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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Ephesians 5

 

 

Verse 1

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

Be ye , [ ginesthe (Greek #1096)] - 'become.'

Therefore - since 'God in Christ forgave you' (Ephesians 4:32).

Followers - Greek, 'imitators' of God in "love" (Ephesians 5:2): God's essential character (1 John 4:16).

As dear children - Greek, 'as children beloved;' to which Ephesians 5:2 refers, "as Christ also hath loved us" (1 John 4:19). 'We are sons of men when we do ill; sons of God when we do well' (Augustine) (cf. Matthew 5:44; Matthew 5:48). Sonship infers necessity of imitation ('love instinctively prompting to it'), it being vain to assume the title without similitude of the Father (Pearson).


Verse 2

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

And - in proof that you are so.

Walk - resuming Ephesians 4:1, "walk worthy of the vocation," etc. In this consists the imitation.

As Christ also hath loved. From the love of the Father he passes to that of the Son, in whom God most endearingly manifests His love to us.

Us. 'Aleph (') B read 'you:' A Delta G f g, Vulgate, "us."

Given himself for us , [ paredooken (Greek #3860)] - 'gave Himself up (namely, to death Galatians 2:20) for [ huper (Greek #5228)] us;' i:e., in our behalf: vicarious substitution is indirectly implied 'in our stead.' The offerer and the offering were one and the same (John 15:13; Romans 5:8).

Offering and a sacrifice. "Offering" [ prosphora (Greek #4376)] expresses generally His presenting Himself to the Father, as Representative, undertaking the cause of our lost race (Psalms 40:6-8), including His life of obedience, though not excluding His offering of His body for us [ prosphora (Greek #4376)] (Hebrews 10:10). Usually an unbloody offering, in the limited sense. "Sacrifice" refers to His death for us exclusively. Christ is here, from Psalms 40:6 (quoted in Hebrews 10:5), represented as antitype of all the offerings of the law, whether unbloody or bloody, eucharistical or propitiatory.

For a sweet-smelling savour - Greek, 'for (to be) an odour of a sweet smell;' so that God is well pleased with the offering and with us for its sake (Leviticus 1:9 : cf. Philippians 4:18; Matthew 3:17; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 1:6; Hebrews 10:6-17). The ointment compounded of principal spices, poured upon Aaron's head, answers to the various graces which qualified Him to 'offer Himself a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savour.' Another prophecy by figure was "the sweet savour" (savour of rest, margin) which God smelled in Noah's sacrifice (Genesis 8:21). Again, as what Christ is, believers also are (1 John 4:17), and ministers are, Paul says (2 Corinthians 2:15), "We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ."


Verse 3

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Once named - `let it not be even [ meede (Greek #3366)] named' (Ephesians 5:4; Ephesians 5:12). Words of evil lead to deeds. "Fornication," so deadly a sin in Christian ethics, was not deemed immoral in pagandom. "Uncleanness" and "covetousness" are resumed from Ephesians 4:19. The two are so allied that the Greek for "covetousness" [ pleonexia (Greek #4124)] is used sometimes in the Greek fathers for impurity. The common principle is longing to fill one's desire with objects of sense outside of God. 'Not be even named' applies better to impurity than to "covetousness." But the disjunctive "or" marks "covetousness" here as distinct from 'fornication and uncleanness.'


Verse 4

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Filthiness - in act or gesture.

Foolish talking - the talk of fools: folly and sin together. It [ moorologia (Greek #3473)] and "filthiness" [ aischrotees (Greek #151)] occur nowhere else in the New Testament. Nor - rather, 'or' (cf. Ephesians 5:3).

Jesting , (polished) [Greek, `eutrapelia (Greek #2160):' nowhere else in the New Testament] - that versatility which turns about, adapting itself, without regard to principle, to the squirting circumstances of the moment, and the varying moods of those around. Refined 'persiflage' and 'bad-image,' for which Ephesus was famed (Plautus, 'Miles Gloriosus,' 3: 1, 42-52): so far from being censured, it is thought by the world a pleasant accomplishment. "Filthiness" (cf. Colossians 3:8) refers to the foulness, "foolish talking" to the folly, "jesting" to the false refinement (and trifling witticism: Tittmann), of discourse unseasoned with the salt of grace (Trench).

