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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Ephesians 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Ephesians 6:1. τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν [ ἐν κυρίῳ]: children obey your parents in the Lord. The duty of the wife has been described by the terms subjection or submission ( ὑποτάσσεσθαι) and fear ( φοβεῖσθαι). The duty of the child is now described in terms of obedience ( ὑπακούειν, = readiness to hearken to one) and honour ( τιμᾶν, Ephesians 6:2). In these words the whole distinctive duty of the child is summed up, in the Old Testament as well as in the New. The “eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it” (Proverbs 30:17). Disobedience to parents is named among the dark sins of the heathen of reprobate mind (Romans 1:30), and the evils of the “grievous times” in “the last days” (2 Timothy 3:2). The ἐν κυρίῳ, = in Christ, is best connected with the ὑπακούετε, not with the γονεῦσιν. It defines the quality of the obedience by defining the sphere within which it is to move—a Christian obedience fulfilled in communion with Christ. This phrase ἐν κυρίῳ, however, is of disputable authority. It is inserted by the TR, supported by (722) (723) (724)2, 3(725) (726) (727), Vulg., Syr., etc.; but is omitted by (728) (729)*(730) (731), Cyr., Cypr., etc. It is deleted by Lachm., bracketed by TrWH, and retained by RV.— τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι δίκαιον: for this is right. δίκαιον = right, not in the sense of befitting ( πρέπον) merely, but (cf. Colossians 4:1; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6) in that of righteous, what is required by law—the law that is at once founded on the natural relation of τέκνα and γονεῖς and proclaimed in the Divine Commandment (Ephesians 6:2).


Verses 1-4

Ephesians 6:1-4. Other relative duties—those of parents and children. With this the concise paragraph in Colossians 3:20-21 is specially to be compared.


Verse 2

Ephesians 6:2. τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα: honour thy father and mother. Obedience is the duty; honour is the disposition of which the obedience is born. The authoritative terms of the OT Law (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16), given in the exact words of the LXX, are adopted in order to enforce regard for that disposition.— ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ: which is the first commandment in point of promise, ἥτις may have here a simply explanatory force (so Ell., who renders it “the which”; Abb., “for such is”) rather than the qualitative sense, or the casual, “seeing it is”. But even its explanatory use suggests a reason for the fulfilment of the commandment. The prep. ἐν is understood by some (e.g., Alf.) to be the local ἐν, expressing the sphere of the commandment, and so conveying the idea of being “accompanied by”. But more probably it expresses the simple sense of relation, “in regard of,” “in point of” (Mey., Ell.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 488). πρώτη, like other ordinals, being specific enough in itself, dispenses with the article. But what is meant by this definition of the fifth commandment as the first in point of promise? The second commandment also has a kind of promise. But if that commandment is discounted because its promise is general, not peculiar to itself, but applicable to all, and if the fifth alone has attached to it a promise relevant to itself, why is it called the “first” and not rather the “only” commandment in point of promise? Some meet the difficulty by supposing it to mean the first in the second table (Mich., etc.). But in the second table it would still be not only the first but the only one of the kind; and if the Jewish division of the Decalogue, which assigned five commandments to each of the two tables, reaches thus far back, it would not be even in the second table. Nor can πρώτη be taken in the sense of first in importance; for it is never described as such (cf. per contra Matthew 22:38; Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14). The most probable explanation is that Paul has not the Decalogue alone in view, but the whole series of Divine Commandments, Mosaic and later (Mey., etc.). Westcott and Hort notice another possible pointing, viz., πρώτη, ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ, = “the which is the first commandment, with the promise that,” etc. But this still leaves it unexplained why this commandment is called the first. The whole sentence is dealt with as a parenthesis by the RV. But this is to miss the real point of the statement, which is to advance from the duty of obedience ( ὑπακούετε) enforced by its relation to the requirement of law (the δίκαιον), to the higher idea of filial honour as inculcated in the highest summary of Divine Law, the Decalogue. The ἥτις clause, therefore, is an integral part of the statement, and instead of being a remark by the way conveys an advance in the thought.


Verse 3

Ephesians 6:3. ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνιος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς: that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the land. The quotation of the commandment is continued according to the LXX, but with some variations, viz., ἔσῃ for γένῃ, and the omission of τῆς ἀγαθῆς ἧς (Exodus 20:12, or ἧς alone as in Deuteronomy 5:16) κύριος θεός σου δίδωσί σοι. This clause is omitted perhaps as less suitable to those addressed (Abb.); or it may be with a view to generalise the statement and relieve it of all restrictions but those which necessarily condition the promises of temporal blessings (Ell.). Meyer strangely supposes that the quotation is left unfinished simply because the readers could easily complete it for themselves. In that case it might have been even shorter. The first clause promises temporal good generally; the second the particular blessing, so associated in the OT with the idea of the Divine favour, of length of days. The ἔσῃ is explained by not a few (Erasm., De Wette, Win., etc.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 361) as a case of oratio variata, a transition from the ἵνα construction to direct narrative, = “and thou shalt be,” as the RV margin puts it. But there is no necessity for supposing such a change in the construction, as ἵνα with the fut. indic, though strange to Attic Greek (which yet uses ὅπως with that tense and mood), is found in the NT (1 Corinthians 9:18; Revelation 22:14). In Attic Greek the idea would have been expressed not by εὖ γενέσθαι, but by εὖ πάσχειν, εὖ πράττειν or similar form (Mey.). In the OT original, ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς refers of course to the land of Canaan. Meyer thinks it must retain its historical sense here. But that, in its literal completeness, would be something inapplicable to Paul’s Christian readers. The fact that the quotation is broken off at this point, and that the more restricted, national terms of the OT promise are omitted, might warrant us in giving the phrase the larger sense of “on the earth” (with RV text). But it is best to take the phrase as far as possible in its historical sense, and translate it “on the land” (RV marg.), i.e., the land on which your Christian lot is cast.


Verse 4

Ephesians 6:4. καὶ οἱ πατέρες, μὴ παροργίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν: and, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath. The καί continues the statement of this second of the relative or domestic duties, presenting now the other side. The duty is one not only of children to parents, but also of parents to children. The parental duty is set forth in terms of the father’s obligation without particular mention of the mother’s, not because children of maturer age are in view (Olsh.), but simply because the father is the ruler in the house, as the husband is the head of the wife; the mother’s rule and responsibility being subordinate to his and represented by his. The parental duty is given first negatively, as avoidance of all calculated to irritate or exasperate the children—injustice, severity and the like, so as to make them indisposed to filial obedience and honour. παροργίζειν, a strong verb, found again in Romans 10:19, with which cf. μὴ ἐρεθίζετε in Colossians 3:21.— ἀλλʼ ἐκτρέφετε αὐτὰ ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ κυρίου: but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. For ἀλλʼ TTrWHRV prefer ἀλλά as before. We have now the statement of parental duty on the positive side. ἐκτρέφειν has here obviously the sense of bringing up (cf. Proverbs 23:24), not that of nourishing as in Ephesians 5:29 above. ἐν is not instrumental here but local, denoting the ethical sphere or element in which the παιδεία and the νουθεσία take place. παιδεία in classical Greek means education, the whole instruction and training of youth, including the training of the body. In the NT as also in the OT and the Apocrypha παιδεία and its verb παιδεύειν mean education per molestias (Aug., Enarr., in Psalms 119:66), discipline, instruction by correction or chastening (Luke 23:16; Hebrews 12:5; Hebrews 12:7-8; Revelation 3:9; cf. Leviticus 26:18; Psalms 6:1; Isaiah 53:5; Sirach 4:17; Sirach 22:6; 2 Maccabees 6:12). Of the general Greek sense there is but one instance in the case of the verb in the NT (Acts 7:22); and as regards the noun the passage in 2 Timothy 3:16 suits the idea of disciplinary instruction. There is no reason, therefore, for departing from the usual biblical sense of the word here, or for giving it the wide sense of all that makes the education of children. The term νουθεσία, not entirely strange to classical Greek (e.g., Aristoph., Ranae, 1009), but current rather in later Greek (Philo, Joseph., etc.) in place of the earlier form νουθέτησις ( νουθετία also appearing to occur occasionally), means admonition, training by word, and in actual use, mostly, though not necessarily, by word of reproof, remonstrance or blame (cf. Trench, NT Syn., pp. 104–108). The Vulg. translates very well, “in disciplina et correptione”. The distinction, therefore, between the two terms is not that between the general and the special (Mey.), but rather that between training by act and discipline and training by word (Ell.). The κυρίου is taken by some as the gen. obj., = “about Christ” (so the Greek commentators generally); by others as = “according to the doctrine of Christ” (Erasm., Est., etc.), or as = “worthy of the Lord” (Matthies). But it is best understood either as the possess. gen. or as the gen. of origin, = “the Lord’s discipline and admonition,” i.e., Christian training, the training that is of Christ, proceeding from Him and prescribed by Him.


