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EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 14

Verse 14. That we henceforth be no more children. In some respects Christians are to be like children. They are to be docile, gentle, mild, and free from ambition, pride, and haughtiness. See Barnes "Mt 18:2"; See Barnes "Mt 18:3".

But children have other characteristics besides simplicity and docility. They are often changeable, Mt 11:17; they are credulous, and are influenced easily by others, and led astray. In these respects, Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be no longer children, but urges them to put on the characteristics of manhood; and especially to put on the firmness in religious opinion which became maturity of life.

Tossed to and fro. kludwnizomenoi. This word is taken from waves or billows that are constantly tossed about—in all ages an image of instability of character and purpose.

And carried about with every wind of doctrine. With no firmness; no settled course; no helm. The idea is that of a vessel on the restless ocean, that is tossed about with every varying wind, and that has no settled line of sailing. So many persons are in regard to religious doctrines. They have no fixed views and principles. They hold no doctrines that are settled in their minds by careful and patient examination; and the consequence is, that they yield to every new opinion, and submit to the guidance of every new teacher. The doctrine taught here is, that we should have settled religious opinions. We should carefully examine what is truth, and having found it, should adhere to it, and not yield on the coming of every new teacher. We should not, indeed, close our minds against conviction. We should be open to argument, and be willing to follow the truth wherever it will lead us. But this state of mind is not inconsistent with having settled opinions, and with being firm in holding them until we are convinced that we are wrong. No man can be useful who has not settled principles. No one who has not such principles can inspire confidence or be happy; and the first aim of every young convert should be to acquire settled views of the truth, and to become firmly grounded in the doctrines of the gospel.

By the sleight of men. The cunning, skill, trickery of men. The word used here—kubeia-is from a word kubov meaning a cube, a die, and properly means a game at dice. Hence it means game, gambling; and then anything that turns out by mere chance or hap-hazardous a game at dice does. It may possibly also denote the trick or fraud that is sometimes used in such games; but it seems rather to denote a man's forming his religious opinions by the throw of a die; or, in other words, it describes a man whose opinions seem to be the result of mere chance. Anything like casting a die, or like opening the Bible at random to determine a point of duty or doctrine may come under the description of the apostle here, and would all be opposed to the true mode, that by calm examination of the Bible, and by prayer. A man who forms his religious principles by chance, can unform them in the same way; and he who has determined his faith by one cast of the die, will be likely to throw them into another form by another. The phrase, "the sleight of men," therefore, I would render, "by the mere chance of men, or as you may happen to find men, one holding this opinion, and the next that, and allowing yourself to be influenced by them without any settled principles."

Cunning craftiness. Deceit, trick, art. See 2 Co 12:16; Lu 20:23; 1 Co 3:19. See Barnes "2 Co 4:2"; See Barnes "2 Co 11:3".

 

Whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Literally, "Unto the method of deceit;" that is, in the usual way of deceit. Doddridge, "In every method of deceit." This is the true idea. The meaning is, that men would use plausible pretences, and would, if possible, deceive the professed friends of Christ. Against such we should be on our guard; and not by their arts should our opinions be formed, but by the word of God.

{c} "carried about" Jas 1:6

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