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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 5

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Verse 1

Ephesians 5:1

#3 Walking In Love 5:1-6

5:1-14 Imitators of God

be -- "you must keep on" following God’s example. WmsNT

From the Greek sentence struture the enphasis is on the verb γίνεσθε, Present imperative, "you become and keep on becoming" G1096, (V-PNM-2P)

imitators [followers] -- - μιμηταὶ mimētai, imitators, following an example. It is the word from which we get "minic".

beloved [dear] -- "beloved"; i.e. children imitating a father.

children -- The meaning is, “as those children which are greatly loved follow the example of a father, so we who are loved of God, should follow his example.”

Verse 2

Ephesians 5:2

walk in love -- We are to love God, love the church, the word, the gospel.

A sanctified love, like the love of a mother hen. We are to live life-style of love. It is to be our manner of living.

as Christ loved us -- The example of love seen in the Lord’s sacrificial death.

We are to evince the same love for one another which he has done for us.

gave -- G3860, to surrender, yield up.

himself -- εαυτον, This stands in emphasis.

for -- G5228, huper, on behalf of’; for the sake of.

us [you] -- The ancient Greek manuscripts differ between "us" and "you." "You" seems best in context. Jesus is our example (cf. 1 John 4:11).

fragrant smell -- In the Old Testament sacrifices are desdcribed as having an aroma pleasing to God (Exodus 29:25; Leviticus 1:9).

a fragrant offering -- G4376, An offering other than the blood-offering, a thanksgiving offering. Not only did Jesus die for us, He also "lived" a life as an exemplary life for us to imitate. 1 Peter 2:21.

and a sacrifice -- θυσίαν thusian. Christ is here expressly called a “Sacrifice” - the usual word in the Scriptures to denote a proper sacrifice. Such sacrifice always implied the “killing” of the animal as an acknowledgement of the sinner that he deserved to die. It was the giving up of “life,” which was supposed to reside in the “blood” (see the fuller note on Romans 3:25), and hence it was necessary that “blood” should be shed.

Verse 3

Ephesians 5:3

As imitators, we must be pure in life.

fornication [immorality] -- Premarital and other immoral sex. The Greek word used here, porneia, and is considered to include any kind of sexual immorality.

A “common” vice among the pagan then as it is now, and one into which they were in special danger of falling; see Romans 1:29 note; 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Greek porneia; refers broadly to all illicit sexual acts outside marriage, such as premarital sex, sex with prostitutes, homosexual activity, incest, and adultery. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. - NIVBTSB

impurity [uncleanness] -- lasciviousness, works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19. Unlawful lusts whereby men defile themselves.

covetousness -- not to be greedy or stingy. The Greek word used here, pleonexia, refers to the consuming desire to possess more than others, regardless of actual need. Paul calls greedy people idolaters (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5).

let it not be named among you -- Such sins should not be heard of, or not mentioned without detestation: see 1 Corinthians 5:1.

saints --The Greek word used here, hagioi, (holy ones) refers to those who are set apart from the worldly way of live and who belong to God. It does not mean they are totally without any sin.

Verse 4

Ephesians 5:4

Imitators must be pure in speech.

filthiness not foolish talk --

crude joking [jesting] -- lewd, immoral, suggestive talk and action. Paul instructs believers to avoid crude humor (compare Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8).

"Dirty stories, foul talk, and course jokes." (Taylor’s translation)

Insolent speech and sexual humor were as common in ancient pagan society as they are today. Paul did not water down God’s standards to accommodate the culture; instead he warned that those who engaged in this lifestyle would not be among God’s people in the world to come. - IVPBBCNT

which are out of place [not fitting] -- These three inappropriate sins of the tongue include any speech that is obscene and degrading or foolish and dirty, as well as suggestive and immoral wit. All such are destructive of holy living and godly testimony and should be confessed, forsaken, and replaced by open expressions of thankfulness to God. - MSB

thanksgiving -- Christians should be known for expressions of gratitude to God (2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:11; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 4:2).

Verse 5

Ephesians 5:5

Inheritance In The Kingdom Is Restricted

See v. 3 and v. 4

For this you know -- Paul had taught this truth many times when he ministered at Ephesus and it should have been clear in their minds.

you may be sure of --

sexually immoral or impure -- A repeat of sins mentioned in verse 3 and 4. See the note on those verses of a descriptions of these sins.

covetous (that is, an idolater) -- Paul ties idolatry to greed. A greedy person values possessions more than God, thereby committing idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

has not inheritance -- God never tolerates sin, which has no place at all in His kingdom, nor will any person whose life pattern is one of habitual immorality, impurity, and greed (see v. 3) be in His kingdom, because no such person can be saved as long as they practice these sins (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:17-21; 1 John 3:9-10).

