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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Ephesians 6



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Verse 1

Right (δικαιονdikaion). In Colossians 3:20 it is ευαρεστονeuareston (well-pleasing).

Verse 2

Which (ητιςhētis). “Which very” = “for such is.”

The first commandment with promise (εντολη πρωτη εν επαγγελιαιentolē prōtē en epaggeliāi). ΕνEn here means “accompanied by” (Alford). But why “with a promise”? The second has a general promise, but the fifth alone (Exodus 20:12) has a specific promise. Perhaps that is the idea. Some take it to be first because in the order of time it was taught first to children, but the addition of εν επαγγελιαιen epaggeliāi here to πρωτηprōtē points to the other view.

Verse 3

That it may be well with thee (ινα ευ σοι γενηταιhina eu soi genētai). From Exodus 20:12, “that it may happen to thee well.”

And thou mayest live long on the earth (και εσηι μακροχρονιος επι της γηςkai esēi makrochronios epi tēs gēs). Here εσηιesēi (second person singular future middle) takes the place of γενηιgenēi in the lxx (second person singular second aorist middle subjunctive). ΜακροχρονιοςMakrochronios is a late and rare compound adjective, here only in N.T. (from lxx, Ex 20:12).

Verse 4

Provoke not to anger (μη παροργιζετεmē parorgizete). Rare compound, both N.T. examples (here and Romans 10:19) are quotations from the lxx. The active, as here, has a causative sense. Parallel in sense with μη ερετιζετεmē erethizete in Colossians 3:21. Paul here touches the common sin of fathers.

In the chastening and admonition of the Lord (εν παιδειαι και νουτεσιαι του κυριουen paideiāi kai nouthesiāi tou kuriou). ΕνEn is the sphere in which it all takes place. There are only three examples in the N.T. of παιδειαpaideia old Greek for training a παιςpais (boy or girl) and so for the general education and culture of the child. Both papyri and inscriptions give examples of this original and wider sense (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). It is possible, as Thayer gives it, that this is the meaning here in Ephesians 6:4. In 2 Timothy 3:16 adults are included also in the use. In Hebrews 12:5, Hebrews 12:7, Hebrews 12:11 the narrower sense of “chastening” appears which some argue for here. At any rate νουτεσιαnouthesia (from νουσ τιτημιnoustithēmi), common from Aristophanes on, does have the idea of correction. In N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 10:11; Titus 3:10.

Verse 5

With fear and trembling (μετα ποβου και τρομουmeta phobou kai tromou). This addition to Colossians 3:22.

Verse 6

But as servants of Christ (αλλ ως δουλοι Χριστουall' hōs douloi Christou). Better “slaves of Christ” as Paul rejoiced to call himself (Philemon 1:1).

Doing the will of God (ποιουντες το τελημα του τεουpoiountes to thelēma tou theou). Even while slaves of men.

Verse 7

With good will (μετ ευνοιαςmet' eunoias). Not in Colossians. Old word from ευνοοςeunoos only here in N.T. as ευνοεωeunoeō is in N.T. only in Matthew 5:25.

Verse 8

Whatsoever good thing each one doeth (εκαστος εαν τι ποιησηι αγατονhekastos ean ti poiēsēi agathon). Literally, “each one if he do anything good.” Condition of third class, undetermined, but with prospect. Note use here of αγατονagathon rather than αδικονadikon (one doing wrong) in Colossians 3:25. So it is a reward (κομισεταιkomisetai) for good, not a penalty for wrong, though both are true, “whether he be bond or free” (ειτε δουλος ειτε ελευτεροςeite doulos eite eleutheros).

Verse 9

And forbear threatening (ανιεντες την απειληνanientes tēn apeilēn). Present active participle of ανιημιaniēmi old verb, to loosen up, to relax. “Letting up on threatening.” ΑπειληApeilē is old word for threat, in N.T. only here and Acts 4:29; Acts 9:1.

Both their Master and yours (και αυτων και υμων ο κυριοςkai autōn kai humōn ho kurios). He says to “the lords” (οι κυριοιhoi kurioi) of the slaves. Paul is not afraid of capital nor of labour.

With him (παρ αυτωιpar' autōi). “By the side of him (God).”

Verse 10

Finally (του λοιπουtou loipou). Genitive case, “in respect of the rest,” like Galatians 6:17. D G K L P have the accusative το λοιπονto loipon (as for the rest) like 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Philemon 3:1; Philemon 4:8.

Be strong in the Lord (ενδυναμουστε εν κυριωιendunamousthe en kuriōi). A late word in lxx and N.T. (Acts 9:22; Romans 4:20; Philemon 4:13), present passive imperative of ενδυναμοωendunamoō from ενen and δυναμιςdunamis to empower. See Philemon 1:10 for “in the strength of his might.” Not a hendiadys.

