This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of Ephesians. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. In each section, you can also click to see a detailed, annotated outline of that section. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
General Documents
Individual Passages
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1:1-2 Intro
  • 1:1-2 Salutation
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1a Author: Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God
    Paul emphasizes that his apostleship is because of God's decision and calling
    1b Recipients: To the holy and faithful ones who are in Ephesus in Christ Jesus
    The words in Ephesus are 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 Minor
    2 Blessing:
    A typical epistolary blessing
    2a May grace and peace be to you
    Paul 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 Christ
    The 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 Christ
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    3a Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
    Even 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 blessing
    possibly content - with every spiritual blessing meaning the blessing is what they received as the gift of blessing.
    I have taken this phrase as instrumental - by every spiritual blessing meaning the blessing is what was used by God to give them the blessing
    every means every - God's blessing is abundant and thorough
    spiritual is 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 spiritual blessing
    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)
    blessing is a generic word for gift that bestows benefit - the content and nature of these blessings is elaborated in the larger context
    in the heavens
    the heavens is 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, 6:12
    in Christ
    in Christ (and 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 blessing
    4-14 Specifically:
    This is the list and elaboration of the spiritual blessings
    4-6 He chose us from eternity to be holy, resulting in the praise of His glorious grace
    4-5 He chose us to be holy by predestining us for adoption
    4 He chose us in eternity to be holy and pure
    4a Just as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world
    God'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 Him
    5 Reason: because He predestined us
    predestined means 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. 2:7
    In love
    This phrase possibly goes with the end of v. 4, modifying to be holy and pure and 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 grace
    Into adoption into Him through Christ Jesus
    According to the pleasure of His will
    6 Result: God is praised for the grace with which He has graced us in Christ
    6a To the praise of the glory of His grace
    Praise 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 glory
    This means recognizing God's glory and expressing the fitting admiration and approval
    One of the connotations of glory is that which is awesome and praiseworthy
    In verses 12 and 14, this phrase is repeated except it is 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
    On glory cf. 1:17, 18; 3:16, 21
    6b Explanation: [This is the grace] with which He graced us in the beloved
    He graced us uses the verb form of the noun grace as wordplay to emphasize this concept of God's graciousness seen throughout this passage
    in the beloved is another way to say in Christ
    but this emphasizes that Christ is beloved by God - and that those in Him are also recipients of this love
    7-12 He redeemed and chose us for the praise of His glory
    7-11 He redeemed and chose us in Him
    7-10 We have redemption- i.e. forgiveness of sins because of His graceful purpose being worked out
    7 In Him we have the redemption - the forgiveness of sins
    Through His blood
    According to the riches of His grace
    8-10 Reason: Because He caused His grace to abound by revealing His plan to unite everything in Christ
    8 He caused it [grace] to abound to us in all wisdom and insight
    9-10 He did this by revealing His plan to unite everything in Christ
    9 Making known to us the mystery of His will
    mystery could be translated secret
    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
    will is that which God wants/intends, the purpose/plan of God, -cf. vv. 1, 5, 11
    According to His good pleasure
    good pleasure is that which is favored/desired
    God's will is what He purposed because He desired it
    Which He intended/purposed in Him
    He intended/purposed is 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. 11
    10 Result: for the plan to unite all things in Christ
    10a For the [realization of] the prearranged plan for the fullness of time
    10b to unite/encapsulate all things in Christ - the things in the heavens and the things on the earth in Him
    11 We were chosen according to His predetermined plan
    11a In Him we were chosen
    chosen comes 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 beforehand
    According to the predetermined plan
    Of the One Who works everything
    Yes, 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 will
    12 Result: so that we who were first hoping in Christ would be for the praise of His glory
    13-14 He gave you His Holy Spirit to the praise of His glory
    13-14a You were sealed with the Holy Spirit as the first of your inheritance
    13 As you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit
    13a-b As you heard the Gospel and believed in Christ
    13a Hearing the Word of Truth - the Gospel of our salvation
    The 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 salvation
    13b Believing in Him
    Believing 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 sealed
    13c In Him you yourselves were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise
    The pronoun you is emphatic
    Sealed is a mark of ownership
    by the Holy Spirit is 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 passage
    14a Who [the Spirit] is the guaranteeing down payment of our inheritance until redemption/liberation of [God's] property
    In 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 us
    14b Result: to the praise of His glory
    See above vv. 6, 12
  • 1:15-23 Prayer for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    15 I heard about your faith and love
    Hearing about your own faith in the Lord Jesus
    And [hearing] about the love toward all the saints
    Similar to the parallel passages in Col. 1:4 and Philemon 1:5
    These two propositions are causally related to what follows
    16-23 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 behalf
    16a 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 life
    16b Means: making mention in my prayers
    17-23 Purpose: So that God may give you wisdom, revelation and knowledge to know His plan and great power for you
    17 So that God may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation
    How God is described: The Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ
    -cf. v. 3, Jn. 20:17, Rom. 15:6
    What 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 Spirit
    18-23 Result: He would move your heart to know the greatness of His plan and power
    18a 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 below
    18b-23 Result: That we would know His calling, inheritance and power
    18b 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 calling
    18d 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 children BDAG
    19-23 And what is the extent of His power exercised on our behalf
    19 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 ability
    20-23 The power which worked in Christ in His resurrection and rise to rule over all as the highest authority
    20a 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:
    1. He raised Him from the dead - defeating death and inaugurating the new humanity
    2. 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
    3. 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.
