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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Ephesians 5

 

 

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Verse 1

Ephesians 5:1. ΄ιμηταὶ, imitators) in forgiving (comp. the verse above, ch. Ephesians 4:32), and in loving; for beloved ( τέκνα ἀγαπητά, beloved children) follows. O how much more glorious and blessed is it to be an imitator of God, than of Homer, Alexander, Apelles, etc.!— ὡς τέκνα, as children) Matthew 5:45.


Verse 2

Ephesians 5:2. περιπατεῖτε, walk) The fruit of our love, which has been kindled from [by the love of] Christ [to us].(76)ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, for us) The Dative, to God, is not construed with the verb, gave Himself, but with an offering and sacrifice, which immediately precede it. For Paul is alluding to Moses, in whose writings such words are common: ὁλοκαύτωμα τῷ κυρίῳ, εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας, θυσίασμα τῷ κυρίῳ ἐστί, κ. τ. λ., Exodus 29:18; Exodus 29:25; Exodus 29:41; Leviticus 23:13; Leviticus 23:18, etc.— προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν, an offering and a sacrifice) Comp. Hebrews 10:5, etc.— εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας, for a sweet-smelling savour) By this sweet-smelling odour we are reconciled to God.


Verse 3

Ephesians 5:3. πορνεία, fornication) impure love.— πλεονεξία, or covetousness) Ephesians 5:5, ch. Ephesians 4:19.— μηδὲ ὀνομζέσθω, let it not be even named) viz. as a thing (ever) done; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:1, ἀκούεται, it is reported commonly that, etc.; or (let it not be named) without necessity: comp. Ephesians 5:4-12.— πρέπει, becomes) Its opposite is οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, which are not convenient [proper], Ephesians 5:4.


Verse 4

Ephesians 5:4. αἰσχρότης, filthiness) in word, or even in gesture, etc.— μωρολογία, foolish talking) wherein a mere laugh is aimed at even without wit [the salt of profitable discourse, Colossians 4:6].— εὐτραπελία) or jesting.(77) This is more refined than filthiness or foolish talking; for it depends on the understanding. The Asiatics delighted much in it: and in former times jesting prevailed for some ages, even among the learned. Why so? (Because) Aristotle considered jesting to be a virtue; and they made much use of Plautus. Olympiodorus observes, that Paul rebuked εὐτραπελία, jesting, in such a way that ὥστε οὐδὲ τὰ ἀστεῖα δεκτέον, there is not even a place for urbane conversation (pleasantry).— τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, the things which are not befitting [convenient]) An epithet [not the predicate]. Supply the predicate, let them be kept out of the way.(78)εὐχαριστία, thanksgiving) Supply ἀνήκει, is convenient. The holy and yet joyful use of the tongue is opposed to its abuse, Ephesians 5:18-19. The abuse and the use are not compatible with one another.— εὐτραπελία and εὐχαριστία are an elegant Paranomasia:(79) the former disturbs (and indeed the refined jest and subtile humour sometimes offend the tender feelings of grace), the latter exhilarates the mind.


Verse 5

Ephesians 5:5. ἔστε, be ye) [knowing. Engl. V. makes it Indic., Ye know]. The imperative, Galatians 5:21.— ὅς ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης, who is an idolater) Colossians 3:5. Avarice (covetousness) is the highest act of revolt (desertion) from the Creator to the creature, Matthew 6:24; Philippians 3:19; 1 John 2:15 : and it too in the highest degree violates the commandment concerning the love of our neighbour, which resembles the commandment respecting the love of God. It is then idolatry, and therefore the greatest sin, 1 Samuel 15:23.— τοῦ χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ, of Christ and of God) The article only once expressed indicates the most perfect unity [of God and Christ], 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:12. Comp. Mark 14:33. Elsewhere it is double for the sake of emphasis, Colossians 2:2.


Verse 6

Ephesians 5:6. κενοῖς λόγοις, with vain words) by which the anger of God is despised, and by which men strive to withdraw themselves from their duty, to consider good as nothing, and to extenuate and varnish over evil [in which moreover all things everywhere abound.—V. g.] This is the genus; there are three species at Ephesians 5:4. So the LXX., μὴ μεριμνάτωσαν ἐν λόγοις κενοῖς, Exodus 5:9.— διὰ ταῦτα, because of these things) because of fornication, etc.— ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ, the anger of God) The antithesis to the reconciliation [on God’s part to man, by His forgiving in Christ], Ephesians 5:2, ch. Ephesians 4:32.— ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας, on the children of disobedience) in reference to heathenism.


