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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ephesians 2:15

 

 

by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Having abolished in his flesh - By his incarnation and death he not only made an atonement for sin, but he appointed the doctrine of reconciliation to God, and of love to each other, to be preached in all nations; and thus glory was brought to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will were diffused among men.

The enmity of which the apostle speaks was reciprocal among the Jews and Gentiles. The former detested the Gentiles, and could hardly allow them the denomination of men; the latter had the Jews in the most sovereign contempt, because of the peculiarity of their religious rites and ceremonies, which were different from those of all the other nations of the earth.

The law of commandments - Contained in, or rather concerning, ordinances; which law was made merely for the purpose of keeping the Jews a distinct people, and pointing out the Son of God till he should come. When, therefore, the end of its institution was answered, it was no longer necessary; and Christ by his death abolished it.

To make in himself - To make one Church out of both people, which should be considered the body of which Jesus Christ is the head. Thus he makes one new man - one new Church; and thus he makes and establishes peace. I think the apostle still alludes to the peace-offering, שלום shalom, among the Jews. They have a saying, Sephra, fol. 121: Whosoever offers a peace-offering sacrifice, brings peace to the world. Such a peace-offering was the death of Christ, and by it peace is restored to the earth.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ephesians-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Having abolished - Having brought to naught, or put an end to it - καταργήσας katargēsasIn his flesh - By the sacrifice of his body on the cross. It was not by instruction merely; it was not by communicating the knowledge of God; it was not as a teacher; it was not by the mere exertion of power; it was by his flesh - his human nature - and this can mean only that he did it by his sacrifice of himself. It is such language as is appropriate to the doctrine of the atonement - not indeed teaching it directly - but still such as one would use who believed that doctrine, and such as no other one would employ. Who would now say of a moral teacher that he accomplished an important result by “his flesh?” Who would say of a man that was instrumental in reconciling his contending neighbors, that he did it “by his flesh?” Who would say of Dr. Priestley that he established Unitarianism “in his flesh?” No man would have ever used this language who did not believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin.

The enmity - Between the Jew and the Gentile. Tyndale renders this, “the cause of hatred, that is to say, the law of commandments contained in the law written.” This is expressive of the true sense. The idea is, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility existing between them. That made them different people, and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them. They had different laws; different institutions; a different religion. The Jews looked upon themselves as the favorites of heaven, and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation; the Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the unique institutions with scorn. When Christ came and abolished by his death their special ceremonial laws, of course the cause of this alienation ceased.

Even the law of commandments - The law of positive commandments. This does not refer to the “moral” law, which was not the cause of the alienation, and which was not abolished by the death of Christ, but to the laws commanding sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc., which constituted the uniqueness of the Jewish system. These were the occasion of the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were abolished by the great sacrifice which the Redeemer made; and of course when that was made, the purpose for which these laws were instituted was accomplished, and they ceased to be of value and to be binding.

Contained in ordinances - In the Mosaic commandments. The word “ordinance” means, decree, edict, law; Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Colossians 2:14.

For to make in himself - By virtue of his death, or under him as the head.

Of twain one new man - Of the two - Jews and Gentiles - one new spiritual person; that they might be united. The idea is, that as two persons who had been at enmity, might become reconciled and be one in aim and pursuit, so it was in the effect of the work of Christ on the Jews and Gentiles. When they were converted they would be united and harmonious.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-2.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ephesians 2:15

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.

Christ abolishing the enmity

In this difficult passage it will be well first to examine the particular expressions.

1. The word rendered “to abolish” is the word often used by St. Paul for “to supersede by something better than itself”--translated “to make void,” in Romans 3:31; to “bring to nought,” in 1 Corinthians 1:28, and (in the passive) “to fail, to vanish away,” to be done away,” in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Now, of the relation of Christ to the Law, St. Paul says, in Romans 3:31, “Do we make void the Law? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law.” The Law, therefore, is abolished as a law “in ordinances”--that is, “in the letter”--and is established in the spirit.

2. “The law of commandments in ordinances.” The word here rendered “ordinance” (dogma)
properly means “a decree.” It is used only in this sense in the New Testament (see Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Hebrews 11:23); and it signifies expressly a law imposed and accepted, not for its intrinsic righteousness, but on authority; or, as Butler expresses it (Anal., Part 2, chap. 1)
, not a “moral,” but “a positive law.” In
Colossians 2:14 (the parallel passage) the word is connected with a “handwriting,” that is, a legal “bond”; and the Colossians are reproved for subjecting themselves to “ordinances, which are but a shadow of things to come”; while “the body,” the true substance, “is Christ” (see verses 16, 17, 20, 21).

3. Hence the whole expression describes explicitly what St. Paul always implies in his proper and distinctive use of the word “law.” It signifies the will of God, as expressed in formal commandments, and enforced by penalties on disobedience. The general idea, therefore, of the passage is simply that which is so often brought out in the earlier Epistles (see Romans 3:21-31; Romans 7:1-4; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 2:15-21, et al.), but which (as the Colossian Epistle more plainly shows) now needed to be enforced under a somewhat different form--viz., that Christ, “the end of the law,” had superseded it by the free covenant of the Spirit; and that He has done this for us “in His flesh,” especially by His death and resurrection.

4. But in what sense is thin Law called “the enmity,” which (see verse 16) was “slain” on the cross? Probably in the double sense, which runs through the passage: first, as “an enmity,” a cause of separation and hostility, between the Gentiles and those Jews whom they called “the enemies of the human race”; next, as “an enmity,” a cause of alienation and condemnation, between man and God--“the commandment which was ordained to life, being found to be unto death” through the rebellion and sin of man. The former sense seems to be the leading sense here, where the idea is of “making both one”; the latter in the next verse, which speaks of “reconciling both to God,” all the partitions are broken down, that all alike may have “access to the Father.” Compare Colossians 1:21, “You, who were enemies in your mind, He hath reconciled”; and Hebrews 10:19, “Having confidence to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated to us, through the veil, that is to say His flesh.” (A. Barry, D. D.)

Abolition of the ceremonial, but not of the moral, law

1. As God’s people, in covenant with Him, ought to be highly incensed against and averse from any voluntary entire fellowship with those who neglect and contemn the ordinances of worship prescribed by God in His Word; so those who are without the Church, yea, and all unregenerate men, do look upon the ordinances of God’s worship as base, ridiculous, and contemptible, and carry a kind of hatred and disdain to all such as make conscience of them: for so the ancient worship, prescribed in the ceremonial law, was the occasion of hatred and enmity betwixt the Gentile, who contemned it, and the Jew, who made conscience of it. And, therefore, is here called the “enmity”; “having abolished the enmity.”

2. As the moral law, contained in the Ten Commandments, was no part of that mid-wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, seeing some of the drafts and lineaments of that law are upon the hearts of all by nature (Romans 2:15); so there was no necessity to abrogate this law at Christ’s death, in order to the uniting of Jew and Gentile, neither was it at all abolished; for the law abolished was the law, not simply, but “the law of commandments,” and these not all, but such commandments as were “contained in ordinances,” to wit, the ceremonial law; “even the law of commandments contained in ordinances,” saith he.

3. As God only hath power and liberty to prescribe what manner of worship He will be served by, so He did once give a most observable evidence of this His power and liberty, by changing that external way of worship which was prescribed by Himself, under the Old Testament, unto another under the New; although the internals of His worship, to wit, the graces of faith, love, hope, joy in God, do remain the same in both (Matthew 22:37; Matthew 22:39); for He “did abolish the law of commandments contained in ordinances,” even all the ancient worship consisting in rites and ceremonies, sensibly and fleshly observations, which God did then prescribe, not as simply delighted in them, but as accommodating Himself to the childish condition of the Church in those times; and hath now appointed a more spiritual way of worship, as more suitable to the grown age of the Church (John 4:21; John 4:23).

4. It was Christ’s sufferings and death which put an end to the law of ceremonies, and made the binding power thereof to cease; for seeing His sufferings were the body and substance of all those shadows, they neither did nor could evanish until Christ had suffered, but then they did; it being impossible that a shadow, and the body, whereof it is a shadow, can consist in one and the same place; “Having abolished in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” (James Fergusson.)

One new man in Christ

In this clause and the following verse the two senses, hitherto united, are now distinguished from each other. Here we have the former sense simply. In the new man “there is neither Jew nor Gentile,” but “Christ is all and in all” Colossians 3:12). This phrase, “the new man” (on which see Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 2:10), is peculiar to these Epistles; corresponding, however, to the “new creature” of 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; and the “newness of life” and “spirit” of Romans 6:4; Romans 7:6. Christ Himself is the “second man, the Lord from Heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). “As we have borne the image of the first man, of the earth, earthy,” and so “in Adam die,” we now “bear the image of the heavenly,” and not only “shall be made alive,” but already “have our life hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). He is at once “the seed of the woman” and the “seed of Abraham”; in Him, therefore, Jew and Gentile meet in a common humanity. Just in proportion to spirituality or newness of life is the sense of unity, which makes all brethren. Hence the new creation “makes peace”--here probably peace between Jew and Gentile, rather than peace with God, which belongs to the next verse. (A. Barry, D. D.)

