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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Ephesians: Chapter 5)

5:1 {Imitators of God} (\mimētai tou theou\). This old word from
\mimeomai\ Paul boldly uses. If we are to be like God, we must
imitate him.

5:2 {An offering and a sacrifice to God} (\prosphoran kai thusian
tōi theōi\)
. Accusative in apposition with \heauton\ (himself).
Christ's death was an offering to God "in our behalf" (\huper
not an offering to the devil (Anselm), a ransom
(\lutron\) as Christ himself said (Mt 20:28), Christ's own view
of his atoning death. {For an odour of a sweet smell} (\eis osmēn
. Same words in Php 4:18 from Le 4:31 (of the
expiatory offering)
. Paul often presents Christ's death as a
propitiation (Ro 3:25) as in 1Jo 2:2.

5:3 {Or covetousness} (\ē pleonexia\). In bad company surely.
Debasing like sensuality. {As becometh saints} (\kathōs prepei
. It is "unbecoming" for a saint to be sensual or

5:4 {Filthiness} (\aischrotēs\). Old word from \aischros\ (base),
here alone in N.T. {Foolish talking} (\mōrologia\). Late word
from \mōrologos\ (\mōros, logos\), only here in N.T. {Jesting}
(\eutrapelia\). Old word from \eutrapelos\ (\eu, trepō\, to turn)
nimbleness of wit, quickness in making repartee (so in Plato and
, but in low sense as here ribaldry, scurrility, only
here in N.T. All of these disapproved vices are \hapax legomena\
in the N.T. {Which are not befitting} (\ha ouk anēken\). Same
idiom (imperfect with word of propriety about the present) in
Col 3:18. Late MSS. read \ta ouk anēkonta\ like \ta mē
kathēkonta\ in Ro 1:28.

5:5 {Ye know of a surety} (\iste ginōskontes\). The correct text
has \iste\, not \este\. It is the same form for present
indicative (second person plural) and imperative, probably
indicative here, "ye know." But why \ginōskontes\ added?
Probably, "ye know recognizing by your own experience." {No}
(\pās--ou\). Common idiom in the N.T. like the Hebrew= _oudeis_
(Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 732). {Covetous man} (\pleonektēs,
pleon echō\)
. Old word, in N.T. only here and 1Co 5:10f.; 6:10.
{Which is} (\ho estin\). So Aleph B. A D K L have \hos\ (who),
but \ho\ is right. See Col 3:14 for this use of \ho\ (which
thing is)
. On \eidōlolatrēs\ (idolater) see 1Co 5:10f. {In the
Kingdom of Christ and God}
(\en tēi basileiāi tou Christou kai
. Certainly the same kingdom and Paul may here mean to
affirm the deity of Christ by the use of the one article with
\Christou kai theou\. But Sharp's rule cannot be insisted on here
because \theos\ is often definite without the article like a
proper name. Paul did teach the deity of Christ and may do it

5:6 {With empty words} (\kenois logois\). Instrumental case.
Probably Paul has in mind the same Gnostic praters as in Col
2:4f. See 2:2.

5:7 {Partakers with them} (\sunmetochoi autōn\). Late double
compound, only here in N.T., joint (\sun\) shares with
(\metochoi\) them (\autōn\). These Gnostics.

5:8 {But now light} (\nun de phōs\). Jesus called his disciples
the light of the world (Mt 5:14).

5:9 {The fruit of light} (\ho karpos tou phōtos\). Two metaphors
(fruit, light) combined. See Ga 5:22 for "the fruit of the
Spirit." The late MSS. have "spirit" here in place of "light."
{Goodness} (\agathosunēi\). Late and rare word from \agathos\.
See 2Th 1:11; Ga 5:22.

5:10 {Proving} (\dokimazontes\). Testing and so proving.

5:11 {Have no fellowship with} (\mē sunkoinōneite\). No
partnership with, present imperative with \mē\. Followed by
associative instrumental case \ergois\ (works). {Unfruitful}
(\akarpois\). Same metaphor of verse 9 applied to darkness
(\skotos\). {Reprove} (\elegchete\). Convict by turning the light
on the darkness.

5:12 {In secret} (\kruphēi\). Old adverb, only here in N.T. Sin
loves the dark. {Even to speak of} (\kai legein\). And yet one
must sometimes speak out, turn on the light, even if to do so is
disgraceful (\aischron\, like 1Co 11:6).

5:13 {Are made manifest by the light} (\hupo tou phōtos
. Turn on the light. Often the preacher is the only
man brave enough to turn the light on the private sins of men and
women or even those of a community.

