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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Ephesians 5



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Verse 1

Ephesians 5:1. γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ θεοῦ: become ye therefore imitators of God. γίνεσθε, as in Ephesians 4:32, = “become ye,” rather than “be ye”. This γίνεσθε also resumes the former γίνεσθε (Ephesians 4:32), and continues the general injunction expressed by it. The οὖν points to the same connection of ideas, while it introduces new exhortations based on the supreme fact of God’s forgiving love in Christ. Of the duties inculcated on that basis the first and the one most immediately in view is that of the forgiveness of those who wrong us—a forgiveness which should be free, loving, ungrudging, complete as God’s forgiveness is. The term μιμητής is used of the imitation of men (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Hebrews 6:12), Churches (1 Thessalonians 2:14), things (1 Peter 3:13 with ζηλωταί as var. reading). Only here is it used of the imitation of God—the loftiest and most exalting endeavour that can possibly be set before man, proposed to us also by Christ Himself (Matthew 5:45; Matthew 5:48).— ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητά: as children beloved. Not merely “dear children” (AV). The compar. part. ὡς points to the manner or character in which the imitation is to be made good, and indicates at the same time a reason for it (Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 270). They are children of God, experiencing His love. Children should be like the father, and love should meet love; cf. Matthew 5:45.

Verses 1-14

Ephesians 5:1-14. A paragraph ruled by the general idea of the imitation of God in the forgiving love which has been appealed to in the preceding verse. In the light of that Divine example Paul charges his readers to follow purity, unselfishness, sobriety and other graces, and to avoid all heathen vices and indulgences opposed to these.

Verse 2

Ephesians 5:2. καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ: and walk in love. Here, again, καί explains in connecting and adding. The “imitation” must take effect in the practical, unmistakable form of a loving course of life.— καθὼς καὶ χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς: even as Christ also loved us [you]. The reading ὑμᾶς (with (489) (490)1(491), Sah., Eth., etc.; TTrWHRV) is to be preferred to the ἡμᾶς of TR (with (492) (493) (494) (495) (496)3, etc.). The aor. should have its proper historical force, “loved,” not “hath loved” (AV). Christ is now introduced as the great Example, instead of God, and the Divine love as openly seen in Christ is given as the motive and the pattern of the love that should mark our walk.— καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν: and gave Himself up. Statement of the act in which Christ’s love received its last and highest expression, viz., the surrender of Himself to death. The καί has something of its ascensive force. The idea of death as that to which He gave Himself up is implied in the great Pauline declarations, e.g., Romans 4:25; Romans 8:32; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:25.— ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν: for us. The ἡμῶν of the TR, supported by (497) (498) (499) (500) (501) (502), etc., is to be preferred on the whole to the ὑμῶν of (503), m, 116, etc., which is regarded by WH as the primary reading and given in marg. by RV. The prep, ὑπέρ seldom goes beyond the idea of “on account of,” “for the benefit of”. In classical Greek, however, it does sometimes become much the same as ἀντί (e.g., Eurip., Alc., 700; Plato, Gorg., 515 c), and in the NT we find a clear instance in Philemon 1:13. In some of the more definite statements, therefore, on Christ’s death as a sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13, and here) it is thought that the more general sense is sharpened by the context into that of “in place of”. But even in these the idea of substitution, which is properly expressed by ἀντί (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), is not in the ὑπέρ itself, although it may be in the context; cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 434, 435; Mey. on Romans 5:6, Galatians 3:13; Ell. on Galatians 3:13.— προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ: an offering and a sacrifice to God. The primary idea in the whole statement is the love of Christ, and that love as shown in giving Himself up to death. This giving up of Himself to death is next defined in respect of its character and meaning, and this again with the immediate purpose of magnifying the love which is the main subject. The acc., therefore, is the pred. acc., = “as an offering”. The defining τῷ θεῷ, as its position indicates, is best connected with the προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν; not with παρέδωκεν αὐτόν, to which εἰς θάνατον is the natural supplement; nor with εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας, for that would place τῷ θεῷ in an emphatic position not easy to account for. The term προσφορά is used in the NT of offerings of all kinds, whether bloody or unbloody, whether of the meal offering, מִנְחָה (Hebrews 10:6; Psalms 40:7), or of the bloody offering (Hebrews 10:10) and the expiatory sacrifice (Hebrews 10:18). When it has the latter sense, it has usually some defining term attached to it ( περὶ ἁμαρτίας (Hebrews 10:18), τοῦ σώματος . χ. (Hebrews 10:10)). The term θυσία in like manner is used for different kinds of offerings. In the LXX it represents both מִנְחָה and זֶבַח, and in the NT in such passages as Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7, etc., it is used generally. Sometimes it is applied to unbloody oblations (Hebrews 11:4). Again (e.g., Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 10:26) it is sin-offerings, expiatory offerings that are in view. The two terms, therefore, cannot in themselves be sharply distinguished, but they get their distinctive sense in each case from the context. Here, as in Hebrews 5:8, etc., it is possible that the two terms are used to cover the two great classes of offerings; in which case, as in Psalms 40:6; Psalms 40:8, the θυσίαν will refer to the sacrifice of slain beasts. If that is so, the sin-offering, or oblation presented with a view to the restoration of broken fellowship will be in view. And this is in accordance with the particular NT doctrine of Christ’s death as a propitiation, which has a distinct and unmistakable place in Paul’s Epistles, though not in his only (Romans 3:23; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10), and a reconciliation (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19), as well as with the OT view of sacrifice offered in order to effect forgiveness and removal of guilt (Leviticus 4:20; Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 4:35; Leviticus 5:10; Leviticus 5:13; Leviticus 5:16, etc.).— εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας: for a savour of sweet smell. So Ell.; “for an odour of a sweet smell” (RV); “for a sweet smelling savour” (AV, Gen., Bish.); “in to the odour of sweetness” (Wicl.); “in an odour of sweetness” (Rhem.); “sacrifice of a sweet savour” (Tynd., Cov., Cranm.). Statement of the acceptability of Christ’s sacrifice, taken from the OT רֵיהַ־נִיחו̇חַ, Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 2:12; Leviticus 3:5, etc. (cf. Genesis 8:21; Philippians 4:18), where ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας is defined as θυσίαν δεκτήν, εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ. The foundation of the phrase is of course the ancient idea that the smoke of the offerings rose to the nostrils of the god, and that in this way the Deity became partaker of the oblation along with the worshipper (Hom., Il., xxiv., 69, 70). The phrase was naturally used oftenest of the burnt offering (Lev. 2:9, 13, 17), and some have argued that there is nothing more in view here than the idea of self-dedication contained in that offering. But the phrase is used also of the expiatory offering (Leviticus 4:31).

Verse 3

Ephesians 5:3. πορνεία δὲ καὶ πᾶσα ἀκαθαρσία: but fornication and all uncleanness. The better order ἀκαθαρασία πᾶσα (LTTrWHRV) throws the emphasis on πᾶσα, = “fornication and uncleanness, every kind of it”. The metabatic δέ carries the exhortation over to a prohibition expressed in the strongest terms, which is levelled against one of the deadliest and most inveterate temptations to which Gentile Christians were exposed. The term πορνεία is to be taken in its proper sense and is not to be restricted to any one particular form—the license practised at heathen festivals, concubinage, marriage within prohibited degrees, or the like. The moral life of the Graeco-Roman world had sunk so low that, while protests against the prevailing corruption were never entirely wanting, fornication had long come to be regarded as a matter of moral indifference, and was indulged in without shame or scruple not only by the mass, but by philosophers and men of distinction who in other respects led exemplary lives.— πλεονεξία: or covetousness. Here, as in Ephesians 4:19, πλεονεξία is named along with ἀκαθαρσία. In this passage, as in the former, most commentators take the two terms to designate two distinct forms of sin, viz., the two vices to which the ancient heathen world was most enslaved, immorality and greed; while some understand πλεονεξία to be rather a further definition of ἀκαθαρσία and give it the sense of insatiability, inordinate affection, sensual greed. The noun is found ten times in the NT and the verb πλεονεκτεῖν five times. In some of these occurrences πλεονεξία can mean nothing else than covetousness (e.g., Luke 12:15; 2 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5). But the question is whether it has that sense in all the passages, or has taken on the acquired sense of sensual greed or overreaching in some of them. That is not very easy to decide. The association of the word πλεονέκτης with sins of the flesh (e.g., in 1 Corinthians 5:10-11) is urged in favour of the latter application (cf. Trench, Syn. of the N. T., p. 79). But it is argued with reason that the use of the disjunctive between πόρνοις and πλεονέκταις there and the connecting of πλεονέκταις with ἅρπαξιν by καί point to a distinction between the former two and an identity between the latter. So, too, in Colossians 3:5 the noun πλεονεξίαν is differentiated from the πορνείαν, etc., by τήν. On the other hand, the passages in Romans 1:29 and 2 Peter 2:14 seem to suggest something more than covetousness, and it is also to be noticed that the original idea of these terms was that of having or taking an advantage over others. In 1 Thessalonians 4:6 the verb πλέονεκτεῖν is used along with ὑπερβαίνειν in this sense, with reference to the sin of adultery. The present passage is probably the one, so far as Pauline use is concerned, that most favours the second sense, and it must be added that even the argument from the force of the disjunctive must not be made too much of. For in chap. Ephesians 5:5 we find πόρνος and ἀκάθαρτος connected by .— μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ενὑμῖν: let it not be even named among you. Cranm., Gen., Bish. render it “be once named”. The strong neg. μηδέ gives it this force—“Not to speak of doing such a thing, let it not be even so much as mentioned among you”. The partial parallel in Herod., i., 138, ἅσσα δὲ σφι ποιέειν οὐκ ἔξεστι, ταῦτα οὐδὲ λέγειν ἔξεστι, is noticed here by most.— καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις: as becometh saints. The position of sainthood or separation to God, in which the Gospel places the Christian, is so far apart from the license of the world as to make it utterly incongruous even to speak of the inveterate sins of a corrupt heathenism.

Verse 4

Ephesians 5:4. καὶ αἰσχρότης: and filthiness. This is taken by many (Eth., Theophyl., Oec., Rück., Harl., etc.) to refer to indecent talk, which, however, would be expressed by αἰσχρολογία (Colossians 3:8). The context shows it to refer to sins of the flesh, but there is nothing to limit it to sinful speech. It denotes shameless, immoral conduct in general.— καὶ μωρολογία εὐτραπελία: and foolish talking or [and] jesting. The readings here are somewhat uncertain as regards the particles. The TR has the support of such authorities as (504) (505) (506), Syr.-Harcl., Arm. for καί; (507) (508)*(509), Vulg., Sah., etc., give ; (510) (511)1(512)3(513), Boh., Eth., etc., have καίκαί. The first is accepted by TRV the second by (514); the third by WH. The choice is between the first and third, and the balance of evidence is on the whole, although not very decidedly, on the side of καίκαί. The noun μωρολογία is of very rare occurrence. In common Greek it is found only a very few times (Arist., Hist. An., i., 11; Plut., Mor., 504 A); in the NT only this once. Its sense, however, is sufficiently clear.— καὶ εὐτραπελία: and jesting. This is the solitary occurrence of the noun in the NT. It is found, however, in Aristotle (who defines it as πεπαιδευμένη ὕβρις, Eth. Nic., iv., 14), Pindar (Pyth., i., 178), etc. It appears to have meant originally versatility, facetiousness, and to have acquired the evil sense of frivolity or scurrility. Here it is taken by some (e.g., Trench, Ell.) to be distinguished from μωρολογία and to denote, therefore, not the sin of the tongue merely, but the “evil ‘urbanitas’ (in manners or words) of the witty, godless man of the world” (Ell.). This depends so far on the acceptance of the disjunctive as the proper reading, but may be essentially correct. AV and other old English Versions give jesting, except Wicl., who has harlotry, and the Rhem. which gives scurrility.— τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα: things which are not seemly. The article has the pred. force = “as things which are not seemly” (Mey.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 610). The reading, however, varies. The TR is supported by the great mass of MSS—(515) (516) (517) (518), etc.; but (519) (520) (521) (522), etc., give οὐκ ἀνῆκεν, which is to be preferred. The clause is in apposition to the preceding; but probably only to the latter two nouns, μωρολογία and εὐτραπελία, as these form the direct contrast to the following εὐχαριστία. cf. τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα of Romans 1:28.— ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία: but rather giving of thanks. The brachylogy (cf. Jelf, Greek Gram., § 705, 3) requires ἔστω or rather γίνεσθω to be supplied. The εὐχαριστία is understood by some to mean gracious speech (Clem. Al.; also Jer., with a perhaps), or pious, edifying discourse generally (Calv., on the analogy of Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 11:6). Others give it the sense of courteous speech (Mor.). But the idea of gracious speech would be expressed rather by εὔχαρι, and, as Meyer points out, the contrast which would thus result would be less in keeping with “the Christian character and the profoundly vivid piety of the Apostle”. On nothing does he more insist than on the grace of thankfulness, and the expression of it, to God for the gifts of His love to sinful men.

