Exhortations to Love: And against Carnal Lusts and Communications. Circumspection in Walk: Redeeming the Time: Being
Filled with the Spirit: Singing to the
Lord with Thankfulness: The Wife's Duty
to the Husband Rests on that of the Church to Christ.
1. therefore—seeing that "God in Christ
forgave you" (Eph 4:32).
followers—Greek, "imitators" of
God, in respect to "love" (Eph 5:2):
God's essential character (1Jo 4:16).
as dear children—Greek, "as
children beloved"; to which Eph 5:2 refers, "As Christ also loved us" (1Jo 4:19). "We are sons of men, when we do
ill; sons of God, when we do well" [Augustine, on Psalm 52]; (compare Mt 5:44, 45,
48). Sonship infers an
absolute necessity of imitation, it being vain to assume the
title of son without any similitude of the Father [Pearson].
2. And—in proof that you are so.
walk in love—resuming Eph 4:1, "walk worthy of the
as Christ … loved us—From the
love of the Father he passes to the love of the Son, in whom God most
endearingly manifests His love to us.
given himself for us—Greek,
"given Himself up (namely, to death, Ga 2:20) for us," that is, in our behalf:
not here vicarious substitution, though that is indirectly
implied, "in our stead." The offerer, and the offering that He
offered, were one and the same (Joh 15:13; Ro 5:8).
offering and a sacrifice—"Offering"
expresses generally His presenting Himself to the Father, as the
Representative undertaking the cause of the whole of our lost race
40:6-8), including His
life of obedience; though not excluding His offering of His body
for us (Heb 10:10).
It is usually an unbloody offering, in the more limited sense.
"Sacrifice" refers to His death for us exclusively. Christ is
here, in reference to Ps 40:6
(quoted again in Heb 10:5),
represented as the antitype of all the offerings of the law, whether
the unbloody or bloody, eucharistical or propitiatory.
for a sweet-smelling
savour—Greek, "for an odor of a sweet smell," that is,
God is well pleased with the offering on the ground of its
sweetness, and so is reconciled to us (Eph 1:6; Mt
3:17; 2Co 5:18, 19; Heb 10:6-17). The ointment compounded of principal
spices, poured upon Aaron's head, answers to the variety of the graces
by which He was enabled to "offer Himself a sacrifice for a
sweet-smelling savor." Another type, or prophecy by figure, was "the
sweet savor" ("savor of rest," Margin) which God smelled
in Noah's sacrifice (Ge 8:21).
Again, as what Christ is, believers also are (1Jo 4:17), and ministers are: Paul says (2Co 2:17) "we are unto God a sweet savor of
3. once named—Greek, "Let it not
be even named" (Eph 5:4, 12). "Uncleanness" and "covetousness" are
taken up again from Eph 4:19. The
two are so closely allied that the Greek for "covetousness"
(pleonexia) is used sometimes in Scripture, and often in the
Greek Fathers, for sins of impurity. The common principle is the
longing to fill one's desire with material objects of sense, outside of
God. The expression, "not be even named," applies better to impurity,
than to "covetousness."
4. filthiness—obscenity in act or
foolish talking—the talk of
fools, which is folly and sin together. The Greek of it, and of
"filthiness," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.
nor—rather, "or" (compare Eph 5:3).
"eutrapelia"; found nowhere else in the New Testament: implying
strictly that versatility which turns about and adapts itself,
without regard to principle, to the shifting circumstances of the
moment, and to the varying moods of those with whom it may deal. Not
scurrile buffoonery, but refined "persiflage" and "badinage," for which
Ephesus was famed [Plautus, A
Boastful Soldier, 3.1,42-52], and which, so far from being
censured, was and is thought by the world a pleasant accomplishment. In
Col 3:8, "filthy communication" refers to
the foulness; "foolish talking," to the folly; "jesting,"
to the false refinement (and trifling witticism [Tittmann]) Of discourse unseasoned with the
salt of grace [Trench].
not convenient—"unseemly"; not such
"as become saints" (Eph 5:3).
rather giving of thanks—a happy play
on sounds in Greek, "eucharistia" contrasted with
"eutrapelia"; refined "jesting" and subtle humor sometimes
offend the tender feelings of grace; "giving of thanks" gives that real
cheerfulness of spirit to believers which the worldly try to get from
"jesting" (Eph 5:19, 20; Jas 5:13).
