1 Paul, by God’s will an apostle of Jesus Christ, (God’s will was to convert Paul; Jesus called Paul to be an apostle, just as Christ called the twelve) to those saints, (Paul is writing to those Jewish faithful who are believers in Christ in the new church in Ephesus.) the faithful in Jesus Christ (those Jewish believers who have gained the faith of Christ), who dwell at Ephesus; (Paul addressed this letter mainly to the leaders of his new church in Ephesus. These leaders were probably Jewish, at least 95% of them.) 2 Grace and peace be yours from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ (Paul extends and calls down God’s unmerited favor, blessing and comfort on the new Jewish converts to Christianity). 3 Blessed be that God, that Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing, higher than heaven itself. (Paul praises God and holds Him in high esteem for offering “His Son” and sending Christ as an abundant blessing, greater than the blessing of heaven itself). 4 He has chosen us out, in Christ, (God and Christ selected the Jews as His “Chosen People”) before the foundation of the world, to be saints (God picked Abraham and Abraham’s descendants when Adam sinned to be the conduit to reclaim humanity. This group of elected people became the descendants of Moses and the twelve tribes of Israel), to be blameless in his sight, for love of him (to strive for perfection that will bring the reciprocating love between God and mankind); 5 marking us out beforehand (so his will decreed) to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ (the saints among the Jews were picked by Christ and God to accomplish God’s will before the foundation of the world). 6 Thus he would manifest the splendor of that grace by which he has taken us into his favor in the person of his beloved Son (Christ was the manifestation of God’s grace as an example to those called). 7 It is in him and through his blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Christ’s death brought redemption for the believing Jews and the forgiveness of the sins of Adam for the gentiles). So rich is God’s grace, 8 that has overflowed upon us in a full stream of wisdom and discernment, 9 to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will (God has revealed His will and purpose to the saints through a constant flow of grace, which brings wisdom and discernment). It was his loving design, centered in Christ, 10 to give history its fulfilment by resuming everything in him, all that is in heaven, all that is on earth, summed up in him (God has come full circle by sending Christ to reconcile mankind with God. God’s kingdom is now reestablished on earth as it was before the fall of Adam but this time with restrictions and conditions laid out by Christ). 11 In him it was our lot to be called, singled out beforehand to suit his purpose (for it is he who is at work everywhere, carrying out the designs of his will) (God’s plan was for the Jews to lead this conversion. God designed this plan through His chosen people. God accomplishes His will through grace [unmerited favor] and dispenses grace to whom He wants and when He wants. The Jews were first called and did not succeed so now the gentiles get their turn.); 12 we were to manifest his glory, we who were the first to set our hope in Christ (Paul uses the word “we,” meaning the Jews, and refers to His glory, meaning God. God and then Christ first chose the Jews for reformation. The apostles and saints (all Jews) who were called by Christ are to demonstrate God’s power and might and to expose God’s magnificent achievement through the death and resurrection of Christ to other Jews and the gentiles.); 13 in him you too were called, when you listened to the preaching of the truth, that gospel which is your salvation (Now notice that Paul says “you too.” Paul is now addressing the gentiles. The Ephesians, both Greek and Roman gentiles, were also called after hearing the gospel preached to them regarding the offer of salvation to them. Christ, a Jew, and all of His disciples were Jews. The Jews failed in God’s mission to extend salvation to humanity so now the gentiles are called through the conduit of the Jews.) In him you too learned to believe, and had the seal set on your faith by the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (The Jews believed in a messiah and the gentiles have now learned to believe also. Belief is caused by the receipt of the holy spirit after hearing the word preached); 14 a pledge of the inheritance which is ours, to redeem it for us and bring us into possession of it, and so manifest God’s glory (Christ is messiah as pledged by God to Abraham and Moses. Christ’s death completed His pledge [promise to send] to send the holy spirit as comforter, paraclete and advisor after Christ’s ascension which completed God’s design to return first the Jew and then to the gentile to His fold). Well then, I too play my part; I have been told of your faith in the Lord Jesus, of the love you shew towards all the saints, (Paul plays his part in God’s design by preaching, exhorting and praising because he has been told of the faith, hope and love of the Ephesians, mainly speaking of the Jews but also the few converted gentiles.) 16 and I never cease to offer thanks on your behalf, or to remember you in my prayers. (Paul constantly intercedes to God for the Ephesians.) 17 So may he who is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father to whom glory belongs, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight, to give you fuller knowledge of himself (Paul intercedes again and asks God to send down the holy spirit on the Ephesians to bring them wisdom and insight of His plan). 18 May your inward eye be enlightened (Paul wants their hearts, minds and souls to comprehend), so that you may understand to what hopes he has called you, how rich in glory is that inheritance of his found among the saints, (to comprehend the power, knowledge and love that the holy spirit brings to those who accept Christ, all in God’s plan. God’s plan was to extend salvation to the gentiles through the Jews.) 19 what surpassing virtue there is in his dealings with us, who believe (God’s desire is pure in His dealing with the believers, both Jew and gentile). Measure it by that mighty exercise of power 20 which he shewed when he raised Christ from the dead (The Ephesians can weigh and comprehend God’s power and desire by looking at what He did for Christ, raised Him from the dead), and bade him sit on his right hand above the heavens, 21 high above all princedoms and powers and virtues and dominations, and every name that is known, not in this world only, but in the world to come (God gave Christ power over all good and evil, over all humans in heaven and earth and in time and space today and all of the future). 22 He has put everything under his dominion, and made him the head to which the whole Church is joined, (God has made Christ the head of the body, the church, to which all the Ephesians are joined [members of heaven]) 23 so that the Church is his body, the completion of him who everywhere and in all things is complete (The church now becomes the completion of the plan of God to reestablish His kingdom on earth. Humans, both Jew and gentile, can now have a direct relationship with God).
