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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Ephesians 2

 

 

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Verse 1

Ephesians 2:1. καὶ ὑμᾶς, and you) This is very closely connected with He wrought in ch. Ephesians 1:20. You is construed with hath quickened together ( συνεζωοποίησεν), Ephesians 2:5.— ὑμᾶς ὄντας, you when you were) as there is found when we were, in Ephesians 2:5. The former word, in both cases respectively, is emphatic;(19) as Philippians 2:7, note.— νεκροὺς, dead) What can be more wretched?— τοῖς παραπτώμασι) Although the genuine ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις intervenes, we must refer to the παραπτώμασι the neuter οἷς, in which, Ephesians 2:3 : comp. [ τοῖς διωγμοῖς, τοῖς παθήμασιν] οἷς, οἵους [ διωγμούς], 2 Timothy 3:11, where the gender is in like manner twofold.— ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις, in sins) Refer to this word αἷς, in which, Ephesians 2:2. αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, sins, are chiefly applied to the Gentiles, who are ignorant of God: τὰ παραπτώματα, trespasses, to the Jews, who have the law,(20) and yet revolt from the light; Ephesians 2:5. Moreover the latter obeyed the flesh; the former, the prince of the power of the air; see following verses.


Verse 2

Ephesians 2:2. κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου) αἰὼν and κόσμος differ;(21), 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:18-19. The former regulates the latter, and in a manner gives it form: κόσμος is something more external; αἰὼν something more subtle and internal in its character. Time is spoken of not only physically, but also morally, there being included in its signification [in the notion of it] the character of the men who live in it; and so αἰὼν applies to a long series of times, in which one bad age follows another bad age; comp. Acts 14:16; 1 Peter 1:18.— κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα, according to the prince) Thus the fact becomes more expressly represented and realized. All men are sensible of the existence of the world; but they are not aware that this prince lurks beneath it; ch. Ephesians 6:11-12 : comp. John 12:31.— τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέπος, of the power of the air) This power is widely diffused and penetrating: comp. Job 1:15, etc.; but yet it does not reach [it is beneath] the sphere of believers, Ephesians 2:6; 1 John 5:18. See Buxt. Dict. Rabb., col. 1495. Even the celestial orbs themselves are various. Christ however is superior to Satan, although the latter also holds himself [keeps a position] in heavenly places; Ephesians 6:12 [ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, in the heavenlies, Engl. Vers., in high places].— τοῦ πνεύματος, the spirit) In apposition to τῆς ἐξουσίας, τοῦ πνέυματος. Here the prince himself is not called a spirit: but the spirit in this passage is that internal principle, from which the actions of unbelievers flow, and is opposed to the spirit of the believing sons of God: comp. Luke 4:33.— νῦν, now) in the present day; or rather, [that] now most of all; for he does not say, still, or as yet, but now. Those who despise the Gospel through disbelief, remain the slaves of that spirit, and are more and more captivated by him. Express mention of Satan is principally made in the description of the state of the Gentiles; Acts 26:18.— ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας, in the children of disobedience or disbelief) Disobedience, or disbelief, in regard to the Gospel, shows of itself how powerful that spirit is. Akin to this is the phrase, children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3. Wrath abides upon unbelievers, John 3:36.


Verse 3

Ephesians 2:3. καὶ ἡμεῖς) we also, viz. Jews. In the last times of the Old Testament sin had greatly prevailed, even among the Jews, in order that grace might more abound; Romans 5:6; Romans 5:20; Titus 3:3; Luke 1:17; Luke 1:79; Matthew 4:16.— ἀνεστράφημεν, we were conversant [had our conversation or way of life]) This is somewhat more specious(22) [outwardly decorous] than to walk, Ephesians 2:2. τῆς σαρκὸς, of the flesh) without the Spirit of God.— τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν, of the flesh and of the thoughts) The thoughts imply the more subtle and practised purpose of sinning; the flesh rushes on with a blind impetuosity [impulse].— φύσει, by nature) Nature denotes the state of man without the grace of God in Christ. We owe this to our nature [although we have been Jews, Isaiah 1:13.—V. g.], that we are the children of wrath.— ὀργῆς, of wrath) whilst we all the time thought that we were the children of God. The antithesis is in Ephesians 2:4.— οἱ λοιποὶ) 1 Thessalonians 4:13 : the others, who do not believe, or at least not yet.


