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Ephesians 4

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Verses 1-99

4.1 ff He now passes, as usually in his Epistles, after the doctrinal exposition to the practical exhortation, in the course of which, however, he is presently drawn back (ver. 4) to doctrinal teaching to support his exhortation to unity.

1-4. Exhortation to live in a manner worthy of their calling, in lowliness, patience, love, and unity

1. παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν Κυρίῳ. “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, entreat you.” οὖν may indicate inference from the immediately preceding verse, or more probably (since it is the transition between two sections of the Epistle) from the whole former part, ὁ δέσμιος ἐν Κ. This is not to excite their sympathy, or as desiring that they should cheer him in his troubles by their obedience; for, as Theodoret remarks, “he exults in his bonds for Christ’s sake more than a king in his diadem”; but rather to add force to his exhortation. “In the Lord” for “in Domini vinculis constrictus est qui ἐν Κυρίῳ ὥν vinctus est,” Fritzsche (Rom. ii. p. 84). It does not signify “for Christ’s sake”; compare συνεργὸς ἐν Χριστῷ, Romans 16:3, Romans 16:9;�

παρακαλῶ may be either “exhort” or “entreat, beseech”; and in both senses it is used either with an infinitive or with a conjunction (ἵνα or ὅπως). Either sense would suit here, but “exhort” seems too weak for the connexion; comp. Romans 12:1, where it is followed by “by the mercies of God,” a strong form of appeal. More than exhortation is implied, especially as it is an absolute duty to which he calls them.

ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε. “To walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called.” ἧς attracted for ἥν the cognate accusative; cf. 1:6; 2 Corinthians 1:4. True, the dative might be used with καλεῖν (see 2 Timothy 1:9); but the attraction of the dative would not be in accordance with N.T. practice.

2. μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πρᾳότητος. “With all lowliness and meekness.” μετά is used of accompanying actions or dispositions (see Acts 17:11; 2 Corinthians 7:15); πάσης belongs to both substantives. What is ταπεινοφροσύνη? Chrysostom says it is ὅταν τις μέγας ὤν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινοῖ; and elsewhere, ὅταν μεγάλα τὶς ἑαυτῷ συνειδώς, μηδὲν μέγα περὶ αὑτοῦ φαντάζηται. Trench says it is rather esteeming ourselves small, inasmuch as we are so, the thinking truly, and therefore lowlily of ourselves; adding that Chrysostom is bringing in pride again under the disguise of humility. In this he is followed by Alford and other English com mentators. Yet surely this is not right. A man may be small, and know himself to be so, and yet not be humble. But every man cannot truly think himself smaller than his fellows; nor can this be the meaning of Philippians 2:3. If a man is really greater than others in any quality or attainment, moral, intellectual, or spiritual, does the obligation of humility bind him to think falsely that he is less than they? It is no doubt true that the more a man advances in knowledge or in spiritual insight, the higher his ideal becomes, and so the more sensibly he feels how far he comes short of it. This is one aspect of humility, but it is not ταπεινοφρούνη. And St. Paul is speaking of humility as a Christian social virtue. St. Paul declares himself to be not a whit inferior to οἱ ὑπερλίαν�Acts 20:19. And what of our Lord Himself, who was meek and lowly, πρᾷος καὶ ταπεινός, in heart? One who knows himself greater in relation to others, but who is contented to be treated as if he were less, such a one is certainly entitled to be called humble-minded; he exhibits ταπεινοφρούνη. Chrysostom’s definition, then, is far truer than Trench’s; it only errs by limiting the possibility of the virtue to those who are great.

This is a peculiarly Christian virtue. The word occurs in Josephus and Epictetus, but only in a bad sense as = “meanness of spirit.” πρᾳότης is understood by some expositors as meekness toward God and toward men; the spirit “which never rises in in subordination against God, nor in resentment against man” (Eadie); but its use in the N.T. does not justify the introduction of the former idea; compare 1 Corinthians 4:21, “Shall I come to you with a rod, or in the spirit of πρ.”? 2 Timothy 2:25, “correcting in πρ.”; Titus 3:2, “showing all πρ. towards all men.” Resignation toward God and meekness toward man are distinct though allied virtues. The same virtues are mentioned in Colossians 3:12.

μετὰ μακροθμυίας, “with long-suffering,” connected by some expositors with the following; but�

μακροθυμία has two senses: steadfastness, especially in enduring suffering, as in Plutarch, “Never ask from God freedom from trouble, but μακροθυμία” (Luc. 32) cf. James 5:10; Hebrews 6:12; but generally in N.T. slowness in avenging wrongs, forbearance, explained, in fact, in the following words. Fritzsche defines it, “Clementia, quâ irae temperans delictum non statim vindices, sed ei qui peccaverit poenitendi locum relinquas” (Rom. i. p. 98). Compare 1 Corinthians 13:4, ἡ�


The participles fall into the nominative by a common idiom, ὑμεῖς being the logical subject of�Colossians 1:10. There is no need, then, with some commentators, to supply ἐστέ or γίνεσθε.

3. σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης, “giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” “Endeavouring,” as in the AV., would imply the possibility, if not likelihood, of the endeavour failing. Trench (On the Authorised Version, p. 44) says that in the time of the translators “endeavouring” meant “giving all diligence.” But in Acts 16:10 the word is used to render ἐζητήσαμεν, and except in this and two other passages it is not used for σπουδάζειν, which, in Titus 3:12 and 2 Peter 3:14, is rendered “be diligent”; in 2 Timothy 4:9, 2 Timothy 4:21, “do thy diligence”; 2 Timothy 2:15, “study.” The other passages where the rendering is “endeavour” are 1 Thessalonians 2:17, where the endeavour did fail, and 2 Peter 1:15, where failure might have appeared possible. Theophylact well expresses the force of the word here: οὐκ�

τηρεῖν, “to preserve,” for it is supposed already to exist. “Etiam ubi nulla fissura est, monitis opus est,” Bengel. The existence of divisions, therefore, is not suggested. “The unity of the Spirit,” i.e. the unity which the Spirit has given us. “The Spirit unites those who are separated by race and customs,” Chrys., and so most recent commentators; and this seems to be proved by ἕν Πνεῦμα in the following verse. But Calvin, Estius, and others, following Anselm and ps-Ambrose, understand πν. here of the human spirit, “animorum concordia.” De Wette, again, thinks that the analogy of ἑνότης τῆς πίστεως, in ver. 13, is against the received interpretation, and accordingly interprets “the unity of the spirit of the Christian community,” taking πν. in ver. 4 similarly. Comp. Grotius, “unitatem ecclesiae quae est corpus spirituale.” (Theodore Mops. agrees with Chrys. The quotation in Ellicott belongs to the next verse.)

ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης. Genitive of apposition; peace is the bond in which the unity is kept; cf. σύνδεσμον�Acts 8:23, and σύνδεσμος εὐνοίας, Plut. Num_6. The fact that love is called the bond of peace in Colossians 3:14 does not justify us in taking the words here as meaning “love,” an interpretation adopted, probably, in consequence of ἐν being taken instrumentally; in which case, as peace could not be the instrument by which the unity of the Spirit is maintained, but is itself maintained thereby, the genitive could not be one of apposition. But the ἐν is parallel to the ἐν before�

4-11. Essential unity of the Church. It is one Body, animated by one Spirit, baptized into the name of the one Lord, and all being children of the same Father. But the members have their different gifts and offices

4. ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν Πνεῦμα καθὼς καὶ ἐκλὴθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν. “One Body, and one Spirit, even as ye were called in one hope of your calling.” This and the two following verses express the objective unity belonging to the Christian dispensation in all its aspects. First, the oneness of the Church itself: one Body, one Spirit, one Hope. Next, the source and instruments of that unity, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; and lastly, the unity of the Divine Author, who is defined, in a threefold manner, as over all, through all, and in all.

Although there is no connecting particle, and γάρ is certainly not to be supplied, the declaration is introduced as supplying a motive for the exhortation, but the absence of any such particle makes it more vivid and impressive. We need not even supply ἐστί; it is rather to be viewed as an abrupt and emphatic reminder of what the readers well knew, as if the writer were addressing them in person. Still less are we to supply, with Theophylact and Oecumenius, “Be ye,” or with others, “Ye are,” neither of which would agree with vv. 5 and 6.

One Body; namely, the Church itself, so often thus described; one Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which dwells in and is the vivifying Spirit of that body; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13. The parallelism εἷς Κύριος, εἷς Θεός seems to require this. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, where τὸ αὐτὸ Πνεῦμα, ὁ αὐτὸς Κύριος, ὁ αὐτὸς Θεός. Chrysostom, however, interprets differently; indeed, he gives choice of several interpretations, none of them agreeing with this. “Showing (he says) that from one body there will be one spirit; or that there may be one body but not one spirit, as if one should be a friend of heretics; or that he shames them from that, that is, ye who have received one spirit and been made to drink from one fountain ought not to be differently minded; or by spirit here he means readiness, προθυμία.”

καθώς is not used by Attic writers, who employ καθάπερ or καθό. It is called Alexandrian, but is not confined to Alexandrian or biblical writers.

ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι. ἐν is not instrumental, as Meyer holds. Comp. καλεῖν ἐν χάριτι, Galatians 1:6; ἐν εἰρήνῃ, 1 Corinthians 7:15; ἐν ἁγιασμῷ, 1 Thessalonians 4:7; nor is it = εἰς or ἐπί, as Chrysostom.

