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4:1 - 6:20   Doctrinal    As to our State
(4:1-16) Ecclesiastical Among themselves; as being members of the one Body
(4:17-5:21) Spiritual Among Others
(5:22-6:9) Domestic Among Themselves
(6:10-20) Spiritual Among Others

4:1-3     Exhortation

(1)  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 
(2)  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
(3)  Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

        The Prisoner
We come now to an important dividing point in this letter. The first three chapters contain doctrine, the last three, exhortation. This is the proper order, for only in doctrine can one see the sweet reasonableness of the exhortations, and obtain the necessary power and technique to obey them. In brief, God says in chapters 1-3, “I have made you a saint.” In chapters 4-6, He says, “Now, live a saintly life

Paul designates himself as the prisoner in the Lord. “In” is ‘en’ followed by the locative of sphere. He was the prisoner in the sphere of the Lord. Expositors says, “It expresses the Sphere within which his captivity subsisted or the Ground of that captivity. He was a prisoner because of his connection with Christ, the Lord, and for no other reason. As in chapter 3, so here the idea of the dignity of his office seems to lie behind the mention of his imprisonment

        The Balance

Worthy     ‘axios’
An adverb, meaning “in a manner worthy of The adjective form means “having the weight of (weighing as much  as) another thing Thus, Paul exhorts the Ephesian saints to see to it that their Christian experience, the Christian life they live, should weigh as much as the profession of Christianity which they make. In other words, they are to see to it that their experience measures up to their standing in grace.  

        A State of Mind
This Christian behavior is to be accompanied by all lowliness, that is, “all possible lowliness, every kind of lowliness,” not, “the sum total of lowliness  The word is ‘tapeinophrosune,’ which in pagan Greek meant only abject servility, slavishness, a groveling, mean-spirited disposition, but in the New Testament has been glorified in its meaning. Trench says of this word: “The Christian Lowliness is no mere modesty or absence of pretension, nor yet a self-made grace. The making of ourselves small is pride in the disguise of humility. But the esteeming of ourselves small, inasmuch as we are so, the thinking truly, and because truly, therefore, lowly of ourselves.” The word is used in an early secular manuscript of the Nile River at its low stage, “it runs low

Expositors defines it: "the lowliness of mind which springs from a true estimate of ourselves - a deep sense of our own moral smallness and demerit." As compared with God not with other people.

        A Realm of Action
is 'prautetos.' Trench defines it as follows: "It is an inward grace of the soul and the exercises of it are first and chiefly toward God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing. This meekness before God is also such in the face of man."

Long-suffering is 'makrothumia.' Trench, contrasting this word with 'hupomone' (patience) says: "Makrothumia (long-suffering) will be found to express patience with respect to persons, hupomoni, patience in respect of things. 

Patience  In Circumstances
Long-suffering With People

The man who is long-suffering, is he who, having to do with injurious persons, does not suffer himself easily to be provoked by them, or to blaze up in anger (II Tim. 4:2). The man who is patient is the one who under a great siege of trials, bears up and does not lose courage."

Forbearing is 'anecho,' :to hold up, to sustain, to bear with equanimity, to bear with, endure," In love!

We are to bear with one another "in love." It is in the sphere of love that the Holy Spirit produces in the heart of the yielded believer (Gal. 5:22), that

        A Determined Effort
The words, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," are further description of the mutual forbearance which is spoken of in the previous verse. "Endeavoring" is 'spoudazo,' "to take care, make haste, do one's best." It speaks of a determined effort. It has the idea of exertion in it.

The unity, therefore, which is wrought among these Ephesians by the Spirit of God will be theirs in so far as they make peace the relation which they maintain one to another, or the bond in which they walk together. (Wuest)


(4)  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
(5)  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(6)  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

        The Connection
Vincent gives us the connection between what has preceded and these verses. The connection with the preceding verses is as follows; "I exhort you to Unity, for you stand related to the Church, which is One Body in Christ; to the One Spirit who informs it; to the One Hope which your calling inspires; to the One Lord, Christ, in whom you believe with One Common Faith, and receive One Common Sign of that faith, Baptism. Above all, to the One God, and Father." Expositors says, "It is a positive statement…..giving the objective ground or basis in fact on which the walk in lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, and loving forbearance is urged, and of which it should be the result."

        Christ Mystical  -  In General
The Body
is the invisible Church, the Mystical Body of Christ composed of believers saved between Pentecost when the Church was formed and the Rapture when the Church will be caught out of this earth and taken to heaven.

The Spirit is the Holy Spirit.

The Hope of our Calling is "the hope which is characteristic of God's call to salvation, and is engendered by it" (Vincent). 

Faith is not the Christian Faith as a system of doctrine and its respective responsibilities. It refers to the principle of faith by means of which all the saints enter into salvation.

