Ephesians 4

Ephesians 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Ephesians 4:1

Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε,

Therefore, I exhort you, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthy of the calling of which you were called.

Paraphrase:  In light of all that I have said so far in this letter, I exhort you to study closely the calling with which God has called you. (Ephesians 1:18)  Of course, you know that this call didn’t originate with me; I’m just a common criminal locked up in an old prison because of my profession that Jesus is Lord.  On the contrary, this call came from God Himself;  He’s the One who called you out of darkness and ushered you into His glorious kingdom of light, grace, and truth. (1 Peter 2:9)  This call was not just a general invitation or offer.  It was a divine summons; it’s the same as when God called the world into existence in the first days of creation.  God alone is able to call the things into existence that had no existence before. (Romans 4:17)  Now my exhortation to you, brothers and sisters, is that you direct your life in keeping with the fact that you are so called.  This means walking as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8); it means walking in the liberty which Christ has given us and not getting tangled up in trying to earn God’s favor by doing good (Galatians 5:1)  It means living a holy life because we are called and not in order to be called.



Ephesians 4:2

μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ,

With all humility and meekness, with longsuffering holding one another up in love.

Paraphrase:  Remember especially the virtues of humility, meekness and longsuffering.  Humility because we should always entertain a low opinion of our own merits and wisdom.  Recall the words of our Savior who taught us that if anyone wanted to be the first one, he should be the slave of everyone. (Matthew 20:27-8)  Then there is meekness which enables us to calm when we are provoked and to display a calm and gentle spirit.  Finally, longsuffering which enables us to persevere even when we are insulted and ridiculed.  We should especially cultivate these virtues in our lives as those who have been called by God and are to be zealous for doing good.


As always, Trench has some interesting remarks on ταπεινοφροσύνη and πραότης.


Ephesians 4:3

σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης·





Ephesians 4:4

ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα, καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν·


Ephesians 4:5

εἷς κύριος, μία πίστις, ἓν βάπτισμα·


Ephesians 4:6

εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων, ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.


Ephesians 4:7

Ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ.


Ephesians 4:8

διὸ λέγει· Ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν, ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.

Wherefore He says, when ascending into heaven, he took many prisoners into His possession; He gave gifts to men.

Paraphrase:  Now let me show you this from Scripture.  Consider Psalm 68:18 where we read that God ascended in heaven, that he led off many prisoners, and that He gave gifts to men.  Now this verse teaches us that after Jesus had subjugated His enemies (Ephesiansesians 1:22) and had ascended into heaven and taken His place at God’s right hand, that He then gave gifts to men.  Now this is what I was saying previously, that to each believer, our Ascended Lord gives a gift.


For more on a Roman Triumph, see Guerber or here or Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth, 367.


Ephesians 4:9

τὸ δὲ Ἀνέβη τί ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς;

Now this, He ascended (Ephesians 4:8)…what is except that even He descended into the lower parts of the earth.

Paraphrase:  Now you might ask how we can be sure that the one spoken of in Psalm 68:18 is the Messiah.  Well, think about this.  The Psalm we quoted speaks of someone who ascended into heaven.  Well if this person ascended into heaven, then surely it is implied that he also first descended to this earth.  Now this is exactly what we saw in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. (John 3:13)  He came down to this filthy earth, was born in Bethlehem’s ghetto, was condemned by Pilate, and was crucified and buried.  After this, however, many witnesses saw Him alive (Acts 2:32) proving that He had resurrected.  Then, He ascended back to heaven in triumph and is now sitting at His Father’s right hand in glory. (1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:20-21)


My paraphrase here is based on Hodge’s understanding of this text.

Perhaps γῆς in μέρη τῆς γῆς is a genitive of apposition: the lower parts which is the earth.


Ephesians 4:10

ὁ καταβὰς αὐτός ἐστιν καὶ ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα.

The One descending is the same even the one ascending above all the heavens in order that He might fill all.

Paraphrase:  So then we say with confidence that the very same Person who ascended into heaven as the triumphant conqueror is the same Person who first came down to this earth to suffer and die for His people.  This is the person spoken of in Psalm 68.  He has returned to heaven, and now His authority and rule extend over the entire world; nothing is exempted from His sovereign control. (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-21)


For αὐτός, see BBG 12.11.


Ephesians 4:11

καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους,

and He gave apostles, and prophets and evangelists, and shepherds and teachers.

Paraphrase:  Now as I was saying, our exalted Lord gives gifts.  He gives different gifts to different people.  We know that Jesus gave some men to be apostles.  They are the successors of Christ and were commissioned into their office directly by Jesus Himself.  They have a unique authority that no other person can claim.  But Christ also gives some men to be prophets who bring us the word of God.  Some are evangelists who go about proclaiming death in Adam and life in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45)  Then there are those men and women in the church who have the heart of a shepherd.  They tend to the flock caring for the weak and binding up the brokenhearted.  Others have been given the gift to teach.  They take the Scriptures and help us to understand the truths it contains.



Ephesians 4:12

πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,

Towards the equipping of the saints to work of the ministry, to the building of the body of Christ.

Paraphrase:  And all these gifts are given for a purpose.  Not so that people can build their own kingdom and make a name for themselves.  On the contrary, Christ gives these gifts so that the people of God might be equipped to carry on their own ministry and to know how to use their own gifts to build up all the believers who make up Christ’s body.  Our goal should always be that He might increase, and we decrease. (John 3:30)



Ephesians 4:13

μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,

Until we might arrive, all those, into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to the complete man to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.

