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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Ephesians 2

 

 

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Verse 1

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

And you - you also, among those who have experienced His mighty power in enabling them to believe (Ephesians 1:19-23).

Hath he quickened. Supplied from the Greek, Ephesians 1:5.

Dead - spiritually (Colossians 2:13). A living corpse: without God's Spirit in the soul; so unable to think, will, or do anything that is holy.

In trespasses and sins - in them, as the element in which the unbeliever is, and through which he is dead to the true life. Sin is the death of the soul (Isaiah 9:2; John 5:25): "dead" (spiritually, 1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 4:18). Greek, 'in your trespasses,' etc. 'Trespass' [paraptooma] expresses a particular FALL or LAPSE, such as that whereby Adam fell. 'Sin' [ hamartia (Greek #266)] is the general term, implying innate corruption and ALIENATION from God (literally, erring from, missing, the rule of truth), exhibited in acts of sin [Greek, hamarteemata (Greek #265)]. Bengel refers "trespasses" to the Jews who had the law, yet revolted from it; "sins," to the Gentiles who know not God.


Verse 2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The course of this world - the career (literally, 'the age:' cf. Galatians 1:4) or present system of this world (1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:18-19), as opposed to "the world to come;" not gradually ameliorating, but progressively deteriorating: alien from God, and lying in the wicked one (1 John 5:19). 'The age' [ aioon (Greek #165)] (something internal and ethical) regulates 'the world' [ kosmos (Greek #2889)] (something more external).

The prince of the power of the air - the unseen potentate who lies underneath, guiding "the course of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4); ranging through the air - i:e., the whole region between earth and heaven (cf. Mark 4:4, "fowls of the air" (Greek, 'heaven') - i:e., Ephesians 2:15, "Satan" and his demons). Compare Ephesians 6:12; John 12:31. Christ's ascension cast Satan out of heaven (Revelation 12:5; Revelation 12:9-10; Revelation 12:12-13; Revelation 12:15; Revelation 12:17), where he had been heretofore, the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:7). No longer able to accuse in heaven those justified by Christ, the ascended Saviour (Romans 8:33-34), he assails them on earth with all trials and temptations: 'we live in an atmosphere poisoned and impregnated with deadly elements; but a mighty purification of the air will be effected by Christ's coming' (Auberlen), for Satan shall be bound (Revelation 20:2-3). "The power" is here collectively for the 'powers of the air;' in apposition with which 'powers' stands "the spirit," taken also collectively: the aggregate of the "seducing spirits" (1 Timothy 4:1) which 'work now (still. not merely, as in your case, "in time past") in the sons of disobedience (a Hebraism: men not merely by accident disobedient, but whose essential characteristic is disobedience: cf. Matthew 3:7), and of which Satan is "the prince." [ Tou (Greek #3588) pneumatos (Greek #4151)] "The spirit" is in apposition, not to Satan, "the prince" [ archonta (Greek #758)], but to [ exousias (Greek #1849)] 'the powers of the air,' of which he is prince. The powers of the air are the embodiment of that evil "spirit" which is the ruling principle of unbelievers (Acts 26:18), as opposed to the spirit of the children of God (Luke 4:33). The potency of that "spirit" is shown in the "disobedience" of the former (cf. Deuteronomy 32:20; Isaiah 30:9; Isaiah 57:4). They disobey the Gospel in faith and practice (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12). But Ellicott, 'prince of the empire of the air, of the (evil) principle that now worketh,' etc.


Verse 3

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Also we - i:e., we also. Paul joins himself in the same category, passing from the second (Ephesians 2:1-2) to the first person.

All - Jews and Gentiles. All - Jews and Gentiles.

Had our conversation - `our way of life' (2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:18). This [ anestrapheemen (Greek #390)] implies an outwardly more decorous course than the 'walk' in gross sins on the part of the Gentile Ephesians in times past (Ephesians 2:2). Paul and his Jewish countrymen, though outwardly more seemly than the Gentiles (Acts 26:4-5; Acts 26:18), had been essentially like them in living to the unrenewed flesh, without the Spirit of God.

Fulfilling - Greek, 'doing.'

