To Ephesians Chapter Five
Chapter 5 ended with a discussion of Christ and the church under the figure of husband and wife (Eph 5:22-33). Chapter[ 1 ] 6 follows with the relationship of children, parents, servants and masters. Paul pictures the characteristics of a Christian with the metaphor of a soldier with his armor. He closes the letter with the intent to send Tychicus, after which he wishes for his readers peace, love, faith and grace (see chart EPHESIANS 6 OUTLINE).
OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 6
- Children and parents (Eph 6:1-4).
- Servants and masters (Eph 6:5-9).
- Armor of God (Eph 6:10-20).
- Sending Tychicus to Ephesus (Eph 6:21, 22).
- Peace, love, faith and grace (Eph 6:23, 24).
OBEDIENCE TO PARENTS
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Children.[ 2 ] The Greek word for "children" is general and does not specify "little children" as does TEKNIA used elsewhere. The heavenly Father who notices the fall of a sparrow, cares for every little boy and girl (see Mt 10:29-31). The Savior loved children (see Mt 18:10). The Holy Spirit directed a part of the Ephesian letter to them. This does not imply that babies are lost or should be baptized. The obedience of children "in connection with the Lord"[ 3 ] prepares them for obedience to the laws of the land and for obedience to the gospel.
Obey your parents.[ 4 ] "Obey" may be a little stronger than "subjecting yourselves" (see Eph 5:20, 21). But bear in mind that Sarah HUPEEKOUSEN obeyed Abraham (1Pe 3:6). She submitted to his authority. Another NT word for "obey" [PEITHESTHE obey from persuasion] appears in the command, "Obey those who rule over you" (Heb 13:17). Elders would be well-advised to always explain why the members need to follow. "Obey from persuasion" is never used in the NT to describe children's obedience. Nonetheless, it is generally a good idea to explain to them reasons to obey.
In the Lord, for this is right [in the Lord, for this is just].GAR ESTIN DIKAION, for this is right (Marshall 773; Williams); for this is righteous (Lenski 646). "In the Lord" is complemented by "as to the Lord" (Eph 5:22), "as is fitting in the Lord" (Col 3:18) and "well-pleasing in the Lord" (Col 3:20). A proper understanding of the phrase "in the Lord" does not limit obedience to parents who are Christians. Children have always been required to obey parents (see De 21:18-21; Pr 6:20; 23:22) but obedience must never involve disobedience to the Lord. The command for children to obey may be modified by obeying God "rather than men" (Ac 5:29). Obedience to God may or may not require one to leave father and mother (Mt 15:29; see chart WHY IT IS RIGHT TO OBEY PARENTS).
Obedience in the Lord "is right" because it is God's will. When children obey parents they obey the Lord. In God's plan of subjection, wives are to be under their husbands. It is His plan for children to be obedient to their parents. In perilous or permissive times, children may tend to be disobedient to parents but they are not authorized to do so. Such behavior is listed with other grievous sins (see 2Ti 3:2). There is no justification for childhood rebellion.
WHY IT IS RIGHT TO OBEY PARENTS
- Because it is God's arrangement (God, Christ, husband, wife, children).
- Because God commanded it.
- Because it shows appreciation to parents.
- Because it is generally beneficial to the child.
- People whom God "gave up" were disobedient to parents (Ro 1:30).
- An obedient child is neater, more industrious, respectful and self-controlled.
- Obedience in choosing good companions and life mates makes life better.
HONORING FATHER AND MOTHER
6:2, 3 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
Honor your father and mother [honor thy father, thy mother].[ 5 ] Because all of the Ten Commandments except the Sabbath command are restated in the NT, the command to honor father and mother applies in the church age. "Honor" includes love, reverence, respect, even providing for aged or needy parents (see Mt 15:5, 6). When children honor their parents, it is natural for them to recognize Jesus as crowned with glory and honor (Heb 2:9; Re 5:12) and to give glory and thanks to God who sits on the throne (Re 4:9; see chart HONOR).
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you (Ex 20:12; compare De 5:16).
- Husbands to honor wife as weaker vessel (1Pe 3:7); "in sanctification and honor" (1Th 4:4).
- Honor masters (1Ti 6:1).
- In honor giving preference (Ro 12:10).
- Honor father and mother (Eph 6:2).
- Elders who rule well, worthy of double honor (1Ti 5:17).
Which is the first commandment with promise [this is the first commandment with a promise].[ 6 ] The command to honor father and mother is the fifth[ 7 ] of the Ten Commandments (see Ex 20:12; De 5:16). Several commands contain promises while others contain warnings (see charts COMMANDMENTS AND PROMISES; COMMANDMENTS AND WARNINGS). The command to honor parents is first in the sense that it is paramount or foremost. Some of the Ten Commandments plus hundreds of others are related to promises. The promise in the present context is "that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (De 5:16).
COMMANDMENTS AND PROMISES
- Showing lovingkindness to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments (Ex 20:6).
- Blessed is he that considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in the day of evil (Ps 41:1).
- Honor the LORD with your substance . . . so shall your barns be filled with plenty (Pr 3:9, 10)
- Keep my commandments and live (Pr 7:2).
- Those that seek me diligently shall find me (Pr 8:17).
- The fear of the LORD prolongs days (Pr 10:27).
- Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over (Lu 6:38; 14:13, 14; compare Ps 91:16).
[6:3] That it may be well with you [that it may be well with thee]. Obedience to the command to honor parents brings a two-fold reward. The first is "that it may be well with you." This may come naturally because of good parental advice. It may come about as the honor one gives to others returns to bless the child.
And you may live long on the earth [and thou mayest, and that thou mayest, and that you may, live long on the earth, be long-lived on the earth]. The second blessing to those who honor their parents is that "you may live long on the earth." Long life may stem from obeying commands to stay free from drugs and alcohol. It may come about from safe driving and prudent work habits. It may result from God's providential care of those who obey His command to honor parents (compare Mt 6:33; Eph 6:8).
COMMANDMENTS AND WARNINGS
- You shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die (Ge 2:17).
- If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door (Ge 4:7).
- Whoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold (Ge 4:15).
- Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them who hate me (Ex 20:4, 5).
- If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod (Ps 89:31, 32).
- He who does not believe shall be condemned (Mk 16:16).
- Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish (Lu 13:3).
NOT PROVOKING CHILDREN TO WRATH
6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
And you, fathers [fathers, and ye fathers]. Commands are sometimes addressed to a special class of people or to certain individuals. The command not to provoke children is addressed to fathers. No doubt, they have a greater need for this command than do mothers. However, just because this command is addressed to males, it would be foolish for any mother to think she is free to provoke her children.[ 8 ]
Do not provoke your children to wrath [provoke not, do not provoke, your children to anger].[ 9 ] (see notes on Eph 4:26, 27). Many children have not developed the ability to effectively cope with life's difficult problems. When parents irritate or exasperate them, they tend to become discouraged. Too much discouragement will mark a child for life.
But bring them up [but nurture them].[ 10 ] Fathers are specifically commanded to nourish, nurture, rear and bring up each of their children. This ought not to be done by proxy but should personally involve listening, working and playing with the children.
