corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.09.23
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ephesians 4:3

being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace - There can be no doubt that the Church at Ephesus was composed partly of converted Jews, as well as Gentiles. Now, from the different manner in which they had been brought up, there might be frequent causes of altercation. Indeed, the Jews, though converted, might be envious that the Gentiles were admitted to the same glorious privileges with themselves, without being initiated into them by bearing the yoke and burden of the Mosaic law. The apostle guards them against this, and shows them that they should intensely labor (for so the word σπουδαζειν implies) to promote and preserve peace and unity. By the unity of the Spirit we are to understand, not only a spiritual unity, but also a unity of sentiments, desires, and affections, such as is worthy of and springs from the Spirit of God. By the bond of peace we are to understand a peace or union, where the interests of all parties are concentrated, cemented, and sealed; the Spirit of God being the seal upon this knot.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ephesians-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The unity of the Spirit - A united spirit, or oneness of spirit. This does not refer to the fact that there is one Holy Spirit; but it refers to unity of affection, of confidence, of love. It means that Christians should be united in temper and affection, and not be split up into factions and parties. It may be implied here, as is undoubtedly true, that such a unity would be produced only by the Holy Spirit; and that, as there was but one Spirit which had acted on their hearts to renew them, they ought to evince the same feelings and views. There was occasion among the Ephesians for this exhortation; for they were composed of Jews and Gentiles, and there might be danger of divisions and strifes, as there had been in other churches. There is “always” occasion for such an exhortation; for:

(1) “unity” of feeling is eminently desirable to honor the gospel (see the notes on John 17:21); and,

(2) there is always danger of discord where people are brought together in one society. There are so many different tastes and habits; there is such a variety of intellect and feeling; the modes of education have been so various, and the temperament may be so different, that there is constant danger of division. Hence, the subject is so often dwelt on in the Scriptures (see the notes on 1 Corinthians 2ff), and hence, there is so much need of caution and of care in the churches.

In the bond of peace - This was to be by the cultivation of that peaceful temper which binds all together. The American Indians usually spoke of peace as a “chain of friendship” which was to be kept bright, The meaning here is, that they should be bound or united together in the sentiments and affections of peace. It is not mere “external” unity; it is not a mere unity of creed; it is not a mere unity in the forms of public worship; it is such as the Holy Spirit produces in the hearts of Christians, when it fills them all with the same love, and joy, and peace in believing. The following verses contain the reasons for this.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-4.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ephesians 4:3

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The unity of the Spirit

By virtue of his having the Spirit, the believer is in union with every other spiritual man, and this is the unity which he is to endeavour to keep.

1. This unity of the Spirit is manifested in love. A husband and wife may be, through providence, cast hundreds of miles from one another, but there is a unity of spirit in them because their hearts are one. We, brethren, are divided many thousands of miles from the saints in Australia, America, and the South Sea, but, loving as brethren, we feel the unity of the Spirit.

2. This unity of the Spirit is caused by a similarity of nature. Find a drop of water glittering in the rainbow, leaping in the cataract, rippling in the rivulet, lying silent in the stagnant pool, or dashing in spray against the vessel’s side, that water claims kinship with every drop of water the wide world over, because it is the same in its elements; and even so there is a unity of the Spirit which we cannot imitate, which consists in our being “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” bearing in us the Holy Ghost as our daily quickener, and walking in the path of faith in the living God. Here is the unity of the Spirit, a unity of life, nature working itself out in love. This is sustained daily by the Spirit of God. He who makes us one, keeps us one. Every member of my body must have a communion with every other member of my body.

3. The unity of the Spirit will discover itself in prayer.

4. There is also a unity of praise.

5. This unity will soon discover itself in co-working. It was a motto with Bucer, “To love all in whom he could see anything of the Lord Jesus.” It is said of some men that they appear to have been born upon the mountains of Berber, for they do nothing but cause division; and baptized in the waters of Meribah, for they delight in causing strife. This is not the case with the genuine Christian; he cares only for the truth, for his Master, for the love of souls; and when these things are not imperilled, his own private likes or dislikes never affect him. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Exhortation to unity

Let us here inquire--

I. Into the state and character of those to whom the advice of the text is given. The persons to whom the advice is given are all members of one body; they are members of Christ and of one another. All inhabited by one Spirit. Called in one hope of their calling. The property, the subjects, the servants of one Lord. Professing and possessing one faith. This God is “above” them “all,” superintending and governing them, although infinitely exalted: through them “all,” and they live and move and exist in Him; and “in them all,” for they are “an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

II. What this advice implies.

1. The “unity of the Spirit,” of which the apostle speaks, it should be observed, is an internal unity, an unity between the spirits of men. It may subsist, therefore, between persons of different nations, educations, conditions, etc.

2. It is an unity of affection--mutual love, viz., desire of, and delight in, each other--mutual sympathy.

3. It is an unity of intention; one and all must have the same end in view, the glory of God in our own salvation, and the salvation of others.

4. It is an unity of resolution to prosecute that end.

5. It is an unity of operation (1 Corinthians 3:9), their work in the field.

III. The reasonableness of this advice. Inhabited as they are by one Spirit, which can no more set them at variance with each other, than the soul which resides in the human body can set the members of it against each other. Called from similar misery to a similar state of safety and happiness, in the same way and manner: having one object of hope, and one hope, is it not reasonable they should be united? (Anon.)

The unity of the Spirit

1. Christians should strive for unity in faith and opinion. Lowliness of mind and patience will conduce to this; as pride, self-love, and impatience make men easily dissent in affection and opinion. Satan is constantly trying to stir up strife in the Church.

2. Means to be taken for the attainment of unity.

3. It is not enough for us to entertain peace; we must give diligent endeavour to compass and maintain it.

4. A peaceable disposition is an excellent means of concord. (Paul Bayne.)

How to get and maintain peace

1 Take heed of giving offence.

2. Avoid taking offence.

3. Guard against beginning any contention.

4. To keep peace, get pure hearts. (Paul Bayne.)

The unity of the Spirit: the bond of peace

I. What is to be kept. “The unity of the Spirit”--the unity of which the Holy Spirit is the Author: that oneness of believing men in Christ which is the Spirit’s new creation. It must be an unity corresponding in its nature and character to the nature and character of Him who is its Author and Creator.