Mind , [ ton (Greek #3588) dianoioon (Greek #1271)] - 'our thoughts.' Mental suggestions and purposes (independent of God); spiritual sins of the intellect; as distinguished from blind impulses of "the flesh," the sensual, worldly principle.

And were by nature. He intentionally substitutes 'and we were' for 'and being,' to contrast emphatically his and their past state by nature with their present state by grace. Not merely, we had our way of life fulfilling our fleshly desires, and so being children of wrath; but we were by nature originally "children of wrath," and consequently had our way of life fulfilling our fleshly desires. "Nature" [ phusei (Greek #5449)] implies that which has grown with our growth, and strengthened with our strength, as distinguished from that worked on us by mere external influences: what is inherent, not acquired (Job 14:4; Psalms 51:5). An incidental proof of original sin.

Children of wrath - not merely 'sons,' as 'sons [ huiois (Greek #5207)] of disobedience' (Ephesians 2:2), but "children" [ tekna (Greek #5043)] by generation; not merely by adoption, as 'sons' might be. The Greek order marks this innate corruption: 'Those who in their (very) nature are children of wrath:' Ephesians 2:5, "grace" is opposed to "nature" here; and salvation (implied in Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8, "saved") to "wrath." Compare Article IX, 'Common Prayer Book.' 'Original, or birth-sin, standeth not in the following of Adam, but is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man naturally engendered of Adam (Christ was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit of the virgin), whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil; and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.' Paul shows that even the Jews, notwithstanding their birth from Abraham, were naturally children of wrath as the Gentiles, whom the Jews despised for their birth from idolaters (Romans 3:9; Romans 5:12-14). 'Wrath (God's judicial hatred of sin) abideth' on all who disobey the Gospel in faith and practice (John 3:36). "Children of wrath" - a Hebraism; i:e., essentially objects of wrath in our inherent nature, as born in sin. So 'son of death' (margin, 2 Samuel 12:5), "son of perdition" (John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

As others , [ hoi (Greek #3588) loipoi (Greek #3062)] - 'as the rest' of mankind are (1 Thessalonians 4:13).


Verse 4

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

But. Consolatory contrast to the universality of men's natural heritage of "wrath."

God, who is rich - Greek, '(as) being rich in mercy.' For - i:e., 'because of [ dia (Greek #1223)] His great love:' the special ground of God's saving us; as "rich in mercy" (cf. Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 2:4; Romans 10:12) was the general ground. 'Mercy takes away misery, love confers salvation' (Bengel).


Verse 5

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Dead in sins - `dead in our [ tois (Greek #3588), the] trespasses.'

Quickened - `vivified' spiritually; by consequence, hereafter, corporally. There must be a spiritual resurrection of the soul before there can be a comfortable resurrection of the body (Pearson) (John 11:25-26; Romans 8:11).

Together with Christ. The Head being seated at God's right hand, the body also sits there with Him (Chrysostom). We are already seated there IN Him ("in Christ Jesus," Ephesians 2:6), and hereafter shall be seated by Him: IN Him already as in our Head, which is the ground of our hope; by Him hereafter, as by the conferring cause, when hope shall be swallowed up in fruition (Pearson). What God did in Christ, He did (by the very fact) in all united to and one with Christ.

(By grace ye are saved) , [ sesoosmenoi (Greek #4982)] - 'ye are in a saved state.' Not merely 'ye are being saved,' but already "passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Salvation is to the Christian not to be waited for hereafter, but already, in some degree, realized (1 John 3:14). This parenthetic clause (cf. Ephesians 2:8) is to make them feel what otherwise their remaining corruptions would make them doubt-namely, their present fellowship in the quickening with Christ. Not their works, but God's grace throughout, is the sole source of salvation; hence, he says "ye," not 'we.'


Verse 6

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Raised us up together - with Christ. The 'raising up' pre-supposes previous quickening of Jesus in the tomb, and of us in the grave of our sins.

Made us sit together - with Christ; namely, in His ascension. Believers are bodily in heaven in point of right, and virtually so in spirit, and have each their own place assigned there, which in due time they shall take possession of (Philippians 3:20-21). He does not say 'on the right hand of God'-a prerogative unique to Christ. They shall share His throne (Revelation 3:21). In Christ Jesus. Our vital union with Him is the ground of our present spiritual and future bodily resurrection and ascension. "Christ Jesus" is the usual phrase in this letter, in which the office of the Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King is prominent; when the Person is prominent, "Jesus Christ" is used.