Not convenient - `unseemly' not such 'as become saints' (Ephesians 5:3). [Romans 1:28 mee (Greek #3361) katheekonta (Greek #2520), subjectively, "not convenient;" here, ouk anekonta, objectively so (Ellicott).]

Rather giving of thanks - a happy play on sounds: eucharistia (Greek #2169) contrasted with eutrapelia (Greek #2160). Refined "jesting" sometimes offends the tender feelings of grace; "giving of thanks" gives that real cheerfulness to believers which the worldly try to get from "jesting" (Ephesians 5:19-20; James 5:13).


Verse 5

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

This ye know. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g. Vulgate, read [ iste (Greek #1510) ginooskontes (Greek #1097) for este (Greek #1510) ginooskontes (Greek #1097)] 'this ye surely know:' you are aware, of your own knowledge, that.

Covetous ... idolater (Colossians 3:5). ['Aleph (') B G f g, Vulgate, read ho (Greek #3739), which thing, for hos (Greek #3739), who (A Delta), which is (in other words) an idolater.] Paul himself had forsaken all for Christ (2 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 11:27). Covetousness is worship of the creature instead of the Creator-high treason against the King of kings (1 Samuel 15:23; Matthew 6:24; Philippians 3:19; 1 John 2:15).

Hath. The present implies fixed exclusion. It is a settled principle of God's moral government that such a one hath not.

Of Christ and of God - rather, as one Greek article includes both, 'of Christ and God,' implying their perfect oneness-consistent only with Christ being God (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:13).


Verse 6

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Vain - unreal words; namely, palliations of "uncleanness" (Ephesians 5:3-4; Isaiah 5:20) (that it is natural to indulge in love), "covetousness" (that it is useful to society to pursue gain), and "jesting" (that it is witty, and that God will not punish for such things).

Because of these things - uncleanness, covetousness, etc. (Ephesians 5:3-5.)

Cometh - not merely, 'shall come.' Is as sure as if already come. The principles of God's moral government are present and enduring.

Children - rather, 'sons of disobedience' (Ephesians 2:2-3). The children of 'no faith' in doctrine (Deuteronomy 32:20) are "children of disobedience" in practice, having the character of their mother (Origen), and so are "children of wrath."


Verse 7

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Be not - `Become not' [ ginesthe (Greek #1096)]: fall not into association with them. Here fellowship with wicked workers is forbidden: in Ephesians 5:11, with their wicked works.


Verse 8

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Sometimes - `once.' Ye ought to have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for your state as darkness is now PAST. Stronger than "in darkness" (Romans 2:19; Romans 6:17).

Light - not merely 'enlightened,' but enlightening others (Ephesians 5:13).

In - in union with the Lord, THE LIGHT: outside of Him all is darkness.

Children of light - not merely 'of the light;' just as "children of disobedience" on the opposite side: those whose characteristic is light. Pliny, wilting to Trajan, bears unwilling testimony to the extraordinary purity of Christians' lives contrasted with those around them.


Verse 9

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Fruit of the Spirit - taken from Galatians 5:22. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'the fruit of THE LIGHT:' in contrast with "the unfruitful works of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11). 'Walk as children of light, FOR the fruit of the light (has its sphere: shows itself) in all (kinds of) goodness (opposed to "malice," or badness, Ephesians 4:31), righteousness (opposed to "covetousness," Ephesians 5:3), and truth' (opposed to "vain words," Ephesians 5:6, and "lying," Ephesians 4:25). The good, the right, the true, comprise all morality.


Verse 10

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Proving - construed with "walk" (Ephesians 5:8; Romans 12:1-2). As we prove a coin by the eye and ear, and by using it; so, by accurate study and experimental trial, we may test 'what is acceptable unto the Lord;' which last is the Christian's one criterion in estimating things. "Light," of which believers are "children," manifests what each thing really is.


