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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 6

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

Ephesians 6:1 . Ὑπακούετε , obey ) This expresses even more than be subject, be subordinate (ch. Ephesians 5:21 , ὑποτασσόμενοι ), [comp. Ephesians 6:5 .] To obey is the part of one who is less experienced; to be subject or subordinate , of an inferior. δίκαιον , right ) even by nature.

Verse 2

Ephesians 6:2 . Τίμα , honour ) Their duty is more expressly prescribed to children than to parents; for love rather descends than ascends; and from being children men become parents. ἐντολὴ , commandment ) Deuteronomy 5:16 , Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God ENETEIAATO, COMMANDED thee, that it may be well , etc. πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ , the first with promise ) The commandment in regard to having no strange gods, [94] carries indeed a promise with it, but likewise a threatening, and of these, either the one or the other belonging to [applying to] all the commandments. The commandment respecting the profanation of the name of God has a threatening. For our duties to God are especially due, and most necessary; therefore they are guarded with such sanctions: our duties towards men are due in a less degree to men, and so far [in that point of view] are not so necessary; they have therefore a promise attached to them. The commandment about honouring parents, of which Paul is speaking, has a peculiar promise above them all, if we look at the whole Decalogue: if we look only at the second table, it also alone has a promise; moreover, it is the first with a promise, even in respect to all the commandments, subsequent to the Decalogue. And very properly so, too; for, taking for granted the pious affection of parents in training their children to submit to the commandments of God, the honour, which is shown to parents chiefly by obedience, includes obedience to all the commandments in the early period of life. This apostolic observation is a proof that the observance of the law in the New Testament is not abolished.

[94] Beng. joins in one our first and second commandment (it being the second to which a threat and a promise are attached; whereas to our first commandment there is attached neither). ED.

Verse 3

Ephesians 6:3 . Εὖ σοὶ , well with thee ) Let young persons attend to this statement. καὶ ἔσῃ , and thou mayest [shalt] be ) The LXX., in both passages, viz. that in Exodus, and that in Deuteronomy, where the Decalogue is recounted, have it, that thou mayest become long-lived , καὶ ἵνα μακροχρόνιος γένῃ , but Deuteronomy 22:7 , that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest have many days ἵνα εἆ σοι γένηται χαὶ πολυήμερος ἔσῃ , from the cod. Al., where the ed. Rom. has γένῃ : ἔσῃ , in the future of the subjunctive, is rare. He, who lives well for a long time, long experiences the favour or God, even in his children rendering him honour, and he has a long season of sowing the seed of an eternal harvest. μακροχρόνιος , long-lived ) The more tender age of childhood, according to its capacity of apprehension, is allured by the promise of long life; the exception of the cross is more expressly added to those that are grown up, and are of mature age. But length of days is promised, not only to single persons who honour their parents, but to their whole stock. ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς , upon the earth [ the land ]) Moses, writing to Israel, says, in the good land , ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀγαθῆς , which the Lord thy God giveth thee . At present godly men live equally well in every land, as Israel did in that which God gave them.

Verse 4

Ephesians 6:4 . Καὶ οἱ πατέρες , and ye that are fathers ) And is also prefixed at Ephesians 6:9 , and ye masters . It is not put before husbands , ch. Ephesians 5:25 . Parents and masters more readily abuse their power than husbands. He spoke of parents , Ephesians 6:1 ; he now addresses fathers in particular, for they are more readily carried away by passion. The same difference in the words, and the same admonition, occur, Colossians 3:20-21 . μὴ παροργίζετε , do not provoke ) lest love be extinguished. ἐκτρέφετε , but bring them up in the nurture ) kindly. ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ , in the nurture [ instruction ] and admonition ) The one of these counteracts (obviates) ignorance; the other, forgetfulness and levity. Both include the word, and all other training. So among the lawyers, νουθέτημα , and admonition , is mentioned, even such as is given by stripes. Job 5:17 , מוסר , admonition; 1 Samuel 3:13 , Eli οὐκ ἐνουθέτει , did not admonish his sons.

