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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Ephesians 2



Other Authors
Verse 1

And you did he quicken (και υμαςkai humās). The verb for did he quicken does not occur till Ephesians 2:5 and then with ημαςhēmās (us) instead of υμαςhumās (you). There is a like ellipsis or anacoluthon in Colossians 1:21, Colossians 1:22, only there is no change from υμαςhumās to ημαςhēmās

When ye were dead (οντας νεκρουςontas nekrous). Present active participle referring to their former state. Spiritually dead.

Trespasses and sins (παραπτωμασιν και αμαρτιαιςparaptōmasin kai hamartiais). Both words (locative case) though only one in Ephesians 2:5.

Verse 2

According to the course of this world (κατα τον αιωνα του κοσμου τουτουkata ton aiōna tou kosmou toutou). Curious combinations of αιωνaiōn (a period of time), κοσμοςkosmos (the world in that period). See note on 1 Corinthians 1:20 for “this age” and 1 Corinthians 3:9 for “this world.”

The prince of the power of the air (τον αρχοντα της εχουσιας του αεροςton archonta tēs exousias tou aeros). ΑηρAēr was used by the ancients for the lower and denser atmosphere and αιτηρaithēr for the higher and rarer. Satan is here pictured as ruler of the demons and other agencies of evil. Jesus called him “the prince of this world” (ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτουho archōn tou kosmou toutou John 16:11).

That now worketh (του νυν ενεργουντοςtou nun energountos). Those who deny the existence of a personal devil cannot successfully deny the vicious tendencies, the crime waves, in modern men. The power of the devil in the lives of men does explain the evil at work “in the sons of disobedience” (εν τοις υιοις της απετιαςen tois huiois tēs apethias). In Ephesians 5:6 also. A Hebrew idiom found in the papyri like “sons of light” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

Verse 3

We also all (και ημεις παντεςkai hēmeis pantes). We Jews.

Once lived (ανεστραπημεν ποτεanestraphēmen pote). Second aorist passive indicative of αναστρεπωanastrephō old verb, to turn back and forth, to live (2 Corinthians 1:12). Cf. ποτε περιεπατησατεpote periepatēsate of the Gentiles in Ephesians 2:2.

The desires (τα τεληματαta thelēmata). Late and rare word except in lxx and N.T., from τελωthelō to will, to wish. Plural here “the wishes,” “the wills” of the flesh like ταις επιτυμιαις της σαρκοςtais epithumiais tēs sarkos just before. Gentiles had no monopoly of such sinful impulses.

Of the mind (των διανοιωνtōn dianoiōn). Plural again, “of the thoughts or purposes.”

Were by nature children of wrath (ημετα τεκνα πυσει οργηςēmetha tekna phusei orgēs). This is the proper order of these words which have been the occasion of much controversy. There is no article with τεκναtekna Paul is insisting that Jews as well as Gentiles (“even as the rest”) are the objects of God‘s wrath (οργηςorgēs) because of their lives of sin. See Romans 2:1-3:20 for the full discussion of this to Jews unpalatable truth. The use of πυσειphusei (associative instrumental case of manner) is but the application of Paul‘s use of “all” (παντεςpantes) as shown also in Romans 3:20; Romans 5:12. See πυσειphusei of Gentiles in Romans 2:14. The implication of original sin is here, but not in the form that God‘s wrath rests upon little children before they have committed acts of sin. The salvation of children dying before the age of responsibility is clearly involved in Romans 5:13.

Verse 4

But God (ο δε τεοςho de theos). Change in the structure of the sentence here, resuming Ephesians 2:1 after the break.

Being rich in mercy (πλουσιος ων εν ελεειplousios ōn en eleei). More than ελεημωνeleēmōn (being merciful).

Wherewith (ηνhēn). Cognate accusative with ηγαπησενēgapēsen (loved).

