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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Ephesians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 2

Ephesians 2:1. After ἁμαρτίαις, B D E F G א, min. Syr. utr. Erp. Copt. Aeth. Arm. Vulg. It. Theodoret, Lucif. Victorin. Ambrosiast. Pel. have ὑμῶν, which Lachm. and Tisch. have rightly received into the text. On account of the redundancy of the pronoun and its absence in Ephesians 2:5, the omission of it was easier than its addition from a comparison of Colossians 2:13 (in opposition to Reiche).

Ephesians 2:3. τέκνα φύσει] Lachm. and Rück, read φύσει τέκνα, following A D E F G L, min. Vulg. It. Or. (once), and other Fathers. But considering how closely τέκνα ὀργῆς go together, the transposition φύσει τέκνα was so natural, that in opposition to these important witnesses the Recepta, attested by B K א, most min. Or. (thrice) Chrys. Dam. Theophyl. Oec., is, with Matth. Scholz, Harless, Olsh. de Wette, Tisch., to be maintained.

Ephesians 2:11. The order ποτὲ ὑμεῖς in Lachm. and Tisch. is justified by A B D* E א* codd. of It. and Fathers. More feebly attested is the order ἐγεν. ἐγγύς, Ephesians 2:13, in Lachm., which weakens the antithesis.

Ephesians 2:12. ἐν τῷ καιρῷ] ἐν is wanting in decisive witnesses. Deleted by Lachm. Tisch. and Rück. Explanatory addition.

Ephesians 2:15. ἐν ἑαυτῷ] Lachm.: ἐν αὐτῷ. The witnesses are greatly divided. But E was easily passed over after εν.

Ephesians 2:17. καὶ τοῖς] Lachm. Tisch. Rück.: καὶ εἰρήνην τοῖς, according to decisive testimony. The emphasis of the repetition of εἰρήν. was not duly regarded, and so the apparently redundant word was neglected. For the same reason there was written in Ephesians 2:19, instead of the far preponderantly attested ἀλλʼ ἐστέ, simply ἀλλά (Elz. Scholz).

Ephesians 2:21. πᾶσα οἰκοδ.] Elz. Scholz, Rück. Reiche read πᾶσα οἰκοδ. But the article is wanting in B D E F G K L א* and many min., also in Clem. Bas. Chrys. (in the commentary) Theodoret, Oec., and was added (A C, Chrys. Theophyl.) because it seemed needed by the sense. See, however, the exegetical remarks.

CONTENTS.

You also, when ye were dead through sins,—as indeed we Jewish-Christians too were in the same condition of sin and liability to the divine wrath,

God has by virtue of His love made us alive with Christ, raised us and transferred us into heaven, in order, in the world-ages to come, to show His grace towards us in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-7). For out of grace have ye attained to salvation, not through merit of works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Remember, therefore, that ye were formerly as Gentiles unhallowed and unhappy, but now through the death of Christ ye are in quite a different position (Ephesians 2:11-13). For Christ has through His death established peace between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14-18). Ye, consequently, are no longer aliens, but fellow-members of the theocracy, members of the household of God, built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, wherein the corner-stone is Christ, in whom every building is built, and ye too, unto a holy temple (Ephesians 2:19-22).


Verse 1

Ephesians 2:1. Connection: After Knatchbull and others (mentioned by Wolf, Cur. on i. 19) had attached καὶ ὑμᾶς to εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας, Ephesians 1:19, and Bengel to ἣν ἐνήργ., Ephesians 1:20 (both arbitrarily confusing, and the former also mistaken for the reason that ἡμᾶς, Ephesians 2:19, already included the readers), Lachmann and Harless have closed Ephesians 1:23 with only a comma, and annexed καὶ ( συνεζωοποίησε) ὑμᾶς to καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκε κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 2:22.(127) So also de Wette, without, however, approving the mere comma after Ephesians 1:23. But in this way we should have to expect not ὑ΄ᾶς, but ἡ΄ᾶς (comp. Ephesians 1:19 : εἰς ἡ΄ᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας), for Paul would attach to what God has done in relation to Christ that, which He has at the same time done in the case of the Christians. And, inasmuch as he has employed the pronoun of the second person, he has thereby indicated the beginning of a new portion. Moreover, Ephesians 1:23 is so majestic and solemn in import and form, that it is admirably suited for a sonorous conclusion, but hardly for a mere parenthetic insertion. No, after the apostle has previously spoken of the exceeding power of God in the case of believers, which may be recognised by virtue of what He has done in the case of Christ, whom He raised, exalted, etc., he wishes now, in application of this to the readers, to bring the latter to the consciousness that God has made also them ( καὶ ὑμᾶς), when they were dead in their sins, to be alive, etc., with Christ, and thus has shown also in their case that exceeding power.

The construction is broken off, even before the subject and the verb are expressed, by the afflux of the thoughts in the relative clauses which begin Ephesians 2:2, but is resumed Ephesians 2:4 by means of δέ, so that the subject not yet named in Ephesians 2:1 is at length named and characterized in Ephesians 2:4; and in Ephesians 2:5 the verb ( συνεζωοποίησε) comes in with repetition of the object, which, however,—in accordance with what has been said in the intervening clauses,—had already in Ephesians 2:4 passed over into the first person and thus become universal ( ἡ΄ᾶς). As to the details, see below. The resumption accordingly begins already, in Ephesians 2:4, with δὲ θεός (as even Theophylact expressly observes); not first with Ephesians 2:5, as Wolf and others, including Griesbach, Koppe, ed. 1, Scholz, Meier, Rückert, Holzhausen, would have it, because otherwise Ephesians 2:4 in turn would be anacoluthic, and yet θεός is the subject of συνεζωοπ.

νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτ. κ. τ. ἁ΄αρτ. ὑ΄ῶν] The dative denotes the causa efficiens of the death. The expression with ἐν, Colossians 2:13, is not equivalent. Quite at variance with the context, Cajetanus (not Estius, who rejects this explanation) holds that the dative is as in Romans 6:11, in which case the force of ὄντας as a present participle is urged: since ye are dead for the sins. ὑμῶν also is against this, as well as the plural, since in the being dead for sin the latter appears as principle (Romans 6:11).

A real distinction between παραπτώματα and ἁ΄αρτίαι does not exist,(128) in so far as both expressions denote the same thing (the peccata actualia in thought, word, and deed) in a twofold form of conception as “missing” and “fall” (see, generally, Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 324); and the abstract ἁμαρτίαις cannot mean, like ἁ΄αρτία at Romans 5:20, sin in abstracto as ruling power, but in virtue of the plural can only mean the actual sins ( ἁμαρτήματα); comp. on Romans 5:20.

ὄντας] state, which was present at the time, when God made them alive.

νεκρούς] is understood by the expositors (apart from those who, like Koppe and Rosenmüller, substitute for the literal meaning the notion of wretched, miserable) of spiritual death (comp. Ephesians 5:14), i.e. of the deadness of true moral life through the “alienatio animae a Deo,” Calvin; comp. Delitzsch, Psychol, p. 127. But by what, we ask, is this spiritual sense indicated? Must not νεκρ. τοῖς παραπτ. κ. ταῖς ἁμαρτ. have reminded the readers quite naturally and necessarily of the connection, well known to them, between unexpiated sins and the eternal death (the eternal condemnation),—a connection, in which they once as Gentiles shared? See on Romans 6:16; Romans 6:22 f., Romans 7:9-11; Romans 7:24; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:6. The explanation of physical death is inadmissible, because this is a consequence not of individual sins, but of the sin of Adam; see on Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22. The expression νεκροί is proleptic: when ye were dead through your sins, i.e. when you had through your sins drawn upon you death, had become liable to eternal death, so that in this way the certo morituri are designated as νεκροί. Comp. Romans 7:10; Romans 8:10, and the well-known ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν, Epict. Anton, iv. 41. See also on Colossians 2:12. Without Christ the everlasting death, which they had incurred by their sins, would not be annulled and averted from them; but, after that Christ has completed the work of atonement and they have become believers in Him, eternal life has become the portion of those who were by their sins liable to eternal death, and that by means of the fellowship of life, into which they are brought through faith with the Christ who is made alive from the dead, raised, and exalted to heaven, which is more fully expressed, Ephesians 2:5-6, by συνεζωοποίησε τῷ χριστῷ κ. τ. λ. Thus the passage certainly treats of the atonement accomplished by Christ, to which believers owe eternal life (see Ephesians 2:7-8). The moral restoration (Hofmann) is the consequence of the atonement (Ephesians 2:10), the ethical product of the same through the Spirit.

The relation, we may add, of our passage to Colossians 2:13; Colossians 1:21 is not that of a slavish dependence, but that of a fresh and living remembrance with new and peculiar amplification.


Verse 2

Ephesians 2:2. Shadows before the light which arises in Ephesians 2:4.

ἐν αἷς] domain, in which, etc. It is the pre-Christian sphere of life, and then follows ( κατὰ κ. τ. λ.) the normal standard which rules in it. αἷς has shaped itself after the gender of the last substantive, but embraces both. See Matthiae, p. 991.

κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου] according to the age of this world, i.e. as was in keeping with the period of time appointed for the present world (subsisting up to the Parousia). For immorality is the characteristic of this world-period (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12) in contrast to the future new world, in which δικαιοσύνη bears sway, and the nearer the Parousia, the more the αἰών is πονηρός (see on Galatians 1:4; comp. Ephesians 5:16, and on Ephesians 6:13). Others explain αἰών as life (so also Harless; comp. H. Stephanus: “secundum eam, quae in hoc mundo est, vivendi rationem,” Castalio, Beza, Grotius, et al.); for which Rückert—who, in a strangely erroneous way, explains it as equivalent to κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον τοῦ κόσμου—and Matthies put: spirit of the time, and Olshausen: tendency of the time; comp. Bleek. But, however current αἰών in the signification of life may be in classical Greek, especially in Homer, Pindar, Herodotus, and the tragic poets (see Duncan, ed. Rost, p. 47; Blomf. ad Aesch. Prom. 887; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 50), yet in the N.T., often as the habitually used word recurs, it is never so employed, but always in the signification of juncture of time, age. The shift to which Koppe has recourse (comp. Estius and Flatt), that αἰών and κόσμος are synonymous—hence Koppe makes αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου equivalent to κόσμος οὗτος—stands on a level with the capricious inversion of Bretschneider, who makes it tantamount to κόσμος τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου: homines pravi ut nunc sunt. No, Paul might have written briefly κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον (comp. Ephesians 1:21); but, in accordance with the graphic amplification of the passage carrying such terrible emphasis, he has paraphrased this τοῦτον by τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. According to Beausobre and Michaelis (“the God of this world”), αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου is meant to denote the devil in polemic reference to the Gnostic doctrine of aeons (see what follows). According to Baur, p. 433 f., the expression itself is a Gnostic one, equivalent to the κοσμοκράτωρ (comp. Ephesians 6:12), and denoting the devil. But this is imported, inasmuch as the explanation of αἰών in the sense usual in the N.T. yields quite a Pauline thought. The devil appears only in what follows, and would, if he was to he designated already here, and that as Lord of the pre-Messianic period, have been designated, as at 2 Corinthians 4:4, as θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, or in a like concrete manner.

κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος] climactic parallel to the preceding. “Sic res fit expressior,” Bengel. The opposite is κατὰ θεόν, Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 7:9. Comp. 1 John 5:14 : κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. The devil Paul here represents as the ruler over the might of the air, in which ἐξοσία is collective, denoting the totality of the mighty ones (the demons, Matthew 12:24) concerned. Comp. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 469; Bernhardy, p. 47. This ἐξουσία has its seat in the air, which exists between heaven and earth ( τοῦ ἀέρος); the atmosphere, pertaining, in contrast to the higher pure αἰθήρ (see Duncan, Lex. Hom., ed. Rost, p. 36), still to the physical realm of earthly things ( γῆς ἰσόμοιρος ἀήρ, Soph. El. 87), is the seat, the territory of the might of the demons. This and nothing else Paul expresses in distinct words, the ἐναέριος διατριβή (Oecumenius, comp. Theophylact), the ὑπουράνιος τόπος (Chrysostom) of the demons; and neither ought τοῦ ἀέρος to have been taken (Clericus, Heinsius, Michaelis, Storr, Flatt, Matthies, and others) as equivalent to τοῦ σκότους (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), because, though it may, as it often does in Homer, denote misty gloom, clouds, etc., in contradistinction to the pure αἰθήρ, it never takes the place of the absolute σκότος (comp. Buttmann, Lexilog. I. p. 115), and in the N.T. always means simply air; nor ought it to have been explained by a metonymy as mundus (Thomas, Bullinger, and others). According to Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 328 f., τοῦ ἀέρος is designed to express the aeriform nature of the demons; they are not really spiritual, but only spirit-like; aeriformness is their physical constitution. This is already in itself incorrect, since the demons must of necessity have the same physical constitution as the angels (including also their supra-terrestrial corporeity, comp. on Matthew 22:30), and hence, although they have become ἀκάθαρτα, they have yet remained πνεύματα, see in this very Epistle, Ephesians 6:12 ( τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας). Olshausen would remove the demons from the atmosphere by taking ἀήρ as equivalent to οὐρανός,(129) appealing to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (where, however, ἀήρ is nothing else than air), and even giving out this passage as the only one in the N.T. where the word ἀήρ elsewhere occurs (but see Acts 22:23; 1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Corinthians 14:9; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 16:17). As an equally exemplary companion-piece of rationalizing artifice may be quoted the interpretation of Stolz, Erläut. p. 175: “We have here to think of the rational beings acting and walking upon the earth, of men, who as sensuous creatures breathe in the air, in the atmosphere surrounding the earth.” Hofmann, who elsewhere took ἀήρ erroneously as equivalent to πνεῦ΄α, would now (Schriftb. I. p. 457) not less erroneously make τοῦ πνεύματος dependent upon τοῦ ἀέρος, and by the latter understand the atmosphere formed by the breathing of that πνεῦμα. “So long as they [the disobedient] allow this spirit to be their spirit, they live in the atmosphere thereof, and as it were inhale it—an atmosphere, which is the sphere of dominion [the ἐξουσία] of Satan.” But apart from the clumsy and obscure accumulation of three genitives (at 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 4:7, they flow easily and clearly one out of the other), there may be urged against this view generally the strange awkwardness of the thought (“the air of the spirit which worketh in the disobedient is the atmosphere formed by the breathing of the same spirit”), and more specially the considerations, first, that ἐξουσία does not mean sphere of dominion;(130) secondly, that there is nothing to indicate that the ἀήρ originated through the breathing (or blowing) of the spirit (we should at least expect the essential πνέοντος instead of ἐνεργοῦντος); thirdly, that, if ἐξουσία is to denote the sphere of dominion, τῆς ἐξουσίας would be only an ambiguous pleonasm, and we cannot see why Paul should not have written merely τὸν ἄρχοντα τοῦ ἀέρος κ. τ. λ.