One Baptism is 'hen baptisma.' Why should all the other words be translated, and this alone be transliterated? Why should the A.V. and commentators transliterate the word, interpreting the Greek word as referring to the rite of water baptism when the entire context is supernatural, even to the faith exercised by the believer in appropriating salvation? The words translated are "one placing into." This is, in response to our act of faith, we were placed by the Holy Spirit into the Body of which Christ is the Head. This is one of the unites vitally related to our salvation, and upon which Paul bases his plea for unity in the Church. There was and is one common placing into the Body of Christ. 

(7)  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
(8)  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
(10)  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

       Christ Mystical  -  In Particular
From the Church as a whole, he passes to its individual members. In the general unity, the individual is not overlooked, and unity is consistent with variety of gifts and offices. (Vincent) Expositors comments: "The article defined 'charis' (grace) as the grace of which the writer and his fellow-believers had experience, which they knew to have been given them, and by which God worked in them. What is given is not the 'charisma' (extraordinary powers such as special gifts) but the 'charis' (grace), the subjective grace that works within and shows itself in its result - the 'charism,' the gracious faculty or quality. The emphasis is on the 'hekastoi' (to each one), and the 'de' (but) is rather the adversative particle than the transitional. It does not merely mark a change from one subject to another, but sets 'the each' over against the 'all,' and this in connection with the injunction to keep the unity of the Spirit. God's gracious relation to all is a relation also to each Individual. Not one of them was left unregarded by Him who is the God and Father of all, but each was made partaker of Christ's gift of grace, and each, therefore stands pledged to do his part toward maintenance of unity and peace."     (Wuest)

Though "one" in our common connection with "one Lord, one faith, &c., one God," yet "each one of us" has assigned to him his own particular gift, to be used for the good of the whole: none is overlooked; none therefore can be dispensed with for the edification of the Church. (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)


        The Conqueror
The reference seems to be to Psalms 68:18, which, however it may speak of the removal of the Tabernacle, appears to have been intended to point out the glorious ascension of Christ after his resurrection from the dead. The expositions of various commentators have made the place extremely difficult. I shall not trouble my reader with them; they may be seen in "Rosenmuller."

WHEN HE ASCENDED UP ON HIGH: The whole of this verse, as it stands in the psalm, seems to refer to a military triumph.  For instance, the following phrase: "Thou hast ascended on high:"   The Conqueror was placed in a very elevated chariot. 
"Thou hast led captivity captive:"  The conquered kings and generals were usually bound behind the chariot of the conqueror, to grace the triumph. 
"Thou hast received gifts for (Paul, "given gifts unto") men:"  At such times the conqueror was want to throw money among the crowd.  even to the rebellious: those who had fought against him now submit unto him, and share his munificence, for it is the property of a hero to be generous.  
"That the Lord God might dwell among them:"  The conqueror being now come to fix his abode in the conquered provinces, and subdue the people to his laws.  All this the apostle applies to the resurrection, ascension, and glory of Christ; though it has been doubted by some learned men whether the psalmist had this in view.

I (Clarke) shall not dispute about this; it is enough for me that the apostle, under the inspiration of God, applied the verse in this way; and whatever David might intend, and of whatever event he might have written, we see plainly that the sense in which the apostle uses it was the sense of the Spirit of God; for the Spirit in the Old and New Testaments is the same.

The gifts which Jesus Christ distributes "to man" he has received "in man" in and by virtue of his "incarnation;" and it is in consequence of his being made man that it may be said, "The Lord God dwells among them:" for Jesus was called Emanuel, God with us, in consequence of his incarnation. This view of the subject is consistent with the whole economy of grace, and suits well with the apostle's application of the words of the psalmist in this place. 

          He Descended

The contents of these verses "are parenthetical, showing what the ascension of Christ presupposes. By descending into the depths and ascending above all, He entered upon His function of filling the whole universe, in virtue of which function He distributes gifts to men…….His ascent implies a previous descent" (Vincent).

Our Lord, between His death on the Cross and His resurrection from the tomb, went to two places in the unseen world. Peter says: "For Christ also once for all died for sins, a just Person in behalf of unjust persons, in order that He might provide for us an "entree" into the presence of God, having been put to death on the one hand with respect to the spirit (His human spirit), in which spirit also to the imprisoned spirits proceeding, He made a proclamation, to those who were non-persuadable aforetime when the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being gotten ready" (I Peter 3:18-20). This place is called 'Tartarosas,' the prison house of the fallen angels (II Peter 2:4). 