It is frequently said in this and similar cases that it indicates the “element” in which something takes place. But this is no explanation, it merely suggests an indefinite figure, which itself requires explanation. Indeed, the word “element” or “sphere” seems to imply something previously existing. What ἐν indicates is that the hope was an essential accompaniment of their calling, a “conditio” (not “condition” in the English sense). It differs from εἰς in this, that the latter preposition would suggest that the “hope,” “peace,” etc., followed the calling in time. In fact, the expression εἴς τι involves a figure taken from motion; he who is called is conceived as leaving the place in which the call reached him. But κλῆσις as applied to the Christian calling is pregnant, it includes the idea of the state into which the calling brings those who are called. “ἐν exprimit indolem rei,” Bengel on 1 Thessalonians 4:7; so also the verb. Hence such an expression as κλητοὶ ἅγιοι. They are so called as to be ἐν ἐλπίδι, ἐν εἰρήνῃ, by the very fact of their calling, not merely as a result of it. Hence, also, we are not to interpret “hope of your calling,” or “the hope arising from your calling,” which is hardly consistent, by the way, with the idea that hope is the “element.” It is rather the hope belonging to your calling.

5. εἷς Κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα. “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.” One Lord, Christ; one faith, of which He is the object, one in its nature and essence; and one baptism, by which we are brought into the profession of this faith.

The question has been asked, Why is the other sacrament not mentioned? and various answers have been given, of which the one that is most to the point, perhaps, is that it is not a ground or antecedent condition of unity, but an expression of it. Yet it must be admitted that it would supply a strong motive for preserving unity, as in 1 Corinthians 10:17. Probably, as it was not essential to mention it, the omission is due in part to the rhythmical arrangement of three triads.

6. εἷς Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων. “One God and Father of all.” Observe the climax: first, the Church, then Christ, then God; also the order of the three Persons—Spirit, Lord, Father. Ellicott quotes from Cocceius: “Etiamsi baptizamur in nomen Patris Filii et Spiritus. Sancti, et filium unum Dominum nominamus, tamen non credimus nisi in unum Deum.” It is arbitrary to limit πάντων to the faithful. It is true the context speaks only of Christians, but then πάντες has not been used. The writer advances from the Lord of the Church to the God and Father of all. For this notion of Fatherhood see Pearson, On the Creed, Art. 1.

ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν. “Who is over all, and through all, and in all.” The Received Text adds ὑμῖν, with a few cursives, and Chrys. (Comm. not text), Theoph., Oec. ἡμῖν is added in D G K L, Vulg., Syr. (both), Arm., Goth., Iren.

There is no pronoun in א A B C P 17 672, Ign. Orig. al. It was, no doubt, added as a gloss, πᾶσιν seeming to require a limitation.

As πᾶσιν is undoubtedly masculine, it is most natural to take πάντων in both places as masculine also. Ver. 7 individualises the πάντων by ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν. Erasmus and some later commentators, however, have taken the first and second πάντων as neuter, whilst the Vulg. so takes the second.

ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων; cf. Romans 9:5, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων Θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοῦς αἰῶνας. “Over all,” as a sovereign ruler. It is less easy to say what are the distinct ideas meant to be expressed by διά and ἐν respectively. The latter is more individualising, the indwelling is an indwelling in each; whereas διὰ πάντων expresses a relation to the whole body, through the whole of which the influence and power of God are diffused. It is a sustaining and working presence. This does not involve the supplying of ἐνεργῶν.

We are not to suppose a direct reference to the Trinity in these three prepositional clauses, for here it is the Father that is specially mentioned in parallelism to the Spirit and the Son, previously spoken of.

7. ἐνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ χριστοῦ. “But to each one of us the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” He passes from the relation to the whole to the relation to the individual. In the oneness of the body, etc., there is room for diversity, and no one is overlooked; each has his own position. Compare Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:4 ff., where the conception is carried out in detail. “The grace,” i.e. the grace which he has. The article is omitted in B D* G L P*, but is present in א A C Dc K Pcorr, most others. The omission is easy to account for from the adjoining η in ἐδόθη. “According to the measure,” etc., i.e. according to what Christ has given; cf. Romans 12:6, “gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.”

8. Διὸ λέγει. “Wherefore it saith” = “it is said.” If any substantive is to be supplied it is ἡ γραφή; but the verb may well be taken impersonally, just as in colloquial English one may often hear: “it says,” or the like. Many expositors, however, supply ὁ Θεός. Meyer even says, “Who says it is obvious of itself, namely, God, whose word the Scripture is.” Similarly Alford and Ellicott. If it were St. Paul’s habit to introduce quotations from the O.T., by whomsoever spoken in the original text, with the formula ὁ Θεὸς λέγει, then this supplement here might be defended. But it is not. In quoting he sometimes says λέγει, frequently ἡ γραφὴ λέγει, at other times Δαβὶδ λέγει,Ἡσαΐας λέγει. There is not a single instance in which ὁ Θεός is either expressed or implied as the subject, except where in the original context God is the speaker, as in Romans 9:15. Even when that is the case he does not hesitate to use a different subject, as in Romans 10:19, Romans 10:20, “Moses saith,” “Isaiah is very bold, and saith”; Romans 9:17, “The Scripture saith to Pharaoh.”

This being the case, we are certainly not justified in forcing upon the apostle here and in ch. 5:14 a form of expression consistent only with the extreme view of verbal inspiration. When Meyer (followed by Alford and Ellicott) says that ἡ γραφή must not be supplied unless it is given by the context, the reply is obvious, namely, that, as above stated, ἡ γραφὴ λέγει does, in fact, often occur, and therefore the apostle might have used it here, whereas ὁ Θεὸς λέγει does not occur (except in cases unlike this), and we have reason to believe could not be used by St. Paul here. It is some additional confirmation of this that both here and in ch. 5:14 (if that is a biblical quotation) he does not hesitate to make important alterations. This is the view taken by Braune, Macpherson, Moule; the latter, however, adding that for St. Paul “the word of the Scripture and the word of its Author are convertible terms.”

It is objected that although φησί is used impersonally, λέγει is not. The present passage and ver. 14 are sufficient to prove the usage for St. Paul, and there are other passages in his Epistles where this sense is at least applicable; cf. Romans 15:10, where λέγει is parallel to γέγραπται in ver. 9; Galatians 3:16, where it corresponds to ἐρρήθησαν. But, in fact, the impersonal use of φησί in Greek authors is quite different, namely = φασί, “they say” (so 1 Corinthians 10:10). Classical authors had no opportunity of using λέγει as it is used here, as they did not possess any collection of writings which could be referred to as ἡ γραφή, or by any like word. They could say: ὁ νόμος λέγει, and τὸ λεγόμενον.

Ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν καὶ ἔδωκε δόματα τοῖς�Genesis 15:9, “Take for me”; 27:13, “Fetch me them.” In such cases it is plain that the notion of subsequent giving is in the “mihi,” not in the verb, or rather the dative is simply analogous to the dativus commodi. This use is quite parallel to that of the English “get.” In 18:5, “I will get a piece of bread and comfort ye your hearts,” the pronoun is omitted as needless, the words that follow expressing the purpose for which the bread was to be fetched. In 42:16, “Send one of you and let him fetch your brother,” there is no idea of giving. In no case is giving any part of the idea of the Hebrew verb any more than of the English “get” or “fetch.” But whatever may be thought of this “proleptic use,” this is not the sense of the verb in the psalm, so that it would not really help. The psalm speaks of receiving (material) gifts from men; the apostle, of giving (spiritual) gifts to men. Macpherson says, “The modification is quite justifiable, on the ground that Christ, to whom the words are applied, receives gifts among men only that He may bestow them upon men.” But Christ did not receive amongst men the gifts which He is here said to bestow. The Pulpit Commentary states: “Whereas in the psalm it is said gave gifts to men” [which is not in the psalm, but in the Epistle], as modified by the apostle it is said “received gifts for men,” which is neither one nor the other, but a particular interpretation of the psalm adopted in the English version. Ellicott, admitting that the difference is not diminished by any of the proposed reconciliations, takes refuge in the apostolic authority of St. Paul. “The inspired apostle, by a slight (?) change of language and substitution of ἔδωκε for the more dubious לָקַת, succinctly, suggestively, and authoritatively unfolds.” But he does not profess to be interpreting (as in Romans 10:6, Romans 10:7, Romans 10:8), but quoting. Such a view, indeed, would open the door to the wildest freaks of interpretation; they might not, indeed, command assent as inspired, but they could never be rejected as unreasonable. The change here, far from being slight, is just in that point in which alone the quotation is connected either with what precedes or with what follows.

The supposition that St. Paul does not intend either to quote exactly or to interpret, but in the familiar Jewish fashion adapts the passage to his own use, knowing that those of his readers who were familiar with the psalm would recognise the alteration and see the purpose of it, namely, that instead of receiving gifts of homage Christ gives His gifts to men, is not open to any serious objection, since he does not found any argument on the passage. So Theodore Mops., who remarks that ὑπαλλάξας τὸ ἔλαβε δόματα οὕτως ἐν τῷ ψαλμῷ κείμενον, ἔδωκε δόματα εἶπε, τῇ ὑπαλλαγῇ περὶ τὴν οἰκείαν χρησάμενος�1 Corinthians 10:4. No doubt the question remains, What led the Targumist to take this view of the passage? Hitzig suggests that as the receiving of gifts seemed not consonant with the majesty of God, the paraphrast mentally substituted for לקח the verb חלק, which has the same letters in a different order, and means “to divide, give a portion,” etc. This verb is rendered δίδωσιν by the Sept. in Genesis 49:27 (EV. “divide”), while in 2 Chronicles 28:21, where it occurs in an otherwise unexampled sense “plunder” (EV. “took a portion out of”), the Sept. has ἔλαβεν (τὰ ἐν). The feeling that prompted the paraphrast here shows itself also in Rashi’s comment, “took, that thou mightest give.”