As regards the historic basis of the conception of the apostle, that the demons have their abode in the air, he has carried it over from his pre-Christian, Jewish-Rabbinic circle of ideas into the contents of his Christian belief. It is true that there are found among the Rabbins very diverse, confused, and at times very monstrous assertions concerning the dwelling-place of the demons (see, especially, Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 437 ff.), but Harless (followed by Olshausen) far too hastily thence concludes: “in such sloughs as these one seeks in vain for the explanation of the apostle’s expression.” For while there are found diverse opinions in the Rabbins, and among them also that which assigns to the demons the air as a territory, the expression of the apostle shows us which of the different Rabbinic conceptions he has not followed, and which is accepted by him. Thus doubtless, e.g., the doctrine which R. Bechai, in Pentat. f. 90, 1, presents as a well-known one, that only those demons which produce dreams dwell in the air, but those which seduce man to sin in the man himself, and yet others in the depths of the sea, is not the view of the apostle. But the belief, which Paul here announces as his own and presupposes in his readers, namely, that the demoniac kingdom in general, and not merely a single division of it, is in the air, is to be found very definitely preserved among the Rabbins also. For (1) the very Rabbinical tenet of the winged nature of the demons (Talmud, Chagig. 2; R. Eliezer in Bartolocc. I. p. 320 ff., al.) manifestly points to the region of the air as their abode, since they are shut out from the communion of God. (2) In particular passages this is expressly stated. Comment. in libr. Aboth. f. 83, Ephesians 2 : “Sciendum, a terra usque ad expansum omnia plena esse turmis et praefectis, et infra (that is precisely in the ἀήρ) plurimas esse creaturas laedentes et accusantes, et omnes stare ac volitare in aëre,” etc. Further, it is said in Tuf haarez, f. 9, 2, that under the sphere of the moon, which is the last under all, is a firmament ( רקיע) … and there are the souls of the devils, etc. See Eisenmenger, II. p. 411. Further, R. Bechai says, in Pentat. f. 139, 4, where he is explaining how it comes about that the demons know what is future: “because they dwell in the air ( באויר), … they learn future things from the princes of the planets.” The same R. Bechai, in Pentat. f. 18, 1, relates, as a Rabbinical tradition, that Noah had in his ark, according to Genesis 6:19, preserved devils also, and says in confirmation of this exposition: for it would have been impossible for them to remain in their own place, which is the air ( במקוטם שההוא חאויר). Comp. Nishmath chasim, f. 115, 2. The assertion, too, of R. Menasseh, in Eisenmenger, II. p. 456 f., that the rising smoke of the incense which was offered to the devils was their food, points to the air as their dwelling-place; as, indeed, according to the Cabbala (Cabb. denud. I. p. 417), the demons dwell “below the upper sanctuary.” τοῦ ἀερίου πνεύματος τοῦ βελιάρ, where ἀέριον means to be found in the air. See Plat. Epin. p. 948 D: δαίμονας, ἀέριον δὲ γένος. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 547. If we take ἀέριος in such passages as aeriform (Hahn), we confound it with ἀέρινος (Arist. de Anim. iii. 13; Metaph. ix. 7). Comp. rather, Ascens. lsa. 10: “descendit in firmamentum, ubi princeps hujus mundi habitabat.”">(131) Thus much, consequently, is clear and transparent enough in the “muddy sloughs” of Rabbinical tradition, that the kingdom of the demons was located in the air; and with this we find the apostle in agreement. Hence we have no right to deny that he has retained this conception from the sphere of his Rabbinical training, but at the same time it would be quite unwarrantable to attribute to him the singularities associated with this tenet by the Rabbins, since, in fact, he asserts nothing more than that the devilish powers are in the air. This is a simple historical statement, in which, we may add, it is quite arbitrary to discern a “profound hint,” namely, of their dismal and spectral nature (in opposition to Schenkel). The right explanation is given also by Schmid, Bibl. Theol. § 86, and Bleek. Among the Pythagoreans, too, we meet with an analogous view (Diog. Laert. viii. 32: κατὰ τὸν μὲν πυθάγοραν εἶναί τε πάντα τὸν ἀέρα ψυχῶν ἔμπλεον, καὶ τούτους δαίμονάς τε καὶ ἥρωας νομίζεσθαι, and compare the other passages in Wetstein, and Elsner, p. 206; Dougt. Anal. p. 127); but quite unfounded is the assertion of Wetstein: “P. ita loquitur ex principiis philosophiae Pythagoreae, quibus illi, ad quos scribit, imbuti erant.” Paul presupposes in his readers an acquaintance with his expression as the expression of his doctrine, and speaks so emphatically and solemnly that any sort of accommodation is not to be thought of.

τοῦ πνεύματος] is still dependent on τὸν ἄρχοντα, so that the power over which the devil rules, after being designated as regards its outward existence by the phrase ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, is now designated as regards its active operation in men’s hearts, namely, as the spirit which is at work in the disobedient. This πνεῦμα, of which Satan is the ruler, is not, however, to be thought of as being the human mind, since, thus understood, it would not suit as apposition to the τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος which is different from the human individuality, as, indeed, τοῦ ἐνεργ. κ. τ. λ. points to an agent different from the human individual; but rather as the principle proceeding from its ἄρχων, the devil, and passing over into men to become operative in their hearts—the antithesis of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from God. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:12. This πνεῦμα is, in contrast to τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, the πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης, 1 John 4:6. It is not, however, “odd” (de Wette), nor is it “unnatural” (Bleek), to speak of a “ruler of this spirit;” but this is quite analogous to the conception, according to which Christ is spoken of as “Lord of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We have further not to understand τοῦ πνεύματος collectively (Vatablus, Grotius, Estius, Wolf, Michaelis, Holzhausen); for the ἐξουσία τοῦ ἀέρος is, indeed, the sum total of the plurality of the demons, but the spirit, which is brought by its ruler, the devil, into the hearts of men and operates within them, is in all υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθ. one and the self-same spirit, just as the Holy Spirit is in all individuals who believe one and the same. Others regard τοῦ πνεύματος as apposition to τὸν ἄρχ. τ. ἐξουσ. τ. ἀέρ., in that they either assume the use of an abnormal case occasioned by a deviation from the construction (genitive for accusative), as Piscator, Calovius, Semler, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Rückert, de Wette, Bleek, or look upon the genitive as one of apposition to τὸν ἄρχοντα, as Flatt. But how purely arbitrary is the former! and how impossible the latter, since τὸν ἄρχοντα in accordance with its significance demands a defining genitive, and already has it in τῆς ἐξουσ. τ. ἀέρ., and consequently τοῦ πνεύματος cannot be taken in any other relation!

νῦν] is emphatic,—not, however, as Meier supposes (comp. Zanchius): “even now, when it is so powerfully counteracted by the gospel,” which must have been expressed by καὶ νῦν (as Ignat. ad Smyrn. interp. 7); but νῦν stands opposed to the preceding ποτέ, when the diabolic πνεῦμα was active in all, even in the readers. Comp. Ephesians 2:3. Rückert (comp. Bengel and Holzhausen) thinks of the extraordinary, especially dangerous power which the Satanic kingdom developed just at the time of the redemption (2 Thessalonians 2:2 ff.); so also de Wette. But that could not be understood from the simple ἐνεργ., and would have required the addition of a περισσοτέρως, ὑπερβαλλόντως, or the like. According to Olshausen, νῦν is to be held as opposed to the future age, and to make the diabolic activity appear as limited, in contrast to the everlasting, divine activity of the Holy Spirit. But a contrast to the αἰὼν μέλλων is not at all implied in the context; indeed, it was entirely self-evident that the Satanic activity extends only to the time before the Parousia; how then could it occur to a reader to find in the νῦν a negation of the αἰὼν μέλλων?

ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθ.] in their souls. The expression υἱοὶ τ. ἀπείθ. is Hebraizing (for among Greek writers are found only such expressions as υἷες ἀχαιῶν, παῖδες ζωγράφων, and the like, but not with abstract nouns; see Blomfield, Gloss. Pers. 408, p. 138; Stallb. ad Plat. Phil. p. 107), and denotes the dependence which has its basis in the relation of the person or thing concerned to the genitive-noun, here the genesis of the spiritual condition, so that τοῖς ἐξ ἀπειθείας (comp. Romans 2:8) would signify the same thing. Comp. Winer, p. 213 [E. T. 298]. The opposite is τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, 1 Peter 1:14. By ἀπείθεια, however, is not meant unbelief (Luther, Bengel, Koppe, Harless, and others); for this could only be logically included under the notion of disobedience as refusal of belief, consequently as opposite to the ὑπακοὴ πίστεως (Romans 1:5; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11; and see Fritzsche on Romans 11:30). And with that sense in the present case the following ἐν αἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες would be at variance, since not all Jewish-Christians had, like Paul, resisted the faith. Now, as Paul is speaking only of the immorality of the unbelievers (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:3), ἀπείθεια is here the want of compliance towards God (Romans 11:30), i.e. towards His revealed and natural law respectively (Romans 2:8 ff.), displaying itself through their immoral conduct.


Verse 3

Ephesians 2:3. After the apostle has just depicted the pre-Christian corruption of the readers, who were Gentile-Christians, the sinful corruptness of all—this basis for his enthusiastic certainty of the universality of the redemption (Romans 1:18Romans 2:24, Romans 3:19; Romans 3:23, Romans 11:32; Galatians 2:15-16; Galatians 3:22, al.)—presents itself at the same time with such vividness before his mind, that he now also includes with the others the whole body of the Jewish-Christians ( καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες) in the same state of corruption, and accordingly, on the resumption of the argument at Ephesians 2:4, he cannot again employ the second person introduced in Ephesians 2:1, but must change this into ἡμᾶς. Inasmuch as καὶ ἡμεῖς, we also, must necessarily denote the class falling to be added to ὑμᾶς, Ephesians 2:1, we cannot understand by it the Christians generally (Estius, Koppe, and others); but, since the ὑμεῖς are Gentile-Christians, we must take it to mean the Jewish-Christians. The general moral description which follows is not opposed to this view (as de Wette objects), since it was the very object of the apostle to delineate the essential equality in the moral condition of both.(132) Comp. Romans 1:2-3. De Wette explains it quite arbitrarily: “we also, who have been already a considerable time Christians.”

ἐν οἷς] is not to be referred to τοῖς παραπτώματι, Ephesians 2:1 (Peshito, Jerome, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Baumgarten, Koppe, Rosenmüller), for that reference is not to be supported by Colossians 3:7, but, on the contrary, is impossible with the reading ὑμῶν after ἁμαρτ., Ephesians 2:1, and is, moreover, to be rejected, because Paul has not again written ἐν αἷς, and because the reference to the nearest subject is altogether suitable; for the Jewish-Christians also all walked once among the disobedient, as belonging to the ethical category of the same, inasmuch as they likewise before their conversion were through their immoral walk disobedient towards God (Romans 2:17 ff.; Romans 2:2; Romans 3:9 ff.).

ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμ. τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμ.] more precise definition to what has just been said ἐν οἷςἀνεστράφημεν ποτέ, denoting the immoral domain of the pre-Christian state (2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 2:18; comp. Xen. Ages. ix. 4; Plat. Legg. ix. p. 865 E Polyb. ix. 21. 5), in which this walk took place, namely, in the desires of our corporeo-psychical human nature, whose impulses, adverse to God, had not yet experienced the overcoming influence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:14 ff; Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:17; Romans 8:2, al.), and hence rendered ineffectual the moral volition directed towards the divine law (Romans 7:17-20). The opposite is: πνεύματι περιπατεῖν καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς μὴ τελεῖν, Galatians 5:16; comp. Romans 8:13.

ποιοῦντες κ. τ. λ.] so that we, etc., now specifies the way and manner of this walk, wherein the prefixed ποιοῦντες has the emphasis, in that it predicates what they did, as afterwards ἦμεν, what they were. The θελήματα (comp. on the plural, Acts 13:22; Jeremiah 23:26; 2 Maccabees 1:3) are here in reality not different from the ἐπιθυμίαι, which, however, are conceived of as activities of the will, that take place on the part of the σάρξ and the διάνοιαι (both conceived of under a personified aspect as the power ruling the ego of the unconverted man). As regards τῶν διανοιῶν, which stands related to τῆς σαρκός as the special to the general, the bad connotation is not implied in the plural, as Harless conjectures (who finds therein “fluctuating, changing opinions”), but in the context, which makes us think of the unholy thoughts,(133) whose volitions were directed to evil, in the state of disobedience. Comp. Numbers 15:39 : μνησθήσεσθε πασῶν τῶν ἐντολῶν κυρίου καὶ ποιήσετε αὐτάς· καὶ οὐ διαστραφήσεσθε ὀπίσω τῶν διανοιῶν ὑμῶν; also Jeremiah 23:26; Isaiah 55:9 ( τὰ διανοήματα), where likewise the prejudicial connotation lies not in the plural, but in the connection.

καὶ ἦμεν τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς] Instead of continuing the construction in uniformity with ποιοῦντες by καὶ ὄντες, the apostle passes over, as at Ephesians 1:20 (see on that passage), emphatically into the oratio finita, depicting, after the immoral mode of action, the unhappy condition in which withal we found ourselves. The fact that on this account ἦμεν is prefixed has been left unnoticed, and hence καὶ ἦμεν has been either tacitly (so usually) or expressly (as by Fritzsche, Conject. p. 45, who takes ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμ. τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν ποιοῦντες κ. τ. λ. together as one clause) connected with ἐν οἷςἀνεστρ. Harless regards the words as only a supplemental and more exact definition and modification of the thought expressed immediately before; but in that case an isolation of the words is needlessly assumed, and likewise the correlation of the prefixed verbs ποιοῦντες and ἦμεν is overlooked.

τέκνα ὀργῆς are children of wrath (comp. on Ephesians 2:2), that is, however, not merely those worthy of wrath (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Castalio, Calvin, Grotius, and others), which relation of dependence is not in keeping with the context, but, as νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτ. shows, Ephesians 2:1, subject to wrath, irae dbnoxii, standing under wrath (comp. Ephesians 5:8; Matthew 23:15; John 17:12). So most expositors rightly take it. To whose wrath they were subject, Paul does not indicate (for he does not write τῆς ὀργῆς, comp. Romans 12:19), but (comp. Romans 4:15) he leaves it to the reader to say for himself that it is God’s wrath he has to think of (see Ephesians 2:4). As to the wrath of God,—which here, too, is not to be understood merely of that of the future judgment (Ritschl, de ira Dei, p. 17),—the holy emotion of absolute displeasure at evil, which is necessarily posited by absolute love to the good, and is thus the necessary principle of temporal and eternal punishment on the part of God (not the punishment itself), comp. on Romans 1:18.