    Notice that believers are included in these things in 2:6
    We are raised with Him
    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 everything
    20b When He raised Him from the dead
    -cf. 2:6, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 1:4, 6:9, 8:11
    20c-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. 3:1
    in the heavenly realms
    -cf. 1:3, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12
    far 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, 15
    Not only in this age
    But also in the age to come
    22-23 And He put Him over everything as the highest authority for the church
    22a 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 me
    22b-23 And He placed Him over the church as His body
    22b 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 church
    23 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 Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-7 God has given us participation in the victory of Christ
    1-3 This is totally undeserved and unprecedented
    1 Even though you were dead in trespasses and sins
    -cf. Col. 2:13
    2-3 An elaboration on specifically what this entailed
    2-3b Your life and lifestyle were characterized by sin
    2 You then walked in sins
    According to the standard of this world
    Literally "according to the age of this world"
    Not 'age' in the sense of time elapsed, but 'age' in 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
    "All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current int he 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 p. 204
    According to the ruling power thereof
    The ruler of the power of the air
    refers to the devil
    "authority" = the sphere in which power is exercised, cf. 1:21
    "air" = the political domain of transcendent beings or powers
    The ruler of the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience
    "sons of disobedience" = those who are characterized by disobedience, which is everyone without Christ
    3a-b Also we then lived in/among them
    3a We all lived in/among them in the desires of our flesh
    "lived" = to conduct oneself with a focus on overt daily behavior, cf. Titus 3:3
    "in/among them" refers to either trespasses (v.1) or sons of disobedience (v.2)
    "desires" = inordinate desire, craving for something forbidden, lust, cf. 4:22
    3b We did this by doing the will of the flesh and thoughts
    on "thoughts" cf. 4:18
    3c-d The results of this life and lifestyle
    3c We were, by nature, children of wrath
    "children of wrath" = those who are characterized by being under wrath
    -cf. 5:8 now we are "children of light"
    3d Just like everyone else
    All who are without Christ, are under wrath, cf. 5:6, Rom. 3:23
    4-7 But God gave us undeserved participation in the victory of Christ
    4 Because God is rich in mercy, through the great love with which He loved us
    "rich" -cf. 1:7, 18, 2:7, 3:8, 16
    5-7 He gave us participation in Christ
    5-6 What He has done for us
    5 He has made us alive with Him
    5a-b He has made us alive with Christ
    5a Even though we were dead in trespasses
    Resuming the argument begun in v. 1 by repeating the same phrase
    5b He made us alive with Christ
    "made alive with" is the first in a series of compound forms most of which are related to the verbs of 1:20
    It 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
    All that Paul says Christ accomplished in ch. 1, Paul says that we benefit from in this passage
    5c The Reason: You have been saved by grace!
    "saved" = rescued/preserved from eternal death
    spiritual & eternal salvation - Paul uses this word only for restored relationship with God, he uses other words for 'rescue from perils' BDAG
    6a He has raised us from the dead with Christ
    "raised us with" is a compound form of "He raised Him" in 1:20, cf. Col. 3:1
    6b He has seated us with [Him] in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
    "seated us with" is a compound form of "seated Him" in 1:20
    "heavenly realm" -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 Jesus
    We are God's cosmic trophy case in which He displays His gracious character for all eternity
    "riches" -cf. 1:7, 3:8
    "coming ages" contrast "the age of the world" in v. 2, cf. 1:21
    8-10 The foundational reason for God doing all this:
    8-9 You are saved by grace!
    8a The simple fact: You ahve been saved by grace through faith
    Repeating from v. 5
    We are saved by grace - grace is the cause of salvation
    We are saved through faith - faith is the instrument which grace uses to save us
    The different grammar clearly distinguishes the roles of grace and faith in our salvation
    8b-9 The explanation of this fact
    8b-9a This is God's doing, not ours
    8b This is not from you
    "this" refers to the totality of the salvation, including the grace and the faith
    8c It is the gift of God
    -cf. Rom. 3:24, Salvation is given freely as a gift
    9a It is not from works
    -cf. Book of Galatians, which is a polemic against works being a part of salvation
    9b The Result: So that no one can boast [except God]
    God alone gets all the glory for our salvation
    God will not allow the possibility of any human boasting in His presence about salvation - cf. 1 Cor. 1:29-31
    He purposely designed salvation to exclude human credit
    10 The Reason: God created us for this
    10a We are God's workmanship
    10b-d Explanation of the implications
    10b We were created in Christ Jesus for good works
    10c-d These were planned by God
    10c God prepared them beforehand
    -cf. Rom. 9:23 only God can prepare beforehand
    10d The purpose being that we would walk in these good works
    Compare with v. 2 - we used to "walk in sin" and how we walk in good works
  • 2:11-22 Saved into New Humanity
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    11-18 The Outsiders have become accepted insiders
    11-12 The way it used to be before Christ
    11a A Call to remember the way it was
    Remember:
    11b-12 An explanation of the way it was
    11b You then were gentiles in the flesh, the ones called uncircumcised by those who were called circumcised in the flesh according to man's doing
    12 In that time, you were characterized by these 5 things:
    You were without Christ
    You 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 3:20
    You were complete strangers to the covenants of God's promise
    -cf. Rom. 3:1f, 9:4f.
    You had no hope
    You had no relationship with God whatsoever in this world
    13-18 The way it is now for those in Christ
    13 In Jesus Christ, you, the ones who once were far away, now have been brought near by the blood of Christ
    14-18 The reason why this has happened
    14-16 He has made peace
    14a He is our peace
    -cf. Micah 5:1-5, Isa. 9:5-6
    14b-16 How He has provided peace for us
    14b-15a What He has done
    14b He has made the two into one
    -cf. Jn. 10:16, 17:11, 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:13
    14c He has destroyed the dividing barrier of hostility that separated them in His flesh
    15a 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 things
    15b-c So that He may create a new community
    15b So that He may create one new man in the Lord from the two
    -cf. 4:23f.
