Home / Bible Commentaries / John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians/ Ephesians
John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians
THE practical portion of the Epistle now commences, or as Theodoret says- ἐπὶ τὰ εἴδη προτρέπει τῆς ἀρετῆς. But doctrine has been expounded ere duty is enforced. Instructions as to change of spiritual relation precede exhortations as to change of life. It is in vain to tell the dead man to rise and walk, till the principle of animation be restored. One must be a child of God before he can be a servant of God. Pardon and purity, faith and holiness, are indissolubly united. Ethics therefore follow theology. And now the apostle first proceeds to enjoin the possession of such graces as promote and sustain the unity of the church, the members of which are “rooted and grounded in love”-a unity which, as he is anxious to show, is quite compatible with variety of gift, office, and station. Then he dwells on the nature, design, and results of the ministerial functions belonging to the church, points out its special and divine organization, and goes on to the reprobation of certain vices, and the inculcation of opposite graces.
(Ephesians 4:1.) παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ—“I exhort you then, I the prisoner in the Lord.” The retrospective οὖν refers us to the preceding paragraph-Christian privilege or calling being so rich and full, and his prayer for them being so fervent and extensive. The personality of the writer is distinctly brought out—“I the prisoner,” ἐγώ. Ephesians 3:1. The phrase ἐν κυρίῳ is closely connected with ὁ δέσμιος, as the want of the article between the words also shows. Some, indeed, prefer to join it to the verb παρακαλῶ—“I exhort you in the Lord.” Such was the view of Semler, and Koppe does not express a decided opinion. But the position of the words is plainly against such a construction. Winer, § 20, 2. The verb παρακαλῶ is not used in its original sense, but signifies “I exhort,” as if equivalent to προτρέπω. It has, however, various shades of meaning in the Pauline writing. See Knapp's Scrip. Var. p. 125 et seq. Nor can ἐν κυρίῳ signify “for Christ's sake,” as is the opinion of Chrysostom, Theophylact, Koppe, and Flatt. When we turn to similar expressions, such as τοὺς ὄντας ἐν κυρίῳ (Romans 16:11)- ἀγαπητὸν ἐν κυρίῳ (Philemon 1:16)- γαμηθῆναι, μόνον ἐν κυρίῳ (1 Corinthians 7:39)- τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου ἐν κυρίῳ (Romans 16:8)-the meaning of the idiom cannot be doubted. It characterizes Paul as a Christian prisoner-one who not only was imprisoned for Christ's sake, but who was and still is in union with the Lord, as a servant and sufferer. See on κύριος, ch. Ephesians 1:2-3. The apostle in Ephesians 3:1 uses the genitive which indicates one aspect of relationship-that of possession; but here he employs the dative as denoting that his incarceration has its element or characteri stic, perhaps origin too, from his union with Christ. But why again allude to his bondage in these terms? Not simply to excite sympathy, and claim a hearing for his counsels, nor solely, as Olshausen and Harless maintain, to represent his absolute obedience to the Lord as an example to his readers. All these ideas might be in his mind, but none of them engrossingly, else some more distinctive allusion might be expected in his language. Nor can we accede to Meyer and the Greek fathers, that there is in the phrase any high exultation in the glory of a confessor or a martyr-as if, as Theodoret says, he gloried more in his chains, ἤ βασιλεὺς διαδήματι. But his writing to them while he was in chains proved the deep interest he took in them and in their spiritual welfare-showed them that his faith in Jesus, and his love to His cause, were not shaken by persecution-that the iron which lay upon his limb had not entered into his soul-and that his apostolical prerogative was as intact, his pastoral anxiety as powerful, and his relation to the Lord as close and tender as when on his visit to them he disputed in the school of Tyrannus, or uttered his solemn and pathetic valediction to their elders at Miletus. Letters inspired by love in a dungeon might also have a greater charm than his oral address. Compare Galatians 6:17. “I exhort you”-
ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε—“that ye walk worthy of the calling with which ye were called.” κλῆσις is the Christian vocation-the summons “to glory and virtue.” See under Ephesians 1:18; Romans 11:29; Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1, etc. In ἧς ἐκλήθητε is a common idiom- ἧς being probably by attraction or assimilation, as Krüger, § 51, 10, prefers to call it, for ᾗ, but perhaps for ἥν (Arrian, Epict. p. 122), and the verb being used with its cognate noun. Winer, § 24, 1; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:20. See also under Ephesians 1:8; Ephesians 1:19-20, Ephesians 2:4. ῎αξιος in the sense of “in harmony with,” is often thus used. Matthew 3:8; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11. On the peculiar meaning of περιπατέω see under Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 2:10. It is a stroke of very miserable wit which Adam Clarke ascribes to the apostle, when he represents him as saying, “Ye have your liberty and may walk, I am deprived of mine and cannot.” Their calling, so high, so holy, and so authoritative, and which had come to them in such power, was to be honoured by a walk in perfect correspondence with its origin and spirit, its claims and destiny. See also under Ephesians 4:4.
The apostle now enforces the cultivation of those graces, the possession of which is indispensable to the harmony of the church: for the opposite vices - pride, irascibility, impatient querulousness-all tend to strife and disruption. On union the apostle had already dwelt in the second chapter as a matter of doctrine-here he introduces it as one of practice.
(Ephesians 4:2.) ΄ετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ—“With all lowliness and meekness, with long - suffering, forbearing one another in love.” Colossians 3:12. ΄ετά is with-accompanied with-visible manifestation. Winer, § 47, h. On πάσης see Ephesians 1:8. Some suppose the various nouns in the verse to be connected with ἀνεχόμενοι, but such a connection mars the harmony and development of thought, as it rises from general to special counsel.
ταπεινοφροσύνη is lowliness of mind, opposed to τὰ ὑψηλα φρονοῦντες. Romans 12:16. It is that profound humility which stands at the extremest distance from haughtiness, arrogance, and conceit, and which is produced by a right view of ourselves, and of our relation to Christ and to that glory to which we are called. It is ascribed by the apostle to himself in Acts 20:19. It is not any one's making himself small- ὅταν τις μέγας ὤν-as Chrysostom supposes, for such would be mere simulation. Every blessing we possess or hope to enjoy is from God. Nothing is self-procured, and therefore no room is left for self-importance. This modesty of mind, says Chrysostom, is the foundation of all virtue- πάσης ἀρετῆς ὑπόθεσις, Trench, Synon. § 43; Tittmann, De Syn. p. 140.
πραΰτης is meekness of spirit in all relations, both toward God and toward man-which never rises in insubordination against God nor in resentment against man. It is a grace ascribed by the Saviour to Himself (Matthew 11:29), and ascribed to him by the apostle. 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:23. It is not merely that meekness which is not provoked and angered by the reception of injury, but that entire subduedness of temperament which strives to be in harmony with God's will, be it what it may, and, in reference to men, thinks with candour, suffers in self-composure, and speaks in the “soft answer” which “turneth away wrath.” For some differences in spelling the word, see Passow, sub voce, and Lobeck, ad Phrynich. p. 403. The form adopted is found only in B and E, but it seems supported by the analogy of the Alexandrian spelling.
The preposition μετά is repeated before the next noun, μακροθυμίας, and this repetition has led Estius, Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, and Stier to connect it with ἀνεχόμενοι in the following clause. We see no good ground for this construction. On the contrary, ἀνεχόμενοι has ἐν ἀγάπῃ to qualify it, and needs not μετὰ μακροθυμίας, which, from its position, would then be emphatic. Some, like Lachmann and Olshausen, feeling this, join ἐν ἀγάπῃ as unwarrantably to the following verse. The first two nouns are governed by one preposition, for they are closely associated in meaning, the “meekness” being after all only a phrase of the “lowliness of mind,” and resting on it. But the third noun is introduced with the preposition repeated, as it is a special and distinct virtue-a peculiar result of the former two-and so much, at the same time, before the mind of the apostle, that he explains it in the following clause.
΄ακροθυμία—“long-suffering,” is opposed to irritability, or to what we familiarly name shortness of temper (James 1:19), and is that patient self-possession which enables a man to bear with those who oppose him, or who in any way do him injustice. He can afford to wait till better judgment and feeling on their part prevail, 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:2. In its high sense of bearing with evil, and postponing the punishment of it, it is ascribed to God, Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22. The participle ἀνεχόμενοι is in the nominative, and the anacolouthon is easily explained from the connection with the first verse. An example of a similar change is found in Ephesians 3:18. Winer, § 63, 2. It is useless, with Heinsius and Homberg, to attempt to supply the imperative mood of the verb of existence—“Be ye forbearing one another.” ᾿ανέχομαι, in the middle voice, is to have patience with, that is, “to hold oneself up” till the provocation is past. Colossians 3:13. Verbs of its class govern the genitive. Kühner, § 539. ᾿εν ἀγάπῃ describes the spirit in which such forbearance was to be exercised. Retaliation was not to be allowed; all occasionally needed forbearance, and all were uniformly to exercise it. No acerbity of temper, sharp retort, or satirical reply was to be admitted. As it is the second word which really begins the strife, so, where mutual forbearance is exercised, even the first angry word would never be spoken. And this mutual forbearance must not be affected coolness or studied courtesy; it must have its origin, sphere, and nutriment “in love”-in the genuine attachment that ought to prevail among Christian disciples. OEcumenius justly observes- ἔνθα γὰρ ἐστιν ἀγάπη, πάντα ἐστιν ἀνεκτά.
(Ephesians 4:3.) σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος—“endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit.” This clause is parallel to the preceding, and indicates not so much, as Meyer says, the inward feelings by which the ἀνέχεσθαι is to be characterized, as rather the motive to it, and the accompanying or simultaneous effort. πνεῦμα cannot surely mean the mere human spirit, as the following verse plainly proves. Yet such is the view of Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Bloomfield. Calvin also says-Ego simplicius interpretor de animorum concordia; and Ambrosiaster quietly changes the terms, and renders-unitatis spiritum. Others, again, take the phrase to denote that unity of which the Spirit is the bond. Chrysostom says- διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ πνεῦμα ἐδόθη, ἵνα τοὺς γένει καὶ τρόποις διαφόροις διεστηκότας ἑνώσῃ. This view is perhaps not sufficiently distinctive. The reference is to the Spirit of God, but, as the next verse shows, to that Spirit as inhabiting the church—“one body” and “one Spirit.” The “unity of the Spirit” is not, as Grotius says, unitas ecclesiae, quae est corpus spirituale, but it is the unity which dwells within the church, and which results from the one Spirit-the originating cause being in the genitive. Hartung, Casus, p. 12. The apostle has in view what he afterwards advances about different functions and offices in the church in Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 4:11. Separate communities are not to rally round special gifts and offices, as if each gift proceeded from, and was organized by, a separate and rival Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4, etc. And this unity of the Spirit was not so completely in their possession, that its existence depended wholly on their guardianship. For it exists independently of human vigilance or fidelity, but its manifestations may be thwarted and checked. They were therefore to keep it safe from all disturbance and infraction. And in this duty they were to be earnest and forward- σπουδάζοντες, using diligence, “bisie to kepe,” as Wycliffe renders; for if they cherished humility, meekness, and universal tolerance in love, as the apostle hath enjoined them, it would be no difficult task to preserve the “unity of the Spirit.” And that unity is to be kept-
ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης - “in the bond of peace.” Some understand the apostle to affirm that the unity is kept by that which forms the bond of peace, viz. love. Such an opinion has advocates in Theophylact, Calovius, Bengel, Rückert, Meier, Harless, Stier, and Winzer, who take the genitive as that of object. Such an idea may be implied, but it is not the immediate statement of the apostle. The declaration here is different from that in Colossians 3:14, where love is termed “a bond.” See on the place. εἰρήνης appears to be the genitive of apposition, as Flatt, Meyer, Matthies, Olshausen, Alford, and Ellicott take it. Winer, § 59, 8; Acts 8:23. “The bond of peace” is that bond which is peace. ᾿εν does not denote that the unity of the Spirit springs from “the bond of peace,” as if unity were the product of peace, or simply consisted of peace, but that the unity is preserved and manifested in the bond of peace as its element. Winer, § 48, a. “Peace” is that tranquillity which ought to reign in the church, and by the maintenance of which its essential spiritual unity is developed and “bodied forth.” This unity is something far higher than peace; but it is by the preservation of peace as a bond among church members that such unity is realized and made perceptible to the world. John 17. The outer becomes the symbol and expression of the inner-union is the visible sign of unity. When believers universally and mutually recognize the image of Christ in one another, and, loving one another instinctively and in spite of minor differences, feel themselves composing the one church of Christ, then do they endeavour to keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The meaning of the English verb “endeavour” has been somewhat a ttenuated in the course of its descent to us. Trench on Authorized Version, p. 17. Unity and peace are therefore surely more than mere alliance between Jew and Gentile, though the apostle's previous illustrations of that truth may have suggested this argument.
(Ephesians 4:4.) ῝εν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα—“One body and one Spirit.” The connection is not, as is indicated in the Syriac version-Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, in order that you may be in one body and one spirit. Others construe as if the verse formed part of an exhortation—“Be ye, or ye ought to be, one body,” or keeping the unity of the Spirit as being one body, etc. But such a supplement is too great, and the simple explanation of the ellipsis is preferable. Conybeare indeed renders—“You are one body,” but the common and correct supplement is the verb ἐστι. Kühner, indeed (§ 760, c), says that such an asyndeton as this frequently happens in classic Greek, when such a particle as γάρ is understood. Bernhardy, p. 448. But the verse abruptly introduces an assertatory illustration of the previous statement, and in the fervent style of the apostle any connecting particle is omitted. “One body there is, and one Spirit.” And after all that Ellicott and Alford have said, the assertatory (rein assertorisch, Meyer) clause logically contains an argument-though grammatically the resolution by γάρ be really superfluous. Ellicott, after Hofmann, gives it as “Remember there is one body,” which is an argument surely to maintain the unity of the Spirit. The idea contained in σῶμα-the body or the church-has been already introduced and explained (Ephesians 1:23, Ephesians 2:16), to the explanations of which the reader may turn. The church is described in the second chapter as one body and one Spirit- ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι- ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι; and the apostle here implies that this unity ought to be guarded. Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Colossians 1:24. The church or body is one, though its members are οἱ πανταχοῦ τῆς οἰκουμένης πιστοί. (Chrysostom.) There are not two rival communitie s. The body with its many members, and complex array of organs of very different position, functions, and honour, is yet one. The church, no matter where it is situated, or in what age of the world it exists-no matter of what race, blood, or colour are its members, or how various the tongues in which its services are presented-is one, and remains so, unaffected by distance or time, or physical, intellectual, and social distinctions. And as in the body there is only one spirit, one living principle-no double consciousness, no dualism of intelligence, motive, and action-so the one Spirit of God dwells in the one church, and there are therefore neither rivalry of administration nor conflicting claims. And whatever the gifts and graces conferred, whatever variety of aspect they may assume, all possess a delicate self-adaptation to times and circumstances, for they are all from the “one Spirit,” having oneness of origin, design, and result. (See on Ephesians 4:16.) The apostle now adds an appeal to their own experience-
καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν—“even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling.” καθὼς καί introduces illustrative proof of the statement just made. The meaning of this clause depends very much on the sense assigned to ἐν. Some, as Meyer, would make it instrumental, and render it “by;” others, as Grotius, Flatt, Rückert, and Valpy, would give it the meaning of εἰς, and Chrysostom that of ἐπί. Harless adopts the view expressed by Bengel on 1 Thessalonians 4:7, and thinks that it signifies an element-indoles-of the calling. We prefer to regard it as bearing its common signification-as pointing to the element in which their calling took place-in una spe, as the Vulgate. 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Winer, § 50, 5. Sometimes the verb is simply used, both in the present and aorist (Romans 8:30; Romans 9:11; Galatians 5:8), and often with various prepositions. While ἐν represents the element in which the calling takes effect, ἐν εἰρήνῃ, 1 Corinthians 7:15; ἐν χάριτι, Galatians 1:6; ἐν ἁγιασμῷ, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 : ἐπί represents the proximate end, ἐπ᾿ ἐλευθερίᾳ, Galatians 5:13; οὐκ, ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 : εἰς depicts another aspect, εἰς κοινωνίαν, 1 Corinthians 1:9; εἰρήνη- εἰς ἥν, Colossians 3:15; εἰς τὸ θαυμαστὸν αὐτοῦ φῶς, 1 Peter 2:9 -and apparently also the ultimate purpose, εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης, 2 Thessalonians 2:14; εἰς βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν, 1 Thessalonians 2:12; τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς εἰς ἥν, 1 Timothy 6:12; εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ δόξαν, 1 Peter 5:10; other forms being εἰς τοῦτο, 1 Peter 2:21; εἰς τοῦτο ἵνα, 1 Peter 3:9 -while the instrumental cause is given by διά ; the inner, διὰ χάριτος, Galatians 1:15; and the outer, διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, 2 Thessalonians 2:14. The following genitive, κλήσεως, is that of possession—“in one hope belonging to your calling.” See under Ephesians 1:18, on similar phraseology. The genitive of originating cause preferred by Ellicott is not so appropriate, on account of the preceding verb ἐκλήθητε, the genitive of the correlative noun suggesting what belongs to the call and characterized it, when they received it. The “hope” is “one,” for it has one object, and that is glory; one foundation, and that is Christ. Their call- ἡ ἄνω κλήσις (Philippians 3:14), had brought them into the possession of this hope. See Nitzsch, System. § 210; Reuss, Théol. Chrét. vol. ii. p. 219. “There is one body and one Spirit,” and the Ephesian converts had experience of this unity, for the hope which they possessed as their calling was also “one,” and in connection with-
(Ephesians 4:5.) εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα—“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Further and conclusive argument. For the meaning of κύριος in its reference to Christ, the reader may turn to Ephesians 1:2. Had Irenaeus attended to the common, if not invariable Pauline usage, he would not have said that the father only is to be called Lord-Patrem tantum Deum et Dominum. Opera, tom. 1.443, ed. Stieren, Lipsiae,1849-50. There is only one supreme Governor over the church. He is the one Head of the one body, and the Giver of its one Spirit. This being the case, there can therefore be only-
“One faith.” Faith does not signify creed, or truth believed, but it signifies confidence in the one Lord-faith, the subjective oneness of which is created and sustained by the unity of its object. Usteri, Paulin. Lehrb. p. 300. The one faith may be embodied in an objective profession. There being only one faith, there can be only-
“One baptism.” Baptism is consecration to Christ-one dedication to the one Lord. Acts 19:5; Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27. “One baptism” is the result and expression of the “one faith” in the “one Lord,” and, at the same time, the one mode of initiation by the “one Spirit” into the “one body.” Tertullian argues from this expression against the repetition of baptism-felix aqua quod semel affluit. De Bap. xv. Among the many reasons given for the omission of the Lord's Supper in this catalogue of unity, this perhaps is the most conclusive-that the Lord's Supper is only the demonstration of a recognized unity in the church, whereas faith and baptism are the initial and essential elements of it. These last are also individually possessed, whereas the Lord's Supper is a social observance on the part of those who, in oneness of faith and fellowship, honour the “one Lord.” Still farther and deeper-
(Ephesians 4:6.) εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων—“One God and Father of all”-ultimate, highest, and truest unity. Seven times does he use the epithet “One.” The church is one body, having one Spirit in it, and one Lord over it; then its inner relations and outer ordinances are one too; its calling has attached to it one hope; its means of union to Him is one faith; its dedication is one baptism: and all this unity is but the impress of the great primal unity-one God. His unity stamps an image of itself on that scheme which originated in Him, and issues in His glory. Christians serve one God, are not distracted by a multiplicity of divinities, and need not fear the revenge of one while they are doing homage to his rival. Oneness of spirit ought to characterize their worship. “One God and Father of all,” that is, all Christians, for the reference is not to the wide universe, or to all men, as Holzhausen, with Musculus and Matthies, argue-but to the church. Jew and Gentile forming the one church have one God and father. (An illustration of the filial relationship of believers to God will be found under Ephesians 1:5.) The three following clauses mark a peculiarity of the apostle's style, viz. his manner of indicating different relations of the same word by connecting it with various prepositions. Galatians 1:1; Romans 3:22; Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16; Winer, § 50, 6. It is altogether a vicious and feeble exegesis on the part of Koppe to say that these three clauses are synonymous-sententia videtur una, tantum variis formulis synonymis expressa. A triple relationship of the one God to the “all” is now pointed out, and the first is thus expressed-
ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων—“who is over all.” These adjectives, πάντων and πᾶσι, are clearly to be taken in the masculine gender, as the epithet πατήρ would also suggest. Erasmus, Michaelis, Morus, and Baumgarten-Crusius take them in ἐπὶ πάντων and διὰ πάντων as neuter, while the Vulgate, Zachariae, and Koppe accept the neuter only in the second phrase. ῾ο ἐπὶ πάντων is rendered by Chrysostom- ὁ ἐπάνω πάντων. The great God is high over all, robed in unsurpassable glory. There is, and can be, no superior-no co-ordinate sovereignty. The universe, no less than the church, lies beneath, and far beneath, His throne, and the jurisdiction of that throne, “high and lifted up,” is paramount and unchallenged.
καὶ διὰ πάντων—“and through all.” The strange interpretation of Thomas Aquinas has found some supporters. He explains the first clause of God the Father, who is over all-fontale principium divinitatis; and the clause before us he refers to the Son-per quem omnia facta sunt. But this exegesis, which is adopted by Estius and Olshausen, reverses the idea of the apostle. It is one thing to say, All things are through God, and quite another to say, God is through all things. The latter, and not the former, is the express thought of the inspired writer. Jerome also refers the phrase to the Son-quia per filium creata sunt omnia; while Calvin understands by it the third Person of the Trinity-Deus Spiritu sanctificationis diffusus per omnia ecclesiae membra. Meyer holds a similar view. Chrysostom and his patristic followers, along with Beza, Zanchius, Crocius, and Grotius, refer it to God providing for all, and ordering all- τῇ προνοίᾳ καὶ διοικήσει. Bengel, Flatt, and Winer understand it as signifying “through all acting.” Winer, § 50, 6. Harless explains it as meaning “works through all, as the head through the members.” It is plain that some of these views do not make any real distinction between the διά of this clause and the ἐν of the following. The idea of simple diffusion “through all,” is not far from the idea of “in all.” But the notion of providence, if taken in a general sense, comes nearer the truth. The thought seems to be that of a pervading, and thus a sustaining and working presence. Though He is “over all,” yet He lives not in remote splendour and indifference, for He is “through all;” His influence being everywhere felt in its upholding energies.
καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν—“and in all.” The Elzevir Text adds ὑμῖν, as Chrysostom does in his commentary. Others have adopted ἡμῖν, on the authority of D, E, F, G, K, L, the Syriac and Vulgate, Theodoret, Pelagius, and Ambrosiaster-a reading admitted by Griesbach, Knapp, Scholz, and Hahn. But the higher witness of A, B, C, the Coptic and AEthiopic, and the text of Ignatius, Eusebius, Cyril, Epiphanius, Gregory, Chrysostom, and Jerome, exclude such a pronoun altogether, and leave us simply ἐν πᾶσιν. Accordingly, Lachmann and Tischendorf strike out the word as an evident gloss. The pronoun would modify the universality predicated in the two preceding clauses. He is “in all,” dwelling in them, filling them with the light and love of His gracious presence. The idea conveyed by διά is more external and general in its nature-acting through or sustaining; while that expressed by ἐν is intimate and special union and inhabitation. Very different is such a conception from either ancient or modern pantheism; from that of Zeno or that of Hegel, or the poetical mysticism of Pope-
“All are but parts of one stupendous whole-
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.”