What He proclaimed to them is not specifically stated. The verb "preached" is not 'euaggelizomai,' "to preach the gospel," but 'kerusso,' "to make a proclamation," The other place He went to was the place for departed human beings, called "Paradise" (Luke 23:43), or "Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:22). He, as the Man Christ Jesus, went to the place of the righteous dead. (Wuest)

        The Purpose

: In Greek, the action is continued to the present time, both "might" and "may fill," viz., with His Divine presence and Spirit, not with His glorified body. "Christ, as God, Is present everywhere; as glorified man, He CAN be present anywhere." (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

4:11       The Devine Gift 

(11)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

AND HE GAVE SOME: The men who filled the office, no less than the office itself, were a Divine gift.  Ministers did not give themselves. As the apostles, prophets, and Evangelists were special and extraordinary ministers; so "pastors and teachers" are the ordinary stated ministers of a particular flock, including, probably, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons. Evangelists were itinerant preachers……..as contrasted with stationary pastors and teachers.
(Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

The Apostle  corresponds today to our Home and Foreign Missionary who, having established a work in a new territory, leaves it with a capable Pastor, and goes on toe found and establish ever another new work.
The Prophet  is one who not only foretells future happenings, but he also has to deal with the present and the past, in instructing men in God's ways. The Westminster Dictionary says: "The 'prophets,' accordingly, is not a predictor, but one who speaks forth that which he has received from the Divine Spirit. The prophet speaks for, or in behalf of, another; he is the mouthpiece or the spokesman of God. He is a forthteller rather than a fore-teller." The office of the Prophet can be fulfilled by any of the other four offices.* This can be accomplished through the gift of Prophecy found in I Corinthians 12. Note there is a difference between the gift of Prophecy and the office of the Prophet who has a definite call and position in the Church. (The Acts 21:10; I Cor. 14:29)
The Office of the Prophet is not to be confused with the Gift of Prophecy dealt with in I Corinthians 12 and 14.
The Evangelist  is a messenger of good tidings. Unlike the Pastor, he does not stay in one place, and unlike the apostle, he does not raise up new churches; but it is his job to stir up those already in existence to a closer walk with the Lord, and to step up efforts at Evangelism, or bringing new lambs into the fold.
The Pastor  is the "overseer", sometimes called the bishop. In the direct line of Divine authority, he is the Head of the local assembly. For further information on the responsibility and authority of the local pastor, see the study of I & II Timothy, and Titus.
The Teacher  from the Greek 'didaskalous' (to teach, give instruction in detail). A teacher is one who stimulates the learning process in the pupil. He not only "tells" the pupil the desired information, but he teaches the pupil how to search out the Truth for himself. The office of the Teacher can be fulfilled by any other of the other four offices.**
** Wuest points out that the words "pastors" and "teachers" are in a construction called Granvill Sharp's rule which indicates that they refer to one individual. He says that the one who shepherds God's flock is also a teacher of the Word, having both the gifts of shepherding and teaching the flock. As we see in the study of I and II Timothy, God's ideal pastor is one who engages in a didactic ministry, feeding the saints on expository preaching, giving them the rich food of the Word. Paul points out that the bishop is to be "skilled" in teaching the Word. (Bower)

4:12       To Make Us Perfect 

These gifted men are given the Church "for the perfecting of the saints." 
The word "perfecting" is 'katartizo,' "to equip for service." These gifted men are to specialize in equipping the saints for "the work of the ministry," that is, for ministering work, in short, Christian service. This is in order that the Body of Christ, the Church, might be built up, by additions to its membership in lost souls being saved, and by the building up of individual saints. (Wuest)

All these various officers, and the gifts and graces conferred upon them, were judged necessary, by the great Head of the Church, for its full instruction in the important doctrines of Christianity. 

The same officers and gifts are still necessary, and God gives them; but they do not know their places.  In most Christian churches there appears to be but one office: that of "preacher," and one gift, that by which he professes to preach.  The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are all compounded in the class "Preachers;" and many, to whom God has given nothing but the gift of exhortation, take texts to explain them; and thus lose their time, and their ministry. (Clarke)

4:13       A Continuing Process 

"Till" is 'mechri,' "as far as, unto, until." Expositors says: "The statement of the great object of Christ's gifts and provision made by Him for its fulfillment is now followed by a statement of the Time this provision and the consequent service are to last, or the point at which the great end in view is to be realized.

It is when the members of the Church have all come to their proper unity and maturity in their Head…….Paul gives no clear indication of the Time, and it may be, therefore, that he has in view only the goal itself and the attainment of it at whatever time that may take effect."

"Come" is 'katantao,' "to arrive at, to attain to."  it is a goal to be striven after. Translate:  "until we all attain to the unanimity of the faith."  The faith here is faith as exercised in Christ.  It is the oneness of faith in Christ.  Alford asks: "Have not all Christians the same faith?  No doubt they have as regards its substance, but not as regards its clearness and purity; because the object of faith may be diversely known, and knowledge has ever such a powerful influence on faith.  Therefore, he adds to this unity of faith, 'and of the knowledge of the Son of God'; true and full unity of faith is then found, when  all thoroughly know Christ, the object of faith, alike, and that in His highest dignity as the Son of God."