In the training and admonition of the Lord [in the chastening, nurture, the discipline, and instruction of the Lord].[ 11 ] Fathers are responsible for training their children. They are not to vex or exasperate them but care for and correct them as "child-servants" of the Lord. Too many children are taught neglect, dishonesty, greed and prejudice by parental example, not to mention abuse.
In chapter 5, Paul taught wives to be in subjection to their husbands but husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. A similar principle applies to fathers and children. Children are to obey but fathers are to give obeyable commands. Limits should be clearly defined and children need to understand them. They need to know the Lord loves them. They need to develop confidence. They need daily parental instruction, encouragement, assurance and lots of praise.
OBEDIENCE TO MASTERS
6:5-8 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
Bondservants, be obedient [servants, slaves, bondmen, obey].[ 12 ] A precise translation is "bondservants" or "slaves" but the term undoubtedly includes those voluntarily obligated to serve as well. In most countries today, the basic application is to subordinates who work under the supervision of an administrator. Employees volunteer to serve when they accept a job.
To those who are your masters according to the flesh [unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, to those who are your earthly masters].[ 13 ] Masters are slave-lords, those in charge of bondservants. By implication, most understand the rules for masters to apply to bosses. Rules for slaves should be adapted for employees.
With fear and trembling.[ 14 ] Some have suggested that the word "fear" should be replaced with "reverential respect." Please do not misunderstand this and conclude that the command to obey may be taken lightly. The "trembling" before masters demands thoughtful attention.
In sincerity of heart [in singleness, in simplicity, of heart, of your heart].[ 15 ] The service of a Christian employee comes from a sincere heart. He does not just pretend to be loyal--he is!
As to Christ [as unto the Christ]. The very wish of Christ is a command. Christians quickly obey Him out of love as well as fear (Eph 5:21 NASB). They yield to Him with honor and praise. Employees who cannot submit in the proper manner should quit their jobs and seek other employment.
[6:6] Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers [not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers].[ 16 ] "Eye service" may take the form of hard, diligent work but only while the master is looking. Outwardly, "men-pleasers" may seem to be fine workers. These hypocrites try to please their lord or employer to get a raise, some praise or a promotion, often at the expense of someone else.
But as bondservants of Christ [but as bondmen, servants, the servants, of Christ]. Christians are Christ's voluntary bondservants. They also work hard for their "lord" or boss as conscientiously as if he were Christ.
Doing the will of God from the heart [doing the will of God from the soul].[ 17 ] The Greek is, literally, doing the will of God from the soul. This implies Christians are responsible workers.
[6:7] With good will doing service, as to the Lord [serving with good will, rendering service with a good will, as unto the Lord].[ 18 ] Inwardly, Christian workers have good will. They do not have to deceive an employer. Notice how Paul repeats the idea of "as to the Lord" (see notes on verses 1, 7). The Lord is involved in the work-place as well as in the home and the church.
And not to men [and not unto men]. Christians work as for the Lord Jesus Christ regardless of the secular job by which they earn a living.
[6:8] Knowing that whatever good anyone does [knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, each shall do, any man doeth]. Christian workers are rewarded for their good work from their Lord in heaven.
He will receive the same from the Lord [the same shall he receive, this he shall receive, of the Lord, again from the Lord]. Christian slaves (and employees) work honestly, under the Lord's all-seeing eye. He sees everyone will recompense accordingly.
Whether he is a slave or free [whether bond, he be bond, or free]. If someone has been unable to transfer what Paul wrote to non-slave workers (employees), this inspired statement should help.
MASTERS, GIVE UP THREATENING
6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
And you, masters [and, and ye, masters].[ 19 ] Paul is aware that some of those who had been baptized into Christ were slaves while others were masters (see chart CHRISTIAN MASTERS).
- Treat slaves [or employees] as you want to be treated (see Mt 7:12).
- Christian masters [and employers] are servants of Christ (Eph 6:6).
- Serve with good will (Eph 6:7).
- Do good things (Eph 6:8).
- Give workers "just and fair" pay (Col 4:1).
Do the same things to them [do the same unto them, towards them]. The "same things" are good things (see verse 8). Christian masters/employers are sincere, honest and fair.
Giving up threatening [and forbear, forbearing, threatening].[ 20 ] God's patience with His people presents a model for employers in their treatment of their workers.
Knowing that your own Master also is in heaven [knowing that, both their and your Master, he who is both their Master, and yours, your Master also, is in heaven]. In God's sight, everybody is a servant, including the executives, presidents and kings. All are under the Master in heaven.
And there is no partiality with Him [and that there is, and there is, no acceptance of persons, neither is there respect of persons, with him]. God is utterly impartial. He has no favorites except for character. He will judge a kind employer the same way he does a good worker. He will judge a harsh and cruel master by the same standard that he judges a hateful and spiteful slave.
STRONG IN THE LORD
6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Finally, my brethren [for the rest, brethren].[ 21 ] Because of a variation in Greek texts, several versions omit "my brethren" (but see verse 23).[ 22 ]
BE STRONG (OT)
- To Solomon: Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man (1Ki 2:2).
- To Asa: Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded (2Ch 15:7).
- Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be do not fear!" (Isa 35:4).
- Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel . . . and be strong, Joshua . . . and be strong, all you people of the land . . . and work, for I am with you (Hag 2:4).
- Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days (Zec 8:9).
Be strong in the Lord.[ 23 ] There is a command to "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1Co 16:13). Paul wrote his final letter from the dismal Mamertine prison near the Tiber river in Rome. With only days to live, he urged Timothy to "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2Ti 2:1). Strength is given to those "in the Lord," in union with, and in cooperation with Him (see note on Eph 1:3). "I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Ps 121:1, 2). When Abraham was told that he would be "a father of many nations" and "so shall your descendants be," he was strengthened in faith (Ro 4:20; see Ro 4:17, 18). Jesus said to the eleven, "Without Me you can do nothing" (Joh 15:5). Paul declared, "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me" (Php 4:13).
Along with divine aid, being strong requires human effort. The Lord helps His people. A Christian soldier must "put on" the whole armor of God in order to stand (Eph 6:11) but the armor itself must be wielded. A well-armed Christian soldier must also be stout-hearted and strong. With God's help, he will be ardent in service, tolerant in suffering and mighty in combat. Do Christians today receive strength from the Lord? I believe that they do. I believe that I have.
And in the power of His might [and in the might of his strength, the strength of his might].[ 24 ] Christians are standing on the Lord's promises. They rely on His strength. They give thanks for the abilities they have. Paul attributed his ability to God. "Our sufficiency is from God" (2Co 3:5; compare 1Co 15:10). Christ strengthened him. Of his trial before Nero in the Roman forum, Paul wrote, "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me" (2Ti 4:17). "If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies" (1Pe 4:11).
Satan is invisible but not invincible. He seldom attacks in the open or in broad daylight. Underhandedly, he introduces seemingly harmless temptations in the form of suggestive ideas and thoughts. With these he hopes to draw Christians into compromise until he has the advantage. Christians need all of the power and might they can get from the Lord to do battle with him in these subtle enticements or surprise skirmishes (see 1Co 9:25-27).
THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Put on the whole armor of God [put on the panoply of God].[ 25 ] Not only must Christians take up the armor but they must put it on. To Greeks, PANOPLIA [the] whole armor was the complete battle equipment used by a heavily-armed foot-soldier. In the song, "Soldiers of Christ, Arise," one line says, "But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God." Note the similarity between the Greek word for "whole armor" and "panoply." "Let us put on the armor of light" (Ro 13:12), the "armor of righteousness" (2Co 6:7). The list of Christian graces in 2 Peter 1:5-10 is similar to the list of armor. The girdle or belt, the breast-plate, sandals, the shield and the helmet are all defensive armor. Only the sword is an offensive weapon. All parts of the body are protected except the back. If one turns to flee, his back lies exposed.
That you may be able to stand [that ye may be able to stand]. In verse 10, Paul told Christians to be strong in the Lord. He now tells them how to do that. The whole armor of God provides everything they need to stand. They stand armed. Nothing less guarantees against falling (see verse 13).
Against the wiles of the devil [against the artifices of the devil].[ 26 ] The devil is organized with several orders of demons under him in an unseen hierarchy. He is cunning, shrewd and subtle. He uses schemes and subterfuge to deceive unstable souls who may never suspect. Because of his subtlety, he is called a "serpent." Because of his age and experience in tempting people, he is known as an "old serpent" (Re 20:2).
Satan gradually slides people into great temptations by introducing imaginations that, at first, seem harmless. His wiles may take the form of "the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph 4:14). His assaults may be so quiet and camouflaged that a person is not aware that he is being attacked. It is as though Satan uses an anesthetic (see note on 2Ti 2:26). Only by employing all the armor of God, may a Christian hold fast his position in the spiritual battle.
WRESTLING AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS
6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood [for our wrestling, because our struggle, is not, for we are not contending, against blood and flesh].[ 27 ] The picture of a person wrestling in full armor seems a bit odd (see verses 11, 13). Because of the context, some think "struggle" or "fight" could be a suitable rendering of the Greek.[ 28 ] Even though the Lord provides strength, he does not do all the fighting. The Christian must be constantly ready. He does his own struggling.
"Flesh and blood" means mankind in general. Once, Jesus said to Peter, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you" (Mt 16:17). The meaning is that human beings did not make known to him that Jesus was the Son of God. After Paul was baptized, he said, "I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood" (Ga 1:16). He did not confer with any human in order to learn how to proclaim the gospel. When Joshua conquered Canaan, he fought literal battles against "flesh and blood." The Christian has to contend with certain people Satan has put forward. The battle is not carnal warfare, but spiritual (see Joh 18:36). He does not necessarily wrestle against a muscular person (flesh and blood). "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh"[ 29 ] (2Co 10:3).
- Conditions requiring two incomes.
- Governmental intervention in child-rearing.
- Outlawing discipline at home and at school.
- Evil entertainment.
- "Scientific" mockery of the Bible.
- Destroying marriages.
- Substituting atheism, humanism, New Age-ism or Islam for Bible faith.
- Promoting paranoia and despair.
WHAT CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE AGAINST (A)
- Spiritual ignorance in a sinful world.
- Evil longings and deceptive temptations.
- False ideas, philosophies and doctrines.
- Liberal theology that negates what the restorers fought to accomplish.
- Postmodernism that denies the reliability of logic and Scripture.
WHAT CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE AGAINST (B)
- Laws that favor free sex, divorce, abortion and homosexuality.
- Corruption, crime, abuse of adults and children.
- Misuse of legal or illegal substances.
- Entertainment and literature that lead souls into sin.
- Lukewarmness in the churches.
Debates with erroneous teachers only seem to be against flesh and blood. The conflict is actually with the false ideas more than with the men who espouse them. There seem to be cases where the wrestling is against people. This has prompted some to consider this verse to be an ellipsis. If so, it may be understood as follows: "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood [only] but against the principalities, etc., [also]." Paul may not have intended to imply that there would be no confrontations of any kind with wicked men.
If one's daily existence is not a warfare, he may not be a "fellow-soldier" (see Php 2:25; 2Ti 2:4; Phm 2). The Captain is the Lord Jesus Christ. "In the name of our God we will set up our banners!" (Ps 20:5; compare Isa 13:2). Our banner is love (Song of Solomon 2:4). Enemies of Christ's army are Satan and his helpers. Christians struggle with problems common to man. Much of that with which they contend comes through the agencies of men. Do not forget that they contend with the powers of darkness. They oppose deceptive teachings that weaken faith and turn souls away from God and heaven. There is a hint that some may resist temptation "unto bloodshed" (Heb 12:4).
But against principalities [but against the principalities].[ 30 ] The terms "principalities and powers" suggest how mighty the enemy really is. Some think principalities and powers are different ranks of angels (see Mt 25:41). Others think they were earthly rulers such as the heads of the Jewish state. The devil claimed to be world ruler (Lu 4:6). He was "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2). According to 2 Peter 2:4, angels that sinned were cast down to hell and delivered into chains of darkness. They "did not keep their proper domain but left their own habitation" (Jude 6). Does their confinement mean they are now completely disarmed? Perhaps not. Is not Satan also bound (see Mt 12:29; Mk 3:27)? Is he not still walking about as a lion (1Pe 5:8)? David Lipscomb wrote:
These evil spirits reign over the existing state of ignorance and alienation from God[ 31 ]
Whether the principalities and powers are men or angels, they are powerless to separate Christians from the love of God (Ro 8:28).
Against powers [against authorities, the powers].[ 32 ] In Christ, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers were created (Col 1:16). So were men, but that fact does not guarantee their righteousness (see chart PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS).
PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS
- [Christ is] far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named (Eph 1:21).
- Now to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10).
- [Our wrestling is] against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12).
- The head of all principality and power (Col 2:10).
- Having despoiled the principalities and the powers (Col 2:15).
Against the rulers of the darkness of this age [against the world-rulers, the universal lords, of this, of this present, darkness, of this world].[ 33 ] Satan's kingdom is one of absolute darkness. It is diametrically opposed to the light of truth. The kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of light. The Jewish rulers opposed and persecuted Christ and, in the years following His death, they oppressed his apostles and other Christians. Gentile rulers such as those at Damascus, Philippi and Rome also fought against the Lord's people.
Against spiritual hosts of wickedness [against spiritual wickedness, against spiritual power of wickedness].[ 34 ] The word "hosts" is not in the Greek but is supplied in order to make the connection with the rulers of the darkness of this age. Christians may be provoked to commit spiritual wickedness. Some forms of it are envy, pride, greed and lust for evil things. Sin robs Christians of heavenly blessings. It hinders their prayers to heaven. They wrestle with the "hosts of wickedness" about heavenly places and heavenly things because they seek to interfere with the journey to heaven.
In the heavenly places [in high places, in the heavenlies].[ 35 ] This section of Scripture seems mysterious and incomprehensible until we look at it from a practical standpoint. The hosts of evil are behind the world of corrupt actions. Against what does the Christian stand and fight? The writer recognizes seven main categories against which he struggles (see chart CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE AGAINST). No one can expect to win the battle with Satan without a strong faith.
