Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 5

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

Imitators of God (μιμητα του θεου). This old word from μιμεομα Paul boldly uses. If we are to be like God, we must imitate him.

Verse 2

An offering and a sacrifice to God (προσφοραν κα θυσιαν τω θεω). Accusative in apposition with εαυτον (himself). Christ's death was an offering to God "in our behalf" (υπερ ημων) not an offering to the devil (Anselm), a ransom (λυτρον) as Christ himself said (Matthew 20:28), Christ's own view of his atoning death.

For an odour of a sweet smell (εις οσμην ευωδιας). Same words in Philippians 4:18 from Leviticus 4:31 (of the expiatory offering). Paul often presents Christ's death as a propitiation (Romans 3:25) as in 1 John 2:2.

Verse 3

Or covetousness (η πλεονεξια). In bad company surely. Debasing like sensuality.

As becometh saints (καθως πρεπε αγιοις). It is "unbecoming" for a saint to be sensual or covetous.

Verse 4

Filthiness (αισχροτης). Old word from αισχρος (base), here alone in N.T.

Foolish talking (μωρολογια). Late word from μωρολογος (μωροσ, λογος), only here in N.T.

Jesting (ευτραπελια). Old word from ευτραπελος (ευ, τρεπω, to turn) nimbleness of wit, quickness in making repartee (so in Plato and Plutarch), but in low sense as here ribaldry, scurrility, only here in N.T. All of these disapproved vices are απαξ λεγομενα in the N.T.

Which are not befitting (α ουκ ανηκεν). Same idiom (imperfect with word of propriety about the present) in Colossians 3:18. Late MSS. read τα ουκ ανηκοντα like τα μη καθηκοντα in Romans 1:28.

Verse 5

Ye know of a surety (ιστε γινωσκοντες). The correct text has ιστε, not εστε. It is the same form for present indicative (second person plural) and imperative, probably indicative here, "ye know." But why γινωσκοντες added? Probably, "ye know recognizing by your own experience."

No (πασ--ου). Common idiom in the N.T. like the Hebrew= oudeis (Robertson, Grammar, p. 732).

Covetous man (πλεονεκτησ, πλεον εχω). Old word, in N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 6:10.

Which is (ο εστιν). So Aleph B. A D K L have ος (who), but ο is right. See Colossians 3:14 for this use of ο (which thing is). On ειδωλολατρης (idolater) see 1 Corinthians 5:10.

In the Kingdom of Christ and God (εν τη βασιλεια του Χριστου κα θεου). Certainly the same kingdom and Paul may here mean to affirm the deity of Christ by the use of the one article with Χριστου κα θεου. But Sharp's rule cannot be insisted on here because θεος is often definite without the article like a proper name. Paul did teach the deity of Christ and may do it here.

Verse 6

With empty words (κενοις λογοις). Instrumental case. Probably Paul has in mind the same Gnostic praters as in Colossians 2:4. See Ephesians 2:2.

Verse 7

Partakers with them (συνμετοχο αυτων). Late double compound, only here in N.T., joint (συν) shares with (μετοχο) them (αυτων). These Gnostics.

Verse 8

But now light (νυν δε φως). Jesus called his disciples the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

Verse 9

The fruit of light (ο καρπος του φωτος). Two metaphors (fruit, light) combined. See Galatians 5:22 for "the fruit of the Spirit." The late MSS. have "spirit" here in place of "light."

Goodness (αγαθοσυνη). Late and rare word from αγαθος. See 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Galatians 5:22.

Verse 10

Proving (δοκιμαζοντες). Testing and so proving.

Verse 11

Have no fellowship with (μη συνκοινωνειτε). No partnership with, present imperative with μη. Followed by associative instrumental case εργοις (works).

Unfruitful (ακαρποις). Same metaphor of verse Ephesians 5:9 applied to darkness (σκοτος).

Reprove (ελεγχετε). Convict by turning the light on the darkness.

Verse 12

In secret (κρυφη). Old adverb, only here in N.T. Sin loves the dark.

Even to speak of (κα λεγειν). And yet one must sometimes speak out, turn on the light, even if to do so is disgraceful (αισχρον, like 1 Corinthians 11:6).

Verse 13

Are made manifest by the light (υπο του φωτος φανερουτα). Turn on the light. Often the preacher is the only man brave enough to turn the light on the private sins of men and women or even those of a community.