1. Look at its outward manifestation.

2. The real seat of this unity is within, in the heart.

II. The unity of the spirit is to be kept.

1. There must be an endeavour to keep it. And the endeavour must be most earnest and most strenuous.

2. There is a bond provided for keeping this unity. The bond of peace. The endeavour, strenuous and sustained as it must be, is not to be the endeavour of violence or excitement. It is no desperate groping and struggling in the dark that is required. The unity of the Spirit is to be sedulously kept. But the keeping of it is to be quiet, calm, peaceful. The bond, the girdle, which is to be the means of keeping it, is peace. (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The unity of the Church

I. Observe, in the first place, there is much said in the Word of God on this very subject of the true unity of the children of God (John 17:20-23; Romans 14:19; Romans 15:5; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 3:1-3; Colossians 3:12-15). But there is an expression in the text, that I would not pass over: the apostle speaks of it us “the unity of the Spirit,” because He secretly inclines heart to heart in the children of God.

II. But, observe, secondly, some of those high motives that we have. The world thinks that we are full of discrepancies; that our differences are unutterable, and that we have no real unity. But we say that in the midst of it all there is a solid, real, substantial, veritable unity.

1. It is the unity of a flock. Many folds; but one flock.

2. It is the unity of one body. There are many members in that body.

3. It is the unity of a temple.

4. The unity of a family.

III. Observe we now, beloved, the precept given to us in the words of the text--“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And here I would desire to give tender counsel, that in order to bear with infirmities and to avoid all needless separations, all causeless divisions, I must be effectually called and renewed by the Holy Ghost. Observe, further, that the words imply difficulty. “Endeavouring.” It is a hard thing; it is easy when the love of Christ constrains, but in itself we find abundance of difficulty. How little can I understand my brother’s position! How little can I see a secret principle of his spirit! How little can I comprehend the prejudice that works through him; that he has been brought up in from his infancy. Labour for it in all things possible. It is not the surrender of principle; it is not the sacrifice of truth; it is not the giving up of conscience. No, beloved; that is a sort of union the Spirit of God never would sanction. Do not attempt that which is actually impossible. We may “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit” in a way that never can be attained. It is the unity of a flock; various are the grades in that flock. It is the unity of a temple; various are the stones in that temple. It is the unity of a body; various are the members of that body. It is the unity of a family; but all the family do not speak alike, all the family do not think alike. To attempt it, is to attempt that which is unattainable; and we forget that, although these things have their source in our sin and ignorance, yet the eternal God overrules them for good, and brings good, and educes good out of evil. (J. H. Evans, M. A.)

The unity of the Church of Christ

So long as imperfect men are gathered together in a Christian society--men of different types of character sad different powers, and with a special fondness for their own way; men liable to mistake excited feeling for intensity of conviction, and to treat their own opinions with the reverence due to absolute truth--they will require to be admonished to “endeavour,” etc.

I. The unity of the church. Spiritual--not formal.

1. Unity of life. Bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit; their affections set on things above, etc.

2. Unity of service. Christians have one Lord, towards whom they cherish one faith. He inspires the same loyalty; it is into His service they have been all baptized.

3. Unity of worship. We have not an unknown God; he that hath seen Christ hath seen the Father. We know Him to be righteous in all His works, and holy in all His ways. To worship is to perceive His excellence, and to love Him for it; to be strengthened by communion with Him, calmed by submission to Him.

II. How to preserve the unity of the Spirit.

1. By recognizing it.

2. By cherishing a peaceful mind. (A. Mackennal, D. D.)

The promotion of unity among members of thy same Church

If we are to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace in the same Church, then we must avoid everything that would mar it. Gossip--gossip is a very ready means of separating friends from one another. Let us endeavour to talk of something better than each other’s characters. Dionysius went down to the Academy to Plato. Plato asked what he came for. “Why,” said Dionysius, “I thought that you, Plato, would be talking against me to your students.” Plato made this answer: “Dost thou think, Dionysius, we are so destitute of matter to converse upon that we talk of thee?” Truly we must be very short of subjects when we begin to talk of one another. It is better far that we magnify Christ than detract from the honour of His members. We must lay aside all envy. Multitudes of good people liked the Reformation, but they said they did not like the idea of its being done by a poor miserable monk, like Martin Luther; and so there are many who like to see good things done, and good works carried on, but do not care to see it done by that upstart young brother, or that poor man, or that woman who has no particular rank or state. As a Church let us shake off envyings; let us all rejoice in God’s light; and as for pride--if any of you have grown vainglorious of late, shake it off. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Wherein the unity of the Church consists

This unity, whereof the apostle speaks, consists in submission to one single influence or spirit. Wherein consists the unity of the body? Consists it not in this, that there is one life uniting, making all the separate members one? Take away the life, and the members fall to pieces; they are no longer one; decomposition begins, and every element separates, no longer having any principle of cohesion or union with the rest. There is not one of us who, at some time or other, has not been struck with the power there is in a single living influence. Have we never, for instance, felt the power wherewith the orator unites and holds together a thousand men as if they were but one; with flashing eyes and throbbing hearts all attentive to his words, and by the difference of their attitudes, by the variety of expressions of their countenances, testifying to the unity of that single living feeling with which he had inspired them? Whether it be indignation, whether it be compassion, or whether it be enthusiasm, that one living influence made the thousand for the time one. Have we not heard how, even in this century in which we live, the various and conflicting feelings of the people of this country were concentrated into one, when the threat of foreign invasion had fused down and broken the edges of conflict and variance, and from shore to shore was heard one cry of terrible defiance, and the different classes and orders of this manifold and mighty England were as one? Have we not heard how the mighty winds hold together as if one the various atoms of the desert, so that they rush like a living thing across the wilderness? And this, brethren, is the unity of the Church of Christ, the subjection to the one uniting Spirit of its God. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Unity among dissimilarities

Unity, is that which subsists between things not similar and alike, but things dissimilar and unlike. There is no unity in the separate atoms of a sand pit; they are things similar; there is an aggregate or collection of them. Even if they be hardened in a mass they are not one, they do not form a unity; they are simply a mass. There is no unity in a flock of sheep; it is simply a repetition of a number of things similar to each other. If you strike off from a thousand five hundred, or if you strike off nine hundred, there is nothing lest of unity, because there never was unity. A flock of one thousand or a flock of five is just as much a flock as any other number. On the other hand, let us turn to the unity of peace which the apostle speaks of, and we find it is something different; it is made up of dissimilar members, without which dissimilarity there could be no unity. Each is imperfect in itself, each supplying what it has in itself to the deficiencies and wants of the other members. So, if you strike off from this body any one member, if you cut off an arm, or tear out an eye, instantly the unity is destroyed; you have no longer an entire and perfect body, there is nothing but a remnant of the whole, a part, a portion; no unity whatever. This will help us to understand the unity of the Church of Christ. If the ages and the centuries of the Church of Christ, if the different churches whereof it was composed, if the different members of each Church were similar, one in this, that they all held the same views, all spoke the same words, all viewed truth from the same side, they would have no unity; but would simply be an aggregate of atoms, the sand-pit over again. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Advantages of unity

Great is the force of unity, peace, and concord. One man serves to strengthen and stablish another, like many staves bound together in one. Many sticks or staves bound together in one bundle are not easily broken; but sever them and pull them asunder, they are soon broken with little strength. Thus the case in all societies, whether it be in the Church, or commonwealth, or in the private family. (W. Attersol.)