This renders needless a recourse to the supposition that the quotation is from a Christian hymn, which borrowed from the psalm. The objection raised to this and to the preceding view from the use of λέγει, has no force except on the assumption that Θεός is to be supplied; and, in fact, in ver. 14 many expositors suppose that it is a hymn that is quoted in the same manner. Nor can it be truly alleged that St. Paul here treats the words as belonging to canonical Scripture, for he draws no inference from them, as we shall see. Indeed, if he himself had altered them, instead of adopting an existing alteration, it would be equally impossible for him to argue from the altered text as if it were canonical.

ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν. “Took captive a body of captives,” the cognate accusative, abstract for concrete, as the same word is used in 1 Esdr. 5:45 and Judith 2:9. We have the same expression in the song of Deborah: “Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam,” Judges 5:12, which is perhaps the source of the expression in the psalm. The interpretation adopted in a popular hymn, “captivity is captive led,” as if “captivity” meant the power that took captive, is quite untenable, and such a use of the abstract is foreign to Hebrew thought.

Who are these captives? Chrysostom replies: The enemies of Christ, viz. Satan, sin, and death. In substance this interpretation is no doubt correct, but it is unnecessary to define the enemies; the figure is general, that of a triumphant conqueror leading his conquered enemies in his train. Compare Colossians 2:15. To press the figure further would lead us into difficulties. These enemies are not yet finally destroyed, ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται ὁ θάνατος (1 Corinthians 15:25).

Theodoret interprets the “captives” as the redeemed (as Justin had already done), namely, as having been captives of the devil, οὐ γὰρ ἐλευθέρους ὄντας ἡμᾶς ᾐχμαλώτευσεν,�

“And gave gifts.” καί is omitted in א* A C2 D* G 17, al.; but inserted in אc B C* and c Dc K L P, al. Syr. A tendency to assimilate to the passage in the psalm appears in the reading ᾐχμαλώτευσαις in A L and several MSS., which nevertheless read ἔδωκεν. For the gifts compare Acts 2:33.

9. τὸ δὲ Ἀνέβη τί ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς. “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended into the lower parts of the earth?”

There is here a very important variety of reading—

κατέβη without πρῶτον is the reading of א* A C* D G 17 672, Boh., Sahid., Eth., Amiat., Iren., Orig., Chrys. (Comm.), Aug., Jerome.

κατέβη πρῶτον is read in אc B Cc K L P, most MSS. Vulg., Goth., Syr. (both), Arm., Theodoret.

The weight of authority is decidedly on the side of omission. Transcriptional evidence points the same way. The meaning which presented itself on the surface was that Christ who ascended had had His original seat in heaven, and that what the apostle intended, therefore, was that He descended before He ascended; hence πρῶτον would naturally suggest itself to the mind of a reader. On the other hand, it is not easy to see why it should be omitted. Reiche, indeed, takes the opposite new. The word, he says, might seem superfluous, since both in ver. 8 and ver. 10 we have�

τὸ δὲ Ἀνέβη, i.e. not the word�Genesis 44:29; Psalms 142:7; or Hades, as the place where departed spirits live, which is the view of Tertullian, Irenaeus, Jerome, and many moderns, including Bengel, Olshausen, Meyer (later editions), Alford, Ellicott, Barry.

But there are serious objections to this. First, if the apostle had meant to say that Christ descended to a depth below which there was no deeper, as He ascended to a height above which was none higher, he would doubtless have used the superlative. τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς, if the genitive is partitive, could mean “the low-lying regions of the earth,” in opposition to τὰ�Acts 19:1). Meyer, indeed, takes the genitive as depending on the comparative; but this would be an awkward way of expressing what would more naturally have been expressed by an adverb. τὰ κατώτατα τῆς γῆς occurs in the Sept. Psalms 63:9, Psalms 139:15 (κατωτάτω); but in the former place the words mean death and destruction; in the latter they figuratively denote what is hidden, the place of formation of the embryo. The corresponding Hebrew phrase is found in Ezekiel 32:18, Ezekiel 32:24, referring to death and destruction, but rendered βάθος τῆς γῆς. Cf. Matthew 11:23, where ᾅδου is used similarly. Such passages would support Chrysostom’s view rather than that under consideration. But, secondly, all these Old Testament expressions are poetic figures, and in a mere statement of fact like the present, St. Paul would hardly have given such a material local designation to the place of departed spirits, especially in connexion with the idea of Christ filling all things. Thirdly, the antithesis is between earth and heaven, between an ascent from earth to heaven, and a descent which is therefore probably from heaven to earth. Some, indeed, who adopt this view understand the descent as from heaven, some as from earth. For the argument from the connexion, see what follows.

For these reasons it seems preferable to take “the lower parts of the earth” as = “this lower earth.” Those who adopt this view generally assume that the descent preceded the ascent, and therefore understand by the descent, the Incarnation. This view, however, is not free from difficulty. St. Paul is speaking of the unity of the whole on the one hand, and of the diversity of individual gifts on the other. The latter is the topic in ver. 7 and again in ver. 11. To what purpose would be an interpolation such as this? It is not brought in to prove the heavenly pre-existence of Christ; that is assumed as known; for ascent to heaven does not imply descent thence, except on that assumption. And why the emphatic assertion of the identity of Him who ascended with Him who had previously descended, which was self-evident? But, in fact, this ascension is not what is in question, but the giving of gifts; what had to be shown was, that a descent was necessary, in order that He who ascended should give gifts. The descent, then, was contemporaneous with the giving, and, therefore, subsequent to the ascent. This seems to be indicated by the καί before κατέβη. It seems hardly possible to take καὶ κατέβη otherwise than as expressing something subsequent to�John 14:23, “we will come to Him”; also ib. 3 and 16:22. It is now clear why it was necessary to assert that ὁ καταβάς was the same as ὁ�

10. ὁ καταβὰς αὐτός ἐστιν καὶ ὁ�

“All the heavens” is probably an allusion to the seven heavens of the Jews. Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:2, τρίτος οὐρανός, and Hebrews 4:14, διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς, “that He might fill all things.”

This has sometimes been understood to mean “that He might fill the universe,” as when we read in Jeremiah 23:24, μὴ οὐχὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν ἐγὼ πληρῶ; But how can the occupation of a special place in heaven have for its object presence throughout the universe? Moreover, this does not agree with the context, which refers to the gifts to men. In fact, in order to explain this connexion, the omnipresence is resolved by some commentators into the presence everywhere of His gifts (Harless), or else of His government (Chrys, al.). A similar result is reached by others, who take πληρώσῃ as meaning directly “fill with His gifts” (De Wette, Bleek, al.), τὰ πάντα being either the universe, or men, or members of the Church. But πληροῦν by itself can hardly mean “fill with gifts.” Rückert explains, “accomplish all,” viz. all that He had to accomplish. But the words must clearly be interpreted in accordance with 1:23, τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου, which they obviously repeat. Oltramare interprets, “that He might render all perfect, and (in conformity with this purpose), He gave,” etc.

11. καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν�

ἔδωκεν is not a Hebraism for ἔθετο (1 Corinthians 12:28); it is obviously chosen because of ἔδωκεν δόματα in the quotation, as if the apostle had said, “the gifts He gave were,” etc. It is not merely the fact of the institution of the offices that he wishes to bring into view, but the fact that they were gifts to the Church. Christ gave the persons; the Church appointed to the office (Acts 13:2, Acts 14:23). The enumeration here must be compared with that in 1 Corinthians 12:28, “God hath set some in the Church, first, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers; then miraculous powers, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues.” There the order of the first three is expressly defined; the latter gifts are not mentioned here, perhaps, as not expressing offices, but special gifts which were only occasional; and, besides, they did not necessarily belong to distinct persons from the former.

“Apostles.” This word is not to be limited to the Twelve, as Lightfoot has shown in detail in his excursus on Galatians 1:17. Besides St. Paul himself, Barnabas is certainly so called (Acts 14:4, Acts 14:14); apparently also James the Lord’s brother (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19), and Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 2:6, “we might have been burdensome to you, being apostles of Christ”). In Irenaeus and Tertullian the Seventy are called apostles (Iren. ii. 21. 1; Tert. adv. Marc. iv. 24). According to the Greek Fathers, followed by Lightfoot, Andronicus and Junia are called apostles in Romans 16:7. In 2 Corinthians 8:23 and Philippians 2:25 the messengers of the Churches are called “apostles of the Churches.” But to be an apostle of Christ it seems to have been a condition that he should have seen Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 9:2, and have, moreover, been a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:8, Acts 1:21-23). Their office was not limited to any particular locality. Prophets are mentioned along with apostles in 2:20, 3:5. Chrysostom distinguishes them from “teachers” by this, that he who prophesies utters everything from the spirit, while he who teaches sometimes discourses from his own understanding. “Foretelling” is not implied in the word either etymologically or in classical or N.T. usage. In classical writers it is used of interpreters of the gods. For N.T. usage, compare Matthew 26:68, “Prophesy, who is it that smote thee”; Titus 1:12, “a prophet of their own,” where it is used in the sense of the Latin “vates”; Matthew 15:7, “well hath Isaiah prophesied of you”; and especially 1 Corinthians 14:3, “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” Also Acts 15:32, “Judas and Silas, being themselves also prophets, exhorted the brethren … and confirmed them.” The function of the prophet has its modern parallel in that of the Christian preacher, who discourses “to edification, exhortation, and comfort” to those who are already members of the Church. “Preaching,” in the English Version of the N.T., means proclaiming the gospel to those who have not yet known it (κηρύττειν, εὐαγγελίζεσθαι).