    15c He does this by making peace
    16 So that He may reconcile both to Himself
    16a So that He may reconcile both to God
    In one body
    Through the cross
    16b He does this by putting enmity to death by the cross
    17-18 He has proclaimed peace
    -cf. Acts 10:36, Isa. 52:7, 57:14-21
    17a He came
    17b-18 He proclaimed peace
    17b-c He proclaimed peace to everyone
    17b He proclaimed peace to you who were far away
    17c He proclaimed peace to those who were near
    18 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, 14:6
    19-22 The results for the outsiders and insiders together
    19a You are no longer strangers and aliens
    19b-22 But you are now an integral part of God's household and dwelling
    19b You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household
    20-22 Elaboration of what it means to be God's household
    20 You are being built as a house on a solid foundation
    20a You are being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
    20b Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of it all
    21 You are being fitted together into the temple of God
    21a By being intricately fit together in your proper places in Him
    21b Every part of the building grows together in the Lord into the holy temple
    22 In the Lord, You are being built together into the very dwelling-place of God in the Spirit
  • 3:1-13 Mystery of Gentile Inclusion
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-12 I, Paul am a prisoner for Christ
    1 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. 27-29
    2-12 Digression, explaining exactly what it means to be a prisoner for Christ on behalf of the Gentiles
    2-6 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. 86
    2-5 The mystery is being made known
    2 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 20:24
    3-5 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. 1:26
    3-4 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 you
    3b I have briefly written about it to you
    refers to the contents of the letter up to this point, compare v. 6 with ch. 2
    4 So that you too may understand
    4a 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. 386
    5 It has been made know in God's time
    5a 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. 88
    5b 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. 2:20
    6 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 11:9
    Fellow 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, 16
    Co-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. 3:6-29
    7-12 What my stewardship entails
    7 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, 6:10
    8-12 Specifically: I make known the mystery of His grace
    8-9 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. 92
    8a This grace was given to me - the least of all the saints
    -cf. 1 Cor. 15:9
    8b-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. 13:44
    9 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. 4:6
    10-12 The ultimate purpose of God's dispensing grace to preach the Gospel
    10-11 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, 11
    12 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, 10:19
    13 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 Christ
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    14-19 I pray that God would empower you to experience Christ and His love
    14-15 I bow in prayer to the Ultimate Father for this purpose:
    14 For this reason, I bow my knees toward the Father
    bowing the knee is symbolic of religious devotion and posture of prayer
    15 From Whom all family in heaven and on earth is named
    named -cf. 1:21, 5:3
    16-19 Purpose: So that He will empower you to be filled with Christ and His love
    16-17 So that He will give you power to be fully inhabited by Christ
    16a In General: So that He may give you power according to the abundance of His glory
    On abundance lit. riches -cf. 1:7, 18, 2:7, 3:8
    On glory -cf. v. 13, 1:18
    16b-17 Specifically: Power for your inner man to be inhabited by Christ
    16b [Power] to be strengthened through His Spirit in the inner man
    power -cf. v. 20, 1:19
    inner man = the psychological faculty, including intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects, in contrast with the purely physical aspects of human existence L&N
    17 Power for Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith and your solid connection with love
    17a [Power for] Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith
    17b-c Reason: because you have been rooted and established in love
    17b Rooted in love
    -cf. Matt 13:21
    17c And established [in love]
    -cf. 2:21-22, Col. 1:23, 1 Pet. 5:10
    18-19 Purpose: So that you would know the love and be filled to the fullness of God
    18-19a So that you would know the immensity of the love of God
    18 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]
    comprehend = to process information, understand, grasp, learn about something through process of inquiry, grasp, find, understand BDAG
    19a And [so that you would be capable] to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge
    Notice 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 eternity
    19b Purpose: So that you will be filled to all the fullness of God
    filled -cf. 5:18
    20-21 Therefore: May all glory be to God, Who is able to do anything
    20 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
    infinitely beyond = an extraordinary degree, involving a considerable excess over what would be expected, extreme, extremely, to an extreme degree, to a very great degree L&N
    21 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 Christ
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1 Therefore, walk appropriately
    1a Paul's self-designation: the prisoner in the Lord
    1b The command: I therefore exhort you to walk appropriately
    1c The standard: for the calling with which you have been called
    2-6 How you should walk appropriately for your calling
    2 Patiently enduring one another
    With all humility and meekness
    With patience
    In love
    3-6 Work hard to be unified
    3 Working hard to keep the unity of the Spirit in the unifying bond of peace
    4-6 Reason: There is only one people of God because there is only One God
    4a-b There is one body and Spirit like your one hope
    4a [There is] one body and one Spirit
    4b Just as you were also called by one hope of your calling
    5a [There is] one Lord
    5b [There is] one faith
    5c [There is] one baptism
    6 [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 Unity
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    7 The grace has been given to each one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ
    given in this context means specifically appointed and assigned to each individual in Christ
    God (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
    measure is 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 gift is 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 grace
    8-16 Therefore: The Exalted Christ blesses His people with gifts that lead them to maturity
    8 Christ, as conquering ruler of all, blesses His people
    8a Quotation formula: Therefore it says...
