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Bible Commentaries

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Ephesians 6

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

Chapter 6

THE apostle, after expounding the duties that spring out of the conjugal relation, as one sphere in which the maxim-submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ-came into operation, naturally turns to another and kindred sphere of domestic life, and addresses himself to children. And he does not speak about them, or tell their parents of them, but he looks them in the face, and lovingly says to them—“children.” It is plainly implied that children were supposed by him to be present in the sanctuary when this epistle was read, or to be able to read it for themselves, when it should be transcribed and circulated.


Verse 1

(Ephesians 6:1.) τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν ἐν κυρίῳ—“Children, obey your parents in the Lord”-that is, “in Christ.” The words ἐν κυρίῳ are wanting in B, D1, F, G, and are, on that account, excluded by Lachmann, but they are found in A, D3, E, I, K, the major part of mss., and the Greek fathers. They describe the element or sphere of that obedience which children are to render to their parents, and certainly do not qualify γονεῦσιν-as if the reference were to fathers in the faith, in contrast to fathers after the flesh. Not merely natural instinct, but religious motive should prompt children to obedience, and guard them in it. The love which Jesus showed to children, when He took them in His arms and blessed them, should induce them, in a spirit of filial faith and fondness, to obey their parents, and to regard with special sacredness every parental injunction. And that obedience, if prompted, regulated, and bounded by a sense of religious obligation, will be cheerful, and not sullen; prompt, and not dilatory; uniform, and not occasional; universal, and not capricious in its choice of parental precepts.

τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον—“for this is right;” the νῦ ἐφελκυστικόν in ἐστιν, and other similar verbal forms being a general characteristic in the spelling of ancient MSS. The reference of the clause is not to ἐν κυρίῳ, but to the injunction itself. Filial obedience is “right,” for it is not based on anything accidental or expedient. The meaning is not that obedience is “according to the law of God, or Scripture”- κατὰ τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ νόμον-as is said by Theodoret and Calvin, and virtually by Harless and Meyer, but that it has its foundation in the very essence of that relation which subsists between parents and children. Nature claims it, while Scripture enjoins it, and the Son of God exemplified it. It is in perfect consistency with all our notions of right and moral obligation- φύσει δίκαιον, as Theophylact rightly adds. For the very names τέκνα and γονεῖς point out the origin and essential reason of that filial duty which the apostle, in Colossians, calls “well-pleasing to the Lord.”


Verse 2

(Ephesians 6:2.) τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα—“Honour thy father and thy mother”-a quotation from the fifth commandment- בּדאֶתאּ אִָָביךָוַאֶתאּאִ־ֶמּךָ à כַּ. ֵ, Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16. This citation does not, as Harless supposes, give the ground of the preceding injunction, for δίκαιον contains a specific reason; but it is another form of the same injunction, based not upon natural right, but upon inspired authority. Honour comprehends in it all that respect, reverence, love, and obedience, which the filial relation so fully implies. Though the Mosaic law did not by any means place man and woman on the same level in respect of conjugal right, yet here, in special and delicate homage to maternal claim, it places the mother in the same high position with the father himself. Marcion, according to Tertullian, left out this quotation in his so-called Epistle to the Laodiceans, because it recognized the authority of the God of the Old Testament, p. 329, vol. ii., Op. ed. Oehler.

ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ—“for such is,” or “as it is the first command with promise;” ἥτις giving explanation, or expressing reason. Winer, § 24. Some critics give πρώτος the sense of prime or chief—“which is the chief commandment connected with promise.” Such is the view of Wetstein, Koppe, Flatt, Meier, Matthies, Hodge, and Robinson. The adjective may bear this signification; but such cannot be its meaning here, for the fifth commandment cannot surely be deemed absolutely the most important which God has ordained with promise. Matthew 22:38-39; Romans 13:9. Stier regards it as a first command, in point of importance, to the children whom Paul directly addresses. Ambrosiaster, Michaelis, von Gerlach, and Holzhausen propose to take πρώτη as meaning first in a certain position; and the last affirms that ἐντολή denotes only the statutes which belong to the second table-duties not of man to God, but of man to man. This is only a philological figment, devised to escape from a theological difficulty. The division of the decalogue into first and second tables has no direct foundation in Scripture; but if it be adopted, we quite agree with Stier that the fifth commandment belongs to the first table. Its position in Leviticus 19:3, and its omission in Romans 13:9, seem to prove this. The second table is comprised in this, “Love thy neighbour as thyself;” but obedience to parents cannot come under such a category. The parent stands in God's place to his child. On the division of the ten commandments separately, and on that into two tables, see Sonntag and Züllig, Stud. und Kritik. 1836-37; and Kurtz, Geschichte des Alten Bundes, vol. iii. § 10. We are obliged to join πρώτη with ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ, and render—“whic h is the first command with a promise,” ἐν pointing to that in which the firstness consists, and the promise being expressed in the following verse. Such is the view of the Greek commentators, of Jerome, of the Reformers, of Bodius, a-Lapide, Aretius, Zanchius, Crocius, and of Harless, de Wette, Meyer, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Winer, § 48, a. It has been remarked by others, that what appears a promise in the second commandment is only a broad declaration of the great principles of the divine government, and that this is really, therefore, the earliest or first of the ten commands with a promise-first, as Chrysostom says, not τῇ τάξει ἀλλὰ τῇ ἐπαγγελίᾳ. It has been objected that there is only one command with a promise in the decalogue, and that the apostle, if he thought of the decalogue alone, would have said, not the “first,” but the “only” command with promise. Harless says that “first” refers to what precedes, not to what follows; and Meyer suggests that Paul included in his reckoning, not the decalogue alone, but other succeeding injunctions of the Mosaic code. As a “first” implies a second, we should be inclined to adopt the last view, limiting, however, the calculation of the apostle to the first body of commands delivered at Sinai. The fifth is thus the first commandment in point of promise. The article is not needed, for ordinals having a specific power in themselves often want it. Philippians 1:12; Middleton on the Greek Article, p. 100.


Verse 3

(Ephesians 6:3.) ῞ινα εὖ σοι γένηται καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνιος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς—“That it may be well with thee, and that thou be long-lived on the earth.” The quotation is from the Septuagint version of Exodus 20:12, but somewhat varied- the words omitted being- τῆς ἀγαθῆς ἧς κύριος ό θεός σου δίδωσί σοι. Such is the promise. The phrase “that it may be well with thee”-as in Genesis 12:13, Deuteronomy 4:40 -seems to have been a common mode of expressing interest in another's welfare. In the second clause, the apostle changes the construction of the Septuagint, which reads- καὶ ἵνα μακροχρόνιος γένῃ. It had been affirmed by Erasmus, and has been reasserted by Winer (§ 41, b, b, 1) and de Wette, that the apostle drops the construction with ἵνα and uses ἔσῃ in the simple future. We agree with Meyer, that there is no genuine grammatical ground for separating ἔσῃ from ἵνα, since the apostle has in some instances connected ἵνα with the future (1 Corinthians 9:18), and there is a change of construction similar to that which this verse presents, in the Apocalypse, Revelation 22:14. Klotz-Devarius, vol. 2.630. The future ἔσῃ stands here in its proper significance, but still connected with ἵνα; and such a use of the future tense may in a climactic form indicate the direct and certain result of the previous subjunctive. Obedience secures well-being, and this being the case, “thou shalt live long on the earth.” The longevity is the result and development of its being well with thee.

΄ακροχρόνιος is “long-lived” or “long-timed,” and belongs to the later Greek. What then is the nature of this promise annexed to the fifth commandment? In its original form it had reference to the peculiar constitution of the theocracy, which both promised and secured temporal blessings to the people. The words are, “that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” The promise in its first application has been supposed to mean, that filial obedience being the test and exponent of national religion and morality, would preserve the Hebrew nation from those aberrations and crimes which led to their deportation and their ultimate expulsion. Or if the command be supposed to possess an individualizing directness, then it may mean, that under Jehovah's special guardianship the coveted blessing of longevity would be the sure fruit and noble reward of filial piety. But what is the force of the promise now? The apostle gives it a present meaning and reality, and omits as if on purpose the clause which of old restricted it to the theocracy. It is out of the question on the part of Olshausen, Schrader, and Gauthey, preceded by Estius, to spiritualize the promise, and to suppose that as Canaan was a type of heaven, so the blessing here promised is happiness in a better world. Hints of this view are found in Jerome and Thomas Aquinas. The epithet μακροχρόνιος can never denote immortal duration, and the apostle omits the very words which placed the earthly Canaan in its peculiar position and meaning as a type. On the other hand, Meyer regards this omission as unessential, and pronounces that the words “in the earth or land” refer historically and only to the land of Canaan. Our question then is, Why did the apostle make the quotation? Does it merely record an ancient fact which no longer has any existence? or does that fact suggest lessons to present times? If the former alternative, that of Meyer and Baumgarten-Crusius, be adopted, then the language of the apostle loses its significance and applicability to Christian children. Meyer says that the apostle dropt the last clause of the commandment because he presumed that his readers were well acquainted with it-a presumption we can scarcely admit in reference to the Gentile portion of the church. Rather, as we have said, do we believe, with Calvin, Rückert, and Matthies, that the apostle omitted the last clause just to make the promise bear upon regions out of Palestine, and periods distant from those of the Hebrew commonwealth. Bengel, Rosenmüller, Morus, Flatt, Harless, and Baumgarten-Crusius regard the original promise as applicable not to individuals, but to the mass of the Jewish society. The meaning, says Morus, as applied to our times is simply, patriam florere diu, ubi liberorum sit erga parentes reverentia. This comment is certainly better, though it is in a similar strain: as if blessings were promised to the mass, in which the individual shares if he remain a part of it. But such views dilute the apostle's meaning, and proceed in their basis upon a misconception of the Hebrew statute. The command is addressed to individuals, and so is the promise. The language plainly implies it—“that thy days may be long.” Our Lord so understands it (Matthew 15:4-6), and thus in the sermon on the mount He expounds the other statutes. Is it so, then, that long life is promised to obedient children? The special providence of the theocracy could easily secure it in ancient times; nay, disobedient children were by law punished with death. Nor is the hand of the Lord slackened in these days. Under Ephesians 1:3 the reader will find a reference to the place which temporal blessings occupy under the Christian economy. Godliness has “the promise of the life which now is.” Matthew 6:25, etc.; Mark 10:29, etc. Obedient children sometimes die, as ripe fruit falls first. But the promise of longevity is held out-it is a principle of the Divine administration and the usual course of providence. Not that we can say with Grotius, that man therefore has it somewhat in his power to prolong his days; or with Stier, that the life would be long, quoad sufficientiam-for obtaining salvation; or as in the maxim, sat vixit diu, quem nec pudet vixisse, nec piget mori. We understand the command, as modified by its Christian and extra-Palestinian aspect, to involve a great principle, and that is, that filial obedience, under God's blessing, prolongs life, for it implies the possession of principles of restraint, sobriety, and industry, which secure a lengthened existence. It is said in Proverbs 10:27, “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened;” and in Psalms 9:11, “By me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased;” and again in Psalms 55:23, “Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” Not that God shortens their days by an express and formal judgment from heaven, or that all of them without exception drop into a premature grave; but the principle of the Divine government does secure that sin is its own penalty, and that vicious or criminal courses either ruin the constitution, or expose their victim to the punishment of civil law, as in the case of men whose existence is early and suddenly broken off by intemperance, imprisonment, or exile, by the scourge or the gallows. The Greeks had apothegms similar to this of the apostle. Obedient children are guided and guarded by their very veneration for their parents, and prevented from these fatal excesses; whereas the “children of disobedience” are of necessity exposed to all the juvenile temptations which lead to vice and crime. God does not bribe the child to obedience, but holds out this special and blessed result to “tender und erstandings” as a motive which they can appreciate and enjoy. OEcumenius says- τί γὰρ ἡδύτερον παισὶ τῆς μακροχρονίας?