5. this ye know—The oldest manuscripts
read, "Of this ye are sure knowing"; or as Alford, "This ye know being aware."
covetous … idolater—(Col 3:5). The best reading may be
translated, That is to say, literally, which is (in other words)
an idolater. Paul himself had forsaken all for Christ (2Co 6:10;
11:27). Covetousness is
worship of the creature instead of the Creator, the highest treason
against the King of kings (1Sa 15:3; Mt 6:24; Php 3:19;
hath—The present implies the
fixedness of the exclusion, grounded on the eternal verities of that
of Christ and of God—rather, as one
Greek article is applied to both, "of Christ and God," implying
their perfect oneness, which is consistent only with the doctrine that
Christ is God (compare 2Th 1:12; 1Ti 5:21; 6:13).
6. vain—empty, unreal words, namely,
palliations of "uncleanness," Eph 5:3, 4; Isa 5:20 (that it is natural to indulge in love),
"covetousness" (that it is useful to society that men should pursue
gain), and "jesting" (that it is witty and clever, and that God will
not so severely punish for such things).
because of these
things—uncleanness, covetousness, &c. (Eph 5:3-5).
cometh—present, not merely "shall
come." Is as sure as if already come.
children—rather, "sons of
disobedience" (Eph 2:2, 3).
The children of unbelief in doctrine (De 32:20) are "children of disobedience" in
practice, and these again are "children of wrath."
7. Here fellowship with wicked workers is
forbidden; in Eph 5:11,
with their wicked works.
8. sometimes—"once." The emphasis is on
"were." Ye ought to have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for
your state as darkness is now PAST.
Stronger than "in darkness" (Ro 2:19).
light—not merely "enlightened"; but
light enlightening others (Eph 5:13).
in—in union with the Lord, who is
children of light—not merely "of the
light"; just as "children of disobedience" is used on the opposite
side; those whose distinguishing characteristic is light. Pliny, a heathen writing to Trajan, bears
unwilling testimony to the extraordinary purity of Christians' lives,
contrasted with the people around them.
9. fruit of the Spirit—taken by
transcribers from Ga 5:22. The
true reading is that of the oldest manuscripts, "The fruit of THE LIGHT"; in contrast with "the unfruitful
works of darkness" (Eph 5:11).
This verse is parenthetic. Walk as children of light, that is, in all
good works and words, "FOR the fruit of the light is [borne] in [Alford; but Bengel, 'consists in'] all goodness [opposed to
'malice,' Eph 4:31],
righteousness [opposed to 'covetousness,' Eph 5:3] and truth [opposed to 'lying,' Eph 4:25]."
10. Proving—construed with "walk" (Eph 5:8;
Ro 12:1, 2). As we prove a
coin by the eye and the ear, and by using it, so by accurate and
continued study, and above all by practice and experimental
trial, we may prove or test "what is acceptable unto the Lord." This is
the office of "light," of which believers are "children," to manifest
what each thing is, whether sightly or unsightly.
11. unfruitful works of darkness—Sins
are terminated in themselves, and therefore are called "works," not
"fruits" (Ga 5:19, 22). Their only fruit is that which is not
in a true sense fruit (De 32:32),
namely, "death" (Ro 6:21; Ga 6:8). Plants cannot bear "fruit" in the
absence of light. Sin is "darkness," and its parent is the prince of
darkness (Eph 6:12).
