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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 4

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

Ephesians 4:1 . Ὁ δέσμιος , the prisoner ) The bonds of Paul were subservient to the calling of the Ephesians; and these ought to be so affected by them (his bonds) as to delight Paul with their obedience; a striking instance of feeling , ἦθος . ἐν Κυρίῳ , in the Lord ) construed with prisoner . τῆς κλήσεως , of the vocation ) Ephesians 4:4 . This is derived from ch. Ephesians 1:18 ; nay, rather from ch. 1, 2, and 3. [ For the second part of the epistle begins here, comprehending exhortations, and especially those which flow from the doctrine already discussed . V. g.] Comp. Colossians 3:15 .

Verse 2

Ephesians 4:2 . Μετὰ μετὰ , with with ) To these refer the two following participles, ἀνεχόμενοι , σπουδάζοντες , forbearing, endeavouring diligently , which, being in the nominative, depend on the preceding imperative implied, walk ye . [ The man, who is affected, as he ought to be, with a sense of the Divine calling, will be found to be adorned with the virtues mentioned in this passage , 1 Peter 3:9 ; Philippians 1:27 . V. g.] πάσης , with all ) To be construed also with meekness [ πραΰτητος ] (as well as with ταπεινοφροσύνης , lowliness ), Colossians 3:12-13 . ταπεινοφροσύνης , lowliness of mind ) From a sense of grace, Romans 11:20 . ἐν ἀγάπῃ , in love ) In the bond of peace , Ephesians 4:3 , corresponds to this expression. “In love” occurs again, Ephesians 4:15-16 . And here, love is preached [inculcated]: faith , in Ephesians 4:5 ; hope , in Ephesians 4:4 .

Verse 3

Ephesians 4:3 . Τηρεῖν , to keep ) Even where there is no division, there is need of admonitions. τὴν ἑνότητα , the unity ) So far as we are concerned, for the Holy Spirit in Himself remains one , Ephesians 4:4 . ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ , in the bond ) The bond , by which peace is maintained, is love itself; Colossians 3:14-15 .

Verse 4

Ephesians 4:4 . Ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα , one body and one Spirit ) In the Apostles’ Creed, the article relating to the Church properly follows the article relating to the Holy Spirit. καὶ ἓν , and one ) Spirit, Lord, God and Father: the Trinity; comp. the following verses. ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι , in one hope ) The Spirit is the earnest , and therefore the hope of the inheritance is joined with the mention of His name.

Verse 5

Ephesians 4:5 . Μία πίστις , ἕν βάπτισμα , one faith, one baptism ) into Christ, the Lord. Sometimes baptism, sometimes faith, is put first; Mark 16:16 ; Colossians 2:12 .

Verse 6

Ephesians 4:6 . Πάντων , of all ) This word occurring thrice, and πᾶσιν presently after, both are masculine; for all are reduced to unity [are brought together as one, under the one God and Father]. ἐπὶ ) high above all with His grace. διὰ πάντων ) Working throughout all, through [by means of] Christ. ἐν πᾶσιν , [56] ) in all dwelling, in (i.e., by ) the Holy Spirit.

[56] ABC Memph. read ἐν πᾶσιν only. DG fg Vulg., both Syr. Versions, Iren., Firmilian ad Cypr. 150, Hilary, add ἡμῖν . Rec. Text, with no very old authority, reads ὑμῖν . ED.

The larger Ed. had preferred the omission of the pronoun, whether ὑμῖν or ἡμῖν ; but the Germ. Vers., following the decision of the 2d Ed., received the pronoun ἡμῖν . E. B.

Verse 7

Ephesians 4:7 . Δὲ , but ) The antithesis is the word one [ εἷς Κύριος and ἓν βάπτισμα , εἷς Θεός ] in the foregoing verses. [57] ἐδόθη , has been given ) This is taken from the psalm in the following verse.

[57] i.e . Though there is one Lord, etc., to us all , yet to each of us there is given grace according to, etc. ED.

