Ephesians 4

1Paul exhorteth to those virtues which become the Christian calling, particularly to unity: 7declaring that Christ gave his gifts differently, that his body the church might be built up and perfected in the true faith by the cooperation of the individual members with one another, and with him their head. 17He calleth men off from the vain and impure conversation of the heathen world, 22to renounce the old, and to put on the new, man: 25to discard lying, 26and sinful anger; 28to leave off dishonest practices, and to gain by honest labour what they have occasion for; 29to use no corrupt talk, 30nor grieve God's Spirit; 31to put away all expressions of ill will, and to practise mutual kindness and forgiveness.

1I THEREFORE, 1the prisoner 2of the Lord, 3beseech you thata ye walk 4worthy of the vocation wherewith 5ye are called,

1 Gr. bound. See Eph. 3:1.

2 That is, for the Lord’s cause, namely, Christ’s, as Eph. 3:1.

3 Or, exhort.

a Gen. 17:1; 1 Cor. 7:20; Philip. 1:27; Col. 1:10; 1 Thes. 2:12.

4 That is, as becometh you, Mat. 3:8.

5 Namely, unto the communion of Christ, and for that cause also, of the godliness in Christ. The apostle here speaks not only of the outward, but also of the inward and powerful calling, whereby they were brought to faith in Christ, as appears from the following verses.

2Withb all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another 6in love;

b Col. 1:11; 3:12; 1 Thes. 5:14.

6 That is, through love. For, love beareth all things, 1 Cor. 13:7. He speaks here of bearing with such offenses which concern everyone in particular, as Mat. 18:15. Otherwise Christ also praises this congregation of Ephesus, Rev 2:2, that they could not bear with the evil ones, namely, who sought to bring in perverse doctrines and disturbed the congregation.

3Endeavouring to keep the unity 7of the Spirit 8in the bond of peace.

7 That is, spiritual unity, with all the members of the congregation of Christ, whether of Jews or of Gentiles, which is Christ’s body, whereof the Holy Spirit is the Bond and Uniter, as is declared in the following verse.

8 Gr. binding together.

4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called 9in one hope of your calling;

9 Or, unto one hope, that is, things hoped for, whereunto ye are called, which is the salvation of your soul.

510Onec Lord, one faith, 11one baptism,

10 Namely, Jesus Christ, as appears by the following 6th verse, where God and the Father is distinguished from Him.

c Deut. 4:39; Mal. 2:10; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6.

11 Namely, not only in number, but also in the administration upon you all, Rom. 6:3, 4.

612One God and Father 13of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

12 As in the previous verse, by the word, one Lord, the Father is not excluded from being our Lord, nor also the Holy Spirit, Who is also called the Lord, Isa. 6:9, compared with Acts 28:25; 2 Cor. 3:18. Even so here also, by the word, one God, the Son is not excluded, nor the Holy Spirit, see 1 Cor. 12:4, 5, 6, but by this diversity of titles is only shown the order and property which each Person has in this operation and the joining together of this body, that is, of the congregation.

13 Here is not properly spoken of all creatures or people in general, seeing God is not the Father of all in Christ, but here is spoken of all true members of the congregation, which is the body of Christ, over which all God the Father has the highest authority, through which all He extends His special government, which both of these they have common with other men, and in which all He dwells as a Father with His grace and Spirit, which is proper and peculiar only to the faithful, John 14:23.

7Butd unto 14every one of us is given grace 15according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

d Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:11; 2 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 4:10.

14 Namely, who are members of this body.

15 That is, according as it pleases Christ to measure out gifts to everyone in his calling, for the perfecting and uniting of this body, John 1:16; Rom. 12:3.

8Wherefore 16he saith, Whene17he ascended up 18on high, he led 19captivity captive, and gave 20gifts unto men.

16 Namely, God.

e Psalm 68:18.

17 Namely, Christ, as appears by the following exposition. For, this is a prophecy of Christ’s Kingdom.

18 That is, into heaven, as is declared in verse 10.

19 That is, those which held us captive, namely, sin, the devil, death and damnation, over which Christ triumphed all by His death, resurrection and ascension, Col. 2:15, so that, though they still assault us, yet in Christ we have the victory over them all, John 16:33; Rom. 8:37, 38, 39. Or, captives, that is, a great multitude of captives, 2 Chron. 28:5.

20 Namely, out of heaven, sitting there at the right hand of God His Father, Acts 2:33.

9(Nowf that he ascended, 21what is it but that he also 22descended first 23into the lower parts of the earth?

f John 3:13; 6:62.

21 That is, what else is the meaning thereof?

22 Namely, by His special operation in assuming the human nature of the virgin Mary, as John 6:33, 42, without having, according to His Divine nature, left the heavens for that cause. See John 3:13. Even, since His ascension, also according to His Divine nature and Spirit, He is nevertheless with us unto the end of the world, Mat. 28:20.