How unity is to be attained

An apparent union may be produced by none thinking at all, as well as by all thinking alike; but such a union, as Leighton observes, is not produced by the active heat of the spirit, but is a confusion rather arising from the want of it; not a fusing together, but a freezing together, as cold congregates all bodies how heterogeneous soever, sticks, stones, and water: but heat makes first a separation of different things, and then unites those that are of the same nature. (H. G. Salter.)

Real unity

1. ll real unity is manifold. Feelings in themselves identical find countless forms of expression; for instance, sorrow is the same feeling throughout the human race; but the Oriental prostrates himself upon the ground, throws dust upon his head, tears his garments, is not ashamed to break out into the most violent lamentations. In the north we rule our grief; suffer not even a quiver to be seen upon the lip or brow, and consider calmness as the appropriate expression of manly grief. Nay, two sisters of different temperament will show their grief diversely; one will love to dwell upon the theme of the qualities of the departed; the other feels it a sacred sorrow, on which the lips are sealed forever. Yet would it not be idle to ask which of them has the truest affection? Are they not both in their own way true? In the East, men take off their sandals in devotion; we exactly reverse the procedure, and uncover the head. The Oriental prostrates himself in the dust before his sovereign; even before his God the Briton only kneels: yet would it not again be idle to ask which is the essential and proper form of reverence? Is not true reverence in all cases modified by the individualities of temperament and education? Should we not say in all these forms worketh one and the same spirit of reverence?

2. All living unity is spiritual, not formal; not sameness but manifoldness. You may have a unity shown in identity of form; but it is a lifeless unity. There is a sameness on the sea beach--that unity which the ocean waves have produced by curling and forcibly destroying the angularities of individual form, so that every stone presents the same monotony of aspect, and you must fracture each again in order to, distinguish whether you hold in your hand a mass of flint or a fragment of basalt. There is no life in unity such as this. But as soon as you arrive at a unity that is living, the form becomes more complex, and you search in vain for uniformity. In the parts it must be found, if found at all, in the sameness of pervading life. The illustration given by the apostle is that of the human body--a higher unity, he says, by being composed of many members, than if every member were but a repetition of a single type. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Spiritual unity

The union for which the Lord Jesus prayed was a union of spiritual men--a union not of mere professors but of His true disciples--a union in the Lord. Any other union is little worth. A union of professors with professors of one dead Church with another dead Church is but a filling of the charnel house, a heaping of the compost pile. A union of dead professors with living saints, this union of life and death is but to pour the green and putrid water of the stagnant pool into the living spring. It is not to graft new branches into the goodly vine, but to bandage on dead boughs that will but deform it. It is not to gather new wheat into the garner, but to blend the wheat and chaff again together. It is not to gather new sheep into the fold, but it is to borrow the shepherd’s brand and imprint it on the dogs and wolves and call them sheep. The identifying of christened pagans with the peculiar people has done much dishonour to the Redeemer, has deluded many souls, and made it much more difficult for the Church to convince the world. It was not this amalgamation of the Church and the world which the Saviour contemplated when He prayed for His people’s unity. It was a union of spiritual men--a holy unity springing from oneness with Himself. Union with Christ is an indispensable preliminary to union with the Church of Christ. An individual must be joined to Christ before he can be a true member of the Church of Christ. And those individuals and those Churches which are the most closely joined to Christ are the nearest to one another, and will be the first to coalesce in the fulfilment of Christ’s prayer--“May they all be one!” (Hamilton.)

Need of unity

“Ane stick’ll never burn! Put more wood on the fire, laddie; ane stick’ll never burn!” my old Scotch grandfather used to say to his boys. Sometimes, when the fire in the heart burns low, and love to the Saviour grows faint, it would grow warm and bright again if it could only touch another stick. “Where two or three are gathered together” the heart burns; love kindles to a fervent heat. “Ane stick’ll never burn” as a great, generous fire will be sure to.

Si collidimur, frangimur

“If we clash, we are broken,” according to the old fable of the two earthen pots swimming in the sea. “The daughter of dissension is dissolution,” said Nazianzen; “and every subdivision in point of religion is a strong weapon in the hand of the contrary party,” as he (the historian), upon the Council of Trent, wisely observed. Castor and Pollux, if they appear not together it presageth a storm. (J. Trapp.)

Unity aids work

By union the pyramids of Egypt, the gates of Thebes, and the columns of the Parthenon were reared, and oceans crossed, and valleys filled up. (Dr. Cumming.)

Strength of union

There was a small band of three hundred cavalry in the Theban army, who proved a great terror to any enemy with whom they were called to fight. They were companions, who had bound themselves together by a vow of perpetual friendship, determined to stand together until the last drop of their blood was spilled upon the ground. They were called “The Sacred Battalion, or the Band of Lovers,” and they were bound alike by affection for the State and fidelity for each other, and thus achieved marvels, some of which seem almost fabulous. What a name for a militant Church, “The Sacred Battalion!” It is when she is thus animated by one spirit that she is victorious.

Love of Christian unity

The attachment of the Rev. John Elliot, usually called “The Apostle to the Indians,” to peace and union among Christians was exceedingly great. When he heard ministers complain that some in their congregations were too difficult for them, the substance of his advice would be, “Brother, compass them. Brother, learn the meaning of those three little words--bear, forbear, forgive.” His love of peace, indeed, almost led him to sacrifice right itself.