Whether there be any reference to the Trinity in this remarkable declaration, it is impossible to affirm with certainty. While Theophylact seems to deny it, because heretical notions were based upon it, Jerome on the other hand maintains it, and it was held by Irenaeus and Hippolytus, the former of whom explains the first clause of the Father-caput Christi; the second of the Son-caput ecclesiae; and the third of the Holy Spirit in us-aqua viva. Harless, Olshausen, Stier, de Wette, von Gerlach, Ellicott, and Alford are of the same opinion. It has been said in proof, that most certainly in the third clause—“in all”-the reference is to the Holy Ghost, by whom alone God dwells in believers; so that in the second clause, and in the words “through all,” there may be an allusion to Him who is now on the throne of the universe, and “by whom all things consist;” and in the first clause to the Eternal Father. In previous portions of the Epistle, triune relation has been distinctly brought out; only here the representation is different, for unity is the idea dwelt on, and it is the One God and Father Himself who works through all and dwells in all.
All these elements of oneness enumerated in Ephesians 4:4-6, are really inducements for Christians to be forward to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is plainly of the one holy catholic church that the apostle has been speaking; not of the visible church, which has in it a mixed company, many whom Augustine characterizes as being in fellowship cum ecclesia—“with the church,” but who are not in ecclesia—“in the church.” “All are not Israel who are of Israel.” But the real spiritual church of the Redeemer is one body. All the members of that church partake of the same grace, adhere to the same faith, are washed in the same blood, are filled with the same hopes, and shall dwell at length in the same blessed inheritance. Heretics and ungodly men may find their way into the church, but they remain really separated from its “invisible conjunction of charity.” There may be variations in “lesser matters of ceremony or discipline,” and yet this essential unity is preserved. Clement of Alexandria compares the church so constituted to the various chords of a musical instrument, “for in the midst of apparent schisms there is substantial unity.” Barrow again remarks, that the apostle says—“one Lord, one faith, one baptism; not one monarch, or one senate or sanhedrim.” He does not insist on unity “under one singular, visible government or polity.” How sad to think that the passions of even sanctified men have often pro duced feuds and alienations, and led them to forget the apostolic mandate! Christ's claim for the preservation of unity is upon all the churches-a unity of present connection and actual enjoyment-not a truce, but an alliance, with one livery and cognizance-not a compromise, but a veritable incorporation among “all who in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their Lord and ours.” “I will give them one heart and one way”-a promise the realization of which is surely not to be deferred till the whole church assemble in that world where there can be no misunderstanding. The great father of the western church tersely says-Contra rationem, nemo sobrius; contra Scripturas nemo Christianus; contra Ecclesiam nemo pacificus senserit.
(Ephesians 4:7.) ῾ενὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις—“But to each of us was given grace.” Unity is not uniformity, for it is quite consistent with variety of gifts and offices in the church. The δέ marks a transitional contrast, as the writer passes on to individual varieties. Still along with this unity there is variety of gifts. In the addition of ἑνί to ἑκάστῳ, the idea of distribution is expressed more distinctly than by the simple term. Luke 4:40; Acts 2:3; Acts 20:31. B, D1, F, G, L, omit the article ἡ before χάρις, but there is no valid reason to reject it; the preceding η of ἐδόθη may have led to its omission. This χάρις is gift; not merely in connection with personal privilege or labour, but, as the sequel shows, gift in connection with official rank and function. ᾿εδόθη in this verse is explained by ἔδωκε in Ephesians 4:8. While grace has been given to every individual, and no one is omitted, that grace differs in form, amount, and aspect in every instance of its bestowment; and as a peculiar sample and illustration of such variety in unity, the apostle appeals to the offices and dignities in the church. For this grace is described as being conferred-
κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ χριστοῦ—“according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” The first genitive is subjective, and the second that of possession or of agent. The gift is measured; and while each individual receives, he receives according to the will of the sovereign Distributor. And whether the measure be great or small, whether its contents be of more brilliant endowment or of humbler and unnoticed talent, all is equally Christ's gift, and of Christ's adjustment; all is equally indispensable to the union and edification of that body in which there is “no schism,” and forms an argument why each one gifted with such grace should keep the unity of the Spirit. The law of the church is essential unity in the midst of circumstantial variety. Differences of faculty or temperament, education or susceptibility, are not superseded. Each gift in its own place completes the unity. What one devises another may plead for, while a third may act out the scheme; so that sagacity, eloquence, and enterprise form a “threefold cord, not easily broken.” It is so in the material creation-the little is as essential to symmetry as the great-the star as well as the sun-the rain-drop equally with the ocean, and the hyssop no less than the cedar. The pebble has its place as fittingly as the mountain, and colossal forms of life are surrounded by the tiny insect whose term of existence is limited to a summer's twilight. Why should the possession of this grace lead to self-inflation? It is simply Christ's gift to each one, and its amount and character as possessed by others ought surely to create no uneasiness nor jealousy, for it is of Christ's measurement as well as of His bestowment, and every form and quantity of it, as it descends from the one source, is indispensable to the harmony of the church. No one is overlooked, and the one Lord will not bestow conflicting graces, nor mar nor disturb, by th e repulsive antipathy of His gifts, that unity the preservation of which here and in this way is enjoined on all the members of His church.
(Ephesians 4:8.) διὸ λέγει—“Wherefore He saith.” This quotation is no parenthesis, as many take it, nor is it any offshoot from the main body of thought, but a direct proof of previous assertion. And it proves those truths-that the ascended Lord confers gifts-various gifts-that men are the recipients, and that these facts had been presented to the faith and hope of the ancient Jewish church. The apostle, too, must have felt that the Jewish portion of the Ephesian church would acknowledge his quotation as referring to Jesus. If they disputed the sense or reference of the quotation, then the proof contained in it could not affect them. The citation is taken from the 18th verse of the 68th Psalm. It is vain to allege, with Storr and Flatt, that the apostle refers to some Christian hymn in use at Ephesus-quod ab Ephesiis cantitari sciret. Opuscula, 3.309. The formula λέγει is not uncommon-a pregnant verb, containing in itself its own nominative, though ἡ γραφή often occurs, as in Romans 4:3; Romans 9:17; Romans 10:11; Galatians 4:30; Surenhusius, Bibl. Katall. 9. There are two points which require discussion - first, the difference of reading between the apostle's citation and the original Hebrew and the Septuagint version; and, secondly, the meaning and reference of the quotation itself.
The change of person from the second to the third needs scarcely be noticed. The principal difference is in the last clause. The Hebrew reads - עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹתבָּאָדָם, and the Septuagint has in the last clause- ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ, or- ἀνθρώποις ; but the apostle's quotation reads- καὶ ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις—“and He gave gifts to men.” Various attempts have been made to explain this remarkable variation, none of them perhaps beyond all doubt. It may be generally said that the inspired apostle gives the quotation in substance, and as it bore upon his argument. Whiston maintained, indeed, that Paul's reading was correct, and that the Hebrew and Seventy had both been corrupted. Carpzovius, Crit. Sacr. p. 3. On the other hand, Jarchi, one of the Targums, the Syriac, and Arabic, have—“Thou hast given gifts to the sons of men.” Jerome, followed by Erasmus, relieves himself of the difficulty by alleging that, as the work of Christ was not over in the Psalmist's time, these gifts were only promised as future, and He may be said to have taken them or received them. But the giving and taking were alike future on the part of the Messiah in the age of David. More acute than this figment of his Eastern contemporary is the remark of Augustine, that the Psalmist uses the word “received,” inasmuch as Christ in His members receives the gifts, whereas Paul employs the term “gave,” because He, along with the Father, divides the gifts. The idea is too subtle to be the right one. Some, again, identify the two verbs, and declare them to have the same significance. Such is the view of Ambrosiaster, Beza, Zanchius, Piscator, Hammond, Bengel, and a host of others. “The one word,” says Chrysostom, “is the same as the other.” His Greek followers held generally the same view. Theodore of Mopsuestia simpl y says, “that to suit the connection the apostle has altered the terms,” and the opinion of Harless is much the same. Theodoret says- λαμβάνων γὰρ τὴν πίστιν ἀντιδίδωσι τὴν χάριν, a mere Spielerei as Harless terms it. We agree with Meyer, that the Hebrew word לָקַח, H4374, has often a proleptic signification. “The giving,” says Hengstenberg, “presupposes the taking; the taking is succeeded by the giving as its consequence.” The verb seems often to have the peculiar meaning of danda sumere-Genesis 15:9 —“Take for me,” that is, take and give to me; Genesis 18:5—“And I will take you a morsel of bread,” i.e. take and give it you; Genesis 27:13—“Go, take them,” i.e. take them and give me them; Genesis 42:16—“Let him take your brother,” i.e. let him take and bring him; Exodus 27:20—“That they take thee pure oil,” i.e. take and present it to thee; so Leviticus 24:2; 1 Kings 17:10—“Take me a little water,” i.e. take and offer it me; 2 Kings 2:20; Hosea 14:2; and so in other places; Glassius, Philol. Sacra, p. 185; Buxtorf, Catalecta Philol.-Theol. p. 39. This interpretation is, therefore, not so capricious as de Wette affirms. Such is the idiomatic usage of the verb, and the apostle, as it especially suited his purpose, seizes on the latter portion of the sense, and renders- ἔδωκε. The phraseology of Acts 2:33 is corroborative of our view—“Being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received- λαβών-from the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this”-bestowed upon the church such gifts of the Spirit. It is of the gifts of the Spirit, especially in the administration of the church, that the apostle speaks in this paragraph; and Peter, in the style of the Psalmist, describ es Messiah as receiving them ere He distributes them. The Mediator wins them by His blood, receives them from the Father who has appointed and accepted the sacrifice, and holds them for the very purpose of conferring them on His church. The Psalmist looks on the gifts in Christ's possession as taken and held by Him for men; but the time of bestowment had fully come, what was so held had now been communicated, and so the apostle from his own point of view says—“He gave gifts to man.” Still, in the original psalm the taking appears to be taking by force of spoil from the conquered foes. But the martial figure of the Hebrew psalmist is not to be strained.
Our attention must now be turned to the general meaning of the quotation. The 68th Psalm is evidently a hymn of victory. The inspired bard praises God for deliverance vouchsafed-deliverance resulting from battle and triumph. This is also the view of Delitzsch in his Commentar über den Psalter, published last year (1859). The image of a procession also appears in some parts of the ode. Very many expositors, among them Stier and Hofmann, have adopted the view that it was composed on occasion of the removal of the ark to Mount Zion, and the view of Alford is the same in substance. But the frequent introduction of martial imagery forbids such a hypothesis. What the campaign was at the issue of which this paean was composed, we cannot ascertain. Hitzig refers it to the campaign of Joram and Jehoshaphat against the Moabites (2 Kings 3), and von Lengerke refers it to some period of Pharaoh Necho's reign. Hengstenberg thinks the occasion was the termination of the Ammonitic wars, and the capture of Rabbah. 2 Samuel 12:26. One of his arguments is at best only a probability. He says, there is reference to the ark twice in Psalms 68 in Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 4:24, and that the ark was with the army during the warfare with Ammon. But the words in Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 4:24 of the psalm do not necessarily contain a reference to the ark, and the language of Joab to David, in 2 Samuel 11:11, does not affirm the presence of the ark in the Israelitish camp, but may be explained by the words of 2 Samuel 7:2. That the psalm is one of David's times and composition may be proved, against Ewald, de Wette, and Hupfeld, from its style and diction. The last writer, in his recent commentary (Die Psalmen, Dritter Band, Gotha, 1860), refers it to the return from Babylon, and supposes that it is perhaps the composition of the so-called pseudo-Isaiah, that is, the author of the latter half of Isaiah's prophecies. Reuss, in a treatise full of “persiflage,” as Hupfeld says, and which Delitzsch truly calls a “Pasquill”-a “Harlekinanzug”-brings the psalm down to the period between Alexander the Great and the Maccabees. One of the Targums refers the passage to Moses and the giving of the law. Its pervading idea-probably without reference to any special campaign, but combining what had happened many times when the Lord had shown Himself “mighty in battle”-is, that He, as of old, had come down for His people's deliverance, and had achieved it; had vanquished their foes, and given them a signal victory, and that, the combat being over, and captivity led captive, He had left the camp and gone up again to heaven. This portion of the psalm seems to have been chanted as the procession wound its way up Mount Zion to surround the symbols of the Divine majesty.
“Thou hast ascended on high.” The word לַמָּרוֹם —“on high”-in such a connection refers to heaven, in contrast with earth, where the victory had been won. Psalms 18:16; Isaiah 24:18; Isaiah 40:26; Jeremiah 25:30.
“Thou hast led captivity captive”- ᾐχμαλώτευσας αἰχμαλωσίαν. The meaning of this idiom seems simply to be-Thou hast mustered or reviewed Thy captives. Judges 5:12; Gesenius, sub voce. The allusion is to a triumphal procession in which marched the persons taken in war.
“Thou hast received gifts for men.” There is no need, with de Wette and others, to translate בּ in, and to regard this as the meaning—“Thou hast received gifts in men,” that is, men constituted the gifts, the vanquished vassals or proselytes formed the acquisition of the conqueror. Commentar über die Psalmen, p. 412; Boettcher, Proben, etc. § 62; Schnurrer, Dissertat. p. 303. The preposition בּ often signifies “for” or “on account of.” Genesis 18:28; Genesis 29:18; 2 Kings 14:6; Jonah 1:14; Lamentations 2:11; Ezekiel 4:17, etc.; Noldius, Concord. Part. Heb. p. 158. Hafniae, 1679. “Thou hast received gifts on account of men” to benefit and bless them; or the preposition may signify “among,” as in 2 Samuel 23:3; Proverbs 23:28; Jeremiah 49:15; Ewald, Gram. der Heb. Sprache, § 521, and Delitzsch. These gifts are the results of His victory, and they are conferred by Him after He has gone up from the battle-field. To obtain such a sense, however, it is out of the question, on the part of Bloomfield, to disturb the Septuagint reading and change the ἐν into ἐπί. But how can ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ denote “after the fashion of a man,” and how can בָּאָדָם in this connection mean, as Adam Clarke and Wordsworth conjecture, “in man”-that is, by virtue of His incarnation as the head of redeemed humanity?
In what sense, then, are those words applicable to the ascended Redeemer? They are not introduced simply as an illustration, for the apostle reasons from them in the following verses. This bare idea of accommodation, vindicated by such exegetes as Morus and even by Doddridge, can therefore have no place here. Nor can we agree with Calvin, that Paul has somewhat twisted the words from their original meaning—“nonnihil a genuino sensu hoc testimonium detorsit Paulus”-an opinion which wins suspicious praise from Rückert. The argument of the next verse would in that case be without solid foundation. Nor does Olshausen, in our apprehension, fix upon the prominent point of illustration. That point is in his view not the proof that Christ dispenses gifts, but that men receive them, so that Gentiles, as partakers of humanity, have equal right to them with Jews. While the statement in the latter part is true, it seems to be only a subordinate inference, not the main matter of argument. That men had the gift was a palpable fact; but the questions were-Who gave them? and does their diversity interfere with the oneness of the church? Besides, it is the term ἀναβάς on which the apostle comments. Nor can we bring ourselves to the notion of a typical allusion, or “emblem” as Barnes terms it, as if the ark carried up to Zion was typical of Christ's ascent to heaven; for we cannot convince ourselves that the ark is, so formally at least, referred to in the psalm at all. Nor will it do merely to say, with Harless, that the psalm is applicable to Christ, because one and the same God is the revealer both of the Old and New Testaments. Still wider from the tenor of the apostle's argument is one portion of the notion of Locke, that Paul's object is to prove to unconverted Jews out of their own scriptures that Jesus must die and be buried. Our position is, that the same God is revealed as Redeemer both under the O ld and New Testament, that the Jehovah of the one is the Jesus of the other, that Psalms 68 is filled with imagery which was naturally based on incidents in Jewish history, and that the inspired poet, while describing the interposition of Jehovah, has used language which was fully realized only in the victory and exaltation of Christ. Not that there is a double sense, but the Jehovah of the theocracy was He who, in the fulness of the time, assumed humanity, and what He did among His people prior to the incarnation was anticipative of nobler achievements in the nature of man. John 12:41; Rom. xiv 10, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 1:10. The Psalmist felt this, and under the influence of such emotions, rapt into future times, and beholding salvation completed, enemies defeated, and gifts conferred, thus addressed the laurelled Conqueror—“Thou hast ascended on high.” Such a quotation was therefore to the apostle's purpose. There are gifts in the church-not one donation but many-gifts the result of warfare and victory-gifts the number and variety of which are not inconsistent with unity. Such blessings are no novelty; they are in accordance with the earnest expectations of ancient ages; for it was predicted that Jesus should ascend on high, lead captivity captive, and give gifts to men. But those gifts, whatever their character and extent, are bestowed according to Christ's measurement; for it was He who then and now ennobles men with these spiritual endowments. Nor has there been any change of administration. Gifts and graces have descended from the same Lord. Under the old theocracy, which had a civil organization, these gifts might be sometimes temporal in their nature; still, no matter what was their character, they came from the one Divine Dispenser, who is still the Supreme and Sovereign Benefactor. The apostle says-
ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν—“having ascended on high, He led captivity captive.” The reference in the aorist participle is to our Lord's ascension, an act preceding that of the finite verb. Winer, § 45, 6; Krüger, § 56, 10; Acts 1:9. The meaning of the Hebrew phrase corresponding to the last two words has been already given. Such a use of a verb with its cognate substantive is, as we have seen again and again, a common occurrence. Lobeck, Paralipomena, Dissert. viii., De figura etymologica, p. 499, has given many examples from the classics. The verb, as well as the kindred form αἰχμαλωτίζω, belongs to the later Greek-extrema Graeciae senectus novum palmitem promisit. Lobeck, ad Phrynichus, p. 442. The noun seems to be used as the abstract for the concrete. Kühner, ii. § 406; Jelf, § 353; Diodorus Siculus, 17:76; Numbers 31:12; Judges 5:12; 2 Chronicles 28:11-13; Amos 1:6; 1 Maccabees 9:70; 1 Maccabees 9:72; 1 Maccabees 14:7. The prisoners plainly belong to the enemy whom He had defeated, and by whom His people had long been subjugated. This is the natural order of ideas-having beaten His foes, He makes captives of them. The earlier fathers viewed the captives as persons who had been enslaved by Satan-as Satan's prisoners, whom Jesus restored to liberty. Such is the view of Justin Martyr, of Theodoret and OEcumenius in the Greek church, of Jerome and Pelagius in the Latin church, of Thomas Aquinas in mediaeval times, of Erasmus, and in later days, of Meier, Harless, and Olshausen. But such an idea is not in harmony with the imagery employed, nor can it be defended by any philological instances or analogies. On the contrary, Christ's subjugation of His enemies has a peculiar prominence in the Messianic or acles; Psalms 110:1; Isaiah 53:12; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Colossians 2:15; and in many other places.
What, then, are the enemies of Messiah? Not simply as in the miserable rationalism of Grotius, the vices and idolatries of heathendom, nor yet as in the equally shallow opinion of Flatt, the hindrances to the spread and propagation of the gospel. Quite peculiar is the strange notion of Pierce, that the “captives” were the good angels, who, prior to Christ's advent, had been local presidents in every part of the world, but who were now deprived of this delegated power at Christ's resurrection, and led in triumph by Him as He ascended to glory. Notes on Colossians, appendix. The enemies of Messiah are Satan and his allies-every hostile power which Satan originates, controls, and directs against Jesus and His kingdom. The captives, therefore, are not merely Satan, as Vorstius and Bodius imagine; nor simply death, as is the view of Anselm; nor the devil and sin, as is the opinion of Beza, Bullinger, and Vatablus; but, as Chrysostom, Calvin, Calixtus, Theophylact, Bengel, Meyer, and Stier show, they include Satan, sin, and death. “He took the tyrant captive, the devil I mean, and death, and the curse, and sin”-such is the language of Chrysostom. The psalm was fulfilled, says Calvin-quum Christus, devicto peccato, subacta morte, Satanâ profligato, in coelum magnifice sublatus est. Christ's work on earth was a combat-a terrible struggle with the hosts of darkness whose fiercest onsets were in the garden and on the cross-when hell and death combined against Him those efforts which repeated failures had roused into desperation. And in dying He conquered, and at length ascended in victory, no enemy daring to dispute His right or challenge His march; nay, He exhibited His foes in open triumph. He bruised the head of the Serpent, though His own heel was bruised in the conflict. As the conqueror returning to his capital makes a show of his beaten foes, so Jesus having gone up to glory exposed His vanq uished antagonists whom He had defeated in His agony and death.
[ καὶb ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις—“and He” (that is, the exalted Saviour) “gave gifts to men.” Acts 2:33. There is no καί in the Septuagint, and it is omitted by A, C2, D1, E, F, G, the Vulgate, and other authorities; while it is found in B, C1 (C3), D3, I, K, L, and a host of others. Lachmann omits it; Tischendorf omitted it in his second edition, but inserts it in his seventh; Alford inserts and Ellicott rejects it. The Septuagint has ἐν ἀνθώρπῳ, which Peile would harshly render—“after the fashion of a man.” In their exegesis upon their translation of the Hebrew text, Harless, Olshausen, and von Gerlach understand these gifts to be men set apart to God as sacred offerings. “Thou hast taken to Thyself gifts among men-that is, Thou hast chosen to Thyself the redeemed for sacrifices,” so says Olshausen with especial reference to the Gentiles. According to Harless, the apostle alters the form of the clause from the original to bring out the idea—“that the captives are the redeemed, who by the grace of God are made what they are.” But men are the receivers of the gift-not the gift itself. Comment. in Vet. Test. vol. iii. p. 178. Lipsiae, 1838; Uebersetz. und Ausleg. der Psalmen, p. 305. Hofmann understands it thus-that the conquered won by Him get gifts from Him to make them capable of service, and so to do Him honour. Schriftb. ii. part 1, p. 488. See also his Weissagung und Erfüllung, 1.168, 2.199. Stier says rightly, that these δόματα are the gifts of the Holy Spirit - die Geistes-gaben Christi. These gifts are plainly defined by the context, and by the following καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν. Whatever they are-a “free Spirit,” a perfect salvation, and a completed Bible-it is plain that the office of the Christian ministry is here prominent among them. The apostle has now proved that Jesus dispenses gifts, and has made good his assertion that grace is conferred “according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
(Ephesians 4:9.) τὸ δὲ, ἀνέβη, τί ἐστιν—“Now that he ascended, what is it?” Now this predicate, ἀνέβη, what does it mean or imply? The particle δέ introduces a transitional explanation or inference. The apostle does not repeat the participle, but takes the idea as expressed by the verb and as placed in contrast with κατέβη-
εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη εἰς τὰ κατώτερα [ μέρηb τῆς γῆς;—“unless that He also descended to the lower parts of the earth.” The word πρῶτον found in the Textus Receptus before εἰς has no great authority, but Reiche vindicates it (Com. Crit. p. 173); and μέρη is not found in D, E, F, G. Tischendorf rejects it, but Scholz, Lachmann, Tittmann, Hahn, and Reiche retain it, as it has A, B, C, D3, K, L, and the Vulgate in its favour. The Divinity and heavenly abode of Christ are clearly presupposed. His ascension implies a previous descent. He could never be said to go up unless He had formerly come down. If He go up after the victory, we infer that he had already come down to win it. But how does this bear upon the apostle's argument? We can scarcely agree with Chrysostom, Olshausen, Hofmann, and Stier, that the condescension of Christ is here proposed as an example of those virtues inculcated in the first verse, though such a lesson may be inferred. Nor can we take it as being the apostle's formal proof, that the psalm is a Messianic one-as if the argument were, descent and ascent cannot be predicated of God the Omnipresent; therefore the sacred ode can refer only to Christ who came down to earth and again ascended to glory. But the ascension described implies such a descent, warfare, and victory, as belong only to the incarnate Redeemer.