Verse 5

Ephesians 6:5 . Οἱ δοῦλοι , servants ) He here speaks broadly, namely, of slaves, and of freedmen as a species next to slaves, Ephesians 6:8 , at the end. τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα , to your masters according to the flesh ) It was not proper, after making mention of the true Master [the Lord], Ephesians 6:4 , that such persons should also immediately be absolutely called masters; on that account the rather, he adds, according to the flesh . μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου , with fear and trembling ) precisely as if threatenings , so far as believing masters are concerned, were not taken away, Ephesians 6:9 . He has regard to the condition of slaves in ancient times. ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας , in singleness (simplicity) of heart ) So the LXX. for the Heb. לֵבָב ישֶׁר , 1 Chronicles 29:17 . This is explained in the following verses, who eye-service is chiefly opposed to singleness; comp. Colossians 3:22 . Slavery is subjected [made subordinate] to Christianity, and not to be considered as joined with it [non committenda cum illo].

Verse 6

Ephesians 6:6 . Ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι , as men-pleasers ) The antithesis immediately follows, as the servants of Christ, doing , etc. Whom does he call the servants of Christ? Ans. Those who do the will of God . Such persons are anxious to please God ( ἀρέσκουσι ). We have the same antithesis, Colossians 3:22 , where it is thus expressed, fearing God: for doing the will of God , in Eph., and fearing God , in Col., are parallel. ἐκ ψυχῆς , from the heart [ soul ]) So ἐκ ψυχῆς , Colossians 3:23 . So 1Ma 8:25 ; 1Ma 8:27 , καρδίᾳ πλήρει and ἐκ ψυχῆς are parallel.

Verses 6-7

Ephesians 6:6-7 . Ἐκ ψυχῆς μετʼ εὐνοίας , [95] from the heart [soul] with good-will ) Raphelius well remarks, from the economics of Xenophon, that good-will was considered the principal virtue of a slave, by which he promoted the interests of his master; and he possesses this virtue, who does not give eye-service , but whose service is from the heart . Xenophon says of the slave that is overseer of a farm, εὐνοίαν δεήσει αὐτὸν ἔχειν , ΕἸ ΜΈΛΛΟΙ ἈΡΚΈΣΕΙΝ ΑΝΤΙ ΣΟΥ ΠΑΡΏΝ , it will be necessary that he should have good-will [ a hearty regard to thy interests ], if, when being present in THY PLACE, he is likely to give satisfaction [to fill thy place adequately]. Not even the severity of the master extinguishes the good-will which is in the slave; as in the case of pet dogs. τῷ [96] ) ΚΥΡΊῼ , to the Lord . The dominion of Christ ought to be the moving principle to all, and to govern men, even in rendering external service. The Lord looks at the heart.

[95] Beng. stops, as Lachm. more recently, Θεοῦ , ἐκ ψυχῆς μετʼ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες , “serving with good will from the heart.” Vulg. as Engl. V. puts the comma or semicolon after ψυχῆς , “doing the will of God from the heart.” ED.

[96] The reading ὡς τῷ , which was considered not quite sure in the larger Ed., is preferred by the marg. of the 2 Ed., and by the Germ. Vers. E. B.

ABD( Δ ) corrected later, G g Vulg., read ὡς τῷ . Sicut et in f . Rec. Text omits ὡς , without good authority. ED.

Verse 8

Ephesians 6:8 . Ὃ ἐάν τι ) A Tmesis for ὅτι ἐὰν , Colossians 3:23 . ἀγαθὸν , good ) in Christ.

Verse 9

Ephesians 6:9 . Τὰ αὐτὰ , the same things ) Do to them those things, which are the part of good-will , by way of compensation. Love regulates the duties of servants and masters, as one and the same light softens [attempers] various colours. Equality of nature and of faith is superior to difference of ranks. ἀνιέντες τὴν ἀπειλὴν , forbearing threatening ) Actual severity was generally laid aside by the masters when they became believers; now they are even to forbear threatenings, and not (in words) make a display of their power to their slaves for the purpose of terrifying them, זעם , LXX. ἀπειλή . αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν , [97] theirs and yours ) We have an expression almost similar in Romans 16:13 . ἐν οὐρανοῖς , in heaven ) who is Almighty. As the Lord hath treated you, so treat ye your servants; or, as you treat your servants, so He will treat you.

[97] This reading, depending on the margin of the larger Ed., is removed by the marg. of the 2 Ed. to those that are less certain; hence the Germ. Vers. has acknowledged its use, auch euer Herr . E. B.

Αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν is the reading of ABD( Δ ) corrected later, Vulg., Memph. Αὐτῶν ὑμῶν is the reading of G g . Ὑμῶν αὐτῶν , is that of f and Rec. Text, and Syr. Cypr. reads ὑμῶν καὶ αὐτῶν . Engl. V., your Master. ED.