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1Jo 5:4, 5).
TAKE UP THE WHOLE ARMOR
6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God [wherefore, for this reason, take, take up, to you, unto you, the panoply of God].[ 36 ] Have you heard of the false doctrine of "super" grace? Have you heard anyone say God's grace is so transcendent that Christians may relax and do about anything they feel like doing? This deceptive teaching discourages Christian soldiers not to fight. Some argue that the Holy Spirit does everything for them so that they themselves have nothing left to do. They even say the Holy Spirit does it all with His own sword![ 37 ] Paul did not believe this foolishness. He taught that each Christian needs the whole armor of God--every piece of it. It is not enough to have it. He must take it up! Not only that, but the crisis demands he do everything in his power to withstand![ 38 ]
That you may be able to withstand [that ye may be able to withstand].[ 39 ] There is a real danger of defeat. All the armor of God must be used and great effort expended in order to hold one's position.[ 40 ]
In the evil day.[ 41 ] The "evil day" is a bad time, a hard time, a day of temptation, a day of trouble (see Eph 5:16). It is a day of struggle. The time of Jesus' betrayal, trial and crucifixion was an evil day. He said to the chief priests and others who came to arrest Him, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Lu 22:53). There are still battles to be fought with the forces of evil. The "evil day" is whenever those forces are set in array. It may be one literal day when Satan's mighty horde challenges us. It may last several days or years. With all of God's armor and with tremendous effort Christians can win the fight.
And having done all, to stand [and, having accomplished all things, to stand].[ 42 ] Life itself demands one's all. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ec 9:10). Sometimes the best thing is to flee (see 1Co 6:18; 10:14; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22) but Paul is using the language of war! "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jas 4:7). "Resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1Pe 5:9). When one strives against sin, he stands against Satan and his angels. No matter how dreadful or strong, the adversary must be vanquished. He uses every stratagem and marshals every effort to ruin Christians. He must not succeed with his allurements. The Christian soldier must not yield! Supreme effort must be exerted in order to stand.
6:14-16 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Stand therefore.[ 43 ] The Christian soldier holds on to victory. After winning the battle, stand your ground![ 44 ] This is a command. "Satan stood up against Israel" (1Ch 21:1). When he stands up against a Christian, he must stand his ground against him! The Christian soldier must emphatically and positively refuse to do wrong. "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent!" (Pr 1:10).
Having girded your waist with truth [having your loins girt about, having girt about your loins, with truth].[ 45 ] One of Paul's favorite metaphors was armor. Various pieces of it correspond to a list of Christian traits. The girdle or belt holds other pieces of armor in place. This accounts for it being mentioned first. Someone has said, "Without a girdle, a soldier is undressed. Without the girdle of truth, the Christian is unblessed."
All of God's "commandments are righteousness" (Ps 119:172). His word is truth (Joh 17:17).[ 46 ] No one can fight God's battles with his waist girded with doubts, unbelief, immorality or false doctrine. Truth is indispensable. David wrote, "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts" (Ps 51:6). Paul said, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man" (Ro 7:22).
Having put on the breastplate of righteousness [and having on, and having put on, the breastplate of righteousness]. Truth is essential to righteousness. "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (1Th 5:8). The breastplate of righteousness is a breastplate of faith and love. Both faith and love protect the heart. By obedient faith one is united to Christ. By active love he is united to the brethren.[ 47 ] Isaiah prophesied thus of Christ:
"For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak" (Isa 59:17).
Satan's puppets hurl false accusations against God's people. A verbal response, without a righteous life to back it up, will not adequately answer these slurs. The Christian soldier's righteousness "is from God by faith" (Php 3:9). It is made possible by the blood of Christ. His walk is according to truth. The "righteous requirement of the law" is fulfilled in him when he walks "not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Ro 8:4). He practices righteousness on a daily basis. "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" (1Jo 2:29). "Little children, let no one deceive you, He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" (1Jo 3:7).
[6:15] And having shod your feet [and your feet shod, and shod your feet]. In ancient warfare, well-shod feet were protected against spiked gall-traps, sharp pointed rocks and thorns. A soldier with injured feet was an ineffective warrior. Roman soldiers protected feet and legs with greaves[ 48 ] and with strong, heavy, heeled sandals.[ 49 ]
With the preparation of the gospel of peace [with the equipment, with the preparation, of the glad tidings of peace]. Does it seem incongruous that the "preparation of the gospel of peace" is a weapon of war? It is defensive armor. A mind filled with the peace of God protects the Christian soldier from temptations as the sandals or shoes of brass did for literal soldiers. In another figure, peace guards the heart. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Php 4:7). Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. The gospel of peace prepares people for the eternal land of peace. Prepare yourself by obeying the gospel of peace (see Ro 10:16). Prepare yourself to teach the gospel. Prepare your heart to hold it fast and live by it. This will enable you to walk with a steady pace in the way of Christ. The gospel of peace brings peace with God, with self and with other Christians.[ 50 ] One who is prepared with the gospel of peace is not easily provoked. He is gentle and patient with others.
[6:16] Above all, taking the shield of faith [withal, besides all these, taking, having taken, the shield of faith].[ 51 ] The Greek word for "shield" originally denoted the door of a cave. Some shields were almost as big as a door--over two feet wide and four feet high. Breast-plates protected the heart but oblong shields protected the entire body. A shield was maneuverable. It could be turned in any direction. It meant the difference between defeat and victory. "And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith" (1Jo 5:4).
Ignatius modified the figure of armor when he wrote to Polycarp, "For a shield take your baptism, for a helmet your faith, for a spear your love, and for body-armor your patient endurance."[ 52 ] His comparison is somewhat inferior to Paul's. This is not the only point in which he differed slightly from the Apostle.[ 53 ]
With which you will be able to quench [wherewith ye shall be able to, with which you can, quench].[ 54 ] Missiles were sometimes tipped with tow[ 55 ] and soaked in tar. Wooden or leather shields could be set ablaze by fiery darts. Metal shields were fireproof. Some fiery darts were shot into buildings to set them ablaze. When shot into an army, a fire might erupt in clothing, hair or a wooden shield. Faith is a shield that can quench the fiery darts of Satan. His darts (fiery temptations) do not affect anyone with strong faith because the shield of faith keeps them from entering the heart.
All the fiery darts of the wicked one [all the flaming, inflamed, darts of the evil one, of the wicked].[ 56 ] Fiery darts depict the strongest temptations of the wicked one. A robust faith protects against them. Faith comes about by reading and hearing God's word (Joh 20:30, 31; Ro 10:17). It is kept alive by constant studying and understanding the truth (Eph 3:4; 5:17).
Temptations, like darts, may be swift and almost unobservable. Even though imperceptible, they may cause deep wounds in the heart. Satan's darts are like the fiery serpents in the wilderness whose poisonous stings inflamed those bitten (see Nu 21:6; De 8:15). His darts inflame those wounded by them.
