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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
AUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Je
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from
the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
12 Cor. 1.3. 1 Pet. 1. 3. Or, things.
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mys tery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in 'heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inherit ance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation 'in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power,
5 Or, for the acknowledgment. Gr. of the might of his power.
Gr. the heavens. Or, hoped.
and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his
7 Psal. 8. 6.
EPHESIANS.-St. Luke closes his narrative of the Acts of the Apostles by informing us that St. Paul spent two years in imprisonment at Rome. During these two years-that is, from the spring of A.D. 61 to the early part of 63-the apostle wrote the Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon. This appears from the contents, in which he alludes to the bonds he then wore. The present epistle appears to have been written the first of these, and probably within a few months after his arrival at Rome. This conclusion is founded on the absence of any expressed expectation, as in the other epistles, of a speedy deliverance; as well as on the circumstance that the name of Timothy is not mentioned, as it is in the other epistles, from which it is collected that that attached follower had not yet joined the apostle at Rome.
Verse 13. "Ye were sealed.”—This has been explained on the same principle as Gal. vi. 17—that is, as an allusion to a mark impressed upon a votary or servant, to denote that he was the property of the god or master whose mark he bore. That such an allusion may be intended is very possible; for we see it employed most distinctly in Rev. vii. 3; but the text does not need the illustration thus supplied; since it may be sufficiently explained as a metaphor derived from the use of a seal to impress validity and confirmation, and to insure the security of that to which it was affixed. It is certain that many of the allusions in this epistle will appear the clearer when it is borne in mind that the goddess Diana was zealously worshipped at Ephesus. Hewlett, by his note here, seems to think that the present allusion may receive some illustration from the fact, that those who were initiated into the mysteries of Diana received a seal or ring, with the figure of a he-goat, as the mark of their initiation.
14. "Earnest."-The word aggacy is very happily rendered by the word "earnest," which is of course here used in the sense of the first part of a payment deposited as a security for the whole; or rather, perhaps, in the larger sense, in which the word "earnest" is still used in, at least, our south-western provinces, with reference to any deposit to attest the sincerity of an intention, as when a person leaves a deposit with a person of whom he agrees to take a house or apartment.
18. "The eyes of your understanding."-This is a phrase which often occurs in the Rabbinical writings. Some of the Greek copies, with the Vulgate, and all the Oriental versions, have “the eyes of your heart," which also is much used in the Jewish writings.
1 By comparing what we were by 3 nature, with what we are 5 by grace: 10 he declareth, that we are made for good works; and 13 being brought near by Christ, should not live as 11 Gentiles, and 12 foreigners in time past, but as 19 citizens with the saints, and the family of God.
AND 'you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments con
* Or, prepared.
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in
1 Col, 2, 13, 2 Gr, the wills.
Verse 2. “Prince of the power of the air."-Satan is so called probably with reference to the Jewish notion, that the air was peopled by evil spirits. But indeed the heathen also were familiar with the idea that the air was inhabited or pervaded by spiritual beings (dæmons); and this was, in particular, a dogma of the Pythagorean philosophy, with which the Ephesians were imbued.
14. "The middle wall of partition."-This is an acknowledged allusion to the middle or partition wall in the Temple, which separated the court of the Gentiles from the court of Israel, and beyond which it was death for any foreigner to
18. "Through him we both have access.”—That is, "Through him we have, both of us, introduction," &c. The word Tęczywy”, rendered “access,” refers to the custom of introducing one to the presence of some great prince or other eminent personage, when decorum required that he should be ushered in by some person appointed for the purpose ;—4 custom of all courts, ancient and modern.
20. “Are built upon the foundation."-Here Doddridge quotes Lord Shaftesbury as observing, that the apostle accommodates himself to the taste of the Ephesians, who were extremely fond of architecture, by frequent allusions to building, and of the majesty, order, and beauty of which their temple consecrated to Diana was so celebrated a masterpiece. There may be something in this, although, as Doddridge himself observes, many allusions of the same kind are to be met with in other Epistles.
and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the houshold of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
"The chief cornerstone."- Signifying a large massy stone, so formed that when placed at a corner, it binds together two outward walls of an edifice. Now this properly makes no part of a foundation, from which it is distinguished at Jer. li. 26; though, as the edifice rests upon it, it may be so called. Sometimes the term denoted those massive slabs which, being placed towards the bottom of any wall, served to bind the work together; as in Isa, xxvii. 16, where this very word occurs. Of these there were often two layers without cement or mortar.
FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus
2 (If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
22 In whom ye also are builded toge ther for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
$ Rom. 5. 2.
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote 'afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowOr, a little before.
heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that 'I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the prin cipalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not
8 Gal. 1. 16.
at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded
Verse 3. "As I wrote afore."-That is, as he had already written in this same Epistle; alluding doubtless to ch. i. 9, 10.
8. "Less than the least."-See the note on 2 Cor. iv. 17.
10. "The principalities and powers in heavenly places.”—This, and similar expressions elsewhere, is thought to denote the angels of highest place in heaven.
1 He exhorteth to unity, 7 and declareth that God therefore giveth divers 11 gifts unto men, that his Church might be 13 edified, and 16 grown up in Christ. 18 He calleth them from the impurity of the Gentiles, 24 to put on the new man, 25 to cast off lying, and 29 corrupt communication.
15. "The whole family in heaven and earth.”—In the Jewish writings there is frequent reference to "the family of holy angels," and "the family above," and to "the family below ;" which mode of expression the apostle seems here to have adopted.
I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord,) beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, "When he ascended up on high, he led 'captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Philip. 1. 27. 71 Cor. 12. 28,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
1 Or, in the Lord. Or, fulfil.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages; world
without end. Amen.
Col. 1. 10. 1 Thess. 2. 12.
themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and "true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we
are members one of another.
26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
15 Col. 3. 8. 16 Rom. 12. 2. 17 Or. holiness of truth. 18 Zech. 8. 16. 19 Psal. 4. 4. 20 James 4.7. Or, to edify profitably. 23 2 Cor. 2. 10. Col. 3. 12, 13.
Verse 8." He led captivity captive."—The idea is that of vanquished enemies led captive. The apostle has been thought to allude to a custom of the triumphal processions of Roman conquerors, in which the captives were led in chains behind the car of the victor. Captives of the highest rank were, in general, specially reserved for this purpose. It is very possible that the apostle had this circumstance in view in adapting this passage, which is borrowed from David (Ps. lxviii. 18), who lived long before Rome existed. The custom was not however peculiar to the Romans, but prevailed from the most remote antiquity in Egypt and the East.
“Gave gifts unto men."—If the preceding illustration be founded on a correct impression, the present text may be understood, under the same point of view, as an allusion taken from the custom for ancient conquerors to distribute gifts or largesses to their friends and countrymen, as part of the solemnity of their triumph.
27 0Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with hi hands the thing which is good, that he may have "to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good "to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are scaled unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And "be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
14. Sleight of men."-The word translated "sleight" (veu) literally means a playing at dice, and in that sense has been adopted by the Jewish writers from the Greek. The word therefore implies of itself dexterity, in an indifferent sense; but as mountebanks have always cheated the eyes of the multitude at dice, and by various tricks of sleight of hand of a similar nature, so it came to denote craft and trickery in general, which it unquestionably does in this place. The word may thus be understood as an allusion derived from cogging the dice, thimble-rigging, and other tricks of the same sort. It is observable that dice are of very high antiquity; and thimble-rigging was a track known to and practised by the ancient Egyptians.
25. "Putting away lying.”—This was by no means a superfluous injunction; for the heathen had no principle of truth among themselves, or any thing on which a high standard of moral sentiment might be erected. Whitby, in a note on this text, shows, by various citations, that lying was expressly allowed by the wisest of the heathen philosophers. whenever a lie might seem more convenient or profitable than the truth. Thus, Menander,-" A lie is better than a hurtful truth;" Plato,-" He may lie who knows how to do it in a fit season;" and Proclus,-" Good is better than truth."
26. "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”—This also was a Pythagorean precept. Plutarch (De Frat. Amer.) relates, that when there had been any difference or misunderstanding among the scholars of Pythagoras, they were bound to embrace each other and shake hands before the sun went down.
2 After general exhortations, to love, 3 to fly fornication, 4 and all uncleanness, 7 not to converse with the wicked, 15 to walk warily, and to be 18 filled with the Spirit, 22 he descendeth to the particular duties, how wires ought to obey their husbands, 25 and husbands ought to love their wives, 32 even as Christ doth his Church.
$1 Or, to distribute.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger. nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who
BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the children; kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of 'dis•
Col. 3. 5. 1 Thess. 4. 3, &c.
8 Or, unbelief.