Verse 7

Ephesians 5:7. ΄ὴ, be not) lest the anger of God should come upon you. Two parts; be not willing, and be not willing, Ephesians 5:7; Ephesians 5:11. Fellowship both with wicked men, Ephesians 5:7, and with wicked works, Ephesians 5:11, must be avoided.


Verse 8

Ephesians 5:8. σκοτόςφῶς, darkness—light) The abstract for the concrete, exceedingly emphatic; for, children of light, follows.


Verse 9

Ephesians 5:9. καρπὸς τοῦ φωτὸς,(80) the fruit of light) The antithesis is, the unfruitful works of darkness, Ephesians 5:11.— ἐν, in) is in, consists in, etc.— ἀγαθωσύνῃ καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ, in goodness, and righteousness, and truth) These are opposed to the vices just before described, from ch. Ephesians 4:25, and onwards.


Verse 10

Ephesians 5:10. δοκιμάζοντες, proving) Construe with walk, Ephesians 5:8.


Verse 11

Ephesians 5:11. δὲ, καὶ) καὶ, even: it is not enough to abstain [yourself, you must also reprove others].— ἐλέγχετε, reprove) by words and deeds worthy of the light.


Verse 12

Ephesians 5:12. γὰρ, for) The reason why he speaks indefinitely, Ephesians 5:11, of the works of darkness, whereas he described definitely the fruit of light, Ephesians 5:9. At the same time the kindness, the justice, the wholesomeness of the reproving of them, are distinctly shown from this circumstance.— κρυφῇ, secretly) in avoidance of the light, and most frequently.— ὑπʼ αὐτῶν) by them, who are in darkness.— αἰσχρὸν, it is a shame) Writing rather familiarly to the Corinthians, he names them; in like manner to the Romans, because it was necessary; here however he acts with greater dignity.— καὶ) even to speak of, much less to do them.— λέγειν, to speak of) They may be judged by their contraries [Ephesians 5:9], goodness, righteousness, truth.


Verse 13

Ephesians 5:13. δὲ) but; although those things cannot be spoken of or named.— ἐλεγχόμενα, reproved) by you, Ephesians 5:11.— ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται, are made manifest by the light) φάος, φανερός, are conjugates.— φανεροῦται, are made manifest) that their shamefulness may be known, whether those who have been guilty of doing them treat their reprovers with scorn or repent of them.— πᾶν, everything) The abstract for the concrete; for the subject here is the man himself; comp. the following verse, wherefore [He saith, Awake, etc., which proves that the πᾶν here refers to the man reproved].— γὰρ, for) For makes an emphatic addition [Epitasis(81)] in a gradation.— τὸ φανερούμενον, an Antanaclasis [the same word in a twofold sense], for φανεροῦται is passive; φανερούμενον is middle,(82) what does not avoid being made manifest; comp. afterwards ἔγειραι, and ἀνάστα.— φῶς, light) a Metonymy, as Ephesians 5:8.(83)ἔστι, is) becomes, and afterwards is light.


Verse 14

Ephesians 5:14. διὸ λέγει, Wherefore He says) The chief part of this exhortation is in Isaiah 60:1, φωτίζου φωτίζου, ἱερουσαλήμ· ἥκει γάρ σου τὸ φῶς, Heb. קומי אורי ; so ibid. Isaiah 52:1-2, ἐξεγείρου· ἀνάστηθι. But the apostle speaks more expressly in accordance with (out of) the light of the New Testament, and according to the state of him who requires to be awakened. At the same time he seems to have had in his mind the particular phraseology which had been ordinarily used at the feast of trumpets: Arise, Arise out of your sleep; awake from your sleep, ye who deal in vain things, for very heavy sleep is sent to you; see Hotting. ad Godw., p. 601. And perhaps he wrote this epistle at that time of the year: comp. 1 Corinthians 5:7, note.— ἔγειραιἀνάστα) Ammonius: ἀναστῆναι, ἐπὶ ἔργον· ἐγερθῆναι, ἐξ ὓπνου, to rise up, viz. so as to engage in work; to be awakened, viz. out of sleep.— ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, from the dead) ch. Ephesians 2:1.— ἐπιφαύσει) will begin to shine on thee, as the sun, Isaiah 60:2. The primitive word, ἐπιφαύσκω, is in the LXX.; so from γηράσκω, γηράσω, ἀρέσκω, αρέσω.


