Word Pictures in the New Testament - Ephesians
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Chapter 4

4:1 Wherewith ye were called [hēs eklēthēte]. Attraction of the relative [hēs] to the genitive of the antecedent [klēseōs] (calling) from the cognate accusative [hēn] with [eklēthēte] (first aorist passive indicative of [kaleō], to call). For the list of virtues here see Col 3:12. To [anechomenoi allēlōn] (Col 3:13) Paul here adds “in love” [en agapēi], singled out in Col 3:14.

4:3 The unity [tēn henotēta]. Late and rare word (from [heis], one), in Aristotle and Plutarch, though in N.T. only here and verse 13. In the bond of peace [en tōi sundesmōi tēs eirēnēs]. In Col 3:14 [agapē] (love) is the [sundesmos] (bond). But there is no peace without love (verse 2).

4:4 One body [hen sōma]. One mystical body of Christ (the spiritual church or kingdom, cf. 1:23; 2:16). One Spirit [hen pneuma]. One Holy Spirit, grammatical neuter gender (not to be referred to by “it,” but by “he”). In one hope [en miāi elpidi]. The same hope as a result of their calling for both Jew and Greek as shown in chapter 2.

4:5 One Lord [heis Kurios]. The Lord Jesus Christ and he alone (no series of aeons). One faith [mia pistis]. One act of trust in Christ, the same for all (Jew or Gentile), one way of being saved. One baptism [hen baptisma]. The result of baptizing [baptisma], while [baptismos] is the act. Only in the N.T. [baptismos] in Josephus) and ecclesiastical writers naturally. See Mr 10:38. There is only one act of baptism for all (Jews and Gentiles) who confess Christ by means of this symbol, not that they are made disciples by this one act, but merely so profess him, put Christ on publicly by this ordinance.

4:6 One God and Father of all [heis theos kai patēr pantōn]. Not a separate God for each nation or religion. One God for all men. See here the Trinity again (Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit). Who is over all [ho epi pantōn], and through all [kai dia pantōn], and in all [kai en pāsin]. Thus by three prepositions [epi, dia, en] Paul has endeavoured to express the universal sweep and power of God in men’s lives. The pronouns [pantōn, pantōn, pāsin] can be all masculine, all neuter, or part one or the other. The last “in all” is certainly masculine and probably all are.

4:7 According to the measure of the gifts of Christ [kata to metron tēs dōreas tou Christou]. Each gets the gift that Christ has to bestow for his special case. See 1Co 12:4ff.; Ro 12:4-6.

4:8 Wherefore he saith [dio legei]. As a confirmation of what Paul has said. No subject is expressed in the Greek and commentators argue whether it should be [ho theos] (God) or [hē graphē] (Scripture). But it comes to God after all. See Ac 2:17. The quotation is from Ps 68:18, a Messianic Psalm of victory which Paul adapts and interprets for Christ’s triumph over death. He led captivity captive [ēichmalōteusen aichmalōsian]. Cognate accusative of [aichmalōsian], late word, in N.T. only here and Re 13:10. The verb also [aichmalōteuō] is from the old word [aichmalōtos], captive in war (in N.T. only in Lu 4:18), in LXX and only here in N.T.

4:9 Now this [to de]. Paul picks out the verb [anabas] (second aorist active participle of [anabainō], to go up), changes its form to [anebē] (second aorist indicative), and points the article [to] at it. Then he concludes that it implied a previous [katabas] (coming down). Into the lower parts of the earth [eis ta katōtera tēs gēs]. If the [anabas] is the Ascension of Christ, then the [katabas] would be the Descent (Incarnation) to earth and [tēs gēs] would be the genitive of apposition. What follows in verse 10 argues for this view. Otherwise one must think of the death of Christ (the descent into Hades of Ac 2:31).

4:10 Is the same also [autos estin]. Rather, “the one who came down [ho katabas], the Incarnation) is himself also the one who ascended [ho anabas], the Ascension).” Far above [huperanō]. See 1:21. All the heavens [pantōn tōn ouranōn]. Ablative case after [huperanō]. For the plural used of Christ’s ascent see Heb 4:14; 7:27. Whether Paul has in mind the Jewish notion of a graded heaven like the third heaven in 2Co 12:2 or the seven heavens idea one does not know. That he might fill all things [hina plērōsēi ta panta]. This purpose we can understand, the supremacy of Christ (Col 2:9f.).