Paul is referring to those who persistently and unrepentantly give themselves over to such lifestyles.

in the kingdom of Christ and God -- Refers to the domain in which Christ reigns as King. An alternative term for the church in Matthew 16:18-19 and other places.

In the Gospels, the kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) is a central theme of Jesus’ teaching (e.g., Matthew 4:17; Matthew 13:10-52; Mark 1:15)

In acknowledgement of Christ’s rule, believers are called to exhibit obedience, loyalty, and love. Those who continue to participate in illicit behavior essentially are resisting Christ’s reign and acting as though they reject an inheritance in His kingdom.

Verse 6

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you -- Christians should not be misled, thinking that such a lifestyle (vv. 3–5) has no consequences.

with empty [vain] words -- Attempts to trivialize or justify such illicit behavior. False teachers or pagan philosophers arguing to convince them that these social customs (sins) of vs. 3-5 were natural and harmless.

because of these things -- The sins just mentioned in Ephesians 5:3-5 will be the cause of such people suffering God’s wrath.

the wrath of God -- Refers to God’s righteous judgment upon those who do evil. Romans 2:8-9. Christians must not partner in any of their wickedness- Ephesians 5:7.

sons of disobedience -- This is a Hebraism, see the same phrase in Ephesians 2:2 and the note there.

Verse 7

Ephesians 5:7

#3 Walking In Love 5:1-6

#4 Walking In Light - 5:7-14

(see note Ephesians 5:1)

do no associate [be partakers] -- G4830, partaking together with one, a joint partaker in something. Partner; Paul emphasizes that Christians are not to participae with the wicked in their sins.

Although we have normal social relationships with unbelievers, we must not participate in their sinful lifestyle. 2 Corinthians 6:14. - NIVBTSB

... many in Greco-Roman society would have branded Christians as antisocial for refusing to take part in immoral conversation and, even more, in the pervasive civic religious cults which were regarded as a mark of local loyalty. - IVPBBCNT

Verse 8

Ephesians 5:8

for at one time -- Speaking of their past before their conversion to Christ.

you were darkness -- This describes the spiritual condition and lifestyle they were in before their conversion.

Darkness symbolizes the realm dominated by sin and death (compare Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13). Darkness also can refer to lack of understanding (e.g., Psalms 82:5; Romans 2:19).

The realm of darkness is presided over by the “power of darkness,” (Luke 22:53; Colossians 1:13) who rules those headed for “eternal darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 2 Peter 2:17).

Tragically, sinners love the darkness (John 3:19-21). It is that very darkness from which salvation in Christ delivers sinners (consider John 8:12; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9; cf. Psalms 27:1).

Just as Christ often used "light" and "darkness" to contrast good and evil, Paul often takes up this same contrast.

you are light in the Lord -- cf. Matthew 5:14-16. Represents righteousness and life (compare 2 Corinthians 6:14; Job 33:30); also refers to understanding (Psalms 119:105, Psalms 119:130). 1 John 1:5. As Christ was the Light so now his disciples are to be like him and reflect His light to the world.

Walk as -- Live as; choose the life-style that Christ, who is our Light, lived. Christians have undergone a fundamental identity change from "darkness" to "light" when they came to the one who is the light (Ephesians 5:14; John 8:12; Acts 26:18; 1 Peter 2:9).

children of light -- Isaiah 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8; 1 John 1:5-7. A term for those who are in right relationship with God. A common Hebraism, see Ephesians 4:8 for the opposite.

Verse 9

Ephesians 5:9

fruit - Refers to natural results. Rooted in Christ, the believer’s life should produce Christlike virtues.

fruit of the light -- The moral and ethical actions of those who live in God’s light (Matthew 7:16-20; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11).

all that is good ... -- This speaks of that which is produced by walking in the light (cf. 1 John 1:5-7), namely moral excellence of heart, righteous behavior, and truthfulness (honesty or integrity).

Verse 10

Ephesians 5:10

try to discern [find out; proving; learn; determine] -- G1381, to prove a thing after examination. This was a metallurgical term used of testing coins for genuineness.

As Scripture is consulted it enlightens believers to discern “what pleases the Lord.” See Romans 12:2.

