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1:1-2 SalutationDetailed Outline1a Author: Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of GodPaul emphasizes that his apostleship is because of God's decision and calling1b Recipients: To the holy and faithful ones who are in Ephesus in Christ JesusThe words
in Ephesusare not in all ancient manuscripts
This is why many think that the epistle to the Ephesians was originally a circular letter to all the churches in western Asia Minor2 Blessing:A typical epistolary blessing2a May grace and peace be to youPaul changes the typical chairein (greetings) to charis (grace) because of His distinctly Christian outlook
And Paul adds the typical Jewish salutation of
peace(shalom)2b From God our Father and the Lord Jesus ChristThe Father and Jesus are given typical emphasis
Paul is not ignoring the Spirit, but just not giving Him emphasis in this place (as is typical for Paul), even though Paul is fully Trinitarian
1:3-3:21 The Calling you have received
1:3-14 Spiritual Blessings in ChristDetailed Outline3a Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus ChristEven though this could be translated "God...is blessed," this is a standard blessing formula. It is an expression of praise, and therefore should be translated "blessed be..." or "Praise be to..."
-cf. Luke 1:68, 2 Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 11:31, 1 Pet. 1:3
In the original language, all of vv. 3-14 is one long sentence describing and modifying this phrase.3b-14 Reason:3b The One Who blessed us...by every spiritual blessingpossibly content -
with every spiritual blessingmeaning the blessing is what they received as the gift of blessing.
I have taken this phrase as instrumental -
by every spiritual blessingmeaning the blessing is what was used by God to give them the blessing
everymeans every - God's blessing is abundant and thorough
spiritualis a fairly ambiguous word that means somehow connected with God's divine Spirit without defining the connection more precisely
There is nothing in this verse to define the connection, but the larger context elaborates and describes what is meant by
Obviously, Paul does not emphasize God's blessings as being primarily physical or material (as some preachers wrongly emphasize)
Rather, God's blessings and gifts are primarily spiritual. This does not mean that they are less valuable and real, but it means they are more valuable and real, and they are eternal - treasure in heaven where rust and moth do not destroy (Mt. 6:19-20)
blessingis a generic word for gift that bestows benefit - the content and nature of these blessings is elaborated in the larger contextin the heavens
the heavensis the location of transcendent things and beings
Throughout Ephesians, Paul emphasizes this location, both to emphasize the location as where God is, but also to contrast with the malevolent spiritual powers which God overcomes
-cf. 1:20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12in Christ
in Him) is a shorthand phrase that Paul uses for the reality that Christians are included in Christ in a number of ways:
They are identified with Him in corporate solidarity as His family and His people
Therefore, they have all the benefits and resources from Him, because He has taken their liabilities
There is a legal/positional reality of being in Christ, which is the emphasis in Ephesians
But there is also a spiritual/existential experience of being included in Christ
And all the blessings come to us in Christ - in other words, no Christ, no blessings, because all the blessings are Christ Himself, Who is the ultimate blessing4-14 Specifically:This is the list and elaboration of the spiritual blessings4-6 He chose us from eternity to be holy, resulting in the praise of His glorious grace4-5 He chose us to be holy by predestining us for adoption4 He chose us in eternity to be holy and pure4a Just as He chose us in Him before the creation of the worldGod's choice of His people is a spiritual blessing in Christ, but it is also the reason for our being included in Christ. We are included because God's election which happened before creation - before we had done anything to influence that choice in any way.4b Purpose: so that we will be holy and blameless before Him5 Reason: because He predestined us
predestinedmeans decided upon beforehand, foreordained, predetermined
It means to determine something, but a major part of the meaning is that it happens beforehand
Paul emphasizes that this happens in eternity past, and therefore, it is based solely on God's grace and plan
-cf. v. 11, Acts 4:28, Rom. 8:29-30, 1 Cor. 2:7In loveThis phrase possibly goes with the end of v. 4, modifying
to be holy and pureand thus telling us how to be holy and pure
But more likely, it goes at the beginning of v. 5, modifying
He predestined us,telling the motivation and manner of His predestining graceInto adoption into Him through Christ JesusAccording to the pleasure of His will6 Result: God is praised for the grace with which He has graced us in Christ6a To the praise of the glory of His gracePraise to God at the display of His glory is the ultimate purpose and result of all His gracious giving of Spiritual blessing
This does not negate secondary purposes, such as His people being blessed, but His glory is always the primary purpose for all that He does (see for example, 2:7)
Praise is the appropriate response to God's gloryThis means recognizing God's glory and expressing the fitting admiration and approvalIn verses 12 and 14, this phrase is repeated except it is
One of the connotations of
gloryis that which is awesome and praiseworthy
to the praise of His glory
These are most likely abbreviations of the phrase here, and have the same underlying meaning
Here the emphasis is on His grace being glorious and the object of praise
God's grace is emphasized throughout Ephesians - cf. 1:2, 7; 2:5, 7, 8; 3:2, 7, 8; 4:7, 29; 6:24
glorycf. 1:17, 18; 3:16, 216b Explanation: [This is the grace] with which He graced us in the beloved
He graced ususes the verb form of the noun
graceas wordplay to emphasize this concept of God's graciousness seen throughout this passage
in the belovedis another way to say
but this emphasizes that Christ is beloved by God - and that those in Him are also recipients of this love7-12 He redeemed and chose us for the praise of His glory7-11 He redeemed and chose us in Him7-10 We have redemption- i.e. forgiveness of sins because of His graceful purpose being worked out7 In Him we have the redemption - the forgiveness of sinsThrough His bloodAccording to the riches of His grace8-10 Reason: Because He caused His grace to abound by revealing His plan to unite everything in Christ8 He caused it [grace] to abound to us in all wisdom and insight9-10 He did this by revealing His plan to unite everything in Christ9 Making known to us the mystery of His will
mysterycould be translated
This word does not refer to something difficult to figure out, it means something impossible to figure out, unless it is revealed
The point is that it is something hidden in the past, but which has now been made known -
the secret purpose of God's will, i.e. the carrying out of God's plan of salvation"BDAG en loc
-cf. 3:3, 4, 9, 5:32; 6:19, Matt. 13:11, Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7
willis that which God wants/intends, the purpose/plan of God, -cf. vv. 1, 5, 11According to His good pleasure
good pleasureis that which is favored/desired
God's will is what He purposed because He desired itWhich He intended/purposed in Him
He intended/purposedis to plan beforehand
The plan of salvation and its execution is according to God's sovereign purpose made before creation
Notice how much Paul emphasizes God's initiative in all this - by His grace - and how little this salvation is because of our initiative and desert
This emphasis continues in v. 1110 Result: for the plan to unite all things in Christ10a For the [realization of] the prearranged plan for the fullness of time10b to unite/encapsulate all things in Christ - the things in the heavens and the things on the earth in Him11 We were chosen according to His predetermined plan11a In Him we were chosen
chosencomes from the OT figure of choosing by casing lots. The implication of casting lots was the seemingly random occurrence of chance was actually guided by God's decision and purpose, cf. 1 Sam. 14:41
The extended meaning, which Paul draws upon in this passage, is that the apparently random discrimination between people who receive God's grace and those who reject, is because of God's predetermined working, purpose, and plan.
We have won the lottery of God's grace, but it was not random. It was God's plan and action, as is elaborated in the following phrases.11b Reason: because He predetermined beforehandAccording to the predetermined planOf the One Who works everythingYes, it says everything.
God's sovereign control extends to every part of His creation. There is nothing beyond His control.According to the decision of His will12 Result: so that we who were first hoping in Christ would be for the praise of His glory13-14 He gave you His Holy Spirit to the praise of His glory13-14a You were sealed with the Holy Spirit as the first of your inheritance13 As you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit13a-b As you heard the Gospel and believed in Christ13a Hearing the Word of Truth - the Gospel of our salvationThe Gospel is called the Word of Truth, because among other things, the Gospel is the truth
If the Gospel were not the truth, it would not be good news
the validity of the Gospel relies completely on its truth
And it is the Good News which brings our salvation13b Believing in HimBelieving in Christ is the means by which we are saved
Only hearing the Gospel is not enough, we need to respond with trust
We are saved by grace through faith (2:8)
As we believe, we are sealed13c In Him you yourselves were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promiseThe pronoun
Sealedis a mark of ownership
by the Holy Spiritis possibly agency, i.e.
the Holy Spirit is the One Who sealed you
And it is possibly content, i.e.
The Holy Spirit is the seal/mark
Both are true, but based on v. 14, the later is most likely the emphasis in this passage14a Who [the Spirit] is the guaranteeing down payment of our inheritance until redemption/liberation of [God's] propertyIn that culture, this word (guaranteeing down payment) referred to a down payment, a first installment of the full payment, which guarantees the full payment will come
Our experience of the Holy Spirit is a pledge by God of our full inheritance
But He is also a partial realization, experience of our full inheritance
In other words, the fellowship, power, intimacy, guidance, etc. which we can now experience, is a foretaste of what we will experience in full for eternity in our un-mediated relationship with God, perfected and purified from all sin and human limitation
The Spirit points forward to our full experience of our redemption
The redemption is modified by the word for possession, most likely referring to God's people as His property, which He acquired by redeeming them
the full experience of our redemption is to fully experience God's ownership and Lordship over us14b Result: to the praise of His glorySee above vv. 6, 12
1:15-23 Prayer for the Spirit of wisdom and revelationDetailed Outline15 I heard about your faith and loveHearing about your own faith in the Lord JesusAnd [hearing] about the love toward all the saintsSimilar to the parallel passages in Col. 1:4 and Philemon 1:5
These two propositions are causally related to what follows16-23 Result: I am giving thanks and praying that God may continue to reveal His plan and great power for you.16 Because of this, I have not ceased to give thanks on your behalf16a Because of this, I have not ceased to give thanks on your behalf-cf. Col. 1:3, 9, Rom. 1:9, 1 Thes. 1:2
Evidence of God's prior work in their life caused Paul to pray for God's continuing and furthering work in their life16b Means: making mention in my prayers17-23 Purpose: So that God may give you wisdom, revelation and knowledge to know His plan and great power for you17 So that God may give you spiritual wisdom and revelationHow God is described: The Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ-cf. v. 3, Jn. 20:17, Rom. 15:6What He will do: [He] may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him-cf. Col. 1:9, Isa. 11:2
Possibly referring to God's Spirit, Who is characterized by wisdom, and Who gives revelation
Possibly referring to a characteristic/experience that the readers will have from God
Notice that wisdom and revelation are closely connected
These are both given through knowledge of Him - by knowing Him, we have access to be given wisdom and revelation from God's Spirit18-23 Result: He would move your heart to know the greatness of His plan and power18a That the eyes of your heart would be enlightened-cf. Acts 26:18, 2 Cor. 4:6
That you would have insight to come to full realization of the things described below18b-23 Result: That we would know His calling, inheritance and power18b Result: that you would know:18c-23 What you would know:18c What is the hope of His calling-cf. 4:4, Col. 1:5
The hope comes from the realities that result from God's calling18d What is the rich glory of His inheritance in the saints-cf. Acts 26:18, Col. 1:12, Titus 3:7
figurative for the possession of transcendent salvation as the inheritance of God's childrenBDAG19-23 And what is the extent of His power exercised on our behalf19 And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of the might of His strength-cf. 3:7, 20, 6:10, Col. 1:29, 2 Cor. 13:4
Paul piles on multiple synonyms for God's power to magnify the greatness of His infinite ability20-23 The power which worked in Christ in His resurrection and rise to rule over all as the highest authority20a Which He worked in Christ-cf. Col. 2:12
Paul defines the power of God, not just in raw ability to make things happen in the physical realm, but by His supreme work in Christ in the spiritual realm, by which He reconciled the sin broken universe to Himself
This has three main components:
We are raised with Him
- He raised Him from the dead - defeating death and inaugurating the new humanity
- He seated Him at God's right hand - fulfilling the promise of Psa. 110 by giving Him shared authority/rule with God Himself - giving Him complete vindication
- Placing Him above every other authority imaginable - i.e. definitively and finally subjecting everything under Him, especially those rulers and authorities which were in rebellion against Him. Their rebellion is absolutely unsuccessful. Therefore Christ's church, which rebels against the rebellion is vindicated and protected from the hostile powers, and also blessed by the righteous, gracious rule of Christ.