1 He found you dead men; such were your transgressions, such were the sinful ways 2 you lived in. (When Christ appeared, humans, particularly the gentles, were the living dead steeped in vice and corruption and depravity) That was when you followed the fashion of this world (The Ephesians lived by the morals of their secular world), when you owned a prince whose domain is in the lower air, that spirit whose influence is still at work among the unbelievers (The Ephesians were controlled and governed by the evil spirits, the devil, who is still alive and at work in this present world among the unbelievers). 3 We too, all of us, were once of their company (Paul and the saints were also controlled and governed by these same evil spirits even though the Jews were favored in God’s eyes.); our life was bounded by natural appetites (Man’s life was limited by the laws of nature and raw human desires of corrupt nature.), and we did what corrupt nature or our own calculation would have us do (Man acted on these depraved natural desires and followed his depraved free will to fulfill base human pleasures.), with God’s displeasure for our birthright, like other men (All Jews, even Paul, acted this way to the displeasure of God and against the will of God; God wanted humans to love each other and to love Him. God wanted Love as His inheritance. Instead the Jews created displeasure for God.). 4 How rich God is in mercy, with what an excess of love he loved us! (God’s love and mercy is never ending toward His creation, no matter what humans do.) 5 Our sins had made dead men of us, and he, in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too (God’s love was such that He gave a part of Himself [Christ]to His creation to restore the life of dead men, His creation. God was frustrated and fed up with the conceit and wayward actions of the Jews.); it is his grace that has saved you (God’s unmerited favor [Christ and the holy spirit and the gifts which proceed therefrom] has allowed us to save ourselves); 6 raised us up too, enthroned us too above the heavens, in Christ Jesus (this unmerited favor has allowed humans to receive a seat next to Christ and God in heaven). 7 He would have all future ages see, in that clemency which he shewed us in Christ Jesus (God hopes all future generations understand the mercy and leniency He provided us through Christ), the surpassing richness of his grace (This mercy is limitless and binding and flows directly from God). 8 Yes, it was grace that saved you (Paul repeats for emphasis that it was grace, the unmerited attention from God, that brought mankind out of its depravity and freed mankind from the subjugation of the evil spirits.), with faith for its instrument (Faith, hope and love are the implements, requirements and actions on the part of humans which allow mankind to participate in this grace from God.); it did not come from yourselves, it was God’s gift (Grace brings salvation and God gives it freely to all who muster faith within their soul to receive it.), 9 not from any action of yours, or there would be room for pride (You did not save yourself. God gave His grace [His son, the Holy Spirit and all of the virtues that come with them] to you as a gift and you accepted it, either willingly or unwillingly, but your free will was eventually convinced to believe.) 10 No, we are his design; (God designed us to receive grace.) God has created us in Christ Jesus, pledged to such good actions as he has prepared beforehand, to be the employment of our lives. (God created the saints by design [intelligent design] to be like the first Adam. Christ was pledged to us before creation and the saints were modeled after Christ for spreading the good news.) 11 Remember, then, what you once were, the Gentiles, according to all outward reckoning; (Paul addresses the gentiles of Ephesus. They were not of the chosen people but heathens who lived in corrupt nature.) those who claim an outward circumcision which is man’s handiwork call you the uncircumcised. (The Jews call the gentiles the uncircumcised, a ritual the Jew created to set them apart from the heathens in their own eyes.) 12 In those days there was no Christ for you; (‘Those days’ refers to a time period from creation to the ascension of Christ and Paul is talking mainly to the gentiles. In those days the gentiles did not posesse the grace of God and had no opportunity to receive God’s grace.) you were outlaws from the commonwealth of Israel, (The gentiles in those days were shunned by the Jews, the chosen people.) strangers to every covenant, (The gentiles were not party to the covenant made by God with Abraham and Moses.) with no promise to hope for, (The gentiles lived in a depraved society and were depraved themselves with nothing to hope for.) with the world about you, and no God. (The gentiles were surrounded by depravity, evil spirits and idols as factitious gods.) 13 But now you are in Christ Jesus; now, through the blood of Christ, you have been brought close, you who were once so far away. (But since the death of Christ the gentiles have been brought into the fold with the Jews; Christ created a world community under a new covenant.) 14 He is our bond of peace; he has made the two nations one, breaking down the wall that was a barrier between us, the enmity there was between us, in his own mortal nature. (Christ appeared in his human nature to enact a peace treaty between the Jews and the gentiles so that now there is no barrier between the Jews and the gentiles; the two groups are to love one another and not hate each other. Jews and gentiles are all one nation under God; actually all of humanity is now under covenant with God.) 15 He has put an end to the law with its decrees, so as to make peace, remaking the two human creatures as one in himself; (Christ has put aside the old covenants which alienated the Jews from the rest of humanity; now all of humanity are equal creatures and can become the same as Christ in His human nature.) 