Verse 11

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Unfruitful works of darkness. Sins, being terminated in themselves, are called "works," not 'fruits' (Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:22). Their only fruit, (if the term is to be used) (Deuteronomy 32:32) is "death" (Romans 6:21; Galatians 6:8). Plants cannot bear "fruit" in the absence of light. Sin is "darkness;" its parent the prince of darkness, (Ephesians 6:12). Graces, as flourishing in "the light," are reproductive, and abound in fruits; which, as harmoniously combining in one whole, are singular - "the FRUIT of the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:9).

Rather ... - Greek, 'rather, even reprove them' (cf. Matthew 5:14-16). Not only 'have no fellowship, but even reprove them,' in words (Ephesians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 14:24; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15). Not that we can be avoid all contact (1 Corinthians 5:10), but 'avoid such fellowship as will defile you;' just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light detects it, so 'even reprove sin.'


Verse 12

For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

The Greek order is, 'For the things done in secret by them it is a shame even to speak of.' The "for" gives his reason for 'not naming' (cf. Ephesians 5:3) in detail the works of darkness, whereas he describes definitely (Ephesians 5:9) 'the fruit of the light' (Bengel). I think the "for" expresses, Reprove them; for to speak of them in detail without reproving them is a shame (Ephesians 5:3). Thus "works of darkness" answers to 'things done in secret.' And 'even to speak of them' without reproving is opposed to 'even reprove them.'


Verse 13

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

But - though 'done in secret.'

That are reproved - rather [as there is no article before elengchomena (Greek #1651)], 'when they are reprove;' namely, by you (Ephesians 5:11).

Whatsoever doth make manifest , [ pan (Greek #3956) to (Greek #3588) faneroumenon (Greek #5319)] - rather, 'everything that is (i:e., suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon;' namely, by your 'reproving,' Ephesians 5:11) is thenceforth no longer "darkness" (Ephesians 5:8), but "light" "Light" can hardly apply, as Ellicott thinks [taking phaneroumenon as wholly passive in meaning], to any but those who become spiritually illumined. Others may be shone round, but do not become "light." The wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness. "Light" has no transforming effect on them (John 3:19-20). But whatever suffers itself to be illumined is thenceforth light. You, being light yourselves (Ephesians 5:8), by shedding light, through proof, upon some in darkness, will convert them to light. Your, consistent lives and faithful re-proofs are your "armour of light" (Romans 13:12) in assailing the kingdom of darkness.


Verse 14

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Wherefore - referring to the whole foregoing argument (Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:11; Ephesians 5:13). Since light (spiritual) dispels the pre-existing darkness, He (God) saith, etc. (cf. Eph. 15:8 .)

Awake. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G, Origen read [ egeire (Greek #1453), for egeirai (Greek #1453)] 'Up!' 'Rouse thee!' used in stirring men to activity. A paraphrase of Isaiah 60:1-2. The "Christ" shows that Paul, in quoting the prophecy, views it in its Gospel fulfillment. As Israel is called on to "awake" from its previous "darkness" and 'death' (Isaiah 59:10; Isaiah 60:2), for her Light is come, so the Church, and each individual, are called to awake: believers to "awake" out of sleep; unbelievers to "arise" from the dead (cf. Matthew 25:5; Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:6 with Ephesians 2:1).

Christ - "the true light," "the sun of righteousness."

Give thee light , [ epifausei (Greek #2017)] - 'shall shine upon thee' as the sun shines upon those awakened out of sleep, enabling thee, by being "made manifest," to become "light" (Ephesians 5:13); then, being so "enlightened" (Ephesians 1:18) by 'reproving,' to enlighten others.


Verse 15

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

That , [ poos (Greek #4459)] - 'see how ye walk,' etc.; comprising the double idea. 'see how ye walk,' and 'that ye walk circumspectly.' The manner, as well as the act, is included. See how ye are walking, with view to your being circumspect in your walk. Compare Colossians 4:5, "Walk in wisdom (answering to, "as wise" here) toward them that are without" (answering to "circumspectly" [akribos]; i:e., correctly, in relation to unbelievers; not giving occasion of stumbling, but edifying all by a consistent walk).

Not as fools ('not as unwise' [ asofoi (G781)]) but as wise.