Verse 4

Ephesians 2:4. πλούσιος, rich) “over all,” Romans 10:12.— ἐλέειἀγάπην, in mercy—love) Mercy takes away misery; love confers salvation.


Verse 5

Ephesians 2:5. καὶ, even) This is connected with you, when you were, Ephesians 2:1.— ἡμᾶς, us) both, Jews and Gentiles.— συνεζωοποίησε τῷ χριστῷ· χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι, hath quickened together with Christ; by grace ye are saved) Quickening precedes the “raising up” [Ephesians 2:6], and ch. Ephesians 1:20; the raising up presupposes life. We were made alive at the time when Christ was made alive; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:15, concerning the death of Christ, and so of the other steps. But when faith is received, all those things are applied to man by God, and they are considered as ratified by man. The apostle, enumerating this very order of salvation, shows that grace is the beginning and the end [proram et puppim] in this and in the eighth verse, and sometimes he uses indiscriminately the first and second person, on account of the equal footing of the Jews and Gentiles.— τῷ χριστῷ, together with Christ) Hence He is the fountain-head, Ephesians 2:6-10.


Verse 6

Ephesians 2:6. συνεκάθισεν, made us sit together) Believers are already spiritually raised; they will be raised in the body; and to each of the two resurrections the sitting in heavenly places corresponds. They are not, indeed, present in heaven in the body, but they are so in point of right, and virtually in the spirit, and they have individually a seat expressly assigned to them, which is to be taken possession of at the proper time. They are for a while hidden in God; Colossians 3:3.— ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, in the heavenlies) He does not say, on the right hand. To Christ this is left as His own peculiar pre-eminence [prerogative].— χριστῷ ἰησοῦ, in Christ Jesus) In this sublime discourse, especially, Paul calls Him Christ Jesus; oftener on other occasions, Jesus Christ.


Verse 7

Ephesians 2:7. ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις, in the ages to come) The plural, in opposition to the one bad age [ τὸν αἰῶνα τούτου κόσμου], Ephesians 2:2, which blessed ages effectually succeed [upon which the blessed ages come unexpectedly with power]. This expression is in accordance with Paul’s idea regarding the last day, the approach of which he believed not to be immediate [2 Thessalonians 2:2].— ὑπερβάλλοντα, the exceeding) Romans 5:20.


Verse 8

Ephesians 2:8. τῃχάριτι) τῇ has a relative meaning, in reference to Ephesians 2:5, χάριτι.— γὰρ, for) He does not say, therefore, but for, because he concludes [infers] from the effect to the cause.— διὰ τῆς πίστεως, by faith) which arises from the resurrection of Christ, chap. Ephesians 1:19,(23) [whence it is not at all mentioned in Ephesians 2:5, but for the first time in Ephesians 2:8. See Colossians 2:12.—V. g.] The antithesis is, not of works; an antithesis of the same kind as that between grace and boasting [“lest any man should boast”].— καὶ τοῦτο) and this, namely, believing, or faith, is not of yourselves. The antithesis is: this is the gift of God alone.


