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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 4

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


I urge you, then. “I have showed you the secret Plan of God and the glory of Christ and his church to make you aware of who you are!!! What I am about to say is based on the fact of who you are in Christ!!!” A prisoner because. “I am a prisoner because I serve the Lord. My Jewish enemies have put me here because I insist on telling God’s Good News to you Gentiles without forcing you to submit to The Law.” Live a life. “As sons and daughters of God, you have been called to the highest standards and privileges with which man has ever been honored!!!”

Verse 2


Be. “Christian ethics call you to be humble, generous, and patient always! Show that your love is real by being helpful to one another in the problems and sorrows of life.”

Verse 3


Do your best. “As Christians you all have unity in the one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), and by the peace which grows out of love and that binds you together, do your best to preserve this unity!!!” Compare Colossians 3:14.

Verse 4


There is one body. Not one kind of body, but ONE BODY composed of every one who is IN FACT a son or daughter of God! Even though each congregation is the body of Christ (see note on Ephesians 2:22), and Christ is the head of each congregation in that sense, yet Christ is the head of the ONE BODY into which he unites both Jew and Gentile and brings them back to God (Ephesians 2:16). One Spirit. See note on Ephesians 4:3. Lipscomb says: “There is but one Spirit to give life, to guide, and direct that one body.” One hope. The hope of eternal life created in each one who hears God’s call (through the gospel, John 6:45) and responds to it!

Verse 5


One Lord. Jesus Christ (Acts 2:36), who by his bloody-death bought men for God and is head of the church which he built (Matthew 16:18). One faith. One living, life-giving confident trust which centers in God’s finished work in Christ. Our creed is Christ!!! One baptism. The one baptism which combines water and the Spirit is the promise made to God from a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21). Lipscomb says: “One burial [in the liquid grave] of him whose heart is purified by faith, who has been crucified with Jesus Christ to sin, that he may rise [from that liquid grave] to walk in newness of life with the risen and glorified Savior.”

Verse 6


One God and Father. Not many “gods,” but ONE God for all men, both Jew and Gentile, whom the Spirit gives the right to call Father (Romans 8:15). Who is Lord of all. See 1 Corinthians 15:28. Works through all. MacKnight views this in the sense of Romans 8:28. Is in all. See Acts 17:28. The whole point of this verse is: what God is to the Christian!

Verse 7


Each one of us. “In addition to the gifts which I have just mentioned, which each and every Christian receives, I now mention the special gifts which Christ has for us individually. Each receives what Christ has to give them, in proportion to what Christ himself has given, some more and some less, but each from the same Hand and for the same purpose!” Christians are all equal in promises and privileges, but they are not equal in abilities and responsibilities. See Luke 19:11-27 and notes.

Verse 8


As the scripture says. Psalms 68:18 Septuagint. “When Christ went up to the very heights of heaven itself, he took many captives with him (the evil spirits and powers who had made slaves of men by using sin, the curse of The Law, and the fear of death); and he gave spiritual gifts to all men, both Jew and Gentile!”

Verse 9


Now? “Because the Jews deny that Jesus is The Christ because of his shame and death, I show you that ‘he went up’ can have no other meaning but that he first came down to earth from heaven. This must be true, if the one who went up is divine, as the Psalm shows!” [Lower depth of the earth = the lower (in relation to heaven) earthly regions. If Paul had meant the world of the dead, he would have said it differently. The point-of-view is the identity of the one who came down, went up, and gave gifts to men. ]

Verse 10


So he. God’s throne is said to be above the heavens, since God is above all! As Christ sits at God’s right side, he has been raised above all! Paul declares that all the gifts working in the church at Ephesus, whether normal or supernormal, have their origin in the Christ who went up to heaven!

Verse 11


It was he who. Paul identifies the gifts as specific services performed in the body of Christ. Apostles. If we take this in the strict sense, it means the Twelve and Paul. Their work was complete and not one can or did take their place. They belong to the first generation of the church. Prophets. These also belonged to the first generation. They preached the Good News (God’s message) which they were taught directly by the Holy Spirit. Agabus, Judas, Silas, the four daughters of Philip, are mentioned as having this gift. Evangelists. It is unfortunate that many think only of evangelists in terms of “revivals.” The evangelist in the first century of the church was what we call a preacher, but with a little difference in the job description. The evangelist did much the same work as the apostles and prophets, but was not inspired (although he might have one or more gifts), and did not have the same authority. The mission of the evangelist is to preach the Good News (2 Timothy 4:1-5), to water (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), to train other workers (2 Timothy 2:1-2), to put things in order (Titus 1:5), and in general to teach the true meaning of the Good News (Titus ch 2). Pastors = shepherds, bishops, church elders, church leaders. In the early church, all these titles described the same men. These spiritually mature men, called by the congregation to supervise the spiritual life of the group, and to assist each member to fulfill his or her service to Christ. Teachers. Every pastor is a teacher, but not every teacher is a pastor. The church is on-the-job training for Eternity!!!

Verse 12


To prepare all God’s people. Christ gave the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 to prepare the believing Jews and Gentiles, who are God’s people, for the ordinary work of Christian service (both telling others the Good News, Acts 8:4; and benevolence), to build up the body of Christ (in spiritual strength and in numbers).

