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Gann's Commentary on the Bible Gann on the Bible
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ gbc/ ephesians-6.html. 2021.
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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Ch. 6 - Still pertaining to the family as God would have it be.
Children -- Children who are still growing up and dependent and living in the home of their parents. The word
tekna usually signifies those who are young; but it is used here, to denote those who were under the care of their parents. τέκνα
The child in the home is to be willingly under the authority of parents with obedient submission to them as the agents of the Lord placed over him, obeying parents as if obeying the Lord Himself. The reasoning here is simply that such is the way God has designed and required it (“right”). Cf. Hosea 14:9. - MSB
obey --. G5219
ὑπακούω , hupakoúō; fut. hupakoúsō, from hupó (G5259), and akoúō (G191), to hear. To hearken, obey. to hear and heed, to harken, to submit to; Parents have authority!
(VI) Of children’s obedience to parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20).
(VII) Of slaves to their masters (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22).
"Obey" to children is stronger than the expression to wives, to"submit" or "being subject" Ephesians 5:21. Obedience is more implicit, while subjection has a willing element yielding to one with the right to command..
your parents -- See Proverbs 6:20; Proverbs 30:17; Romans 1:30; Colossians 3:20; 2 Timothy 3:2 Mothers as well as fathers (see next verse). Scripture uniformly upholds the authority of the mother. Cp. Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 6:20.
in the Lord -- cf. Colossians 3:20 where the parallel sentence structure reads "in everything" in stead of "in the Lord." Evidently the "obedience" to parents like obedience to the Lord.
This would not apply to anything the parents wanted which was against or contrary to God’s word and what was right. Acts 5:29.
The phrase is omitted in a few Greek MSS.
for this is right -- Both according to the law of nature and of nations. Good, strong families make a good strong society.
Honor -- timao = to honor, revere, to respect, to venerate. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16. The Greek here is verbatim that of the LXX. On this duty, see Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20. The “honor” is that not of mere sentiment but of obedience. See for illustration, Matthew 15:4-8.
While verse . 1 speaks of action, this term speaks also of attitude, as Paul deals with the motive behind the action.
In first century Graeco-Roman society, children were required by law to submit to the authority of their parents. Paul’s instruction, however, expects that children be treated with respect by their parents (see Ephesians 5:4).
first ... with promise -- The reference here is to the Decalogue which plainly is in fact the only “commandment with” definite “promise.”
When God gave His law in the Ten Commandments, the first law governing human relationships was this one (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). It is the only command of the 10 that relates to the family because that principle alone secures the family’s fulfillment. Cf. Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Matthew 15:3-6. Proverbs affirms this principle (see Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 4:1-4; Proverbs 7:1-3; Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 17:21; Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 19:26; Proverbs 28:24).
that it may go well -- The law given to Moses had sever repercussions for those who cursed or disobeyed.
Just as the original command in Deuteronomy 5:16 (see Exodus 20:12) came with the promise of a full life in the land of Canaan, so also the command in the new covenant comes with a general promise of well-being (“go well with you … enjoy long life”) in this present earthly life. There will be exceptions, but the general principle holds true.
live long -- A reference back to the command as given at Sinai. Exodus 20:12.
Social studies have shown that children who obey their parents do better in school and have less problems with all kinds of authorities, civil and employment.
Fathers -- We may equally well render, parents. Moses’ parents are called (Hebrews 11:23, Greek) his fathers.
The expression is found in the classics, Greek and Latin.—The father is the head of authority in the home, but the oneness of husband and wife secures the high authority of the mother also. This is assumed in the Fifth Commandment.
At the present time in the United States parental and teacher authority is at a low ebb. Our nations needs desperately a revival of the teaching of the holy Scriptures to cure the many problems and evils in our society today. - WG
provoke [exasperate] -- (Present imperative,) "Don’t continually -- . again and again." habitually. Same word Colossians 3:21. where follows "lest they be discouraged".