6:17-20 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
And take the helmet of salvation [have also the helmet of salvation].[ 57 ] The helmet protects the head but note the variation in the list Paul gave to the Thessalonians, "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (1Th 5:8). "Salvation" corresponds to "the hope of salvation" as "the breastplate of righteousness" corresponds to "the breastplate of faith and love." Salvation from past sins helps the Christian endure as he fights against evil (see Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38). The assurance of salvation consoles the heart and frees it from doubts (see Ro 2:7).
And the sword of the Spirit.[ 58 ] The Greek suggests the sword of the Spirit is like a Roman short sword[ 59 ] or dagger. With such a weapon, Peter cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. James the brother of John was slain with one (Ac 12:2). It was a short sword with which the jailer started to kill himself (Ac 16:27). According to secular writings, the apostle Paul was beheaded with a short military sword.
The sword is an indispensable part of a soldier's armor. Without it he cannot do battle. The word of God is absolutely essential in the spiritual fight. It is called the sword of the Spirit because it is inspired. It is "sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12). Like Goliath's sword, "There is none like it!" (1Sa 21:9). David used it to avoid sin. "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Ps 119:11). Scripture is the most powerful weapon to repel the temptations of Satan. Christ resisted temptation with it, saying to the devil, "It is written" (see Mt 4:4, 6-7, 10).
Which is the word of God [which is God's word].[ 60 ] Is there an offensive weapon in the hand of the Christian soldier? Yes, indeed. "The good word of God," the very utterance of God, is the sword of the Spirit.[ 61 ] It may also be used defensively as when the Lord resisted Satan's temptations.
Have you ever heard anyone say that the word, the sword of the Spirit, is only effective when the Spirit uses it? Nonsense! The Christian is commanded to "take the sword of the Spirit." Why take it if he cannot use it? Does the phrase, "sword of the Spirit" imply the sword that the Spirit uses? Not any more than the command to put on the "armor of God" means that God is to put on the armor and use it! The armor of Rome was what Roman soldiers wore and used. The armor of God is what God's soldiers (Christians) wear and use. Are they to use the sword of the Spirit? Of course! "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching" (2Ti 4:2). What about a Christian soldier who refuses to use the sword furnished him by the Spirit? He is no more effective than a soldier without a weapon.[ 62 ]
[6:18] Praying always with all prayer [praying at all seasons, pray at all times, with all prayer, with all prayer].[ 63 ] One may buckle on every part of the Christian armor but without prayer still be ineffective in battle. Christians add prayer to the other pieces of armor. They entreat God's assistance. They pray always, keeping regular times of prayer. Occasionally they utter ejaculatory prayers. Devout sentence prayers are never out of place. They pray "with all prayer and supplication." They engage in all kinds of prayer including public and secret, solemn and joyous, planned and sudden. They utter all the parts of prayer: adoration, confession, petition and thanksgiving. They pray on various special occasions. During the day, they maintain a prayerful disposition.
And supplication.[ 64 ] Christians often ask for and get detailed answers to their petitions. Such requests are called supplications. In the days of His flesh, Jesus asked for special help when He approached death. He "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death (Heb 5:7; see chart SUPPLICATIONS, SPECIAL REQUESTS).
SUPPLICATIONS, SPECIAL REQUESTS
- With all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph 6:18).
- In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Php 4:6).
- That supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men (1Ti 2:1).
- A widow indeed . . . continues in supplications and prayers night and day (1Ti 5:5).
In the Spirit [in the Spirit]. Prayer and supplication is to be made "in the Spirit." "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20).[ 65 ] Various commentators appear to be a little vague in explaining the phrase "in the Spirit." Adam Clark says it means "holding the Divine influence when making prayer."[ 66 ] Matthew Henry says it means our spirits must be employed in the duty and we must do it by the grace of God's good Spirit.[ 67 ] Since all Christians are not inspired, this certainly does not mean they are to pray by inspiration. Macknight says they simply pray "with the heart and mind, sincerely and fervently."[ 68 ] Rest assured that sincere and fervent prayers offered by dedicated Christians are "in the Spirit."
Being watchful to this end [and watching thereunto, unto this very thing, to that end keep alert]. The Holy Spirit urges Christian soldiers to be watchful. They watch for occasions and opportunities to pray, watching their own hearts in order to keep them in a praying mood. They are alert for enemy attacks, for opportunities to advance and for ways to assist other soldiers.
With all perseverance [in all perseverance].[ 69 ] What is the proper response to God's instructions about prayer? Let David answer. "When You said, `Seek My face,' My heart said to You, `Your face, Lord, I will seek'" (Ps 27:8). The command is to "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Col 4:2). Christians never give up praying. They pray every day of their lives. They pray "that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified" (2Th 3:1). They make notes of prayer requests and honor them. They pray day after day "without ceasing" (1Th 5:17).[ 70 ]
And supplication for all the saints [making supplication for all saints]. Christians broaden the scope of their prayers to include all brethren everywhere, not just the local congregation. They are "individually members one of another" (Ro 12:5; Eph 4:25). Every soldier in God's army needs prayer, especially new recruits, the weak and wounded. Emergency prayer is offered in the heat of battle. Special prayer is made for friends as well as for each one whose personality may not be likable. Prayer is even offered for enemies.
[6:19] And for me, that utterance may be given to me [and on my behalf, and also for me, that, in order that, utterance may be given me, unto me, to me]. Diligent supplication is needed on behalf of the "mighty" soldiers in the forefront of the battle, of whom Paul was one. Prayer should be made for teachers, missionaries and preachers that they may speak the word with boldness, communicating freely, openly and fearlessly.[ 71 ] Prayer is imperative for teachers, writers and translators who are endeavoring to uphold the truth and save the church from apostasy.
If one may judge from Paul's writings, he was a great speaker. Some other people must have thought so too because they dubbed him "Mercury"[ 72 ] because he was the chief speaker (Ac 14:12).[ 73 ] Regardless of his ability, he requested that his brothers and sisters pray that "utterance" be given him.
That I may open my mouth boldly [in opening my mouth boldly, with boldness, in the opening of my mouth with boldness]. Paul was noted for endurance and determination. Still he asked for prayer that God would give him boldness.
To make known the mystery of the gospel [to proclaim the mystery of the glad tidings]. Everywhere Paul went, he proclaimed the word. While in prison, he asked for prayer that he might continue to make known the mystery of the gospel. For a discussion of "the mystery," see notes on Ephesians 3:3-6.
[6:20] For which I am an ambassador in chains [for which I am an ambassador in bonds, bound with a chain].[ 74 ] In Rome, Paul proclaimed the gospel under difficult conditions. Even though he lived in his own rented house, He was a prisoner (see Ac 28:30).[ 75 ] He was an ambassador in a chain (see note on Php 1:12-14).[ 76 ] He was not allowed to leave but he could receive guests.
That in it I may speak boldly [that therein I may speak, that I may declare it, boldly, that I may be bold in it]. Paul mentions boldness twice. His aim was to boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God. It took effort to speak "without fear or favor" when chained to a soldier, but what a blessing for that soldier!