Union in the Church

1. Union in the Church of Christ is a thing which ought to be prized by us highly, and sought after earnestly; and so much, as there is nothing in our power which we ought not to bestow upon it, and dispense with for the acquiring and maintaining of it; for so much was it prized by Christ, that He gave His own life to procure it, and did beat down all His own ordinances which stood in the way of it; “He even abolished in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make of twain one new man.”

2. There are no divisions more hardly curable, than those which are about the religion and worship of God, in so far as they engage not only the credit, but also the consciences of the divided parties; hence one party, so engaged, doth pursue what they maintain, as that wherein God’s honour and their own salvation are most nearly concerned, and doth look upon the other party as an adversary, in so far at least, to both of those; for the apostle, speaking of Christ’s uniting the Jew and Gentile in one Church and religion, maketh use of a word which showeth this was a task of no small difficulty, even such, that no less than creating power was required to it, while He saith, “for to make in Himself (the word signifieth ‘to create in Himself’) of twain one new man.”

3. So strict and near is that conjunction and union which is especially among true believers in the Church, that all of them, how far soever dispersed through the world, do yet make up but one man and one body; as being all, whatever be their other differences, most strictly united, as members under one head, Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), and animated, as to the inward man, by the same Spirit of God residing and acting in them (Romans 8:9); for the apostle showeth that all of them, whether Jew or Gentile, were made, not only one people, one nation, one family, but one new man; “For to make of twain one new man.”

4. As the essential unity of the invisible Church, without which the Church could not be a Church, doth of necessity depend upon and flow from that union which every particular member hath with Christ, as head, seeing the grace of love (whereby they are knit one to another (Colossians 3:14) doth flow from faith (Galatians 5:6), whereby they are united to Him (Ephesians 3:17), so the more our union with Christ is improved unto the keeping of constant communion and fellowship with Him, the more will be attained unto of harmonious walking among ourselves, suitable unto that essential union which is in the Church of Christ; for the apostle maketh the conjunction of Jews and Gentiles in one Church to depend upon Christ’s uniting of them to Himself; “For to make in Himself of twain one new man,” saith He.

5. The peace which ought to be, and which Christ calleth for in His Church, is not a simple cessation from open strife, which may take place even when there remaineth a root of bitterness in people’s spirit (Psalms 55:21); but it is such an harmonious walking together in all things as floweth from the nearest conjunction of hearts, and the total removal of all former bitterness of spirits; for the peace which Christ did make betwixt Jew and Gentile did follow upon His abolishing the enmity, and making them one man; “so making peace,” saith he. (James Fergusson.)

The use of the law

The wife of a drunkard once found her husband in a filthy condition, with torn clothes, matted hair, bruised face, asleep in the kitchen, having come home from a drunken revel. She sent for a photographer, and had a portrait of him taken in all his wretched appearance, and placed it on the mantel beside another portrait taken at the time of his marriage, which showed him handsome and well dressed, as he had been in other days. When he became sober he saw the two pictures, and awakened to a consciousness of his condition, from which he arose to a better life. Now, the office of the law is not to save men, but to show them their true state as compared with the Divine standard. It is like a glass, in which one sooth “what manner of man he is.”


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ephesians 2:15". The Biblical Illustrator. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ephesians-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace.

Abolished in his flesh ... The thought here is similar to that in Hebrews 10:20, where the new and living way is said to have been opened up through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, thus lending probability to the view of Russell that Paul was referring to the veil of the temple ("middle wall" in Ephesians 2:14) which was torn when Christ died. He said:

Regarding the "middle wall of partition ..." This probably is a symbolical reference to the partition in the temple which set apart the court of the Gentiles. Its destruction was typified in the rending of the veil of the temple at the time of the crucifixion (Matthew 27:51).[43]

Abolished the enmity ... "No iron curtain, color bar, class distinction or national frontier of today is more absolute than the cleavage between Jew and Gentile in antiquity."[44] Christ abrogated, annulled and replaced the entire Jewish system with another institution, that of the New Covenant, in which all former distinctions were canceled.

Abolished ... the law of commandments ... This refers to the totality of the entire Jewish system of religion, and is not restricted in meaning to "the ceremonial law," or any lesser part of Judaism. All of that system was nailed to the cross of Christ. See my Commentary on Hebrews, Hebrews 8:8ff.

That he might create ... The spiritual creation "in Christ" is of equal rank in the holy Scriptures with the creation of the universe itself, as recorded in Genesis.

In himself of the twain ... "The twain" are the Jews and the Gentiles, both of whom are now united as one new man "in Christ."

So making peace ... Thus the key words of Isaiah 57:19-21 continue to sparkle in Paul's writings here: them that are far off ... them that are near ... peace ...

[43] John William Russell, op. cit., p. 477.

[44] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 54.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/ephesians-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity,.... The ceremonial law, as appears by what follows,

even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; which consisted of many precepts, and carnal ordinances; and is so called because it was an indication of God's hatred of sin, by requiring sacrifice for it; and because it was an occasion of stirring up the enmity of the natural man, it being a burden and a weariness to the flesh, by reason of its many and troublesome rites; and because it was the cause of enmity between Jew and Gentile: the Jews sayF7T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 89. 1. Shemot Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 92. 4. , that Sinai, the mount on which the law was given, signifies "hatred"; and that it is so called because from it descended שנאה, "hatred" or "enmity" to the nations of the world: now this Christ abolished, "in his flesh", or by it; not by his incarnation, but by the sacrifice of his flesh, or human nature, and that as in union with his divine nature; but not until he had fulfilled it in himself, which was one end of his coming into the world; and then he abolished it, so as that it ought not to be, and so as that it is not, and of no use and service; and that because it was faulty and deficient, weak and unprofitable, as well as intolerable; and because there was a change in the priesthood; and because it was contrary to a spirit of liberty, the great blessing of the Gospel; and that there might be a reconciliation and a coalition between Jew and Gentile, as follows:

for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; which explains what is meant before by making both one; and expresses the strictness of the union between Jew and Gentile, they became as one man; and points at the manner in which they became so strictly united; and that is by being made new men, or new creatures, by having a work of grace upon their souls, and so baptized into one body, and made to drink of one and the same Spirit; the foundation of which union is in himself; for Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free, are all one in Christ Jesus; he is the cornerstone in which they all meet, and the head to which the whole body is joined.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ephesians-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Rather, make “enmity” an apposition to “the middle wall of partition”; “Hath broken down the middle wall of partition (not merely as English Version,between us,‘ but also between all men and God), to wit, the enmity (Romans 8:7) by His flesh” (compare Ephesians 2:16; Romans 8:3).

the law of commandments contained inGreek, “the law of the commandments (consisting) in ordinances.” This law was “the partition” or “fence,” which embodied the expression of 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, Romans 7:11; Romans 8:7). Christ has in, or by, His crucified flesh, abolished it, so far as its condemning and enmity-creating power is concerned (Colossians 2:14), substituting for it the law of love, which is the everlasting spirit of the law, and which flows from the realization in the soul of His love in His death for us. Translate what follows, “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, too, ONE new man; we are all in God‘s sight but one in Christ, as we are but one in Adam [Alford].

making peace — primarily between all and God, secondarily between Jews and Gentiles; He being “our peace.” This “peace-making” precedes its publication (Ephesians 2:17).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/ephesians-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

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.


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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
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/ephesians-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity ( τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ καταργήσας )

The enmity immediately follows the middle wall of partition, and should be rendered in apposition with and as defining it, and as dependent on brake down, not on abolished: the middle wall which was the enmity. It is used abstractly, as peace in Ephesians 2:14. The enmity was the result and working of the law regarded as a separative system; as it separated Jew from Gentile, and both from God. See Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:7-11. For abolished, see on cumbereth, Luke 13:7, and make without effect, see on Romans 3:3.

The law of commandments contained in ordinances ( τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν )

The law, etc., depends in construction on having abolished, and is not in apposition with the enmity, as A.V. The middle wall of partition, the enmity, was dissolved by the abolition of the law of commandments. Construe in His flesh with having abolished. Law is general, and its contents are defined by commandments, special injunctions, which injunctions in turn were formulated in definite decrees. Render the entire passage: brake down the middle-wall of partition, even the enmity, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances.

For to make ( ἵνα κτίσῃ )

Rev., that He might create. See on created, Ephesians 2:10. The work was to be a new creation on a new foundation.

In Himself

As the medium of reconciliation.

Of the twain one new man ( τοὺς δύο εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ).

The Greek is livelier: make the two into one new man. Καινὸν newemphasizes the new quality; not newness in point of time. See on Matthew 26:29.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/ephesians-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Having abolished by his suffering in the flesh the cause of enmity between the Jews and gentiles, even the law of ceremonial commandments, through his decrees - Which offer mercy to all; see Colossians 2:14 . That he might form the two - Jew and gentile. Into one new man - one mystical body.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ephesians-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The enmity; the ground of enmity; that is, of separation and of hostile feeling.--Contained in ordinances; in the Jewish ceremonial law.--One new man; one new community or body.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/ephesians-2.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.Having abolished in his flesh the enmity. The meaning of Paul’s words is now clear. The middle wall of partition hindered Christ from forming Jews and Gentiles into one body, and therefore the wall has been broken down. The reason why it is broken down is now added — to abolish the enmity, by the flesh of Christ. The Son of God, by assuming a nature common to all, has formed in his own body a perfect unity.

Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. What had been metaphorically understood by the word wall is now more plainly expressed. The ceremonies, by which the distinction was declared, have been abolished through Christ. What were circumcision, sacrifices, washings, and abstaining from certain kinds of food, but symbols of sanctification, reminding the Jews that their lot was different from that of other nations; just as the white and the red cross distinguish the French of the present day from the inhabitants of Burgundy. Paul declares not only that the Gentiles are equally with the Jews admitted to the fellowship of grace, so that they no longer differ from each other, but that the mark of difference has been taken away; for ceremonies have been abolished. If two contending nations were brought under the dominion of one prince, he would not only desire that they should live in harmony, but would remove the badges and marks of their former enmity. When an obligation is discharged, the handwriting is destroyed, — a metaphor which Paul employs on this very subject in another Epistle. (128) (Colossians 2:14.)

Some interpreters, (129) — though, in my opinion, erroneously, — connect the words, in ordinances, with abolished, making the ordinances to be the act of abolishing the ceremonies. This is Paul’s ordinary phrase for describing the ceremonial law, in which the Lord not only enjoined upon the Jews a simple rule of life, but also bound them by various statutes. It is evident, too, that Paul is here treating exclusively of the ceremonial law; for the moral law is not a wall of partition separating us from the Jews, but lays down instructions in which the Jews were not less deeply concerned than ourselves. This passage affords the means of refuting an erroneous view held by some, that circumcision and all the ancient rites, though they are not binding on the Gentiles, are in force at the present day upon the Jews. On this principle there would still be a middle wall of partition between us, which is proved to be false.

That he might make in himself. When the apostle says, in himself, he turns away the Ephesians from viewing the diversity of men, and bids them look for unity nowhere but in Christ. To whatever extent the two might differ in their former condition, in Christ they are become one man. But he emphatically adds, one new man, intimating (what he explains at greater length on another occasion) that

“neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision, availeth anything,” (Galatians 6:15,)

but that “a new creature” holds the first and the last place. The principle which cements them is spiritual regeneration. If then we are all renewed by Christ, let the Jews no longer congratulate themselves on their ancient condition, but let them be ready to admit that, both in themselves and in others, Christ is all.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/ephesians-2.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

new man

Here the "new man" is not the individual believer but the church, considered as the body of Christ in the sense of Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 3:10; Colossians 3:11. (See Scofield "Hebrews 12:23").


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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Ephesians 2:15". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/ephesians-2.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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;

Ver. 15. Having abolished in his flesh] That is, by his death in the flesh, Colossians 1:22. At which time the veil rent, and the ceremonies died, only they were to be honourably buried.

For to make in himself] Gr. "to create;" sc. by regeneration, Galatians 6:15. So by conjoining he newly created them, and by newly creating he conjoined them.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ephesians-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Ephesians 2:15

St. Paul appears to regard the Jew as an incomplete or half-man till he found the Gentile, the Gentile as an incomplete or half-man till he found the Jew. He does not speak of opinions being adjusted or fitted into each other, of arrangements, mutual surrenders, compromises. He speaks of the human being in each as being raised to a new level, as attaining the position for which he had always been intended, but which he had never reached, when they could coalesce and become one body. His language can imply nothing less than that the Gospel was declaring that true manhood or humanity which hitherto had presented itself in two apparently irreconcilable aspects. Let us ask ourselves what these aspects were, what was the characteristic of the Jewish mind as such and of the Gentile mind as such.

I. No novelties or refinements are necessary, or could help us much, to settle these characteristics. St. Paul's words to the Romans and the Athenians that the oracles of God were committed to the Jew, and that the Gentile was seeking God, if haply he might feel after Him and find Him, lead us to the very root of the matter, and explain the various phenomena which present themselves to us. Here is one picture: a Jew receiving from God His covenant, His law, His word, standing fast in the covenant, delighting in the law after the inner man, feeling His word as a fire within him, holding that to bear witness of His righteousness and truth was the great privilege and blessing of all, longing that He should reign over the earth, and that all which men had set up instead of Him should be put down. Here is another picture of one of the same race, perhaps of the same man in a degenerate stage of his existence. He looks upon God as shrivelled into his own oracles; they speak no more of Him; they speak only of those fortunate favourites whom He has chosen to receive gifts which are denied to mankind. The true Jew must have been longing for a fellowship with all God's creatures which he had not yet realised; it was the effect of all his Divine education to inspire him with this longing; and the false Jew, just because it had never been awakened in him, just because he cultivated all the habits and tempers of mind which were alien to it, was losing the perception of that which was peculiar to him, was ceasing to understand that any oracles of God had been committed to him.

II. In such a person as our Lord was, that one true man, in whom Jewish and Gentile elements might both be reconciled, might be found, and surely only in such a one. If there were no such being, no one of whom it could be said, "He is the manifestation of God; He is the living centre of all human beings and of all human thoughts," I do not see what explanation we have of the history of the old world or of its passage into the modern. But without Him I can as little understand how there is to be peace in the jarring world to which we belong. He comes to arouse men and all the thoughts and energies of men out of sleep, not to put them into sleep. All that is strongest in man hears His voice and starts into life. Therefore the Jew becomes more intensely a Jew, and the Gentile more intensely a Gentile, before they consent both to receive their law from Him; and when they do receive it, though it crushes their pride, it justifies His Father's purpose in the destiny which He has fixed for them, in the education which He has given them.

F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. i., p. 137.


References: Ephesians 2:16.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 93. Ephesians 2:17.—E. H. Higgins, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 268.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/ephesians-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ephesians 2:15. Having abolished—the enmity, It was the ritual law of the Jews which kept them and the Gentiles at an irreconcileable distance, so that they could come to no terms of a fair correspondence: the force whereof was so great, that even after Christ was come, and had put an end to the obligation of that law, yet it was almost impossible to bring them together; and this was that which in the beginning most obstructed the progress of the gospel, and disturbed the Gentile converts. The Apostle says, that Christ abolished that part of the law which consisted in positive commands and ordinances, that so he might make or frame the two, namely, Jews and Gentiles, into one new society or body of God's people, in a new constitution under himself,—so making peace between them. This appearing to be the Apostle's meaning, it may not he amiss to look into the reason why he expresses it in this more figurative manner, To make in himself, of twain, one new man; which being more suitable to the ideas that he had, was in fewer words more lively and express to his purpose. He always has the Lord Jesus Christ in his mind, as the head of the church, which was his body; from and by whom alone, by being united to him, the whole body, and every member of it, received life, vigour, and strength, and all the benefits of that state: which admirably well shews that whoever were united to the head, must needs be united to each other; and also that all the privileges and advantages they enjoyed were wholly owing to their union with and adherence to him, their head; which were the two things that he was here inculcating on the convert Gentiles of Ephesus, to shew them that now, under the gospel, men became the people of God, merely by living faith in Jesus Christ, and having him for their head, and not at all by keeping the ritual law of Moses, which Christ had abolished, and so had made a way for the Jews and Gentiles to become one in him; since now living faith in him alone united them into one body under that head, without the observance of the law, which is the meaning of so making peace. This note may lead ordinary readers into an understanding of St. Paul's style, and, by making them observe the reason, give them an easier entrance into the meaning, of his figurative expressions.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ephesians-2.html. 1801-1803.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν] This, still included in dependence upon λύσας, is now the μεσότοιχον broken down by Christ: (namely) the enmity. It is, after the example of Theodoret (comp. τινές in Chrysostom), understood by the majority (including Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Clarius, Grotius, Calovius, Morus, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, Holzhausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) of the Mosaic law as the cause of the enmity between Jew and Gentile, in which case the moral law is by some included, by others excluded. But, in accordance with Ephesians 2:14, the reader is led to nothing else than the opposite of εἰρήνη, i.e. to the abstract enmity; and in the sequel, indeed, the abolition of the law is very definitely distinguished from the destruction of the enmity (as means from end). Hence the only mode of taking it, in harmony with the word itself and with the context, is: the enmity which existed between Jews and Gentiles, comp. Ephesians 2:16. So Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, and others, including Rückert and Bleek; while Hofmann turns the notion of ἔχθρα into the mere ἀπαλλοτρίωσις of Ephesians 2:12, and, referring it to the estrangement on the part of the Gentiles towards the theocracy hated by them, removes the distinctive mark of reciprocalness demanded by the context. Quite erroneously, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and lately Harless, hold that the enmity of the Jews and Gentiles towards God is meant. In accordance with the context, Ephesians 2:14, the μεσότοιχον can, in fact, only be one separating the Jews and Gentiles from each other, and not something which separates both from God; and how mistaken is such a view also on account of what follows! for the Mosaic law might be conceived of as producing enmity towards God so far doubtless as the Jews are concerned (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:19), but never as respects the Gentiles, who stood aloof from all relation to the Mosaic law (Romans 2:12).

ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ] does not belong (as Lachmann also punctuates it) to τὴν ἔχθραν, so that “the national hatred in His people” would be meant (Chrysostom, Bugenhagen, Schulthess, Engelwelt, p. 193); nor yet to λύσας (Oecumenius, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Rückert, and others), because in that case this mention of the death of Jesus would be irrelevantly dissevered from the modal definition τὸν νόμον καταργήσας, to which, in the nature of the case, it belongs as an essential element; but it stands with an emphasis suitable to the context (comp. αὐτὸς γάρ, Ephesians 2:14) at the head of the specification that now follows, in what way Christ has effected what was said in Ephesians 2:14 by αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστινἔχθραν: so that He by His flesh has done away with the law, namely, when He allowed His flesh to be crucified (Colossians 1:21 f.), dissolved thereby the tie with the law that brought men under curse (see on Galatians 3:13), and thus opened up the justification through faith (Romans 3:21 ff.), whereby the institute of the law was emptied of its binding power (comp. Romans 10:4 ff; Romans 7:1 ff.; Colossians 2:14). The moral commands also of the law had thereby, while not ceasing to be valid, ceased to be held as constituent elements of the law-institute as such justifying in the way of compliance with it; and its fulfilment, and that in augmented power, now proceeds from the new vital principle of faith (Romans 8:4), on which account Christ, although He is the end of the law (Romans 10:4; comp. 2 Corinthians 3:11), could nevertheless say that He had come to fulfil the law (Matthew 5:17), and Paul could assert: νόμον ἱστῶμεν, Romans 3:31. Hofmann imports into the ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ the thought: in and with the doing away of His life in the flesh, in respect of which He was an Israelite, Christ has rendered the appertaining to His community independent of the religious-legal status of an Israelite. As though the atoning death of Christ, in the usual dogmatic sense of the apostle, had not been most distinctly indicated already before by the ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ χριστοῦ, Ephesians 2:13, as afterwards by the ἀποκαταλλάξῃ κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 2:16, and by the προσαγωγή, Ephesians 2:18! This meaning is not here, any more than at Colossians 1:21 f., to be exegetically modified or explained away.

τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι] to be taken together, yet not in such a way that ἐν stands for σύν (Flatt) or καί (Koppe, Rosenmüller), but as: the law of the commandments consisting in injunctions, whereby the dictatorial character of the legal institute (as a whole, not merely partially, as Schenkel imports) is exhibited. The genitive τῶν ἐντολῶν denotes the contents of the law, and ἐν δόγμασι the essential form in which the ἐντολαί are given. The connecting link of the article ( τῶν) before ἐν δόγμασι was not requisite, since we may correctly say: ἐντέλλεσθαί τι ἐν δόγματι or ἐντολὴν διδόναι ἐν δόγματι, and therefore ἐντολὴ ἐν δόγματι may be conjoined so as to form one conception.(151) Comp. on Ephesians 3:13; Romans 6:4; Galatians 4:14; Galatians 3:26. This view of the connection is adopted, after the precedent of many older expositors, by Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Winer, pp. 123, 197 [E. T. 169, 257], Bisping, Schenkel, Bleek.(152) Comp. also Buttmann, neut. Cr. p. 80 [E. T. 92]. If one should, with the Syriac, Arabic, Vulgate, Pelagius, Chrysostom and his successors, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Holzhausen, and others, including Fritzsche, Diss. in 2 Corinthians 2. p. 168 f., refer ἐν δόγμ. to καταργήσας, there would result—even apart from the fact that with our mode of connecting ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, this construction is not even possible—the wholly untrue and un-Pauline thought that Christ has through injunctions abolished the law. No doubt some have imputed to ἐν δόγμασι the sense praecepta stabiliendo (Fritzsche), in doing which they had in view the evangelical doctrine of faith and the gratia universalis (see Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Theophylact, Estius, Bengel, and others). But even thus the sense remains untrue and un-Pauline, seeing that the doing away of the law has taken place not at all in a doctrinal way, but by the fact of the death of Christ (Romans 7:1 f.; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14). And what a change would be made in the meaning of the word δόγμα, which in the N.T. signifies throughout nothing else than injunction (Colossians 2:4; Luke 2:1; Acts 17:7; Acts 16:4; comp. Plat. Legg. i. p. 644 D Xen. Anab. iii. 3. 5, vi. 6. 8; Dem. 774. 19; Herodian, i. 7. 6; 4 Maccabees 4:23 f.)! The distinction ought not to have been overlooked between ἐντολή and δόγ΄α, which latter puts the meaning of the former into the more definite form of the enjoining decree. A peculiar view is taken by Harless (followed by Olshausen) likewise connecting ἐν δόγμ. with καταργήσας, and holding that ἐν denotes the “side on which that efficacy of the death of Christ exerts itself;” Christ did not render the law ineffectual in any such capacity as σκιὰν τῶν ΄ελλόντων, or as παιδαγωγὸν εἰς χριστόν, but on the side of the δόγματα (“in reference to the commanding form of its precepts,” Olshausen). Incorrectly, because δόγ΄ασι must of necessity have had the article, and because it is nowhere taught that the law is done away only in a single respect. The Mosaic legal institute as such, and not merely from a certain side, has in Christ its end (Romans 10:4); the σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων in the law has only a transient typical destination (see on Colossians 2:17), and the work of the παιδαγωγός is at an end with the attainment of maturity on the part of his pupils (Galatians 3:24 f.). Incorrect also is the view of Hofmann, p. 377, who, likewise taking ἐν δόγ΄ασι as modal definition to καταργήσας, and for the expression with ἐν comparing 1 Corinthians 2:7, finds the meaning: by the very fact that Christ has put an end to precepts generally, He has invalidated the O. T. law of commandments. The statement that Christ has put an end to δόγματα generally, i.e. to commanding precepts in general, is at variance with the whole N.T., which contains numberless definite commands, and, in particular, with the teaching of Paul, who even places Christianity as a whole under the point of view, Romans 3:27; Romans 9:31, Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:21, of a νόμος (which, without δόγ΄ατα, is not at all conceivable(153)), and specially with Colossians 2:14. Paul would at least have made a limiting addition to ἐν δόγμασι, and have written something like ἐν δόγ΄ασι δουλείας (comp. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:24; Galatians 5:1).

ἵνα τοὺς δύο εἰρήνην] a statement of the object aimed at in the just expressed abrogation of the law, which statement of aim corresponds to what has been said concerning Christ in Ephesians 2:14, more precisely defining and confirming the same. Harless arbitrarily passes over what immediately precedes, and holds that ἵνα εἰρήνην expresses the design of ποιήσας τὰ ἀ΄φότερα ἕν, in which case too, we may add, there would result a tautological relation of the thought.

τοὺς δύο] The Jews and Gentiles, who before were designated in accordance with the general category under a neuter form, are here conceived of concretely as the two men under discussion, of whom the one is the totality of the Jews, and the other that of the Gentiles, out of which two men Christ has made a single new man. This is the collective subject of the καινὴ κτίσις, Galatians 6:15 (the whole body of Christians).

ἐν ἑαυτῷ] is neither, with Grotius, to be taken as: per doctrinam suam, nor, with Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and others, as equivalent to διʼ ἑαυτοῦ (Oecumenius: οὐ διʼ ἀγγέλων ἄλλων τινῶν δυνά΄εων), but it affirms that the unity to be brought about out of the two by the new creation was to be founded in Christ Himself, that is, was to have the basis of its existence and continuance in Him, and not in any other unifying principle whateEphesians Ephesians 2 :In the case, namely, of all individuals, from among the Jews and Gentiles, who form the one new man, the death of Christ is that, wherein this new unity has its causal basis; without the death of the cross it would not exist, but, on the contrary, the two would still be just in the old duality and separation as the Jew and the Greek. Calvin well remarks that in se ipso is added, “ne alibi quam in Christo unitatem quaerant.” Comp. Galatians 3:28. This union, negatively conditioned by the abolition of the law, and having its basis in the self-sacrifice of Christ, is positively accomplished as regards the subjects through the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:13. Comp. subsequently Ephesians 2:18. But objectively accomplished—namely, as a fact before God and apart from the subjective appropriation by means of the Spirit—it is already by virtue of the death, which Christ has undergone for the reconciliation of both parties, Jews and Gentiles, with God; see Ephesians 2:16.

καινόν] For this one is now neither Jew nor Greek, which the two, out of which the one has been made, previously were; but both portions have laid aside their former religious and moral attitude, and without further distinction have obtained the quite new nature conditioned by Christian faith. If καινόν had not been added, the εἷς ἄνθρωπος might be incorrectly conceived of as an amalgam of Jew and Gentile. To exclude, we may add, from καινόν the moral element (Meier, comp. Rückert) is not merely arbitrary, but, according to the apostolic way of looking at matters, even impossible, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:27; Galatians 6:14 f., Ephesians 5:6.

ποιῶν εἰρήνην] Present participle, because the establishment of peace as what was duly to set in with the designed new creation, was implied in the very scope thereof; it was that which was to be brought about in and with it. Observe that ποιῶν εἰρήνην is spoken from the standpoint of the design expressed in ἵνα τοὺς δύο κ. τ. λ., and is included as belonging to what is designed; consequently: so that He (by this new creation) makes peace (not made peace). εἰρήνη is, in accordance with the context, the opposite of ἔχθρα, Ephesians 2:15, consequently peace of the two portions with each other, not: with God (Harless), nor: πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους (Chrysostom, Oecumenius).