εἰς τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς—“to the lower parts of the earth.” Compare in Septuagint such places as Deuteronomy 32:22; Nehemiah 4:13; Psalms 63:9-10; Psalms 86:13; Psalms 139:15; Lamentations 3:55, and the prayer of Manasseh in the Apocrypha. The phrase represents the Hebrew formula- תַחְתִּ ˆ יּוֹתהָ† ָארֶ6 ׃, the superlative being commonly employed- κατώτατος. The rabbins called the earth sometimes generally הַתַחתוֹנִים . Bartolocci, Bib. Rab. i. p. 320.
1. Some suppose the reference to be to the conception of Jesus, basing their opinion on Psalms 139:15, where the psalmist describes his substance as not hid from God, when he was “made in secret,” and “curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth.” Such is the opinion of scholars no less distinguished than Colomesius, Observat. Sacrae, p. 36, Cameron, Myrothecium Evang. p. 251, Witsius, Piscator, and Calixtus. But the mere poetical figure in the psalm denoting secret and undiscoverable operation, can scarcely be placed in contrast to the highest heaven.
2. Chrysostom, with Theophylact and OEcumenius, Bullinger, Phavorinus, and Macknight, refer it to the death of Christ; while Vorstius, Baumgarten, Drusius, Cocceius, Whitby, Wilke, and Crellius, see a special reference to the grave. But there is no proof that the words can bear such a meaning. Certainly the descent described in the psalm quoted from did not involve such humiliation.
3. Many refer the phrase to our Lord's so-called descent into hell-descensus ad inferos. Such was the view of Tertullian, Irenaeus, Jerome, Pelagius, and Ambrosiaster among the Fathers; of Erasmus, Estius, and the majority of Popish expositors; of Calovius, Bengel, Rückert, Bretschneider, Olshausen, Stier, Turner, Meyer in his third edition, Alford, and Ellicott. See also Lechler, das Apost. Zeit. p. 84, 2nd ed. 1857; Acta Thomae, xvi. p. 199, ed. Tischendorf, 1851. Thus Tertullian says, that Jesus did not ascend in sublimiora coelorum, until He went down in inferiora terrarum, ut illic patriarchas et prophetas compotes Sui faceret, De Anima, 55; Opera, vol. ii. p. 642, ed. OEhler. Catholic writers propose a special errand to our Lord in His descent into hell, viz., to liberate the old dead from torment-or a peculiar custody in the limbus patrum, or Abraham's bosom. Catechismus Roman. § 104. These doctrines are, however, superinduced upon this passage, and in many parts are contrary to Scripture. Pearson on the Creed, p. 292, ed. 1847. Stier admits that Christ could suffer no agony in Hades. Olshausen's tamer idea is, that Jesus went down to Sheol, not to liberate souls confined in it, but that this descent is the natural consequence of His death. The author shrinks from the results of his theory, and at length attenuates his opinion to this—“That in His descent Jesus partook of the misery of those fettered by sin even unto death, that is, even unto the depths of Hades.” Such is also the view of Robinson (sub voce). But the language of the apostle, taken by itself, will not warrant those hypotheses. For, 1. Whatever the view taken of the “descent into hell,” or of the language in 1 Peter 3:19, the natural interpretation of which seems to imply it, it may be said, that though the superlative κατώτατος may be the epithet of Sheol in the Old Testament, why should the comparative in the New Testament be thought to have the same reference? Is it in accordance with Scripture to call Hades, in this special sense, a lower portion of the earth, and is the expression analogous to Philippians 2:10; Matthew 12:40 ? 2. The ascension of Jesus, moreover, as has been remarked, is always represented as being not from Hades but from the earth. John 3:13; John 16:28, et c. 3. Nor is there any force in Ellicott's remark, that the use of the specific term ᾅδης “would have marred the antithesis,” for we find the same antithesis virtually in Isaiah 14:13; Isaiah 14:15, and expressly in Matthew 11:23, while ὑπεράνω and κατώτερα are in sharp contrast on our hypothesis. But heaven and earth are the usual contrast. John 8:23; Acts 2:19. And the phrase, “that He might fill all things,” depends not on the descent, but on the ascension and its character. 4. Those who suppose the captives to be human spirits emancipated from thraldom by Jesus, may hold the view that Christ went to hell to free them, but we have seen that the captives are enemies made prisoners on the field of battle. 5. Nor can it be alleged, that if Satan and his fiends are the captives, Jesus went down to his dark domain and conquered him; for the great struggle was upon the cross, and on it “through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” When He cried, “ It is finished,” the combat was over. He commended His spirit into the hands of His Father, and promised that the thief should be with Himself in paradise-certainly not the scene of contention and turmoil. But if we adopt Hebrew imagery, and consider the region of death as a vast ideal underworld, into which Jesus like every dead man descends, there would then be less objection to the hypothesis under review. 6. If we suppose the apostle to have had any reference to the Septuagint in his mind, then, had he desired to express the idea of Christ's descent into Hades, there were two phrases, any of which he might have imitated- ἐξ ᾅδου κατωτάτου (Psalms 86:13); or more pointed still, ἕως ᾅδου κατωτάτου. Deuteronomy 32:22. See Trom. Concord. Why not use ᾅδης, when it had been so markedly employed before, had he wished to give it prominence? Unmistakeable phraseology was provided for him, and sanctioned by previous usage. But the apostle employs γῆ with the comparative, and it is therefore to be questioned whether he had the Alexandrian version in his mind at all. And if he had, it is hard to think how he could attach the meaning of Hades to the words ἐν τοῖς κατωτάτω τῆς γῆς; for in the one place where they occur (Psalms 139:15), they describe the scene of the formation of the human embryo, and in the only other place where they are used (Psalms 63:9), they mark out the disastrous fate of David's enemies,-a fate delineated in the following verse as death by the sword, while the unburied corpses were exposed to the ravages of the jackal. Delitzsch in loc. Nor is there even sure ground for supposing that in such places as Isaiah 44:23, Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 32:18-24, the similar Hebrew phrase which occurs, but which is not rendered ᾅδης in the Septuagint, means Sheol or Hades. In Isaiah 44:23, it is as here, earth in contrast with heaven, and perhaps the foundations of the globe are meant, as Ewald, the Chaldee, and the Septuagint understand the formula. In Ezekiel 26:20 “the low parts of the earth” are “places desolate of old;” and in Ezekiel 32:18-24 the “nether parts of the earth” are associated with the “pit,” and “graves set in the sides of the pit”-scenes of desolation and massacre. The phrase may be a poetical figure for a dark and awful destiny. It is very doubtful whether Manasseh in the prayer referred to deprecates punishment in the other world, for he was in a dungeon and afraid of execution, and, according to theocratic principles, might hope to gain life and liberty by his penitence; for, should such deliverance be vouchsafed, he adds, “I will praise Thee for ever, all the days of my life.” It is to be borne in mind, too, that in all these places of the Old Testament, the phraseology occurs in poetical compositions, and as a portion of Oriental imagery. But in the verse before us, the words are a simple statement of facts in connection with an argument, which shows that Jesus must have come down to earth before it could be said of Him that He had gone up to heaven.
4. So that we agree with the majority of expositors who understand the words as simply denoting the earth. Such is the view of Thomas Aquinas, Beza, Aretius, Bodius, Rollock, Calvin, Cajetan, Piscator, Crocius, Grotius, Marloratus, Schoettgen, Michaelis, Bengel, Loesner, Vitringa, Cramer, Storr, Holzhausen, Meier, Matthies, Harless, Wahl, Baumgarten-Crusius, Scholz, de Wette, Raebiger, Bisping, Hofmann, Chandler, Hodge, and Winer, § 59, 8, a. A word in apposition is sometimes placed in the genitive, as 2 Corinthians 5:5, τὸν ἀῤῥαβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος-the earnest of the Spirit-the Spirit which is the earnest; Romans 8:23; Romans 4:11, σημεῖον περιτομῆς-the sign of circumcision, that is, the sign, to wit, circumcision. Acts 4:22; 1 Peter 3:7; Colossians 3:24; Romans 8:21, etc. The same mode of expression occurs in Hebrew-Stuart's Heb. Gram. § 422; Nordheimer's do. § 815. So, too, we have in Latin-Urbs Romae-the city of Rome; fluvius Euphratis-or as we say in English, “the Frith of Clyde,” or “Frith of Forth.” Thus, in the phrase before us, “the lower parts of the earth” mean those lower parts which the earth forms or presents in contrast with heaven, as we often say-heaven above and earth beneath. The ὕψος of the former verse plainly suggested the κατώτερα in this verse, and ὑπεράνω stands also in correspondence with it. So the world is called ἡ γῆ κάτω. Acts 2:19. When our Lord speaks Himself of His descent and ascension, heaven and earth are uniformly the termini of comparison. Thus in John 3:13, and no less than seven times in the sixth chapter of the same gospel. Comparantur, says Calvin, non una pars terrae cum altera, sed tota terra cum coelo. Reiche takes the genitive, as signifying terra tanquam universi pars inferior. Christ's ascension to heaven plainly implies a previous descent to this nether world. And it is truly a nether or lower world when compared with high heaven. May not the use of the comparative indicate that the descent of Christ was not simply to ἡ γῆ κάτω, but εἰς τὰ κατώτερα? Not that with Zanchius, Bochart (Opera, 1.985, ed. Villemandy, 1692), Fesselius (Apud Wolf., in loc.), Küttner, Barnes, and others, we regard the phrase as signifying, in general, lowliness or humiliation-status exinanitionis. Theologically, the use of the comparative is suggestive. He was born into the world, and that in a low condition; born not under fretted roofs and amidst marble halls, but He drew His first breath in a stable, and enjoyed His first sleep in a manger. As a man, He earned His bread by the sweat of His brow, at a manual occupation with hammer and hatchet, “going forth to His work and to His labour until the evening.” The creatures He had formed had their house and haunt after their kind, but the Heir of all things had no domicile by legal right; for “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Reproach, and scorn, and contumely followed Him as a dark shadow. Persecution at length apprehended Him, accused Him, calumniated Him, scourged Him, mocked Him, and doomed the “man of sorrows” to an ignominious torture and a felon's death. His funeral was extemporized and hasty; nay, the grave He lay in was a borrowed one. He came truly “to the lower parts of the earth.”
(Ephesians 4:10.) ῾ο καταβὰς, αὐτός ἐστιν καὶ ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν—“He that descended, He it is also who ascended high above all the heavens.” ῾ο καταβάς is emphatic, and αὐτός is He and none other. Winer, § 22, 4, note. οὐ γὰρ ἄλλος κατελήλυθε, says Theodoret, καὶ ἄλλος ἀνελήλυθεν. The identity of His person is not to be disputed. Change of position has not transmuted His humanity. It may be refined and clothed in lustre, but the manhood is unaltered. That Jesus-
“Who laid His great dominion by,
On a poor virgin's breast to lie;”
who, to escape assassination, was snatched in His infancy into Egypt-who passed through childhood into maturity, growing in wisdom and stature-who spoke those tender and impressive parables, for He had “compassion on the ignorant, and on them that were out of the way”-who fed the hungry, relieved the afflicted, calmed the demoniac, touched the leper, raised the dead, and wept by the sepulchre, for to Him no form of human misery ever appealed in vain-He who in hunger hasted to gather from a fig-tree-who lay weary and wayworn on the well of Jacob-who, with burning lips, upon the cross exclaimed “I thirst”-He whose filial affection in the hour of death commended his widowed mother to the care of His beloved disciple-HE it is who has gone up. No wonder that a heart which proved itself to be so rich with every tender, noble, and sympathetic impulse, should rejoice in expending its spiritual treasures, and giving gifts to men. Nay, more, He who provided spiritual gifts in His death, is He who bestows them in His ascension on each one, and all of them are essential to the unity of His church. But as His descent was to a point so deep, His ascent is to a point as high, for He rose-
ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν—“above all the heavens.” John 3:13; Hebrews 7:26. See under Ephesians 1:21. οἱ οὐρανοί are those regions above us through which Jesus passed to the heaven of heavens-to the right hand of God. The apostle himself speaks of the third heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:2. It is needless to argue whether the apostle refers to the third heaven, as Harless supposes, or to the seventh heaven, as Wetstein and Meyer argue. There was an ἀήρ, an αἰθήρ, and τρίτος οὐρανός (Schoettgen, 773; Wetstein under 2 Corinthians 12:2); but the apostle seems to employ the general language of the Old Testament, as in Deuteronomy 10:14, 1 Kings 8:27, where we have “the heaven, and the heaven of heavens;” or Psalms 68:33; Psalms 148:4, in which the phrase occurs—“heavens of heavens.” We find the apostle in Hebrews 4:14 saying of Jesus- διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς-that He has “passed through the heavens,” not “into the heavens,” as our version renders it. Whatever regions are termed heavens, Jesus is exalted far above them, yea, to the heaven of heavens. The loftiest exaltation is predicated of Him. As His humiliation was so low, His exaltation is proportionately high. Theophylact says-He descended into the lowest parts- μεθ᾿ ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἕτερόν τι, and He ascended above all- ὑπὲρ ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἕτερα. His position is the highest in the universe, being “far above all heavens”-all things are under His feet. See under Ephesians 1:20-22. And He is there-
ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα—“that He might fill all things.” The subjunctive with ἵνα, and after the aorist participle, represents an act which still endures. Klotz-Devarius, ii. p. 618. The ascension is past, but this purpose of it still remains, or is still a present result. The translation of Anselm, Koppe, and others, “that He might fulfil all things,” that is, all the prophecies, is as remote from the truth as the exegesis of Matthies and Rückert, “that He might complete the work of redemption.” Nor is the view of Zanchius more tenable, “that he might discharge all his functions.” The versions of Tyndale and Cranmer, and that of Geneva, use the term “fulfil,” but Wickliffe rightly renders, “that he schulde fill alle thingis.” Jeremiah 23:24. The bearing of this clause on the meaning of the term πλήρωμα, the connection of Christ's fulness with the church and the universe, and the relation of the passage to the Lutheran dogma of the ubiquity of the Redeemer, will be found in our exegesis of the last verse of the first chapter, and need not therefore be repeated here. We are not inclined to limit τὰ πάντα to the church, as is done by Beza, Grotius, and Meier, for reasons assigned under the last clause of the first chapter. The church filled by Him becomes “His fulness,” but that fulness is not limited by such a boundary. The explanation of Calvin, that Jesus fills all, Spiritus sui virtute; and of Harless, mit seiner Gnadengegenwart-appears to be too limited. Chrysostom's view is better - τῆς ἐνεργείας αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς δεσποτείας. Stier compares the phrase with the last clause of the verse quoted from Psalms 68, that “God the Lord might dwell among them,” to which corresponds the meaning given by Bengel-Se Ipso.
(Ephesians 4:11.) The apostle resumes the thought that seems to have been ripe for utterance at the conclusion of Ephesians 4:7.
καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκε—“And Himself gave”- αὐτός emphatic, and connected with the αὐτός of the preceding verse, while at the same time the apostle recurs to the aorist. This Jesus who ascended-this, and none other, is the sovereign donor. The provider and bestower are one and the same; and such gifts, though they vary, cannot therefore mar the blessed unity of the spiritual society. There is no reason, with Theophylact, Harless, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Bisping, to call ἔδωκε a Hebraism, as if it were equivalent to ἔθετο-the term which is used in 1 Corinthians 12:28; Acts 20:28. See under chap. Ephesians 1:22. ῎εδωκε is evidently in unison with ἐδόθη and δωρεά in Ephesians 4:7, and with ἔδωκε δόματα in Ephesians 4:8. The object of the apostle, in harmony with the quotation which he has introduced, is not simply to affirm the fact that there are various offices in the church, or that they are of divine institution; but also to show that they exist in the form of donations, and are among the peculiar and distinctive gifts which the exalted Lord has bequeathed. The writer wishes his readers to contemplate them more as gifts than as functions. Had they sprung up in the church by a process of natural development, they might perchance have clashed with one another; but being the gifts of the one Lord and Benefactor, they must possess a mutual harmony in virtue of their origin and object. He gave-
τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους—“some as, or to be, apostles.” On the particle μέν, which cannot well be rendered into English, and on its connection with μία-see Donaldson's New Cratylus, § 154, and his Greek Grammar, § 548, 24, and § 559. The official gifts conferred upon the church are viewed not in the abstract, but as personal embodiments or appellations. Instead of saying—“He founded the apostolate,” he says—“He gave some to be apostles.” The idea is, that the men who filled the office, no less than the office itself, were a Divine gift.
The apostles were the first and highest order of office-bearers-those “twelve whom also He named apostles.” Luke 6:13. Judas fell; Matthias was appointed his successor and substitute (if a human appointment, and one prior to Pentecost, be valid); and Saul of Tarsus was afterwards added to the number. The essential elements of the apostolate were-
1. That the apostles should receive their commission immediately from the living lips of Christ. Matthew 10:5; Mark 6:7; Galatians 1:1. In the highest sense, they held a charge as “ambassadors for Christ;” they spoke “in Christ's stead.” Matthew 28:19; John 20:21; John 20:23; Hase, Leben Jesu, § 64.
2. That having seen the Saviour after He rose again, they should be qualified to attest the truth of His resurrection. So Peter defines it, Acts 1:21-22; so Paul asserts his claim, 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 9:8; so Peter states it, Acts 2:32; and so the historian records, Acts 4:33. The assertion of this crowning fact was fittingly assumed as the work of those “chosen witnesses to whom He showed Himself alive after His passion, by many infallible proofs.”
3. They enjoyed a special inspiration. Such was the promise, John 14:26; John 16:13; and such was the possession, 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Infallible exposition of Divine truth was their work; and their qualification lay in their possession of the inspiring influences of the Holy Ghost.
4. Their authority was therefore supreme. The church was under their unrestricted administration. Their word was law, and their directions and precepts are of permanent obligation. Matthew 18:18; Matthew 18:20; John 20:22-23; 1 Corinthians 5:3-6; 2 Corinthians 10:8.
5. In proof of their commission and inspiration, they were furnished with ample credentials. They enjoyed the power of working miracles. It was pledged to them, Mark 16:15; and they wielded it, Acts 2:43; Acts 5:15; and 2 Corinthians 12:12. Paul calls these manifestations “the signs of an apostle;” and again in Hebrews 2:4, he signalizes the process as that of “God also bearing them witness.” They had the gift of tongues themselves, and they had also the power of imparting spiritual gifts to others. Romans 1:11; Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6.
6. And lastly, their commission to preach and found churches was universal, and in no sense limited. 2 Corinthians 11:28.
This is not the place to discuss other points in reference to the office. The title seems to be applied to Barnabas, Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14, as being in company with Paul; and in an inferior sense to ecclesiastical delegates. Romans 16:7; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25; Winer, Real-Wörterbuch, art. Apostel; Kitto's Bib. Cycl. do.; M'Lean's Apostolical Commission, Works, i. p. 8; Spanhemius, de Apostolatu, etc., Leyden, 1679.
τοὺς δὲ προφήτας—“and some to be prophets.” δέ looks back to μέν and introduces a different class. We have already had occasion to refer especially to this office under Ephesians 2:20 and Ephesians 3:5. The prophets ranked next in order to the apostles, but wanted some of their peculiar qualifications. They spoke under the influence of the Spirit; and as their instructions were infallible, so the church was built on their foundation as well as that of the apostles; Ephesians 2:20. Prophecy is marked out as one of the special endowments of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12:10), where it stands after the apostolic prerogative of working miracles. The revelation enjoyed by apostles was communicated also to prophets, Ephesians 3:5. The name has its origin in the peculiar usages of the Old Testament. The Hebrew term נָבִיא, H5566, has reference, in its etymology, to the excitement and rhapsody which were so visible under the Divine afflatus; and the cognate verb is therefore used in the niphal and hithpael conjugations. Gesenius, sub voce; Knobel, Prophetismus, 1.127. The furor was sometimes so vehement that, in imitation of it, the frantic ravings of insanity received a similar appellation. 1 Samuel 18:10 ; 1 Kings 18:29. As the prophet's impulse came from God, and denoted close alliance with Him, so any man who enjoyed special and repeated Divine communications was called a prophet, as Abraham, Genesis 20:7. Because the prophet was God's messenger, and spoke in God's name, this idea was sometimes seized on, and a common internuncius was dignified with the title. Exodus 7:1. This is the radical signification of προφήτης-one who speaks- πρό-for, or in name of another. In the Old Testament, prophecy in its strict sense is therefore not identical with prediction; but it often denotes the delivery of a Divine message. Ezra 5:1. Prediction was a strange and sublime province of the prophet's labour; but he was historian and bard as well as seer. Again, as the office of a prophet was sacred, and was held in connection with the Divine service, lyric effusions and musical accompaniments are termed prophesying, as in the case of Miriam (Exodus 15:20), and of the sons of the prophets, 1 Samuel 10:5. So it is too in Numbers 11:26; Titus 1:12. In 1 Chronicles 25:1, similar language occurs-the orchestra “prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the Lord.” Koppe, Excursus iii. ad Comment. in Epist. ad Ephesios. Thus, besides the special and technical sense of the word, prophesying in a wider and looser signification means to pour forth rapturous praises, in measured tone and cadence, to the accompaniment of wild and stirring music. Similar is the usage of the New Testament in reference to Anna in Luke 2:36, and to the ebullition of Zachariah in Luke 1:67. While in the New Testament προφήτης is sometimes used in its rigid sense of the prophets of the Old Testament, it is often employed in the general meaning of one acting under a Divine commission. Foundation is thus laid for the appellation before us. Once, indeed (Acts 11:28), prediction is ascribed to a prophet; but instruction of a peculiar nature-so sudden and thrilling, so lofty and penetrating-merits and receives the generic term of prophecy. Females sometimes had the gift, but they were not allowed to exercise it in the church. This subordinate office differed from that of the Old Testament prophets, who were highest in station in their church, and many of whose inspired writings have been preserved as of canonical authority. But no utterances of the prophets under the New Testament have been so highly honoured.