Verse 8

Ephesians 4:8 . Λεγει , he says ) David, nay, rather God Himself, Psalms 68 :(19) 20, ἀνέβης εἰς ὓψος , ἠχμαλώτευσας αἰχμαλωσίαν · ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ . Some also in the LXX. read ἀναβάς . But in the version of the LXX. that reading is generally inferior, which too closely agrees with the text of the New Testament, because it has been (probably) made to be in conformity to it. ὕψος , on high ) So the heavens are called in Hebrew poetry; likewise in Isaiah 32:15 . ἠχμαλώτευσε αἰχμαλωσίαν , led captivity captive ) A frequent repetition; for example, 2 Chronicles 28:5 . Here the forces of hell are denoted, 2 Peter 2:4 , that are opposed to men . Christ, at His ascension, led them captive; nor, however, does it fare the better for that reason with the malefactor, who is to be tried for his life, when he is led from prison to the forum or court of justice. This leading captive did not interfere with their condition in hell; [it gave them no respite from torment.] If ever there had been for them any hope of escape, that would have been the time; comp. ch. Ephesians 6:12 , and Colossians 2:15 . Nor does every ascension, but only the ascension which has captivity taken captive joined with it, presuppose and infer a descent into the lower parts of the earth. ἔδωκε δόματα , He gave gifts ) To this expression may be referred He gave , Ephesians 4:11 , and is given , and of the gift , Ephesians 4:7 . In Hebrew, לקחת is an abbreviated expression; to wit, Christ received gifts, which He might immediately give. Comp. לקח , Genesis 15:9 [“Take me an heifer,” abbreviated for, Take and sacrifice to me]; 2 Kings 2:20 ; where sudden action is denoted by a concise expression; so λαβέτωσάν σοι , Exodus 27:20 ; Leviticus 24:2 . τοῖς ἀνθρώποις , for men) The dative of advantage for באדם . Gifts are of advantage, not only to those who receive them, but to all.

Verse 9

Ephesians 4:9 . Τὸ δὲ , ἀνέβη , Now this fact, namely, that He ascended ) Paul proves that the language of the psalm is to be referred to Christ; and the ascension is inferred from the descent; John 3:13 . All beheld the sojourn of the Son of God upon the earth: they ought, from this fact, to have believed His ascension, which they did not see. There is a similar mode of reasoning at Acts 2:29 , etc., Acts 13:36-37 ; and especially at Hebrews 2:8-9 . The humble characteristics predicated of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus; therefore the glorious things also predicated of the Messiah ought to be referred to Him. κατέβη πρῶτον , He first descended ) Paul takes for granted the Deity of Christ; for those who are of the earth, although they did not previously descend, obtain the privilege of ascent. εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς ) not merely to the earth itself, but to the lowest parts of the earth [ so that through all its depths nothing did He leave unvisited; comp. Ephesians 4:10 . V.g.] The highest heavens, or all the heavens , are opposed to the lowest parts of the earth , or to all parts of the earth. Christ, by His own power, took possession of all, first of the earth, then of heaven. Men are joined with the mention of the earth; the captivity is joined with the mention of the lower parts . τῆς γῆς , of the earth ) in which men are.

Verse 10

Ephesians 4:10 . Αὐτὸς ) He , not another. ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν , far above all heavens ) A very sublime expression. Christ not only ascended into heaven, Mark 16:19 , but through the heavens, Hebrews 4:14 , note; above all heavens; the heaven [heavens] of heavens , Deuteronomy 10:14 . πληρώσῃ , might fill ) by His presence and operations, with Himself . τὰ πάντα ) all things , the lowest and the highest; comp. Jeremiah 23:24 , where also the LXX. use the word πληροῦν .