We are seated with Him
By implication, we share in his victory and vindication (while being under His authority, not having His level of authority on our own)20b-23 When He raised Him from the dead to authority over everything20b When He raised Him from the dead-cf. 2:6, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 1:4, 6:9, 8:1120c-21 And seated [Him]at His right hand-cf. Psa. 110:1, 1 Pet. 3:22, mark 16:19, Luke 22:69, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 1:3, 10:12, Acts 2:33, 5:31, Col. 3:1in the heavenly realms-cf. 1:3, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12far above every ruler and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named-cf. 4:8, Eph. 6:12, Phil. 2:9-10, 1 Pet. 3:22, Col. 1:16, 2:10, 15Not only in this ageBut also in the age to come22-23 And He put Him over everything as the highest authority for the church22a And He submitted everything under His feet-cf. Psa 8:6, 1 Cor. 15:27
Absolutely everything is under the control and authority of Jesus. this is wonderful news. -cf. Matt. 28:18
All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me22b-23 And He placed Him over the church as His body22b And He gave Him to the church as head over everything-cf. 4:15, 5:23, Col. 1:18, 2:10, 1 Cor. 11:3
Christ being Lord over everything is a gift to the church
Christ's universal rule is good news for the church23 Which is His body, the fullness of the One Who fills everything in all-cf. 3:19, Col. 1:24, 2:19, Jn 1:16, 1 Cor. 12:27
The church is Christ's body, His expression in the world for the rest of this age
2:1-10 Saved by Grace
Detailed Outline1-7 God has given us participation in the victory of Christ1-3 This is totally undeserved and unprecedentedBefore Paul described the great blessing God has given His people in participating in the victory of Christ, He made a disclaimer - a contrast to show the dramatic before/after change which those who are in Christ experienced. This shows that God's blessings went against what could reasonably have been expected (taking into account only our situation). The blessings we received in Christ were completely undeserved, and even against what we should have received.1 Even though you were dead in trespasses and sins-cf. Col. 2:13
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We were spiritually dead.This is not claiming we were physically dead, because it is modified by the phraseWe were dead in trespasses and sins.
in trespasses and sins.But that should not lead us to discount the fact that we were genuinely dead in the manner which Paul described. Some people object to the idea of us being described as having been dead. They insist that it must be just figurative or metaphorical, because if we were truly spiritually dead, we would not be able to respond to Christ. I understand this objection and its intended force. However, we can compare it to what happened in John chapter 11. Jesus called to Lazarus, who had been physically dead for 4 days, and Lazarus came out from the tomb. By this same logic, we would have to say that Lazarus must not have really been dead, or he would not have heard and responded to Jesus's command. But that would completely miss the point. Jesus's command to Lazarus was miraculous. The command gave the new life and ability to respond. In the same way, the fact that we were saved from our spiritual death is miraculous, and in no way was dependent on our ability to respond. And Paul clearly said that we were dead in our trespasses and sins. the point is that it is a miracle of grace that we are saved, because we were in no position to save ourselves or even to merit rescue.Paul elaborated on what he meant by being
deadwith the phrase
in trespasses and sins.
Sinsrefers to anything that goes against or fails to live up to God's will. At the heart of every sin is the idea that we don't want to submit to God's standards of right and wrong, and so we make our own. Because we don't like God being the One Who has the authority to decide what is right and wrong, when we have a different opinion, based solely on our preference. And so, (at least in the particular issue) we reject Him and put ourselves in the place of authority to decide. Sin is basically cosmic rebellion, rejecting the real God as king and master, and trying to make ourselves to be the boss in His place.
And the word
trespassesrefers to a specific kind of sin. The idea represented by this word is purposely crossing a boundary into something forbidden by God. We go outside of what is right and true into the realm of what is false, wrong, and forbidden.2-3 An elaboration on specifically what this entailed2-3b Your life and lifestyle were characterized by sin2 In which you then walkedThis word, translated
walkis a key word occurring throughout Ephesians (2:10, 4:1, 17, 5:2, 8, 15). It has the connotation of lifestyle. this is the word that Paul will use to describe the lifestyle Christians should live in response to the salvation and new life they have received. In this verse, Paul used it, by contrast, to describe the lifestyle we all used to live before Christ. This lifestyle is characteristic of all the world, dead in sins and unresponsive to God. We did not just occasionally sin, but our lifestyle was primarily exemplified by sin. This is what defined our lifestyle.According to the standard of this worldLiterally
according to the age of this world
agein the sense of time elapsed, but
agein the sense of the time period in which this present world system is the norm. cf. v. 7, 1:21
This world is characteristically an evil world, in which the minds of the unbelievers are blinded by its god (II Cor. 4:4)Richardson, A Theological Word Book of the Bible, p. 267.
All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, being the moral, or immoral, atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale, - all this is included in the [age] which is,...the subtle informing spirit of the [world], or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God.Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, p. 204.
Our lifestyle was defined by the standards and thought patterns of this fallen world, with disastrous results.According to the ruling power thereofAccording to the ruler of the power of the airThis refers to the devil
In the phrase
the domain of the air,the word
domain,which is sometimes translated
authority,refers to the sphere in which power is exercised. cf. 1:21. And the word
airrefers to the area between earth and heaven, which in that day was thought to be the battleground between good and evil forces, and in this age, temporarily inhabited by evil forces. It was thought to be the political domain of transcendent beings or powers.
In other words, Paul said we were conforming to the one with ruling influence over all that is evil and opposed to God.The spirit now working in the sons of disobedience
sons of disobedienceis all those who are characterized by disobedience, which is everyone without Christ. they are disobedient to God because the devil is working in their lives. Everyone without the ruling influence of Christ is under the ruling influence of the devil, which results in a lifestyle of disobedience.3a-b Also we then lived in/among themOur sinful lifestyle naturally produced sinful conduct.3a We all lived in/among them in the desires of our fleshPaul intentionally used the word
all,so there are none of us who can exclude ourselves from this description.
livedis a different word than
walkused above. It also refers to lifestyle, but with more of a focus on overt daily behavior. cf. Titus 3:3
in/among themrefers either to transgressions in v. 1, or to sons of disobedience in v. 2.
desiresrefers to any kind of inordinate desire, a craving for something forbidden, i.e. lust. This includes, but is not limited to sinful physical pleasures. It is the desire of our selfish, fallen nature, which sees and calculates everything from a self-centered standpoint, putting God in second place at best. And so, these desires are inordinate desires, craving for something forbidden, and accurately described as lusts. In 4:22, Paul said that we were being corrupted by these deceitful desires.3b By doing the will of the flesh and thoughtsWe habitually did the will of this sinful nature and its mindset. This is the mindset of fallen humanity that does not honor God or typically think about reality with God in mind. In 4:18, Paul will say that humanity is darkened in their understanding, that is, their mindset without Christ. And because we all had that self-centered mindset, we did those self-centered, sinful things, because they were the natural things to do.3c-d The results of this life and lifestyle3c We were, by nature, children of wrathThe wrath of God is the inevitable result of sinful lifestyle and conduct. We were under wrath
by naturejust like everyone else.
children of wrathmeans those who are characterized by being under wrath. In 5:8, Paul will say that now we are
children of lightbecause something changed in our lives between our past and present, if we have become believers.
Some say that everyone is a child of God by nature, but that is not Biblical. We are all creatures of God, under His general care and common grace. We all bear the image of God, and so, we should treat absolutely everyone with inherent dignity and inalienable rights. But unless someone is adopted into God's family through Christ, they are not a child of God, but a child of wrath.3d Just like everyone elseEvery single person, who is without Christ, is under wrath, as the result of the fall into sin. We were under slavery to sin, and disobedient to God. This is the common lot of all humanity without Christ. cf. Rom. 3:23, 6:23. And in Eph. 5:6, Paul stressed that God's wrath comes on all such disobedience.4-7 But God gave us undeserved participation in the victory of Christ4 Because of God's mercy & loveIn this verse, Paul gave the twofold reason behind all that God has done for us: the nature of God, and His resulting activityBut God, Who is rich in mercyIt is the nature and character of God to be merciful and compassionate. Mercy has been defined as withholding some negative consequence which someone rightly deserves. This is not something that God has done begrudgingly, but it flows from His essential character. He is
richin mercy. He has mercy in abundance - in overflow amounts. In verse 7, Paul will speak of the
richesof His grace, and throughout Ephesians (1:7, 18, 3:8, 16) he used this word to describe the abundance of God's character and blessings on our behalf.Because of the great love with which He loved usAgain, this is pure overflow of God's loving nature into God's loving attitude and action. He has loved us with a great love, a strong love - love to a profound level. And this is the extraordinary love with which He loved us. This is the reason behind all the blessings which Paul will describe in the rest of this passage. All that Paul is about to describe is the result of God's mercy and love.
In light of all that he wrote in the first three verse, we are reminded that this is not because we were lovable and deserved God's blessing in any way. Rather we were dead and objects of wrath. In spite of our deadness in sin, God loved us, because He is loving and merciful.5-7 He gave us participation in Christ5-6 What He has done for us5 He has made us alive with Him5a-b He has made us alive with Christ5a Even though we were dead in transgressionsThis resumes the argument begun in v. 1 by repeating the same phrase. This makes the following statements about what God has done even more remarkable by contrast.5b He made us alive with Christ
made alive withis the first in a series of compound forms, most of which are related to the verbs of 1:20
This is the summary term that introduces the rest
When God raised up Jesus and seated Him above everything, we are included with Him in His triumph
In this passage, Paul says that we benefit from all that Christ accomplished as described in ch. 1.
We, who once were dead, have been made alive with Christ. Though we were dead, that is no longer the case for those who are in Christ. We have new life in Christ, through the new birth, through God's salvation. This is the extremes of before and after - once before and after, once dead, now alive. Once a slave to the ruler and standards of this world, now free.5c The Reason: You have been saved by grace!Paul interjected the reason for this. This almost seems to be an intrusion into his flow of thought. As he was describing what God has done, he just had to express his marvel at God's grace, which did it.
savedis a fairly generic term that means to be rescued in some way. The context tells us what we are rescued from and what we are rescued for. We have been rescued/preserved from eternal death. We have been saved from our transgressions and sins, and the resulting wrath of God against us in our dead state of serving sin and the devil. We are saved from living according to the standards of this world. We are saved from living according to the desires and mindset of our sinful nature. And we are no longer children of wrath, but we are children of God. And later in this passage, Paul will describe what we are saved for.