Verse 10

Ephesians 6:10 . Τὸ λοιπὸν , finally ) The particle or form of concluding, and of rousing the attention, as it were, to an important subject; 2 Corinthians 13:11 . ἀδελφοὶ , [98] brethren ) He thus addresses them in this one passage of the epistle. Nowhere do soldiers use to one another the title brethren more than in the field of battle . ἐνδυναμοῦσθε , be strong ) Those, and those only, who are strong in themselves, are fitted for putting on the whole armour [the panoply]. καὶ ) a Hendiadys. κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος , by the power of His might ) This is said of Christ, as Eph 1:19 of the Father.

[98] By some accident or other, the pronoun μου , the omission of which is countenanced by both Ed., has crept into the Germ. Vers. E. B.

G g Vulg., later Syr., read ἀδελφοὶ , but omit μου , which Rec. Text adds. BD( Δ ) Lucif. omit both words. A adds ἀδελφοὶ after ἐνδυναμοῦσθε , instead of before it. The fact of this being the only place where the ἀδελφοὶ is read, and also this being an encyclical letter, make it probable, ἀδελφοὶ is an interpolation. ED.

Verse 11

Ephesians 6:11 . Πανοπλίαν , the whole armour ) Ephesians 6:13 . στῆναι , to stand ) A word taken from the arena and the camp; comp. note on Matthew 12:25 . The power of the Lord is ours. μεθοδείας , the wiles ) which he frames both by force and by craft. μέθοδος , a way opposite to the direct [straight] way, a circuitous road , which they take who lie in wait, 2Ma 13:18 ; whence μεθοδεύειν , 2 Samuel 19 :(27) 28, LXX. Esth. κεφ . μθ , concerning Haman: πολυπλόκοις μεθόδων παραλογισμοῖς , with manifold deceits of wiles [plans]. Chrysostom has used Μεθοδεία in a good sense in Homil. 4, de penit.: “We ought to be thankful to God, who through much discipline ( διὰ πολλῶν μεθοδειῶν ) cures and saves our souls,” διὰ πολλῶν μεθοδειῶν , through the alternations of prosperity and adversity. τηῦ διαβόλου , the devil ) the chief of the enemies, who are pointed out at Ephesians 6:12 . [ The same who is called , Ephesians 6:16 , ὁ πονηρός , the wicked one . V. g.]

Verse 12

Ephesians 6:12 . Οὐκ ἔστιν , is not ) The evil spirits lurk concealed behind the men who are hostile to us. ἡ πάλη ) the wrestling . πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα , against blood and flesh ) Comp. Matthew 16:17 , note. דם ובשר , blood and flesh, viz. (mere) men, were weak, even at Rome, where they kept Paul a prisoner. ἀγγὰ , but) After a very distinct mention of good angels, ch. Ephesians 1:21 , Ephesians 3:10 , he thus appropriately speaks also of bad spirits, especially to the Ephesians; comp. Acts 19:19 . The more plainly any book of Scripture treats of the Christian dispensation and the glory of Christ, the more clearly, on the other hand, does it present to our view the opposite kingdom of darkness. πρὸς , against) Against occurs four times [after ἀλλὰ ]. In three of the clauses the power of our enemies is pointed out; in the fourth, their nature and disposition. κοσμοκράτορες , the rulers of the world) ‘mundi tenentes,’ The holders of the world, to use the word of Tertullian. It is well that they are not holders of all things; yet the power not only of the devil himself, but also of those over whom he exercises authority, is great. There seem to be other kinds of evil spirits, that remain more at home in the citadel of the kingdom of darkness: principalities, powers. This third class is different, inasmuch as they go abroad and take possession, as it were, of the provinces of the world: rulers [holders] of the world. τοῦ σκότους , of the darkness) Herein they are distinguished from angels of light. This is mostly spiritual darkness, ch. Ephesians 5:8 ; Ephesians 5:11 ; Luke 22:53 , which has wickedness presently after as its synonym; yet even to them natural darkness is more congenial than light. The contest is much more difficult in darkness. τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου , of this world) The word κοσμοκράτορας , the holders (rulers) of the world, directly governs the two genitives σκότους and αἰῶνος , of the darkness and of this world, according to [in relation to] either part of the compound word. Κόσμος , world, and αἰῶν , age, are to be referred mutually to each other, as time and place. [99] The term, Holders (rulers) of the world , is the ground on which this wickedness is practised. There are princes of the darkness of the world in the present age. The connection between κόσμος , world , and αἰὼν , age , is not grammatical but logical: κόσμος , world (mundus), in all its extent; αἰὼν , world, age (sæculum), the present world, in its disposition (character), course, and feeling. I cannot say κόσμος τοῦ αἰῶνος , as, on the contrary, I can say αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου . τὰ πνευματικὰ , the spiritual things ) The antithesis is blood and flesh . These spiritual things are opposed to the spiritual things of grace , 1 Corinthians 12:1 , and are contrary to faith, hope, love, the gifts [of the Spirit], either in the way of a force opposite [to those graces], or by a false imitation of them. Moreover, as in the same epistle, 1 Corinthians 14:12 , spirits are used for spiritual things , so here spiritual things are very aptly used for spirits . For these spirits make their assault with such quickness and dexterity, that the soul does not almost think [generally is not aware] of the presence of these foreign existences lurking beneath, but believes that it is something in itself within which produces the spiritual temptation; and even πνευματικόν , spiritual , in the singular, may be taken as a kind of military force, in the same way as τὸ ἱππικὸν , horsemen , is applied in Revelation 9:16 , and τὸ στρατιωτικὸν is else where used of an army; so that here τὰ πνευματικὰ , viz. τάγματα , may be used as in Zosimus, 1. 3: τὰ πεζικὰ τάγματα , ξενικόν , The bands of infantry, a foreign force. Aristot. 3, pol. 10, p. 210. ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις , in places above the heavens ) Even enemies, but as captives (ch. Ephesians 4:8 , note), may be in a royal palace, and adorn it.