Verse 4

(Ephesians 6:4.) καὶ οἱ πατέρες, μὴ παροργίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν—“And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” The καί connects closely this injunction, as one parallel or complementary to the one preceding it. The address of the apostle is to fathers, not to parents, as Flatt, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Robinson, Wahl, and Bretschneider erroneously hold it. πατέρες can scarcely be supposed to change its signification from that which it bears in the 2nd verse, and why should the apostle not have employed γονεῖς, as in the 1st verse? Fathers are here singled out, not, as Rückert wrongly holds, because mothers were in no high position in the East. Proverbs 31:10, etc. Nor is the reference to “fathers” because the father as husband is head of the wife, and this idea of Meyer, Harless, and Stier is too vague, for the advice seems scarcely appropriate to mothers, who so usually err through fondness, if the apostle spoke to them through their husbands. Nor is there any ground for Olshausen's hypothesis, that Paul refers to the education of adolescent children, which, from the nature of the case, belongs to fathers more than mothers. But the training of children is the father's special function; for the duty is devolved upon him to select and put into operation the best means and methods for the culture of his offspring. And especially does the prohibition of this first clause apply to fathers. As Chrysostom remarks, He does not say-love them- τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ ἀκόντων αὐτῶν ἡ φύσις ἐπισπᾶται. Chastisement is within their province, and they are apt to administer castigation in a passion, as if to gratify their ill-humour. The caution does not apply so much to mothers, for they are apt, on the other hand, to spoil the child by indulgence.

The verb παροργίζω signifies to irritate-to throw into a passion. See under Ephesians 4:26. In Colossians 3:21 the apostle uses ἐρεθίζετε—“do not rouse or provoke.” The paternal reign is not to be one of terror and stern authority, but of love. The rod may be employed, but in reason and moderation, and never from momentary impulse and anger. Children are not to be moved to “wrath” by harsh and unreasonable treatment, or by undue partiality and favouritism. If they be uniformly confronted with paternal frown and menace, then their spirit is broken, and the most powerful motive to obedience-the desire to please-is taken from them. No-

ἀλλὰ ἐκτρέφετε αὐτὰ ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ κυρίου—“but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord” - in disciplina et correptione. Vulgate. The verb refers here to spiritual culture, and not as in Ephesians 5:29 to physical support. παιδεία may not signify discipline in itself, but rather the entire circuit of education and upbringing which a παῖς requires, and of which discipline is the necessary and prominent element. The sense of chastisement was taken from the Hebrew מוּסָר, H4592, which it represents in the Septuagint. Leviticus 26:18 ; Psalms 6:1; Isaiah 53:5; 2 Timothy 3:16. Augustine renders it per molestias eruditio. Ast, Lex. Plat., sub voce. Chastisement is thus quite consistent with obedience to the previous injunction. Children are not to be provoked, but yet are to be corrected. νουθεσία ( νουθέτησις being the earlier form-Phryn. ed. Lobeck, p. 512), as several expositors have remarked, is one special element or aspect of the παιδεία. It denotes, as the composition of the word indicates, “putting in mind, admonition, or formal instruction.” Job 4:3; Romans 15:14; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:15; Plutarch, De Cohib. Irâ, 2; Xenophon, Mem. 1.2, 21. Jerome says-admonitionem magis et eruditionem quam austeritatem sonat. Trench, Synon. § 32. Koppe, as usual, makes the two words synonymous. The philological commentators, such as Kypke, adduce some peculiar phraseology from the classical writers, but not with great pertinence, such as from Plutarch- οἱ ῥάβδοι νουθετοῦσι, and from Josephus- μάστιξιν νουθετεῖν. Stier adopts the opinion of Luther, who renders-mit Werk und Wort, a translation which has been followed by Grotius, who takes the first term as poena, and the second as verba. We have in Proverbs 29:15 - וַתוֹכַחַת £ שׁבֶט¢ - ֵ“the rod and reproof.” The genitive κυρίου belongs to both substantives, and refers not to God, but to Christ. See under Ephesians 1:2. It cannot signify “worthy of the Lord,” as Matthies wrongly understands it; nor can it bear the meaning which Luther and Passavant give it—“to the Lord.” Neither can we accede to the view of Erasmus, Beza, Estius, Menochius, Semler, Morus, and others, who render “according to the Lord,” or in harmony with Christianity-an idea, however, which is implied. Michaelis, Scholz, a-Lapide, Grotius, and Peile give the sense “about Christ” - instruction about Christ, making the genitive that of object. Olshausen, Harless, Stier, and Meyer rightly take it as the genitive of possession—“that nurture and admonition which the Lord prescribes,” or which belongs to Him and is administered by Him. Chrysostom refers especially to the Scriptures as one source of this instruction. Such training leads to early piety, and such is ever welcome to Christ and His church. For the sun shining on a shrub, in its green youth, is a more gladsome spectacle than the evening beam falling dimly on the ivy and ruins of an old and solitary tower. Harless, Christliche Ethik, § 53, 1860, 5th ed.

The apostle next turns to a numerous and interesting class of the community-the slaves- δοῦλος, which is distinct from μίσθιος or μισθωτός, and is opposed in Ephesians 6:8 to the ἐλεύθερος. Slavery existed in all the cities of Ionia and Asia Minor, and in many of them slaves were greatly more numerous than freemen. In fact, the larger proportion of artisans and manufacturers, and in general of the industrial classes, were in bondage. There is little doubt that very many of these bondmen embraced the gospel, and became members of the early churches. Indeed, Celsus said, and no doubt with truth, that those who were active proselytizers to Christianity were- ἐριουργοὺς καὶ σκυτοτόμους καὶ κναφεῖς-weavers, cobblers, fullers, illiterate and rustic men. Origen, Contra Celsum, lib. iii. p. 144, ed. Spencer, Cantab. 1677. But Christianity did not rudely assault the forms of social life, or seek to force even a justifiable revolution by external appliances. Such an enterprise would have quenched the infant religion in blood. The gospel achieved a nobler feat. It did not stand by in disdain, and refuse to speak to the slave till he gained his freedom, and the shackles fell from his arms, and he stood erect in his native independence. No; but it went down into his degradation, took him by the hand, uttered words of kindness in his ear, and gave him a liberty which fetters could not abridge and tyranny could not suppress. Aristotle had already described him as being simply ἔμψυχον ὄργανον-a tool with a soul in it; and the Roman law had sternly told him he ha d no rights, quia nullum caput habet-because he was not a person. He may have been placed on the πρατὴρ λίθος—“the auction block,” and sold like a chattel to the highest bidder; the brand- στίγμα, of his owner might be burned into his forehead, and he might bear the indelible scars of judicial torture-that βάσανος without which a slave's evidence was never received; but the gospel introduced him into the sympathies of a new brotherhood, elevated him to the consciousness of an immortal nature, and to the hope of eternal liberty and glory. Formerly he was taught to look for final liberation only in that world which never gave back a fugitive, and he might anticipate a melancholy release only in the grave, for “there the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest; there the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor; the small and great are there, and the servant is free from his master.” Now, not only was he to look beyond the sepulchre to a region of pure and noble enjoyments; but as he could even in his present servitude realize the dignity of a spiritual freeman in Christ, the friction of his chain was unfelt, and he possessed within him springs of exalted cheerfulness and contentment. Yes, as George Herbert sings-

“Man is God's image, but a poor man is

Christ's stamp to boot.”

At the same time, Christianity lays down great principles by the operation of which slavery would be effectually abolished, and in fact, even in the Roman empire, it was suppressed in the course of three centuries. Other references of the apostle to slavery occur in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24; 1 Timothy 6:1; Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:9; the Apostle Peter also refers to it in 1st Ephesians 2:18.


Verse 5

(Ephesians 6:5.) οἱ δοῦλοι, ὑπακούετε τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα—“Slaves, be obedient to your masters according to the flesh.” The phrase κατὰ σάρκα, though the article be not repeated, qualifies κυρίοις, and so some MSS., such as A, B, read τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις, imitating Colossians 3:22. Koppe, Olshausen, and Meyer suppose in the phrase a tacit contrast to a- κύριος κατὰ πνεῦμα. Still there is no need for such a supposition, for the contrast belongs, not to such a supposed formula, but pervades the entire paragraph—“the Master,” or “the Lord,” “the Master in heaven.” Various meanings have been attached to the phrase, many of which are inferences rather than explanations. The formula κατὰ σάρκα plainly denotes a corporeal or external relationship. 1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 5:16, etc. Their master's sway was only over the body and its activities, and the relation was one which was bounded by bodily limits in its sphere and exactions. So that, such being its nature, the inferential exegesis of Chrysostom is plain, that the tyranny endured by the slave was only δεσποτεία πρόσκαιρος καὶ βραχεῖα—“a temporary and brief despotism.” The exegesis of Harless is a mere deduction in the form of a truism, “that in the predicate lies this idea, though in one jurisdiction they were free, still they had masters in their earthly relations.” Not less an inference is the thought of Calvin, “mitigat quod potuisset esse nimis asperum in statu servili.” If the relation of master and slave be only κατὰ σάρκα, then it is also a just deduction on the part of Grotius, Rückert, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, Kistmacher, and others, that such a relation has reference only to external or earthly matters, and leaves spiritual freedom intact. Even Seneca could say-Ser vitus non in totum hominem descendit; excipitur animus. Now, if the slave followed the apostle's advice, he acquired happiness, and commended the new religion; while sullenness and refractory insolence, on pretence of spiritual freedom, would have led to misery, and brought an eclipse on Christianity.

The apostle, in the following clauses, hits upon those peculiar vices which slavery induces, and which are almost inseparable from it. The slave is tempted to indolence and carelessness. When a man feels himself doomed, degraded, and little else than a chattel, driven to work, and liable at any moment to be sent to the market-place and sold as an ox or a horse, what spring of exertion or motive to obedience can really exist within him? The benevolent shrewdness of Seneca (Ep. 47) had led him to say-Arrogantiae proverbium est, totidem esse hostes quot servos. Non habemus illos hostes, sed facimus. The apostle urges this obedience to be-

μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου—“with fear and trembling.” The words do not mean with abject terror, but with that respect and reverence which their position warranted. The strong language shows, according to some, that this “fear and trembling” are not before “fleischli lordes,” but before the one Divine Lord. The words occur 1 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 7:15, Philippians 2:12, and in two of these places they seem to describe sensations produced by mere human relationships. The preposition μετά indicates that such emotions were to be the regular accompaniments of obedience:-

ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν—“in singleness of your heart.” While μετά in the first clause refers to the accompaniment of obedience, ἐν here, as usual, characterizes the internal element. “Singleness of heart” is plainly opposed to duplicity; ἁπλοῦς, quasi plicis carens. Tittmann, De Syn. p. 28; Beck, Seelenl. p. 166; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:11; James 1:5. The slave is ever tempted to appear to labour while yet he is loitering, to put on the seeming of obedience and obey with a double heart. The counsel of the apostle therefore is, that he should obey in singleness of aim, giving undivided effort and attention to the task in hand, for it was to be done-

ὡς τῷ χριστῷ—“as to Christ;” the dative governed by the verb ὑπακούετε. Obedience with all these characteristics was to be yielded to earthly masters as to Christ. As common and secular inducements can have but small influence on the mind of a slave, so the apostle brings a religious motive to bear upon him. See under Ephesians 5:22.