Proving -- Seven Walks

1. Ephesians 2:2 Not according to the world

2. Ephesians 2:10 Walk in good works

3. Ephesians 4:1 Walk worthy of your calling

4. Ephesians 4:17 Not as other Gentiles

5. Ephesians 5:2 Walk in love

6. Ephesians 5:8 Walk as children of light

7. Ephesians 5:15 Walk wisely, redeeming the time

pleasing to the Lord -- Christians are called to adopt Christ’s will and standards as their own.

Verse 11

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part [no fellowship with] -- Paul’s instruction is plain and direct: Christians are to faithfully live in righteousness and purity and have nothing at all to do with the evil ways and works of Satan and the world. The two ways of living are unalterably opposed to each other and mutually exclusive. Cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:14.

unfruitful deeds of darkness -- Contrasted with the "fruit of light" Ephesians 5:9. It refers to the illicit behavior Paul mentioned in Ephesians 5:3-5. Such actions are characteristic of sin and death.

expose them [reprove] -- Speak out against, expose. Christ’s disciples are to expose these deeds either verbally or through their lifestyle. By not participating in such actions, they show these deeds to be the evil that they are.

While the Christian is responsible for exposing and opposing darkness wherever it is found, he should especially do so when it is found in the church. See Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1-3.

Verse 12

Ephesians 5:12

it is a shame to speak -- Such ungodly behavior should not even be a topic of polite conversation (especially in a mixed group) Ephesians 5:4. Romans 1:24-32.

Some sins are so despicable that they should be sealed off from direct contact and not even mentioned, much less discussed, except in order to contradict and oppose them. Merely talking about them can be morally and spiritually corruptive. Positive proclamation of the pure truth in the light of the Word exposes all evil (cf. Proverbs 6:23; 2 Timothy 3:16). - MSB

that they do -- It is debatable whether this refers to unbelievers or disobedient believers, but the language of “the dead” in Ephesians 5:14 suggests unbelievers (but see note on Ephesians 5:13).

in secret -- Paul considered it a shame to speak of the practices of the pagans (even in their idol temples.) His check of modesty and virtue considered it shameful to mention what was done.

Verse 13

Ephesians 5:13

when exposed by the light -- The pure light of God’s word exposes all the secrets of sins, whether Christians or unbelievers.

This verse seems to go with the next verse and it better translated, "for it is light that makes everything visible."

If we understand “the disobedient” in Ephesians 5:12 to refer to believers rather than unbelievers, we would interpret vv. 13–14 not as a summons to evangelism but as a summons expose sin and to discipline the sinners; - NIVBTSB

light -- In the light all things are seen for what they really are. Philippians 2:15.

becomes visible -- God’s light (His Word) inevitably shows the true character of one’s deeds.

Verse 14

Ephesians 5:14

Christians are to point out to those in darkness that they are in darkness - asleep - dead spiritually.

1 John 1:1 1-18;

anything that becomes visible is light -- CEV "Light shows up everything." NIV "for it is light that makes everything visible."

it is said -- This is not a direct quote from any Old Testament passage, but Paul wording might be a reflection of Isaiah 60:1; Job 14:12 or Isaiah 26:19; He also might be borrowing the wording from an early Christian hymn imploying those lost in sin to be baptized and have their life renewed. (FSB)

These words may have been part of an early church hymn used as an invitation to unbelievers. They express a capsule view of the gospel. (Cf. the invitations in Isaiah 55:1-3, Isaiah 55:6-7 and in James 4:6-10.) (MSB)

Some think that Paul cites an early Christian prophecy or song, composed by either Paul or another prophet (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:37). It seems clear in any case that the quotation was familiar to both Paul and the letter’s first hearers. (IVPBBCNT)

sleeper -- Sleep is a common metaphor for death.

arise from death -- Paul may be extending an invitation to those in darkness (the lost) to come to Christ (the light) for salvation in order that they may be transformed from children of darkness into the kingdom of God’s holy light, Colossians 1:13 (cf. Proverbs 4:18).

Christ will shine on you -- You will no longer be in the "darkness" of sin, but forgiven of sins and ready now to walk in the light of Christ.

Verse 15

Ephesians 5:15

An Exhortation to Exercise Christian Wisdom - 5:15 - 6:9

Look carefully [circumspectly; with good sense] -- This term means “accurately or precisely with great care” (cf. Psalms 1:1; Matthew 7:14).

how you walk -- "Walk" was one of Paul’s meaphors for a way or course of life, one’s life-style.

not as unwise -- Biblically, a “fool” is not so named because of intellectual limits, but because of unbelief and the consequent abominable deeds (Psalms 14:1; Romans 1:22). To live morally is to live wisely.