And we are saved by grace. That is God's grace - His gracious generosity to us, not only in His mercy not giving us the wrath we deserved, but in His love giving us new life and participation in Christ's victory, which we did not deserve. Paul will later develop what it means to be saved by grace.6a He has raised us from the dead with Christ
raised us withis a compound form of
He raised Himin 1:20, cf. Col. 3:1. As the New Testament consistently says, because Christ was raised from the dead, bringing about this new kind of life, all His people will experience this same life of the next age. Paul did not say that we will be raised, but he said we have been raised. This is in the already/not yet tension, and we can partially experience this new life here and now. In some way, we share in the victory of Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the new life He brought about.6b He has seated us with [Him] in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
seated us withis a compound form of
seated Himin 1:20. Paul wrote that Christ is now seated above every other authority in heaven and on earth. This does not mean that we as individuals exercise that authority with Christ. But rather, it means that we do not need to go through any mediating powers or authorities to get to Christ. We already have access above these principalities and powers, so we don't need to fear the evil ones, and we don't need to rely on the good ones. We can go straight to Christ, because He has seated us with Him in HIs place of power.
heavenly realmsis a key phrase throughout Ephesians, cf. 1:3, 20, 3:10, 6:12.7 The Purpose: so that He may display the surpassing riches of His grace in the coming ages by His kindness to us in Christ JesusPaul not only contrasted the way it was with the way it is. He also told us the way it will be, and the purpose for which God did these things.
For all eternity, God will continue to pour out His goodness on us from an infinite supply of His grace and greatness. This is beyond our ability even to imagine, because it will come from His inexhaustible riches (cf. 1:7, 3:8). We will be the recipients of God's benevolence forever. This will be our experience in the coming age, in contrast to the age of this evil world, cf. v. 2, 1:21.
But God's ultimate purpose is not just to give us His goodness. It is to display the riches of His grace - that His greatness and goodness will be publicly displayed, and that all will know and acknowledge His glory. Not only those who receive His grace, but even His enemies in the heavenly realms will all know and acknowledge His goodness and grace, even as they won't experience it. We are to be eternally displayed in God's cosmic trophy case, as recipients of His undeserved mercy and grace, to show His glory. This will display that He is the kind of God Who could, and Who would, rescue even dead sinners like you and I, so that He gets the glory and praise for all eternity.
The purpose of Ephesians, like Colossians, is to argue that Christ is greater than any other supposed power or authority or god. And this is also God's eternal purpose, seen throughout the Old Testament, that the entire universe would acknowledge that He is the LORD. And one of the ways that He will do that is by displaying the riches of His grace to us in the age to come.8-10 The foundational reason for God doing all this:8-9 You are saved by grace!8a The simple fact: By grace you have been saved through faithThis is partly a repeat of what Paul already stated in v. 5. But here he elaborated in more detail what this means.
We are saved by grace - grace is the cause of our salvation.
By graceis actually the first phrase in this sentence for emphasis. It is purely by God's goodness and giving character that any of us are saved. In 1:7, Paul wrote,
we have redemption through His blood, which brings the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace, which He lavished on us.Throughout the New Testament, the consistent message is that we are debtors to God's grace for absolutely everything, including our salvation. None of what we have experienced could have happened on our own. And God did not have to do what He did for us. But He did, solely because of His gracious love, shown in Christ! We need to beware of taking God's grace for granted and subtly believing that somehow, we deserve this more than the other guy. We don't deserve this in any way; it is all of grace.
By this grace, we have been saved (assuming genuine conversion by trusting Christ). Literally, Paul said something like
you are in a state of having been saved.This is stated as a completed, comprehensive action. We know from the rest of the New Testament that our experience of salvation is growing and someday will be fully consummated. But here Paul stressed the settled fact of our salvation. It has definitely been accomplished in Christ by God's grace. If we have genuinely believed in Jesus, we are no longer dead, but alive. It is a done deal!
And we are saved through faith. Faith is the instrument which grace uses to save us. The grammar Paul used distinguishes the role of grace and faith in our salvation. Grace is the cause of our salvation and faith is the instrument. The logical idea of an instrument is something that is used in order to accomplish something else. For instance, if I took a hammer and used it to drive a nail, I would be the cause of the nail going in, but the hammer would be the instrument I used to do it. Theoretically, an instrument may or may not have been necessary (I could have used a nail gun), but it is what was used to accomplish something.
In this case, faith was instrumental in our salvation. It was the means by which we were saved. But it is not the cause of our salvation. Our faith is how we received what God does in us, but it is not what works our salvation. we don't do anything; we just trust and accept what God has already done on our behalf.8b-9 The explanation of this fact8b-9a This is God's doing, not ours8b This is not from youWe didn't do it. We were not the key players in our salvation. We cannot take credit for it. It is somewhat debated, but
thisalmost certainly refers to the totality of the salvation, including the grace and the faith.8c It is the gift of GodThis is the contrast and correction to the previous statement. It is not from us, but from God. It is all a gift from God. As we see in Romans 3:24, salvation is given freely as a gift, not because of anything we have done or will do in the future. It is entirely from grace. It is entirely from God.9a It is not from worksThis again reinforces the contrast between salvation not being our accomplishment, but being completely from God. The entire book of Galatians is a polemic against the idea that works contribute anything to the cause of our salvation. We do not, indeed we cannot, do anything to contribute to our salvation. We were dead. Like Lazarus, we did not make ourselves alive, but we were made alive, without our help being necessary.9b The Result: So that no one can boast [except God]The result of all this is that no one can boast in their salvation. No one has earned or qualified for salvation any more than anyone else. God alone gets all the glory for our salvation. God will not allow the possibility of any human boasting in His presence about salvation (1 Cor. 1:27-31). And He purposely designed salvation to exclude the possibility of human credit.10 The Reason: God created us for this10a We are God's workmanshipGod made us. God planned and created all that we are, including our salvation. Some people make a big deal out of the fact that the word Paul used here is related to the English word
poem- that somehow, we are God's poem. However, the word is related to
poem,it does not mean poem. The English word
poemcame into use long after Paul wrote this, and he did not have it in mind, or any of its connotations. The word Paul used means workmanship or product, something that was made. It can have the connotation of beauty and excellent craftsmanship, but not necessarily. Any idea of the quality of the product comes from the fact that God is the producer, not from the word
workmanship.And this word has none of the artsy connotations usually connected with the word
Paul's point is simply that God is the cause and creator of all that we are.10b-d Explanation of the implications10b We were created in Christ Jesus for good worksThis is the explanation of what Paul meant by us being God's workmanship. We were created. And we were created (and saved) for a purpose. The purpose for which we were created was not just salvation and the resulting relationship with God (though those are a central part of our purpose). In this verse, Paul highlighted that we were created for the purpose of doing good works, which are the result of our salvation.
Paul had already made it very clear that we are not saved because of good works. We are not saved by our good works. But here, he mentioned that we are saved for good works. Good works do not cause salvation. But our salvation results in good works. Works never produce salvation, but salvation produces transformed people, who produce good works. If we are genuinely saved, and have new life from Christ, we will do good things. We will act out the godly behavior that comes from the godly change in our character by the work of God's Spirit in our lives.10c-d These were planned by God10c Which God prepared beforehandAll of these good works were planned by God ahead of time. We were created for these works, and these works were prepared for us. We are not able to take credit for these works either, because God prepared them beforehand. And only God can prepare this beforehand, because only God controls everything. cf. Rom. 9:2310d Purpose: that we would walk in themGod prepared good works for us with the purpose that we would live them out. Literally, it says that we would
walk in them.Compare this with v. 2 - we used to
walk in transgressions and sins,and now we
walkin good works. Throughout the rest of Ephesians, Paul used that key word
walkto describe some of the general ways that we are to live our the salvation we have graciously been given.
2:11-22 Saved into New HumanityDetailed Outline11-18 The Outsiders have become accepted insiders11-12 The way it used to be before Christ11a A Call to remember the way it wasRemember:11b-12 An explanation of the way it was11b You then were gentiles in the flesh, the ones called uncircumcised by those who were called circumcised in the flesh according to man's doing12 In that time, you were characterized by these 5 things:You were without ChristYou were alienated from the citizenship in God's people"alienated" -cf. 4:18, Col. 1:21
"citizenship" -cf. Acts 22:28 -of Roman citizenship cf. Phil 3:20You were complete strangers to the covenants of God's promise-cf. Rom. 3:1f, 9:4f.You had no hopeYou had no relationship with God whatsoever in this world13-18 The way it is now for those in Christ13 In Jesus Christ, you, the ones who once were far away, now have been brought near by the blood of Christ14-18 The reason why this has happened14-16 He has made peace14a He is our peace-cf. Micah 5:1-5, Isa. 9:5-614b-16 How He has provided peace for us14b-15a What He has done14b He has made the two into one-cf. Jn. 10:16, 17:11, 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:1314c He has destroyed the dividing barrier of hostility that separated them in His flesh15a He has nullified the law of regulations and commandments-cf. Col. 2:20-22, Acts ch. 10 (Peter), Acts ch. 15 (Jerusalem Council)15b-16 The purpose for Him doing these things15b-c So that He may create a new community15b So that He may create one new man in the Lord from the two-cf. 4:23f.15c He does this by making peace16 So that He may reconcile both to Himself16a So that He may reconcile both to GodIn one bodyThrough the cross16b He does this by putting enmity to death by the cross17-18 He has proclaimed peace-cf. Acts 10:36, Isa. 52:7, 57:14-2117a He came17b-18 He proclaimed peace17b-c He proclaimed peace to everyone17b He proclaimed peace to you who were far away17c He proclaimed peace to those who were near18 The peace that He proclaimed: We both have free access to God the Father in one Spirit through Him-cf. 3:12, Jn. 10:7-9, 14:619-22 The results for the outsiders and insiders together19a You are no longer strangers and aliens19b-22 But you are now an integral part of God's household and dwelling19b You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household20-22 Elaboration of what it means to be God's household20 You are being built as a house on a solid foundation20a You are being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets20b Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of it all21 You are being fitted together into the temple of God21a By being intricately fit together in your proper places in Him21b Every part of the building grows together in the Lord into the holy temple22 In the Lord, You are being built together into the very dwelling-place of God in the Spirit
3:1-13 Mystery of Gentile InclusionDetailed Outline1-12 I, Paul am a prisoner for Christ1 For this reason, I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you gentiles..."Because he was apostle of the Gentiles, and very directly as a result of his stand for the equality of Jews and Gentiles in the people of God (see Acts 21:17-34, 22:21-24, 26:12-23), he was in prison. For the sake of the Gentiles he had been imprisoned, and even now his confinement was to their advantage. (verse 13.)" Foulkes en loc
"For this reason" Paul most likely was beginning a prayer for the Ephesians regarding the material he has just spoken of in chapter 2. The prayers in 1:15-23 is occasioned by the material spoken of that far in chapter one. It also begins with the same words "for this reason". However, in this case, Paul breaks off into a digression, he takes up the prayer again with the same words, "for this reason" in v. 14
"The apostle is deferring what he was about to say and breaking off into some information about what it means that he was the apostle of the Gentiles. the parenthesis appears to go on to the end of 3:13, with the main argument resumed in verse 14 with the same words as he have at the beginning of verse 1" Morris p. 86
"Eph 3:2-13 is a Paremboke, and a digression explaining Paul's special ministry in connection with the Gentiles." - Bullinger, Figures of Speech, p. 477
"Prisoner" -cf. 4:1, PHil. 1:7, 13, Philem 1, 9, Acts 21:17-36, esp. 27-292-12 Digression, explaining exactly what it means to be a prisoner for Christ on behalf of the Gentiles2-6 I am a steward of the mystery now made known"...it [administration, stewardship] refers to the management of a household, form which it comes to signify management or administration generally. Paul is saying that God has entrusted him with the task of an orderly preaching of the gospel of God's grace. This was something that he did characteristically, not haphazardly. It was a duty entrusted to him and one he must duly discharge. Paul took preaching to the Gentiles very seriously. It was not a talk he chose, but a divine commission." Morris p. 862-5 The mystery is being made known2 You have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which has been given to me for your sake"He was making sure that they knew of his position. Evangelizing Gentiles was not a chance occurrence that happened to take place in Ephesus, but something that would inevitably occur wherever Paul was. He has been chosen by God to evangelize Gentiles, and he was diligent in being obedient to his call." Morris p. 86
"stewardship" = management of a household, commission of some household business, stewardship, responsibility
-cf. v. 9; 1:10; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 9:17; Col. 1:23-29; 1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Thes. 2:4
"grace" - cf. 1:6f; 2:5-8; 4:7; Rom. 12:3, 6; 15:15-16; 1 Cor. 3:10; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 2:9; Acts 20:243-5 This mystery is being made known"mystery" - secret thoughts, plans and dispensations of God which are hidden from the human reason as well as from all other comprehension below the divine level, and hence must be revealed to those for whom they are intended; the content of that which has not been known before but which has been revealed to an in group or restricted constituency.
