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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 4

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-12

Summary of the Present Grace

2 The present secret administration of which there is no hint in any Scriptures before this epistle was penned, consists essentially of three separate items, all of which are marked by the prefix joint. The nations enjoyed much blessing before this ( Rom_15:9-12 ; Rom_15:16 ; Rom_15:27 ), they were members of the body of Christ ( 1Co_12:13 ; 1Co_12:27 ), they were guests of the promise ( Eph_2:12 ), but they had all this subordinate to the Jews. They were not joint allottees, or a joint body or joint sharers in those promises. Now they have their celestial allotment on equal terms, they are members of a body in which no member can claim precedence on account of physical descent, the promises in Christ Jesus are equally theirs with Paul and his Jewish companions. It is of the utmost importance to note that Paul only was given this stewardship and that it is worse than useless to seek for it outside of his writings. It was concealed in God, not in the Scriptures. No trace of it can be found in the prophets or in the preceding books of the Greek Scriptures.

8 The "untraceable riches of Christ" include celestial honors which had not been revealed. His terrestrial riches can be traced throughout the previous Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. He was to be the King of Israel and the Ruler of the whole earth. But now we know of celestial honors which were hid from us before. These are revealed at the same time that the celestial destiny of the body of Christ is disclosed, for it is necessary that He should have the highest place in the universe before we could be associated with Him in its administration.


14 This petition commences at Eph_3:1 but was interrupted by a summary of the grace which is its motive. Now the prayer is resumed.

It is evident, and experience has confirmed the fact, that the greatest power is required, not for service, but to enable us to realize and appreciate the marvelous revelation of God's grace and love which is ours in Christ Jesus. May God exercise our hearts to this end!

17 Every lack in the universe is filled by Christ. He is God’s Pleroma, or Complement, Who supplies every deficiency. We, as members of His body, are His complement. To fit us for this place He wishes us to grasp the grace which this involves, which in turn will reveal the transcendent love of Christ. Thus we will be filled or completed-brought to that finished state which fits us for our future destiny.

18 The dimensions refer to the secret (6).

20 It is most satisfying to know that God's ability is not limited to our requests, neither are His purposes for us confined to our meagre apprehension.



1 How apt the titles used by our Lord and his servants! Here it is the prisoner in the Lord who deals with our walk.

3 We are not asked to make the spirit's unity, but not to break it. God's saints are one: let them be assiduous to recognize this by refraining from anything which mars the display of the spiritual unity made by God.

4 During the era covered by the book of Acts there were several bodies, and baptisms, and faiths, and expectations, but now that the secret economy is in operation there is no longer one faith for the Jew and another for the Gentile; but all have the same faith. Nothing should ever divide the saints of this administration.



7 The readjustment of the saints, changing them from a condition of tutelage and dependence on the blessings of Israel to mature manhood and independent celestial blessings, was effected by sending them specially endowed apostles and prophets, pastors and teachers. The service of the apostles and prophets is now superseded by the Scriptures, such as this epistle, which were written to accomplish the same end. This is in contrast to the giving of the law, which brought them into captivity ( Psa_68:18 ). This grace sets aside all enslaving laws and decrees.

Verses 13-32

Summary of Previous Grace

13 Before the revelation of the secret administration by means of this epistle the saints among the nations were in a period of adolescence. This is fully set forth by the apostle in writing to the Corinthians ( 1Co_13:10 ). The gifts then given were for the purpose of leading them on to maturity but were to be set aside when "perfection" came. Paul's prison epistles bring maturity ( Php_3:15 ; Col_1:28 ; Col_4:12 ). The shifting changes incident to the period of growth which characterized the era from Paul's call until his imprisonment, which brought the saints among the nations from a position like proselytes to Judaism to a place entirely independent of Israel, were all intended to prepare them for this final revelation in which they become Christ's complement. We should not build upon all the doctrines of that transitional era, but only such as accord with the present grace. In Romans "to the Jew first" ( Rom_2:10 ) is now obsolete; in Corinthians the gift of prophecy and of languages ( 1Co_13:8 ) have become inoperative.

16 This is a notable comparison between the spiritual body of Christ and our physical bodies. Not only does the Head preside over the actions of the members of the body but only through it do the members receive sustenance and grow. Just as the nervous system unites the head to every individual member of the body, so each member of Christ's body is in touch with the Head, dependent on Him for food, development, and direction.



17 Notwithstanding the "practical" trend of modern science, and the increasing knowledge of the physical universe, men do not comprehend anything. They are not aware of the source or object of things, being interested only in the present profit or pleasure which can be derived from them. Their inventions and investigations have not affected the happiness of the race: they are vain. Their ignorance of God leads them to seek satisfaction and pleasure in temporary expedients which lead to misery.

22 In Christ there is a new humanity. The divisions which mar the present humanity are gone in Him and the conduct which disgraces mankind should also be "put off" like a worn out, filthy garment. The new humanity is "put on" by acting as those who no longer belong to the race of Adam but acknowledge Christ as their Head. Let us then be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Every exhortation here given depends upon our previous apprehension of His grace. Previous standards of conduct are far too low and in an entirely different key.

26 "Being indignant" may also be rendered "Be indignant" but the context is against this rendering. It certainly is not a command to be angry, for we are distinctly charged to forego anger in this very chapter ( Eph_4:31 ; Col_3:8 ). The next statement is evidently a parallel to this. In one we have indignation, in the other vexation. In both we are exhorted not to carry what may be quite right and just to an extreme which will make them injurious and sinful. It may be paraphrased: "Do not let indignation degenerate into anger: do not cherish a grudge. Do not flare up: do not let your resentment smoulder."

28 Restitution, single, double, fourfold or fivefold is the requirement of Sinai ( Exo_22:1-5 ). Now the thief is to work that he may give to those in need.

32 The key for conduct in the kingdom is righteousness : love is the true spring of all that pleases Him in this economy. The most powerful motive and perfect method to put this into practice is to charge our hearts with an overpowering apprehension of His grace toward us.

This will not fail to influence our conduct toward others.

1 God "walks in love"-He is Love. He is our Father. Just as pet children copy the actions of their parents, so we should reflect His love to all with whom we come in contact. God's glory should be the underlyIng motive of every act.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ephesians 4". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/ephesians-4.html. 1968.
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