4:14      No More Circles 

(14)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

"Children"   is  'nepios',  literally,  "that which does not talk"  thus, "an infant, a little child." 
It is the opposite of teleios,  "mature."

"Tossed to and fro"  is  'kludonizo',  a nautical term meaning  "to be tossed by the waves." 
Metaphorically, "to be agitated

"Carried about"  is  'peripheral' ,  "to carry around"
The verb has the idea of carrying about in circles, 

"Doctrine"  is  'didaskalia',  "teaching," 
Vincent says, "The different teachings of philosophers or of religious quacks are represented as winds, blowing the unstable soul in every direction."

"Sleight"  is  'kubeia',  literally, "dice-playing" 
Expositors  "It is in the character, not of Gamesters,  but Deceivers that the false teachers are immediately presented.  This  'sleight of men'  is in contrast with 'the faith and the knowledge of Christ.'  It is in contrast with the pure, sure word of God by which the faith and knowledge of the Son of God came,             

4:15, 16 

(15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
(16)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

     In Love

The phrase "in love" qualifies "speaking the truth." 
Alford says: "'In love' is added, as the element in which the Christian 'speaking the truth' must take place; it is not and cannot be a 'speaking the truth' at all hazards  -  but must be conditioned by love: a true-seeking and true-being with loving caution and kind allowance - not breaking up, but cementing brotherly love by walking in truth."

All that is spoken must be true. But if a comment will be hurtful or demeaning, then let it remain unspoken.

     Fitly Joined

Paul uses the analogy of a human head and a human body to illustrate the relation of the Lord Jesus as the Head to His Body, the Church.  Each saint being a member of that body, and Christ as the Head is the source of growth and well-being of each member,

"Fitly joined together"  is  'sunarmologeo',  "to join closely together." In the Greek text,  a present participle.  This process is still going on. 

"Compacted"  is  'sunbibazo',  "to cause to coalesce, to unite or knit together." This is also a present participle, speaking of a process going on.  So far we have, "From whom as a source, all the body being constantly joined closely together and growing constantly together." 
This process in which the members of the Body of Christ are being joined closely together and are growing together in a vital union, is brought about "by that which every joint supplies."

The entire Body composed of individual saints, constantly being more closely joined together and constantly growing together into a union through the life of the Head flowing through the bands of supply that join its members together, does so "according to the measure of every part,"

"Effectual working" are the translation of  'energeia',   "working, efficiency".
 It speaks of power in exercise, operative power.

"According to"  is  'kata', "down."   The word speaks of control, domination. 

     Each Part Working Properly

"Measure,"  is  'metron',  "an instrument for measuring, a vessel for receiving and determining the quantity of things, determined extent, portion measured off."   

The life of the Head flowing through the bands of supply, is constantly joining together and causing to grow together the individual members.  
This process being controlled or dominated by the operative energy put forth.  
The volume or strength of this operative energy coming from the Head of the Body. 
Being determined by the capacity of each part to hold and allow to operate in him or her. 
That is, the degree to which this life of the Head flowing through the members operates, joining  more closely together into a more compact union, is determined by the individual believer's fellowship with the Lord and fellow believers.
This more compactly built Body will show in the closer ties of Christian love and brotherhood as exhibited by the believers in their Christian experience.

Expositors sums it up by saying, "The idea appears to be that the body is fitly framed and knit to-ether by means of the joints, every one of them in its own place and function, as the points of connection between member and member, and the points of communication between the different parts and the supply which comes from the Head. The joints are the constituents of union in the body and the media of the impartation of the life drawn by the members from the head."


(17)  This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
(18)  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
(19)  Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

     Do Not Live Like The Others

Ye are called to holiness by the Gospel, the other Gentiles have no such calling; walk not as they walk. In this and the two following verses the apostle gives a most awful account of the conduct of the heathens who were without the knowledge of the true God.  I shall note the particulars.


(1) They Walked in the vanity of their mind.
In the foolishness of their mind; want of genuine wisdom is that to which the apostle refers, and it was through this that the Gentiles became addicted to every species of idolatry; and they fondly imagined that they could obtain help from gods which were the work of their own hands!


(2) Having the understanding darkened
This is the second instance alleged by the apostle of the degradation of the Gentiles, Having no means of knowledge, the heart, naturally dark, became more and more so by means of habitual transgression every thing in the Gentile system having an immediate tendency to blind the eyes and darken the whole soul.