Verse 15

Ephesians 5:15. βλέπετε, see) This word is repeated, Ephesians 5:17.— πῶς, how) True solicitude looks even to the manner. As [wise] corresponds to it.— ἀκριβῶς) circumspectly [Man soll es genau (precise, accurate, fitting exactly) nehmen.—V. g.] Comp. Acts 26:5.— μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι, not as fools) who walk irregularly.(84)


Verse 16

Ephesians 5:16. ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρὸν, redeeming the time) So the LXX., καιρὸν ὑμεῖς ἐξαγοράζετε, Daniel 2:8, ye (would) gain the time. The days, says Paul, are evil, and are in the power of wicked men, not in your own power. Wherefore, since you see that you are hard pressed, endeavour, until the hostile intervals of this unhappy period pass away, to pass through and spend your time, if not with profit, at least without loss, which is done by keeping quiet, or at least by acting with moderation. This is the force of the verb דמם in a passage of Amos, which will be presently quoted. Wisdom and ἀκρίβεια, circumspection, are commanded, not sloth. There is however one mode of acting in summer, another in winter, even with greater labour [in the former than in the latter]. Those who in evil days seek meanwhile no fruit of time, but [the mere gaining of] time itself (according to the example of the Magi, Daniel 2, or like a besieged city waiting for assistance), these act wisely, and in the end will the better use the time, which they have thus redeemed (gained). Sirach 10 :(27) 31, ΄ὴ δοξάζου ἐν καιρῷ στενοχωρίας σου, boast not in the time of thy distress. A similar expression occurs in Polycarp’s Ep. to the church at Smyrna, where the martyrs are said, διὰ μιᾶς ὥρας τὴν αἰώνιον κόλασιν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι, to have bought off (gained exemption from) everlasting punishment by the sufferings of one hour.—§ 2. The opposite is to lose (throw away) time.— ἡμέραι, days) ch. Ephesians 6:13.— πονηραὶ, evil) Amos 5:13, συνιῶν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ ( ידם ) σιωπήσεται, ὅτι καιρὸς πονηρός ἐστιν, he who has understanding at that time will be silent, because it is an evil time.


Verse 17

Ephesians 5:17. συνίεντες, understanding) Amos, as we have seen, has συνιῶν: hence we may conclude that Paul had reference to that passage.— τί τὸ θέλημα(85) τοῦ κυρίου, what the will of the Lord is) not only universally, but at a certain time, place [as occasion may arise], etc.

B (adding ἡμῶν) D( δ) Gg Vulg., Rec. Text, and Lucif. 158, read κυρίου. Af and several MSS. of Vulg. read θεοῦ.—ED.


Verse 18

Ephesians 5:18. ΄ὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, be not drunk with wine) So the LXX. plainly, Proverbs 23:31 (30). Appropriately to the exhortation against impurity, he subjoins the exhortation against drunkenness.— ἐν ) in which, viz. wine, so far as it is drunk without moderation.— ἀσωτία) ἄσωτος is used for ἀσωστος: hence ἀσωτία denotes every luxury inconsistent with frugality. See its opposite, Ephesians 5:19, concerning the effect of spiritual fulness.— ἀλλὰ) So generally the LXX. in Prov. quoted above: ἀλλὰ ὁμιλεῖτε ἀνθρώποις δικαίοις, but associate with righteous men.


Verse 19

Ephesians 5:19. λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς, speaking among yourselves) The antithesis is, to the Lord; comp. Colossians 3:16, note. The Spirit makes believers eloquent(86) [disertos].— ψαλμοῖς, in psalms) of the Bible, of David, new and unpremeditated, with the addition of an instrument.— ὕμνοις, in hymns) to be used in the express praise of God.— ᾠδαῖς) songs, which are or may be sung on any sacred subject.— πνευματικαῖς, spiritual) not worldly, as those of the drunkards are.— τῷ κυρίῳ, to the Lord) Christ, who searches the hearts.