    8b-d Quoting Psa. 68:18 - By ascending, He conquered and blessed His people
    8b-c He ascended to conquer captivity itself
    8b Going up into the height/heaven
    -cf. 3:18, Psa. 68:18
    The point of going up is 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. 1:20-23
    8c He took captivity captive
    Possibly, He took captives referring to a captured military force
    More probably, He took captivity referring tot he state of being a prisoner
    Christ destroyed death and the guilt and fear that kept humanity under its control, cf. Heb. 2:15
    8d He gave gifts to men
    The gifts are described and elaborated in vv. 11-16
    9-16 The Exalted Christ gives gifts to His people
    9-10 Christ is exalted to authority over all the universe
    9a 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 descended in 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 the ascending
    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 glorified
    9b If not that He descended to the lower region of the earth
    lower region of the earth could 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 region as 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
    Therefore, he descended refers not only to physical movement, but humiliation in status, cf. Phil. 2:5-8, 2 Cor. 8:9
    10 This One Who saved by His humiliation is now glorified above all
    10a The One Who descended is also the One Who ascended above all the heavens
    On descended see above v. 9b
    On ascended see above v. 8b
    10b 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 universe
    11-16 Christ gives leaders to equip the body to grow together into maturity
    11-15 He gave leaders to equip people for service so that people reach maturity
    11-12 He gave the church leaders to equip people for works of service
    11 He gave four leadership roles to the church
    This 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 God
    11a He gave some to be apostles
    11b [He gave] some to be prophets
    11c [He gave] some to be evangelists
    11d [He gave] some to be pastors and teachers
    pastors and teachers are 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 ministry when they speak about this passage. It would be more accurate to say fourfold ministry according to the grammar of this verse
    12 Purpose: To equip the saints for works of righteousness that build up the church
    12a For the equipping of the saints
    This word equipping has 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 church
    12b into works of righteousness
    12c Result: into building up of the body of Christ
    This could be a series of results - works of righteousness AND 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 up
    13-15 Until we reach maturity in Christ
    13 Until we reach the goal of unity and maturity in conformity to Christ
    13a Until we all arrive, reach the goal
    13b-d Result (the goal we reach): into the unity and maturity that conforms to Christ
    13b Into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God
    Notice 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 God
    This is because the faith is the knowledge of the Son of God
    We become more unified to one another as we each grow toward Christ
    Unity around anything else is dangerous and can actually be counter-productive to the faith and maturity
    13c into a mature man
    possibly mature has the connotation of perfect but probably the emphasis is on maturity, characteristic of adulthood, as contrasted with immaturity of childhood in v. 14, cf. 1 Cor. 14:20
    And man is a specific term notating an adult male in contrast to a boy
    mature in 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 disciple
    13d into the measure of the maturity of the fullness of Christ
    measure - the standard by which maturity is measured and known, cf. v. 16
    maturity is 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
    possibly, full measure of maturity or measure of full maturity
    but probably, measure of maturity of the fullness of Christ emphasizing that Christ is and has fullness and that mature Christians conform to that fullness
    14-15 Purpose: To be steady and mature in Christ
    14 Neg. So that we will no longer be immature and influenced by deceptive teaching
    14a so that we will no longer be children
    the connotation of children is immaturity and helplessness - not contributing to the cause of Christ, but needing to be taken care of, thus being somewhat of a liability until maturing
    14b-c being given the run around by deceptive teaching
    14b being tossed back and forth
    14c and being carried here and there by every wind of teaching, by the craftiness of men, in trickery, for the deceitful scheming of error
    The 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
    on trickery cf. 2 Cor. 11:3
    on deceitful scheming cf. 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 Gospel
    15 Pos. So that, through the truth, we will grow all things into Christ
    15a Doing/speaking truth in love
    literally truthing - the verb form of the word for truth
    in love is either manner - with love, or instrumental - by love
    both are true, but manner is more likely the meaning in this context
    15b We will grow all things into Him Who is the Head - Christ
    all things is the object of the verb grow
    on grow cf. 2:21
    all things are to become greater into Him
    all things become greater by growing into Him
    of course, all things includes us as well
    Christ is described as the head
    Christ 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 5:23
    16 Therefore: The body grows together into building itself up by love
    16a-c The Body grows together, by each part contributing its part in Him
    16a-b By each part being united together, all contributing its part
    16a Being joined together
    The connotation is being fit together like a building, where each part fits together perfectly into a coherent whole
    16b And being united together by every supporting ligament according to working in measure of each part
    This connotation is being fit together like a body, where each part fits and works together
    16c in Whom all the body does the growth of the body
    This grammar is a bit roundabout in order to emphasize that all parts of the body contribute to causing the growth of the body
    16d Result: into building itself up in love
    Paul mixes the metaphors of building and organic growth
    in love probably means - by means of love
  • 4:17-24 No longer live as Gentiles, put on the New Self
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    17a-b I am solemnly commanding you this:
    17a Therefore, I am saying this
    17b And I am testifying in the Lord
    A solemn request that has the weight of a command
    17c-24 Live your new life, not your old life
    17c-19 Neg: Don't live like the brokenness of the Gentiles
    17c That you would no longer walk
    "walk" = lifestyle
    17d-19 Like the Gentiles walk in brokenness
    17d-18 As the Gentiles live in futility because of their broken mind and broken relationship with God
    17d As also the gentiles walk in the uselessness/futility of their mind
    Notice 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 areas
    18 Reason: Their mind and relationship with God have been broken
    18a Being darkened in [their] reason/thinking
    Darkness 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 64:6
    18b Being estranged from the life of God
    through the ignorance which is in them
    sin 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 ignorance
    because of the hardening of their heart
    This 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?