(3) Being alienated from the life of God
The original design of God was to live in man; and the life of God in the soul  of man was that by which God intended to make man happy, and without which true happiness was never found by any human spirit.  From this through the ignorance that was in them,  through the substantial or continually existing ignorance, which there was nothing to instruct, nothing to enlighten; for the most accurate writings of their best philosophers left them entirely ignorant of the real  nature of God.  And if they had no correct knowledge of the true God they could have no religion; and if no religion, no morality, Their moral state became so wretched that they are represented as abhorring every thing spiritual and pure.  They abhorred every thing that had a tendency to lay any restraint on their vicious passions and inclinations. 

Callous Hearts

(4)  Blindness of their heart 
Because of the callousness of their hears. Callous signifies a
thickening of the outward skin of any particular part, especially on the

Past Feeling

(5) Who being past feeling
The verb signifies:
1 - To throw off all sense of shame, and to be utterly devoid of pain, for committing unrighteous acts.
2 -
To be desperate, having neither hope nor desire of reformation; in a word, to be without remorse, and to be utterly regardless of conduct, character, or final blessedness. Being without hope both in this world and in the world to come. 


(6) Have given themselves over unto lasciviousness 
Lasciviousness is here personified. This is a true picture of the pagan world:  uncleanness, lechery, and debauchery of every kind, flourished among them without limit or restraint. Almost all their gods and goddesses were of this character.

Totally Depraved

(7) To work all uncleanness with greediness
This is a complete finish of the most abandoned character.  To
DO an unclean act is bad, to LABOR in it is worse, to LABOR IN ALL UNCLEANNESS is worse still; but to do this IN EVERY CAST to the utmost
with a desire exceeding time, place, opportunity, and strength, is worst of all, and leaves nothing more profligate or more abandoned to be described or imagined. Just as Ovid plaints the drunken Silenus, whose wantonness survives his strength and keeps alive his desires, though old age has destroyed the power of gratification:

Thee also, O Silenus, of inextinguishable lust, they inflame;
Thou art old in every thing except in lust.

Such was the state of the Gentiles before they were blessed with the light of the Gospel; and such is the state of those nations who have not yet received the Gospel; and such is the state of multitudes of those in "Christian countries" who refuse to receive the Gospel, endeavor to decry it, and to take refuge in the falsities of infidelity against the testimony of eternal Truth.           (Clarke)

4:20, 21

(20)  But ye have not so learned Christ;
(21)  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

     To Learn Christ

"Ye" (humeis)  is emphatic. It is, "as for you, in contradistinction to the Gentiles yet unsaved." 
The Greek order of words is, "But as for you, not thus did you learn the Christ."  The aorist tense marks a specific time.  It was at their conversion.  
Vincent says:  "The phrase 'learn Christ' occurs no- where else, Christ does not stand for the doctrine of Christ; but Christ is the subject of His own message."  
Expositors says.- "nor can it be taken to mean 'learned to know Christ.' Christ must be taken as the object of the learning, and the form  'the Christ,'  especially looking to the following  'Jesus' (v.21), probably indicates that the official sense is in view here. ... The Christ, the Messiah. He personally - that was the contents of the preaching which they heard, the sum of the instruction they received and the knowledge they gained then."

"By Him" is 'en autoi"  in Him."   It is, "in Him you were instructed." 
Expositors says  "en autoi (in Him)  is not to be reduced to 'by Him,'  or  'about Him,'  or  'in His name,'  but has its proper sense of  'in Him,' The underlying idea is that of union with Christ. The 'taught,' therefore, refers probably to instructions subsequent to those which were given them at their first hearing.  It was in Fellowship with Christ that they received these instructions."       (Wuest)

4:22 - 24

(22)  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
(23)  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
(24)  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    The Putting Off

The expression  "the old man"  refers to the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature.  
The expression  "to put off"  is a figure taken from the putting off of garments.  

Paul, in Romans 6:6 says: "Knowing this, that our old man (that person we were before we were saved) was crucified with Him in order that the physical body which before salvation was dominated by the totally depraved nature, might be rendered inoperative in that respect, to the end that no longer are we rendering an habitual slave's obedience to sin.

Translation plus paraphrase: "It was in our identification with Christ in His crucifixion that potentially we put off the old man, and we did so actually at the moment we were saved. 

"Is corrupt" is a present participle. The idea is, "which is being corrupted."  It speaks of the progressive condition of 
corruption which characterized the old man. The unsaved person is thus subject to a continuous process of corruption which grows worse as time goes on. 

    The Renewal

In our Christian experience they are being renewed in the spirit of our minds. 
The word "spirit" refers to the individual's human spirit, that part of him which gives him God-consciousness, that makes him a moral agent. 
Vincent comments: "The apostle's object is to set forth the moral self-activity of the Christian life. Hence 'pneuma' (spirit) is here the higher life-principle in man by which the human reason, viewed on its moral side - the organ 
of moral thinking and knowing is informed. The renewal takes place, not in "the mind,"  but in the spirit. 