φύσει] dative of the more precise mode (= κατὰ φύσιν), may either attach itself merely to τέκνα (not to ἦμεν), so that the idea expressed is: nature-children, τέκνα φυσικὰ ὀργῆς (see on such datives joined on to nouns, Lobeck, ad Phryn p. 688; Heind. ad Cratyl. p. 131); or it may more precisely define the whole notion τέκνα ὀργῆς, thus: wrath-children by nature, τέκνα ὀργῆς φυσικά; so that the τέκνα ὀργ., like υἱοὶ τ. ἀπειθείας, Ephesians 2:2, forms a single idea. The latter is the correct view, because τέκνα is used figuratively and receives the real contents of the conception only by means of ὀργῆς, for which reason it is not to be thought of as separated therefrom.(134) The notion of φύσει must obtain its more precise definition solely from the context, as to whether, namely, it betokens an innate relation (as in Galatians 2:15; Xen. Mem. i. 4. 14; Dem. 1411 ult.; Soph. Aj. 1280; O. C. 1297; Isoc. Evag. 16: τῷ μὲν γὰρ ἦν φύσει πατρίς, τὸν δὲνόμῳ πολίτην ἐπεποίηντο; specially instructive are Plat. Prot. p. 323 C D, Dem. 774, 7),—whether it is consequently equivalent to γενέσει, and the sonship of wrath is ἔμφυτος, a qualitas innata (Wisdom of Solomon 12:10, comp. Wisdom of Solomon 13:1, and thereon Grimm, Handb. p. 233),—or, on the other hand, a relation brought about by development of a nativa indoles, one that has been produced by virtue of natural endowment (as Romans 2:14; 1 Corinthians 11:14; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 14, iv. 1. 3; Plat. Legg. vi. p. 777 D Ael. V. H. ii. 13. 3, xxii. 9. 1; see also Wetstein in loc., and Loesner, p. 340 f.). In the latter sense David is said by Josephus, Antt. vii. 7. 1, to have been φύσει δίκαιος καὶ θεοσεβής; comp. xiii. 10. 6. Philo, de conf. lingu. p. 327 E: ἀντιλογικοὶ φύσει, Xen. Oec. xx. 25: φύσει φιλογεωργότατος, Plut. Artax. Ephesians 6 : φύσει βαρύθυμος οὖσα, Arist. Polit. i. 1. 9: ἄνθρωπος φύσει πολιτικὸν ζῶον, and many others. According to this view, ἦμεν τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς would have to be paraphrased by: ἦμεν, τῇ φύσει χρησάμενοι, τέκνα ὀργῆς. From early times (see, already, Augustine, Retract, i. 10. 15; de verb. Revelation 14) the word in our passage has been employed in defence of original sin as an inborn condition of culpability (inborn peccatum vere damnans), as indeed even Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, Usteri,(135) Julius Müller, Lechler, Philippi, Thomasius, and others have understood an inborn childship of wrath. “Paulus nos cum peccato gigni testatur, quemadmodum serpentes suum venenum ex utero afferunt,” Calvin. “Hoc uno verbo, quasi fulmine, totus homo, quantus quantus est, prosternitur; neque enim naturam dicit laesam, sed mortuam per peccatum ideoque irae obnoxiam,” Beza. Comp. Form. Conc. p. 639 f. But (1) the context points, in Ephesians 2:1-3, as again also in Ephesians 2:5, to an actually produced, not to an inborn state of guilt.(136) Further, (2) if Paul had wished, after touching on the sinful action, to bring into prominence the inborn state of culpability, and so had taken the course ab effectu ad causam, φύσει would have an emphasis, which would make its critically assured position, as it stands in the Recepta, appear simply inappropriate; in fact, not even the position in Lachmann ( ἦμεν φύσει τέκνα ὀργῆς) would be sufficiently in keeping, but we should be obliged logically to expect: καὶ φύσει ἦμεν τέκνα ὀργῆς, “and (already) by birth were we children of wrath,” in which would lie the source of sinful action. But (3) the ecclesiastical dogma, that man is a born subject of wrath, from birth an object of the divine condemnation, is not at all a doctrine of the apostle, according to whom man by his actual sin falls under the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; Romans 2:8-9; Romans 7:7 f., al.), inasmuch, namely, as he becomes subject to and follows the inborn principle of sin (Romans 7:14 ff.), in opposition to his moral will, which he likewise by nature bears in himself; in connection with which, we may add, bodily death has its causal basis not in the individual sin of the particular persons, but in the connection of the whole race with the fall and death-penalty of its first progenitor (see on Romans 5:12). And (4) how could Paul, speaking of the Jews, predicate of them an inborn childship of wrath, when he regarded them as κλάδους ἁγίους τῆς ῥίζης ἁγίας (Romans 11:16)! They were in fact οἱ κατὰ φύσιν κλάδοι of the sacred olive-tree of the theocracy (Romans 11:21); how could they be at the same time the opposite (observe the κατὰ φύσιν), born τέκνα ὀργῆς? See also Galatians 2:15, where the φύσει ἰουδαῖοι are opposed to the ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἁμαρτωλοί,(137) as well as Romans 9:4, where of them is predicated the possession of the υἱοθεσία, consequently the type of the Christian childship of God, whereof the inborn childship of wrath would be the direct opposite. See, generally, on the sanctity of the people of God, Ewald, Alterth. p. 262 ff. Several have found in φύσει the sense: “apart from the special relation in which they as Israelites stood to God” (Thomasius, I. p. 289); but this is just a mere saving clause obtruded on the text, in connection with which there is nevertheless retained the un-Pauline conception of born liability to wrath, consequently of condemnation from the very first, without any personal participation and contracting of guilt, before one yet knows sin (Romans 7:7). This remark also holds in opposition to the essentially similar interpretation in Hofmann, p. 565, comp. Schmid, bibl. Theol. II. p. 274, and Julius Müller, v. d. Sünde, p. 377 f. Further, (5) if Paul had thought of an inborn liability to wrath, he could not have regarded even the children of Christians as holy and pure (1 Corinthians 7:14); and infant baptism must have been already ordained in the N.T., and that, indeed, with the absolute necessity, which had to be subsequently assigned to it in consistency with the elaboration of the dogma of original sin bringing eternal condemnation on every one born by ordinary generation. The explanation of an inborn state of wrath (which also does not tally with the fact that Jesus promises the kingdom of heaven to those who should be like children, Matthew 18:2 f., Matthew 19:14 f.) is accordingly to be rejected as opposed to the context and un-Pauline; and φύσει defines the childship of wrath to the effect, that it has arisen in virtue of natural constitution (observe the just-mentioned ἐπιθυμίαι τῆς σαρκός, comp. the νόμος ἐν τοῖς μέλεσι, which overcomes the moral law in man, Romans 7:23-24). Certainly man is born with this natural, sinful quality, i.e. with the principle of sin, by the awakening and development of which the moral will is vanquished (Romans 7; comp. also John 3:6); it is not, however, the mere fact of this inborn presence having its basis in his σάρξ, that in and of itself(138) makes him the child of wrath (comp. Beyschlag, Christol. d. N.T. p. 207), but he only becomes so, when that constitution of his moral nature, that mingling of two opposite principles in his natural disposition, has—which, however, is the case with every one (Romans 3:9; Romans 11:32; Galatians 3:22)—brought about the victory of the sin-principle, and therewith the σαρκικόν and πεπραμένον ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι (Romans 7:14).(139) Others, such as Erasmus, Balduin, Bengel, Morus, Koppe, Stolz, Flatt, Matthies, de Wette, Bleek (comp. also Weber, vom Zorn Gottes, p. 88), have explained it of the so-called natural state of man, i.e. of the state of the pre-Christian life, which was as yet aloof from the influence of χάρις (Ephesians 2:5 ff.) and of the Holy Spirit; but in this way, properly speaking, nothing is explained; for while the whole description, and not merely φύσει, delineates “the natural state in which the redemptive activity of God found the nations” (de Wette), in connection with φύσει there always remains the special question, whether the “by nature” denotes an inborn relation to wrath or not. Holzhausen would even combine φύσει ὀργῆς (“wrath which comes from the ungodly nature-life”),—a view from which, even if φύσις meant nature-life, the very absence of any article ought in itself to have precluded him; τῆς τῇ φύσει ὀργῆς, or τῆς ἐκ τῆς φύσ. ὀργῆς, or the like, must have been used. Moreover, Cyril, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Grotius, erroneously hold φύσει as equivalent to ἀληθῶς (comp. others in Jerome, who take it as prorsus), which it never is, not even in Galatians 4:8, to which Grotius appeals. Lastly, in a quite peculiar way Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, II. p. 174 ff., obtains the exact opposite of a born liability to wrath by conducting his interpretation so as to enclose τέκνα φύσει within two commas, and to connect ὀργῆς with ἦμεν: “We were in consequence of our actual sinfulness, although children [of God in the Israelitish sense, Romans 9:4] by nature, liable to wrath even as the Gentiles;” according to which, therefore, ἦμεν ὀργῆς is explained from the well-known usage of εἶναί τινος in the sense of “belonging to.” But it may be decisively urged against this view, first, that the supplying the thought of θεοῦ after τέκνα (as Isaiah 63:8; Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:6) is not in any way suggested by the context, but is purely arbitrary, and the more so, inasmuch as there is already in the text a genitive which offers itself to complete the notion of τέκνα; and secondly, that there is nothing to indicate the contrast assumed by Ernesti (although, etc.), for in order to write in some measure intelligibly, Paul must at least have said: καὶ ἦμεν τέκνα μὲν φύσει, ὀργῆς δέ, although this, too, on account of the absence of a definition to τέκνα, would have been enigmatic enough. Equally to be rejected is the quite similar interpretation of Nickel (in Reuter’s Repert. 1860, Oct., p. 16), who explains as though the words ran: καὶ ἦμεν θεοῦ μὲν τέκνα φύσει, ὀργῆς δὲ τέκνα.

ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί] sc. ἦσαν. The λοιποί are the Gentiles (Romans 3:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:13), and καί is not adhuc (Grotius), but the also of comparison.


Verse 4

Ephesians 2:4. Now begins, after the intervening clauses, Ephesians 2:2-3, the resumption, and that with the subject, which Paul already had in mind at Ephesians 2:1. See on Ephesians 2:1. It is not, however, by οὖν, but by δέ, that the thought is taken up again, because that which is now to be spoken of (the abundant compassion of God) stands in an adversative relation to what has been said in the relative clauses. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 377.

πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει κ. τ. λ.] The connection is: God, however, since He is rich in mercy, has for His much love’s sake made … us … alive in Christ. As to the distinction between ἔλεος and οἰκτιρμός, see on Romans 9:15. On ἐν ἐλέει, comp. 1 Corinthians 1:5; James 2:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18.

διὰ τὴν πολλ. ἀγάπην αὐτοῦ] namely, in order to satisfy it.(140) Luther erroneously renders: through His great love. The Vulgate, rightly: propter, etc. Comp. Philemon 1:8. We may add that not αὑτοῦ is to be written, but αὐτοῦ, as at Ephesians 1:6.

ἣν ἠγάπ. ἡμ.] as in John 17:26. Comp. the classical ἔρωτα ἐρᾶν, Lobeck, Paral. p. 516. The manifestation of the divine love thereby meant is the atoning death of Christ, in which, in pursuance of the abundance of the divine compassion, the great love of God communicated itself to us. Romans 5:18; John 3:16; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25.

ἡμᾶς] After the glance has extended from the readers (Ephesians 2:1-2) also to the Jewish Christians (Ephesians 2:3), the resumption of the object with ἡμᾶς now embraces both, the Jewish and Gentile Christians.


Verse 5

Ephesians 2:5. The καί is not to be taken as in Ephesians 2:1 (“also us collectively,” Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and earlier expositors), which, apart from the universal reference of the ἡμᾶς, the order of the words forbids ( καὶ ἡμᾶς must have been written), according to which, also, the καί of Ephesians 2:1 can by no, means be here resumed (Rückert, Matthies, Holzhausen, and most of the older expositors); further, καί is not, with Koppe, to be taken as although, seeing that, in fact, a making alive cannot take place otherwise than from a state of death, and consequently καί cannot convey any climactic stress, on which account Harless explains incorrectly from a logical point of view: “even in the state of death, in which we were” (comp. Calvin and de Wette). Erasmus paraphrases as though καί stood before συνεζωοπ., and even the shift to which Morus has recourse, that καί corresponds to the καί of Ephesians 2:6 (non modo … verum etiam), would demand this position. Others give other explanations, and many are silent with regard to it. If καί were also, it would have to be referred to ὄντας,(141) and would express the reality of the relation asserted in Ephesians 2:1 (Hartung, I. p. 132 f.). But there would be nothing to call for the assurance of this reality. It is rather the simple copula: and, annexing to the διὰ τ. πολλ. ἀγ. ἣν ἠγ. ἡμ. a further element.(142) The two elements, side by side, place in the full light what God has done. God has, on account of His much love, and when we were dead in the sins, made us alive with Christ. The καί might also be omitted; but the keeping of the points thus apart strengthens the representation.

τοῖς παραπτ.] The article denotes the sins, which we had committed, with a retrospective glance at Ephesians 2:1.

συνεζωοποίησε τῷ χρ.] is by most expositors (including Flatt, Rückert, Meier, Matthies, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel, Hofmann, Bleek) understood of new spiritual quickening (“justificationem et regenerationem nostram complectitur,” Boyd; Rückert would have us think mainly of the justification). But how is this to be justified from the context? If the reader was reminded by νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτ. of the eternal death, to which he had been subjected by his pre-Christian life of sin (see on Ephesians 2:1), he would now have to think of the eternal life, which begins with the resurrection, and he could the less think of anything else than of this real resurrection-life, since afterwards there is further expressed the translation together into heaven, and then, in Ephesians 2:7, the intention of God is referred to the times after the Parousia. And had not already Ephesians 1:18 f. pointed definitely to the future κληρονομία? How, in this connection, could a reader light upon the merely ethical, spiritual quickening (Romans 6:4 f.; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19 f.)? No, God has made believers alive with Christ; i.e. in Christ’s revivification, which God has wrought, theirs also is included. By virtue of the dynamic connection in which Christ stands with His believers, as the head with its body (Ephesians 1:23), their revivification is objectively comprehended in His,—a relation, in fact, of which the Christian is conscious in faith; “quum autem fides suscipitur, ea omnia a Deo applicantur homini, et ab homine rata habentur,” Bengel. So the matter stands in the view of the apostle as accomplished, because the making alive of Christ is accomplished; the future actual making alive, or, as the case may be, change at the Parousia (1 Corinthians 15:23), is then the subjective individual participation of that which is already objectively given on the part of God in the resurrection of Christ. Certainly Paul might, in accordance with another mode of looking at it, have expressed himself by the future, as at 1 Corinthians 15:22; cf. Romans 8:17; but who does not feel that by means of the aorist (“ponitur autem aoristus de re, quae, quamvis futura sit, tamen pro peracta recte censeatur, cum … alia re jam facta contineatur,” Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 206) the matter stands forth more forcibly and triumphantly out of the believing conviction of the apostle? οὓς ἐδικαίωσε τούτους καὶ ἐδόξασε, Romans 8:30.

The σύν in συνεζωοπ. is by Beza, erroneously referred to the coagmentatio gentium et Judaeorum, a reference which is forbidden by the τῷ χριστῷ; and by Grotius, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and others, it is explained ad exemplum (comp. Anselm: sicut), by which the Pauline idea of fellowship with Christ, which also lay at the bottom of Ephesians 1:19, is quite arbitrarily explained away.

Comp. on Colossians 2:13; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12.

χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμ.] by grace (not by merit) are ye partakers of the Messianic salvation! an impassioned (hence expressed in the second person), parenthetic reminding the readers of the divine basis of the salvation which had accrued to them, designated by συνεζωοποίησε; a reminding, which was very natural for the apostle in general (for its tenor was the sum of his doctrine and the constant echo of his own experience, 1 Corinthians 15:10), and more especially here, where he represents the quickening of believers as accomplished with the making alive of Christ, which could not but repel even the most distant thought of personal merit. In connection with συνεζωοπ. τ. χρ. the possession of the Messianic bliss is designated as an already accomplished fact, although it was before the Parousia (Colossians 3:3 f.) merely a possession in hope (Romans 8:24), and the final realization was yet future (Romans 5:10). That the χάριτι emphatically placed at the beginning (for “gratiam esse docet proram et puppim,” Bengel) means the grace of God, not of Christ (Beza; comp. the inserted οὗ in D* E F G, Vulg. It. Victorin. Aug. Ambrosiaster), is manifest from the context, in which God is constantly the subject.


Verse 6

Ephesians 2:6. After the making alive of Christ in the grave followed His resurrection, with which Paul regards that of believers as likewise accomplished. Hence: καὶ συνήγειρε, which in like manner is not to be taken in the spiritual sense (“to make them enter upon the new life of grace,” Rückert); but see on Ephesians 2:5. With strange inconsistency several expositors, such as Menochius, Zanchius, Boyd, Estius, Grotius, although taking συνεζωοπ. metaphorically, nevertheless have taken this συνήγειρε (as well as the element that follows) in a literal sense, and mentally supplied nempe spe, or the like.

καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρ.] and has given to us joint-seat in the heavenly regions (comp. Ephesians 1:20), so that we have part (see on 1 Corinthians 6:2) in the dominion of the Exalted One (2 Timothy 2:12); which Paul likewise sees as already accomplished(143) with the installing of Christ at the right hand of God; hence, there was no need at all for supplying the thought jure et virtute spirituali (Bengel), or for a transference of the matter to the praescientia Dei (Jerome), and other such expedients.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] belongs to συνήγειρε and συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουραν., so that what was expressed in the case of συνεζωοπ. by ( συν) τῷ χριστῷ, is here expressed, in yet more exact conception of the relation, by ( συν) ἐν χριστῷ (jointly in Christ). Inasmuch, namely, as God raised and exalted Christ ( ἐν χριστῷ), He has raised and exalted us with Him. ἐν χριστῷ accordingly is by no means intended to denote the συγκαθίζειν as figurative (Olshausen).

