(Tap footnote number to read it; tap up arrow (↑) to scroll back up to verse. Old Testament quotations/allusions are underlined.)
- Therefore, be imitators of God like beloved children,
- and walk in love,(1)The Greek word here “ἀγάπη” (agape), typically translated “love”. However, unlike our English word “love” – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agape centers on preference. In the verb form (used later in this verse), it literally means “to prefer” or “show preference for”. In the New Testament, that usually means “moral preference”, or “actively preferring what God prefers” in what we do, not just in what we feel. It’s the “love” based on will, choice, decision, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word “φιλέω” (phileó), which properly means “brotherly love/affection”.) just as the Anointed also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God; a sweet smelling aroma.
- But fornication and all impurity or coveting must not even be named among you, just as is appropriate for saints.
- Also, obscenity, and foolish talk, or crude joking, which aren’t proper; but rather giving thanks.
- For you did – and do – know this; understanding that every fornicator, or impure man or covetous man who is an idolater doesn’t have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Anointed and God.
- Let no one deceive you with empty words or reasoning,(3)“words or reasoning” is one word in Greek, which is “λόγος” (logos). It properly refers to a reasoned thought which is then expressed through words. Thus it can focus on the reasoning side or the word side depending on the context. In this context, both are relevant and likely intended, so both definitions were included. for through these things comes the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience.
- Therefore, don’t become fellow partakers with them.
- For you were once darkness, but now you’re light in the Lord; walk as children of light.
- For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,
- examining what is pleasing to the Lord.
- And don’t become a fellow partaker in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
- For it’s shameful to even speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
- But everything which is exposed becomes visible by the light, for everything which becomes visible is light.
- Therefore it says: “Awake, you man who sleeps and rise from the dead, and the Anointed will shine upon you.”(2)This isn’t a scriptural quotation or allusion. Some believe it was an early Christian hymn.
- Therefore, carefully watch how you walk; not as unwise men, but as wise men,
- seizing the opportune time because the days are evil.
- Because of this, don’t become foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- And don’t be drunk with wine, which is wasteful excess,(4)“wasteful excess” this Greek word is comes from “ἀ”(a) as a negative prefix (like “amoral” meaning “not moral”) and the Greek word “σῴζω”(sozo) which means “to save”. Thus it means “that which isn’t saved”, but not in a salvation sense. Rather, it means things which are wasted (thrown out) because they aren’t saved for later use by the user. It thus has the sense of “wasting” on useless things, and can refer to the consequences of such wasteful excess. but be filled by the Spirit:
- speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music(5)“making music” primarily refers to playing an instrument, but could also refer to singing or perhaps humming. to the Lord in your heart,
- always giving thanks to our God and Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed,
- and men(6)“men submitting themselves to one another” is two words in Greek. The first is a masculine plural participle (“men submitting themselves”). The second word is a masculine plural reciprocal pronoun (“to one another”). Since both the participle and reciprocal pronoun are masculine, men are being told to submit to “one another”, meaning other men. submitting themselves to one another in reverent fear(7)“reverent fear” is one word in Greek. Its primary meaning is “fear”, but it can also mean “awe” or “reverence” depending on the context. (The Hebrew word for “fear” has the same range of meaning) Since both fear and reverence are appropriate toward God, both definitions were included. Further, the word can mean both, and both were likely intended. of the Anointed.