The "unwise" (or fool) lives apart from God and against God’s law (Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 1:22; Proverbs 14:9), and doesn’t comprehend the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14) or his true condition (Romans 1:21-22).

Certainly believers are to avoid behaving like fools (see Luke 24:25; Galatians 3:1-3).

but as wise -- The Bible, especially the Proverbs, closely associates wisdom with honoring and obeying God (e.g., Proverbs 1:7). One’s true wisdom is seen obeying God’s revealed will (Deuteronomy 4:5-6; Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:98; Matthew 7:24; James 3:13-17).

walk circumspectly -- Walking in wisdom, redeeming the time, Ephesians 5:16.

Seven Walks in This Epistle

1. Ephesians 2:2 Not according to the world

2. Ephesians 2:10 Walk in good works

3. Ephesians 4:1 Walk worthy of your calling

4. Ephesians 4:17 Not as other Gentiles

5. Ephesians 5:2 Walk in love

6. Ephesians 5:8 Walk as children of light

7. Ephesians 5:15 Walk wisely, redeeming the time

Verse 16

Ephesians 5:16

best use [redeeming the time] -- "buying up the opportunity", purchase all opportunities offered. Obviously, verse 15 and 16 go together.

We are to make the most of our time in this evil world in fulfilling God’s purposes, taking advantage of every opportunity for worship and godly service. 1 Peter 1:17.

Be aware of the brevity of life (Psalms 39:4-5; Psalms 89:46-47; James 4:14).

One should make the most of every opportunity to do good works (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 4:5).

days are evil -- Which can spread wickedness of all kinds and to bring men into condemnation.

This current world (or present age) is characterized by disobedience and the corrupting influence of Satan. Ephesians 2:2; Galatians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Verse 17

Ephesians 5:17

Therefore -- In the light of making the best use of our time and using our opportunities for good.

do not be foolish [not unwise] -- Foolish, devoid of practical judgment. To be foolish is to be ignorant of God’s values, concerns, and authority (Psalms 14:1; Psalms 53:1).

In Jewish tradition “wisdom” and “foolishness” had much more to do with morality than they did in pagan philosophy or knowledge (e.g., Jeremiah 29:23).

understand -- Godly understanding goes beyond cognitive comprehension to applied knowledge (cf. Proverbs 2:1-9).

Knowing and understanding God’s will through His Word is spiritual wisdom.

the will of the Lord -- God’s will is to bring all of creation under the authority of Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).

Verse 18

Ephesians 5:18

drunk with wine -- to be intoxicated. (I had a professor who said that when you take one drink, you are one-drink-drunk.)

Although Scripture consistently condemns all drunkenness (cf. Proverbs 23:20-21, Proverbs 23:29-35; Proverbs 31:4-5; Isaiah 5:11-12; Isaiah 28:7-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:3), the context suggests that Paul is here speaking especially about the drunken orgies commonly associated with many pagan worship ceremonies of that day. They were supposed to induce some ecstatic communion with the deities. Paul refers to such as the “cup of demons” (see 1 Corinthians 10:20-21). - MSB

debauchery [excess] -- ἀσωτία, G810, "Asōtía is a dissolute, debauched, profligate manner of living;" (dative, singular, masculine); "dissipation" "debauchery"

This verse clarifies why intoxicants are wrong: They causes wrong behavior. Whether they are alcoholic or mind-bending drugs.

be filled with the Spirit -- Paul is giving a command for believers to live continually under the influence of the Spirit by letting the Word control them (see note on Colossians 3:16), pursuing pure lives, ... Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done. Being filled with the Spirit is the same as walking in the Spirit ( Galatians 5:16-23). - MSB

In the Greek text of Ephesians, this command provides the basis for Paul’s statements in Ephesians 5:19-21, all of which describe the action of spiritually minded saints.

Verse 19

Ephesians 5:19

v. 19 - Consequences of being filled with the Spirit.

1. Singing and making melody

2. Giving of thanks - v.20

3. Subjection one to others - v.21.

speaking [addressing] -- In singing giving admonition to self and others, directed to the Lord.