Unity is strength

Separate the atoms which make the hammer and each would fall on the stone as a snow flake; but welded into one, and wielded by the firm arm of the quarryman, it will break the massive rocks asunder. Divide the waters of Niagara into distinct and individual drops, and they would be no mere than the falling rain, but in their united body they would quench the fires of Vesuvius, and have some to spare for the volcanoes of other mountains. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)

False unity

Divisions are bad things. Do not fancy that I have any sympathy with those who, confounding charity with indifference, regard matters of religion as not worth disputing about. Such a state of death is still worse than war. Give me the roaring storm rather than the peace of the grave. Division is better than such union as the frost produces, when with its cold and icy fingers it binds up into one dead, congealed, heterogeneous mass, stones and straws, pearls and pebbles, gold and silver, iron and clay, substances that have nothing in common. Yet divisions are bad things. They give birth to bad passions. They cause Ephraim to envy Judah, and Judah to vex Ephraim. Therefore, what we ought to aim at is to heal them, and when we cannot heal them, to soften their asperities. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Unity in the bond of peace

Bind not thine hands, but bind thy heart and mind. Bind thyself to thy brother. They bear all things lightly who are bound together by love. Bind thyself to him, and him to thee. For to this end was the Spirit given, that He might unite those who are separated by race and diversity of habits: old and young, rich and poor, child, youth, and man, male and female, and every soul become in a manner one, and more entirely so than if they were of one body. For this spiritual relation is far higher than natural relation, and the perfectness of the union more entire; because the conjunction of the soul, being simple and accordant, is more perfect. And how is this unity preserved? “In the bond of peace.” It is not possible that unity should exist in enmity and discord. St. Paul would have us linked and tied one to another; not simply that we be at peace, not simply that we love one another, but that in all there should be but one soul. A glorious bond is this: with this bond let us bind ourselves together, alike to one another and to God. (Chrysostom.)

Need of harmony

The following incident in the life of Lord Nelson contains a lesson for Christians. On the day before the battle of Trafalgar, Nelson took Collingwood and Rotherham, who were at variance, to a spot where they could see the fleet opposed to them. “Yonder,” said the Admiral, “are your enemies; shake hands and be friends like good Englishmen.”

The fulness of the unity

Were all Churches and church members concerned to “keep the unity of His Spirit,” a bond of peace, strong as the everlasting firmament, would encircle them. But how is it possible that we should worthily conceive of the riches comprehended in “the unity of the Spirit”? We have seen a company of a thousand musicians and singers playing and singing one tune in harmony. The persons were distinct, the instruments distinct, and the voices very distinct, and yet all were a composed unity. An army of a hundred thousand men, in movement and operation, may be a perfect unity. But in order to form an idea of the “unity of the Spirit,” we must imagine that the whole universe, visible and invisible, with all its distinctions, elements, powers, and virtues were dissolved in one sea of being. For all have sprung from such a sea, and, in the Spirit, are such a sea of living, blissful unity. Even in the sphere of striving, corrupt nature, we see enough to make us wonder at the variety which the Spirit carries in the bosom of His unity. For all the variety, in earth and heaven, is wrought “by One and the self-same Spirit.” The new growths, the joy and the glory, which constitute our summer, are so much of the fulness of the Spirit opened to our view. The creatures in different elements and latitudes are so distinct that they have no communion with each other; but they are all One in the Spirit which animates them. The sea and its contents, the innumerable tribes of the air, and all the species found on our hills and in our plains and valleys, are but very partial manifestations of the wealth and variety of the Spirit. The all things of the Father, and all things of Creation, and the all things in Christ’s finished work are included in the Spirit’s unity. Pause and contemplate “the river of God’s pleasures,” “the fulness of joy” which the perfect know above. Whatever our understandings may hold as truth, is but a mere division of this unity. “The unity of the Spirit” is “the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus,” and can only be apprehended by the affections. (J. Pulsford.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ephesians 4:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ephesians-4.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Our holy Saviour prayed for unity among the believers in Christ; and here it appears that unity was a major concern of the most gifted of the apostles; and it may be inquired, in the light of this, why is there so much disunity in the world? In a word, we do not know. It is obvious to all who ever contemplated it that there are no magic devices available for bringing unity out of chaos. Furthermore, it appears in this verse that unity is not produced by Christians, but by the Spirit of God, and Christians are merely admonished to keep it. "Whether there will ever be in this world any outward organic unity of the visible church, we do not know. The selfishness and pride of men are against it."[8]

Giving diligence ... carries the idea of "trying" or "endeavoring," leaving out any requirement that "unity" must be achieved. As a matter of truth, some types of proposed unity are not even desirable. There was a fierce unity in the medieval church.

ENDNOTE:

[8] Henry H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1927), p. 564.


Copyright Statement
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 4:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/ephesians-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit,.... That is, a spiritual union: there is an union between God and his people, and between Christ and his members, and between saints and saints, and the bond of each union is love; and that it is which knits and cements them together; and it is the last of these which is here intended: the saints are united under one head, and are members of one and the same body, and should be of the same mind and judgment, and of one accord, heart, and affection: and this may be called "the unity of the Spirit"; because it is an union of spirits, of the spirits or souls of men; and that in spiritual affairs, in the spiritual exercises of religion; and it is effected by the Spirit of God, by whom they are baptized into one body. Now to endeavour or study to keep and preserve this, supposes that this union does already exist; that it is very valuable, as making much for the glory of God, the mutual comfort and delight of saints, and is worth taking some pains about; and that it is very difficult to secure, there being so many things which frequently arise, and break in upon it, through the devices of Satan, and the corruptions of men's hearts: but though it is difficult, and may sometimes seem to be impossible, yet it becomes the saints to be diligent in the use of means to keep it up, and continue it; and which they may be said to endeavour after, when they abide with one another, and do not forsake each other upon every occasion; when they perform all offices of love to one another, and stir up each other to the like: and the way and manner in which this is to be kept, is

in the bond of peace: the Arabic version reads, "by the bond of love and peace": by maintaining peace among themselves, and seeking those things which tend to, and make for peace, and spiritual edification; and which is called a bond, in allusion to the Greek word used, which comes from one that signifies to knit, join, and bind together, and because it is of a knitting and uniting nature. Now so to act is to walk worthy of calling grace, or agreeably to it: peace is what the saints are called unto in the effectual calling: and what is suitable to God, who is the God of peace; and to Christ, who is the Prince of peace; and to the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is peace; and to the Gospel, which is the Gospel of peace; and to the character which the saints bear, which is that of sons of peace.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ephesians-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

(3) Thirdly he requires perfect agreement, but yet such that is joined with the band of the Holy Spirit.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ephesians-4.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The unity (την ενοτηταtēn henotēta). Late and rare word (from ειςheis one), in Aristotle and Plutarch, though in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:13.

In the bond of peace (εν τωι συνδεσμωι της ειρηνηςen tōi sundesmōi tēs eirēnēs). In Colossians 3:14 αγαπηagapē (love) is the συνδεσμοςsundesmos (bond). But there is no peace without love (Ephesians 4:2).


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

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/ephesians-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Endeavoring ( σπουδάζοντες )

Not strong enough. Originally the verb means to make haste. So the kindred noun σπουδή haste Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39. Hence diligence. Rev., here, giving diligence.