5:14 {Wherefore he saith} (\dio legei\). Apparently a free
adaptation of Isa 26:19; 60:1. The form \anasta\ for
\anastēthi\ (second person singular imperative second aorist
active of \anistēmi\)
occurs in Ac 12:7. {Shall shine}
(\epiphausei\). Future active of \epiphauskō\, a form occurring
in Job (Job 25:5; 31:26), a variation of \epiphōskō\. The last
line suggests the possibility that we have here the fragment of
an early Christian hymn like 1Ti 3:16.

5:15 {Carefully} (\akribōs\). Aleph B 17 put \akribōs\ before
\pōs\ (how) instead of \pōs akribōs\ (how exactly ye walk) as the
Textus Receptus has it. On \akribōs\ (from \akribēs\) see Mt
2:8; Lu 1:3. {Unwise} (\asophoi\). Old adjective, only here in

5:16 {Redeeming the time} (\exagorazomenoi ton kairon\). As in
Col 4:5 which see.

5:17 {Be ye not foolish} (\mē ginesthe aphrones\). "Stop becoming

5:18 {Be not drunken with wine} (\mē methuskesthe oinōi\).
Present passive imperative of \methuskō\, old verb to intoxicate.
Forbidden as a habit and to stop it also if guilty. Instrumental
case \oinōi\. {Riot} (\asōtia\). Old word from \asōtos\ (adverb
\asōtōs\ in Lu 15:13)
, in N.T. only here, Tit 1:6; 1Pe 4:4.
{But be filled with the Spirit} (\alla plērousthe en pneumati\).
In contrast to a state of intoxication with wine.

5:19 {To the Lord} (\tōi Kuriōi\). The Lord Jesus. In Col 3:16
we have \tōi theōi\ (to God) with all these varieties of praise,
another proof of the deity of Christ. See Col 3:16 for

5:20 {In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ} (\en onomati tou
Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou\)
. Jesus had told the disciples to
use his name in prayer (Joh 16:23f.). {To God, even the Father}
(\tōi theōi kai patri\). Rather, "the God and Father."

5:21 {Subjecting yourselves to one another} (\hupotassomenoi
. Present middle participle of \hupotassō\, old
military figure to line up under (Col 3:18). The construction
here is rather loose, coordinate with the preceding participles
of praise and prayer. It is possible to start a new paragraph
here and regard \hupotassomenoi\ as an independent participle
like an imperative.

5:22 {Be in subjection}. Not in the Greek text of B and Jerome
knew of no MS. with it. K L and most MSS. have \hupotassesthe\
like Col 3:18, while Aleph A P have \hupotassesthōsan\ (let
them be subject to)
. But the case of \andrasin\ (dative) shows
that the verb is understood from verse 21 if not written
originally. \Idiois\ (own) is genuine here, though not in Col
3:18. {As unto the Lord} (\hōs tōi Kuriōi\). So here instead of
\hōs anēken en Kuriōi\ of Col 3:18.

5:23 {For the husband is the head of the wife} (\hoti anēr estin
kephalē tēs gunaikos\)
. "For a husband is head of the (his)
wife." No article with \anēr\ or \kephalē\. {As Christ also is
the head of the church}
(\hōs kai ho Christos kephalē tēs
. No article with \kephalē\, "as also Christ is head
of the church." This is the comparison, but with a tremendous
difference which Paul hastens to add either in an appositional
clause or as a separate sentence. {Himself the saviour of the
(\autos sōtēr tou sōmatos\). He means the church as the
body of which Christ is head and Saviour.

5:24 {But} (\alla\). Perhaps, "nevertheless," in spite of the
difference just noted. Once again the verb \hupotassō\ has to be
supplied in the principal clause before \tois andrasin\ either as
indicative (\hupotassontai\) or as imperative

5:25 {Even as Christ also loved the church} (\kathōs kai ho
Christos ēgapēsen tēn ekklēsian\)
. This is the wonderful new
point not in Col 3:19 that lifts this discussion of the
husband's love for his wife to the highest plane.