1) Ourselves - Teach, exhortation, admonish

2) To God - praise, glory, thanks.

one another -- Christian singing in worship should edify self and others and be to the praise and glory of God.

psalms and hymns and spiritual songs -- While some see all three categories as parts of the Book of Psalms, we understand only psalms to mean the inspired writings of David, Asaph, and others. Hymns are non-inspired songs which ascribe worship and praise directly to God. Spiritual songs are any other lyrical compositions dealing with spiritual themes, even though not addressed directly to God. - BBC

spiritual songs -- Spiritual “odes” - ᾠδᾶις ōdais. Odes or songs relating to spiritual things in contradistinction from these which were sung in places of festivity and revelry. - BN

E. Wellesz proposed that the terms were specific in meaning. He defined psalmody as “the cantillation of the Jewish psalms and of the canticles and doxologies modeled on them”; hymns as “songs of praise of a syllabic type, i.e. each syllable is sung to one or two notes of melody”; and spiritual songs as “Alleluias and other chants of a jubilant or ecstatic character, richly ornamented” (Wellesz 1955, 2).

...

Wellesz was aware of the view that the three words are synonyms but suggests that “the individuality of psalm, hymn, and spiritual song is obvious to the student of comparative liturgiology” (Wellesz 1961, 33–34)

...

Most scholars think that the Jewish psalmody of the synagogue is what the first Christians sang, and as the earliest Christians were Jews, it is reasonable to think that Jewish psalmody was the basis of their music.

Porter, W. J. (2000). Music. In C. A. Evans & S. E. Porter (Eds.), Dictionary of New Testament background: a compendium of contemporary biblical scholarship (electronic ed., p. 713). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

making melody -- ψαλμός -- psalmós; genitive psalmoú, masculine noun from psállō (G5567), to sing, chant "Music" in the NIV

In 1 Corinthians 14:15 --(See the context there.) Singing with the Spirit may be a reference to supernatural or miraculous inspiration.

your heart -- The instrument that is "plucked" in the "making melody" is described as the "heart." In the OT when there is "plucking" the instrument is named, as it is here.

Christian singing is to be accompanied by the heart. For singing to be spiritual worship it must have the heart involved in its praise to God. Colossians 2:2.

to the Lord -- The contrast is between the heathen and the Christian practice, "Let your songs be not the drinking songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart" - Conybeare and Howson.

A Common Hermeneutic

A specific commandment authorizes; silence about similar things prohibits. The apostolic command is to sing; silence about other kinds of music intentionally omits them.

That is a common hermeneutic we all learned as children. When Mama said, "Go play in the backyard," "backyard" was specific. It commanded an enjoyable and familiar play place. We learned quickly that her silence about other play places prohibited: playing in the street or inside Philip’s house next door, for example.

Why do we understand that so readily in every other venue except in worship to God?

-- Cecil May, Jr.

singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. -- A second evidence of the filling is inward joy and praise to God: singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The Spirit-filled life is a fountain, bubbling over with joy (Acts 13:52). Zacharias is an illustration: when he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he sang with all his heart to the Lord (Luke 1:67-79). - BBC

[For a more extensive explanation for the practice of a capella music in Christian worship see the e-Sword module at http://http://home.hiwaay.net/~wgann/e-Sword Modules/e-Sword index.htm

or to download a PDF click here.

http://home.hiwaay.net/~wgann/sermons/ACAPPELLA MUSIC IN NT WORSHIP - 5x8 booklet.pdf

Verse 20

Ephesians 5:20

giving thanks always -- This is probably connected with the preceding verse and to denote that the proper subject of Christian singing is thanksgiving and praise.

1 Thessalonians 5:18; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:12, 2 Corinthians 9:15; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 2:7; Hebrews 13:15; Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:6-7;

for everything -- ὑπὲρ πάντων huper pantōn - for all things, or all “persons.” For God’s mercies and all blessings, and even trials that make us stronger.

Beside the Christian writers in the New Testament the only ancient writers (Jewish writers and some Greco-Roman, especially Stoic, writers) who stressed thanking God for everything were those who believed that God (whether the Stoic Fate or the personal God of Judaism) ruled the course of events.

to God the Father -- The Christian’s thankfulness is for who God is and for what He has done through His Son, their Savior and Lord

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ -- On the basis of who Christ is and what he has done. Through the mediation of Christ and trusting in him; John 14:13. John 16:23.

Verse 21

Ephesians 5:21

submitting to one another -- In our day "submission" is a negative, sexist term. Originally it was a military term which related to obedience based on the chain of command.

But in the NT it is often used of Jesus’ attitude toward His earthly parents (Luke 2:51) and His heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 15:28). Paul was fond of this term and used it 23 times. Ephesians 5:21 is a universal spiritual principle of mutual submission between believers connected to the Spirit-filled life.

Submission goes against our cultural, western, individual focused mind-set. Selfishness and dominance are so culturally ingrained, but biblically inappropriate (cf. Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; Philippians 2:3; 1 John 4:11)!