[99] Κόσμος refers to place; αἰὼν to time: The world-rulers of the age; the world-rulers of the darkness . But Engl. V. makes αἰῶνος governed by σκότους , of the darkness of this world . ED.

Verse 13

Ephesians 6:13 . Ἀναλάβετε , take unto you) Eph 6:16 חגר Deuteronomy 1:41 , LXX. ἀναλαβόντες . τὴν πανοπλίαν , the whole armour) A lofty expression. Paul (says Vict. Strigelius, in summing up the contents of this chapter) gives to the Christian soldier integuments, defences, and offensive weapons. The integuments are three, the breastplate, the girdle, and the shoes; the defences or φυλακτήρια are two, the shield and the helmet; the offensive weapons, ἀμυντήρια , [100] are also two, the sword and the spear . He had regard, I think, to the order of putting them on, and held the opinion that Paul proceeds from those accoutrements which adorn the man even when outside of the battle-field (as the breastplate of any material whatever), to those which are peculiar to the soldier; and indeed the phrase above all is put in between integuments and defences . He adds the spear, prayer . Although Paul rather introduces prayer with this reference, viz. that we may rightly [duly] use the whole armour. ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ , in the evil day ) Psalms 41:2 , LXX. ἐν ἡμέρᾳ πονηρᾷ . The war is perpetual. The battle rages less on one day, more on another: the evil day , either when death assails us, or during life, being of longer or shorter duration, often varying in itself [ When the wicked one assails you , Ephesians 6:16 , and malignant forces are infesting you , Ephesians 6:12 . V. g.]. Then you must stand, you must not then at length [then for the first time begin to] make preparation. ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι ) having rightly prepared all things for the battle. So κατεργάζεσθαι , 2 Corinthians 5:5 [ ΚΑΤΕΡΓΑΣΆΜΕΝΟς ἩΜᾶς , He who hath wrought, i.e. prepared us]; Exodus 15:17 ; Exodus 35:33 ; Exodus 38:24 ; Deuteronomy 28:39 . The repetition [101] is very suitable, to stand, stand ye .

[100] Usually said of defensive , here evidently of offensive weapons. ED.

[101] Anadiplosis , the repetition of the same word in the end of the preceding, and in the beginning of the following member. Append. ED.

Verse 14

Ephesians 6:14 . [103] Περιζωσάμενοι , being girt about ) that you may be unencumbered [ready for action]. Comp. Luke 12:35 ; Exodus 12:11 ; Isaiah 5:27 . τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ , your loins with truth ) according to the example of the Messiah, Isaiah 11:5 . ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου ) having put on the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation . Isaiah 59:17 , And He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and placed the helmet of salvation on His head . The seat of conscience is in the breast, which is defended by righteousness. τῆς δικαιοσύνης , of righteousness ) Isaiah 11:0 already quoted. For often truth and righteousness are joined, ch. Ephesians 5:9 . The enemy is to be vanquished by all things contrary to his own nature.