Verse 5

Ephesians 6:5. οἱ δοῦλοι, ὑπακούετε τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα: servants obey them who according to the flesh are your masters. As in the case of the two relations already dealt with, so here the statement begins with the dependent member, the servant, who in these times was a bond-servant. Many questions would inevitably arise with regard to the duties of masters and servants in a state of society in which slavery prevailed and had the sanction of ancient and undisputed use. Especially would this be the case when Christian slaves (of whom there were many) had a heathen master, and when the Christian master had heathen slaves. Hence the considerable place given in the NT to this relation and the application of Christian principles to it (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:21-22; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; and Philemon, in addition to Colossians 3:22; Colossians 4:1 and 1 Peter 2:18-25). Here, as elsewhere in the NT, slavery is accepted as an existing institution, which is neither formally condemned nor formally approved. There is nothing to prompt revolutionary action, or to encourage repudiation of the position. Onesimus, the Christian convert, is sent back by Paul to his master, and the institution is left to be undermined and removed by the gradual operation of the great Christian principles of the equality of men in the sight of God, a common Christian brotherhood, the spiritual freedom of the Christian man, and the Lordship of Christ to which every other lordship is subordinate. See especially Goldwin Smith’s Does the Bible Sanction American Slavery?; Küstlin’s Christliche Ethik, pp. 318, 480, etc.; Mangold’s Humanität und Christenthum; Lightfoot’s Colossians and Philemon, pp. 319–329. ὑπακούετε, as in the case of children so in that of slaves obedience is the comprehensive name for duty, and this as a duty lying within the larger principle of the recognition and honour due to constituted authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). For τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα (TR, with (732) (733) (734) (735), etc.), the better order is τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις (LTTrWHRV, with (736) (737) (738) (739), etc.), = “those who according to the flesh are your masters” (RV), not “your masters according to the flesh” (AV). In the Pastoral Epistles and 1 Peter the slave’s master is called δεσπότης. The word κύριος, limited by the κατὰ σάρκα to the designation of a lordship which holds only for material interests and earthly relations, may perhaps have been selected here with a view to the contrast with the κύριος whose lordship is absolute, inclusive alike of master and of slave, of earthly and of heavenly relations.— μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου: with fear and trembling. The use of the same phrase with regard to Paul himself (1 Corinthians 2:3), the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:15), and the Philippians (Philippians 2:12), is enough to show that nothing more is in view here than solicitous zeal in the discharge of duty, anxious care not to come short.— ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν: in singleness of your heart. A clause qualifying the obedience itself; not the “fear and trembling,” in which case we should have expected τοῦ ἐν ἁπλότητι, etc. It states the spirit in which the obedience was to be rendered,—not in formality, pretence, or hypocrisy, but in inward reality and sincerity, and with an undivided heart. The noun ἁπλότης = the condition of being without folds, simplicity, as contrasted with pretence, dissimulation, insincerity, in the NT is found only in the Pauline writings, and there seven times, with slightly different shades of meaning (Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; in 2 Corinthians 1:12 the preferable reading is ἐν ἁγιότητι). The phrase ἐν ἁπλότητι occurs again in the first and the last of these passages.— ὡς τῷ χριστῷ: as to Christ. That is, with an obedience regarded as rendered to Christ Himself; cf. ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ in Ephesians 5:22, and see also Romans 14:7-9.


Verses 5-9

Ephesians 6:5-9. Other relative duties—those of masters and servants. With this compare the paragraph in the sister Epistle, Colossians 3:22 to Colossians 4:1, and the statement in 1 Peter 2:18-25.


Verse 6

Ephesians 6:6. μὴ κατʼ ὀφθαλμοδουλείαν: not in the way of eye-service. TWH prefer the form ὀφθαλμοδουλίαν. Negative explanation of what ἁπλότης τῆς καρδίας means. κατά points to the principle or rule of action. The noun occurs only here and in Colossians 3:22; but ὀφθαλμόδουλος is found also in the Constit. Apost., Ephesians 4:12. It is the service that is done only when one is under the master’s eye—an obedience to save appearances and gain undeserved favour, which is not rendered when the master is absent as it is when his scrutiny is on us.— ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι: as men-pleasers. ἀνθρωπάρεσκος is another non-classical word, occurring only in biblical and ecclesiastical Greek, and in the NT limited to this passage and Colossians 3:22; cf. Psalms 53:6, ὀστᾶ ἀνθρωπαρέσκων in LXX, and Ps. Salom., Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 4:10.— ἀλλʼ ὡς δοῦλοι [ τοῦ] χριστοῦ: but as bond-servants of Christ. τοῦ is found in (740)3(741) (742), etc., but not in (743) (744) (745) (746)*(747), etc., and is omitted by LTTrWH. The contrast is with ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι, servants of Christ, not pleasers of men. The δοῦλοι χριστοῦ, therefore, is a clause by itself, only explained by what follows. Some, mistaking this, make it one sentence with ποιοῦντες, etc.; in which case it loses its force, and the emphasis is on the ποιοῦντες.— ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκ ψυχῆς: doing the will of God from the heart. Statement of what is appropriate to the “bond-servants of Christ”. It belongs to the character ( ὡς) of the bond-servant of Christ to do the will of God, the God and Father of Christ, in his condition in life, and to do that not grudgingly or formally, but ex animo, with hearty readiness— ἐκ ψυχῆς, lit, “from the soul,” cf. ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου “with all thy soul,” Mark 12:30. The ἐκ ψυχῆς is attached by not a few (Syr., Chrys., Jer., Beng., Harl., De Wette, Alf., Abb., WH) to the following clause. Tregelles, again, would attach both ἐκ ψυχῆς and μετʼ εὐνοίας to the ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. But on the whole the simplest and most congruous connection is as it is given both in the AV and the RV. The addition of ἐκ ψυχῆς to the ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ is not superfluous; for to be true to the character of the bond-servant of Christ requires not merely the doing of God’s will, but the doing of that will ex animo. But such definition is enough, and there is no need of the further description μετʼ εὐνοίας. On the other hand the μετʼ εὐνοίας is as pertinent as an explanation of the δουλεύοντες as ἐκ ψυχῆς is as an explanation of the ποιοῦντες.


Verse 7

Ephesians 6:7. μετʼ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες [ ὡς] τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις: with good will doing service [as] to the Lord and not to men. Further explanation of what is meant by the bond-service of Christ, viz., a service rendered with good will and as a service to the Lord Himself, not to men. μετʼ εὐνοίας means not simply with readiness, but with the disposition that wishes one well. In the NT the noun occurs only here; in 1 Corinthians 7:3 the accredited reading is not εὐνοίαν but ὀφειλήν. The TR omits ὡς before τῷ κυρίῳ (with (748)3(749) (750), etc.). It is given, however, by (751) (752) (753) (754)*(755) (756), Vulg., Syr., etc., and is rightly inserted by LTTrWHRV. It got a place in Beza’s edition of 1598.


Verse 8

Ephesians 6:8. εἰδότες ὅτο ἐάν τι ἕκαστος ποιήση ἀναθόν: knowing that whatsoever good thing each shall have done. Or, according to the text of T and WH = “knowing that each, if he shall have done any good thing”. Participal clause subjoining a reason or encouragement for a service rendered in sincerity, with hearty good-will, and as to the Lord Himself. The encouragement lies in their Christian knowledge of the Lord’s reward. εἰδότες, not = “who know” as if οἱ εἰδότες, but “seeing ye know,” “knowing as ye do”. The ποιήσῃ, as followed by the κομίσεται, is best rendered “shall have done”. The readings vary greatly. Passing over minor diversities, e.g., εἰδόντες for εἰδόντες, ἐάν τις ἕκαστος, ἕκαστος ποιήσῃ with omission of ἐάν τι, etc., we find exceptional uncertainty in the text of the ἐάν clause. The TR reads ὅτι ἐάν τι ἕκαστος, which is given in L2 and most cursives. In that case ἐὰν is the potential ἄν, the and the τι being separated by tmesis (cf. ἣν ἄν τινα καταβλάψῃ, Plato, Laws, ix., 864 E), and the sense being = “whatsoever each,” etc. But in a considerable number of Manuscripts and Versions ((757) (758) (759) (760), 17, 37, Vulg., Arm., etc.) we find ὅτι ἕκαστος ἄν (or ἐὰν) ποιήσῃ,; in (761) (762), ὅτι (probably τι) ἐὰν ποιήσῃ, while (763)3 inserts before ἐάν; in (764)*, and one or two cursives (46, 62, 115, 129), ὅτι ἐάν τι ἕκαστος; and in B d, e, Petr. alex. Song of Solomon 6, ὅτι ἔκαστος ἐάν τι ποιήσῃ. This last reading is preferred by Tisch., ed. viii.th, Alf., WH, and is placed in the margin by Lach. In this ἐὰν is the conditional particle and the sense is = “knowing as ye do that each, if he shall have done any good thing”. The Manuscripts constantly vary between ἄν and ἐάν. In classical Greek the conditional ἐάν, if, took also the contracted form ἄν, especially in Thucydides and Plato, and this possibly is the explanation of the biblical use of ἐὰν as = the potential ἄν. In any case the use of ἐὰν, attached to relative pronouns and adverbs, ἐάν, ὅπου ἐάν, οὗ ἐάν, ὁσάκις ἐάν, etc., with the potential force, appears to occur (making all due allowance for uncertainties in the texts) with some frequency both in the LXX and in the NT, and it is found in the papyri; cf. Thayer-Grimm, Lex., p. 168; Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 72; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, pp. 60, 61, 216.— τοῦτο κομιεῖται [ κομίσεται] παρὰ [ τοῦ] κυρίου: this shall he receive again from the Lord. The κομιεῖται of the TR is supported by (765)3(766)3 (767) (768), Bas., Chr., Theodor., etc.; P gives κομίσηται. The best reading is κομίσεται, which is that of (769) (770) (771) (772) (773)*(774), etc. In the NT the verb κομίζειν is used once in the simple sense of carrying or bringing to one (Luke 7:37, of the woman’s ἀλάβαστρον); oftener in the sense of obtaining (1 Peter 1:9; 2 Peter 2:13; Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 11:39), or in that of receiving back, recovering one’s own (Matthew 25:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:25). The word has this last sense also in classical Greek (e.g., τὴν ἀδελφήν, Eurip., Iph. T., 1362; Thuc., i., 113, etc.). So here the idea is that of receiving back. The “good thing” done is represented as being itself given back to the doer; the certainty, equity and adequacy of the reward being thus signified (cf. especially 2 Corinthians 5:10). Whether the Middle is to be taken as the appropriative Middle, expressing as it were the receiving back of a deposit (Ell.) is doubtful in view of the fact that in every NT occurrence but one (Luke 7:37) Middle forms are used. The best uncials omit τοῦ before κυρίου, and so LTTrWHRV.— εἴτε δοῦλος, εἴτε ἐλεύθερος: whether bond or free. The reward in view is that of the Great Day, the Parousia, which will have regard not to social distinctions or external circumstances, but only to spiritual conditions.


