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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ephesians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-6

Ephesians 4:1-6. God's Calling Involves a Unity of Life.—The writer, appealing to his imprisonment, beseeches his readers to "walk" in a fashion worthy of their calling, i.e. in humility, gentleness, and forbearance, putting up with one another in love. They must be careful to observe steadfastly the oneness of the Spirit (who is at work in them, and who holds them together) in a common bond of peace. The Spirit is one even as the "Body" is one, even as their calling involves one common hope, even as there is one Lord, one loyalty, one baptism, and one God, the supreme and ever-present Father.

Ephesians 4:3. Literally to "watch," to "keep your eyes on," the oneness of the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:4. The writer does not here, as in 1 Corinthians 10:17, base the doctrine of the one Body on the "one Bread" of the Eucharist, but no special significance can be attached to the omission.

Ephesians 4:6. in all: so rightly RV. Some MSS read "in you all," but "you" is a gloss.


Verses 7-16

Ephesians 4:7-16. The Doctrine of "Gifts" in Relation to Unity.—Every Christian has his "gift" of grace: and the grace given to each is proportioned to the measure of Christ's giving (Ephesians 4:7). That is what Scripture means when it says, "He went up on high and took captive a captivity and gave gifts to men" (Ephesians 4:8). "He went up"—surely that means that He came down also to these lower regions, our earth. He that came down is the very same Person who went up, high above all the heavens, to fill all things (Ephesians 4:9 f.); and it is He who has given "gifts" to His Church—apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers—for the fitting of God's people for the work of service, for the upbuilding of Christ's Body (Ephesians 4:11 f.). We are to arrive at last—all of us together—at that oneness of loyalty and knowledge of God's Son which shall constitute us a full-grown man who has attained the measure of the stature of Christ's own fulness (Ephesians 4:13), So at last shall we cease to be a pack of children tossed like sailors at sea and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching that cunning and craft and error's wiles can bring to bear on us (Ephesians 4:14); in truth and in love we shall grow up in all things unto Him who is the Head—Christ (Ephesians 4:15). From Him it is that the whole Body, through every joint of its equipment, is compacted and knit together by the due and effectual working of each several part, and so achieves its own increase, to its own upbuilding, in love (Ephesians 4:16).

Ephesians 4:8. Read, "it saith," the Scripture being personified as in Galatians 3:8. The quotation is from Psalms 68:18, which, however, has "Thou hast received gifts from men." Perhaps a Targum (i.e. a vernacular paraphrase for synagogue use) is here followed.

Ephesians 4:9. RV rightly omits "first," which looks like a gloss in the interest of the view that the "descent" referred to is either the incarnation or the descent into hell. The only tolerable interpretation in relation to the context is that which regards the "descent" as subsequent to the "ascent," i.e. the ascended and triumphant Lord comes down from heaven to bestow upon His Church the "gifts" of apostolate, prophecy, etc. (Ephesians 4:11).

Ephesians 4:10. all the heavens: i.e. the seven heavens of Jewish belief (Ephesians 1:3* cf. Hebrews 4:14).

Ephesians 4:12. Delete the comma after "saints."

Ephesians 4:13. a full-grown man: cf. Galatians 3:28, and contrast the plural "children" (Ephesians 4:14).

Ephesians 4:15. Read mg.

Ephesians 4:16. "Every joint of its supply (or equipment)"; cf. mg. The phrase echoes the technical language of Greek medical writers.


Verses 17-24

Ephesians 4:17-24. The Old Man and the New.—Those who are now members of the true Israel are no longer to walk as Gentiles, i.e. in the vanity of mind, the darkness, the alienation from the Divine life which springs from ignorance and obtuseness of heart, and issues in insensate abandonment to lascivious, impure, and greedy ways. Not such is the lesson of Christ! Those who have heard His voice and in Him been taught the truth—truth as it exists in Jesus—must renounce "the old man" of their former behaviour, the perishing man who is governed by deceitful lusts; they must be renewed in the spirit of their understanding; they must clothe themselves in "the new man," the man after the Divine pattern, God's new creation in righteousness and holiness of truth,

Ephesians 4:21. Truth as displayed in Jesus in His life upon earth. The name "Jesus" without the title "Christ" occurs here only in the epistle. [Cf. Exp., Feb. 1912.—A. J. G.]


Verses 25-32

Ephesians 4:25 to Ephesians 5:2. Precepts of the New Life.—Away then with lying, resentment, stealing, foul talk, bad temper, lust. Remember the common membership (Ephesians 4:25). Give the devil no scope (Ephesians 4:27). Do not grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving—remembering the Divine forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32). Be imitators of your heavenly Father and walk in love, remembering the love of Christ and His oblation of Himself for us.

Ephesians 4:25. Cf. Zechariah 8:16.

Ephesians 4:26. Cf. Psalms 4:4 (LXX), Deuteronomy 24:13; Deuteronomy 24:15.

Ephesians 4:29. corrupt: literally "rotten," "decaying."—for edifying . . . may be: i.e. with a view to building up, as the matter may require.

Ephesians 4:30. Cf. Ephesians 1:13, Revelation 7:2 f.

Ephesians 5:2. Christ is here compared not with a sin offering but with a burnt offering ascending to heaven in savoury smoke (cf. Philippians 4:18).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ephesians-4.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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