Verse 13


And so. The work of the leadership is to bring each Christian, man or woman, to the highest degree of spiritual maturity possible! By doing this, Christians come to a oneness in faith and knowledge of Christ. Lack of oneness implies spiritual immaturity. Of Christ’s full stature. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “The CHRISTOU is the poss. gen., and the phrase means the fullness that belongs to Christ, the sum of the qualities which make Him what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (compare Ephesians 1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us.” This must be the aim of all our teaching and all our living!!!

Verse 14


No longer be children. Children are weak, inexperienced, easily fooled. God has purposely set up this world as an obstacle course! We reach our eternal goal only by using all of God’s help to avoid the mudholes, the barbed-wire, the barriers, and everything else the Devil puts in our way to send us off in. the wrong direction!!!

Verse 15


Instead. “Rather than being children, we must grow up to Christ’s full stature!” Truth spoken without love can destroy the one who uses it! See Revelation 2:4-5 and notes. But truth spoken in love will bless both the one who speaks and the one who hears!!!

Verse 16


Under his control. “As the head, Christ controls his body. Under his control, all the different parts of the body (Jew and Gentile, slave and free, man and woman) fit together in a synergetic community where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The health and growth of the whole body depends upon the functioning of each and every member!

Verse 17


In the Lord’s name, then. “This is the Lord’s command I speak to you! Do not live any longer like the heathen do! They live lives that are morally and intellectually futile! Do not be fooled by their mysteries and secrets, which they call true wisdom!” Worthless. “They waste their mental powers on things that have no value at all!”

Verse 18


In the dark. “They are ignorant of truth and do not know they are ignorant!!!” In the life that God gives. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “This cannot mean the godly life, the way of life approved by God. For ZOE in the NT seems never to mean the course of life, but life itself, the principle of life as opposed to, death.” See Romans 1:21-23. Because. The fact that they have no part in the life God gives is due to their own choice! The cause is not something external, but in themselves!

Verse 19


They have lost. “They are no longer able to feel shame or guilt at the things they do!” They give themselves. See Romans 1:24-32.

Verse 20


Not what you learned. The message of the Good News included the command: You must be holy, because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16).

Verse 21


You certainly heard. Paul links Christ with the shape of moral life! And as his followers. See note on Ephesians 4:13. Jesus refers to the Christ of history, through whom God spoke (Hebrews 1:2), and whose words form the message of the Good News (John 14:26; Acts 1:1-2).

Verse 22


So get rid of. “Because you are new in Christ, your life must be a series of deliberate choices in which you get rid of your old self (Romans 8:12-13) to live new in the Spirit! The life style of the Christian must match up with his or her new relationship with Christ!!!

Verse 23


Completely new. “You made a promise to God in your baptism (1 Peter 3:21), and you must change your whole way of thinking, with God’s help ( Romans 12:1-2).” Becoming holy = taking being put right with God seriously!!!

Verse 24


You must put on. Note this is said to those who are already Christians!!! The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “. . . but as ‘the holy form of human life which results from redemption,’ created once for all in and by Christ, and participated in by the individual convert.” We do become new in our new birth (Titus 3:5) and for this reason we put off the old man and put on the new man as our love for Christ motivates us to live in imitation of Him.

Verse 25


No more lying then! Lying was standard practice in the Gentile world. Because. “I want you to see the union we have with each other through our union with Christ! This is the reason you must tell the truth to your brother! Being part of the body of Christ means that your whole life is shared with your brothers and sisters in Christ!”

Verse 26


Do not let. “Anger can lead you into sin, if it is not controlled!” [Paul quotes Psalms 4:4 Septuagint.] Do not stay angry. “Do not let your anger turn into a grudge and make you hostile!”

Verse 27


Don’t give the Devil. “Uncontrolled anger and violent temper give the Devil a chance to tempt you into evil actions!” [Erasmus translated this: “Give no chance to heathen to say bad things about the holy religion which you profess.”]

Verse 28


Who used to rob. Here is a strong statement of the Christian work ethic. Honest work is the best antidote to a dishonest life! But notice the emphasis on to be able to help the poor!!!

Verse 29


Do not use harmful words. Christians must work to build, not to destroy! Compare James 3:5-12.

Verse 30


And do not make. “If you use harmful words and live unholy lives, you will make God’s Holy Spirit sad, and deprive yourself of His help!” God’s mark of ownership. This mark of ownership was placed on them in the new birth of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). A guarantee. We expect to be completely set free in the Resurrection (Romans 8:23; 1 John 3:1-3).

Verse 31


Get rid of. “All these things make the Spirit sad!”

Verse 32


Instead. Christian love is: acting toward others as God has acted toward you! These are positive qualities that the Spirit leads you to develop (as the written word teaches you)! Compare Ephesians 4:3; Galatians 5:22-26. [Contrast this with the Gentile philosopher Epictetus, who said: “If one is in affliction, thou may say to him, Thou hast pity on him, but take care not to feel any pity.”]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/ephesians-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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