Verse 7

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

[ Endeixeetai (Greek #1731)] 'That He might show forth (middle reflexive voice: for His own glory, Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14) in the ages which are coming on' - i:e., the blessed ages of the Gospel which supersede 'the age [ aioona (Greek #165), "course"] of this world' (Ephesians 2:2), and the past "ages" from which the mystery was hidden (Colossians 1:26-27). These good ages, beginning with the first preaching of the Gospel, and thenceforth continually succeeding one another, are not consummated until the Lord's coming again (cf. Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 6:5). The 'coming on' does not exclude the time then present, but implies the ages following upon Christ's 'having raised them up together' (Ephesians 2:6).

Kindness , [ chreestoteeti (Greek #5544)] - 'benignity.'

Through Christ - Greek, 'in Christ;' as often, to mark that all our blessings center 'IN HIM' as their source. Hence, "Christ" is so often repeated.


Verse 8

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

For - illustrating 'the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness.' He emphatically recurs to the truth (Ephesians 2:5), 'By grace ye are in a saved state.'

Through faith - the hand which apprehends Christ unto salvation, nerved by the power of Christ's resurrection (Ephesians 1:19-20; Philippians 3:10), whereby we are 'raised together' with him (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12). A reads 'through your (literally, 'the:' 'Aleph (') B Delta G omit) faith,' which accepts "grace." Christ alone is the meritorious agent.

And that - namely, the act of believing, or "faith," which might seem to be your own independent act, is not so.

Of yourselves - in contrast to "it is the gift of God" (Philippians 1:29). In saying "through faith," I do not wish to except faith from grace. 'God justifies the believing man, not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him in whom he believes' (Hooker). The initiation, as well as the increase of faith, is from the Spirit of God; not only by an external proposal of the Word, but by internal illumination in the soul (Pearson). Yet "faith" cometh through means-namely, 'hearing the word of God' (Romans 10:17) and prayer (Luke 11:13), while the blessing is wholly of God (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).


Verse 9

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Not of works. This clause stands in contrast to "by grace" (Romans 4:4-5; Romans 11:6).

Lest - Greek, 'that no man should boast' (Romans 3:27; Romans 4:2).


Verse 10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Workmanship , [ poieema (Greek #4161)] - 'a thing of His making,' 'handiwork.' Here the spiritual creation, not the physical, is referred to (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Created - having been created (Psalms 102:18; Isaiah 43:21; 2 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24),

Unto , [ epi (Greek #1909) ergois (Greek #2041)] - 'for good works.' "Good works" cannot be performed until we are new 'created unto' or for them. Paul never calls the works of the law "good works." We are not saved by, but created for, good works.

Before ordained , [ proeetoimasen (Greek #4282)] - 'before made ready' (cf. John 5:36). God marks out for each in His purposes beforehand the particular good works, the time, and way, which He sees best. God both makes ready by His providence the opportunities for the works, and makes us ready for their performance (John 15:16; 2 Timothy 2:21).

That we should walk in them - not 'be saved' by them. Works do not justify, but the justified man works (Galatians 5:22-25).


Verse 11

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Wherefore - since God has manifested such "grace." The Greek order in 'Aleph (') A B Delta, Vulgate, is, 'That in time past [ pote (Greek #4218), once] ye,' etc. Such remembrance sharpens gratitude and strengthens faith (Ephesians 2:19) (Bengel).

Gentiles in the flesh - i:e., Gentiles in respect to circumcision.

Called Uncircumcision - who are called (in contempt), and are, the Uncircumcision. The Jews were called, but were not truly, the Circumcision: they realized not its spiritual meaning (Ellicott).

In the flesh made by hands - as opposed to the true circumcision "of the heart, in the spirit, and not the letter" (Romans 2:29): "made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Colossians 2:11; Philippians 3:2-3): an external instead of a spiritual process.


