάτη, Ephesians 4:22 and like this personified. As in the old man the ἀπάτη pursues its work, so in the new man the ἀλήθεια, i.e. the Truth κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the divine evangelical truth, bears sway, and the moral effects of the truth, righteousness and holiness, appear here, where the truth is personified, as its attributes, which now show themselves in the new man who has been created. The resolving it into an adjective: true, not merely apparent, righteousness and holiness (Chrysostom, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, and most expositors), is arbitrary and tame. And to take ἐν instrumentally (Morus, Flatt) is erroneous, for the reason that righteousness and holiness form the ethical result of the creation of the new man; hence Beza, Koppe, and others thought that ἐν must be taken for εἰς. δικαιοσύνη and ὁσιότης (comp. Luke 1:75; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Titus 1:8) are distinguished so, that the latter places rectitude in itself ( δικαιοσύνη), in relation to God (sanctitas); τὸ μὲν τοῖς θεοῖς προσφιλὲς ὅσιον, Plat. Euth. p. 6 E. See Tittmann, Synon. p. 25, and the passages in Wetstein. With special frequency the two notions are associated in Plato.


Verse 25

Ephesians 4:25. On the ground of what was previously said ( διό), as application of ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ἰησοῦ ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κ. τ. λ. on to Ephesians 4:24, there now follow various special (not systematically arranged) exhortations as far as Ephesians 4:32.

That the encouragement to lay aside lying and to speak the truth stands at the head, appears to be occasioned simply by the last uttered τῆς ἀληθείας; and the figurative form of the precept ( ἀποθέμενοι) is an echo from what precedes. It is possible also, however, that the prohibitions of lying, wrath, stealing, as they are here given, had their concrete occasion with which we are not acquainted. The reasons which Zanchius, e.g., has discovered, are arbitrary. And Grotius says incorrectly: “Hoc adversus eos dicit, qui, ut gratias captarent aut Judaeorum aut gentium, alia dicebant, quam sentirent.” The subsequent ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλ. μέλη shows, in fact, that Paul has thought merely of the relation of fellowship of Christians one with another, and has meant μετὰ τοῦ πλησίου αὐτοῦ of the fellow-Christian, not of the fellowman generally (Jerome, Estius, Grotius, Michaelis, and others).

λαλεῖτεαὐτοῦ is a reminiscence from Zechariah 8:16.

ὅτι ἐσμὲν κ. τ. λ.] Motive (reminding them of Ephesians 4:12-16). Members one of another, and to lie one to another, how contradictory! Reciprocal membership is, in fact, a connection so intimate and vital, subsisting in constant mutual furtherance and rendering of service! “est enim monstrum, si membra inter se non consentiant, imo si fraudulenter inter se agant,” Calvin. Chrysostom shows at great length how the several members of the real body do not deceive one another, and Michaelis repeats it; but Paul says nothing of this.

ἀλλήλ. μέλη] members of each other, mutually the one of the other. The same conception is met with Romans 12:5, and is not inaccurate (Rückert), since, indeed, in the body of Christ, even as in the physical body, no member exists for itself, but each belonging to each, in mutual union with the other members, 1 Corinthians 12:15 ff.


Verse 26-27

Ephesians 4:26-27. See Zyro in the Stud. u. Krit. 1841, p. 681 ff.

ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε] a precept expressed literally after the LXX. Psalms 4:5, as to which it must be left undetermined whether Paul understood the original text(244) as the LXX. did, or chose this form only in recollection of the LXX., without attending to the original text. To the right understanding of the sense (which Paul would have expressed by ὀργιζό΄ενοι ΄ὴ ἁ΄αρτάνετε, or something similar, if that definite form of expression in the LXX. had not presented itself to him) the observation of Bengel guides us: “Saepe vis modi cadit super partem duntaxat sermonis, Jeremiah 10:24” (comp. also Isaiah 12:1; Matthew 11:25; and see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 249 f. [E. T. 290]). Here, namely, the vis modi lies upon the second imperative (comp. passages like John 1:47; John 7:52): be angry and sin not, i.e. in anger do not fall into transgression; so that Paul forbids the combination of the ἁμαρτάνειν with the ὀργίζεσθαι. Comp. Matthies: “In the being angry let it not come to sin;” Harless: “Be angry in the right way, without your sinning.”(245) Paul, therefore, does not forbid the ὀργίζεσθαι in itself, and could not forbid it, because there is (see Wuttke, Sittenl. II. § 243) a holy anger,(246) which is “calcar virtutis” (Seneca, de ira, iii. 3), as there is also a divine anger; the ὀργίζεσθαι καὶ ἁμαρτάνειν, however; is not to take place, but, on the contrary, the ὀργίζεσθαι is to be without sin, consequently an ὀργίζεσθαι καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνειν. As regards the substantial sense, the same result is brought out with the usual explanation, but it is usually believed (and already in the Constitutt. Apost. ii. 53. 2, the passage of the Psalm is so taken) that the imperative may be resolved conditionaliter in accordance with Hebrew usage: if ye are angry, do not sin (Isaiah 8:9 f.; Amos 5:4; Amos 5:6, al.). So also Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Holzhausen, Meier, Olshausen, Zyro, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek. But the combination of two imperatives connected by and, like: do this, and live, Genesis 42:18, comp. Isaiah 8:9, and similar passages,—a combination, moreover, which is not a Hebraism, but a general idiom of language (comp. divide et impera),—is not at all in point here, because it would lead to the in this case absurd analysis: “if ye are angry, ye shall not sin.” Winer, p. 279 [E. T. 391 f.], allows the taking of the first imperative in a permissive sense; comp. Krüger, § 54, 4. 2. In this way we should obtain as result: “be angry (I cannot hinder it), but only do not sin.” So also de Wette. No doubt a permission of anger, because subsequently καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτ. follows, would not be in conflict with Ephesians 4:31, where manifestly all hostile anger is forbidden; but the mere καί is only logically correct when both imperatives are thought of in the same sense, not the former as permitting and the latter as enjoining, in which case the combination becomes exceptive (“only, however”), which would be expressed by ἀλλά, πλήν, or μόνον.(247) Beza, Piscator, Grotius, and others take ὀργίζ. interrogatively:irascimini? et ne peccate.” Against this we cannot urge—the objection usually taken since the time of Wolf—the καί, which often in rapid emotion strikes in with some summons (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 148); but we may urge the fact that Paul reproduces a passage of the LXX. (which, it is true, is quite arbitrarily denied by Beza and Koppe) in which ὀργίζ. is imperative, and that such an abrupt and impassioned question and answer would not be in keeping with the whole calm and sober tone of the discourse.

μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε] forbids every kind of sinning, to which anger may lead. Zyro, after Neander, would limit it to the hostile relation towards others, which, however, is purely a supplied thought ( εἰς τὸν πλησίον, or the like).

ἥλιος διαβόλῳ] not included as belonging to the words of the Psalm, states in what way the given precept is to be carried out; namely, (1) the irritation must be laid aside on the same day, and (2) no scope may therein be given to the devil.

ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω κ. τ. λ.] Comp. Deuteronomy 24:13; Deuteronomy 24:15; Jeremiah 15:9; Philo, de Legg. Spec. II. p. 324. On the citation of these words in Polyc. Phil. 12, see Introd. § 3. The ἐπιδυέτω is to be taken: go down over your irritation. Comp. also Hom. Il. ii. 413, and Faesi in loc. (Nägelsbach in loc. takes another view). That the night is here conceived of as the nurse of wrath (Fathers in Suicer, I. p. 1323; Bengel, and others), or that the eventide of prayer is thought of (Baumgarten), is arbitrarily assumed. Jerome and Augustine interpreted it even of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, and Lombard of the sun of reason! The meaning of these words, to be taken quite literally (comp. the custom of the Pythagoreans: εἴποτε προαχθεῖεν εἰς λοιδορίας ὑπʼ ὀργῆς, πρὶν τὸν ἥλιον δύναι τὰς δεξιὰς ἐμβάλλοντες ἀλλήλοις καὶ ἀσπασάμενοι διελύοντο, Plut. de am. frat. p. 488 B), is no other than: before evening let your irritation be over, by which the very speedy, undelayed abandoning of anger is concretely represented.