Do not irritate by vexatious commands, unreasonable blame, and uncertain temper - (Alford)
wrath [anger] -- You cannot properly train children in this condition. Allow them to devel0pe without rebellion and wildness, inaction, erratic, temperate. This admonition deals with the nature of development.
but bring up -- The Greek conveys the idea of development (here in the sphere of character and principle) by care and pains. The same word has occurred Ephesians 4:29, with reference to bodily development.
discipline and instruction [nurture] -- Here the idea is to educate. padeia = the whole training and education of children. Mind, morals, body. To bring up, to educate.
admonition -- instruction. The Greek noun recurs 1 Corinthians 10:11; Titus 3:10. For the kindred Greek verb, see Acts 20:31; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:15. It will be seen that the noun relates to the warning side of instruction, a side too often neglected.
of the Lord -- Which the Lord prescribes. Those principles and teaching that we learn from the Lord.
In dealing with the household, Paul now touches on the servant-master relationship.
The relationship between slaves and masters (and, by analogy, between employees and employers) is to be shaped by their commitment to the Lord and their desire to build one another up in Christ. Christian slaves are to obey their masters, and Christian masters are to treat their slaves kindly (see Col 3:22–4:1).
• Paul was not promoting slavery but teaching Christians to live with it as a fact of life in that culture (for Paul’s treatment of slavery, see the book of Philemon.) - NLTSB
Slaves [bondservants] -- Often considered members of the household in Graeco-Roman culture.
Slaves in both Greek and Roman culture had no rights legally and were treated as commodities. There was much abuse and seldom good treatment of slaves. The Bible does not speak against slavery itself, but against its abuses (cf. Exodus 21:16, Exodus 21:26, Exodus 21:27; Leviticus 25:10; Deuteronomy 23:15-16). - MSB
obey your earthly masters -- Being under Christ’s authority does not mean that believers are free of all civil or social authority. Paul maintains that slaves should serve their human masters as though they were obeying Christ. Graeco-Roman slavery in the first century ad was very different from that of the colonial period.
earthly masters -- In contrast to your true and heavenly Master, Ephesians 6:4.
be obedient -- This is the uniform direction in the New Testament; see 1 Peter 2:18; 1 Timothy 6:1-3; notes 1 Corinthians 7:21. If they could be made free, they were to prefer that condition to a state of bondage 1 Corinthians 7:21, but while the relation remained, they were to be kind, gentle, and obedient, as became Christians. Colossians 3:22.
with fear and trembling -- This is not fright, but respect for their authority. Not in slavish terror, (1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15) but with anxious eagerness to do you tudy, and a fear of displeasing.
Even if an employer does not deserve respect in his own right (1 Peter 2:18), it should nevertheless be given to him with genuine sincerity as if one was serving Christ Himself.
with a sincere heart -- With a simple, sincere desire, with pure motives, to do what ought to be done.
as you would Christ -- To serve one’s employer well is to serve Christ well. Cf. Colossians 3:23-24. Romans 14:7-9.
not by way of eye-service -- Working well only when being watched by the master (or boss).
as people pleasers -- As if it were the main object to please people. The object should be rather to please and honor God. (Galatians 1:10.) Working only to promote one’s welfare, rather than to honor the employer and the Lord, whose servants we really are.
but as servants of Christ -- As those who have been bought by the blood of Christ, believers no longer belong to themselves (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:22; cp. Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1)
doing the will of God from the heart -- For Christian slaves, the will of God is that they honor him by serving their human masters faithfully and with enthusiasm.
That is, God requires industry, fidelity, conscientiousness, submission, and obedience in that rank of life.
from the heart -- Implies that believers should have the right motivation for their actions. Literally, soul (Psalms 111:1; Romans 13:5).
rendering service with a good will -- Not with an outward display of compliance while we are inwardly seething with resentment, but cheerfully and willingly.
as to the Lord and not to man -- Not only regarding men your masters, but Christ your great Master. Consider that which is done for masters (good or bad) as service done to Christ.
Colossians 3:23. God’s credits and rewards will be appropriate to the attitude and action of our work. No good thing done for His glory will go unrewarded.
whatever good anyone does -- That is, as the servant of Christ and as unto the Lord.
will receive back -- No good thing done for His glory will go unrewarded. God takes account of the kindness and generosity people display to one another.