On ἐν τοῖς ἐπουραν. (see on Ephesians 1:3) Bengel, we may add (comp. already Estius), aptly remarks: “non dicit in dextra; Christo sua manet excellentia.” The transitive συγκαθίζειν is not elsewhere preserved.


Verse 7

Ephesians 2:7. Aim of God in connection with what is said, Ephesians 2:5-6.

ἵνα ἐνδείξηται] prefixed with emphasis: in order—not to leave concealed and unknown, but—to exhibit and make manifest, etc. Comp. Romans 9:23.

ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχ.] in the ages coming on, i.e. in the times after the Parousia, as being already on the approach (comp. LXX. Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:11; Judith 9:5; 3 Maccabees 5:2; Luke 21:26; James 5:1; Hom. Od. xxiv. 142; Thuc. i. 126; Plat. Soph. p. 234 D Aesch. Prom. 98: τὸ παρὸν τό τʼ ἐπερχόμενον, Pind. Ol. x. 11: ἕκαθεν γὰρ ἐπελθὼν μέλλων χρόνος). In the times from the Parousia (conceived as near at hand) onward, the manifestation designed by God of His grace towards believers was to take place, because not before, but only after the Parousia, would the making alive of the believers, etc., implicitly contained in the making alive of Christ, be actually accomplished in the subjects. Incorrect, seeing that the apostle was previously speaking, not of the spiritual, but of the real resurrection, etc., is the rendering of Morus: “per omne vestrum tempus reliquum quum in hac vita tum in futura quoque,” as well as that of Wolf (comp. Calvin, Piscator, Boyd, Estius, Calixtus, Michaelis, Zachariae, Meier, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek): “tempora inde ab apostolicis illis ad finem mundi secutura.” Koppe brings out, “ut aeternum duraturum argumentum extaret,” which is quite mistaken, since, while it is true that the αἰῶνες οἱ ἐπερχόμενοι are eternal times, the words do not signify tempora aeternum futura. Respecting the plural τοῖς αἰῶσι, comp. on Ephesians 3:21. To infer from this that the setting in of the Messianic period will not be accomplished suddenly, but by way of successive development (Schenkel), is at variance with the whole N.T. The future αἰών sets in through the Parousia very suddenly and in an instant, Matthew 24:27; 1 Corinthians 15:52, al. Hence we have not mentally to supply with ἐνδείξ. anything like: “ever more completely” (Flatt), or “ever more effectively” (Schenkel), which is sheer caprice.

The form τὸ πλοῦτος is here also decisively attested. See on Ephesians 1:7.

ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] is to be taken together, and the instrumental ἐν indicates by what God will manifest the exceeding great riches of His grace in the ages to come, by kindness towards us in Christ Jesus, i.e. by means of the fact that He shows Himself gracious towards us, of which the ground lies in Christ (not in us, see Ephesians 2:8). The article was not at all requisite before ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, since χρηστότητι is anarthrous, and besides χρηστότης ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, like χρηστὸν εἶναι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς (Luke 6:35), can be closely joined together in thought. Comp. on Ephesians 1:15.

The χάρις is the source of the χρηστότης, which latter displays itself in forgiving (comp. Prayer of Manass. 11; Titus 3:4; Romans 2:4) and in benefiting, and therefore is the evidence of the former, the opposite of ἀποτομία, Romans 11:22. Comp. Tittmann, Synon. p. 195; van Hengel, ad Rom. II. p. 682.


Verse 8

Ephesians 2:8. How entirely was I justified in saying: τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ! for, etc. Thus Paul now expresses himself with more detail as to the great truth, of which his heart was so full that it had already, Ephesians 2:5, interrupted the course of his address.

τῇ χάριτι] by the grace. By the article the divine grace just now spoken of is indicated, after it had been meant doubtless by the anarthrous χάριτι, Ephesians 2:5, but designated by it only as regards the category (by grace).

διὰ τῆς πίστεως] for the faith in the atonement made by Christ (Romans 3:25; Romans 3:30, al.) is, as the causa apprehendens of the Messianic salvation, the necessary mediate instrument on the part of man, while the χάρις is the divine motive, the causa efficiens of the bestowal. The emphasis, however, is retained by τῇ χάριτι alone, and διὰ τῆς πίστ. is only the modal definition to σεσωσμ.

καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν κ. τ. λ.] Nothing is here to be treated as parenthesis; neither the whole καὶ τοῦτο down to ἔργων, Ephesians 2:9 (Griesbach, Scholz), nor merely θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον (Lachmann, Harless, de Wette), since neither the construction nor the course of thought is interrupted. καὶ τοῦτο is referred by the Fathers in Suicer, Thes. II. p. 728, Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Estius, Wolf, Bengel, Michaelis, and others, including Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, to the faith ( τὸ πιστεύειν), comp. Philippians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 4:14. In that case καὶ τοῦτοδῶρον would have to be taken parenthetically. But how violent is this taking to pieces of the text, since οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν and οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων present themselves in a manner alike natural and weighty as elements belonging to one flow of the discourse! Rightly, therefore, have Calvin, Calovius, Baumgarten, Semler, Zachariae, Morus, and others, including Rückert, Matthies, Holzhausen, Harless, de Wette, Schenkel, Bleek, referred it to the salvation just designated as regards its specific mode. Paul very earnestly and emphatically enters into more detailed explanations as to what he had just said, τῇ γὰρ χάριτι κ. τ. λ., namely to the effect, that he briefly and forcibly places in the light of the respective contrasts, first, that objective element of the saving deliverance which has taken place ( τῇ χάριτι) by οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον, and then the subjective element ( διὰ τῆς πίστεως), by οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἵνα μ. τ. καυχ. His thought is: “Through grace you are in possession of salvation by means of faith, and that to the exclusion of your own causation and operative agency.” This latter he expresses with the vivacity and force of contrast thus: “and that ( καὶ τοῦτο, see on Romans 3:11) not from you, it is God’s gift; not from works, in order that no one may boast.” The asyndetic juxtaposition takes place with a “propria quadam vi, alacritate, gravitate,” Dissen, Exc. II. ad Pind. p. 273.

οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν] negatives their own personal authorship of the salvation (Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 551 f.).

θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον] i.e. θεοῦ δῶρον τὸ δῶρον, God’s gift is the gift in question (namely, the σεσωσμένον εἶναι). Comp. already Bengel.

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων] Parallel of οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, hence to be completed by ἐστὲ σεσωσμένοι (not by τὸ δῶρόν ἐστι), not from work-merit does it come that you have the salvation. The ἔργα would exclude the πίστις as the subjective condition of salvation (Romans 3:28; Romans 4:5; Romans 9:32; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:2), as ἐξ ὑμῶν would exclude the χάρις as the objective cause of salvation, because it presupposes the ἰδία δικαιοσύνη (Romans 10:3). No doubt ἐξ ἔργων excludes also the χάρις, as does likewise ἐξ ὑμῶν exclude the πίστις; but the two elements opposed to the χάρις and the πίστις are, on occasion of the proposition τῇ γὰρ χάριτιπίστεως, held apart after the manner of a formal parallelism. That, moreover, the notion of the ἔργα is determined not merely by the Jewish law, but—inasmuch as the readers were for the most part Gentile-Christians—also by the natural law (Romans 2:14 f.), is self-evident. The proposition in itself, however, οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, is so essential and universally valid a fundamental proposition of the Pauline Gospel, and certainly so often expressed by the apostle among Jews and Gentiles, that the severe judgment as to its having no meaning, when laid down without reference to the Mosaic law, must appear unfounded (in opposition to de Wette).

ἵνα] design of God in the relation indicated by οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, not ecbatic (Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen). Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:29; 1 Corinthians 1:31, and as regards the thing itself, Romans 3:27. Grotius aptly says: “quicquid est in flumine, fonti debetur,” which, however, is not to be limited merely to the prima gratia. See Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 15:10.


Verse 10

Ephesians 2:10. Reason assigned for the previous οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶνκαυχήσ. If, namely, we are God’s ποίημα, our Messianic salvation cannot be of our own acquiring, but only God’s gift; and if we are created in Christ unto good works, how could merit of works (which would need to have been already acquired in the time anterior to this our creation) be the cause of our salvation, and subject of our own boasting? The argumentative stress lies consequently (1) on αὐτοῦ, and (2) on κτισθέντες; and then οἷς προητοίμασεν κ. τ. λ. is an elucidation significantly bearing on κτισθέντες ἐν χ. . ἐπὶ ἔργ. ἀγ., which makes the impossibility of pre-Christian merit of works thoroughly palpable.

αὐτοῦ] with emphasis: His, just His work, and no other’s, are we. Comp. Hom. Od. x. 27: αὐτῶν γὰρ ἀπωλόμεθʼ ἀφραδίησιν. Winer, p. 140 [E. T. 193].

ποίημα, thing made (comp. Romans 1:20), refers to the ethical creation (that of the new spiritual state of life), which the Christian as such has experienced ( παλιγγενεσία, Titus 3:5), not, as Tert. c. Marc. v. 17, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil, and Photius would have it, to the physical creation (the spiritual being only introduced by κτισθέντες κ. τ. λ.), which is opposed to the context, as is also the combination of the two creations by Pelagius, Erasmus, Matthies, and Rückert: “as Christians we … are God’s work just as well, as in respect of our being men at all.” Only the form, in which the constituting of the new condition of life is expressed, is derived from the physical creation.

κτισθέντες] by God at our conversion.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] for εἴ τις ἐν χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15. Christ is the specific element of life, within which the ethical ποίημα θεοῦ has come to pass, but apart from which this creative process has not taken place.

ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς] moral aim. On the thing itself, comp. Romans 8. That, by which God prepares what is created by Him in Christ for this moral end, is the Holy Spirit, Romans 8; Galatians 3:2; John 3:5 f. Good works (not ἔργα νόμου) are fruits of regeneration, different from ἔργων, Ephesians 2:9.

οἷς προητοίμ. θεός] οἷς is to be taken, according to the usual attraction (see Winer, p. 147 f. [E. T. 203]), for (Syriac, Gothic, Vulgate, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, Grotius, and others, including Harless, Matthies, Holzhausen, Olshausen, de Wette, Lamping, p. 87 f.; Bleek): which God hath before (previously to the κτισθένες) placed in readiness, in order that we might walk in them, that they might be the element in which our life-walk should take place ( τὴν ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς ἄπαυστον σχέσιν δηλοῖ, Oecumenius). The prefixed προητ. has in the circumstances significant emphasis. Paul conceives, namely, of the morally good works in which the walk of the Christian moves, as being already, even before his conversion, placed in readiness (Plut. Mor. p. 230 E Joseph. Antt. xvii. 5, 6; LXX. Isaiah 28:24; Wisdom of Solomon 9:8) by God, namely, in His decree. And this could not but be the case, if God would create unto good works. For, if the converted man is God’s creature, then the moral activity of life, in which the specific nature of the καινὴ κτίσις is to manifest itself, and without which he would not be God’s ποίημα and κτίσις, must likewise proceed from God; consequently, when the moral creative act (the regeneration) is accomplished, must already in God’s counsel and will be in such wise prepared and held ready for communication, that it has to receive the new creature from its Creator, and in this way to work the works of God. Thus these good works following regeneration are as it were outflowings from a divine treasure beforehand placed in readiness, from which the regenerate man has received them, when he does them and walks in them.(144) The sense of the word προετοιμάξειν is changed, if it is explained only as to predestine (Augustine and others, including Harless, Lamping), which would be expressed by προορίξειν (see Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 339); and it is rationalized away, when Olshausen says that the circumstances and relations, under which it is possible to men to perform good works, are ordained by God. It is not of the circumstances which render the works possible, but of the works themselves, that Paul affirms that God has before placed them in readiness; as accordingly, when they are accomplished, it is God who works the willing and working (Philippians 2:13). According to Hofmann, Sehriftbew. II. 1, p. 365, II. 2, p. 294, the good works are once for all present in Christ, so that they need not to be brought forth first by us the individuals, but are produced beforehand, in order that our fellowship with Christ may be also a fellowship of His conduct—that our walk in Him may be a walk in them. But in this way Paul would have left the very point of the thought in προητοίμ. (namely, in Christ) unexpressed. Others take οἷς as dative of the destination: wnto which God hath prepared us (Luther, Clericus, Semler, Michaelis, Zachariae, Morus, Flatt, Meier, Schenkel, and others). In this case, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπ. would by no means be a redundant and feeble tautology, as Harless supposes, but an emphatic epexegesis of οἷς. But against this view it may be urged that Paul must necessarily, because the verb would be quite objectless, have added ἡμᾶς,(145) the omission of which, considering the frequency of the attraction of οἷς for , could only have led the reader astray; moreover, προ would receive no emphasis accordant with the prefixing of προητοί΄., inasmuch as the time of the προετοι΄άζειν would coincide with that of the κτίζειν. Valla and Erasmus take οἷς as masculine: for whom He hath before appointed, that we, etc., to which also Rückert, although hesitating between this and the preceding explanation, is inclined. But how arbitrarily in this way is οἷς referred to what is more remote and different from αὐτοῖς! and how changed is the literal sense of προετοι΄άζειν! Quite arbitrary and erroneous, finally, is the view of Bengel, Koppe, and Rosenmüller, as also of Baumgarten-Crusius, that it is to be explained per Hebraismum (see, on the other hand, Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 139) for ἐν οἷς ἵνα περιπατήσωμεν προητ. θεός, in which case Koppe and Rosenmüller make προετοι΄άζειν equivalent to velle, jubere!

According to Schwegler, in Zeller’s Jahrb. 1844, p. 391; Baur, Paulus, p. 453, and de Wette, there is to be discovered in our passage the post-apostolic tendency to combine the doctrine of Paul ( οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων) with the Jewish-Christian view (that of James) concerning good works. As though the works were not in our passage too, as in all Pauline Epistles, based upon faith (observe, withal, ἐν χ. .)!

The Pauline faith has always moral practice as its necessary vital activity, and this is consequently always the aim (not: ultimate aim) of the new creation wrought through faith by means of the Spirit. We may add that the good works, even at our passage,—where, moreover, they are traced back wholly to God as the author,—are so far from being the condition of justification, that, on the contrary, the dogmatic canon here receives full confirmation: “Bona opera non praecedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum.” Comp. Calovius. Aptly does Bengel remark on περιπατ.: “ambularemus, non salvaremur aut viveremus.” The assertion, that here (and in Colossians) much greater importance is ascribed to good works than in the other letters of the apostle (Baur, neut. Theol. p. 270), is, looking even to Ephesians 2:7-9, incorrect.


Verse 11

Ephesians 2:11. διό] Therefore, because such exalted and unmerited benefits have been imparted to us (Ephesians 2:4-10). These benefits should move the reader to remember his former miserable heathen state ( ποτέ, Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:21), in order the more gratefully to appreciate, by contrast with the past, the value of his present state.

ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί] Neither ἦτε nor ὄντες is to be supplied, but (observe the order critically vouched for: ποτὲ ὑμεῖς) ὅτι is taken up again by the ὅτι of Ephesians 2:12, and ποτέ by τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, Ephesians 2:12; while τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί is a descriptive definition to ὑμεῖς, to which it is related by way of apposition, and οἱ λεγόμενοι κ. τ. λ. is attributive definition to ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί: that at one time ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, ye who (quippe qui) were named Foreskin … that ye at that time, etc.

τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί] is closely connected as one conception, and hence without the article before ἐν σαρκί. This ἐν σαρκί is, as to its meaning, necessarily defined by the undoubted meaning of the following ἐν σαρκί; on which account it is neither to be taken, as a contrast to regeneration, of the former unholy life of the readers (Ambrosiaster, Calovius, Wolf, Holzhausen), nor as origine carnali, natalibus (Bucer, Grotius, Estius, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt), nor is it to be generalized into respectu status externi (Morus). It has reference to the foreskin. In the flesh, on account of the non-circumcised foreskin, the character ethnicus was inherent.

The τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σ., with the article, designates the readers as to their category. The contempt, however, incurred in their pre-Christian state lies not in τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σ. (for this they still remained), but in the following οἱ λεγόμενοι κ. τ. λ.; although we may not, by mentally supplying (with Chrysostom and his successors) the contrast οὐκ ἐν πνεύματι, make ἐν σαρκί into an element of recommendation.

οἱ λεγόμενοιχειροπ.] is not to be placed in a parenthesis (Griesbach, Scholz), seeing that it is a continued description of the Gentile state of the readers. As the ἔθνη τῇ σαρκί, they were those designated by the name Foreskin! And, then, the delineation of this despised relation is brought to a yet higher climax when it is specified by whom they were thus reproachfully designated, namely, by the so-called Circumcision, which is made in the flesh with the hand. So low was the position you occupied! By those who bear the name of this surgical operation performed on the flesh (counterpart of the ideal circumcision, Romans 2:28 f.; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11; Acts 7:51), and hence have by it in and of itself no pre-eminence at all, you must allow yourselves to be designated, for want of this external rite, with the reproachful name of Foreskin! ἐν σαρκὶ χειροπ. does not pertain to λεγομ., but is an addition of the apostle himself to περιτ., describing how the matter stands. The abstracta ἀκροβ. and περιτ. do not here stand pro concretis, but are stated names, by which the concretes were in accordance with their peculiar character designated. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 : ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν σέβασμα. The circumstance that Paul, instead of ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης, has not again employed the plural expression ὑπὸ τῶν λεγομένων, is to be explained by the fact that he wishes to indicate the περιτομή as a name, which is not adequate to the idea of it in the case of the subjects so termed: by the so-called circumcision. The expression is depreciatory (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:5) as concerns the people who bore the name περιτομή; whereas οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία would indicate not the conception of “so-called,” but, in a purely objective manner, the mentioned fact: “those called Foreskin” (Hebrews 9:3).


Verse 12

Ephesians 2:12. As regards the construction, see on Ephesians 2:11.

τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ] takes the place of the ποτέ, Ephesians 2:11, and means the pre-Christian, heathen period of the readers. On the dative of time without ἐν, see Winer, p. 195 f. [E. T. 273 f.].

χωρὶς χριστοῦ] aloof from connection with Christ; for “ χωρίς ad subjectum, quod ab objecto sejunctum est, refertur,” Tittmann, Synon. p. 94. It is dependent on ἦτε as its first sad predicate, and does not belong, as a more precise definition, to the subject (“when ye were as yet without Christ,” Bleek), in which case it would in fact be entirely self-evident and superfluous. In how far the readers as Gentiles were without Christ, we are told in the sequel. They stood afar off and aloof from the theocratic bond, in which Christ would have been to them, in accordance with the promise, the object of their faith and ground of their salvation. If Paul had wished to express merely the negation of the Christian relation (ye were without knowledge of Christ; comp. Anselm, Calovius, Flatt), how tame and idle would this in itself have been! and, moreover, not in keeping with the connection of that which follows, according to which, as is already clear from Ephesians 2:11, Paul wishes to bring out the disadvantage at which the readers, as Gentiles, had been placed in contradistinction to the Jews. Hence Grotius rightly indicates the relation as to contrast of Ephesians 2:12 to Ephesians 2:13 : “Nunc eum (Christum) non minus possidetis vos quam ii, quibus promissus fuerat.” Rückert refers χωρὶς χ. to the activity of Christ under the O. T. previous to His incarnation, with an appeal to 1 Corinthians 10:4. Comp. Olshausen (“the immanence of Christ as regards His divinity in Israel”). But τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, in fact, applies to the pre-Christian lifetime of the readers, and thus comprises a time which was subsequent to the incarnation. χριστοῦ means the historical Christ, so far as He was the very promised Messiah. The relation χωρὶς χριστοῦ is described from the standpoint of the apostle, for whom the bond with the Messiah was the bond with Christ.

The charge that the author here makes an un-Pauline concession to Judaism (Schwegler, i.e. p. 388 f.) is incorrect, since the concession concerns only the pre-Christian relation. Comp. Romans 9:4-5. A superiority of Judaism, in respect of the pre-Christian relation to Christianity, Paul could not but necessarily teach (comp. Acts 3:25 f.; Romans 1:16; Romans 3:1 f.; Galatians 3:13 f.); but that Christianity as to its essential contents was Judaism itself, merely extended through the death of Christ to the Gentiles also, he has not taught either here or elsewhere; in fact, the doing away of the law taught by him in this very passage is the very opposite thereof (in opposition to Baur, Paulus, p. 545; Christenth. der drei ersten Jahrh. p. 107).

ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι κ. τ. λ.] Comp. on ἀπαλλοτριόω, Dem. 255, 3; Polyb. i. 79. 6, i. 82. 9; often in the LXX. (Schleusner, Thesaur. I. p. 325) and Josephus, Krebs, Obss. p. 326. The notion of alien does not here (comp. also Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:21) presuppose the existence of an earlier fellowship, but it was their status ethnicus itself,(146) by which the readers were at one time placed apart from connection with the πολιτεία τοῦ ἰσραήλ, i.e. whereby this ἀλλοτριότης took place. The opposite: ἴδιοι, οἰκεῖοι, συ΄πολῖται (Ephesians 2:19). πολιτεία signifies as well political constitution (Thuc. ii. 36; Plato, Polit. vii p. 520 B Legg. iv. p. 712 E Arist. Polit. iii. 4. 1; Isoc. Evag. viii. 10; Xen. Ages. i. 37; 2 Maccabees 4:11; 2 Maccabees 8:17) as right of citizenship (Herod, ix. 34; Dem. 161, 11; Thuc. vi. 104. 3; Diod. Sic. xii. 51; 3 Maccabees 3:21; Acts 22:28; Joseph. Antt. xii. 3. 1). The latter signification is assumed by Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Bullinger, Michaelis, and others. But the idea of right of citizenship was for the apostle, himself a Roman citizen, as well as for the readers, a secular privilege, and one therefore foreign to the connection of our passage, where everything points to the theocracy, and this was the political constitution of the Israelites.

τοῦ ἰσραήλ] The divine name of Jacob (Genesis 32:28; Genesis 35:10) is, according to the traditionally hallowed usage of the O. T., the theocratic name of his posterity, the Jewish people, Romans 9:6; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Galatians 6:16, al. The genitive, however, is not to be explained like ἄστυ ἀθηνῶν (Harless); for ἰσραήλ is the people, which has the polity.

καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγ.] and foreign to the covenants of the promise (not belonging thereto); these words are to be taken together (in opposition to Ambrosiaster, Cornelius a Lapide, Morus, Rosenmüller, and others, who attach τῆς ἐπαγγ. to what follows); for only thus do the two elements belonging to each other and connected by καί, which serve for the elucidation of χωρὶς χριστοῦ, stand in harmonious symmetry; only in this way, likewise, is similar justice done to the two last particulars connected by καί,

ἐλπίδα ΄ὴ ἔχοντες καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσ΄ῳ—which in their very generality and brevity carry the description of the Gentile misery to the uttermost point; only in this way, lastly, does ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν acquire the characteristic colouring which it needs, in order not to appear tame after ἀπηλλοτρ. τ. πολ. τ. ἰσρ., for precisely in the characteristic τῆς ἐπαγγ. lies the sad significance of the being apart from the πολιτεία τοῦ ἰσραήλ. The covenants of the promise, i.e. the covenants with which the promise κατʼ ἐξοχήν, namely, that of the Messianic salvation (Romans 9:4; Galatians 3), was connected, are the covenants made with Abraham (Genesis 12:2 f., Genesis 12:7, Genesis 13:15, Genesis 15:18, Genesis 17:20, Genesis 22:17 ff.) and repeated with the other patriarchs (Genesis 26:2 ff; Genesis 28:13 ff.), as also the covenant formed with the people through Moses. The latter is here (it is otherwise at Romans 9:4, where there specially follows νομοθεσία) neither excluded (Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, and others), seeing that this covenant also had the promise of Messianic life ( ποιήσας αὐτὰ ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς, Galatians 3:12), nor exclusively meant (Elsner and Wolf, as was already suggested by Beza). Either is arbitrary, and against the latter there may be urged specially the plural, as well as the eminent importance which Paul must have attributed to the patriarchal covenants in particular. On ξένος with a genitive (Kühner, II. p. 163), comp. Xen. Cyr. vi. 2. 1; Soph. Oed. R. 219; Plato, Apol. p. 17 D, al.

ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχ. κ. ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κ.] consequence of the preceding ἀπηλλοτρ.… ἐπαγγ., and in what a tragic climax! The very generality of the expressions, inasmuch as it is not merely a definite hope (Paul did not write τὴν ἐλπίδα) and a definite relation to God that are denied, renders these last traits of the picture so dark!

ἐλπίδα] Bengel: “Si promissionem habuissent, spem habuissent illi respondentem.” But in this way Paul must have written τὴν ἐλπίδα. No, those shut out from the promise are for the apostle men without hope at all; they have nothing to hope for, just because they have not to hope for the promised salvation. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Every explanation of a definite hope (of the resurrection and life everlasting, Bullinger, Grotius, and many; of the promised blessings, Estius; of deliverance, Harless; comp. Erasmus and others) conflicts with the absence of the article, and weakens the force of the picture.

μὴ ἔχοντες] μή is not to be explained from the dependence of the thought on what immediately precedes (“foreign to the covenants of the promise, without having hope,” as Harless would take it), by which the independence of the element ἐλπ. μὴ ἔχ. would be sacrificed to the injury of the symmetry and force of the passage; but the subjectivity of the negation results from ΄νη΄ονεύετε, ὅτι ἦτε, in accordance with which ΄ὴ ἔχοντες is a fact now conceived in the recollection of the readers (comp. Kühner, II. § 715, 3). The μή refers the ἐλπ. ΄ὴ ἔχ. to the conception of the subject of the governing verbum sentiendi ( μνημονεύετε).

ἄθεοι] the lowest stage of Gentile misery. We may explain the word (see, generally, Diog. Laert. vii. 119; Sturz in the Comm. soc. phil. Lips. II. p. 65 ff.; Meier in the Hall. Encykl. I. 24, p. 466 ff.), which occurs only here in the N.T., and not at all in the LXX. or Apocrypha, either: not believing in God, atheists (Plato, Apol. p. 26 C Lucian, Alex. 25; Aelian, V. H. ii. 31; comp. Ignat. ad Trall. 10: ἄθεοι ὄντες, τουτέστιν ἄπιστοι), or godless, impii, reprobate (Plato, Legg. xii. p. 966 E Xen. Anab. ii. 5. 39; Pindar, Pyth. iv. 288), or: without God, sine Deo (Vulgate), i.e. without divine help, without the protection and assistance of God (Soph. Oed. R. 633: ἄθεος, ἄφιλος, comp. 254). The last-mentioned sense, as yielding the saddest closing predicate (comp. ἀθεεί, Hom. Od. xviii. 352; Mosch. ii. 148), is here to be preferred. The Gentiles had gods, which, however, were no gods (Acts 19:26; Acts 14:15; Galatians 4:8); but, on the contrary, what they worshipped and honoured as divinities, since the forsaking of the natural knowledge of God (Romans 1:19 ff.), were demons (1 Corinthians 10:20); so that for them with all their δεισιδαιμονία (Acts 17:22) God was really wanting, and they apart from connection with God’s grace and help lived on in a God-forsaken state. Paul might have written θεοστυγεῖς, as at Romans 1:30, but he continues in the stream of negative designations, which gives to his picture an elegiac colouring.

ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ] is referred by Calovius and Koppe to the preceding elements as a whole. But in this way it would have something of a dragging effect, whereas it attaches itself with force and suggestiveness to the bare ἄθεοι, whose tragical effect it serves to deepen. Only it must not be explained, even when so connected, with Koppe: “inter ceteros homines, in his terris,” in which sense it would be devoid of significance. Nay rather, profane humanity (observe the contrast to the πολιτεία τοῦ ἰσραήλ), the Gentile world, was the unhallowed domain, in which the readers in former time existed without God. It adds to the ungodly How the ungodly Where. Olshausen explains: “in this evil world, in which one has such urgent need of a sure hope, a fast hold to the living God;” but this is imported, since no predicate stands beside κόσμῳ. According to Rückert, it is to form a contrast to ἄθεοι, and that in the sense: “in the world, of which the earth is a part, and which stands under God’s government.”(147) But Paul must have said this, if he had meant it (by ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ, or something similar). Oecumenius and Meier: ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὸν παρόντα βίον πολιτείᾳ, etc. This would be expressed by κατὰ τὸν κόσ΄ον.

The question, we may add, whether the ἐλπίδα κόσ΄ῳ applies to all Gentiles, not even a Socrates or a Plato excepted, is, in the view of the apostle, to be answered affirmatively, at all events in general (Romans 3:10 ff; Romans 11:16 ff.; 1 Corinthians 1:19 ff.), but has only an indirect application here, since the apostle is speaking of his readers, whom he describes as to their category. That, if the subject of his discourse had called for it, he would have known how to set limitations to his general judgment, may be assumed of itself, and in accordance with Romans 2:14 f. Comp. Acts 17:28.


Verse 13

Ephesians 2:13. But now in Christ Jesus ye, once afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

νυνὶ δέ] contrast to τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, Ephesians 2:12 : but as your relation now stands. Comp. Romans 6:22; Romans 7:6; Colossians 1:21; Colossians 3:8.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] not to be supplemented by ἐστέ (Baumgarten-Crusius), nor yet a more precise definition of νυνί (Rückert: “under the new constitution, founded by Christ”), in which case several, proceeding more accurately, supply ὄντες (Calvin: “postquam in Christo estis recepti,” Koppe, Harless, Bleek). But such a more precise definition would be very unnecessary, and would have significant weight only if a special emphasis rested upon ἐν as in contradistinction to χωρίς, Ephesians 2:12, which, however, cannot be the case, since there is not again used merely ἐν χριστῷ, but ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ. The ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ εἶναι of the readers, moreover, was not prior to the ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθητε, but its immediate consequence; hence we should have at least to explain it, not: postquam in Christo estis recepti, but: cum in Christo sitis recepti, wherewithal there would still remain the very unnecessary character of this more precise definition, or of this conditional accessory clause (de Wette). Accordingly ἐν χρ. . is to be connected with ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθ.: ye are in Christ Jesus, in whom this has its efficient cause, made near; and ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ χρ. is then the more precise definition of the mode of ἐν χρ. . Comp. διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, Ephesians 1:7. Hence we have not to place a comma, as Lachmann and Tischendorf have done, either before or after ἐν χρ. .

ἰησοῦ] could not be added at Ephesians 2:12, but might be added here, where the Christ who historically appeared in the person of Jesus is intended.

μακράν] figurative description of the same relation as was expressed in Ephesians 2:12 by ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτ. τοῦ ἰσρ., and ξένοι τῶν διαθηκ. τῆς ἐπαγγ.

ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθ. ἐν τῷ αἵμ. τ. χρ.] For, by the fact that Christ shed His blood, the separation of the Gentiles from the Jews was done away, and consequently the fellowship of the former with the community of God’s people (which the true Christian Israel henceforth was) was effected. See Ephesians 2:14 ff. The bringing to participation in the blessings of the theocracy is, after the precedent of Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 57:19, expressed often also among the Rabbins by the figurative propinquum facere (which with them is, with special frequency, equivalent to proselytum facere), and in that case the subject to whom the approach is made is always to be derived from the context; as e.g. Vayikra R. 14, where God, and Mechilta, f. 38. 12, where, as here, the theocracy is to be thought of. See, in general, the passage in Wetstein and Schöttgen, Horae, p. 761 ff.

ἐγγὺς γίνεσθαι, to come near; only here in the N.T., frequent in the classic writers (Xen. Anab. v. 4. 16, iv. 7. 23; Thuc. iii. 40. 6).


Verse 14

Ephesians 2:14.(148) Confirmatory elucidation to Ephesians 2:13, especially as to the element implied in the ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ, and more precisely in the ἐν τῷ αἵ΄ατ. τοῦ χριστοῦ.