παροργισμός is the arousing of wrath, exacerbatio, from which ὀργή, as a lasting mood, is different. Comp. LXX. 1 Kings 15:30, al. In the Greek writers the word does not occur. We may add that Zanchius and Holzhausen are mistaken in holding the παρά in the word to indicate unrighteous irritation. See, on the other hand, e.g. Romans 10:19; Ezekiel 32:9. It denotes the excitement brought upon us.

μηδέ] nor yet, for the annexation of a new clause falling to be added. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 210. The Recepta μήτε would so place the two prohibitions side by side, that they ought properly to be connected by neither … nor ( μήτεμήτε), but that Paul had not yet thought of this in the first clause, but had written the simple ΄ή, and had only at the second clause changed the conception into such a form as if he had previously written ΄ήτε (comp. our: not … nor). This usage is met with (in opposition to Elmsley) also in classical writers, although more rarely (see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 709; Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 8. 3, p. 303, Lips.; Maetzn. ad Antiph. p. 195 f.), but not elsewhere in Paul, and hence is not probable here.

δίδοτε τόπον] i.e. give scope, opportunity for being active. See on Romans 12:19.

τῷ διαβόλῳ] to the devil; for he is denoted by διάβολος in all passages of the N.T., where it is not an adjective (1 Timothy 3:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3), even in 1 Timothy 3:6; John 6:70. Hence Erasmus (not in the Paraphr.), Luther, Erasmus Schmid, Michaelis, Zachariae, Moras, Stolz, Flatt, and others (Koppe is undecided) are in error in holding that διάβολος is here equivalent to calumniator; in which view Erasmus thought of the heathen slandering the Christians, to whom they were to furnish no material; and most expositors thought of the tale-bearers nursing disputes, to whom they were not to lend an ear. In an irritated frame of mind passion easily gains the ascendancy over sobriety and watchfulness, and that physical condition is favourable to the devil for his work of seducing into everything that is opposed to God. Comp. 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11 ff. Harless refers the danger on the part of the devil to the corruption of the church-life (comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.), the fellowship of which, in the absence of placability, is rent by the devil. But this, as not implied in the context, must have been said by an addition ( ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, or the like, after τόπον).

The name διάβολος does not occur elsewhere in the undoubtedly genuine Epistles of the apostle; but this, considering the equally general currency of the two names devil and Satan, may be accidental Comp. also Acts 13:10. We may add that the citation of the Clementines (Hom. xix. 2): μὴ δότε πρόφασιν τῷ πονηρῷ, has nothing to do with our passage (in opposition to Schwegler, l.c. p. 394 f.).

πλήν, not καί, is used.


Verse 28

Ephesians 4:28. The stealer is no more to steal. The present participle does not stand pro praeterito (Luther, Erasmus, Grotius, and most of the older expositors, following the Vulgate), but: he who occupies himself with stealing. The right view is already taken by Zanchius; see also Winer, p. 316 [E. T. 444]. As there were in the apostolic church fornicators (1 Corinthians 5:1), so were there also stealers,(248) and the attempts to tone down the notion are just as arbitrary as they are superfluous.(249) The question why Paul does not mention restitution (Luke 19:8; Exodus 22; Leviticus 6; Isaiah 58:6; Ezekiel 33:15; Plato, Legg. ix. p. 864 D f.) is not, with Estius, to be answered to the effect, that it is contained in μηκέτι κλεπτέτω;(250) but to the effect, that Paul’s design was not to give any complete instruction on the point of stealing, but only to inculcate the prohibition of the same and the obligation of the opposite (which, moreover, has restitution for its self-evident moral presupposition). The whole exhortation in this form has, indeed, been regarded as inappropriate, because not in keeping with the apostolic strictness (see de Wette), but we have to observe, on the other hand, that Paul elsewhere too contents himself with simple prohibitions and commands (see e.g. Romans 13:13 f.), and that the apostolic strictness follows in the sequel (Ephesians 5:5).

