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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Ephesians 5

Verse 1

Be ye [γινεσθε] . Become, as ch. 4 32.

Followers [μιμηται] . Rev, correctly, imitators.

Dear [αγαπητα] Rev., beloved. As those to whom Christ has shown love

Verse 2

Walk in love. As imitators of God who is love.

Loved us [ημας] The correct reading is uJmav you.

Gave [παρεδωκεν] . To death Compare Romans 4:25, where the same verb was delivered is followed by was raised. See also Romans 8:32; Galatians 2:20.

Offering - sacrifice [προσφοραν - θυσιαν] . Offering, general, including the life as well as the death of Christ : sacrifice, special : on the cross. Properly, a slain offering.

A sweet smelling savor [οσμην ευωδιας] . Rev., correctly, odor of a sweet smell. See on 2 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 2:16. The Septuagint, in Leviticus 1:9, uses this phrase to render the Hebrew, a savor of quietness. For [εις] expresses design, that it might become, or result : so that it became.

Verse 3

Or covetousness. Or sets this sin emphatically by itself.

Let it. It refers to each of the sins.

Verse 4

Filthiness [αισχροτης] . Obscenity.

Foolish talking [μωρολογια] . Only here in the New Testament. Talk which is both foolish and sinful. Compare corrupt communication, ch. 4 29. It is more than random or idle talk. "Words obtain a new earnestness when assumed into the ethical terminology of Christ 's school. Nor, in seeking to enter fully into the meaning of this one, ought we to leave out of sight the greater emphasis which the words fool, foolish, folly obtain in Scripture than elsewhere they have or can have" (Trench).

Jesting [ευτραπελια] . Only here in the New Testament. From euj well or easily, prepw to turn. That which easily turns and adapts itself to the moods and conditions of those with whom it may be dealing at the moment. From this original sense of versatility it came to be applied to morals, as timeserving, and to speech with the accompanying notion of dissimulation. Aristotle calls it chastened insolence. The sense of the word here is polished and witty speech as the instrument of sin; refinement and versatility without the flavor of Christian grace. "Sometimes it is lodged in a sly question, in a smart answer, in a quirkish reason, in shrewd intimation, in cunningly diverting or cleverly retorting an objection : sometimes it is couched in a bold scheme of speech, in a tart irony, in a lusty hyperbole, in a startling metaphor, in a plausible reconciling of contradictions, or in acute nonsense.... Sometimes an affected simplicity, sometimes a presumptuous bluntness giveth it being.... Its ways are unaccountable and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless rovings of fancy and windings of language" (Barrow, Sermon 14, "Against Foolish Talking and Jesting." The whole passage is well worth reading).

Verse 5

Ye know [ιστε γινωσκοντες] . The A. V. fails to give the whole force of the expression, which is, ye know recognizing. Rev., ye know of a surety.

Idolater. Compare Colossians 3:5, and see on 1 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 6

Vain. Plausible, but devoid of truth, and employed to palliate heathen vices.

Verse 7

Be not [γινεσθε] . Lit., become not. It is a warning against lapsing into old vices.

Verse 8

Ye were. Emphatic, and according with become of ver. 7. Ye were darkness, but now are ye light. Do not become darkness again.

Darkness [σκοτος] . See on John 1:5.

Light [φως] Light itself; not a lamp.

Children of light. See Matthew 5:16.

Verse 9

Is in. Consists in. The verse is parenthetical.

Verse 10

Proving. Connect with walk. Walk, proving by your walk. Proving, see on 1 Peter 1:7.

Acceptable [ευαρεστον] . Rev., better and more literally, well - pleasing. The one point of all moral investigation is, does it please God ?

Verse 11

Have - fellowship [συγκοινωνειτε] . See on Revelation 18:4; Revelation 1:9. Unfruitful works [εργοις τοις ακαρποις] . Compare fruit, ver. 9, and Galatians 5:19, Galatians 5:22, works of the flesh, fruit of the Spirit. Works which bring no blessing with them. Compare Romans 6:21; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:21; Galatians 6:8.

Reprove [ελεγχετε] . See on John 3:20.

Verse 13

All things [τα παντα] . More literally, they all, or all of them; the secret sins just mentioned.

That are reproved [ελεγχομενα] . Lit., being reproved. Rev., when they are reproved. Reproved is to be taken in the same literal sense as in ver. 11, and not metaphorically in the sense of being demonstrated by light, or brought to light, which is almost synonymous with are made manifest. By the light. Connect with are made manifest, not with are reproved. Whatsoever doth make manifest is light [παν το φανερουμενον φως εστιν] . Wrong. The A. V. renders doth make manifest, as in the middle voice, but the verb is in the passive voice. It occurs nearly fifty times in the New Testament, and never as middle. Hence Rev., correctly, everything that is made manifest.