αὐτός] ipse; as regards His own person, is not put in opposition to the thought of ourselves having made the peace (Hofmann), which is in fact quite foreign to the passage; but—and what a triumph of the certainty and completeness of the blessing obtained is therein implied!—“non modo pacificator, nam sui impensa pacem peperit et ipse vinculum est utrorumque,” Bengel. See what follows. Observe also the presence of the article in εἰρήνη, denoting the peace κατʼ ἐξοχήν (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 109 [E. T. 125]); He is for us the peace absolutely, the absolute contrast to the ἔχθρα, Ephesians 2:15. The Rabbinical passages, however, in which the Messiah (comp. Isaiah 9:6) is called שלום (Wetstein in loc.; Schöttgen, Horae, II. p. 18), do not bear on this passage, since in them the point spoken of is not, as here,(149) the peace between Jews and Gentiles.

ποιήσας κ. τ. λ.] quippe qui fecit, etc., now begins the more precise information, how Christ has become Himself our peace.

τὰ ἀμφότερα] the two [Germ. das Beides], i.e. the two existing parts, the Jews and Gentiles. The neuter expression corresponds to the following ἕν. Nothing is to be supplied (Grotius: γένη).

ἕν] not so, that one part assumed the nature of the other, but so that the separation of the two was done away with, and both were raised to a new unity. That was the union of the divine οἰκονομία. See the sequel. Comp. Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 10:16.

καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φρ. λύσας] is related to the foregoing as explicative of it ( καί, see Winer, p. 388 [E. T. 546]; Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 9 f.). τοῦ φραγμοῦ is genitive of apposition: the partition-wall, which consisted in the (well-known) fence. What is meant by this, we are then told by means of the epexegetic τὴν ἔχθραν; hence Paul has not by the figurative τὸ μεσότ. τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας merely wished to express the (negative) conception that Christ has done away with the isolation of the O. T. commonwealth, as Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 375, holds, refining on τὸ μεσότ. τ. φρ., and connecting τὴν ἔχθραν with καταργήσας. De Wette censures the “extreme tameness” of the explanation, according to which τὸ μεσότ. κ. τ. λ. is taken not as a designation of the law, but as a preliminary designation of the ἔχθρα. But the twofold designation of the matter, describing it first figuratively and then properly, is in keeping with the importance of the idea, the direct expression of which produces after the previous figure an effect the more striking.

To take the genitive in an adjectival sense, as equivalent to τὸ μεσότοιχον διαφράσσον (Vorstius, Grotius, Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Meier, and others), is wrong, because the characteristic adjective notion is implied in τὸ μεσότοιχον (paries intergerinus, found elsewhere only in Eratosthenes quoted by Athen. vii. p. 281 D, in Hesychius under κατῆλιψ, and in the Fathers(150)), which has been felt also by Castalio and Beza, inasmuch as they erroneously translated it as though τὸν φραγ΄ὸν τοῦ ΄εσοτοίχου were used. A reference, we may add, to a definite φραγμός, which underlies the figurative expression, is not to be assumed, since the words furnish nothing of the sort, and any kind of fence serving as a partition-wall illustrates the ἔχθρα. Some have thought of the stone screen which in the temple-enclosure marked off the court of the Gentiles, and the inscription of which forbade every Gentile from farther advance (Josephus, Bell. v. 5. 2, vi. 2. 4; Antt. viii. 3. 2 f., xv. 11. 5, al.; Middoth, ii. 3). So Anselm, Ludov. Cappellus, Hammond, Bengel, Wetstein, Krebs, Bretschneider, Holzhausen, and others. But at most this could only be assumed, without arbitrariness, if that screen had statedly borne the name of φραγμός. Other references, still more foreign to the matter, which have been introduced, such as to the Jewish districts in large towns, which were marked off by a wall or otherwise (Schöttgen and others), may be seen in Wolf. Among the Rabbins, too, the figure of a fence is in very frequent use. See Buxtorf, s.v. סיג.

λύσας] in the sense of throwing down (Wetstein, ad Joh. ii. 19), belongs to the figure, and is not chosen on account of the τὴν ἔχθραν which does not come in till afterwards, although it would be chosen suitably thereto (see Wetstein in loc.).

It has been wrongly designated as an un-Pauline idea, that Christ through His death should have united the Jews and Gentiles by means of the abolition of the law (see Schwegler, l.c. p. 389 f.). This union has in fact taken place as a raising of both into a higher unity, Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 2:21 f.; hence that doctrinal principle is sufficiently explained from the destination of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles and his personal experience, and from his own elsewhere attested universalism, and need not have as a presupposition the post-apostolic process of development on the part of the church gradually gathering itself out of heterogeneous elements into a unity, so as to betray a later “catholicizing tendency” (Baur).


Verse 15

Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν] This, still included in dependence upon λύσας, is now the μεσότοιχον broken down by Christ: (namely) the enmity. It is, after the example of Theodoret (comp. τινές in Chrysostom), understood by the majority (including Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Clarius, Grotius, Calovius, Morus, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, Holzhausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) of the Mosaic law as the cause of the enmity between Jew and Gentile, in which case the moral law is by some included, by others excluded. But, in accordance with Ephesians 2:14, the reader is led to nothing else than the opposite of εἰρήνη, i.e. to the abstract enmity; and in the sequel, indeed, the abolition of the law is very definitely distinguished from the destruction of the enmity (as means from end). Hence the only mode of taking it, in harmony with the word itself and with the context, is: the enmity which existed between Jews and Gentiles, comp. Ephesians 2:16. So Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, and others, including Rückert and Bleek; while Hofmann turns the notion of ἔχθρα into the mere ἀπαλλοτρίωσις of Ephesians 2:12, and, referring it to the estrangement on the part of the Gentiles towards the theocracy hated by them, removes the distinctive mark of reciprocalness demanded by the context. Quite erroneously, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and lately Harless, hold that the enmity of the Jews and Gentiles towards God is meant. In accordance with the context, Ephesians 2:14, the μεσότοιχον can, in fact, only be one separating the Jews and Gentiles from each other, and not something which separates both from God; and how mistaken is such a view also on account of what follows! for the Mosaic law might be conceived of as producing enmity towards God so far doubtless as the Jews are concerned (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:19), but never as respects the Gentiles, who stood aloof from all relation to the Mosaic law (Romans 2:12).

ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ] does not belong (as Lachmann also punctuates it) to τὴν ἔχθραν, so that “the national hatred in His people” would be meant (Chrysostom, Bugenhagen, Schulthess, Engelwelt, p. 193); nor yet to λύσας (Oecumenius, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Rückert, and others), because in that case this mention of the death of Jesus would be irrelevantly dissevered from the modal definition τὸν νόμον καταργήσας, to which, in the nature of the case, it belongs as an essential element; but it stands with an emphasis suitable to the context (comp. αὐτὸς γάρ, Ephesians 2:14) at the head of the specification that now follows, in what way Christ has effected what was said in Ephesians 2:14 by αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστινἔχθραν: so that He by His flesh has done away with the law, namely, when He allowed His flesh to be crucified (Colossians 1:21 f.), dissolved thereby the tie with the law that brought men under curse (see on Galatians 3:13), and thus opened up the justification through faith (Romans 3:21 ff.), whereby the institute of the law was emptied of its binding power (comp. Romans 10:4 ff; Romans 7:1 ff.; Colossians 2:14). The moral commands also of the law had thereby, while not ceasing to be valid, ceased to be held as constituent elements of the law-institute as such justifying in the way of compliance with it; and its fulfilment, and that in augmented power, now proceeds from the new vital principle of faith (Romans 8:4), on which account Christ, although He is the end of the law (Romans 10:4; comp. 2 Corinthians 3:11), could nevertheless say that He had come to fulfil the law (Matthew 5:17), and Paul could assert: νόμον ἱστῶμεν, Romans 3:31. Hofmann imports into the ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ the thought: in and with the doing away of His life in the flesh, in respect of which He was an Israelite, Christ has rendered the appertaining to His community independent of the religious-legal status of an Israelite. As though the atoning death of Christ, in the usual dogmatic sense of the apostle, had not been most distinctly indicated already before by the ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ χριστοῦ, Ephesians 2:13, as afterwards by the ἀποκαταλλάξῃ κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 2:16, and by the προσαγωγή, Ephesians 2:18! This meaning is not here, any more than at Colossians 1:21 f., to be exegetically modified or explained away.

τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι] to be taken together, yet not in such a way that ἐν stands for σύν (Flatt) or καί (Koppe, Rosenmüller), but as: the law of the commandments consisting in injunctions, whereby the dictatorial character of the legal institute (as a whole, not merely partially, as Schenkel imports) is exhibited. The genitive τῶν ἐντολῶν denotes the contents of the law, and ἐν δόγμασι the essential form in which the ἐντολαί are given. The connecting link of the article ( τῶν) before ἐν δόγμασι was not requisite, since we may correctly say: ἐντέλλεσθαί τι ἐν δόγματι or ἐντολὴν διδόναι ἐν δόγματι, and therefore ἐντολὴ ἐν δόγματι may be conjoined so as to form one conception.(151) Comp. on Ephesians 3:13; Romans 6:4; Galatians 4:14; Galatians 3:26. This view of the connection is adopted, after the precedent of many older expositors, by Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Winer, pp. 123, 197 [E. T. 169, 257], Bisping, Schenkel, Bleek.(152) Comp. also Buttmann, neut. Cr. p. 80 [E. T. 92]. If one should, with the Syriac, Arabic, Vulgate, Pelagius, Chrysostom and his successors, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Holzhausen, and others, including Fritzsche, Diss. in 2 Corinthians 2. p. 168 f., refer ἐν δόγμ. to καταργήσας, there would result—even apart from the fact that with our mode of connecting ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, this construction is not even possible—the wholly untrue and un-Pauline thought that Christ has through injunctions abolished the law. No doubt some have imputed to ἐν δόγμασι the sense praecepta stabiliendo (Fritzsche), in doing which they had in view the evangelical doctrine of faith and the gratia universalis (see Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Theophylact, Estius, Bengel, and others). But even thus the sense remains untrue and un-Pauline, seeing that the doing away of the law has taken place not at all in a doctrinal way, but by the fact of the death of Christ (Romans 7:1 f.; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14). And what a change would be made in the meaning of the word δόγμα, which in the N.T. signifies throughout nothing else than injunction (Colossians 2:4; Luke 2:1; Acts 17:7; Acts 16:4; comp. Plat. Legg. i. p. 644 D Xen. Anab. iii. 3. 5, vi. 6. 8; Dem. 774. 19; Herodian, i. 7. 6; 4 Maccabees 4:23 f.)! The distinction ought not to have been overlooked between ἐντολή and δόγ΄α, which latter puts the meaning of the former into the more definite form of the enjoining decree. A peculiar view is taken by Harless (followed by Olshausen) likewise connecting ἐν δόγμ. with καταργήσας, and holding that ἐν denotes the “side on which that efficacy of the death of Christ exerts itself;” Christ did not render the law ineffectual in any such capacity as σκιὰν τῶν ΄ελλόντων, or as παιδαγωγὸν εἰς χριστόν, but on the side of the δόγματα (“in reference to the commanding form of its precepts,” Olshausen). Incorrectly, because δόγ΄ασι must of necessity have had the article, and because it is nowhere taught that the law is done away only in a single respect. The Mosaic legal institute as such, and not merely from a certain side, has in Christ its end (Romans 10:4); the σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων in the law has only a transient typical destination (see on Colossians 2:17), and the work of the παιδαγωγός is at an end with the attainment of maturity on the part of his pupils (Galatians 3:24 f.). Incorrect also is the view of Hofmann, p. 377, who, likewise taking ἐν δόγ΄ασι as modal definition to καταργήσας, and for the expression with ἐν comparing 1 Corinthians 2:7, finds the meaning: by the very fact that Christ has put an end to precepts generally, He has invalidated the O. T. law of commandments. The statement that Christ has put an end to δόγματα generally, i.e. to commanding precepts in general, is at variance with the whole N.T., which contains numberless definite commands, and, in particular, with the teaching of Paul, who even places Christianity as a whole under the point of view, Romans 3:27; Romans 9:31, Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:21, of a νόμος (which, without δόγ΄ατα, is not at all conceivable(153)), and specially with Colossians 2:14. Paul would at least have made a limiting addition to ἐν δόγμασι, and have written something like ἐν δόγ΄ασι δουλείας (comp. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:24; Galatians 5:1).

ἵνα τοὺς δύο εἰρήνην] a statement of the object aimed at in the just expressed abrogation of the law, which statement of aim corresponds to what has been said concerning Christ in Ephesians 2:14, more precisely defining and confirming the same. Harless arbitrarily passes over what immediately precedes, and holds that ἵνα εἰρήνην expresses the design of ποιήσας τὰ ἀ΄φότερα ἕν, in which case too, we may add, there would result a tautological relation of the thought.

τοὺς δύο] The Jews and Gentiles, who before were designated in accordance with the general category under a neuter form, are here conceived of concretely as the two men under discussion, of whom the one is the totality of the Jews, and the other that of the Gentiles, out of which two men Christ has made a single new man. This is the collective subject of the καινὴ κτίσις, Galatians 6:15 (the whole body of Christians).

ἐν ἑαυτῷ] is neither, with Grotius, to be taken as: per doctrinam suam, nor, with Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and others, as equivalent to διʼ ἑαυτοῦ (Oecumenius: οὐ διʼ ἀγγέλων ἄλλων τινῶν δυνά΄εων), but it affirms that the unity to be brought about out of the two by the new creation was to be founded in Christ Himself, that is, was to have the basis of its existence and continuance in Him, and not in any other unifying principle whateEphesians Ephesians 2 :In the case, namely, of all individuals, from among the Jews and Gentiles, who form the one new man, the death of Christ is that, wherein this new unity has its causal basis; without the death of the cross it would not exist, but, on the contrary, the two would still be just in the old duality and separation as the Jew and the Greek. Calvin well remarks that in se ipso is added, “ne alibi quam in Christo unitatem quaerant.” Comp. Galatians 3:28. This union, negatively conditioned by the abolition of the law, and having its basis in the self-sacrifice of Christ, is positively accomplished as regards the subjects through the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:13. Comp. subsequently Ephesians 2:18. But objectively accomplished—namely, as a fact before God and apart from the subjective appropriation by means of the Spirit—it is already by virtue of the death, which Christ has undergone for the reconciliation of both parties, Jews and Gentiles, with God; see Ephesians 2:16.

καινόν] For this one is now neither Jew nor Greek, which the two, out of which the one has been made, previously were; but both portions have laid aside their former religious and moral attitude, and without further distinction have obtained the quite new nature conditioned by Christian faith. If καινόν had not been added, the εἷς ἄνθρωπος might be incorrectly conceived of as an amalgam of Jew and Gentile. To exclude, we may add, from καινόν the moral element (Meier, comp. Rückert) is not merely arbitrary, but, according to the apostolic way of looking at matters, even impossible, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:27; Galatians 6:14 f., Ephesians 5:6.

ποιῶν εἰρήνην] Present participle, because the establishment of peace as what was duly to set in with the designed new creation, was implied in the very scope thereof; it was that which was to be brought about in and with it. Observe that ποιῶν εἰρήνην is spoken from the standpoint of the design expressed in ἵνα τοὺς δύο κ. τ. λ., and is included as belonging to what is designed; consequently: so that He (by this new creation) makes peace (not made peace). εἰρήνη is, in accordance with the context, the opposite of ἔχθρα, Ephesians 2:15, consequently peace of the two portions with each other, not: with God (Harless), nor: πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους (Chrysostom, Oecumenius).


Verse 16

Ephesians 2:16. Continuation of the sentence expressive of the design. Christ has by His death done away with the law, in order to make the Jew and the Gentile into one new man (Ephesians 2:15), and (and consequently) so to accomplish the reconciliation of both with God, that they should as one body be reconciled with God through the cross, after He has slain thereon the enmity which hitherto existed between them.