23 That is, in the earth, which is the lowest part of the world. For, the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, John 1:14. See Psalm 139:15.

10He that descended is the 24same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill 25all things.)

24 Namely, Person, although He descended according to another nature.

25 That is, all the members of His congregation by His Spirit and gifts; as verse 8. Others take it for the fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets, whereof this prophecy of David is likewise one. But the first agrees as suitably with the following verses.

11Andg he gave some, 26apostles; and some, prophets; and some, 27evangelists; and some, 28pastors and teachers;

g 1 Cor. 12:28.

26 See the annotations on 1 Cor. 12:28 of the difference between apostles and prophets.

27 Of this office see Acts 21:8.

28 Some distinguish these two offices so, that the pastors would not only teach and instruct the congregation, but also guide and govern it by ecclesiastical discipline, as shepherds do the sheep, and that the teachers would be employed only to expound the Scripture, and to defend the truth of doctrine against heresies and errors. But seeing the word, some, does not stand between the two names here, as in the foregoing particular callings, others take it but for one and the same office; and that these two names here stand together to show that all pastors must also be teachers, even as these two names are often put one for the other in the Scripture, and Paul joins these two things together, in the trials of the ministers, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

12For 29the perfecting of the saints, 30for the work of the ministry, for the edifying ofh the body of Christ:

29 Or, joining together. For, these ministries are therefore instituted in the congregation of God, in order that the members of the congregation would be made more and more united or perfected, that is, unto a perfect body under Christ, their Head.

30 That is, in order that the work of the ministry might have its full importance, consisting in the preaching of God’s Word, the administration of the sacraments, the exercise of church discipline, and the government of the congregation; which things by these instituted ministries have procured its full importance thereof all over the world, and are confirmed in the congregation, and must abide until the end of the world, Mat. 28:20; 1 Cor. 11:26.

h Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:23; 5:23; Col. 1:24.

13Till we all come 31in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, 32unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

31 That is, unto one and the same faith and knowledge or acknowledgment of the Son of God, which here indeed comes to pass in this world a little, but hereafter shall fully come to pass, when God in Christ shall be all in all, 1 Cor. 13:11, 12, which also the following words entail.

32 That is, unto a perfect manly knowledge, and the perfect measure of the gifts which we must receive out of Christ’s fullness, John 1:16.

14Thati we henceforth be no more children, tossedj to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by 33the sleightk of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

i 1 Cor. 14:20.

j Mat. 11:7.

33 Or, unsteadiness. Gr. dice, or, playing dice, whereby the apostle understands the deceits or tricks of such, who seek by deluding to draw the disciples of Christ unto them, nothing else than your gamesters or dice throwers know by cheating arts and tricks to get other men’s goods into their hands, as the following words also declare.

k deceitfulness, slyness

15But speaking the truth 34in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is thel head, even Christ:

34 This the apostle adds, because sometimes truth may be maintained contrary to love, as also under the cloak of love truth may be prejudiced. Others translate it, dealing uprightly in love, as the word, truth, signifies also uprightness.

l Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18.

16Fromm whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every 35joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh 36increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

m Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:21.

35 That is, by all the nerves or joints, through which life and nourishment is conveyed from the one to the other member. The apostle so terms the joints and ligaments of the members, through which the strength and nourishment is conveyed from one member into another, such as are the sinews, veins, and the like, which pass along the ligaments into the members and supply them with strength and nourishment, and that especially from the head; whereunto therefore the apostle suitably compares all the offices and gifts of the Spirit in the congregation, which depend all from Christ, and hold the entire body together, and impart the spiritual strength and nourishment unto it, 1 Cor. 12:12, 14.

36 Gr. maketh the growth of the body, that is, obtain its growth. Hebraism.

1737This I say therefore, andn testify in the Lord, thato ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

37 Namely, as a conclusion from what went before; seeing we are members of Christ, and as such partakers of His gifts, that therefore you, etc., and so he comes again to new exhortations.

n Rom. 1:9.

o Rom. 1:18; 1 Peter 4:3.

18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from 38the life of God throughp the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

38 Namely, not whereby God lives in Himself, but whereby He lives in us by His Spirit, in Christ, see Eph. 2:1.

p 1 Thes. 4:5.

19Who being past 39feeling have given themselves over 40unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with 41greediness.

39 A similitude taken from those, who, by many blows or marks of branding in certain parts of the body, are grown so brawny or seared there, that they have no feeling thereof anymore; so it also happens with many men, who by continual doing of evil, thus stupefy the feeling or checking of their consciences, that they are no more sensible of the same, see Rom. 1:28; 1 Tim. 4:2.

40 Or, immodesty, wantonness.

41 Gr. in covetousness, or, insatiableness, that is, with great eagerness and delight, as a covetous man blesses his soul in unrighteousness, Psalm 10:3.