Verse 5

Ephesians 5:5. τοῦτο γὰρ ἴστε γινώσκοντες: for this ye know, being aware that. The TR reads ἐστε = ye are (with (523)3(524) (525), Theod., Theophyl., etc.), taking it with the participle as = “ye are aware”. But ἴστε (which is supported by (526) (527) (528) (529)*(530) (531), Vulg., Goth., Sah., Boh., Arm., Chrys., etc.) must be preferred. The phrase ἴστε γινώσκοντες is explained by some as a Hebr. form, following the well-known use of the inf. with the fin. verb, or as having the force of the participle with the fin. verb in such expressions as γινώσκων γνώσῃ (Genesis 15:13); and so the RV renders it—“ye know of a surety”. But in such formulæ the same verb occurs in both cases, whereas here we have two distinct verbs. Hence it is best rendered—“ye know, being aware that”. It is an appeal to their consciousness of the incompatibility of such sins with the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. It is not necessary, therefore (with von Hofmann), to put a full stop between the ἴστε and the γινώσκοντες, and make ἴστε refer to the preceding statement. Nor is there any reason for taking ἴστε as an imper. (so Vulg., Beng., etc.) instead of an indic. The τοῦτο refers to what follows, and the γάρ introduces a reason for the former injunctions. These injunctions are enforced by a reference to the reader’s own knowledge, and that reference to their knowledge is made in direct appeal to their consciousness.— ὅτι πᾶς πόρνος ἀκάθαρτος: that no fornicator or unclean person. On the Hebr. formula πᾶςοὐκ, “every one … shall not,” see on Ephesians 4:29 above and Win.-Moult., p. 209.— πλεονέκτης: or covetous man. The πλεονέκτης appears here again to have its proper sense, and not any secondary application.— ὅς ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης: who is an idolater. This reading of the TR has the support of (532) (533) (534) (535) (536), Syr.-Harcl., Boh., Arm., Chrys., etc. But there are two interesting variants, viz., ἐστιν εἰδωλολατρεία, which is the reading of (537), Vulg., Goth., Syr.-Pes. (probably), and ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης, which is given by (538) (539), 672, Jer., etc. The choice must be between this last and the TR. On the whole the former is to be preferred (with LTTrWHRV) on textual grounds, and that reading will then have the force of “which is the same as an idolater”. Some (Harl., etc.) refer the relative ( ὅς) to all three previous nouns; but the analogy of Colossians 3:5 is against that. It is true that fornication and uncleanness might also well be called forms of idolatry. But the point here seems to be that the covetous, grasping man in particular, who makes a god of Mammon, is much the same as the worshipper of an idol; and the πλεονέκτης is thus made synonymous with the εἰδωλολάτρης in order to stigmatise avarice as a specifically anti-Christian vice, essentially incompatible with the spirit of self-sacrifice which is of the very being of Christianity and was inculcated so strenuously by Paul himself.— οὐκ ἔχει κληρονομίαν: has inheritance. The ἔχει is taken by Meyer as a case of present for future, marking a looked-for event as just as certain as if it were already with us. But it is rather a proper present, appropriate here as the expression of a principle or law; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 331.— ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ: in the Kingdom of Christ and God. The clause has been understood as an affirmation of Christ’s Godhead, as if = “the Kingdom of Him who is at once Christ and God” (Beza, Beng., Rück., Harl.); and some, with this view of its import, have held it to be an example of the application of Sharp’s rule. But that rule is inapplicable here by reason of the fact that θεός is independent of the article and occurs indeed without it in the phrase θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21). θεοῦ has the same climactic force here as in 1 Corinthians 3:22, etc. The kingdom is Christ’s, committed to Him now, but to be delivered up at last to God, who is to be sole and absolute Sovereign (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28).

Verse 6

Ephesians 5:6. μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς ἀπατάτω κενοῖς λόγοις: let no one deceive you with vain words. A solemn warning, made the more pointed by being given without any connecting particle. κενός is “vain” in the sense of empty, without the substance of truth or reality, and so = sophistical; cf. κενολογεῖν in Isaiah 8:19. But what is the reference? Some think heathen philosophers and Jews are in view (Grot.), or Judaisers in particular (Neand.), or antinomian Christians (Olsh.), or teachers of Gentile tendencies (Meyer), or false brethren in the Churches (Abb.). But the expression is a general one, applying to all who sought by their sophistries to palliate the vices in question or make them appear to be no vices. These would be found mostly (though by no manner of necessity exclusively) among the heathen, especially among such Gentiles as heard the truth and remained unbelieving. This is most accordant with the descriptive terms which follow, viz.υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας; μὴσυμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν; ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος. (So Mey., Ell., etc.)— διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ ἔρχεται ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God. The διὰ ταῦτα, which is placed emphatically first, refers of course to the sins in question; not to the “vain words,” as Chrys., e.g., strangely thought. The certainty of the Divine retribution is added as an enforcement of the previous warnings. It is given in terms of a solemn present ( ἔρχεται) and in the form of “the wrath of God”—an expression which occupies a very large place both in the OT and in the NT. This ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ is not to be limited (with Ritschl.) to the judgment of the last day, or taken as synonymous with the vindicta Dei, or resolved into a figure of speech with no reality behind it, or identified simply with certain effects—the workings of conscience, the shortness and the ills of life, the penalties of the present existence, etc. It is given in Scripture, just as the love, the righteousness, the holiness of God are given, as an affectus and not merely an effectus, a quality of the perfect moral nature of God, an attitude and sensibility of the Divine Mind toward evil. It is exhibited as operating now, but also as looking to fulfil itself completely in the final adjustment. Here its future operation in the ultimate awards may be specially in view, but not that alone. Meyer puts it too narrowly when he says it is “the wrath of God in the day of judgment, which future, as in Ephesians 5:5, is realised as present”.— ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας: upon the sons of disobedience. For ἀπειθείας WH prefer ἀπειθείας. The phrase has been used already in Ephesians 2:2, and there with reference to the unregenerate. Here, again, it describes the persons in respect of their “essential and innate disobedience” (Ell.). The ἀπειθεία in view is the denial of faith, disobedience to the truth of the Gospel of God, and so to God Himself; see on Ephesians 2:2, and cf. Romans 11:30; Romans 11:32; Romans 15:31; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11.

Verse 7

Ephesians 5:7. μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν: become not ye then partakers with them. γίνεσθε again = “do not become,” “suffer not yourselves to be”; not ἐστε, “be not”. What is meant is a possible falling back into ways by grace forsaken. The participation which is negatived is obviously taking part with the sons of disobedience ( αὐτῶν) in their vices, not merely in their punishment or in the ὀργή. The term συμμέτοχος (or συνμέτοχος, TWH) occurs only here and in Ephesians 3:6 above. The οὖν has the force which it has in Ephesians 5:1, giving the inference to be drawn from the statement of the wrath of God.

Verse 8

Ephesians 5:8. ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος: for ye were once darkness. A consideration in support of the previous exhortation, viz., the consideration that with them the condition in which such sins could be indulged was wholly past and gone. The ἦτε is put emphatically first to throw stress on the fact that all that is now behind them, and surely not a condition to which they could revert. No μέν requires to be supplied here. Its omission in this clause, while the next has δέ, is nothing strange or irregular, the μέν being inserted only “when the first clause is intended to stand in connection with and prepare the reader for the opposition to the second” (Ell.). See Ell. on Galatians 2:15; Jelf, Greek Gram., p 765; Donaldson, Greek Gram., pp. 575–578. It has to be remembered also that the correlation of those two particles has by no means the position in NT Greek which it has in classical Greek. In point of fact it has little or no place in the Catholic Epistles except 1 Pet. (to some extent), or in 2 Thess., 1 Tim., Tit., Philem., and the Apoc., and is comparatively rare even in the Gospels; cf. Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, pp. 266, 267. The abstract σκότος, instead of ἐσκοτισμένοι or similar concrete form, adds greatly to the force of the representation. They were darkness itself,—persons “in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway” (Thay.-Grimm), so utterly sunk in ignorance of Divine things, so wholly lost in the evils accompanying such ignorance.— νῦν δὲ φῶς κυρίῳ: but now ye are light in the Lord. Instead of what they once were they had become enlightened by the Gospel, discerners of Divine truth and subjects of the new life which it opens to men. The completeness of the change is indicated again by the use of the abstract term—so possessed and penetrated were they by that truth that they could be described not simply as enlightened but as themselves now light. And this “in the Lord,” for it was in virtue of their fellowship with Christ that this new apprehension of things came to them, transforming their lives.— ὡς τέκνα φωτός περιπατεῖτε: walk as children of light. The strong abstracts σκότος, φῶς, come in fitly before the exhortation and make it more pointed. The omission of οὖν or any similar particle adds further to the force of the exhortation. If these Ephesians were now “light in the Lord,” it was not for themselves only but for others. They were called to live a life beseeming those to whom Christian enlightenment and purity had become their proper nature; cf. Luke 16:8; John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5. Nothing is to be made of the absence of the article here in contrast with τοῦ φωτὸς of Ephesians 5:2, the general practice being to insert or omit the article in the case of the governed noun according as the governing noun has it or wants it (Rose’s Middleton, On the Greek Article, iii., 3, 7, p. 49).

Verse 9

Ephesians 5:9. γὰρ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος [ φωτός]: for the fruit of the Spirit [the light]. The reading of the TR, τοῦ πνεύματος, which is that of such uncials as (540)3(541) (542), most cursives, Syr.-P., Chrys., etc., must give place to τοῦ φωτός, which is supported by (543) (544) (545) (546)*(547) (548), 672, Vulg., Goth., Boh., Arm., Orig., etc. The πνεύματος is probably a correction from Galatians 5:22. The whole verse is in effect a parenthesis, and is printed as such by the RV. But it is a parenthesis with a purpose, the γάρ being at once explanatory and confirmatory. It gives a reason for the previous injunction and an enforcement of it; the point being this—“Walk as I charge you; for anything else would be out of keeping with what is proper to the light and is produced by it”. καρπός, fruit, a figurative term for the moral results of the light, its products as a whole; cf. Matthew 3:8; Philippians 1:11, etc. In the corresponding statement in Galatians 5:22, where the καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος is contrasted with τὰ ἔργα τῆς σαρκός, the singular term may also suggest the idea of the unity of the life and character resulting from the Spirit.— ἐν πάσῃ ἀγαθωσύνῃ: is in all goodness. ἐστι, is, consists, is left unexpressed after καρπός. The πάσῃ here again has the force of “every form of,”—in goodness in all its forms. The noun ἀγαθωσύνη appears again in Romans 16:14; Galatians 5:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:11. Thus it occurs only four times in the Pauline writings. It is used in the LXX, but appears not to belong to classical Greek. It varies somewhat in sense. In the OT it means sometimes good as opposed to evil (Psalms 38:20; Psalms 52:3), sometimes enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 4:8), sometimes benevolence, the bountiful goodness of God (Nehemiah 9:25). Here and in the other Pauline passages it is taken by some in the sense of uprightness, but appears rather to mean active goodness, beneficence; cf. Trench, Syn., p. 218.— καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ: and righteousness. δικαιοσύνη here has the sense of rectitude, probity, freedom from the morally wrong or imperfect, as in Matthew 3:15; Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:20, etc., and as also in such Pauline passages as Romans 6:13; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:18-20; Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 6:14, etc.— καὶ ἀληθείᾳ: and truth. ἀλήθεια here in the subjective sense of moral truth, sincerity and integrity as opposed to falsehood, hypocrisy and the like; cf. John 3:21; 1 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:18, etc. Here, then, Christian morality is given in its three great forms of the good, the just, the true. Abbott compares the “justice, mercy, and truth” of the Gospels and Butler’s “justice, truth, and regard to the common good”.