16 both sides, united in a single body, he would reconcile to God through his cross, inflicting death, in his own person, upon the feud. (Christ ended the feud and reconciled the Jews and the rest of humanity to God by Christ’s death on the cross. God gave a part of Himself as a token for this new friendship within humanity.) 17 So he came, and his message was of peace for you who were far off, peace for those who were near; (Christ came with His message of peace for all of humanity, the Jews, those near to God and the gentles-the heathens in the eyes of the Jews who were far from God.) 18 far off or near, united in the same Spirit, we have access through him to the Father. (After the death of Christ, all of humanity, Jew and gentile, has access to the father [God] through the Holy Spirit.) 19 You are no longer exiles, then, or aliens; the saints are your fellow citizens, you belong to God’s household. (The gentiles are no longer to be shunned, the gentiles are now fellow citizens with the Jews as God’s chosen people, all under one big roof.) 20 Apostles and prophets are the foundation on which you were built, and the chief corner-stone of it is Jesus Christ himself. (This new international household is being constructed by the Jewish saints and the twelve apostles and the whole structure rests on the cornerstone which is Christ.) 21 In him the whole fabric is bound together, as it grows into a temple, dedicated to the Lord; (Christ Jesus weaves all peoples together like a piece of fabric and this new group forms a catholic church who are all indebted and dedicated to Christ.) 22 in him you too are being built in with the rest, so that God may find in you a dwelling-place for his Spirit. (The gentile Ephesians are now called to be part of this new community (house) along with the Jews and they are all called to be filled with the spirit of God, the holy spirit. Their bodies are to become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. A new temple to God, the Catholic Church has been created for all of humanity to participate.)
1 With this in mind, I fall on my knees; (Paul prays much and often.) I, Paul, of whom Jesus Christ has made a prisoner for the love of you Gentiles. (This letter was probably written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment and probably soon after his arrival there in the year 62 A.D. Paul acknowledges that he is bound in some fashion because of his love for and desire to preach to the gentiles. We know that Paul’s first imprisonment was the result of the anger and hatred against Paul from the Pharisees in Jerusalem.) 2 You will have been told how God planned to give me a special grace for preaching to you; (The Ephesians have already been told how Paul was converted on the road to Damascus with the explicit command from Christ to preach to the gentiles.) 3 how a revelation taught me the secret I have been setting out briefly here; (And how Christ has revealed to Paul the real meaning of Christ’s coming and the duties assigned to Paul to share that revelation.) 4 briefly, yet so as to let you see how well I have mastered this secret of Christ’s. (Paul has only giving the highlights of this revelation to prove to the Ephesians that Paul’s knowledge and power came from Christ Himself.) 5 It was never made known to any human being in past ages, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, (The desire and intent of God to bring back all of humanity to Himself was never revealed to the chosen people under the old testament but that intention has now been revealed to the twelve apostles and the saints. This revelation came to Paul at his conversion and to Peter at Caesarea on the white sheet.) and it is this: 6 that through the gospel preaching the Gentiles are to win the same inheritance, to be made part of the same body, to share the same divine promise, in Christ Jesus. (The revelation is this: the gentiles, through gospel preaching [hearing the Word] are to share in the redemption and salvation offered through Christ, the Messiah promised to the Jews. The gentiles are to be treated just as the Jews in the eyes of God.) 7 With what grace God gives me (and he gives it in all the effectiveness of his power), (Through the graces from God, Paul has exceedingly abundant power and authority to accomplish this mission given by God.) I am a minister of that gospel; (Paul has become a preacher of the Good News.) 8 on me, least as I am of all the saints, he has bestowed this privilege, of making known to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (God has place this burden, preaching the endless riches given to the gentiles by Christ, on Paul, a privilege in Paul’s eye, who declares himself as unworthy to be named an apostle. Paul did persecute the Christians before his conversion.) 9 of publishing to the world the plan of this mystery, kept hidden from the beginning of time in the all-creating mind of God. (God has been creating on this earth and is still creating since the beginning of time. God’s plans are revealed in God’s time. Paul’s assignment from God is to reveal the mystery of Jesus Christ to the whole known world.) 10 The principalities and powers of heaven are to see, now, made manifest in the Church, the subtlety of God’s wisdom; (This revelation to the church on earth confirms the power of God to all of the residents in Heaven.) 11 such is his eternal purpose, centered in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 who gives us all our confidence, bids us come forward, emboldened by our faith in him. (Paul and the saints are emboldened through the faith of Christ to stand up and declare this mystery which God wants revealed. The spirit of Christ provides them the confidence to preach the word.) 13 Let there be no discouragement, then, over the affliction I undergo on your behalf; it is an honor done to you. (Paul’s current affliction is shared by the saints. The saints share the suffering of Paul vicariously through the sufferings of Christ.) 14 With this in mind, then, I fall on my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 that Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its title. (Paul prays to God for His parental protection since God is the father of all beings in heaven and on earth.) 16 May he, out of the rich treasury of his glory, strengthen you through his Spirit with a power that reaches your innermost being. (Paul prays to God that God sends down part of Himself, His Spirit, stored in Heaven in abundance, to pierce the souls of the Ephesians.) 