By “evangelists” we are doubtless to understand those whose special function it was to preach the gospel to the heathen in subordination to the apostles. They did not possess the qualifications or the authority of the latter (περιίόντες ἐκήρυττον, says Theodoret). One of the deacons is specially called an evangelist (Acts 21:8). Timothy is told by St. Paul to do the work of an evangelist, but his office included other functions.

τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους. The first question is whether these words express distinct offices or two characters of the same office. Many commentators—both ancient and modern—adopt the former view, differing, however, greatly in their definitions. Theophylact understands by “pastors,” bishops and presbyters, and by “teachers,” deacons. But there is no ground for supposing that deacons would be called διδάσκαλοι. On the other hand, the circumstance that τοὺς δέ is not repeated before διδασκάλους is in favour of the view that the words express two aspects of the same office. So Jerome: “Non enim ait: alios autem pastores et alios magistros, sed alios pastores et magistros, ut qui pastor est, esse debeat et magister.” This, indeed, is not quite decisive, since it might only mark that the gifts of pastors and of teachers are not so sharply distinguished from one another as from those that precede; and it must be admitted that in a concise enumeration such as the present, it is in some degree improbable that this particular class should have a double designation. This much is clear, that “pastors and teachers” differ from the preceding classes in being attached to particular Churches. The name “pastors” implies this, and this term no doubt includes ἐπίσκοποι and πρεσβύτεροι. Compare 1 Peter 5:2 (addressing the πρεσβύτεροι), ποιμάνατε τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐπισκοποῦντες (om. RV. mg.): 1 Peter 2:25, τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν, where ἐπίσκοπον seems to explain ποιμήν: Acts 20:28, τῷ ποιμνίῳ ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλ. ποιμήν was used in the earliest classical writers of rulers of the people. Even in Homer we have Agamemnon, for instance, called ποιμὴν λαῶν. The ποιμήν of a Christian Church would, of course, be a teacher as well as a governor; it was his business to guide the sheep of the flock; cf. 1 Timothy 3:2, δεῖ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον … διδακτικὸν (εἶναι): also Titus 1:9. But there would naturally be other teachers not invested with the same authority and not forming a distinct class, much less co-ordinate with the ἐπίσκοποι. Had τοὺς δέ been repeated, it might have seemed to separate sharply the function of teaching from the office of ποιμήν. It is easy to see that ἐπίσκοπος would have been a much less suitable word here, since it does not suggest the idea of a moral and spiritual relation.

12-16. The object of all is the perfection of the saints, that they may be one in the faith, and mature in knowledge, so as not to be carried away by the winds of false doctrine; but that the whole body, as one organism deriving its nourishment from the Head, may be perfected in love

12. πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων, εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ χριστοῦ. “With a view to the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ.” The καταρτισμὸς τῶν ἁγ. is the ultimate purpose, with a view to which the teachers, etc., have been given εἰς ἔργον δίακ. εἰς οἰκ. κ.τ.λ. The Authorised Version follows Chrysostom in treating the three clauses as co-ordinate, ἕκαστος οἰκοδομεῖ, ἕκαστος καταρτίζει, ἔκαστος διακονεῖ. The change in the prepositions is not decisive against this, for St. Paul is rather fond of such variety. But if the three members were parallel, ἔργον διακονίας should certainly come first as the more indefinite and the mediate object. In fact, Grotius and others suppose the thoughts transposed. A plausible view is that adopted by De Wette and many others, that the two latter members depend on the first. “With a view to the perfecting of the saints, so that they may be able to work in every way to the building up,” etc. But in a connexion like this, where offices in the Church are in question, διακονία can only mean official service; and this does not belong to the saints in general.

Olshausen supposes the two latter members to be a subdivision of the first, thus: “for the perfecting of the saints, namely, on the one hand, of those who are endowed with gifts of teaching for the fulfilment of their office; and, on the other hand, as regards the hearers, for the building up of the Church.” But it is impossible to read into the words this distinction, “on the one hand,” “on the other hand”; and the οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ σώματος describes the function of teachers rather than of hearers. Besides, we cannot suppose the teachers themselves to be included among those who are the objects of the functions enumerated in ver. 11.

The word καταρτισμός does not occur elsewhere in the N.T. Galen uses it of setting a dislocated joint. The verb καταρτίζω by its etymology means to restore or bring to the condition ἄρτιος, and is used Matthew 5:21 of “mending” nets; in Hebrews 11:3 of the “framing” of the world. It occurs Galatians 6:1 in the figurative sense, “restore such one.” In Luke 6:40 the sense is as here, “to perfect,” κατηρτισμένος πᾶς ἔσται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ. Also in 2 Corinthians 13:11, καταρτίζεσθε. Comp. ib. 9, τῂν ὑμῶν κατάρτισιν. καταρτισμός is the completed result of κατάρτισις.

οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος. The confusion of metaphors is excused by the fact that οἰκοδομή had for the apostle ceased to suggest its primary meaning; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, and below, ver. 16. The fact that both οἰκοδομή and σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ have a distinct metaphorical sense accounts for the confusion, but does not prove it non-existent. The ancients were less exacting in such matters than the moderns; even Cicero has some strange examples. See on 3:18.

It is useful to bear this in mind when attempts are made elsewhere to press too far the figure involved in some word.

13. μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ. “Till we all (we as a whole) attain to the oneness of the faith, and of the thorough knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature (or maturity) of the fulness of Christ.” μέχρι is without ἄν because the result is not uncertain. οἱ πάντες, “we, the whole body of us,” namely, all believers, not all men (as Jerome), which is against the preceding context (τῶν ἁγίων). The oneness of the faith is opposed to the κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι, κ.τ.λ. ver. 14. “Contrarius unitati est omnis ventus,” Bengel. ἐπίγνωσις is not merely explanatory of πίστις, which is indeed a condition of it, but a distinct notion. τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ belongs to both substantives. The Son of God is the specific object of Christian faith as well as knowledge.

εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, a perfect, mature man, to which the following νήπιοι is opposed. Comp. Polyb. p. 523, ἐλπίσαντες ὡς παιδίῳ νηπίῳ χρήσασθαι τῷ Φιλίππῳ, διά τε τὴν ἡλικίαν καὶ τὴν�Luke 19:3, ἠλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν, and “age” in John 9:21, ἡλικίαν ἔχει. “Mature age” is the most common signification in Greek writers, whereas the adjective ἡλικός most frequently refers to magnitude. It would appear, therefore, that to a Greek reader it is only the connexion in which it stands that would decide. There is nothing here to decide for “stature”; μέτρον, indeed, might at first sight seem to favour this, but we have in Philostratus, Vit. Soph. p. 543, τὸ μέτρον τῆς ἡλικίας ταῖς μὲν ἄλλαις ἐπιστήμαις γήρως�

On the other hand, what the context refers to is the idea of “maturity”; if “stature” were unambiguously expressed, it could only be understood as a mark of maturity; any comparison with physical magnitude would be out of the question. See on Luke 2:52.

“Of the fulness of Christ,” i.e. to which the fulness of Christ belongs.

Some expositors take πληρωμα here as if used by a Hebraism for πεπληρωμένος = perfect, complete, either agreeing with Χριστοῖ (πεπληρωμένου) or with ἡλικίας (πεπληρωμένης), thus interpreting either “the measure of the perfect (mature) Christ,” or “of the perfect stature of Christ,” which again may be explained as that which Christ produces. But this supposition is inadmissible. We cannot separate τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Or, again, τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ is understood to mean, “what is filled by Christ,” i.e. the Church, which is so called in 1:23. But apart from the wrong sense thus given to πλήρωμα, there is a wide difference between predicating τὸ πλ. of the Church, and using the term as synonymous with ἐκκλησία. We may ask, too, How can we all arrive at the maturity of the Church? A better interpretation is that which makes τὸ πλ. τοῦ Χρ. = the fulness of Christ, i.e. the maturity is that to which belongs the full possession of the gifts of Christ. Oltramare objects that this interpretation rests on an erroneous view of the sense of πλήρωμα τοῦ Χρ., which does not mean the full possession of Christ, nor the full gracious presence of Christ. Moreover, it makes μέτρον superfluous, and makes the whole clause a mere repetition of εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον. With his view of πλήρωμα = perfection (see 1:23), there is a distinct advance, “to the measure of the stature (i.e. to the height) of the perfection of Christ.” This is also Rückert’s view.

It is questioned whether St. Paul here conceives this ideal as one to be realised in the present life or only in the future. Amongst the ancients, Chrysostom, Theoph., Oecum., Jerome, took the former view, Theodoret the latter. It would probably be an error to suppose that the apostle meant definitely either one or the other. He speaks of an ideal which may be approximated to. But though it may not be perfectly attainable it must be aimed at, and this supposes that its attainment is not to be represented as impossible. See Dale, Lect. xv. p. 283.

14. ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι, κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι παντὶ�James 1:8, διακρινόμενος ἔοικε κλύδωνι θαλάσσης�Jude 1:12, νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι ὑπὸ�Hebrews 13:9, διδαχαῖς ποικίλαις μὴ παραφέρεσθε.

ἀνέμῳ does not refer to “emptiness” nor to “impulsive power,” but rather is chosen as suitable to the idea of changeableness. So Theophylact: τῇ τροπῇ ἐμμένων καὶ�

ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης. “By craftiness, tending to the scheming of error.” πανοῦργος and πανουργία are used in the Sept. generally, if not invariably, in a good or an indifferent sense, “prudent,” Proverbs 13:1; “prudence,” Proverbs 1:4, Proverbs 1:8:5; “shrewdness,” Ecclus. 21:12; Joshua 9:4 (though this latter may be thought an instance of a bad sense). Polybius also uses πανοῦργος in the sense of δεινός, “clever, shrewd.” In classical writers the words have almost invariably a bad sense, the substantive meaning “knavery, unscrupulous conduct.”

