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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 2

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


You were spiritually dead. “In the past, even though you knew mysteries and secrets, you were spiritually dead in disobedience and sins.”

Verse 2


You followed. “The evil powers who control this age and shape the lives of men separate man from God! The mysteries and secrets you knew came from this source.” Both Jewish and pagan thought placed the evil spirits and angels in space and even the air itself.

Verse 3


Were like them. “Even we Jews lived like this, slaves to our human natures, controlled by the Devil, doomed to suffer God’s wrath!” Paul shows by this that the Law of Moses was not as effective as the circumcision party claimed. Also, he shows the Jewish Christians that they were just as dead in disobedience and sins in the past, and equally needed to be made alive by Christ! Compare Romans 3:9-20.

Verse 4


But God’s mercy. This tragic and helpless situation of man, sets the stage for God to reveal his mercy and his love to both Jew and Gentile!!!

Verse 5


He brought us to life with Christ. “God acted in history at a time when the world was spiritually dead. God brought Jews and Gentiles to life with Christ by raising Him from the dead (Acts 13:32-33; 2 Corinthians 5:15-17), and we share in this life by acting out the events of the Cross (Colossians 2:11-13; 1 Peter 3:21). I say it is by God’s grace you have been saved, since only God’s grace could give life to the dead!!!”

Verse 6


In our union. “We became Christians by being united to Christ (Galatians 3:27), and in this union God raised us to life from our dead spiritual state (Colossians 2:12). But more than this, in our union with Christ Jesus we are now ruling with him in the heavenly world (Colossians 3:1-4; Revelation 5:10 and notes). The messianic community of the redeemed in the present is a fulfillment in part of God’s promise of Eternity!”

Verse 7


To demonstrate for all time. See 1 Timothy 1:16 and note. “This shows, that in every age of time, all who believe and reach out through faith to seize Christ, may expect forgiveness and new life in Christ!!!”

Verse 8


For it is. “Neither the works of The Law nor the secrets of the mystery religions could ever save you and set you free from ignorance and superstition. Only God’s grace could make that available to you. Salvation is the gift of God through faith! You seize it, not achieve it!!!” [Note: in the Greek, FAITH is feminine but IT is neuter. Faith is not the gift, but salvation is! The Holy Spirit produces faith through the message of the Good News (Romans 10:17). But faith is more than just believing (James 2:19).]

Verse 9


There is nothing. “Your salvation did not come through the rites of The Law nor through a knowledge of secrets and mysteries. It isn’t the result of your own efforts, therefore there is nothing here to boast about!”

Verse 10


God is our Maker. “But though we cannot save ourselves by the good deeds we might do prior to our converting to Christ, yet in our union with Christ Jesus God has created us for a lifetime of good works by which we praise and worship Him. He has programed the world to demand the best from us, and he has taught us how we should live, through the Good News and the influence of the Spirit.” Compare Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 5:22-26.

Verse 11


You Gentiles. “To strengthen your sense of God’s goodness in saving you, and to show you the obligation that this salvation places on you to live a life of good works, I ask you to remember what you were in the past. The Jews despised you and called you the uncircumcised! But of course they were wrong to boast about something done by men themselves on their own bodies.”

Verse 12


At that time. “At that time in the past, you had no promise of The Messiah, and you could not belong to God’s chosen people!” Covenants. See Romans 9:4-5. Without. With neither hope nor God, they lived futile lives!!!

Verse 13


But now. “But now through the bloody-death of Christ, the Jewish Messiah, you who were formerly excluded from God’s temple at Jerusalem are brought near to God by being built into Christ’s church, the messianic community of the saved!”

Verse 14


For Christ himself. “Christ died for the Gentiles as well as the Jews! With his own body of flesh, he brought us peace by breaking down the wall of The Law, which like the wall of separation in the Jewish temple, included the Jews but excluded all others!”

Verse 15


He abolished the Jewish Law. “By the bloody-death of his Cross, he abolished the Jewish Law with all its rites!!! He did this to create ONE NEW PEOPLE in union with himself.” On the wall between Jews and Gentiles, see Acts 10:28.

Verse 16


By his death. Christ-on-the-cross (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:23). The Cross destroys the enmity between Jew and Gentile, and the enmity of the sinner toward God; unites both races into one body (Christ’s church, see notes on Matthew 16:18) through the new birth (Titus 3:5) and brings them back to God (Colossians 1:20).

Verse 17


So Christ came and preached. See Hebrews 1:2 and note. Paul points back to the First Coming and God’s finished work in Christ! The long awaited time has now come and the apostles and the church announce the Good News of peace!!! Compare Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 57:19 Zechariah 9:10; Romans 10:15.

Verse 18


That all of us. To see the king, you had to be introduced by someone close to him. Paul is using this symbolism to say that it is only through Christ that any of us can be introduced to God and come in/by the one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) into the presence of the Father.

Verse 19


So then. “Being formed into one people (Christ’s church) along with the Jews, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer! You share the covenants of promise and are members of the family of God! House of God = household of God = family of God = Christ’s church = messianic community of the saved.

Verse 20


You too. “The Jews, and you Gentiles too, are built into the spiritual temple of God as living stones (1 Peter 2:5)! You are built on the foundation which the apostles and prophets laid by proclaiming the Good News (Ephesians 3:5), and the cornerstone which unites the two sides of the building is Christ Jesus himself!”

Verse 21


He is the one. “As the cornerstone, Christ is the one who holds the whole building together by destroying the hostility between Jews and Gentiles. He makes it grow into a sacred temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) by bringing new members (converts) into the community (church). In this sacred temple, the Lord Jesus is High Priest!”

Verse 22


You too are being built. You Gentile Christians (along with Jewish Christians) are being built [present continuous] into a house (made of living stones held together by love) where God lives (Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24) through his Spirit!” Lipscomb says: “The New Testament clearly recognizes each separate congregation as the body of Christ. So that God through his Spirit dwells in each distinct and separate church. The church is the body of Christ in the community in which it is situated. It is not a foot in Corinth, an arm in Ephesus, an eye in Philippi, an ear in Antioch. But each was a complete integral body of Christ composed of all the different members needed to make up his body.” Each congregation is the visible body of Christ. In sum-total, they form the invisible body of Christ, the one church which he built (Matthew 16:18).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/ephesians-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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