Husbands and Wives
- Wives [must submit themselves](8)“must submit themselves” There’s a textual variant in this verse centering on the verb for “submit”. In the source text for most modern translations, the word “submit” isn’t present and is implied/carried over from verse 21 (“men submitting themselves”). However, this omission is based on extremely scant textual evidence. Very few manuscripts (just: P46 B Cl Hiermss) don’t have an imperative verb (a command) here. Those manuscripts are early, but belong to a textual family known for omission. Every other manuscript has an imperative verb (a command) in either the 3rd person (“must submit themselves“) or 2nd person (“must submit yourselves“). The third person reading was chosen here because it has far more support from early manuscripts. Also, the endings for the middle and passive voice for this Greek verb are the same, so either could’ve been intended. In the middle voice, it contains reflexive force and thus has the connotation of voluntary obedience, so “wives must obey” is more accurate to the intended sense (though less literal, despite this meaning being in the lexicons). In the passive voice it could be translated “must be submitted”. The middle voice is more likely because the passive voice could indicate that their submission/obedience is being done to them (i.e. they’re being made to submit). to their own husbands as they do(9)“as they do” could also be translated “in the same way as they do to the Lord”, which more fully captures the Greek conjunction “ὡς” (“hós”, here translated “as”). to the Lord,
- because the husband is head of the wife, as the Anointed is the head of the church. (He Himself being the body’s savior.)
- But just as the church submits itself to the Anointed, in this way also, wives should submit themselves to their husbands in everything.
- Husbands, show preference(10)“show preference” is literal, though it’s often translated “love” here. The Greek word here is “ἀγαπάω” (agapaó), the verb form of “ἀγάπη” (agapé). When used with the Greek accusative case – as it is here – it literally means “to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of” (Thayer’s). Unlike the English word “love”, agapaó does not center on feelings. It’s the “love” based on will, choice, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word “φιλέω” (phileó), which properly means “brotherly love/affection”.) to your wives, just as the Anointed also showed preference to the church and gave Himself up for her, so
- that He might make her holy; cleansing her by washing(11)“washing” this Greek word properly refers to a bath for washing yourself, either public or private. It was used by some Patristic fathers as a synonym for baptism which is possibly part of the sense here, though likely not the primary meaning. her in water by the spoken word,(12)“spoken word” The Greek word used here refers only to words that are spoken, never to words that are written.
- so He might present the church to Himself in glory; having no spot or wrinkle or any such things, but so she might be holy and blameless.
- In this way also, husbands are morally obligated(13)“are morally obligated” is one word in Greek with that exact meaning. It was originally a financial term that literally meant to owe or be indebted to. (It’s used of debts in Matthew 18:28, 30, and 34.) This included moral obligations to deities and others. In New Testament times, it referred to anything which someone was legally or morally obligated to do. to show preference to their own wives as their own bodies. The man who shows preference to his own wife shows preference to himself.
- For no one ever hated his own flesh, but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Anointed also does to the Church,
- because we are parts of His body; [of His flesh and of His bones.(14)quotation allusion to Genesis 2:23](15)“of His flesh and of His bones” this textual variant is interesting. While some of the earliest manuscripts omit it, it has support from very early church fathers like Irenaeus, as well as early Bible translations. It’s possible it was original to Paul and accidentally omitted via parablepsis. (A scribe accidentally skipping everything between two occurrences of the same word). In Greek, the shorter readings ends with “τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ” (the body of Him), while the longer reading ends with “τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ” (the bones of Him). If the longer reading is original, and if the scribe accidentally skipped from the first instance of “αὐτοῦ” to the second, it would perfectly explain the deletion. On the other hand, there seems to be no clear reason for it being added. However, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been.
- Because of this, a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.(16)quotation/allusion to Genesis 2:24
- This mystery is great, but I speak about the Anointed and about the church.
- And nevertheless, each one of you must show preference to his own wife in the same way as he does to himself; but the wife must see that she reveres(17)“reveres” This is the same Greek word that’s used in the phrase “fear the Lord”. While its primary meaning is “fear”, it also can mean to “awe” or “revere”. In the last sense, it means “to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience” (Thayer’s). her husband.
Next: Ephesians chapter 6
Previous: Ephesians chapter 4
Up: BOS Bible Index
Note: If you think a word, phrase, or passage could be better translated - or is wrong - then Please Say Something. This is an open source Bible that's accountable to all Christians. See this link for details.
Legal Use: Please feel free to quote the BOS Bible, but follow the guidelines on the Legal Use page when doing so. They are easy and mostly common sense.