Graces, on the other hand, as flourishing in "the light," are
reproductive, and abound in fruits; which, as harmoniously combining in
one whole, are termed (in the singular) "the FRUIT of the Spirit" (Eph 5:9).
rather, &c.—Translate as
Greek, "rather even reprove them" (compare Mt 5:14-16). Not only "have no fellowship,
but even reprove them," namely, in words, and in your deeds,
which, shining with "the light," virtually reprove all that is contrary
to light (Eph 5:13; Joh 3:19-21). "Have no fellowship," does not imply
that we can avoid all intercourse (1Co 5:10), but "avoid such fellowship as will
defile yourselves"; just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled
by it; nay, as light detects it, so, "even reprove
12. The Greek order is, "For the things
done in secret by them, it is a shame even to speak of." The "for"
gives his reason for "not naming" (compare Eph 5:3) in detail the works of darkness,
whereas he describes definitely (Eph 5:9) "the fruit of the light" [Bengel]. "Speak of," I think, is used here as
"speaking of without reproving," in contrast to "even reprove
them." Thus the "for" expresses this, Reprove them, for to speak
of them without reproving them, is a shame (Eph 5:3). Thus "works of darkness"
answers to "things done in secret."
13. that are reproved—rather, "when they
are reproved," namely, by you (Eph 5:11).
whatsoever doth make manifest—rather,
"everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or
'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,'
Eph 5:8, but) light." The devil and the
wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but
love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them.
Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that
they do not become light (Joh 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now
light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by
bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will
convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will
be your "armor of light" (Ro 13:12) in
making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
14. Wherefore—referring to the whole
foregoing argument (Eph 5:8, 11, 13). Seeing that light (spiritual) dispels
the pre-existing darkness, He (God) saith … (compare the same
Awake—The reading of all the oldest
manuscripts is "Up!" or, "Rouse thee!" a phrase used in stirring men to
activity. The words are a paraphrase of Isa 60:1, 2, not an exact quotation. The word
"Christ," shows that in quoting the prophecy, he views it in the light
thrown on it by its Gospel fulfilment. As Israel is called on to
"awake" from its previous state of "darkness" and "death" (Isa 59:10;
60:2), for that her Light is
come; so the Church, and each individual is similarly called to awake.
Believers are called on to "awake" out of sleep;
unbelievers, to "arise" from the dead (compare Mt 25:5; Ro 13:11; 1Th 5:6, with Eph 2:1).
Christ—"the true light," "the Sun of
give thee light—rather, as
Greek, "shall shine upon thee" (so enabling thee by being "made
manifest" to become, and be, by the very fact, "light," Eph 5:13; then being so "enlightened," Eph 1:18, thou shalt be able, by
"reproving," to enlighten others).
15. that—rather as Greek, "See
how ye walk," &c. The double idea is compressed into one
sentence: "See (take heed) how ye walk," and "See that ye
walk circumspectly." The manner, as well as the act
itself, is included. See how ye are walking, with a view to your
being circumspect (literally, accurate, exact) in your
walk. Compare Col 4:5, "Walk
in wisdom (answering to 'as wise' here) toward them that are
without" (answering to "circumspectly," that is, correctly, in
relation to the unbelievers around, not giving occasion of
stumbling to any, but edifying all by a consistent walk).
not as fools—Greek, "not as
unwise, but as wise."
16. Redeeming the time—(Col 4:5). Greek, "Buying up for
yourselves the seasonable time" (whenever it occurs) of good to
yourselves and to others. Buying off from the vanities of "them
that are without" (Col 4:5), and
of the "unwise" (here in Ephesians), the opportune time afforded to you
for the work of God. In a narrower sense, special favorable seasons
for good, occasionally presenting themselves, are referred to, of
which believers ought diligently to avail themselves. This constitutes
true "wisdom" (Eph 5:15). In
a larger sense, the whole season from the time that one is
spiritually awakened, is to be "redeemed" from vanity for God
(compare 2Co 6:2; 1Pe 4:2-4). "Redeem" implies the preciousness of
the opportune season, a jewel to be bought at any price. Wahl explains, "Redeeming for yourselves (that is,
availing yourselves of) the opportunity (offered you of acting aright),
and commanding the time as a master does his servant." Tittmann, "Watch the time, and make it your own so
as to control it; as merchants look out for opportunities, and
accurately choose out the best goods; serve not the time, but command
it, and it shall do what you approve." So Pindar [Pythia, 4.509], "The time followed
him as his servant, and was not as a runaway slave."