Verse 9

Ephesians 6:9. καὶ οἱ κύριοι, τὰ αὐτὰ ποιεῖτε πρός αὐτούς: and ye masters [or lords, RV marg.], do the same things unto them. The καί has the same force as in Ephesians 6:4 above. The duty of the masters is a corresponding duty, essentially the same as that of the servants ( τὰ αὐτά), and it is stated first in respect of what is to be done and then in respect of what is to be left undone. It is to put a forced sense, however, on the phrase ποιεῖτε τὰ αὐτά if it is made to refer only to the preceding δουλεύοντες (Chrys.), as if the point were that the masters had a service to render to the δοῦλοι as these had a service to render to them. Nor does it seem to look back simply to the more general idea in ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. Probably the μετʼ εὐνοίας is more immediately in view, and the meaning is that the masters were to act to their servants in the same Christian way as the servants were called to act to them—in the same spirit of consideration and goodwill.— ἀνιέντες τὴν ἀπεολήν: giving up your threatening. The τήν, pointing to the too well-known habit of the masters, may be best rendered by “your”. ἀνίημι is used in the NT in the sense of loosening (Acts 16:26; Acts 27:40), and of leaving (Hebrews 13:5, from LXX). In classical Greek it is used metaphorically both of slackening, releasing (Aristoph., Vesp., 574), and giving up (Thuc., iii., 10, of ἔχθρα). The latter sense is most in point here. As Ell. rightly observes: “St. Paul singles out the prevailing vice and most customary exhibition of bad feeling on the part of the master, and in forbidding this, naturally includes every similar form of harshness”. This negative side of the master’s duty is not noticed in the parallel passage in Colossians 4:1.— εἰδότες ὅτι καὶ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν [ αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν] κύροίς ἐστιν ἐν οὐρανοῖς: knowing as ye do that also your Master [that both their Master and yours] is in heaven. εἰδότες, as in Ephesians 6:8, expresses the reason or encouragement for such conduct on the part of masters, viz., the fact that masters themselves have a Master or Lord, whose seat is in heaven, not merely on earth, and who is Lord equally of master and of slave. The reading of the TR, καὶ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν, has the support of most cursives and such uncials as K. Some few MSS. give καὶ αὐτῶν ὑμῶν ((775)3(776)). But the best accredited reading is καὶ αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν, “both theirs and yours,” given by B1(777) (778)*, also by (779) (780) (except that αὐτῶν becomes ἑαυτῶν), Syr., Boh., Vulg., Arm., etc., and accepted by LTTrWHRV.— καὶ προσωποληψία οὐκ εστι παρʼ αὐτῷ: and respect of persons is not with Him. The form προσωποληψία is preferred by the best critics (LTTrWH). The noun and its cognates προσωπολημπτής (Acts 10:34), προσωπολημπτέω (James 2:9), ἀπροσωπολήμπτως (1 Peter 1:17), are Hellenistic forms, occurring only in biblical and ecclesiastical Greek. προσωπολημψία itself is found only four times in the NT (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; James 2:1). Cf. also the phrases βλέπειν εἰς πρόσωπον (Matthew 26:16; Mark 12:14), λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον (Luke 20:21; Galatians 2:6), which in the NT have always a bad meaning,—to judge partially, to have regard to the person in judging or treating one. In the LXX the phrase λαμβάνειν or θαυμάζειν πρόσωπον is also used in the sense of having respect to one’s person, being partial (e.g., Job 32:21, where it is conjoined with giving flattering titles), but admits at the same time of the better sense of showing favour to one (Genesis 19:21).


Verse 10

Ephesians 6:10. τὸ λοιπόν [ ἀδελφοί] μου, ἐνδυναμοῦσθε [ δυναμοῦσθε] ἐν κυρίῳ: finally (or, henceforth) [my brethren], be strengthened in the Lord. For τὸ λοιπόν, the reading of TR with (781) (782) (783) (784) (785)3, etc., τοῦ λοιποῦ, is to be preferred (with LTTrWHRV) as sustained by (786) (787) (788) (789), 17, etc. The form τὸ λοιπόν (also the simple λοιπόν) is used in classical Greek both as = “as for the rest,” quod superest, “finally” and with the temporal sense of henceforth. In the NT it has both these applications (e.g., Philippians 3:2; Philippians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1, etc., for the former, and Mark 14:41; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Hebrews 10:13 for the latter). It occurs also once in the sense of “at last,” or “already” (Acts 27:20). The form τοῦ λοιποῦ, properly a temporal gen., both in classical Greek (Herod., ii., 2; Xen., Cyr., iv., 4, 10, etc.) and in the NT (Galatians 6:17), has the sense of “henceforth”. τὸ λοιπόν can be used for τοῦ λοιποῦ, but it does not appear that τοῦ λοιποῦ is equally interchangeable with τὸ λοιπόν. Here τὸ λοιπόν might mean either “as for what you have still to do in addition to what has been said” (Mey.), or “henceforth”. τοῦ λοιποῦ is = “in the future,” “henceforth” (cf. Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, pp. 94, 109; Ell. on Galatians 6:17; Thayer-Grimm, Lex., p. 382). The TR inserts ἀδελφοί μου, with (790)3(791) (792) (793), most cursives, and Syr., Boh., etc. ἀδελφοί, without μου, is read by (794) (795) (796), Vulg., Theodor., etc. But the best accredited text ((797) (798) (799) (800), 17, Eth., Arm., Cyr., Luc., Jer., etc.) omits the phrase (so LTTrWHRV). The ἐνδυναμοῦσθε of the TR is supported by the mass of authorities, but is displaced by the simple δυναμοῦσθε (which occurs in Colossians 1:11) in B 17; which latter is given a place in the margin by WH. ἐνδυναμοῦσθαι is a proper passive = “to be strengthened,” as in Acts 9:22; Romans 4:10; 2 Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 11:34. The ἐν κυρίῳ ( ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ in (801) (802)) defines the strengthening as Christian strengthening, such as can take effect only in union with Christ.— καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ: and in the power of his might. On the distinction between the various words for strength, etc., cf. on chap. Ephesians 1:19 above. The phrase is not to be reduced to “in his mighty power,” but has the full force of “in the active efficacy of the might that is inherent in him”. Meyer takes the ἐν as instrumental = “by means of the might of his strength”. But it has its proper force of “in,” the efficient, energetic power of the Lord’s inherent might being the principle or element in which the increase of strength which is possible only where there is union with Christ is to realise itself. By the καί, therefore, this clause adds something to the preceding and does more than merely explain it. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, ἵνα ἐπισκηνώσῃ ἐπʼ ἐμὲ δύναμις τοῦ χριστοῦ, the idea is that of the strength of Christ descending to rest on one.


Verses 10-20

Ephesians 6:10-20. General concluding exhortation, following up the injunctions bearing on the particular, domestic duties. This comprehensive charge, which is expressed in terms of the Christian’s spiritual warfare, the powers of evil with which he has to contend, and the weapons with which he is to arm himself, brings the Epistle worthily to its close.


Verse 11

Ephesians 6:11. ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ: put on the whole armour of God. Further explanation of what has to be done in order to become strong enough to meet all enemies, even the devil. τοῦ θεοῦ is the gen. of origin or source, = the panoply which comes from God or is provided by Him. To put the emphasis on the θεοῦ (Harl.) is to miss the point and to suppose a contrast which there is nothing here to suggest, viz., with some other kind of panoply. The emphatic thing, as most exegetes notice, is the πανοπλίαν, the idea being that we need not only a Divine equipment, but that equipment in its completeness, without the lack of any single part. The fact that, in order to meet our spiritual foe, we need to take to ourselves all that God provides for living and for overcoming, is expressed in a telling figure drawn from the world of soldiery. The figure of the Christian as a warrior with his arms, wages, etc. ( ὅπλα, ὄψωνια, etc.), occurs repeatedly in the Pauline writings (Romans 6:13; Romans 6:23; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). In briefer form the figure of the armour appears in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, and in its rudiments also in Isaiah 59:17; cf. also Wisdom of Solomon 5:17, etc. πανοπλία is not armour simply (Vulg. armatura, Harl., etc.), but whole armour, the complete equipment of the Roman ὁπλίτης or “man of arms,” consisting of shield, helmet, breastplate, greaves, sword and lance; cf. Thuc., iii., 14; Isocr., 352 D Herod., i., 60; Plato, Laws, vii., p. 796 B and especially Polybius, vi., 23, 2, etc. The word occurs only once again in the NT (Luke 11:22). No doubt the Roman soldier is particularly in view. Paul, the Roman citizen, would think of him, and it was the Roman military power that filled the eye where Paul laboured and wrote.— πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου: that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Statement of the object of the putting on of this panoply. The general sense of direction conveyed by the flexible prep. πρός when followed by the acc. takes a wide variety of applications. In this short sentence it expresses mental direction, aim or object, and local direction, against. The phrase στῆναι πρός belongs to the soldier’s language, being used for standing one’s ground, in opposition to taking to flight (Thuc., v., 104, and cf. Raphel., Annot., ii., p. 493). In James 4:7 we have ἀντιστῆναι with the dat. For μεθοδείας TWH prefer μεθοδίας. On this rare term, found neither in profane Greek nor in the OT, and in the NT only in the two occurrences in this Epistle, see on chap. Ephesians 4:14 above. The plural denotes the various forms which the μεθοδεία, the craftiness, takes, and is fitly rendered either stratagems (which brings out the fundamental idea of method or plan in the deceit) or wiles. The Rhem. gives deceits; Tynd., Cov., Cran., Gen., Bish., assaults or crafty assaults. The Devil, διάβολος, is mentioned here as the author and practiser of all subtle, malicious scheming. The malign powers of which he is the prince are noticed next.