Verse 12

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Without Christ , [ chooris (Greek #5565), implying separation of the subject from the object] - 'separate from Christ:' having no part in Him: far from Him. A different word [ aneu (Greek #427), implying absence of the object from the subject] would express, 'Christ was not present with you' (Tittmarsh).

Aliens - Greek, 'alienated from.' Not merely 'separated from.' The Israelites were cut off from the commonwealth of God, but it was as being self-righteous and unworthy, not as aliens and strangers. The 'alienated from' takes it for granted that the Gentiles, before they apostatized from the primitive truth, were sharers in light and life (cf. Ephesians 4:18; Ephesians 4:23). The hope of redemption through Messiah, on their subsequent apostasy, was embodied into a definite spiritual "commonwealth" or polity-namely, that "of Israel," from which the Gentiles were alienated. Contrast Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4-5, with Psalms 147:20. 'They parted only to unite again (Acts 4:27) in one act of uttermost rebellion; yet, through redeeming love, to be thereby (Ephesians 2:15-16) united in Christ forever' Ellicott).

Covenants of promise - rather, 'of the promise;' namely, "to thee and thy seed will I give this land" (Romans 9:4-6; Galatians 3:16). The plural implies the several renewals of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Romans 15:8). 'The promise' is singular, to signify that the covenant substantially is the same at all times, only different in its external circumstances (cf. Hebrews 1:1, "at sundry times and in divers manners").

Having no [ Mee (Greek #3361) echontes (Greek #2192): subjective negation: not having, as you would yourselves admit]

Hope beyond this life (1 Corinthians 15:19) The CONJECTURES of pagan philosophers as to a future life were at Hope - beyond this life (1 Corinthians 15:19). The CONJECTURES of pagan philosophers as to a future life were at best vague, and utterly unsatisfactory. They had no divine "promise," therefore no sure ground of "hope." Epicurus and Aristotle did not believe in it at all. The Platonists believed the soul passed through perpetual changes-now happy, then again miserable; the Stoics, that it existed no longer than until the general burning up of all things.

Without God , [ atheoi (Greek #112): objective negation] - 'atheists;' i:e., they had not "God" in our sense, the Eternal Being who made and governs all things (cf. Acts 14:15); whereas the Jews knew God (cf. also Galatians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). So also pantheists are atheists; for an impersonal God is NO GOD-an ideal immortality, no immortality.

In the world - in contrast to belonging to "the commonwealth of Israel:" having their portion and their all in this godless, secular, ethnic world (Psalms 17:14), from which Christ delivers His people (John 15:19; John 17:14; Galatians 1:4).


Verse 13

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Now - in contrast to "at that time" (Ephesians 2:12).

In Christ Jesus. Jesus is added (in contrast to Ephesians 2:12. "without Christ") to mark that they know Christ as the personal Saviour, "Jesus."

Sometimes - Greek, 'aforetime.'

Far off - the Jewish description of the Gentiles. Far off from God and from His people (Isaiah 57:19; Acts 2:39; Acts 5:17).

Are - Greek, 'were.'

By - Greek, 'in:' in virtue of your interest in "the blood of Christ:" IN it as the element of nearness to God, ye were made and are now nigh. In Ephesians 1:7, where the blood is more directly spoken of as the instrument, it is "through His blood."


Verse 14

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; He - Greek, 'Himself,' and none else.

Our peace - not merely 'peacemaker,' but the sole source of our (Jews' and Gentiles' alike) peace with God, so the bond of union between "both" in God. He took both into Himself, and reconciled us to God, by assuming our nature and our penal and legal liabilities (Isaiah 9:5-6; Isaiah 53:5; Micah 5:5; Micah 5:15; Colossians 1:20). His title, "Shiloh," means the same (Genesis 49:10).