μᾶλλον δέ] rather on the other hand, imo vero, enhancing in a corrective sense the merely negative μηκέτι κλεπτ. See on Galatians 4:9.

κοπίατω κ. τ. λ.] let him labour, in that he works with his hands that which is good; in that, by the activity of his hands (instead of his thievish practices), he brings about that which belongs to the category of the morally good. Bengel well says: “ τὸ ἀγαθόν antitheton ad furtum prius manu piceata male commissum.”

ἵνα ἔχῃ κ. τ. λ.] The view of Schoettgen, that this applies to the Jewish opinion of the allowableness of theft serving for the support of the poor (Jalk. Rubeni, f. 110, 4; Vajikra rabba, f. 147, 1), is indeed repeated by Koppe (comp. Stolz) and Holzhausen, but is—considering the general nature of the κλέπτ. μηκέτι κλεπτ., addressed, moreover, to readers mostly Gentile-Christian—not expressed in the words, which rather quite simply oppose to the forbidden taking the giving according to duty.

τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι] to the one having need, namely, that there may be imparted to him. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:24; Mark 2:25; 1 John 3:17; Plat. Legg. vi. p. 783 C, xii. p. 965 B.


Verse 29

Ephesians 4:29. After the three definite exhortations, Ephesians 4:25-26; Ephesians 4:28, now follow more general and comprehensive ones.

πᾶς λόγοςμὴ ἐκπορ.] The negation is not to be separated from the verb. With regard to every evil discourse, it is enjoined that it shall not go forth, etc. See Fritzsche, Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 24 ff.

σαπρός] corrupt; in the ethical sense: worthless ( μὴ τὴν ἰδίαν χρείαν πληροῖ, Chrysostom), pravus; opposite: ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας. See, in general, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 377 f.; Kypke, II. p. 297 f.

ἀλλʼ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκ. τ. χρ.] but if there is any (discourse) good for the edification of the need, sc., let it proceed from your mouth. On ἀγαθός with εἰς, πρός (Plat. Rep. vii. p. 522 A, and Stallbaum in loc.), or infinitive, denoting aptitude or serviceableness for anything, see Kypke, II. p. 298.

πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας does not stand by hypallage for εἰς χρείαν τῆς οἰκοδομῆς (Beza), but τῆς χρείας is genitive objecti; it is the need just present, upon which the edifying (Christianly helpful) influence of the discourse is to act. Rückert and Olshausen take χρεία for οἱ χρείαν ἔχοντες. Arbitrarily and to the disturbance of the sense, since in fact every one has need of edification, consequently τῆς χρείας would convey nothing at all characteristic, no modal definition of ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομ.

ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσι] aim of the ἐκπορ. ἐκ τ. στ. ὑμ., previously conceived as supplied: in order that it (this discourse) may bestow grace, i.e. benefit, on the hearers, may bring blessing for them. Opposite of such discourses: 2 Timothy 2:14. Theodoret ( ἵνα φανῇ δεκτὸς τοῖς ἀκ.), Luther, Calovius, Raphel, Kypke, Zachariae, Michaelis, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and others, including Rückert, Meier, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius: in order that it may afford pleasure, be agreeable, to the hearers. Comp. also Chrysostom, who compares the discourse to a fragrant ointment. But, apart from the fact that discourses, which are good πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας, cannot always be agreeable (1 Corinthians 7:8 ff.), this interpretation is opposed to linguistic usage, according to which χάριν δίδωμι always signifies gratificari, to confer a kindness, to show a service of love, or the like (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Exodus 3:21; Psalms 84:12 (11); Tobit 1:13; Soph. Aj. 1333; Plat. Legg. iii. p. 702 C also in the passages adduced by Wetstein and Kypke).


Verse 30

Ephesians 4:30. Connected by καί with what precedes; hence not, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, to be separated by a full stop from Ephesians 4:29, by which there would result an exhortation too indefinite in the connection.