Verse 5

Even when we were dead (και οντας ημας νεκρουςkai ontas hēmās nekrous). Repeats the beginning of Ephesians 2:1, but he changes υμαςhumās (you Gentiles) to ημαςhēmās (us Jews).

Quickened us together with Christ (συνεζωοποιησεν τωι Χριστωιsunezōopoiēsen tōi Christōi). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb συνζωοποιεωsunzōopoieō as in Colossians 2:13 which see. Associative instrumental case in ΧριστωιChristōi Literal resurrection in the case of Jesus, spiritual in our case as pictured in baptism.

By grace have ye been saved (χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοιchariti este sesōsmenoi). Instrumental case of χαριτιchariti and perfect passive periphrastic indicative of σωζωsōzō Parenthetical clause interjected in the sentence. All of grace because we were dead.

Verse 6

In Christ Jesus (εν Χριστωι Ιησουen Christōi Iēsou). All the preceding turns on this phrase. See note on Colossians 3:1 for the word συνηγειρενsunēgeiren

Made to sit with him (συνεκατισενsunekathisen). First aorist active indicative of συνκατιζωsunkathizō old causative verb, but in N.T. only here and Luke 22:55.

Verse 7

That he might shew (ινα ενδειχηταιhina endeixētai). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist middle subjunctive of ενδεικνυμιendeiknumi See note on Ephesians 1:8 for “riches of grace” and note on Ephesians 1:19 for “exceeding” (υπερβαλλονhuperballon).

In kindness toward us (εν χρηστοτητι επ ημαςen chrēstotēti Ephesians' hēmās). See Romans 2:7 for this word from χρηστοςchrēstos and that from χραομαιchraomai here God‘s benignity toward us.

Verse 8

For by grace (τηι γαρ χαριτιtēi gar chariti). Explanatory reason. “By the grace” already mentioned in Ephesians 2:5 and so with the article.

Through faith (δια πιστεωςdia pisteōs). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in Ephesians 2:5 to make it plainer. “Grace” is God‘s part, “faith” ours.

And that (και τουτοkai touto). Neuter, not feminine ταυτηtautē and so refers not to πιστιςpistis (feminine) or to χαριςcharis (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (εχ υμωνex humōn out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God‘s gift (δωρονdōron) and not the result of our work.

Verse 9

That no man should glory (ινα μη τις καυχησηταιhina mē tis kauchēsētai). Negative final clause (ινα μηhina mē) with first aorist middle subjunctive of καυχαομαιkauchaomai It is all of God‘s grace.

Verse 10

Workmanship (ποιημαpoiēma). Old word from ποιεωpoieō with the ending ματ̇mat meaning result. In N.T. only here and Revelation 1:20.

Created (κτιστεντεςktisthentes). First aorist passive participle of κτιζωktizō not the original creation as in Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9, but the moral and spiritual renewal in Christ, the new birth, as in Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24.

For good works (επι εργοις αγατοιςepi ergois agathois). Probably the true dative of purpose here with επιepi (Robertson, Grammar, p. 605). Purpose of the new creation in Christ.

Which (οιςhois). Attraction of the relative αha (accusative after προητοιμασενproētoimasen) to case of the antecedent εργοιςergois

Afore prepared (προητοιμασενproētoimasen). First aorist active indicative of προητοιμαζωproētoimazō old verb to make ready beforehand. In N.T. only here and Romans 9:23. Good works by us were included in the eternal foreordination by God.

That we should walk in them (ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμενhina en autois peripatēsōmen). Expexegetic final clause explanatory of the election to good works.

Verse 11

Wherefore (διοdio). This conjunction applies to the Gentile Christians the arguments in Ephesians 2:1-10.

That aforetime ye (οτι ποτε υμειςhoti pote humeis). No verb is expressed, but in Ephesians 2:12 Paul repeats οτι εν τωι καιρωι εκεινωιhoti en tōi kairōi ekeinōi (for ποτεpote) “that at that time” and inserts ητεēte (ye were).