Thus the prophets of the New Testament were men who were peculiarly susceptible of Divine influence, and on whom that afflatus powerfully rested. Chrysostom, on 1 Corinthians 12:28, says of them- ὁ μὲν προφητεύων πάντα ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος φθέγγεται. They were inspired improvisatori in the Christian assemblies-who, in animated style and under irresistible impulse, taught the church, and supplemented the lessons of the apostles, who, in their constant itinerations, could not remain long in one locality. Apostles planted and prophets watered; the germs engrafted by the one were nurtured and matured by the other. What the churches gain now by the spiritual study of Scripture, they obtained in those days by such prophetical expositions of apostolical truth. The work of these prophets was in the church, and principally with such as had the semina of apostolical teaching; for the apostle says—“He that prophesieth speaketh unto men, to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3); and again, “prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them that believe,” though not for unbelievers wholly useless, as the sudden and vivid revelation of their spiritual wants and belongings often produced a mighty and irresistible impression. 1 Corinthians 14:22; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Neander, Geschichte der Pflanzung der Christl. K. p. 234, 4th ed. Though the man who spake with tongues might be thrown out of self-control, this ecstasy did not fall so impetuously upon the prophets; they resembled not the Greek μάντις, for “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” One would be apt to infer from the description of the effect of prophecy on the mind of an unbeliever, in laying bare the secrets of his heart, that the prophets concerned themselves specially with the subjective side of Christianity-with its power and adaptations; that they appealed to the co nsciousness, and that they showed the higher bearings and relations of those great facts which had already been learned on apostolical authority. 1 Corinthians 14:25. This gift had an intimate connection with that of tongues (Acts 19:6), but is declared by the apostle to be superior to it. Though these important functions were superseded when a written revelation became the instrument of the Spirit's operation upon the heart, yet the prophets, having so much in common with the apostles, are placed next to them, and are subordinate to them only in dignity and position. Romans 12:6. Whether all the churches enjoyed the ministrations of these prophets we know not. They were found in Corinth, Rome, Antioch, Ephesus, and Thessalonica. If our account, drawn from the general statements of Scripture, be correct, then it is wrong on the part of Noesselt, Rückert, and Baumgarten-Crusius to compare this office with that of modern preaching; and it is too narrow a view of it to restrict it to prediction; or to the interpretation of Old Testament vaticinations, like Macknight; or to suppose, with Mr. M'Leod, that it had its special field of labour in composing and conducting the psalmody of the primitive church. Divine Inspiration, by E. Henderson, D.D., p. 207: London, 1836; A View of Inspiration, etc., by Alexander M'Leod, p. 133: Glasgow, 1831. Most improbable of all is the conjecture of Schrader, that the apostle here refers to the prophets of the Old Testament.
τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς—“and some to be evangelists.” That those evangelists were the composers of our historical gospels is an untenable opinion, which Chrysostom deemed possible, and which OEcumenius stoutly asserts. On the other hand, Theodoret is more correct in his description- περιϊόντες ἐκήρυττον—“going about they preached.” Eusebius, Historia Eccles. 3.37. The word is used only thrice in the New Testament-as the designation of Philip in Acts 21:8, and as descriptive of one element of the vocation of Timothy. 2 Timothy 4:5. In one sense apostles and prophets were evangelists, for they all preached the same holy evangel, 1 Corinthians 1:17. But this official title implies something special in their function, inasmuch as they are distinguished also from “teachers.” These gospellers may have been auxiliaries of the apostles, not endowed as they were, but furnished with clear perceptions of saving truth, and possessed of wondrous power in recommending it to others. Inasmuch as they itinerated, they might thus differ from stationary teachers. Neander, Geschichte der Pflanzung, etc., 259, 4th ed. While the prophets spoke only as occasion required, and their language was an excited outpouring of brilliant and piercing thoughts, the evangelists might be more calm and continuous in their work. Passing from place to place with the wondrous story of salvation and the cross, they pressed Christ on men's acceptance, their hands being freed all the while from matters of detail in reference to organization, ritual, and discipline. The prophet had an ἀποκάλυψις as the immediate basis of his oracle, and the evangelist had “the word of knowledge” as the ultimate foundation of his lesson. Were not the seventy sent forth by our Lord a species of evangelists, and might not Mark, Luke, Silas, Apollos, Tychicus, and Trophimus merit such a designation? The evangelist Timothy was commended by Paul to the church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10. Mr. M'Leod's notions of the work of an evangelist are clearly wrong, as he mistakes addresses given to Timothy as a pastor for charges laid upon him in the character of an evangelist. A View of Inspiration, p. 481. The command to “do the work of an evangelist,” if not used in a generic sense, is something distinct from the surrounding admonitions, and characterizes a special sphere of labour.
τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους—“and some to be pastors and teachers.” Critical authorities are divided on the question as to whether these two terms point out two different classes of office-bearers, or merely describe one class by two combined characteristics. The former opinion is held by Theophylact, Ambrose, Pelagius, Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, Calixtus, Crocius, Grotius, Meier, Matthies, de Wette, Neander, and Stier; and the latter by Augustine, Jerome, OEcumenius, Erasmus, Piscator, Musculus, Bengel, Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, Meyer, and Davidson. Ecclesiastical Polity, p. 156.
Those who make a distinction between pastors and teachers vary greatly in their definitions. Thus Theodoret, followed by Bloomfield and Stier, notices the difference, as if it were only local- τοὺς κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην—“town and country clergy.” Theophylact understands by “pastors” bishops and presbyters, and deacons by “teachers,” while Ambrosiaster identifies the same teachers with exorcists. According to Calixtus, with whom Meier seems to agree, the “pastors” were the working class of spiritual guides, and the “teachers” were a species of superintendents and professors of theology, or, according to Grotius, metropolitans. Neander's view is, that the “pastors” were rulers, and the “teachers” persons possessed of special edifying gifts, which were exerted for the instruction of the church. The Westminster Divines also made a distinction—“The teacher or doctor is also a minister of the Word as well as the pastor;” “He that doth more excel in exposition of Scripture, in teaching sound doctrine, and in convincing gainsayers, than he doth in application, and is accordingly employed therein, may be called a teacher or doctor;” “A teacher or doctor is of most excellent use in schools and universities,” etc. Stier remarks that “each pastor should, to a certain extent at least, be a teacher, but every teacher is not therefore a pastor.” By some reference is made for illustration to the school of divinity in Alexandria, over which such men as Didymus, Clement, and Origen presided. None of these distinctions can be scripturally and historically sustained.
We agree with those who hold that one office is described by the two terms. Jerome says-Non enim ait; alios autem pastores et alios magistros, sed alios pastores et magistros, ut qui pastor est, esse debeat et magister; and again-Nemo pastoris sibi nomen assumere debet, nisi possit docere quos pascit. The view of Bengel is similar. The language indicates this, for the recurring τοὺς δέ is omitted before διδασκάλους, and a simple καί connects it with ποιμένας. The two offices seem to have had this in common, that they were stationary- περὶ ἕνα τόπον ἠσχολημένοι, as Chrysostom describes them. Grotius, de Wette, and others, refer us to the functional vocabulary of the Jewish synagogue, in which a certain class of officers were styled פרנסין, after which Christian pastors were named ἐπίσκοποι and πρεσβύτεροι. Vitringa, De Synagog. Vet. p. 621; Selden, De Synedriis Vet. Heb. lib. i. cap. 14.
The idea contained in ποιμήν is common in the Old Testament. The image of a shepherd with his flock, picturing out the relation of a spiritual ruler and those committed to his charge, often occurs. Psalms 23:1; Psalms 80:1; Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 3:15, and in many other places; Isaiah 56:11; Ezekiel 34:2; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 10:3; John 10:14; John 21:15; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2. Such pastors and guides rule as well as feed the flock, for the keeping or tending is essential to the successful feeding. The prominent idea in Psalms 23 is protection and guidance in order to pasture. The same notion is involved in the Homeric and classic usage of ποιμήν as governor and captain. “The idea of administration is,” Olshausen remarks, “prominent in this term.” It implies careful, tender, vigilant superintendence and government, being the function of an overseer or elder. The official name ἐπίσκοπος is used by the apostle in addressing churches formed principally out of the heathen world-as at Ephesus, Philippi, and the island of Crete (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7); while πρεσβύτερος, the term of honour, is more Jewish in its tinge, as may be found in many portions of the Acts of the Apostles, and in the writings of James, Peter, and John. Speaking to Timothy and Titus, the apostle styles them elders (and so does the compiler of the Acts, in referring to spiritual rulers); but describing the duties of the office itself, he calls the holder of it ἐπίσκοπος. See under Philippians 1:1.
The διδάσκαλοι, placed in the third rank by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 12:28, were persons whose peculiar function it was to expound the truths of Christianity. While teaching was the main characteristic of this office, yet, from the mode of discharging it, it might be called a pastorate. The διδάσκαλος in teaching, did the duty of a ποιμήν, for he fed with knowledge; and the ποιμήν in guiding and governing, prepared the flock for the nutriment of the διδάσκαλος. It is declared in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a Christian overseer or pastor must be “apt to teach”- διδακτικός; and in Titus 1:9 it is said that, in virtue of his office, he must be able “by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.” Again, in Hebrews 13:7, those who had governed the church are further characterized thus- οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ.
The one office is thus honoured appropriately with the two appellations. It comprised government and instruction, and the former being subordinate to the latter, διδάσκαλοι are alone mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, but there the evangelists are formally omitted; while the apostle by a sudden change uses the abstract, and the “helps” and “governments” then referred to are, like “healing” and “tongues,” not distinct offices possessed by various individuals, but associated with those previously named. The evangelists and deacons were indeed helps, but government devolved upon the teachers and elders. See Henderson, Divine Inspiration, Lect. iv. p. 184; Rückert, 2nd Beilage-Komment. über Corinth-B.; Davidson, Ecclesiastical Polity, 178. We are ignorant to a very great extent of the government of the primitive church, and much that has been written upon it is but surmise and conjecture. The church represented in the Acts was only in process of development, and there seem to have been differences of organization in various Christian communities, as may be seen by comparing the portion of the epistle before us with allusions in the three letters to Rome, Corinth, and Philippi. Offices seem to be mentioned in one which are not referred to in others. It would appear, in fine, that this last office of government and instruction was distinct in two elements from those previously enumerated; inasmuch as it was the special privilege of each Christian community-not a ministerium vagum, and was designed also to be a perpetual institute in the church of Christ. The apostle says nothing of the modes of human appointment or ordination to these various offices. He descends not to law, order, or form, but his great thought is, that though the ascended Lord gave such gifts to men, yet their variety and number interfere not with the unity of the church, as he also conclusively argues in the twelfth chapter of his first epistle to the church in Corinth.
(Ephesians 4:12.) πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων, εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ—“In order to the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The meaning of this verse depends upon its punctuation. There are three clauses, and the question is-how are they connected?
1. Some regard the three clauses as parallel or co-ordinate. He gave all these gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Such is the rendering of the English version, as if each clause contained a distinct purpose, and each of the three purposes related with equal independence to the divine gift of the Christian ministry. This mode of interpretation claims the authority of Chrysostom, Zanchius, Bengel, von Gerlach, Holzhausen, and Baumgarten - Crusius. But the apostle changes the preposition, using πρός before the first clause, while εἰς stands before the other two members of the verse, so that, if they are all co-ordinate, a different relation at least is indicated.
2. A meaning is invented by Grotius, Calovius, Rollock, Michaelis, Koppe, and Cramer, through the violent and unwarranted transposition of the clauses, as if Paul had written—“for the work of the ministry, in order to the perfecting of the saints, in order to the edifying of the body of Christ.” Similarly Tyndale—“that the sainctes might have all things necessarie to work and minister withall.”
3. Harless and Olshausen suppose the prime object to be described in the first clause which begins with πρός, and the other clauses, each commencing with εἰς, to be subdivisions of the main idea, and dependent upon it, as if the meaning were-the saints are prepared some of them to teach, and others, or the great body of the church, to be edified. Our objection to such an exegesis is, that it introduces a division where the apostle himself gives no hint, and which the language cannot warrant. For all the ἅγιοι are described as enjoying the “perfecting,” and they are identical with “the body of Christ” which is to be edified. The opinion of Zachariae is not very different, as he makes the second εἰς depend upon the first—“For the work of the ministry instituted in order to the edifying of the body of Christ.”
4. Meier, Schott, Rückert, and Erasmus also regard the two clauses introduced by εἰς as dependent upon that beginning with πρός. Their opinion is-that the apostle meant to say, “for the perfecting of the saints unto all that variety of service which is essential unto the edification of the church.” This interpretation we preferred in our first edition. But Meyer argues that διακονία, in such a connection, never signifies service in general, but official service; and his objection therefore is, that the saints, as a body, are not invested with official prerogative.
5. Meyer's own view is, that the two last clauses are co-ordinate, and that both depend on ἔδωκε, while the first clause contains the ultimate reason for which Christ gave teachers. He has given teachers- εἰς—“for the work of the ministry, and- εἰς-for the edifying of His body- πρός-in order to the perfecting of His saints.” Ellicott and Alford follow Meyer, and we incline now to concur in this opinion, though the order of thought appears somewhat inverted. Jelf, § 625, 3. It is amusing to notice the critical manoeuvre of Piscator- εἰς ἔργον, says he, stands for ἐν ἔργῳ, and that again means δἰ ἔργου-the perfecting of the saints by means of the work of the ministry.
The verbal noun καταρτισμός is not, as Pelagius and Vatablus take it, the filling up of the number of the elect, but as Theodoret paraphrases the participle- τέλειος ἐν πᾶσι πράγμασι. The verb καταρτίζειν-to put in order again-is used materially in the classics, as to refit a ship (Polyb. 1.24, 4; Diodorus Sic. 13.70) or reset a bone (Galen); also in Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19; Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3. In its ethical sense it is used properly, Galatians 6:1; and in its secondary sense of completing, perfecting, it is found in the other passages where it occurs, as here. Luke 6:40; 2 Corinthians 13:11. The meaning of ἅγιος has been explained under Ephesians 1:1. The Christian ministry is designed to mature the saints, to bring them nearer the Divine law in obedience, and the Lord's example in conformity.
εἰς ἔργον διακονίας—“for work of service.” For the etymology of the second term, see under Ephesians 3:7. These various office-bearers have been given for, or their destination is, the work of service. ῎εργον is not superfluous; as Koppe says, it is that work in which the διακονία busies itself. Winer, § 65, 7; Acts 6:4; Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 9:12-13; 2 Corinthians 11:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 2 Timothy 4:11. Neither noun has the article; for διακονίας being indefinite, the governing noun becomes also anarthrous. Middleton, Gr. Art. p. 48.
εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ—“for the building up of the body of Christ.” This second parallel clause is a more specific way of describing the business or use of the Christian ministry-a second purpose to which the office-bearers are given. In Ephesians 2:21, οἰκοδομή signified the edifice-here it denotes the process of erection. The ideas involved in this term have been illustrated under Ephesians 2:22, and those in σῶμα χριστοῦ have been given under Ephesians 1:23. The spiritual advancement of the church is the ultimate design of the Christian pastorate. It labours to increase the members of the church, and to prompt and confirm their spiritual progress. The ministry preaches and rules to secure this, which is at the same time the purpose of Him who appointed and who blesses it. So that the more the knowledge of the saints grows and their piety ripens; the more vigorous their faith, the more ardent their love, and the more serene and heavenly their temperament; the more of such perfecting they gather to them and enjoy under the ordinances of grace-then the more do they contribute in their personal holiness and influence to the extension and revival of the church of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:13.) ΄έχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες—“Until we all come.” ΄έχρι measures the time during which this arrangement and ministry are to last, and it is here used, without ἄν, with a subjunctive, a usage common in the later writers and in the New Testament. Winer, § 41, 3, b; Stallbaum, Plato, Philebus, p. 61; Schmalfeld on ῞εως, § 128. Kühner, § 808, 2. This formula occurs only in this place; ἄχρις οὗ being the apostle's common expression. The insertion of the particle ἄν would have given such an idea as this, “till we come (if ever we come).” Hartung, ii. p. 291; Bernhardy, p. 400. The subjunctive is employed not merely to express a future aim, as Harless says, but it also connects this futurity with the principal verb- ἔδωκε-as its expected purpose. Jelf, § 842, 2; Scheuerlein, § 36, 1. “We all,” the apostle includes himself among all Christians, for he stood not apart from the church, but in it, the article specifying them as one class. καταντάω needs not to be taken in any such sense as to intimate that believers of different nations meet together; nor can πάντες denote all men, as Jerome, Morus, and Allioli understand it, but only all the saints- ἅγιοι. The meaning is, that not only is there a blessed point in spiritual advancement set before the church, and that till such a point be gained the Christian ministry will be continued, but also and primarily, that the grand purpose of a continued pastorate in the church is to enable the church to gain a climax which it will certainly reach; for that climax is neither indefinite in its nature nor contingent in its futurity. And the apostle now characterizes it by a triple description, each member beginning with εἰς-
εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ—“to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.” καταντάω is followed by εἰς in a literal sense, as often in Acts, and here also in a tropical sense. See under Philippians 3:11. Very different is the sense from that involved in the view of Pelagius-ejus plenitudinem imitari. Every noun in the clause has the article prefixed. We take the genitive τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ as that of object, and as governed both by πίστεως and ἐπιγνώσεως—“the faith of the Son of God, and the knowledge of the Son of God.” Winer, § 30. But we cannot adopt the view of Calvin, Calovius, Bullinger, and Crocius, that τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως is epexegetical of τῆς πίστεως, for it expresses a different idea. Nor can we with Grotius regard εἰς as meaning ἐν-the rendering also of the English version, while Chandler gives it the sense of “by means of,” and Wycliffe renders “into unyte of faith.” The preposition marks the terminus ad quem. The apostle has already in this chapter introduced the idea of unity, and has shown that difference of gifts and office is not incompatible with it; and now he shows that the variety of offices in the church of Christ is intended to secure it. For the meaning of the term Son, the reader may go back to what is said under Ephesians 1:3. The apostle uses this high appellation here, for Jesus as God's Son-a Divine Saviour, is the central object of faith. Christians are all to attain to oneness of faith, that is, all of them shall be filled with the same ennobling and vivifying confidence in this Divine Redeemer-not some leaning more to His humanity, and others showing an equally partial and defective preference for His divinity-not some regarding Him rather as an inst ructor and example, and others drawn to Him more as an atonement-not some fixing an exclusive gaze on Christ without them, and others cherishing an intense and one-sided aspiration for Christ within them-but all reposing a united confidence in Him—“the Son of God.” It would be too much to say that subjectively all shall have the same faith so far as vigour is concerned, but a unity in essence and permanence, as well as in object, is an attainable blessing.
Unity of knowledge is also specified by the apostle. ᾿επίγνωσις is a term we have considered under Ephesians 1:17. Christians are not to be, as in times past, some fully informed in one section of truth, but erring through defective information on other points concerning the Saviour-some with a superior knowledge of the merits of His death, and others with a quicker perception of the beauties of His life; His glory the theme of correct meditation with one, and His condescension the subject of lucid reflection with another-but they are to be characterized by the completeness and harmony of their ideas of the power, the work, the history, the love, and the glory of the “Son of God.” Olshausen thinks that the unity to which the apostle refers, is a unity subsisting between faith and knowledge, or, as Bisping technically words it-fides implicita developing into fides explicita. This idea does not appear to be the prominent one, but it is virtually implied, since knowledge and faith are so closely associated-faith not only embracing all that is known about the Saviour, and its circuit enlarging with the extent of information, but also being itself a source of knowledge. The hypothesis of Stier is at once mystical and peculiar. The phrase τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ is, he says, “the genitive of subject or possession;” and the meaning then is, till we possess that oneness of faith and knowledge which the Son of God Himself possessed in His incarnate state, till the whole community become a son of God in such respects. Now, one great aim of preaching and ecclesiastical organization, is to bring about such a unity. There is no doubt, therefore, that it is attainable; but whether here or hereafter has perplexed many commentators. The opinion of Theodoret- τῆς δὲ τελειότητος ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι βίῳ τευξόμεθα-has been adopted by Calvin, Zanchius, Koppe, and Holzhausen. On the other hand, the belief that such perfection is attainable here, is a view held by Chrysostom, Theophylact, and OEcumenius, by Jerome and Ambrosiaster, by Thomas Aquinas and Estius, by Luther, Calovius, Crocius, and Cameron, and by the more modern expositors, Rückert, Meier, Matthies, de Wette, Meyer, Delitzsch, and Stier. Perfection, indeed, in an absolute sense, cannot be enjoyed on earth, either personally or socially. But the apostle speaks of the results of the Christian ministry as exercised in the church below; for that faith to which Christians are to come exists not in its present phase in heaven, but is swallowed up in vision. Had faith been described only as a means, the heavenly state might have been formally referred to. Still the terms employed indicate a state of perfection that has never been realized, either by the apostolic or by any other church. Philippians 3:13. Our own view is not materially different from that of Harless, viz., that the apostle places this destiny of the church on earth, but does not say whether on earth that destiny is to be realized. Olshausen says, that Paul did not in his own mind conceive any antithesis between this world and that to come, and he gives the true reason, that “the church was to the apostle one and only one.” For the church on earth gradually passes into the church in heaven, and when it reaches perfection, the Christian ministry, which remains till we come to this unity, will be superseded. In such sketches the apostle holds up an ideal which, by the aim and labour of the Christian pastorate, is partially realized on earth, and ought to be more vividly manifested; but which will be fully developed in heaven, when, the effect being secured, the instrumentality may be dispensed with.
εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον—“to a perfect man.” This expressive figure was perhaps suggested by the previous σῶμα χριστοῦ. The singular appears to be employed as the concrete representative of that unity of which the apostle has been speaking. ᾿ανὴρ τέλειος is opposed to νήπιος in the following verse, which probably it also suggested, and is used in such a sense by the classics. τέλειος is tropically contrasted with νήπιος in 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1, and it stands opposed to τὸ ἐκ μέρους. 1 Corinthians 13:10. Other examples may be seen from Arrianus and Polybius in Raphelius, Annotat. Sac. ii. p. 477. Xenophon, Cyrop. 8.7, 6. Hofmann, Schriftb. ii. part 2, p. 111, proposes to begin a new period with this clause, connecting it with αὐξήσωμεν of the 15th verse, thus separating it from any connection with the previous ἵνα, and giving it the sense of “let us grow.” Such a construction is needlessly involved, and mars the rapid simplicity of the passage. The Christian church is not fullgrown, but it is advancing to perfect age. What the apostle means by a perfect manhood, he explains by a parallel expression-
εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ—“to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The important term ἡλικία is rendered “full age”-aetas virilis-by Morus, Koppe, Flatt, Meier, Matthies, Holzhausen, and Harless. “It is,” says Harless, “the ripeness of years in contrast with the minority of youth.” Meyer takes it simply as age-age defined by the following words. Chrysostom says, “by stature here he means perfect knowledge.” It may signify age, John 9:21, or stature, Luke 19:3. The last is the view of Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Rückert, Stier, Ellicott, Alford, and the Syriac version. And to this view we are inclined, first, because ἀνὴρ τέλειος is literally a full-grown man-a man of mature stature; and, secondly, because the apostle gives the idea of growth, and not of age, very peculiar prominence in the subsequent illustrations, and particularly in the sixteenth verse. Though μέτρον, as in the well-known phrase, ἥβης μέτρον (Homer, Od. 18.217), bears a general signification, there is no reason why it should not have its original meaning in the clause before us, for the literal sense is homogeneous—“measure of stature.” Lucian, Imag. p. 8, Opera, vol. vi. ed. Bipont. The words are but an appropriate and striking image of spiritual advancement. The stature referred to is characterized as that of “the fulness of Christ.” This phrase, which has occurred already in the epistle, has been here most capriciously interpreted even by some of those who give ἡλικία the sense of stature. Luther, Calvin, Beza, Morus, and others, take πλήρωμα as an adjective- ἡλικία πεπληρωμένη or ἡλικία πληρωθέντος χριστοῦ. Luther renders in der masse des vollkommenen Alters Christi—“the measure of the full age of Christ.” Calvin gives it, actas justa vel matura; Beza has it, ad mensuram staturae adulti Christi. Such an exegesis does violence to the language, and is not in accordance with the usual meaning of πλήρωμα. It is completely out of place on the part of Storr, Koppe, and Baumgarten-Crusius, to understand πλήρωμα of the church, for the phrase qualifies ἡλικία, and is not in simple apposition. Nor is the attempt of OEcumenius and Grotius at all more successful, to resolve πλήρωμα into the knowledge of Christ. For πλήρωμα see under Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 1:23. χριστοῦ is the genitive of subject, and πληρώματος that of possession; the connection of so many genitives indicating a varied but linked relationship characterizing the apostle's style. Winer, § 30, 3, Obs. i.; Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:19. The church, as we have seen, is Christ's fulness as filled up by Him, and so this “stature” is of His “fulness”-filled up by Him, and deriving from this imparted fulness all its height and symmetry. Such is the general view of Harless, Olshausen, Meyer, Meier, and Holzhausen, save that they do not take ἡλικία in the sense of stature. But this translation of “stature” appears, as we have said, more in harmony with the imagery employed, for he says, “we grow up” “and the whole body maketh increase of the body.” This stature grows just as it receives of Christ's fulness; and when that fulness is wholly enjoyed, it will be that of a “perfect man.” The idea conveyed by the figure cannot be misunderstood. The Christian ministry is appointed to labour for the perfection of the church of Christ, a perfection which is no romantic anticipation, but which consists of the communicated fulness of Christ. We need scarcely notice the hallucinations of some of the F athers-that man shall rise from the grave in the perfect age of Christ-that is, each man's constitution shall have the form and aspect of thirty-three years of age, the age of Christ at His death. Augustine, De Civit. lib. xxii. cap. 15. Another purpose is-
(Ephesians 4:14.) ῞ινα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι—“In order that we may be no longer children.” This and the following verse are illustrative of the preceding one, and show the peculiar weakness and dangers to which believers in an imperfect state are exposed. ῞ινα points to a negative and intermediate purpose resulting from that of the preceding verses, but not as if that were taken as realized, for he immediately adds αὐξήσωμεν-implying that τελειότης has not been attained. The period of maturity is, indeed, future; but meantime, in the hope of it, and with the assistance of the Christian ministry, believers are to be “no longer children;” ceasing to be children is meanwhile our duty. The ministry is instituted, and this glorious destiny is portrayed, in order that in the meantime we may be no longer children. νήπιος is opposed to ἀνὴρ τέλειος. Polybius, Hist. 5.29, 2. ΄ηκέτι is employed after ἵνα. Gayler, Part. Graec. Neg., cap. vii. A, 1- β, p. 168. We have been children long enough-let us “put away childish things.”