17 May Christ find a dwelling-place, through faith, in your hearts; may your lives be rooted in love, founded on love. (Paul asks God that His love be sent to the Ephesians and stored in their hearts because of their faith and belief in Christ.) 18 May you and all the saints be enabled to measure, in all its breadth and length and height and depth, 19 the love of Christ, to know what passes knowledge. (This love from God can be described in many ways: grace, wisdom, knowledge, truth. This love consists of the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It also encompasses the divine and natural laws established by God. Paul prays that the Ephesians come to learn and understand Christ’s love. This condition or state of love transforms understanding into wisdom.) May you be filled with all the completion God has to give. (Love is how Heaven functions. It is how God operates. Truth, knowledge and wisdom are refined such that the goodness of God never waivers, is always fixed and constant and can never be reversed or deviated from.) 20 He whose power is at work in us is powerful enough, and more than powerful enough, to carry out his purpose beyond all our hopes and dreams; (Although it is not God and Christ personally who are at work within the saints, the Holy Spirit is just as powerful and all-encompassing with strength abundant to carry out the plan of God, preaching the Word.) 21 may he be glorified in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, to the last generation of eternity. Amen. (God is to be praised for all eternity for the love he has shown the Jews and the gentiles through Christ.)
1 Here, then, is one who wears chains in the Lord’s service, pleading with you to live as befits men called to such a vocation as yours. (Paul states that he wears chains. So he is either locked up in Rome or he is speaking figuratively about his obligations to Christ. Paul tells the saints in Ephesus to respect, appreciate and honor the duty God has placed on them to carry out His plan of spreading the Word.) 2 You must be always humble, always gentle; patient, too, in bearing with one another’s faults, as charity bids; (To be a good preacher and Christian, Paul list some permanent practices: humility, gentleness, patience and empathy as love directs.) 3 eager to preserve that unity the Spirit gives you, whose bond is peace. (This lifestyle requires perseverance in the Spirit of Christ and thus peace and unity abounds within the Church.) 4 You are one body, with a single Spirit; (With peace and unity, the church acts with a unified front as the Holy Spirit is one.) each of you, when he was called, called in the same hope; 5 with the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism; (Paul stresses that this unity of faith hope and charity are gifts of the holy spirit through the act of baptism. All the believers, Jew and gentile, are called with the offer of the spirit through baptism.) 6 with the same God, the same Father, all of us, who is above all beings, pervades all things, and lives in all of us. (The one and only God, who is the orchestrator of this ritual, makes these virtues available to all who believe and are baptized.) 7 But each of us has received his own special grace, dealt out to him by Christ’s gift. (These virtues are extended to believers in varying degrees and as different gifts, yet all are dispensed because of the death and resurrection of Christ.) 8 (That is why we are told, He has mounted up on high; he has captured his spoil; he has brought gifts to men. (A reference to Ps. 67.19, the quote can be understood as the risen Christ defeating sin and death by His death and resurrection. The gifts previously referred are the spoils of Christ’s victory in this battle, probably the gentiles but also the unrepentant Jews.) 9 The words, He has gone up, must mean that he had gone down, first, to the lower regions of earth. 10 And he who so went down is no other than he who has gone up, high above all the heavens, to fill creation with his presence.) (Christ came down from Heaven to accomplish His victory by instilling these gifts within humans and returned to Heaven in triumph.) 11 Some he has appointed to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, or pastors, or teachers. (Christ created different leadership positions in His kingdom on earth among the gentiles and Jews.) 12 They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of Christ’s body, (These leaders are given one main responsibility to preach the word, instill belief in the created and form them into one body under one church.) 13 until we all realize our common unity through faith in the Son of God, and fuller knowledge of him. (The gentiles are now offered the redemption and salvation once offered exclusively to the Jews. This reward will be achieved when the faith of Christ is common among humanity and when humanity has become fully acquainted with Christ.) So we shall reach perfect manhood, that maturity which is proportioned to the completed growth of Christ; (The fullest growth and knowledge of Christ is compared to the life stages of Christ Himself. Christ grew from a baby to a child who discovered and learned new things, to manhood who completed His mission.) 14 we are no longer to be children, no longer to be like storm-tossed sailors, driven before the wind of each new doctrine that human subtlety, human skill in fabricating lies, may propound. (When Christ died and ascended, we were still children and the Jews were confused, following the laws of nature and humanly fabricated doctrines and laws. Gentiles relied on natural law only. The Jews still propound lies to deceive the gentiles like storm tossed sailors. These Jews propound doctrines that only confuse and deceive. Christ has now enlightened both communities.) 15 We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head. (Now Jews and gentiles must be unified in the truth revealed in the Old Testament, Christ is the truth. Christ operates in a human and divine nature of love. The church must grow into manhood as Christ did and participate in the body of Christ within the church of Christ as leader.) 