As I ought to speak. Did not Paul know how he ought to speak? Of course he did. Yet he asks them to pray that he may speak in that manner.
TO KNOW HOW PAUL WAS DOING
6:21, 22 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.
But that you also may know my affairs [but that ye also, but in order that ye also, now that you also, may know what I am doing, what concerns me].[ 77 ] It would be encouraging to the saints to know what Paul was able to accomplish while in prison, especially the great number of people he was continuing to teach.
And how I am doing [how I do, and how I do, I am, am getting on].[ 78 ] Among other things, Paul wanted his readers to receive information about his health and endurance.
Tychicus, a beloved brother [the beloved brother, Tychicus]. It was quite an honor to be called "a beloved brother" by Paul. Tychicus, who traveled home along with Onesimus, was given this honor. He and Onesimus visited the large congregation at Ephesus on their way home. They carried letters both to Ephesus and Colossae, together with a personal letter to Philemon who lived in the latter city. Philemon was master of Onesimus, the returning slave (see notes on Col 4:7-9).
And faithful minister in the Lord.[ 79 ] Tychicus was a faithful servant of Christ. He was dependable to communicate Paul's message to the brethren at Ephesus.
Will make all things known to you [shall make known to you all things, will tell you everything]. "All things" included Paul's affairs with probable emphasis on what he was doing and the state of the great church in Rome.
[6:22] Whom I have sent to you for this very purpose [I have sent him to you for the same purpose, for this very thing]. Tychicus could be trusted to deliver the letters to Ephesus and probably to Colossae and to Philemon. He was an acceptable speaker. Perhaps Onesimus, being a slave, was not yet prepared to do that.
That you may know our affairs [that ye may know how we are, our state, our affairs, of our affairs][ 80 ] (see note above on And how am I doing and Will make all things known to you.
And that he may comfort your hearts [and that he might comfort, may encourage, encourage your hearts].[ 81 ] The saints at Ephesus were concerned about Paul's circumstances and safety. News of his ministry would bring consolation to them.
PEACE TO THE BRETHREN
6:23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace to the brethren [peace be to the brethren]. Paul had preached three years at Ephesus. Since this epistle was a circular letter, it is not surprising that his greetings to his friends are not specific (see note on Eph 1:1).[ 82 ]
The closing may be general but it is not superficial. In fact, it is touching. Paul wishes his readers to have peace. Recall what he wrote about Jew and Gentile (Eph 2:14-18), his admonition to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3) and the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). When Christians have peace with God, they ought to be at peace with each other.
LOVE FROM GOD (A)
- For God so loved the world (Joh 3:16).
- Demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us (Ro 5:8).
- Rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us (Eph 2:4).
- Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us (1Jo 3:1).
LOVE FROM GOD (B)
- In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1Jo 4:9).
- Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1Jo 4:11).
- God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1Jo 4:16).
LOVE FROM CHRIST
- Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (Joh 13:1).
- Even as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you: abide in My love (Joh 15:9).
- Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Joh 15:13).
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Ro 8:35).
- The love of Christ constrains us (2Co 5:14).
- The Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me (Ga 2:20).
- Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for you (Eph 5:2).
And love with faith.[ 83 ] Paul expresses God's love [AGAPEE] which is the love of the thoughts and purposes. It is not primarily emotional.
From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.[ 84 ] Peace is from God and so is love. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1Jo 4:19). Faith comes from His word (Ro 10:17; see chart LOVE FROM GOD). The fact that peace, love and faith are from Christ suggests, but does not prove, the deity of the Son. The love of Christ inspires a similar love in the heart of Christians. "Hereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1Jo 3:16).
GRACE BE WITH ALL WHO LOVE OUR LORD
6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Grace be with all those [with all, with all them].[ 85 ]
Who love our Lord Jesus Christ [that love our Lord Jesus Christ].[ 86 ] This is a recognition of those who love and obey Christ (see Joh 14:23). It is also an encouragement to everyone to love Him.
In sincerity [with a love incorruptible, with love undying, in incorruption].[ 87 ] Christians have an unfailing love as they continue to enjoy God's grace. This point was especially applicable to the church at Ephesus because, a short time later, some of them would leave their first love (Re 2:4, 5).
Amen. "Amen" when uttered by men means "So be it." When God says it, as here, it means "It is so."
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV and occasionally another version. Some wording in charts reflects the ASV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]TEKNA, children (Marshall 773; Williams; Lenski 646); plural, TEKNA, children; [another word TEKNIA diminutive of TEKNON, child, a little child (Zodhiates 1371).
[ 3 ]Lenski 646.
[ 4 ]HUPAKOUETE TOIS GONEUSIN HUMOON, obey ye the parents of you (Marshall 773); listen to, listen under, obey, follow the subject to, to submit, to hearken to a command (Arndt 837; Thayer 638; Vine 796).
[ 5 ]TIMA TON PATERA SOU KAI TEEN MEETERA, honor the father of thee and the mother (Marshall 773); show honor, reverence, respect (Arndt 817); love plus respect, reverence, and corresponding obedience (Lenski 647).
[ 6 ]HETIS ESTIN ENTOLEE PROOTEE EN EPANGELIA, which is command [the] first with a promise (Marshall 773); first in point of promise, as it also is in order the first with promise (Vincent 3.403); prime in connection with promise (Lenski 648).
[ 7 ]The disparity in numbering the Ten Commandments is due to some splitting Exodus 20:3, 4 into two commandments against idolatry while others split Exodus 20:17 in order to make two commandments against covetousness. The former method is followed in these notes.
[ 8 ]The command not to lust after a woman is addressed only to men (Mt 5:27). Does this give women a right to lust after a man? Of course not. Women are to dress in modest apparel (1Ti 2:9). Do men have the right to dress immodestly? Not at all.
[ 9 ]MEE PARORGIZETE TA TEKNA HUPOON, do not ye provoke to wrath the children of you (Marshall 773); [do not] irritate beyond measure, make angry (Young 783; Arndt 629); to provoke to anger, irritation or resentment (Zodhiates 1122).
[ 10 ]ALLA EKTREPHETE AUTA, but nurture them (Marshall 773); EKTREPHETE is second person plural, present active indicative of EKTREPHOO (Han 362); nourish (Vine 145); rear, bring up (Arndt 246); nurture, bring up (Thayer 200).
[ 11 ]EN PAIDEIA KAI NOUTHESIA KURIOU, in [the discipline and admonition of [the] Lord (Marshall 773); the training of a child, including instruction; hence, discipline, correction, "chastening" . . . Christian discipline that regulates character (Vine 175).
[ 12 ]HOI DOULOI, HUPAKOUETE the slaves (Marshall 713); bondsmen (Conybeare); for HUPAKOUETE, see note on verse 1.
[ 13 ]TOIS KATA SARKA KURIOIS, the (your) according to flesh lords (Marshall 773); KURIOIS, lords, those who exercise power (Vine 718).
[ 14 ]META PHOBOU KAI TROMOU, with fear and trembling (Marshall 773); reverential fear . . . of superiors [and] a trembling (Vine 414, 1164).