Verse 11

Put on (ενδυσαστεendusasthe). Like Ephesians 3:12. See also Ephesians 4:24.

The whole armour (την πανοπλιανtēn panoplian). Old word from πανοπλοςpanoplos (wholly armed, from παν οπλονpanπρος το δυνασται υμας στηναιhoplon). In N.T. only Luke 11:22; Ephesians 6:11, Ephesians 6:13. Complete armour in this period included “shield, sword, lance, helmet, greaves, and breastplate” (Thayer). Our “panoply.” Polybius gives this list of Thayer. Paul omits the lance (spear). Our museums preserve specimens of this armour as well as the medieval coat-of-mail. Paul adds girdle and shoes to the list of Polybius, not armour but necessary for the soldier. Certainly Paul could claim knowledge of the Roman soldier‘s armour, being chained to one for some three years.

That ye may be able to stand (προς τοpros to dunasthai humās stēnai). Purpose clause with δυνασταιpros to and the infinitive (υμαςdunasthai) with the accusative of general reference (στηναιhumās) and the second aorist active infinitive ιστημιstēnai (from δυνασταιhistēmi) dependent on προςdunasthai Against (προςpros). Facing. Another instance of τας μετοδιας του διαβολουpros meaning “against” (Colossians 2:23).

The wiles of the devil (tas methodias tou diabolou). See already Ephesians 4:14 for this word. He is a crafty foe and knows the weak spots in the Christian‘s armour.

Verse 12

Our wrestling is not (ουκ εστιν ημιν η παληouk estin hēmin hē palē). “To us the wrestling is not.” ΠαληPalē is an old word from παλλωpallō to throw, to swing (from Homer to the papyri, though here only in N.T.), a contest between two till one hurls the other down and holds him down (κατεχωkatechō). Note προςpros again (five times) in sense of “against,” face to face conflict to the finish.

The world-rulers of this darkness (τους κοσμοκρατορας του σκοτους τουτουtous kosmokratoras tou skotous toutou). This phrase occurs here alone. In John 14:30 Satan is called “the ruler of this world” (ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτουho archōn tou kosmou toutou). In 2 Corinthians 4:4 he is termed “the god of this age” (ο τεος του αιωνος τουτουho theos tou aiōnos toutou). The word κοσμοκρατωρkosmokratōr is found in the Orphic Hymns of Satan, in Gnostic writings of the devil, in rabbinical writings (transliterated) of the angel of death, in inscriptions of the Emperor Caracalla. These “world-rulers” are limited to “this darkness” here on earth.

The spiritual hosts of wickedness (τα πνευματικα της πονηριαςta pneumatika tēs ponērias). No word for “hosts” in the Greek. Probably simply, “the spiritual things (or elements) of wickedness.” ΠονηριαPonēria (from πονηροςponēros) is depravity (Matthew 22:18; 1 Corinthians 5:8).

In the heavenly places (εν τοις επουρανιοιςen tois epouraniois). Clearly so here. Our “wrestling” is with foes of evil natural and supernatural. We sorely need “the panoply of God” (furnished by God).

Verse 13

Take up (αναλαβετεanalabete). Second aorist active imperative of αναλαμβανωanalambanō old word and used (αναλαβωνanalabōn) of “picking up” Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11.

That ye may be able to withstand (ινα δυνητητε αντιστηναιhina dunēthēte antistēnai). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist passive subjunctive of δυναμαιdunamai with αντιστηναιantistēnai (second aorist active infinitive of αντιστημιanthistēmi to stand face to face, against).

And having done all to stand (και απαντα κατεργασα μενοι στηναιkai hapanta katergasa menoi stēnai). After the fight (wrestle) is over to stand (στηναιstēnai) as victor in the contest. Effective aorist here.

Verse 14

Stand therefore (στητε ουνstēte oun). Second aorist active imperative of ιστημιhistēmi (intransitive like the others). Ingressive aorist here, “Take your stand therefore” (in view of the arguments made).

Having girded your loins with truth (περιζωσαμενοι την οσπυν υμων εν αλητειαιperizōsamenoi tēn osphun humōn en alētheiāi). First aorist middle participle (antecedent action) of περιζωννυωperizōnnuō old verb, to gird around, direct middle (gird yourselves) in Luke 12:37; but indirect here with accusative of the thing, “having girded your own loins.” So ενδυσαμενοιendusamenoi (having put on) is indirect middle participle.