Verse 14

Wherefore he saith (διο λεγε). Apparently a free adaptation of Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 60:1. The form αναστα for αναστηθ (second person singular imperative second aorist active of ανιστημ) occurs in Acts 12:7.

Shall shine (επιφαυσε). Future active of επιφαυσκω, a form occurring in Job (Job 25:5; Job 31:26), a variation of επιφωσκω. The last line suggests the possibility that we have here the fragment of an early Christian hymn like 1 Timothy 3:16.

Verse 15

Carefully (ακριβως). Aleph B 17 put ακριβως before πως (how) instead of πως ακριβως (how exactly ye walk) as the Textus Receptus has it. On ακριβως (from ακριβης) see Matthew 2:8; Luke 1:3.

Unwise (ασοφο). Old adjective, only here in N.T.

Verse 16

Redeeming the time (εξαγοραζομενο τον καιρον). As in Colossians 4:5 which see.

Verse 17

Be ye not foolish (μη γινεσθε αφρονες). "Stop becoming foolish."

Verse 18

Be not drunken with wine (μη μεθυσκεσθε οινω). Present passive imperative of μεθυσκω, old verb to intoxicate. Forbidden as a habit and to stop it also if guilty. Instrumental case οινω.

Riot (ασωτια). Old word from ασωτος (adverb ασωτως in Luke 15:13), in N.T. only here, Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4.

But be filled with the Spirit (αλλα πληρουσθε εν πνευματ). In contrast to a state of intoxication with wine.

Verse 19

To the Lord (τω Κυριω). The Lord Jesus. In Colossians 3:16 we have τω θεω (to God) with all these varieties of praise, another proof of the deity of Christ. See Colossians 3:16 for discussion.

Verse 20

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (εν ονοματ του Κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου). Jesus had told the disciples to use his name in prayer (John 16:23).

To God, even the Father (τω θεω κα πατρ). Rather, "the God and Father."

Verse 21

Subjecting yourselves to one another (υποτασσομενο αλληλοις). Present middle participle of υποτασσω, old military figure to line up under (Colossians 3:18). The construction here is rather loose, coordinate with the preceding participles of praise and prayer. It is possible to start a new paragraph here and regard υποτασσομενο as an independent participle like an imperative.

Verse 22

Be in subjection . Not in the Greek text of B and Jerome knew of no MS. with it. K L and most MSS. have υποτασσεσθε like Colossians 3:18, while Aleph A P have υποτασσεσθωσαν (let them be subject to). But the case of ανδρασιν (dative) shows that the verb is understood from verse Ephesians 5:21 if not written originally. Ιδιοις (own) is genuine here, though not in Colossians 3:18.

As unto the Lord (ως τω Κυριω). So here instead of ως ανηκεν εν Κυριω of Colossians 3:18.

Verse 23

For the husband is the head of the wife (οτ ανηρ εστιν κεφαλη της γυναικος). "For a husband is head of the (his) wife." No article with ανηρ or κεφαλη.

As Christ also is the head of the church (ως κα ο Χριστος κεφαλη της εκκλησιας). No article with κεφαλη, "as also Christ is head of the church." This is the comparison, but with a tremendous difference which Paul hastens to add either in an appositional clause or as a separate sentence.

Himself the saviour of the body (αυτος σωτηρ του σωματος). He means the church as the body of which Christ is head and Saviour.

Verse 24

But (αλλα). Perhaps, "nevertheless," in spite of the difference just noted. Once again the verb υποτασσω has to be supplied in the principal clause before τοις ανδρασιν either as indicative (υποτασσοντα) or as imperative (υποτασσεσθωσαν).

Verse 25

Even as Christ also loved the church (καθως κα ο Χριστος ηγαπησεν την εκκλησιαν). This is the wonderful new point not in Colossians 3:19 that lifts this discussion of the husband's love for his wife to the highest plane.

Verse 26

That he might sanctify it (ινα αυτην αγιαση). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of αγιαζω. Jesus stated this as his longing and his prayer (John 17:17-19). This was the purpose of Christ's death (verse Ephesians 5:25).

Having cleansed it (καθαρισας). First aorist active participle of καθαριζω, to cleanse, either simultaneous action or antecedent.