To keep ( τηρεῖν )

See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

Unity of the Spirit

Wrought by the Holy Spirit.

Bond of peace

The bond which is peace. Compare Ephesians 2:14, our peace - made both one. Christ, our peace, is thus a bond of peace. Others, however, treat in the bond as parallel with in love of Ephesians 4:2, and cite Colossians 3:14, “love the bond of perfectness.”


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/ephesians-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit — That mutual union and harmony, which is a fruit of the Spirit. The bond of peace is love.


Copyright Statement
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 4:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ephesians-4.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The unity of the Spirit; spiritual union and harmony.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/ephesians-4.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. With good reason does he recommend forbearance, as tending to promote the unity of the Spirit. Innumerable offenses arise daily, which might produce quarrels, particularly when we consider the extreme bitterness of man’s natural temper. Some consider the unity of the Spirit to mean that spiritual unity which is produced in us by the Spirit of God. There can be no doubt that He alone makes us “of one accord, of one mind,” (Philippians 2:2,) and thus makes us one; but I think it more natural to understand the words as denoting harmony of views. This unity, he tells us, is maintained by the bond of peace; for disputes frequently give rise to hatred and resentment. We must live at peace, if we would wish that brotherly kindness should be permanent amongst us.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/ephesians-4.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

CHRISTIAN UNITY

‘The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’

Ephesians 4:3

‘Ye are one,’ the Apostle would say, ‘one in Christ Jesus, therefore live and walk as one.’ Two points here suggest themselves for our consideration.

I. In what does true Christian unity consist?

(a) True unity admits of great variety in outward form.

(b) True unity admits of considerable independence of action.

(c) True unity depends upon the whole body being permeated by one spirit.

II. How can true unity be best attained?—The passage before us to a large extent supplies the answer.

(a) First of all, by cherishing a spirit of ‘lowliness and meekness.’

(b) Another mode of attaining greater unity is the cultivation of a spirit of long-suffering and forbearance. ‘With long-suffering,’ the Apostle says, ‘forbearing one another in love.’ This applies, no doubt, chiefly and directly to our social relationships one with another, but has it not also a wider application?

(c) But above and beyond all other things to promote unity, there must be the drawing nearer to the source and centre of all unity, viz. a close personal abiding in the Lord Jesus Himself.

III. Two remarks by way of caution.—In our longing desire for unity let us take care to avoid two opposite extremes.

(b) First, that of thinking that by greater outer uniformity we shall gradually arrive at unity.

(b) The other, that of sacrificing essential and fundamental truth in our desire to meet objectors, and embrace a wider area within our circle.

Rev. John Barton.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/ephesians-4.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ver. 3. The unity of the Spirit] That is, unanimity; this keeps all together which else will shatter and fall asunder. The daughter of dissension is dissolution, saith Nazianzen.

Endeavouring] σπουδαζοντες, Or using all possible carefulness: this imports, 1. The necessity; 2. Difficulty of the duty. Satan will endeavour, by making division, to get dominion.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ephesians-4.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Ephesians 4:3

The Unity of the Spirit.

I. What is to be kept: "the unity of the Spirit." That unity may be regarded as twofold. It may be viewed in two lights: as outwardly manifested and as inwardly wrought. In either view it is the unity of the Spirit.

II. This unity is to be kept. (1) There must be an endeavour to keep it. (2) There is a bond provided for keeping it: it is the bond of peace; it is the peace of reconciliation to God.

R. S. Candlish, Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 70.


The Basis of Communion.

I. It seems to me that there are two streams of influence which are pressing some, and those by no means the feeblest and least thoughtful, of our ministers, towards the conclusion that the Church of the future will take comparatively slight heed of doctrinal agreements and differences, and will base its fellowship on vital sympathy in the work of teaching, helping, and saving society. First, there is the weariness of the narrow doctrinal basis which has been accepted as orthodox, which has made exclusion rather than inclusion the watchword of the kingdom of heaven. There is the certainty that many others within the Church who are distinguished by no loftiness of spiritual nature, but who are proud of their soundness in the faith, would be found practically, if they were examined, to be in much confusion as to the true nature and bearings of even such truths as the Incarnation and the Atonement; while outside the orthodox pale there are equally a large number who seem to be laden with all the fruits of the Spirit, to live in love, and to spend themselves in ministry to mankind. This is one stream of influence, and it is pressing men strongly in this direction, to this issue: a communion independent of doctrine and based purely on fellowship of spirit, sympathetic views of Christian activities, Christian endeavour and aspiration, Christian methods, aims, and ends.

II. There is another stream of influence tending towards the same result. There are those who are not impatient of the doctrinal barriers which are raised between those who, it is affirmed, ought to be in communion, but who are in doubt of the doctrines themselves. They hold reverently, tenaciously, to the spiritual element in Christianity. The Cross represents to them the highest and most sacred power which can be brought to bear on the development and elevation of mankind, but they have no hold on the realities outside the sphere of the human which revelation makes known to us. They see the historic basis of the Church, as they think, vanishing; they find no longer credible the facts and judgments on which for eighteen centuries Christendom has nourished its life. They dread lest those whose faith in the great Christian verities is shaken or shattered should drift away into blank atheism and sensualism, and they would gladly create for them a haven of Christian fellowship in a non-sectarian, undoctrinal, and free-thinking Church.

III. Sound doctrine is in the long run as needful to healthy, vigorous, productive Christian life as bone is to flesh in the order of the human frame; but I do not hesitate to say that I see considerable force in what is urged by this latter party, and I entertain not a shadow of doubt that in this direction—the larger and more loving recognition of the unity which may underlie wide doctrinal divergences—lies the next great expansion of the visible kingdom of heaven.

J. B. Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 401.


I. The more the heavenly and spiritual union of all Christians in one body is out of sight and above understanding, the more necessary it is that we should be continually put in mind of it. Having once learned it, we should never allow ourselves to forget it, else we shall be often doing many things, in carelessness or in ignorance, most contrary to this Divine unity. Therefore the Apostle lays such stress on the word "endeavouring "in our text: "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," that is, making a serious object of it, looking to Church union and communion distinctly as one great purpose of our lives. Do Christians in general, do we ourselves, attend as we ought to this precept of the Holy Ghost? The bond of peace we understand and perceive the benefits of, but the unity of the Spirit is a matter of faith, not of sight; we either never think of it at all, or dismiss it at once out of our minds, saying it is above us, and all we can do is to live quietly among our neighbours of all sorts.