16 On him all the body depends; (The church depends on the body of Christ.) it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; (The Church is organized and unified around Christ through prayer and worship of Christ and supplied by the power and authority of the Holy spirit.) and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity. (Each limb of the church, gentile and jew, receives the strength and nourishment it needs to grow in faith, live in hope and succeed in love.) 17 This, then, is my message to you; I call upon you in the Lord’s name not to live like the Gentiles, who make vain fancies their rule of life. (Paul message to both Jewish and gentile Christians is this: don’t live like the Roman and Greek heathens who make earthly dreams and earthly desires their guides for running their lives.) 18 Their minds are clouded with darkness; the hardness of their hearts breeds in them an ignorance, which estranges them from the divine life; (Because of the lack of wisdom from Christ, the heathen mind is obscured by these earthly desires. The heathens’ lack of love and wisdom hardens their hearts. The heathens operate in a vacuum of ignorance of charity and are completely separated from the grace and gifts of God,) 19 and so, in despair, they have given themselves up to incontinence, to selfish habits of impurity. (As a result of this separation from God, the heathens live in despair and turn to sexual gratifications and other acts of depravity which become habits and a way of life.) 20 This is not the lesson you have learned in making Christ your study, 21 if you have really listened to him. (These lifestyles of the heathens are not what Christ teaches. To live a Christ-like life, one has to study the life of Christ and change from the heathen way of life. In order to really understand the lesson of Christ you must really pay attention.) If true knowledge is to be found in Jesus, you will have learned in his school 22 that you must be quit, now, of the old self whose way of life you remember, the self that wasted its aim on false dreams. (To absorb this knowledge and wisdom through Christ, the Ephesians must change and head in an opposing direction. They have to give up their old customs, religious practices and dreams and way of life of the Romans and Greeks and put on the life of Christ and walk with Him.) 23 There must be a renewal in the inner life of your minds; (This change goes as far as changing the thought processes of the mind.) 24 you must be clothed in the new self, which is created in God’s image, justified and sanctified through the truth. (This new self must be constantly focused on God using Jesus as a model and the spirit as the energy to change.) 25 Away with falsehood, then; (Be done with lying and cheating and disseminating falsehoods, lying to and about one another; also be done with heresies and propaganda concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.) Let everyone speak out the truth to his neighbor; membership of the body binds us to one another. (The truth, wisdom and knowledge offered through Christ and activated through the Spirit binds the community [the Church] together as one body in Christ and neighbors become real neighbors as described by Christ.) 26 Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry. (Paul states that there must not be resentment between the Jewish and gentiles Christian communities. Comparing yourself to others will lead to sin because you will always feel inferior; someone will always be better than you at most things and have more possessions. Be satisfied with what God has given you and you will never be resentful. Anger is a feeling or emotion just like any of the hundreds of other emotions. One can have complete control over anger so settle all of your anger issues each day. The community must live in peace.) 27 Do not give the devil his opportunity. (The devil’s main goal is to create division. Shun the devil and his evil minions. The devil does not have your happiness in mind; the devil is out to bring you down. The devil will exploit all of your weaknesses, especially violations of the Ten Commandments.) 28 The man who was a thief must be a thief no longer; let him work instead, and earn by his own labor the blessings he will be able to share with those who are in need. (Thou shall not steal; if you don’t work you don’t eat; work for God and He will send you abundant blessings so that you will have excess to share with others.) 29 No base talk must cross your lips; only what will serve to build up the faith, and bring a grace to those who are listening; (No cursing, gossiping, lying about and to others; such actions can never build confidence among believers; prayer and praise of God will bring graces to those who practice them and to those who are prayed for.) 30 do not distress God’s holy Spirit, whose seal you bear until the day of your redemption comes. (If you receive the graces from God, He will seal you with the Holy Spirit. Be thankful for the receipt of the Holy Spirit. If you do things which Paul prohibits in this letter, the Holy Spirit will leave you exposed to the wiles of the evil one. If you retain the seal of approval of the Holy Spirit, your safety will be protected until your death and resurrection.) 31 There must be no trace of bitterness among you, of passion, resentment, quarrelling, insulting talk, or spite of any kind; (The Jewish and gentile Christians must live in community in Christ. Living life as a follower of Christ requires all vices to be removed from each person and each person must practice the virtues.) 32 be kind and tender to one another, each of you generous to all, as God in Christ has been generous to you. (The virtues are centered on love of neighbor and love of God. The Ephesians are cautioned against being two faced; They are encouraged to treat each other equally with kindness and love; But this reciprocity of treatment applies only among those who actually obey the natural and divine laws of God. Intentional violators of Gods laws are to be shunned.)