The apostle now refers to two characteristics of childhood-its fickleness, and its liability to be imposed upon. Childhood has a peculiar facility of impression-
κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας —“tossed and driven about with every wind of teaching.” κλυδωνιζόμενοι-tossed about as a surge; κλυδωνιζόμενοι is passive; instances may be found in Krebs and Wetstein. Hebrews 13:9; James 1:6. The billow does not swell and fall on the same spot, but it is carried about by the wind, driven hither and thither before it-the sport of the tempest. The term ἀνέμῳ, dative of cause (Krüger, § 48, 15), is applied to διδασκαλία-not to show its emptiness, as Matthies explains it by windig-leere Einfälle, but to describe its impulsive power. The article τῆς before διδασκαλίας gives definitive prominence to “the teaching,” which, as a high function respected and implicitly obeyed, was very capable of seducing, since whatever false phases it assumed, it might find and secure followers. Such wind, not from this or that direction only, but blowing from any or “every” quarter, causes the imperfect and inexperienced to surge about in fruitless commotion. The moral phenomenon is common. Some men have just enough of Christian intelligence to unsettle them, and make them the prey of every idle suggestion, the sport of every religious novelty. How many go the round of all sects, parties, and creeds, and never receive satisfaction! If in the pride of reason they fall into rationalism, then if they recover they rebound into mysticism. From the one extreme of legalism they recoil to the farthest verge of antinomianism, having travelled at easy stages all the intermediate distances. Men like Priestley and Channing have gradually descended from Calvinism to Unitarianism; others, like Schlegel and the Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn, make a swift transition from Protestant nihilism to Popish pietism and superstition. Decision and firmness are indispensable to spir itual improvement. Only one form of teaching is beneficial, and all deviations are pernicious. More pointedly-
ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων—“in the sleight of men.” κυβεία from κύβος-a cube, or one of the dice-signifies gambling, and then by an easy and well-known process, the common accompaniment and result of gambling-fraud and imposition. Suicer, sub voce. The rabbins have the word also in the form of קוּבְיָא . Schoettgen, Horae Heb. p. 775; Buxtorf, Lex. Tal. p. 1984. Salmasius renders the term actio temeraria; Beza, variae et ineptae subtilitates; and Matthies, gewinnsüchtiges Spiel—“play for the greed of winning.” These meanings are inferior to the ordinary translation of fallacia by Jerome, the nequitia of the Vulgate, and “sleight” of the English version. Theodoret renders the noun by πανουργία. The opinion of Meyer and de Wette, that ἐν denotes the instrumental cause, is scarce to be preferred to that of Harless, Matthies, Olshausen, and Ellicott, who suppose that the preposition signifies the element in which the false doctrine works. The apostle shows how the false teaching wields its peculiar power-acting like a wary and dexterous gambler, and winning by dishonesty without being suspected of it. οἱ ἄνθρωποι are men, in contrast not with Christ's office-bearers, but with the “Son of God.” The next clause is parallel and explanative-
ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης—“in craft with a view to a system of error.” Codex A adds τοῦ διαβόλου. “Craft” is the meaning which is uniformly attached to the first noun in the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3. πρός indicates the purpose of the πανουργία which is not followed by any article. The craft is exercised in order to carry out the tricks of error; πλάνης being genitive of subject and defined by the article. ΄εθοδεία is rendered by Hesychius τέχνη, and by Theodoret μηχανή, plan or settled system. Aquila renders צְָָדה, “to lie in wait” (Exodus 21:13 ), by μεθόδευσε. The Greek verb originally had a good meaning, “to pursue a settled plan,” but the bad meaning soon came-its history and use, as in the case of such English words as “prevent” and “resent,” showing man's evil nature. This false teaching, ἡ πλάνη, has a systematic process of deception peculiar to itself- ἡ μεθοδεία; and that this mechanism may not fail or scare away its victims by unguarded revelations of its nature and purpose, it is wrought with special manoeuvre- πανουργία. There is, however, no distinct declaration that such seduction and mischievous errors were actually in the church at Ephesus, though the language before us seems to imply it, and the apostle's valedictory address plainly anticipated it. Acts 20:29. We may allude, in fine, to the strange remark of Rückert, that this severe language of Paul against false teachers, sprang from a dogmatical defiance, and was the weak side in him as in many other great characters. But the apostle's attachment to the truth originated in his experience of its saving power, and he knew that its adulteration often robbed it of its healing virtue. Lov e to men, fidelity to Christ, and zeal for the purity and glory of the church, demanded of him this severe condemnation of errorists and heresiarchs. The spiritual vehemence and truth-love of such a heart are not to be estimated by a common criterion, and when such puerile estimates of Paul's profound nature are formed, we are inclined to ascribe it to moral incompetence of judgment, and to say to Herr Rückert—“Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.”
(Ephesians 4:15.) ᾿αληθεύοντες δὲ, ἐν ἀγάπῃ αὐξήσωμεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα—“But imbued with truth, that in love we should grow up to or into Him in all things.” The construction still depends upon ἵνα in Ephesians 4:14, δέ placing the following positive clauses in opposition to the preceding negative ones. We must hold, against Meyer, that the context requires ἀληθεύων to be understood as meaning not “speaking the truth,” which it often or usually means, but “having and holding the truth,”—“truthing it;” for it is plainly opposed to such vacillation, error, and impositions as are sketched in the preceding verse. Had the false teachers been referred to, speaking truth would have been the virtue enjoined on them; but as their victims, real or possible, are addressed, holding the truth is naturally inculcated on them. We cannot say with Pelagius and others, that it is truth in general to which the apostle refers; but we agree with Theophylact, that the allusion is to ψευδῆ δόγματα, though we cannot accede to his additional statement, that it specially regards and inculcates sincerity of life. Nor can we adopt the translation of the Syriac שָׁרִירִיןבחוּבָן -being “confirmed in love.” The Gothic renders sunja taujandans—“doing truth,” and the Vulgate-veritatem facientes. Many of the professed interpretations of the words are, therefore, inferential rather than exegetical. So far from being children tossed, wandering, and deluded with error, let us be possessing and professing the truth.
Many expositors join ἐν ἀγάπῃ to the participle, and impute very various meanings to the phrase. Perhaps the majority understand it as signifying “striving after the truth in love”-and such is in general the view of Erasmus, Calvin, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, and Alford. Some refer it to studium mutuae communicationis; others regard it as meaning a species of indulgence to the weaker and the erring brethren; while others, such as Luther, Bucer, and Grotius, take the participle as pointing out the sincerity and truthful quality of this ἀγάπη-sincere alios diligentes. Conybeare's version is very bald—“living in truth and love.” But while it is evident that truth and love are radically connected, and that there can be no truth that lives not in love, and no love that has not its birth in truth, still we prefer, with Harless, Meyer, Passavant, Olshausen, and Baumgarten-Crusius, to join ἐν ἀγάπῃ to the verb αὐξήσωμεν-for the words in the conclusion of the following verse have plainly such a connection. Besides, in Pauline style, though Alford denies it, qualifying clauses may precede the verb. See under Ephesians 1:4. The chief element of spiritual growth is love- ἐν ἀγάπῃ being repeated.
αὐξήσωμεν is used not in an active, but in an intransitive sense, as OEcumenius, Theophylact, and Jerome understood it. The verb has reference at once to the condition of the νήπιοι-children immature and ungrown, and to the μέτρον ἡλικίας-the full stature of perfect manhood. Our growth should be ever advancing-spiritual dwarfhood is a misshapen and shameful state. Besides, as believers grow, their spiritual power developes, and their spiritual senses are exercised, so that they are more able to repel the seductions of false and crafty teachers.
Harless connects εἰς αὐτόν with ἐν ἀγάπῃ—“in love to Him.” But the position of the words forbids such a connection; and though the hyperbaton were allowable, the idea brought ought by such an exegesis is wholly out of harmony with the train of thought. Kühner, § 865. The idea of Harless is, that the spiritual growth here referred to, is growth toward the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and that this depends on love to Christ. Now, we know that love to Christ rules and governs the believing spirit, and that it contributes to spiritual advancement; but in the passage before us such a connection would limit the operation of this grace, for here, as in the following verse, it stands absolutely. ᾿εν ἀγάπῃ describes the sphere of growth, and the meaning is, not that we are to grow in love, as if love were the virtue in which progress was to be made, but that in love we are to grow in reference to all things-all the elements essential to perfection; love being the means and the sphere of our advancement. The phrase εἰς αὐτόν does not mean “in Him,” according to the erroneous rendering of Jerome, Pelagius, Grotius, and Rückert; nor yet “like Him,” as is the paraphrase of Zanchius; but “to Him,” to Him as the end or aim of this growth, as is held by Crocius, Estius, Holzhausen, Meyer, Olshausen, and de Wette; or “into Him,” into closer union with Him, as the centre and support of life and growth. Buttmann, Neutest. Sprach. p. 287.
It is almost superfluous to remark, that the syntax of Wahl, Holzhausen, Koppe, and Schrader, in making τὰ πάντα equivalent to οἱ πάντες, cannot be received. The words mean “as to all”- κατά being the supplement, if one were needed; but such an accusative denoting “contents or compass” often follows verbs which cannot govern the accusative of object. Madvig, § 25. And the phrase is not simply πάντα, but τὰ πάντα. We cannot acquiesce in the view of Harless, who restricts the words to the ἑνότης of Ephesians 4:13. Stier, giving the article the same retrospective reference, includes faith, knowledge, truth, and love. That τὰ πάντα has often a special contextual reference, the passages adduced by Harless are sufficient proof. But it is often used in an absolute sense (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6); or if these, from their peculiarity of meaning, be not reckoned apposite references, we have in addition 1 Corinthians 15:28; Mark 4:11; Acts 17:25; Romans 8:32. Besides, “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,” is the end to which Christians are to come, and cannot therefore be well reckoned also among the elements of growth. Meyer's idea is, that τὰ πάντα denotes “all in which we grow,” and he supposes the apostle to mean, that all things in which we grow should have reference to Christ. Luther, Beza, Rückert, and Matthies, render pro omnia, or prorsus. The article gives πάντα an emphatic sense—“the whole;” and as the reference of the apostle is to a growing body, τὰ πάντα may signify all that properly belongs to it; or, as Olshausen phrases it, “we are to grow in all those things in which the Christian must advance.” The apostle first lays down the primary and permanent means of growth, holding the truth- ἀληθεύοντες; then he describes the peculiar temperament in which this growth is secured and accelerated- ἐν ἀγάπῃ; then he specifies its aim and end- εἰς αὐτόν; and, lastly, he marks its amount and harmony- τὰ πάντα. The body becomes monstrous by the undue development of any part or organ, and the portion that does not grow is both unsightly and weak, and not fitted to honour or serve the head. The apostle thus inculcates the duty of symmetrical growth, each grace advancing in its own place, and in perfect unison with all around it. That character is nearest perfection in which the excessive prominence of no grace throws such a withering shadow upon the rest, as to signalize or perpetuate their defect, but in which all is healthfully balanced in just and delicate adaptation. Into Him-
ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ, χριστός—“who is the head-Christ.” D, E, F, G, K, L, prefix the article to χριστός, but A, B, and C, with other authorities, read χριστός without the article, perhaps rightly. The article in the New Testament is oftener omitted than inserted. When Alford warns against our former rendering—“the Christ”-he evidently puts a polemic meaning into the phrase-which is not necessarily in it. The meaning of κεφαλή in such a connection has been already explained; Ephesians 1:22. That Head is Christ- χριστός being placed with solemn emphasis at the end of the verse-being in the nominative and in assimilation with the preceding relative. Stallbaum, Plato Apol. p. 41; Winer, § 59, 7. The Head is Christ-one set apart, commissioned, and qualified as Redeemer, and who by His glorious and successful interposition has won for Himself this illustrious pre-eminence.
(Ephesians 4:16.) We would not say with. Chrysostom, that “the apostle expresses himself here with great obscurity, from his wish to utter all at once- τῷ πάντα ὁμοῦ θελῆσαι εἰπεῖν;” but we may say that the language of this verse is as compacted as the body which it describes.
ἐξ οὗ—“from whom,” that is, from Christ as the Head. This phrase does not and cannot mean “to whom,” as Koppe gives it, nor “by whom,” as Morus, Holzhausen, and Flatt maintain. The preposition ἐκ marks the source. “From whom,” as its source of growth, “the body maketh increase.” The body without the head is but a lifeless trunk. It was εἰς αὐτόν in the previous verse, and now it is ἐξ οὗ. The growth is to Him, and the growth is from Him-Himself its origin and Himself its end. The life that springs from Him as the source of its existence, is ever seeking and flowing back to Him as the source of its enjoyment. The anatomical figure is as follows-
πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον—“all the body being fitly framed together and put together.” The verb connected with σῶμα as its nominative is ποιεῖται. The first participle occurs at Ephesians 2:21, and is there explained. It denotes—“being composed of parts fitted closely to each other.” The second participle is used in a tropical sense in the New Testament (Acts 9:22; Acts 16:10; 1 Corinthians 2:16), but here it has its original signification—“brought and held together.” The two participles express the idea that the body is of many parts, which have such mutual adaptation in position and function, that it is a firm and solid structure-
διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας—“by means of every joint of the supply.” This clause has originated no little difference of opinion. We take it as closely connected by διά with the two preceding participles, and as expressing the instrumentality by which this symmetry and compactness are secured. Meyer, Stier, and Alford, following Bengel, and contrary to its position, join the phrase to the verb ποιεῖται. The Greek fathers, followed by Meyer, render ἁφή by αἴσθησις-touch, sense of touch; tactum subministrationis is found in Augustine, De Civ. Dei, 22.18, and similarly Wycliffe—“bi eche joynture of undir seruynge.” But, with the majority of expositors, we take the word as explained by the parallel passage in Colossians 2:19, and as the Vulgate renders it-junctura. ᾿επιχορηγία denotes aid or assistance, and is taken by Flatt, Rückert, Harless, and Olshausen, as the genitive of apposition, and as referring to the Holy Spirit. The Greek fathers, and Meyer, render—“through our feeling of divine assistance.” Chrysostom says—“that spirit which is supplied to the members from the head, touches, or communicates itself to each single member, and thus actuates it.” Their idea is, through the joint or bond of union, which is the supply or aid of the Holy Spirit. We prefer taking ἐπιχορηγίας as the genitive of use-compacted together by every joint which serves for supply. John 5:29; Hebrews 9:21; Winer, § 30, 2 β. ᾿επιχορηγία is thus the assistance which the joints give in compacting and organizing the body. So in Colossians 2:19 - διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον. Such is also the general view of Grotius, Zanchius, Calvin, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Ellicott. We understand it thus-From whom all the body, mutually adapted in all its parts, and closely compacted by means of every joint whose function it is to afford such aid-
κατ᾿ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους—“according to energy in the measure of each individual part.” The MSS. A and C, with others of less note, along with the Vulgate, Coptic, and Syriac versions, and Chrysostom, Jerome, and Pelagius, read μέλους, which fits the passage so well as an explanation of μέρους, that we can easily conceive how it was introduced. Rückert and Bretschneider take κατ᾿ ἐνέργειαν as an adverbial phrase, but without any real ground. The noun has been explained under Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 3:7. It signifies “inworking”-effectual influence or operation, and is a modal explanation attached to the following verb. No article is between it and the following noun indicating unity of conception. ᾿εν μέτρῳ—“in the measure of every one part,” a plain reference to Ephesians 4:7. Bernhardy, p. 211. The connection has been variously supposed:-1. Harless takes the phrase in connection with the participle συμβιβαζόμενον. Such a connection is, we think, fallacious, for the compactness and the union of the body depend upon the functional assistance of the joints, not merely on the energy which pervades each part of the body, and which to each part is apportioned. But the growth depends on this ἐνέργεια, or distributed vital power, and so we prefer to connect the clause with the following verb—“maketh increase.” And it puzzles us to discover any reason why Harless should understand by the “parts” of the body, the pastors and teachers mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. Such an idea wholly mars the unity of the figure. 2. Others, among whom are Stier, Flatt, and Matthies, join the phrase to ἐπιχορηγίας, as if the assistance given by the joints were according to this energy. To this we have similar objection, and we would naturally have expected the repetition of the article, though it is n ot indispensable. “Energy,” “measure,” “part,” belong rather to the idea of growth than to stability. This energy is supposed by some, such as Theophylact, Grotius, and Beza, to be that of Christ, and Zanchius takes along with this the reflex operation of grace among the members of the church. The whole body-
τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται—“carries on the increase of the body.” Colossians 2:19. Though σῶμα was the nominative, σώματος is repeated in the genitive-the body maketh increase of the body, even of itself. Luke 3:19; John 9:5; Winer, § 22, 2; Bornemann, Scholia in Luc. xxx. p. 5. The sentence being so long, the noun is repeated, especially as ἑαυτοῦ occurs in the subsequent clause. The use of the middle voice indicates either that the growth is of internal origin, and is especially its own-it makes growth “for itself,” or a special intensity of idea is intended. See under Ephesians 3:18; Krüger, § 52, 8, 4. The middle voice in this verb often seems to have little more than the active signification (Passow, sub voce), but the proper sense of the middle is here to be acknowledged, signifying either that the growth is produced from vital power within the body, or denoting the spiritual energy with which the process is carried on. Winer, § 38, 5, note. The body, so organized and compacted, developes the body's growth according to the vital energy which is measured out to each one of its parts. The purpose of this growth is now stated-
εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ—“for the building up of itself in love.” The phrase ἐν ἀγάπῃ, however, plainly connects this verse with the preceding one. Meyer errs in connecting ἐν ἀγάπῃ with the verb or the whole clause. The words are the solemn close, and the verb has been twice conditioned already. Love is regarded still as the element in which growth is made. And it is not to be taken here in any restricted aspect, for it is the Christian grace viewed in its widest relations-the fulfilment of the law. Such we conceive to be the general meaning of the verse.
The figure is a striking one. The body derives its vitality and power of development from the head. See under Ephesians 1:22-23. The church has a living connection with its living Head, and were such a union dissolved, spiritual death would be the immediate result. The body is fitly framed together and compacted by the functional assistance of the joints. Its various members are not in mere juxtaposition, like the several pieces of a marble statue. No portion is superfluous; each is in its fittest place, and the position and relations of none could be altered without positive injury. “Fearfully and wonderfully made,” it has its hard framework of bone so formed as to protect its vital organs in the thorax and skull, and yet so united by “curiously wrought” joints, as to possess freedom of motion both in its vertebral column and limbs. But it is no ghastly and repulsive skeleton, for it is clothed with flesh and fibre, which are fed from ubiquitous vessels, and interpenetrated with nerves-the Spirit's own sensational agents and messengers. It is a mechanism in which all is so finely adjusted, that every part helps and is helped, strengthens and is strengthened, the invisible action of the pores being as indispensable as the mass of the brain and the pulsations of the heart. When the commissioned nerve moves the muscle, the hand and foot need the vision to guide them, and the eye, therefore, occupies the elevated position of a sentinel. How this figure is applicable to the church may be seen under a different image at Ephesians 2:21. The church enjoys a similar compacted organization-all about her, in doctrine, discipline, ordinance, and enterprise, possessing mutual adaptation, and showing harmony of structure and power of increase.
“The body maketh increase of the body” according to the energy which is distributed to every part in its own proportion. Corporeal growth is not effected by additions from without. The body itself elaborates the materials of its own development. Its stomach digests the food, and the numerous absorbents extract and assimilate its nourishment. It grows, each part according to its nature and uses. The head does not swell into the dimensions of the trunk, nor does the “little finger” become “thicker than the loins.” Each has the size that adapts it to its uses, and brings it into symmetry with the entire living organism. And every part grows. The sculptor works upon a portion only of the block at a time, and, with laborious effort, brings out in slow succession the likeness of a feature or a limb, till the statue assumes its intended aspect and attitude. But the plastic energy of nature presents no such graduated forms of operation, and needs no supplement of previous defects. Even in the embryo the organization is perfect, though it is in miniature, and harmonious growth only is required. For the “energy” is in every part at once, but in every part in due apportionment. So the church universal has in it a Divine energy, and that in all its parts, by which its spiritual development is secured. In pastors and people, in missionaries and catechists, in instructors of youth and in the youth themselves, this Divine principle has diffused itself, and produces everywhere proportionate advancement. And no ordinance or member is superfluous. Blessing is invoked on the word preached, and the eucharist is the complement of baptism. Praise is the result of prayer, and the “keys” are made alike to open and to shut. Of old the princes and heroes went to the field, and “wise-hearted women did spin.” While Joshua fought, Moses prayed. The snuffers and trays were as necessary as the magnificent la mp-stand. The rustic style of Amos the herdsman has its place in Scripture, as well as the polished paragraphs of the royal preacher. The widow's mite was commended by Him who sat over against the treasury. Solomon built a temple. Joseph provided a tomb. Mary the mother gave birth to the child, and the other Maries wrapt the corpse in spices. Lydia entertained the apostle, and Phoebe carried an epistle. A basket was as necessary for Paul's safety at one time as his burgess ticket and a troop of cavalry at another. And the result is, that the church is built up, for love is the element of spiritual progress. That love fills the renewed nature, and possesses peculiar facilities of action in “edifying” the mystical body of Christ. And, lastly, the figure is intimately connected with the leading idea of the preceding paragraph, and presents a final argument on behalf of the unity of the church. The apostle speaks of but one body- πᾶν τὸ σῶμα. Whatever parts it may have, whatever their form, uses, and position, whatever the amount of energy resident in them, still, from their connection with the one living Head, and from their own compacted union and mutual adjustment, they compose but one growing structure “in love:”-
“I'm apt to think, the man
That could surround the sum of things, and spy
The heart of God and secrets of His empire,
Would speak but love. With him the bright result
Would change the hue of intermediate scenes,
And make one thing of all theology.”