    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 ignorant
    This rejection of God's Lordship over our mind automatically entails an estrangement from God
    19 Result: Their moral life is also broken
    19a who, being callous to any sense of right and wrong
    They 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 goes
    19b Who have given themselves over to a lack of moral restraint into all works of moral corruption in covetous desire
    They 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 indecency
    20-24 Pos: But live in the holiness of Christ
    20 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 conversion
    21-24 Reason: You have heard and been taught to live a transformed lifestyle
    21a Since you have heard Him
    Possibly "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 Christ
    21b-c And you were taught truth which is embodied in Jesus
    21b And you were taught in Him
    21c Just as truth is in Jesus
    Notice 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 good
    22-24 To forsake your former lifestyle and be conformed to Christ's lifestyle
    22 [for] you to lay aside, according to [your] former way of life, the old man which is corrupted according tot he deceptive lusts
    According to your former way of life
    Describes "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 life
    The old man
    Paul 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. 3:1-10
    Which is corrupted
    It is deteriorating and being destroyed
    All things of this world are decaying and ultimately will be reduced to nothing
    -cf. book of Ecclesiastes
    According to the deceptive lusts
    Describes "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. 2:10
    23 [for you] to be made new in the spirit of your mind
    Passive - "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 new
    24 And [for you] to be clothed with the new man which is created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the truth
    The 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 Live
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    25 Speak truthfully with one another
    25a-b Speak truth to each other by rejecting falsehood
    25a By putting aside falsehood
    25b Each of you, speak truth with your neighbor
    25c Reason: Because we are members of one another
    26-27 Do not give opportunity to anger or to the devil
    26 Don't let your anger get out of control
    26a-b Get angry in an un-sinful way
    26a Pos: Be wrathful/angry
    26b Neg: And do not sin
    26c Do not let the sun go down upon your angry mood
    27 Neither give place/chance to the devil
    28 Do not steal, but do productive labor
    28a Neg: Let the one who steals no longer steal
    28b-d Pos: But let him work for the private and public good
    28b-c Let him labor with his own hands
    28b But rather, let him labor
    28c By working what is good with his own hands
    28d Purpose: So that you will have [something] to share with the one having need
    29 Speak what is necessary for building up your hearers
    29a-c Don't speak anything corrupting, but speak what is edifying
    29a Neg: Do not let any corrupting, unwholesome word go out from your mouth
    29b-c Pos: But Speak whatever is edifying
    29b But [speak these things]
    29c Condition: If something is good toward whatever is necessary for building up
    29d Condition: If something is good toward whatever is necessary for building up
    30 Don't grieve God's Spirit
    30a And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God
    30b by Whom you have been sealed for the day of redemption
    31 Mortify bad character traits
    Let all bitterness and anger and wrath and argument and slander be removed from you, with all evil
    32 Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another
    32a Be kind and compassionate to one another
    32b-c By forgiving each other just as God forgave you
    32b Forgiving each other
    32c Just as God also forgave you in Christ
  • 5:1-6 Live a life of love, not impurity
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-2 Pos: Be imitators of God and walk in Christ's love
    1 Be imitators of God, as His beloved children
    1a Therefore, be imitators of God
    1b As beloved children [behave]
    2 And walk in Christ's self-sacrificial love
    2a And walk in love
    walk = lifestyle, cf. 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:8, 15
    2b-c Just like Christ loved you and sacrificed Himself for you
    2b Just as Christ also loved you
    We are to love because Christ loved us -cf. 1 Jn. 4:7, 11
    -cf. 4:32 where we are to forgive because Christ forgave us
    2c And He gave Himself to God as an offering and sacrifice for you to be a pleasing aroma
    -cf. v. 25
    3-6 Neg: Avoid the kind of lifestyle that is under God's wrath
    3-5 Avoid non-Christian lifestyle, which leads to non-Christian destiny
    3-4 Avoid inappropriate lifestyle, but be thankful
    3-4b Neg: Don't behave or speak in a non-Christian manner
    3 Do not let any non-Christian behavior be among you
    3a Do not let sexual immorality and all moral corruption or covetousness be named among you
    -cf. v. 5
    sexual immorality is 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 corruption is moral impurity, immorality, this is also a broad term, but typically focuses on sexual sin (notice that the first two terms are joined together)
    on covetousness cf. 4:19
    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 things
    3b Just as is fitting to saints
    4a-b Do not let any non-Christian speech be among you
    4a 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
    shamefulness is behavior that flouts social and moral standards, shamefulness, obscenity BDAG,
        (it results in public disgrace and shame when the society is morally upright)
    foolish talk is any talk that is silly, foolish and/or stupid