Verse 10

Ephesians 2:10. αὐτοῦ, of Him) of God.— γὰρ, for) He proves, that salvation is by faith, not of works, and that faith itself is entirely of the gift of God.— ποίημα, workmanship) The word rarely occurs in this sense, and its force is increased by the κτισθέντες, created; comp. Ephesians 2:15, [“to make,” or “create, in Himself of twain one new man”], made spiritually out of nothing. We are elsewhere said to be regenerated. Nothing produces nothing. Believers of after ages are not only עם נולד, a people born, Ps. 22:32 (Psalms 22:31 ), but also נברא, a people created, Psalms 102:19 (Psalms 102:18).— ἐπὶ) for the sake of good works; so that thenceforth at last we should devote ourselves to them.(24) On that ground, Paul never calls the works of the law good.— οἷς) οἷςἐν αὐτοῖς, אשר בהם, for ἐν οἷς, in which.— προητοίμασεν) The πρὸ ascribes the whole matter to God. ἡτοίμασεν is used as a neuter verb with great force, LXX., 2 Chronicles 1:4, ὅτι ἡτοίμασεν αὐτῇ δαυίδ, because David made preparation for it. So ὥστε ἑτοι΄άσαι αὐτῷ, so as to make ready for Him, Luke 9:52. God hath so prepared.(25) [Grace, therefore, with (as well as) salvation, precedes works.—V. g.]— περιπατήσωμεν, that we should walk) not, that we should be saved, or, we should live.


Verse 11

Ephesians 2:11. ΄νημονεύετε, remember) Such remembrance sharpens gratitude and strengthens faith, Ephesians 2:19.— τὰ ἔθνη) הגוים, the Gentiles. ἐν σαρκὶ, in the flesh) Paul purposely joins this expression with Gentiles, for the Jews simply called the Gentiles the uncircumcision, not the uncircumcision in the flesh.— οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία, who are called uncircumcision) intended as a great insult to you. The word called, masc. and neut. ( λεγόμενοι, λεγομένης), applied to the uncircumcision and the circumcision, shows that these words are no longer in use, since the distinction is taken away.— λεγομένης, called) This word is construed with the circumcision, apart from the epithet, in the flesh made by hands.(26) And the circumcision is used in the concrete for the people circumcised; in the flesh made by hands, in the abstract.


Verse 12

Ephesians 2:12. ὅτι, that) On this word, you were [Ephesians 2:12], and you are made [Ephesians 2:13], depend; but the particle is repeated from Ephesians 2:11.— χωρὶς, without) The antithesis is in Christ, Ephesians 2:13. Their misery is detailed under these three heads: without, and strangers—and without God [ ἄθεοι, atheists]: you were without Christ, without the Holy Spirit, without God; comp. Ephesians 2:18 and the following verses; ch. Ephesians 3:6, Ephesians 4:4-5, notes.— χωρὶς χριστοῦ, without Christ) He proves this in the following clause, being alienated from ( ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι); nor does he say, aliens ( ἀλλότριοι):(27) comp. note at Ephesians 4:18.— τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ ἰσραὴλ, from the polity of Israel) The whole commonwealth of Israel had respect to Christ.— καὶ ξένοι, and strangers) destitute of share in.— τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, the covenants of promise) God, the gift of Christ being presupposed, had above all promised the Holy Spirit; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 3:14, note; Luke 24:49; Acts 2; and the covenants had been subservient to that promise, Romans 9:4. This clause is proved by the following, having no hope; for if they had had a promise, they would have had the hope corresponding to it; but they had no hope; and therefore they had not even a promise.— ἄθεοι, atheists) They had not come to the fixed opinion, that there were no gods; for they had even Diana and Jupiter, Acts 19:35 : but, so far were they from having the true God, 1 Thessalonians 4:5, they were even ignorant of Him, who He was. He says first, you were out of [without] Christ; afterwards he infers, you were without God.— ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, in the world) Paul proves the latter also, that they were without God; and he does so on the ground, that they wandered in the world, which is wide (2 Corinthians 1:12), and vain (Luke 12:30; John 1:10, at the end), serving the creatures, enjoying the things, that perish, removed far off [from God].


Verse 13

Ephesians 2:13. ΄ακρὰν) far off from the people of God, and from God, Ephesians 2:17, note.— αἵματι, by the blood) ch. Ephesians 1:7.