4:11 And he gave [kai autos edōken]. First aorist active indicative of [didōmi]. In 1Co 12:28 Paul uses [etheto] (more common verb, appointed), but here repeats [edōken] from the quotation in verse 8. There are four groups [tous men], [tous de] three times, as the direct object of [edōken]. The titles are in the predicate accusative [apostolous, prophētas, poimenas kai didaskalous]. Each of these words occurs in 1Co 12:28 (which see for discussion) except [poimenas] (shepherds). This word [poimēn] is from a root meaning to protect. Jesus said the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (Joh 10:11) and called himself the Good Shepherd. In Heb 13:20 Christ is the Great Shepherd (cf. 1Pe 2:25). Only here are preachers termed shepherds (Latin pastores) in the N.T. But the verb [poimainō], to shepherd, is employed by Jesus to Peter (Joh 21:16), by Peter to other ministers (1Pe 5:2), by Paul to the elders (bishops) of Ephesus (Ac 20:28). Here Paul groups “shepherds and teachers” together. All these gifts can be found in one man, though not always. Some have only one.

4:12 For the perfecting [pros ton katartismon]. Late and rare word (in Galen in medical sense, in papyri for house-furnishing), only here in N.T., though [katartisis] in 2Co 13:9, both from [katartizō], to mend (Mt 4:21; Ga 6:1). “For the mending (repair) of the saints.” Unto the building up [eis oikodomēn]. See 2:21. This is the ultimate goal in all these varied gifts, “building up.”

4:13 Till we all attain [mechri katantēsōmen hoi pantes]. Temporal clause with purpose idea with [mechri] and the first aorist active subjunctive of [katantaō], late verb, to come down to the goal (Php 3:11). “The whole” including every individual. Hence the need of so many gifts. Unto the unity of the faith [eis tēn henotēta tēs pisteōs]. “Unto oneness of faith” (of trust) in Christ (verse 3) which the Gnostics were disturbing. And of the knowledge of the Son of God [kai tēs epignōseōs tou huiou tou theou]. Three genitives in a chain dependent also on [tēn henotēta], “the oneness of full [epi-] knowledge of the Son of God,” in opposition to the Gnostic vagaries. Unto a full-grown man [eis andra teleion]. Same figure as in 2:15 and [teleios] in sense of adult as opposed to [nēpioi] (infants) in 14. Unto the measure of the stature [eis metron hēlikias]. So apparently [hēlikia] here as in Lu 2:52, not age (Joh 9:21). Boys rejoice in gaining the height of a man. But Paul adds to this idea “the fulness of Christ” [tou plērōmatos tou Christou], like “the fulness of God” in 3:19. And yet some actually profess to be “perfect” with a standard like this to measure by! No pastor has finished his work when the sheep fall so far short of the goal.

4:14 That we may be no longer children [hina mēketi ōmen nēpioi]. Negative final clause with present subjunctive. Some Christians are quite content to remain “babes” in Christ and never cut their eye-teeth (Heb 5:11-14), the victims of every charlatan who comes along. Tossed to and fro [kludōnizomenoi]. Present passive participle of [kludōnizomai], late verb from [kludōn] (wave, Jas 1:6), to be agitated by the waves, in LXX, only here in N.T. One example in Vettius Valens. Carried about [peripheromenoi]. Present passive participle of [peripherō], old verb, to carry round, whirled round “by every wind [anemōi], instrumental case) of teaching.” In some it is all wind, even like a hurricane or a tornado. If not anchored by full knowledge of Christ, folks are at the mercy of these squalls. By the sleight [en tēi kubiāi]. “In the deceit,” “in the throw of the dice” [kubia], from [kubos], cube), sometimes cheating. In craftiness [en panourgiāi]. Old word from [panourgos] [pan, ergon], any deed, every deed), cleverness, trickiness. After the wiles of error [pros tēn methodian tēs planēs]. [Methodia] is from [methodeuō] [meta, hodos] to follow after or up, to practise deceit, and occurs nowhere else (Eph 4:13; 6:11) save in late papyri in the sense of method. The word [planēs] (wandering like our “planet”) adds to the evil idea in the word. Paul has covered the whole ground in this picture of Gnostic error.