    vulgar joking is coarse jesting, vulgar, dirty expressions and indecent content
    4b Which things are not appropriate
    4c Pos: But rather, [let] thanksgiving [be among you]
    5 Reason: Because you know that a non-Christian lifestyle leads to a non-Christian destiny
    5a Recognize this:
    -cf. 1 Sam. 20:3, Jer. 42:22
    5b-c Reason: Knowing that non-Christian lifestyle does not lead to Christian destiny
    5b 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 God
    Notice that the three kinds of people are the same characteristics to be avoided in v. 3
    On one who is sexually immoral -cf. 1 Cor. 5:9, 6:9
    on idolatry -cf. 1 Cor. 5:10-11, 10:7
    inheritance = transcendent salvation as the inheritance of God's children, -cf. 1:14, 18
    6 Therefore: Make no mistake, God punishes these things with wrath
    6a Let no one deceive you with empty words
    empty words words without power or value because they are untrue -cf. 1 Cor. 15:14
    6b Reason: Because the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience because of these things
    on wrath -cf. 2:3
    sons of disobedience = those who are characterized by disobedience, -cf. 2:2
    disobedience is always disobedience toward God, often with the connotation of disbelieving the Gospel, -cf. 2:2
  • 5:7-14 Live as Children of light
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    7-10 Don't be influenced by evil
    7 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 light
    8a-b You have changed
    8a Once you were darkness
    8b Now you are light in the Lord
    8c-10 The implications of this fact
    8c-9 Therefore, you should have a certain manner of life
    8c-d General: The lifestyle of light
    8c As befitting the character of light
    8d Conduct yourself in this way
    9 Specifically: bearing fruit of goodness, righteousness, and peace
    10 In this way [by experience], you will validate what is pleasing to God
    11-14 Instead, influence evil for good
    11a Don't be participators with them
    11b-14 Rebuke them by revealing the truth
    11b-14a Rebuke them by revealing the truth
    11b Expose the works of darkness
    12-14a Reason: Exposing them to light enlightens them
    12 Concession: even though it is shameful to speak of these things
    13-14a Exposing them with light is effectual
    13 the things exposed by the light become known as they really are
    14a Everything revealed as it truly is becomes light
    14b-e This is illustrated in a quote written about this phenomenon
    14b Disclosure formula: It says:
    14c-e Contents of the quote:
    14c-d What happens in conversion:
    14c Wake up O sleeper
    14d And rise from the dead
    14e Result: Christ will shine on you
  • 5:15-21 Live as wise, not unwise
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    15-17 Walk Wisely according to God's will
    15-16 Command: Be careful to live wisely in your limited time
    15 General: Watch that you live wisely, not unwisely
    15a General: Carefully watch how you walk [live]
    15b-c Specifically: Make the most of your time in this corrupt age
    15b Neg: not as the unwise
    15c Pos: but as the wise
    16 Make the most of your time in this corrupt age
    16a Redeeming/making the most of the time/opportunity
    16b Reason: because the days/times/this age are evil/corrupt
    -cf. 6:13, Eccl. 2:23
    17 Therefore: Don't be unwise, but know God's will
    17a because of this do not be foolish
    17b but understand what the Lord's will is
    18-21 Be filled with the Spirit
    18a-b Neg: Don't be drunk, which is debauchery
    18a Do not be drunk with wine
    18b In which is debauchery
    asotia (debauchery) = reckless abandon, wastefulness, dissipation, out of control behavior
    18c-21 Pos: But be filled with the Spirit
    18c Command/Cause: But be filled with/by the Spirit
    Notice 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 Spirit
    19a Speaking to each other
    Notice 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 lyrics
    with Psalms
    Most likely refers to the words of the OT book of Psalms put to music and used in congregational worship
    and Hymns
    Possibly pre-written lyrics put to music and used in congregational worship
    and Spiritual songs
    Possibly spontaneous lyrics composed while singing in congregational worship
    19b-c Singing and making music
    19b Singing
    19c and Psalming
    This word means to sing accompanied with musical instruments
    with your heart
    Not in your heart i.e. silently
    But with your heart i.e. wholeheartedly
    -cf. Fee GEP p. 718 fn. 190
    to the Lord
    20 Always giving thanks
    to the God and Father
    for all things
    in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ
    21 Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ
    Each of the following three section is a specific elaboration of this command for certain household relationships
    (Wives/Husbands [5:22-33])
    (Children/Parents) [6:1-4]
    (Servants/Masters) [6:5-9]
  • 5:22-33 Husbands and Wives
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    22-32 How wives and husbands should behave toward one another
    22-24 How wives should behave toward husbands
    22-23 Wives should submit to their husbands
    22 Wives should submit to their husbands, as to the Lord
    22a Wives, [submit] to your own husbands
    This 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 submission
    however, there are many factors which argue against this interpretation
    The word "one another" in v. 21 is not always reciprocal
    For instance, in Mark 4:41, the disciples asked one another. This does not mean that each disciple asked or received the request equally
    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 submission
    The parallel passage in Col. 3:18 argues against equal submission
    Wives are clearly told to submit to husbands, and husbands are not told to submit to wives.