Although earthly masters may not reward their slaves, slaves will receive a reward for their good deeds when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 3:8, 1 Corinthians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul does not specify the content of the reward here; Colossians 3:24 identifies it as the eternal inheritance that God has prepared for believers. - NIVBTSB
whether he is slave or free -- Paul says this is a true principle whether done as a slave or a free man. Galatians 6:7-9.
Elsewhere, Paul states that there is no distinction in Christ between slaves and free people.
And masters --
κυριοι you masters G2962. Colossians 4:1.This is still the same literary context as Ephesians 5:22 to Ephesians 6:9, which is Paul’s domestic example of the Christian life in action.
do the same to them -- Show the same regard to God’s will, and to your servants’ well-being, in your relation to them, as they ought to have in their relation to you.
There should be mutual honor and respect from Christian employers to their employees, based on their common allegiance to the Lord.
stop [give up] your threatening -- This is a present active participle used as an imperative. The word literally means "to loosen up."
In Graeco-Roman society, masters had the right to treat slaves as they saw fit. Paul commands masters to set aside their rights and to instead treat their slaves with kindness as people who are equal before Christ (compare note on Eph 6:5).
knowing ... Master ... in heaven -- Reminding the "master" that he also has a "Master" who is really the "Master" for them both.
no partiality with him -- The Christian master (or boss) uses his authority and power with justice and grace—never putting people under threats, never abusive or inconsiderate. He realizes that he has a heavenly Master who is impartial (cf. Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; James 2:9).
6:10-20 Walking in Victory (Conflict; v. 11 Standing in Victory)
6:10–20 In the letter’s final teaching section, Paul instructs believers to stand against the evil forces at work in the world. This discussion has three parts: a description of the nature of the battle (Ephesians 6:10-13), a call to resist the powers by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17), and a reminder to pray and be alert (Ephesians 6:18-20).
Finally -- Literally "for the rest" "for what remain" and could possibly mean "for the future." But the probable meaning in context is simply "what remains for me say to you."
Paul’s final word is to remind the believers of the devil’s opposition and urge them to protect themselves with all of God’s armor.
my brethren -- The MSS evidence for including this is not conclusive. Some think it is a possible insertion by transcribers from Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:8. These epistles were written about the same time and are a part of the group called "the prison epistles" and since "Ephesians" is considered a circular letter this phrase may have been dropped from some copies, or added to some. It is just not present in all our MSS.
be strong in the Lord -- While Christ has won the victory through his crucifixion and resurrection, there are daily battles with the devil and the various temptations he uses. Paul urges the saints to be strong and rely on the strength of the Lord.
God gave the Israelites a similar charge before they engaged in battle with the inhabitants of the promised land (Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:6).
Be strong is from the same Greek verb of Acts 9:22; Romans 4:20; 2 Timothy 2:1; and in the active voice, Philippians 4:13; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:17. The tense here is present, not aorist, and suggests rather the maintenance than the attainment of strength.
in the strength [power] of his might -- Christ’s might: as in Ephesians 1:19, it is the Father’s might. Christ’s strength was already and permanently established, so the encouragement is to remember His strength and might and go forth courageously depending and trusting on Him.
Put on -- "Put on" recalls Ephesians 4:24. (Romans 13:12; Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54; 2 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 3:27).
“Put on” conveys the idea of permanence, indicating that armor should be the Christian’s sustained, life-long attire
the whole armor -- "whole armor" is one word in the Greek, panoplia. It occurs in N.T. elsewhere only Luke 11:22 and here Ephesians 6:13 and carries the idea complete, or full set of armor.
See Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. It is only by the Lord’s protection that a believer can stand firm against all strategies of the devil (cp. 1 Peter 5:8-9).
While Paul’s analogy fits the common armor worn by Roman soldiers, and one his Gentile readers would recall, he primarily draws on Old Testament passages that describe the armor of God (Isaiah 59:16-17) and promised Messiah (Isaiah 11:4-5).
of God -- That is, the armor supplied by Him, having been wrought by Him. For the conflict described nothing less will do.
able to stand -- Paul’s analogy for the Christian’s spiritual defense affirms its necessity if one is to hold his position while under attack. With this armour no inadequacy in his equipment is to be feared.
against the schemes [wiles] of he devil -- This Greek word carrying the idea of cleverness, crafty methods, cunning, and deception. Satan’s schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules.