Verse 6

(Ephesians 6:6.) ΄ὴ κατ᾿ ὀφθαλμοδουλείαν, ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι—“Not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers;” κατά, Winer, § 49, d. The duty is explained, first negatively, and then positively. The two nouns have their meaning indicated sufficiently by their composition. The first of them, which occurs only elsewhere in Colossians 3:22, is an expressive term of the apostle's own coinage. In an allusion to this place the adjective occurs, μὴ ὡς ὀφθαλμόδουλος ἀλλ᾿ ὡς φιλοδέσποτος. Apostol. Const. 4.12, p. 98, ed. Ultzen, 1853. The second noun belongs to the later Greek. Psalms 53:5; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 621. Eye-service is labour when the master is present, but relaxation and sloth so soon as he is gone, labour only- τῷ σχήματι. Theophylact. Need we add that this is a vice which slavery everywhere creates and exhibits? Hence the necessity for drivers and overseers, whips and collars, treadmills and dungeons. The slave has usually no higher aim than to please him who has in his hands the power of punishment and sale; and whether in deception, or in an ingenious show of obedience, or a cunning feint of attention, this one motive prevails-to prevent his master taking offence at him. But the apostle presents another and deeper inducement, which should lead to punctual and honest industry carried on to please the Lord in heaven. For the slaves were to work not as man's-

ἀλλ᾿ ὡς δοῦλοι χριστοῦ—“but as the slaves of Christ”-His by peculiar purchase and special proprietorship. The article in the Received Text before χριστοῦ is struck out on the authority of A, B, D1, F, G, etc.

ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκ ψυχῆς—“doing the will of God from the soul.” Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; Colossians 3:23. This clause, according to some, is not to be joined with the one before it—“as the servants of Christ,” but with the first clause of the verse—“not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, . . . doing the will of God.” There is no reason to adopt such a view. Though they were slaves to a human master, they were to live and labour in the character of Christ's servants, the characteristic of whose industry is, that they do God's will from the heart. That sphere in which they had been placed was of God's allotment; and when they discharged its duties, they were to labour not to please men, as if simply doing man's bidding, but to please God, and under the idea that they were doing His will. Such an impression must create motives which no secular premiums or penalties could ever have originated.

But the connection of ἐκ ψυχῆς has been disputed. Numerous and eminent authorities join the words to the next verse. So the Syriac reads—“and serve them with all your soul.” Chrysostom adopts this disposition of the clauses, with OEcumenius and Jerome, followed by Bengel, Koppe, Harless, de Wette, Stier, and Alford, as well as by the editors Knapp and Lachmann. But we see no reason for following such a connection, as the keeping of the words in union with the preceding clause yields a good and appropriate sense. Colossians 3:23. The phrase ἐκ ψυχῆς signifies “heartily,” and stands in contrast with “eye-service.” Delitzsch, Psych. p. 160. The slave is to do the will of God from the soul-not reluctantly, and as if from mere conviction that it should be done. This cordiality is an essential element of Christian service. The limbs of the slave move with a reluctant tardiness and heartlessness; and such forced or feigned obedience is one of those inevitable results of slavery, against which the apostle is cautioning this class of his readers. But if the words ἐκ ψυχῆς be joined to the next verse, its first clause will then have the aspect of tautology, ἐκ ψυχῆς, μετ᾿ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες. Had there been a καί connecting the two nouns, this exegesis might have had some probability. Harless distinguishes the two nouns thus, that ἐκ ψυχῆς points out the relation of the servant to his work, and μετ᾿ εὐνοίας characterizes the relation of the servant to his master. See Passow, Liddell and Scott, and Pape, sub vocibus; Xenophon, OEconom. p. 673; Cyrop. iii. p. 54; Elsner, ii. p. 228. But though such a distinction be just, it is no argument for connecting the two terms in one clause. It rather affords to us the best reason for separating them, because the clause to which we attach ἐκ ψυχῆς speaks of work to be done, and that cordially; while the next clause, to which μετ᾿ εὐνοίας belongs, turns attention to the master for whom this labour is to be performed. That master being Christ, goodwill to Him must characterize the performance of it.


Verse 7

(Ephesians 6:7.) ΄ετ᾿ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες—“Serving with a well-affected mind,” that is, not only cordially, but higher yet-remembering that He whom you really serve is not a tyrant, but a generous master; for your service is done to Christ. It is no goodwill which the slave often bears to his master, his common feeling being the torment of his master's presence and the terror of his lash. Serving-

ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις—“as to the Lord, and not to men;” the phrase being in contrast with “men-pleasers.” The particle ὡς, not found in the Received Text, is now rightfully inserted, on the authority of A, B, D1, F, G, and many other concurrent authorities. The spirit of their service was to be Christian. They were to remember Christ the Master, and in serving others were to serve Him-the Master not according to the flesh. In external aspect the service was to men, but in motive and spirit it was to the Lord. It is evident that if the slaves cherished such religious feelings, the hardships of their condition would be greatly lightened. Menander has also said- ἐλευθέρως δούλευε, δοῦλος οὐκ ἔσῃ—“serve freely, and you are no longer a slave.” The spirit of this paragraph, as Olshausen remarks, detractis detrahendis, should regulate all service. “Whatever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of Christ.” Or, as Luther says in a quotation by Stier, “when a servant-maid sweeps out a room, she can do a work in God.”


Verse 8

(Ephesians 6:8.) εἰδότες ὅτι ὃ ἐάν τι ἕκαστος ποιήσῃ ἀγαθὸν, τοῦτο κομίσεται παρὰ κυρίου, εἴτε δοῦλος, εἴτε ἐλεύθερος—“Knowing,” or “as ye know that whatsoever good each one shall have done, this shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Lachmann, supported by A, D, E, F, G, etc., reads ὅτι ἕκαστος ὃ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ, but Tischendorf reads as we have printed it. There are also many other variations which need not be noted, as they have sprung from emendation. The and τι are separated by a tmesis, and ἐάν stands after the relative for ἄν. Winer, § 42, 6, Obs.Instead of κομίσεται, which is supported by A, B, D1, F, G, the Stephanic text has κομιεῖται, on what appears to be the minor authority of D4, E, K, L, and the texts of Basil and Chrysostom. The Received Text has the article τοῦ before κυρίου, but without sufficient evidence. τοῦτο, “this,” and not something else, the verb being in the middle, and really meaning “shall receive back for himself.” Colossians 3:24-25. The object of the apostle is, to encourage the slaves to the cultivation of those virtues which he has described. If they obeyed him, and became diligent and industrious, and served their masters with conscientious fidelity and goodwill, then, though their master might fail either to note or reward their conduct, they were not to be disheartened. For the one Master on high is also the Judge, and He will not fail to confer on them a recompense, not of merit indeed, but of grace. The hope of a future world, in which there would be a gracious recognition of their character and actions, would preserve them from impatience and discontent amidst insults and ingratitude on the part of thankless and “frowar d” masters. The Christian doctrine of rewards is too often lost sight of or kept in abeyance, as if it were not perfectly consistent with the freest bestowment of heavenly glory.


Verse 9

(Ephesians 6:9.) καὶ, οἱ κύριοι, τὰ αὐτὰ ποιεῖτε πρὸς αὐτούς—“And, ye masters, do the same things towards them.” καί indicates an immediate connection, for the duties were reciprocal. The master needed instruction as well as his slave, for irresponsible power is above all things apt to be abused. Plato has well said, that treatment of slaves is a test of character, because a man may so easily wrong them with impunity. The apostle had stooped to the slave, and he was not afraid to speak with erect attitude to the master. The masters are summoned to do the same things- τὰ αὐτά-to the slaves, as their slaves are enjoined to do to their masters. The language is general, and expresses what Calvin well calls jus analogum. They were to act toward their servants in a general spirit of reciprocal kindness, or as the apostle says in Colossians 4:1, they were to give them “that which is just and right.” The duty taught to the slave was earnest, conscientious, and religious service; the corresponding duty taught to the master was earnest, conscientious, and religious government. All the elements of service were to be also those of proprietorship. Such appears to us to be the general sense of the language, and such is the general view of Zanchius, Crocius, and Matthies; while Theodoret, Bengel, Harless, Meier, Olshausen, Rückert, Stier, and Meyer dwell, perhaps, too much on the mere εὔνοια already recommended. Many other commentators confine and enfeeble the meaning, by specifying too minutely the reference of τὰ αὐτά. The Greek commentators refer the words at once to δουλεύοντες in Ephesians 6:7, as if the apostle meant to say—“your slaves serve you, you are also to serve them.” Chrysostom shrinks, however, from this full form of putting his meaning. “The apostle,” he adds, “does not actually say it, but he means it”- ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ εἶπε, δουλεύετε, καίτοι γε εἰπὼν τὰ αὐτὰ τοῦτο ἐδήλωσε. Flatt restricts the reference to doing the will of God, that is, “so demean yourselves towards your slaves, that ye accomplish in reference to them the will of God.” De Wette refers to the clause τὸ ἀγαθὸν ποιεῖν in Ephesians 6:8, as if there were a paraphrastic allusion to the τὴν ἰσότητα.

ἀνιέντες τὴν ἀπειλήν—“forbearing threatening.” Chrysostom, Calvin, Harless, and Baumgarten take these words too vaguely, as if, sub una specie, they generally forbade contumelious treatment. The reference is more pointed. Bloomfield, preceded by the Syriac, on the other hand, presses too hard upon the clause when he understands it as signifying “remitting the threatened punishment,” and he bases his opinions upon two passages from Xenophon and Plutarch which call a menaced penalty, or the thing threatened, a threatening. The former of these two interpretations is forbidden by the use of the article. But, alas! threatening has always been the special characteristic and weapon of slave-owners. ᾿απειλή is a feature of mastership so well known, that the apostle defines it as ἡ ἀπειλή-that system of threatening which was a prevalent and familiar feature of slavery. Now, however, not only was no unjust and cruel punishment to be inflicted, but even “threatening” was to be spared. The apostle hits upon a vice which specially marks the slave-holder; his prime instrument of instigation to labour is menace. The slave is too often driven on to his toil by truculent looks, and words and acts of threatening; and, by the sight of the scourge and the imitated application of it, he is ever reminded of what awaits him if his task be not accomplished. Masters were not merely to modify this procedure, but they were at once to give it up. The Lex Petronia had already forbidden a master on his own responsibility to throw a slave to the wild beasts, but no statute ever forbade “threatening.” Homines tamen esse memento—“remember your slaves are men,” says Cato; but Lactantius goes further, and adds what Cato's pen would have shrunk from-eos et habemus et dicimus spiritu fratres religione conservos. And this is the motive-

εἰδότες ὅτι καὶ αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν ὁ κύριός ἐστιν ἐν οὐρανοῖς—“knowing, as ye know, that both their and your Master is in heaven.” This reading has A, B, D1, many minuscules, with the Vulgate, Gothic, Coptic, Clement, and Jerome in its favour, while F and G read αὐτῶν ὑμῶν, and L has ὑμῶν καὶ αὐτῶν. The readings have arisen from homoioteleuton and other causes. The Master in heaven is your Judge and theirs equally, and you and they are alike responsible to Him. Such an idea and prospect lodged in the mind of a Christian master would have a tendency to curb all capricious and harsh usage, and lead him to feel that really and spiritually he and his serfs were on a level, and that all this difference of social rank belonged but to an external and temporary institution. Could he either threaten or scourge a Christian brother with whom but the day before, and at the Lord's table, he had eaten of the one bread and drunk of the one sacramental cup?

καὶ προσωπολημψία οὐκ ἔστι παῤ αὐτῷ—“and there is no respect of persons with Him;” “and the takynge of persouns is not anentis God.” Wyckliffe. This compound substantive is imitated from the Hebrew idiom- נָסָאפַנִים . In the New Testament the word is always used with a bad sense. Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14; James 2:1, etc. The Divine Master who bought them with His blood has no partialities. Strictest equity characterizes His judgment. Difference of worldly station has no influence with Him, but bond and free have a perfect parity before Him. The gold ring of the master does not attract His eye, and it is not averted from the iron fetter of the slave. Slaves may be denied justice in earthly courts; the law may, a priori, injure the bondman by acting upon the presumption that he is in the wrong, and his evidence may be legally refused as unworthy of credit: but there is a tribunal above, where the servant shall have equal position with his lord, and where the sentence pronounced shall be devoid of all that one-sidedness which has too often disgraced the judicial bench in matters between a master and his slaves.