By the washing of water (τω λουτρω του υδατος). If λουτρον only means bath or bathing-place ( = λουτρον), then λουτρω is in the locative. If it can mean bathing or washing, it is in the instrumental case. The usual meaning from Homer to the papyri is the bath or bathing-place, though some examples seem to mean bathing or washing. Salmond doubts if there are any clear instances. The only other N.T. example of λουτρον is in Titus 3:5. The reference here seems to be to the baptismal bath (immersion) of water, "in the bath of water." See 1 Corinthians 6:11 for the bringing together of απελουσασθε and ηγιασθητε. Neither there nor here does Paul mean that the cleansing or sanctification took place in the bath save in a symbolic fashion as in Romans 6:4-6. Some think that Paul has also a reference to the bath of the bride before marriage. Still more difficult is the phrase "with the word" (εν ρηματ). In John 17:17 Jesus connected "truth" with "sanctify." That is possible here, though it may also be connected with καθαρισας (having cleansed). Some take it to mean the baptismal formula.

Verse 27

That he might present (ινα παραστηση). Final clause with ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of παριστημ (see Colossians 1:22 for parallel) as in 2 Corinthians 11:2 of presenting the bride to the bridegroom. Note both αυτος (himself) and εαυτω (to himself).

Glorious (ενδοξον). Used of splendid clothing in Luke 7:25.

Spot (σπιλος). Late word, in N.T. only here and 2 Peter 2:13, but σπιλοω, to defile in James 3:6; Judges 1:23.

Wrinkle (ρυτιδα). Old word from ρυω, to contract, only here in N.T.

But that it should be holy and without blemish (αλλ' ινα η αγια κα αμωμος). Christ's goal for the church, his bride and his body, both negative purity and positive.

Verse 28

Even so ought (ουτως οφειλουσιν). As Christ loves the church (his body). And yet some people actually say that Paul in Ephesians 5:1 gives a degrading view of marriage. How can one say that after reading Ephesians 5:22-33 where the noblest picture of marriage ever drawn is given?

Verse 29

Nourisheth (εκτρεφε). Old compound with perfective sense of εκ (to nourish up to maturity and on). In N.T. only here and Ephesians 6:4.

Cherisheth (θαλπε). Late and rare word, once in a marriage contract in a papyrus. In N.T. only here and 1 Thessalonians 2:7. Primarily it means to warm (Latin foveo), then to foster with tender care as here.

Even as Christ also (καθως κα ο Χριστος). Relative (correlative) adverb pointing back to ουτως at the beginning of the sentence (verse Ephesians 5:28) and repeating the statement in verse Ephesians 5:25.

Verse 30

Of his flesh and of his bones (εκ της σαρκος αυτου κα εκ των οστεων αυτου). These words are in the Textus Receptus (Authorized Version) supported by D G L P cursives Syriac, etc., though wanting in Aleph A B 17 Bohairic. Certainly not genuine.

Verse 31

For this cause (αντ τουτου). "Answering to this" = ενεκεν τουτου of Genesis 2:24, in the sense of αντ seen in ανθ' ων (Luke 12:3). This whole verse is a practical quotation and application of the language to Paul's argument here. In Matthew 19:5 Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24. It seems absurd to make Paul mean Christ here by ανθρωπος (man) as some commentators do.

Verse 32

This mystery is great (το μυστηριον τουτο μεγα εστιν). For the word "mystery" see Ephesians 1:9. Clearly Paul means to say that the comparison of marriage to the union of Christ and the church is the mystery. He makes that plain by the next words.

But I speak (εγω δε λεγω). "Now I mean." Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:50.

In regard of Christ and of the church (εις Χριστον κα [εισ] την εκκλησιαν). "With reference to Christ and the church." That is all that εις here means.

Verse 33

Nevertheless (πλην). "Howbeit," not to dwell unduly (Abbott) on the matter of Christ and the church.

Do ye also severally love (κα υμεις ο καθ' ενα εκαστος αγαπατω). An unusual idiom. The verb αγαπατω (present active imperative) agrees with εκαστος and so is third singular instead of αγαπατε (second plural) like υμεις. The use of ο καθ' ενα after υμεις = " ye one by one " and then εκαστος takes up (individualizes) the "one" in partitive apposition and in the third person.

Let the wife see that she fear (η γυνη ινα φοβητα). There is no verb in the Greek for "let see" (βλεπετω). For this use of ινα with the subjunctive as a practical imperative without a principal verb (an elliptical imperative) see Mark 5:23; Matthew 20:32; 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:33 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 994). "Fear" (φοβητα, present middle subjunctive) here is "reverence."

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/ephesians-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
Ads FreeProfile