Verse 12

Ephesians 6:12. ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν [ ὑμῖν] πάλη πρὸς αἶμα καὶ σάρκα: for our [your] wrestling is not against flesh and blood. Reason for speaking of the μεθοδεῖαι τοῦ διαβόλου as dangers against which the Christian must stand his ground. The ὅτι is explanatory, = “the wiles of the Devil, I say, for it is not mere men we have to face”. The term πάλη, which occurs only this once in the NT, is used in classical Greek occasionally in the general sense of a battle or combat (in the poets, e.g., Aesch., Cho., 866; Eurip., Heracl., 159), but usually in the specific sense of a contest in the form of wrestling. If it has its proper sense here, as is most probable, there is a departure for the time being from the figure of the panoply, and a transition to one which brings up different ideas. Has Paul, then, who elsewhere uses the more general figures of the μάχη, the ἁγών, etc., any special object in view in selecting πάλη here? There is nothing to indicate any such special object, unless it be to bring out the hand to hand nature of the conflict, “the personal, individualising nature of the encounter” (Ell.). The defines the πάλη in view, viz., the physical struggle, as not the kind of πάλη with which we are concerned—which is “for us” ( ἡμῖν). The ἡμῖν of the TR has the support of (803) (804) (805)3(806) (807) (808), most cursives, and most Versions; ὑμῖν is read by (809) (810)*(811), Eth., Goth., etc. The case is somewhat evenly balanced. TrWH place ὑμῖν in the margin; Lach., Tisch., etc., keep ἡμῖν. The form αἷμα καὶ σάρξ occurs only here and (acc. to the best critics) in Hebrews 2:14. Elsewhere it is σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα; but the sense is the same, = feeble humanity. The phrase occurs four times in the NT, always with the same general sense of man in the character of his weakness and dependence, but with slightly varying references; e.g., with regard to our corporeal being in 1 Corinthians 15:50; Hebrews 2:14; our intellectual power in Matthew 16:17; our spiritual capacity as contrasted with invisible, diabolic agents (cf. Ell. on Galatians 1:16). The idea of carnal desires or passions which is ascribed to the phrase here by some (Jer., Matthies, etc.) would be expressed by σάρξ without αἷμα.— ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς: but against the principalities. The formula οὐκἀλλά indicates not a comparative negation, as if = “not so much against flesh and blood as against the ἀρχαί,” but an absolute. Meyer regards the clause as a case of brachylogy, some term of more general sense than πάλη, e.g., μάχη or μαχετέον having to be understood, = “for us there is not a wrestling with flesh and blood, but a fight with the principalities”. This on the ground that the idea of wrestling is inconsistent with that of the panoply. But while it is true that there is a change in the figure for the time being, there is nothing strange in that, neither is there any incongruity in representing the Christian’s conflict as a wrestling—an individual encounter and one at close quarters. On the sense of ἀρχαί, principalities or rulers applied here to the powers of evil, see on Ephesians 1:21 above.— πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας: against the authorities. On ἐξουσίαι, here designating demonic authorities, see on Ephesians 1:21 above.— πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους [ τοῦ αἰῶνος] τούτου: against the world-rulers of the darkness of this world (or, of this darkness). τοῦ αἰῶνος is inserted after σκότους by the TR, and is found in most cursives, and in such uncials as (812)3(813)3(814) (815) (816) (817). It is omitted in (818) (819) (820) (821)*(822) (823), 17, 672, etc., and is rejected by LTTrWHRV. In the NT we have such designations as ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμους τούτου (John 14:30), θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου (2 Corinthians 4:4), applied to Satan. The phrase κοσμοκράτωρ τοῦ σκότους τούτου occurs only here. The noun κοσμοκράτωρ is found in the Orphic Hymns (iii., 3, of Satan), in inscriptions (C. I., 5892, with ref. to the emperor), in Gnostic writings (of the devil), and in the Rabbinical literature in transliterated Hebrew form (of the angel of death, and of kings like the four pursued by Abraham, and Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach, Belshazzar; cf. Wetstein, in loc.; Fischer’s Buxtorf, Lex., p. 996, etc.). According to usage as well as formation, therefore, it means not merely rulers (Eth., Goth.), but world-rulers, powers dominating the world as such and working everywhere. τοῦ σκότους limits their dominion, however, to the world as it now is in the darkness of its ignorance and evil, and suggests the destined termination of their operation.— πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας: against the spirit-forces of wickedness. The repetition of the πρὸς before each of the four powers named in the clause has rhetorical force. Such renderings as “spiritual wickedness” (Tynd., Bish., AV), “spiritual craftiness” (Cran.), spirituales nequitiae (Erasm., Beza, Wolf., etc.), are inadequate. The phrase τὰ πνευματικά is not the same as τὰ πνεύματα, but means properly speaking the spiritual things (so Wicl., “the spiritual things of wickedness”). It is possible that the neut. adj. has the collective force here; in support of which Meyer and others adduce such phrases as τὸ πολιτικόν, τὸ ἱππικόν, τὰ λῃστρικά, etc. But τὸ πολιτικόν seems to mean the whole of that section of the community which consists of πολῖται; τὸ ἱππικόν, also τὰ ἱππικά (Polyb., iii., 114, 5) means cavalry; and τὰ λῃστρικά is used for pirate-vessels. The form τὸ λῃστικόν, however, has both the sense of piracy (Thucyd., i., 4, 13), and that of a band of robbers (Thucyd., ii., 69). This may perhaps justify the sense of spirit-bands or spiritual hosts here. But it seems most consonant with usage to give the term τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας the simple sense of “the spiritual things,” i.e., “elements or forces of wickedness,” without connecting with it the doubtful connotation of armies, hosts, or hordes (cf. Abb., in loc.). The πονηρίας is the gen. of quality, = the spirit-forces whose essential character is wickedness.— ἑν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις: in the heavenly regions. On τὰ ἐπουράνια see under Ephesians 1:3 above. The phrase, of which this is the fifth occurrence in the Epistle, is most naturally understood in the local sense which it has in the previous instances. Some depart from this sense and make it = the heavenly blessings, giving at the same time the meaning of “for,” “in behalf” to ἐν, = “for the heavenly possessions”. So even Chrys., Theod., and Oec., followed by Witsius, Wolf., etc. But ἐν cannot = ὑπέρ or περί, not even in Matthew 6:7; John 16:30; Acts 7:29; 1 Corinthians 9:4. Others, retaining the local sense, take the phrase as a designation of the scene of the combat, e.g. = “in the kingdom of heaven,” that being the region in which Christians contend with the enemies of God (Matthies), or “in the air” as contrasted with the solid ground (Rück.). But the term qualifies τὰ πνευματικά. Forming one idea with that, it dispenses with the article; cf. τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ ἀέρος, Matthew 6:26; τοῖς πλουσίοις ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι, 1 Timothy 6:17, etc. It defines the domain of these spirit-forces. Their haunts are those superterrestrial regions, not the highest heavens which are the abode of God, Christ, and angels, but those lower heavens which are at once subcelestial and superterrestrial. The phrase and the idea may be suggested by the Jewish notion of a series of seven heavens, each distinguished from the other, the third or (later) the fourth, e.g., being identified with Paradise. Cf. Morfill and Charles, Book of the Secrets of Enoch, p. xl. The phrase expresses, therefore, much the same idea as the phrase τοῦ ἀέρος in Ephesians 2:2. The reason why Paul uses ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις and not ἐν τῷ ἀέρι here may be, as Meyer suggests, his wish to “bring out as strongly as possible the superhuman and superterrestrial nature of these hostile spirits”.


Verse 13

Ephesians 6:13. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ: wherefore take up the whole armour of God. διὰ τοῦτο, i.e., because your enemies are such as these. ἀναλαβεῖν is the accepted term for taking up arms, as κατατίθεσθαι is for laying them down (Deuteronomy 1:41; Jeremiah 26:3).— ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ: that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. The object of the ἀντιστῆναι, viz., the powers of evil, is left to be understood. The ἡμέρα πονηρά is inadequately interpreted as the day of death (E. Schmid); the day of judgment (Jer.); the present life (Chrys., Oec., etc.)—which would rather have been αἰὼν πονηρός; or the whole period of conflict prepared for us by Satan (Rück., Harl., De Wette, Bleek, etc.). Regard must be had to the definiteness given to the ἡμέρα by the article, which marks it out as in some sense or other a single day, a critical day, a time of peculiar peril and trial. Hence the choice must be between the time immediately preceding the Parousia, the searching day of the future in which the powers of evil will make their last and greatest effort (Meyer, etc.), and the day of violent temptation and assault, whenever that may come to us during the present time (Ell., etc.), “any day of which it may be said, ‘this is your hour, and the power of darkness’ ” (Barry; so also Abb.). The latter view is on the whole to be preferred.— καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι: and having done all, to stand. In A we have the variant κατεργασμένοι, a misspelling for κατεργασάμενοι or for κατειργασμένοι. The Vulg. renders in omnibus perfecti (following perhaps the reading κατειργασμένοι). Some make it = “having prepared all things for the conflict” (Erasm., Beza, etc.); but that would be expressed by some such form as παρασκευασάμενοι (1 Corinthians 14:8). Others give it the sense of overpowering (Oec., Chrys., Harl., etc.; cf. “overcome” in AV margin)—a sense which it has, but not in the NT, as far as appears, and which will not suit the neut. ( ἅπαντα) here. There is no reason to depart from the ordinary sense of the verb, viz., that of perficere (cf. Plato, Laws, iii., p. 686 E Herod., v., 24, etc.), doing thoroughly, working out, especially (the κατά being intensive) accomplishing a difficult task. Applied to things evil or dishonourable this becomes perpetrare. These are the senses which it has in the NT generally and in the Pauline writings in particular (Romans 7:15; Romans 7:17; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Philippians 2:12, etc.; and in the sense of perpetrating, Romans 1:27; Romans 2:9; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Peter 4:3). The ἅπαντα refers obviously to the conflict in view, and means “all things pertaining to your struggle”. The στῆναι, in contrast with the ἀντιστῆναι or withstanding, denotes the final result; the ability to withstand when the fight is on is to be sought with a view to holding one’s position when the conflict is at an end,—neither dislodged nor felled, but standing victorious at one’s post.