(Ephesians 4:17.) τοῦτο οὖν λέγω—“This, then, I say.” The apostle now recurs to the inculcation of many special and important duties, or as Theodoret writes- πάλιν ἀνέλαβε; and he begins with the statement of some general principles. The singular τοῦτο gives a species of unity and emphasis to the following admonitions, for it here refers to succeeding statements, as in 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Other examples may be seen in Winer, § 23, 5. οὖν is not merely resumptive of the ethical tuition begun in Ephesians 4:1 (Donaldson, § 548, 31), but it has reference also to the previous paragraph from Ephesians 4:4-16, which, thrown out as a digression from Ephesians 4:3, runs at length into an argument for the exhortations which follow. Granting, as Ellicott contends, that grammatically οὖν is only resumptive, it may be admitted that such a resumption is modified by the sentiment of the intervening verses. The apostle in resuming cannot forget the statements just made by him-the destined perfection of the church, its present advancement, with truth for its nutriment and love for its sphere, and its close and living connection with its glorified Head. How emphatic is his warning to forsake the sins and sensualities of surrounding heathendom! Romans 12:3.
λέγω καὶ μαρτύρομαι ἐν κυρίῳ—“I say and testify in the Lord.” Romans 9:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1. The apostle does not mean to call the Lord to witness, as if ἐν κυρίῳ could mean “by the Lord,” as Theodoret and some of his imitators render it; but he solemnly charges “in the Lord”-the Lord being the element in which the charge is delivered-
μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καθὼς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ —“that ye walk no longer as also the other Gentiles walk.” 1 Peter 4:3. It is to the Gentile portion of the church that the apostle addresses himself. The adverb μηκέτι, “no longer,” is here used with the infinitive, though often with ἵνα and the subjunctive. The infinitive, which grammatically is the object of λέγω, expresses not so much what is, as what ought to be. Bernhardy, p. 371; Phryn. ed. Lobeck, p. 371; Winer, § 44, 3, b; Donaldson, § 584. They once walked as Gentiles, but they were to walk so no longer. The verb περιπατεῖν, in its reference to habits of life, has been explained under Ephesians 2:2. The καί after καθώς means “also.” Hartung, i. p. 126. In some such cases καί occurs twice, as in Romans 1:13, on which see the remarks of Fritzsche in his Comment. A, B, D1, F, G, the Coptic, the Vulgate, and most of the Latin fathers omit λοιπά. But the great majority of MSS. retain it, such as D2, D3, E, K, L, and the Greek fathers, with the old Syriac version. We therefore prefer, with Tischendorf, to keep it, and we can easily imagine a finical reason for its being left out by early copyists, as the Ephesian Christians seem by λοιπά to be reckoned among Gentiles yet. But being Gentiles by extraction, they are exhorted not to walk as the rest of the Gentiles-such as still remain unconverted or are in the state in which they always have been. Just as a modern missionary might say to his congregation in Southern Africa, Walk not as the other Kaffirs around you. The other Gentiles walked-
ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν—“in the vanity of their mind.” The sphere in which they walk is described by ἐν. Romans 1:21. νοῦς is not intellect simply, but in the case of believers it signifies that portion of the spiritual nature whose function is to comprehend and relish Divine truth. Usteri, Lehrb. p. 35. It is the region of thought, will, and susceptibility-the mind with its emotional capabilities. Beck, Seelenl. p. 49, etc.; Delitzsch, Psych. p. 244. In the Hebrew psychology the intellect and heart were felt to act and react on one another, so that we have such phrases as “an understanding heart,” 1 Kings 3:9; “hid their heart from understanding,” Job 17:4; “the desires of the mind,” Ephesians 2:3, etc. That mind was characterized by “vanity.” Its ideas and impulses were perverse and fruitless. We do not, with some exegetes, restrict this vanity to the Hebrew sense of idolatry- ֶהבֶל, H2039-or as Theodoret thus defines it- τὰ μὴ ὄντα θεοποιοῦντα . The meaning seems to be, that all the efforts and operations of their spiritual nature ended in dreams and disappointment. Speculation on the great First Cause, issued in atheism, polytheism, and pantheism; and discussions on the supreme good failed to elicit either correct views of man's intellectual nature in its structure, or to train its moral nature to a right perception of its capabilities, obligations, and destiny; while the future was either denied in a hopeless grave without a resurrection, or was pictured out as the dreary circuit of an eternal series of transmigrations, or had its locality in a shadowy elysium, which, though a scene of classical retirement, was “earthly, sensual, devilish”-the passions unsubdued, and the heart unsanctified. The ethical and religious element of their life was unsatisfactory and cheerless, alike in worship and in practice, the same as to present happiness as to future prospect, for they knew not “man's chief end.”
(Ephesians 4:18.) ᾿εσκοτισμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ, ὄντες ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ—“Darkened in their understanding, and being alienated from the life of God.” Critics have differed as to which of the two leading perfect participles the participle ὄντες should be joined. Many attach it to the first of them, such as Clement (Protrept. ix. p. 69), Theodoret, Bengel, Harless, Meyer, Stier, de Wette, and the editors Knapp, Lachmann, and Tischendorf. In the New Testament, when any part of the verb εἰμί is joined to a participle, it usually precedes that participle. Besides, in the twin epistle (Colossians 1:21) the very expression occurs, the second participle being regarded as a species of adjective. Nor by such a connection is the force of the sentence broken, as Alford contends. For the first participle, ἐσκοτισμένοι, assigns a reason for the previous clause—“darkened, inasmuch as they are darkened;” and the second, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι, parallel to the first, adjoins another reason and yet more emphatically- ὄντες-being alienated and remaining so. Winer, § 45, 5. The gender is changed to the masculine, agreeing in meaning but not in form with τὰ λοιπὰ ἔθνη, and the entire sense is often said to be a species of parallelism, which might be thus arranged-
Having been darkened in their understanding,
By the ignorance that is in them,
Forasmuch as they have been alienated from the life of God,
By the hardness of their hearts.
Bengel and Olshausen arrange the verse thus, and Jebb calls it an “alternate quatrain.” Sacred Literature, p. 192, ed. London, 1831. Forbes, Symmetrical Structure of Scripture, p. 21. But such an artificial construction, though it may happen in Hebrew poetry, can scarcely be expected to be found in a letter. Nor does it, as Meyer well argues, yield a good sense. According to such a construction, “the ignorance that is in them” must be regarded as the cause or instrument of their being darkened in their understanding. But this reverses the process described by the apostle, for ignorance is the effect, and not the cause, of the obscuration. Shadow results from darkening or the interception of light. De Wette tries to escape the difficulty by saying that ἄγνοια is rather theoretic ignorance, while the first clause has closer reference to what is practical; but it is impossible to establish such a distinction on sufficient authority. We therefore take the clauses as the apostle has placed them. διανοίᾳ, explained under Ephesians 2:3 and Ephesians 1:18, is the dative expressive of sphere. Winer, § 31, 3. The word here, both from the figurative term joined with it, and from the language of the following clause, seems to refer more to man's intellectual nature, and is so far distinguished from νοῦς before it and καρδία coming after it. See Romans 1:21; Romans 11:10. Other instances of similar usage among the classics may be seen in the lexicons. Deep shadow lay upon the Gentile mind, unrelieved save by some fitful gleams which genius occasionally threw across it, and which were succeeded only by profounder darkness. A child in the lowest form of a Sunday school, will answer questions with which the greatest minds of the old heathen world grappled in vain.
And that darkness of mind was associated with spiritual apostasy. The participle ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι has been explained in our remarks on Ephesians 2:12, and there it occurs also in a description of Gentile condition. ζωὴ τοῦ θεοῦ is not a life according to God- ἡ κατὰ θεὸν ζωή, or a virtuous life, as Theodoret, Theophylact, and others describe it; nor is it merely “a life which God approves,” as is held by Koppe, Wahl, Morus, Scholz, Whitby, and Chandler. The term does not refer to course or tenor of conduct- βίος-but to the element or principle of Divine life within us. Vömel, Synon. Wörterb. p. 168. Nor has the opinion of Erasmus any warrant, that the genitive is in apposition-vera vita, qui est Deus. The genitive θεοῦ is genitivus auctoris-that of origin, as is rightly held by Meyer, de Wette, Harless, Rückert, and Olshausen. It is that life from God which existed in unfallen man, and re-exists in all believers who are in fellowship with God-the life which results from the operation and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Compare Ephesians 2:1-5; Trench, Syn. § xxviii. Harless will not admit any allusion to regeneration in this life, but refers us to the Logos in whom is “the life of men.” Granted; but that light only penetrates, and that life only pulsates, through the applying energies of the Holy Ghost. The Gentile world having severed itself from this life was spiritually dead, and therefore a sepulchral pall was thrown over its intellect. There could be no light in their mind, because there was no life in their hearts, for the life in the Logos is the light of men. The heart reacts on the intellect. And the apostle now gives the reason-
διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς, διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν—“through the ignorance which is in them, through the hardness of their hearts.” These clauses assign the reason for their alienation from the Divine life-first, ignorance of God, His character, and dispensations; this ignorance being “in them”- τὴν οὖσαν ( ὄντες being already employed)-as a deep-seated element of their moral condition. In reference to immortality, for example, how sad their ignorance! Thus Moschus sighs-
“One rest we keep,
One long, eternal, unawakened sleep.”
Nox est perpetua, una, dormienda, sobs Catullus. The second clause commencing with διά assigns a co-ordinate and explanatory second reason for their alienation from the life of God-the hardness of their hearts. πώρωσις-obtuseness or callousness, not blindness, as if from πωρός (Fritzsche, ad Romans 11:7), is a very significant term-their πωρωσις having, as Theodoret says, no feeling- διὰ τὸ παντελῶς νενεκρῶσθαι. The unsusceptibility of an indurated heart was the ultimate cause of their lifeless and ignorant state. The disease began in the callous heart. It hardened itself against impression and warning, left the mind uninformed and indifferent, alienated itself from the life of God, and was at last shrouded in the shadow of death. Surely the Ephesians were not to walk as the other Gentiles placed in this hapless and degraded state. This view of the Gentile world differs from that given in chap. ii. This has more reference to inner condition, while that in the preceding chapter characterizes principally the want of external privilege with its sad results.
(Ephesians 4:19.) οἵτινες ἀπηλγηκότες ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ—“Who as being past feeling have given themselves over to uncleanness.” For ἀπηλγηκότες, the Codices D, E read ἀπηλπικότες, and F, G ἀφηλπικότες; the Vulgate with its desperantes, and the Syriac with its דָפסָקו סָברהוּן follow such a reading. But the preponderance of evidence is on the side of the Textus Receptus, which is also vindicated by Jerome, who, following out the etymology of the word, defines it in the following terms-hi sunt, qui, postquam peccaverint, non dolent. The heathen sinners are described as being a class- οἵτινες-beyond shame, or the sensation of regret. Kühner, § 781, 4, 5. The apathy which characterized them only induced a deeper recklessness, for they abandoned themselves to lasciviousness; ἑαυτούς being placed, as Meyer says, mit abschreckendem Nachdruck-with terrific emphasis. Subjection to this species of vice is represented as a Divine punishment in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans—“God gave them up to it.” But here their own conscious self-abandonment is brought out-they gave themselves up to lasciviousness. Self-abandonment to deeper sin is the Divine judicial penalty of sin. ᾿ασελγεία is insolence (Joseph. Antiq. 4.612, 18.13, 1; Plutarch, Alcibiades, viii.), and then lust, open and unrestrained. Trench, Syn. § xvi. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 184. This form of vice was predominant in the old heathen world, and was indulged in without scruple or reserve. Romans 1:24; Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19. The apostle introduces it here as a special instance of that degraded spiritual state which he had just described in the former verse.
εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης—“to the working of all uncleanness.” εἰς denotes purpose, “in order to”- πάσης being placed after the noun, and not, as more usually, before it. ᾿εργασία is not a trade, as in Acts 19:25, nor the gain of traffic, but as in Septuagint, Exodus 26:1; 1 Chronicles 6:49. ᾿ακαθαρσία in Matthew 23:27 signifies the loathsome impurity of a sepulchre; but otherwise in the New Testament, and the instances are numerous, it usually denotes the special sin of lewdness or unchastity. The vice generally is named lasciviousness, but there were many shapes of it, and they wrought it in all its forms. Even its most brutal modes were famous among them, as the apostle has elsewhere indicated. The refinements of art too often ministered to such grovelling pursuits. The naked statues of the goddesses were not exempted from rape (Lucian, Amores, 15, p. 272, vol. v. ed. Bipont), and many pictures of their divinities were but the excitements of sensual gratifications. The most honoured symbols in their possessions and worship were the obscenest, and thus it was in India, Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, and Etruria. There was a brisk female trade in potions to induce sterility or barrenness. In fact, one dares not describe the forms, and scenes, and temptations of impurity, or even translate what classical poets and historians have revealed without a blush. The relics preserved from Herculaneum and Pompeii tell a similar tale, and are so gross that they cannot meet the public eye. The reader will see some awful revelations in Tholuck's Tract on Heathenism, published in Neander's Denkwürdigkeiten, and translated in the 2nd vol. of the American Bib. Repository. Who can forget the sixth satire of Juvenal?
᾿εν πλεονεξίᾳ—“in greediness”-the spirit in which they gave themselves up to wantonness. The explanation of this word is attended with difficulty:-1. Many refer the term to the greed of gain derived from prostitution, and both sexes were guilty of this abomination. Such is the view of Grotius, Bengel, Koppe, Chandler, Stolz, Flatt, Meier, and Bähr. 2. The Greek commentators educe the sense of ἀμετρία-insatiableness; and also Jerome, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Röell, Crocius, Harless, Stier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, and Trench, Syn. xxiv. Suicer, in his Thesaurus, says, “that such a meaning was no uncommon one among the Greek fathers,” but they seem to have got it from the earlier interpretations of this very verse. The meaning assigned it by the Greek fathers cannot be sustained by the scriptural usage to which appeal is made, as 1 Corinthians 5:10, Ephesians 5:3 -as in the first instance it is disjoined by ἤ from πόρνος, but joined by καί to the following ἅρπαξιν according to preponderant authority. In this epistle,Ephesians 5:2, πορνεία and ἀκαθαρσία are joined by καί, but dissociated from πλεονεξία by ἤ-and in Ephesians 5:5, πλεονέκτης is termed an idolater. See under Colossians 3:5. See Ellicott. 3. Olshausen takes it as meaning “physical avidity, pampering oneself with meat and drink, or that luxury and high feeding by which lust is provoked.” This last meaning suits well, and embodies a terrible and disgusting truth, but it takes πλεονεξία in a sense which cannot be borne out. Beza and Aretius render it certatim, as if the heathen outvied one another in impurity. 4. We prefer the common meaning of the noun—“greediness.” This spirit of covetous extortion was an accompaniment of their sensual indulgences. Self w as the prevailing power-the gathering in of all possible objects and enjoyments on oneself was the absorbing occupation. This accompaniment of sensualism sprang from the same root with itself, and was but another form of its development. The heathen world manifested the intensest spirit of acquisition. It showed itself in its unbounded licentiousness, and its irrepressible thirst of gold. There might be reckless and profligate expenditure on wantonness and debauchery, but it was combined with insatiable cupidity. Its sensuality was equalled by its sordid greed- πλέον, more; that point gained, πλέον-more still. Self in everything, God in nothing.
(Ephesians 4:20.) ῾υμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν χριστόν—“But ye did not thus learn Christ.” δέ is adversative, and ὑμεῖς is placed emphatically. χριστός is not simply the doctrine or religion of Christ, as is the view of Crellius and Schlichting, nor is it merely ἀρετή-virtue, as Origen conceives it (Catena, ed. Cramer, Oxford, 1842), but Christ Himself. Colossians 2:6. See also Philippians 3:10. Harless even, Rückert, Meier, and Matthies, take the verb μανθάνω in the sense of “to learn to know”—“ye have not thus learned to know Christ.” But this would elevate a mere result or reference to be part of the translation. The knowledge of Christ is the effect of learning Christ; but it is of the process, not of its effect, that the apostle here speaks. Christ was preached, and Christ was learned by the audience- οὕτως. The manner of their learning is indicated—“Ye have not learned Christ so as to walk any more like the rest of the Gentiles.” Your lessons have not been of such a character-they have been given in a very different form, and accompanied with a very different result. Once dark, dead, dissolute, and apathetic, they had learned Christ as the light and the life-as the purifier and perfecter of His pupils. The following division of this clause is a vain attempt- ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως [ ἐστε]—“but ye are not so;”-ye have learned Christ. Yet such an exegesis has the great names of Beza and Gataker in its support. Adversaria Sacra, p. 158.
(Ephesians 4:21.) εἴγε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε—“If indeed Him ye have heard;” not in living person, but embodied and presented in the apostolical preaching. 1 Corinthians 1:23. The particle εἴγε does not directly assert, but rather takes for granted that what is assumed is true. See under Ephesians 3:2.
καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε—“and in Him were taught.” ᾿εν αὐτῷ signifies, as in other previous portions of the epistle—“in Him,” that is, “in union with Him;” Ephesians 1:7, etc. It does not mean “by Him,” as is the rendering of the English version, and of Castalio, who translates-ab eo, and of Beza, one of whose versions is-per eum. Still less can the words bear the translation-about Him. It denotes, as is proved by Harless, Olshausen, and Matthies, preceded by Bucer—“in Him.” Winer, § 48, a. It is the spiritual sphere or condition in which they were taught. They had not received a mere theoretic tuition. The hearing is so far only external, but being “in Him,” they were effectually taught. One with Him in spirit, they were fitted to become one with Him in mind. The interpretation of Olshausen gives the words a doctrinal emphasis and esoterism of meaning which they cannot by any means bear. The hearing Christ and in Him being taught, are equivalent to learning Christ, in the previous verse-are rather the two stages of instruction.
The connection of this clause with the next clause, and with the following verse, has originated a great variety of criticisms. The most probable interpretation is that of Beza, Koppe, Flatt, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, and Winer, and may be thus expressed: “If indeed ye heard Him, and in Him were taught, as there is truth in Jesus-taught that ye put off the old man.” This appears to be the simplest and most natural construction. The apostle had been describing the gloom, death, and impurity of surrounding heathenism. His counsel is, that the Ephesian converts were not to walk in such a sphere; and his argument is, they had been better tutored, for they learned Christ, had heard Him, and in Him had been taught that they should cast off the old man, the governing principle in the period of their irregeneracy, when they did walk as the other Gentiles walked. Meyer and Baumgarten - Crusius, preceded by Anselm, Vatablus, and Bullinger, however, connect ἀποθέσθαι in the following verse with ἀλήθεια-it is “the truth in Jesus, that ye put off the old man;” thus making it the subject of the sentence. The instances adduced by Raphelius of such a construction in Herodotus are scarcely to the point, and presuppose that ἀλήθεια has the same signification as the term νόμος employed by the historian. Meyer lays stress on the ὑμᾶς, but it is added to mark the antithesis between their present and former state. It is certainly more natural to connect it with the preceding verb, but we cannot accede to the view of Bengel, a-Lapide, Stier, and Zachariae, who join it with μαρτύρομαι in Ephesians 4:17, for in that case there would be a long and awkward species of parenthesis. “Taught”-
καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“as there is truth in Jesus.” We cannot but regard the opinion of de Wette, Harless, and Olshausen as defective, in so far as it restricts the meaning of ἀλήθεια too much to moral truth or holiness. “What in Jesus,” says Olshausen, “is truth and not semblance, is to become truth also in believers.” The idea of Harless is, “As there is truth in Jesus, so on your part put off the old man;” implying a peculiar comparison between Jesus and the Ephesian believers addressed. This is not very different from the paraphrase of Jerome-Quomodo est veritas in Jesu sic erit et in vobis qui didicistis Christum; nor is the paraphrase of Estius greatly dissimilar. The notions of the Greek fathers are narrower still. OEcumenius makes it the same as δικαιοσύνη. It means τὸ ὀρθῶς βιοῦν, says Chrysostom; and the same view, with some unessential variety, is expressed by Luther, Camerarius, Raphelius, Wolf, Storr, Flatt, Rückert, Meier, and Holzhausen. But the noun ἀλήθεια does not usually bear such a meaning in the New Testament, nor does the context necessarily restrict it here. It is directly in contrast not only with ἀπάτης in the next verse, but with ἐν ματαιότητι- ἐσκοτισμένοι- ἄγνοια in Ephesians 4:17-18. Nor can the word bear the meaning assigned to it by those who make ἀποθέσθαι depend upon it-their rendering being, “If indeed ye heard Him, and in Him were taught, as it is truth in Jesus for you to put off the old man.” The meaning held by Meyer is, that unless the old man is laid off, there is no true fellowship in Jesus. But this notion elevates an inference to the rank of a fully expressed idea. We take ἀλήθεια in its common meaning of spiritual truth, that truth which the mediatorial scheme embodies-truth in all its own fulness and circuit; that truth especially which lodged in the man Jesus- ἀλήθεια and ἐν τῷ ᾿ιησοῦ being one conception. The words ἐν τῷ ᾿ιησοῦ express the relation of the truth to Christ, not in any sense the fellowship of believers with Him. The historical name of the Saviour is employed, as if to show that this truth had dwelt with humanity, and in Him whom, as Christ, the apostles preached, and whom these Ephesians had heard and learned. We find the apostle commencing his hideous portraiture of the heathen world by an assertion that they were the victims of mental vanity, that they had darkened intellects, and that there was ignorance in them. But those believers, who had been brought over from among them into the fold of Christ, were enlightened by the truth as well as guided by it, and must have felt the power and presence of that truth in the illumination of their minds as well as in the renewal of their hearts and the direction of their lives. Why, then, should this same ἀλήθεια be taken here in a limited and merely ethical sense? It wants the article, indeed, but still it may bear the meaning we have assigned it. The article is in F, G, but with no authority.