Verse 20

Ephesians 5:20. εὐχαριστοῦντες, giving thanks) Paul often urges this duty, and diligently practises it: it is performed by the mind, by the tongue, and by working. Colossians 3:17.— πάντων, for all things) The neuter, including the power of the masculine; comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.— ἰησοῦ, of Jesus) by whom all things become ours.


Verse 21

Ephesians 5:21. ἀλλήοις, to one another) Now he proceeds to treat concerning our duty to others; and the foundation of this is the fear of Christ,(87) which derives its motives from the Christian faith; 1 Peter 2:13. A rare phrase; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 10:22.

AB Vulg. read χριστοῦ; D( δ)f read ἰησοῦ; Gg read ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ; Rec. Text, θεοῦ, without good authority.—ED.


Verse 22

Ephesians 5:22. αἱ γυναῖκες, wives) Inferiors are put in the first place, then superiors, Ephesians 5:25; ch. Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 6:4-5; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Peter 3:7, because the proposition regards subjection; and inferiors ought to do their duty, of whatsoever kind their superiors are. Many of those that are inferior become superiors; and he who acts well as an inferior, acts well as a superior.(88) Moreover, all these are addressed in the second person; therefore it is the duty of all to hear and read the Scripture; comp. 1 John 2:13.— ἰδίοις, to your own) Wives should obey their own husbands, even although elsewhere they should seem to have superior prudence: ὑποτασσόμενοι is to be supplied from Ephesians 5:21.(89) It is said of children and servants, obey [ ὑπακούετε], ch. Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 6:5. There is a greater equality in the case of husbands and wives;(90) comp., however, Romans 13:1.— ὡς, as) The subjection which is rendered by the wife to the husband, is at the same time rendered to the Lord Christ Himself. It is not compared with the obedience which the Church renders to Christ, but with that which the wife herself ought to render to Christ. Obedience is rendered to the husband, under the eye of Christ; therefore also to Christ Himself.


Verse 23

Ephesians 5:23. καὶ αὐτὸς, and He Himself) But the husband is not the saviour of the wife; in that Christ excels. Hence but follows.


Verse 24

Ephesians 5:24. ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ, but as) The antithesis is, husbands, wives.— ὑποτάσσεται, is subject) Supply here also [from the end of the verse], in every thing.— αἱ γυναῖκες, let wives) be subject [be subordinate].


Verse 25

Ephesians 5:25. ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν, gave Himself up) from love to the Church.


Verse 26

Ephesians 5:26. ἁγιάσῃ, might sanctify) Often holiness and glory are synonymous; wherefore here also follows, He might present it to Himself a glorious Church.— καθαρίσας, cleansing) Cleansing precedes the bestowal of glory and the formation of the nuptial tie.— ἵνα, that) The construction is, He gave Himself—cleansing (i.e. and cleansed); that [ ἵνα] depends upon both [ παρέδωκεν and καθαρίσας], being put twice [ ἵνα ἁγιάσῃ and ἵνα παραστήσῃ, Ephesians 5:26, and Ephesians 5:27] in the text. Sanctification is derived from the death or blood of Christ; comp. Hebrews 13:12 : cleansing or purification, as we shall see presently, from baptism and the word. Holiness is internal glory; glory is holiness shining forth. Why did Christ love the Church and give Himself for it?—that He might sanctify it. Why did He cleanse it?—that He might present it to Himself. The former is the new right acquired by Christ over the Church; the latter shows how He adorned His bride, as befitted such a bride of such a Husband. And the mentioning of the bath [ λουτρῷ, washing] and the word is presently urged conjointly, although the word is to be referred to the term cleansing.(91) The cleansing power is in the word, and it is put forth through the bath [the washing]. Water and the bath are the vehicle: but the word is a nobler instrumental cause.— τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος ἐν ῥήματι, by the washing with water [lit. the bath of water] by the word) A remarkable testimony for baptism; Titus 3:5.— ἐν ῥήματι, in [by] the word) Baptism has the power of purifying owing to the word, John 15:3; in [by] to be construed with cleansing. אֹמֶר, ῥῆμα .