Verse 10

Ephesians 5:10. δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ: proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord. The exhortation given in Ephesians 5:8, interrupted by the enforcement introduced in Ephesians 5:9, is now continued and explained. The participial sentence defines the walk which was enjoined in respect of the way in which it is to be made good. It is a walk which is to be taken up and carried out in the light of a constant trial of what pleases the Lord. The verb δοκιμάζειν here has its primary sense of proving, testing (cf. Romans 12:2), rather than its secondary sense of approving (cf. Romans 14:22; 1 Corinthians 16:3, etc.). Here, therefore, the δοκιμάζοντες expresses the idea of the careful trial, “the activity and experimental energy” (Ell.), necessary to the walk. The answer of the conscience (Romans 14:23), or conformity to the Gospel (Romans 1:16; Philippians 1:27), is given elsewhere as the test of the Christian walk. Here its correspondence with what is pleasing to God is given as its final proof and its most distinctive characteristic. εὐάρεστον is better rendered on the whole “well-pleasing” (RV), especially when Colossians 1:10 is compared, than “acceptable” (AV).

Verse 11

Ephesians 5:11. καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους: and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. TWH again prefer the form συνκοινωνεῖτε. The verb has its usual force here, and takes us back to the συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν of Ephesians 5:7. The only question is whether it governs the ἔργοις itself, or an αὐτοῖς or αὐτῶν understood. Looking to the συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν above, the συγκοινωνήσαντές μου τῇ θλίψει of Philippians 4:14, etc., some prefer the latter, = “have no fellowship with them in the works”. But the gen. probably would then be the proper case for the things in which the participation took place; cf. the use of συγκοινωνεῖν with τινί τινος (Dio Cass., xxxvii., 41, etc.), and συγκοινωνὸς τῆς ῥίζης, etc. (Romans 11:17). Here, therefore, as in the case of the ἁμαρτίαις in Revelation 18:4 and even the θλίψει in Philippians 4:14, the verb is best understood as governing the ἔργοις directly. Elsewhere we read of ἔργα πονηρά (Colossians 1:21), and νεκρὰ ἔργα (Hebrews 6:1); here of ἔργα ἄκαρπα, works which result in no gain, yield nothing pleasant or profitable, bring no blessing or reward with them; cf. the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:22.— μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε: but rather even reprove them. This rendering of the RV is on the whole the best. AV omits the even. The other old English Versions render similarly, except Wicl., who has “but more”; Genesis , 2, which gives “but even reprove them rather”; and Bish., “but even rebuke”. The formula μᾶλλον δὲ καί, combines the ideas of the corrective ( μᾶλλον), the adversative ( δέ) and the ascensive ( καί), and means, therefore, “but rather even,” not merely “yea, much more”. Without the καί the phrase μᾶλλον δέ has the force of a corrective climax; cf. Mey. on Romans 8:34, Galatians 4:9, and Fritz. on Romans 8:34. It was not enough, therefore, for them simply to abstain from such works; they must even reprove them. The question, however, is what is the proper sense of ἐλέγχετε here, and what is the force of the whole sentence? Some give the verb the sense of reproving, but understand the reproof in view to be both in word and in deed (Olsh.), or only in deed, i.e., the reproof conveyed by the spectacle of a pure life and consistently moral walk. Others, looking to the following τὰ γὰρ κρυφῆ γινόμενα, etc., and thinking it incongruous to speak of an oral rebuke in connection with a statement of the shame it is even to speak of the sins in question, would give the verb the sense of exposing (Abb.). But both the context and the general idea connected with ἐλέγχειν in the Pauline writings (cf., e.g., 1 Corinthians 14:24; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15) point to the notion of oral reproof. The idea, therefore, is that these Christians were not at liberty to deal lightly with such sins, or connive at them, or be silent about them, but had to speak out against them and hold them up to rebuke, with the view of bringing their heathen neighbours to apprehend their turpitude and forsake them.

Verse 12

Ephesians 5:12. τὰ γὰρ κρυφῆ γινόμενα ὑπʼ αὐτῶν αἰσχρόν ἐστι καὶ λέγειν: for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. This rendering of the RV, which follows Ellicott’s, does more justice to the order of the Greek than that of the AV. The term κρυφῆ occurs only this once in the NT but it is found occasionally in the LXX. Lach., WH, Mey., etc., prefer the form κρυφῆ; most editors and grammarians (Treg., Tisch., Alf., Jelf, Win., etc.) adopt κρυφῇ; cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 52, 53. The γάρ introduces a reason for, or a confirmation of, the charge to reprove the sins. But what of the special point and connection? Some (e.g., Harl.) would refer the γάρ to the μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε, as if = “do not take part in their sins, for they are too vile even to mention”. But this does not do justice to the difference between the κρυφῆ γινόμενα and the ἔργα τοῦ σκότους. Others, putting more into the λέγειν than it can properly bear, understand it as as = “rebuke these sins openly, for to speak of them in any other terms than that of rebuke is shameful”. Bengel finds in it a reason for the sins being only referred to and not specified by name. Stier, supposing the reproof de facto to be in view, makes it = “do not even name these sins, for if you did so you would yourselves be sinning, whereas your walk in the light will be their reproof”. Others (Von Sod., Abb.), adopting the sense of “expose” for ἐλέγχειν, take the idea to be—“do not participate in these works, but expose them, for the things they do secretly it is a shame even to mention; but all these things when exposed by the light are made manifest in their true character”. But the course of thought is simpler. The secrecy of the works in question is the reason why they require to be openly reproved; and the point is this—the heathen practise in secret vices too abominable even to mention; all the more is the need of open rebuke instead of silent overlooking or connivance (Mey., Ell., etc.). It is not all heathen sins, therefore, that are in view; for it would be an exaggeration to say that all such vices were of a kind too shameful even to speak of; but a certain class of sins, that worst class which are done in secret. This is in harmony with the emphatic position of the κρυφῆ and with the contrast in the φανεροῦται. But if the expression κρυφῆ γινόμενα covers less than the ἔργα τοῦ σκότους, there is nothing on the other hand to indicate that it refers specifically to the immoral licence of the Pagan mysteries, or any other single instance of dark and infamous excess. It includes all those shameless heathen indulgences which sought the cover of secrecy.

Verse 13

Ephesians 5:13. τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐλεγχόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται, πᾶν γὰρ τὸ φανερούμενον φῶς ἐστί: but all, when they are reproved, are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. Both the connection and the import of some of the words here are difficult to determine, and various interpretations have been proposed. The RV renders it “but all things when they are reproved are made manifest,” treating it as a general statement. But the point and the harmony of the whole verse are best seen if the phrase τὰ πάντα is taken to refer to the secret practices which have been immediately in view, = “all of them,” “all these things”. The ἐλεγχόμενα, again, must have its proper sense of reproved or rebuked, and cannot be dealt with as synonymous with πεφανεροῦται. The anarthrous participle will express the manner or the time of the action in question, and is not = “all things which are reproved” (Vulg., AV, etc.), but is = “all these things when they are reproved”. The πᾶν must be accepted as a neuter, there being no reason for taking it (with Bengel) as abstract for concrete and so = “every man”. Further, the φανερούμενον and the φανεροῦται are naturally to be taken as of the same Voice. That the former cannot have the force of the Middle, “that which makes manifest,” appears from the fact that there does not appear to be any instance of φανεροῦσθαι being anything else than a pure passive in the NT, although it occurs some fifty times there. Two particular difficulties remain, viz., (a) the connection of ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός, and (b) the sense of φῶς in the two clauses. As to (a), some attach the words to the ἐλεγχόμενα, = “when they are reproved by the light” (Syr., Copt., etc.). But, as the ἐλέγχετε (Ephesians 5:11) was introduced without any specification of the agent, it is most natural to connect the ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός here not with the participle but with the fin. verb, and the best sense is got thereby. As to (b), it is held by some (e.g., Ell.) that the term φῶς must have the same sense in both clauses, whether the primary sense or the metaphorical. But it is difficult to get a clear and consistent sense for the statement on that supposition, neither is it necessary that the τοῦ φωτός in the first clause should have identically the same sense as φῶς in the second. In point of fact in the former the idea of the Christian light, the light of the Christian truth previously referred to, seems to be in view; while in the latter clause, which gives a general statement in support of the preceding particular affirmation, φῶς has its primary sense. It should be added that, if φανερούμενον is part of the statement of a general truth, the objection taken by some (e.g., Abb.) to the interpretation that deals with it as a true passive, viz., that it should then be πεφανερωμένον, falls to the ground. These considerations, therefore, negative all such interpretations as these—(1) “he who does not refuse to be made manifest, becomes an enlightened one” (Beng.); (2) “for all that is enlightened by the light, is itself light” (Olsh.); (3) “all things which are tested by the light of the doctrine of Christ, one has no need to keep secret; all, however, which one can perform openly is itself light”; (4) all those constructions which give φανερούμενον the Middle sense, e.g., omne enim illud, quod manifesta facit alia, lux est (Erasm.); lux enim illud est quod omnia facit manifesta (Beza; similarly Calv., Bleek, etc.); (5) and all that make the light the agent of the ἐλέγχειν (De Wette, etc.). The sense, therefore, is this—“all these shameful things which are done by them in secret, when they are subjected to the open rebuke which Christians ought to give them, are laid bare by the light of the Christian truth acting in their reproof, so that the doers of them are made to see them in the odiousness of their real nature; for everything that is disclosed in its real colours ceases to be secret and becomes of the nature of light”. So substantially Mey., Ell., etc. The δέ also has its proper, adversative force, as if = “these things indeed are done in secret; but (or yet) they are made manifest and displayed in their true character, when you reprove them in the power of Christian truth”. Thus, the whole sentence becomes a further reason, derived from the effects of the act, for practising the ἐλέγχειν; and the second clause confirms the particular power ascribed to the Christian φῶς by reference to the general statement of the connection between manifestation and light.

