« PreviousContinue »
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us
in all wisdom and prudence; 1 After the salutation, 3 and thanksgiving for the 9 Having made known unto us the mys
Ephesians, 4 he treateth of our election, 6 and adoption by grace, 11 which is the true and pro- tery of his will, according to his good plezper fountain of man's salvation. 13 And because
sure which he hath purposed in himself: the height of this mystery cannot easily be ut- 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness tained unto, 16 he prayeth that they may come of times he might gather together in one all 18 to the full knowledge and 20 possession there things in Christ, both which are in ohearen, of in Christ,
and which are on earth; even in him: AUL, an apo
11 In whom also we have obtained an instle of Jesus heritance, being predestinated according to Christ by the the purpose of him who worketh all things will of God, to after the counsel of his own will:
the saints 12 That we should be to the praise of which are at his glory, who first trusted in Christ. Ephesus, and 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye to the faithful heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your in Christ Je- salvation : in whom also after that ye besus:
lieved, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit 2 Grace be of promise, to you, and 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritpeace, from
ance until the redemption of the purchased God our Fa- possession, unto the praise of his glory. ther, and from
15 Wherefore I also. after I heard of the Lord Jesus Christ.
your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love anto 3 'Blessed be the God and Father of our all the saints, Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly making mention of you in my prayers; *places in Christ :
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus 4 According as he hath chosen us in him Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto before the foundation of the world, that we you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in should be holy and without blame before the knowledge of him : him in love:
18 The eyes of your understanding being 5 Having predestinated us unto the enlightened; that ye may know what is the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to hope of his calling, and what the riches of himself, according to the good pleasure of the glory of his inheritance in the saints
, his will,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, of his power to us-ward who believe, accordwherein he hath made us accepted in the ing to the working of his mighty power, beloved.
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when 7 In whom we have redemption through he raised him from the dead, and set him at his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according his own right hand in the heavenly places, to the riches of his grace;
21 Far above all principality, and power, ? Or, things.
* Gr. the heavens. Or, hoped. 5 Or, for the acknowledgment. & Gr. of the might of his peter.
1 2 Cor. 1.3. 1 Pet. 1. 3.
and might, and dominion, and every name feet, and gave him to be the head over all that is named, not only in this world, but things to the Church, also in that which is to come:
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him 22 And 'hath put all things under his that filleth all in all.
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 iegpu bwr 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.
his kindness toward us through Christ
Jesus. 1 By comparing what we were by 3 nature, with what we are 5 by grace : 10 he declareth, that we
8 For by grace are ye saved through are made for good works ; and 13 being brought faith; and that not of yourselves : it is the near by Christ, should not live as 11 Gentiles, and gift of God: 12 foreigners in time past, but as 19 citizens with 9 Not of works, lest any man should the saints, and the family of God.
boast. AND 'you hath he quickened, who were dead 10 For we are his workmanship, created in trespasses and sins;
in Christ Jesus unto good works, which 2 Wherein in time past ye walked ac
God hath before ordained that we should cording to the course of this world, accord. walk in them. ing to the prince of the power of the air, 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being the spirit that now worketh in the children in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are of disobedience:
called Uncircumcision by that which is call3 Among whom also we all had our con- ed the Circumcision in the flesh made by versation in times past in the lusts of our hands; flesh, fulfilling 'the desires of the flesh and 12 That at that time ye were without of the mind; and were by nature the chil- Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth dren of wrath, even as others.
of Israel, and strangers from the covenants 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his of promise, having no hope, and without great love wherewith he loved us,
God in the world : 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath 13 But now in Christ Jesus
who somequickened us together with Christ, (by grace times were far off are made nigh by the ye are saved ;)
blood of Christ. 6 And hath raised us up together, and 14 For he is our peace, who hath made made us sit together in heavenly places in both one, and hath broken down the middle Christ Jesus:
wall of partition between us; 7 That in the ages to come he might 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enshew the exceeding riches of his grace in mity, even the law of commandments con2 Gr, the wills. 3 Or, prepared.
Col. 2, 13,
tained in ordinances; for to make in himself and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the of twain one new man, so making peace; saints, and of the houshold of God;
16 And that he might reconcile both 20 And are built upon the foundation of unto God in one body by the cross, having the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ slain the enmity “thereby:
himself being the chief corner stone; 17 And came and preached peace to you 21 In whom all the building fitly framed which were afar off, and to them that were together groweth unto an holy temple in the nigh.
Lord: 18 For 'through him we both have access 22 In whom ye also are builded toge by one Spirit unto the Father.
ther for an habitation of God through the 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers Spirit
* Or, in himself. * Rom. 5. 2. 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 indabited 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 ta pass.
18. “ Through him we both have access.”—That is, “Through him we have, both of us, introduction," &c. The word Tposzywynv, 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 at commodates 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.
“ The chief cornerstone."— Signifying a large massy stone, so formed that when placed at a corner, it binds torether two outward walls of an edifíce. Now this properly makes no part of a foundation, from which it is distrguished at Jer. li. 26 ; though, as the edifice rests upon it, it may be so called. Sometimes the term denoted these massive slabs which, being placed towards the bottom of any wall, served to bind the work together; as in Isa. TITIL 16, where this very word occurs. Of these there were often two layers without cement or mortar.