Verse 11

Ephesians 4:11 . Αὐτὸς , He himself ) by His supreme power. This αὐτὸς is repeated from Ephesians 4:10 . Ministers have not given themselves. [ The apostle, we might think, takes a wonderful leap in descending to these from the comprehensive subject of the whole universe, just now spoken of. He no doubt has regard to the body of Christ. In like manner , ch. Ephesians 1:22 (after having just before spoken of principality, power, might, etc .) V. g.] ἀποστόλους προφήτας εὐαγγελιστὰς , κ . τ . λ ., apostles prophets evangelists , etc.) Inferior offices might be conjoined with the highest grades; for example, the apostle John acted at the same time as a prophet when he wrote the Apocalypse, and as an evangelist in the Gospel; but not the contrary [“vice versa,” the highest offices joined with the lowest grades]. All the apostles had also at the same time the prophetic power. Only that the very high degree of prophecy, by which the Apocalypse was written, was peculiar to John. But prophets and evangelists were not also at the same time apostles. The prophet takes precedence of the evangelist; for the prophet testifies infallibly of the future, the evangelist infallibly of the past: the prophet derives all from the Spirit; the evangelist puts on record a matter which has been perceived by the senses of sight and hearing, and yet he is fitted for an office of the highest importance, by a gift superior to that of pastors and teachers. Workers of miracles are not added here; for their actions have now somewhat less reference to the perfecting , etc. And perhaps already, before the last days of the apostles, the gift of miracles was more rarely exercised; comp. Hebrews 2:4 . ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους , pastors and teachers ) The appellation of shepherd (pastor) is everywhere else given to the Lord alone. Pastors and teachers are here joined; for they chiefly feed by teaching , as also by admonition, rebuke.

Verse 12

Ephesians 4:12 . Πρὸς εἰς εἰς , to [ad, towards ] for for [in, for the end, unto . Engl. Vers. renders all for ]) To this refer, into, unto, unto [as respectively answering to the previous πρὸς , εἰς , εἰς ], in the following verse; although to [ πρὸς , ad, ‘ towards ’], and into [ εἰς , in, ‘unto ,’ or ‘ into ’], somewhat differ, Romans 15:2 . [58] The office of the ministry is denoted in this verse; in the following, the goal which the saints have in view; in Ephesians 4:14-16 , the way of growth; and each of these has three parts, expressed in the same order. There are three paragraphs, divided severally into three parts. The first three parts have a mutual relation; then the second three; lastly, the third; and all without a Chiasmus. καταρτισμὸν , perfecting [‘aptationem,’ the mutual adaptation ]) This in the greatest degree has the effect of producing unity .

[58] Εἰς ἀγαθὸν πρὸς οἰκοδομήν , unto his good, towards edification. The former expressing the internal end in respect to God: the latter, the external end in respect to man. ED.

Verse 13

Ephesians 4:13 . Μέχρι , till ) Not even the apostles thought themselves to have reached the goal, Philippians 3:0 ; much less the Church. They had always to go forward, not to stand still, much less to fall behind. And now the Church must not contemplate from behind the idea of its own excellence, but keep before its eyes that idea as a future one, which is yet to be attained. Attend to this, ye who do not so much follow antiquity as make it an excuse. καταντήσωμεν , till we arrive at ) This tense, following the past tense, is imperfect [He gave some apostles, etc., till, and in order that, we all might arrive at ]. This ought to have already taken place at the time when Paul wrote; for faith [which he speaks of, “the unity of the faith”] belongs to travellers. [59] οἱ πάντες ) all , viz. the saints. εἰς ΕἸς ΕἸς , unto unto unto ) [Asyndeton] The repetition is without a connective particle. The natural age (life) grows up towards wisdom, strength, and stature. The things which correspond to these in the spiritual age (life), are, unity of faith, the mind strengthened [Ephesians 4:13 , τέλειον ἄνδρα , and Ephesians 4:16 , answer to this], and the fulness of Christ . ἑνότητα , unity ) This unity is placed in friendly opposition to the variety of gifts, and to the whole body [“we all ”] of the saints; and the contrary of this unity is every wind, Ephesians 4:14 . τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως , of faith and knowledge ) These two words both agree and differ; for knowledge means something more perfect than faith . τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ , of the Son of God ) The highest point in the knowledge of Christ is, that He is the Son of God. εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον , to a perfect man ) The concrete for the abstract; for unity and measure are abstract nouns: concerning perfection , comp. Philippians 3:15 . ἡλικίας , of the stature ) that Christ may be all and in all: ἡλικία , spiritual stature is the fulness of Christ.

[59] The sense seems , though not very clear, owing to Bengel’s extreme brevity, All ought to have been by this time on the one and the same path of faith . For faith is the distinguishing characteristic of those who, as travellers, are seeking to arrive at the goal. ED.