1 As God’s favored children, you must be like him. (You cannot be like God because we do not know God, but we can be like Jesus in His human nature. Paul is mainly speaking to the saintly Jews of Ephesus but also to the saintly gentiles. Paul distinguishes the lifestyle of the followers of Christ versus the lifestyle of the unbelieving heathens.) 2 Order your lives in charity, upon the model of that charity which Christ shewed to us, when he gave himself up on our behalf, a sacrifice breathing out fragrance as he offered it to God. (Christ’s body and soul rose to Heaven like a sweet fragrance as an offering or sacrifice to God. Paul tells the Ephesians to imitate the life of Jesus Christ based upon the love that Christ demonstrated to the believer. That love is so strong that you would be willing to give up your own life on behalf of your neighbor.) 3 As for debauchery, and impurity of every kind, and covetousness, there must be no whisper of it among you; it would ill become saints; (Paul is again addressing the Jewish leaders who probably outnumber the gentile leaders 50 to 1 and provides a guidebook for living. Completely remove debauchery, impurity and covetousness from their midst. Don’t practice it or even talk about it or think about it.) 4 no indecent behavior, no ribaldry or smartness in talk; that is not your business, your business is to give thanks to God. (Paul forbids all types of indecent behavior, whether sexually, morally or ethically wrong; Paul forbids talk or behavior in sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way; Paul forbids rude and sarcastic talk. In other words, speak and act in refined dignity saturated in wisdom. That sounds like a dull and boring life, but it is not. Such a life is as one set apart.) 5 This you must know well enough, that nobody can claim a share in Christ’s kingdom, God’s kingdom, if he is debauched, or impure, or has that love of money which makes a man an idolater. (Notice that Paul mentions Christ and God as both possessors of the heavenly Kingdom but leaves out the Holy Spirit. Only the pure in heart and pure in soul will enter Heaven. For the Ephesians to claim a part of that kingdom, all immoral behavior must be removed including covetness. The Ephesians must not desire or want to possess others things including spouses and material things but especially money. Paul does not forbid or look down upon those who are wealthy. Paul forbids money controlling a man. The Ephesians should not seek, hoard and idolize money for the sake of self-fulfillment. The Ephesians must work hard and better themselves but for the benefit of others in the process not self. Those who look out for the other man will receive their own just rewards.) 6 Do not allow anyone to cheat you with empty promises; these are the very things which bring down God’s anger on the unbelievers; 7 you do ill to throw in your lot with them. (Do not get involved with Jewish and heathen idolaters, heretics, and misfits. They are fake and hollow inside. They do not respect themselves or others. They will defeat you and bring you to their level. God extends His judgment on such people and He will on the Ephesians too.) 8 Once you were all darkness; now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. (Before the appearance and resurrection of Christ, all of the Ephesians lived in defilement and without hope. The Word has appeared and so has enlightenment.) You must live as men native to the light; ( “men native to the light”- either as the sacred Jews did or as if this lifestyle were a part of your nature or past; live as Adam did before the fall and as God intended for humans to live.) 9 where the light has its effect, (The effectiveness of the light is both within and without, within the human heart to reform it to good and within society to congeal it into a believing body in faith, hope and charity.) all is goodness, and holiness, and truth; (The effect of the light is a road to perfection; the Ephesians are to live in goodness, in holiness and truth. There are to be no disharmony or discord. Peace must reign.) 10 your lives must be the manifestation of God’s will. (God’s existence is composed of pure peace, holiness, goodness and truth. God’s objective and goal (His will) is salvation for all of the Ephesians through the effects of the “light.”) 11 As for the thankless deeds men do in the dark, you must not take any part in them; rather, your conduct must be a rebuke to them; (The use of the word dark is a pun; it means the shenanigans during both the dark of night and the actions of depraved men during the daytime. The Ephesians are to set an example that opposes the debauchery of the unbelievers. He Ephesians are to avoid the depraved, call them out and shame them.) 12 their secret actions are too shameful even to bear speaking of. (The lifestyles of the unbelieving Ephesians are so despicable that God would be offended if the believers just spoke of their actions.) 13 It is the light that rebukes such things and shews them up for what they are; only light shews up. (The “light” is defined as pure peace, holiness, goodness and truth. Darkness [moral and ethical depravity] never brings one into the light. Darkness never provides the revelation one needs for salvation. Only the examples of “light” by the believers can expose the corrupted actions of the depraved who are living in “darkness.”) 14 That is the meaning of the words, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Those that live in darkness are dead. Only Christ can give life.) 15 See then, brethren, how carefully you have to tread, not as fools, 16 but as wise men do, hoarding the opportunity that is given you, in evil times like these. (Paul says that the Ephesians must live among the depraved very cautiously. Christ appeared during a time in history that had become very evil. Men performed unspeakable acts unrestrained even by an animal nature. Every conceivable act of human depravity was practiced. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to hoard and protect the graces they receive from God.) 17 No, you cannot afford to be reckless; you must grasp what the Lord’s will is for you. (Seek the lord’s will for your life: a road to perfection and salvation. Paul says that the Ephesians cannot be careless and unconcerned about their own salvation and ascension into Heaven. They must grasp the opportunity offered to them from God and work hard to achieve their purpose in life-salvation.) 18 Do not besot yourselves with wine; that leads to ruin. (Excessive drinking lowers your defenses to the evil one and causes one to venture into darkness. Never get drunk.) Let your contentment be in the Holy Spirit; (Satisfy yourself with the ecstasy and high of the Holy Spirit. Place God in the forefront of your conciseness and live through the charisma of the Holy Spirit.) 19 your tongues unloosed in psalms and hymns and spiritual music, as you sing and give praise to the Lord in your hearts. (Pray, sing, give thanks and talk to God in your heart and mind within and through your voice without at all times both day and night.) 