4:15 In love [en agapēi]. If truth were always spoken only in love! May grow into him [auxēsōmen eis auton]. Supply [hina] and then note the final use of the first aorist active subjunctive. It is the metaphor of verse 13 (the full-grown man). We are the body and Christ is the Head. We are to grow up to his stature.

4:16 From which [ex hou]. Out of which as the source of energy and direction. Fitly framed [sunarmologoumenon]. See 2:21 for this verb. Through that which every joint supplieth [dia pasēs haphēs tēs epichorēgias]. Literally, “through every joint of the supply.” See Col 2:19 for [haphē] and Php 1:19 for the late word [epichorēgia] (only two examples in N.T.) from [epichorēgeō], to supply (Col 2:19). In due measure [en metrōi]. Just “in measure” in the Greek, but the assumption is that each part of the body functions properly in its own sphere. Unto the building up of itself [eis oikodomēn heautou]. Modern knowledge of cell life in the human body greatly strengthens the force of Paul’s metaphor. This is the way the body grows by cooperation under the control of the head and all “in love” [en agapēi].

4:17 That ye no longer walk [mēketi humas peripatein]. Infinitive (present active) in indirect command (not indirect assertion) with accusative [humas] of general reference. In vanity of their mind [en mataiotēti tou noos autōn]. “In emptiness (from [mataios], late and rare word. See Ro 8:20) of their intellect [noos], late form for earlier genitive [nou], from [nous].

4:18 Being darkened [eskotōmenoi ontes]. Periphrastic perfect passive participle of [skotoō], old verb from [skotos] (darkness), in N.T. only here and Re 9:2; 16:10. In their understanding [tēi dianoiāi]. Locative case. Probably [dianoia] [dia, nous] includes the emotions as well as the intellect [nous]. It is possible to take [ontes] with [apēllotriōmenoi] (see 2:12) which would then be periphrastic (instead of [eskotōmenoi] perfect passive participle. From the life of God [tēs zōēs tou theou]. Ablative case [zōēs] after [apēllotriōmenoi] (2:12). Because of the ignorance [dia tēn agnoian]. Old word from [agnoeō], not to know. Rare in N.T. See Ac 3:17. Hardening [pōrōsin]. Late medical term (Hippocrates) for callous hardening. Only other N.T. examples are Mr 3:5; Ro 11:25.

4:19 Being past feeling [apēlgēkotes]. Perfect active participle of [apalgeō], old word to cease to feel pain, only here in N.T. To lasciviousness [tēi aselgeiāi]. Unbridled lust as in 2Co 12:21; Ga 5:19. To work all uncleanness [eis ergasian akatharsias pasēs]. Perhaps prostitution, “for a trading (or work) in all uncleanness.” Certainly Corinth and Ephesus could qualify for this charge. With greediness [en pleonexiāi]. From [pleonektēs], one who always wants more whether money or sexual indulgence as here. The two vices are often connected in the N.T.

4:20 But ye did not so learn Christ [Humeis de ouch houtōs emathete ton Christon]. In sharp contrast to pagan life [houtōs]. Second aorist active indicative of [manthanō].

4:21 If so be that [ei ge]. “If indeed.” Condition of first class with aorist indicatives here, assumed to be true [ēkousate kai edidachthēte]. Even as truth is in Jesus [kathōs estin alētheia en tōi Iēsou]. It is not clear what Paul’s precise idea is here. The Cerinthian Gnostics did distinguish between the man Jesus and the aeon Christ. Paul here identifies Christ (verse 20) and Jesus (verse 21). At any rate he flatly affirms that there is “truth in Jesus” which is in direct opposition to the heathen manner of life and which is further explained by the epexegetical infinitives that follow [apothesthai, ananeousthai de, kai endusasthai].