καί] is the and of the sequence of thought; from what was before said resulted the way and manner of the reconciliation of the two with God; hence also ἀποκαταλλ. is prefixed.

ἀποκαταλλάσσω, only here and Colossians 1:20; in the other Greek writings only καταλλάσσω is preserved, which is not distinguished from διαλλάσσω (in opposition to Tittmann, Synon. p. 101; see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 276 ff.). The composition with ἀπό may, after the analogy of other compounds with ἀπό (comp. ἀποκαθίστημι, ἀποκατορθόω, al.), denote again (Calvin: “reduxerit in unum grogem,” also Harless), but it may also (comp. ἀποθαυμάζω, ἀποθεραπεύω, al.) strengthen the notion of the reconciliation. The latter is better adapted to the context ( ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι; and see Ephesians 2:18). In opposition to Hofmann’s conversion of the notion into that of the restoration of fellowship with God, see on Colossians 1:20. We may add that ἀποκαταλλ. does not apply to the mutual reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles (Grotius, according to whom τῷ θεῷ is then equivalent to ut Deo serviant!), but, as the express τῷ θεῷ says (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:20), to the reconciliation of both with God, whose wrath, namely, against sinners Christ has by His ἱλαστήριον changed into grace. Comp. on Colossians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Romans 5:10.

τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους] not again τοὺς δύο, because they are now conceived as united, comp. Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:18.

ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι] is held by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Beza, Calovius, Calixtus, Wolf, Bengel, Zachariae, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Harless, Hofmann, Lechler, and others, to be the body of Christ; by the offering up of one body both are reconciled with God. But how superfluous in that case would the διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ be!(154) Moreover, Christ is in fact the subject, and how could it be said of Christ that by a single body He has reconciled both with God, or—as Hofmann gives to the meaning a turn quite departing from the N.T. and especially the Pauline doctrine of atonement—that He has made a single body (His body, namely) to be their unity embracing them in the like fellowship of God,(155) since in fact the case of a plurality of bodies on the part of Christ was not even as an abstraction conceivable? This inappropriateness, hardly excusable by the reference to τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους, and not removed by the pure invention of a contrast to the many bodies offered up under the O. T. (Calovius), would only cease to be felt, if God were the subject, so that Paul might say that God had by the surrender of one body reconciled the two (2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21) with Himself. Hence Ambrosiaster, Oecumenius, Photius, Anselm, Erasmus, Bucer, Calvin, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Grotius, Michaelis, Morus, and others, including Meier, Holzhausen, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Winer, Bleek, have rightly found in ἓν σῶμα the unum corpus, which is formed of the Jews and Gentiles united into a εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος. Comp. on ἓν σῶμα, Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 3:15. Christ has reconciled the two in one body, i.e. constituting one body without further separation—the two portions of humanity as one whole—unto God. How entirely is this mode of taking it in keeping with the whole context! See especially Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 2:14.

ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ] after he shall have slain, etc.; for it is inserted in the second half of the affirmation of design which begins with the ἵνα of Ephesians 2:15, so that it is correlative to the ποιῶν εἰρήνην of the first half. On ἀποκτ. Grotius correctly observes: “idem hie valet, quod modo λύσας, sed crucis facta mentione, aptior fuit translatio verbi ἀποκτείνας, quia crux mortem adfert.” And the ἔχθρα (here personified) is not to be explained otherwise than in Ephesians 2:14; hence not the law (Michaelis, Koppe, Holzhausen), nor the hostile relation of the Jews and Gentiles towards God (most expositors, including Rückert, Meier, Harless, Hofmann), but the enmity of the two towards each other. The aim of the apostle was not to explain the nature of the atonement in general as such, but to show how Christ has reconciled with God the Jews and Gentiles combined into unity, and to this end it was pertinent to say that He had cancelled the enmity which had hitherto subsisted between them. The aorist participle, we may add, affirms not something simultaneous with ἀποκαταλλ. (ita ut interficeret), but something preceding (after that He has slain), so that the relation of time is conceived of otherwise than in the case of the correlative ποιῶν εἰρήνην, Ephesians 2:15. Paul, namely, has conceived the matter thus: Christ has desired by His death on the cross to cancel the mutual enmity between Jews and Gentiles (see on Ephesians 2:15), and then by means of this death to reconcile both, who should now in this manner be united into one aggregate, ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι with God. In reality these are indeed only different sides of the effect of the death of Christ on the cross, not separate and successive effects; but in the representation unfolding the subject, in which Paul will here, as in a picture, set the matter before us in its various elements, they appear so, and this is in keeping with the whole solemn pathos which is shed over the passage.

ἐν αὐτῷ i.e. on the cross. The reference to σώματι (Bengel, Semler, Hofmann, following Tertullian) falls with the correct explanation of ἐν ἐνὶ σώματι. The reading ἐν ἑαυτῷ (F G, 115, codd. in Jer. Arab. pol Vulg. It. Goth. Syr. p. Ambr. Aug.) would yield the same sense as that reference to σώματι, but is a conformation to Ephesians 2:15, in accordance with which Luther also translated “through Himself.”


Verse 17

Ephesians 2:17. After Christ has established peace, He has come and has also proclaimed it, to the Gentiles and the Jews. This proclamation, namely, cannot be regarded as preceding the fact by which the peace was established, so that ἐλθών would apply to the bodily advent of Christ upon earth (Chrysostom, Anselm, Estius, Holzhausen, Matthies, Harless), and the connection with Ephesians 2:14 would be: “Christ is peace in deed (Ephesians 2:14) and word (Ephesians 2:17); He not only is peace, but He proclaimed it Himself at His appearing on earth,” Harless. For, when it is said in Ephesians 2:14, αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, the time thought of is, as Ephesians 2:14-16 show, the time after the crucifixion of Christ, through which and since which He is our peace, so that καὶ ἐλθὼν κ. τ. λ. does not merely attach itself to αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν εἰρήνη ἡμῶν and leave all that intervenes out of view; but, on the contrary, this intervening matter is so essentially bound up with αὐτὸς γ. . εἰρ. ἡμ., that now καὶ ἐλθὼν κ. τ. λ. can introduce not a πρότερον, but only a ὕστερον of the crucifixion, annexing as it does the further course of the matter. Rightly, therefore, most expositors have understood in ἐλθών an advent following the crucifixion of Christ, in connection with which either the resurrection of Christ has been thought of (Bengel, Rückert), or His having come in His Spirit (Olshausen), or in the preaching that took place through the apostles (so most), in which latter view ἐλθών is wrongly by many, as Raphel, Grotius, Wolf, Zachariae, Koppe, Rosenmüller (comp. Meier), regarded as without significance; it is in truth an “insigne verbum,” Bengel. The correct explanation (comp. Ephesians 2:18) is given by Olshausen; comp. Baumgarten-Crusius and de Wette, also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 475, and Bleek. In the Holy Spirit, namely, not only according to John (John 14:18, al.), but also according to Paul, Christ Himself has come (in so far as it is Christ’s Spirit) from heaven to those who have received the Spirit, and dwells and rules in them (Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20), and this proclamation has taken place at the instance of the Spirit (Romans 8:16), and through the Spirit Himself (Romans 15:18; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:3). The point of time expressed by εὐηγγελίσατο is the conversion of the persons concerned, at which they received the Spirit (Galatians 3:2; Ephesians 1:13). Accordingly the apostle could, without writing at variance with history, name first the readers as original Gentiles ( ὑμῖν τοῖς μακράν), and then the Jews; for when the Ephesians became Christians, there had already long since been converted not merely Jews, but Gentiles and Jews. Had he, on the other hand, meant the actual coming of Christ upon earth and His oral preaching, the historical necessity would have presented itself of mentioning first those that were near and then those that were afar off.

We may add that the concrete and vividly depicting expression ἐλθὼν εὐηγγ., can the less occasion surprise, as the whole passage bears the impress of emotion. Comp. also Acts 26:23.

εἰρήνην] has been, from the time of Chrysostom, ordinarily explained of peace with God, while only a few, as Estius and Koppe, suppose peace with each other to be included; but Olshausen rightly understands the latter alone, as does also Bleek. Only this is in keeping with the whole connection (see, moreover, the immediately preceding ἀποκτ. τὴν ἔχθραν, and comp. Ephesians 2:19), and, moreover, has Ephesians 2:18 not against it, but in its favour (see on Ephesians 2:18).

ὑμῖν τοῖς μακράν and τοῖς ἐγγύς] (both to be explained in accordance with Ephesians 2:12, and comp. Isaiah 57:19) are dependent on εὐηγγελίσατο,—the view which immediately and most naturally suggests itself. Harless would attach both very closely to εἰρήνην,—a course to which he was impelled by his explanation of ἐλθὼν εὐηγγ., in order not to present the apostle as saying what is inconsistent with history (Matthew 15:24, comp. Matthew 10:5 f.; John 10:16; Matthew 21:43, al.). But the inconsistency with history would still remain.(156)

The repetition of εἰρήνην (see the critical remarks) has rhetorical emphasis, John 14:27; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. 398]. This ἐπιμονή of the expression, however (Nägelsbach on Hom. Il. i. 436), excludes the view of Wieseler, p. 444, that τοῖς ἐγγύς also is in apposition to ὑμῖν, and means specially the Jewish-Christians in Ephesus.


Verse 18

Ephesians 2:18. Proof from an appeal to fact for what has just been said: εὐηγγ. εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τ. μακρ. κ. εἰρ. τοῖς ἐγγύς. In this case the main stress of the proof lies in οἱ ἀμφότεροι ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύμ. If, namely, through Christ, both in One Spirit have the προσαγωγή to the Father, to both must the same news, that of peace, have been imparted by Him. This is the necessary historic premiss of that happy state of unity now actually subsistent through Christ. He must have proclaimed εἰρήνη to the one as to the other; of this Paul now gives the probatio ab effectu. Others hold that ὅτι introduces the contents of the message of peace (Baumgarten, Koppe, Morus, Flatt). But the contents is fully expressed in the εἰρήνη itself, agreeably to the context; hence, too, we may not say, with Rückert, that the essence of the εἰρήνη is explained. According to Harless, the truth of that proclamation is shown from the reality of the possession. But in this way a subsidiary thought (namely, that the proclamation was true) is introduced not merely arbitrarily, but also unsuitably (for the truth of that which has been proclaimed was self-evident).

τὴν προσαγωγήν] Christ is not conceived of as door (John 10:7; Beza, Calvin), which is remote from the context, but as bringer; in which case there may be an allusion to the Oriental custom of getting access to the king only through a προσαγωγεύς (see on Romans 5:2), but not to sacrificial processions in accordance with Herod. ii. 58 (Meier), which would be an unsuitable comparison. Before Christ had reconciled men with God, communion with God was, on account of the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:10), denied to them; Christ by His ἱλαστήριον removed this obstacle, and thus became the προσαγωγεύς, through the mediation of whom ( διʼ αὐτοῦ) we now and henceforth have the bringing near (Thuc. i. 82; Polyb. ix. 41. 1, xii. 4. 10; Xen. Cyr. vii. 5. 45) unto God. In substance the having the προσαγωγή to God is not different from the εἰρήνη πρὸς τὸν θεόν (Romans 5:1), and from the filial relationship of the reconciled. It is the consequence of the atoning death of Jesus; the peaceful relation of believers towards God, brought about through this death. Comp. 1 Peter 3:18. Here, moreover, as at Romans 5:2, the notion of bringing towards, which the word has, is not to be interchanged with that of approach or access (as still by Rückert, Harless, Bleek), as though πρόσοδον were written in the text. Christ by the continuous power and efficacy of His atoning act is the constant Bringer to the Father. Comp. Ephesians 3:12.

ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι] for the Holy Spirit is to both one and the same element of life (comp. on Romans 8:15), apart from which they cannot have the προσαγωγή to God. The referring of it to the human spirit ( ὁμοθυμαδόν, Anselm, Homberg, Zachariae, Koppe, Morus, Rosenmüller) ought to have been precluded by taking note of the Divine Trias in our passage ( διʼ αὐτοῦ, ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι, πρὸς τὸν πατέρα); comp. Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 2:22.

Observe, further, the difference of meaning between the ἔχομεν (denoting the continuously present possession of the signal benefit) and the ἐσχήκαμεν of Romans 5:2 (see on the latter passage).


Verse 19

Ephesians 2:19. ἄρα οὖν] draws the inference from Ephesians 2:14-18; and this inference is the same in its tenor with what was said at Ephesians 2:13, but is carried out in more detail; for this is just what was to be proved Ephesians 2:14 ff. (quod erat demonstrandum).

ξένοι] i.e. such as are not included as belonging to the theocracy, but are related towards it as strangers, who belong to another state; the opposite is συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων. Comp. Ephesians 2:12. The same is indicated by πάροικοι: inquilini,(157) i.e. those who, coming from elsewhere, sojourn in a land or city without having the right of citizenship (Acts 7:6; Acts 7:29; 1 Peter 2:11). See, in general, Wetstein, ad Luc. xxiv. 18; Gesen. Thes. s.v. תוֹשָׁב. It is the same as is expressed in classic Greek by μέτοικοι (Wolf, prol. Dem. Lept. p. Ixvi. ff.; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 115), in contradistinction to the πολίτης or ἀστός (Plat. Pol. viii. p. 563 A, al.). The Gentiles are in the commonwealth of God only inguilini, sojourners, not citizens; they have no πολιτεία therein; although they are ruled by God (Romans 3:29) and included in the Messianic promise (Romans 4:12 f.), they are so in the second place (Romans 1:16), and without participating in the time-hallowed peculiar prerogatives of the Israelites (Romans 3:1; Romans 9:4 ff.). The referring of πάροικοι to the conception of a household (persons pertaining to the house, members of the family) is not to be made good by linguistic usage (not even by Leviticus 22:10), and is not demanded by the antithesis of οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ (in opposition to Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Meier, Harless, Olshausen, Schenkel), inasmuch as οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ sustains a climactic relation to the preceding συμπολ. τῶν ἁγίων, and the two together form the contrast to ξένοι and πάροικοι. The reference to the proselytes (Anselm, Whitby, Cornelius a Lapide, Calixtus, Baumgarten) is quite at variance with the context (Ephesians 2:11-13).

ἀλλʼ ἐστέ] emphatic repetition of the verb after ἀλλά. Comp. Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Hebrews 12:18 ff.

συ΄πολῖται] belongs to the inferior Greek; Lucian, Soloec. 5; Ael. V. H. iii. 44; Joseph. Antt. xix. 2. 2. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 172.

τῶν ἁγίων] i.e. of those who constitute the people of God. These were formerly the Jews (Ephesians 2:12), into whose place, however, the Christians have entered as the ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ (Galatians 6:16), as the true descendants of Abraham (Romans 4:10 ff.) and God’s people (Romans 9:5 ff.), acquired as His property by the work of Christ (see on Ephesians 1:14). The Ephesians have thus, by becoming Christians, attained to the fellow-citizenship with the saints,—which saints the Christians were,—so that τῶν ἁγίων does not embrace either the Jews (Vorstius, Hammond, Bengel, Morus) or the patriarchs (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, and others; Theodoret: ἁγίους ἐνταῦθα οὐ μόνον τοὺς τῆς χάριτος, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἐν νόμῳ καὶ τοὺς πρὸ νόμου λέγει), with whom even the angels have been associated (Calvin, Flatt).

οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ] members of God’s household. The theocracy is thought of as a family, dwelling in a house, of which God is the οἰκοδεσπότης. 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:2; Hebrews 3:5-6; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 4:17. Comp. בית יהוה, Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1. Harless: belonging to the house of God, as the building-stones of the house, in which God dwells. But thus the following figure is anticipated, and that in a way contrary to the meaning of οἰκεῖος; and an incongruous contrast is afforded to the πάροικοι.


Verse 20

Ephesians 2:20. The conception οἶκος θεοῦ leads the apostle, in keeping with the many-sided versatility of his association of ideas, to make the transition from the figure of a household-fellowship, to the figure of a house-structure, and accordingly to give to οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ a further illustration, which now is no longer appropriate to the former figurative conception, but only to the latter, which, however, was not yet expressed in οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ. Comp. Colossians 2:6-7.