Verse 14

Ephesians 4:14 . Μηκέτι ) that we may be not , as formerly and as yet. νήπιοι , children ) Νήπιοι , children , are opposed to a man in the second degree, and to a young man in the first: à perfect man , who can no longer increase in stature, but yet in other respects becomes more perfect; a child , who scarcely begins to grow. κλυδωνιζόμενοι , tossing to and fro [as billows]) inwardly, upward and downward, even without wind. περιφερόμενοι πάντι ἀνέμῳ , carried about with every wind ) outwardly [with every wind that comes from without], hither and thither, others assaulting us. κυβείᾳ , by the sleight ) A metaphor taken from the player at dice, who frames his cast of the dice, so that the numbers may always turn up which may suit his purpose. μεθοδείαν ) The Methodists of the Church of Rome are much disposed to use this word: see ch. Ephesians 6:11 [where τὰς μεθοδείας is expressly joined to τοῦ διαβόλου ], note. Add D. Michaelis’ Inaugural Dissertation on the exertions and methods ( tricks ) of the Church of Rome. τῆς πλάνης , [60] of error ) i.e. of Satan. The Metonymy of the abstract [for the concrete: error , for the Parent of error, Satan] expresses the concealed mode of acting which the enemy uses.

[60] Ἐν πανουργιᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης , “by craftiness, with a view to a methodized plan of deception.” Beng., however, because of the antithesis ἀνθρώπων takes πλάνης = Satan, and perhaps takes the sense thus “By the methodized craftiness of the (parent of) error.” ED.

Verse 15

Ephesians 4:15 . Ἀληθεύοιτες , speaking the truth ) In antithesis to error [ πλάνης ]. On this same word, truth , see Ephesians 4:21 ; Ephesians 4:24 . ἐν ἀγάπῃ , in love ) by which the body is compacted together. Here we have the beginning [the prow], and in Eph 4:16 the end [the stern: prora puppis ]. The words, speaking the truth , and in love , are conjoined. The latter is the more simple. αὐξήσωμεν , we may grow ) This depends on that ( ἵνα ), in Ephesians 4:14 . This αὒξησις , increase , [as it is expressed in] Ephesians 4:16 , comes in between the [state of] children [ Eph 4:14 ] and that of the full-grown man [ ἄνδρα τέλειον , Eph 4:13 ]. εἰς αὐτὸν , into Him ) Paul has Jesus in his mind, and first says Him , and then afterwards shows of whom he is speaking. τὰ πάντα , all things ) supply κατὰ , according to, in; we severally, one and all, in all things. ὃς , who ) This refers to Christ. The Head is put in the way of a distinct clause. [61] ὁ Χριστὸς , Christ ) Ploce, [62] emphatic [ the Christ ]. For previously it had been said, into Him; though ὁ Χριστὸς is nevertheless afterwards mentioned at the end very emphatically, as if he were to say, Christ is (the) Christ . To Him all things are to be referred.

[61] Beng. seems to translate thus: “Grow up unto Him, who is Christ, the Head. ” Not as Engl. V., Unto Him, who is the Head , (even) Christ . ED.

[62] See App. The same word, Christ ( Him , Ephesians 4:15 , = Christ, Eph 4:13 ), twice put; previously as the proper name: here as an appellative, or distinguishing title. ED.

Verse 16

Ephesians 4:16 . Ἐξ , from ) The source of growth. συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον ) the body fitly joined together and compacted; the concrete for the abstract; i.e. the compacting and joining together of the body by right conformation and solid compacting together: συναρμολογούμενον refers to what is according to rule, so that all the parts may be rightly fitted in their proper position and in mutual relation; συμβιβαζόμενον denotes at once firmness and consolidation. διὰ πάσης ἀφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας ) [“By every handle of mutual assistance.” Engl. Vers. By that which every joint supplieth ]. In the wrestling ground the ἀφαὶ are the means by which the antagonist to be assailed is laid hold of; for the opponents threw over each other dust and sand, so that each might be able to seize his adversary, even though the latter was anointed with oil. Here the means [handles] of mutual assistance are called ἁφαὶ τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας . Διὰ , by , construed with ποιεῖται , makes . [63] κατʼ ἐνέργειαν , according to the working ) The power ought also to be put into active exercise; comp. κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν , ch. Ephesians 1:19 , Ephesians 3:7 . But the article is wanting in this place; because he is speaking of the particular efficacy of single members. [64] ἑνὸς ἑκάστου , of each one ) To be construed with ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ . ΤΟῦ ΣΏΜΑΤΟς , of the body ) The noun for the reciprocal pronoun [viz. increase of itself , ἑαυτοῦ ]; therefore ΠΟΙΕῖΤΑΙ is used, not ΠΟΙΕῖ . [65] ἐν ἀγάπῃ , in love ) Construe with the edifying of itself .