Uncircumcision (ακροβυστιαakrobustia), circumcision (περιτομηςperitomēs). The abstract words are used to describe Gentiles and Jews as in Galatians 5:6; Romans 2:27.

Made by hands (χειροποιητουcheiropoiētou). Agreeing with περιτομηςperitomēs Verbal (Mark 14:58) from χειροποιεωcheiropoieō like αχειροποιητοςacheiropoiētos in Colossians 2:11.

Verse 12

Separate from Christ (χωρις Χριστουchōris Christou). Ablative case with adverbial preposition χωριςchōris describing their former condition as heathen.

Alienated from the commonwealth of Israel (απηλλοτριωμενοι της πολιτειας του Ισραηλapēllotriōmenoi tēs politeias tou Israēl). Perfect passive participle of απαλλοτριοωapallotrioō for which see note on Colossians 1:21. Here followed by ablative case πολιτειαςpoliteias old word from πολιτευωpoliteuō to be a citizen (Philemon 1:27) from πολιτηςpolitēs and that from πολιςpolis (city). Only twice in N.T., here as commonwealth (the spiritual Israel or Kingdom of God) and Acts 22:28 as citizenship.

Strangers from the covenants of the promise (χενοι των διατηκων της επαγγελιαςxenoi tōn diathēkōn tēs epaggelias). For χενοςxenos (Latin hospes), as stranger see Matthew 25:35, Matthew 25:38, and Matthew 25:43.; as guest-friend see note on Romans 16:23. Here it is followed by the ablative case διατηκωνdiathēkōn

Having no hope (ελπιδα μη εχοντεςelpida mē echontes). No hope of any kind. In Galatians 4:8 ουκouk (strong negative) occurs with ειδοτες τεονeidotes theon but here μηmē gives a more subjective picture (1 Thessalonians 4:5).

Without God (ατεοιatheoi). Old Greek word, not in lxx, only here in N.T. Atheists in the original sense of being without God and also in the sense of hostility to God from failure to worship him. See Paul‘s words in Romans 1:18-32. “In the world” (εν τωι κοσμωιen tōi kosmōi) goes with both phrases. It is a terrible picture that Paul gives, but a true one.

Verse 13

But now (νυνι δεnuni de). Strong contrast, as opposed to “at that time.”

Afar off (μακρανmakran). Adverb (accusative feminine adjective with οδονhodon understood). From the πολιτειαpoliteia and its hope in God.

Are made nigh (εγενητητε εγγυςegenēthēte eggus). First aorist passive indicative of γινομαιginomai a sort of timeless aorist. Nigh to the commonwealth of Israel in Christ.

In the blood of Christ (εν τωι αιματι του Χριστουen tōi haimati tou Christou). Not a perfunctory addition, but essential (Ephesians 1:7), particularly in view of the Gnostic denial of Christ‘s real humanity.

Verse 14

For he is our peace (αυτος γαρ εστιν η ειρηνη ημωνautos gar estin hē eirēnē hēmōn). He himself, not just what he did (necessary as that was and is). He is our peace with God and so with each other (Jews and Gentiles).

Both one (τα αμποτερα ενta amphotera hen). “The both” (Jew and Gentile). Jesus had said “other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (John 10:16).

One (ενhen) is neuter singular (oneness, unity, identity) as in Galatians 3:28. Race and national distinctions vanish in Christ. If all men were really in Christ, war would disappear.

Brake down the middle wall of partition (το μεσοτοιχον του πραγμου λυσαςto mesotoichon tou phragmou lusas). “Having loosened (first aorist active participle of λυωluō see note on John 2:19) the middle-wall (late word, only here in N.T., and very rare anywhere, one in papyri, and one inscription) of partition (πραγμουphragmou old word, fence, from πρασσωphrassō to fence or hedge, as in Matthew 21:33).” In the temple courts a partition wall divided the court of the Gentiles from the court of Israel with an inscription forbidding a Gentile from going further (Josephus, Ant. VIII. 3, 2). See the uproar when Paul was accused of taking Trophimus beyond this wall (Acts 21:28).