"...it does not denote a mystery in our sense of the term: a puzzle hard to work out. A mystery, for Paul, was something impossible for people to work out, but which God has now made known. Paul says here that it has been made known 'by way of revelation'; that is, of course, the only way a 'mystery' could be known to us." Morris p. 87
-cf. v. 4, 6, 9; 1:9; 5:32 (cp. 5:30); 6:19; Rom 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:10; Col. 1:263-4 It has been made known to me; I am making it known to you.3a That the mystery was made known to me by revelation."From 1:9 we have seen that 'revealing' and 'making known' go naturally with the word mystery when it is used in connection with the gospel. For this is the truth of God which is no longer hidden, but made plain to those who are willing to receive it." Foulkes en loc.
"The particular aspect of revelation here in Paul's mind is the fact, undisclosed by the Old Testament prophets, that the salvation of the Gentiles would involve the creation of 'one new man' (Eph. 2:15) by the incorporation of Jewish and Gentile believers alike, on the common ground of divine grace, as fellow-members of the body of Christ. The disclosure of this truth came to Paul as his conversion when he was brought by divine call into the circle of the apostles (Eph. 3:3)." Ladd, Theology of the New Testament p. 385-6.3b-4 I have made it known to you3b I have briefly written about it to yourefers to the contents of the letter up to this point, compare v. 6 with ch. 24 So that you too may understand4a By reading [what I have written]4b By which you will be able to understand that which I understand regarding the mystery of Christ"The revelation imparted to the apostles and prophets did not have as its purpose the creation of a spiritually elite circle of men elevated above the rank and file of believers, the apostles are recipients of revelation that they in turn might 'make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God' (Eph. 3:9)." Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, p. 3865 It has been made know in God's time5a It was not fully made known to people in other generations."Something new came into the world when Jesus made His appearance. 'In other generations' this was not known to people (v.5), but Jesus finally brought the way of salvation that God had purposed through eternity." Morris p. 885b To the same extent that it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."We may take the force of the 'as' to be 'in such measure as' or 'with such clarity as' now". Foulkes en loc
"That the Gentiles had their place in God's scheme of things and that they would receive blessing from God is brought out in the Old Testament. As early as the time of Abraham it was said that in the patriarch 'all the families of the earth' would be blessed (Gen. 12:3; cf. also the relevant passages cited in Rom. 15:9-12). What is not made clear in the Old Testament (and was hidden 'from the ages and from the generations,' Col. 1:26) but is abundantly plain in Paul's exposition of the Gospel is that salvation in Christ means equality. Gentile believers are on the same level as Jewish believers." Morris, p. 89
"That God would bless the Gentiles, then, was not a new revelation. What then was the new revelation, the mystery hitherto concealed? It was this: that God's blessing of the Gentiles would involve the obliteration of the old line of demarcation which separated them from Jews and the incorporation of Gentile believers together with Jewish believers, without any discrimination, in the new, comprehensive community of God's chosen people." Bruce, en loc.
-cf. Rom 16:26
"Apostles and Prophets" - "The church is built upon the twofold foundation of apostles and prophets..., the apostles representing the authority of primary witness to the Gospel facts, while the prophets represent the living guidance of the Spirit by which the facts were apprehended in ever fuller meaning and scope." Dodd, The Johannine Epistles, p. 105
"Through these two ministries - the apostles empowered by the Spirit of Christ and the prophets inspired by the same Spirit - effect was now being given to the divine purpose which had for so long remained unrevealed." Bruce en loc
"Apostles and prophets were of primary importance because they were the vehicles of revelation (Eph 3:5) and thereby provided the foundation for the church (Eph. 2:20)." Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, p. 535
-cf. 2:206 The Mystery: The gentiles are fellow-heirs, members of one body, and partners in the promises in Christ Jesus through the Gospel"That Gospel, therefore, is the means and the only means of deep spiritual unity between men of however diverse racial, cultural or political background." Foulkes en loc
"The point that Paul is making with some emphasis is that Gentile converts belong right up there with Jewish believers. We are not to think of 'Christian, Class 1' and 'Christians, Class 2.' Paul is saying not only that the Gentiles may be saved by the atoning work of Christ, but that when they are saved they are on the same level as Jewish believers.... The threefold expression puts emphasis on the fact that all believers belong together and that no one group has superiority over others....Both Jews and Gentiles depend on the promise God has made in Christ, a promise expressed in 'the Gospel.' the good news is the same for both groups." Morris, p. 89
-cf. Fuller, The Unity of the Bible, p. 430-431
"in Christ" -cf. Ladd Theology of the New Testament, ch. 34.Fellow Heirs"'Fellow-Heirs' echoes Old Testament passages that speak of Israel as receiving an inheritance from God. This is just as true of Gentile believers as of the ancient people of God." Morris p. 89.
This 'inheritance' is through the adoption as sons through Jesus Christ' (1:5). The Holy Spirit is a 'deposit guaranteeing our inheritance' (1:14), not only a guarantee, but also a down payment, a present, partial enjoyment of the full inheritance. Paul prays that they may know the 'riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints' (1:18).
"Addressing Jews in Jerusalem in the earliest days of the church, Peter had said, 'You're the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed' (Acts 3:25). But now the divine plan has been revealed - that 'all the families of the earth' should through the Gospel not only be blessed in Abraham's posterity but should be reckoned among his posterity, children of Abraham because they share the faith of Abraham, who 'is the father of us all' (Rom 4:16). Gentile believers are therefore with Jewish believers 'fellow-heirs' of all the blessings pledged to Abraham and his descendants - 'heirs of God,' in fact, 'and fellow-heirs with Christ,' as Paul puts it elsewhere (Rom 8:17)." - Bruce en loc
- cf. 1:11-14; Rom 8:17; Gal 3:29; 4:7; 1 Pet 3:7; Heb 11:9Fellow members of one body"'Fellow members of the body' is one word in the Greek and expresses very concisely the thought that Gentiles have their place in the body of Christ, just as Jews do. Preference is given to neither, but the two belong together." Morris p. 89.
God 'has made the two one (2:14), 'His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in the one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross' (2:15-16). We are both part of the one building 'joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord... a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit' (2:21-22).
- cf. 2:15, 16Co-partners in the promises"'Fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel' brings out the truth that Gentiles are the recipients of the divine promise just as much as are others. Salvation is not the result of Gentiles making a big effort, which turns out to be the same as the effort made by the Jews. Both Jews and Gentiles depend on the promise God has made in Christ, a promise expressed in 'the gospel.' The good news is the same for both groups." Morris p. 89
The Gentiles now participate in 'every Spiritual blessing in Christ' (1:3 elaborated in 1:3-14). Not only is this participation in the full citizenship of God's people (2:19), and 'access to the Father by one Spirit.' (2:18), it is also participation, along with all the saints, into the newly realized victory of Christ, 'God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus' (2:6). This is participation in Christ's victory and rule: 'That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.' (1:19-21)
-cf. 2:13-14; 18-19; 5:7; 2Tim 1:1; Gal. 3:6-297-12 What my stewardship entails7 Generally: I became a servant of the mystery according to the gift of God's grace which He gave to me according to the working of His power"servant" -cf. 1 Cor. 3:5; Gal. 1:13-16; Col. 1:23-29; 1 Tim 1:12-16
"working of His Power" - cf. 1:19-21, 6:108-12 Specifically: I make known the mystery of His grace8-9 God gave me grace to make it known"He could have said that Christ had called him to preach or that God had chosen him, but grace is such an important concept for the apostle that it comes as no surprise that he refers to grace as the motivation and power behind his preaching of the gospel." Morris, p. 928a This grace was given to me - the least of all the saints-cf. 1 Cor. 15:98b-9 His purpose in doing so:8b So that I may preach the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ to the gentiles"Paul is saying picturesquely that the riches in Christ that are made known by the gospel are greater than we can ever track down or search out. It is no poverty-stricken gospel that Paul proclaims, but one that is rich beyond all human need and beyond all human telling." Morris, p. 93
"preach to the Gentiles" -cf. Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17f. Rom. 11:13; 15:16-21; Gal 1:16;2:7-9
"riches" -cf. 1:7; Matt. 13:449 So that I may clearly reveal all that is the purpose of the mystery which was kept hidden from eternity in God - the creator of all things."We have again the term [administration, dispensation] that was used in 3:2 (as in 1:10), and here its meaning must be God's 'plan' (RSV) or 'purpose' (NEB). Paul is thus expressing again the fact that his work is to show and teach the great purpose of God in Christ. It is a mystery (as he has said in verses 4-5) not at all fully communicated to men before, but by no means an after-thought in the mind of God. God is spoken of here as the One who created all things, in order to imply that this was His purpose from the beginning of the creation, though in His wisdom He chose to reveal it to man in stages." Foulkes en loc.
"bring to light" - "As Paul fulfilled his commission by preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, as through his preaching Gentiles were brought to faith in Christ and found themselves united in church fellowship with fellow-believers of Jewish birth, the long-hidden mystery was being revealed before the eyes of men and women. For the church fellowship in which Gentile and Jewish believers were united was no mere enrollment on a register of membership; it involved their union with Christ by faith and therefore their union with each other as fellow-members of his body. The 'third race' was coming visibly to life: something that had not been seen or imagined before was now a matter of experience. Before all ages God's undisclosed purpose had existed in his own mind; now its accomplishment was evident not only to human beings on earth but also 'to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realm.'" Bruce en loc.
"The verb [should be] taken to mean 'showing forth' or 'bringing to light' God's truth. The word is in fact the natural word to use for the public disclosure of what had been kept secret." Foulkes en loc.
- cf. 2 Cor. 4:610-12 The ultimate purpose of God's dispensing grace to preach the Gospel10-11 So that the manifold wisdom of God may be made known-cf. 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:6-10; Rom. 11:33; 1 Pet. 1:12
"What was hinted at in 2:7 now is expressed specifically. This great purpose of God for the Church reaches out beyond this world order and beyond the present time. It has to be declared now to all men, but the hosts of heaven also, who know the glory of God's creation, are through the Church to be enlightened concerning His work for man's salvation." Foulkes en loc.To whom: the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms"Paul makes use again of two of the expressions he used in 1:21. Here they clearly refer to spirit beings - they are 'in the heavenlies' - but the apostle does not stay to specify closely which ones he has in mind." Morris p. 95
"That the terminology designates supernatural beings is quite clear from Ephesians 6:11ff, where the believer's struggle is against the devil and against principalities, authorities, world rulers of this present darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness. Usually they are conceived as being evil and opposing the Kingdom of God. Sometimes, however, these spiritual powers are not cast in a evil light but are represented as created beings who apparently exist to serve the divine glory (Col. 1:16). Christ is the head of all such rule and authority (Col. 2:10); the divine purpose will display to these principalities and power in the heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God through the church (Eph. 3:10)." Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, p. 401-2
"There is no need to limit the 'principalities and powers' in such a context as this to hostile forces. All created intelligences are in view here." Bruce en loc.