Verse 14

Ephesians 5:14. διὸ λέγει, ἔγειραι καθεύδων καὶ ἀνάστα ἑκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι χριστός: Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. So the RV, better on the whole than the “shall give thee light” of the AV. The verse contains a quotation, but the great difficulty is in ascertaining its source and understanding its precise point. It is introduced by the subordinating, co-ordinating, and causal particle διό (on which see under Ephesians 2:11, and cf. Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 233; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 274) = διʼ , “on which account,” i.e., “things being as I have stated them we have the Divine word, ‘Arise,’ ” etc. The λέγει is taken by some (Haupt, Abb.) as = it is said; but in Paul’s general use it is personal, θεός or similar subject being understood; while φησὶ is the formula that may be used impersonally. (See on Ephesians 4:8, and cf. Bernh., Synt., xii., 4, p. 419.) For ἔγειραι of the TR, which is the reading of the cursives, ἔγειρε, which is supported by (549) (550) (551) (552) (553) (554) (555) and practically all uncials, must be accepted. It requires no σεαυτόν to be supplied; neither is it to be explained as an Active with a Middle sense; but is best understood as a formula like ἄγε, with the force of up! The imper. ἀνάστα for ἀνάστηθι occurs again in Acts 12:7, as also in Theocr., 24, 36; Menander (Mein.), p. 48, etc.; cf. ἀνάβα (Revelation 4:1), κατάβα (Mark 15:30; but with a v. l.). The verb ἑπιφαύσει means properly to dawn, corresponding to the ordinary Greek ἐπιφώσκω, which is used also in the narratives of the Resurrection in Matthew 28:1; Luke 23:54. This is the only occurrence in the NT of the form ἐπιφαύσκω, which is found occasionally, however, in the LXX (Job 25:5; Job 31:6; Job 41:10, etc.). The noun ὑπόφαυσις also occurs in Herod., vii., 30. Instead of ἐπιφαύσει σοι χριστός (556)* and certain manuscripts mentioned by Chrys., Theod., Jer., etc., read ἑπιψαύσει σοι χριστός or ἐπιψαύσει τοῦ χριστός. This reading was connected with the legend that our Lord’s Cross was planted above Adam’s burial-place, and that our first father was to be raised from the dead by the touch of the Saviour’s body and blood. The clause as we have it means not merely “Christ will cause His face to shine graciously upon thee,” but “Christ will shine upon thee with the light of His truth and bring thee out of the pagan darkness of ignorance and immorality”.

So much for the terms. But whence does the passage come? The answer which first suggests itself, and which is given by many (Calv., Est., Beng., Harl., Olsh., Hofm., Weiss, Alf., Ell., etc.), is that it is a quotation from the OT, as the formula λέγει indicates, and in fact a very free reproduction and application of Isaiah 60:1. The difficulty lies in the extreme freedom with which the original words are handled. There is but a very slender resemblance between what we have here and the LXX version of the prophetic verse, viz., φωτίζου, φωτίζου, ἰερουσαλήμ, ἥκει γάρ σου τὸ φῶς καὶ δόξα κυρίου ἐπί σε ἀνατέταλκεν. Nor should we have a different condition, if we supposed Paul in this case to have followed the Hebrew text. Hence some (Beza, etc.) imagine that Paul has combined with Isaiah 60:1 other Isaianic passages (e.g., Isaiah 9:1, Isaiah 26:19, Isaiah 52:1). But while it is true that Paul does elsewhere use great liberty in modifying, combining, and applying OT passages, it cannot be said either that these words of Isaiah have much relation to the quotation, or that we have in Paul’s writings (even Romans 10:6, etc., not excepted) any case quite parallel to this. Others, therefore, conclude that the passage is from some apocryphal writing, the Apocalypse of Elias (Epiph.), a prophecy under the name of Jeremiah (Geor. Syncell.), one of the writings attributed to Enoch (Cod. (557), margin). But though Paul might have quoted from an apocryphal book, and some think he has done it, e.g., in 1 Corinthians 2:9, it is certain that his habit is to quote only from the OT, and further this formula of citation appears always to introduce an OT passage. Meyer tries to solve the difficulty by the somewhat far-fetched supposition that Paul really quoted from some apocryphal writing, but by a lapse of memory took it for a part of canonical Scripture. Others suggest that he is quoting a saying of our Lord not recorded in the Gospels (cf. Resch., Agrapha, pp. 222, 289), or a baptismal formula, or some hymn (Mich., Storr, etc.). The choice must be between the first-mentioned explanation and the last. Notwithstanding the confessed difficulties of the case, there is not a little to incline us to the idea that, although in a very inexact and unusual form, we have a biblical quotation before us here. On the other hand it is urged (e.g., by Haupt) with some force that the rhythmical character of the passage favours the supposition that we have here a snatch from some very ancient hymn or liturgical composition. The question must be confessed to be still open. But what in any case is the point of the quotation here? The passage is introduced in connection with the reference to the effects of a faithful ἔλεγξεις and under the impression of the figure of the light. It takes the form of an appeal to wake out of the pagan condition of sin, described by the two-fold figure of sleep and death, and of a promise that then Christ will shine upon the sinner with the saving light of His truth. The quotation comes in relevantly, therefore, as a further enforcement both of the need for the reproof which is enjoined, and of the good effects of such a reproof faithfully exercised.

Verse 15

Ephesians 5:15. βλέπετε οὖν πῶς ἀκριβῶς [ ἀκριβῶς πως] περιπατεῖτε: take heed then how ye walk with strictness [or, take heed carefully how ye walk]. The writer passes from the statement of the need of the ἔλεγξις and its profitable effects into which he had been led for a space, and returns to the exhortation of Ephesians 5:8. The οὖν has its resumptive force here; as indeed it is a particle not so much of inference as of “continuation and retrospection” (Donald.), and is better rendered “then,” “accordingly,” “to proceed,” than “therefore” (see Win.-Moult., p. 553; Ell. on Galatians 3:5; and especially Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 571). It is out of place to give βλέπετε any such sense as “make use of the light so as to see,” as if it had regard to the φῶς previously mentioned. It has the simple force of “take heed,” as in Matthew 13:23; Matthew 13:33; 1 Corinthians 10:7; Philippians 3:2; Colossians 4:17. It is followed by πῶς again in Luke 8:18; 1 Corinthians 3:10. The particular shade of meaning attributable to ἀκριβῶς here turns in some degree on the reading. The TR gives πῶς ἀκριβῶς, following (558)5(559) (560) (561) (562) (563) (564) and most MSS., with the Vulg., Syr., Arm. Versions, and such Fathers as Theodor., Jerome, etc. If this order is adopted ἀκριβῶς, which = “exactly,” “diligently” (Matthew 2:8; Luke 1:3; Acts 18:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:2), will express the idea of strict conformity to a standard, carefulness against any departure from what is proper to a Christian walk. So the AV and other old English Versions render it “circumspectly” or (Wicl., Rhem.) “warily”—a very good translation. In (565) (566) (567)17, Origen, etc., the order is ἀκριβῶς πῶς, and this is adopted by TTr marg. WRV. In that case the injunction loses its distinctive note, and instead of the charge to take heed how they walked “with strict carefulness,” we have the plain exhortation to “take heed carefully” how they walked. The πῶς in either case should have its proper sense “how” (as in Cran., Cov., Rhem. and similarly Wicl.), not “that” (as in AV and the rest of the old English Versions). Further, the περιπατεῖτε is not an indic. with a conjunctive force, as if = “take heed how ye should walk,” but a proper indic.; the point being the need of looking carefully at the way in which the Christian walk was being carried out there and then. See Win.-Moult., p. 376, and cf. ἔκαστος βλεπέτω πῶς οἰκοδομετῖ in 1 Corinthians 3:10.— μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι, ἀλλʼ ὡς σοφοί: not as unwise, but as wise. Some think that some such term as περιπατοῦντες must be supplied here. But it is unnecessary, the μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι being dependent on the πῶς περιπατεῖτε and explanatory of it, = “how ye walk, to wit, not as unwise, but as wise”. The subjective negative μή is in point because the whole sentence is also dependent on the βλέπετε. The nature of the walk to be consistently pursued is placed in the stronger light by the antithetic parallelism; a form especially characteristic of the Johannine writings; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 762. They were to walk as those who had the character ( ὡς) not of fools, but of wise men.

Verses 15-21

Ephesians 5:15-21. A paragraph closely connected with the former, and specifying various things belonging to the correctness and consistency of the Christian walk.

Verse 16

Ephesians 5:16. ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρόν: buying up for yourselves the opportunity. Definition of the ὡς σοφοί, specifying the way in which they were to give token of the quality of wisdom. The expression occurs only once again in the NT (in Colossians 4:5); and there are but few proper parallels to it. The phrase as used in Daniel 2:8 has rather the sense of gaining time, delaying. The classical phrase καιρὸν πρίασθαι (used, e.g., by Demosthenes) has the plain meaning of purchasing for money. Even the κερδαντέον τὸ παρόν cited from Anton., vi., 26, and the καιρὸν ἁρπάζειν of Plut. (Philop., 15) are but partial analogies. In the NT the verb ἐξαγοράζειν has at times the sense of redeeming, ransoming one from another by payment of a price, and so it is applied to Christ’s vicarious death (Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5). It has the sense of ransoming occasionally in profane Greek (e.g., Diodor., 36, 1, p. 530). Hence some take the idea here to be that of redeeming, as from the power of Satan (Calv.), or from the power of evil men (Beng.); the sacrifice of earthly things being taken by some (Chrys. Theophyl., Oec., etc.) to be the purchase-price. But it is doubtful whether any such technical or metaphorical sense can be attached to the word here, where the subject in view is the plain duty of a careful Christian walk. The simpler sense of buying is more appropriate to the context. The ἐξ- probably has its intensive force, although Ellicott takes it to refer merely to the “undefined time or circumstances, out of which, in each particular case, the καιρός is to be bought”. Giving the Middle also its proper sense, we get the sense of “buying up for yourselves”. The thing to be “bought up” is the καιρός, not “the time,” but “the fit time,” the “opportunity,” and the purchase-money implied in the figure is left undefined, but may be the careful heed expended on their walk. Thus the sense comes to be this—the character of wisdom by which their walk was to be distinguished was to show itself in the prompt and discerning zeal with which they made every opportunity their own, and suffered no fitting season for the fulfilment of Christian duty to pass unused. Luther’s “suit yourselves to the time” would require some such phrase as δουλεύειν τῷ καιρῷ (Romans 12:11), and is otherwise inappropriate. Other explanations, such as Harless’s supposition that the matter in view is the fit time for letting the ἔλεγξις break in upon the darkness of sin, are remote from the immediate subject or impart ideas which are not in the text. The RV gives “redeeming the time” in the text, and “buying up the opportunity” in the margin.— ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσι: because the days are evil. Statement of motive for buying up the opportunity, viz., the evil of the time. The context makes it clear that what is in view is the moral evil of the days, not merely as, e.g., in Genesis 47:9, their difficulties and troubles (Beza, etc.). The fact that the times in which they lived were morally so corrupt was a strong reason for making every opportunity for good, which such times might offer, their own.

Verse 17

Ephesians 5:17. διὰ τοῦτο μὴ γίνεσθε ἄφρονες: for this cause become not ye foolish. The διὰ τοῦτο may refer to the immediately preceding clause (Rück., De Wette, etc.), the evil of the days being a reason for avoiding folly. It is better, however, to refer it to the main idea, that of the walk, than to the subordinate. The manner of walk which they were called to pursue required the cultivation of wisdom, not of folly. The γίνεσθε, again, is not to be reduced to the sense of ἐστε. Contemplating them as in the Christian position Paul charges them not to suffer themselves to slip back again into folly—a thing inconsistent with the walk required of the Christian. ἄφρονες is a strong term = without reason, senseless, lacking moral intelligence.— ἀλλὰ συνιέντες [ συνίετε] τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ κυρίου: but understanding [understand] what the will of the Lord is. The reading varies here between συνιέντες, as in TR, with (568)3(569) (570) (571) and the mass of MSS., Vulg., Syr.-P., etc.; συνιόντες, with (572)*(573), etc.; and συνίετε, with (574) (575) (576) (577)17, etc., which is adopted by LTTr WRV. For κυροις Lachmann gives θεοῦ in the margin, but on slight authority. The κύριος, as in Acts 21:14; 1 Corinthians 4:19, is Christ. As distinguished from γινώσκειν, συνιέναι expresses intelligent, comprehending knowledge, more than acquaintance with a thing or mere matter of fact knowledge.