This verse emphasizes reciprocal submission on the part of all believers. This was not directed toward one group. It needs to be reaffirmed that this context (Ephesians 5:22-31) deals with the domestic relationship between Christian husbands and Christian wives, not men and women in general. Women are not spiritually inferior in any sense (cf. Acts 2:16-21; Galatians 3:28).

out of reverence [fear of God] -- G5401; An attitude of reverence, honor, and respect.

It could mean fear of offending God, or in fear of the consequences if we fail to do as God requires of us.

Verse 22

Ephesians 5:22

Instructions for Christian Households. After instructing believers how to live worthy of their calling within the community of faith (4:17–5:20), Paul instructs them how to live within the household. The link into this topic is Ephesians 5:21 and "submitting."

Vs. 22-27 - Compares Church to Marriage

(vs. 28-33, more particular marriage; application.)

Wives should submit to their own husbands.

Children should submit to their parents.

Bondservants should submit to their masters.

Wives, submit -- Frequently synonymous with “obey” (cf. 1 Pet 3:5–6). Nevertheless, submission recognizes a divinely ordered set of relationships, and submission to another human is conditioned on the submission that one ultimately owes to God. Moreover, submission does not imply inferiority (cf. Gal 3:28) but a difference in role since Christ functionally submits to the Father (1 Cor 15:28). - NIVBTSB

(see 1 Corinthians 11:3-10; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11-12; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-6).

While the cultural model for marriage in the Jewish world emphasized patriarchal leadership, Paul’s model is based on mutual love and respect (Ephesians 5:28, Ephesians 5:33) and grounded in the ot creation story (Ephesians 5:31 cites Genesis 2:24). See note on Eph 5:21; note on Ephesians 5:25.

to your own husbands -- "For the husband is the head of the wife ..." Ephesians 5:23

as to the Lord -- As you do to the Lord, is the motivation for a wife’s submitting voluntarily to her husband. As the wife submits to her husband, she is also submitting to the Lord’s authority..

Verse 23

Ephesians 5:23

For the husband -- To be the head is to have authority (see 1 Corinthians 11:3).

The husband and the wife are “one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31), and the husband, in that sacred union, is the leader. So Christ and the Church are one, and Christ is the Leader.

head of the wife --

The Spirit-filled wife recognizes that her husband’s role in giving leadership is not only God-ordained, but is a reflection of Christ’s own loving, authoritative headship of the church. See on 1 Corinthians 11:3; cf. Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:18; Titus 2:4-5.

"as the head in the natural body, being the seat of reason, and the fountain of sense and motion, ..." - Poole

Christ ... church, his body -- Paul uses the relationship between Christ and the Church as an analogy for the relationship between husband and wife.

head - see Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 11:3;

his body -- The Body is the Church, viewed as a complex living organism. The Greek words Sôtêr (Saviour) and sôma (body) have a similar sound which makes it possible that we have here an intentional “play upon words.” (CBSC)

himself its Savior -- As the Lord delivered His church from the dangers of sin, death, and hell, so the husband provides for, protects, preserves, and loves his wife, leading her to blessing as she submits. Cf. Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6. - MSB

The Lord is called Savior elsewhere, Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Acts 13:23; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:6; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:2; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 4:14.

Deliverance and Preservation are both elements in the idea of Salvation. See further, above, on Ephesians 2:5.

CHURCH -- Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23-27, Acts 20:28.

The Church is the "Body of Christ," Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24,

There is one body- Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Colossians 3:15,

Saved "Added by the Lord"- not "Voted In," Acts 2:47, 2 John 1:9-10,

[See 4x6 card - Eph. 5 - 88Ho by Jerry Jenkins]

Six Observations Based on Ephesians 5

1. Church to be sanctified - v.26 (NASV, RSV "by" "with"

2. Christ is the Savior - v.23;

3. Church is the saved - v. 23

4. Church to be in submission - v. 24

5. Church is to be spotless - v. 27

6. Church is to be a serving church - v

Verse 24

Ephesians 5:24

the church submits to Christ -- Christ is the builder (Matthew 16:18) and head of the church. All authority has been given to him, Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:22.

The church’s subjection to Christ is the prototype of the wife’s submission to her husband.

so also wives should submit -- A repeat, for emphasis and clarity, of the wife-husband relationship in the home.

Today, just at the authority of Christ in reject, the home relationship God has ordained is also rejected.