Verse 14

Ephesians 2:14. αὐτὸς) He.(28) We have here Emphasis.(29) εἰρήνη) peace, not merely, the peace-maker; for at the cost of Himself He procured peace, and He Himself is the bond of both (Israel and the Gentiles).— ) Apposition: Peace; He who hath made, etc. A remarkable saying, Ephesians 2:14-18. He imitates poetry [canticum, a song of joy] by the very tenor of the words, and almost by the rhythm.—We have a description—( α.) the union of the Gentiles with Israel, Ephesians 2:14-15; and then ( β.) the union of the Gentiles and Israel, as now one man, with God, Ephesians 2:15, middle of verse—Ephesians 2:18. The description of each is subdivided into two parts, so that the first may correspond to the first, concerning the enmity that has been taken away; the second to the second, concerning the ordinances of the Gospel.τὰ ἀμφότερα, both) The neuter for the masculine, Ephesians 2:18 [ οἱ ἀμφότεροι], properly, because ἓν, one [neuter], follows.— μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ, the partition wall of the fence [the middle wall of partition]) It is called τοῖχος, a wall, because the separating space between [Jews and Gentiles] was very strongly fortified; φραγμὸς, a fence, because it is easily removed at the proper time. The partition wall separates houses; the fence separates tracks of land; comp. Ephesians 2:19.(30) Therefore the distinction between circumcision and uncircumcision is hinted at. The very structure of the temple of Jerusalem was in conformity with it. The wall and the fence prevent an entrance; and the Gentiles were prevented from entering, inasmuch as they were not permitted to approach so near as the Israelites, even as those who were in the humblest rank.— λύσας, who hath broken down) Who hath broken down—who hath abolished, and not being repeated, very closely cohere. This short clause, and hath broken down, is explained in Ephesians 2:15, in the first half of the verse; He hath abolished the enmity in His flesh; comp. Ephesians 2:16, at the end. The law of commandments, which was properly adapted to the Israelites, He hath abolished, in the universal ordinances of grace;(31) comp. Ephesians 2:17, at the beginning of the verse.


Verse 15

Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν, enmity) The Jews held the Gentiles in abomination; the Gentiles treated the Jews with scorn on account of circumcision, the Sabbath, etc.— ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in His flesh) So, in one body, Ephesians 2:16, [i.e. by His suffering and death.—V. g.]— τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν) the law of commandments, viz. ceremonial.— ἐν δόγμασι, in ordinances, in decrees) belonging to the Gospel, by which mercy was set forth to all, Colossians 2:14, note. [See the same words with the very same meaning, Acts 16:4; Acts 15:28.—V. g.]— καταργήσας, having abolished) Each ἐν [ ἐν δόγμασιν and ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ] is construed, as we have already intimated, with this participle. Christ abolished, by His flesh, the enmity; [He abolished] the law of commandments by spreading over the whole world the ordinances of the Gospel. But if the expression, in ordinances, belonged to ἐντολῶν, of commandments, the expression, in His flesh, would not have been placed before, but after it. It is written, as it were, in the style of a lapidary [stilo lapidari].(32)

τὴν ἔχθραν, the enmity,

ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in his flesh;

τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν, the law of commandments,

ἐν δόγμασιν, in ordinances,

καταργήσας, having abolished.

τοὺς δύο, the two) He elegantly omits men; for formerly they had scarcely maintained the name of men. The two, who were Jew and Greek.— καινὸν, new) by taking away the oldness of the letter.— ποιῶν, making) The participle making depends on the verb, might create ( κτίσῃ); and having slain depends on might reconcile: each of them has the power of explaining, which is derived from what immediately precedes.— εἰρήνην, peace) This peace-making precedes its publication, Ephesians 2:17.


Verse 16

Ephesians 2:16. ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι, in one body) fixed to the cross. To this is to be referred in (by) one spirit, Ephesians 2:18; comp. Ephesians 4:4.— ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν, having slain the enmity) By His death, He slew the enmity against God Himself.— ἐν αὐτῷ) in Him, viz. in His body.(33) Comp. what goes before.