Verse 14

Ephesians 6:14. στῆτε οὑν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ: stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth. In some few authorities στῆτε οὐν is omitted (Victor., Ambrstr.); in others the οὖν is omitted and στῆτε is retained ((824)*(825) (826), Cyp., etc.). ὀσφυς is accentuated ὀσφῦς by TR and Treg.; but ὀσφύς by LTWH. The aor. στῆτε may perhaps be best rendered, “take your stand,” the definite act being in view. The spiritual warrior who has kept his position victorious and stood above his conquered foe in one “evil day,” is to take his stand again ready to face another such critical day, should it come. The following sentences explain what has to be done if he is thus to stand. The aorists can scarcely be the contemporary aorists or definitions of the way in which they were to stand; for it would not be the mark of the good soldier that he left his equipment to be attended to till the very time when he had to take up his position. They are proper pasts, stating what has to be done before one takes up his stand. First in the list of these articles of equipment is mentioned the girdle. Appropriately so; for the soldier might be furnished with every other part of his equipment, and yet, wanting the girdle, would be neither fully accoutred nor securely armed. His belt or baldric ( ζωστήρ or (later) ζωνή) was no mere adornment of the soldier, but an essential part of his equipment. Passing round the loins and by the end of the breastplate (in later times supporting the sword), it was of especial use in keeping other parts in place, and in securing the proper soldierly attitude and freedom of movement. The περιζωσάμενοι is better rendered (with RV) “having girded your loins,” than “having your loins girt” (with AV); for the girding is the soldier’s own act by help of God’s grace (cf. Luke 12:35 and the ἀναζωσάμενοὶ τὰς ὀσφύας of 1 Peter 1:13). The sing. ὀσφύς is used now and again in the LXX as the rendering of הֲלָצַיִם = the two loins, and so it is used here and in Acts 2:30; Hebrews 7:5; Hebrews 7:10. The ἐν in ἐν ἀληθείᾳ is the instrum. ἐν, perhaps with some reference to the other parts being within the girdle (Ell.; cf. περιεζωσμένος ἐν δυναστείᾳ, Psalms 64:7). But what is this ἀληθεία which is to make our spiritual cincture? It has been taken in the objective sense, the truth of the Gospel (Oec.). But that is afterwards identified with the sword (Ephesians 6:17). It is subjective truth (cf. Ephesians 6:9 above). But in what sense again? In that, says Meyer, of “harmony of knowledge with the objective truth given in the Gospel”; in that, as Ell. puts it, “of the inward practical acknowledgment of the truth as it is in Him” (Christ). But in its subjective applications ἀληθεία means most obviously the personal grace of candour, sincerity, truthfulness (John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13:6; 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1), as it is used also of the veracity of God (Romans 15:8). It seems simplest, therefore, and most accordant with usage to take it so here (with Calv., etc.). And this plain grace of openness, truthfulness, reality, the mind that will practise no deceits and attempt no disguises in our intercourse with God, is indeed vital to Christian safety and essential to the due operation of all the other qualities of character. In Isaiah 11:5 righteousness is combined with truth in this matter of girdingἔσται δικαιοσύνῃ ἐζωσμένος τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀληθείᾳ εἱλημένος τὰς πλευράς—in the case of the Messianic Branch out of the roots of Jesse.— καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης: and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. As the soldier covers his breast with the θώραξ to make it secure against the disabling wound, so the Christian is to endue himself with righteousness so as to make his heart and will proof against the fatal thrust of his spiritual assailants. This δικαιοσύνη is taken by some (Harl., etc.) as the righteousness of justification, the righteousness of faith. But faith is mentioned by itself, and as the ἀληθεία was the quality of truthfulness, so the δικαιοσύνη is the quality of moral rectitude (cf. Romans 6:13), as seen in the regenerate. The gen. is to be understood as that of apposition or identity, = “the breastplate which is righteousness”. In the analogous passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 the breastplate is faith and love, and with it is named the helmet, which is introduced later in this paragraph. In the fundamental passage in Isaiah 59:17 we have the breastplate and the helmet again mentioned together, and the former identified as here with righteousnessἐνεδύσατο δικαιοσύνην ὡς θώρακα.


Verse 15

Ephesians 6:15. καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας: and having shod your feet. So the RV better than “and your feet shod” of AV. The reference comes in naturally in connection with the στῆτε. The soldier, who will make this stand, must have his feet protected. The Heb. נַעַל, sandal, is represented in the LXX by ὑπόδημα, which also occurs repeatedly in the Gospels and Acts, σανδάλιον being also used both in the NT (Mark 6:9; Acts 12:8), and in the LXX, as well as in Josephus, with the same sense. Here, however, the military sandal (Hebr. סְאו̇ר, Isaiah 9:4; Lat. caliga; cf. Joseph., Jew. Wars, Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 6:8, and Xen., Anab., iv., 5) is in view, which protected the soldier’s feet and made it possible for him to move with quick and certain step.— ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ: with the preparedness. The form ἑτοιμασία occurs in later Greek (e.g., Hippocr., p. 24; Joseph., Antiq., x., 1, 2) and in the LXX (cf. Psalms 10:17), for the classical ἑτοιμότης. It means (a) preparation in the active sense of making ready (Wisdom of Solomon 13:12); (b) a state of preparedness, whether external (e.g., ἵππους εἰς ἑτοιμασίαν παρέχειν, Joseph., Antiq., x., 1, 2), or internal (Psalms 10:17); perhaps also (c) something fixed, a foundation (= Heb. מָבֹון; Daniel 11:7). Some have given it this last sense here, either as = stedfastness in keeping the faith, or as = on the foundation, the strong and certain ground, of the Christian religion (Beng., Bleek, etc.). But in harmony with the general idea of the ethical equipment of the Christian, it means readiness, preparedness of mind. The ἐν is again the instrum prep.— τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης: of the Gospel of peace. The first gen, is that of origin, the second that of contents, = “the preparedness which comes from the Gospel whose message is peace”. The εἰρήνη here is doubtless peace with God (Romans 5:1), that peace which alone imparts the sense of freedom, relieves us of what burdens us, and gives the spirit of courageous readiness for the battle with evil. The phrase “the Gospel of peace” is elsewhere associated with the idea of the message preached (Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15; cf. Romans 10:15). Here, however, the readiness is not zeal in proclaiming the Gospel, but promptitude with reference to the conflict. The preparedness, the mental alacrity with which we are inspired by the Gospel with its message of peace with God, is to be to us the protection and equipment which the sandals that cover his feet are to the soldier. With this we shall be helped to face the foe with courage and with promptitude.


Verse 16

Ephesians 6:16. ἐπὶ [ ἐν] πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως: in addition to all (or, withal) taking up the shield of faith. The readings vary between ἐπί and ἐν. The former, that of the TR, is supported by (827) (828) (829) (830) (831), most cursives, and such Versions as the Syr.-P, and the Arm.; the latter, by (832) (833) (834), 17, Syr.-H., Boh., Vulg., etc. The latter is accepted by L (non-marg.) TTrWHRV and with it the sense is “in or among all,” aptly rendered withal by the RV. With ἐπί the sense will be neither “above all” (AV) as if = most especially, nor “over all,” with reference to position; but, in accordance with the general idea of “accession,” “super-addition” expressed by ἐπί (cf. Ell.), in addition to all (cf. Luke 3:20). θυρεός, in Homer = a stone put against a door ( θύρα) to block or shut it (Od., ix., 240, etc.), but later = a shield, is the large, oblong shield, Lat. scutum, as distinguished from the smaller, circular ἀσπίς, the Lat. clipeus. It is described by Polybius (vi., 23, 2) as the first portion of the πανοπλία, and is appropriate here where the Christian is presented under the figure of a heavy-armed soldier. τῆς πίστεως, the gen. of appos. or identity, = “the shield which is, or consists of, faith”; πίστις having here also its distinctive NT sense of saving faith—the faith by which come the Divine forgiveness and the power of a new life.— ἐν δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ [ τὰ] πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι: wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. ἐν = “by means of which,” as the shield is placed before us to cover us from the stroke. There is no necessity for putting. on δυνήσεσθε the sense of the remote future, as if the last conflict preceding the Judgment (Mey.) alone were in view. It refers to the future generally—to any time in our Christian course when we shall need special power for special assault. The art. τά is omitted before πεπυρωμένα by (835) (836)*(837), etc., but inserted by the mass of authorities. Lach. deletes it; Treg. and WH bracket it. The anarthrous participle might have the qualitative sense, = “fire-tipped as they are” (so Abb.). If the article is retained, it would be implied, as Meyer remarks, that the wicked one has also other arrows to discharge besides these fearsome and pre-eminently destructive ones, which are mentioned here in order to express in its utmost force the terror of the attack. The βέλη in view are not poisoned arrows (referred to, as is supposed, in Job 6:4; Psalms 38:2), which were not flaming missiles; but arrows tipped with tow, pitch or such like material, and set on fire before they were discharged, the πυρφόροι όϊστοι (Thucyd., ii., 75, 4), or βέλη πυρφόρα (Diod., xx. 96), the malleoli used by the Romans (Cic., Pro Mil., 24), the Greeks (Herod., viii., 52), and, as it would seem, the Hebrews (Psalms 7:13). The σβέσαι has its own appropriateness here, the θυρεός being constructed of material (wood and leather, Polyb., Hist., ii., 23, 3), which not only prevented the missile from penetrating, but was proof against its fire and let it burn itself out. τοῦ πονηρου, in harmony with the general idea of a personal stand against spiritual toes, must be masc., “the Evil One,” the Devil.