20 Give thanks continually to God, who is our Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Thank God constantly for His blessings because He has provided the Ephesians with the “light.” This gratitude and appreciation must be expressed in the name of Christ because Christ brought the “light” also.) 21 and, as you stand in awe of Christ, submit to each other’s rights. (Paul now addresses how the believing Ephesians must conduct their relationships among themselves. As you attempt to imitate Christ, the Ephesians are commanded to respect each other’s rights. These rights are the basic freedoms extended by God through both the divine and natural laws.) 22 Wives must obey their husbands as they would obey the Lord. (Every organization, business or church has a leader, one in command. Marriage is no different, God is in command. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman and it is a contract with God. Man and wife must live in the “light” and obey God. But in earthly matters, the husband is the leader of the family. Just as in any organization, discussion is required for all decisions, but the husband makes the final decision and the wife must concede even if she thinks it’s the wrong decision.) 23 The man is the head to which the woman’s body is united, (God made woman from the rib of Adam and made her as Adam’s companion. Although both are equal in God’s eyes, in marriage, the husband is placed as the head of the family and the wife must respect that duty placed on the husband.) just as Christ is the head of the Church, he, the Saviour on whom the safety of his body depends; (The relationship between husband and wife is the same as between Christ and His Church. The believers in Ephesus are the body that comprises the church and Christ is the head.) 24 and women must owe obedience at all points to their husbands, as the Church does to Christ. (If no one had authority to make final decisions in businesses, churches, and governments, mass confusion would exist and nothing would ever get accomplished. The same principal holds true in marriages. Until women accept their submissive role, divorce rates will continue to climb.) 25 You who are husbands must shew love to your wives, as Christ shewed love to the Church when he gave himself up on its behalf. (A submissive role does not mean becoming a slave. Husbands must respect their wives, listen to them, provide for all of their needs and most importantly, love them with all of their heart and soul. Christ gave His life for mankind and the Church shows gratitude by worshiping Him. A loving husband must be willing to give his own life for his wife and then he will deserve the respect and gratitude from his wife.) 26 He would hallow it, purify it by bathing it in the water to which his word gave life; 27 he would summon it into his own presence, the Church in all its beauty, no stain, no wrinkle, no such disfigurement; it was to be holy, it was to be spotless. (What love would Christ show His Church? Christ, sitting as king on a throne in heaven, would allow the church an audience with Him and honor it as holy. Christ would bath the church in holy water, water which His own spoken words brought alive as holy. The church is to be pure, genuine, wholesome and virtuous.) 28 And that is how husband ought to love wife, as if she were his own body; in loving his wife, a man is but loving himself. (Paul says that a husband must love his wife just as he described the love of Christ for His Church. The church is the physical body of Christ himself and Christ loves himself. Therefore a husband must love his wife as if she were part of his own body, which she is.) 29 It is unheard of, that a man should bear ill-will to his own flesh and blood; no, he keeps it fed and warmed; (A man does not normally cause harm to himself or his mother and father or his children but nourishes and protects them. He must do the same for his wife.) and so it is with Christ and his Church; 30 we are limbs of his body; flesh and bone, we belong to him. (If we were to describe the Church as a human body, Christ would be the head with eyes, ears, mouth and nose. The legs and arms would be the Ephesians, members of the church. The heart and soul of this fictitious body would be God Himself enlivened by the Holy Spirit.) 31 That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will cling to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Just as the actual, physical body of Christ is in fact the church, a husband and wife once married likewise merge to become one body in the church.) 32 Yes, those words are a high mystery, and I am applying them here to Christ and his Church. (Paul tells the Ephesians that this concept is a great mystery which Christ has revealed to him.) 33 Meanwhile, each of you is to love his wife as he would love himself, and the wife is to pay reverence to her husband. (Therefore husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves His church and wives are to hold in esteem their husbands as Christ loves His body, the church.)
1 You who are children must shew obedience in the Lord to your parents; it is your duty; (Paul goes on to describe the relationships of other members of the church. He begins with children. Children owe a duty to their parents to show honor and respect.) 2 Honour thy father and thy mother—that is the first commandment which has a promise attached to it, 3 So it shall go well with thee, and thou shalt live long to enjoy the land. (This rule is one of the commandments issued by Christ, honor your father and mother. The promise of a joyful life on this earth on land from your forefathers is the result of honor of parents.) 4 You who are fathers, do not rouse your children to resentment; the training, the discipline in which you bring them up must come from the Lord. (Mothers must embellish love on their children. Fathers must do likewise. Children must be disciplined but not by the natural laws, but with the application and use of the divine laws of God, the main one being love.) 5 You who are slaves, give your human masters the obedience you owe to Christ, in anxious fear, single-mindedly; 6 not with that show of service which tries to win human favour, but in the character of Christ’s slaves, who do what is God’s will with all their heart. (Slavery was a common practice during the time of this letter. Paul admonished slaves to love and respect their human masters with the same depth that they are to love Christ. This love and respect should be perform not with some goal of reward or favoritism such as freedom but with an attitude of compassion to the master just as Christ made Himself slave to humanity and died for the slave too.) 7 Yours must be a slavery of love, not to men, but to the Lord; (Paul tells slaves to become slaves of Christ not of men.) 8 you know well that each of us, slave or free, will be repaid by the Lord for every task well done. (Paul assures the Ephesians that Jew or gentile, slave or freedman, they will all be judged fairly by God with the same degree of love we show one another.) 