The phrase, καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ ᾿ιησοῦ, points out the mode of tuition which they had enjoyed. The meaning of καθώς may be seen under Ephesians 1:4, and here it is a predicate of manner attached to the preceding verb. It stands in contrast to οὐχ οὕτως in Ephesians 4:20—“ye have not so learned”-ye have not learned Him in such a way- οὐχ οὕτως-as to feel a licence to walk like the other Gentiles, but ye heard Him, and in Him were taught in this way- καθώς-as there is truth in Him. It tells the kind of teaching which they had enjoyed, and the next verse contains its substance. Their teaching was not according to falsehood, nor according to human invention, but according to truth, brought down to men, fitted to men, and communicated to men, by its being lodged in the man Jesus. They were in Him-the Christ-and so came into living contact with that truth which was and is in Jesus. This appears on the whole to be a natural and harmonious interpretation, and greatly preferable to that of Calixtus, Vatablus, Piscator, Wolf, and others, who give καθώς the sense of “that”-quod; ye have been taught that there is truth in Jesus, or what the truth in Jesus really is. Such a version breaks up the continuity both of thought and syntax, and is not equal to that of Flatt and Rückert, who give the καθώς an argumentative sense—“And ye in Him have been taught, for there is truth in Him.” Calvin, Rollock, Zanchius, Macknight, Rosenmüller, and others, falsely suppose the apostle to refer in this verse to two kinds of religious knowledge-one vain and allied still to carnality, and the other genuine and sanctifying in its nature. Credner's opinion is yet wider of the mark, for he supposes that the apostle refers to the notion of an ideal Messiah, and shows its nullity by naming him Jesus. “Taught & rdq uo;-
(Ephesians 4:22.) ᾿αποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς—“That you put off.” The infinitive, denoting the substance of what they had been thus taught (Donaldson, § 584; Winer, 44, 3), is falsely rendered as a formal imperative by Luther, Zeger, and the Vulgate. Bernhardy, p. 358. Our previous version, “have put,” is not, as Alford says of it, “inconsistent with the context, as in Ephesians 4:25,” for perfect change is not inconsistent with imperfect development. But as Madvig, to whom Ellicott refers, says, § 171, b-the aorist infinitive in such a case “differs from the present only as denoting a single transient action.” See on Philippians 3:16. It is contrary alike to sense and syntax on the part of Storr and Flatt, to take ὑμᾶς as governed by ἀποθέσθαι—“that you put off yourselves!” and it is a dilution of the meaning to supply δεῖν, with Piscator. ᾿αποθέσθαι and ἐνδύσασθαι are figurative terms placed in vivid contrast. ᾿αποθέσθαι is to put off, as one puts off clothes. Romans 13:12-14; Colossians 3:8; James 1:21. Wetstein adduces examples of similar imagery from the classics, and the Hebrew has an analogous usage. The figure has its origin in daily life, and not, as some fanciful critics allege, in any special instances of change of raiment at baptism, the racecourse, or the initiation of proselytes. Selden, de Jure Gentium, etc., lib. Ephesians 2:5; Vitringa, Observat. Sac. 139. “That you put off”-
κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον—“as regards your former conversation, the old man.” It is contrary to the ordinary laws of language to translate these words as if the apostle had written- τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ προτέραν ἀναστροφήν. Yet this has been done by Jerome and OEcumenius, Grotius and Estius, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Bloomfield. ᾿αναστρέφω occurs under Ephesians 2:3. Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 4:12; Suicer, sub voce. This former conversation is plainly their previous heathen or unconverted state. The apostle says, they were not now to live like the rest of heathendom, for they had been instructed to put off as regards their manner of life, “the old man”- τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον. Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:9. The meaning of a somewhat similar idiom- ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος-may be seen under Ephesians 3:16. Romans 7:22. It is needless to seek the origin of this peculiar phrase in any recondite or metaphysical conceptions. It has its foundation in our own consciousness, and in our own attempts to describe or contrast its different states, and is similar to our current usage, as when we speak of our “former self” and our “present self,” or when we speak of a man's being “beside himself” or coming “to himself.” It does not surprise us to find similar language in the Talmud, such as—“the old Adam,” etc. Schoettgen, Hor. Heb. 516; Tr. Jovamoth, 62. Phraseology not unlike occurs also among the classics. Diogenes Laertius, 9, 66. The words are, therefore, a bold and vivid personification of the old nature we inherit from Adam, the source and seat of original and actual transgression. The exegesis of many of the older commentators does not come up to the full idea. This “self” or man is “old,” not simply old in sin, as Jerome and Photius im agine- ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις παλαιωθείς-but as existing prior to our converted state, and as Athanasius says- τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς πτώσεως τοῦ ᾿αδὰμ γεγεννημένον-yet not simply original sin. This old man within us is a usurper, and is to be expelled. As the Greek scholiast says, the old man is not φύσις in its essential meaning, but- τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐνέργεια. With all his instincts and principles, he is to be cast off, for he is described as-
τὸν φθειρόμενον κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης—“being corrupt according to the lusts of deceit.” κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας stands in contrast with κατὰ θεόν in Ephesians 4:24, and τῆς ἀπάτης with τῆς ἀληθείας of the same verse. The old man is growing corrupt, and this being his constant condition and characteristic, the present tense is employed-the corruption is becoming more corrupt. And this corruption does not describe merely the unhappy state of the old man, for, as Olshausen remarks, this opinion of Harless is superficial. The old man is “corrupt,” filled with that sin which contains in it the elements of its own punishment, and he is unfitted by this condition for serving God, possessing the Divine life, or enjoying happiness. That corruption is described in some of its features in Ephesians 4:17-18. But the apostle adds more specifically—“according to the lusts of deceit.” The preposition κατά does not seem to have a causal significance. Harless indeed ascribes to it a causal relation, but it seems to have simply its common meaning of “according to” or “in accordance with.” Winer, § 49, d. ᾿επιθυμία is irregular and excessive desire. Olshausen is wrong in confining the term to sensual excesses, for he is obliged to modify the apostle's statement, and say, that “from such forms of sin individual Gentiles were free, and so were the mass of the Jewish nation.” But ἐπιθυμία is not necessarily sensual desire. Where it has such a meaning-as in Romans 1:24, 1 Thessalonians 4:5 -the signification is determined by the context. The “lusts of the flesh” are not restricted to fleshly longings. Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:24. The term is a general one, and signifies those strong and self-willed desires and appetites which distinguish unrenewed humanity. Romans 6:12; Romans 7:7; 1 Timothy 6:9; Titus 3:3. The genitive- τῆς ἀπάτης-may be, as Meyer takes it, the genitive of subject, ἀπάτη being personified. Though it is a noun of quality, it is not to be looked on as the mere genitive of quality. These lusts are all connected with that deceit which is characteristic of sin; a deceit which it has lodged in man's fallen nature-the offspring of that first and fatal lie which
“Brought death into the world and all our woe.”
Hebrews 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3. This “deceit” which tyrannizes over the old man, as the truth guides and governs the new man (Ephesians 4:24), is something deeper than the erroneous and seductive teaching of heathen priests and philosophers. These “lusts of deceit” seduce and ensnare under false pretensions. There is the lust of gain, sinking into avarice; of power swelling into ruthless and cruel tyranny; of pleasure falling into beastly sensualism. Nay, every strong passion that fills the spirit to the exclusion of God is a “lust.” Alas! this deceit is not simply error. It has assumed many guises. It gives a refined name to grossness, calls sensualism gallantry, and it hails drunkenness as good cheer. It promises fame and renown to one class, wealth and power to another, and tempts a third onward by the prospect of brilliant discovery. But genuine satisfaction is never gained, for God is forgotten, and these desires and pursuits leave their victim in disappointment and chagrin. “Vanity of vanities,” cried Solomon in vexation, after all his experiments on the summum bonum. “I will pull down my barns, and build greater,” said another in the idea that he had “much goods laid up for many years;” and yet, in the very night of his fond imaginings, “his soul was required of him.” Belshazzar drank wine with his grandees, and perished in his revelry. The prodigal son, who for pleasure and independence had left his father's house, sank into penury and degradation, and he, a child of Abraham, fed swine to a heathen master.
(Ephesians 4:23.) ᾿ανανεοῦσθαι δὲ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν—“And be renewing in the spirit of your mind.” This passive (not middle) infinitive present still depends on ἐδιδάχθητε- δέ being adversative, as the apostle passes from the negative to the positive aspect. As Olshausen has observed, all attempts to distinguish between ἀνανεοῦσθαι and ἀνακαινοῦσθαι are needless for the interpretation of this verse. See Trench, Syn. xviii.; Colossians 3:10; Tittmann, p. 60. The ἀνα, in composition, denotes “again” or “back”-restoration to some previous state-renovation. See on following verse. Such moral renovation had its special seat “in the spirit of their mind.” This very peculiar phrase has been in various ways misunderstood. OEcumenius, Theophylact, Hyperius, Bull, and Ellicott understand πνεῦμα of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit renewing the mind by dwelling within it διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἐν τῷ νοὶ ἡμῶν κατοικοῦντος. See Fritzsche, ad Rom. vol. ii. p. 2. But, 1. The πνεῦμα belongs to ourselves-is a portion of us-language that can scarcely in such terms be applied to the Spirit of God. 2. Nor does Ellicott remove the objection by saying that πνεῦμα is not “the Holy Spirit exclusively, or per se, but as in a gracious union with the human spirit.” This idea is in certain aspects theologically correct, but is not conveyed by these words- πνεῦμα in such a case cannot mean God's Spirit, for it is called τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν; it is only man's spirit though it be filled with God's. In Romans 8:6, the apostle makes a formal distinction. 3. There is no analogous expression. None of the genitives following πνεῦμα are like this, but often denote possession or character as Spirit of God-Spirit of holiness-Spirit of adoption. 4. Nor can we give it the meaning which Robinson has assigned it, of “disposition or temper.” Quite like himself is the notion of Gfrörer, that πνεῦμα is but the rabbinical figment of a נַשָׁמָה, H5972, founded on a misinterpretation of Genesis 2:7, and denoting a kind of Divine “breathing” or gift conferred on man about his twentieth year. Urchrist. ii. p. 257. 5. Augustine, failing in his usual acuteness, identifies πνεῦμα and νοῦς - quia omnis mens spiritus est, non autem omnis spiritus mens est, spiritum mentis dicere voluit eum spiritum, quae mens vocatur. De Trinitate, lib. xiv. cap. 16. Estius follows the Latin father. Grotius and Crellius hold a similar view, joined by Koppe and Küttner, who idly make the unusual combination a mere periphrasis. 6. πνεῦμα is not loosely, as Rückert and Baumgarten-Crusius take it, the better part of the mind, or νοῦς; nor can we by any means agree with Olshausen, who puts forth the following opinion with a peculiar consciousness of its originality and appropriateness—“that πνεῦμα is the substance and νοῦς the power of the substance.” Such a notion is not supported by the biblical psychology. 7. πνεῦμα is the highest part of that inner nature, which, in its aspect of thought and emotion, is termed νοῦς. So the apostle speaks of “soul” and “spirit”- ψυχή often standing to σῶμα as πνεῦμα to νοῦς. It is not merely the inmost principle, or as Chrysostom phrases it, “the spirit which is in the mind,” but it is the governing principle, as Theodoret explains it- τὴν ὁρμὴν τοῦ νοὸς πνευματικὴν εἴρηκε. This generally is the idea of Röell, Harless, de Wette, Meier, and Turner. Meyer in his last edition retracts his opinion in the second, and says that the usual interpretation is correct, according to which-das πνεῦμα das menschliche ist-that πνεῦμα being-das Höhere Lebensprincip. Delitzsch, Bib. Psych. p. 144. The renewal takes place not simply in the mind, but in the spirit of it. The dative points out the special seat of renewal. Winer, § 31, 6, a; Matthew 11:29; Acts 7:51; 1 Corinthians 14:20. The mind remains as before, both in its intellectual and emotional structure-in its memory and judgment, imagination and perception. These powers do not in themselves need renewal, and regeneration brings no new faculties. The organism of the mind survives as it was, but the spirit, its highest part, the possession of which distinguishes man from the inferior animals, and fits him for receiving the Spirit of God, is being renovated. The memory, for example, still exercises its former functions, but on a very different class of subjects; the judgment still discharging its old office, is occupied among a new set of themes and ideas; and love, retaining all its ardour, attaches itself to objects quite in contrast with those of its earlier preference and pursuit. The change is not in mind psychologically, either in its essence or in its operation; neither is it in mind, as if it were a superficial change of opinion, either on points of doctrine or of practice; but it is “in the spirit of the mind,” in that which gives mind both its bent and its materials of thought. It is not simply in the spirit, as if it lay there in dim and mystic quietude; but it is “in the spirit of the mind,” in the power which, when changed itself, radically alters the entire sphere and business of the inner mechanism.
(Ephesians 4:24.) καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον—“And put on the new man.” Colossians 3:10. The renewal, as Meyer remarks, was expressed in the present tense, as if the moment of its completion were realized in the putting on of the new man, expressed by the aorist. The verb also is middle, denoting a reflexive act. Trollope and Burton discover, we know not by what divination, a reference in this phraseology to baptism. The putting on of the new man presupposes the laying off of the old man, and is the result or accompaniment of this renewal; nay, it is but another representation of it. This renewal in the spirit, and this on-putting of the new man, may thus stand to each other as in our systems of theology regeneration stands to sanctification. The “new man” is καινός, not νέος-recent. The apostle, in Colossians 3:10, says τὸν νέον τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον; here he joins ἀνανεοῦσθαι with τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. In the other epistle the verbal term from καινός is preceded by νέος; in the place before us the verbal term from νέος is followed by καινός. νέος generally is recent- οἶνον νέον, wine recently made, opposed to παλαιόν, made long ago; ἀσκοὺς καινούς-fresh skins-opposed to παλαιούς, which had long been in use. Matthew 9:17. So καινὴ διαθήκη is opposed to the economy so long in existence (Hebrews 8:8), but once it is termed νέα (Hebrews 12:24) as being of recent origin. Compare Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15. Hence also, John 19:41, μνημεῖον καινόν-not a tomb of recent excavation, but one unused, and thus explained, ἐν ᾧ οὐδέπω οὐδεὶς ἐτέθη. Pillon, Syn. Grecs. 332. The “new man” is in contrast with the “old man,” and repres ents that new assemblage of holy principles and desires which have a unity of origin, and a common result of operation. The “new man” is not, therefore, Christ Himself, as is the fancy of Jerome, Ambrosiaster, and Hilary, De Trinitate, lib. xii. The origin of the “new man” is next shown-
τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα—“who was created after God.” Winer, § 49, d. What the apostle affirms is not that creation is God's work and prerogative and His alone, but that as the first man bore His image, so does the new man, for he is created κατὰ θεόν, “according to God,” or in the likeness of God; or, as the apostle writes in Colossians 3:10, κατ᾿ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν. Hofmann's exegesis is feeble and incorrect-von dem göttlicher Weise geschaffenen Menschen. The allusion is to Genesis 1:27. What God created, man assumes. The newness of this man is no absolute novelty, for it is the recovery of original holiness. As the Creator stamps an image of Himself on all His workmanship, so the first man was made in His similitude, and this new man, the result also of His plastic energy, bears upon him the same test and token of his Divine origin; for the moral image of God reproduces itself in him. It is no part of our present task to inquire what were the features of that Divine image which Adam enjoyed. See under Colossians 3:10; Müller, Lehre von der Sünde, vol. ii. p. 482, 3rd ed. The apostle characterizes the new man as being created-
ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀλήθειας—“in the righteousness and holiness of the truth”-the elements in which this creation manifests itself. Morus and Flatt, on the one hand, are in error when they regard ἐν as instrumental, for the preposition points to the manifestation or development of the new man; and Koppe and Beza blunder also in supposing that ἐν may stand for εἰς, and denote the result of the new creation. In Colossians 3:10, as Olshausen remarks, “the intellectual aspect of the Divine image is described, whereas in the passage before us prominence is given to its ethical aspect.” In Wisdom of Solomon 2:23, the physical aspect is sketched. δικαιοσύνη is that moral rectitude which guides the new man in all relationships. It is not bare equity or probity, but it leads its possessor to be what he ought to be to every other creature in the universe. The vices reprobated by the apostle in the following verses, are manifest violations of this righteousness. It follows what is right, and does what is right, in all given circumstances. See under Ephesians 5:9. ῾οσιότης, on the other hand, is piety or holiness- τὰ πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους δίκαια καὶ τὰ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ὅσια. Scholium, Hecuba, 5.788. The two terms occur in inverted order in Luke 1:75, and the adverbs are found in 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Titus 1:8. The new man has affinities not only with created beings, but he has a primary relationship to the God who made him, and who surely has the first claim on his affection and duty. Whatever feelings arise out of the relation which a redeemed creature bears to Jehovah, this piety leads him to possess-such as veneration, confidence, and purity. Both righteousness and holiness are-
τῆς ἀλήθειας—“of the truth.” John 1:17; Romans 1:25; Romans 3:7. This subjective genitive is not to be resolved into an adjective, after the example of Luther, Calvin, Beza, Bodius, Grotius, Holzhausen, and the English version, as if the meaning were-true righteousness and holiness; nor can it be regarded as joining to the list a distinct and additional virtue-an opinion advanced by Pelagius, and found in the reading of D1, F, G- καὶ ἀληθείᾳ. Those critics referred to who give the genitive the simple sense of an adjective, think the meaning to be “true,” in opposition to what is assumed or counterfeit; while the Greek fathers imagine the epithet to be opposed to the typical holiness of the ancient Israel. The exegesis of Witsius, that the phrase means such a desire to please as is in harmony with truth (De OEconomia Foederum, p. 15), is as truly against all philology as that of Cocceius, that it denotes the studious pursuit of truth. ῾η ἀλήθεια in connection with the new man, stands opposed to ἡ ἀπάτη in connection with the old man, and is truth in Jesus. While this spiritual creation is God's peculiar work-for He who creates can alone re-create-this truth in Jesus has a living influence upon the heart, producing, fostering, and sustaining such rectitude and piety.
The question of natural and moral ability does not come fairly within the compass of discussion in this place. The apostle only says, they had been taught the doctrine of a decided and profound spiritual change, which had developed its breadth and power in a corresponding alteration of character. He merely states the fact that the Ephesians had been so taught, but how they had been taught the doctrine, in what connections, and with what appliances and arguments, he says not. Its connection with the doctrine of spiritual influence is not insisted on. “Whatever,” says Dr. Owen, “God worketh in us in a way of grace, He presenteth unto us in a way of duty, and that, because although He do it in us, yet He also doth it by us, so as that the same work is an act of His Spirit, and of our own will as acted thereby.” On the Holy Spirit, Works, iii. p. 432; Edinburgh, 1852. See under Ephesians 2:1.
The apostle descends now from general remarks to special sins, such sins as were common in the Gentile world, and to which Christian converts were, from the force of habit and surrounding temptation, most easily and powerfully seduced.
(Ephesians 4:25.) διὸ ἀποθέμενοι τὸ ψεῦδος—“Wherefore, having put away lying.” By διό—“wherefore”-he passes to a deduction in the form of an application. See under Ephesians 2:11. Since the old man and all his lusts are to be abandoned, and the new man assumed who is created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth- ἀλήθεια; the vice and habit of falsehood- ψεῦδος-are to be dropt. Colossians 3:9. It might be a crime palliated among their neighbours in the world, but it was to have no place in the church, being utterly inconsistent with spiritual renovation. The counsel then is-
λαλεῖτε ἀλήθειαν, ἕκαστος μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ—“speak ye truth every one with his neighbour.” The clause is found in Zechariah 8:16, with this variation, that the apostle uses μετά for the πρός of the Septuagint which represents the particle in אֶתאּרְֵֵעהוּ . The “neighbour,” as the following clause shows, is not men generally, as Jerome, Augustine, Estius, and Grotius suppose, but specially Christian brethren. Christians are to speak the whole truth, without distortion, diminution, or exaggeration. No promise is to be falsified-no mutual understanding violated. The word of a Christian ought to be as his bond, every syllable being but the expression of “truth in the inward parts.” The sacred majesty of truth is ever to characterize and hallow all his communications. It is of course to wilful falsehood that the apostle refers-for a man may be imposed upon himself, and unconsciously deceive others-to what Augustine defines as falsa significatio cum voluntate fallendi. As may be seen from the quotations made by Whitby and other expositors, some of the heathen philosophers were not very scrupulous in adherence to truth, and the vice of falsehood was not branded with the stigma which it merited. And the apostle adds as a cogent reason-
ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλων μέλη—“for we are members one of another.” Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Christians are bound up together by reciprocal ties and obligations as members of the one body of which Christ is the one Head-the apostle glancing back to the image of the 16th verse. Their being members one of another springs from their living union with Christ. Trusting in one God, they should therefore not create distrust of one another; seeking to be saved by one faith, they should not prove faithless to their fellows; and professing to be freed by the truth, they ought not to attempt to enslave their brethren by falsehood. Truthfulness is an essential and primary virtue. Chrysostom, taking the figure in its mere application to the body, draws out a long and striking analogy—“Let not the eye lie to the foot, nor the foot to the eye. If there be a deep pit, and its mouth covered with reeds shall present to the eye the appearance of solid ground, will not the eye use the foot to ascertain whether it is hollow underneath, or whether it is firm and resists? Will the foot tell a lie, and not the truth as it is? And what again if the eye were to spy a serpent or a wild beast, will it lie to the foot?” etc.
(Ephesians 4:26.) ᾿οργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε—“Be ye angry and sin not.” This language is the same as the Septuagint translation of Psalms 4:4. The verb זוּ Ó רִגַמאי bear such a sense, as Hengstenberg maintains,-Proverbs 29:9; Isaiah 28:21; Ezekiel 16:43,-though Gesenius, Hupfeld, Ewald, and Phillips maintain that the meaning is “tremble,” or “stand in awe,” as in the English version. Delitzsch also renders Bebet—“quake,” Tholuck, Erzittert, and J. Olshausen, Zittert. The Hebrew verb is of the same stock with the Greek ὀργή and the Saxon “rage,” and denotes strong emotion. The peculiar idiom has been variously understood: 1. Some understand it thus—“If ye should be angry, see that ye do not sin.” Such is the view of Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, Piscator, Wolf, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Holzhausen, Meier, and Bishop Butler; while Harless supposes the meaning to be-zürnet in der rechten Weise-be angry in the right way. Hitzig renders it grollet, aber verfehlt euch nicht. 2. Beza, Grotius, Clarius, and Zeltner take the first verb in an interrogative sense-Are ye angry? It is plain that the simple construction of the second clause forbids such a supposition. The opinion of the Greek fathers has been defended by a reference to Hebrew syntax, in which, when two imperatives are joined, the first expresses a condition, and the second a result. Gesenius, § 127, 2; Nordheimer, § 1008. This clause does not, however, come under such a category, for its fair interpretation under such a law would be—“Be angry, and so ye shall not sin,” or, as in the common phrase-divide et impera—“divide, and thou shalt conquer.” The second imperative does not express result, but contemporaneous feeling. 3. Nor do we see any go od grounds for adopting the notion of a permissive imperative, as is argued for by Winer, § 43, 2—“Be angry”-(I cannot prevent it). 1 Corinthians 7:13. As Meyer has remarked, there is no reason why the one imperative should be permissive and the other jussive, when both are connected by the simple καί. 4. The phrase is idiomatic—“Be angry”-(when occasion requires), “but sin not;” the main force being on the second imperative with μή. It is objected to this view by Olshausen and others, that anger is forbidden in the 31st verse. But the anger there reprobated is associated with dark malevolence, and regarded as the offspring of it. Anger is not wholly forbidden, as Olshausen imagines it is. It is an instinctive principle-a species of thorny hedge encircling our birthright. But in the indulgence of it, men are very apt to sin, and therefore they are cautioned against it. If a mere trifle put them into a storm of fury-if they are so excitable as to fall into frequent fits of ungovernable passion, and lose control of speech or action-if urged by an irascible temper they are ever resenting fancied affronts and injuries, then do they sin. Matthew 5:21-22. But specially do they sin, and herein lies the danger, if they indulge anger for an improper length of time:-
ὁ ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ τῷ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν—“let not the sun go down upon your indignation.” Similar phraseology occurs in Deuteronomy 24:15; in Philo, and in Plutarch. See Wetstein, in loc. παροργισμός, a term peculiar to biblical Greek, is a fit of indignation or exasperation; παρά-referring to the cause or occasion; while the ὀργή, to be put away from Christians, is the habitual indulgence of anger. 1 Kings 15:30; 2 Kings 23:26; Nehemiah 9:18. παροργισμός is not in this clause absolutely forbidden, as Trench wrongly supposes (Synon. p. 141), but it is to cease by sunset. The day of anger should be the day of reconciliation. It is to be but a brief emotion, slowly excited and very soon dismissed. If it be allowed to lie in the mind, it degenerates into enmity, hatred, or revenge, all of which are positively and in all circumstances sinful. To harbour ill-will; to feed a grudge, and keep it rankling in the bosom; or to wait a fitting opportunity for successful retaliation, is inconsistent with Christian discipleship—“Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Augustine understands by sun, “the Sun of righteousness” (on Psalms 25; Op. vol. iv. p. 15, ed. Paris), and Anselm “the sun of reason.” Theodoret well says- μέτρον ἔδωκε τῷ θυμῷ τῆς ἡμέρας τὸ μέτρον. The Pythagorean disciple was to be placated, and to shake hands with his foe- πρὶν ἢ τὸν ἥλιον δῦναι. Plutarch, de Am. Frat. 488, b.