Verse 15

Having abolished (καταργησαςkatargēsas). First aorist active participle of καταργεωkatargeō to make null and void.

The enmity (την εχτρανtēn echthran). But it is very doubtful if την εχτρανtēn echthran (old word from εχτροςechthros hostile, Luke 23:12) is the object of καταργησαςkatargēsas It looks as if it is in apposition with to μεσοτοιχονmesotoichon and so the further object of λυσαςlusas The enmity between Jew and Gentile was the middle wall of partition. And then it must be decided whether “in his flesh” (εν τηι σαρκι αυτουen tēi sarki autou) should be taken with λυσαςlusas and refer especially to the Cross (Colossians 1:22) or be taken with καταργησαςkatargēsas Either makes sense, but better sense with λυσαςlusas Certainly “the law of commandments in ordinances (τον νομον των εντολων εν δογμασινton nomon tōn entolōn en dogmasin) is governed by καταργησαςkatargēsas

That he might create (ινα κτισηιhina ktisēi). Final clause with first aorist active subjunctive of κτιζωktizō

The twain (τους δυοtous duo). The two men (masculine here, neuter in Ephesians 2:14), Jew and Gentile.

One new man (εις ενα καινον αντρωπονeis hena kainon anthrōpon). Into one fresh man (Colossians 3:9-11) “in himself” (εν αυτωιen hautōi). Thus alone is it possible.

Making peace (ποιων ειρηνηνpoiōn eirēnēn). Thus alone can it be done. Christ is the peace-maker between men, nations, races, classes.

Verse 16

And might reconcile (και αποκαταλλαχηιkai apokatallaxēi). Final clause with ιναhina understood of first aorist active subjunctive of αποκαταλλασσωapokatallassō for which see note on Colossians 1:20, Colossians 1:22.

Them both (τους αμποτερουςtous amphoterous). “The both,” “the two” (τους δυοtous duo), Jew and Gentile.

In one body (εν ενι σωματιen heni sōmati). The “one new man” of Ephesians 2:15 of which Christ is Head (Ephesians 1:23), the spiritual church. Paul piles up metaphors to express his idea of the Kingdom of God with Christ as King (the church, the body, the commonwealth of Israel, oneness, one new man in Christ, fellow-citizens, the family of God, the temple of God).

Thereby (εν αυτωιen autōi). On the Cross where he slew the enmity (repeated here) between Jew and Gentile.

Verse 17

Preached peace (ευηγγελισατο ειρηνηνeuēggelisato eirēnēn). First aorist middle of ευαγγελιζωeuaggelizō “He gospelized peace” to both Jew and Gentile, “to the far off ones” (τοις μακρανtois makran) and “to the nigh ones” (τοις εγγυςtois eggus). By the Cross and after the Cross Christ could preach that message.

Verse 18

Through him (δι αυτουdi' autou). Christ.

We both (οι αμποτεροιhoi amphoteroi). “We the both” (Jew and Gentile).

Our access (την προσαγωγηνtēn prosagōgēn). The approach, the introduction as in Romans 5:2.

In one Spirit (εν ενι πνευματιen heni pneumati). The Holy Spirit.

Unto the Father (προς τον πατεραpros ton patera). So the Trinity as in Ephesians 1:13. The Three Persons all share in the work of redemption.

Verse 19

So then (αρα ουνara oun). Two inferential particles (accordingly therefore).

No more (ουκετιouketi). No longer.

Sojourners (παροικοιparoikoi). Old word for dweller by (near by, but not in). So Acts 7:6, Acts 7:29; 1 Peter 2:11 (only other N.T. examples). Dwellers just outside the house or family of God.