because the days are evil—The days of
life in general are so exposed to evil, as to make it necessary to make
the most of the seasonable opportunity so long as it lasts (Eph 6:13; Ge 47:9; Ps 49:5; Ec 11:2;
12:1; Joh 12:35). Besides,
there are many special evil days (in persecution, sickness,
&c.) when the Christian is laid by in silence; therefore he needs
the more to improve the seasonable times afforded to him (Am 5:13), which Paul perhaps alludes to.
17. Wherefore—seeing that ye need to
walk so circumspectly, choosing and using the right opportunity of
unwise—a different Greek word
from that in Eph 5:15.
Translate, "foolish," or "senseless."
knowing as a matter of fact (Lu 12:47), but knowing with
the will of the Lord—as to how each
opportunity is to be used. The Lord's will, ultimately, is our
"sanctification" (1Th 4:3); and
that "in every thing," meantime, we should "give thanks" (1Th 5:18; compare above, Eph 5:10).
18. excess—worthless, ruinous,
wherein—not in the wine itself when
used aright (1Ti 5:23),
but in the "excess" as to it.
but be filled with the Spirit—The
effect in inspiration was that the person was "filled" with an ecstatic
exhilaration, like that caused by wine; hence the two are here
connected (compare Ac 2:13-18). Hence arose the abstinence from wine
of many of the prophets, for example, John the Baptist, namely, in
order to keep distinct before the world the ecstasy caused by the
Spirit, from that caused by wine. So also in ordinary Christians the
Spirit dwells not in the mind that seeks the disturbing influences of
excitement, but in the well-balanced prayerful mind. Such a one
expresses his joy, not in drunken or worldly songs, but in Christian
hymns of thankfulness.
19. (Col 3:16).
to yourselves—"to one another." Hence
soon arose the antiphonal or responsive chanting of which Pliny writes to Trajan: "They are wont on a fixed
day to meet before daylight [to avoid persecution] and to recite a hymn
among themselves by turns, to Christ, as if being God." The
Spirit gives true eloquence; wine, a spurious eloquence.
psalms—generally accompanied by an
hymns—in direct praise to God (compare
Ac 16:25; 1Co 14:26; Jas 5:13).
songs—the general term for lyric
pieces; "spiritual" is added to mark their being here restricted to
sacred subjects, though not merely to direct praises of God, but also
containing exhortations, prophecies, &c. Contrast the drunken
making melody—Greek, "playing
and singing with an instrument."
in your heart—not merely with the
tongue; but the serious feeling of the heart accompanying the singing
of the lips (compare 1Co 14:15; Ps 47:7). The contrast is between the heathen
and the Christian practice, "Let your songs be not the drinking songs
of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment,
not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart" [Conybeare and Howson].
to the Lord—See Pliny's letter quoted above: "To Christ as
20. thanks … for all things—even
for adversities; also for blessings, unknown as well as known (Col
3:17; 1Th 5:18).
unto God and the Father—the Fountain
of every blessing in Creation, Providence, Election, and
Lord Jesus Christ—by whom all things,
even distresses, become ours (Ro 8:35, 37; 1Co
21. (Php 2:3; 1Pe 5:5.) Here he passes from our relations to
God, to those which concern our fellow men.
in the fear of God—All the oldest
manuscripts and authorities read, "in the fear of Christ." The believer passes from under the bondage
of the law as a letter, to be "the servant of Christ" (1Co 7:22), which, through the instinct of
love to Him, is really to be "the Lord's freeman"; for he is "under the
law to Christ" (1Co 9:21;
8:36). Christ, not the Father
5:22), is to be our judge.
