Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Ephesians 6

Verse 1

1. Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε. The Gospel from the first had a message for children: the different order in which the classes are treated causes the omission of any special mention of children in 1 Pet. In the case of children and servants ‘submission’ takes the form of ‘obedience’ because authority expresses itself naturally in the form of specific command.

ἐν κυρίῳ. Cf. Luke 2:51. This qualifies ὑπακούετε not τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν. ‘Obedience’ is characteristic of the Lord and can best be learned and practised in communion with Him. Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8 f. Is it impossible that St Paul could have been familiar with the tradition of the Childhood? Cf. also John 4:34, etc.

τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον. In Col. εὐάρεστον takes the place of δίκαιον bringing out the reward of obedience in the approval both of men and God. δίκαιον suggests rather ‘fulfilment of obligation, ‘fitness’ in relation to an eternal order. Only in a mind nurtured on O.T. the eternal order is regarded habitually as the expression of the Divine Will.

Verses 1-4


Verses 1-9


Cf. Colossians 3:18 to Colossians 4:1; 1 Peter 2:18 to 1 Peter 3:7

Verse 2

2 f. τίμα τὸν πατέρα. In the case of the children it was natural to clinch the instruction by a quotation from the Commandments which they must have been taught early.

ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ, ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνοις. The upshot of this sentence is perfectly clear, though there is a perplexing variety of possible punctuations. The construction is complicated by the fact that ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται κ.τ.λ. is a continuation of the quotation already begun. It is probably best to suppose that St Paul is picking out characteristics of this commandment which would commend it specially to children. He selects two. It is ‘a primary Commandment,’ standing in the front rank. Note the absence of the article. This classification of commandments was attractive to the Jewish mind. Cf. Mark 12:28. Does not πρώτη πάντων suggest that there might be a class of ‘Primary’ Commandments? Cf. τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου, Matthew 23:23. It is also ‘ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ,’ ‘encompassed about with a promise,’ ‘with a promise to back it up.’ ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται is then introduced abruptly, as it were with quotation marks, out of strict construction, ‘That it may be well with thee.’ The change to the fut. ind. is remarkable. It is not due to the LXX. It may mark a change to the direct language of promise ‘And thou shalt be,’ but the fut. ind. in dependence on ἵνα is not unexampled, e.g. Revelation 22:14.

Verse 4

4. Κιὰ οἱ πατέρες, μὴ παροργίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν. In Colossians 3:21 μὴ ἐρεθίζετε. The danger to be avoided seems that of ‘nagging,’ irritating by the arbitrary exertion of authority for its own sake.

ἀλλὰ ἐκτρέφετε. The positive requirement is careful attention to a whole process of development. The care for the education of their children has been a distinctive mark of Israel all through their history from Genesis 18:19 onwards.

ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ Κυρίου. ἐν instrumental. The Lord is the real educator. Cf. Psalms 18:34; Proverbs 3:11; Isaiah 50:5. The father in training and admonishing is to regard himself as His instrument; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:20. παιδεία in 2 Timothy 3:16 certainly covers the whole ground of education and not merely the punitive side. νουθεσίᾳ, ‘admonition,’ relates to particulars and suggests repression. Teaching and admonishing are combined in Colossians 1:28; Colossians 3:16.

Verse 5

5. κατὰ σάρκα. In the visible order—in accordance with existing social conditions—as distinct from the spiritual sphere in which Christ is the One Lord.

μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου., Philippians 2:12; ‘with reverence and awe.’ An element of ‘fear’ enters into all relationships when their essential sacredness is realized. So Ephesians 5:21; Ephesians 5:33. In Colossians 3:22 we have expressly φοβούμενοι τὸν κύριον. Cf. 1 Peter 2:13-18.

ὡς τῷ χριστῷ. Fundamentally wrong as we now see the institution of slavery to be, yet the principle of order, including authority on the one hand and subordination on the other, is of Divine appointment, and the Christ can be seen in and revealed by both master (as here) and servant (1 Pet.).

ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας. Cf. 1 Chronicles 29:17; Wisdom of Solomon 1:1. In N.T. ἁπλότης with its cognates is generally used with a suggestion of generosity in giving, the absence of grudging or envy, see Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34; James 1:5, besides Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 9:13. The only passage where this thought is not on the surface is 2 Corinthians 11:3. In 2 Corinthians 1:12 the true reading is ἁγιότητι. Here the thought is of whole-hearted, ungrudging surrender to the will of Christ.

Verses 5-9


Cf. Colossians 3:22 to Colossians 4:1; 1 Peter 2:18-25; Didachè IV. On the attitude of Christianity to the institution of Slavery, see Lightfoot, Col. pp. 323 ff., Benson, Christ and His Times, and Robinson pp. 130 f. The treatment here and in Col. presents an interesting study in identity and difference. Practically every thought on the slave’s side of the account in Col. is found in Eph. either in identical or equivalent language. But the variations in order and phrase and the expansions in Eph. have the hand of the Master in them and not of an imitator. The chief point of difference is that in Col. attention is called to the certainty of punishment for wrong doing, while in Eph. stress is laid on the certainty of reward for every thing that is well done. The fact that Onesimus was returning to Colossae may sub-consciously have determined the choice of topics in the Colossian Epistle. The relation between the two passages is best understood when we remember that St Paul was continually addressing Christian congregations, and the whole of this section in the two Epistles is the ripe fruit of long experience in trying to bring home the salient points of Christian duty to the different classes which faced him as he sat in the preacher’s chair. It is remarkable that the slaves’ side receives in each case the fuller and tenderer treatment. In 1 Pet. there is no special paragraph devoted to the duty of masters.

Verse 6

6. μὴ κατʼ ὀφθαλμοδουλίαν. A word perhaps coined by St Paul. This surrender is to find expression first in thoroughness of work.

ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι, found also in LXX., Psalms 52:6; cf. Galatians 1:10, where as here the antithesis is δοῦλος Χριστοῦ.

ἀλλʼ ὡς δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. This is the second thought which is to give a sense at once of responsibility and dignity even to servile labour. The state in which we find ourselves, ‘the condition in which we were called’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:24), is the appointed sphere of Divine service for us.

‘Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws

Makes that, and the action, fine.’

Cf. 1 Peter 2:15; Hebrews 10:36.

ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. Cf. Mark 3:35; Matthew 7:21; John 7:17. See on Ephesians 5:17.

Verse 7

7. ἐκ ψυχῆς μετʼ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες. It is better to connect ἐκ ψυχῆς what follows. It marks the transition to the second characteristic of whole-hearted service. It is capable of standing the most searching inspection not only in itself but in its motive.

ἐκ ψυχῆς., Colossians 3:23 only. It is done heartily, the whole man is in the act. μετʼ εὐνοίας. It is permeated by a genuine devotion to his master’s interest. ὡς τῷ κυρίᾳ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις. The thought is repeated, but this time to show how the ultimate destination of the work can be a source of enthusiasm.

Verse 8

8. The Lord rewards as well as judges. No good work is really thrown away.

κομίσεται., Colossians 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:9. See Hort in loc. “Not simply to receive, but to receive back … to get what has come to be one’s own by earning.” The payment is ‘in kind.’

Verse 9

9. τὰ αὐτὰ ποιεῖτε. τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν is fairly frequent in St Paul Romans 12:16; Romans 15:5; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 4:2; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:25. There seems no other instance of ποιεῖν, but the meaning is clear, ‘Act on the same principles in recognition of the same fundamental verities.’ The combination with πρὸς is also unique and is best explained on the analogy of Matthew 13:56; 1 Corinthians 2:3; John 1:1 = ‘In intercourse with.’

ἀνιέντες τὴν ἀπειλήν. The tongue is a real source of danger to the master. The servant cannot answer back, and the master may be betrayed into acts of cruelty to save his own consistency; cf. with Wetstein

‘Vos quibus rector maris atque terrae

Jus dedit magnum necis atque vitae,

Ponite inflatos tumidosque vultus.