Nothing could more exalt the role of the wife than comparing it to the role of the church as the Bride of Christ. The church’s submission is the pattern to be followed by the wife. She is to be subject in everything—that is, everything that is in accordance with the will of God. No wife would be expected to obey her husband if he required her to compromise her loyalty to the Lord Jesus. But in all the normal relationships of life, she is to obey her husband, even if he is an unbeliever. - BBC

in everything to their husbands -- Just as Christ is the head in all things to Christians, so the husband in the family is the head over all things that regards the family.

The pertains "to a husband’s legitimate authority ’in the Lord’ (Colossians 3:18). everything not contrary to God." -- JFB

Verse 25

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives -- Though the husband’s authority has been established (vv. 22–24), the emphasis moves to the supreme responsibility of husbands in regard to their wives, which is to love them with the same unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for His church. Christ gave everything He had, including His own life, for the sake of His church, and that is the standard of sacrifice for a husband’s love of his wife. Cf. Colossians 3:19. 1 Peter 3:7. - MSB

The duty of the wife is to obey; the right of the husband is to command. But the apostle would guard against the abuse of that right by enjoining the manifestation of such a spirit on the husband as would secure submission on the part of the wife. (BN)

The instructions given to husbands are three times longer than those given to wives

In the first century ad, a husband was not necessarily expected to show love for his wife. Generally, Paul’s model for household relationships affirms traditional roles but undermines cultural understandings of these roles. Paul’s exhortation to husbands (vv. 25–33) is the longest single section in this teaching on households (5:22–6:9). Paul takes great care to set his command that wives submit to their husbands (vv. 22–24) within its proper context, emphasizing the husband’s responsibilities in greater detail. - FSB

as Christ loved the church -- Paul is referring primarily to sacrificial actions for the benefit of the wife. The model for this kind of love is Christ’s death on the cross

gave himself up for her -- Christ sacrificed himself for the salvation of the saints.

Verse 26

Ephesians 5:26

that he might sanctify her -- Speaking of what Christ did for the church, his bride, Titus 3:5; Christ loved the church and set it apart from the world to be his bride, Ephesians 5:27.

As the wife is to be devoted to her husband, Christ expect the church to be sanctified (devoted or consecrated) to Him. Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 13:12.

having cleansed her -- John 15:3; 1 Peter 1:23; Titus 3:5;

As such a virgin was purified and prepared for her husband by washing and by anointing, so the church is to be prepared for Christ. It is to be made pure and holy. Outwardly there is to be the application of water and within there is to be holiness of heart; 2 Corinthians 11:2, (BN)

by the washing of water with the word -- Paul alludes to the imagery of baptism, Romans 6:3-6; Titus 3:5; Revelation 21:2;

with [in[ the word -- The Greek word used here, rhēma, refers in this context to the gospel—the proclamation of Christ’s sacrificial love (Ephesians 5:25; John 17:17). The cleansing of the church is done in obedience (submission) to the Word of God.

Greek, "IN the word." To be joined with "cleansing it," or "her." The "word of faith" (Romans 10:8-9, Romans 10:17), of which confession is made in baptism, and which carries the real cleansing (John 15:3; John 17:17) and regenerating power (1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 3:21) - (Alford).

Verse 27

Ephesians 5:27

he might present -- In the Greek “He” is emphatic; “He to Himself;” with stress on the Lord’s personal action. In the last day when Christ will receive the church as his bride in heaven - Revelation 21:9;

It now speaks of what Christ did for His church so that it might be a pure bride.

present -- For similar use of the same Greek word see 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 1:22; Colossians 1:28. In Judges 1:24 a similar word is used.

The thought is of the heavenly Bridegroom welcoming the glorified Bride at the Marriage Feast hereafter. True, she is now “His Spouse and His Body;” but the manifestation then will be such as to be, in a sense, the Marriage as the sequel to the Betrothal. - CBSC

splendor, without spot or wrinkle -- Paul alludes to bridal garments as symbols of purity before God (compare Zechariah 3:3-5; Revelation 7:13-14). Other N.T. writers figuratively portray Christ as a bridegroom and the renewed Church as His bride (Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9).

or any such thing -- No defilement, but purity is the attire of the Christ’s bride. Song of Solomon 4:7.

A church full of honor, splendor, beauty. The idea of “shining,” or of being “bright,” would convey the sense here. There is still here an allusion to a bride “adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2; compare Psalms 45:9-14); and the ideal is, that the church will be worthy of the love of the bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented. (BN)

that she might be holy and without blemish -- The glorious state of the Church that was the purpose of Christ’s sacrificial death.