(Ephesians 4:27.) ΄ηδὲ δίδοτε τόπον τῷ διαβόλῳ—“Also give no place to the devil.” ΄ηδέ, not μήτε, is the true reading, upon preponderant authority, and closely connects this clause with the preceding exhortation, not certainly logically or as a developed thought, but numerically as an allied injunction, more closely than what Klotz calls fortuitus concursus. Ad Devar. ii. p. 6. Hartung, 1.210; Buttmann, § 149; Winer, § 55, 6; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 157. ῾ο διάβολος is plainly the Evil One, not viewed simply in his being, but in some special element of his character. It is wrong to render it here-the accuser or calumniator, though the Syriac version, Luther, Er. Schmid, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others, have so rendered it. The notion of Harless appears to be too restricted, namely, that the reference is to Satan as endangering the life and peace of the Christian church, not as gaining the ascendency over individuals. To “give place to,” is to yield room for, dare locum. Luke 14:9; Romans 12:19; Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 2.33. See also Wetstein, in loc. The idea indicated by the connection is, that anger nursed in the heart affords opportunity to Satan. Satan has sympathy with a spiteful and malignant spirit, it is so like his own. Envy, cunning, and malice are the pre-eminent feelings of the devil, and if wrath gain the empire of the heart, it lays it open to him, and to those fiendish passions which are identified with his presence and operations. Christians are not, by the indulgence of angry feeling, to give place to him; for if he have any place, how soon may he have all place! Give him “place” but in a point, and he may speedily cover the whole platform of the soul.
(Ephesians 4:28.) ῾ο κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω—“Let the stealer steal no more.” We cannot say that the present participle is here used for the past, as is done by the Vulgate in its qui furabatur, by Luther, Erasmus, Grotius, Cramer, and others. Even some MSS. have ὁ κλέψας. ῾ο κλέπτων is the thief, one given to the vice of thieving, or, as Peile renders it, “the thievish person.” Winer, § 45, 7; Bernhardy, p. 318; Galatians 1:23. It is something, as Stier says, between κλέψας and κλέπτης. Some, again, shocked at the idea that any connected with the Ephesian church should be committing such a sin, have attempted to attenuate the meaning of the term. Jerome set the example, and he has been followed by Calvin, Bullinger, Estius, Zanchius, Holzhausen, and partially by Hodge. But the apostle condemns theft in every form, and in all probability he alludes to some peculiar aspect of it practised by a section of the idle population of Ephesus. According to the testimony of Eusebius, in the tenth chapter of the sixth book of his Praeparatio Evangelica, throughout the Eastern world few persons were much affronted by being convicted of theft- ὁ λοιδορούμενος ὡς κλέπτης οὐ πάνυ ἀγανακτεῖ. See 1 Corinthians 5:1, and 2 Corinthians 12:21, for another class of sinners in the early church. The apostle's immediate remedy for the vice is honourable industry, with a view to generosity-
μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω ἐργαζόμενος ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν—“but rather let him labour, working with his own hands that which is good.” The differences of reading are numerous in this brief clause. In some MSS. ταῖς χερσίν is omitted, and in others τὸ ἀγαθόν. Clement reads simply τὸ ἀγαθόν, and Tertullian only ταῖς χερσίν. Some insert ἰδίαις before χερσίν, and others affix αὐτοῦ after it. Several important MSS., such as A, D1, E F, G the Vulgate, Gothic, Coptic, and Ethiopic Armenian; Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, and Pelagius-read ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν. Lachmann adopts this reading; K inverts this order, τὸ ἀγαθὸν ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσίν; but Tischendorf, Hahn, and Alford read τὸ ἀγαθὸν ταῖς χερσίν, with L and the great majority of mss., Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, and the Received Version. B has ταῖς χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν. We agree with Stier in saying that Harless and Olshausen overlook the proof, when at once they prefer the shortest reading, and treat τὸ ἀγαθόν as an interpolation taken from Galatians 6:10. ΄ᾶλλον δέ-but “rather or in preference” let him work, and with his own hands, ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσίν. ῎ιδιος, like proprius in Latin instead of suus or ejus, is here used with distinct force. Matthew 25:15; John 10:3; Romans 8:32; Winer, § 22, 7. Manual employment was the most common in these times. Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 4:11. τὸ ἀγαθόν is something useful and profitable. His hands had done what was evil, and now these same were to be employed in what was good. If a man have no industrious calling, if he cannot dig, and if to beg he is ashamed, his resort is to plunder for self-support:
“Now goes the nightly thief, prowling abroad
For plunder; much solicitous how best
He may compensate for a day of sloth
By works of darkness and nocturnal wrong.”
But if a man be active and thrifty, then he may have not only enough for himself, but even enjoy a surplus out of which he may relieve the wants of his destitute brethren-
ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι—“that he may have to give to him who hath need.” This is a higher motive than mere self-support, and is, as Olshausen remarks, a specifically Christian object. Not only is the thief to work for his own maintenance, but Christian sympathy will cheer him in his manual toil, for the benefit of others. Already in the days of his indolence had he stolen from others, and now others were to share in the fruits of his honest labour-truest restitution. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
(Ephesians 4:29.) πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω—“Let no filthy word come out of your mouth.” This strong negation contained in the use of πᾶς with μή, is a species of Hebraism. Winer, § 26, 1; Ewald, Heb. Gram. § 576. The general meaning of σαπρός is foul, rotten, useless, though sometimes, from the idea of decay-old, obsolete, ugly, or worthless. Phrynich. ed. Lobeck, p. 337. In Matthew 7:17-18; Matthew 12:33, and in Luke 6:43, the epithet characterizes trees and their fruit, and in the Vulgate is rendered simply malus. In Matthew 13:48, it is applied to fishes. In all these places the contrasted adjective is ἀγαθός. Locke in his paraphrase has, “no misbecoming word.” The term is of course used here in a tropical sense, but its meaning is not to be restricted, as Grotius advocates, to unchaste or obscene conversation, which is afterwards and specially forbidden. It signifies what is noxious, offensive, or useless, and refers to language which, so far from yielding “grace” or benefit, has a tendency to corrupt the hearer. 1 Corinthians 15:33; Colossians 4:6. Chrysostom, deriving his idea from the contrast of the following clause, defines the term thus- ὃ μὴ τὴν ἰδίαν χρείαν πληροῖ; and several vices of the tongue are also named by him, with evident reference to Colossians 3:8. Meier narrows its meaning, when he regards it as equivalent to ἀργός in Matthew 12:36. May there not be reference to sins already condemned? All falsehoods and equivocations; all spiteful epithets and vituperation; all envious and vengeful detraction; all phrases which form a cover for fraud and chicanery-are filthy speech, and with such language a Christian's mouth ought never to be defiled. “Nothing”-
ἀλλ᾿ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας—“but that which is good for edification of the need.” Instead of χρείας, some MSS., as D1, E1, F, G, and some of the Latin fathers, read πίστεως, which is evidently an emendation, as Jerome has hinted. ᾿αγαθός, followed by πρός, signifies “good,” in the sense of “suitable,” or rather serviceable for, examples of which may be found in Kypke, Observat. 2.298; Passow, sub voce; Romans 15:2. Our version, following Beza, inverts the order and connection of the two nouns, and renders, “for the use of edifying,” whereas Paul says, “for edification of the need.” χρείας, as the genitive of object, is almost personified. To make it the genitive of “point of view,” with Ellicott, is a needless refinement. The paraphrase of Erasmus, quâ sit opus-and that of Casaubon, quoties opus est, are defective, inasmuch as they suppose the need to be only incidental or occasional, whereas the apostle regards it as a pressing and continuous fact. The precious hour should never be polluted with corrupt speech, nor should it be wasted in idle and frivolous dialogue. We are not indeed to “give that which is holy to dogs”-a due and delicate appreciation of time and circumstance must govern the tongue. Juxta, says Jerome, juxta opportunitatem loci, temporis, et personae aedificare audientes. Conversation should always exercise a salutary influence, regulated by the special need. Words so spoken may fall like winged seeds upon a neglected soil, and there may be future germination and fruit. Trench on Authorized Version, p. 120.
ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν—“that it may give grace to the hearers.” χάρις is taken by some to signify what is agreeable or acceptable. Theodoret thus explains it- ἵνα φανῇ δεκτὸς τοῖς ἀκούουσι—“that it may seem pleasant to the hearer;” and the same view has been held by Luther, Rückert, Meier, Matthies, Burton, and the lexicographers Robinson, Bretschneider, Wilke, Wahl, and Schleusner. One of the opinions of Chrysostom is not dissimilar, since he compares such speech to the grateful effect of ointment or perfume on the person. That χάρις may bear such a meaning is well known, but does it bear such a sense in such a phrase as χάριν διδόναι? In Plut. Agis. c. 18- δεδωκότα χάριν; Euripides, Medea, 5.702- τήνδε σοι δοῦναι χάριν; Sophocles, Ajax, 1354- μέμνησ᾿ ὁποίῳ φωτὶ τὴν χάριν δίδως; and in other quotations adduced by Harless, χάριν δοῦναι is “to confer a favour-to bestow a gift.” Ast, Lex Platon. sub voce. So we have the phrase in James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; and it is found also in the Septuagint, Exodus 3:21; Psalms 84:12. And such is the view of Olshausen, Harless, Meyer, de Wette, and in former times of Bullinger, Zanchius, and virtually of Beza, Grotius, Elsner, and Calvin. Speech good to the edification of need brings spiritual benefit to the hearer; it may excite, or deter, or counsel-stir him to reflection or afford materials of thought. “A word spoken in season, how good is it! - like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11.
(Ephesians 4:30.) καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ—“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” The term πνεῦμα, and the epithet ἅγιον, have been already explained under Ephesians 1:13, and solemnly and emphatically is the article repeated. He is called the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit of God, each term having a distinct and suggestive significance. This sentence is plainly connected with the previous exhortations, and specially by καί, with the preceding counsel. And the connection appears to be this:-Obey those injunctions as to abstinence from falsehood, malice, dishonesty, and especially corrupt speech, and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. True, indeed, the Godhead is unruffled in its calm, yet there are feelings in it so analogous to those excited in men, that they are named after such human emotions. The Holy Spirit represents Himself as susceptible of affront and of sorrow. παροξύνειν is used in a similar passage in Isaiah 63:10 by the Seventy, but it is not a perfect representation of the original Hebrew- עָצַב, H6772. We regard it as wrong to dilute the meaning of the apostle, explaining it either with Bengel-contristatur Spiritus Sanctus non in se sed in nobis; or rashly affirming with Baumgarten-Crusius, that the personality of the Holy Spirit is only a form of representation, and no proof of what Harless calls objective reality; or still further declaring with Rieger, that the term Spirit may be referred to-des Menschen neugeschaffenen Geist—“the renewed spirit of man;” or, in fine, so attenuating the meaning with de Wette as to say, that by the Holy Spirit is to be understood moral sentiment, as depicted from the Christian point of view. It is the Holy Spirit of God within us (not in others, as Thomas Aquinas imagines), that believers grieve-not the Father, nor the Son, but the blessed Spirit, wh o, as the applier of salvation, dwells in believers, and consecrates their very bodies as His temple. Ephesians 2:22 ; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:26-27. According to our view, the verse is a summation of the argument-the climax of appeal. If Christians shall persist in falsehood and deviation from the truth-if they shall indulge in fitful rage or cherish sullen and malignant dislikes-if they shall be characterized by dishonesty, or idle and corrupt language-then, though they may not grieve man, do they grieve the Holy Spirit of God, for all this perverse insubordination is in utter antagonism to the essence and operations of Him who is the Spirit of truth, and inspires the love of it; who assumed, as a fitting symbol, the form of a dove, and creates meekness and forbearance; and who as the Spirit of holiness, leads to the appreciation of all that is just in action, noble in sentiment, and healthful and edifying in speech. What can be more grieving to the Holy Ghost than our thwarting the very purpose for which He dwells within us, and contravening all the promptings and suggestions with which He warns and instructs us? Since it is His special function to renew the heart, to train it to the abandonment of sin, and to the cultivation of holiness-and since for this purpose He has infleshed Himself and dwells in us as a tender, watchful, and earnest guardian, is He not grieved with the contumacy and rebellion so often manifested against Him? Nay more-
ἐν ᾧ ἐσφραγίσθητε εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως—“in whom ye were sealed for the day of redemption.” εἰς is “for”-reserved for, implying the idea of “until;” the genitive being a designation of time by its characteristic event. Winer, § 30, 2, a. For the meaning of the verb ἐσφραγίσθητε, the explanation already given under Ephesians 1:14 may be consulted. It is a grave error of Chandler and Le Clerc to refer this sealing to the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; for surely these were not possessed by all the members of the church, nor could we limit the sin of grieving the Spirit to the abuse of the gift of prophecy, which the second of these expositors supposes to be specially intended in the preceding verse. In Ephesians 1:14, the apostle speaks of the redemption of the purchased possession, and that period is here named “the day of redemption.” The noun ἀπολύτρωσις has already occupied us under Ephesians 1:14, and the comment needs not be repeated. This clause is evidently an argument, or the motive why believers should not grieve the Holy Spirit. If He seal you, and so confirm your faith, and preserve you to eternal glory-if your hope of glory, your preparation for it, and especially your security as to its possession, be the work of God's blessed Spirit, why will you thus grieve Him? There is no formal mention made of the possibility of apostasy, or of the departure of the Spirit. Nor does it seem to be implied, as the verb “sealed” intimates. They who are sealed are preserved-the seal is not to be shivered or effaced. A security that may be broken at any time, or the value of which depends on man's own fidelity and guardianship, is no security at all. Not only does the Socinian Slichtingius hold that the seal may be broken, but we find even the Calvinist Zanchius speaking of the possibility of so losing the seal as to lose salvation: and in such an opinion some of the divines of the Reformation, such an Aretius, join him. The Fathers held a similar view. Theophylact warns- μὴ λύσῃς τὴν σφραγῖδα. See also the Shepherd of Hermas, 2.10, where the phrase occurs- μήποτε ἐντεύξηται τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἀποστῇ ἀπὸ σοῦ. Ambrosiaster says-Quia deserit nos, eo quod laeserimus eum. Harless admits that the phrase may teach the possibility of the loss of the seal; while Stier displays peculiar keenness against those who held the opposite doctrine, or what he calls-praedestinationisches Missverständniss. Were the apostle speaking of the striving of the Spirit, or of His ordinary influences, the possibility of His departure might be thus admitted. Genesis 6:3; Isaiah 63:10; Acts 7:51. Or if he had said-grieve not the Holy Spirit, by whom men are sealed, or whose function it is to seal men, the hypothesis of Stier would not be denied. But the inspired writer says—“by whom ye were sealed.” They had been sealed, set apart, and secured, for perseverance is the crowning blessing and prerogative of the saints; not to say, with Meyer, that if the view of Harless were correct- παροξύνετε would have been the more natural expression. The apostle appeals not to their fears, lest the Spirit should leave them; but he appeals to their sense of gratitude, and entreats them not to wound this tender, continuous, and resident Benefactor. 2 Corinthians 1:21. It may be said to a prodigal son-grieve not your father lest he cast you off; or grieve not your mother lest you break her heart. Which of the twain is the stronger appeal? and this is the question we put as our reply to Alford and Turner. In fine, the patristic and popish phraseology, in which this seal is applied to the imposition of hands, to baptism, or the sacrament of confirmation, is wholly foreign from the sense and purpose of the passage before us, though its clauses have been often adduced in proof. Catechismus Roman. § 311; Suicer, sub voce σφραγίς.
(Ephesians 4:31.) πᾶσα πικρία, καὶ θυμὸς, καὶ ὀργὴ, καὶ κραυγὴ, καὶ βλασφημία, ἀρθήτω ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν, σὺν πάσῃ κακίᾳ—“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice;”-all feelings inconsistent with love-all emotions opposed to the benign influence and presence of the Divine Spirit-were to be abandoned.
πικρία—“bitterness”-is a figurative term denoting that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity-that inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things-that makes him sour, crabbed, and repulsive in his general demeanour-that brings a scowl over his face, and infuses venom into the words of his tongue. Romans 3:14; James 4:14. Wetstein, under Romans 3:14, has adduced several examples of the similar use of πικρία from the classical writers. Aristotle justly says- οἱ δὲ πικροὶ δυσδιάλυτοι, καὶ πολὺν χρόνον ὀργίζονται, κατέχουσι γὰρ τὸν θυμόν. Loesner has also brought some apposite instances from Philo, Observat. ad N. T. p. 345. θυμός is that mental excitement to which such bitterness gives rise-the commotion or tempest that heaves and infuriates within. Donaldson, New Cratylus, § 476. ᾿οργή (Deuteronomy 9:19) is resentment, settled and dark hostility, and is therefore condemned. See under Ephesians 4:26. ῾ο θυμὸς γεννητικός ἐστι τῆς ὀργῆς-is the remark of OEcumenius. See Trench, Synon. § 37; Tittmann, de Synon. p. 132; Donaldson, New Cratylus, § 477. κραυγή—“clamour,” is the expression of this anger-hoarse reproach, the high language of scorn and scolding, the yelling tones, the loud and boisterous recrimination, and the fierce and impetuous invective that mark a man in a towering rage. Ira furor brevis est. “Let women,” adds Chrysostom, “especially attend to this, as they on every occasion cry out and brawl. There is but one thing in which it is needful to cry aloud, and that is in teaching and preaching.” βλασφημία-signifies what is hurtful to the reputation of others, and sometimes is applied to the sin of impious speech toward God. It is the result or one phase of the clamour implied in κραυγή, for anger leads not only to vituperation, but to calumny and scandal. In the intensity of passion, hot and hasty rebuke easily and frequently passes into foulest slander. The wrathful denouncer exhausts his rage by becoming a reviler. Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4. All these vicious emotions are to be put away. κακία is a generic term, and seems to signify what we sometimes call in common speech bad-heartedness, the root of all those vices. 1 Peter 2:1. Let all these vices be abandoned, with every form and aspect of that condition of mind in which they have their origin, and of that residuum which the indulgence of them leaves behind it. The word is in contrast with the epithet, “tender-hearted,” in the following verse. Now this verse contains not only a catalogue, but a melancholy genealogy of bad passions-acerbity of temper exciting passion-that passion heated into indignation-that indignation throwing itself off in indecent brawling, and that brawling darkening into libel and abuse-a malicious element lying all the while at the basis of these enormities. And such unamiable feeling and language are not to be allowed any apology or indulgence. The adjective πᾶσα belongs to the five sins first mentioned, and πάσῃ to the last. Indeed, the Coptic version formally prefixes to all the nouns the adjective —“all.” They are to be put away in every kind and degree-in germ as well as maturity-without reserve and without compromise.
(Ephesians 4:32.) γίνεσθε δὲ εἰς ἀλλήλους χρηστοί—“But become ye kind to one another.” The δέ has been excluded by Lachmann, on the authority of B, but rightly retained by Tischendorf. δέ—“But”-passing to the contrast in his exhortation, he says—“become ye kind to one another”- χρηστοί-full of benign courtesy, distinguished by mutual attachment, the bland and generous interchange of good deeds, and the earnest desire to confer reciprocal obligations. Colossians 3:12. Rudeness and censoriousness are opposed to this plain injunction. That there should be any allusion in χρηστός to the sacred name χριστός, is wholly incredible.
εὔσπλαγχνοι-(1 Peter 3:8; Colossians 3:12)—“tender-hearted”-the word being based upon the common and similar use of רַחֲמִים, H8171, in the Old Testament. The epithet is found, as in Hippocrates, with a literal sense. See Kypke. So far from being churlish or waspish, Christians are to be noted for their tenderness of heart. They are to be full of deep and mellow affection, in opposition to that wrath and anger which they are summoned to abandon. A rich and genial sympathy should ever characterize all their intercourse-
χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς—“forgiving one another.” ῾εαυτοῖς is used for ἀλλήλοις. This use of the reflexive for the reciprocal pronoun has sometimes an emphatic significance-forgiving one another, you forgive yourselves-and occurs in Mark 10:26; John 12:19; Colossians 3:13; Colossians 3:16; and also among classical writers. Kühner, § 628, 3; Jelf, § 654, 3; Bernhardy, p. 273; Matthiae, § 489, 6. May not the use of ἑαυτοῖς also point, as Stier says, to that peculiar unity which subsists among Christ's disciples? The meaning of the participle, which is contemporaneous with the previous verb, is plainly determined by the following clause. It does not mean being gracious or agreeable, as Bretschneider thinks, nor yet does it signify, as the Vulgate reads-donantes, but condonantes. Luke 7:42-43; 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:13. Instead of resentment and retaliation, railing and vindictive objurgation, Christians are to pardon offences-to forgive one another in reciprocal generosity. Faults will be committed and offences must come, but believers are to forgive them, are not to exaggerate them, but to cover them up from view, by throwing over them the mantle of universal charity. And the rule, measure, and motive of this universal forgiveness are stated in the last clause-
καθὼς καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐν χριστῷ ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν—“as also God in Christ forgave you.” Some MSS., as B2, D, E, K, L, the Syriac, and Theodoret read ἡμῖν; others, as A, F, G, I, and Chrysostom in his text, read ὑμῖν. The latter appears the better reading, while the other may have been suggested by Ephesians 5:2. καθὼς καί—“as also”-an example with an implied comparison. Klotz, ad Devar. 2.635. But the presentation of the example contains an argument. It is an example which Christians are bound to imitate. They were to forgive because God had forgiven them, and they were to forgive in resemblance of His procedure. In the exercise of Christian forgiveness, His authority was their rule, and His example their model. They were to obey and also to imitate, nay, their obedience consisted in imitation. ᾿εν χριστῷ is “in Christ” as the element or sphere, and signifies not “on account of, or by means of Christ,” but ὁ θεὸς ἐν χριστῷ is God revealed in Christ, acting in Him, speaking in Him, and fulfilling His gracious purposes by Him as the one Mediator. 2 Corinthians 5:19. For the pardon of human guilt is no summary act of paternal regard, but sin was punished, government vindicated, and the moral interests of the universe were guarded by the atonement which Christ presented. The nature of that forgiveness which God in Christ confers on sinners, has been already illustrated under Ephesians 1:7. That pardon is full and free and irreversible-all sin forgiven; forgiven, not because we deserve it; forgiven every day of our lives; and, when once forgiven, never again to rise up and condemn us. Now, because God has pardoned us, we should be ready to pardon others. His example at once enjoins imitation, and furnishes the pattern. God is presented, as Theophylact says- εἰς ὑπόδειγμα. And thus the offences of others are to be pardoned by us fully, without retaining a grudge; and freely, without any exorbitant equivalent; forgiven not only seven times, but seventy and seven times; and when pardoned, they are not to be raked out of oblivion, and again made the theme of collision and quarrel. According to the imagery of our Lord's parable, our sins toward God are weighty as talents, nay, weighty and numerous as ten thousand talents; while the offences of our fellows toward ourselves are trivial as pence, nay, as trivial and as few as a hundred pence. If the master forgive such an immense amount to the servant so far beneath Him, will not the forgiven servant be prompted, by the generous example, to absolve his own fellow-servant and equal from his smaller debt? Matthew 18:23-35.
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
the Second Week after Easter
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