-cf. 1:21; 2:2, 6:12; 1 Cor. 2:8; L&N 12.44
"in the heavenly realms" - this term is used in 1:3, it is the location where 'God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ'; in 1:20, where Christ is seated at God's right hand in vindication of His victory over every rule and power; in 2:6-7 where we are raised and seated with Christ, it is explained that his is 'in order that in the coming ages he might show th incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.'; this sheds light on the present passage; 3:10 where the term either describes the location where 'the manifold wisdom of God should be made known' or more likely it describes the location of the 'rulers and authorities'; in 6:12, the evil forces are described as 'the rulers,...the authorities...the powers of this dark world and...the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.' The 'heavenly realms' are therefore the location of God's opposition; the location of His vindication and victory against the opposition (sort of a divine "I told you so", the thought of 1 Pet. 3:19-20), but more than even that, it is the realm of the fulfillment of God's purposes, in grace and blessing to us, in glory and victory of Christ, and final glory and praise to Himself. In the heavenly realms the church is finally seen sharing in Christ's victory and rule: "And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fill everything in every way." (Eph. 1:22-23)How:Through the church"Paul is now saying that it is through the group of apparently insignificant people that make up the church that God's wisdom will be displayed....Paul sees the function of the church as extending far beyond the petty concerns of this life. What God is doing in the church has its repercussions throughout the spirit world. John Stott quotes J.A. Mackay, 'the history of the Christian church becomes a graduate school for angels.'" Morris p. 94-5
"The church thus appears to be God's pilot scheme for the reconciled universe of the future, the mystery of God's will 'to be administered in the fullness of the times,' when 'the things in heaven and the things on earth' are to be brought together in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10)" Bruce en loc.According to the eternal divine purpose which God made in Christ Jesus our Lord"Behind all the events of this world's history there is an eternal purpose being worked out. God's is not ad hoc plan, but one conceived from eternity and eternal in its scope." Foulkes en loc.
"Before the world's foundation he chose his people in Christ and destined them in love to be his sons and daughters; before the world's foundation, too, he cherished this plan, to go into effect at the proper time, of bringing into being a community which would bear practical witness on earth to his reconciling work." Bruce en loc.
-cf. 1:4, 5, 9, 1112 In Him we have boldness and freedom of approach with confidence through faith in Him"The word boldness is basically 'freedom of speech'. It is often used of boldness before men, as in 6:20, Acts 4:31 and Phil. 1:20, the absence of fear or shame. It is used of a similar absence of fear or shame in approaching God. Hebrews 4:16 and 10:19 are the clearest examples and explanations of this, which is the meaning here....Access with confidence expresses a thought very similar to that of boldness, but it is more personal." Foulkes en loc.
-cf. 2:18, Rom. 5:2, Heb. 4:16, 10:1913 Therefore, I ask you not to lose heart on account of my sufferings for you, which are for your glory-cf. Col. 1:24, 2 Tim. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:12-18
"'Therefore' in this verse draws a conclusion from the great truths to which the apostle has just drawn attention. Because God has done such wonderful things through Christ, because he has demonstrated even to the spirit powers the fulfillment of his eternal purpose, the Ephesians should be encouraged and not give way to gloom. They might well have been depressed at Paul's imprisonment and at all that he had had to suffer. They might have concluded that this new religion was unable to stand up to the might of Rome. Paul has made them see that such a conclusion is shallow and not in accordance with the facts. God has been working out a great eternal purpose, and the seemingly powerful Romans are nothing greater than players of bit parts. In their stupidity they may convince themselves that they can do as they will with the Christians, even blot out the whole Christian movement with their persecutions. But that is shallow thinking. It concentrates on what humans are doing and overlooks the far more significant fact that God is active and that he is working out His purpose through the crucified Christ and through those who have come to salvation through faith in Christ." Morris p. 98
"For Paul the great thing about suffering is that it is not aimless, not futile. It is not the result of blind chance. It is not the torture inflicted by an unfeeling Fate. Suffering can come only as an all-powerful and all-wise Father permits. Therefore suffering, for the Christian is always meaningful. Paul can speak of his sufferings as having 'fallen out...unto the progress of the gospel' (Phil 1:12). Something like this will be the meaning of his reference to himself as 'the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles' (Eph. 3:1; 4:1), and to his tribulations as the 'glory' of his converts (Eph. 3:13)." Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, p. 268
3:14-21 Prayer to be strengthened by ChristDetailed Outline14-19 I pray that God would empower you to experience Christ and His love14-15 I bow in prayer to the Ultimate Father for this purpose:14 For this reason, I bow my knees toward the Fatherbowing the knee is symbolic of religious devotion and posture of prayer15 From Whom all family in heaven and on earth is named
named-cf. 1:21, 5:316-19 Purpose: So that He will empower you to be filled with Christ and His love16-17 So that He will give you power to be fully inhabited by Christ16a In General: So that He may give you power according to the abundance of His gloryOn
riches-cf. 1:7, 18, 2:7, 3:8
glory-cf. v. 13, 1:1816b-17 Specifically: Power for your inner man to be inhabited by Christ16b [Power] to be strengthened through His Spirit in the inner man
power-cf. v. 20, 1:19
the psychological faculty, including intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects, in contrast with the purely physical aspects of human existenceL&N17 Power for Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith and your solid connection with love17a [Power for] Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith17b-c Reason: because you have been rooted and established in love17b Rooted in love-cf. Matt 13:2117c And established [in love]-cf. 2:21-22, Col. 1:23, 1 Pet. 5:1018-19 Purpose: So that you would know the love and be filled to the fullness of God18-19a So that you would know the immensity of the love of God18 So that you would be capable to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of God's love]
to process information, understand, grasp, learn about something through process of inquiry, grasp, find, understandBDAG19a And [so that you would be capable] to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledgeNotice the apparent paradox of praying that they would know what cannot be known
Of course Paul knows it is an apparent paradox - he wants them to know truly what cannot be known exhaustively
But there is always the possibility for knowing God's love in greater measure, and will be for all eternity19b Purpose: So that you will be filled to all the fullness of God
filled-cf. 5:1820-21 Therefore: May all glory be to God, Who is able to do anything20 And to the One Who is able to do infinitely beyond all that we ask or imagine according to the power which is working in us
an extraordinary degree, involving a considerable excess over what would be expected, extreme, extremely, to an extreme degree, to a very great degreeL&N21 Glory be to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus, in every time period forever and ever, amen
4:1-6:20 Live Worthy of the Calling you have received
4:1-6 Unity in ChristDetailed Outline1 Therefore, walk appropriately1a Paul's self-designation: the prisoner in the Lord1b The command: I therefore exhort you to walk appropriately1c The standard: for the calling with which you have been called2-6 How you should walk appropriately for your calling2 Patiently enduring one anotherWith all humility and meeknessWith patienceIn love3-6 Work hard to be unified3 Working hard to keep the unity of the Spirit in the unifying bond of peace4-6 Reason: There is only one people of God because there is only One God4a-b There is one body and Spirit like your one hope4a [There is] one body and one Spirit4b Just as you were also called by one hope of your calling5a [There is] one Lord5b [There is] one faith5c [There is] one baptism6 [There is] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all
4:7-16 Body of Christ in UnityDetailed Outline7 The grace has been given to each one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ
givenin this context means specifically appointed and assigned to each individual in ChristGod (in Christ) is the obvious implied giver of this grace
Each Christian is specifically assigned gifts, experiences, roles and responsibilities as God sees best
Not every Christian has the same measure of the gift, but has the appropriate measure for them personally
measureis the quantity, portion of the gift, which is specifically apportioned to each one of us,-cf. v. 13 -
measure of the maturity of the fullness of Christ,
-cf. v. 16 -
...according to the working in measure...
the giftis elaborated below as leaders who equip us into maturity,but also has the clear connotation of the grace of salvation described in all th previous sections of Ephesians
-cf. 3:7 where Paul is a minister of the Gospel by the gift of God's grace8-16 Therefore: The Exalted Christ blesses His people with gifts that lead them to maturity8 Christ, as conquering ruler of all, blesses His people8a Quotation formula: Therefore it says...8b-d Quoting Psa. 68:18 - By ascending, He conquered and blessed His people8b-c He ascended to conquer captivity itself8b Going up into the height/heaven-cf. 3:18, Psa. 68:18
The point of
going upis not primarily physical location. But the emphasis is on status and authority, cf. Phil. 2:9-11
At His resurrection and ascension, Christ [re]took His place as Lord over everything, cf. 1:20-238c He took captivity captivePossibly,
He took captivesreferring to a captured military force
He took captivityreferring tot he state of being a prisoner
Christ destroyed death and the guilt and fear that kept humanity under its control, cf. Heb. 2:158d He gave gifts to menThe
giftsare described and elaborated in vv. 11-169-16 The Exalted Christ gives gifts to His people9-10 Christ is exalted to authority over all the universe9a What is
the ascending?This could possibly be translated as asking the identity of the one ascending - i.e.
Who is the one ascending?