Verse 10

(Ephesians 6:10.) τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί μου—“In conclusion, my brethren”-a reading of far higher authority than τοῦ λοιποῦ, adopted by Lachmann after A and B, and meaning—“henceforward.” Madvig, § 66. It is as if he said, What remains for me to tell you but this? The address, ἀδελφοί μου, of the Received Text is omitted by Tischendorf and Lachmann-an omission which the majority of modern expositors approve. The words are not found in B, D, E, and several of the patristic writers. They seem to have been introduced from other passages where they occur in connection with τὸ λοιπόν. 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Olshausen says, that the apostle never in this epistle addresses his reader by such an appellation as ἀδελφοί, though as an epithet it occurs in the 23rd verse of this chapter.

The apostle now represents the church as engaged in an active warfare with the powers and principles of evil. Olshausen suggests that his residence in the Praetorium at Rome, where the equipment and discipline of soldiers were a daily spectacle, may have originated the allegory. Similar allusions are found in Isaiah 11:5; Isaiah 59:17; Psalms 18, 144; 2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:8. The primary charge to the spiritual militia is-

ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ—“be strengthened in the Lord and in the power of His might.” The verb is passive, not middle, as some suppose. It is a word peculiar to the Alexandrian Greek, and occurs in the Septuagint, Psalms 52:7, and in Acts 9:22; Romans 4:20; 2 Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 11:34. “In the Lord,” or in union with Him, is this strengthening to be enjoyed. The nouns of the last clause have been explained under Ephesians 1:19. Comp. Philippians 2:13; Philippians 4:13. The second clause- καί-further points out or explains the special blessings which result to the Christian warrior from his union with Jesus-he is strengthened in “the power of His might.” This command is one of primary necessity. No matter what armour is provided, how finely tempered, how highly polished, or how closely fitted it may be, if there be no strength in the heart-if the man have merely the dress of a soldier, with the spirit of a poltroon. And the valour is spiritual, as is the armour; for physical courage and intellectual prowess are often, alas! allied to spiritual cowardice. Moreover, soldiers have an invincible courage when they have confidence in the skill and bravery of their leader; and the power of His might, in which they are strong, has proved its vigour in routing the same foes which they are summoned to encounter. As the Captain of salvation, “He spoiled principalities and powers, and triumphed over them.” The order to the spiritual host is now given, as if with the stirring peal of a trumpet-


Verse 11

(Ephesians 6:11.) ᾿ενδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ—“Put on the panoply of God.” Stier regards the rest of this clause and that of the preceding verse as identical in inner meaning. The sense cannot indeed be very different, though the image before us is distinct-first, strength or courage, and then preparation in that strength to meet the enemy. πανοπλία is complete armour, as the name implies. Luke 11:22. It is also found in the Septuagint (2 Samuel 2:21; Job 39:20), and in 2 Maccabees 3:25; Judith 14:3. It denotes full armour, and not simply, as some erroneously suppose, “the equipment” of God. The specification of the pieces of armour proves that Paul meant panoply in its literal sense. In fact, as Meyer remarks, on this word lies the emphasis, and not on τοῦ θεοῦ, as Harless erroneously supposes. Did the emphasis lie on τοῦ θεοῦ, it might imply that other armour than this might be used in the combat. But the strength of the charge is-Do not enter into battle with such adversaries naked and defenceless, but take to you armour. Do not cover one portion and leave another exposed; do not assume the cuirass and neglect the helmet; but put on “the whole armour.” Do not resort to any arsenal of your own, for its armour is weak and useless; but put on the whole armour of God. “And furthermore, we must neuer leaue these armours as long as we be in thys worlde, for we shall alwayis haue batayle.” Taverner's Postils, p. 495; ed. Oxford, 1841. The genitive, θεοῦ, is that of origination: God provides the armour. Winer, § 30. It cannot mean, as Anselm dreams, such armour as God uses. Each of its pieces-its girdle, breastplate, boots, shield, helmet, and sword-is furnished by Him. It is armour forged on no earthly anvil, and tempered by no human skill. See Winer's Realwört.; Kitto's Cyclopedia; Smi th's Dictionary, sub voce.

πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου—“in order that ye may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil.” The reading μεθοδίας has good authority, A, B, D1, E, G, K, L. Winer, § 5, 4. The first πρός indicates purpose. Winer, § 49, h. But στῆναι πρός is, in military phrase, to stand in front of, with the view of opposing. Kypke (2.301) illustrates the phrase from Polybius, 4.61, and Antoninus, lib. vi. § 41. Loesner, Observat. p. 347. Xenophon makes this contrast- οὐκέτι ἵστανται, ἀλλὰ φεύγουσι. De Expeditione Cyri, 1.10, 1. The plural μεθοδείας seems to denote instances of the abstract singular-Ausdruck mannichfaltiger Arten und Fälle-of which usage Bernhardy gives examples, p. 62. ΄εθοδεία has been explained under Ephesians 4:14, and διάβολος has been considered under Ephesians 4:27. The great enemy of man, a veteran fierce and malignant, has a method of warfare peculiar to himself, for it consists of “wiles.” His battles are the rush of a sudden ambuscade. He fights not on a pitched field, but by sudden assault and secret and cunning onslaught. Vigilance, self-possession, and promptitude are therefore indispensable to meet him: and as his aim is to throw his opponents off their guard and then to surprise them, so there is need to be ever clothed in this complete armour of God. His “wiles” are seen in unsettling the mind of Eve by representing God as jealous of the first man and woman; in stirring up the warlike aspirations of David to take a military census and force a conscription as the basis of a standing army; in inflaming the avaricious and sordid spirit of Judas; and in his assaults on our Lord by an appeal to appetite, piety, and ambition.


Verse 12

(Ephesians 6:12.) ῞οτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα—“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” The reading ὑμῖν, commended by Griesbach, and adopted by Lachmann, Rückert, and Olshausen, has the authority of B, D1, F, G, but ἡμῖν is supported by the preponderant authority of A, D3, E, K, L, etc., with other concurrent witnesses. Olshausen's argument for ἡμῖν proves the reverse of his position, for the temptation was to alter ἡμῖν to ὑμῖν, since the rest of the paragraph is delivered in the second person. The idea of a necessary combat on the part of man with evil of all kinds around him, is so natural, that we find it under various representations in classical writers. Homer, Il. 20.47, and especially Plato, De Leg. 10.906. This latter passage is regarded by some of the Fathers as parallel to the one before us (Clemens Alex. Strom. 593; Eusebius, Evang. Praep. 11.26), and as an echo from some old oracle of the Jewish scriptures.

The apostle has just spoken of the wiles of the devil, and he justifies the statement now- ὅτι—“because.” The article is prefixed to πάλη, not simply because the contest is already supposed in the preceding verse, but because it is the one contest in which each must engage-a contest of life and death. The noun πάλη occurs only here, and is not used by the Seventy. It signifies a personal encounter, and is rendered colluctatio in the Vulgate. The phrase “flesh and blood” denotes humanity, viewed in its palpable characteristics, and as opposed to such spiritual and uncompounded natures as the apostle describes in the following clauses. The terms do not point out humanity in its sinful or fallen state, but only in its ordinary and organized form. Matthew 16:17; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16. The conflict which the apostle describes is no equal one with humanity, no wrestling on equal terms of potsherd with potsherd; and man being placed at this terrible disadvantage, there is therefore all the more need of the panoply of God. The common notion, adopted also by Stier, Passavant, and Burton, that the apostle means to say that we wrestle not only with the evil of human corruption, but against superhuman adversaries, cannot be sustained. Yet Bloomfield and Trollope without hesitation supply μόνον. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood-

ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας—“but against principalities, against powers.” The combat is with spirits, and those of high rank and position. It has been remarked by Meyer and de Wette, that οὐκ . . . ἀλλά does not mean non tam, non tantum, for the apostle excludes flesh and blood from the lists altogether: the combat is only with principalities and with powers. Winer, § 55, 8; Klotz-Devarius, vol. Ephesians 2:9. The two substantives are explained under Ephesians 1:21. The terms there employed to denote the good are here used to denote the evil chiefs. The apostle therefore refers to fallen spirits, who once occupied positions of rank and prerogative in heaven, and may still retain a similar place among the hosts of apostate angels. It is no vulgar herd of fiends we encounter, but such of them as are darkly eminent in place and dignity. For we fight-

πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου—“against the world-rulers of this darkness.” The Received Text interposes τοῦ αἰῶνος before τούτου, but without valid proof. The words are wanting in A, B, D1, F, G, and in many versions and Fathers, though they are found in D3, E, K, L. It is wrong on the part of Harless to sink the meaning of κόσμος by explaining the compound term as meaning only rulers. When applied to earthly sovereigns, it is always to those of most extensive sway, who were supposed to have the world under control-munditenentes. Tertullian. The strong term denotes world-lords, and is so far equivalent to ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου in John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; and ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου in 2 Corinthians 4:4. The rabbins have also adopted the word- קוֹזַמוֹקרָטוּר . See also 1 John 5:19. What influence is ascribed in these texts to Satan, is here ascribed to others of his unholy associates or subjects. These evil spirits, who are our wary and vengeful antagonists, have acquired a special dominion on earth, out of which they are loath to be dislodged. “This darkness” is that spiritual obscurity which so painfully environs the church-that zone which surrounds an unbelieving world with an ominous and lowering shadow. The moral obscurity of paganism and impiety is fitly presided over by beings congenial in gloom and guilt. See Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 5:8; Acts 26:10. The darkness, as Chrysostom says, is not that of the night, but τῆς πονηρίας. It is plain that fallen spirits have a vast and mysterious agency in the world, and that in many ways inscrutable to man they lord it over ungodliness-shaping, deepening, or prolonging the means and methods of spiritual subjugation. Not, says Theophylact, as if they were lords of the creature, but only of the world of sin-of such as voluntarily submit to them- αὐθαιρέτως ὑποδουλωθέντων; not, says Theodoret, as if God gave them such government- οὐχ ὡς παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν ἀρχὴν δεξαμένοις. This dark spirit-world is anxious to possess and maintain supremacy, and therefore Christians must wage incessant warfare with it. The term κοσμοκράτωρ is used by Irenaeus as synonymous with the devil- διάβολον, ὃν καὶ κοσμ. καλοῦσι. Contra Haereses, lib. i. cap. v. p. 64; ed. Stieren, Lipsiae, 1848-52. The same idea pervaded the demonology of the later Judaism, as Schoettgen (Horae Hebr. p. 790), Buxtorf (Lexicon Talmud. p. 2006), and Wetstein (in loc.) abundantly prove. Elsner has also produced similar language and epithets from the “Testament of Solomon” and Jamblichus “on the Egyptian Mysteries.” Observat. p. 229. Not that the apostle fancifully adopted either their nomenclature or their notions, but these citations prove that the inspired language was well understood and recognized in the Eastern world.

πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις—“against the spirits” or “spiritual bands of evil, in heavenly places.” Our English version, preceded by Erasmus, Zegerus, and a-Lapide, renders “spiritual wickednesses”-spirituales nequitiae. Adopting such a meaning of the adjective, the sense, as Meyer suggests, would be, the spiritual elements or aspects of evil. But the following genitive shows that the preceding adjective has the form of a substantive, and here of a collective noun. Winer compares πνευματικά with δαιμόνια, which is really an adjective (§ 34, note 3). So we have τὸ ἱππικόν-the cavalry. Revelation 9:16. Other critics compare τὰ δαιμόνια to the τὰ λῃστρικά-band of robbers, Polyaenus, Strat. 5.14; τὸ πολιτικόν, Herodot. 7.103; τὰ ναυτικά, etc. Kühner, § 474, δ, § 479, b; Bernhardy, p. 326; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 378. The genitive will then be that of character or quality-the spiritual cohorts of evil. Scheuerlein, p. 115. Their nature is evil, their commission is evil, their work is evil. Evil and evil only are they, alike in essence and operation. This interpretation has the concurrence of Harless, Meyer, Olshausen, Meier, Matthies, Stier, Ellicott, and the Greek fathers OEcumenius and Theophylact.

The fivefold repetition of πρός adds intensity to the sentiment, which displays the emphatic vehemence of martial excitement. Not only is πρός repeated, but the usual καί is omitted. The verse is thus a species of asyndeton, in which each clause, as it is dwelt upon and individualized, stands out as a vivid, independent thought. Winer, § 50, 7. To rouse up the Christian soldiery, the apostle brings out into bold relief the terrible foes which they are summoned to encounter. As to their position, they are no subalterns, but foes of mighty rank, the nobility and chieftains of the fallen spirit-world; as to their office, their domain is “this darkness” in which they exercise imperial sway; as to their essence, they are not encumbered with an animal frame, but are “spirits;” and as to their character, they are “evil”-their appetite for evil only exceeds their capacity for producing it.

ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις—“in the heavenly places.” See under Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 3:10. It needs scarcely be remarked-1. That the exegesis which makes τὰ ἐπουράνια signify heavenly things cannot be borne out, but is wholly against the idiom of the epistle. See under Ephesians 1:3. Yet this false meaning is adhered to in this place by Chrysostom, Theodoret, and OEcumenius, by Cajetan, Heinsius, Glassius, Rosenmüller, and Tyndale, who renders—“against spretuall wickednes for hevenly thinges,” giving ἐν an unsustainable signification. 2. We need not stay to refute the notion of those who, like Schoettgen, Wilke, Crellius, Van Til, Brennius, and the editors of the “Improved Version,” think the apostle means, in whole or in part, in this verse to describe bad men of station and influence, like the Jewish rabbinical doctors, or provincial Gentile governors. The meaning of the phrase depends on the connection assigned it:-1. The phrase may describe the scene of combat. To sustain this interpretation, there is no necessity either, with Augustine, to join the words to ἡμῖν, or to connect them with πάλη, as is done by Rückert, Matthies, and Baumgarten-Crusius, for perhaps they are too remote in position. Or, 2, τὰ ἐπουράνια may mean the seat of these evil spirits. This view is maintained by no less names than Jerome, who adds-haec autem omnium doctorum opinio est; by Ambrosiaster, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, Hammond, Meier, Holzhausen, Meyer, Olshausen, Harless, de Wette, Ellicott, and Alford. See Photius, Quaest. Amphiloch. p. 94; Petavius, Dogmata Theol. lib. iii. c. iv. But Jerome says-non quo daemones in coelestibus commorentur, sed quo supra nos aër hoc nomen acceperit. But the “heavenly places” have been referred to by the apostle as the scenes of divine ble ssing, of Christ's exaltation, of His people's elevation, and as the region of unfallen and pure intelligences, and how can they be here the seat or abode of impure fiends? The first opinion does not, as Alford hints, stultify itself; for the scene of warfare may be different from the scene of proper residence. His view is, in effect at least, coincident with ours-the place of abode becomes the place of combat. Nor is there any proof that τὰ ἐπουράνια means heaven, in the sense of the air or atmosphere. None of the other clauses in which the phrase occurs can bear such a signification, and yet such is the sense put upon the words by the majority of those whom we have quoted. Allioli renders-in der Luft. Consult what is said under Ephesians 2:2, as to the meaning of ἀήρ. τὰ ἐπουράνια are the celestial spots occupied by the church (Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 2:6); and in them this combat is to be maintained. Those evil spirits have invaded the church, are attempting to pollute, divide, secularize, and overthrow it; are continually tempting its members to sin and apostasy; are ever warring against goodness and obstructing its progress; and therefore believers must encounter them and fight them “in the heavenly places.” Such appears to us to be the plain allusion of the apostle, and the exegesis is not beset either with grammatical or theological difficulty. Still the subject is one of mystery, and we dare not definitely pronounce on the express meaning of the terms employed.

Our translators felt a dilemma here, and shrank from the same right rendering which they had given in the other verses where the phrase occurred. Under the same perplexity, some have proposed to read ὑπουρανίοις, for which unwarranted emendation Erasmus and Beza had a kindly preference; and the version of Luther is-unter dem Himmel. The Syriac also renders דתחית שׁמיא - “under heaven.” The perplexity was felt to be so great, that no less a scholar than Daniel Heinsius actually proposes the desperate shift of transposing the words ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις to the beginning of the verse, and making out this sense—“in heavenly things our contest is not with flesh and blood.” Exercitat. Sac. p. 472. Neither of the renderings of Storr can be sustained-qui in coelo fuere, or qui coelestes origine sunt. Opuscula, i. p. 179; Observat. p. 174. The opinions of Locke and Doddridge are erroneous. The former renders—“the spiritual managers of the opposition to the kingdom of God;” and the latter—“spirits who became authors and abettors of wickedness even while they abode in heavenly places.” Hofmann generalizes, or as Meyer says, rationalizes the phrase in saying-that it refers not to place-that evil spirits are not confined to this or that locality of this earthly world-sondern dieselbe überwaltend, wie der Himmel die Erde umspannt. Schriftb. i. p. 455. Not much different from the view of Doddridge is that of Cocceius and Calovius, who join πονηρίας closely with the phrase - “spirits who do evil in the heavenlies.” The exegesis of Peile is as arbitrary as any of these—“wickedness exhibited in spiritual beings who kept not their first estate, their righteous principality in the centre of heaven.”


Verse 13

(Ephesians 6:13.) διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ—“Wherefore take up the panoply of God.” “Wherefore,” the foes being so formidable in power, operation, and nature, what need is there not to be fully protected with this complete and divine suit of mail? The charge is repeated from Ephesians 6:11, and the words employed are the usual military phraseology, as is shown by the illustrations of Elsner, Kypke, and Wetstein. Thus, Deuteronomy 1:41 - ἀναλαβόντες ἕκαστος τὰ σκεύη τὰ πολεμικὰ αὐτοῦ; Jeremiah 26:3; 2 Maccabees 10:21.

ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ—“that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.” The soldier is equipped for the purpose of defending himself and opposing the enemy. The Christian armour is not worn for idle parade, or as holiday attire. The enemy must be encountered. But what is meant by “the evil day”? Similar phraseology is found (Psalms 41:1; Psalms 49:5) in the Septuagint version. If we preserve the spirit of the imagery, we should at once be led to conclude that it was the day of battle, or, as Theodoret calls it- τῆς παρατάξεως. That is an evil day; for it may lead to wounds, though it does not destroy life. It is not specially and of necessity the day of death, as Schmid supposes, though it may be, and has often proved so. Nor is it every day of our life, as Chrysostom, OEcumenius, and Jerome understand it- τὸν παρόντα βίον-for there may be many a lull during a campaign, and there may be a long campaign ere a decisive battle be fought. Our view is that of most modern commentators, with the exception of Koppe and Meyer, who suppose Paul to refer to some future and terrible outbreak of Satan before the expected advent of Christ, which the apostle thought to be near at hand. Such is also the view of Usteri. Paulin. Lehrbeg. p. 341. But there can be no allusion to such a prospect in the verse before us. The evil day is that of resolute Satanic assault; “evil” - on account of the probability, or even possibility, of the sad consequences which failure or unpreparedness so often involves-damaged reputation, impaired usefulness, and the bitter regrets and memories of subsequent years. To how many has it been an evil day! Did not our Lord bid us pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”?

καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι—“and having done all to stand.” Two distinct interpretations have been given of the deponent middle participle κατεργασάμενοι:-1. Some give it this sense, “having subdued or overcome all,” as in the margin of our English Bibles. This is the exegesis of OEcumenius and Theophylact, the former of whom expressly says that κατεργασάμενοι is used for καταπολεμήσαντες. The view of these Greek critics is followed not only by Beza, Grotius, and Wetstein, but also by Harless, Olshausen, Rückert, Conybeare, and de Wette. There is no doubt that the verb does bear such a meaning among the classical writers; but though the word occurs often, there is no instance of such a sense in the New Testament. Raphelius, in loc.; Fritzsche, ad Rom. i. p. 107. Why then should this place be an exception?

2. Others, therefore, prefer the signification “having done or accomplished all,” that is, not simply “having made all necessary preparation,” as the Syriac, Morus, and Bengel too narrowly take it; but having done everything which the crisis demanded, in order to quell the foe and maintain their position. This preferable exegesis is supported by Erasmus, Bucer, Meier, Meyer, and Baumgarten-Crusius. Now, not to say that the neuter ἅπαντα is against the former view, and more in accordance with the second, which refers it not to enemies, where we would have expected another gender, but to the general elements of military duty, we may add, in contradiction of Harless, that the spirit of the context is also in favour of the last exegesis. For, 1. The apostle proceeds to arm the Christian soldier, and it is not natural to suppose that he speaks of victory prior to equipment and battle. 2. The verb στῆναι cannot be supposed to have a different signification from what it has in Ephesians 6:11. If the first opinion be adopted, “having vanquished all your enemies, to stand,” then στῆναι would denote to stand victorious; or, as Luther has it, das Feld behalten—“to keep the field.” Now this is changing the meaning of the verse, for it signifies in Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 6:14 to stand, not when the combat is over, but to stand with the front to the foe, in the very attitude of resistance and self-defence, or in expectation of immediate assault. 3. The clause appears to be explained by the succeeding verses; “Stand therefore” (Ephesians 6:14) with girdle, cuirass, sandals, shield, helmet, and sword, ever praying. The rendering of the Vulgate-in omnibus perfecti-is a deviation, probably borrowed from such a reading as Codex A presents- κατειργασμένοι. Jerome has omnia operati.


Verse 14

(Ephesians 6:14.) This warlike picture of the apostle is to be taken in its general aspect. It is useless, on the one hand, to seek out the minutiae of far-fetched resemblances, as is done by some foreign divines, and by Gurnall (Christian in Complete Armour, fol., Glasgow, 1763) and Arrowsmith (Tactica Sacra, 4to, 1657), and more elaborately learned than either, Lydius in his Syntagma sacrum de re militari, ed. Van. Til, 1698, Dordraci. All that we can affirm is, that certain spiritual acquisitions or gifts endow us with peculiar powers of self-protection, and that these graces, in their mode and province of operation, bear some similitude to certain pieces of ancient armour. So that it is an error, on the other hand, to imagine that the apostle selects at random some graces, and compares them to portions of military harness. It is probably to the armour of a Roman soldier that the apostle refers, the fullest account of which may be found in Lipsius (De Milit. Roman., ed. Plant. 1614) and Vegetius (Epitome Institutorum Rei Militaris, ed. Schwebel, Bipont. 1806), or in Polybius, lib. 6.20; Martial, 9.57. See Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, sub voce “Arms.” The apostle's account, as has been remarked, coincides with the figures sculptured on the Arch of Severus. First, there are three pieces of iron armour-armour fitted on to the body-girdle, breastplate, and shoes; thus-

στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ—“stand therefore, having girt about your loins with truth.” Isaiah 11:5; Daniel 10:5. The aorist participles precede in point of time the verb. ᾿εν is instrumental. The allusion is to the ancient military belt or girdle, which was often highly ornamented with laminae and clasps of gold and silver, and used occasionally, when thrown over the shoulder, to support the sword or quiver. This zone is formed of truth, not objective truth, as Harless believes, for that is declared to be the sword; but, as the article is wanting, of subjective truth-truthfulness. It is not simply integrity or sincerity, but the assured conviction that you believe, and that it is God's truth you believe. Such a sincere persuasion binds tightly the other pieces of armour; and “trussing up his loins” gives the combatant alertness and buoyancy in the battle, enabling him to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.” He feels supported and braced by his conscious knowledge and reception of the truth. Harless errs in supposing the baldric to be a mere ornament, for the ungirded soldier had not done all to qualify him for the fight-is not fully prepared for it. Grotius says-veritas adstringit hominem, mendaciorum magna est laxitas. 1 Samuel 25:13; Psalms 18:32; Psalms 45:4.

καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης—“and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The genitive is that of apposition, and the article before it may be that of correlation, though we incline to give it a more distinctive meaning. Isaiah 11:5; Isaiah 59:17. The breastplate, as its name implies, covered and protected the chest. It was sometimes formed of linen or plates of horn, but usually of metallic scales or feathers. Pliny, Hist. Natur. 33.54. Roman soldiers wore chain mail, that is, hauberks or habergeons-

“Loricam consertam hamis, auroque trilicem.”

But sometimes the breastplate was made of two pieces of leather or bronze, which fitted to the person, and were united by hinges or fastened by buckles. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, p. 576. The righteousness which forms this καρδιοφύλαξ is, according to Meyer, Fergusson, Olshausen, Holzhausen, and Meier, moral rectitude, or, as Ellicott says, “the righteousness which is the result of the renovation of the heart by the Holy Spirit;” and, according to Baumgarten-Crusius, the conscious possession of it. The article before δικαιοσύνη has a special prominence, and we are inclined, with Harless, de Wette, Matthies, and Winzer (Pfinstprogramm, über Ephesians 6:10; Ephesians 6:17, Leipz. 1840), to understand it as the righteousness of God, or of faith, or as “justification by the blood of the cross,” three scriptural phrases meaning in general one and the same thing. What Christian can boast of entire rectitude, or use as his defence what Turner unhappily calls “his own righteousness”-nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa? But when the justifying righteousness of Christ is assumed as a breastplate by sinners, they can defy the assaults of the tempter. To every insinuation that they are so vile, guilty, worthless, and perverse-so beset with sin and under such wrath that God will repulse them-they oppose the free and perfect righteousness of their Redeemer, which is “upon them.” Romans 3:22. So that the dart thrown at them only rings against such a cuirass, and falls blunted to the earth.


Verse 15

(Ephesians 6:15.) καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης—“And having shod your feet with the preparedness of the gospel of peace.” Isaiah 3:7. The usage of such an accusative following the verb may be seen in Buttmann (§ 135, 3), though oftener the sandal itself is put in the accusative. The last genitive is that of contents (Bernhardy, p. 16), and the one before it that of source, that is, the preparedness is from the gospel, and that gospel has peace for its substance. The reference is not to greaves, which were a kind of military leggings, but to the- προκνημῖδες-caligae or sandals, which were worn by the ancient warriors, and the soles of which were thickly studded with hobnails. Bynaeus, de Calcibus, Dordraci, 1715. The military sandal of this spiritual host “is the preparation of the gospel of peace;” Wyckliffe—“in makynge redi.” The preposition ἐν is instrumental or quasi-local, and ἑτοιμασία is represented as forming the sandals. So that there is error on the part of Erasmus, who renders - parati ad evangelium. The noun ἑτοιμασία has in the Septuagint an active meaning, as- εἰς ἑτοιμασίαν τροφῆς-Wisdom of Solomon 13:12; also an intransitive meaning-readiness or preparedness- ἵππους εἰς ἑτοιμασίαν ὑμῖν παρέχειν-Josephus, Antiq. 10.1, 2; and still in a more spiritual sense, Psalms 10:17 - τὴν ἑτοιμασίαν τῆς καρδίας. The term is sometimes employed in the Septuagint as the representative of the Hebrew כוֹן ¢ מְ, as in Psalms 89:15, where it is said to mean foundation, and therefore Beza, Wolf, Bengel, Koppe, and Flatt take the word in such a sense here-the firm basis of the gospel of peace. Ezra 2:68; Daniel 11:7. The figure is not appropriate; it might apply, indeed, to the road on whi ch they were to march, but not to their boots. The feet were to be shod “with preparedness.” The feet in fighting are so protected or cased. The feet, too, are the instruments, and therefore the appropriate symbols of motion. The Christian warrior must move as the battle shifts; his career is indeed but a battle and a march, and march and a battle. And whence is this promptitude to be derived? From “the gospel of peace”-or peace the substance of the gospel, the same gospel which was called Ephesians 1:13 -the gospel τῆς σωτηρίας. For the possession of peace with God creates blessed serenity of heart, and confers upon the mind peculiar and continuous preparedness of action and movement. There is nothing to disconcert or perplex it, or divide and retard its energies. Consequently it is an error on the part of many expositors, from Chrysostom down to Conybeare, to represent the meaning thus—“preparation to preach or publish the gospel of peace,” for it is of defensive armour alone the apostle is now speaking.


Verse 16

(Ephesians 6:16.) ᾿επὶ πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως—“In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith”-the genitive being that of apposition. Lachmann, almost on the single authority of B, reads ἐν πᾶσιν, which might justify Jerome's rendering-in omni opere. Some, such as Luther, Beza, and Bengel, give the words the sense “above all,” or “especially,” “above all things,” as if the most important piece of armour were now to be specified. The Gothic has “ufar all.” But the meaning is simply “in addition to all.” Luke 3:20; Winer, § 48, c. And the construction is changed. The pieces of armour already mentioned being fitted on to the body and fastened to it, each by appropriate mechanism, have each its characteristic verb- περιζωσάμενοι, ἐνδυσάμενοι, ὑποδησάμενοι; but shield, helmet, and sword need no such special fastening, for they are simply taken up or assumed, and therefore they are joined to the one general participle, ἀναλαβόντες, and the verb δέξασθε. θυρεόν-scutum-a word of the later Greek, denotes, as the name implies, a large door-like shield, differing in form and especially in size from the ἀσπίς-clypeus-and was, according to Polybius, two feet and a half broad and four feet long- τὸ πλάτος . . . πένθ᾿ ἡμιποδίων, τὸ δὲ μῆκος, ποδῶν τεττάρων. Polybius, lib. vi. cap. 20, 23. The shield preserved the soldier from being struck, and his armour, too, from being hacked or notched. Such a large and powerful shield is faith-that unwavering confidence in God and His grace which guards the mind from aberration and despondency, and easily wards off such assaults as are made upon it. John 5:4-5. The special value and purpose of the shield are then described-

ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ τὰ πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι—“in,” or, “with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” The article τά before πεπυρωμένα is not found in B, D1, F, G, and is rejected by Lachmann, but probably without sufficient authority. It seems to imply that the devil throws other darts besides those so specified. ῾ο πονηρός is “the wicked one,” either in proper person or as leader and representative of the foes so vividly described in Ephesians 6:12. 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Matthew 6:13; John 17:15; 1 John 5:18. In the phrase τὰ βέλη τὰ πεπυρωμένα, there is a reference to a species of missile which was tipped or armed with some combustible material. Psalms 7:13; Lipsius, de Milit. Roman. p. 106; Alberti, Observat. Philol. in loc. This malleolus resembled a hammer, as its name imports. The inflammatory substances were compressed into its transverse portion or head, and this being ignited, the mallet was thrown among the enemy. References to such weapons are found in Herodotus, lib. 8:52; Arrian, Alexan. Exped. 2.18; Thucydides, 2:75; Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Latin Antiquities, sub voce-Malleolus; Winer, art. “Bogen;” and other ancient writers. Thucydides calls these shafts πυρφόροι ὀϊστοί; and Apollodorus gives them the same name as the apostle. Bibl. 2.4. See also Livy, lib. xii. c. 8; Ammianus Marcellinus, 23, 4. The Coptic version reads —“filled” with fire. These blazing arrows are shot by the evil one- ὁ πονηρός-who is evil and undiluted evil; the evil one “by merit raised to that bad eminence.” In the verb σβέσαι there is an allusion not to any power in the shield to quench the burning darts, as many try to sh ow with learned labour, but to the simple fact, that such a missile caught on, or in, the shield, glances off it, and falling to the earth, is speedily extinguished. It is a misconception of the meaning of the participle πεπυρωμένα on the part of Bodius, Rollock, Hammond, and Bochart, that poisoned darts are meant, and are named “fiery” because of the burning sensation, or fever, which they produce; as if they received this appellation not from their effect, but from their nature. Hierozoicon, Opera, tom. iii. p. 425, ed. Leusden, Lugd. Bata 5.1692. What they are, it is difficult to say. The Greek fathers, with too great restriction, think that reference is made to such lusts and desires as we sometimes term “burning” lusts and desires. The darts appear to be Satanic assaults, sudden and terrible-such suggestions to evil, such unaccountable impulses to doubt or blaspheme, such horrid insinuations about the Divine character and one's own state, as often distract persons, especially of a nervous temperament. The biographies of Luther and Bunyan afford apposite examples. But the shield of faith must be used to repel such darts, and if brought to intercept them, it preserves the Christian warrior intact. His confidence in God keeps him from being wounded, or from falling a prisoner into the hands of his ruthless enemies. Whatever happens moves him not; his faith saves him from despondency and defeat. The future form of the verb by no means supports Meyer's view as to the period of the evil day.


Verse 17

(Ephesians 6:17.) καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε—“And take the helmet of salvation.” D1, F, and G omit the verb; δέξασθαι, a glaring emendation, is found, however, in A, D3, K, and L. The adjectival form σωτήριον is found also in Luke 2:30; Luke 3:6; Acts 28:28. This use of the finite verb in such a series is a characteristic of Pauline style, as if from the participial construction his mind likes to rest at length on the finite form. The military helmet protected the head. It was a cap usually made of leather, strengthened and ornamented with metallic plates or bosses, and commonly surmounted with a crest or plume. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the apostle says, “For an helmet the hope of salvation”- ἐλπίδα σωτηρίας-and therefore many suppose that the same idea is expressed elliptically here. Such is the view of Calvin, Zanchius, Calovius, Grotius, Estius, Bodius, Meier, and Winzer, but a view which is as unwarranted as that of Theodoret, Bullinger, Cocceius, and Bengel, who refer σωτήριον to the Saviour Himself, because He has received such an appellation in Luke 2:30. The apostle takes the phrase from the Alexandrian version of Isaiah 59:17, in which the Hebrew כוֹבַע יַשׁוָָּעה ִךס translated περικεφαλαίαν σωτηρίου. Salvation, and not the hope of it, is here represented as forming the helmet; not salvation in an objective sense, but in conscious possession. It is the assurance of being interested in this salvation that guards the head. He who knows that he is safe, who feels that he is pardoned and sanctified, possesses this “helme of helthe,” as Wyckliffe renders it, and has his “head covered in the day of battle:”-

καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ—“and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The last genitive is that of source, and the relative is neuter, by attraction or assimilation. This is the only offensive weapon which the Christian soldier is to assume. That sword is described as being the “word of God.” By “the word of God” we understand the gospel, or revealed will of God-and to us it is in effect Holy Scripture, not in any restricted sense, as limited either to its commands or its threatenings. Theodore of Mopsuestia says, however, that ῥῆμα θεοῦ is equivalent to θεοῦ ἐνέργεια-referring in proof to such phrases as “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made,” the meaning of which is easily understood. And this weapon—“the word of God”-is “the sword of the Spirit,” for it is the Spirit who supplies it. By the special organic influence of the Spirit, plenary inspiration was enjoyed, and God's ideas became, in the lips and from the pens of apostles and prophets, God's words. The genitive, πνεύματος, thus indicates the relation in which God's word stands to the Spirit. How strange on the part of Harless, Olshausen, Matthies, Stier, and von Gerlach, to make it the genitive of apposition, and to represent the sword as the Spirit Himself! In this erroneous view they had been preceded by Basil, who has adduced this verse as a proof that not only the Son, but the Spirit, is called the Word-the Son being the Word of the Father, and the Spirit the Word of the Son. Contra Eunom. lib. v. cap. 11. Such an exposition only darkens the passage, and compels Olshausen himself to ask in perplexity a question which his own false exegesis originates-How can the Word of God be represented as the Spirit? and he answers the insoluble query by a statement no less erro neous and unintelligible, that the Spirit is an operation which the Word of God produces. Harless argues, that as the previous genitives specifying the pieces of armour are those of apposition, so analogy must justify the same syntax in this clause. But the argument is wholly out of place, and that because the apostle subjoins an explanation. Had he simply said “the sword of the Word,” then according to the analogy of previous clauses the exegesis of Harless and Olshausen would be the correct one, but he enters into fuller and more precise detail. Away at the other extreme from this exposition is that of Chrysostom in one of his interpretations, of OEcumenius and Theophylact, with Michaelis and Grotius, which makes the clause merely mean—“take the spiritual sword of the Word; and still more remote is the lame exegesis of Morus, Rosenmüller, and de Wette, which understands by “spirit” the human spirit, as if the apostle meant to say—“take your soul's best sword, the word of God.”