Verse 16

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Redeeming the time (Colossians 4:5) [ exagorazomenoi (Greek #1805) ton (Greek #3588) kairon (Greek #2540)] - 'Buying up for yourselves the seasonable time' (whenever it occurs) of good to yourselves and to others. Buying off from the vanities of "them that are without," and of the "unwise" opportunity, each opportunity afforded you for the work of God. Special seasons for good occasionally present themselves, of which believers ought diligently to avail, themselves. This constitutes true "wisdom" (Ephesians 5:15). In a larger sense, the whole season from one's spiritual awakening is to be "redeemed" from vanity for God (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Peter 4:2-4). 'Redeem,' 'buy up' (like buyers on the watch for a favourable market time), implies the preciousness of the opportune season: a jewel to be bought at any price. Make it your own, as a master will buy so as to have at command a good servant. Compare Daniel 2:8; Septuagint [The ek (Greek #1537) in the compound verb refers to the time or circumstances out which in each case 'the opportune time' is to be bought (Ellicott).]

Because the days are evil. The days of life are so (Galatians 1:4) morally beset with evil that we should make the most of each opportunity of good while it lasts (Ephesians 6:13; Genesis 47:9; Psalms 49:5; Ecclesiastes 11:2; Ecclesiastes 12:1; John 12:35). There are evil days (in persecution, sickness, etc.) when the Christian is laid by, therefore he needs the more to improve all seasonable times afforded (Amos 5:13). Time generally serves the evil: buy it up for good.


Verse 17

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Wherefore - since ye need to walk circumspectly, choosing the right opportunity of good.

Unwise , [ afrones (Greek #878)] - different Greek from Ephesians 5:15; 'foolish,' 'senseless.'

Understanding - not merely knowing as a fact (Luke 12:47) but knowing with thoughtful understanding.

The will of the Lord - how each opportunity is to be used. The Lord's will ultimately is our "sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3); and that "in every thing," meantime, we should "give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:18 : cf. above, Ephesians 5:10).


Verse 18

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Wherein - not in the wine (1 Timothy 5:23), but in 'becoming drunk' with it.

Excess , [ asootia (Greek #810)] - 'dissoluteness;' literally, unsavingness; unrestrained recklessness.

But be filled with (literally, IN) the Spirit. In inspiration the person was "filled" with ecstatic exhilaration, like that caused by wine; hence, the two are connected (cf. Acts 2:13-18). Many prophets-e.g., John Baptist-abstained from wine, an order that the world might distinguish the ecstasy caused by the Spirit from that caused by wine. So in ordinary Christians, the Spirit dwells not in the mind that seeks excitement, but in the well-balanced prayerful mind. Such express their joy, not in drunken or worldly songs, but in Christian hymns of thankfulness.


Verse 19

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; To yourselves. (Colossians 3:16) Hence, arose the antiphonal or responsive chanting of which Pliny writes to Trains: 'They are wont on a fixed day to meet before daylight (to avoid persecution) and to recite a hymn among themselves by turns, to Christ as if God.' The Spirit gives true wine a spurious eloquence.

Psalms - generally accompanied by an instrument [Hebrew, mizmowr (Hebrew #4210)]: carefully arranged.

Hymns , [ t


Verse 20

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Thanks always for all things - even for adversities; also for blessings, unknown as well as known (Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Service and praise are the angelical life.

Unto [ too (G3588): Him who is] God and the Father - the Fountain of every blessing in Creation, Providence, Election, and Redemption.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - by whom all things, even distresses, become ours (Romans 8:35-37; 1 Corinthians 3:20-23).


Verse 21

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

(Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5.) He passes from relations to God to those which concern our fellow-men. (Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5.) He passes from relations to God to those which concern our fellow-men.

Submitting yourselves. A thankful spirit toward God (Ephesians 5:20) will be humble toward men.

In the fear of God. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, read 'in the fear of CHRIST.' The believer passes from under bondage to the law as a letter to be 'the servant of Christ' (1 Corinthians 7:22), which, through instinctive love to Him, is really to be "the Lord's freeman;" for he is "under the law to Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:21 : cf. John 8:36). Christ, not the Father (John 5:22), is to be our judge. Thus reverential fear of displeasing Him is the motive for discharging relative duties as Christians (2 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Peter 2:13).