And grieve not (which would take place by means of λόγοι σαπροί) the Holy Spirit of God. Evil discourses are so opposed to the holy nature and aim of the Divine Spirit, who dwells in the Christians, that He cannot fail to be grieved thereat. Comp. Hermas, ii. 10. 3, as also ii. Ephesians 3 : μὴ θλῖβε τὸ πνεῦμα ἅγιον τὸ ἐν σοὶ κατοικοῦν, μήποτε ἐντεύξηται τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἀποστῇ ἀπὸ σοῦ. An anthropopathic conception of the consciousness, with which the Spirit of God is holily affected, of the incongruity of human action with His holiness; but how truly and touchingly in keeping with the idea of the love of God, which bears sway in His Spirit (Romans 5:5)! The man becomes conscious of this grieving of the divine πνεῦμα, when he, who has become through the atonement and sanctification the dwelling-place of the Spirit, no longer receives from this Spirit the testimony that he is the child of God (Romans 8:16). The chosen expression, “the Holy Spirit of God,” renders the enormity of such action most palpable. An allusion, we may add, to Isaiah 63:10 is not to be assumed, since in that passage the παροξύνειν of the Spirit is characteristic.

ἐν ἐσφραγ. εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρ.] furnishes motive for the exhortation: for if ye have received so great a benefit through the Holy Spirit, how wrong (ungrateful) is it the possibility of losing the seal here hinted at. But to this μὴ λυπεῖτε points less naturally than μὴ παροξύνετε (Isaiah 63:10) would point to it.

ἐσφραγ.] quite as at Ephesians 1:13.

εἰς ἡμέρ. ἀπολυτρ.] for the day of redemption; when at the Parousia the certainty of the deliverance unto salvation, indicated by ἐσφραγ., becomes reality. As to ἀπολύτρωσις, comp. on Ephesians 1:14; Luke 21:28; also Romans 8:23.


Verse 31-32

Ephesians 4:31-32. πικρία] Bitterness, i.e. fretting spitefulness, Acts 8:23; James 3:14. See Wetstein, ad Rom. iii. 14; Loesner, Obss. p. 344 f.; Wyttenbach, ad Plut. Mor. VI. p. 1033.

As to the distinction between θυμός (ebullition of anger) and ὀργή, see on Romans 2:8; Galatians 5:20. The context shows, we may add, that here loveless and hostile anger is meant: hence there is no inconsistency with Ephesians 4:26.

κραυγή] clamour, in which hostile passion breaks out, Acts 23:9.(251)

βλασφη΄ία] not: “verba, quae Dei honorem … laedunt,” Grotius; but, in accordance with the context, evil-speaking against the brethren, comp. Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4; Matthew 12:31; Matthew 15:19.

κακία] is here not badness in general, vitiositas (Cic. Tusc. iv. 15. 34), but, in harmony with the connection, the special spitle, malice, Romans 1:29; Colossians 3:8. This is the leaven of the πικρία κ. τ. λ.

γίνεσθε] not be, but become, in keeping with the ἀρθήτω ἀφʼ ὑμῶν.

χρηστοί] kind, Colossians 3:12. See Tittmann, Synon. pp. 140, 195. The conjecture that the word contains an allusion to the name Christians (Olshausen), is an arbitrary fancy.

εὔσπλαγχνοι] compassionate. Comp. Manass. 6; 1 Peter 3:8, and the passages from the Test. XII. Patr. in Kypke.

χαριζόμενοι] forgiving, 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 12:13. The explanation donantes (Vulgate), largientes (Erasmus), is not in keeping with the context.

ἑαυτοῖς] equivalent to ἀλλήλοις. See on Colossians 3:12.

καθὼς καὶ θεὸς κ. τ. λ.] Motive to the χαριζ. ἑαυτ., from their own experience of the archetypal conduct of God. Matthew 6:14; Matthew 18:21 ff.

ἐν χριστῷ] in Christ, in whose self-surrender to the death of atonement the act of the divine forgiveness was accomplished, Ephesians 1:6 f.; 2 Corinthians 5:19.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-4.html. 1832.


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