In the N.T. the substantive occurs five times, always in a bad sense (Luke 20:23; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 11:3, and here), the adjective once, 2 Corinthians 12:16, in the sense “crafty.”

μεθοδεία is found only here and ch. 6:11. The verb μεθοδεύω is used, however, by Polybius, Diodorus, and the Sept., and means to deal craftily (cf. 2 Samuel 19:27, where Mephibosheth says of Ziba, μεθώδευσεν ἐν τῷ δούλῳ σου); the substantive μέθοδος, from which it is derived, being used by later authors in the meaning “cunning device.” πλάνη has its usual meaning “error,” not “seduction” (a meaning which it never has, not even in 2 Thessalonians 2:11), and the genitive is subjective, thus personifying error. In the Revised Version πρός is taken as = according to, “after the wiles of error,” a comma being placed after πανουργίᾳ. This seems to leave the latter word too isolated. Moreover, this sense of πρός, though appropriate after verbs of action, being founded on the idea of “looking to,” or the like, does not agree with the participles κλυδ. and περιφ. Codex A adds after πλάνης, τοῦ διαβόλου, an addition suggested probably by 6:11.


αὐξήσωμεν is not transitive as in 1 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 9:10, etc., and in the older classical writers and the Septuagint, but intransitive as in later Greek writers and Matthew 6:28; Luke 1:80, Luke 2:40, and elsewhere; cf. here also 2:21.

εἰς αὐτόν. Meyer understands this to mean “in relation to Him,” with the explanation that Christ is the head of the body, the growth of whose members is therefore in constant relation to Him as determining and regulating it. The commentary on εἰς αὐτόν is, he says, given by ἐξ οὗ, κ.τ.λ., the one expressing the ascending, the other the descending direction of the relation of the growth to the head, He being thus the goal and the source of the development of the life of the Church. However correct this explanation may be in itself, it can hardly be extracted from the interpretation of εἰς as “in relation to,” which is vague and feeble. Nor does it even appear that εἰς αὐτόν admits of such a rendering at all. Such expressions as ἐς ὅ = “in regard to which,” εἰς ταῦτα = “quod attinet ad …” etc., are not parallel. Interpreted according to these analogies, the words would only mean “with respect to Him, that we should grow,” and the order would be εἰς αὐτὸν αὐξ. Meyer has adopted this view from his reluctance to admit any interpretation which does not agree with the figure of the head. But that figure is not suggested until after this. We have first the Church as itself becoming�

16. ἐξ οἷ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον. “From whom the whole body fitly framed and put together.” ἐξ οὗ goes with αὔξησιν ποιεῖται. The present participles indicate that the process is still going on. On συναρμ. cf. 2:21. The use of the word there forbids the supposition that the derivation from ἁρμός, a joint, was before the mind of the writer. συμβιβάζω is used by classical writers in the sense of bringing together, either persons figuratively (especially by way of reconciliation) or things. Compare Colossians 2:2, συμβ. ἐν�Colossians 2:19, we have ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον. In that Epistle the main theme is “the vital connexion with the Head; in the Ephesians, the unity in diversity among the members” (Lightfoot). Hence the substitution here of συναρμ. for ἐπιχορ. But the idea involved in the latter is here expressed in the corresponding substantive.

διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας. “Through every contact with the supply.” The parallel in Colossians 2:19 seems to decide that these words are to be connected with the participles.

ἁφή has some difficulty. It has been given the meaning “joint,” “sensation,” “contact.” If by “joint” is understood those parts of two connected limbs which are close to the touching surfaces (which is no doubt the common use of the word), then ἁφή cannot be so understood; it means “touching” or “contact,” and can no more mean “joint” in this sense than these English words can have that meaning. And what would be the meaning of “every joint of supply”? Eadie answers: “Every joint whose function it is to afford such aid.” But this is not the function of a joint, and this notion of the supply being through joints would be a very strange one and strangely expressed. Besides, it would not be consistent with the fact that it is from Christ that the ἐπιχορηγία proceeds. Theodoret takes ἁφή to mean “sense” or “sensation.” ἁφὴν τὴν αἴσθησιν προσηγόρευσεν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ αὕτη μία τῶν πέντε αἰσθήσεων, that is, “the apostle calls sensation ‘touch,’ because this is one of the five senses, and he names the whole from the part.” Chrysostom is more obscure, and seems to make, not ἁφῆς alone, but ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχ. = αἰσθήσεως; for when he proceeds to expound, he says: τὸ πνεῦμα ἐκεῖνο τὸ ἐπιχορηγούμενον τοῖς μέλεσιν�Colossians 2:19, gives several passages from Galen and Aristotle in illustration of this signification. Here we need only notice the distinction which Aristotle makes between σύμφυσις and ἁφή, the latter signifying only “contact,” the former “cohesion.” ἡ ἁφή τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας, then, is the touching of, i.e. contact with, the supply. ἅπτεσθαι τῆς ἐπιχ. would mean “to take hold of, or get in touch with,” the ἐπιχ.; hence διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχ may well mean “through each part being in touch with the ministration.” So Oecumenius: ἡ�Philippians 1:19; it is found nowhere else except in ecclesiastical writers. But the verb ἐπιχορηγέω (which occurs five times in the N.T.) is also found, though rarely, in later Greek writers.

κατʼ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους.

μέρους is the reading of א B D G K L P, Arm., Theodoret, etc.; but A C, Vulg., Syr., Boh., Chrys. have μέλους. This is so naturally suggested by the figure of σῶμα that we can hardly doubt that it came in either by a natural mistake or as an intentional emendation. But μέρους is really much more suitable, as more general.

“According to the proportionate working of each several part.” ἐνέργεια does not mean “power,” but “acting power,” “activity,” “working,” so that the interpretation of κατʼ ἐνέργειαν as adverbial = “powerfully,” is excluded. As to the connexion of the following words, ἐν μέτρῳ may be taken either with κατʼ ἐνεργ. or as governing ἑνὸς ἑκ. μέρ. The latter is the view adopted by many commentators, with so little hesitation that they do not mention the other. Thus Eadie and Ellicott render “according to energy in the measure of each individual part.” This is not very lucid, and Ellicott therefore explains “in the measure of (sc. commensurate with).” Alford’s rendering is similar. If this is understood to mean “the energy which is distributed to every part,” etc., as it apparently must be, we miss some word which should suggest the idea of distribution, which ἐν certainly does not. Moreover, ἐνέργεια, from its signification, requires to be followed by some defining word, and elsewhere in the N.T. always is so.

It is preferable, therefore, to join ἐν μέτρῳ closely with ἐνέργεια, which it qualifies, and which is then defined by the genitive following. It is as if the writer had been about to say κατʼ ἐνεργ. ἐνὸς ἑκ., and then recalling the thought of ver. 7 inserted ἐν μέτρῳ. If this view (which is Bengel’s) is correct, the reason assigned by Meyer for connecting these words with αὔξ. ποιεῖται instead of with the participles falls to the ground, viz. that μέτρῳ suits the idea of growth better than that of joining together. The RV. appears to agree with the view here taken.

τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται. “Carries on the growth of the body.” In Colossians 2:19 we have αὔξει τὴν αὔξησιν; here the active participation of the body as a living organism in promoting its own growth is brought out, and this especially in order to introduce ἐν�Luke 3:19.

εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἐαυτοῦ ἐν�

Ellicott says: “As usual, defining the element or sphere in which the declaration is made”; and so Eadie and Alford. This is not explanation. Meyer is a little clearer: “Paul does not speak in his own individuality, but Christ is the element in which his thought and will move.” εἶναι ἔν τινι is a classical phrase expressing complete dependence on a person. Soph. Oed. Col. 247, ἐν ὑμῖν ὡς Θεῷ κείμεθα: Oed. Tyr. 314, ἐν σοὶ γάρ ἐσμεν: Eurip. Alc. 277, ἐν σοι δʼ ἐσμὲν καὶ ζῆν καί μή. Compare Acts 17:28, ἐν αὐτῷ ζῶμεν καὶ κινούμεθα καὶ ἐσμεν. In the N.T., indeed, the expression acquires a new significance from the idea of fellowship and union with Christ and with God. Whatever the believer does, is done with a sense of dependence on Him and union with Him. For example, “speaking the truth” “marrying” (1 Corinthians 7:39).

Here, where an apostolic precept is concerned, it is implied that the apostle speaks with authority. But the expression would hardly have been suitable had he not been addressing those who, like himself, had fellowship with the Lord. This interpretation is so far from being “jejune,” that it implies a personal and spiritual relation which is put out of sight by the impersonal figure of an “element.”

μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καθὼς καὶ τὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ. For the infinitive present compare the passages above cited from Thucyd. and Polyb. Also Acts 21:2, λέγων μὴ περιτέμνειν: 21:4, ἔλεγον μὴ�

Text. Rec. adds λοιπά before ἔθνη, with א4 Dbc K L, Syr., Chrys., etc. The word is wanting in א A B D* G, Vulg., Boh.

The λοιπά is more likely to have been added in error than omitted. Assuming that it is not genuine, this is an instance of St. Paul’s habitual regard for the feelings of his readers. It suggests that they are no longer to be classed with the ἔθνη. They were ἔθνη only ἐν σαρκί, but were members of the true commonwealth of Israel.

ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν. Although in the O.T. idols are frequently called μάταια (compare Acts 14:15), the substantive is not to be limited to idolatry, to which there is no special reference here. It is the falseness and emptiness of their thoughts that are in question (cf. Romans 1:21, ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν). Nor, again, are we, with Grotius, to suppose any special reference to the philosophers, merely because in 1 Corinthians 3:20 it is said of the διαλογισμοὶ τῶν σοφῶν that they are μάταιοι. Rather, it refers to the whole moral and intellectual character of heathenism; their powers were wasted without fruit. As Photius (quoted by Harless) remarks: οὐ τὰ τῆς�

18. ἐσκοτωμένοι τῇ δινοίᾳ ὄντες,�

ἐσκοτωμένοι is opposed to πεφωτισμένοι (1:18). We have the same expression Romans 1:21, ἐσκοτίσθη ἡ�Colossians 1:21, ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ: 2 Peter 3:1, διεγείρω … τὴν εἰλικρινῆ διάνοιαν. Here, however, the connexion decides for the meaning “understanding.” On�

τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ. Explained by Theodoret as = τῆς ἐν�Galatians 5:25 we have it expressly distinguished from “course of conduct”; εἰ ζῶμεν πνεύματι, πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν. Moreover,�Philippians 4:7; αὔξησις τοῦ Θεοῦ, Colossians 2:19, suggests that the words mean “the life which proceeds from God”; “tota vita spiritualis quae in hoc seculo per fidem et justitiam inchoatur et in futura beatitudine perficitur, quae tota peculiariter vita Dei est, quatenus a Deo per gratiam datur,” Estius. But something deeper than this is surely intended by the genitive, which naturally conveys the idea of a character or quality. It is the life “qua Deus vivit in suis,” Beza (who, however, wrongly adds to this “quamque praecipit et approbat”). Somewhat similarly Bengel: “Vita spiritualis accenditur in credentibus ex ipsa Dei vita.” Harless, indeed, argues that the life of regeneration is not here referred to, since what is in question is not the opposition of the heathen to Christianity, but to God; so that ζωὴ τ. Θεοῦ is to be compared to John 1:3, where the λόγος is said to be (from the beginning) the ζωή and φῶς of the world, and thus there was an original fellowship of man with God. So in part many expositors, regarding the perfect participles as indicating “gentes ante defectionem suam a fide patrum, imo potius ante lapsum Adami, fuisse participes lucis et vitae,” Bengel. But St. Paul is here speaking of the contemporary heathen in contrast to those who had become Christians (ver. 17); and it is hard to think that if he meant to refer to this original divine life in man, he would not have expressed himself more fully and precisely. The idea is one which he nowhere states explicitly, and it is by no means involved of necessity in the tense of the participles, which is sufficiently explained as expressing a state. Indeed, the aorist�1 Peter 2:10, οἱ οὐκ ἠλεημένοι νῦν δὲ ἐλεηθέντες. And how can we think the Gentiles as at a prehistoric time τῇ διανοίᾳ not ἐσκοτωμένοι?

διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν. The cause of their alienation from the Divine life is their ignorance, and this again results from their hardness of heart. Most expositors regard διά … διά as co-ordinate, some connecting both clauses with�Acts 17:30, “the times of this ignorance”; and in 1 Peter 1:14, besides Acts 3:17); but the verb is of frequent occurrence, and always of ignorance only, not of the absence of a higher faculty of knowledge. Such ignorance was not inaccessible to light, as is shown by the instances of the converted Gentiles; but so far as it was due to the hardness of their hearts, it was culpable. It is only by the subordination of the latter clause to the former that the use of τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς instead of the simple αὐτῶν finds a satisfactory explanation. Compare Rom. 1:18-33. Ellicott, following Harless, explains these words as pointing out the indwelling deep-seated nature of the ἄγνοια, and forming a sort of parallelism to τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, and so, as Harless adds, opposed to mere external occasions. But there is nothing, of this in the context, nor in the words οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς. The ignorance must be in them; and, unless we take the connexion as above (with Meyer), the words express nothing more than αὐτῶν.

πώρωσις is “hardness,” not “blindness,” as most of the ancient versions interpret. Indeed, it is so explained also by Suidas and Hesychius, as if derived from an adjective πωρός, “blind”; which seems, however, to be only an invention of the grammarians (perhaps from confusion with πηρός, with which it is often confounded by copyists). It is really derived (through πωρόω) from πῶρος, which originally meant “tufa,” and then “callus,” a callosity or hardening of the skin. (It is also used by medical writers of the “callus” formed at the end of fractured bones, and of “chalkstones” in the joints.) Hence, from the insensibility of the parts covered with hard skin, the verb means to make dull or insensible. It is thus correctly explained by Theodoret, πώρωσιν τὴν ἐσχάτην�

ἑαυτούς. What is ascribed in Romans 1:24 to God is ascribed here to themselves, in accordance with the hortatory purpose of the present passage, so as to fix attention on the part which they themselves had in the result.

ἀσελγής and�2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; 2 Peter 2:7, 2 Peter 2:18; Romans 13:13. In Mark 7:22; Jude 1:4; 1 Peter 4:3; 2 Peter 2:2, the meaning is less clearly defined. In the LXX it occurs only Wisd. 14:22 and 2 Macc. 2:26. The derivation is probably from σέλγω, a form of θέλγω.

εἰς ἐργασίαν�Luke 12:58, ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ δὸς ἐργασίαν, “give diligence”: see note ad loc.

ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ. πλεονεξία originally meant (like πλεονέκτης, πλεονεκτεῖν) only advantage over another, for example, superiority in battle, hence it passed to the idea of unfair advantage, and then to that of the desire to take unfair advantage, “covetousness.” The verb occurs five times in 2 Cor. in the sense “take advantage of.” The substantive πλεονέκτης is found (besides Ephesians 5:5) in 1 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 5:6:16. πλεονεξία occurs in all ten times in N.T. In Luke 12:15 it is clearly “covetousness,” and so in 2 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5. But all three words are so frequently associated with words relating to sins of the flesh, that many expositors, ancient and modern, have assigned to them some such special signification. Thus πλεονέκτης, 1 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 5:11; πλεονεξία, Colossians 3:5, πορνείαν,�Ephesians 5:3, πᾶσα�2 Peter 2:14, καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην πλεονεξίας ἔχοντες, “covetousness” does not suit the connexion as well as some more general term. But the most striking passage 1 Thessalonians 4:6, τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν�Mark 7:21, where the right order is κλοπαί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, there is a similiar idea. In Romans 1:29 also, something grosser than covetousness seems to be intended. In Polycarp, Phil. vi., which exists only in the Latin, “avaritia” undoubtedly represents the original πλεονεξία. Polycarp is lamenting the sin of Valens, and says: “moneo itaque vos ut abstineatis ab avaritia, et sitis casti et veraces,” and a little after: “is quis non abstinuerit se ab avaritia, ab idololatria coinquinabitur; et tanquam inter gentes judicabitur.” In the present passage Theodoret says the word is used for�Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 favours the same view. Hammond on Romans 1:29 has a learned note in support of this signification of πλεονεξία, which, however, he pushes too far. Of course it is not alleged that the word of itself had this special sense, but that it was with some degree of euphemism so applied, and in such a connexion as the present would be so understood.

It is alleged, on the other side, that covetousness and impurity are named together as the two leading sins of the Gentile world; that they even proceed from the same source; that covetousness especially is idolatry, as being the worship of Mammon.

Covetousness was not a peculiarly Gentile sin. The Pharisees were covetous (φιλάργυροι). Our Lord warns His own disciples against πλεονεξία, in the sense of covetousness, in Luke 12:15 above referred to. And the form of the warning there shows that covetousness and impurity were not on the same level in respect of grossness. This may also be inferred from St. Paul’s ὁ κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω. Can we conceive him saying ὁ μοιχεύων μηκέτι μοιχευέτω?

That covetousness and impurity proceed from the same source, and that “the fierce longing of the creature which has turned from God to fill itself with the lower things of sense” (Trench, Syn., after Bengel), is psychologically false. Lust and impurity are excesses of a purely animal and bodily passion; covetousness is a secondary desire, seeking as an end in itself that which was originally desired only as a means.

The explanation of ver. 5 by the observation that the covetous serve Mammon, not God, is due to Theodoret, who derives it from Matthew 6:24. But that passage does not make it probable that the covetous man would be called an idolator without some explanation added. St. Paul himself speaks of persons who serve, not the Lord Christ, but their own belly (Romans 16:18), and of others “whose god is their belly”; yet he probably would not call them, without qualification, “idolators.” Indeed, other Greek commentators devised various explanations. Chrysostom, for instance, as one explanation, suggests that the covetous man treats his gold as sacred, because he does not touch it.

We may ask, further, why should covetousness be specified with impurity and filthy speaking as not to be even named? (Ephesians 5:3). Impure words suggest impure thoughts, words about covetousness have no tendency to suggest covetous thoughts. It is said, indeed, that the ἤ there between�

20. ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμαθετε τὸν χριστόν. “But ye, not so did ye learn Christ.” Beza, followed by Braune, places a stop after οὕτως, “But not so ye. Ye have learned Christ.” This, however, makes the second clause too abrupt. We should expect ὑμεῖς to be repeated, or�Luke 22:26, ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως·�

οὐχ οὕτως, a litotes; cf. Deuteronomy 18:14. ἐμάθετε, “did learn,” viz. when they became Christians. This use of μανθάνω with an accus. of a person seems to be without parallel. The instance cited by Raphelius from Xenophon, ἵνα�Galatians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Philippians 1:15; indeed the following verse (21) speaks of “hearing Him.” As Christ was the content of the preaching, He might properly be said to be learned. So Philippians 3:10, τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν. Colossians 2:6, παρελάβετε τὸν Χρ., is similar.