Verse 22

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

(Ephesians 6:9.) The Church's relation to Christ, in His everlasting purpose, is the archetype of the three greatest earthly relations-husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33), parent and child (Ephesians 6:1-4), master and servant (Ephesians 6:4-9). B and all Jerome's Greek manuscripts omit "submit yourselves:" supplying it from Ephesians 5:21, 'Ye wives (submitting yourselves) unto your own [idiois implying the legitimacy, John 4:18; exclusiveness, 1 Corinthians 7:2; and specialty of the connection, 1 Corinthians 14:35 (Ellicott)] husbands' 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, Coptic, read 'Let wives submit themselves' [hupotassesthoosan]. Delta supports "submit yourselves." "Your own" is an argument for submissiveness in wives: it is not a stranger, but your own husbands, whom you are to submit unto (cf. Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-7). Those subject ought to submit themselves, whatever their superiors are. "Submit" is used of wives; "obey" of children (Ephesians 6:1) [ hupakouete (Greek #5219)], as there is greater equality between wives and husbands than between children and parents.

As unto the Lord - as unto Christ Himself, whose person the husband represents, the ground of the wife's submission; though that submission is inferior in kind and degree to what she owes Christ (Ephesians 5:24).


Verse 23

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Even as - Greek, 'as also.' See 1 Corinthians 11:3.

And he is. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'Himself, (being) Saviour' etc., omitting "and," and "is," which C has. Christ's Headship is united with-nay, gained by-His having SAVED the body in redemption. The being "head" is common to both the husband and Christ: the bodies to which they are so are different. Another particular in which He does not resemble the husband is, HE and none else [ autos (Greek #846)], is the Saviour of the body. The husband is not saviour of the wife, in which Christ excels; hence, "But" (Ephesians 5:24) follows (Bengel).


Verse 24

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Therefore , [ alla (Greek #235)] - "But;" i:e., though the husband be not, as Christ, Saviour of the body (Ephesians 5:23), nevertheless, thus far they are one, that the 'subjection' or 'submission' (the same Greek as "submit," Ephesians 5:21-22) of the Church to Christ, is the prototype of that of the wife to the husband.

Their own. So A. Not in B Delta G 'Aleph (') f g. Not needed by the argument.

In every thing - appertaining to a husband's legitimate authority: "in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18): everything not contrary to God.


Verse 25

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

'Thou hast seen the measure of obedience; now hear the measure of love. Do you wish your wife to obey you, as the Church is to obey Christ? Then have a solicitude for her, as Christ had for the Church (Ephesians 5:23); if it be necessary to give thy life for her, or to endure any other suffering whatever, do not refuse; and if you suffer thus, not even so do you do what Christ has done: for you do so, being already united to her; but He did so for one that treated Him with aversion. As, therefore, He brought to His feet one that even wantonly spurned Him, by much tenderness, not by threats and terror, so do you act toward your wife; and though you see her wayward, you will bring her to your feet by ranch thoughtfulness, by love, by kindness. For no bond is more sovereign, especially in the case of husband and wife. For one may constrain a servant by fear, though not even he is so to be bound to you. But the companion of your life, the mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, you ought to bind to you, not by fear, but by love' (Chrysostom);

Gave himself , [ paredooken (Greek #3860)] - 'gave Himself up.'

For it - `for her.' The Church's relation to Christ is the ground of woman's elevation under Christianity to her due social place, from which she was, and is, excluded in pagan lands.


Verse 26

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Sanctify - i:e., consecrate her to God. Compare John 17:19, 'I devote myself as a holy sacrifice, that my disciples also may be devoted as holy in the truth' (Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 10:10, note; 13:12).

And cleanse , [ katharisas (Greek #2511), contemporaneous with hagiasee (Greek #37)] - 'cleansing,' without the "and."

With the washing of water , [ too (Greek #3588) loutroo (Greek #3067)] - 'by the laver of the water;' namely, the baptismal water. So Titus 3:5, the only other passage where it occurs in the New Testament. As the bride passed through a purifying bath before marriage, so the Church. He speaks of baptism according to its high ideal as if the inward grace accompanied the outward rite; hence, he asserts of baptism whatever is involved in a believing appropriation of the divine truths it symbolizes, and says that Christ by it has purified the Church (1 Peter 3:21).