20But ye have not so learned 42Christ;

42 That is, the doctrine of Christ and of the communion with Him.

21If so be that ye have heard 43him, and have been taught by him, 44as the truth is in Jesus:

43 Namely, speaking unto you in His Word by us.

44 That is, as the truth of Christ requires, and as in truth it ought to be.

22That ye putq off concerning the former conversationr45the old man, which is corrupt according 46to the deceitful lusts;

q Col. 3:9; Heb. 12:1; 1 Peter 2:1.

r behavior, conduct*

45 The total corruption and wickedness, which is in man by nature, is such called, Rom. 6:6, which is also called flesh, Rom. 8:5; Gal. 5:19.

46 That is, which entice and deceive a man unto all sins, if he does not resist them by the Spirit of God, James 1:13, 14, 15.

23And be renewed 47in the spirit of your mind;

47 That is, in the most inward and most rational part of your soul, as Rom. 12:2. If that therefore must be renewed and regenerated that it may be enabled to serve God, then the will also, and all the other inclinations, are by nature not better, except they be renewed by the same power.

24Ands that ye 48put on 49the new man, which after God is created in 50righteousness and true holiness.

s Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:10; 1 Peter 4:2.

48 The apostle here compares this renewing of a man to a new garment, as verse 22 the natural corruption to an old rotten garment, which he says believers must put off and put on the new; because being regenerated by the Spirit of God, they must more and more proceed and increase in both by the use of the means which God has ordained for this purpose, namely, by courageously striving against sin through the Spirit of God, Rom. 8:13, and stirring up the gifts of God, 2 Tim. 1:6, 7, diligent hearing and meditating on the Word of God, Psalm 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, using the sacraments worthily, 1 Cor. 11:17, 18, etc., pouring out fervent prayers unto God, Eph. 6:18, and the like. See also John 15:2; 1 Cor. 9:25, 26, etc.

49 Such the apostle calls regeneration or the renewing of a person, consisting in the enlightening of the understanding, and the changing of the will unto holiness and righteousness, in which the image of God consists, whereof the last is here expressed by the apostle, and the first hereafter, Col. 3:10.

50 Gr. in righteousness and holiness of truth.

25Wherefore putting away lying, speakt every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

t Zech. 8:16.

2651Beu ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

51 By these words, taken out of the 4th Psalm, the apostle forbids not all anger, for such motions were created in the heart by God, and anger is sometimes also ascribed to God and Christ, namely, for the sin and unthankfulness of men; but this is the meaning of the apostle, that if there be just occasions of anger given, that it must not go beyond measure, nor endure too long, but speedily be laid down again.

u Psalm 4:4.

27Neitherv give 52placew to the devil.

v James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9.

52 Or, room, that is, no time nor occasion to bring you by your wrath to other sins, if your mind would, without sufficient cause, remain disturbed too long, 1 Peter 5:8, 9.

w give way, yield*

28Let him that stole steal no more: butx rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is 53good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

x Acts 20:35; 1 Thes. 4:11; 2 Thes. 3:8, 12.

53 That is, what is laudable and honest; for, all labor that brings in gain is not always laudable or acceptable to God.

29Lety no 54corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of 55edifying, that it may minister 56grace unto the hearers.

y Mat. 12:36; Eph. 5:3, 4.

54 Gr. rotten.

55 Gr. for edification of use, or of profit, or, of necessity, that is, needful edification.

56 That is, contribute some spiritual gift. Or, acceptableness. Some take this word for thanks or thanksgiving, so that this would be the sense, that good men who hear it, may thank you for it.

30And 57grieve not the holy Spirit of God, 58wherebyz ye are 59sealed unto the day ofaa redemption.

57 A phrase by way of similitude taken out of Isa. 63:10, whereby is given to understand that the Spirit of God, Who dwells in us, by such like sins, of which He is averse, obscures His kind operation in us, and instead of His love, lets us feel His anger (as a father puts on a sad countenance towards his children when they do evil in his presence, and instead of showing them kindness, must, though unwillingly, chastise and punish them) from which arises also in the faithful a grieved mind, and the assurance of their salvation is obscured. See Psalm 6:1; 31:9, 10; 51:9, etc.

58 Gr. in whom.

z Rom. 8:16; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13.

59 Namely, being, as it were, distinguished from the unbelievers with the stamped seal of God’s own image, and assured of the salvation to come. See Eph. 1:13.

aa Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14.

31Letab all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

ab Col. 3:19.

32Andac be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgivingad one another, even as God 60for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

ac Philip. 2:1; Col. 3:12.

ad Mat. 6:14; Mark 11:25; Col. 3:13.

60 That is, for Christ and His atonement’s sake, as 2 Cor. 5:19. Or, through Christ.