However, the neuter gender of this participle, and the fact that
he descendedin 9b is a verb, and not a parallel participle, both argue against this translation
Much more likely, this is rhetorically asking the interpretation and significance of the phrase
This is the question that Paul answers in 9b-10 because that is the point he wants to make (and the reason he asked this rhetorical question)9b-10 It refers to Jesus coming to save, and therefore now being glorified9b If not that He descended to the lower region of the earth
lower region of the earthcould refer to Jesus burial, and therefore to Hades
Much more likely, this is an appositive genitive, and refers to Jesus' incarnation -
the lower region, which is the earth
The earth is called
the lower regionas opposed to heaven, which was Jesus' abode before He came to earth to save
The emphasis is not that Jesus went to Hades, but that He came to humanity to save
he descendedrefers not only to physical movement, but humiliation in status, cf. Phil. 2:5-8, 2 Cor. 8:910 This One Who saved by His humiliation is now glorified above all10a The One Who descended is also the One Who ascended above all the heavensOn
descendedsee above v. 9b
ascendedsee above v. 8b10b Purpose: so that He may fill everything-cf. 1:23, 3:19, Col. 1:13-20, Rom. 11:33-36
God's overarching purpose for history is that Christ may be the focus and supreme entity of the entire universe11-16 Christ gives leaders to equip the body to grow together into maturity11-15 He gave leaders to equip people for service so that people reach maturity11-12 He gave the church leaders to equip people for works of service11 He gave four leadership roles to the churchThis means that He not only gave the roles, but gives the people to fulfill these roles
Of course, not everyone who claims to fill these roles is a gift of God, neither is everyone chosen to fill these roles by fallible humans
But everyone who truly, faithfully serves the Gospel in these roles is a gift from God11a He gave some to be apostles11b [He gave] some to be prophets11c [He gave] some to be evangelists11d [He gave] some to be pastors and teachers
teachersare two terms closely connected with one article and the same conjunction in this series list, while the three other terms each have their own article and a series conjunction separating them
This means the grammar shows these two terms refer to the same person and role
Of course, pastoring and teaching are two different yet related activities, but the grammar shows them to be two parts of the same reality and role
Some speak of the
fivefold ministrywhen they speak about this passage. It would be more accurate to say
fourfold ministryaccording to the grammar of this verse12 Purpose: To equip the saints for works of righteousness that build up the church12a For the equipping of the saintsThis word
equippinghas the connotation of making fully prepared and adequate for the task
This equipping includes mending and restoring what was broken (Mark 1:19, Gal. 6:1 and 1 Pet. 5:10), providing resources for what is lacking (1 Thes. 3:10, Heb. 13:21) and making perfect/fully ready that which is not yet complete (2 Cor. 13:9, 11)12b-c Result: So taht they will do works of righteousness which build up the church12b into works of righteousness12c Result: into building up of the body of ChristThis could be a series of results -
works of righteousnessAND
building up the body of Christ
But I have taken the second phrase as the result of the first -
as a result of the works of righteousness, the body of Christ is built up13-15 Until we reach maturity in Christ13 Until we reach the goal of unity and maturity in conformity to Christ13a Until we all arrive, reach the goal13b-d Result (the goal we reach): into the unity and maturity that conforms to Christ13b Into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of GodNotice the result is unity, but unity is not the primary goal. It is a byproduct of the primary goal (of knowing Christ)
And the unity of the faith is connected to the unity of the knowledge of the Son of GodThis is because the faith is the knowledge of the Son of GodUnity around anything else is dangerous and can actually be counter-productive to the faith and maturity
We become more unified to one another as we each grow toward Christ13c into a mature manpossibly
maturehas the connotation of
perfectbut probably the emphasis is on maturity, characteristic of adulthood, as contrasted with immaturity of childhood in v. 14, cf. 1 Cor. 14:20
manis a specific term notating an adult male in contrast to a boy
maturein the sense of having reached the purpose for which it was designed, to become a model Christian, to reach the full potential and calling of a disciple13d into the measure of the maturity of the fullness of Christ
measure- the standard by which maturity is measured and known, cf. v. 16
maturityis a different word than in the previous clause. It has the connotation of full stature - being at the peak of development
fullness-cf. 1:10, 23, 3:19, Col. 1:19, 2:9
full measure of maturityor
measure of full maturity
measure of maturity of the fullness of Christemphasizing that Christ is and has
fullnessand that mature Christians conform to that fullness14-15 Purpose: To be steady and mature in Christ14 Neg. So that we will no longer be immature and influenced by deceptive teaching14a so that we will no longer be childrenthe connotation of
childrenis immaturity and helplessness - not contributing to the cause of Christ, but needing to be taken care of, thus being somewhat of a liability until maturing14b-c being given the run around by deceptive teaching14b being tossed back and forth14c and being carried here and there by every wind of teaching, by the craftiness of men, in trickery, for the deceitful scheming of errorThe metaphors here are the opposite of steadiness and solidity, and purposeful tenacity which results from conviction and faithfulness to the truth
The continual change, uncertainty and unsettledness comes from purposeful deceit described as crafty, deceitful trickery, that schemes from a standpoint of conscious and chosen error and deceit
The first two prepositional phrases are parallel, with the same preposition, probably indicating manner. The third phrase is probably indicating purpose
trickerycf. 2 Cor. 11:3
deceitful schemingcf. 6:11-12
There is a spiritual enemy and his human dupes that consciously purposely oppose the purposes, message and people of Christ. If God's people allow their schemes to set the agenda, we will always be scrambled and off-balance, instead of purposefully advancing
There is a need to occasionally defend where the enemy is attacking, but we should always be on the offensive, with the proclamation and demonstration of the truth of the Gospel15 Pos. So that, through the truth, we will grow all things into Christ15a Doing/speaking truth in loveliterally
truthing- the verb form of the word for truth
in loveis either manner -
with love,or instrumental -
both are true, but manner is more likely the meaning in this context15b We will grow all things into Him Who is the Head - Christ
all thingsis the object of the verb
growonChrist is described as
all things are to become greater into Him
all things become greater by growing into Him
all thingsincludes us as well
the headChrist is the head of all things, with all authority, for the sake of the church in 1:22
And Christ is the head of the church in 5:2316 Therefore: The body grows together into building itself up by love16a-c The Body grows together, by each part contributing its part in Him16a-b By each part being united together, all contributing its part16a Being joined togetherThe connotation is being fit together like a building, where each part fits together perfectly into a coherent whole16b And being united together by every supporting ligament according to working in measure of each partThis connotation is being fit together like a body, where each part fits and works together16c in Whom all the body does the growth of the bodyThis grammar is a bit roundabout in order to emphasize that all parts of the body contribute to causing the growth of the body16d Result: into building itself up in lovePaul mixes the metaphors of building and organic growth
in loveprobably means -
by means of love
4:17-24 No longer live as Gentiles, put on the New SelfDetailed Outline17a-b I am solemnly commanding you this:17a Therefore, I am saying this17b And I am testifying in the LordA solemn request that has the weight of a command17c-24 Live your new life, not your old life17c-19 Neg: Don't live like the brokenness of the Gentiles17c That you would no longer walk"walk" = lifestyle17d-19 Like the Gentiles walk in brokenness17d-18 As the Gentiles live in futility because of their broken mind and broken relationship with God17d As also the gentiles walk in the uselessness/futility of their mindNotice that the mind of unconverted people is characterized by futility, without value
Without Christ, any worldview is ultimately vain and focuses on futile things
This is why even brilliant people can have huge blind spots that make otherwise sane people absurdly silly in certain areas18 Reason: Their mind and relationship with God have been broken18a Being darkened in [their] reason/thinkingDarkness is symbolic for evil and lack of God's light and life
their lack of God leads to lack of enlightenment and reason
In some ways they can be completely logical and intellectual, but in the big-picture areas where it truly matters, there is defective reasoning
-cf. Rom. 1:21-28, Jer. 17:9, Psa. 51:5, Isa 64:618b Being estranged from the life of Godthrough the ignorance which is in themsin and rebellion impacts every part of fallen humanity, including our mental processes
"ignorance" does not mean innocence, as in they never had a chance to know
but it means "lack of knowledge" as in they did not know something which they should have known, it is a culpable ignorancebecause of the hardening of their heartThis describes the reason why they are ignorant, not the reason they are estranged from the life of God
"hardening" has the connotation of obstinacy and willful ignorance
their ignorance is culpable, not innocent
It is an issue of Lordship:Is God the Lord of what we think?This rejection of God's Lordship over our mind automatically entails an estrangement from God
or do we insist that we are autonomous, determining truth and reality on our own, by our own standards?
The original temptation in Gen. 3 was a promise of this autonomous knowledge of good and evil, thereby making ourselves as god, but it was a lie
humanity did not become like God, knowing good and evil, but became like beasts, brutish and ignorant19 Result: Their moral life is also broken19a who, being callous to any sense of right and wrongThey don't care about morality, right and wrong never even register into their thinking, only such things as "how does it look?" and "can I get away with it?"
It is tragic that in our society public opinion decides morality because we have forsaken an eternal, objective standard.
Once God is out of consideration, anything goes, and when anything goes, everything eventually goes19b Who have given themselves over to a lack of moral restraint into all works of moral corruption in covetous desireThey lack moral constraint, and social constraint, and end up lacking all self-constraint and self-control
While addiction is a disease in some sense, it is also morally culpable, being the just result of rejecting God's moral standards
When we refuse to serve God, we become slaves to sin
"moral corruption" can have a connotation of sexual sin, but is not limited to that - it can refer to all kinds of immorality and filthy indecency20-24 Pos: But live in the holiness of Christ20 But you did not learn Christ in this way"in this way" refers tot he preceding verses
The intellectual and moral corruption is the opposite of the cause for their conversion
It is the opposite of the manner of their conversion
It is the opposite of the discipling instruction they received
And it should be the opposite of the outcome of their conversion21-24 Reason: You have heard and been taught to live a transformed lifestyle21a Since you have heard HimPossibly "heard about Him"
to receive news/information, to hear the message about Christ (the Gospel)21b-24 You have been taught to forsake your old life and be conformed to Christ21b-c And you were taught truth which is embodied in Jesus21b And you were taught in Him21c Just as truth is in JesusNotice above that the darkening of the mind/intellect leads to moral darkness
The opposite is stated here - the truth of Jesus (addressing the renewed mind) impacts the moral lifestyle for the good22-24 To forsake your former lifestyle and be conformed to Christ's lifestyle22 [for] you to lay aside, according to [your] former way of life, the old man which is corrupted according tot he deceptive lustsAccording to your former way of lifeDescribes "to lay aside"
Tells how to lay it aside - according to the standard of how you lived, this is how you are to change
Go down the list of your old lifestyle and check off what you put away from your lifeThe old manPaul contrasts life without Christ as being of this age with new life in Christ as being of the age to come
-cf. Rom. 6:1-14, Col. 3:1-10Which is corruptedIt is deteriorating and being destroyed
All things of this world are decaying and ultimately will be reduced to nothing
-cf. book of EcclesiastesAccording to the deceptive lustsDescribes "which is corrupted"
Life without Christ is ruined by lusts which deceive them
-cf. Jms. 1:13-15 sin comes from evil desires and brings death