[63] “Makes increase by every handle of mutual assistance.” But Engl. V. joins it with συμβιβαζόμενον , compacted by that which every joint supplieth . ED.

[64] Whereas in ch. Eph 1:19 he speaks of the general working of God’s power. ED.

[65] The middle being reflexive, i.e . the object relating to the same person as the subject. ED.

Verse 17

Ephesians 4:17 . Τοῦτο αὖν λέγω , this I say then ) He returns to the point with which he set out, Ephesians 4:1 . μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν , that ye henceforth walk not ) This is an antithesis to Ephesians 4:1 . ἐν ματαιότητι , in vanity ) The root of such walking, departure from the knowledge of the true God, Romans 1:21 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:5 : in ( ἐν ) is to be construed with they walk [ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ , not with ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν ]. Vanity is explained at large in Ephesians 4:18 ; walking in Ephesians 4:19 .

Verse 18

Ephesians 4:18 . Ἐσκοτισμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες , Having the understanding darkened ) This verse has four clauses. The third is to be referred to the first, and in it οὖσαν answers to ὄντες ; the fourth, to the second. For ὄντες is connected also in Titus 1:16 , as here, with the preceding epithet [ βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες ]. The participles, darkened, alienated , take for granted, that the Gentiles, before they had revolted from the faith of their fathers, nay rather before Adam’s fall, had been partakers of light and life; comp. be renewed , Ephesians 4:23 . [66] Τῆς ΖΩῆς , the life ) of which, ch. Ephesians 2:5 . τοῦ Θεοῦ , of God ) The spiritual life is kindled in believers from the very life of God, [67] πώρωσιν [Engl. Vers. blindness ], hardness ) The antithesis is life: life and feeling (opposed to hardness ) exist and fail together. Comp. Mark 3:5 , note. Πώρωσις , hardness , is contradistinguished from blindness, where the latter is expressly noticed; otherwise it includes it in itself. καρδίας , of heart ) Romans 1:21 .

[66] Implying a previous state of innocence. ED.

[67] Διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν , on account of the ignorance ) This of itself is the commencement of their wretched condition. Romans 1:21 ; Romans 1:23 , [also Eph 4:28 ]. V.g.

Verse 19

Ephesians 4:19 . Ἀπηλγηκότες ) A very significant term, in which pain ( ἄλγος ) is used by Synecdoche for the whole sensibility of the affections and understanding, whether painful or pleasant. For pain urges us to seek the means of a cure; and when the pain is removed, not only hope, but also the desire and thought of good things are lost, so that a man becomes senseless, shameless, hopeless. That constitutes hardness , Ephesians 4:18 . Despairing (Desperantes), in the Vulgate and Syriac Version, is worthy of consideration, and illustrates its signification. In this way ἡ ἀναλγησία ( insensibility ) and ἡ ἀπόγνωσις ( despair ) are conjointly noted by Chrysostom, Homil. vi., on Hebrews 3:13 . But the very word ἀπαλγεῖν Cicero seems to paraphrase, lib. 2. famil. Ep. 16, when he says, “Diuturna DESPERATIONE rerum obduruisse animum ad DOLOREM novum,” that by long-continued DESPAIR at existing circumstances the mind has become hardened to new PAIN. Therefore ἀπαλγεῖν is more than to despair . Raphelius has given a beautiful disquisition on this word out of Polybius, where, of two examples ascribed to Polybius by Suidas, the oneexists in the same words in Xiphilinus. ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν , they gave themselves over ) of their own accord, willingly. πάσης , of all ) ἀσέλγεια , lasciviousness , the species; ἀκαθαρσία , impurity , the genus. Those who are occupied with these works of the flesh, as being hurried away (seized) with the heated desire of material objects, fall also into greediness [ πλεονεξίᾳ , avarice, covetousness]; and gain made by unchastity was frequent among the Gentiles.