[ 15 ]EN HAPLOTEETI TEES KARDIAS HUMOON, in singleness of the heart of you (Marshall 773); simplicity . . . Moulton and Milligan, from papyri examples, suggest "unworldly simplicity" (Vine 1048); singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty; the virtue of one who is free from pretence and dissimulation (Thayer 57).
[ 16 ] MEE KAT' OPHTHALMODOULIAN, not with eyeservice (Marshall 773); denotes service performed only under the master's eye [OPHTHALMOS an eye, DOULOS a slave], diligently performed when he is looking, but neglected in his absence (Vine 395).
[ 17 ]POIOUNTES TO THELEEMA TOU THEOU EK PSUCHEES, doing the will of God from [the] soul (Marshall 773); the soul, or life, is rendered "heart" in Ephesians 6:6. . . . In Colossians 3:23, a form of the word PSUCHEE preceded by EK, from, literally, "from [the] soul," is rendered "heartily" (Vine 537).
[ 18 ]MET' EUNOIAS DOULEUONTES HOOS TOO KURIOO, with goodwill serving as slaves as to the Lord (Marshall 773); EUNOIAS, [EU well, NOUS the mind], good will (Vine 1229).
[ 19 ]KAI HOI KURIOI, and the lords (Marshall 774).
[ 20 ]ANIENTES TEEN APEILEEN, forbearing the threatening (Marshall 774); giving up your threatening (Vine 446); give up, omit, calm down (Thayer 47).
[ 21 ]TOU LOIPOU, for the rest (Marshall 774).
[ 22 ]There is some difference of opinion as to whether "finally" may be translated "for the rest" (see note on 1Th 4:1). That this is not the meaning here is implied by the fact that all are to be strong, not just "the rest."
[ 23 ] ENDUNAMOUSTHE EN KURIOO, be ye empowered in [the] Lord (Marshall 774); ENDUNAMOUSTHE is second person plural, present middle imperative of ENDUNAMOOO (Han 363); [EN in, DUNAMIS power], to strengthen, "be strong" (Vine 1098); to receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strength . . . in union with the Lord (Thayer 214); used of religious and moral strength (Arndt 263; Vincent 3.405).
[ 24 ]KAI EN TOO KRATEI TEES ISCHOUS AUTOU, and in the might of the strength of him (Marshall 774); KRATEI is force, conquering power; ISCHOUS is might, indwelling strength.
[ 25 ] ENDUSASTHE TEEN PANOPLIAN TOU THEOU, put ye on the whole armor of God (Marshall 774); [PAS all, HOPLON a weapon; English panoply], literally, all armor, full armor . . . of the spiritual helps supplied by God for overcoming the temptations of the Devil (Vine 67); the full armor of a heavily armed soldier (Vincent 3.405; Arndt 607).
[ 26 ]PROS TAS METHODEIAS TOU DIABOLOU, against the craftiness of the devil (Marshall 774); craft, deceit, cunning devices (Vine 1228).
[ 27 ]HOTI OUK ESTIN HEEMIN HEE PALEE PROS HAIMA KAI SARKA, because not is to us the conflict against blood and flesh=our conflict is not against blood and flesh (Marshall 774).
[ 28 ]"I used the word fight instead of wrestle because the Greeks wrestled naked" (Macknight 343).
[ 29 ]Islam is vastly different from Christianity in this point. Mohammedans literally kill opponents in order to spread their faith. Christians do not.
[ 30 ]ALLA PROS TAS ARCHAS, but against the rulers (Marshall 774); also of angelic and demonic powers, since they were thought of as having a political organization (Arndt 112); our wrestling (Vincent 3.406); we cannot use the abstract plural "rules" as in [Ephesians] 3:10, our best word is "principalities" (Lenski 660). 660); the term is transferred by Paul to angels and demons holding dominions entrusted to them in the order of things (Thayer 77).
[ 31 ]Lipscomb 127.
[ 32 ] PROS TAS EXOUSIAS, against the authorities (Marshall 774); angelic beings are called "powers" in Ephesians 3:10 (compare 1:21); 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15 (compare 2:10) (Vine 868); used also of demons [in the plural] (Thayer 225); of rulers and functionaries of the spirit world (Arndt 278).
[ 33 ]PROS TOUS KOSMOKRATORAS TOU SKOTOUS TOUTOU, against the world rulers darkness of this (Marshall 774); "world tyrants" is better than "world rulers," for KRATOS in the compound noun contains the idea of exerting strength and utter hardness and thus acting like the worst tyrant (Lenski 660).
[ 34 ]PROS TA PNEUMATIKA TEES PONEERIAS, against the spiritual [hosts] of evil (Marshall 774); the neuter plural TA PNEUMATIKA does not denote "things" since this phrase, too, is appositional and the masculine plural "world tyrants" precedes . . . denoting "the spiritual beings" as such (Lenski 661).
[ 35 ]EN TOIS EPOURANIOIS, in the heavenlies (Marshall 774); the phrase must here designate "the wickedness" as being located in the supermundane world and thus being distinguished from the wickedness found in men here below on the earth (Lenski 662).
[ 36 ]DIA TOUTO ANALABETE TEEN PANOPLIAN TOU THEOU, therefore take ye up the whole armor of God (Marshall 774); so you must take on God's full armor (Williams); English panoply, literally, all armor, full armor [PAS all, HOPLON a weapon] . . . of the spiritual helps supplied by God for overcoming the temptations of the Devil [Eph 6:11, 13] (Vine 67).
[ 37 ]Compare Harrison 152.
[ 38 ]Compare Vincent 3.407.
[ 39 ]HINA DUNEETHEETE ANTISTEENAI, in order that ye may be able to resist (Marshall 774); stand your ground (Arndt 67).
[ 40 ]Harrison 751.
[ 41 ]EN TEE HEEMERA TEE PONEERA, in the day evil (Marshall 774); the wicked day (Lenski 662); in the day when evil attacks you (Williams).
[ 42 ]KAI HAPANTA KATERGASAMENOI STEENAI, and all things having wrought to stand (Marshall 774); having done all indicates the accomplishment of a difficult task (Weed 187); delicate shades of truth here expressed by prepositions and tenses. . . "and after having completely finished the contest, to hold your own" (Williams).
[ 43 ]STEETE OUN, stand ye therefore (Marshall 774); STEETE is second person plural, second aorist active imperative or subjunctive of ISTEEMI (Han 363); hold your position, then (Williams); aorist imperative, this is not ingressive . . . this is constative: "Stand once for all." That is why the relative clause in verse 16 has the future tense: "you will be able," etc. (Lenski 664).
[ 44 ]Arndt 421. In past generations, brethren have won battles on inerrancy of Scripture, instrumental music in worship, premillennialism, the purpose of baptism and the role of women in the assembly. Apparently, some are now willing to concede the ground won by older and faithful soldiers of the cross.
[ 45 ]PERIZOOSAMENOI TEEN OSPHUN HUMOON EN ALEETHEIA, girding round the loin(s) of you with truth (Marshall 774).
[ 46 ]Because a different piece of armor is the word of God, some explain "truth" in this verse as sincerity. Christians must sincerely follow the word of God.