"deceptive" cf. Col. 2:8, 2 Thes. 2:1023 [for you] to be made new in the spirit of your mindPassive - "let yourselves be renewed"
Just as the mind of the old man is futile and corrupt, in order to live the life of Christ, our minds need to be changed, renewed, made new24 And [for you] to be clothed with the new man which is created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the truthThe new man as contrasted with the old man
Created according to God - conforming to God's standards
The renewing brings us from the former broken state in opposition to God back to God's standards
The new creation is not just a return to the original human state, but a renewal to the state of God's eternal plan for humanity, in the new humanity - the final state of redeemed humanity, which surpasses our original created state
The new creation is characterized by righteousness and holiness of the truth
Righteousness, holiness and truth are all in Jesus, cf. v. 21
4:25-32 How to LiveDetailed Outline25 Speak truthfully with one another25a-b Speak truth to each other by rejecting falsehood25a By putting aside falsehood25b Each of you, speak truth with your neighbor25c Reason: Because we are members of one another26-27 Do not give opportunity to anger or to the devil26 Don't let your anger get out of control26a-b Get angry in an un-sinful way26a Pos: Be wrathful/angry26b Neg: And do not sin26c Do not let the sun go down upon your angry mood27 Neither give place/chance to the devil28 Do not steal, but do productive labor28a Neg: Let the one who steals no longer steal28b-d Pos: But let him work for the private and public good28b-c Let him labor with his own hands28b But rather, let him labor28c By working what is good with his own hands28d Purpose: So that you will have [something] to share with the one having need29 Speak what is necessary for building up your hearers29a-c Don't speak anything corrupting, but speak what is edifying29a Neg: Do not let any corrupting, unwholesome word go out from your mouth29b-c Pos: But Speak whatever is edifying29b But [speak these things]29c Condition: If something is good toward whatever is necessary for building up29d Condition: If something is good toward whatever is necessary for building up30 Don't grieve God's Spirit30a And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God30b by Whom you have been sealed for the day of redemption31 Mortify bad character traitsLet all bitterness and anger and wrath and argument and slander be removed from you, with all evil32 Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another32a Be kind and compassionate to one another32b-c By forgiving each other just as God forgave you32b Forgiving each other32c Just as God also forgave you in Christ
5:1-6 Live a life of love, not impurityDetailed Outline1-2 Pos: Be imitators of God and walk in Christ's love1 Be imitators of God, as His beloved children1a Therefore, be imitators of God1b As beloved children [behave]2 And walk in Christ's self-sacrificial love2a And walk in love
walk= lifestyle, cf. 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:8, 152b-c Just like Christ loved you and sacrificed Himself for you2b Just as Christ also loved youWe are to love because Christ loved us -cf. 1 Jn. 4:7, 11
-cf. 4:32 where we are to forgive because Christ forgave us2c And He gave Himself to God as an offering and sacrifice for you to be a pleasing aroma-cf. v. 253-6 Neg: Avoid the kind of lifestyle that is under God's wrath3-5 Avoid non-Christian lifestyle, which leads to non-Christian destiny3-4 Avoid inappropriate lifestyle, but be thankful3-4b Neg: Don't behave or speak in a non-Christian manner3 Do not let any non-Christian behavior be among you3a Do not let sexual immorality and all moral corruption or covetousness be named among you-cf. v. 5
sexual immoralityis any kind of illegitimate sexual activity, therefore, this term is not limited to forbidding only the more socially unacceptable activity, but it forbids all sexual activity outside of the covenant of marriage
moral corruptionis moral impurity, immorality, this is also a broad term, but typically focuses on sexual sin (notice that the first two terms are joined together)
not be named= not mentioned because it does not exist in your midst -cf. 1:21, 3:15, It does not mean that Christians can never discuss these things3b Just as is fitting to saints4a-b Do not let any non-Christian speech be among you4a And [do not let] shamefulness and foolish talk or vulgar joking [be named among you]This verse is parallel to v. 3, and therefore, the implied words can be added
behavior that flouts social and moral standards, shamefulness, obscenityBDAG,
(it results in public disgrace and shame when the society is morally upright)
foolish talkis any talk that is silly, foolish and/or stupid
vulgar jokingis coarse jesting, vulgar, dirty expressions and indecent content4b Which things are not appropriate4c Pos: But rather, [let] thanksgiving [be among you]5 Reason: Because you know that a non-Christian lifestyle leads to a non-Christian destiny5a Recognize this:-cf. 1 Sam. 20:3, Jer. 42:225b-c Reason: Knowing that non-Christian lifestyle does not lead to Christian destiny5b Because you know:5c That everyone who is sexually immoral or morally corrupt or covetous, which is idolatry, does not have an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and GodNotice that the three kinds of people are the same characteristics to be avoided in v. 3
one who is sexually immoral-cf. 1 Cor. 5:9, 6:9
idolatry-cf. 1 Cor. 5:10-11, 10:7
inheritance= transcendent salvation as the inheritance of God's children, -cf. 1:14, 186 Therefore: Make no mistake, God punishes these things with wrath6a Let no one deceive you with empty words
empty wordswords without power or value because they are untrue -cf. 1 Cor. 15:146b Reason: Because the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience because of these thingson
sons of disobedience= those who are characterized by disobedience, -cf. 2:2
disobedienceis always disobedience toward God, often with the connotation of disbelieving the Gospel, -cf. 2:2
5:7-14 Live as Children of lightDetailed Outline7-10 Don't be influenced by evil7 Do not be participators with them [i.e. those who do evil, as listed above vv. 5-6]8-10 The reason: You've changed to light, and should behave as light8a-b You have changed8a Once you were darkness8b Now you are light in the Lord8c-10 The implications of this fact8c-9 Therefore, you should have a certain manner of life8c-d General: The lifestyle of light8c As befitting the character of light8d Conduct yourself in this way9 Specifically: bearing fruit of goodness, righteousness, and peace10 In this way [by experience], you will validate what is pleasing to God11-14 Instead, influence evil for good11a Don't be participators with them11b-14 Rebuke them by revealing the truth11b-14a Rebuke them by revealing the truth11b Expose the works of darkness12-14a Reason: Exposing them to light enlightens them12 Concession: even though it is shameful to speak of these things13-14a Exposing them with light is effectual13 the things exposed by the light become known as they really are14a Everything revealed as it truly is becomes light14b-e This is illustrated in a quote written about this phenomenon14b Disclosure formula: It says:14c-e Contents of the quote:14c-d What happens in conversion:14c Wake up O sleeper14d And rise from the dead14e Result: Christ will shine on you
5:15-21 Live as wise, not unwiseDetailed Outline15-17 Walk Wisely according to God's will15-16 Command: Be careful to live wisely in your limited time15 General: Watch that you live wisely, not unwisely15a General: Carefully watch how you walk [live]15b-c Specifically: Make the most of your time in this corrupt age15b Neg: not as the unwise15c Pos: but as the wise16 Make the most of your time in this corrupt age16a Redeeming/making the most of the time/opportunity16b Reason: because the days/times/this age are evil/corrupt-cf. 6:13, Eccl. 2:2317 Therefore: Don't be unwise, but know God's will17a because of this do not be foolish17b but understand what the Lord's will is18-21 Be filled with the Spirit18a-b Neg: Don't be drunk, which is debauchery18a Do not be drunk with wine18b In which is debaucheryasotia (
debauchery) = reckless abandon, wastefulness, dissipation, out of control behavior18c-21 Pos: But be filled with the Spirit18c Command/Cause: But be filled with/by the SpiritNotice the contrast between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit
The point is not that we should be drunk with the Spirit i.e. act foolishly or out of control
The point is that the Spirit should impact every part of our life, just like drunkenness does
A drunk person is clearly evident by the way they walk, talk, etc.
A person filled with the Spirit should be clearly evident by the way they walk, talk, etc.19-21 Effects/Means:What follows could either be the way in which we are filled with the Spirit
Or the results of our being filled with the Spirit19a Speaking to each otherNotice that the community worship/singing of the congregation was a means to proclaim and teach the truth to one another
Pay close attention to the lyrics of the community songs, because they have a strong influence on the theology and life of the congregation
Better quality lyrics in congregational singing will be reflected in better quality of the congregation's theology and discipleship
And a negative result will come from low quality lyricswith PsalmsMost likely refers to the words of the OT book of Psalms put to music and used in congregational worshipand HymnsPossibly pre-written lyrics put to music and used in congregational worshipand Spiritual songsPossibly spontaneous lyrics composed while singing in congregational worship19b-c Singing and making music19b Singing19c and PsalmingThis word means to sing accompanied with musical instrumentswith your heartNot
in your hearti.e.
with your hearti.e.
-cf. Fee GEP p. 718 fn. 190to the Lord20 Always giving thanksto the God and Father
for all things
in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ21 Submitting to one another in the fear of ChristEach of the following three section is a specific elaboration of this command for certain household relationships(Wives/Husbands [5:22-33])
5:22-33 Husbands and WivesDetailed Outline22-32 How wives and husbands should behave toward one another22-24 How wives should behave toward husbands22-23 Wives should submit to their husbands22 Wives should submit to their husbands, as to the Lord22a Wives, [submit] to your own husbandsThis is a debated verse.
The verb "submit" is actually not in the original of this verse, but it is clearly implied from the previous verse.
Therefore, it clearly states that wives should submit to their husbands.
This submission is a voluntarily putting themselves under submission; it is a free act of volition, and therefore, this verse should not be used to 'force' submission by crushing the will of the wife.
This verse speaks of wives submitting to husbands, and does not say anything (either way) about male/female relationship in general apart from the marriage relationship.
Because v. 21 says "submit to one another," some have argued that the husband-wife relationship is equal and mutual submissionhowever, there are many factors which argue against this interpretationThe standard for the command given to husbands is much higher than the command of submission given to wives
The word "one another" in v. 21 is not always reciprocalFor instance, in Mark 4:41, the disciples asked one another. This does not mean that each disciple asked or received the request equallyThe parallel passage in Col. 3:18 argues against equal submission
In Eph. 4:2, we are commanded to bear with one another. This does not mean that each person will have equal need or opportunity to show patience.
In Rev. 6:4, men will kill one another. This does not mean that each individual will equally kill and be killed. Some may be killed without ever killing, and vice versa
Therefore, this word does not prove or necessitate equal submissionWives are clearly told to submit to husbands, and husbands are not told to submit to wives.If the submission of v. 21 implied equal submission:
A different command is given to husbands in the Colossians passagethen the submission of the parent-child relationship of 6:1-4 and the slave-master relationship of 6:5-9 would have to be equal submission,And finally, the word "submit" is clearly implied for wives, but a different verb is used for husbands later in this passage
Because v. 21 is the theme statement for these passages as well
But equal submission does not work in these relationships, and no one argues for it in them
If equal submission is not true for these relationships, it is not proven or necessary for the husband-wife relationshipThe husband who faithfully obeys this passage will sacrifice and give much more than the wife will sacrifice and give by voluntarily submitting to her husbandThere is no legitimate way to soften the force of this command from the Lord that wives should submit to their husbands
It is a command and should be obeyed
the wife's submission will be a joy and should flow out of faith and obedience to Christ, as shown in the next phrase22b As [you submit] to the LordThere are a few implications of this phrase
First, the necessity of submission to husbands is equated with the necessity of submission to Christi.e.Second, the manner of submission is equated
you should submit to husbands, just like you should submit to Christi.e.And Third, the reality of submission is equated
you should submit to husbands in the same way, with the same intensity, with the same mindset and joy, as you submit to Christi.e.