“Wiles” is all-inclusive, encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly enticement. - MSB
the devil -- Scripture refers to him as “the ruler of the demons” (Luke 11:15), “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Scripture depicts him opposing God’s work (Zechariah 3:1), perverting God’s Word (Matthew 4:6), hindering God’s servant (1 Thessalonians 2:18), hindering the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4), snaring the righteous (1 Timothy 3:7), and holding the world in his power (1 John 5:19).
For we -- Some manuscripts read For you.
do not wrestle -- The Greek word used here -
palē - denotes a “wrestling;” the use of hand-to-hand combat. Then by extension it came to mean a struggle, fight, combat. Here it refers to the struggle or combat of the Christian against evil forces. πάλη
Wrestling features trickery and deception, like Satan and his hosts when they attack.
against flesh and blood -- cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. The opposition Christians face comes from the unseen world of spiritual evil, and Christ has authority over that realm (see Ephesians 1:21-22).
It is interesting that the literal Greek order in this occurrence is “blood and flesh”; but English usage reverses the order and makes it coincide with the Greek order of the words in Matthew 16:17; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16; Hebrews 2:14.
The Christian life is a spiritual battle in which the ultimate opposition to the gospel stems from evil spiritual powers (cf. Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10 and notes). These powers can operate through humans (Ephesians 4:14; Ephesians 4:27) and institutions, but they cannot be reduced solely to these manifestations. - NIVBTSB
The apostles does not mean to imply that Christians have no enemies among men that oppose them. They are exposed to persecution, false teachers, etc., but behind these evil forces are lurking invisible spirits of wickedness that seek to destroy them.
the rulers [principalities] -- This word refers to principal rulers or chieftains.
These various terms show the diversity and comprehensiveness of the enemy’s power, reminding us that the battle cannot be fought merely with human resources.
The 4 designations describe the different strata and ranking of those demons and the evil supernatural empire in which they operate. Satan’s forces of darkness are highly structured for the most destructive purposes. Cf. Colossians 2:15; 1 Peter 3:22.
against the authorities --
εξουσιας G1849, refers to those who have "power" or "authority" in their realm of influence. The "Leaders".
against the cosmic powers --
κοσμοκρατορας, G2888, the Lord, or ruler, of his world. The ruler who presides over, as seen in the next phrase, "this present darkness" or "this world of darkness" and thus to mean a world of sin and evil.
over this present darkness -- Darkness here is an emblem of ignorance, misery, and sin. It accurately pictures these malignant spirits as ruling over a dark world. The earth-- dark and wretched and ignorant and sinful.
against the spiritual forces of evil -- Literally, "the spiritual things wickedness."
forces of wickedness -- Refers to hostile supernatural entities. Because of Christ’s victory over the evil powers, believers have courage and strength to resist them (Ephesians 1:19-21; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 2:15).
in the heavenly [high] places -- “in celestial or heavenly places.” As in Ephesians 1:3; eph 3:10, this refers to the entire realm of spiritual beings.
The word (
epouranios) is used of those that dwell in heaven, Matthew 18:35; Philippians 2:10; of those who come from heaven, 1 Corinthians 15:48; Philippians 3:21; of the heavenly bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:40. Then the neuter plural of the word is used to denote the heavens; and then the “lower” heavens, the sky, the air, represented as the seat of evil spirits. (BN) ἐπουράνιος
take up the whole armor -- "Take up" what God has provided for us. The Ephesians were familiar with the idea of the gods giving armor to mythical heroes: thus Paul’s allusion would be appropriate.