    A different command is given to husbands in the Colossians passage
    If the submission of v. 21 implied equal submission:
    then 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,
    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 relationship
    And finally, the word "submit" is clearly implied for wives, but a different verb is used for husbands later in this passage
    The standard for the command given to husbands is much higher than the command of submission given to wives
    The husband who faithfully obeys this passage will sacrifice and give much more than the wife will sacrifice and give by voluntarily submitting to her husband
    There 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 phrase
    22b As [you submit] to the Lord
    There are a few implications of this phrase
    First, the necessity of submission to husbands is equated with the necessity of submission to Christ
    i.e. you should submit to husbands, just like you should submit to Christ
    Second, the manner of submission is equated
    i.e. you should submit to husbands in the same way, with the same intensity, with the same mindset and joy, as you submit to Christ
    And Third, the reality of submission is equated
    i.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 Christ
    23 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 head here has the meaning of source
    This view is not defensible lexically or exegetically
    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 head of a river, thereby taken to mean its source
    This example is better explained by the more basic and widely attested meaning of head as 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
    Almost certainly, this word has the primary connotation of authority or superior rank
    See the standard Greek Lexicons
    And this is an attested common meaning for this word in the culture of the time
    head has this meaning in 1:22, Col. 2:10, Judges 11:11 and 2 Sam. 22:44 among others
    And the meaning of superior rank is 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 well
    Many of the objections against the meaning of authority are unnecessary
    These objections would disappear with a closer inspection of the kind of authority, and the way it is exercised, which are described in the following verses
    23b-c This headship models Christ's relationship to the church
    23b As Christ is also head of the church
    -cf. 1:22, 4:15, 2:10
    23c This One is Savior of the body
    24 Therefore: Wives should submit to husbands as the church submits to Christ
    24a As the church submits to Christ
    24b In this same way, also the wives should submit to their husbands in all things
    25-32 How husbands should behave toward wives
    25-31 Husbands should demonstrate Christ-like love to their wives
    25-27 Husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church
    25a Husbands, love your wives
    25b-27 Just like Christ gave His life to make the church holy
    25b-c Just as Christ love and gave Himself for the church
    25b Just as Christ also loved the church
    25c And He gave up Himself on behalf of it
    The 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 holy
    26 That He may purify the church
    26a So that He may make it [the church] holy
    26b by purifying by washing in water by the word
    27 Purpose: so that the church will be completely pure and holy
    27a-b To make a purified, perfected church without imperfections
    27a So that He Himself may present the church to Himself glorious in purity
    27b Not having a blemish or imperfection or anything like that
    27c Rather, that she may be holy and blameless
    28-31 Therefore: husbands take care of your wives in God-designed unity with her
    28-30 Husbands should love and take care of their wives as Christ does to the church
    28 Husbands should love and take care of their wives
    28a-b Husbands should love their wives as they love themselves
    28a Therefore, husbands in this same way ought to love their own wives
    28b As their own body
    This possibly means ...as if they were your own body
    This is not very likely, because the other options make much more sense
    This possibly means ...in the same way that they love their own body
    This makes sense as the standard by which they should love their wives
    Jesus used a similar standard - Love your neighbor as yourself
    but he best option is probably ...because they ARE your own body
    This fits best in context with the next statement (28c)
    This also fits with God's creation purpose for marriage - The two shall become one flesh quoted 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 himself
    29-30 Reason: It is right to take care of your own, like Christ does
    29a Neg: Because no one ever hates his own flesh
    29b-30 Pos: But everyone loves and cherishes his own flesh, like Christ nourishes the church
    29b-c But everyone loves and cherishes his own flesh
    29b But he nourishes [it]
    29c And he cherishes it
    29d-30 Just as Christ nourishes His own body, the church
    29d Just as also Christ [nourishes and cherishes] the church
    30 Reason: Because we are members of His body
    31 Reason: (quoting Gen. 2:24) God has designed the married couple to become one
    31a-b A man will marry a woman
    31a For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
    31b And he will join himself to his wife
    31c Result: And the two will be into one flesh
    32 This is important because marriage demonstrates Christ's relationship with the church
    32a This mystery is important
    32b I am speaking with reference to Christ and with reference to the church
    33 Therefore: Summary of responsibilities of husband and wife
    33a-b The husband must love his wife as himself
    33a Nevertheless, in the same ways, each and every one of you is to love your own wife
    33b As [you love] yourself
    -cf. Matt. 22:39 - Love your neighbor as yourself
    33c-d And the wife must respect her husband
    33c And the wife [is under obligation]
    33d So that she will fear/respect her husband
  • 6:1-4 Parents and Children
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    1-3 Instruction to children:
    1 Children, obey your parents, because it is right to do so
    1a Children, obey your parents in the Lord
    1b Reason: Because this is right
    Obedience 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 standard
    2-3 Reason: God's Fifth Commandment both commands it and promises reward for it
    2 God's command with a promise
    2a Honor your father and mother
    Quoting the fifth of the Ten Commandments - Exod. 20:12
    2b Explanation: This is the first commandment with a promise
    The promise (quoted in v. 3) is part of the original commandment
    3 Purpose: So that you will be blessed
    3a So that it will be well with you
    i.e. so that you will prosper and experience that which is good
    3b And so that you will be/live a long time in the land
    Longevity of life was a key mark of prosperity in Bible times
    4 Instruction to Fathers [parents]:
    4a Neg: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger
    i.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 instruction
    4b Pos: But bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
    discipline = 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 Masters
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    5-8 Servants, Obey your masters, because God will reward you
    5-7 Servants, wholeheartedly serve your masters, as if serving the Lord
    5-6b Servants, genuinely, wholeheartedly obey your masters
    5 Servants, obey your masters as you obey Christ
    5a Servants, be obedient to [your] masters according to the flesh