you should submit to husbands, as [because] you are submitting to the Lord
in other words, give the same level of submission that you should give to the Lord -
your submitting to husbands is proof of your submission to Christ, and any lack of submission to Christ is evidence of lack of submission to Christ23 Reason: Because the husband is in a headship relationship, modeling Christ.23a Because the husband is the head of the wife-cf. 1 Cor. 11:3
Some suggest that
headhere has the meaning of
This view is not defensible lexically or exegeticallyAlmost certainly, this word has the primary connotation of
And the evidence given for this view is weak, fairly obscure, and clearly slanted to bolster a pre-decided conclusion
the one example most often given is this term being used of the
headof a river, thereby taken to mean its
This example is better explained by the more basic and widely attested meaning of
headas the highest part of something
Of course, the highest part of a river is its source, but that does not mean this word carries the meaning of
source,neither does this give any evidence that this word carries this meaning in this context
superior rankSee the standard Greek LexiconsAnd the meaning of
And this is an attested common meaning for this word in the culture of the time
headhas this meaning in 1:22, Col. 2:10, Judges 11:11 and 2 Sam. 22:44 among others
superior rankis confirmed by the parallel made with Christ being head over the church in the next proposition (23b) and 1 Cor. 11:3
If Christ has superior rank and authority over the church (which He does, and which Paul emphasizes in many passages, including the larger context of this one), Paul would have needed to qualify this statement if he did not intend the same kind of authority relationship in this proposition as wellMany of the objections against the meaning of
authorityare unnecessaryThese objections would disappear with a closer inspection of the kind of authority, and the way it is exercised, which are described in the following verses23b-c This headship models Christ's relationship to the church23b As Christ is also head of the church-cf. 1:22, 4:15, 2:1023c This One is Savior of the body24 Therefore: Wives should submit to husbands as the church submits to Christ24a As the church submits to Christ24b In this same way, also the wives should submit to their husbands in all things25-32 How husbands should behave toward wives25-31 Husbands should demonstrate Christ-like love to their wives25-27 Husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church25a Husbands, love your wives25b-27 Just like Christ gave His life to make the church holy25b-c Just as Christ love and gave Himself for the church25b Just as Christ also loved the church25c And He gave up Himself on behalf of itThe standard for husbands loving wives is Christ dying for His church
Husbands are to put aside their status, convenience, and ease in order to do whatever is necessary to bring about the good for their wives and families
This includes giving, time, effort and attention, but also includes the possibility (if necessary) of the husband giving his very life on behalf of his wife.26-27 Purpose: That He may purify His church until it is completely holy26 That He may purify the church26a So that He may make it [the church] holy26b by purifying by washing in water by the word27 Purpose: so that the church will be completely pure and holy27a-b To make a purified, perfected church without imperfections27a So that He Himself may present the church to Himself glorious in purity27b Not having a blemish or imperfection or anything like that27c Rather, that she may be holy and blameless28-31 Therefore: husbands take care of your wives in God-designed unity with her28-30 Husbands should love and take care of their wives as Christ does to the church28 Husbands should love and take care of their wives28a-b Husbands should love their wives as they love themselves28a Therefore, husbands in this same way ought to love their own wives28b As their own bodyThis possibly means
...as if they were your own bodyThis is not very likely, because the other options make much more senseThis possibly means
...in the same way that they love their own bodyThis makes sense as the standard by which they should love their wivesbut he best option is probably
Jesus used a similar standard -
Love your neighbor as yourself
...because they ARE your own bodyThis fits best in context with the next statement (28c)
This also fits with God's creation purpose for marriage -
The two shall become one fleshquoted later in this passage
And this fits best in the context of comparing marriage to Jesus' relationship with His 'body'28c Reason: Because the one who loves his own wife loves himself29-30 Reason: It is right to take care of your own, like Christ does29a Neg: Because no one ever hates his own flesh29b-30 Pos: But everyone loves and cherishes his own flesh, like Christ nourishes the church29b-c But everyone loves and cherishes his own flesh29b But he nourishes [it]29c And he cherishes it29d-30 Just as Christ nourishes His own body, the church29d Just as also Christ [nourishes and cherishes] the church30 Reason: Because we are members of His body31 Reason: (quoting Gen. 2:24) God has designed the married couple to become one31a-b A man will marry a woman31a For this reason a man will leave his father and mother31b And he will join himself to his wife31c Result: And the two will be into one flesh32 This is important because marriage demonstrates Christ's relationship with the church32a This mystery is important32b I am speaking with reference to Christ and with reference to the church33 Therefore: Summary of responsibilities of husband and wife33a-b The husband must love his wife as himself33a Nevertheless, in the same ways, each and every one of you is to love your own wife33b As [you love] yourself-cf. Matt. 22:39 -
Love your neighbor as yourself33c-d And the wife must respect her husband33c And the wife [is under obligation]33d So that she will fear/respect her husband
6:1-4 Parents and ChildrenDetailed Outline1-3 Instruction to children:1 Children, obey your parents, because it is right to do so1a Children, obey your parents in the Lord1b Reason: Because this is rightObedience to parents is right as a universal standard, based on God's revealed command
This does not command obedience to a parent's command which is against God's moral standard2-3 Reason: God's Fifth Commandment both commands it and promises reward for it2 God's command with a promise2a
Honor your father and motherQuoting the fifth of the Ten Commandments - Exod. 20:122b Explanation: This is the first commandment with a promiseThe promise (quoted in v. 3) is part of the original commandment3 Purpose: So that you will be blessed3a So that it will be well with youi.e. so that you will prosper and experience that which is good3b And so that you will be/live a long time in the landLongevity of life was a key mark of prosperity in Bible times4 Instruction to Fathers [parents]:4a Neg: Fathers, do not provoke your children to angeri.e. to cause someone to be provoked to anger
to act in such a way so that the child is unnecessarily angered or resentful
The implication is injustice or unreasonable demands on the child
Normal discipline and demands upon the child are not addressed in this verse
There is a line to walk between being the child's 'friend' by letting them get away with bad behavior, and being such a hard disciplinarian that they resent and reject the parents' input and instruction4b Pos: But bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
to train someone in accordance with proper rules of conduct and behavior- L&N
instruction= to teach how to avoid error or improper conduct, to instruct in the right way to live
6:5-9 Slaves and MastersDetailed Outline5-8 Servants, Obey your masters, because God will reward you5-7 Servants, wholeheartedly serve your masters, as if serving the Lord5-6b Servants, genuinely, wholeheartedly obey your masters5 Servants, obey your masters as you obey Christ5a Servants, be obedient to [your] masters according to the fleshThe connotation of obedience is to hear and then respond appropriately
masters according to the flesh= earthly masters
masteris the same word as
Lordin the original languageWith fear and trembling-cf. Phil. 2:12, 2 Cor. 7:15, 1 Cor 2:3In integrity of your hearti.e. wholehearted obedience, not just lip-service or obeying with a bad attitude5b As [you are obedient] to ChristNot just up to the level of obedience you are currently giving to Christ,
But striving for the same level that you know you should be giving to Christ6a-d Not just faking it, but actually obeying from the heart6a-b Neg: Don't just pretend to be obedient in order to satisfy selfishness6a Not [obeying] according to eye-servicei.e. service that is only done to make an impression when someone watching, not done sincerely
-cf. Col. 3:226b As a man-pleaseri.e. one who seeks to be liked by people, with the connotation of sacrificing integrity in order to do so, doing so only for selfish benefit
contrasted with trying to please God in the rest of the passage6c-d Pos: But obey as a servant of Christ6c But [obey]6d As servants of ChristThis is probably both the standard and the reasonStandard - obey just like a servant of Christ should obey
Standard - obey just like you obey Christ
Reason - obey because you are a servant of Christ6e-7 The way in which you should obey: Eagerly and wholeheartedly, as to God6e Doing the will of God from [your] souli.e. from the heart, gladly, cf. Col. 3:237 Serve with eagerness, as if you were serving the Lord7a Serving with eagerness/willingness7b-c As serving the Lord, not menYour willingness should rise to the standard of serving God. If you were serving God Himself, with Him watching, your attitude and level of service would change. Have that same standard of willingness and quality to your service to your human master.7b Pos: As Serving the Lord7c Neg: And not as serving men8 Reason: You know God's character and promise to reward virtue8a Because you know that:Literally,
knowing that,- the context shows that what follows gives the reason for obedience8b-e God will reward your good service8b Condition: If you do something good8c-e You will receive a reward, no matter who you are8c Each will receive a reward for this from the LordGod's character and promise is to repay and do justice, cf. Col. 3:25, 1 Pet. 1:17, Prov. 11:31
Both paying back punishment for those who do evil, and good for those who do good8d-e Specifically: No matter who you arePaul emphasizes that in God's economy, the same rules apply even to slaves. Slaves were disadvantaged legally and could be taken advantage of in Greco-Roman society, but not with God
God can be relied upon to do right to slaves, and reward their good service, even if it seems miserable at the time.8d Whether you are a slave8e or whether you are free9 Masters, treat your slaves well, because God will reward you9a-b Masters, treat your slaves well, without harming them9a Masters, do the same kinds of things to themTreat your servants with the same manner of kindness, and with the same kind of attitude9b Stopping from threatening themThe issue that Paul highlights is for masters to not motivate their servants by harsh threats
There is probably also an implication that these threats were prohibited because they typically were accompanied by carrying them out and doing actual harm9c-e Reason: You know that God will judge you as well9c Because you know that:9d-e The same Lord will judge you both with the same standard9d Their Lord and your Lord is in heavenThe twofold emphasis of this phrase:The One Lord is both their Lord and Your Lord - same Lord, same standard
He is in heaven - in authority to administer justice9e There is no favoritism with HimGod is a just judge who will judge the master with the same standard with which He judges the slave
-cf. v. 8, Col. 3:25
6:10-20 Stand Strong in the LordDetailed OutlineFinallyconnecting to the rest of chs. 4-6
The preceding passages describe the real battle, this section is about just occupying territory already gained.10 Be Strong in the Lord and in His mighty strength-cf. Acts 9:22, Rom. 4:20, Phil. 4:13, 2 Tim. 4:1711-20 How to be strong in the Lord:11-13 Prepare for battle11-12 Put on the full armor of God in order to be able to stand against spiritual attack11 Put on the full armor of God in order to be able to stand-cf. Rom 13:12, Col. 3:12, 2 Cor. 10:411a Take up the full armor of God-cf. 4:1-3, 14-15, 17, 24, 5:1, 8, 9, 15, etc. = character11b Purpose: to be able to stand against the deceitful schemes of the devil.
deceitful schemes- crafty scheming with the intent to deceive - lies, distortion of truth
-cf. 1 Pet. 5:8-912 Reason: We have spiritual enemies attacking us12a Neg: Our fight is not with humans12b Pos: Our fight is with evil spiritual powersWith the rulersWith the authoritiesWith the world-rulers of this darknessWith the evil spirits in the heavenly realms
heavenly realms- cf. 1:3, 20, 2:6, 3:10
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist and a magician with the same delight.- C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters, p. 313 Because of this, take up the full armor of God13a Take up the full armor of GodThis is the armor that comes from God, but it is also the same kind of armor that God Himself is said to wear (see cross references below)13b-e Purpose: To be able to withstand and to stand victorious13b to be able [to do two things]:13c-e The two things:13c to withstand [the attack] in the day of evil13d-e To stand vicgtorious in the end13d After having accomplished all [these] things13e to standTo stand victorious, holding the ground that was defended14-17 Fight when the battle comes14a Therefore, standTo stand in resistance, not looking to make the first strike, leaving the initiative to God
-cf. Exo. 14:1314b-17 How to stand your ground in the fight:14b Having girded your waist with truthBe prepared and ready with the truth
-cf. Isa. 11:5, 1 Pet. 1:13, Lk. 12:3514c Having put on the breastplate of righteousnessRighteousness protects from the accusations of the enemy, which are one of his chief weapons
-cf. Isa. 59:16-17, 1 Thes. 5:815 Having equipped your feet with the preparedness of the Gospel of peaceHave the readiness of the Gospel of peace under your feet
-cf. Isa. 52:7, Rom. 10:15, Nah. 1:1516 Having protected yourself from the evil ones lies with faith16a Having taken up the shield of faithFaith protects from the deception of the enemy, which are one of his chief weapons16b Reason: by which you are able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil onehis burning arrows are lies and deceptions, which are countered by trusting God and His promises instead of believing the lies17 Take hold of the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit17a Take hold of the helmet of salvationSalvation protects our mindsets and thinking17b-c And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God17b And [take hold of] the sword of the SpiritThis is the only offensive weapon (which can also be used defensively)17c Which is the Word of GodThe Word of God is effective against all the enemy's schemes, and is integrated with all the other pieces of armor (they are all interdependent)
-cf. Isa. 11:4, Hos. 6:5, Heb. 4:1218-20 Watch for attack and work for the advance of the Gospel18 Be on the lookout for attack - watch and pray, be on your guard-cf. Mk. 14:38 (cp. Mk. 13:33-37), Lk. 21:3618a Praying in the Spirit in all time with every prayer and supplication-cf. Lk. 18:1, Col. 4:2-3, 1 Thes. 5:17, Jude 2018b Being vigilant for the same reason in perseverance and prayer concerning all the saints-cf. 1 Pet. 4:7, 1 Tim. 2:1, Matt. 26:4119-20 The offensive - the preaching of the Gospel-cf. 2 Tim. 4:16-1819-20a Pray that God would empower me (Paul) to preach the Gospel19a And [pray] for me19b-20a Purpose: That God may give me to boldly proclaim the Gospel19b So that a word may be given to me when I open my mouth19c-20a Result: That I may boldly proclaim the Gospel19c That freely and boldly I may make known the mystery of the Gospel-cf. Acts 4:29, Col. 4:3-4, 2 Thes. 3:120a On behalf of which I have become an ambassador in chains20b-c Purpose: So that I may speak freely and boldly20b So that I may speak freely and boldly20c As it is necessary for me to speak
6:21-24 Final GreetingsDetailed Outline21-22 Provision for news about Paul21 Tychicus will tell you my news so that you will be informed21a Purpose: So that you also may know the things relating to me - what I am doing21b Tychicus - the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord - will make all things [about me] known to you22 I sent him so that you may know the news and be encouraged22a Whom I sent to you for the same [purpose]22b-c Purpose: So that you may hear our news and be encouraged22b So that you may know the things concerning us22c And [so that] he may encourage/comfort your hearts23 Peace Wish: May peace and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be to the brothers24 Blessing: May grace be with all those loving our Lord Jesus Christ without ceasing