heirs, and of the same body, and partakers
of his promise in Christ by the Gospel : 5 The hidden mystery, 6 that the Gentiles should be
7 Whereof I was made a minister, de saved, 3 was made knoun to Paul by revelation : 8 and to him was that grace given, that 9 he cording to the gift of the grace of God should preach it. 13 He desireth them not to given unto me by the effectual working of faint for his tribulation, 14 and prayeth 19 that his power. they may perceive the great love of Christ toward
8 Unto me, who am less than the least them.
of all saints, is this grace given, that 'l For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus should preach among the Gentiles the unChrist for you Gentiles,
searchable riches of Christ; 2 (If ye have heard of the dispensation 9 And to make all men see what is the of the grace of God which is given me to fellowship of the mystery, which from the you-ward :
beginning of the world hath been hid in 3 How that by revelation he made known God, who created all things by Jesus unto me the mystery; (as I wrote 'afore in Christ: few words,
10 To the intent that now unto the prin4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may un- cipalities and powers in heavenly places derstand my knowledge in the mystery of might be known by the Church the maniChrist)
fold wisdom of God, 5 Which in other ages was not made 11 According to the eternal purpose which known unto the sons of men, as it is now he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: revealed unto the holy apostles and pro- 12 In whom we have boldness and access phets by the Spirit;
with confidence by the faith of him. 6 That the Gentiles should be fellow- 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not
1 Or, a little before. Gal. 1. 16.
at my tribulations for you, which is your 18 May be able to comprehend with all glory.
saints what is the breadth, and length, and 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto depth, and height; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
19 And to know the love of Christ, which 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled and earth is named,
with all the fulness of God. 16 That he would grant you, according 20 Now unto him that is able to do exto the riches of his glory, to be strength- ceeding abundantly above all that we ask ened with might by his Spirit in the inner or think, according to the power that workman;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts 21 Unto him be glory in the Church by by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world in love,
without end. Amen. 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.
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.
eth in us,
11 And he gave some, apostles; and
some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and 1 He exhorteth to unity, 7 and declareth that God therefore giveth divers 11 gifts unto men, that his
some, pastors and teachers; Church might be 13 edified, and 16 grown up in 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for Christ. 18 He calleth them from the
impurity of the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Gentiles, 24 to put on the new man, 25 to cast
the body of Christ : of lying, and 29 corrupt communication,
13 Till we all come ®in the unity of the I THEREFORE, the prisoner 'of the Lord, faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of beseech you that ye 'walk worthy of the vo- God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure cation where with ye are called,
of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with 14 That we henceforth be no more chillongsuffering, forbearing one another in dren, tossed to and fro, and carried about love;
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby Spirit in the bond of peace.
they lie in wait to deceive; 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, 15 But 10 speaking the truth in love, even as ye are called in one hope of your may grow up into him in all things, which is calling;
the head, even Christ: 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 16 "From whom the whole body fitly
6 One God and Father of all, who is joined together and compacted by that above all, and through all, and in you
which every joint supplieth, according to 7 But unto every one of us is given grace the effectual working in the measure of according to the measure of the gift of every part, maketh increase of the body Christ.
unto the edifying of itself in love. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended 17 This I say therefore, and testify in up on high, he led 'captivity captive, and the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as gave gifts unto men.
other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but mind, that he also descended first into the lower 18 Having the understanding darkened, parts of the earth?
being alienated from the life of God through 10 He that descended is the same also the ignorance that is in them, because of that ascended up far above all heavens, that the siblindness of their heart: he might fill all things.)
19 Who being past feeling have given % Philip. 1. 97. Col. 1. 10. 1 Thess. 2. 12. * Or, fulfil. 8 Or, into the unity.
11 Or, being sincere.
1 Or, in the Lord.
71 Cor. 12. 28.
3 Mal. 2. 10. 4 Psal. 68. 18. 9 Or, age.
10 Zech. 8, 16. 13 Rom, 1.21. 1. Or, hardness,
• Or, a multitude of captives.
14 Col. 2. 19.
themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work 27 "Neither give place to the devil. all uncleanness with grecdiness.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; rather let him labour, working with his
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and hands the thing which is good, that he may have been taught by him, as the truth is in have to give to him that needeth. Jesus:
29 Let no corrupt communication pro22 That ye "sput off concerning the former ceed out of your mouth, but that which is conversation the old man, which is corrupt good "to the use of edifying, that it may according to the deceitful lusts;
minister grace unto the hearers. 23 And i be renewed in the spirit of your 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God. mind;
whereby ye are scaled unto the day of re24 And that ye put on the new man, demption. which after God is created in righteousness 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and and true holiness.
anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be 25 Wherefore putting away lying, 'speak put away from you, with all malice: cvery man truth with his neighbour: for we 32 And be ye kind one to another, are members one of another.
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even 26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven sun go down upon your wrath :
you. 17 Or, holiness of truth.
19 Psal. 4. 4. 20 James 4.7. 1 Or, to distribute. 24 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 enernies 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. Ixviii. 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.
14. " Sleight of men.”—The word translated “sleight” (xv6suce) 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 icdifferent 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 it 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 tricks 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. Amor.) 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.
15 Col. 3. 8.
16 Rom 12. 2
19 Zech. 8. 16.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness,
or covetousness, let it not be once named 2 After general exhortations, to love, 3 to fly fornication, 4 and all uncleanness, 7 not to converse
among you, as becometh saints; with the wicked, 15 to walk warily, and to be 18
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking filled with the Spirit, 22 he descendeth to the par- nor jesting, which are not convenient; but ticular duties, how wires ought to obey their hus- rather giving of thanks. bands, 25 and husbands ought to love their wives, 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, ! 32 even as Christ doth his Church.
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. 2 And 'walk in love, as Christ also hath 6 Let no man deceive you with vain loved us, and hath given himself for us an words: for because of these things cometh offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet- the wrath of God upon the children of dissmelling savour.
obedience. 1 John 13. 34, and 15. 12. 9 Col. 3. 5. 1 Thess. 4.3, &c. 8 Or, unbelief.