Paul again emphasized the necessity of the Christian’s appropriating God’s full spiritual armor by obedience in taking it up, or putting it on (v. 11). The first 3 pieces of armor (girdle, breastplate, and shoes/boots, vv. 14, 15) were worn continually on the battlefield; the last 3 (shield, helmet, and sword, vv. 16, 17) were kept ready for use when actual fighting began.
of God -- That is, the armor supplied and prepared by Him. For the conflict the Christian will face, nothing less will do.
able to withstand [stand against] -- With the armor God provides you can hold your position when under attack. Do not fear, God’s armor will make you fully equiped.
in the evil day -- The day of temptation, the day when you are violently assaulted by Satan. We must always have our armor on, to be ready against the evil day which may come at any moment, for we are in a perpetual war. Psalms 41:1.
Since the sin in the Eden, every day has been evil (Ephesians 5:16), a condition that will persist until the Lord returns.
and having done all -- Margin, “or overcome.” The Greek word means, to work out, effect, or produce; and then to work up, to make an end of, to vanquish, (Robinson, Lexicon.)
The intensity of the meaning in this context "having accomplished all things, all things demanded of your equipment and the action you must take."
The idea seems to be, that they were to overcome or vanquish all their foes, and thus to stand firm. The whole language here is taken from war; and the idea is, that every foe was to be subdued. (BN)
to stand -- "Stand" occurs four times in vv. 11–14. Standing firm against the enemy without wavering or falling is the goal. 1 Peter 5:8-9.
Stand therefore -- By repeating "stand" four times in this section Paul is really emphasizing this necessity. Here, as throughout the passage, the tense of this verb is aorist, a decisive act of taking a conscious stand is implied.
Resist every attack -- as a soldier must in battle. Paul now proceeds to tell them in what way they were to do this, and how they were to be armed.
having girded your loins [fastened on the belt of truth] --The belt around a soldier’s waist held the breastplate in place and provided an attachment for the sword.
Girding up the loose ends of one’s tunic between the legs and tucking it into the belt as in preparation for battle.
your loins -- —cp. Exodus 12:11; Job 38:3; Job 40:7; Psalms 18:39; Isaiah 11:5; Luke 12:35; 1 Peter 1:13. The well-fastened girdle or belt kept together the soldier’s dress and accouterments, and added conscious vigour to his frame. - CBSC
with [in] truth -- Literally "in truth". Greek preposition
εν, in. For the girded body is within the girdle or belt. But this meaning would be lost if conveyed in English by “with.” - CBSC
Question - Is the belt itself "truth", or is what is fastened within the belt "truth"?
Many understand the belt to be "the truth", that is, God’s word. (Let the Word of God be our defense, as Jesus used Scripture in Matthew 4:4; etc. cf. Psalms 119:11.) But "the truth" comes in Ephesians 6:17 under the title of the sword of the Spirit.
truth -- The absence of the article leaves us to understand the word to mean in sincerity, reality, in earnest devotion. (CBSC)
having put on the breastplate of righteousness -- The same verb as Ephesians 6:11. The tense is aorist; something the Christian has done in preparation.
breastplate of righteousness -- Paul seems to be drawing his picture from Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 11:4-5. cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
Breastplates protected the chest area— the place of the body’s most vital organs. They were usually a sleeveless piece made of leather and overlaid in the front with metal, such as bronze.
"Righteousness" either 1) the righteousness, justification, God credits to those who trusted and obeyed him; or 2) the righteous way of life that God now expects his people to exemplify in their lives. In the context it seem #2 is to be preferred. - wg
shod your feet -- Better, "having shod your feet." This is reference to what kind of shoes (ESV) you wear for battle.
Roman soldiers wore boots with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. - MSB
While many connect this preparation to refer to "running" shoes, to joyfully carry the message of "peace" (Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15), it is more proper to consider Paul’s context where he has just said "be ready to stand", or "to stand fast"(Ephesians 6:13), so the kind of "shoes" needed for such "standing firm" to fight against evil is what is called for.
preparation -- Preparation, what the gospel of peace provides. Sure-footing was essential in combat.