Paraphrase:  Keep the goal in your eye.  The day is coming when we will finally arrive at a perfect unity in the faith, a time when all believers will believe and confess the same truths.  Everyone of God’s children will be a perfect person complete in every respect.  They will reach this point by knowing Jesus, the Son of God. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  Let me put it as simply as I can.  The day is coming when our holiness will measure up to that of Jesus Himself.



Ephesians 4:14

ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι, κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης,


Ephesians 4:15

ἀληθεύοντες δὲ ἐν ἀγάπῃ αὐξήσωμεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλή, Χριστός,


Ephesians 4:16

ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ.


Ephesians 4:17

Τοῦτο οὖν λέγω καὶ μαρτύρομαι ἐν κυρίῳ, μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καθὼς καὶ τὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν,

Therefore, this I say, and I testify in the Lord, no longer you to walk as even the Gentiles walk in the emptiness of their mind.

Paraphrase:  So let me wrap this up.  Standing on the  authority of Jesus Himself, I tell you plainly; do not live the lifestyle of the Gentiles.  Their minds are empty of all truth and full of sin and darkness, and their lifestyle shows it.


See principle 23.


Ephesians 4:18

ἐσκοτωμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ, διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς, διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν,

being darkened in mind, being alienated of the life of God through the ignorance being in them through hardness of their heart.

Paraphrase:  Their mind is dark and growing darker every day because God’s life is not in them.  God’s life is in Jesus (John 6:33, 48-54, 68; 11:25; 14:6) and anyone not in union with Jesus does not participate in God’s life. (John 3:36)  The souls of such persons has grown hard and unyielding; they cannot turn from their wickedness, and so they sink down ever deeper into darkness and ignorance.


Note the periphrastic ἐσκοτωμένοι … ὄντες


Ephesians 4:19

οἵτινες ἀπηλγηκότες ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ.

being past caring, they have given themselves over to reckless living unto the business of uncleanness with greed.

Paraphrase:  Such people no longer care.  They’ve more or less given up on living a good life and have surrendered themselves over to seeking every kind of pleasure with no regard for their own safety or happiness.  It’s almost like the sole project of their life is to wreck themselves by filthy practices and habits which corrupt their character even more.  Then when they finish this, they start all over again, greedy for even more of the same.



Ephesians 4:20

ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν,

But you did not, in this way, learn Christ.

Paraphrase:  You, however, learned something entirely different.  You sat at Jesus feet and learned from Him an entirely different way of life.



Ephesians 4:21

εἴ γε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε, καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ,

If indeed you heard Him and in Him you have been taught even as the truth is in Jesus.

Paraphrase:  If you actually have listened to His teaching (and I know you have) and believed in Him such that you were joined to Jesus in a saving union, then let your union with Him show itself by sitting at His feet and learning from Him all you can.



Ephesians 4:22

ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν φθειρόμενον κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης,

you [are] to take off the lifestyle according to your former, the old man, the being rotten according to the desires of deceit.

Paraphrase:  Now this is what you learned about Christ.  Think back to that time when you yourself lived in darkness and sin.  Recall how you came to hear the gospel and that happy moment when you yielded your life to Christ.  Then, you joyfully took up the business of peeling off every shred of that old, rotting, flea-infested clothing.  Your old lifestyle was such a lie; it promised you pleasure; but instead, it made you completely miserable.  Now this is what Jesus taught us; He taught us to go on with this work of taking off all of that old lifestyle and throwing it away.  



Ephesians 4:23

ἀνανεοῦσθαι δὲ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν,

but to be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Paraphrase:  Then He taught us to yield ourselves to the ministry of the Holy Spirit who renews our minds, cleanses away the old sinful desires and gives us a new heart and a new soul that loves God and is filled with every desire to walk with Jesus day by day.



Ephesians 4:24

καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας.

and to be clothed with the new man the one according to God being created in righteousness and divine holiness of the truth.

Paraphrase:  To stick with our previous metaphor, we are now enabled and empowered to put on new clothes.  This is because we now have a new self which was created within us by the power of God’s Spirit.  This new self loves righteousness; he or she loves God’s holiness and loves the truth.  Jesus teaches us to work hard to peel off the old clothes and to put on this new clothes.


A key verse for the doctrine of the image of God.  Miley (bottom of p407):  The original image of God in man no doubt had the implicit sense of holiness. Hence in the New Testament it came to signify holiness. This appears in the fact that the regeneration of man, his transformation from depravity into holiness, is represented as a recreation in the image of God after which he was originally made. (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10)


Ephesians 4:25

Διὸ ἀποθέμενοι τὸ ψεῦδος λαλεῖτε ἀλήθειαν ἕκαστος μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλων μέλη.


Ephesians 4:26

ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε· ὁ ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν,


Ephesians 4:27

μηδὲ δίδοτε τόπον τῷ διαβόλῳ.


Ephesians 4:28

ὁ κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω, μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω ἐργαζόμενος ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν, ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι.


Ephesians 4:29

πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω, ἀλλὰ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας, ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν.


Ephesians 4:30

καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐν ᾧ ἐσφραγίσθητε εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως.


Ephesians 4:31

πᾶσα πικρία καὶ θυμὸς καὶ ὀργὴ καὶ κραυγὴ καὶ βλασφημία ἀρθήτω ἀφ’ ὑμῶν σὺν πάσῃ κακίᾳ.


Ephesians 4:32

γίνεσθε εἰς ἀλλήλους χρηστοί, εὔσπλαγχνοι, χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς καθὼς καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐν Χριστῷ ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν.

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