Verse 27

Ephesians 5:27. ἵνα παραστήσῃ, that He might present) This holds good, in its own way, already of the present life; comp. ch. Ephesians 4:13.— ἑαυτῷ, to Himself) as to a Husband betrothed.— ἔνδοξον, a glorious Church) We should derive [draw] our estimate of sanctification from the love of Christ: what bride despises the ornaments offered by her husband?— τὴν) that [the: emphatically] Church which answers to His own eternal idea.— σπῖλον) a spot, from any wicked disposition whatever.— ῥυτίδα) wrinkle, from old age [senile debility and decay].— ἵνα ) that she may be.— ἄμωμος, without blemish) Song of Solomon 4:7.


Verse 28

Ephesians 5:28. ἑαυτὸν, himself) Ephesians 5:29; Ephesians 5:31, at the end.


Verse 29

Ephesians 5:29. οὐδεὶς) no man, unless indeed he revolts from nature and from himself.— τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα, his own flesh) Ephesians 5:31, at the end.— ἐκτρέφει) very much nourishes it, within.— θάλπει) cherishes it, without. The same word occurs in Deuteronomy 22:6; Job 39:14; 1 Kings 1:2; 1 Kings 1:4. This has respect to clothing, as nourishes has to food.— τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, the Church) Nourishes and cherishes to be supplied.


Verse 30

Ephesians 5:30. ὅτι, because) The reason why the Lord nourishes and cherishes the Church, is the very close relationship, which is here expressed in the words of Moses regarding Eve, accommodated to the present subject. The Church is propagated from Christ, as Eve was from Adam; and this propagation is the foundation of the spiritual marriage: for this cause, Ephesians 5:31.— τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, of His body) The body here does not mean the Church, which is contained in the subject, we are, but the body of Christ Himself.— ἐκ, of) Genesis 2:23-24, in the LXX.— εἶπενʼ αδὰμ, τοῦτο νῦν ὀστοῦν ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων μου, καὶ σὰρξ ἐκ τῆς σαρκός μου. αὕτη κληθήσεται γυνὴ, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς ἐλήφθη. ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ προσκολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.— ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, κ. τ. λ., of His flesh) Moses mentions bones first, Paul flesh; because it is the bones chiefly that support the natural structure, of which the former (Moses) is speaking; but in the new creation [of which Paul is speaking], the flesh of Christ is more considered. Moreover, Moses speaks more fully; Paul omits what does not so much belong to the subject in hand. It is not our bones and our flesh, but we, that are spiritually propagated from the humanity of Christ, which has flesh and bones.


Verse 31

Ephesians 5:31. καταλείψει, shall leave) Ephesians 5:30 presupposes a Protasis, viz. in regard to natural marriage, [to be supplied] out of Moses; it expresses the Apodosis, viz. respecting the spiritual marriage; now, in turn, vice versa, Ephesians 5:31 here expresses the Protasis, and allows the Apodosis to be supplied: comp. Ephesians 5:32, in the middle. Christ also, so to speak, left the Father, and was joined to the Church.— προσκολληθήσεται, shall be joined) by matrimonial unity.— εἰς σάρκα μίαν, shall pass into [shall be as] one flesh) not only as formerly, in respect of origin, but in respect of the new relationship.


Verse 32

Ephesians 5:32. ΄έγα, great) Paul felt more than those to whom he wrote could comprehend. It is not a marriage among men that is called a mystery,(92), Ephesians 5:33, but the union itself of Christ and the Church.[There are in all three kinds of duties which the Law prescribes to the husband, Exodus 21:10. The apostle had mentioned the two former in a spiritual sense, Ephesians 5:29; now the order would lead him to the third, of which that expression of Hosea is a summary, Ephesians 2:20 (see Ephesians 5:19 also), Thou shalt know the Lord. But the apostle suddenly breaks off. Minds of the rarest character and capacity are required.(93)—V. g.]


Verse 33

Ephesians 5:33. πλὴν, nevertheless) Paul, as it were forgetful of the matter in hand by reason of the noble character of the digression, returns now to his subject.— ἵνα, that) Supply I will, or I wish, or something similar; comp. 1 Corinthians 4:2, note, 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 8:13. The particle gives force; the ellipsis, in a feeling of courtesy, restrains that force.

—————

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 5:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/ephesians-5.html. 1897.


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