The Greek word occurs here only in N.T. In the LXX. it occurs several times, and tends, curiously, to denote equipment in the special form of base or pedestal (e.g. Ezra 3:3; A.V. “bases”). Such a meaning is obviously in point here, where the imagery suggests not readiness to run, but foothold for standing. - CBSC
The Gospel of peace keeps up upright and firm. - PC
Although Thielman recognizes an allusion to Isaiah 52:7 he suggests Paul’s image of the soldier’s feet is different -- whereas the “feet” in Isaiah are praised for proclaiming good news, Paul urges the Christian soldier to stand in preparation to fight the evil powers. - BECNT
gospel of peace -- "Gospel" is "good news". Here it is the good news of "peace".
It seems like a contradictory of thought, to dress for battle, wear shoes to stand fast, ready to "war" for "peace." 1 Peter 3:15. Yet, we speak of all our wars, as ’wars for peace.’
peace -- It sounds like contradictory terms, speaking of "warfare" and "peace." Note Ephesians 6:12 that the fight is against those evil forces that would destroy the "peace".
The "peace" here is that which we do not want broken. "Peace with God" Romans 5:1; "the peace of God" Philippians 4:7; cf. 2 Timothy 1:12. In this context the focus is on the peace that the Good News gives, Romans 5:1.
The gospel of peace pertains to the good news that, through Christ, Christians are at peace with God and He is on our side (Romans 5:6-10). It is that confidence of divine support which allows one to stand firm, knowing that he is at peace with God, and God is his strength (Romans 8:31, Romans 8:37-39).
Above all [in all circumstances] -- "Over" all, as a soldier holds his shield to defend himself. It provides protection over every part of his body as he can turn it in every direction.
shield of faith -- The shield was usually made of light wood. with a rim of brass, and covered with several folds or thicknesses of tough hide, which was frequently oiled to preserve the leather and help attacking weapons to slide off.
The shield was the soldier’s primary defensive piece in battle. In the same way, the Christian’s faith and trust in God provides protection against the devil and his schemes.
The faith to which Paul refers is not the body of doctrine or teaching, but our individual basic trust in God.
wherewith [with which] --
extinguish [quench, put out] all the flaming darts [arrows] -- Temptations are likened to the flaming arrows shot by the enemy and quenched by the oil-treated leather shield (cf. Psalms 18:30; Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 John 5:4).
Examples of flaming arrows include demonic attacks, temptations, and rage (Ephesians 4:26-27) that confront individuals, and false teachings and divisions that threaten the community’s unity. (cp. Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12-15).
fiery darts -- This may be an allusion to the poisoned darts some barbarous nations sometimes used which inflamed the bodies they hit. Faith is said to quench the fiery darts of temptations, etc.
the wicked one -- Literally the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
και, kai, and.
the helmet -- The helmet was a head covering, a cap, made of thick leather, or brass, fitted to the head, and often an officer’s was crowned with a plume, or crest, as an ornament. Its use was to guard the head from a blow by a sword, or war-club, or battle-axe.
helmet of salvation -- This is clear from Paul’s reference to “the helmet of salvation” spoken by Isaiah, (Isaiah 59:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8). But although a Christian’s feelings about his salvation may be seriously damaged by Satan-inspired doubt, God assures us that nothing can assault His plan for our salvation Romans 8:31-39.
sword -- Hebrews 4:12. The offensive weapon. Our warfare is not carnal, 2 Corinthians 10:4.
Other weapons were the bow, the spear, or the battle-axe. But, without a sword, no soldier would have regarded himself as well armed. The ancient sword was short, and usually two-edged, and resembled very much a dagger.
sword of the Spirit -- Which the Holy Spirit furnishes; the truth which he has revealed. 2 Timothy 3:16.
This weapon helps Christians to both proclaim the gospel message, and to combat false doctrine and other attacks from the devil (Ephesians 6:11-12).
which is the word of God -- Hebrews 4:12; Acts 7:51 The Word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to strengthen the inner man. The sword was used both defensively to fend off attacks, and offensively to help destroy the enemy’s strategies. The Christian’s sword is the holy Scripture. See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Hebrews 4:12. see Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:21; Revelation 19:15
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HOLY SPIRIT (see notes at eph 3.17)
Member of Godhead- Matthew 28:19, 1 John 5:7-8,
"He"- John 16:13; John 1:1-17, Acts 8:29,
Gave us God’s word- 2 Peter 1:21,
"Sword of Spirit" is "Word of God"- Ephesians 6:17,
Holy Spirit baptism- Occurred twice
1. On Pentecost-- To give power to the apostles-- Acts 1:8 & Acts 2:1-4
2. At Cornelius’ house to show that gentiles accepted- Acts 11:15-18 & Acts 15:7-8.
3. Paul later wrote that there is now only "One Baptism"- Ephesians 4:4
4. Baptism in the name of Christ is water baptism- Acts 10:47-48 and Acts 2:38. It is commanded of everyone- Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16
praying at all times -- Prayer should not be an afterthought for believers, but rather a primary source of strength.