5:26 {That he might sanctify it} (\hina autēn hagiasēi\). Purpose
clause with \hina\ and the first aorist active subjunctive of
\hagiazō\. Jesus stated this as his longing and his prayer (Joh
. This was the purpose of Christ's death (verse 25).
{Having cleansed it} (\katharisas\). First aorist active
participle of \katharizō\, to cleanse, either simultaneous action
or antecedent. {By the washing of water} (\tōi loutrōi tou
. If \loutron\ only means bath or bathing-place ( =
, then \loutrōi\ is in the locative. If it can mean
bathing or washing, it is in the instrumental case. The usual
meaning from Homer to the papyri is the bath or bathing-place,
though some examples seem to mean bathing or washing. Salmond
doubts if there are any clear instances. The only other N.T.
example of \loutron\ is in Tit 3:5. The reference here seems to
be to the baptismal bath (immersion) of water, "in the bath of
water." See 1Co 6:11 for the bringing together of
\apelousasthe\ and \hēgiasthēte\. Neither there nor here does
Paul mean that the cleansing or sanctification took place in the
bath save in a symbolic fashion as in Ro 6:4-6. Some think that
Paul has also a reference to the bath of the bride before
marriage. Still more difficult is the phrase "with the word" (\en
. In Joh 17:17 Jesus connected "truth" with "sanctify."
That is possible here, though it may also be connected with
\katharisas\ (having cleansed). Some take it to mean the
baptismal formula.

5:27 {That he might present} (\hina parastēsēi\). Final clause
with \hina\ and first aorist active subjunctive of \paristēmi\
(see Col 1:22 for parallel) as in 2Co 11:2 of presenting the
bride to the bridegroom. Note both \autos\ (himself) and
\heautōi\ (to himself). {Glorious} (\endoxon\). Used of splendid
clothing in Lu 7:25. {Spot} (\spilos\). Late word, in N.T. only
here and 2Pe 2:13, but \spiloō\, to defile in Jas 3:6; Jude
1:23. {Wrinkle} (\rutida\). Old word from \ruō\, to contract,
only here in N.T. {But that it should be holy and without
(\all' hina ēi hagia kai amōmos\). Christ's goal for the
church, his bride and his body, both negative purity and

5:28 {Even so ought} (\houtōs opheilousin\). As Christ loves the
church (his body). And yet some people actually say that Paul in
1Co 7 gives a degrading view of marriage. How can one say that
after reading Eph 5:22-33 where the noblest picture of marriage
ever drawn is given?

5:29 {Nourisheth} (\ektrephei\). Old compound with perfective
sense of \ek\ (to nourish up to maturity and on). In N.T. only
here and 6:4. {Cherisheth} (\thalpei\). Late and rare word,
once in a marriage contract in a papyrus. In N.T. only here and
1Th 2:7. Primarily it means to warm (Latin _foveo_), then to
foster with tender care as here. {Even as Christ also} (\kathōs
kai ho Christos\)
. Relative (correlative) adverb pointing back to
\houtōs\ at the beginning of the sentence (verse 28) and
repeating the statement in verse 25.

5:30 {Of his flesh and of his bones} (\ek tēs sarkos autou kai ek
tōn osteōn autou\)
. These words are in the Textus Receptus
(Authorized Version) supported by D G L P cursives Syriac, etc.,
though wanting in Aleph A B 17 Bohairic. Certainly not genuine.

5:31 {For this cause} (\anti toutou\). "Answering to this" =
\heneken toutou\ of Ge 2:24, in the sense of \anti\ seen in
\anth' hōn\ (Lu 12:3). This whole verse is a practical
quotation and application of the language to Paul's argument
here. In Mt 19:5 Jesus quotes Ge 2:24. It seems absurd to
make Paul mean Christ here by \anthrōpos\ (man) as some
commentators do.

5:32 {This mystery is great} (\to mustērion touto mega estin\).
For the word "mystery" see 1:9. Clearly Paul means to say that
the comparison of marriage to the union of Christ and the church
is the mystery. He makes that plain by the next words. {But I
(\egō de legō\). "Now I mean." Cf. 1Co 7:29; 15:50. {In
regard of Christ and of the church}
(\eis Christon kai [eis] tēn
. "With reference to Christ and the church." That is
all that \eis\ here means.

5:33 {Nevertheless} (\plēn\). "Howbeit," not to dwell unduly
(Abbott) on the matter of Christ and the church. {Do ye also
severally love}
(\kai humeis hoi kath' hena hekastos agapātō\).
An unusual idiom. The verb \agapātō\ (present active imperative)
agrees with \hekastos\ and so is third singular instead of
\agapāte\ (second plural) like \humeis\. The use of \hoi kath'
hena\ after \humeis\ = " ye one by one " and then \hekastos\
takes up (individualizes) the "one" in partitive apposition and
in the third person. {Let the wife see that she fear} (\hē gunē
hina phobētai\)
. There is no verb in the Greek for "let see"
(\blepetō\). For this use of \hina\ with the subjunctive as a
practical imperative without a principal verb (an elliptical
see Mr 5:23; Mt 20:32; 1Co 7:29; 2Co 8:7; Eph 4:29;
5:33 (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 994). "Fear" (\phobētai\, present
middle subjunctive)
here is "reverence."

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Ephesians: Chapter 5)