The word of God is thus the sword of the Spirit, by which the spiritual foe is cloven down. The Captain of salvation set the example, and once and again, and a third time, did He repel the assault of the prince of darkness by three brief and simple citations from Scripture. Diplomacy and argument, truce and armistice, are of no avail-the keen bright sword of the Spirit must be unsheathed and lifted.


Verse 18

(Ephesians 6:18.) διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι—“With all prayer and supplication praying always in the Spirit.” The participle is not, with Conybeare, to be rendered as a simple imperative. We cannot agree with de Wette and others in regarding prayer as a separate weapon, for the apostle now drops the figure. It is indeed an effectual means of repulse, not by itself, but in its connection with all these other graces. So that we understand this verse as describing the spirit or temper in which the armour should be assumed, the position taken, the enemy met, and the combat pursued, that is, as still connected with στῆτε οὖν. We cannot, with Olshausen, restrict it to the previous clause, namely, that prayer must accompany the use of the sword of the Spirit. The order of thought is-make preparation, take the armour, stand, fight, and all the while be praying.

Meyer's effort to make διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως an independent sentence, at least disconnected with the following participle, is not happy; and his argument as to tautology and the impossibility of “praying always” is without force. The preposition διά expresses the means by, or the condition in or through which, the spiritual exercise implied in προσευχόμενοι developes itself. The two nouns are distinguished not as imprecatio and deprecatio, as is the opinion of Chrysostom, Theodoret, Grotius, and others; nor can we say, with de Wette, that the first term denotes the form, and the second the contents, of prayer. The two words are conjoined in the Septuagint. 1 Kings 8:28; 2 Chronicles 6:19; Psalms 6:9; and in Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:1. We believe with Harless, Meier, Meyer, and others, that προσευχή is prayer in general-the general aspects and attitudes of devotion, in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving; and that δέησις is a special branch of prayer, direct and earnest petition. The adjective πάσης adds the idea of “every kind” of prayer-all the forms, public and private, secret and domestic, oral and unexpressed, formal and ejaculatory, which prayer may assume. And such prayer is not to be restricted to peculiar times, but is to be employed- ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ, at every season. Luke 21:36. “Not only the minor officers along the ranks, but the whole hosts are to join in these yearnings.” And such continuous and diversified prayer must be-

ἐν πνεύματι—“in the Spirit”-as its sphere. It is surely an unhallowed and perverse opinion of Castalio, Crocius, Grotius, Homberg, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Zanchius even, which gives these words the meaning of ἐκ πνεύματος, and makes them signify “out of the heart, or sincerely.” Bloomfield indeed lays down the canon that πνεῦμα, not having the article, cannot mean “the Holy Spirit”-a canon which is contradicted by numerous passages of the New Testament, as already stated under Ephesians 1:17. The theology of the apostle is, that while the Son pleads for His people in heaven, the Spirit within them makes intercession for them and by them, by giving them an enlarged and appropriating view of the Divine promises, that they may plead them in faith and fervour, and by so deepening their own poignant consciousness of want as to induce them to cry for grace with an agony of earnestness that cannot be fitted into words. Romans 8:26. Jude speaks also of “praying in the Holy Ghost” (Ephesians 6:20), that is, in His exciting and assisting influence. The soldier needs courage, vigilance, and skill, and therefore he ought, with continued prayer and supplication, to look up to the Lord of hosts, “who teaches his hands to war and his fingers to fight,” and who will make him “more than a conqueror;” so that in due time, the combat being over and his foes defeated, the hand that wielded the sword will carry the palm, and the brow that wore the helmet will be crowned with immortal garlands before the throne. Praying always-

καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων—“and for this watching in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” τοῦτο, found in the Stephanic text after αὐτό, is regarded as doubtful on the authority of A, B, and other concurrent testimonies. εἰς αὐτό—“for this,” that is, for the purpose specified in the clauses preceding, not, as Koppe and Holzhausen argue, for the design expressed in the following verse- ἵνα μοι δοθῇ. To secure this earnest supplication at all times in the Spirit, they were to be ever on their guard against remissness, for many “impedimenta” exist in the Christian army. The phrase ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει, is one of pregnant emphasis. Acts 1:14; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2. “Perseverance and prayer,” though not properly a hendiadys (the technical order of the words, as they should occur in such a figure, being inverted), practically means perseverance characterized by prayer, the one and the other noun having a distinct, though blended signification. The term ἁγίων has been explained under Ephesians 1:3. We are inclined to take the two clauses as somewhat parallel, the second clause as containing, at the same time, a specific addition. Thus, first, the apostle exhorts them, by means of “all prayer and supplication,” to be praying at all times in the Spirit, the tacit or implied reference being for themselves; and then he adds, but without any formal transition, “and for this watching along with all perseverance and prayer for all saints.” The two thoughts are closely connected. To their persistent supplication for themselves, they were to join, not as a separate and distinct duty, prayer for all saints, but rather, as the compact language of the apostle suggests, in praying for themse lves they were uniformly to blend petitions for all the saints. “All the saints,” in obedience to the same mandate, pray for us, and in a spirit of reciprocity it becomes us to pray for them. They need our prayers; for many of them, at every given moment, must be in trial, temptation, warfare, sickness, or death. And as but a very few of them can ever be known to us, our allinclusive sympathy with them will prove its vitality by universal and unwearying supplication for them.


Verse 19

(Ephesians 6:19.) καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ—“And for me.” When καί knits, as here, a part to a whole, it has an intensive or climactic signification. Winer, § 53, 3; Hartung, 1:45. The apostle lays emphasis on this mention of himself. And we apprehend that the same speciality of request is marked by the change of preposition. When he bids them pray for all saints, he says περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων; but when he points to himself as the object of supplication, he writes ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. Meyer and de Wette, indeed, and Robinson, apparently deny that any change of idea is involved in the change of preposition. Harless admits such a distinction as is between pro and propter. Certainly, in the later writers περί and ὑπέρ are almost identical in use and sense. They are even found together, as Demosthenes, Philip. ii. p. 162, vol. v. Oratores Att., ed. Dobson, Oxon.; Thucyd. 6.78, 1, p. 152, vol. iii. sect. 2, ed. Poppo. No one denies this, but surely it may be asked, Why should the preposition here be changed? not, perhaps, for mere variety of phrase and style. The preposition περί—“about,” used generally in a tropical sense when it governs the genitive, may be regarded as the vaguer in its reference. They could not know much about all saints, and they were to pray about them. All saints were to be ideally encircled with their supplications. The prayer for the apos tle was more direct and personal, and ὑπέρ is employed, while the blessing to be prayed for is also clearly specified. In Romans 8:26, 1 Timothy 2:1, Hebrews 7:25, where ὑπέρ is used, there is marked directness in the supplication, though it be for all men. 1 Peter 3:18. In Colossians 4:3, the apostle, in making a similar request, uses περί; but he includes himself with others, and writes ἡμῶν, and so in Hebrews 13:18. Though such a distinction cannot be uniformly carried out, yet the use of these two different prepositions in two consecutive clauses would seem to indicate that some ideal change of relation is intended. Turner says that the prepositions are changed “for the mere sake of variety,” and he instances ἐκ and διά in Romans 3:20, which in his opinion “apparently convey precisely the same thought.” But the explanation is slovenly; for though there is a kindred meaning, there is a distinct difference of image or relation indicated by the two prepositions. And for what were they to pray?

ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου—“that to me may be given speech in the opening of my mouth.” The conjunction ἵνα denotes the purpose, which is told by telling the purport of the prayer. The Received Text has δοθείη, a more subjective representation, but the principal uncial MSS. are against such a reading. λόγος here denotes power of speech-utterance-as in 1 Corinthians 12:8; 2 Corinthians 11:6. The connection of the next clause has been much disputed. It appears to us plainest and easiest to join ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου to the preceding words—“that utterance may be given unto me in the opening of my mouth.” The arguments for this view, and against the opposing hypotheses of Kypke and Koppe, are ably given by Fritzsche, Dissert. ii. ad Cor. p. 99. Such is the critical opinion of the three Greek fathers, Chrysostom, OEcumenius, and Theophylact, of Luther and Calvin, of Estius, Morus, Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, Matthies, and Meyer. The sense then is, not that the opening of his mouth was in itself regarded also as a Divine gift; but the prayer is, that utterance should be given him when the opportunity of self-vindication or of preaching should be enjoyed. Bullinger, a-Lapide, and Harless give ἄνοιξις an active signification, as if the sense were, that utterance along with the opening of my mouth may be given me, referring to Psalms 51:15, Ezekiel 3:27. We prefer the simple signification—“in the opening of my mouth,” that is, when I shall have occasion to open my mouth. Matthew 5:2; Acts 8:35; Acts 10:34; 2 Corinthians 6:11. Wholly baseless is the translation of Beza and Piscator-ut aperiam os meum. That the phrase describes not the simple act of speech, but also specifies its quality as bold or open, is the view of Pelagius, Vatablus, Bodius, Zanchius, Rückert, Meier, and Matthies. See Alford on 2 Corinthians 6:11. But this view gives an emphasis to the simple diction which cannot be proved to belong to it. We believe that its only emphasis lies in its use-prefacing a set discourse of some length, and not merely a brief or conversational remark. That the apostle refers to inspiring influence we have little doubt, whether that influence be regarded as essential to the general preaching of the gospel, or to the apostle's vindication of himself and his mission at the imperial tribunal in Rome; for he was now prosecuting the appeal which he had originated at Caesarea. Luke 21:14; Matthew 10:19-20; Mark 13:11. His pleading for himself involved in it a description and defence of his office, and that he refers to such unpremeditated orations is the view of OEcumenius. The next clause is explanatory, or gives the result-

ἐν παῤῥησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου—“in boldness to make known the mystery of the gospel.” B, F, G, omit τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, but the words have good authority. The genitive may be that of subject or of object, as in Ephesians 1:9. Ellicott prefers the former. The noun παῤῥησία has been explained under Ephesians 3:12, and does not signify “freely,” as Koppe and Grotius take it, that is, in contrast with previous confinement. Wyckliffe has—“with truth to make known.” It characterizes the speaking in itself or in quality, as bold and open-without reserve or trepidation. γνωρίσαι is the infinitive of design. ΄υστήριον has been spoken of under Ephesians 1:9. In the first chapter the apostle calls one special result and purpose of the gospel-to wit, the re-capitulation of all things under Christ-a mystery; and in the third chapter he characterizes the doctrine of the union of Jew and Gentile in one church by a similar appellation. But here he gives the same general name to the gospel. For it is a system which lay hidden till God's time came for revealing it. To know it, there must be a Divine initiator, for its truths are beyond the orbit of all human anticipations. The God-man-a vicarious death-a gratuitous pardon-the influence of the Spirit-are doctrines which man never could have discovered. They are to him a mystery, not indeed something unknowable, but something unknown till it be revealed. This gospel, without mutilation, in its fulness and majesty, and with all its characteristic elements, the apostle wished to proclaim with plain and unfaltering freedom, and for this purpose he asked the prayers of the Ephesian church.