Fellow-citizens (συνπολιταιsunpolitai old, but rare word, here only in N.T.), members now of the πολιτειαpoliteia of Israel (Ephesians 2:12), the opposite of χενοι και παροικοιxenoi kai paroikoi

Of the household of God (οικειοι του τεουoikeioi tou theou). Old word from οικοςoikos (house, household), but in N.T. only here, Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:8. Gentiles now in the family of God (Romans 8:29).

Verse 20

Being built upon (εποικοδομητεντεςepoikodomēthentes). First aorist passive participle of εποικοδομεωepoikodomeō for which double compound verb see note on 1 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 2:17.

The foundation (επι τωι τεμελιωιepi tōi themeliōi). Repetition of επιepi with the locative case. See note on 1 Corinthians 3:11 for this word.

Of the apostles and prophets (τον αποστολων και προπητωνton apostolōn kai prophētōn). Genitive of apposition with τεμελιωιthemeliōi consisting in. If one is surprised that Paul should refer so to the apostles, he being one himself, Peter does the same thing (2 Peter 3:2). Paul repeats this language in Ephesians 3:5.

Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone (οντως ακρογωνιανιου αυτου Χριστου Ιησουontōs akrogōnianiou autou Christou Iēsou). Genitive absolute. The compound ακρογωνιαιοςakrogōniaios occurs only in the lxx (first in Isa 28:16) and in the N.T. (here, 1 Peter 2:6). ΛιτοςLithos (stone) is understood. Jesus had spoken of himself as the stone, rejected by the Jewish builders (experts), but chosen of God as the head of the corner (Matthew 21:42), εις κεπαλην γωνιαςeis kephalēn gōnias “The ακρογωνιαιοςakrogōniaios here is the primary foundation-stone at the angle of the structure by which the architect fixes a standard for the bearings of the walls and cross-walls throughout” (W. W. Lloyd).

Verse 21

Each several building (πασα οικοδομηpāsa oikodomē). So without article Aleph B D G K L. ΟικοδομηOikodomē is a late word from οικοςoikos and δεμωdemō to build for building up (edification) as in Ephesians 4:29, then for the building itself as here (Mark 13:1.). Ordinary Greek idiom here calls for “every building,” not for “all the building” (Robertson, Grammar, p. 772), though it is not perfectly clear what that means. Each believer is called a ναος τεουnaos theou (1 Corinthians 3:16). One may note the plural in Mark 13:1 (οικοδομαιoikodomai) of the various parts of the temple. Perhaps that is the idea here without precise definition of each οικοδομηoikodomē But there are examples of παςpās without the article where “all” is the idea as in πασης κτισεωςpāsēs ktiseōs (all creation) in Colossians 1:15.

Fitly framed together (συναρμολογουμενηsunarmologoumenē). Double compound from συνsun and αρμολογοςharmologos (binding, αρμοςharmos joint and λεγωlegō), apparently made by Paul and in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:16. Architectural metaphor.

Into a holy temple (εις ναον αγιονeis naon hagion). The whole structure with all the οικοδομαιoikodomai Another metaphor for the Kingdom of God with which compare Peter‘s “spiritual house” (οικος πνευματικοςoikos pneumatikos) in which each is a living stone being built in (1 Peter 2:5).

Verse 22

Ye also are builded together (και υμεις συνοικοδομειστεkai humeis sunoikodomeisthe). Ye Gentiles also. Present passive indicative (continuous process) of common old verb συνοικοδομεωsunoikodomeō to build together with others or out of varied materials as here. Only here in N.T. In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter uses οικοδομειστεoikodomeisthe for the same process.

For a habitation (εις κατοικητηριονeis katoikētērion). Late word (lxx), in N.T. only here and Revelation 18:2. From κατοικεωkatoikeō to dwell, as Ephesians 3:17. Possibly each of us is meant here to be the “habitation of God in the Spirit” and all together growing (αυχειauxei) “into a holy temple in the Lord,” a noble conception of the brotherhood in Christ.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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