By the word - `IN [ en (Greek #1722)] the word.' Five times in Paul's other letters, and four in Hebrews; always the word proceeding from God. To be joined with 'cleansing her.' The Gospel, the "word of faith" (Romans 10:8-9; Romans 10:17), of which confession is made in baptism, and which carries the real cleansing (John 15:3; John 17:17), regenerating power (1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 3:21), (Alford). So Augustine, 'Tract.,' 80, in John, 'Take away the Word, and what is the water save water? Add the Word to the element, and it becomes a sacrament, being itself as it were the visible Word.'


Verse 27

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

He , ['Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read autos (Greek #846) for auteen (Greek #846)] - 'that He might Himself present unto Himself the Church glorious' (the article marks the subject, and its absence the predicate [ endoxon (Greek #1741) teen (Greek #3588) ekkleesian (Greek #1577)]); namely, as a bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). He alone presents her: not paranymphs or attendants: He alone receives her. Holiness and glory are inseparable. 'Cleansing' is the preliminary to both. Holiness is glory internal; glory is holiness shining out. It is Christ that prepares the Church with the ornaments of grace, for presentation to Himself at His coming again as Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1, etc.; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2).

Not having spot (Song of Solomon 4:7). The visible Church contains clean and unclean together, like Noah's ark; like the wedding room which contained some that had, and others that had not, the wedding garment (Matthew 22:10-14 : cf. 2 Timothy 2:20); or as the good and bad fish are in the same net, because the fishermen are unable to know what kind of fish the nets have taken under the waves. Still, the Church is "holy" in her ideal and destination. When the Bridegroom comes, she shall be presented to Him without spot, the evil being cut off from the body forever (Matthew 13:47-50). Not that there are two churches, but one and the same Church in relation to different times-now with good and evil together; hereafter with good alone (Pearson).


Verse 28

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

'So (in the same manner as Christ loves the Church) ought husbands also (thus A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read) to love their own (cf; note, Ephesians 5:22) wives as (being) their own bodies.' 'He that, loveth his own [ten heautou] wife loveth himself.' For a man's wife is part of his very self. Christ loved the Church, not merely just as He loved His own body, but as being His own body (Ellicott) (Ephesians 5:30; Ephesians 5:32).


Verse 29

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

For. Grant that a man's wife is himself (Ephesians 5:28), he is sure to love her, "For no man," etc.

His own flesh (Ephesians 5:31, end) - for "body:" in allusion to Genesis 2:23.

Nourisheth , [ektrephei] - 'nourisheth it up;' namely, to maturity. Referring to internal sustenance: "cherisheth" [ thalpei (Greek #2282)], to clothing and external fostering. Two grounds of love of husbands to wives are mentioned:

(1) Love to one's self, and so to one's wife, who is one's self;

(2) Following Christ's love to the Church (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

The Lord. 'Aleph (') A B Delta f g, Vulgate, read 'Christ.' Exodus 21:10 prescribes three duties to the husband. Two (food and raiment) are alluded to spiritually by "nourisheth and cherisheth;" the third, "duty of marriage," is omitted in consonance with the holy propriety of Scripture: its antitype is, "know the Lord" (Hosea 2:19-20).


Verse 30

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

For [ hoti (Greek #3754)] 'Because' (1 Corinthians 6:15) Christ nourisheth and cherisheth the Church 'Because we are For [ hoti (Greek #3754)] - 'Because' (1 Corinthians 6:15). Christ nourisheth and cherisheth the Church, 'Because we are members of His body (His literal glorified body), being OF [ ek (Greek #1537) tees (Greek #3588) sarkos (Greek #4561), being formed out of] His flesh and of His bones,' not merely of His mystical body, the Church (Ellicott) (Genesis 2:23-24). Adam's deep sleep, wherein Eve was formed out of his opened side, is emblematic of Christ's death which was the birth of the Spouse, the Church. John 12:24; John 19:34-35, to which fact Ephesians 5:25-27 allude, as implying atonement by His blood, and sanctification by the "water," answering to that which flowed from His side (cf. John 7:38-39; 1 Corinthians 6:11). As Adam gave Eve a new name [ 'ishah (Greek #802)], "woman," from 'iysh (Greek #376), "man," signifying her formation from him, so Christ, Revelation 2:17; Revelation 3:12; Genesis 2:21; Genesis 2:23-24, puts the bones first, because the reference there is to the natural structure.