The middle wall of partition , [ mesotoichon (Greek #3320) tou (Greek #3588) fragmou (Greek #5418)] - 'of the partition' or 'fence:' the middle wall which parted Jew and Gentile. There was a balustrade of stone which separated the court of the Gentiles from the holy place, which it was death for a Gentile to pass. This, though alluded to, was but a symbol of the partition itself-namely, "the enmity" between "both" and God (Ephesians 2:15), the real cause of separation from God, and so the mediate cause of their separation from one another. Hence, there was a twofold wall: one, the inner, severing even the Jewish people from the holy part of the temple where the priests officiated; the other, the outer, separating the Gentile proselytes from the court of the Jews (cf. Ezekiel 44:7; Acts 21:20). This twofold wall represented the Sinaitic law, which both severed all men, even the Jews, from access to God (through sin, which is the violation of the law), and also separated the Gentiles from the Jews. As "wall" implies the strength of the partition, so 'fence' implies that it was easily removed by God when the due time came. Compare the rending of the veil at Jesus' death, Hebrews 10:20, with Matthew 27:51. 'The temple was a material embodiment of the law; its outward structure a symbol of spiritual distinctions' (Ellicott).


Verse 15

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Rather, make "enmity" an apposition to "the middle wall of partition." 'Hath broken down the middle wall of partition (not merely, as the English version, "between us," but also between all men and God) - to wit, the enmity (resulting between Jew and Gentile from the law, and chiefly between both and God) (Romans 8:7) in His (crucified) flesh; i:e., in virtue of it' (Colossians 1:21-22 : cf. Romans 8:3; Romans 5:16).

The law of commandments contained in , [ ton (Greek #3588) nomon (Greek #3551) toon (Greek #3588) entoloon (Greek #1785) en (Greek #1722) dogmasin (Greek #1378)] - 'having abolished the law of THE commandments (expressed) in ordinances (in mandatory decrees).' This law was the "partition" which expressed the "enmity" (the "wrath" of God against our sin, and our enmity to Him, Ephesians 2:3) (Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:10-11; Romans 8:7). Christ has "abolished" it, so far as its condemning and enmity-creating power is concerned (Colossians 2:14), substituting the law of love, the everlasting spirit of the law, which flows from realizing in the soul His love in His death for us. Translate, 'That He might make the two (Jews and Gentiles) into one new man.' Not that He might merely reconcile the two to each other, but incorporate the two, reconciled in Him to God, into one new man; the old man, to which both belonged, the enemy of God, having been slain in His flesh on the cross. Observe, ONE new man: believers are all in God's sight one in Christ, as we are but one in Adam (Alford).

Making peace - primarily, between all and God; secondarily, between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14). This 'peacemaking' precedes its publication (Ephesians 2:17).


Verse 16

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Translate, 'Might completely reconcile again both in one body (the Church, Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 3:15) unto (their original unity with) God through His cross.' The "reconcile" [apokatalaxe], found only here and Colossians 1:20, expresses not only a return to favour with one [ katallagee (Greek #2643)], but so to lay aside enmity that complete amity follows; to pass from enmity to complete reconciliation (Tittmarsh).

Having (after He had) slain the enmity - namely, between man and God; and so that between Jew and Gentile, which resulted from it. By His being slain, He slew it (cf. Hebrews 2:14).

Thereby - Greek, 'therein:' 'in virtue of the cross;' i:e., His crucifixion (Colossians 2:15).


Verse 17

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Translate 'He came (of His free love) and announced glad tidings of [ eueengelisato (Greek #2097)] peace to the apostles (Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26), and by them to others, through His Spirit present in His Church' (John 14:18). Acts 26:23 is parallel: after His resurrection 'He showed light to the (Jewish) people ("them that were nigh") and to the Gentiles ("you which were afar off") by His Spirit in His ministers (cf. 1 Peter 3:19).

And to them. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G, f g, Vulgate, insert "peace" again: 'And peace to them.' The repetition implies how both alike would dwell again and again upon the welcome word "peace." So Isaiah 57:19.


Verse 18

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Translate, 'For it is through Him (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:19) that we have our access (Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:12), both of us, in (i:e., united in; 1 Corinthians 12:13, Greek) one Spirit to the Father;' as our common Father, reconciled to both alike; whence all separation between Jew and Gentile ceases. The oneness of 'the Spirit,' as the common element IN which we both have our access (admission), entails oneness of the body, the Church (Ephesians 2:16). The fact of our access proves the reality of our peace (Ephesians 2:17) with God through Him. There is allusion to the Introducer in Eastern courts: Jesus is our Bringer to God (1 Peter 3:18). The distinctness of persons in the Trinity appears in this verse (marked by the three prepositions, dia (Greek #1223), en (Greek #1722), pros (Greek #4314)). There are now no sacerdotal priests through whom alone the people can approach God. All alike, people and ministers, can draw near through Christ, their ever-living Priest.