Verse 20

Ephesians 4:20 . Ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὓτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστὸν , but you have not so learned Christ ) The same form of expression is found at Deuteronomy 18:14-15 , σοὶ δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἔδωκε Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου · προφήτην αὐτοῦ ἀκούσεσθε . Christ is one, [68] says Paul (comp. 2Co 11:4 ); as then you have heard Him, i.e. so you ought (in conduct) to represent (copy) Him. As [Ephesians 4:21 , καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ], which afterwards occurs, is to be referred to [ye have] not so [ Eph 4:20 ]; not so is opposed to uncleanness , Ephesians 4:19 ; if so be that , etc., to vanity , Ephesians 4:17-18 . τὸν Χριστὸν , Christ ) He uses the name Jesus , more expressly denominating the Lord, in the following verse. Jesus , most perfectly and brilliantly completed the idea of Christ .

[68] i.e . If there were some other Christ, whom you could serve and yet obey your lusts, ye might walk still as in past times. But there is only one Christ, and He, one that requireth holiness, 2 Corinthians 11:4 . ED.

Verse 21

Ephesians 4:21 . Εἶγε , if so be that [or rather as the Indic, follows, Since, seeing that ye have heard]) The particle does not diminish, but increases the strength of the admonition. αὐτὸν , Him ) This word, and in [Engl. Vers. by ] Him , which presently occurs, are brought in here from the following clause: as you , Galatians 4:11 . To hear Christ has a fuller meaning than to hear of Christ. ἠκούσατε , ye have heard ) Even the first hearing about Christ takes away sins. ἐν αὐτῷ , in Him ) i.e. in His name, as to what concerns Him. ἐδιδάχθητε , ye have been taught ) you have received the doctrine. The consequent of hearing and of being taught is to learn [ ἐμάθετε , Eph 4:20 ]. καθὼς , even as ) i.e. so as: comp. καθὼς , in such a way as , 1 Corinthians 8:2 , so , as the truth is really in Jesus. The antithesis is according to , Ephesians 4:22 [your former conversation according to the deceitful lusts]. ἀλήθεια , the truth ) This is opposed to heathen vanity in general, Ephesians 4:17 ; and is resumed Ephesians 4:24 , that it may receive a fuller discussion. Truth, viz. the true knowledge of the true God. ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ , in Jesus ) Those who believe in Jesus, speak the truth , 1 John 2:8 .

Verse 22

Ephesians 4:22 . Ἀποθέσθαι , that ye put off ) This word depends on I say , Ephesians 4:17 : and from the same verse the power of the particle no longer [ μηκέτι , Engl. Vers. henceforth not ] is taken up, as it were, after a parenthesis without a conjunction in the equivalent verb, out off [= that ye henceforth walk not , Eph 4:17 ]: for the reverse of those things, which are mentioned Ephesians 4:18-19 , has been already set forth and cleared out of the way in Ephesians 4:20-21 ; and yet this verb ἀποθέσθαι , to put off , has some relation to the words immediately preceding Ephesians 4:21 . Putting on , Ephesians 4:24 , is directly opposed to the putting off [ Eph 4:22 ]. κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν , according to the former conversation ) according as you have formerly walked. The antithesis is the whole of Ephesians 4:23 : according to shows the force of the verb, which has relation to it, put off , not merely abstain . τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον , the old man ) The concrete for the abstract, as presently, at Ephesians 4:24 , “the new man:” comp. Ephesians 4:13 , note. The abstract, for example, is lying , Ephesians 4:25 . τὸν φθειρόμενον , who was corrupt ) The Imperfect, as κλέπτων , who stole , Ephesians 4:28 . The antithesis is, was created [in righteousness, Eph 4:24 ], and that too in the aorist or imperfect [ κτισθέντα , not as Engl. Vers. “which is created”], in respect of the first creation and the original intention [of God in making man at first pure and innocent]. κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας , according to the lusts ) The antithesis is, according to God, in righteousness [ Eph 4:24 ], etc. τὰς ἐπιθυμίας , the lusts ) The antithesis is, righteousness and holiness . τῆς ἀπάτης ) of heathen error . The antithesis is, of truth [ τῆς ἀληθείας , lit. “the holiness of truth; ” so true holiness, Eph 4:24 ].