4:22 That ye put away [apothesthai]. Second aorist middle infinitive of [apotithēmi] with the metaphor of putting off clothing or habits as [apothesthe] in Col 3:8 (which see) with the same addition of “the old man” [ton palaion anthrōpon] as in Col 3:9. For [anastrophēn] (manner of life) see Ga 1:13. Which waxeth corrupt [ton phtheiromenon]. Either present middle or passive participle of [phtheirō], but it is a process of corruption (worse and worse).

4:23 That ye be renewed [ananeousthai]. Present passive infinitive (epexegetical, like [apothesthai], of [alētheia en tōi Iēsou] and to be compared with [anakainoumenon] in Col 3:10. It is an old verb, [ananeoō], to make new (young) again; though only here in N.T. The spirit [tōi pneumati]. Not the Holy Spirit, but the human spirit.

4:24 Put on [endusasthai]. First aorist middle infinitive of [enduō] [-nō], for which see Col 3:10. The new man [ton kainon anthrōpon]. “The brand-new (see 2:15) man,” though [ton neon] in Col 3:10. After God [kata theon]. After the pattern God, the new birth, the new life in Christ, destined to be like God in the end (Ro 8:29).

4:25 Wherefore [dio]. Because of putting off the old man, and putting on the new man. Putting away [apothemenoi]. Second aorist middle participle of [apotithēmi] (verse 22). Lying [pseudos], truth [alētheian] in direct contrast. Each one [hekastos]. Partitive apposition with [laleite]. See Col 3:8 [mē pseudesthe].

4:26 Be ye angry and sin not [orgizesthe kai mē hamartanete]. Permissive imperative, not a command to be angry. Prohibition against sinning as the peril in anger. Quotation from Ps 4:4. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath [ho hēlios mē epiduetō epi parorgismōi]. Danger in settled mood of anger. [Parorgismos] (provocation), from [parorgizō], to exasperate to anger, occurs only in LXX and here in N.T.

4:27 Neither give place to the devil [mēde didote topon tōi diabolōi]. Present active imperative in prohibition, either stop doing it or do not have the habit. See Ro 12:19 for this idiom.

4:28 Steal no more [mēketi kleptetō]. Clearly here, cease stealing (present active imperative with [mēketi]. The thing that is good [to agathon]. “The good thing” opposed to his stealing and “with his hands” [tais chersin], instrumental case) that did the stealing. See 2Th 3:10. Even unemployment is no excuse for stealing. To give [metadidonai]. Present active infinitive of [metadidōmi], to share with one.

4:29 Corrupt [sapros]. Rotten, putrid, like fruit (Mt 7:17f.), fish (Mt 13:48), here the opposite of [agathos] (good). For edifying as the need may be [pros oikodomēn tēs chreias]. “For the build-up of the need,” “for supplying help when there is need.” Let no other words come out. That it may give [hina dōi]. For this elliptical use of [hina] see on 5:33.

4:30 Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God [mē lupeite to pneuma to hagion tou theou]. “Cease grieving” or “do not have the habit of grieving.” Who of us has not sometimes grieved the Holy Spirit? In whom [en hōi]. Not “in which.” Ye were sealed [esphragisthēte]. See 1:13 for this verb, and 1:14 for [apolutrōseōs], the day when final redemption is realized.

4:31 Bitterness [pikria]. Old word from [pikros] (bitter), in N.T. only here and Ac 8:23; Ro 3:14; Heb 12:15. Clamour [kraugē]. Old word for outcry (Mt 25:6; Lu 1:42). See Col 3:8 for the other words. Be put away [arthētō]. First aorist passive imperative of [airō], old verb, to pick up and carry away, to make a clean sweep.

4:32 Be ye kind to one another [ginesthe eis allēlous chrēstoi]. Present middle imperative of [ginomai], “keep on becoming kind [chrēstos], used of God in Ro 2:4) toward one another.” See Col 3:12f. Tenderhearted [eusplagchnoi]. Late word [eu, splagchna] once in Hippocrates, in LXX, here and 1Pe 3:8 in N.T.

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