ἐποικοδομηθέντες] namely, when ye became Christians. The compound does not stand for the simple term (Koppe), but denotes the building up. Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 2:7; Xen. Hist. vi. 5. 12; Dem. 1278. 27. ἐπί, with the dative, however (comp. Xen. Anab. iii. 4. 11), is not here occasioned by the aorist participle (Harless), which would not have hindered the use either of the genitive (Horn. Il. xxii. 225; Plato, Legg. v. p. 736 E) or of the accusative (1 Corinthians 3:12; Romans 15:20); but the accusative is not employed, because Paul has not in his mind the relation of direction, and it is purely accidental that not the genitive of rest, but the dative of rest is employed.

τῶν ἀποστ. κ. προφ.] is taken by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Estius, Morus, and others, including Meier, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, as genitive of apposition; but wrongly, since the apostles and prophets are not the foundation, but have laid it (1 Corinthians 3:10). The foundation laid by the apostles and prophets (as most expositors, including Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Harless, Bleek, correctly take it) is the gospel of Christ, which they have proclaimed, and by which they have established the churches; see on 1 Corinthians 3:10. “Testimonium apost. et proph. substructum est fidei credentium omnium,” Bengel.

προφητῶν] has been understood by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Jerome, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Estius, Baumgarten, Michaelis, and others, including Rückert, of the Old Testament prophets. That not these, however, but the New Testament prophets (see on 1 Corinthians 12:10), are intended (Pelagius, Piscator, Grotius, Bengel, Zachariae, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Harless, Meier, Matthies, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Bleek), is clear, not indeed from the non-repetition of the article, since the apostles and prophets might be conceived as one class (Xen. Anab. ii. 2. Ephesians 5 : οἱ στρατηγοὶ καὶ λοχαγοί; comp. Saupp. ad Xen. Venat. v. 24; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 373), but (1) from the very order of the words,(158) which, especially from the pen of an apostle, would most naturally have been τῶν προφητῶν κ. ἀποστόλων; (2) from the analogy of Ephesians 3:5, Ephesians 4:11; and (3) from the fact that the foundation-laying in question can, from the nature of the case, only be the preaching of the Christ who has come, because upon this foundation the establishment of the church took place, and in that preaching the old prophetic predictions were used only as means (Romans 16:26). Comp. also Ephesians 2:21. Harless supposes that the apostles are here called at the same time prophets.(159) In this way, no doubt, the objection of Rückert is obviated, that, in fact, the prophets themselves would have come to Christianity only by means of the apostles, and would themselves have stood only on the θεμέλιος τῶν ἀποστόλων; but (a) from the non-repetition of the article there by no means follows the unity of the persons (see above), but only the unity of the category, under which the two are thought of. (b) There may be urged against it the analogy of Ephesians 4:11, as well as that in the whole N.T., where the ecclesiastical functions are already distinguished(160) and prophets are mentioned, apostles are not at the same time intended. It is true that the apostles had of necessity to possess the gift of prophecy, but this was understood of itself, and they are always called merely apostles, while simply those having received the gift of prophecy, who were not at the same time apostles, are termed prophets; comp. 1 Corinthians 12:28 f. (c) There would be no reason whatever bearing on the matter in hand why the apostles should here be designated specially as prophets; nay, the contrast of Moses and the prophets, arbitrarily assumed by Hofmann, would only tell against the identity (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44; Acts 24:14; John 1:46). That objection of Rückert, however, disappears entirely when we contemplate the prophets as the immediate and principal fellow-labourers in connection with the laying of the foundation done primarily by the apostles, in which character they, although themselves resting upon the θεμέλιον of the apostles, yet in turn were associated with them as founders. And the more highly Paul esteems prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1), and puts the prophets elsewhere also in the place next to the apostles (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28 f.), with so much the more justice might he designate the apostles and prophets as laying the foundation of the churches; and the less are we warranted, with de Wette, in finding here traces of a disciple of the apostles, who has had before him the results of the apostolic labours as well as the period of the original prophecy as concluded, or with Schwegler (in Zeller’s Jahrb. 1844, p. 379) and Baur (p. 438), in recognising traces of Montanism with its new prophets as the continuers of the apostolate.

ὄντος ἀκρογ. αὐτοῦ . χ.] wherein Jesus Christ Himself is corner-stone. On this most essential point, without which the building up in question upon the apostolic and prophetic foundation would lack its uniquely distinctive character, hinges the whole completion of the sublime picture, Ephesians 2:21-22. The gospel preached by the apostles and prophets is the foundation, the basis, upon which the Ephesians were built up, i.e. this apostolic and prophetic gospel was preached also at Ephesus, and the readers were thereby converted and formed into a Christian community; but the corner-stone of this building is Christ Himself, inasmuch, namely, as Christ, the historic, living Christ, to whom all Christian belief and life have reference, as necessarily conditions through Himself the existence and endurance of each Christian commonwealth, as the existence and steadiness of a building are dependent on the indispensable corner-stone, which upholds the whole structure (on ἀκρογωνιαῖος, sc. λίθος, which does not occur in Greek writers, comp. LXX. Isaiah 28:16; Symm. Ps. cxvii. 22; 1 Peter 2:6; on the subject-matter, Matthew 21:42). Only as to the figure, not as to the thing signified, is there a difference when Christ is here designated as the corner-stone, and at 1 Corinthians 3:11 as the foundation. The identity of the matter lies in τὸν κείμενον, 1 Cor. l.c. See on that passage. In the figure of the corner-stone (which “duos parietes ex diverso venientes conjungit et continet,” Estius) many have found the union of the Jews and Gentiles set forth (Theodoret, Menochius, Estius, Michaelis, Holzhausen, Bretschneider, and others). But this is at variance with πᾶσα οἰκοδ., Ephesians 2:21, according to which for every Christian community, and so also for those consisting exclusively of Jewish-Christians or exclusively of Gentile-Christians, Christ is the corner-stone.

αὐτοῦ] does not apply to τῷ θεμελίῳ (Bengel, Cramer, Koppe, Holzhausen, Hofmann, II. 2, p. 122), for Christ is conceived of as the corner-stone, not of the foundation, but of the building (Ephesians 2:21). It belongs to ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, which with this αὐτοῦ is placed emphatically at the end, in order then to join on by ἐν κ. τ. λ. that which is to be further said of Christ, in so far as He is Himself the corner-stone. The article αὐτοῦ τοῦ . χ. might be used; Christ would then be conceived of as already present in the consciousness of the readers (He Himself, Christ; see Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 117): it was not necessary, however, to use it (in opposition to Bengel); but the conception is: Christ Himself is corner-stone (Il. vi 450; Xen. Anab, ii. 1. 5, Apol. 11, al.; see Bornemann, ad Anab. i. 7. 11; Krüger on Thuc. i. 27. 3), so that Christ Himself, as respects His own unique destination in this edifice, is contradistinguished from His labourers, the apostles and prophets.

Whether, it may be asked, is τῷ θεμελίῳ masculine (see on 1 Corinthians 3:10) or neuter? It tells in favour of the former that, with Paul, it is at 1 Corinthians 3:11 (also 2 Timothy 2:19) decidedly masculine, but in no passage decidedly neuter (Romans 15:20; 1 Timothy 6:19). Harless erroneously thinks that the neuter is employed by the apostle only metaphorically.


Verse 21

Ephesians 2:21. An elucidation to ὄντος ἀκρογ. αὐτοῦ . χ., bearing on the matter in hand, and placing in yet clearer light the thought of Ephesians 2:19 f.; in whom each community, in whom also yours (Ephesians 2:22), organically developes itself unto its holy destination.(161)

ἐν ] means neither by whom (Castalio, Vatablus, Menochius, Morus, and others, including Flatt), nor upon whom (Estius, Koppe, and others), but: in whom, so that Christ (for applies neither to ἀκρογ., as Castalio, Estius, and Koppe suppose, nor to τῷ θεμελίῳ, as Holzshausen would have it, but to the nearest and emphatic αὐτοῦ ἰησοῦ χ.) appears as that wherein the joining together of the building has its common point of support (comp. Ephesians 1:10).

πᾶσα οἰκοδομή] not: the whole building (Oecumenius, Harless, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Bleek), which would be at variance with linguistic usage, and would absolutely require the reading (on that account preferred by Matthies, Winer, and others) πᾶσα οἰκοδομή (see the critical remarks), but: every building. The former interpretation, moreover, the opposition of which to linguistic usage is rightly urged also by Reiche,(162) is by no means logically necessary, since Paul was not obliged to proceed from the conception of the whole body of Christians to the community of the readers (Ephesians 2:22), but might pass equally well from the conception “every community” to the conception “also ye” (Ephesians 2:22), and thus subordinate the particular to the general. The objection that there is only one οἰκοδομή (de Wette) is baseless, since the collective body of Christians might be just as reasonably, as every community for itself, conceived as a temple-building. The latter conception is found, as in 1 Corinthians 3:16, so also here, where the former is linguistically impossible. Chrysostom, however, is wrong in holding that by πᾶσα οἰκοδ. is signified every part of the building (wall, roof, etc.), since οἰκοδομή rather denotes the aggregate of the single parts of the building, the edifice, and since not a wall, a roof, etc., but only the building as a whole which is thought of, can grow unto a temple.

συναρμολ.] becoming framed together; for the present participle represents the edifice as still in the process of building, as indeed every community is engaged in the progressive development of its frame of Christian life until the Parousia (comp. on 1 Corinthians 3:15). The participle is closely connected with ἐν : every building, while its framing together, i.e. the harmonious combination of its parts into the corresponding whole, takes place in Christ, grows, etc. The compound συναρμολογεῖν (with classical writers συναρμόζειν) is met with only here and Ephesians 4:16, but ἁρμολογεῖν in Philipp. Thess. 78.

αὔξει] On this form of the present, read in the N.T. only here and at Colossians 2:19, but genuinely classical, see Matthiae, p. 541.

εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον] Final result of this growth. It is not, however, to be translated: unto a holy temple, for the conception of several temples was foreign to the apostle with his Jewish nationality, but: unto the holy temple, in which there was no need of the article (see on 1 Corinthians 3:16). To realize the idea of the one temple—that is the goal unto which every community, while its organic development of life has its firm support in Christ, groweth up.

ἐν κυρίῳ] By this not God is meant, as Michaelis, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Holzshausen, and others suppose, but Christ (see the following ἐν ). By the majority it is connected with ἅγιον, in which case it would not have, with Beza, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, to be taken for the dative, but (so also de Wette, Hofmann, Bleek) would have to be explained of the ἁγιότης of the temple, having its causal ground in Christ, thus specifically Christian. But the holiness of the temple lies in the dwelling of God therein (see Ephesians 2:22); it does not, therefore, first come into existence in Christ, but is already existent, and the church becomes in Christ that which the holy temple is, inasmuch as in this church the idea of the holy temple realizes itself. Others have rightly, therefore, connected it with αὔξει, although ἐν is not, with Grotius, Wolf, et al., to be translated by per. In the case of every building which is framed together in Christ, the growing into the holy temple takes place also in Christ (as the one on whom this further development depends). The being framed together and the growing up of the building to its sacred destination—both not otherwise than in the Lord.


Verse 22

Ephesians 2:22. ἐν ] applies to ἐν κυρίῳ, and is to be explained quite like ἐν in Ephesians 2:21. The reference to ναόν (Calixtus, Rosenmüller, Matthies) appears on account of the immediately preceding ἐν κυρίῳ arbitrary, and, according to the correct apprehension of πᾶσα οἰκοδ., as well as with regard to the following εἰς κατοικητήριον κ. τ. λ., impossible.

συνοικοδομεῖσθε] is indicative, not imperative (Calvin, Meier), against which Ephesians 2:19-20 are decisive,(163) according to which Paul says not what the readers ought to be, but what they are; hence he, at Ephesians 2:22, attaches in symmetrical relative construction the relation of the readers to that which subsists in the case of every Christian community, Ephesians 2:21. The compound, however, may mean either: ye are built along with (the others), comp. 3 Esdr. 5:68 ( συνοικοδομήσωμεν ὑμῖν), so that the church of the readers would be placed in the same category with the other churches (so it is ordinarily understood); or: ye are builded together, so that σύν relates to the putting together of the single parts of the building (comp. Philo, de praem. et poen. p. 928 E: οἰκίαν εὖ συνωκοδομημένην κ. συνηρμοσμένην, comp. Thuc. i. 93. 3; Dio Cass. xxxix. 61). The latter is to be preferred, because the parallelism of Ephesians 2:21-22 makes the attaching of different senses to the two compounds συναρ΄ολογ. and συνοικοδ. appear groundless.

εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ] unto the dwelling of God, quite the same, only with a variation of expression, as before εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον was (comp. Matthew 23:21), and pertaining to συνοικοδ. The supposition of Griesbach and Knapp, that ἐν κ. ὑ΄. συνοικοδ. is an interpolation, and εἰς κατοικ. κ. τ. λ. still belongs to αὔξει; as, again, the expedient of Koppe and Rückert, that εἰς κατοικ. τοῦ θεοῦ means, in order that a dwelling of God may arise; and finally, the assertion of Harless, that κατοικ. τοῦ θεοῦ is not identical with the ναὸς ἅγιος, but that the individual Christians were so termed because God dwells in them and the whole forms a ναὸς ἅγιος,—are only different forced interpretations, resulting from the linguistically unwarranted explanation of the above πᾶσα οἰκοδο΄ή as the whole building.

ἐν πνεύματι] receives from most expositors an adjectival turn: “a spiritual temple, in opposition to the stone one of the Jews,” Rückert. How arbitrary generally in itself! how arbitrary, in particular, not to refer ἐν πνεύματι to the Holy Spirit! since we have here, exactly as in Ephesians 2:18, the juxtaposition of the Divine Trias, while the context presents nothing whatever to suggest the contrast with a temple of stone. Harless (comp. Meier and Matthies): “a dwelling, which is in the indwelling of the Spirit;” and this, forsooth! is held to mean: “inasmuch as the Spirit dwells in them, they are a dwelling of God and of Christ.” But, apart from the fact that of this “and of Christ” there is nothing whatever in the text, in this way ἐν πνεύματι, which according to the literal sense could only be the continens, would in fact be made the contentum! From this the very analogies, in themselves inappropriate (because they are abstracta), which Harless employs: χαρὰ ἐν πνεύματι, ἀγάπη ἐν πν., ought to have precluded him. The true view is to connect it not merely with κατοικ. τοῦ θεοῦ, but with συνοίκοδο΄εῖσθε εἰς κατοικ. τοῦ θεοῦ, and ἐν is instrumental. Ye are being builded together unto the dwelling-place of God by virtue of the Holy Spirit; in so far, namely, as the latter dwells in your Christian community (see on 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16 f.; comp. James 4:5), and thereby the relation of being the temple of God is brought about—a relation, which without this indwelling of the Spirit would not occur, and would not be possible. For the Spirit of God is related to the ideal temple as the Shechinah to the actual temple, and is the conditio sine qua non of the same. Comp. also Hofmann, who, however, likewise connects ἐν πν. only with κατοικ. τ. θ. The objections of Harless to the instrumental rendering of ἐν are not valid; for (a) the circumstance that ἐν πνεύματι was placed only at the end not only very naturally resulted from the parallelism with Ephesians 2:21, seeing that in Ephesians 2:21 there is not contained an element corresponding to the ἐν πνεύματι, and consequently this new element is most naturally appended at the end, but the position at the close imparts also to the ἐν πνεύμ. an unusual emphasis (Kühner, II. p. 625), comp. also Ephesians 3:5; and (b) the suggestion that πνεῦμα, as the objective medium, must have the article, is incorrect, seeing that πνεῦ΄α, with or without an article (in accordance with the nature of a proper noun), is the objective Holy Spirit.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-2.html. 1832.


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Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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