Quicquid a vobis minor extimescit,

Major hoc vobis dominus minatur.

Omne sub regno graviore regnum est.’

Seneca, Thyest. 607.

προσωπολημψία. See Hort on James 2:1 and 1 Peter 1:17.

Verse 10

10. Τοῦ λοιποῦ. ‘For the time to come,’ Galatians 6:17.

ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ. Cf. Philippians 4:13; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 4:17. ‘Be strengthened.’ Notice the passive ‘Lay yourself open to the invigorating forces that will fill your being as you realize your vital union with the Lord.’

καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ., Ephesians 1:19. ‘The triumphant power of His might.’ St Paul’s prayers for his correspondents in Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 3:16 require this response on their side if they are to be effectual. The thought of the whole verse has a close parallel in John 16:33.

Verses 10-20


The closing section of the Ep. St Paul has described in Ephesians 2:2 the condition of the world out of which Christians had been taken, and in which (Ephesians 5:6-13) they have still to let their light shine in ‘evil days’ (Ephesians 5:16). He has shown positively how the key to the due fulfilment of all natural human relationships is found as they are seen on both sides ‘in the Lord.’ He comes now in conclusion to apply the same key to the solution of the problem presented by the relation of the Christian to the forces of evil by which he is beset during his path through the world. The right attitude is that of a soldier who is exposed to constant and insidious attacks on the part of spiritual foes, and who has to realize, appropriate, and never lay aside the armour which is his ‘in the Lord.’ In his earliest extant Epistle (1 Thessalonians 5:8) St Paul had thrown out a hint that the imagery of Isaiah 59:17 had a Christian application. Again in Romans 13:12; Romans 13:14 a command to ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ,’ picks up and interprets a command to put on ‘the armour of light.’ Now, as a prisoner continually in charge of a Roman soldier he elaborates the figure in detail. His main interest however is no doubt centred in the O.T. analogies from the figure of Jehovah coming forth as a Warrior to deliver and avenge His people (Isaiah 59:15 ff; cf. Isaiah 63:1 f.) into which features had already been taken up from the portrait of the Messiah (Isaiah 11:5). The O.T. picture had struck the imagination of the writer of Wisdom of Solomon 5:18-20. It is doubtful however if Wisdom of Solomon 5:18-20 has affected in any way St Paul’s treatment of the subject.

Verse 11

11. ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ. Cf. Ephesians 4:24 for the figure of ‘clothing’ as describing the acquisition of moral and spiritual ‘habits.’

πανοπλίαν., Luke 11:22; Psalms 90[91]:4 Aq.; Judith 14:3; Wisdom of Solomon 5:18. The armour of God is primarily that which God supplies. At the same time, as the Saints of old had learnt from the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:1; Psalms 18:2 etc.), God Himself was their armour. Both thoughts are satisfied in the revelation that Christ Himself is the armour of the Christian.

μεθοδίας. Cf. Ephesians 4:14. The danger suggested by this word comes from cunning, cf. ἡ πλάνη, Ephesians 4:14, ἡ ἀπάτη, Ephesians 4:22, rather than physical force. So we read in Genesis 3:1 ‘The serpent was more subtle’ etc. What we need is the power to unmask our foe; cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 11:14.

τοῦ διαβόλου. Cf. Ephesians 4:27. See Hort on James 4:7. The enemy regarded primarily as a slanderer, ‘the malicious accuser’ of God to men, and of us to God, and again of ourselves to each other. There is a remarkable harmony between St Paul and St Peter (1 Peter 5:8) St James (James 4:7) and St John (Apoc. passim and 1 John 5:18 f.) in regard to the personal character of the conflict in which we are engaged. There can be no doubt how they understood Matthew 6:13.

Verse 12

12. ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη. The figure is changed to a wrestling match, which does justice to the ‘tricks,’ but does not fit with the armour. St Paul however would not be conscious of the incongruity because he would never visualize his symbols pictorially.

πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα. In this order Hebrews 2:14. Our real foes are not our human and visible antagonists.

πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας. Cf. Ephesians 1:21, Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15. In the sense of antagonistic spiritual forces in Colossians 2:15 only, but cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8 where οἱ ἄρχοντες τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου are probably to be distinguished from the human instruments through which they worked their will on the Lord of Glory. The climax of the conflict for our Lord, in both these cases, was on the Cross.

πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας. ‘The potentates.’ κοσμοκράτωρ was used of Kings of Egypt as well as of Roman Emperors. So we are not bound to infer that the power of these spiritual forces is literally world-wide. At the same time the whole of the present order is regarded as being in its alienation from God under the domination of the Evil One, 1 John 5:19; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11. Nor is this conception confined to St John, see Luke 4:6; 1 Corinthians 2:8.

τοῦ σκότους τούτου. This darkness has already been defined in Ephesians 5:8.

τὰ πνευματικὰ. The spiritual powers in antithesis to the material resources and human instruments through which they work, ὅπλα σαρκικὰ, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

τῆς πονηρίας taking the place of ἡ ἀπάτη, ἡ πλάνη, τὸ ψεῦδος, ἡ ἀπειθία, in view of ὁ πονηρός to come in Ephesians 6:16, probably under the influence of the Pater Noster.

ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. See Intr. pp. xlviii ff. Here it is the scene of ἡ πάλη qualifying the whole sentence and not merely the last phrase in it.

Verse 13

13. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε,, Ephesians 6:16. Constantly used of taking up arms, Deuteronomy 1:41; Jeremiah 26:3; Judith 6:12; 2 Maccabees 10:27 etc. with τὰς πανοπλίας αὐτῶν, Judith 14:3.

τὴν πανοπλίαν του θεοῦ,, Ephesians 6:11. The figure is now to be worked out in detail. The armour, as we have seen in the light of the O.T. parallels quoted above, is the armour of the Christ, the Suffering Servant who is at the same time the Conquering Warrior. It consists, to use the language of St John 1:17, of grace and truth, of moral qualities rooted in and guarded by the truths of the Christian Revelation.

ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι, Matthew 5:39; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9.

ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονητᾷ. Cf. Ephesians 5:16.

καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι. It is surely impossible to give στῆναι a different sense from στῆτε. It cannot therefore refer to ‘standing’ in the sense of being approved before the judgement seat of Christ as in Revelation 6:17; Luke 21:36; Romans 14:4. It must mean ‘to stand at attention,’ ready for offence or defence. If so the conflict cannot be regarded as over, i.e. ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι cannot mean ‘when you have finally worked out your salvation’ (Philippians 2:12), or ‘reaped all the fruits of Christ’s victory.’ It may refer to each successive crisis in the struggle, ‘after each fresh assault has been successfully repulsed.’ This is just the moment when the warrior is most likely to be found off his guard. Wetstein quotes many passages to illustrate the meaning of ‘overcoming,’ ‘wearing down opposition.’ Cf. Ezekiel 34:4. It may however be taken simply ‘having done all that is in your power,’ which in this context would mean ‘having completed your preparations.’ The Latin rendering, ‘in omnibus perfecti,’suggests this idea, however it was arrived at. κατεργάζεσθαι from time to time assumes from the context the sense of preparation. Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:5; Exodus 15:17; Exodus 35:33; Exodus 38:24; Deuteronomy 28:39.

Verse 14

14. στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ. The first part of the armour chosen out for special attention is ‘the girdle.’ To be well girt was the first condition of free and energetic action whether in peace or war (cf. Hort on 1 Peter 1:13). It is the mark of a servant expecting his master’s call (Luke 12:35). In Isaiah 11:5 the Girdle of the Messiah is described in parallel clauses first as ‘righteousness’ and then as ‘truth,’ in the sense of ‘truthfulness,’ ‘faithfulness to his promises,’ ‘trustworthiness.’ Here it is primarily ‘sincerity’—the opposite of hypocrisy or any form of unreality—as in Ephesians 5:9. It is specially important when evil is being regarded as ‘deceit’ and ‘falsehood’ to realize the necessity of inner truthfulness, and that primary requisite is provided in such a way that we can make it our own in Christ.

καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης. ‘The Breast-plate’ of the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 59:17 (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 5:18) is ‘righteousness’ figuring in the first instance that ‘faithfulness to His covenant obligations’ which brings Him forth for the deliverance of His people from their oppressor, and which makes Him seek for a means of restoring the communion between Him and them when it has been interrupted by sin. ‘Righteousness’ as a quality in us is also (cf. Ephesians 4:24, Ephesians 5:9) ‘faithfulness to covenant obligations,’ issuing in a consciousness of being in our right relation with God, and in the enjoyment of His favour. This also, as well as sincerity, is ours in spite of sin, in Christ; cf. Philippians 3:9. It is rightly described as a Breastplate because courage is rooted in a good conscience; cf. Proverbs 28:1. ‘The Righteous are bold as a lion,’ while ‘Conscience doth make cowards of us all.’ In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 the Breastplate is Faith and Love.

Verse 15

15. καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης. Cf. Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 40:3 f. Shoes are not a distinctive part of the soldier’s armour (exc. in Isaiah 9:5). Their main purpose is to protect the feet, though they may also serve under certain circumstances to give surer foothold, e.g. Thuc. III. 22. ἑτοιμασία may = preparedness, i.e. (as Robinson) ‘the readiness which belongs to a bearer of good tidings,’ or it may = preparation, i.e. ‘the act of preparing.’ If as Westcott Hort imply the use of the word is suggested by Isaiah 40:3, as well as Isaiah 52:7, the second meaning is to be preferred. The thought then would be closely parallel to Psalms 90:12. The work they were doing in preparing the way for the gospel of peace would be a protection for their own feet.

τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης. A unique phrase, but cf. Ephesians 2:17.

Verse 16

16. ἐν πᾶσιν. ‘In all things,’ ‘in all circumstances.’ See 2 Corinthians 11:6; Philippians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:9.

ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως. No shield is mentioned in either of the passages in Isaiah. In Wisdom of Solomon 5:19 we read λήμψεται ἀσπίδα ἀκαταμάχητον ὁσιότητα, which is quite distinct both in thought and expression. ὁ θυρεὸς the large oblong shield covering the whole body. In Genesis 15:1 in close connexion with St Paul’s favourite text Genesis 15:6 (ἐπίστευσεν Ἀβ.) God says to Abraham ‘I am thy Shield’ (LXX. ἐγὼ ὑπερασπίζω σου). Here the shield is ‘the faith’ (cf. Ephesians 3:12), the revelation of God made to us in Christ regarded as a ground and source of faith in us, able to provide a complete protection against every temptation to doubt Him which the Devil is able to insinuate. See 1 Peter 1:7, Hort’s note. Eve’s defence in Genesis 3:5 is broken down by the suggestion that the command to abstain from the fruit of the tree of knowledge was due to envy in God.

τὰ βέλη τὰ πεπυρωμένα. Malleoli. Darts tipped with tow dipped in pitch and lighted.

τοῦ πονηροῦ from Matthew 6:13. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

Verse 17

17. καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε. So Isaiah 59:17; Wisdom of Solomon 5:18 is again quite different καὶ περιθήσεται κόρυθα κρίσιν ἀνυπόκριτον. We pass now from defensive to offensive armour. The helmet belongs to both categories. It was adorned with plumes to increase the apparent size of the soldier and to strike terror into the heart of the enemy. So Verg. Aen. VIII. 620 speaks of ‘Terribilem cristis galeam.’ Hector’s helmet it will be remembered frightened Astyanax, Il. VI. 469 f.

τοῦ σωτηρίου. τὸ σωτήριον differs from σωτηρία as the cause from the effect. It occurs besides in N.T. in Luke 2:30; Luke 3:6; Acts 28:28 (cf. Isaiah 40:5; Psalms 66[67]:3), in each case denoting the power that brings salvation (Titus 2:11). ‘The Helmet’ therefore is not ‘the consciousness of being saved’ but ‘of being able to save.’ This is obvious in the Antitype (Isaiah 59:17). It is no less true of the Christian. What is pledged to us is not protection only, we are to be ‘more than conquerors’ Romans 8:37. Substantially the same thought is contained in the ἐλπίδα σωτηρίας of 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

δέξασθε. The word suggests that the remaining powers are being definitely offered to us by God. Cf. James 1:21; 2 Corinthians 6:1.

καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ. In Isaiah 11:4 we have πατάξει γῆν τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν πνεύματι διὰ χειλέων ἀνελεῖ ἀσεβῆ. In Wisdom of Solomon 5:20 ὀξυνεῖ δὲ ἀπότομον ὀργὴν εἰς ῥομφαίαν. Once more quite distinct both in thought and language. The key to the interpretation is in the right understanding of ῥῆμα θεοῦ. This cannot mean ‘the Bible.’ It is ‘a word from God,’ ‘an utterance inspired by Him.’ Such were the utterances of the Old Testament Prophets, Hosea 6:5. The words of ‘the Servant’ are to have the same character, Isaiah 49:2; Isaiah 51:16. Such words from one point of view are swords, Isaiah 11:4; Hosea 6:5. It is not surprising therefore to find our Lord represented in Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15 as wielding from His Mouth ‘a sharp two-edged sword,’ cf. Hebrews 4:12. This weapon also is to be in the armoury of the Christian, Matthew 10:20; cf. 1 Peter 4:11; Acts 2:17. As a Divine Sword its purpose can never be purely destructive. It wounds only to heal.

Verse 18

18. διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως. These words are best taken with δέξασθε as describing the special condition under which we can receive these last two elements in our equipment. For διὰ ‘in a state of,’ ‘to the accompaniment of,’ cf. Romans 2:27; Romans 4:11; 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 9:12 etc. No doubt the prayers themselves are ῥήματα θεοῦ inspired by God as the next clause will show (so Robinson and Hort). But they can hardly cover the whole ground of our need, Luke 21:15. See Ephesians 6:19.

προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι. The call to constant persevering prayer recurs in 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6 besides the parallel in Colossians 4:2. It recalls Luke 18:1, and in connexion with the injunction to watchfulness Luke 22:40 and the parallels. See esp. Luke 21:36.

ἐν πνεύματι. See on Ephesians 2:22; cf. Ephesians 2:18. ‘In the power of the Spirit.’ True prayer is an inspiration; cf. John 4:24; Judges 1:20.

καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες., Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; cf. 1 Peter 4:7.

προσκαρτερήσει. Cf. Acts 1:14; Acts 2:46. The substantive has now been found in two Jewish Manumissions from C. A.D. 81. See Deissm. Light from Ancient East, p. 100.

περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων. Cf. on Ephesians 3:18. Even the solitary warrior must realize in prayer the common concerns of the whole army of which he is a unit. περὶ and ὑπὲρ are practically indistinguishable.

Verse 19

19. καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. From 1 Thessalonians 5:25 onwards St Paul shows how he values the intercessions of his friends. See esp. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 f. Romans 15:30 f.; Colossians 4:3 f.

ἴνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος. Here St Paul is seeking the help of their prayers to enable him to grasp the sword of the Spirit and claim the fulfilment. Cf. Matthew 10:20; Luke 21:15.

ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου. The associations of this phrase in O. and N.T. connect it with utterances either directly prophetic or of critical significance. See Exodus 4:12; Ezekiel 24:27 etc.; Job 3:1 etc.; Psalms 50[51]:17; Sirach 15:5 etc.; Luke 1:64; Matthew 5:2; Matthew 13:35; Acts 8:35; Acts 10:34. In some cases stress is laid on the personal responsibility of the speaker for giving vent to the pent-up feeling. But in a number of passages, as here, the opening of the mouth is the work of the Lord. In Colossians 4:3 ἀνοίξῃ θύραν τοῦ λόγου we have the correlative thought of the removal of impediments in the hearts of the hearers.

ἐν παρρησίᾳ to be connected with γνωρίσαι. So Origen. This phrase is best illustrated from Acts, see esp. Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 4:31. The notice in Acts 28:31 μετὰ πάσης παρρησίας ἀκωλύτως records the removal of all restraint from within and from without to the preaching of the Lord, for which St Paul here and in Col. asks his friends to intercede.

γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου. See on Ephesians 1:9.

Verse 20

20. ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει. Cf. Philemon 1:9 and Lightfoot’s note. πρεσβεύω and πρεσβευτὴς ‘were the proper terms, in the Greek East, for the Emperor’s Legatio.’ See Deissmann, Fresh Light, p. 379.

ἐν ἁλύσει., Acts 28:20; 2 Timothy 1:16.

ἴνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι. Cf. Acts 9:27 f.

ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι., Colossians 4:6.

Verse 21

21. Ἴνα δὲ εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ. These two verses recur verbatim in Colossians 4:7-8 with the omission of ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε καὶ ὑμεῖς and τί πράσσω; and the addition of καὶ σύνδουλος between διάκονος and ἐν κυρίῳ.

εἰδῆτε. The change to γνῶτε in Ephesians 6:22 is curious. Is it due to the question τί πράσσω; that follows? That construction is not found with γινώσκω in St Paul. He uses it freely with οἶδα.

καὶ ὑμεῖς. You as well as the others to whom T. must come in his tour.

Τύχικος. See Lightfoot on Colossians 4:7.

ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς. A title given to Tychicus and Onesimus in Col. and Philem. It is applied to the Corinthians as a whole (1 Corinthians 15:58), and to the Philippians (Philippians 4:1).

πιστὸς διάκονος., Colossians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2.

Verse 21-22


Verse 22

22. ἔπεμψα. Epistolary aorist.

παρακαλέσῃ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν., 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Colossians 2:2. Either by news of them, or by spiritual exhortation. In writing to strangers the second alternative is more likely.

Verse 23

23. Εἰρήνη. Universal in opening salutations (see Ephesians 1:2) occurs in the closing paragraph in 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Galatians 6:16; cf. 2 Corinthians 13:11; Romans 16:20; 1 Peter 5:14; 3 John 1:14. It is specially appropriate here after Ephesians 2:14 ff., Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 6:15.

τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς. Here only in the Epistle, and that without a personal pronoun, ct. Galatians 6:18.

ἀγάπη. In 1 Corinthians 16:24 ἡ ἀγάπη μου μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν, in 2 Corinthians 13:13 ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ, absolute here only in a closing salutation. Cf. Judges 1:2.

μετὰ πίστεως. ‘Faith’ as much as the love which quickens it (Galatians 5:6), and ‘the peace’ which crowns it, is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ κ. . Χ. The preposition is not repeated. The two together are one source of spiritual blessing.

Verse 23-24


Verse 24

24. πάντων τῶν ἀγαπώντων. This phrase is unique in St Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:22 εἴ τις οὐ φιλεῖ τὸν κύριον is a solitary and partial parallel. Our love for God and His claim on our love are referred to from time to time and so is Christ’s love for us, but our love for our Lord is only mentioned in the Epistles besides these two passages in 1 Peter 1:8. It is fitting however that the boundless vision of His love for us which St Paul unfolded in Ephesians 3:19 should find this answering echo at the close. In St John’s Gospel our Lord speaks of it in John 14:15; John 14:21; John 14:23, John 15:9 f., John 16:27, John 21:15 f.

ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ. ‘In incorruptibility,’ i.e. ‘in a condition over which death has no more dominion,’ ‘the condition without spot or wrinkle or any such thing’ into which the Christ has raised His Bride, Ephesians 5:27. This, and not primarily freedom from moral corruption, is, as Robinson has shown, the fundamental meaning of the phrase. It is less important to determine whether it is with Bengel to be connected directly with ἡ χάρις or according to most commentators with ἀγαπώντων. It characterizes both the blessing and the blessed. It describes the sphere in which the blessing and the blessed meet. It translates the vague image of endless duration εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων into a vision of life at once present and eternal.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ephesians 6". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.