Verse 23

Ephesians 4:23 . Τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς , in the spirit of the mind ) 1 Corinthians 14:14 . The spirit is the inmost part of the mind .

Verse 24

Ephesians 4:24 . Τὸν καινὸν ) Τὸν νέον is used, Colossians 3:10 , of that which is native [the new man becomes natural, i.e. the true nature ] in believers; but here ἀνανεοῦσθαι has been used by him just before. [Therefore he does not repeat νέον , the conjugate]. Vice versa in the passage of Col. just quoted, ἀνακαινούμενον is subjoined [ νέον having gone just before] concerning the aims and pursuits of believers. [69] κτισθέντα , which has been created ) at the beginning of Christianity. This new man is created in Christ: comp. ch. Ephesians 2:10 .

[69] Νέος , recent , lately originated, in opposition to what was originated some time back. Καινὸς , new , not yet used, in opposition to that which has existed long and been in use: νέον οἶνον , but καινοὺς ἀσκούς , Matthew 9:16-17 . So νέος ἄνθρωπος in Col. refers to the ἀναγέννησις , whereas the καινος is one who differs from the former man: the νέος is one who is ἀνακαινούμενος κατʼ εικονα of God. Tittm. Syn. Gr. Test. Καινὸς more applied to the results of renewal on the Christian character and walk . Νέος , the new nature of believers. Νέος is applied to persons in the sense young , which καινὸς is not. Καινὸς is what is fresh , as opposed to what is worn and trite . It is also said of what is strange and foreign . ED.

Verse 25

Ephesians 4:25 . Τὸ ψεῦδος , lying ) The mentioning of lying and truth in conversation [70] is properly added to the universal commendation of truth. ὍΤΙ , because ) Colossians 3:11 , note. ἀλλήλων , of one another ) Jews and Greeks, ibid. μέλη , members ) Ephesians 4:4 .

[70] Ἀλήθειαν , truth, Ephesians 4:21 ; Ephesians 4:24 . V. g.

Verse 26

Ephesians 4:26 . Ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε , be angry and sin not ) So the LXX, Psalms 4:5 . Anger is neither commanded, nor quite prohibited; but this is commanded, not to permit sin to enter into anger: it is like poison, which is sometimes used as medicine, but must be managed with the utmost caution. Often the force of the mood [the Imperative mood] falls only upon a part of what is said, Jeremiah 10:24 . [71] ὁ ἥλιος , the sun ) The feeling kept up during the night is deeply seated. μὴ ἐπιδυέτω , let not go down ) Deuteronomy 24:15 , οὐκ ἐπιδύσεται ὁ ἡλιος ἐπʼ αὐτῷ , the sun shall not go down upon it . ἐπὶ τῷ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν , upon your wrath [72] ) Not only should wrath cease, but a brother should be put right without delay, and reconciliation take place, especially with a neighbour whom you will not see afterwards in this life, [73] or whom you have seen for the first time in the street, at an entertainment, or in the market-place.

[71] “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment, not in thine anger.” Where the force falls on the imperat. correct , not in its full extent, but with the limitations, with judgment , and not in thine anger: in fact, the main force rests on these limitations. ED.

[72] Παροργισμός is not = ὀργή . The former is absolutely forbidden: the latter not so. See Mark 3:5 , where ὀργή is applied to the sinless Jesus. The sense is not. Your anger shall not be imputed to you if you put it away before nightfall; but let no παροργισμὸς , irritation or exasperation , mingle with your anger, even though your anger be righteous. Trench, Syn. Gr. Test. Engl. V. loses this point by translating wrath . However, I think there is also included the notion, that even righteous anger, if kept up too long , is likely in us to degenerate into irritation. ED.