Prayer is not another piece of armor but is the way believers appropriate God’s armor and stand firm.
Paul is saying that the general character of the Christian life is regular habitual prayer.
1) “all prayer and supplication” focuses on the variety;
2) “always” focuses on the frequency (cf. Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17);
3) “in the Spirit” focuses on submission, as we line up with the will of God (cf. Romans 8:26-27);
4) “being watchful” focuses on the manner (cf. Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:33);
5) “all perseverance” focuses on the persistence (cf. Luke 11:9; Luke 18:7-8); and
6) “all saints” focuses on the objects (cf. 1 Samuel 12:23). - MSB
in the Spirit -- The question is whether "Spirit" should be capitalized. 1) If it is "Spirit" it means that our prayers should be in accordance to the instruction and provisions given us by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. 2) If it is "spirit" then it indicates the spiritual frame of mind, or attitude, of reverence and holiness that we should approach God in prayer.
with all prayer and supplication --
With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family circle, in congregational assembly. Prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying (Matthew 6:6) prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others.
to that end [with this in view] keep alert -- Watching for opportunities to pray; watching against all those things which would hinder prayer (Matthew 26:38; 1 Peter 4:7).
with all perseverance -- Literally, "all", "utmost" See Romans 12:12 for a close parallel to the thought.
making supplication for all the saints -- G1162, to make known one’s particular need. Want, need. In the NT, supplication or prayer for particular benefits, petition for oneself.
We need to be praying for all Christians: 1) Because we are brethren; 2) because they like us need God’s grace; 3) because nothing helps us to love more and forget faults as to pray for one another; 4) because they can help the church’s growth; 5) because we need their prayers also.
and also for me -- Paul asks them to remember him also in their prayers, but he does not ask for prayer for his personal well-being or physical comfort in the imprisonment from which he wrote, but for boldness and faithfulness to continue proclaiming the gospel to the unsaved no matter what the cost.
Leaders need the prayers of the church and should be willing to ask for them.
that words [utterance] may be given me ... -- Though Paul was a prisoner in Rome he was permitted to preach (acts 28:30-31) and he wants to say the right words that will win his listeners there to Christ.
We need to be cautious of our words and choose them gently and adapt them for our particular audience. This doesn’t mean changing the gospel, but seasoning our speech with salt (Colossians 4:6).
(See 1 Corinthians 12:8, Paul may have been asking them to pray that the Holy Spirit would inspire him to use proper bold words in his preaching. Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 1:20.)
boldly to proclaim -- Refers to courage, especially in public speech. In Acts, Paul’s preaching is characterized by boldness (Acts 2:29; Acts 4:13, Acts 4:31; Acts 28:31).
the mystery of the gospel -- This might refer generally to the good news about Christ, or it could point specifically to the inclusion of Gentiles (non-Jews) into the people of God (Ephesians 3:4-6; see note on Ephesians 3:4; compare Ephesians 2:11-22).
The mystery that has been revealed and now it needs to be proclaimed publicly and boldly.
for which -- "on behalf of which". It was because of his boldness in preaching the gospel that he was now a prisoner.
an ambassador in bonds [chains] -- A reference to his prison bonds.
Acts 28:16; Acts 28:20; Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:13-14; Philippians 1:16; Colossians 4:3; Colossians 4:18; Philemon 1:1; Philemon 1:9-10; Philemon 1:12
He was “an ambassador” - sent to proclaim peace to a lost world. But he was now in chains but still felt compelled to proclaim the gospel even during his imprisonment (see Ephesians 3:1 and note).
an ambassador -- G4243, A special envoy or representative. Paul was Christ’s special ambassador to the Gentiles.
declare it boldly -- This is still a part of Paul’s request for the recipients of the letter to pray for him, and what he especially asks them to plead in their prayers to God.