Thus reverential fear of displeasing Him is the motive for discharging
our relative duties as Christians (1Co 10:22; 2Co 5:11;
22. (Eph 6:9.) The Church's relation to Christ in His
everlasting purpose, is the foundation and archetype of the three
greatest of earthly relations, that of husband and wife (Eph 5:22-33), parent and child (Eph 6:1-4), master and servant (Eph 6:4-9). The oldest manuscripts omit "submit
yourselves"; supplying it from Eph 5:21, "Ye wives (submitting yourselves) unto
your own husbands." "Your own" is an argument for submissiveness on the
part of the wives; it is not a stranger, but your own husbands
whom you are called on to submit unto (compare Ge 3:16; 1Co 7:2; 14:34; Col 3:18; Tit 2:5; 1Pe
3:1-7). Those subject ought
to submit themselves, of whatever kind their superiors are. "Submit" is
the term used of wives: "obey," of children (Eph 6:1), as there is a greater equality between
wives and husbands, than between children and parents.
as unto the Lord—Submissiveness is
rendered by the wife to the husband under the eye of Christ, and so is
rendered to Christ Himself. The husband stands to the wife in the
relation that the Lord does to the Church, and this is to be the ground
of her submission: though that submission is inferior in kind and
degree to that which she owes Christ (Eph 5:24).
23. (1Co 11:3.)
even as—Greek, "as also."
and he is—The oldest manuscripts read,
"Himself (being) Saviour," omitting "and," and "is." In Christ's case,
the Headship is united with, nay gained by, His having SAVED the body
in the process of redemption; so that (Paul implies) I am not alleging
Christ's Headship as one entirely identical with that other, for He has
a claim to it, and office in it, peculiar to Himself [Alford]. The husband is not saviour of the wife, in
which particular Christ excels; hence, "But" (Eph 5:24) follows [Bengel].
24. Therefore—Translate, as
Greek, "But," or "Nevertheless," that is, though there be the
difference of headships mentioned in Eph 5:23, nevertheless, thus far they are
one, namely, in the subjection or submission (the same Greek
stands for "is subject," as for "submit," Eph 5:21, 22) of the Church to Christ, being
the prototype of that of the wife to the husband.
their own—not in most of the oldest
manuscripts, and not needed by the argument.
in every thing—appertaining to a
husband's legitimate authority; "in the Lord" (Col 3:18); everything not contrary to God.
25. "Thou hast seen the measure of obedience;
now hear also the measure of love. Do you wish your wife to obey you,
as the Church is to obey Christ? Then have a solicitude for her as
Christ had for the Church (Eph 5:23,
"Himself the Saviour of the body"); and "if it be necessary to give thy
life for her, or to be cut in ten thousand pieces, or to endure any
other suffering whatever, do not refuse it; and if you suffer thus, not
even so do you do what Christ has done; for you indeed do so being
already united to her, but He did so for one that treated Him with
aversion and hatred. As, therefore, He brought to His feet one that so
treated Him, and that even wantonly spurned Him, by much tenderness of
regard, not by threats, insults, and terror: so also do you act towards
your wife, and though you see her disdainful and wantonly wayward, you
will be able to bring her to your feet by much thoughtfulness for her,
by love, by kindness. For no bound is more sovereign in binding than
such bonds, especially in the case of husband and wife. For one may
constrain a servant by fear, though not even he is so to be bound to
you; for he may readily run away. But the companion of your life, the
mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, you ought to bind
to you, not by fear and threats, but by love and attachment" [Chrysostom].
gave himself—Greek, "gave
for it—Translate, "for her."