    The Putting On

They "put on the new man." 
The word .'new" is' kainos',  not new in point of time, which would be 'neos,'  but new in point of quality. new in 
quality as opposed to the old in the sense of outworn, marred through age. which latter designations refer to the old man. 
Since the old man refers to the unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature, the new man refers to the saved person dominated by the divine nature. This new man "after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."   This is what Paul has reference to when he says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation" (II Cor. 5:17).

    The Continual Process

Even as the old nature is progressively becoming more and more corrupt, so must the old man be continually  "put off."  And even as we continually put off the old man, so is the process of renewal a continual process. We must continually put off  the old.  

The Holy Spirit continually renews us in the spirit of our mind; and even as the putting off is continual, and the renewal is continual, so is the  "putting on" a continual process. And even as the "putting off"  is our responsibility, so is the "putting on" our responsibility. 

The putting off and putting on is the action of our will - we willingly, consciously yield to the renewing of the Holy Spirit. We Let Him renew us. 
This is Sanctification. This is becoming progressively more like Him.  
This is being transformed into His image.  
And even though it can be sometimes painful (but only when we fail to yield),  it is the most wonderful and glorious experience a person can have in this life. 

    A Synopsis

At this point we will take a little time out to look at the construction of this large section. 

Chapters 1 -3 Paul presents doctrine.
The Fact of the exalted position of the believer in Christ. (Based on faith in the Blood of Jesus) 
Chapters 4 - 6 Exhortation based upon the doctrine.
Sweet reasonableness of the exhortation and the ability of the saint to obey it (based on the doctrine - which is the Fact mentioned above) 
Chapter  4:1-3 The apostle starts his hortatory section with general exhortations.
Chapter 4:4-16 The gifted men given the Church by God.
Their ministry should help the saints obey the exhortations.
Chapter 4:17-25 Shows the tremendous change wrought in the believer.
1. They put off the old man
2. They are being renewed in the inner man
3. They have put on (or, rather, are putting on) the new man (which is Christ Himself)

4:25    Always Speak The Truth

(25)  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

SPEAK EVERY MAN TRUTH WITH HIS NEIGHBOR: Truth was but of small account among many of even the best heathens, for they taught that on many occasions a lie was to be preferred to the truth itself. 

Dr. Whitby records some examples: 

"A lie is better than a hurtful truth."  --   Menander
"Good is better than truth" -- Proclus
"When telling a lie will be profitable, let it be told"  -- Darius
"He may lie who knows how to do it in a suitable time."  --  Plato
"There is nothing decorous in truth but when it is profitable; sometimes truth is. hurtful, and lying is profitable to men. "  --  Maximus

Having been brought up in such a loose system of morality. these converted Gentiles had need of these apostolic directions.  What a contrast to the life of the believer:

"Put away lying; speak the truth!" 
Let lying never come near you; let truth be ever present with you.

    Speak The Truth In Love

Union among the followers of Christ is strongly recommended.
How can spiritual brethren fall out by the way? Have they not all one Father, all one Head?  Do they not form one Body, and are they not all Members of each other? Would it not be monstrous to see the nails pulling out the eyes, the hands tearing off  the flesh from the body, the teeth biting out the tongue?  And is it less so to see the members of a Christian society bite and devour each other, till they are consumed one of another? 

Every member of the mystical body of Christ should labor for the comfort and edification of the whole, and the honor of the Head.  He that would live a quiet life, and keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, must be as backward to take offence as to give it. Would all act on this plan we should soon have glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will among men. (Clarke) 

"Speak ye truth each one with his neighbor,"  is quoted, slightly changed, from Zechariah 8:16. 
For "to," he quotes it "with," to mark our inner connection with one another, as "members one of another."  Not merely members of one body. Union to one another in Christ, not merely the external command, instinctively leads Christians to fulfill mutual duties.  One member could not injure or deceive another, without injuring himself. 
(Jamieson, Fausset & Brown) 

The Maxim: All that we speak must be true!
The Qualifier: All that is spoken must be spoken in Love!  (4:15)

If we are to truly "put on" Christ, we will do and say only that which will edify and build up the body of Christ.

(26)  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
(27)  Neither give place to the devil.

   Righteous Anger

Should circumstances arise to call for anger on your part, let it be as Christ's anger (Mark ):5),  without sin. Our natural feelings are not wrong when directed to their legitimate object, and when not exceeding due bounds. 
Indignation at dishonor done to God, and wrong to man, is justifiable anger. 

Passion is sinful (derived from "passio," suffering: ) implying that amidst seeming energy, a man is really passive, the slave of his anger, instead of ruling it.