The breast-plate of righteousness (τον τωρακα της δικαιοσυνηςton thōraka tēs dikaiosunēs). Old word for breast and then for breastplate. Same metaphor of righteousness as breastplate in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

Verse 15

Having shod (υποδησαμενοιhupodēsamenoi). “Having bound under” (sandals). First aorist middle participle of υποδεωhupodeō old word, to bind under (Mark 6:9; Acts 12:8, only other N.T. example).

With the preparation (εν ετοιμασιαιen hetoimasiāi). Late word from ετοιμαζωhetoimazō to make ready, only here in N.T. Readiness of mind that comes from the gospel whose message is peace.

Verse 16

Taking up (αναλαβοντεςanalabontes). See Ephesians 6:13.

The shield of faith (τον τυρεον της πιστεωςton thureon tēs pisteōs). Late word in this sense a large stone against the door in Homer, from τυραthura door, large and oblong (Latin scutum), ασπιςaspis being smaller and circular, only here in N.T.

To quench (σβεσαιsbesai). First aorist active infinitive of σβεννυμιsbennumi old word, to extinguish (Matthew 12:20).

All the fiery darts (παντα τα βελη τα πεπυρωμεναpanta ta belē ta pepurōmena). ελοςBelos is an old word for missile, dart (from βαλλωballō to throw), only here in N.T. ΠεπυρωμεναPepurōmena is perfect passive participle of πυροωpuroō old verb, to set on fire, from πυρpur (fire). These darts were sometimes ablaze in order to set fire to the enemies‘ clothing or camp or homes just as the American Indians used to shoot poisoned arrows.

Verse 17

The helmet of salvation (την περικεπαλαιαν του σωτηριουtēn perikephalaian tou sōtēriou). Late word (περι κεπαληperiο εστιν το ρημα του τεουkephalē head, around the head), in Polybius, lxx, 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Ephesians 6:17 alone in N.T.

Which is the word of God (οho estin to rēma tou theou). Explanatory relative (μαχαιρανho) referring to the sword (machairan). The sword given by the Spirit to be wielded as offensive weapon (the others defensive) by the Christian is the word of God. See note on Hebrews 4:12 where the word of God is called “sharper than any two-edged sword.”

Verse 18

At all seasons (εν παντι καιρωιen panti kairōi). “On every occasion.” Prayer is needed in this fight. The panoply of God is necessary, but so is prayer.

“Satan trembles when he sees, The weakest saint upon his knees.”

Verse 19

That utterance may be given unto me (ινα μοι δοτηι λογοςhina moi dothēi logos). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist passive subjunctive of διδωμιdidōmi to give. See a like request in Colossians 4:3. Paul wishes their prayer for courage for himself.

Verse 20

For which I am an ambassador in chains (υπερ ου πρεσβευω εν αλυσειhuper hou presbeuō en halusei). “For which mystery” of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). ΠρεσβευωPresbeuō is an old word for ambassador (from πρεσβυςpresbus an old man) in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 5:20. Paul is now an old man (πρεσβυτηςpresbutēs Philemon 1:9) and feels the dignity of his position as Christ‘s ambassador though “in a chain” (εν αλυσειen halusei old word αλυσιςhalusis from αa privative and λυωluō to loosen). Paul will wear a chain at the close of his life in Rome (2 Timothy 1:16).

In it (εν αυτωιen autōi). In the mystery of the gospel. This is probably a second purpose (ιναhina), the first for utterance (ινα δοτηιhina dothēi), this for boldness (ινα παρρησιασωμαιhina parrēsiasōmai first aorist middle subjunctive, old word to speak out boldly). See note on 1 Thessalonians 2:2. See note on Colossians 4:4 for “as I ought.”

Verse 21

That ye also may know (ινα ειδητε και υμειςhina eidēte kai humeis). Final clause with ιναhina and second perfect subjunctive active of οιδαoida For Tychicus, see note on Colossians 4:7.

Verse 22

That ye may know (ινα γνωτεhina gnōte). Second aorist active subjunctive of γινωσκωginōskō Just as in Colossians 4:8 he had not written ινα ειδητεhina eidēte in Ephesians 6:21.

Our state (τα περι ημωνta peri hēmōn). “The things concerning us,” practically the same as τα κατ εμεta kat' eme of Ephesians 6:21. See both phrases in Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:8.

Verse 23

Love and faith (αγαπη μετα πιστεωςagapē meta pisteōs). Love of the brotherhood accompanied by faith in Christ and as an expression of it.

Verse 24

In uncorruptness (εν απταρσιαιen aphtharsiāi). A never diminishing love. See note on 1 Corinthians 15:42 for απταρσιαaphtharsia sa120


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 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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