Verse 17

Ephesians 6:17. καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε: and receive the helmet of salvation. The construction changes here, as is often the case with Paul, and passes from the participial form to the direct imperative. There is no necessity, however, for marking this by a full stop at the close of the preceding sentence (with Lach., Tisch., and RV). δέξασθε is omitted by (838)*(839) (840), Cyp., etc., and becomes δέξασθαι in (841) (842)3(843) (844) (845) (846), 17, etc. The verb has its proper sense here, not merely “take,” but “receive,” i.e., as a gift from the Lord, a thing provided and offered by Him. The helmet required for the defence of the head is introduced both in Isaiah 59:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8. It is noticed before the sword; for, the left hand holding the shield, when the sword is grasped by the right, there remains no hand free to put on any other part (Mey.). τοῦ σωτηρίου is again an appos. gen, = “the helmet which is salvation”. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 the helmet is not the salvation itself, as here and in Isaiah 59:17, but the hope of it. Paul’s usual term is σωτηρία. In Titus 2:11 he uses the adj. σωτήριος in the sense of “bringing salvation”. This is the only instance of his use of the abstr. neuter for σωτηρία. It occurs, however, in Luke’s writings (Luke 2:30; Luke 3:6; Acts 28:28, and in the LXX).— καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος: and the sword of the Spirit. The gen. here cannot be that of appos. (although it is so taken by Harl., Olsh., etc.), for the following explanation renders that inept. It must be the gen. of origin, = “the sword supplied by the Spirit”.— ἐστι ῥῆμα θεοῦ: which is the word of God. Some strangely make the refer to the πνεύματος, = “the Spirit who is the Word of God” (Olsh., Von Sod., etc.); but nowhere else is the Spirit identified with the Word. The is explanatory of the μάχαιρα, the neut, form being due to the usual attraction. In Hebrews 4:2 we have the λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ compared in respect of superior sharpness or penetrating power to a two-edged sword. Here we have the phrase ῥῆμα θεοῦ, which is to be understood, in accordance with the proper sense of ῥῆμα, as the spoken Word, the preached Gospel, and this in its length and breadth—not in the commandments of God only (Flatt), nor in His threatenings alone (Koppe), nor even yet in the sense of the written Word, the Scriptures (Moule). The sword is the only offensive weapon in the panoply. But it is indispensable. For, while the Christian soldier is exhibited here mainly in the attitude of defence, as one who stands, in order to take his position and keep his ground, thrust and cut will be required. The preached Gospel, “the power of God” (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18), is the weapon provided by the Spirit for meeting the lunge of the assailant and beating him back. With this the description of the panoply comes to an end. It has not followed the usual way, but has left out certain parts (spear or lance, and greaves, to wit), and has introduced others (the girdle and the sandals) which are not enumerated in Polybius’s list of the accoutrements of the man-at-arms. It has kept only in part by the Isaianic description (Isaiah 59:17), including the breastplate and the helmet, but passing over the “garments” and the “cloke”. Nor has it much more in common with the fuller description in Wisdom of Solomon 5:18; Wisdom of Solomon 5:20, which may also have been more or less in the writer’s mind— λήψεται πανοπλίαν τὸν ζῆλον αὐτοῦἐνδύσεται θώρακα δικαιοσύνης, καὶ περιθήσεται κόρυθα κρίσιν ἀνυπόκριτον. λήψεται ἀσπίδα ἀκαταμάχητον ὁσιότητα, ὀξυνεῖ δὲ ἀπότομον ὀργὴν εἰς ῥομφαίαν. It differs also in the application of the figures of the breastplate and the helmet from the briefer Pauline description in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. But the capacity of bearing a variety of applications, each as just in its place as the other, is the quality of all figurative language that is apt and true to nature.


Verse 18

Ephesians 6:18. διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι: with all prayer and supplication praying. This clause is a further explanation of the manner in which the injunction στῆτε οὖν is to be carried. It is connected by some with the preceding δέξασθε; but it is not appropriate to the δέξασθε, which represents a single, definite act, while it is entirely suitable to the continuous attitude expressed by στῆτε. This great requirement of standing ready for the combat can be made good only when prayer, constant, earnest, spiritual prayer, is added to the careful equipment with all the parts of the panoply. Meyer would separate προσευχόμενοι from the διὰ πάσης, etc., and make it the beginning of a new, independent clause. His reason is that it is impossible to pray with every kind of prayer on every occasion. But the absoluteness of the statement is only of the kind that is often seen in Paul, as, e.g., when he charges us to pray ἀδιαλείπτως (1 Thessalonians 5:17). διά has the familiar sense of “by means of,” in the particular aspect of formal cause, the manner in which a thing is done (cf. εἶπε διά παραβολῆς, Luke 8:4; εἶπε διὰ ὁράματος, Acts 18:9; τῷ λόγῳ διʼ ἐπιστολῶν, 2 Corinthians 5:11, etc.; Grimm-Thayer, Lex., p. 133). The πάσης has the force of “every kind of”. The distinction attempted to be drawn between προσευχή (= תְּפִלָּה) and δέησις (= תִּחְנָּה), as between prayer for blessing and prayer for the withholding or removing of evil, cannot be made good. The only difference between the two terms appears to be that προσευχή means prayer in general, precatio, and δέησις, a special form of prayer, petition, rogatio.ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ: in every season. Not merely in the crisis of the conflict or on special occasions, but habitually, in all kinds of times.— ἐν πνεύματι: in the Spirit. The reference is not to our spirit, as if = with inward devoutness or with heart-felt pleading (Erasm., Grot., etc.), nor as opposed to βαττολογεῖν (Chrys.), but “in the Holy Spirit,” the Holy Spirit being the sphere or element in which alone true prayer of all different kinds can proceed and from which it draws its inspiration; cf. the great statement on the intercession of the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27); also Galatians 4:6, and especially Judges 1:20, ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ προσευχόμενοι. Thus the praying is defined in respect of its variety and earnestness ( διὰ πάσης, etc.), its constancy ( ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ), and its spiritual reality or its “holy sphere” (cf. Ell.).— καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ [ τοῦτο] ἀγρυπνοῦντες: and thereunto watching. The τοῦτο of the TR inserted after αὐτό has the support only of such MSS. as (847)3J(848), etc.; it is omitted in (849) (850) (851), etc., while αὐτόν alone occurs in (852)*(853). τοῦτο, therefore, is to be deleted, as is done by LTTrWHRV. The εἰς τοῦτο refers not to what is to follow, as, e.g., to the ἵνα μοι δοθῇ (Holzh.), but to what immediately precedes. The clause, therefore, attaches (by the καί) a more particular requirement to the general statement just made, specifying something that is to be done with a view ( εἰς τοῦτο) to the fulfilment of the large injunction as to praying. That is watchfulness, readiness, and, as the next words state, watchfulness in intercession, ἀγρυπνεῖν = to keep awake or to keep watch, and then to be attentive, vigilant (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36), is much the same as γρηγορεῖν and νήφειν. So far as any distinction is made between them it may be that ἀγρυπνεῖν expresses alertness as opposed to listlessness, γρηγορεῖν watchfulness as the result of effort, and νήφειν wariness, the wakefulness that is safe against drowsiness (Sheldon Green, Crit. Notes on the N.T., sub Mark 13:33).— ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει: in all perseverance and supplication. The only occurrence of the noun προσκαρτέρησις. The verb, however, is found a number of times, both in profane Greek and in the NT, especially in Acts (Mark 3:9; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:7; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; Colossians 4:2) in the sense of giving heed to (e.g., τῇ προσευχῇ, Acts 1:14, etc.), continuing in, etc. The perseverance or stedfastness in view is in the matter of prayer, so that the “in every kind of perseverance and supplication” is much the same as “in every kind of persevering supplication,” although in the case of a hendiadys proper the order would rather have been ἐν δεήσει καὶ προσκαρτερήσει.— περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων: for all the saints. Thus in order to prayer of the kind described—prayer comprehensive, continuous, and moving in the domain of the Spirit of God, there must be intercession for all and watchfulness and perseverance in it. Only when we constantly pray in this way for others can we pray for ourselves “with all prayer and supplication in every season in the Spirit”.