    The connotation of obedience is to hear and then respond appropriately
    masters according to the flesh = earthly masters
    master is the same word as Lord in the original language
    With fear and trembling
    -cf. Phil. 2:12, 2 Cor. 7:15, 1 Cor 2:3
    In integrity of your heart
    i.e. wholehearted obedience, not just lip-service or obeying with a bad attitude
    5b As [you are obedient] to Christ
    Not 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 Christ
    6a-d Not just faking it, but actually obeying from the heart
    6a-b Neg: Don't just pretend to be obedient in order to satisfy selfishness
    6a Not [obeying] according to eye-service
    i.e. service that is only done to make an impression when someone watching, not done sincerely
    -cf. Col. 3:22
    6b As a man-pleaser
    i.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 passage
    6c-d Pos: But obey as a servant of Christ
    6c But [obey]
    6d As servants of Christ
    This is probably both the standard and the reason
    Standard - obey just like a servant of Christ should obey
    Standard - obey just like you obey Christ
    Reason - obey because you are a servant of Christ
    6e-7 The way in which you should obey: Eagerly and wholeheartedly, as to God
    6e Doing the will of God from [your] soul
    i.e. from the heart, gladly, cf. Col. 3:23
    7 Serve with eagerness, as if you were serving the Lord
    7a Serving with eagerness/willingness
    7b-c As serving the Lord, not men
    Your 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 Lord
    7c Neg: And not as serving men
    8 Reason: You know God's character and promise to reward virtue
    8a Because you know that:
    Literally, knowing that, - the context shows that what follows gives the reason for obedience
    8b-e God will reward your good service
    8b Condition: If you do something good
    8c-e You will receive a reward, no matter who you are
    8c Each will receive a reward for this from the Lord
    God'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 good
    8d-e Specifically: No matter who you are
    Paul 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 slave
    8e or whether you are free
    9 Masters, treat your slaves well, because God will reward you
    9a-b Masters, treat your slaves well, without harming them
    9a Masters, do the same kinds of things to them
    Treat your servants with the same manner of kindness, and with the same kind of attitude
    9b Stopping from threatening them
    The 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 harm
    9c-e Reason: You know that God will judge you as well
    9c Because you know that:
    9d-e The same Lord will judge you both with the same standard
    9d Their Lord and your Lord is in heaven
    The 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 justice
    9e There is no favoritism with Him
    God 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 Lord
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    Finally
    connecting 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. 4:17
    11-20 How to be strong in the Lord:
    11-13 Prepare for battle
    11-12 Put on the full armor of God in order to be able to stand against spiritual attack
    11 Put on the full armor of God in order to be able to stand
    -cf. Rom 13:12, Col. 3:12, 2 Cor. 10:4
    11a Take up the full armor of God
    -cf. 4:1-3, 14-15, 17, 24, 5:1, 8, 9, 15, etc. = character
    11b 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. 5:8-9
    12 Reason: We have spiritual enemies attacking us
    12a Neg: Our fight is not with humans
    12b Pos: Our fight is with evil spiritual powers
    With the rulers
    With the authorities
    With the world-rulers of this darkness
    With 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. 3
    13 Because of this, take up the full armor of God
    13a Take up the full armor of God
    This 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 victorious
    13b to be able [to do two things]:
    13c-e The two things:
    13c to withstand [the attack] in the day of evil
    13d-e To stand vicgtorious in the end
    13d After having accomplished all [these] things
    13e to stand
    To stand victorious, holding the ground that was defended
    14-17 Fight when the battle comes
    14a Therefore, stand
    To stand in resistance, not looking to make the first strike, leaving the initiative to God
    -cf. Exo. 14:13
    14b-17 How to stand your ground in the fight:
    14b Having girded your waist with truth
    Be prepared and ready with the truth
    -cf. Isa. 11:5, 1 Pet. 1:13, Lk. 12:35
    14c Having put on the breastplate of righteousness
    Righteousness protects from the accusations of the enemy, which are one of his chief weapons
    -cf. Isa. 59:16-17, 1 Thes. 5:8
    15 Having equipped your feet with the preparedness of the Gospel of peace
    Have the readiness of the Gospel of peace under your feet
    -cf. Isa. 52:7, Rom. 10:15, Nah. 1:15
    16 Having protected yourself from the evil ones lies with faith
    16a Having taken up the shield of faith
    Faith protects from the deception of the enemy, which are one of his chief weapons
    16b Reason: by which you are able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil one
    his burning arrows are lies and deceptions, which are countered by trusting God and His promises instead of believing the lies
    17 Take hold of the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit
    17a Take hold of the helmet of salvation
    Salvation protects our mindsets and thinking
    17b-c And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
    17b And [take hold of] the sword of the Spirit
    This is the only offensive weapon (which can also be used defensively)
    17c Which is the Word of God
    The 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. 4:12
    18-20 Watch for attack and work for the advance of the Gospel
    18 Be on the lookout for attack - watch and pray, be on your guard
    -cf. Mk. 14:38 (cp. Mk. 13:33-37), Lk. 21:36
    18a 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 20
    18b Being vigilant for the same reason in perseverance and prayer concerning all the saints
    -cf. 1 Pet. 4:7, 1 Tim. 2:1, Matt. 26:41
    19-20 The offensive - the preaching of the Gospel
    -cf. 2 Tim. 4:16-18
    19-20a Pray that God would empower me (Paul) to preach the Gospel
    19a And [pray] for me
    19b-20a Purpose: That God may give me to boldly proclaim the Gospel
    19b So that a word may be given to me when I open my mouth
    19c-20a Result: That I may boldly proclaim the Gospel
    19c That freely and boldly I may make known the mystery of the Gospel
    -cf. Acts 4:29, Col. 4:3-4, 2 Thes. 3:1
    20a On behalf of which I have become an ambassador in chains
    20b-c Purpose: So that I may speak freely and boldly
    20b So that I may speak freely and boldly
    20c As it is necessary for me to speak
6:21-24 Conclusion
  • 6:21-24 Final Greetings
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    21-22 Provision for news about Paul
    21 Tychicus will tell you my news so that you will be informed
    21a Purpose: So that you also may know the things relating to me - what I am doing
    21b Tychicus - the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord - will make all things [about me] known to you
    22 I sent him so that you may know the news and be encouraged
    22a Whom I sent to you for the same [purpose]
    22b-c Purpose: So that you may hear our news and be encouraged
    22b So that you may know the things concerning us
    22c And [so that] he may encourage/comfort your hearts
    23 Peace Wish: May peace and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be to the brothers
    24 Blessing: May grace be with all those loving our Lord Jesus Christ without ceasing