    Sinful Wrath
"Wrath" is absolutely forbidden.  
"Put it away before sunset" (when the Jewish day began), is proverbial for put it away At Once before another day begin (Deut.24:15); also before you part with your brother for the night, perhaps never in this world to meet again.
Do not let your anger at another's wickedness verge into hatred, or contempt, or revenge.
Do not cling to your "righteous anger" until it becomes sinful wrath.

   A Matter of Motive

There are three words for "anger" in the Greek New Testament:

"Thumos" speaks of a turbulent commotion, the boiling agitation of the feelings, passion, anger boiling up and soon subsiding, which is forbidden in Ephesians 4:31. 
"Parorgismos," translated "wrath" in this verse, is also forbidden. It refers to anger that is accompanied by irritation, exasperation, embitterment.
"Orge" is an anger which is an abiding and settled habit of the mind that is aroused under certain conditions. This is the anger spoken of in the words, "be ye angry and sin not." in the first part of this verse.   
There is a 'wrath of God' (Matt 3:7, Rom.12:19) ; who would not love good unless He hated evil, the two being so inseparable, that either He must do both or neither. 
A wrath also of the merciful Son of Man (Mk.3:5).
A wrath which righteous men not merely may, but, as they are righteous, must feel
Nor can there be a surer or sadder token of an utterly prostrate moral condition than the not being able to be angry with sin.     (Wuest) 

The question is one of motive and origin. Is the anger an issue of the Spirit of God in us rising up against sin itself, 
or is it our own human spirit rising up against our fellow man (whether or not "they should know better" ) ? 
Are we in a battle against "principalities and powers of the air," or are we fighting with flesh and blood? The Spirit of God is fierce and merciless against any form of evil, yet He is loving and merciful to those caught in the snare of the devil. If not, where would we be?

   Squelch Satan

This is in a construction in Greek which forbids the continuance of an action already going on.   It is literally, "And stop giving place. " (Wuest) 
As the word  diabolos  is sometimes used to signify a tale-bearer, whisperer, or backbiter; here it may have the same significance:  Do not open your ear to the tale-bearer, to the slanderer, who comes to you with accusations against your brethren, or with surmisings and evil speakings. They may be the means of making you angry, even without any solid pretence; therefore give them no place, that you may not be angry at any time; but if, unhappily, you should be overtaken in this fault, let not the sun go down upon your wrath, go to your brother, against whom you have found your spirit irritated; tell him what you have heard, and what you fear; let your ears be open to receive his own account; carefully listen to his own explanation' and, if possible, let the matter be finally settled, that Satan may not gain advantage over either. (Clarke)

We must be careful not to give place to satan by "going to our brother."  There are times (especially when it is our own feeling or reputation that is at stake) when it is better to drop the whole thing and leave it in the capable hands of the Lord. This is why we need to check our motive and seek the wisdom of God before acting. 

Eph 4:28-29
(28)  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
(29)  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

4:28    No Stealing Of Any Kind

It is supposed that, among the rabbins, stealing was not entirely discountenanced, provided a portion was given to the poor.  The apostle here teaches them a different doctrine: as they should speak truth every man with his neighbor, so they should in every respect act honestly, for nothing contrary to Truth and Righteousness could be tolerated under the Christian system. Let no man, under pretence of helping the poor, defraud another; but let him labor, working with his hands to provide that which is good, that he may have to give to him who is in necessity. (Clarke) 

And let us not confine this stealing to money or material possessions alone. If we are caught in the position of the
talebearers of v.27, we take something from that individual which is much more precious than any money or material possession. 

4:29    Edifying Words


The Greek order is, "every word that is corrupt, out of .your mouth let it not proceed." 
Expositors says: "pas (every}. .. me (no), the well-known Hebraistic form, the negative attaching itself to the verb, means 'non-utterance' - let that be for every word." 
The word "communication" is 'logos,' "a word," here in the sense of  "a saying, utterance, speech." 
"Corrupt" is 'sapros,' "rotten, worn out, unfit for use, worthless, bad."  Paul goes on; "every word that is corrupt, 
out of your mouth let it not be proceeding, but whatever is good, suitable for the use of edification with respect to the need, and this, in order that it may impart grace to those who are hearing."  (Wuest) 

we must also consider that the Greek word 'logos' is more than mere words. The idea of the original thought and intent is also included. The words we speak must edify more than the present occasion and person, but they must be to the edification of the entire body and eternal purpose of Christ.  Here again is the motive.