Verse 19

Ephesians 6:19. καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ: and for me. καί has here its adjunctive force, in the special form of appending the particular to the general (Win.-Moult., p. 544), = “and for me in particular”. Paul passes from the requirement of intercession for all to that of intercession for himself, and that with a view to a special gift from God, to wit, freedom of utterance in preaching. The περί of the former clause becomes ὑπέρ in the present. This suggests the existence of some distinction between the two preps., and some have attempted to show that ὑπέρ alone expresses the idea of care for one, while περί denotes a more distant relation (Harl., etc.). But it is impracticable to establish either that or any other tangible distinction. ὑπέρ may be, generally speaking, more applicable to persons, and περί to things. But here both are used of persons. Even in classical Greek they were often used as if interchangeable (e.g., Demosth., Phil., ii., p. 74, 35), and in later Greek, both biblical and non-biblical, they seem to have lost any distinction they once may have had.— ἵνα μοι δοθείῃ [ δοθῇ] λόγος: that to me may be given utterance. The δοθείῃ of the TR rests on very slender cursive evidence; δοθῇ is read by (854) (855) (856) (857) (858) (859) (860) (861) (862) (863), etc., and must be substituted. A few authorities place μοι after δοθῇ ((864) (865), d, e, f, vg, Victor., etc.); but in most it is inserted before it. δοθῇ has the position of emphasis—the utterance for which they were to pray in Paul’s behalf is regarded as a gift from God. For this use of λόγος cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2.— ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου: in opening my mouth. Not “that I may open my mouth” (AV), but “when I open my mouth”. The ἐν marks the occasion of the action, and the action itself is that in which the gift ( δοθῇ) of Divine help is sought. The phrase ἀνοίγειν τὸ στόμα does not of itself denote any special kind of utterance, whether unreserved (Calv., De Wette, etc.), unpremeditated (Oec.), or other. If it conveys in any case the idea of a certain quality of speech, that is due to the context; as in 2 Corinthians 6:11, where it is conjoined with the phrase καρδία ἡμῶν πεπλάτυνται. It means simply the opening of the mouth to speak, or the act of speaking; but both in the OT and in the NT it appears to have a certain pathetic (Mey.), or rather solemn force (Ell.), being used of grave and important utterances on which much depended (Job 3:1; Daniel 10:16; Matthew 5:2; Acts 8:33; Acts 18:14).— ἐν παρρησίᾳ: with boldness. Statement of the thing specially sought, and recognised as to be obtained only by the gift of God, to wit, fearless, confident freedom whenever occasion came to preach the Gospel. παρρησία primarily = freedom in speaking (Acts 4:13; 2 Corinthians 3:12); then frankness, unreserve, or plainness in speaking (Mark 8:32; John 10:24; John 11:14; John 16:25, etc.); and boldness, assurance, as opposed, e.g., to αἰσχύνεσθαι (Philippians 1:20; 1 John 3:21; 1 John 5:14); and with the fundamental idea of freedom or confidence in speaking again suggesting itself (1 John 2:28; 1 John 4:17; see also under Ephesians 3:12 above).— γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον [ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου]: to make known the mystery [of the Gospel]. The τοῦ εὐαγγελίου of the TR has large support ((866) (867) (868) (869) (870) (871) (872), Vulg., Syr., Copt., etc.). It is omitted by (873) (874)gr(875), Victor., etc., and is deleted by LWH. The gen. is probably that of contents, or one of the various forms of the gen. possess., = the mystery contained in the Gospel or belonging to it. On μυστήριον see under Ephesians 1:9 above.—The connection of the several clauses in this verse is variously understood. Some connect ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου with the following ἐν παρρησίᾳ. So Grotius, who explains it thus—“ut ab hac custodia militari liber per omnem urbem perferre possem sermonem”; but παρρησία does not apply to freedom of movement, and here it has a sense in harmony with the following παῤῥησιάσωμαι. Others attach the ἐν ἀνοίξει closely with the λόγος as a definition of it, = “that utterance may be given me by the opening of my mouth” (Cornel. à Lap., Harl., Olsh., Von Soden, Abb., etc.). This makes the “opening of the mouth” the act of God; in support of which interpretation appeal is made to the terms in Ezekiel 3:27; Ezekiel 29:21; Ezekiel 32:22; Psalms 51:15. The absence of the article, and the analogous passage in Colossians 4:3 are also thought to favour this. But the terms in Colossians 4:3 are different— ἵνα θεὸς ἀνοίξῃ ἡμῖν θύραν τοῦ λόγου, and the construction makes the δοθῇ and the ἄνοιξις τοῦ στόματος practically one and the same thing. The simplest constructions are these two—(1) to connect ἐν παρρησίᾳ with what precedes, and with the λόγος not the ἄνοιξις, = “that utterance, and that with boldness, may be given to me when I undertake to open my mouth with a view to make known the mystery of the Gospel”; and (2) to connect ἐν παρρησίᾳ with what follows, to wit, the γνωρίσαι, = “that to me utterance may be given when I open my mouth, that with boldness I may make known the mystery of the Gospel”. The latter is preferred by Meyer, Ell., WH, etc. It is followed by the RV text, “in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness,” etc.; while the RV margin gives “in opening my mouth with boldness, to make known the mystery,” etc. The former construction gives a good sense for each particular term and a simple connection, if the ἐν παρρησίᾳ is taken to define not the opening of the mouth, but the utterance, the λόγος, which is the main thought. On the whole the latter is perhaps to be preferred, the need of utterance, power of speech, when occasion offers itself to preach, being first mentioned, and this gift of utterance being next defined in respect of its object, viz., to give fearless confidence in making the Gospel known.


Verse 20

Ephesians 6:20. ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει: in behalf of which I am an ambassador in a chain. The οὗ is best referred, not to τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, but to τὸ μυστήριον, the mystery contained in the Gospel being the thing that Paul desired to make known ( γνωρίσαι). So in Colossians 4:3 it is this μυστήριον that the writer is to utter ( λαλῆσαι) and on account of which he is bound ( δέδεμαι). πρεσβεύω = “I act as ambassador,” only here and in 2 Corinthians 5:20. The ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ of the latter passage is left to be understood here. The legation or embassage in Christ’s cause, which Paul here ascribes to himself, is not to be limited to the Roman Court (Mich.), but is to be understood as to the whole Gentile world, in the wide sense of the commission given (Acts 9:15; Acts 17:15); the debt professed (Romans 1:14); the office claimed (Romans 11:13), and recognised (Galatians 2:9). The noun ἅλυσις, which is not of frequent occurrence in classical Greek, means there a chain (Herod., ix., 74; Eurip., Or., 984); also a woman’s ornament, a bracelet (Aristoph., Frag., Mem., ii., p. 1079). It is taken by some to be a word of general application, denoting a chain or bond by which any part of the body may be bound, and it is questioned (e.g., by Mey.), whether it is distinguished from πέδη as hand-fetter from foot-fetter. But, while in such passages as Revelation 20:1 the specific sense may not be required, it seems clear that the distinction between manacle and fetter does obtain (cf. Polyb., iii., 82, 8); that this distinction is made in Mark 5:4; and that ἅλυσις is used of the “handcuff” by which a prisoner was attached to his guard (Joseph., Antiq., xviii., 6, 7, 10; Acts 12:6; Acts 21:33, etc.; cf. Light., Phil., p. 8). This may be its meaning here, and there will be no necessity for taking it to be a collective sing. = bonds; of which use indeed, though possible (cf. Bernh., Synt., ii., 1, p. 58), there does not appear to be any clear example in the NT itself. And such phrases as εἰς τὴν ἅλυσιν ἐμπίπτειν (Polyb., iv., 76, 5, xxi., 3, 3) are inconclusive, the article giving the word the generic sense. It has been thought that the expression points to the custodia militaris endured by Paul in Rome (Acts 28:16; Acts 28:20; cf. 2 Timothy 1:16; Beza, Grot., Paley, Steyer, etc.). That is possible, and indeed even probable, so far as the custodia is concerned. But the description might apply to the imprisonment in Cæsarea as well as to that in Rome. The real point of the clause is in the view it gives of the need of the παρρησία and of the intercessions that should bring that gift.— ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι: in order that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. How is this purpose-clause to be connected? Some attach it to the πρεσβεύω (Beng., Meyer, Von Soden), as if = “I act as ambassador in a chain with the object of speaking boldly,” etc. Others connect it with the whole foregoing clause, making it subordinate to that, and an explanation of the object of the gift of utterance, = “that utterance may be given to me to make known the mystery, with the view that I should speak boldly” (Harl.). But ἵνα is repeatedly used to introduce something that is not subordinate to, but coordinate with, what is stated in a former ἵνα clause (Romans 8:13; Galatians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 12:20; 2 Corinthians 9:3). It is best, therefore, to take it so here, and to understand the clause as giving a second object contemplated in the προσευχόμενοι and ἀγρυπνοῖντες, etc. First the gift of utterance, and now secondly the gift more particularly of a boldness or freedom ( παρρησιάσωμαι) in preaching such as became the Apostle’s office and responsibility ( ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι). The αὐτῷ refers to the μυστήριον which was to be preached. The ἐν is taken by some (e.g., Harl.) to denote the source or ground of the boldness in speaking ( παρρησιάσωμαι). But it is God who is named as the source of such boldness ( ἐπαρρησιασάμεθα ἐν τῷ θεῷ, 1 Thessalonians 2:2). It might be an instance of ἐν expressing that on which a certain power operates or in which it shows itself (as in ἵνα οὕτω γένηται ἐν ἐμοί, 1 Corinthians 9:15; ἐν ἡμῖν μάθητε, 1 Corinthians 4:6; cf. Thayer-Grimm, Lex., p. 210). But it is best understood as the note of that in which one is busied (cf. Acts 22:12; 1 Timothy 4:15; Colossians 4:2, etc.), and so = “that, occupied with that mystery, i.e., in proclaiming it, I may speak boldly” (Mey.).


Verse 21

Ephesians 6:21. ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς [ καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰδῆτε] τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ, τί πράσσω: but that ye also may know my affairs, how I do. The metabatic δέ, passing on to a different subject. The order καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰδῆτε is given in (876) (877) (878) (879), etc.; εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς in (880) (881) (882), Syr., etc. The evidence is almost equally balanced. LTTr prefer the former order; WH give it in the margin. The καί has its proper force of “also,” and points, therefore, to others as well as the Ephesians as possessing or being interested in the knowledge of Paul’s affairs. Those who take the Epistle to the Colossians to be prior to this one, naturally think of the Colossians as in view. But in the Epistle itself there is nothing to indicate who these others were. For τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ = “my circumstances,” cf. Philippians 1:22; Colossians 4:7; also Tobit 10:8; 1 Esdras 1:22. τί πράσσω, not = “what I do,” but “how I fare,” in the reflexive sense (Lat., me habeo) common from Æschylus downwards. Here it is explanatory of τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ.— πάντα ὑμῖν γνωρίσει [ γνωρίσει ὑμῖν] τυχικός: Tychicus shall make known to you. πάντα is omitted in (883)1(884), Syr., etc. ὑμῖν is placed by the TR before γνωρίσει (as in (885) (886) (887), Syr.-P., Chr., Theod., etc.; after it by LTTr WRV (as in (888) (889) (890) (891) (892) (893) (894), 17, 37, 116, 120, Syr.-Sch., Copt., etc.). τυχικός, usually so accented, but τύχικος in WH, is mentioned again in Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12. We gather from these passages that he was a native of proconsular Asia (Acts 20:4), possibly of Ephesus itself (see Light., Philip., p. 11); that he was with Paul towards the close of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:4); and again at the time when the Epistle to the Colossians was written; and yet again at the end of the Apostle’s career (Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12). It is probable that he went to Jerusalem, as Trophimus did (Acts 21:29), in all likelihood as a delegate of his Church, the words ἄχρις τῆς ἀσίας not belonging to the true text of Acts 20:4. We find him here charged with the delivery of the circular letter known as the Epistle to the Ephesians, probably at the chief centres, Laodicea, Colossæ, etc., where Christian communities had been formed in Asia. He is mentioned also in connection with missions to Crete and to Ephesus (Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12).— ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος ἐν κυρίῳ: the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. In the sister Epistle he is described in the same terms, but with the addition of καὶ σύνδουλος. πιστός = faithful, in the sense of trusty, as in Matthew 24:45 and often elsewhere. The ἐν κυρίῳ defines the διάκονος, and does not refer to the whole clause. The service to Paul was service rendered in the Lord, in Christ’s fellowship and Spirit. The term διάκονος does not carry here the idea of ecclesiastical office, such as the deaconship proper, but refers to ministrations rendered to Paul himself, and so is “servant” or “minister” in the general sense. So in Colossians 4:7 he is called not only πιστὸς διάκονος, but Paul’s fellow-servant ( σύνδουλος) in the Lord. This is Paul’s commendation of him to the Churches which he was to visit.