21. εἴγε, “tum certe si,” see on 3:2. Here also the conjunction is unfavourable to the view that St. Paul is addressing those whom he had himself instructed. αὐτόν with emphasis placed first, “if Him, indeed, ye heard.” ἐν αὐτῷ, not “by Him,” as AV., a construction not admissible with a personal author, nor “illius nomine, quod ad illum attinet” (Bengel). But as those who believe are said to be ἐν Χριστῷ, so here they are said to have been taught in Him, i.e. as in fellowship with Him. There is a progress, as Meyer observes, from the first announcement of the gospel (ἠκούσατε) to the further instruction which then as converts they would have received (ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδ.), both being included in ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν. John 10:27 is not parallel, since�

Καθώς ἐστιν�John 3:21, “he that doeth the truth,” and here, ver. 24. The sense will then be, “as is right teaching in Jesus: that ye put off.” The change from Χριστόν to Ἰησοῦ is appropriate. Their introduction to Christianity or to the πολίτεια of Israel instructed them in the hope centred in the Messiah as a Redeemer. But when obedience to the practical teaching of a historical person is referred to, the historical name is used.

A very different view of the construction is taken by Credner, v. Soden, and Westcott and Hort mg., viz. that Χριστός is the subject of ἐστιν, in which case�Hebrews 13:18. The dative�Philippians 1:18, εἴτε προφάσει εἴτε�

22.�Colossians 3:9, as ἐνδύσασθαι from putting them on. The frequency of the figure in Greek writers puts out of the question any reference to change of dress in baptism (Grotius).

It is rightly rendered in the Vulg. “deponere,” not “deposuisse,” which would require the perfect inf. The aorist expresses the singleness of the act, whereas�Philippians 3:16), which is inconsistent with ὑμᾶς.

κατὰ τὴν προτέραν�

τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον. The ἐγὼ σαρκικός of Romans 7:14; ἐγὼ σάρξ, ib. 18, opposed to ἄνθρωπος ὁ κατὰ Θεὸν κτισθείς. The adoption of the expression the old and the new ἄνθρωπος, indicates that the change affects, not some particulars only, but the whole personality or ἐγώ.

τὸν φθειρόμενον. “Which waxeth corrupt.” This supplies a motive for the putting off. The present tense indicates a process that is going on. Compare Romans 8:21, “bondage of φθορά.” Meyer thinks the reference is to eternal destruction, the present expressing either the future vividly conceived as perfect, or rather what already exists in tendency, “qui tendit ad exitium,” Grot. His reason is that the moral corruption of the old man is already existing, not “becoming.” But though the corruption exists it is progressive. The tendency to perdition is expressed by St. Paul elsewhere by the term�Hebrews 3:13, and Romans 7:11, ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐξαπάτησέ με. Hence the ἐπιθυμίαι derive their power ἡ�Matthew 13:22;�2 Thessalonians 2:10.

κατά, “in accordance with,” i.e. as their nature implies.

23.�Colossians 3:10.

It may be questioned whether�Colossians 3:10, of�

τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν. This is understood of the Holy Spirit by Oecumenius and Theophylact, followed by Fritzsche, Ellicott, and others (the genitive being thus possessive), the “(Divine) Spirit united with the human πνεῦμα, with which the νοῦς as subject is endued, and of which it is the receptaculum.” But this would be entirely without parallel. The Holy Spirit is never called τὸ πνεῦμα ὑμῶν or τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν, nor, indeed, does it seem possible that it should be so designated. The spirit of the νοῦς of a man must be the man’s spirit. πνεῦμα, in the sense of the Holy Spirit, is sometimes followed by a characterising genitive “of holiness,” “of adoption,” or, again, “of Christ,” “of God”; never “of us,” or “of you.” This interpretation is particularly out of place if�Rom_7. we see νοῦς pronouncing approval of the law, but unable to resist the motions of sin, for it has no motive power. In ch. 8. we see the πνεῦμα inspired by God, and we have a description of the man who is�1 Corinthians 14:14, τὸ πνεῦμά μου προσεύχεται, ὁ δὲ νοῦς μου ἄκαρπός ἐστι. The expression here used is thus quite in harmony with St. Paul’s usage elsewhere. But in Romans 12:2 the νοῦς is said to be renewed, μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ�

24. καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. Note the correctness of the tenses:�Colossians 3:9, Colossians 3:10, καινός differs from νέος in that the latter refers only to time, new, not long in existence, the former to quality also, as opposed to effeteness: cf. Hebrews 8:13. The καινὸς ἄνθρ., like the καινὴ διαθήκη, is always καινός, but not always νεός.

κατὰ Θεόν. Compare Colossians 3:10, τὸν νέον τὸν�Genesis 1:27. Meyer compares Galatians 4:28, κατὰ Ἰσαάκ. But in Col. it is just the word εἰκόνα that expresses the idea sought to be introduced here. That κατʼ εἰκόνα means “after the likeness of,” is no proof that κατά = “after the likeness of.” κατά in that phrase means “after the manner of,” and if so taken here it would imply that the parallelism was in the action of the verb, i.e. that God was κτισθείς. For a similar reason 1 Peter 1:15 is not parallel, κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἅγιοι.

κατὰ Θεόν occurs 2 Corinthians 7:9, 2 Corinthians 7:10, 2 Corinthians 7:11 = “in a godly manner,” and this suggests the true interpretation, viz. “according to the will of God.” It may be said that this is flat compared with the other view; but if so, that does not justify us in giving κατά an unexampled sense.

ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς�Titus 1:8, the adverbs in 1 Thessalonians 2:10, and the substantives in Luke 1:75 and Clem. Rom. Cor. 48. In 1 Timothy 2:8, ἐπαίροντας ὁσίους χεῖρας χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμῶν, the added words do not define the ὁσιότης. The hands are ὅσιοι when not unfitted to be lifted up in prayer. Nor is the use of ὅσιος with�Hebrews 7:26, at all peculiar. ὅσιος occurs thrice in the Acts in quotations from the O.T. which do not concern St. Paul’s usage. Here, as in Luke 1:75 and Wisd. 9:5, the words seem used in a way which had become familiar as a summary of human virtue. The suggestion that δικαιοσύνη is in contrast to πλεονεξία, and ὁσιότης to�


ψεῦδος, “falsehood,” is, of course, suggested by�Colossians 3:8, μὴ ψεύδεσθε. But τὸψεῦδος is falsehood in all its forms; cf. Romans 1:25; Revelation 22:15.

μετά is more forcible than πρός (Zechariah 8:16), implying “in your mutual intercourse.”

ὅτι ἐσμὲν�Romans 12:5, τὸ δὲ καθʼ εἷς�1 Corinthians 12:15.

26. ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε. These words are a quotation from Psalms 4:5 (EV. 4), LXX., “Stand in awe, and sin not.” But expositors so diverse in their views as Hitzig and Delitzsch agree with the rendering of the LXX. The Hebrew verb primarily means “to tremble,” and unless it were followed by “before me,” or the like, could not mean definitely “stand in awe.” It occurs in Proverbs 29:9 and Isaiah 28:21 in the sense “to be angry.” It is, however, superfluous, as far as the present passage is concerned, to inquire what the meaning of the original is. St. Paul is not arguing from the words, but adopting them as well known, and as expressing the precept he wishes to inculcate. The sense here is sufficiently intelligible, “ita irascamini ut ne peccetis.” The key is Bengel’s remark, “saepe vis modi cadit super partem duntaxat sermonis.” Thus Matthew 11:25, “I thank Thee that Thou hast hid these things,” etc.; Romans 6:17, “Thanks be to God that ye were the servants of sin, but,” etc. Had St. Paul not been quoting from the O.T., he would probably have expressed himself differently, e.g. ὀργιζόμενοι μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε, or the like. The phrase is frequently explained by reference to what is called the Hebrew idiom (which is by no means peculiarly Hebrew) of combining two imperatives, so that the former expresses the condition, the latter the result, as in Amos 5:4, “Seek Me and live.” But this would make the words mean, “Be angry, and so ye shall not sin.” Olshausen takes the first imperative hypothetically, “If ye are angry, as it is to be foreseen that it will happen, do not sin in anger.” For, he says, “man’s anger is never in itself just and permissible.” God’s alone is holy and just. This is fallacious, for anger is only in a figure attributed to God, and would not be so if all human anger were wrong. Besides, such a meaning would require�Romans 13:4). Nor can the fact that the injury is done to ourselves make it unlawful. It becomes so when indulged where no injustice was intended, or when it is out of proportion, or when harm is inflicted merely to gratify it. Our Lord was angry, Mark 3:5. Beza, Grotius, and others have taken ὀργίζεσθε interrogatively, which is inconsistent with its being a quotation.

ὁ ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ παροργισμῶσͅ ὑμῶν.

τῷ is added before παροργισμῷ in Rec., with most MSS. and Fathers, but is absent from א* A B. Alford thinks it may have been omitted to give indefiniteness. But it is much more likely to have been added for grammatical reasons.

Παροργισμός is not found in profane authors; it occurs several times in the LXX., but usually of the sins by which Israel “provoked” the Lord, e.g. 1 Kings 15:30. In Jeremiah 21:5, in Cod. Alex., it occurs in the sense “anger.” The verb is found (in the passive) in Demosth. 805. 19; in the active, in this Epistle, 6:4. παροργισμός appears to be distinguished from ὀργή as implying a less permanent state, “irritation.”