Eph 4:30-32
(30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
(31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
(32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

4:30    Be Very Careful

By giving way to any wrong temper, unholy word, or unrighteous action. Even those who have already a measure of the light and life of God, both of which are not only brought in by the Holy Spirit, but maintained by His constant indwelling, may give way to sin, and so grieve this Holy Spirit that it shall withdraw both its light and presence; and in proportion as it withdraws, then hardness and darkness take place: and, what is still worse, a state of insensibility is the consequence; for the darkness prevents the fallen state from being seen, and the hardness prevents it from being felt.   {Clarke) 


The impression made with the seal had the same legal validity as an actual signature. The importance attached to this method is so great that without a seal no document was considered authentic. In a similar manner coffers, doors of houses, and tombs were sealed.    (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary)

Uses of the Seal
(1)  Give a proof of authenticity and authority to letters, royal commands, etc.    
Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal" (1 Kings 21:8)
The written commands of Ahasuerus were "sealed with the king's ring," "for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse" (Est 8:8,10; 3:12).
(2)  Formal ratification of a transaction or covenant.  
Jeremiah sealed the deeds of the field which he bought from Hanamel (Jer 32:10-14; compare verse 44);
Nehemiah and many others affixed their seal to the written covenant between God and His people (Neh 9:38; 10:1 ff).
(3)  Preservation of books in security. 
A roll or other document intended for preservation was sealed up before it was deposited in a place of safety (Jer 32:14) 
In sealing the roll, it was wrapped round with flaxen thread or string, then a lump of clay was attached to it impressed with a seal. The seal would have to be broken by an authorized person before the book could be read (Rev 5:2,5,9; 6:1,3,. etc.).
(4)  A badge of deputed authority and power.
As when a king handed over his signet ring to one of his officers (Gen 41:42; Est 3:10; 8:2).
(5)  Closed doors were often sealed to prevent the entrance of any unauthorized person.
The door of the lion's den (Dan 6:17). 
Herodotus mentions the custom of sealing tombs (ii.121). So we read of the chief priests and Pharisees sealing the stone at the mouth of our Lord's tomb in order to "make the sepulcher sure" against the intrusion of the disciples (Matt 27:66). Compare the sealing of the abyss to prevent Satan's escape Rev 20:3). A door was sealed by stretching a cord over the stone which blocked the entrance, spreading clay or wax on the cord, and then impressing it with a seal.
(6)  Official mark of ownership.

We sealed with His Spirit -
2 Cor 1:21-22
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us.

Eph 1:13-14
.... ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

4:31    Put These Away

It is astonishing that any who would profess the Christian name should indulge bitterness of spirit. Those who are censorious, who are unmerciful to the failings of others, have the bitterness against which the apostle speaks. There was a compound medicine, made up from a variety of drastic acrid drugs and ardent spirits, which was called "Hiera Picra," "the Holy Bitter."  This medicine was administered in a multitude of cases, where it did immense evil, and perhaps in scarcely any case did it do good.

We can all think of someone who fits the description "Holy Bitter."  But in this case the Scripture comes to us, not as a window to view the faults of others, but as a mirror. It is possible (even probable) that the mote in our brother's eye is but a reflection of the beam in our own eye. 

This bitterness is the natural result of failing to put into practice verses 26 and 27.

Also translated "Anger,"  which may be considered the commencement of the passion. 

more properly 'wrath' -the passion carried to its highest pitch, accompanied with injurious words and outrageous acts.

Loud, brawling, railing, boisterous talk, often the offspring of wrath all of which are highly unbecoming the meek, loving, quiet, sedate mind of Christ and his followers. 

Blasphemy.  That is injurious speaking - words which tend to hurt those of whom or against whom they are spoken.

As anger produces wrath, and wrath clamor, so all together produce malice; that is, settled, sullen, fell wrath, which is always looking out for opportunities to revenge itself by the destruction of the object of its indignation. No state of society can be even tolerable where these prevail.     (Clarke) 

4:32    True Kindness

Christianity produces true courteousness, or politeness. It does not make one rough, crabby, or sour; nor does it dispose its followers to violate the proper rules of social contact. The secret of true politeness is "benevolence," or a desire to make others happy; and a Christian should be the most polite of people.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

God hath shown Himself  "kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to you;"  it is but just that you in turn shall be so to your fellow-men, who have not erred against you in the degree that you have erred against God (Matt.18:33). 
(Jamieson, Fausset & Brown) 

Being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving is more than an act. It is a FEELING, an ATTITUDE

In verses 26-31 we find that: 
1. Giving way to any wrong temper is the result of a wrong motive
2. Speaking unholy words is the result of a wrong motive
3. Executing an unrighteous action is the result of a wrong motive

Therefore, we conclude that the only way to truly fulfill verse 32 involves the complete renewal in the spirit of our mind.  From this position we begin each new day, indeed, a new life, with the proper, Godly feelings, attitudes, and motives. In which case all of our thoughts, words, and actions will be pleasing to the Spirit of God, and to the edifying of the Body of Christ. 

End of Chapter 4


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