Verse 18

Ephesians 5:18. καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ: and be not made drunk with wine. A particular case of the ἀφροσύνη to be avoided is now mentioned. The καί is used here, as, e.g., also in Mark 1:5, to add a special designation to a general, inclusive statement; Win.-Moult., p. 546. The case is the abuse of wine. But there is nothing to suggest any reference to excess at the Agapae (1 Corinthians 11:21) in especial. ἐν ἐστιν ἀσωτία: wherein is dissoluteness. Or, with the RV, “wherein is riot”. The AV, Tynd., Cov., Cran., Gen., Bish., all give “excess”; Wicl. has lechery, and the Rhem. riotousness. ἀσωτία (cf. Proverbs 28:7) expresses the idea of an abandoned, debauched life; literally, the condition of one who is past salvation. The ἐν refers not to the οἶνος alone (which might infer a Gnostic view of matter or Montanistic, ascetic ideas of life), but to the whole phrase μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ—the becoming drunk with wine.— ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι: but be filled with the Spirit. The verb πληροῦν is construed with the gen. of the thing that fills (e.g., Acts 2:28; Acts 5:28; Acts 13:52, pass., etc.); or with the Hebraistic acc. (Colossians 1:9); or with the dat. (Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 7:4, etc.). The construction with ἐν here is exceptional. Hence some prefer to understand πνεύματι of man’s spirit, and render it (as RV margin) “be filled in spirit”. The contrast would then be between being filled in one’s physical or carnal nature and filled in one’s spiritual nature (so Braune, and in effect Abb.). In NT Greek, however, verbs that are followed by the simple dat. sometimes vary it by a prepositional form, e.g., βαπτίζεσθαι ὕδατι (Luke 3:16) and ἐν ὕδατι (Matthew 3:11), παντὶ τρόπῳ (Philippians 1:18) and ἐνπαντὶ τρόπῳ (2 Thessalonians 2:16), etc.; and the formula πληροῦν or πληροῦσθαι ἐν is not wholly without analogy; cf. τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου, Ephesians 1:23 above; and Colossians 4:12, πεπληροφορημένοι ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ, where indeed the πεπληρωένοι of the TR must give place to another verb, yet one with the same idea, the sense being probably “filled with everything willed by God” (cf. Win.-Moult., p. 272; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 117). The ἐν may be taken, therefore, as the instrum. ἐν, and the sense will be “filled with or by the Spirit”. Some (e.g., Ell., Alf.) would combine the ideas of in and by, supposing the unusual phrase to be chosen with a view to convey the fact that the Holy Spirit is not only the instrument by which the Christian man is filled, but that also in which he is so filled. But this is a needless refinement. The contrast, as most commentators recognise, is not merely between the οἴνῳ and the πνεύματι, but between the μεθύσκεσθε and the πληροῦσθε. Otherwise the order would have been μὴ οἴνῳ μεθύσκεσθε, ἀλλʼ ἐν πνεύματι πληροῦσθε (Mey.). The contrast is not between the instruments but between the states—between two elevated states, one due to the excitement of wine, the other to the inspiration and enlightenment of the Spirit.

Verse 19

Ephesians 5:19. λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς: speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Lachm. inserts ἐν before ψαλμοῖς; Tr and WH place it in the margin, on the authority of (578) (579) 17, 672, Vulg., Jer. πνευματικαῖς is bracketed by Lach., but is to be retained, as being found in all authorities with the exception of a very few—(580), d, e, etc. The AV and the other old English Versions render ἑαυτοῖς “yourselves,” and the RV gives this a place in the margin. But in all probability ἑαυτοῖς has the reciprocal sense = ἀλλήλοις, as in Ephesians 4:32 (cf. Jelf, Greek Gram., § 654, 2). The idea is not that of meditation, but that of converse. There is nothing, however, to suggest the thought of actual worship. The sentence specifies one of the ways in which the condition of being “filled with the Spirit” would express itself. In their intercourse one with another their language would not be that of ordinary convention, far less that of base intoxication, but that of spiritual devotion and thankfulness. Reference is made by many commentators to Pliny’s well-known report of the practice of the Christians of Bithynia and Pontus—carmen Christo quasi Deo dicunt secum invicem (Ep., x., 97); but what is in view there is responsive praise in the Lord’s Day worship. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are mentioned again in Colossians 3:16. What the distinctions are, if any, between the three terms has been considerably disputed. ψαλμός is a religious song, especially one sung to a musical accompaniment, and par excellence an OT psalm; ὕμνος is properly speaking a song of praise; ᾠδή is the most general term, applicable to all kinds of songs, secular or sacred, accompanied or unaccompanied (cf. Trench, Syn., p. 279; Light. on Colossians 3:16). The three words are brought together here with a view to rhetorical force, and it is precarious, therefore, to build much upon supposed differences between them. There is nothing to warrant Harless’s idea that the ψαλμός is the spiritual song for Jewish-Christians and the ὕμνος for Gentile-Christians; or Olshausen’s supposition that the term ψαλμοῖς is to be limited to the OT psalms which had passed over into the Christian Church. There were Christian psalms—psalms which the Holy Spirit moved the primitive Christians to utter when they came together in worship (1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26), as He moved them to speak with tongues (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6). It is probable, therefore, that these are intended here, especially in view of what has been said of being “filled by the Spirit”. If the terms, therefore, are to be distinguished at all, the case will be simply this—that the ψαλμοί and the ὕμνοι are specific kinds of ᾠδαί πνευματικαί, and that the former are the Christian psalms which worshippers were inspired to sing, and which no doubt would be like the familiar psalms of Israel, while the latter were songs of praise to Christ or to God. On this view the adj. πνευματικαῖς is attached to the ᾠδαῖς not merely to differentiate these ᾠδαί as religious and not secular, but to describe them as inspired by the Holy Ghost.— ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ κυρίῳ: singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The ἐν of the TR is supported by (581) (582), most cursives, Syr.-Harcl., Arm., etc. It is omitted by (583) (584) (585), Orig., etc., and is deleted by LT[Tr]WHRV. For τῇ καρδίᾳ, Lachm. prefers ταῖς καρδίαις, which is given by (586)3(587) (588) (589) (590), Vulg., Boh., Syr. ψάλλοντες, properly = playing on a stringed instrument, and then = singing, especially to an instrument (Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; James 5:13). The τῷ κυρίῳ will have its usual reference, viz., to Christ. The question, however, is whether this clause is to be taken as coordinate or as subordinate. Does it add something to the previous λαλοῦντες clause, or simply explain and extend it? The latter view has been accepted by many from Theodoret downwards, who understand the point here to be that the speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs was not to be a formal thing or a matter of the lips only, but the utterance of the heart, “with the heart” (RV). But this would be expressed rather by ἐκ τῆς καρδίας or κατὰ τὴν καρδίαν. The rendering “heartily” also would be easier if there were no ὑμῶν. Besides the contrast in the context is not between lip-praise and heart-praise on the part of Christians, but between Christian converse expressing itself in praise, and the vain or profligate talk of the heathen. Hence (with Harl., Mey., Ell., Alf.), it is best to give ἐν its proper sense of in, and to understand the clause as referring to the melody that takes place in the stillness of the heart. It specifies a second kind of praise in addition to that of the λαλοῦντες—the unvoiced praise of meditation and inward worship.

Verse 20

Ephesians 5:20. εὐχαριστοῦντες πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων: giving thanks always for all things. Another coordinate clause giving a third and more particular way in which the being “filled with the Spirit” should express itself. The two preceding sentences referred to praise, both outwardly with the mouth and inwardly in the silence of the heart. This third sentence mentions a special form of praise, viz., thanksgiving. This thanksgiving is described as a constant duty, the πάντοτε which would have been inappropriate with the λαλοῦντες and with the ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες being in place here where, as in the case of joy and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17), the matter is one primarily of attitude or spirit. The ὑπὲρ πάντων, “for all things” (neut., not masc., as understood by Theodor.), is taken by many in its widest possible extent, as including things evil as well as good. The Epistle does not deal, however, particularly with the sufferings of the Christian, but with what he receives from God and what his consequent duty is. It is most accordant, therefore, with the context to understand the πάντων as referring to all the blessings of the Christian, the whole good that comes to him from God.— ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ: in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase ἐν ὀνόματιχριστοῦ is different from ἐν χριστῷ and of wider application. It has different shades of meaning, authority, power, honour, dependence, etc., in different connections. Here probably it expresses the idea of doing something in dependence upon Christ, or in regardfulness of what Christ is; cf. John 14:13; John 15:16; John 16:23; Colossians 3:7.— τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί: to God and the Father. The RV gives “to God, even the Father” in its text, and “to the God and Father” in the margin. But the most appropriate rendering of the title is the above. The title designates One who is God and at the same time Father; the Fatherhood here, as elsewhere, being no doubt primarily the relation to Christ, as is suggested by the ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι, etc.

Verse 21

Ephesians 5:21. ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις: subjecting yourselves one to another. The connection of this clause is by no means clear. It is taken by not a few (Calv., Matthies, etc.) as an independent clause, the participle being dealt with as an imperative. But there is nothing to suggest the ἐστε which would have to be supplied. To relate the clause to the paragraph which follows means that it is the introductory, general statement, of which we have a particular application in what is said of the γυναῖκες. But in that case we should expect the duty of the γυναῖκες to be conveyed by a noun distinct from ὑποτασσόμενοι, but denoting a form of behaviour that would come easily under the comprehensive duty expressed by the participle. It is best to connect the clause, therefore, with what precedes it, and to take it as a fourth coordinate clause, giving yet another way in which the condition of being “filled with the Spirit” should express itself. The former three dealt with spiritual converse, praise, and thanksgiving; this one deals with what is due from ourselves to others. It is appended to the other three as a summary statement of duty in our relations one to another, of which particular applications are to be made. Thus it leads easily on to the special obligations which are next enforced. The same comprehensive statement of Christian duty in our earthly relations as summed up in the one idea of mutual ὑπόταξις, in contrast with pagan self-seeking and self-assertion, is given in 1 Peter 5:5.— ἐν φόβῳ θεοῦ [ χριστοῦ]: in the fear of God [of Christ]. The reading of the TR, θεοῦ, is that mostly of the cursives and a few Fathers. It must give place to χριστοῦ, which is given by (591) (592) (593) (594) (595), Vulg., Syr., Boh., etc., and is accepted by LTTrWHRV. Other variations occur, e.g., χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ in D and ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ in (596). The phrase “in the fear of Christ” occurs only this once. Reverence for the Lord Himself was the spirit in which this great duty of mutual subjection was to be fulfilled.

Verse 22

Ephesians 5:22. αἱ γυναῖκες, τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν [ ὑποτάσσεσθε]: Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. The great Christian law of mutual subjection or submissive consideration is now to be unfolded in its bearing on three particular relations which lie at the foundation of man’s social life—those of husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants. The relation of husbands and wives, as the most fundamental, is taken up before the others, and the Christian duty of the wives is set forth first. The reading is somewhat uncertain. The TR inserts ὑποτάσσεσθε, with (597) (598), most cursives, Syr., Chrys., etc. A few manuscripts ((599) (600)) place the ὑποτάσσεσθε after the γυναῖκες. In some important authorities ((601) (602) (603) 17, Boh., Goth., Vulg., Arm., etc.) we find ὑποτασσέσθωσαν; which is accepted by LTr and given a place in the margin by WH. The clause is given without any verb by (604), Clem., and Jer., which last states that the verb was not found in his Greek codices. This shortest form is adopted by WH in their text. The verb is easily supplied from the preceding ὑποτασσόμενοι, and such constructions are quite in Paul’s style. The ἰδίοις (which is omitted in the parallel passage in Colossians 3:18) is here, as often if not always in the NT, something more than a simple possessive. It conveys the idea of what is special, and gives a certain note of emphasis or intensity, = husbands who as such are peculiarly and exclusively theirs; see 1 Peter 3:1, and cf. Ell. in loc.; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 169.— ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ: as to the Lord. That is, to Christ; not to the husband as lord and master. If the husband’s supremacy had been in view, it would have been expressed by τοῖς κυρίοις. The ὡς denotes more than similarly, and more than “just as they are submissive to Christ so should they be to their husbands”. The next sentence, and the whole statement of the relation between husband and wife in the following verse in terms of the relation between Christ and the Church, suggest that the point of the ὡς is that the wife is to regard the obedience she has to render to her husband as an obedience rendered to Christ, the Christian husband being head of the wife and representing to her Christ the Head of the whole Christian body.