The relation of the Church to Christ is the ground of Christianity's
having raised woman to her due place in the social scale, from which
she was, and is, excluded in heathen lands.
26. sanctify—that is, consecrate her to
God. Compare Joh 17:19,
meaning, "I devote Myself as a holy sacrifice, that My
disciples also may be devoted or consecrated as holy in (through) the
truth" [Neander] (Heb 2:11;
10:10; 13:12 see on Heb 10:10).
and cleanse—rather, as Greek,
"cleansing," without the "and."
with the washing of water—rather as
Greek, "with," or "by the laver of the water,"
namely, the baptismal water. So it ought to be translated in
Tit 3:5, the only other passage in the New
Testament where it occurs. As the bride passed through a purifying bath
before marriage, so the Church (compare Re 21:2). He speaks of baptism according to its
high ideal and design, as if the inward grace accompanied
the outward rite; hence he asserts of outward baptism whatever is
involved in a believing appropriation of the divine truths it
symbolizes, and says that Christ, by baptism, has purified the Church
[Neander] (1Pe 3:21).
by the word—Greek, "IN the word." To be joined with "cleansing
it," or "her." The "word of faith" (Ro 10:8, 9, 17), of which confession is made in
baptism, and which carries the real cleansing (Joh 15:3;
17:17) and regenerating power
1:23; 3:21) [Alford]. So Augustine
[Tract 80, in John], "Take away the word, and what is the water
save water? Add the word to the element, and it becomes a sacrament,
being itself as it were the visible word." The regenerating efficacy of
baptism is conveyed in, and by, the divine word alone.
27. he—The oldest manuscripts and
authorities read, "That He might Himself present unto Himself
the Church glorious," namely, as a bride (2Co 11:2). Holiness and glory are
inseparable. "Cleansing" is the necessary preliminary to both.
Holiness is glory internal; glory is
holiness shining forth outwardly. The laver of baptism is
the vehicle, but the word is the nobler and true instrument of
the cleansing [Bengel]. It is
Christ that prepares the Church with the necessary ornaments of grace,
for presentation to Himself, as the Bridegroom at His coming again
(Mt 25:1, &c.; Re 19:7; 21:2).
not having spot—(So 4:7). The visible Church now contains clean
and unclean together, like Noah's ark; like the wedding room which
contained some that had, and others that had not, the wedding garment
22:10-14; compare 2Ti 2:20); or as the good and bad fish are
taken in the same net because it cannot discern the bad from the good,
the fishermen being unable to know what kind of fish the nets have
taken under the waves. Still the Church is termed "holy" in the creed,
in reference to her ideal and ultimate destination. When the Bridegroom
comes, the bride shall be presented to Him wholly without spot, the
evil being cut off from the body for ever (Mt 13:47-50). Not that there are two churches,
one with bad and good intermingled, another in which there are good
alone; but one and the same Church in relation to different times, now
with good and evil together, hereafter with good alone [Pearson].
28. Translate, "So ought husbands also
(thus the oldest manuscripts read) to love their own (compare
Note, see on Eph 5:22) wives as their own
He that loveth his wife loveth
himself—So there is the same love and the same union of body
between Christ and the Church (Eph 5:30, 32).
29. For—Supply, and we all love
ourselves: "For no man," &c.
his own flesh—(Eph 5:31, end).
it up," namely, to maturity. "Nourisheth," refers to food and internal
sustenance; "cherisheth," to clothing and external fostering.
even as—Translate, "even as also."
the Lord—The oldest manuscripts read,
"Christ." Ex 21:10
prescribes three duties to the husband. The two former (food and
raiment) are here alluded to in a spiritual sense, by "nourisheth and
cherisheth"; the third "duty of marriage" is not added in consonance
with the holy propriety of Scripture language: its antitype is, "know
the Lord" (Ho 2:19, 20) [Bengel].