Verse 28

Ephesians 5:28

In the same [even so] way -- As Christ loved the church. The Greek word gives reference to preceding ideas. (CBSC)

husbands should love their wives -- Literally, "his own wife." The Greek emphasized the "self-ness", "his own wife ...his own self." (CBSC)

as their own bodies -- A clause explaining the "even so" just above. In the way that Christ loved the church.

He who loves his wife loves himself -- Because she is one with him, and their interests are identified. Because, by this, he really promotes his own welfare, as much as he does when he takes care of his own body. A man’s kindness to his wife will be more than repaid by the happiness which she imparts. (BN)

In the end, a husband who loves his wife in these ways brings great blessing to himself from her and from the Lord. - MSB

Verse 29

Ephesians 5:29

For no one -- In his right mind.

hated his own flesh -- His body. This is urged as an argument why a man should love his wife and show kindness to her. As no man disregards the happiness of his own body, or himself, so he should show equal care to promote the happiness of his wife.

nourishes and cherishes it -- Feeds and clothes it, and supplies it with things necessary for it.

These express the twin responsibilities also of the husband of providing for his wife’s needs so as to help her grow mature in Christ and to provide warm and tender affection to give her comfort and security. (MSB)

nourishes -- Greek "nourisheth it up" name, to maturity. This refers to food and sustenance.

cherishes -- Refers to clothing and external care.

A word used only here and 1 Thessalonians 2:7 in the N.T. The word is found in a marriage contract in a papyrus. It primarily mean to warm (Latin foveo) to give tender care. (RWP) G2282.

just as Christ does the church -- The Lord furnishes all things needful for the church, Ephesians 1:3.

Verse 30

Ephesians 5:30

For -- "because" 1 Corinthians 6:15.

we are members of his body -- Of the body of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 11:3, note; 1 Corinthians 12:27. The idea is that there is a close and intimate union between Christ and the members of His body, the church.

members - Limbs; the word used above Ephesians 4:25; and cp. Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15 (a strict parallel), 1 Corinthians 12:27.

of his flesh, and of his bones -- [A few MSS omit these words.]

We are all members of Christ’s body, the church. But in context the church is pictured as his Bride. Hence the language of Genesis 2:23, where Adam declares that his wife "is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh," applies to our relation to Christ. (PNT)

Verse 31

Ephesians 5:31

Therefore -- The Greek in this verse is practically identical with that of Genesis 2:24. We may reverently infer that the Apostle was guided to see this parallel relationship in the institution of marriage.

cf, Matthew 19:4;

Paul reinforces the divine plan for marriage which God instituted at creation, emphasizing its permanence and unity. The union of marriage is intimate and unbreakable. “Joined” is a word used to express having been glued or cemented together, emphasizing the permanence of the union (see Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6-9). - MSB

hold fast [joined] -- This is full of importance, cf. 1 Corinthians 6:17.

two will become one flesh -- This quotation of Genesis 2:24 supports Paul’s statement in Ephesians 5:29: A husband is to love his wife as himself because, in the context of marriage, they have become one body. - FSB

the two -- The LXX in Genesis 2:24 reads "two shall be one flesh" instead of "they shall be one flesh" cf. Matthew 19:5. where the Greek reads "they two" also.

οι G3588 T-NPM δυο they two G1417 A-NUI

Verse 32

Ephesians 5:32

mystery -- The word “mystery” - μυστήριον mustērion - means something which is concealed, hidden, before unknown.Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9; and below Ephesians 6:19.

The mystery of two becoming one flesh, but Paul says, ’I am using this illustration to speak of Christ and the church.’

When Paul says the mystery is great, he does not mean it is very mysterious. Rather he means that the implications of the truth are tremendous. - BBC

profound [great; important] -- Both the unity of husband and wife and the unity of Christ and the church are profound.

it refers to Christ and the church -- The magnificent and beautiful mystery of union between husband and wife greatly illustrates the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church.

Verse 33

Ephesians 5:33

However [nevertheless] -- Paul now comes to summarize the relationship between husbands and wives (5:22–33). Christian marriages should be marked by love and respect.

let each -- Both husband and wife have their responsibilities in the marriage relationship.

of you -- Add with theGreek, also.

let each one of you love his wife -- Each (every) husband, is to love his own wife.

Love his own wife, as in Ephesians 5:28.

let the wife ...respect [reverence] her husband --

ASV "fear" phobos = in sense of love, respect, reverence, honor, Acts 9:31.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Ephesians 5". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/ephesians-5.html. 2021.
 
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