Verse 20

(Ephesians 6:20.) ῾υπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει—“On behalf of which I am an ambassador in chains.” The antecedent to οὗ is not barely εὐαγγελίου-the gospel, but the preceding clause. It was not simply because of the gospel, but because of making known the gospel, that he was imprisoned. This simple sentence has been variously analyzed. Some, as Rückert and Matthies, translate it—“for which doing of the office of ambassador, I am in chains;” while others give it this turn—“for which, even in chains, I am an ambassador.” The apostle calls himself an ambassador, but one in chains. His evangelical embassy-an office peculiar to the apostles-has been described under Ephesians 4:11. It is perhaps too much to infer, with Paley, Macknight, and Wieseler, that the singular term ἅλυσις refers to that form of military surveillance in which the prisoner had his arm bound with a chain to that of the “soldier who kept him.” Acts 28:16; Acts 28:20. The singular form may bear a collective signification (Bernhardy, p. 58), yet, as we find the same expression in 2 Timothy 1:16, there is a possibility at least that such may be the reference. Still, we find the apostle, when in military custody at Caesarea, employing the plural, and saying- τῶν δεσμῶν τούτων. An ambassador in chains was a rare spectacle. τοὺς πρέσβεις νόμος μηδὲν πάσχειν κακόν, says Theophylact. The person of an ambassador is by international law sacred and inviolable; and yet Paul, a legate from the mightiest Sovereignty, charged with an embassy of unparalleled nobleness and urgency, and bearing with him credentials of unmistakeable authenticity, is detained in captivity. The object of the prayer was-

ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παῤῥησιάσωμαι, ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι—“in order that I may speak boldly in this, as I ought to speak.” This clause resumes the object or design of the prayer, and is parallel to the previous ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος. Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 9:3. It dwells upon the same thought. The phrase ἐν αὐτῷ refers back to the relative οὗ—“that in this,” in making known the gospel-and there is thus no repetition or tautology. It is not the ground, but the sphere of the παῤῥησία. This meaning of the sentence is lost in the exegesis of Meier, who follows Chrysostom and Bengel, and makes ἵνα and its clause dependent on πρέσβευω ἐν ἁλύσει, the sense then being—“that even my imprisonment may produce its effect.” The apostle's earnest wish was, that he might expound his message in a manner that became him and his high commission, that his imprisonment might have no dispiriting effect upon him, and that he might not in his addresses compromise the name and dignity of an ambassador for Christ. The epistle now ends with some personal matters-


Verse 21

(Ephesians 6:21.) ῞ινα δὲ εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ κατ᾿ ἐμέ, τί πράσσω, πάντα ὑμῖν γνωρίσει τύχικος ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς, καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος ἐν κυρίῳ—“But that ye also may know my state, how I fare, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful in the Lord, shall make known all things to you.” The reading, καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰδῆτε, is found in A, D1, E, F, G. This verse needs almost no exposition. The supposition that in καὶ ὑμεῖς there is a reference by contrast to the Colossians, has been already noticed in the Introduction. The particle δέ is one of transition to another subject-the conclusion of the epistle. The words τὰ κατ᾿ ἐμέ-res meae-are a very common Greek idiom (Philippians 1:12; Acts 24:22; Acts 25:14), and they are further explained by τί πράσσω, a phrase which means “how I fare”—“what” or “how I do”-not what I am employed about in prison, but with the same meaning as in the common salutation—“How do ye do.” The apostle was well aware of their anxiety to know many particulars as to his health, spirits, condition, facilities and prospects of labour; and not to burden an inspired composition with such minutiae, he charged Tychicus with an oral message. Little is known of Tychicus save what is contained in a few allusions, as in Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7. In 2 Timothy 4:12 the apostle says, referring, as some suppose, to this mission—“Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.” There is no ground for supposing, with Estius, that διάκονος refers here to any office in the church. Tychicus, like Mark, was useful for general service. 2 Timothy 4:11. The words ἐν κυρίῳ show the spirit and sphere of the labours of Tychicus, that it was Christian service which he rendered to the apostle and their common Lord. We understand πιστός to deno te “trusty”—“trewe mynystre.” See under Ephesians 1:1. The previous epithet “brother” implies his profession of faith, but he was selected to this mission, out of many other believers, because of his trustiness, and he was commended to the Ephesians as one on whom they might rely with implicit confidence. And therefore Paul says of him-


Verse 22

(Ephesians 6:22.) ῝ον ἔπεμψα πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο, ἵνα γνῶτε τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν, καὶ παρακαλέσῃ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν—“Whom I have sent unto you for this very reason, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.” The verb might bear the translation, “I send.” Philippians 2:28; Winer, § 40, 5, 2. The phrase τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν is a common idiom, and the apostle includes himself among others who were identified with him and his position in Rome. There is plain reference in the last clause to Ephesians 3:13. The different readings in these two verses principally refer to the position and order of some of the words. Now comes the farewell-


Verse 23

(Ephesians 6:23.) εἰρήνη τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς, καὶ ἀγάπη μετὰ πίστεως—“Peace to the brethren, and love with faith.” εἰρήνη is not concord, as some suppose, and it cannot be so in a parting salutation. The word in such a relation has not a special theological sense, but means, in a Christian mouth, “all that was good for them here and hereafter.” See the term explained under Ephesians 1:2. “Peace be to the brethren”-the Christian brotherhood in Ephesus; and not, as Wieseler restricts it, to the Jewish portion of the church. Chronol. p. 444.

καὶ ἀγάπη μετὰ πίστεως—“and love with faith,” that is, love in union with faith. “Love” is not God's love to us, but our love to one another; or as the apostle has already called it, “love unto all the saints.” And that love is “with faith,” as its accompaniment, for “faith worketh by love.” The apostle wishes them a more fervent love along with a more powerful faith. He had heard that they possessed these already, but he wished them a larger inheritance of the twin graces. See under Ephesians 1:15. We could not say, with Robinson, that in this instance, and in some others, μετά is equivalent to καί, for close relation seems always to be indicated. ΄ετά indicates something which is to be regarded not as an addition, but as an accompaniment. ᾿αγάπη καὶ πίστις—“love and faith,” might mean love, then faith, as separate or in succession, and σὺν πίστει would have denoted coherence, but “love with faith” denotes love and faith in inseparable combination with it. The reading of Codex A, ἔλεος for ἀγάπη, is an emendation suggested to some old copyists for the very reasons which have led Rückert to adopt it. The concluding salutations in the other epistles are commonly brief, but the sympathy and elevation which reign in this letter stoop not to a curt and common formula. In his fulness of heart the apostle bestows an enlarged benediction on the Christian community at Ephesus-

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ κυρίου ᾿ιησοῦ χριστοῦ—“from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In the 2nd verse of the first chapter, the apostle says, “from God our Father,” and the Syriac reads here also אבא . Though ἡμῶν be not expressed, the meaning is the same, and the exposition will therefore be found under Ephesians 1:2.


Verse 24

(Ephesians 6:24.) ῾η χάρις μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἀγαπώντων τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ᾿ιησοῦν χριστὸν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ—“Grace be with all them who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption.” This is a second and more general benediction. The article is prefixed to χάρις in the valediction. See under Ephesians 1:2. The words “our Lord Jesus Christ,” occurring previously in Ephesians 1:3, have also been already explained.

The concluding difficulty of the expositor, and it is no slight one, lies in the concluding words of the epistle- ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. Wyckliffe has “vncorrupcioun,” Tyndale “puernes,” the Genevan “to their immortalitie,” and Cranmer “vnfaynedly.”

The connection and meaning are alike matter of doubt.-1. Some, such as Drusius, Wilke, and Peile, connect ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ with χάρις, as if the meaning were—“grace with immortality,” or immortal grace. But this exegesis appears on the face of it contrary to the verbal order of the clause. Piscator, taking ἐν for σύν, regards grace and immortality as two separate gifts. Beza, Musculus, Bengel, Michaelis, Matthies, and Bloomfield (supplemental volume, in loc.), give the phrase another turn of meaning, and render—“grace to immortality,” or “grace for ever abide with you.” The opinion of Harless is similar - ἐν, he says, “marks the element in which this grace reveals itself, and ἀφθαρσία is its indestructible essence.” And this is also the view of Baumgarten-Crusius. Such a construction, however, has no philological foundation, for the two nouns are not so homogeneous in meaning as to be used in such a connection. Olshausen resorts to the desperate expedient of an ellipse, saying that the words mean- ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. This ellipse, as Meyer says, is a pure fiction. 2. As far removed from a natural exegesis is the opinion of Wetstein, Reiners, and Semler, who join ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ to ᾿ιησοῦν χριστόν, and give this interpretation - “who love the Lord Jesus Christ in His incorruptible or exalted state.” We should have expected a very different phraseology if that had been the apostle's meaning, and at least, with the present words, the repetition of the article - ᾿ιησοῦν χριστὸν τὸν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. 3. Whatever difficulty may be involved in the exegesis, we are obliged to take the ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ as qualifying ἀγαπώντων. This appears to be the natural connection. But as to the meaning-

1. Chrysostom and Theophylact give an alternative explanation—“on account of those things which are incorruptible.” These critics say- τὸ ἐν διά ἐστι, that is, ἐν stands for διά. But such violence to the words cannot be warranted.

2. Some give the meaning—“in sincerity.” Such is the view of Chrysostom and Theophylact in another of their interpretations, in which they explain ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ by ἐν κοσμιότητι; and they are followed by Pelagius, Erasmus, Calvin, a-Lapide, Estius, and Robinson. At the same time there is some difference of opinion among this class, some giving more prominence to sincerity as an element of the love itself, and others regarding this sincerity as proved by the result and accompaniment of a chaste and holy life.

3. Others give the phrase this meaning—“in perpetuity.” Among this party are OEcumenius, who employs as synonyms ἄφθαρτος καὶ ἀμείωτος, and Luther, Zegerus, Wolf, Meyer, Wahl, Bretschneider, and Meier. Rückert and de Wette are undecided, though the latter seems to incline to the first interpretation of the Greek expositors. The Gothic version reads ïn unriurein—“in incorruptibility.” It is somewhat difficult to decide. The noun means incorruption, and must define either the sphere or character of this love. If it refer to the sphere, there then may be an allusion to the heavenly places to which believers are elevated-a region of unchanging and undecaying love to Jesus (Romans 1:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Timothy 1:17); or if, as Meyer says, it describe the character of this affection, then it signifies that it possesses an enduring freshness-that it glows for ever. A similar construction is found in Titus 3:15. We are inclined to believe that the word characterizes the nature of this love, perpetuity being a necessary element of this incorruption. The term points out that in this love there is no source of decay or change, that it does not contain within itself the seeds of dissolution, and that it is of such compactness, that its elements cannot one after another fall out and itself gradually perish. Incorruptness is immortality based upon simplicity of essence. And therefore this love to Jesus - filling the entire nature, burning with pure and quenchless fervour, proving itself a holy instinct, unmixed with baser motives and attachments, one and indivisible-is “in incorruption,”- ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. AMEN.

 


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Bibliography Information
Eadie, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 6:4". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/ephesians-6.html.


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