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν, enmity) The Jews held the Gentiles in abomination; the Gentiles treated the Jews with scorn on account of circumcision, the Sabbath, etc.— ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in His flesh) So, in one body, Ephesians 2:16, [i.e. by His suffering and death.—V. g.]— τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν) the law of commandments, viz. ceremonial.— ἐν δόγμασι, in ordinances, in decrees) belonging to the Gospel, by which mercy was set forth to all, Colossians 2:14, note. [See the same words with the very same meaning, Acts 16:4; Acts 15:28.—V. g.]— καταργήσας, having abolished) Each ἐν [ ἐν δόγμασιν and ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ] is construed, as we have already intimated, with this participle. Christ abolished, by His flesh, the enmity; [He abolished] the law of commandments by spreading over the whole world the ordinances of the Gospel. But if the expression, in ordinances, belonged to ἐντολῶν, of commandments, the expression, in His flesh, would not have been placed before, but after it. It is written, as it were, in the style of a lapidary [stilo lapidari].(32)

τὴν ἔχθραν, the enmity,

ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in his flesh;

τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν, the law of commandments,

ἐν δόγμασιν, in ordinances,

καταργήσας, having abolished.

τοὺς δύο, the two) He elegantly omits men; for formerly they had scarcely maintained the name of men. The two, who were Jew and Greek.— καινὸν, new) by taking away the oldness of the letter.— ποιῶν, making) The participle making depends on the verb, might create ( κτίσῃ); and having slain depends on might reconcile: each of them has the power of explaining, which is derived from what immediately precedes.— εἰρήνην, peace) This peace-making precedes its publication, Ephesians 2:17.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/ephesians-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Having abolished; abrogated, taken away the power of binding men.

In his flesh; not the flesh of sacrificed beasts but his own flesh: before he mentioned his blood, and now his flesh, to imply the whole sacrifice of Christ, comprehending his flesh as well as blood. The ceremonies had their accomplishment in Christ, and so their abolishment by him.

The enmity; by a metonymy he so calls the ceremonies, which were the cause and the sign of enmity between Jew and Gentile: the Jews hated the Gentiles as uncircumcised, and the Gentiles despised the Jews for being circumcised.

Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances: either, by

the law of commandments, the apostle means the law of ceremonial rites, and by the word which we render

ordinances, he means doctrine, and then (the word contained not being in the Greek) the sense is, that Christ, by his doctrine or commandments, abolished those ceremonial rites: the word commandments seems thus to be used, Deuteronomy 16:12 1 Kings 2:3 Ezekiel 18:21. Or else (which yet comes to the same) the word rendered ordinances signifies such ordinances as depended upon the sole will of the lawgiver; and is, Colossians 2:14, taken for ceremonial ones, and so is to be taken here. This the apostle seems to add, to show what part of the law was abrogated by Christ, viz. nothing of the moral law, but only the ceremonial.

For to make, or create, or form, in opposition to abolish.

In himself; by union with himself, as the Head, in which the several members agree.

Of twain; two bodies, or two people, Jews and Gentiles.

One new man; i.e. new body, or new (viz. Christian) people. As the body of a commonwealth is one civil person, so the body of the church is in a like sense one person.

So making peace, between Jew and Gentile, having taken away those ceremonial laws, which were the cause of the difference between them.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ephesians-2.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Abolished in his flesh; by his death he abolished the ceremonial law, that cause of enmity and separation between Jews and Gentiles.

Contained in ordinances; thus he characterizes the Mosaic economy as a system of outward ordinances.

Of twain; of the two parties, Jews and Gentiles.

One new man; one new body, of which he should be the head.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Family Bible New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/ephesians-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

15. τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν. This phrase would be unintelligible apart from the comment provided by Colossians 2:14; Colossians 2:20. This clear parallel however shows that St Paul is thinking of the Law as a code of precisely formulated precepts requiring to be kept to the letter, cf. Romans 7. In Col. men were in danger of going back to a legalistic system of external regulations as the secret of sanctification, and St Paul has to speak of the Law under that aspect as ‘nailed to the Cross.’ Here the Law regarded in the same aspect is seen to be a dividing force among men until it is abrogated.

ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὑτῷ εἰς ἔνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ποιῶν εἰρήνην. ‘In order that He might fashion (create) the two in Himself into one new man by making peace.’ Cf. Ezekiel 37:19 καὶ ἔσονται εἰς ῥάβδον μίαν. The result of bringing together the two hitherto divided elements by taking each into vital union with Himself is the production of a new united and perfected Humanity of which the Church is the appointed witness and embodiment and instrument. For κτίσῃ cf. Psalms 101[102]:19; Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 54:16; Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 46:11.

See Additional Note, p. 133, on the source of St Paul’s doctrine of the unity of the Church.


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"Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/ephesians-2.html. 1896.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

(Ephesians 2:15.) τὴν ἔχθραν—“To wit, the enmity.” These words might be governed by λύσας without incongruity, as Wetstein has abundantly shown. And perhaps we may say with Stier, they are so; for if they be taken as governed by καταργήσας, as in our version and that of Luther, the sentence is intricate and confused. τὴν ἔχθραν—“the enmity,” proverbial and well known, is in apposition to μεσότοιχον; “having broken down what formed the wall of separation, to wit, the hatred.” This ἔχθρα is not in any direct or prominent sense hatred toward God, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, and Harless suppose, for it is not the apostle's present design to speak of this enmity. His object is to show first how Jew and Gentile are reconciled. Some again, like Photius and Cocceius, imagine that hatred between Jew and Gentile, and also hatred of man to God, are contained in the word. This hypothesis only complicates the apostle's argument, which is marked by precision and simplicity. The arguments advanced by Ellicott in defence of this hypothesis are not satisfactory; for the phrases—“who hath made both one,” “wall of partition,” “law of commandments,” or Mosaic code-plainly refer to the position of Jew and Gentile, and reconciliation with God is afterwards and formally introduced. At the same time, the idea of enmity towards God could not be absent from the apostle's mind, for this enmity of race had its origin and tincture from enmity towards God. Nor can we accede to the interpretation of Theodoret, Calvin, Bucer, Grotius, Meier, Holzhausen, Olshausen, and Conybeare, who understand by the ἔχθρα the ceremonial law, as the ground of the enmity between Jew and Gentile. The objection of Stier, however, that to represent law as the cause of enmity is saying too much, as it leaves nothing for the o ther factor the flesh-is, as Turner says, not very forcible. We prefer, with Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Rückert, and Meyer, to take the term in its plain significance, as the contrast of εἰρήνη, and as denoting the actual, existing enmity of Israel and non-Israel-an enmity of which the ceremonial law was the virtual but innocent occasion. It was this hatred which rose like a party wall, and kept both races at a distance. Deep hostility lay in their bosoms; the Jew looked down with supercilious contempt upon the Gentile, and the Gentile reciprocated and scowled upon the Jew as a haughty and heartless bigot. Ample evidence is afforded of this mutual alienation. Insolent scorn of the Gentiles breaks out in many parts of the New Testament (Acts 11:3; Acts 22:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:15), while the pages of classic literature show how fully the feeling was repaid. This rancour formed of necessity a middle wall of partition, but Jesus, who is our peace, hath broken it down. The next sentence gives the requisite explanation-

ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας—“having abolished in His flesh the law of commandments in ordinances.” The course of thought runs thus: Christ is our peace. Then there follows first a statement of the fact, Jew and Gentile are made one; the mode of operation is next described, for He has quenched their mutual hatred, and He has done this in the only effectual way, by removing its cause-the Mosaic law. The words- ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ cannot refer to ἔχθρα, as the clause is pointed by Lachmann, as Chrysostom and Ambrose quote, and as Bugenhagen and Schulthess argue, giving σάρξ the sense of kinsfolk-hatred existing among his own people; or as Cocceius, who adopts that view of the connection, renders-donec appareret in carne. Such a construction would require the insertion of the article τήν. σάρξ cannot bear such a meaning here, and the enmity, moreover, was not confined to the Jews; it was not all on their side. Nor can we, with Theodoret, OEcumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Rückert, and Matthies, join the phrase to λύσας, as it is more natural, and in better harmony with the course of thought, to annex them to καταργήσας, as explanatory of the means or manner of the abolition. This last opinion is that of Harless, Olshausen, Meier, Meyer, and de Wette. σάρξ is Christ's humanity, but n ot that humanity specially in its Jewish blood and lineage, as Hofmann contends-as if because He died as a Jew, His death secured that participation in His kingdom did not depend on Israelitism. καταργήσας means “having made void”—“having superseded.” Romans 3:31.