Is light. A general proposition, going to show that manifestation can come only through light. Whatever is revealed in its true essence by light is of the nature of light. It no longer belongs to the category of darkness. Manifestation is a law of good and evil alike. That which is of the truth seeks the light and cometh to the light. That which is evil avoids the light, and loves darkness better than light, but none the less is brought to the light and appears in its own light. See John 3:20, John 3:21. This truth is embodied in another form in the parable of the Tares. Growth is manifestation. By suffering the tares to grow, their difference from the wheat, which at first is not apparent, is fully revealed.

Verse 14

He saith. God. This use of the personal pronoun is frequent in Paul 's writings. See Galatians 3:16; Ephesians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16. Awake. etc. The quotation is probably a combination and free rendering of Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 26:19. For similar combinations see on Romans 3:10; Romans 9:33. By some the words are regarded as the fragment of a hymn.

Shall give thee light. Rev., correctly, shall shine upon thee.

Verse 15

See that ye walk circumspectly [βλεπετε πως ακριβως περιπατειτε] . Lit., look how exactly ye walk. The best texts place twv how after ajkribwv exactly. So Rev., look carefully how ye walk.

Circumspectly is better rendered carefully. It means exactly, accurately, from akrov the farthest point. See on inquired diligently, Matthew 2:6; and compare Luke 1:3; Acts 18:25, notes.

Not as unwise, but as wise. Explanatory of carefully.

Verse 16

Redeeming the time [εξαγοραζομενοι τον καιπον] . See on Colossians 4:5.

Verse 17

Understanding [συνιεντες] . See on prudent, Matthew 11:25; foolish, Romans 3:21.

Verse 18

Be not drunk [μη μεθυσκεσθε] . See on John 2:10.

Wherein. In drunkenness, not in wine.

Excess [ασωτια] . Rev., riot. Lit., unsavingness. See on riotous living, Luke 14:13.

Verse 19

Speaking to yourselves [λαλουντες εαυτοις] . Rev., one to another. The A. V. is literally correct, but is open to the misinterpretation each one communing with himself. The meaning is as in Colossians 3:13, and Rev. is better.

Psalms. See on 1 Corinthians 14:15 Hymns - spiritual songs. See on Colossians 3:16.

Verse 22

Your own [ιδιοις] . The peculiar personal relationship is emphasized as the ground of the duty.

Verse 23

He is the savior of the body. In this particular the comparison between the husband as the head of the wife, and Christ as the head of the Church, does not hold. Hence Rev., properly, renders for and He is, being Himself; Himself separating the clause from what was previously said. The comparison lies in the fact of headship alone. The husband 's love and protection cannot be called salvation, in which respect Christ 's headship is peculiar to Himself.

Verse 24

Therefore [αλλα] . Rev, correctly, but. Offsetting the relation of savior. The comparison does not hold in respect of salvation, but it does hold in respect of subjection.

26 Sanctify and cleanse [αγιαση καθαρισας] . Rev., might sanctify, having cleansed. The Rev. brings out the proper succession of sanctification as a consequence of cleansing : might sanctify after having cleansed.

With the washing of water [τω λουτρω του υδατος] . Loutron washing is properly laver. Note the article, the laver, as something well known. There is no satisfactory evidence for the meaning washing. The allusion is to baptism. Some find a reference to the bride 's bath before marriage.

By the word [εν ρηματι] . Rev., correctly, with the word. To be connected with having cleansed it by the laver of water : not with might sanctify, nor with the laver of water alone, as a descriptive epithet. With the word describes that which accompanies the rite and which is the peculiar element of baptismal purification. Compare John 14:3. Augustine says : "Take away the word, and what is the water but water ?"

Verse 27

He might present it to Himself [παραστηση αυτος εαυτω] . As a bride. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:2. Notice the two pronouns in conjunction, He, to Himself. Christ Himself presents the bride.

Spot [σπιλον] . Only here and 2 Peter 2:13; The kindred verb spilow to defile, occurs James 3:6; Jude 1:23.

Wrinkle [ρυτιδα] . Only here in the New Testament.

Verse 28

So. As Christ loved the Church.

As their own bodies [ως] . As being : since they are.

Verse 29

Flesh. Instead of body, with reference to Genesis 2:23.

Cherisheth [θαλπει] . Only here and 1 Thessalonians 2:7. Originally, to warm.

Verse 30

Omit of His flesh and of His bones.

Verse 31

Shall be joined [προσκολληθησεται] . Only here; and Mark 10:7.

See on Luke 14:15. The compound verb denotes most intimate union.

Shall be one flesh [εσονται εις σαρκα μιαν] . The A. V. overlooks the force of eijv unto. Lit., shall be unto one flesh. Rev., shall become.

Verse 32

A great mystery. Great is predicative, not attributive. Rev., correctly, this mystery is great. The reference in this mystery is to the preceding statement of the conjugal relation of the Church with Christ, typified by the human marriage relation.

Concerning Christ and the Church. Rev., in regard of [εις] Not calling your attention to the mere human relationship, but to the mysterious relation between Christ and His Church, of which that is a mere semblance.

Verse 33

Nevertheless. Not to dwell longer on the mystical aspect of the subject.

Even as himself. Not as much as he loves himself, but as being his very self.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Ephesians 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/ephesians-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.