Verse 21-22

Ephesians 6:21-22. Statement regarding Tychicus and his mission.


Verse 22

Ephesians 6:22. ὂν ἔπεμψα πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose. ἔπεμψα, in idiomatic English = “I have written,” but literally = “I did write”. If it were certain that the Epistle to the Colossians preceded that to the Ephesians, that the special mission on which Tychicus was sent with Onesimus to Colossæ took place before Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians, and that he found some opportunity of forwarding the latter Epistle also in the course of Tychicus’s journey, the ἔπεμψα would have its usual aorist sense, referring to a past act. Failing this, it must be taken as an instance of the epistolary aor., the mission being coincident with the writing of the letter, but contemplated from the view-point of the recipients of the letter, to whom it was a thing of the past. The epistolary aor. certainly occurs in Latin, in the use of scripsi, etc. (cf. Madvig, Gr., § 345). How far its use extends in the NT is still a moot question, some finding many cases, e.g., ἔγραψα in Galatians 6:11; Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21; 1 Peter 5:12; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 2:21; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 5:13; ἐπέστειλα, Hebrews 13:22; ἔπεμψα, συνέπεμψα in 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:22; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8; Philippians 2:28; Philemon 1:11, etc.; while others (e.g., Blass) restrict it to ἔπεμψα in Acts 23:30; Philippians 2:28; Colossians 4:8; Philemon 1:11, etc. (cf. Win.-Moult., p. 347; Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 194; Lightf. on Galatians 4:11; Colossians 4:8; Ell. on Galatians 4:11.— ἵνα γνῶτε τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν: that ye may know our state. τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν will naturally have the same sense as the τὰ κατʼ ʼμέ, the ἡμῶν including Paul’s companions with himself. It is well rendered “our state” by the RV “our affairs” by the AV. The information regarding Paul and his friends would not be confined to the letter, but would be given no doubt also by Tychicus by word of mouth.— καὶ παρακαλέσῃ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν: and that he may comfort your hearts. παρακαλεῖν means most frequently either to exhort or (in later Greek as well as in the NT) to beseech. Rarely in non-biblical Greek has it the sense of comforting or encouraging; but in the LXX it represents בִחַם, and in the NT it has these senses, and also once that of instructing (Titus 1:9). Here it means to comfort, or to encourage; probably the former, with respect both to Paul’s troubles already mentioned (Ephesians 3:13 above) and their own.


Verse 23

Ephesians 6:23. εἰρήνη τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς καὶ ἀγάπη μετὰ πίστεως: peace be to the brethren and love with faith. Paul’s benedictions are usually addressed directly to the reader, μεθʼ ὑμῶν or some similar form being employed. This one is addressed to the brethren in the third person, as is perhaps more appropriate in a circular letter. There is nothing to favour Wieseler’s notion that in the ἀδελφοῖς Jewish Christians are saluted, while the πάντων in Ephesians 6:24 refers to Gentile Christians. εἰρήνη, not = concord one with another, but = the OT שָׁלו̇ם in salutations or farewells, = “may it be well with the brethren”; with the Christian connotation, however, of well-being as mental peace and good due to reconciliation with God. In his expression of what he would have them enjoy he couples with the blessing of a new mental peace that also of love—the Christian grace of love, that is to say, and such love as is associated with faith ( μετὰ πίστεως). μετά, as distinguished from αύν, expresses the simple idea of accompanying. So here it is not “love and faith,” but, faith being presupposed as making the Christian, it is love which goes with faith, not the Divine love (Beng., etc.), but the brotherly love which shows itself where faith is and by which faith works (Galatians 5:6).— ἀπὸ θεοῖ πατρὸς καὶ κυρίου ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ: from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The two-fold source of the blessings desired for the reader—God as Father, the Father of Christ Himself, the causa principalis and fons primarius; Christ as Lord, Head over all with a sovereignty which is founded in God (1 Corinthians 11:3; Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:17), as causa medians and fons secundarius. The phrase occurs again (though with some variations in the readings) in 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4. In the opening salutation it is “God our Father”. Here the relation of God to Christ is more in view, in respect of their joint-bestowal of spiritual blessings.


Verse 23-24

Ephesians 6:23-24. Closing Benediction.


Verse 24

Ephesians 6:24. χάρις μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἀγαπώντων τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. [ ἀμήν]: Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness. As in Colossians, the three Pastoral Epistles, and also in Hebrews, we have here χάρις, “the grace,” the grace beside which there is none other, the grace of God in Christ of which Christians have experience. In the closing benedictions of Cor., Gal., Philip., Thess., Philem. (as also in Rev.), we have the fuller form χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, or χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ; also in Romans according to the TR, the verse, however, being deleted by the best critics. The former benediction was for the brethren, probably those in the Asiatic Churches. This second benediction is of widest scope—for all those who love Christ. The difficulty is with the unusual expression ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ, both as to its sense and its connection. The noun ἀφθαρσία is used in Plutarch of τὸ θεῖομ (Arist., c. 6), in Philo of the κόσμος (De incorr. Mundi, § 11), in the LXX and the Apocr. of immortality (Wisdom of Solomon 2:23; Wisdom of Solomon 6:19; 4 Maccabees 17:12). In the NT it is found, in addition to the present passage, in Romans 2:7 of the “incorruption” which goes with the glory and honour of the future; in 1 Corinthians 15:42; 1 Corinthians 15:50; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, of the “incorruption” of the resurrection-body; in 2 Timothy 1:10, of the life and “incorruption” brought to light by Christ. The occurrence in Titus 2:10 must be discounted in view of the adverse diplomatic evidence. The Pauline use, therefore, is in favour of the idea of “incorruption,” “imperishableness,” the quality of the changeless and undecaying; and that as belonging to the future in contrast with the present condition of things. There is nothing, therefore, to bear out the sense of sincerity adopted by Chrys., the AV, the Bish.; cf. Tynd., “in pureness”; Cov. Test., “sincerely”; Cov. Cran., “unfeignedly”. This would be expressed by ἀφθορία or some similar term (cf. Titus 2:7). Nor can it be simply identified with all imperishable being in this life or in the other (Bleek, Olsh., Matthies, etc.); nor yet again with ἐν ἀφθάρτοις on the analogy of ἐν ʼπουρανίοις, as if it described the sphere of the ἀγάπη. There remains the qualitative sense of “imperishableness” (Mey., Ell., Alf., Abb., and most), which best suits linguistic use, the sense of the adj. ἄφθαρτος (cf. Romans 1:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 3:4), and the application here in connection with the grace of love. The ἐν, therefore, is not to be loosely dealt with, as if = εἰς (Beza, as if it meant the same as εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα), or διά (Theophy.), or ὑπέρ (Chrys.), or even μετά (Theodor.); but has its proper force of the element of manner in which the love is cherished. Further, the simplest and most obvious connection is with the ἀγαπώντων, as it is taken by most, including Chrys., Theod., and the other Greek commentators. Some, however, connect the phrase with χάρις, as = “grace be with all in eternity” (Bez., Beng., Matthies), or, “in all imperishable being” (Harl.), or as a short way of saying “grace be with all that they may have eternal life” (Olsh.). This construction, though strongly advocated recently by Von Soden, fails to give a clear and satisfactory sense, or one wholly accordant with the use of ἀφθαρσία; while there is against it also the fact that the defined noun and the defining phrase would be further apart than is usual in benedictions. Still less reason is there to connect the phrase immediately with τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ἰησοῦν χριστόν as if it described Christ as immortal (Wetst., etc.)—a construction both linguistically and grammatically (in the absence of τὸν before ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ) questionable. The phrase, therefore, defines the way in which they love, or the element in which their love has its being. It is a love that “knows neither change, diminution, nor decay” (Ell.). The closing ἀμήν added by the TR is found in (895)3(896) (897) (898) (899), most cursives, Syr., Boh., etc.; but not in (900) (901) (902) (903) (904), 17, Arm., etc. It is omitted by LTTrWHRV.

The subscription πρὸς ἐφεσίους ἐγράφη ἀπὸ ῥώμης διὰ τυχικοῦ is omitted by LTWH while Treg. gives simply πρὸς ἐφεσίους. Like the subscriptions appended to Rom., Phil., and 2 Tim., it chronicles a view of the Epistle that is easier to reconcile with fact than is the case with others (1 and 2 Thess., Tit., and espec. 1 Cor., Gal., 1 Tim.). In the oldest MSS. it is simply πρὸς ἐφεσίους. In the Versions, later MSS., and some of the Fathers it takes various longer forms. The form represented in the TR and the AV is not older than Euthalius, Deacon of Alexandria and Bishop of Sulca, who flourished perhaps in the middle of the fifth century.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 6:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/ephesians-6.html. 1897-1910.


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Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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