II. What can private Christians do towards so great an object as this of keeping the Church at unity in itself? In answer to this, I would remind you of those many Scriptures in which the Church of Christ is represented as a holy building or temple, whereof the materials are not earthly stones, but the sanctified and regenerated souls and bodies of Christians, living stones, as St. Peter entitled us all, forming one spiritual household. The layman or the child has so far the same duty as the Apostle, that is, to maintain his post in the building, and not to loosen it, as the withdrawing of any stone must do. We may never see what the early Christians saw on earth, the Church universal of one accord, of one mind, but we may hope to see in heaven that of which even the first and best Church was but a faint shadow and emblem: the unity of the Spirit kept perfectly in the bond of everlasting peace.

Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. i, p. 206.


Life and Peace.

I. "The Spirit bloweth where it listeth.'' The influences which we recognise as coming to us from above, and which mould our individual being, are often presented to us partially in fitful succession, and their first effect seems rather to disturb us than to control. And yet it is out of such struggling and discordant elements that the growth towards the ideal life is to be won. For in all human life and movement that is not merely a sinking downwards there is something which without irreverence may be called a breathing of the Spirit. And the Spirit must be there, striving with human infirmity, before the first upward step can be taken. It is not from the complacent, satisfied, unaspiring temper that the unity of the Spirit is to be wrought. There may be unity in such a life, but it is not the unity of the Spirit; there may be a sort of peace, but it is the peace of apathy. That is not the peace which reflects the image of the early Christian ideal.

II. But when we look back on the struggle after it is over, and the peace is won, we may see the evidence of the working of something higher still, and a unifying, harmonising power that was less apparent to us at the time; and we cannot claim that power to have been our own. "When I said, My foot hath slipped, Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up." This is a strength which knows its dependence upon a higher strength, and which rejoices in the belief that it may be privileged to strengthen others with the might wherewith it has itself been strengthened from above.

III. For the Divinity that shapes our ends is no blind destiny descending on us from without and compelling us we know not whither, nor yet can we admit that character is fate in the sense that weakness predetermines men to ruin. There is a Spirit witnessing to our spirit that we are the children of God.

IV. And in this belief and consciousness the life is at last girded with the bond of peace. Life without peace is weakness and chaos; peace without life is nothingness. It is when the two are united, when self-control is not mere self-repression, but the enlightened guidance of an ardent will, that the individual has realised for himself, and will assist his brethren in realising individually, the ideal which the Apostle sets collectively before the early Church: the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

L. Campbell, Some Aspects of the Christian Ideal, p. 123.


References: Ephesians 4:3.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xi., No. 607; T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. i., p. 56; A. Mackennal, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 328; J. Baldwin Brown, Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 9; F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 155; J. Edmunds, Sixty Sermons, p. 383. Ephesians 4:3-6.—Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. ix., p. 186; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 205; vol. iv., p. 31.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/ephesians-4.html.

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

Ephesians 4:3. Parallel of ἀνεχόμενοι κ. τ. λ., which is characterized as respects the effort by which it must be upheld.

τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος] The πνεῦμα is not the human spirit, so that in general animi studiorumque consensus is meant (Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Erasmus, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, Wolf, Koppe, and many, including Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Rückert, according to whom Paul did not write τοῦ νοός, because he derives the unity of the spirit from the Divine Spirit), but, as is shown from Ephesians 4:4, and is in itself clear from the exhortation to the Christian life (Ephesians 4:1), the Holy Spirit, instead of which we have not, with de Wette and Schenkel, to understand the Christian spirit of the community; the N.T. knows not this modern notion, but knows only the Holy Spirit of God, as that which rules in the church (Ephesians 2:22), and upholds and developes its specific life, so that the latter has precisely in the κοινωνία τοῦ πνεύματος (Philippians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 13:13) its common source and support. Rightly already Chrysostom ( τὸ πνεῦμα τοὺς γένει καὶ τρόποις διαφόροις διεστηκότας ἑνοῖ) and his successors, Beza, Calovius, Bengel, and others, including Harless, Winzer, Bleek, and Ch. F. Fritzsche, Nova opp. acad. p. 244: the unity, which the Spirit produces. Comp. Philippians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 17:21. And this unity is the identity of faith, of love, of sentiment, of hope, etc., in the different subjects who are moved by the Spirit.

ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης] is attached by Lachmann to what follows, whereby the parallelism with the preceding participial clause is destroyed. And after the definition by ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρ. being prefixed, several of the following elements of unity would not be appropriate, since even without the bond of peace there is one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father.

ἐν is ordinarily taken as instrumental: through the bond of peace. In opposition to the parallelism with ἐν ἀγάπῃ; and through the unity of the Spirit the bond of peace is preserved, not the converse.(199) Hence: in the bond of peace, by which is denoted the ethical relation, in which they are to preserve the unity of the Spirit, namely, while peace one towards another must be the bond, which is to envelope them. τῆς εἰρήνης, accordingly, is genitive of apposition. Comp. σύνδεσμος εὐνοίας καὶ φιλίας, Plut. Numbers 6; Acts 8:23; Isaiah 58:6. Others: “vinculum, quo pax retinetur” (Bengel; so Theophylact, Calovius, and others, including Rückert, Meier, Harless, Winzer), and this is held to be love. Appeal is made to Colossians 3:14, and to the parallel with ἐν ἀγάπῃ. But, in Col. l.c., love in fact is expressly named, and designated as σύνδεσμος τῆς τελείοτητος; while justice is done to the parallel with ἐν ἀγάπῃ by our interpretation also, and it was at any rate most natural for the reader to understand under the bond of peace peace itself, conceived of as a bond. Expositors would not have sought for another explanation, had they not taken ἐν as instrumental, in which case the difficulty obtruded itself, that the unity of the Spirit is not preserved by means of peace, but peace by means of the unity of the Spirit.

That, moreover, no inference may be drawn from Ephesians 4:3 as to divisions prevailing in the church, Bengel has already rightly observed: “etiam ubi nulla fissura est, monitis opus est.” And particularly was such exhortation natural for the apostle, even in the absence of special occasion, considering the many saddening experiences which he had met with elsewhere on this point!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/ephesians-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Ephesians 4:3. τηρεῖν, to keep) Even where there is no division, there is need of admonitions.— τὴν ἑνότητα, the unity) So far as we are concerned, for the Holy Spirit in Himself remains one, Ephesians 4:4.— ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ, in the bond) The bond, by which peace is maintained, is love itself; Colossians 3:14-15.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/ephesians-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The unity of the Spirit; either unity of mind, or spiritual unity, as being wrought by the Spirit, and then he means that unity he spoke of, Ephesians 2:14-16, and Ephesians 3:6, whereby is intended the mystical body of Christ.