(See Acts 4:13; Acts 9:27; Acts 13:46; Acts 14:3; Acts 18:26; Acts 19:8; Acts 26:26.)
as I ought to speak -- Whether in bonds or at large. Paul felt that the gospel ought always to be spoken with plainness, and without the fear of man as he even did before Felix and King Agrippa.
1. Information - v.21-22
2. Salutation - v.23
4. Benediction - v.24
So that you also may know ... -- Paul wanted to keep the churches informed about him, his condition and his work. This would enable them to pray for specifically for him and to be encourage knowing what he was doing.
you also -- Perhaps the emphasis has to do with Colossians 4:7, words which were written so nearly at the same time: Ephesus as well as Colossæ should be kept informed. This, however, opens the question which Epistle was first penned, this or the Colossian.
Tychicus -- A companion of Paul during his ministry and the bearer of this letter as well as the one to the Colossians and probably the letter to Philemon. Colossians 4:7-9.
Paul’s remarks about Tychicus in Ephesians 6:21-22 parallel Colossians 4:7-8 almost word for word. He was a "beloved brother" "faithful minister" fellow servant".
Tychicus was a convert from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who was with the apostle during his first imprisonment in Rome, from where this epistle was written (see Ephesians 3:1). He accompanied Paul in taking an offering to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4-6) and was sent by him on several missions (2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12).
minister -- That is, a servant. We take it that Tychicus and those mentioned like him were not only post-men but also evangelists and preachers/teachers themselves.
in the Lord -- in the Lord’s work.
sent him - Tychicus was now Paul’s ambassador. One wonders if Paul himself did not pen this verse as well as Ephesians 6:23-24.
purpose ... know our affairs -- The circumstances of Paul and his fellow Christians at Rome, and probably a report on how Paul’s trial before Caesar’s court is going.
Greek, "the things concerning us," namely, concerning myself. "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas" (Colossians 4:10).
that he may encourage -- By his report to them.
encourage [comfort] -- Tychicus’ information wold inform them and encourage them. (Ephesians 3:13 also).
The word is rendered “beseech,” "urge" in Ephesians 4:1, above. By derivation and usage it has more in it of exhortation than consolation; though the two ideas run often into one another. (CBSC)
Salutation. Ephesians 6:23-24
Pease -- The apostle echos his opening benedictory prayer, see Ephesians 1:2. T he word "peace" was the Hebrew equivalent was "shalom" and was the customary Jewish greeting.
to the brothers -- The brotherhood, this would include both the men and women in the churches who read this letter.
The only certain occurrence in this Epistle of this word in the plural. In the singular it has occurred once, Ephesians 6:21. As children of God, Christians are brothers and sisters of one another in a sense full of our Christian family. See Romans 8:29; 1 John 5:1.
love with faith -- He prays that “the love of God may be poured out in their hearts” (Romans 5:5), and that they may “walk in love” Ephesians 5:2 as its result. For the word “love” in benediction or salutation, see the note on 2 Corinthians 13:11.
with faith -- Paul’s prayer is that their faith, or trust and confidence in God will be theirs.
from God the Father -- Paul prays that God will provide these things for them. See Ephesians 1:2.
and the Lord Jesus Christ -- The Father and the Son are regarded as equally the author of peace and love. cf. Ephesians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14.
Grace -- "Grace" was formal greeting used in Greek letters of the day (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1). Paul has used the word "Peace" in the previous verse which was the usual Hebrew greeting.
with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ -- In this short clause, at once so broad and so deep in its reference, so exclusive from one point of view, so inclusive from another. John 1:16.
love incorruptible [in sincerity] -- This term usually means "incorruptible" (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Timothy 1:17). It had the connotation of something true and unchanging. Here it defines how we are to love the Lord Jesus Christ, with a pure heart, without disembling, without hypocrisy, sincerely.