[ 47 ]Compare Matthew Henry.
[ 48 ]Greaves are pieces of armor to protect the legs. Goliath "had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders" (1Sa 17:6).
[ 49 ]Howson 779.
[ 50 ]"When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Pr 16:7).
[ 51 ]EN PASIN ANALABONTES TON THUREON TEES PISTEOOS, in all taking up the shield of faith (Marshall 775); THUREON formerly meant a stone for closing the entrance of a cave; then, a shield, large and oblong, protecting every part of the soldier; the word is used metaphorically of faith, Ephesians 6:16, which the believer is to take up "in [EN in the original] all" (all that has just been mentioned), that is, as affecting the whole of his activities (Vine 1035).
[ 52 ]Staniforth 129.
[ 53 ]An error unintentionally propagated by Ignatius was a deviation from the NT pattern of authority and church organization. Over and over, for the sake of peace and unity, he urged Christians to "obey your bishop" (singular). The pattern for each congregation in NT times was a plurality of elders (same as bishops). Of course, the word of God was always above them in authority. Unity ought not to be based on anything but the revealed word of God.
[ 54 ]EN HOO DUNEESETSHE SBESAI, by which ye will be able to quench (Marshall 775); metaphorically, of quenching the fire-tipped darts of the evil one (Vine 912).
[ 55 ]"Tow" is some kind of fiber such as yarn, twine or rope. It may consist of wool, flax, hemp or even synthetic material.
[ 56 ]"Tow" is some kind of fiber such as yarn, twine or rope. It may consist of wool, flax, hemp or even synthetic material.
[ 57 ]KAI TEEN PERIKEPHALAIAN TOU SOOTEERIOU DEXASTHE, and the helmet of salvation take ye (Marshall 775); PERIKEPHALAIAN [from PERI around, KEPHALE a head], used figuratively in Ephesians 6:17, with reference to salvation, and in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, where it is described as "the hope of salvation." The head is not to be regarded here as standing for the seat of the intellect; the word is not so used elsewhere in Scripture. In Ephesians 6:17 salvation is a present experience of the Lord's deliverance of believers as those who are engaged in spiritual conflict; in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the hope is that of the Lord's Return, which encourages the believer to resist the spirit of the age in which he lives (Vine 543); equivalent to the hope of (future) salvation (Thayer 612); of Messianic salvation and the one who mediates it (Arndt 802).
[ 58 ]KAI TEEN MACHAIRAN TOU PNEUMATOS, and the sword of the Spirit (Marshall 775); MACHAIRAN, a short sword or dagger [distinct from RHOMPHAIA, a Thracian weapon of large size], possibly a knife . . . of the Word of God, "the sword of the Spirit," probing the conscience, subduing the impulses to sin, Ephesians 6:17 (Vine 1113); the genitive denotes a person and cannot therefore be appositional. . . . The genitive is the genitive of source: the Spirit's sword is invincible (Lenski 673).
[ 59 ]The short sword was designed for close combat. Some see in this an encouragement to do personal work.
[ 60 ]HO ESTIN RHEEMA THEOU, which is [the] word of God (Marshall 774). According to Marshall, HO which is neuter, agreeing with PNEUMA Spirit, not feminine to agree with MACHAIRA sword. According to Lenski, "the supposition that HO has derived its gender from PNEUMA or from RHEEMA is untenable (Lenski 673).
[ 61 ]Compare references to "the rod of His mouth," "the breath of His lips" (Isa 11:4) and "the breath of His mouth" (2Th 2:8). "Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword" (Re 1:16; compare Re 2:12, 16). The references to a sword in Revelation 1 and 2 are to RHOMPHAIA, a Thracian weapon of large size.
[ 62 ]This paragraph was adapted from Robertson L. Whiteside 337.
[ 63 ]DIA PASEES PROSEUCHEES, PROSEUCHOMENOI, by means of all prayer, praying (Marshall 775); always used of prayer to God; compare Jas 5:17, "He prayed with prayer," a Hebraistic form (Vine 872).
[ 64 ]KAI DEEESEOOS, and petition (Marshall 775); cries for help when in need (Lenski 675).
[ 65 ]The interpretation of Ephesians 6:20 is not intended to negate the fact that the Holy Spirit aids in prayer by making intercession (see note on Ro 8:26).
[ 66 ]Clarke 6.472.
[ 67 ]Matthew Henry.
[ 68 ]Macknight 345.
[ 69 ]EN PASEE PROSKARTEREESEI, in all perseverance (Marshall 775); be steadfast, a strengthened form of KARTEREOO [PROS towards, intensive, KARTEROS strong], denotes to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it (Vine 79).
[ 70 ]To pray without ceasing does not mean one must pray during every hour of sleep and wakefulness. Even Jesus "ceased" praying (Lu 11:1).
[ 71 ]Arndt 631.
[ 72 ]In mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods.
[ 73 ]Paul's enemies said, "His speech is contemptible (2Co 10:10. He did not deny that he was "rude in speech" (2Co 11:6; compare 1Co 2:1) but this is a far cry from not being a good speaker.
[ 74 ]HUPER HOU PRESBEUO EN HALUSEI, on behalf of which I am an ambassador in a chain (Marshall 775); literally, in a chain: the particular word for the coupling-chain by which he was bound by the hand of his guard (Vincent 3.441).
[ 75 ]Some think Paul may have been in prison at Caesara when he wrote the Ephesian letter (see Ac 23:23, 33-27:1).
[ 76 ]The apostles were ambassadors of Christ. There are no "official" living ambassadors for Christ in the biblical sense in the present century inasmuch as there are no apostles today. Anyone who claims to be an ambassador for Christ must realize the secondary and unofficial nature of his claim.
[ 77 ]HINA DE EIDEETE KAI HUMEIS TA KAT' EME, now in order that may know also ye the things about me (Marshall 775).
[ 78 ]TI PRASSOO, what I am doing (Marshall 775).
[ 79 ]KAI PISTOS DIAKONOS EN KURIOO, and faithful minister in [the] Lord (Marshall 775).
[ 80 ]HINA GNOOTE TA PERI HEEMOON, in order that ye may know the things concerning us (Marshall 776).
[ 81 ]KAI PARAKALESEE TAS KARDIAS HUMOON, and may comfort the hearts of you (Marshall 776).
[ 82 ]Contrast Romans 16 where he greets several.
[ 83 ]KAI AGAPEE META PISTEOOS, and love with faith (Marshall 776); and love in company with faith from God (Lenski 685).
[ 84 ]APO THEOU PATROS KAI KURIOU 'IEESOU CHRISTOU, from God [the] Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ (Marshall 776); from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Lenski 685).
[ 85 ]HEE CHARIS META PANTOON, grace [be] with all (Marshall 776).
[ 86 ]TOON AGAPOONTOON TON KURION HEEMOON 'IEESOUN CHRISTON, the [ones] loving the Lord of us Jesus Christ (Marshall 776).
[ 87 ]EN APHTHARSIA, in incorruptibility (Marshall 776); of love to Christ, that which is sincere and undiminishing (Vine 236).
Copyright ©2002, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
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