Verses 22-33

Ephesians 5:22-33. A paragraph which, in dealing with the duties of wives and husbands as seen in the new light of Christian truth, gives the Christian ideal of the marriage-relation. It is the loftiest conception of that relation that has ever come from human pen, and one than which no higher can be imagined.

Verse 23

Ephesians 5:23. ὅτι ἀνήρ ἐστι κεφαλὴ τῆς γυναικός, ὡς καὶ χριστὸς κεφαλὴ τῆς ἐκκλησίας: because the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church. Reason for a wifely subjection of the kind indicated. It is found in the relation of headship. In the marriage union the husband holds the same relation, viz., that of headship, as Christ holds to the Church, and the headship of the one represents the headship of the other. For ἐστι κεφαλὴ, (605), Vulg., etc., give κεφαλὴ ἐστιν, which WH place in the margin. The before ἀνήρ rests on the slenderest authority, and is omitted by LTTrWHRV on the testimony of (606) (607) (608) (609) (610) (611) (612), etc. The anarthrous ἀνήρ means “a husband” in the sense of any man belonging to the class of husbands. The article, again, is appropriate in τῆς γυναικός, as a definite relation is expressed there = “a husband is head of his wife”. The ὡς καί indicates the point common to the two subjects—each is head, though in relation to different objects.—[ καί] αὐτός [ ἐστι] σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματος: and He is Himself the Saviour of the body. The καί and the ἐστι of the TR have considerable authority ((613)3(614)2, 3(615) (616) (617), most cursives, Syr., Arm., etc.); but they are not found in (618) (619) (620) (621) (622) (623), Vulg., etc., and are to be omitted (with LTTrWHRV). The clause then might be construed as in apposition to the previous χριστός, = “as Christ is the Head of the Church—He, the Saviour of the body”. But it is best taken as an independent clause, stating in a definite and emphatic way an important point in which Christ, who resembles the husband in respect of headship, at the same time differs from the husband. It is best rendered, therefore, “He, He Himself (i.e., = He alone) is the Saviour of the body”. The RV less happily makes it “being Himself the Saviour of the body”. The αὐτός can only be Christ, and the σῶμα is the Church—the body to which He brings salvation. The husband is head of the wife, and in that he is like Christ; but Christ is also that which the husband is not, viz., Saviour of that whereof He is Head.

Verse 24

Ephesians 5:24. ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ ἐκκλησία ὑποτάσσεται τῷ χριστῷ, οὕτως καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ἐν παντί: nevertheless as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be subject to their husbands in everything. For ἀλλʼ the best editors give ἀλλά. For the ὥσπερ of the TR, supported by (624)3(625) (626) and most cursives, read (with LTTrWHRV) ὡς, which is found in (627) (628) (629)*(630) (631), 17, 672, etc. But B omits it. The ἰδίοις inserted by TR (after (632) (633)3(634) (635) (636) and various Versions, etc.) before ἀνδράσιν is wanting in (637) (638) (639)*(640), 17, 672, etc., and should be deleted. It has crept in probably from Ephesians 5:22. The question here is as to the force of the ἀλλά. Some suppose a suppressed negation before it, e.g., “be not disobedient,” “do not disallow the marital headship, but,” etc. (Eadie). Others give it a resumptive force (Harl., etc.). But the supposed digression, which can only be the brief clause αὐτὸς σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματος, requires no such resumption. Others give it a certain syllogistic force, understanding it to introduce a proof of the preceding statement, presenting the relation in a new light, or an inference from the statement (De Wette, Olsh.); but ἀλλά does not draw conclusions like οὖν, nor is it = ὥστε, although it may introduce a minor proposition; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 291; Hartung, Partikl., ii., p. 384. Others make it = “but then, which is the main thing,” etc., supposing Ephesians 5:24 to give a second proof of the fact that wives should be obedient to their husbands as to the Lord—a proof drawn from the position held by Christ and by the husband, viz., that of being head (Win.-Moult., p. 565). This, however, would be expressed rather by δέ than by ἀλλά, the former being the particle that in opposing also continues and connects, adding something distinct from what has preceded, while the latter has the full opposing significance, disannulling or discounting something mentioned before (Win.-Moult., p. 551). The ἀλλά, therefore, must have its full adversative force, and is best rendered “nevertheless,” “for all that”. The twenty-fourth verse thus looks to the peculiarity mentioned as belonging to Christ’s headship in distinction from the husband’s, viz., the fact that He is not only Head, but Saviour. And the idea becomes this—“Christ indeed is Saviour of the body, and that the husband is not; nevertheless the question of obedience is not affected thereby; for all that, as the Church is subject to Christ, so too are wives to be subject to their husbands” (so subst. Calv., Beng., Mey., Ell., Alf., etc.). In the οὕτως clause ὑποτασσέσθωσαν, “let the wives be subject,” as in RV text and according to most commentators, or better, ὑποτάσσονται, “so are the wives also” (as in RV marg.), is to be supplied from the preceding ὑποτάσσεται. The ἐν παντί naturally means in everything pertaining to the marriage-relation.

Verse 25

Ephesians 5:25. οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας [ ἑαυτῶν], καθὼς καὶ χριστὸς ἠγάπησε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: husbands, love your wives, even as also Christ loved the Church. The reflexive ἑαυτῶν introduced by the TR after γυναῖκας, as in (641) (642) (643), Syr., etc., is not found in (644) (645) (646), 17, Clem., etc., and is properly omitted by LTTr WRV. The reading ὑμῶν also occurs in (647). We have now the statement of the corresponding duty of husbands. If the wife’s duty is submission, the husband’s is love—a love like Christ’s—a love capable even of suffering and dying for the wife as Christ did for the Church.— καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς: and gave Himself up for it. παρέδωκεν, as in Ephesians 5:2, Galatians 2:20 ( παραδόντος ἑαυτόν), Romans 4:25 ( παρεδόθη), without explanation of that to which He gave Himself; that being understood to be death. This is the measure, therefore, of Christ’s love, and this is the manner of love with which the husband is to meet the wife’s obedience.

Verse 26

Ephesians 5:26. ἵνα αὐτὴν ἁγιάσῃ: that He might sanctify it. Statement of the great object with which Christ in His love for the Church gave Himself up to death for it. An object worthy of the self-sacrifice, described in definite terms and with a solemn significance—the sanctification and cleansing of the Church with a view to its final presentation in perfect holiness at the great day. The verb ἁγιάζειν, a later form of ἁγίζειν (used, e.g., by Soph., Oed. Col., 1495; Pindar, O., iii., 34, etc.), frequent in biblical and patristic Greek, means to set apart to a sacred use, to consecrate, by external or ceremonial cleansing (Hebrews 9:13; 1 Timothy 4:5); by an expiation (1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:29); or by inward, ethical purification (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Most exegetes take ἁγιάσῃ in the third sense here, and this is favoured by the terms which follow in Ephesians 5:27. On the other hand, both in the Pauline writings and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (cf. Pfleiderer, Paulinism, Engl. transl., vol. ii., 68, etc.) the dominant application of the verb is deliverance from the guilt of sin by means of an expiation.— καθαρίσας: cleansing it. The verb καθαρίζειν, Hellenistic for καθαίρειν, has certain occasional applications in the NT (e.g., literal cleansing. Matthew 23:26; Luke 11:39; pronouncing ceremonially clean, Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9; consecrating by cleansing, Hebrews 9:22-23); but apart from these it has two main senses—that of ethical purification (2 Corinthians 7:1; James 4:8), and that of forgiveness, freeing from the guilt of sin (Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:9). In the case of this verb, again, the prevailing idea is that of the changed, rectified relation to God. The two ideas probably are not sharply divided in the writer’s mind. They are brought together again, both as definite acts of the past, in 1 Corinthians 6:11, ἀλλὰ ἀπελούσασθε, ἀλλὰ ἡγιάσθητε, ἀλλὰ ἐδικαιώθητε. But the effect on standing appears to be the thing immediately in view here. In classical Greek, too, the term καθαρμός is used in the sense of a purification from guilt (e.g., Soph., O. T., 1228). The participle is taken by many as, in relation to ἁγιάσῃ, a proper past = “that he might sanctify it after cleansing it” (Mey., Alf., Ell.; RV “having cleansed it,” etc.). The purification in view is thus made something prior to the sanctifying. But καθαρίσας, as is often the case with aor. participles connected with a fin. aorist (Bernh., Synt., x. 9, p. 383), may also be of the same time as ἁγιάσῃ and express the way in which the sanctifying takes effect. The latter is the more probable view here (Syr., Vulg., Harl., Abb., etc.), especially as the aor. ἁγιάσῃ points to a single, definite act, and one predicated of the Church as a whole.— τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος: by the bath of the water. Designation of the means by which the purification takes place. The phrase is a difficult one. The word λουτρόν occurs only once again in the NT (Titus 3:5). It is used in both cases with reference to baptism (although some do not admit this), and it is so used in eccles. Greek. In classical Greek it has the occasional, secondary sense of a libation for the dead (Soph., El., 84, 434; Eurip., Phoen., 1667), but is used properly as = “bath, bathing-place (e.g., Homer’s θερμὰ λοετρά, Il., xiv., 6; λοετρὰ ὠκεανοῖο, Il., xviii., 489, etc.); bathing (Herod., vi., 52; Xen., Cyr., vii., 5, 20); or the water for bathing or washing (Soph., Oed. Col., 1599)”. It is doubtful whether any clear instance can be found of its use as = washing. The ὕδατος is prob. the gen. materiæ, and the articles mark the λουτρόν as the well-known bath of the (baptismal) water. The Versions vary in their renderings. The Vulg. gives lavacrum, and similarly the Syr. and the Goth. The Rhem. follows the Vulg. and renders laver. But the other old English Versions have either “the washing” or “the fountain” of water. The RV gives “the washing of water” in the text, but “the laver” in the margin. But “laver,” in the sense of the vessel, does not appear to be a legitimate translation. The only legitimate rendering is “the bath of water,” i.e., the bath of the baptismal water. Many interpreters find in the phrase an allusion to the bath taken by a bride before her wedding. The subsequent imagery, and especially the παραστῆσαι, may favour that; but the fact that the Subject here who cleanses by the bath of the water is Christ, while it was not the bridegroom who administered the pre-nuptial bath to the bride, makes that doubtful.— ἐν ῥήματι: with (or through) the word. In respect both of sense and of connection this is a peculiarly difficult phrase. With respect to the latter the ἐν ῥήματι is connected by some with the ἁγιάσῃ = “sanctify it by the word,” ἐν being taken as the instrum. dat. (Winer, Rück., Bisp., Bleek, Mey., etc.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 172). The objection to this is the remoteness of the defining phrase from the verb. On the other hand it may be the case that the order is selected with a view to bringing things together, first the two verbs and then the two defining terms (so Meyer). The analogy of John 17:17, ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, is also urged. Others connect it with the λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος, = “the bath of water in or by the word”. But to this there is the serious objection that the ἐν ῥήματι is anarthrous. The Greek would require either τῷ or τοῦ ἐν ῥήματι, the phrase not being one of the kind (like τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι, chap. Ephesians 2:15 above) to make a single idea with the λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος and so dispense with the article; cf. on chap. Ephesians 1:17 above. There remains the third course—to connect it with καθαρίσας, or with the idea expressed by the clause καθαρίσας τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος as a whole. This on the whole is the connection freest from difficulty, and it gives a congruous idea, which may take more than one form, e.g., that the purification is effected by the ῥῆμα; that it is accompanied by it; or that it takes place in it as its element or condition. But what of the sense of the ῥήματι? How difficult it is to obtain a satisfactory meaning appears at once from the variety and the peculiarity of the interpretations proposed. Some, e.g., take it to refer to the baptismal formula, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” or “in the name of Jesus” (Chrys.); in which case, however, we should expect either καὶ ῥήματος or ἐν τῷ ῥήματι. Others give the noun the simple sense of “an utterance” and take the phrase to mean “attended or conditioned by an utterance”; with the explanation that the particular utterance in view is “the revelation of salvation embodied in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” (Moule). Haupt, again, makes it = “by means of a word,” supposing the term to be added in order to bring out the wonderfulness of the purification as seen in the fact that it is effected simply by a word, that is to say the word spoken by the person who baptises. Hofmann also gives it the sense of “with a word,” i.e. = cleansing it by the utterance of His effective will. Others make it = “by the bath resting on a word,” viz., the Divine command (Storr, Kl., etc.). If we look, however, at the use of the word ῥῆμα in the NT we find that it is applied to anything spoken—a sound produced by the voice (2 Corinthians 12:4; Hebrews 12:19); a declaration (Matthew 26:75; Mark 9:32, Luke 2:50, etc.); doctrine or instruction (Romans 10:17, if not = command); or a saying, whether in the form of a message (Romans 10:8), a command (Luke 5:5), or a promise (Luke 1:38; Luke 2:29). In Paul’s Epistles and in Hebrews, it appears to be used mostly, if not exclusively, of a word proceeding directly or indirectly from God (cf. Ell. in loc). It has indeed another sense, that of “thing,” corresponding to the Hebr. דָּבָר, “the thing spoken of,” “the thing enjoined,” etc. (e.g., Matthew 18:16; Luke 1:37; Luke 2:15; Acts 10:37; 2 Corinthians 13:1). This sense is claimed for it by some in Romans 1:8; Romans 1:13-21. But it is scarcely applicable here. Hence here it may best be taken to refer either to the word of promise, that is the Divine promise of forgiveness (Mark 16:16), or to the preached Gospel. It has also the great advantage of being in harmony with the ῥῆμα θεοῦ in chap. Ephesians 6:17. It is true that ῥῆμα is not quite the same as λόγος, but carries with it the definite sense of the spoken word; and that, consequently, it may not be taken to designate the Gospel here in the subjective sense of divine truth, the Word of God in respect of its spiritual contents, or as a revelation of grace. But it may have the sense of that truth as proclaimed, the preached Word or Gospel. With the former sense the clause will define the purification as being in accordance with or dependent on the Divine promise, or having that promise as its ground. The latter interpretation (which is preferred by Meyer, etc.) is thought to be most in harmony with Romans 10:8; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 6:5, and it gives a good sense however the ἐν is construed. The main objection urged against these two interpretations is the absence of the article, and the fact that where ῥῆμα has such a sense it is accompanied by some defining term, θεοῦ (Ephesians 6:17), χριστοῦ (Romans 10:17) or the like. To this the only reply is that the omission of the article is due to the presence of the preposition (Middleton, Gr. Artic., vi. 1; cf. Ell. in loc.), or that ῥῆμα may have become, like νόμος, χάρις, etc., so well-understood and constant a term in the sense of “the spoken word” par excellence, that it could dispense with the article (Mey.). Thus the import of the whole verse will be—“that he might set apart and consecrate the Church by cleansing it of guilt by baptism in accordance with the Divine promise” (or, “on the ground of the preached word of the Gospel”). The clause defines the καθαρισμός as one that does not take effect by means of the λουτρὸν τοῦ ὕδατος in and by itself, but by that only as administered in the power or on the ground of the preached Word. It is to be observed also that the sanctifying and the purifying are referred to Christ’s giving up of Himself, His death being that in virtue of which these things take place.