Verse 17

Ephesians 2:17. ἐλθὼν, having come) from death, from His descent into hell, and from His resurrection, He, Himself a joyful conqueror, spontaneously(34) preached. A remarkable expression; 2 Timothy 1:10; John 14:18.— εὐηγγελίσατο, preached) The verb for the participle; comp. ποιήσας, Ephesians 2:14. He announced peace with His own mouth to the apostles, Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26; and by them to others.— εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν, κ. τ. λ.) Acts 2:39, note.— καὶ τοῖς) There is great elegance in mentioning εἰρήνην, peace, only once in this passage. The peace of both is undivided.


Verse 18

Ephesians 2:18. ὅτι, because)— πρὸς τὸν πατέρα) to the Father, as to [our] Father. In this verse mention is made of Christ, of the Spirit, of the Father, in the same order in which Christ, the Spirit of promise, and God, are referred to at Ephesians 2:12; [comp. ch. Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:5]. In a different order [the Three Divine Persons are mentioned] in Revelation 1:4-5.


Verse 19

Ephesians 2:19. οὐκέτι, no longer) Antithetic to their former state.— ξένοι, strangers) Its opposite is citizens, a metaphor derived from a city or state.— πάροικοι, foreigners [‘inquilini,’ sojourners in the city, from a foreign state]) Its opposite is, domestics [home-born members of the household]: the metaphor is taken from a house.— τῶν ἁγίων, of the saints) [the holy commonwealth] of Israel, Ephesians 2:12; comp. Ephesians 3:18.— τοῦ θεοῦ, of God) Again the Holy Trinity is indicated, Ephesians 2:19 [God], 20 [Jesus Christ], 22 [the Spirit].


Verse 20

Ephesians 2:20. ἐποικοδομηθέντες, built upon) A phrase frequent with Paul, writing to the Ephesians, Ephesians 3:18, (comp. Acts 20:32); and to Timothy, bishop of Ephesus, a metaphor taken from architecture; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19.— ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ, on the foundation) As the foundation supports the whole building, so the testimony of the apostles and prophets is the substruction or support of the faith of all believers; by them the foundation was laid; Christ Jesus is here said to be the head of the corner. The same Person is spoken of as the very foundation, 1 Corinthians 3:11.— καὶ προφητῶν, and prophets) Prophets of the New Testament, who are next to the apostles; Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 3:5.— ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου αὐτοῦ, being chief corner stone of it) Paul briefly indicates the passage in Isaiah 28:16, as very well known; comp. 1 Peter 2:6, note. Christ Jesus is the chief corner stone of the foundation. The participle ὄντος, at the beginning of this clause, is strongly demonstrative in the present tense. The pronoun αὐτοῦ is to be referred to θεμελίῳ;(35) for if it were construed with χριστοῦ, it would be in this form: αὐτοῦ του(36) χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, as we read αὐτὸς ἰωάννης, κ. τ. λ., with the article,(37), Matthew 3:4; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:23; Luke 24:15; Luke 24:36; John 2:24; John 4:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14.


Verse 21

Ephesians 2:21. ἐν , in whom) In Christ. This, by Anaphora [repetition to mark beginnings], is repeated in the following verse.— συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει, fitly framed together, groweth) Words that have relation to a living mass, ch. Ephesians 3:18, note; and 1 Peter 2:5. So συναρμολογούμενον, fitly joined together, ch. Ephesians 4:16.(38) So the branch and the house are combined, Zechariah 6:12.— ναὸν, a temple) It is a house, and that too a holy house, to which the temple of Diana of Ephesus must yield.— ἅγιον, holy) i.e. of God, Ephesians 2:22 [which answers to ἅγιον, Ephesians 2:21].— ἐν κυρίῳ, in the Lord) in Christ. To this expression [Ephesians 2:21], the words, [through or] in the Spirit, correspond in Ephesians 2:22. So also ch. Ephesians 3:17; Ephesians 3:16.

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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/ephesians-2.html. 1897.


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