[103] Στῆναι , to stand , for the sake of fighting, Ephesians 6:14 . V. g.

Verse 15

Ephesians 6:15 . Τοὺς πόδας , the feet ) The feet are often mentioned in connection with the gospel and with peace , Romans 10:15 ; Romans 3:15 , etc.; Luke 1:79 . ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ ) ἑτοιμασία often corresponds to the Hebrew word מכון , for example Ezra 2:68 ; Ezra 3:3 ; Psalms 10:17 ; Psalms 89:15 . The feet of the Christian soldier are strengthened [steadied] by the Gospel, lest he should be moved from his place or yield. [104] [1 Peter 5:9 . V. g.]

[104] Wahl translates ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ , dum habetis animum promptum , quem gignit τὸ εὐαγγέλιον , “having the feet shod, or sandalled, in your having the prompt and ready mind which the Gospel of peace produces.” ED.

Verse 16

Ephesians 6:16 . Ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ) above [over] all [the pieces of armour], whatever you have put on. τὰ πεπυρωμένα ) properly set on fire, fiery. To quench is in consonance with this.

Verse 17

Ephesians 6:17 . Τοῦ σωτηρίου , of salvation ) i.e. of Christ. Acts 28:28 , note. The mention of the Spirit elegantly follows; and therefore, by comparing Ephesians 6:13 , we have here mention of the holy Trinity. [105] The head is exalted and defended by salvation , 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ; Psalms 3:3-4 . δέξασθε , receive [take to yourselves]) what is offered [implied in δέξασθε , receive ] by the Lord. ῥῆμα Θεοῦ , the word of God ) Matthew 4:4 ; Matthew 4:7 ; Matthew 4:10 .

[105] Salvation = Christ: the sword of the Spirit , the word of God; so the whole armour of God , Ephesians 6:13 . ED.

Verse 18

Ephesians 6:18 . Διὰ , [ by ] with ) As often as you pray, pray in the Spirit, inasmuch as He is at no time shut out from you.

Verse 19

Ephesians 6:19 . Δοθῇ , may be given ) Paul did not depend on his natural and acquired power. ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματος ) פתחון פה . ἐν παῤῥησιᾳ γνωρίσαι , to make known with boldness) Therefore boldness [plainness] of speech is required, because it is a mystery.

Verse 20

Ephesians 6:20 . Πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει , I am an ambassador in bonds ) A paradox [an ambassador, yet in bonds]. The world has its ambassadors surrounded with outward splendour. Ἵνα , that , which immediately follows, depends on this expression. [106] ἐν αὐτῷ , in it ) in the mystery. ὡς , as ) construed with to make known .

[106] Engl. V. by the stopping connects ἵνα rather with προσευχόμενοι , Ephesians 6:18 Praying that therein I may speak boldly . ED.

Verse 21

Ephesians 6:21 . Καὶ ὑμεῖς ) ye also , as well as others. πάντα , all things ) A salutary relation. πιστὸς , faithful ) who will declare to you the truth.

Verse 22

Ephesians 6:22 . Πρὸς ὑμᾶς , to you ) afar off. παρακαλέσῃ , might comfort ) lest ye should take offence at my bonds.

Verse 23

Ephesians 6:23 . Εἰρήνη , peace ) peace with God and the love of God to us. A recapitulation is contained in this word peace , comp. Jude 1:2 . [107] μετὰ πίστεως , with faith ) This is taken for granted, as being the gift of God.

[107] Τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς , to the brethren ) In this conclusion he does not say to you , as in Ephesians 6:21 . It was, it seems, an encyclical epistle. V. g.

Verse 24

Ephesians 6:24 . Πάντων , with all ) whether Jews or Gentiles, in all Asia, etc. [108] ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ in incorruption, sincerity ) construed with grace , viz. let it be: comp. Ephesians 3:13 , μὴ ἐκκακεῖν , not to faint , which is a proof of sincerity ( ἀφθαρσία , incorruption ). Add 2 Timothy 1:10 . We have its opposite, Ephesians 4:22 . ἀφθαρσία implies health without any blemish, and its continuance flowing from it. This is in consonance with the whole sum of the epistle; and thence ἀφθαρσία redounds to the love of believers towards Jesus Christ

[108] Τῶν ἀγαπώντων , that love ) See of how great importance is that love, 1 Corinthians 16:22 . V. g.

[109] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 4 : Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bryce, Trans.) (61 118). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/ephesians-6.html. 1897.
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