Verse 27

Ephesians 5:27. ἵνα παραστήση αὐτὴν [ αὐτὸς] ἑαυτῷ ἔνδοξον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: that He might Himself present to Himself the Church, glorious. Statement of the remote, ultimate object with which Christ “gave Himself up” to death; as the immediate object, which has that final purpose in view, is expressed by the ἁγιάσῃ. For αὐτήν of the TR, supported by (648)3(649), most cursives, Syr.-P., etc., the reading αὐτός is to be substituted on the authority of (650) (651) (652) (653)*(654) (655), Syr.-Harc, Vulg., etc. It is Christ Himself who is to present the Church, and it is to Himself He is to present it. He is at once the Agent and the End or Object of the presentation. The παραστήσῃ is not to be taken here to mean the presenting of the Church as an offering. It is true that the verb is so used in Romans 12:1; but the case is different here, in respect both of the ruling idea of the paragraph and of the introduction of ἑαυτῷ. It would be incongruous with Paul’s teaching to speak of Christ as presenting an offering to Himself. The idea, as the context suggests, is that of the bridegroom presenting or setting forth the bride; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2. The anarthrous ἔνδοξον is a case of tertiary predicate (cf. Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 473). The rendering, therefore, is not “present a glorious Church,” but “present the Church, glorious,” i.e., in the aspect, or character of gloriousness. The presentation in view, which is given here as the final object of Christ’s surrendering of Himself to death, and is exhibited (by use of the aor.) as a single def. act, cannot be anything done in the world that now is (as is supposed by Beng., Harl., Hofm., etc.), but must be referred (with Aug., Jer., Rück., De Wette, Bleek, Mey., Ell., Alf. and most) to the future consummation, the event of the Parousia.— μὴ ἔχουσαν σπῖλον: not having spot. Explanation of what is implied on the negative side in the ἔνδοξον. The neg. μή is in place, as the clause refers to the purpose in the mind of Christ. The word σπῖλος = spot, moral blemish, takes the place of the Attic κηλίς in later Greek writers (Dionys., Harl., Plut., Lucian, Joseph., etc.). It occurs only once again in the NT (2 Peter 2:13). The “ ι” being short in composition ( ἄσπῐλος), WH, Ell., Alf., etc., accentuate it σπίλος; Lach., Tisch., Lipsius, Mey., etc., retain σπῖλος.— ῥυτίδα: or wrinkle. The word ῥυτίς occurs only this once in the NT, and is not found in the Apocrypha or in the LXX, but is not infrequent in profane Greek, whether classical (Aristoph., Plato, etc.), or late (Diod., Plut., Lucian, etc.). Attempts have been made (by Aug., Grot., etc.) to establish a distinction between σπίλον and ῥυτίδα here, but without success.— τι τῶν τοιούτων; or any such thing. The article gives this the force of anything belonging to the class of such things as deform and defile.— ἀλλʼ ἵνα ἁγία καὶ ἄμωμος: but that it should be holy and unblamable. The regular construction would have taken some such form as ἀλλʼ οὖσαν, etc. It is changed here, perhaps with a view to variety, as if the paragraph had begun with ἵνα μὴ ἔχῃ. Such oratio variata was common in Greek, and there are numerous examples of it in the NT generally (e.g., Mark 12:38; John 8:53; Acts 20:34; Acts 22:17; 1 Peter 2:7), and especially in the Pauline writings (Romans 1:12; Romans 4:12; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Philippians 2:22). See Jelf, Greek Gram., § 909; Win.-Moult., p. 722; Buttm., Gram, of N. T. Greek, p. 241. On ἄμωμος see under Ephesians 1:4 above.

Verse 28

Ephesians 5:28. οὕτως ὀφείλουσιν [ καὶ] οἱ ἄνδρες ἀγαπᾷν τὰς ἑαυτῶν γυναῖκας: even so [also] ought husbands to love their own wives. The reading and the order vary somewhat. The ὀφείλουσιν precedes οἱ ἄνδρες in most manuscripts, (656)2(657) (658) 17, etc.; in others ((659) (660) (661) (662), etc.) it follows it. Lachm. prefers the latter; TrWHRV the former. The TR, supported by (663) (664) (665), etc., omits καί; which is inserted, however, before οἱ ἄνδρες by (666) (667) (668) (669) (670) 17, and most Versions, etc. It is accepted by TrRV, and is bracketed by WH. The οὕτως is taken by some (De Wette, etc.) to refer to the following ὡς, = “husbands ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies”. To this there is no serious grammatical objection; for οὕτως does not look always to what precedes, but may refer to what follows (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:15, οὕτω δὲ ὡς διὰ πυρός; also 1 Corinthians 4:1). When this is the case, however, whether in classical Greek or in the NT, there appears to be a certain emphasis on the οὕτως, and its more familiar reference is to what precedes. Here, too, the καί favours the relation to the preceding καθὼς καὶ χριστός, etc. The idea, therefore, is that even as Christ loved the Church so too ought husbands to love their wives.— ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα: as their own bodies. This is not to be reduced to “like themselves” (Rosenm., etc.); nor does ὡς here mean simply “like,” as if all that is meant is that the husband’s love for his wife is to be similar to his love for his own body. The ὡς has its qualitative force, = “as it were,” “as being”. Christ and husband are each head, as Paul has already put it, and as the Church is the body in relation to the former, so is the wife in relation to the latter. The husband, the head, therefore, is to love the wife as being his body, even as Christ loved the Church as forming His body. The idea of husband and wife as being one flesh is probably also in view. ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα, ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ: he that loveth his own wife loveth himself. The relation of head and body means that the wife is part of the husband’s self. To love his wife, therefore, in this character as being his body, is to love himself. It is a love, consequently, not merely of duty, but of natureκατὰ φύσιν as well as κατʼ ὀφειλήν (Ell.).

Verse 29

Ephesians 5:29. οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν: for no one ever hated his own flesh. The γάρ gives a reason for the preceding statement, looking to the thought, however, rather than to the form of the statement. The thought is the oneness of husband and wife, the position of the wife as part of the husband’s self; and the connection is this—“he should love her even as Christ loved the Church, for the wife, I say, is as the body in that natural relationship in which the husband is the head, so that in loving her he loves himself; and this is the reason in nature why he should love her, for according to this to hate his wife is to hate his own flesh, which is contrary to nature and a thing never seen”. σάρξ has here its non-ethical sense, practically = σῶμα (as in Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16, etc.).— ἀλλʼ ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει αὐτήν: but nourisheth and cherisheth it. The form ἀλλά is preferred again by LTTr WRV. The ἐκ- in the comp. ἐκτρέφει may point to the careful, continued nourishing from one stage to another, nourishing up to maturity. Ell. takes it to express “the evolution and development produced by the τρέφειν” (so, too, Mey., etc.). As θάλπειν means primarily to warm, some give it the literal sense here, supposing it to look to the covering and protection of the body as ἐκτρέφει looks to its nourishment—“fovet” spectat amictum, says Bengel, ut “nutrit” victum; and so Mey. But the secondary sense seems more appropriate here, especially in view of the following affirmation regarding Christ, and as it is in 1 Thessalonians 2:7.— καθὼς καὶ κύριος [ χριστὸς] τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: even as the Lord [Christ] also the Church. For the κύριος of the TR (with (671)3(672) (673), etc.) read with the best critics χριστός, which is given in (674) (675) (676) (677)1(678), 17, and most Versions and Fathers. That is, “even as Christ also nourisheth and cherisheth the Church”—a broad statement of Christ’s loving care for His Church, into which no reference to the Lord’s Supper (which is nowhere in view here) as the means by which the nourishing is effected can be dragged (as, e.g., by Kahnis, etc.).