9 And you who are masters, deal with them accordingly; there is no need to threaten them; you know well enough that you and they have a Master in heaven, who makes no distinction between man and man. (Paul warns slave-owners that they must not be harsh with their slaves but likewise treat them with love and compassion since God will reciprocate the same love and compassion slave-owners show their slaves.) 10 I have no more to say, brethren, except this; draw your strength from the Lord, from that mastery which his power supplies. (Paul ends his message about interpersonal relationships for the Ephesians in the church focused on Christ. But Paul makes a final point. Their relationships must be guided and strengthened by the power and authority offered from Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ must become their master,) 11 You must wear all the weapons in God’s armoury, if you would find strength to resist the cunning of the devil. (Paul again acknowledges that the existence of the church is faced with a battle against the evil one. Paul uses the actual physical pieces of armor of a Roman soldier to emphases the strength of God to achieve His objective and to win the battle with the evil one.12 It is not against flesh and blood that we enter the lists; (Paul tells the Ephesians that the battle is not against men but with the evil spirits. Soldiers enter their names on lists that belong to the legions. Followers of Christ enter their names in the book of life.) we have to do with princedoms and powers, with those who have mastery of the world in these dark days, with malign influences in an order higher than ours. (The enemy are legions of the dark angels lead by the devil himself. These evil spirits currently have exceedingly detrimental authority in the current Dark Age. The Ephesians and all of followers of Christ must prepare for battle.) 13 Take up all God’s armour, then; so you will be able to stand your ground when the evil time comes, and be found still on your feet, when all the task is over. (Paul alludes to a future battle but one that is winnable when suited with the armor of God. The battle is not a physical battle but a spiritual battle for souls. Paul describes the battle gear for God’s soldiers through metaphor and analogy. If suited with this gear, the Ephesians will still be standing when their task is complete. The task is to defeat heathenism revealed and imposed by the evil one.) 14 Stand fast, your loins girt with truth, (The type of dress for the ancients was to put a type of smock or girdle around the waist or hips secured with a belt. This dress implied action. The language is similar to the direction given by Moses to the Israelites when they prepared to flee Egypt. Paul compared this action of girting to truth and ordered the Ephesians to stand fast, meaning hold the lines. Truth will always win out against darkness. Truth is never changing and powerful.) the breastplate of justice fitted on, (Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, is depicted as a breastplate. Justice, like a breastplate, must be fitted to the person. One is not born with justice but acquires it through the years through experience and the use of the other cardinal virtues.) 15 and your feet shod in readiness to publish the gospel of peace. (This phrase is an oxymoron. The entire section has battle overtones with the conflict between good vs evil. Yet this sentence encourages peace spread through the good news. The warrior must have shoes ready for the task, hitting the road and preaching the good news of peace.) 16 With all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fire-tipped arrows of your wicked enemy; (The shield was another piece of equipment that complemented body armor. With truth, justice and peace, Paul says that the faith of Christ will shield the Ephesians from all of the fiery darts thrown at them by the enemy, the evil one.) 17 make the helmet of salvation your own, (The helmet is the crowning point and is described as salvation to the Ephesians.) and the sword of the spirit, God’s word. (Paul says to use the sword of the Holy spirit, which is the word of God and the good news, to mow down the enemy to achieve peace.) 18 Use every kind of prayer and supplication; pray at all times in the spirit; (Paul tells the Ephesians that they will gain strength and God’s favor through earnest prayer for the battles ahead if they pray in the spirit. How do you pray in the spirit? When the Holy Spirit is active in the lives of the Ephesians, they can do all things through Christ. But the spirit must be asked for. The spirit will not dwell in one not saved through the faith of Christ. The spirit will not stay with one who does not do the works necessary for salvation.) keep awake to that end with all perseverance; (Live your life for this purpose, to preach the good news and defeat the heathens and achieve salvation in the process.) offer your supplication for all the saints. (Paul asks from the Ephesians’ earnest prayer for all of the saints throughout the world in their battle to spread the good news.) 19 Pray for me too, that I may be given words to speak my mind boldly, in making known the gospel revelation, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; (Paul asks for prayers for himself so that he can preach the good news to the Romans even while he is being held in captivity for preaching the good news. Paul described himself as an ambassador for Christ.) that I may have boldness to speak as I ought. (Paul preached to the Romans even while imprisoned by the Romans for that very act, preaching.) 21 If you would know more of my circumstances, my occupations, you may learn all that from Tychicus, my dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord; 22 that is the reason why I have sent him, to let you have news of me, and to bring courage to your hearts. (Paul sent Tychicus, a faithful companion of Paul, with the letter to the Ephesians. Paul tells the Ephesians to ask Tychicus for the details of Paul’s imprisonment. Paul’s main purpose for the letter to the Ephesians was to bring the Jewish leaders and the fledgling gentile church courage during the persecutions of Nero.) 23 Peace to the brethren, and love joined with faith, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an immortal love. Amen. (Paul extends peace to the Ephesians, a church joined by an undying love and faith in Christ under the direction of God.)