Verse 19

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Now therefore - `accordingly, then' [ ara (Greek #686) oun (Greek #3767)].

Foreigners , [ paroikoi (Greek #3941)] - 'sojourners' (Leviticus 22:10-11); opposed to 'members of the household,' as "strangers" is to 'fellow-citizens' (Philippians 3:19-20, note).

But. 'Aleph (') A B C Delta G f g, Vulgate, add 'ye are.'

With the saints - "the commonwealth of (spiritual) Israel" (Ephesians 2:12).

Of God - THE FATHER, as JESUS CHRIST appears in Ephesians 2:20, and THE SPIRIT in Ephesians 2:22.


Verse 20

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

[ Epoikodomeethentes (Greek #2026), 'built up upon,' etc.; having been built up upon: omit "and are."] Compare 1 Corinthians 3:11-12. The same image, in Ephesians 3:17, recurs in his address to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:32), and in his letter to Timothy at Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19), naturally suggested by the splendid temple of Diana. The glory of the Christian temple is internal; not mere idolatrous gaud. The image is appropriate also to the Jew-Christians, as the temple at Jerusalem was the stronghold of Judaism.

Foundation of the apostles ... - i:e., upon their preaching (cf. Matthew 16:18). Christ Himself, the only Foundation, was the subject of their ministry and spring of their fife. As one with Him, His twelve fellow-workers, in a secondary sense, are "foundations" (Revelation 21:14). So Christ is THE living Stone; believers, living stones, by their union with Him (1 Peter 2:4-5). The "prophets" are joined with them; for it is not 'foundations of the apostles and the prophets,' but "foundation of the apostles and prophets." For the doctrine of both was one (1 Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 19:10). The apostles take the precedency (Luke 10:24). "The prophets" represent the old Jewish dispensation; "the apostles," the new. The "prophets" of the new also are included. Alford refers it solely to these. Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11 imply that the New Testament prophets are not excluded; but the apostle's reference to Psalms 118:22, "the head stone of the corner," proves that the Old Testament prophets are prominent.

David was a "prophet" (Acts 2:30). Compare also Isaiah 28:16. Both lean on the earlier prophecy of Jacob (Genesis 49:24). The context suits this: Ye were once aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (under her Old Testament prophets), but now ye are members of the true Israel, built upon the foundation of her New Testament apostles and Old Testament prophets. The one Greek article to both implies their close union. Paul identifies his teaching with that of Israel's old prophets (Acts 26:22; Acts 28:23). The costly foundation stones of the temple (1 Kings 5:17) were the type (cf. Jeremiah 51:26). Christ "Himself," none else, is at once the Corner Stone and the Foundation on which the whole building rests. Paul supposes a rock so large and so fashioned as to be both at once supporting the whole as the foundation and in part rising up at the extremities, so that the side walls are united in it as the corner stone (Zanchius). Piazzi Smith suggests the topmost angle of the pyramid, 'HEAD of the corner,' in which all meet (Zechariah 4:7). It is conspicuous; and, coming in men's way, may be stumbled over, as the Jews did at Christ (Psalms 118:22; Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:6-7).


Verse 21

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

In whom - as holding together the whole.

All the (so A C but B Delta G 'Aleph (') omit the: 'every') building - structure.

Fitly framed - so as exactly to fit together.

Growth - `is growing' continually. Here an additional thought is added: the Church has the growth of a living organism besides the solid increase of a building. Compare 1 Peter 2:5, "lively stones ... built up a spiritual house." Compare Ephesians 4:16; Zechariah 6:12, "the Branch shall build the temple of the Lord."

Holy - being the "habitation of God" (Ephesians 2:22). So 'in the Lord' (Christ) answers to "through (IN) the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22 : cf. Ephesians 3:16-17). Christ is the element in which the Church has its temple-like symmetry and its branch-like growth.


Verse 22

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Are (being) builded together ... through (Greek, 'in') the Spirit - answering to "in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:21). God, by His Spirit in believers, has them for His habitation (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ephesians-2.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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