Verse 30

Ephesians 5:30. ὅτι μέλη ἐσμὲν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ: for we are members of His body. The μέλη, which is the heart of the statement, has the emphatic position. We are not something apart from Christ, nor do we occupy only an accidental relation to Him. We are veritable parts of that body of which He is head, and this is the reason why He nourishes and cherishes the Church; cf. the detailed description in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.— ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ: being of His flesh and of His bones. This sentence, which is added by the TR, has considerable documentary testimony—(679) (680) (681) (682) (683) (684), most cursives, such Versions as the Syr. and the Arm., and such Fathers as Iren., Jer., etc. If it is retained, as is done by Mey., Ell., Reiche, Alf., etc., it will be an explanation of the affirmation that we are μέλη τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, drawn from the thought of our origin ( ἐκ). We are members of Christ’s body, as having the source of our spiritual being in Him. This statement of our spiritual origin is expressed in terms like those used of the origin of our physical life, the allusion being probably to the record of the formation of Eve in Genesis 2:23. As the first woman derived her physical being from Adam in the way there recorded, so we Christians draw our spiritual being from Christ. The evidence, however, is decidedly adverse, the clause not appearing in (685) (686) (687) (688), 17, 672, Boh., Eth., Method., Euthal., Origen (prob.), etc. The internal evidence may be said to be against it, in so far, e.g., as a new figure is suddenly introduced, the statement is carried beyond the idea of relationship, and no clear or congruous meaning can be readily attached to the new terms, flesh and bones. Nor is it easy in face of evidence so old and so various to suppose that the words were mistakenly omitted by homœoteleuton. The clause, therefore, is deleted from the text by LTTrWHRV Tr., however, giving it a place on the margin.

Verse 31

Ephesians 5:31. ἀντὶ τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος [ τὸν] πατέρα [ αὐτοῦ] καὶ [ τὴν] μητέρα: for this cause shall a man leave [his] father and mother. Lachm. and Tregelles omit τόν and τήν; which are bracketed by WH. The αὐτοῦ is omitted by LTTrWHRV, as not supported by (689) (690) (691) (692)*(693), 17, Vulg., Arm., etc. It is found in (694)3(695) (696)3(697) (698) (699), Syr.-P., Boh., etc. These words, whether Paul gives them professedly as a quotation in a free form, or uses them directly, making them his own (Mey.), are substantially those which in Genesis 2:24 follow the statement regarding Eve as bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of his flesh. ἀντὶ τούτου corresponds to the ἕνεκεν τούτου of Genesis 2:24; ἀντί, the prep. of exchange and succession, being used also, like the Hebrew תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר, in the sense of “for that,” and occasionally as = “wherefore”; cf. ἀνθʼ ὧν, Luke 12:3; cf. Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 125; Win.-Moult., p. 456. Thus ἀντὶ τούτου may refer either to the immediately preceding statement regarding our being members of Christ’s body (so Mey.), or to the leading idea of the previous verses, viz., the husband’s duty to love, nourish, and cherish the wife even as Christ loves, nourishes, and cherishes the Church. The former connection leads, as in Meyer’s case, to an allegorising interpretation. The latter is to be preferred as in harmony with a simpler and more natural view of what follows. Another turn is given to the phrase, e.g., by Von Soden, who makes it = “instead of this,” supposing the point to be that in place of hating, as mentioned in Ephesians 5:29, the husband ought to love and cleave to his wife. But this is far-fetched. The καταλείψει, especially in view of its application in the OT passage cited or used, must be taken here as the ethical future, the future expressing what should, can, or must be, as, e.g., in Matthew 7:26; Luke 22:49; John 6:68; Romans 10:14, etc.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 348; Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 407. Meyer insists on its being a pure future, and refers it to what is to take place at the Parousia. The verse as used here has been strangely handled by many commentators, who have found secondary, mystical meanings in the words. Not a few of the Fathers (Chrys., Theod., Theophyl., Jerome, etc.) interpreted it of the Incarnation; and late exegetes expounded it as referring in one way or other to Christ’s present connection with the Church (Grot., Beng., etc.); some understanding Christ’s separation from His nation (Mich.), or from the synagogue, to be indicated by the phrase “leave His Father,” and others even explaining it of the Lord’s Supper (Harl., Olsh.). Alford applies it mystically to “that past, present, and future which constitutes Christ’s Union to His Bride, the Church—His leaving the Father’s bosom, which is past—His gradual preparation of the Union, which is present—His full consummation of it, which is future”. Even Meyer puts a forced, allegorical sense upon it, taking it to be used typically of the perfect union which takes place between Christ and the Church only at His Second Coming, before which time He is not Husband, but Bridegroom. So the ἄνθρωπος becomes Christ, at the Parousia; the leaving father and mother becomes mystically Christ’s leaving His seat at the right hand of God; the two becoming one flesh is the descending, returning Christ making one ethical person with the Church, etc. But all this is in the highest degree unnatural. When Paul allegorises he gives intimation of the fact ( ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα, Galatians 4:24), and certainly there is no such allegory as this would be anywhere else in the Pauline writings. Its incongruities condemn it. What is to be made, e.g., of the leaving of the mother, which Jerome, e.g., is driven to say means the leaving of the heavenly Jerusalem? We take the verse, therefore, in its simple and obvious sense, as referring to the direct and ruling idea of the paragraph, viz., the natural marriage relation and the duty of husbands to wives; and we read it as an enforcement of that duty based upon the natural identity of the wife with the husband, as stated in the narrative of Creation and illustrated in its highest ideal in the Church’s relation to Christ.— καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ δύο ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν: and shall cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. “Cleave to” represents very well the force of the verb προσκολλάω, the Sept. representative of דָבַק, to glue to, stick to. For πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα, the reading of TR, with (700) (701)3(702)3(703) (704) (705), Orig., etc., τῇ γυναικί is given in (706) (707) (708) (709)*(710), etc., and is preferred by LTTr, while WH place it in the margin. The αὐτοῦ is omitted by T with (711)1, etc. For προσκολληθήσεται there is also the variant κολληθήσεται in (712)3(713)1(714), etc.

Verse 32

Ephesians 5:32. τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο μέγα ἐστίν: this mystery is great. Not “this is a great mystery,” as it is rendered by the AV and Rhem.; nor “this is a great secret,” Tynd., Cran., gen. The term μυστήριον (on which see under Ephesians 1:9 above) cannot mean allegory or dark-saying, but must have its usual sense of something once hidden and now revealed, a secret disclosed. It cannot refer, therefore, as Mey. makes it do, to the quotation from Genesis 2:24 as a passage with a hidden typical or mystical meaning, one deep ( μέγα) and difficult to reach. Nor can it well refer to the spiritual union of Christ and the Church by itself (Beng.), or to the comparison between the union of husband and wife and that of Christ and the Church (Est.), as the ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω would then lose its point. It is simplest to take it as referring to Christian truth touching the relation between husband and wife as set forth in these verses. That truth is described by μέγα as great, i.e., in the sense of grandeur and importance. The Vulg. rendering sacramentum (followed by Wicl. and the Rhem.) has induced many Roman Catholic theologians to found on this as a passage presenting marriage in the character of a sacrament—a perverted interpretation which was disavowed indeed by distinguished scholars like Cajetan and Estius in the Roman Catholic Church itself. It may be added that Alford understands by the μυστήριον “the matter mystically alluded to in the Apostle’s application of the text just quoted; the mystery of the spiritual union of Christ with our humanity, typified by the close conjunction of the marriage state”. And Von Soden, taking the τοῦτο, as in 1 Corinthians 15:51, to refer to what follows, supposes the sense to be “this secret, that is, what I am about to say as the secret sense of this sentence, is great”. Hatch, again, who regards μυστήριον as closely related in sense to τύπος, σύμβολον and παραβολή and interchangeable with them, gives μυστήριον the sense of “symbol” (which he thinks is its meaning also in Revelation 1:20; Revelation 17:7), and renders it “this symbol (sc. of the joining of husband and wife into one flesh) is a great one” (Essays in Biblical Greek, p. 61).— ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω εἰς χριστόν, καὶ [ εἰς] τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: but I speak with reference to Christ and the Church. The second εἰς is omitted by LWH, as not found in (715) (716), Iren., Tert., etc.; it is inserted, however, in (717) (718) (719) (720) (721), Orig., Meth., Theodor., Cypr., Hil., etc. The formula λέγω δέ is used in various Pauline passages where an explanation of something previously said is in view (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:12; Galatians 3:17; Galatians 4:1; Galatians 5:16; cf. τοῦτο δέ φημι, 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:50). Here too, the sense is not “I interpret it,” but simply “I say it,” “I mean it”. The δέ has here its disjunctive force, introducing an explanation and separating it from the thing explained (Thayer-Grimm, Greek-Engl. Lex. of N. T., p. 125). The εἰς is the prep, of ethical direction, indicating that towards which the mind is looking (Thayer-Grimm, ut sup., p. 184; and cf. Acts 2:25), = “with reference to Christ,” not “of Christ,” far less “in Christ” as the Vulg. unhappily renders it. The emphatic position of the ἐγώ gives it to be understood that what immediately follows is the writer’s own way of putting the matter just stated, or his own application of the words of Scripture. The sense, therefore, is this—“the truth of which I have spoken, the relation of husband and wife as one flesh, is a revelation of profound importance; but let me explain that, in speaking of it as I have done, my meaning is to direct your minds to that higher relation between Christ and His Church, in its likeness to which lies its deepest significance.

Verse 33

Ephesians 5:33. πλὴν καὶ ὑμεῖς οἱ καθʼ ἕνα: nevertheless ye also severally. πλήν, connected probably with πλέον and meaning primarily further, besides, is used both for unfolding (= moreover); and for restricting (= howbeit, nevertheless; cf. Thayer-Grimm, ut sup., p. 517; Donaldson, Greek Gram., § 548). Here probably it has the latter application, = “nevertheless, not to say more of that higher union, see that ye, all of you, fulfil the obligation of love to your wives”. The distributive phrase οἱ καθʼ ἕνα, “ye one by one,” individualises the ὑμεῖς, and excludes all exceptions. The καί conjoins the ὑμεῖς with Christ, = “in you also, as in Christ, love is to be fulfilled”. ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα οὕτως ἀγαπάτω ὡς ἑαυτόν: let each one of you love his own wife as himself. The sentence, which has begun with the plural ὑμεῖς, when it reaches its verb follows the nearest ἕκαστος, and gives ἀγαπάτω instead of ἀγαπᾶτε. The ἕκαστος expresses still more emphatically the absoluteness and universality of the Christian duty of conjugal love—a duty from which no single husband is exempt. As in Ephesians 5:28 the ὡς means not merely that each husband is to love his wife as he loves himself, but that he is to love her as being himself, part and parcel of himself according to the Divine idea of the marriage union.— δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν ἄνδρα: and the wife—let her see that she fear her husband. γυνή is a nom. absol. of a simple kind and emphatic; the δέ is metabatic and slightly adversative; = “so much has been said of the husband, and as to the wife now, reverence is her part”. The change in the construction from the usual imperative to the form ἵνα φοβῆται is explained by some by supplying βλεπέτω, as βλέπετε stands in Ephesians 5:15. But ἵνα with the conj. is used elsewhere in the NT (Mark 5:23; 2 Corinthians 8:7) as an imperative formula, originally no doubt an elliptical form for “I bid you that you do,” or “see you that you do”. It occurs also in later Greek prose (e.g., Arrian, Epict., iv., 1, 41), as the corresponding formula ὅπως is used in the same way in classical Greek with the fut. indic. (Aristoph., Nubes, 823), and more occasionally with the conj. (Xen., Cyr., i, 3, 18). So in Latin, ibi ut sint omnia parata, Cic., Fam., xiv., 20 (cf. Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 602; Win.-Moult., p. 396). φοβῆται, fear, in the sense of reverence, spontaneous, obedient regard; cf. the frequent application of the verb to the fear of God (Luke 1:50; Luke 18:2; Luke 18:4; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:35, etc.); and its use in the case of Herod (Mark 6:20).


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 5:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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