30. For—Greek, "Because" (1Co 6:15). Christ nourisheth and cherisheth
the Church as being of one flesh with Him. Translate, "Because we are
members of His body (His literal body), being OF His flesh and of His bones" [Alford] (Ge 2:23, 24). The Greek expresses, "Being
formed out of" or "of the substance of His flesh." Adam's deep
sleep, wherein Eve was formed from out of his opened side, is an emblem
of Christ's death, which was the birth of the Spouse, the Church. Joh
12:24; 19:34, 35, to which
5:25-27 allude, as implying
atonement by His blood, and sanctification by the "water,"
answering to that which flowed from His side (compare also Joh 7:38,
39; 1Co 6:11). As Adam gave
Eve a new name, Hebrew, "Isha," "woman," formed from his
own rib, Ish, "man," signifying her formation from him, so
Christ, Re 2:17; 3:12. Ge 2:21, 23, 24 puts the bones first because the
reference there is to the natural structure. But Paul is
referring to the flesh of Christ. It is not our bones and flesh,
but "we" that are spiritually propagated (in our soul and
spirit now, and in the body hereafter, regenerated) from the manhood of
Christ which has flesh and bones. We are members of His glorified body
6:53). The two oldest
existing manuscripts, and Coptic or Memphitic version,
omit "of His flesh and of His bones"; the words may have crept into the
text through the Margin from Ge 2:23, Septuagint. However, Irenæus, 294, and the old Latin
and Vulgate versions, with some good old manuscripts, have
31. For—The propagation of the Church
from Christ, as that of Eve from Adam, is the foundation of the
spiritual marriage. The natural marriage, wherein "a man leaves father
and mother (the oldest manuscripts omit 'his') and is joined unto his
wife," is not the principal thing meant here, but the spiritual
marriage represented by it, and on which it rests, whereby Christ
left the Father's bosom to woo to Himself the Church out of a lost
5:32 proves this: His earthly
mother as such, also, He holds in secondary account as compared
with His spiritual Bride (Lu 2:48, 49; 8:19-21; 11:27,
28). He shall again leave His
Father's abode to consummate the union (Mt 25:1-10; Re 19:7).
they two shall be one flesh—So the
Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, &c., read (Ge 2:24), instead of "they shall be one
flesh." So Mt 19:5. In
natural marriage, husband and wife combine the elements of one perfect
human being: the one being incomplete without the other. So Christ, as
God-man, is pleased to make the Church, the body, a necessary adjunct
to Himself, the Head. He is the archetype of the Church, from whom and
according to whom, as the pattern, she is formed. He is her Head, as
the husband is of the wife (Ro 6:5; 1Co 11:3; 15:45). Christ will never allow any power to
sever Himself and His bride, indissolubly joined (Mt
19:6; Joh 10:28, 29; 13:1).
32. Rather, "This mystery is a great one."
This profound truth, beyond man's power of discovering, but
now revealed, namely, of the spiritual union of Christ and the
Church, represented by the marriage union, is a great one, of deep
import. See on Eph 5:30. So "mystery" is used of
a divine truth not to be discovered save by revelation of God (Ro
11:25; 1Co 15:51). The
Vulgate wrongly translates, "This is a great sacrament,"
which is made the plea by the Romish Church (in spite of the blunder
having been long ago exposed by their own commentators, Cajetan and Estius)
for making marriage a sacrament; it is plain not marriage in
general, but that of Christ and the Church, is what is pronounced to be
a "great mystery," as the words following prove, "I [emphatic]
say it in regard to Christ and to the Church" (so the Greek is
best translated). "I, while I quote these words out of Scripture, use
them in a higher sense" [Conybeare and
33. Nevertheless—not to pursue further
the mystical meaning of marriage. Translate, as Greek, "Do ye
also (as Christ does) severally each one so love," &c. The words,
"severally each one," refer to them in their individual
capacity, contrasted with the previous collective view of the
members of the Church as the bride of Christ.