[73] Beng. seems by this to take the sun going down as also figurative, for life coming to a close without a reconciliation.

Verse 27

Ephesians 4:27 . Μήτε , Neither ) Place is given to the devil by persisting in anger, especially during the night; comp. [ the Rulers ] of the darkness , ch. Ephesians 6:12 . [74] μήτε is used as ΚΑῚ ΜῊ , Ephesians 4:30 .

[74] This reference also implies that Beng. takes the night , during which anger is retained, as figurative of the darkness over which the devil is prince. This does not exclude the literal sense. The literal keeping of anger during the night is typical of spiritual giving place to the devil, the ruler of darkness. ED.

Verse 28

Ephesians 4:28 . Ὁ κλέπτων , who stole ) This a milder expression than ὁ κλέπτης , the thief . The participle is that of the imperfect tense, while the present here is not excluded. μᾶλλον δὲ ) but even rather [let him labour more] than [he would] if he had not stolen. In every kind of sin which a man has committed, he ought afterwards to practise the contrary virtue. κοπιάτω , let him labour ) Often theft and idleness go together. τὸ ἀγαθὸν , good ) An antithesis to theft, first committed in an evil hour with thievish hand [lit. with a hand covered with pitch [75] ]. ΤΑῖς ΧΕΡΣῚΝ , with the hands ) which he had abused in committing theft. ἵνα ἔχῃ , that he may have ) The law of restitution ought not to be too strictly urged against the law of love. [ He who has stolen should also excercise liberality beyond the restitution of what was taken away . V. g.]

[75] Said of hands to which others’ property seems to stick; thievish. Mart. viii. 59. ED.

Verse 29

Ephesians 4:29 . Σαπρὸς , corrupt ) Having the savour of oldness [of “the old man”], Ephesians 4:22 ; without grace, insipid, Colossians 4:6 . Its opposite is good . μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω , let not proceed ) If it be already on the tongue, swallow it again. εἰ τίς ) if any [whatsoever], as often soever: However, equal facility of expression is not demanded of all. πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τοῖς ἀκούουσι , for edifying to the hearers ) This mode of speaking is not such as tends to no profit; it does not subvert the hearers , as those words of which we read, 2 Timothy 2:14 . δῷ χάριν , may give grace ) There is great efficacy in godly conversation.

Verse 30

Ephesians 4:30 . Μὴ λυπεῖτε , grieve not ) by corrupt conversation. The Holy Spirit is grieved not in Himself, but in us [ or in other men (by reason of our conversation) V. g.], when His calm testimony is deranged. The LXX. often use λυπεῖν for חרה and קצף . ἐσφραγίσθητε , ye have been sealed) that you may know that there is not only some day of deliverance, but also that that day will be a day of deliverance to you, as being the sons of God; and on that account rejoice [opposed to grieve]. εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως , to the day of deliverance [redemption]) This is the last day; of which there is a kind of representation [present realization a pledge given in hand] in the day of death; it takes for granted all previous days, Romans 2:16 . On that day especially it will be a matter of importance to us, who shall be found to be sealed.

Verse 31

Ephesians 4:31 . Πικρία , bitterness ) Its opposite is in Ephesians 4:32 , χρηστοὶ , kind to all. θυμὸς , harshness, cruelty [sævitia]) Its opposite is merciful , viz., to the weak and the miserable. καὶ ὀργὴ , and anger ) Its opposite is forgiving , viz., towards those who injure us. Thus far the climax descends, in reference to things forbidden. βλασφημια , blasphemy ) [ evil-speaking ] an outrageous (heinous) species of clamour . Love takes away both. κακίᾳ ) wickedness . This is the genus, therefore with all is added. [ It denotes that depravity (evil-disposition, malice), by which a man shows himself illnatured and troublesome to those who associate with him . V. g.]

Verse 32

Ephesians 4:32 . Ἐχαρίσατο , has forgiven ) He has shown Himself kind, merciful, forgiving .

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/ephesians-4.html. 1897.
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