There is no reason to suppose a reference to the night as tending to nourish anger (“affectus noctu retentus alte insidet,” Bengel after Chrys.). The precept simply means, as Estius observes, “let the day of your anger be the day of your reconciliation,” for the new day began at sunset. The Pythagoreans, as Plutarch informs us, observed the same rule, εἴποτε προσαχθεῖεν εἰς λοιδορίας ὑπ῾ ὀργῆς, πρὶν ἢ τὸν ἥλιον δῦναι, τὰς δεξίας ἐμβάλλοντες�

27. μηδὲ δίδοτε τόπον τῷ διαβόλῳ. The Rec. has μήτε, with most cursives; all the uncials apparently have μηδέ. μήτε would imply that St. Paul might have said μήτε … μήτε, but wrote μή in the first clause, because not then thinking of the second. Such a usage, μή … μήτε, is so rare in classical authors that some scholars have denied its existence, and it is not elsewhere found in St. Paul. The distinction between μήτε … μήτε and μηδέ … μηδέ, according to Hermann and others, is that the former divide a single negation into parts which are mutually exclusive; and neither negation gives a complete whole; thus corresponding to “neither … neither.” Comp. Matthew 6:26, οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ θερίζουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν, “they sow not, and they reap not, and gather not”; Matthew 12:32, οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι, “neither in this world nor in the future,” these being the two divisions of οὐκ�

δίδοτε τόπον, i.e. room to act, since indulgence in angry feelings leads to hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. Comp. Romans 12:19 δότε τόπον τῇ ὀργῇ.

τῷ διαβόλῳ. ὁ διάβολος is used by St. Paul only in this and the Pastorals. Erasmus, Luther, and others understand the word here as simply “calumniator,” and so the Syriac. But elsewhere in N.T. ὁ διάβολος always means “the devil.” In 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3, the word is used as an adjective.

28. ὁ κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω. Not “qui furabatur,” as Vulg., an attempt to soften the proper force of the word. Jerome mitigates the word in a different way, interpreting it of everything “quod alterius damno quaeritur,” and favours the application to the “furtum spirituale” of the false prophets. The present participle seems intermediate between ὁ κλέψας and ὁ κλέπτης.

μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω, rather, on the contrary, let him labour, ἐργαζόμενος ταῖς [ἰδίαις] χερσὶν τό�

The chief question is as to the genuineness of ἰδίαις. On the one hand, it is suggested that it may have been intentionally omitted because its force was not perceived, and so it was thought to be superfluous; on the other hand, that it may be an interpolation from 1 Corinthians 4:12. Against the former suggestion is the circumstance that in the passage in Cor., where the word might with even more reason be thought superfluous, no copyist has omitted it. The insertion, on the other hand, was very natural. The case of τὸ�Galatians 6:10 would then suggest τὸ�


29. πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐπορευέσθω. The negative belongs to the verb; cf. Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16, οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρζ· 1 Corinthians 1:29, ὅπως μὴ κανχήσηται πᾶσα σάρζ. The expression is quite logical; whereas in English, if we say “all flesh shall not be justified,” the negative really belongs to “all,” not to the verb.

σαπρός is primarily “rotten, diseased,” hence in classical writers “disgusting.” In the N.T. it is used of a “worthless” tree, Matthew 7:17, Matthew 7:12:33; fish, Matthew 13:48. It is clear, therefore, that the word does not of itself mean “filthy,” and Chrys. interprets it as meaning ὃ μὴ τὴν ἰδίαν χρείαν πληροῖ (Hom. iv. on Tim.), and Theodoret makes it include αἰσχρολογία, λοιδορία, συκοφαντία, βλασφημία, ψευδολογία, καὶ τὰ τούτοις προσόμοια. With this we might compare πᾶν ῥῆμα�Matthew 12:36. But although σαπρός, used of material things, may mean simply what is only fit to be thrown away, just as “rotten” is colloquially used by English schoolboys, it may be questioned whether in connexion with λόγος it must not have a more specific meaning, something perhaps, like our word “foul” used of language, including, like it, not merely “filthy,” but scurrilous language. So Arrian opposes σαπροὶ λόγοι to κομψοί (Diss. Epict. iii. 16, p. 298, ap. Kypke)�

χρείας is the reading of א A B K L P and nearly all MSS. and versions.

It is somewhat curious that in Romans 12:13, D* G substitute μνείαις for χρείαις.

εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας by no means for εἰς χρ. τῆς οἰκ., as AV. χρείας is the objective genitive; the actual “need” or “occasion” is that which is to be affected by the edifying influence of the discourse. In Acts 6:3 the word seems to mean “occasion” or “matter in hand” (“whom we may set over this χρ.”). Field aptly cites Plutarch, Vit. Pericl. viii., μηδὲ ῥῆμα μηδὲν ἐκπεσεῖν ἄκοντος αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὴν προκειμένην χρείαν�

ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς�

δῷ χάριν has been variously interpreted. Chrysostom somewhat strangely understands it to mean “make the hearer grateful,” ἵνα χάριν σοι εἰδῇ ὁ�2 Corinthians 1:15 “that ye might have a second χ.” 8:6, “that he would complete in you this χ. also.” But as χάρις has a specially spiritual meaning in the N.T. generally, there is no reason to deny such a reference here.

30. καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον τοῦ Θεοῦ. The connexion with the foregoing is well expressed by Theophylact: ἐὰν εἴπης ῥῆμα σαπρὸν καὶ�

σὺν πάσῃ κακίᾳ. Associated also in Colossians 3:8 with ὀργή, θυμός and βλασφημία, to which is there added αἰσχρολογία. It is not badness in general, but “malice,” “animi pravitas, quae humanitati et aequitati est opposita.” So Suidas: ἡ τοῦ κακῶσαι τὸν πέλας σπουδή.It is the very opposite of what follows.

32.-5:2. Exhortation to be tender-hearted and forgiving, following as a pattern god’s forgiveness in christ

32. γίνεσθε δέ, “become, show yourselves.” Corresponding to�Luke 6:35; so the substantive, ch. 2:7; Titus 3:4, etc.

εὔσπλαγχνοι, “tender-hearted,” in this sense only in biblical and ecclesiastical writers. Hippocrates has it in the physical sense, “having healthy bowels.” Euripides uses the substantive εὐσπλαγχνία in the sense “firmness of heart.” The adjective occurs in the same sense as here in the Prayer of Manasses, 7, and in Test. 12 Patr., of God. Comp. the parallel Colossians 3:12, σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ.

χαριζόμενοι ἑατοῖς = Colossians 3:13. Origen presses ἑαυτοῖς as indicating that what was done to another was really done to themselves, διὰ τὸ συσσώμους ἠμᾶς εἶναι; Meyer and Alford think it implies that the forgiveness they are to show to others has as its pattern that which was shown to them as a body in Christ, ἐαυτοῖς being thus emphatic. In Colossians 3:12, also, we have�1 Peter 4:8-10,τὴν εἰς ἑαυτοὺς�

The Vulgate has erroneously “donantes,” and Erasmus, “largientes,” but the following context shows that the word must mean “forgiving.”

καθὼς καί, the same motive that is appealed to in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.

ὁ Θεὸς ἐν Χριστῷ. “In Christ,” not “for Christ’s sake,” as AV., for which there is no justification. The sense is the same as in 2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” Not “per Christum” (Calvin), nor even μετὰ τοῦ κινδύνου τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς σφαγῆ αὐτοῦ (Theoph.), of which there is no hint in the ἐν; but, as in the passage in 2 Cor., God manifesting Himself in, acting in (not “through”), Christ. Hence in Colossians 3:13 it is ὁ Κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν.

ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν. The readings here and in ch. 5:2 vary between the second and the first person.

In 4:32 ὑμῖν is read by א A G P 37, Vulg. (Clem.) Goth., Sah., Boh., Eth. ἡμῖν by D K L 17, 47, both Syr., Arm.

In 5:2 ὑμᾶς by אc A B P 37, Sah. Eth. ἡμῶ by א D G K L 17 47, Vulg., Syr. (both), Boh., Goth., Arm.

ib. ὑμῶν by B 37, Sah., Eth. ἡμῶν by א A D G K L P 17 47, Vulg., Syr. (both), Boh., Goth., Arm.

Or, to put it otherwise, we have —

ἡμ. in all three places, D K L 17 47, Syr. Arm.

ὑμ. in all three, Sah. Eth.

ὑμ. ὑμ. ἡμ., א A P.

ὑμ. ἡμ. ἡμ., אC Vulg., Goth.

ἡμ. ὑμ. ὑμ., B.

Critics differ in their judgment. Lachmann (judging in the absence of א) reads ἡμ. in all three places. Tischendorf (8th ed.) and Tregelles adopt ὑμ. ὑμ. ἡμ (Treg., however, in 4:32, giving ἡμῖν a place in the margin). So WH. (who place ἡμ. in the margin in the first and third places). So v. Soden and RV. (with ἡμ. in the mg. in the first place and ὑμ. in the third). Alford, Ellicott, and Eadie prefer ὑμ. ἡμ. ἡμ. The confusion of the two pronouns is very frequent. As far as documentary evidence is concerned, the reading adopted in RV. seems to have the advantage. The evidence for ὑμῶν in the third place is comparatively small, and it is very natural that St. Paul, while using the second person in close connexion with the precepts χαριζόμενοι, περιπατεῖτε ἐν�Galatians 2:20.

ἐχαρίσατο, “forgave,” as referring to a past historical fact. Note that in Colossians 3:13 it is ὀΚύριος, with ὁ Χριστός in some texts.

Arm Armenian.

Boh Bohairic. Cited by Tisch. as “Coptic,” by Tregelles as “Memphitic,” by WH. as “me.”

Eth Ethiopic.

Syr-Pesh The Peshitto Syriac.

Ell Ellicott.

WH Westcott and Hort.

1 “Except after verbs of saying, thinking, etc., the aorist in the infinitive has no preterite signification, and differs from the present only in this, that it expresses a single transient action; and even this bye-signification often falls away.”—Madvig.

Alf Alford.

It Old Latin.

Sah The Sahidic or Thebaic (“the.” WH).

Treg. Tregelles.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/ephesians-4.html. 1896-1924.
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