But Paul is referring to the flesh of Christ. It is not our bones and flesh, but "we," that are spiritually propagated (in soul and spirit now, and in the body hereafter, regenerated) from Christ's glorified manhood, which has flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). This existed in God's purpose from everlasting (John 6:53). A B 'Aleph ('), Coptic, omit 'of His flesh and of His bones:' the words perhaps crept into the text, through the margin, from Genesis 2:23; Septuagint C Delta G f g, Irenaeus, 294, the old Latin and Vulgate versions, have them. Our real (spiritual) being is as actually 'a true native extract from His own body' (Hooker) as was the physical derivation of Eve from Adam. 'Our union with the Deity rests in our mystical union with Christ's humanity, which is personally united with His divine nature, which is essentially united with God the Father' (Waterland in Ellicott, who adds, 'in the sacraments we are made and continued members of Christ's body, of His flesh and of His bones'). But if material sacraments were the only means of union with Christ's humanity, what hope would there be for the thief on the cross? What hope for Quakers?


Verse 31

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

For this cause. The propagation of the Church from Christ, as that of Eye from Adam, is the foundation of the spiritual marriage. The natural marriage, wherein 'a man leaves father and mother 'Aleph (') B Delta G omit "his," which A C support) and is joined [proskollethesetai: cemented closely] unto his wife,' is not the principal thing here; but the spiritual marriage, on which it rests, whereby Christ left the Father's bosom to woo to Himself the Church out of a lost world (Ephesians 5:32): His earthly mother, as such, He holds secondary to His Spiritual Bride (Luke 2:48-49; Luke 8:19-21; Luke 11:27-28). He shall again leave His Father's abode to consummate the union (Matthew 25:1-10; Revelation 19:7). This, then, is the first prophecy in Scripture, and 'Adam the first prophet' in typical act (Jerome in Ellicott).

They two shall be one flesh. So the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, etc., read (Genesis 2:24), instead of 'they shall be one flesh.' So Matthew 19:5. In natural marriage, husband and wife combine to form one perfect human being: the one is the complement of the other. So Christ, as God-man, is pleased to make the Church, the body, a necessary adjunct to Himself, the Head. He is the archetype of the Church, from whom, as the pattern, she is formed. He is her Head, as the husband is of the wife (Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:45). Christ will never allow any power to sever Himself and His bride (Matthew 19:6; John 10:28-29; John 13:1).


Verse 32

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

[ To (Greek #3588) musteerion (Greek #3466) mega (Greek #3173) estin (Greek #1510)] 'This mystery is great.' This truth, hidden once, but now revealed-namely, Christ's spiritual union with the Church, mystically represented by marriage-is of deep import (note, Ephesians 5:30). So "mystery" means a divine truth not to be discovered except by revelation of God (Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:51). The Vulgate wrongly translates 'This is a great sacrament'-the plea of the Romish Church (in spite of the blunder having been long ago exposed by their own commentators, Cajetan and Estius) for making marriage a sacrament. Not marriage in general, but that of Christ and the Church, is 'the great mystery,' as the words following prove: 'I (emphatic) say it in regard to [ eis (Greek #1519)] Christ and to [eis] the Church.' Whereas the words (Genesis 2:24) refer primarily to literal marriage, I quote them in a higher sense.


Verse 33

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Nevertheless. Not to pursue further the mystical meaning of marriage; 'ye also (as Christ does) severally let each one so love,' etc. The words, 'severally each one,' refer to them as individuals, contrasted with the previous collective view of the members as the bride of Christ.

As himself - as being one with Himself (note, Ephesians 5:28).

Reverence , [ fobeetai (Greek #5399)] - 'fear.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ephesians 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ephesians-5.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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