The phrase τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι is a graphic description of the ceremonial law. But the meaning and connection of ἐν δόγμασι have been disputed:-I. It has been regarded as the means by which the law has been abolished, to wit, “by doctrines”-Christian doctrines or precepts. Such is the reading of the Arabic and Vulgate, the Syriac being doubtful; and such is the view of Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Estius, Zeger, a-Lapide, Bengel, Holzhausen, Scholz, and Fritzsche-Disser. ad 2 Cor. p. 168. Winer in his third edition proposed this view, but renounced it in the fourth. Thus Chrysostom says- δόγματα γὰρ καλεῖ τὴν πίστιν. Theodoret and Theophylact as usual follow him, while OEcumenius vindicates the use of the word as applied to Christ's teaching, by quoting from the Sermon on the Mount such phrases as “I say unto you,” these being proofs of authoritative diction, and warranting the truth propounded to be called δόγμα. To this theory there are insuperable objections-1. The participle in this case would have two connected words introduced alike by ἐν. 2. The sense given to δόγμα is wholly unbiblical. δόγμα is equivalent to the participial form- τὸ δεδογμένον, and has its apparent origin in the common phrase which prefaced a proclamation or statute- ἔδοξε τῷ λαῷ καὶ τῇ βουλῇ. In the New Testament it signifies decree, and is applied, Luke 2:1, to the edict of Caesar, and in Acts 17:7 it occurs with a similar reference. But not only does it signify imperial statute, it is also the name given to the decrees of the ecclesiastical council in Jerusalem. Acts 16:4. It is found, too, in the parallel passage in Colossians 2:14. In the Septuagint its meaning is the same; and in the sense first quoted, that of royal mandate, it is frequently used in the boo k of Daniel. To give the term here the meaning of Christian doctrine or precept, is to annex a signification which it did not bear till long after the age of the apostles. It is finical and out of place on the part of Grotius to suppose that Paul used a philosophical term to describe the tuition of the great Teacher, because he might be writing to persons skilled in the idiom of philosophical speech. 3. It is not the testimony of Scripture that Jesus by His teaching abolished the ceremonial law, but the uniform declaration is, that the shadowy economy was abrogated in His death. 4. The phrase ἐν δόγμασι is too general to have in itself such a direct meaning, and αὐτοῦ, or some distinctive appendage, must have been added, did the words bear the sense we are attempting to refute.

II. Harless, Olshausen, and von Gerlach connect ἐν δόγμασι with καταργήσας, but in a different way. They understand ἐν δόγμασι as describing one peculiar phase of the Mosaic law, in which phase Jesus abolished it. The phrase is supposed by them to represent the commanding aspect of the law, and so far as these δόγματα are concerned, the law has been abrogated. “Having abolished as to its ordinances-Satzungen-the law of commandments,” that is, the law of commandments is still in force, but its δόγματα are set aside. In this view those scholars were preceded by Crellius-non de tota lege sed ejus parte quae dogmata continebat. Von Gerlach understands the “condemning power” of the law to be abolished. But it is rather of the Levitical than of the moral law that the apostle is speaking. But, surely, to show us that δόγματα is a part of the νόμος, the article τοῖς should have been prefixed, or an adjective should have been added. Besides, the spirit of the apostle's doctrine is, that the entire law is abrogated, and not a mere section of it. The whole Mosaic institute was fulfilled in the death of Jesus. Hofmann's idea, somewhat similar-that Christ has put an end to δόγματα, statutes, Satzungen-is, as Meyer says, contradicted by many parts of the New Testament. Romans 3:27; Galatians 6:2. Nay, out of it might be developed an antinomian theory. Galatians 3:18; Colossians 2:14.

III. The correct junction of the phrase ἐν δόγμασι is with νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν. Had it referred to νόμος alone, one would have expected the article to be repeated- νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν τὸν ἐν δόγμασι. This is in general the view of Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Rollock, Bodius, Crocius, and Zanchius in former times, and in more recent times of Theile, Tholuck, Rückert, Meier, de Wette, Meyer, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Matthies. Winer, § 31, 10, note 1. The ceremonial institute is named νόμος, as it was a code sanctioned by supreme legislative authority. But, as a code, it comprised a prodigious number of minute, varied, and formal regulations or prescriptions- ἐντολαί, the genitive being that of contents; while the phrase ἐν δόγμασι defines the nature of these ἐντολαί, for they were δόγματα-issued under Divine sanction, and resting on the immediate will of God; and they had constant reference to health, business, and pleasure, as well as to Divine service. They were ordonnances-proclamations in the name of God. In an especial sense, the ceremonial institute seemed good to God- δοκεῖ, and it became a δόγμα. It was not a moral law, having its origin and basis in the Divine nature, and therefore unchanged and unchangeable, binding the loftiest creatures and most distant worlds; but a positive law, having its foundation simply in the Divine will, established for a period among one people, and then, its purpose being served among them, to be set aside. Viewed as an organic whole, the Mosaic institute was νόμος-a law; analyzed and looked upon in its separate constituents, it was νόμος ἐντολῶν; and when these ἐντολαί are inspected in their essence and authority, they are found to be δόγματα-to be obeyed, b ecause the Divine Dictator was pleased to enjoin them. The article, therefore, is not prefixed to δόγμασι, which is descriptive of the form and authority of those statutory regulations, the phrase representing one connected idea. Winer, § 20, 2. The ἐν is not to be taken for σύν, as Heinsius and Flatt take it, nor can it signify propter, as Morus renders it. Now, this legal apparatus was abolished “in His flesh,” that is, in His incarnate state, especially by the death which in that state He endured. The language of Ambrosiaster is appropriate-legem quae data erat Judaeis in circumcisione et in neomeniis et in escis et in sacrificiis et in sabbatis evacuavit. By the abrogation of the Mosaic institute, the ἔχθρα was destroyed, and the party wall, which separated Palestine from the great outfield of the world, laid low. Difference of race no longer exists, and Abrahamic distinction is lost in the wider and earlier Adamic descent.

The apostle now states more fully the purpose of the abrogation of the old law-

ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαυτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον—“that He might create the two in Himself into one new man.” This clause is no mere repetition of the preceding declaration—“Who hath made both one.” It is more special and distinctive in its description. The two races are personified, and they are formed not into one man, but into one new man. καινὸς ἄνθρωπος is found elsewhere as an epithet descriptive of spiritual change, as in Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10. The phrase is very different from the novus homo of the Latins, and therefore Wetstein's learned array of quotations from Roman authors is wholly useless. And the idea of moral renovation is not to be so wholly excluded here as some critics argue. One new man-both races being now enabled to realize the true end of humanity; Gentile and Jew not so joined that old privilege is merely divided among them. The Gentile is not elevated to the position of the Jew-a position which he might have obtained by becoming a proselyte under the law; but Jew and Gentile together are both raised to a higher platform than the circumcision ever enjoyed. The Jew profits by the repeal of the law, as well as the Gentile. Now he needs to provide no sacrifice, for the One victim has bled; the fires of the altar may be smothered, for the Lamb of God has been offered; the priest, throwing off his sacred vestments, may retire to weep over a torn vail and shattered temple, for Jesus has passed through the heaven “into the presence of God for us;” the water of the “brazen sea” may be poured out, for believers enjoy the washing of regeneration; and the lamps of the golden candelabrum have flickered and died, for the church enjoys the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual blessing in itself, and not merely pictured in type, is possessed by the Jew as well as the Ge ntile. The Jew gains by the abolition of a law that so restricted him to time, place, and typical ceremony in the worship of God. As unity of privilege distinguishes both races, and that alike, they are formed into one man, and as that unity and privilege are to both a novelty, they are shaped into one new man. And this metamorphosis is effected ἐν ἑαυτῷ (A, B, F have αὐτῷ)-not δἰ ἑαυτόν, as OEcumenius has it; nor per doctrinam suam, as Grotius paraphrases it; nor is the phrase synonymous with “in His flesh.” It signifies in union with Himself, or, as Chrysostom illustrates—“laying one hand on the Jew and the other on the Gentile, and Himself being in the midst.” This harmony of race is effected by the union of both with Christ; that is to say, the unconverted Jew and the unbelieving Gentile may be, and are, at enmity still, but when they are united to Christ, they both feel the high and novel place which His abrogation of the law has secured for them. Both are elevated to loftier and purer privilege than the old theocracy could ever have conferred.

ποιῶν εἰρήνην—“making peace.” This εἰρήνη must be the peace described-peace with Jew and Gentile; not, as Harless holds, “peace with God,” nor, as Chrysostom takes it, with Alford and Ellicott, “peace with God and with one another”- πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους, for peace with God is in the order of thought, the formal theme of the next verse, although both results spring together from the same work of Christ. The present participle, referring back to αὐτός, is used, because it does not, like the aorist in the next clause, express a reason for the result contained in the κτίσῃ, but it is contemporaneous with it. The participle covers the entire process-abolition of enmity, abrogation of law, and creation of the new person; for in the whole of it Jesus is “making peace.” Scheuerlein, § 31, 2, a. There is yet a higher aim-


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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/ephesians-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15. In his sacrificial flesh on the cross. The triangular enmity above named. The Mosaic ritual law, consisting of a system of commandments, and comprised in a body of ordinances or statutory regulations.

In himself—As if embodying the twain into one new man—his own mystical person.

Peace—Leading to the threefold peace by which Jew and Gentile, being one in Christ, are one with God, as next verse.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ephesians-2.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The body of Jesus sacrificed on the cross terminated the enmity between Jews and Gentiles. It did so in the sense that when Jesus Christ died He fulfilled all the demands of the Mosaic Law. When He did that, God ended the Mosaic Law as His rule of life for the Jews. The word "abolished" (Gr. kataresas) means "rendered inoperative." The Mosaic Law ceased to be God"s standard for regulating the life of His people ( Romans 10:4; et al.). The Mosaic Law had been the cause of the enmity between Jews and Gentiles. Its dietary distinctions and laws requiring separation, in particular, created hostility between Jews and Gentiles. The NASB translation implies that the law was the barrier. Really it was the cause of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles. Jesus Christ destroyed the barrier and the hostility that resulted from it by terminating the Mosaic Law. [Note: See Hal Harless, "The Cessation of the Mosaic Covenant," Bibliotheca Sacra160:639 (July-September2003):349-66.]

Jesus Christ had two purposes in ending Jewish Gentile hostility. First, He wanted to "create" one new Prayer of Manasseh , the church ( Ephesians 2:6), out of the two former groups, Jews and Gentiles ( Ephesians 2:11). Here the "new man" is not the individual believer but the church, the body of Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Colossians 3:10-11; Hebrews 12:23). In the church God does not deal with Gentiles as He did with Jews, nor does He deal with Jews as He did Gentiles. Jews do not become Gentiles nor do Gentiles become Jews. Rather God has created a whole new (Gr. kainon, fresh) entity, the church. In it believing Jews become Christians, and believing Gentiles become Christians. God deals with both believing Jews and believing Gentiles now equally as Christians. [Note: See Fruchtenbaum, p118.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ephesians-2.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 2:15. To wit, the enmity. The order of the original favors the view that ‘enmity’ is in apposition with ‘middle wall’ (Ephesians 2:14); but the reading of the E. V. is not an impossible one. The other is, however, preferable for a number of other reasons. ‘Enmity’ is then an explanation of the previous figure, and must refer to the enmity between Jews and Gentiles. Yet not to this alone, ‘but also, and as the widening context shows, more especially to the alienation of both Jew and Gentile from God’ (Ellicott). Comp-the use of the word ‘peace’ (Ephesians 2:14), and Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 2:18, etc.

Having done away in his flesh. ‘In His flesh’ comes first in the original, hence some have joined it with ‘enmity.’ But this is objectionable. Others join it with ‘broke down’ in Ephesians 2:14, which is grammatically possible. On the whole it seems best to connect it with ‘done away,’ and to regard its position as very emphatic. The phrase is not precisely the same as ‘by His flesh, although the reference is to His death (comp. Ephesians 2:16), which abolished the law of commandments expressed in ordinances. It was thus that the ‘enmity’ was broken down, namely, by the doing away of that ‘law’ which was the exponent of the enmity, not only as between Jew and Gentile, but as between man and God. The special reference is to the Mosaic law, as a whole. This law was made up of ‘commandments, which took the form of decrees demanding obedience. (It is altogether incorrect to explain ‘in ordinances’ as ‘in Christian doctrines’ and then to join it with ‘done away.’) This law was done away by Christ ‘in His flesh.’ ‘In that He fulfilled the law in deed and in truth, performed God’s will and suffered in obedience, He rendered it powerless in its single ordinances, dissolving its separative features. It thus gained through Him internal validity and importance, so that it no longer burdens men, but they stand and walk in and on the same as a common soil within salutary bounds. Here, too, all depends on His person and our relation to Him’ (Braune). This thought of the doing away of the law through the death of Christ is a familiar one in Paul’s writings, expressed now under one figure, and again under another. The fundamental fact is that Christ, by His atoning death, has done away with the law ‘so far as it was a covenant prescribing the conditions of salvation’ (Hodge). Even as an ethical guide, it has no real power, except with those ‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’ (Romans 8:4).

That he might create, etc. This is the purpose of the ‘doing away,’ but virtually explains ‘made both one’ (Ephesians 2:14).

The two, i.e., Jews and Gentiles.

In himself; not,’ through Himself.’ ‘The ground of the existence and permanence is in Him; He is the author and foundation, and at the same time the life-sphere, creator, and second Adam, progenitor of the new race, which stands in the original peace with God’ (Braune).

Into one new man. ‘New’ is almost equivalent to ‘renewed’ in this connection; the contrast being with the ‘old man’ (chap. Ephesians 4:22) hostile to God. The two are not only reconciled to each other as one man, but with God, so that they are created into one new man.

So making peace. Evidently in the wide complex sense, between man and man, because between God and man. This is the purpose of the new creation, and is a continued process in connection with it.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/ephesians-2.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν: to wit the enmity. Many (Luth., Calv., De Wette, etc.) take this to be a figure for the Mosaic Law. But the ἔχθρα is in antithesis to the εἰρήνη of Ephesians 2:14, and the specification of the Law comes in later. It is better, therefore, to take the ἔχθρα here in the abstract sense of hostile, separating feeling. But is it the enmity of Jew and Gentile to God (Chrys., Harl., etc.) or the enmity between Jew and Gentile? The statement of the μεσότοιχον as a mid-wall between τὰ ἀμφότερα decides for the latter. The argument in favour of this view is stronger still when the former view is connected with the idea that the ἔχθρα is the Mosaic Law. For the Mosaic Law could not be said to have been the cause of hostile feeling on the part of Gentiles to God.— ἐν τῇ σαρκί αὐτοῦ: in His flesh. The term σάρξ is taken by some (Stier, etc.) in a sense wide enough to cover Christ’s incarnation and His entire incarnate life. But, apart from other difficulties, this is inconsistent with the definite mention of His blood and His cross. The term refers, therefore, to His death, and means His crucified flesh (cf. Colossians 1:22). The great difficulty here, however, is the connection. Some attach the phrase immediately to τὴν ἔχθραν (Chrys., etc.), “the enmity which was in His flesh,” as if the idea were “the hatred in the human race generally” or “the national hatred,” the hatred in the Jewish people. But this would require τήν before ἐν σαρκί, and furnishes at best a forced meaning. Most commentators connect it with καταργήσας, supposing it to be put emphatically first. So it is taken, e.g., by Meyer, who makes ἐν σαρκί begin the new clause. The RV takes the same view, but brings the ἔχθραν under the regimen of the καταργήσας—“having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law”. There is much to say in support of this, especially in view of the Pauline statements in Romans 3:21; Romans 10:14; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14, etc. On the other hand there is an awkwardness in bringing in the predication before the verb, and the parallelism is broken (cf. Alf.). It is best, therefore, to attach the ἐν σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ to the λύσας (Calv., Rück., Alf., etc.). The form of the sentence is better kept in this way. The appropriateness of the use of λύσας is then seen; for the verb λύειν (= subvert, dissolve), is equally applicable to the μεσότοιχον and to the ἔχθραν, the phrase λύειν ἔχθραν being common in ordinary Greek. On the other hand καταργεῖν is much less applicable to ἔχθραν. So the sense is—“who in His crucified flesh (i.e., by His death on the cross) broke down the middle-wall of the partition, to wit the enmity” (i.e., the hostile feeling between Jew and Gentile).— τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας: having abolished (or, in that He abolished) the law of commandments (expressed) in ordinances. Further statement of the way in which Christ by His death on the cross removed the separation and the hostile feeling between Jew and Gentile viz., by abrogating the dividing Law itself. The Law is now introduced, and the term νόμος is to be taken in its full sense, not the ceremonial law only, but the Mosaic Law as a whole, according to the stated use of the phrase. This Law is abolished in the sense of being rendered inoperative (as καταργεῖν means), and it is defined as the Law τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν. What is the point of the definition? The article, which is in place with the ἐντολῶν, is omitted before the δόγμασιν, as the latter makes one idea with the former and further is under the regimen of a prep. (cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 139, 149, 151, 158). The Law is one of “commandments-in-decrees”. What is in view is its character as mandatory, and consisting in a multitude of prescriptions or statutes. It enjoined, and it expressed its injunctions in so many decrees, but it did not enable. The Law was made up of ἐντολαί and these ἐντολαί expressed themselves and operated in the form of δόγματα, ordinances. The word δόγμα in the NT never means anything else than statute, decree, ordinance (cf. Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Colossians 2:14; in Hebrews 11:23 it is a variant for διάταγμα). Hence it cannot have any such sense here as doctrines, evangelical teaching (Theod.), evangelical precepts (Fritz.), the faith (Chrys.). Some taking the ἐν as the instrumental ἐν make it = “having abolished the law by injunctions” (Syr., Vulg., Arab., Grot., Beng., etc.). But the NT uniformly speaks of the abrogation of the condemning law as being effected by Christ’s death, never by His teaching, or by evangelical precepts. Another turn is given to the sentence by taking ἐν in the sense of “in respect of,” “on the side of” (Harl.), as if the idea were that the abrogation of the Law was limited to its mandatory side,—to the orders contained in it. But this would require τοῖς before the δόγμασιν; nor is it the way of the NT to speak of the Mosaic Law as done away by Christ only on one side.— ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαυτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον: that He might create in Himself the two into one new man. Statement of the object of the καταργεῖν. The masc. δύο is introduced now, instead of the ἀμφότερα, with a view to the ἄνθρωπον. One man was to be made out of the two men. The κτίσῃ is better rendered create with the RV than make with the AV. A new creation is in view. For ἐν ἑαυτῷ of the TR (with (160) (161) (162) (163), etc.) αὐτῷ is to be preferred as the reading of (164) (165) (166) (167), etc. (LTTrRV); WH gives αὑτῷ. In either case the sense is “in Himself”; not “by it” (Grot.) as if the reference were to Christ’s doctrine, nor “through Himself” as if it were διʼ αὐτοῦ. The new creation and the new union have their ground and principle in Christ. What was contemplated, too, was not simply the making of one man ( ἕνα ἄνθρωπον) where formerly there were two, but the making of one new ( καινὸν) man. The result was not that, though the separation between them was removed, the Jew still remained Jew and the Gentile still Gentile. It was something new, the old distinctions between Jew and Gentile being lost in a third order of “man”—the Christian man.— ποιῶν εἰρήνην: making peace. The εἰρήνη is still peace between the estranged Jew and Gentile, and the ποιῶν (pres., not aor.) belongs to the object expressed by the ἵνα. In carrying out that purpose He was to make peace the one with the other.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/ephesians-2.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Ephesians 2:15 “having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that He might create in Himself of the two one new man, so making peace”

“Having abolished”: To bring to nought, put away, make void, or render idle. “For He annulled the law with its rules and regulations” (NEB). “To put out of commission, make ineffective, i.e. to abolish or wipe out” (Lenski p. 439). “In the flesh”: “In His flesh” (NASV). Which is the same as saying that "He has taken it (the Law of Moses) out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). “The enmity”: Hostility, hatred or a reason for opposition. “Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances”: “Which is the Law of commandments” (NASV). Again, we see that the Law of Moses was a package deal. Jesus removed every aspect or every ordinance in this law, including such things as the ordinances pertaining to the Sabbath Day. See Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:1-4; Hebrews 10:9. In its place Christ brought a universal system, which still includes laws and ordinances (James 1:25; Galatians 5:19-21). The Law of Moses created "hostility" between Jews and Gentiles, but before we jump to the conclusion that God is the author of hatred (for He gave the Law), we need to realize that this enmity can be traced back to wrong attitudes towards the Law . The Jews tried to twist the Law into saying that all Gentiles were bad (which it never said). “Uncompromising rabbis spoke derogatorily even of the proselytes” (Lenski p. 440). In fact the Pharisees tried to exclude their own people with the Law (John 7:49). And when the Law mentioned the depravity of the cultures surrounding Israel, such a picture was all too true. In the Colossian letter, Paul points out that the "hostility" existed in the mind of men (1:21). Gentiles may have resented the "exclusive" nature of Judaism, but honesty would have demanded them to admit, that such exclusiveness had existed for good reason (Romans 1:18-32). The Gentile world really couldn"t complain about Jewish smugness, because the Jew"s may have perverted the Law into saying that all Gentiles are immoral and godless, but many Gentiles only reinforced this misinterpretation by their own immoral lives.

A concrete example of this separation existed in Jerusalem: “This fence (surrounding the Temple) which prevented any Gentiles from proceeding into the inner courts or the temple included warnings posted prominently along this barricade were large signs, chiseled into stone, with red paint to make the warning more bold: ‘No Gentile may enter inside the enclosing screen around the Temple. Whoever is caught is alone responsible for the death which follows’ (Boles p. 233) (Acts 21:28).

“That He might create in Himself of the two one new man”: “In order to create” (TCNT. “His design was to unite the two sections of humanity in Himself” (Wey).

Both Jews and Gentiles needed to become "new creatures". Race or ethnic background never has been a "sure ticket" to heaven (Matthew 3:9; Acts 10:34-35). Everyone needs to become a Christian (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 26:29). This new creation is only possible "in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10-11), therefore baptism stands between one and being the "new man". This "new man" is a "new" thinking and acting man (4:22-32). The phrase "of the two", encompasses all cultures. We need to remember that Jew and Gentile were terms that included everyone. Unfortunately, denominationalism is found guilty of trying to undue what Christ wants. Christ wanted a church big enough to include Christians from all cultures. And yet, denominationalism creates and approves churches based on racial and ethnic lines.


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/ephesians-2.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

abolished = done away with. Greek. katargeo. See Romans 3:3.

His flesh. i.e. His death.

enmity. See Romans 8:7.

the law . . . in ordinances = the law of the dogmatic commandments. Compare Romans 8:4.

ordinances. Greek. dogma. See Co Ephesians 1:2, Ephesians 1:14.

for to make = in order that (Greek. hina) He might create (as Ephesians 2:10).

twain = the two, Jew and Gentile.

one new man = into (Greek. eis) one new (Greek. kainos. See Matthew 9:17) man.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ephesians-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ephesians-2.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

He abolished the Jewish Law. "By the bloody-death of his Cross, he abolished the Jewish Law with all its rites!!! He did this to create ONE NEW PEOPLE in union with himself." On the wall between Jews and Gentiles, see Acts 10:28.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/ephesians-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) The connection in the original is doubtful. The words the “enmity in His flesh” may be in apposition to the “wall of partition” in the previous verse; or, as in our version, to “the law of commandments.” The general sense, however, is but little affected in either case.

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances.—In this difficult passage it will be well first to examine the particular expressions. (1) The word rendered “to abolish” is the word often used by St. Paul for “to supersede by something better than itself”—translated “to make void,” in Romans 3:31; to “bring to nought,” in 1 Corinthians 1:28, and (in the passive) “to fail,” “to vanish away,” “to be done away,” in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Now, of the relation of Christ to the Law, St. Paul says, in Romans 3:31, “Do we make void the Law? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law.” The Law, therefore, is abolished as a law “in ordinances”—that is, “in the letter”—and is established in the spirit. (2) “The law of commandments in ordinances.” The word here rendered “ordinance” (dogma) properly means “a decree.” It is used only in this sense in the New Testament (see Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Hebrews 11:23); and it signifies expressly a law imposed and accepted, not for its intrinsic righteousness, but on authority; or, as Butler expresses it (Anal., Part ii., Ephesians 1), not a “moral,” but “a positive law.” In Colossians 2:14 (the parallel passage) the word is connected with a “handwriting” that is a legal “bond”; and the Colossians are reproved for subjecting themselves to “ordinances, which are but a shadow of things to come”; while “the body,” the true substance, “is Christ.” (See Ephesians 2:16-17; Ephesians 2:20-21.) (3) Hence the whole expression describes explicitly what St. Paul always implies in his proper and distinctive use of the word “law.” It signifies the will of God, as expressed in formal commandments, and enforced by penalties on disobedience. The general idea, therefore, of the passage is simply that which is so often brought out in the earlier Epistles (see Romans 3:21-31; Romans 7:1-4; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 2:15-21, et al.), but which (as the Colossian Epistle more plainly shows) now needed to be enforced under a somewhat different form—viz., that Christ, “the end of the law,” has superseded it by the free covenant of the Spirit; and that He has done this for us “in His flesh,” especially by His death and resurrection. (4) But in what sense is this Law called “the enmity,” which (see Ephesians 2:16) was “slain” on the Cross? Probably in the double sense, which runs through the passage: first, as “an enmity,” a cause of separation and hostility, between the Gentiles and those Jews whom they called “the enemies of the human race”; next, as “an enmity” a cause of alienation and condemnation, between man and God—“the commandment which was ordained to life, being found to be unto death” through the rebellion and sin of man. The former sense seems to be the leading sense here, where the idea is of “making both one”; the latter in the next verse, which speaks of “reconciling both to God,” all the partitions are broken down, that all alike may have “access to the Father.” Comp. Colossians 1:21, “You, who were enemies in your mind, He hath reconciled;” and Hebrews 10:19, “Having confidence to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated to us, through the veil, that is to say His flesh.”

For to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.—In this clause and the following verse the two senses, hitherto united, are now distinguished from each other. Here we have the former sense simply. In the new man “there is neither Jew nor Gentile,” but “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:12). This phrase, “the new man” (on which see Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10), is peculiar to these Epistles; corresponding, however, to the “new creature” of 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15; and the “newness of life” and “spirit” of Romans 6:4; Romans 7:6. Christ Himself is the “second man, the Lord from Heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). “As we have borne the image of the first man, of the earth, earthy,” and so “in Adam die,” we now “bear the image of the heavenly,” and not only “shall be made alive,” but already “have our life hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). He is at once “the seed of the woman” and the “seed of Abraham”; in Him, therefore, Jew and Gentile meet in a common humanity. Just in proportion to spirituality or newness of life is the sense of unity, which makes all brethren. Hence the new creation “makes peace”—here probably peace between Jew and Gentile, rather than peace with God, which belongs to the next verse.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ephesians-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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;
in his
Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19-22
the law
Galatians 3:10; Colossians 2:14,20; Hebrews 7:16; 8:13; 9:9,10,23; 10:1-10
one
4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ephesians-2.html.


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Monday, June 26th, 2017
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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