In the bond of peace; i.e. in peace as the bond which keeps the members or parts of the church together, which by dissensions are dissipated and scattered. The first step to this unity is humility, for where that is not, there will be no meekness nor forbearance, without which unity cannot be maintained.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ephesians-4.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; be united in affection and live in peace, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The privileges and blessings graciously bestowed upon believers, lay them under peculiar obligations to be meek and lowly in heart, patient under trials, forgiving of injuries, and active in promoting the union and harmony of all friends of God.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/ephesians-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

3. σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης. The reference here to the unity described in Ephesians 2:14 ff. is unmistakeable. It is the condition of the growth and ultimate perfecting of the Church, and therefore needs to be guarded with zealous care, whether in the Church as a whole (as in Ephesians 2:18) or in any local congregation, as in 1 Corinthians 12:12 f.; Philippians 2:2. This implicit reference to chap. 2 makes it probable that ‘the unity of the Spirit’ is the unity in mind and heart and will which is characteristic of men who recognize each other as members of the same body, and is directly the gift of the Holy Spirit. The reference to peace in the same chapter makes it clear that ‘the bond of the peace’ is also specific. St Paul is not merely telling men to be at peace as a means of preserving unity, a form of expression not easy to defend from the charge of tautology. He is reminding them of the power (Ephesians 2:14 ff.) which, as it had in the first instance made them one, was able, if they would surrender themselves to its influence, to keep them one, cf. Colossians 3:15 ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ χριστοῦ βραβευέτω, and Philippians 4:7 ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦφρουρήσει. ‘The unity’ it should be noticed is regarded as an already existent fact, something not needing to be created but simply to be ‘kept.’ From another point of view (as in Ephesians 4:13; cf. John 17:23) it is regarded as the ultimate goal which we must strive to attain.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
"Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/ephesians-4.html. 1896.

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

(Ephesians 4:3.) σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος—“endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit.” This clause is parallel to the preceding, and indicates not so much, as Meyer says, the inward feelings by which the ἀνέχεσθαι is to be characterized, as rather the motive to it, and the accompanying or simultaneous effort. πνεῦμα cannot surely mean the mere human spirit, as the following verse plainly proves. Yet such is the view of Ambrosiaster, Anselm, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Bloomfield. Calvin also says-Ego simplicius interpretor de animorum concordia; and Ambrosiaster quietly changes the terms, and renders-unitatis spiritum. Others, again, take the phrase to denote that unity of which the Spirit is the bond. Chrysostom says- διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ πνεῦμα ἐδόθη, ἵνα τοὺς γένει καὶ τρόποις διαφόροις διεστηκότας ἑνώσῃ. This view is perhaps not sufficiently distinctive. The reference is to the Spirit of God, but, as the next verse shows, to that Spirit as inhabiting the church—“one body” and “one Spirit.” The “unity of the Spirit” is not, as Grotius says, unitas ecclesiae, quae est corpus spirituale, but it is the unity which dwells within the church, and which results from the one Spirit-the originating cause being in the genitive. Hartung, Casus, p. 12. The apostle has in view what he afterwards advances about different functions and offices in the church in Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 4:11. Separate communities are not to rally round special gifts and offices, as if each gift proceeded from, and was organized by, a separate and rival Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4, etc. And this unity of the Spirit was not so completely in their possession, that its existence depended wholly on their guardianship. For it exists independently of human vigilance or fidelity, but its manifestations may be thwarted and checked. They were therefore to keep it safe from all disturbance and infraction. And in this duty they were to be earnest and forward- σπουδάζοντες, using diligence, “bisie to kepe,” as Wycliffe renders; for if they cherished humility, meekness, and universal tolerance in love, as the apostle hath enjoined them, it would be no difficult task to preserve the “unity of the Spirit.” And that unity is to be kept-

ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης - “in the bond of peace.” Some understand the apostle to affirm that the unity is kept by that which forms the bond of peace, viz. love. Such an opinion has advocates in Theophylact, Calovius, Bengel, Rückert, Meier, Harless, Stier, and Winzer, who take the genitive as that of object. Such an idea may be implied, but it is not the immediate statement of the apostle. The declaration here is different from that in Colossians 3:14, where love is termed “a bond.” See on the place. εἰρήνης appears to be the genitive of apposition, as Flatt, Meyer, Matthies, Olshausen, Alford, and Ellicott take it. Winer, § 59, 8; Acts 8:23. “The bond of peace” is that bond which is peace. ᾿εν does not denote that the unity of the Spirit springs from “the bond of peace,” as if unity were the product of peace, or simply consisted of peace, but that the unity is preserved and manifested in the bond of peace as its element. Winer, § 48, a. “Peace” is that tranquillity which ought to reign in the church, and by the maintenance of which its essential spiritual unity is developed and “bodied forth.” This unity is something far higher than peace; but it is by the preservation of peace as a bond among church members that such unity is realized and made perceptible to the world. John 17. The outer becomes the symbol and expression of the inner-union is the visible sign of unity. When believers universally and mutually recognize the image of Christ in one another, and, loving one another instinctively and in spite of minor differences, feel themselves composing the one church of Christ, then do they endeavour to keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The meaning of the English verb “endeavour” has been somewhat a ttenuated in the course of its descent to us. Trench on Authorized Version, p. 17. Unity and peace are therefore surely more than mere alliance between Jew and Gentile, though the apostle's previous illustrations of that truth may have suggested this argument.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Eadie, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/ephesians-4.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. Endeavouring—Zealously aiming.

Unity of the Spirit—That unity of love which the Spirit inspires and creates. Bond, consisting of peace. Peace is the very girdle and tie which binds the bundle.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ephesians-4.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church. Paul viewed peace as what keeps potential factions together. He had in mind peace between all kinds of diverse groups in the church, the most basic being Jews and Gentiles.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ephesians-4.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Ephesians 4:3. Earnestly striving, giving diligence. This is parallel with ‘forbearing,’ and describes the humble, longsuffering walk, with reference to the motive of the forbearance, a motive leading to continuous and earnest effort. The underlying thought of Christian unity is carried out in the next section.

To keep, to maintain, to preserve something already possessed, and to continue doing this.

The unity of the Spirit, i.e., the Holy Spirit, since a reference to the human spirit in this connection would be both flat and unpauline. The unity is that effected by the Holy Spirit; not an outward uniformity, or hollow truce, or unholy compromise, but that unity of thought and feeling and effort among individual Christians which is produced by the indwelling of the same Spirit. Such a unity we are commanded to ‘keep,’ not to ‘make.’ The main instruments in keeping it are the graces named in Ephesians 4:2. This is the basis of all real unity in the Church. Most of the failures in seeking unity have resulted from a failure to accept what is implied in this clause. Only unity of Christians, wrought by the Holy Spirit, maintained by loving personal endeavor, can result in the manifested unity of the Body of Christ.

In the bond of peace. ‘In’ is not= ‘by,’ but points to the sphere or element in which the unity is maintained. There are, however, two explanations of the phrase ‘the bond of peace:’ (1.) the bond which is peace; (2.) the bond which has peace as its object. The latter view regards this phrase as parallel to ‘in love,’ taking love as ‘the bond,’ in accordance with Colossians 3:14. But the other explanation is more natural. ‘Peace ‘is the result of peace with God, and, binding Christians together, it is ‘a condition and symbol of that inner unity wrought by the indwelling Spirit of God’ (Alford). Hence an outward unity, which does not bind Christians in peace, can scarcely be ‘the unity of the Spirit.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/ephesians-4.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Ephesians 4:3. σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος: giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit. Further description of the mutual forbearance in respect of the inward effort required, but introducing also the larger, fundamental idea of unity. σπουδάζω, which conveys the idea of exertion, is better rendered “giving diligence” (RV) or “earnestly striving” (Alf.), than “endeavouring” (AV). τηρεῖν = keep, in the sense of maintaining with watchful care; suggesting also that what is to be kept is something already in our possession. τοῦ πνεύματος is the gen. of originating cause, = the unity which the Spirit produces or works, and here the oneness in feeling, interest and purpose which is appropriate to the oneness in doctrine and privilege whereof the readers are immediately reminded. Commentators, even of the rank of Calvin, have interpreted the πνεύματος here as the human spirit, the Christian spirit of concord; while others (De Wette, etc.) have taken it to denote the spirit of the Christian community. But the ἓν πνεῦμα of the following verse, the general NT doctrine of the Spirit of God as operating in the believer and in the Church (cf. Ephesians 2:22), and the analogy of such passages as 1 Corinthians 12:13, point clearly to the Holy Spirit.— ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης: in the bond of peace. This is not to be attached to the next verse (Lach.), a connection which would again disturb the symmetry of the participial sentences and rob some of the statements which follow of their appropriateness. It defines the way in which the unity is to be kept. The ἐν is not the instrumental ἐν, = “by means of the bond of peace”; but, as in ἐν ἀγάπῃ, the local ἐν or that of relation specifying the sphere (Ell.), or the ethical relation (Mey.) in which the unity is to be maintained. The εἰρήνης might be the gen. obj., = “the bond by which peace is kept,” to wit, love (Beng., etc.). But it is best understood as the gen. of apposition (Mey.), or identity (Ell.), = “the bond which is peace”. The unity, therefore, which is wrought among these Ephesians by the Spirit of God will be theirs in so far as they make peace the relation which they maintain one to another, or the bond in which they walk together. In Colossians 3:14 love is the “bond of perfectness”; but the construction and the idea are different here.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/ephesians-4.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Ephesians 4:3 “giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”

“Giving diligence”: “Earnestly striving” (Alf). “Eager to maintain” (RSV). Every member of the church is under this obligation, for unity does not just happen by accident, and congregations that stay united are not merely lucky. “Originally the verb means to ‘make haste’” (Vincent p. 386). "Haste" is often necessary to maintain unity (Matthew 5:24 “leave your offering...and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother”). “Unity cannot be achieved or maintained just by being passive” (Boles p. 266). It is absolutely necessary that the world see God"s people maintaining a united front (John 17:20-21). Therefore, haste needs to be made to clear up every misunderstanding between brethren. “To keep”: “Preserve” (NASV). “Is to guard, keep watch over protectively. Unity is not simply an external, superficial togetherness” (Caldwell p. 159). “Ever to guard” (Lenski p. 508). “The unity of the Spirit”: “The unity given by the Spirit” (TCNT). Through the Holy Spirit, God has revealed all the essential elements of unity. All of us are sinners, so humility is essential. Every Christian stands equal before God. God"s word is the final standard for belief and practice (2 Thessalonians 3:6-14). God is God and we are not. Human opinion isn"t the standard. Be patient with others, because God has been very patient with you. “In the bond”: A joint, tie, ligament, uniting principle. “Of peace”: “Since Christ is Himself their peace (Ephesians 2:14), it would be unnatural for them to live otherwise than at peace with one another” (Bruce p. 335). When the number one priority in our lives is "peace with God" and scriptural peace with others, then unity will prevail.

Unity is grounded in the truth

In all situations where "fellowship" becomes an issue we must maintain the proper attitudes toward each other (), and side with the truth (4:4-6). “These facts are all objective, not subjective. Lack of faith in them does not change their truthfulness one iota. Each one stands as a spiritual reality” (Caldwell pp. 163-164).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/ephesians-4.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Endeavouring. Compare 2 Timothy 2:15 (studying).

unity. Literally oneness. Greek. henotes. Only here and Ephesians 4:13.

Spirit. App-101.

bond. See Acts 8:23.

peace = the peace.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ephesians-4.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Ephesians 4:12-16 return from diversity of functions to singleness of object—viz., the perfecting individual souls in the likeness of Christ, and so building up of the whole Church in unity with Him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ephesians-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4; John 13:34; 17:21-23; Romans 14:17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 12:12,13; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Colossians 3:13-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; Hebrews 12:14; James 3:17,18

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ephesians-4.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Do your best. "As Christians you all have unity in the one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), and by the peace which grows out of love and that binds you together, do your best to preserve this unity!!!" Compare Colossians 3:14.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/ephesians-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

As we walk, we are also to give serious diligence to keeping the unity of the Spirit. Endeavor or be diligent - give your effort to doing this. Not just something in passing, but something you dwell on as part of your walk.

Just what does "unity of the Spirit" mean? First of all, a number of translations I checked give similar reading indicating that it is the Holy Spirit. The text however simply uses the term for spirit which can be the Holy Spirit, man"s spirit, or even unclean spirits.

Personally the idea seems to be that we are to keep unity of spirit in the members of the assembly. As we relate to one another we are to work at keeping the other persons spirit at peace. The problem always seems to be that we do that but the other person won"t reciprocate. They destroy the peace that you might have in your spirit. This is where the diligence etc. of the verses comes in most likely.

Do these three verses sound like any church meetings you"ve ever attended? Yes, I am sure some of you have had the honor of attending some good meetings, but many churches seem to operate in an area of the opposite of what Paul is requesting of the Ephesians.


Copyright Statement
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.

Bibliography
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:3". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sdn/ephesians-4.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology