The Epistle to the Ephesians

The epistle to Ephesus was written by Paul in the same timeframe as Colossians, sometime between 61-63 AD during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. Interestingly, sections of both epistles are almost identical, suggesting that Paul outlined only one epistle and then tailored it to each specific area. Ephesians is noteworthy as one of Paul’s “least friendly” letters, focusing on teaching, and excluding his typical greetings and salutations.

Ephesus, with its population of over 400,000, was the chief Roman seat of power of the region of Asia Minor (Turkey). Apollos may have headed the church there for a period of time. Eventually, Timothy came to head it, and after him John, who lived out his last days there.

The Ephesians seemed to have a similar problem as the Colossians in that they perceived angels as requiring placation, lest they send trouble upon the earth, and Paul (or perhaps a disciple of his writing under direction) once again teaches that Christ has been raised far above the supernatural powers believed to exist, and that He is the one in control.

Finally, it is by tradition that we believe this was meant for the Ephesians since the earliest manuscripts do not list its target audience. There is some speculation that Ephesians may actually be the “lost letter to the Laodiceans” mentioned in Col. 4.



1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

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 spiritual1 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 blame2 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,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted4 in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption5 through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery 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:6

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 Spirit7 of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance 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 usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set8 him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, 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 feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,9

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the righteous and faithful in Christ Jesus (at Ephesus).

2 Grace and peace be to you from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the heavenly blessings of the Spirit through Christ.

4 For in His love, He chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished before Him.

5-9 By His will, and for His own pleasure, God predestined us to be adopted children through Jesus Christ, to the praise of the glory of His grace, through which he has made us incalculably favored in the beloved Son, through whose blood we have redemption and the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of God’s grace that He dispensed toward us in all wisdom and understanding, having revealed the mystery of His will that came about through the merciful decision that He made.

10 And that mystery was, that when the right time came, He would reconcile, and place under authority, all things in the heavens and on the earth through and to Christ.

11-12 And, in Christ, we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to God’s own plans--which He brings to pass as He wills--that we, who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of His glory.

13-14 You trusted in him too, after you heard the message of truth about the “Good news” of salvation in Christ, who sealed you with the promised Holy Spirit after you believed, who is the down payment of our inheritance until we receive the full possession of what has been promised, to the praise of God’s glory.

15-16 For this reason also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and the love you have for all of the righteous, have not ceased to mention and give thanks for you in my prayers,

17 Asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of (Christ),

18 So that the eyes of your understanding will be opened to comprehend the hope of His calling, and the incalculable riches of glory the righteous will inherit,

19 And to comprehend the incredible might of His awesome power toward us who believe.

20-21 It's the same power that God used in Christ when He raised him from the dead and sat him down on a throne at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every title of authority that exists--not only in this age, but also in the [Messianic] Age that is to come.

22 And God put all things under his feet, and exalted him, who is head of all things, to be the head all things for the church,

23 Which is his body and the full visible expression of him who fills everything in the universe (with his presence).

1. “Spiritual” here refers to something that comes from the Holy Spirit.

2. “Without blame” should be translated as “unblemished” in the sense of being a thing devoted or sacrificed to God that is considered as meeting the standards necessary to be acceptable.

3. As pointed out by David Stern, verses 3 to 14 are one long sentence in the Greek, and resemble a Jewish benediction.

4. “Accepted” comes from a single powerful word that is translated as “full of grace” or “highly favored” when the angel greets Mary in Luke’s Gospel.

5. The word here refers to ransoming a condemned criminal or securing manumission for a slave.

6. Paul here begins to outline that all of creation has been reconciled and placed under the ultimate headship of Christ.

7. It’s interesting that Paul brings up the Holy Spirit in this manner. While nothing like Tongues is specifically referred to, one can speculate that in the back of Paul’s mind he is bringing to the listeners’ minds some sort of visible, experiential manifestation of the Holy Spirit that they would recognize apart from a nebulous indwelling that is accepted by faith but which is not outwardly visible.

8. “Set” is a bad translation. The word denotes to sit down. In the culture, it denotes kingly authority and exaltation over everyone else who must stand in the king’s presence.

9. Again dealing with the concerns of the people that spiritual entities must be feared and pacified, Paul not only shows that Christ is in authority over these elemental spirits, but that the church on earth also has authority over them, and need not live in fear or intimidation of facing the wrath of these beings.



1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;1

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 disobedience2:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation3 in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved4;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:5

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:6

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship7 created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition8 etween us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;9

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,10 but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household 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:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

1 And you, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, he has made alive.

2 For in time past, you walked according to the ways of the unsaved world, in the patterns established by the Prince of the Power of the Air, the spirit force that now operates in the children of those who refuse to believe (in opposition to we believers who operate under the Holy Spirit).

3 We all, at one time, were like them in our various lifestyles, giving in to the wrong desires of our flesh and unregenerate minds. In fact, we (Jews) were naturally in the position of being children of wrath, just as others today are.

4-7 But God--who is rich in mercy--because of the great love He had for us even when we were hopelessly dead in sin, brought us to life as He did Christ, saving us by grace, resurrecting us, and enthroning us with him in heavenly places so that in ages to come He might point to us as the example of the unlimited riches of the grace He had for us in Christ Jesus.

8 For it is by that grace that you are saved, through your faith--and even that faith doesn’t really come from yourself; it too is the gift of God.

9 Yes, salvation is not based on anything one can do, in order that no man can boast.

10 For we are the poem God is writing in Christ Jesus, leaving behind an epic of good works that He ordained for us to walk in from the beginning.

11 Recall then, that once you were Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by those called the “Circumcision” based on a physical operation done by human hands.

12 At that time you were outside of Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and thus strangers excluded from the covenants of promise--with no hope, and walking through life without God.

13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were sometimes very far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ!

14 For he is our peace (offering), who has made both Jew and Gentile to be one, and who by this has broken down the “middle wall of partition” separating the Gentiles and the Jews,

15 Having abolished in his body that which (ultimately) divided us: the Torah, along with its commandments contained in decrees (of separation), so that he could take two people and make them into one people, thus making “shalom” (peace),

16 Reconciling both to God in one body through the cross, killing off the enmity (between Jew and Gentile and man and Him) through it.

17 And Christ came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through Christ, both Jew and Gentile have access by one Holy Spirit to the Father.

19 And so now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the righteous (Jews), and are now part of the household of God (with them).

20-22 You likewise are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets--with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone--through whom the entire building is being fitted together and being built up as a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you are also being built up together as a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit.

1. Interestingly, there is quite a lot of text that is added by the translators to verses in this chapter in order to clarify meaning. The words “hath he quickened” are added, for instance.

2. Although reasonably translated as “disobedience,” the word actually refers to the hardest form of unbelief--that of a stubborn refusal to believe what God has said. The last three words of the verse are thus equally translatable as: “Children of those who refuse to believe.”

3. “Conversation” refers to lifestyle, not verbal communication.

4. The Greek here is an absolute declaration that the Ephesians are in a saved state, not that they are on their way toward an eventual state of salvation.

5. Paul here tries to show the authority of the believer in opposition to the people's fear of various angelic forces. As he noted earlier, Christ sits at the right hand of God, showing His pre-eminence over angelic powers. Now the apostle elevates the members of the church to a similar lofty position. And, as we consider the verses we've been reading in context, Paul is pointing out that the only people who need fear the power of the devil are the unbelievers who are the devil's own children, while the believers have imputed authority over all within that realm.

6. One of the most important verses in the entire Bible showing every aspect of our salvation comes from God, including the faith that Saves us (in the sense that it is through the grace of the Spirit that we even become able to believe in the first place). Other theologians, however, would understand this to instead be saying that God does not Save us because of anything we have done. They might paraphrase the verse like this: “For it is because of God’s grace alone that you are saved--through faith--and not because of your deserving it, for your salvation is the gift of God.

The issue arises because the normal rules of Greek would tend to dilute the notion of faith being the gift. But in the author’s view, this is an example of how putting the Greek under a microscope can cause the message to be misunderstood. Usually--but not always--a pronoun is identical to the gender of the noun before it. In the passage, “that” is neuter, and “faith” is feminine. Some theologians thus take the view that “that” does not refer to the “faith,” but must relate to the preceding clause, which centers on the word “saved,” and so the salvation--not the faith--is the “gift of God.” Others would point out that it is not engraved in stone that the pronoun and noun must always be identical in gender, and so “this” theoretically can go with “faith,” a view held by some classic theologians such as Chrysostom and Augustine. Still others would say that if “that” refers to the preceding clause, then it refers to the entire clause, and so indicates that both salvation and faith are the “gift of God.”

Limiting the point to salvation’s being the “gift” makes the sentence clumsily redundant: For by grace are you saved by faith, and this being saved is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

Grace obviously means it cannot be of oneself to start with so there is no good need to repeat the same thing twice. Only by relating the pronoun to both salvation and faith--or only to the faith--and does the sentence make good, clear sense.

7. “Workmanship,” which can be understood as an object that is a masterpiece, may also be translated: “Poem.”

8. This probably refers to the wall of the Temple that separated Jew from Gentile, resulting in the death of the Gentile if he passed through. In a greater sense, it also refers to the veil of the Most Holy Place that also forbade entry to all but the High Priest.

9. This is not saying that Mosaic Law is relegated to the trash heap. Paul is illustrating that the Torah was, itself, a partition between man and God since man could never fully keep it. (Just as its commandments set up a division between Jew and Gentile, which was why it was righteous for the men in the time of Nehemiah to divorce their Gentile wives and send them away, while that would be sin in the New Covenant.) Now, with the Messiah having imputed to mankind a righteousness man could not appropriate through his own efforts, the punishments mandated in the Law are done away with, and the man who believes is fully acceptable to God through his faith, since God now views him through the righteousness of Christ. Likewise, Jew and Gentile are now one people in Christ through faith.

10. It’s important to note that even though the Torah had provision for Gentiles to dwell within the theocracy of Israel--and even to keep the same Law, reaping some of the same benefits--the non-Hebrews were never looked upon as equal in rank to the physical descendants of Abraham until Messiah opened the way to God for both Jew and Gentile equally.



1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,1

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward:

3 How that by revelation2 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 his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs3, 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 saints4, 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 principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by5 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 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,6

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

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.

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.6

1 [Because of preaching this Gospel of inclusion, and the revelation that both Jew and Gentile have equal acceptability to, and equal access by, one Spirit to the Father,] this is why I, Paul, am a prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

2 You have heard of the dispensation of grace God gave me for you.

3 As you know from my earlier, but brief, epistle--it was by supernatural revelation that He revealed the mystery I just mentioned.

4 When you read it, you may get an equal grasp of the knowledge I have regarding this mystery in Christ,

5 That in earlier times was not known by humanity unlike now, since it has been revealed to Christ’s holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit,

6 That mystery being that the Gentiles would be equal heirs (with the Jews), parts of the same body, and equal partakers of God’s promise in Christ through the Gospel.

7 It was for this Gospel that I was made a servant through the gift of grace God gave to me by the effectual working of His mighty power.

8 Yes, to me--who am lower than the least of all the righteous--has the grace been given to have the privilege of preaching to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

9 And to make all men see their opportunity and part in this mystery that, from the beginning of the world, has been hidden with God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

10 He did this so that the demonic overlords and their minions in the heavens might now see the manifold wisdom of God through the church,

11 Which was precisely His eternal plan he implemented in Christ Jesus our Lord,

12 In whom we boldly and confidently draw near (to God), by faith in him.

13 This is why I don’t want you to be intimidated at the tribulations for you that I undergo for your glory.

14-19 For this reason I bend my knees before the Father (of our Lord Jesus Christ)--the ultimate progenitor of all fathers and fatherhood in heaven and on earth (who appointed all beings to their places of authority and habitation)--asking Him to grant you, through the riches of His glory, to be mightily strengthened by His Spirit in your inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; so you, being rooted and grounded in His love, may be able to understand and know, with all the righteous, the breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ, which is beyond human understanding; and that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to God, who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power that works in us,

21 To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen.

1. This verse is obviously badly written, and it appears that something is missing. The Aramaic text renders it better: “For this cause, I, Paul, am a prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.”

2. It’s important to note that, in opposition to the way some teachers mock others for claiming to receive “revelations” on Scripture that aren’t shared by non-Charismatic Protestant Reformers or 19th century theologians, Paul’s theology did not necessarily come only from study, but through divine revelation. Indeed, the apostle confirms that some doctrines were “hid” (Col. 1:26, and verse 5 here) from clear perception.

3. More confirmation that, in opposition to what some wish to think, Gentiles were never looked upon as being “equal” to Abraham’s physical seed so long as the Messiah had not yet come.

4. A noteworthy statement that shows Paul’s growing humility. See Gal. 2:6 for Paul’s early assessment of himself, and 1 Tim. 1:15 for his final conclusion.

5. “Through” is a better translation than “by.” Paul is stating that God is revealing to the demonic spiritual forces His power, authority, and purpose through His church on earth.

6. There is a lot of depth to this humble verse. Paul first is saying that God is the ultimate creator of the entire concept of fatherhood, and ultimately is the father of all fathers. However, in stating that all families are “named” by God, he seems to also acknowledge that God has placed each rank of beings in their allotted place, sphere of influence, and position of authority. (Romans 8:38, Col. 1:16, Jude 1:6.) Name, it should be noted, can denote a rank, a prophetic calling, or position of authority, in addition to simply being what someone is called. (Gen 11:4, 17:5,32:28; Matt. 1:21; Phil. 2:9.) In connection with this it’s possible that when Jesus is interacting with the Gadarene demoniac in the Gospels and asks the demon’s name, He isn’t wishing to know if it’s Joe or Bill He’s talking to; He may be wanting to know what sort of rank this demon(s) held to understand why the demon didn’t immediately leave the first time Jesus commanded it to, but instead held on long enough to hold a brief conversation.

7. Clearly, something ends here. Some speculate that the remainder of the epistle is a part of a lost letter of some sort.



1 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,1

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 gifts2 unto men.

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?3

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;4

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight5 of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.6

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,7

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given 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 conversation8 the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;9

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:10 let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication11 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 sealed 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.

1 As the prisoner of the Lord, I thus beg you to walk worthily in the sort of lifestyle to which you were called,

2 With an attitude of humility and patience, bearing with one another in love,

3 And doing all you can to stay in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 (You see, everything is meant to function in perfect unity.) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in the same single hope of your calling.

5 There is one Lord, the faith, and a single baptism (into Christ).

6 There is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

7 But every one of us is given a dispensation of grace as Christ chooses to dole his gift out.

8 This is why it is said about him: When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9 Now since he ascended, it is clear that he beforehand descended into the bowels of Hades within the earth.

10 He who descended is also the same one who ascended far above sky and space, so that he might fill (and have authority over) absolutely everything.

11 And the “gifts” he gave was to leave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some as pastors who are able to teach those under them.

12-13 He left these behind for the perfecting of the righteous, and for the work of the ministry, and for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come to perfect unity in the faith and knowledge of the son of God, to a mature man grown complete in the fullness of Christ.

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow up to be like Christ, our head, in all ways.

16 For it is Christ from whom the whole body is perfectly joined together by what every joint supplies according to the way each is designed to function, helping the body overall to build itself up in perfected love.

17 And so I say this, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as other Gentiles do, according their own vain logic born from unregenerate minds,

18 Having their understanding darkened because they are alienated from the life of God through their closed-minded ignorance because of the spiritual blindness of their heart.

19 These, no longer having a conscience to convict them, have given themselves over to immorality, and now zealously pursue all sorts of uncleanness.

20 But you have not learned these sorts of things through Christ.

21-24 Assuming you have heard what he teaches, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, put off, as concerns your old lifestyle, the old man, which is corrupt with deceitful urges; and instead adopt a completely different mindset, putting on the new man, which, in God's image, is created to live in righteousness and true holiness.

25 So put away lying, and speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are all body parts together.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not. Don’t let the sun go down before you have put your anger away,

27 Nor give the devil a strongholdover you.

28 Let he who was a thief no longer steal. Instead, let him get a job and put his hands to work at honest labor, that he may have something to give the less fortunate.

29 Let no profane, demeaning, or unedifying words come out of your mouth. Instead, speak that which is edifying, so that it will minister grace (and build up those who hear you).

30 Don’t sadden the Holy Spirit of God, who has sealed you until the Day of Redemption:

31 Cast away all bitterness, wrath, anger, shouting, slander, and malice,

32 And be kind to one another. Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God, in Christ, has forgiven you.

1. Earle points out this is a fascinating verse in Greek, which employs all three genders of the Greek word “One.” The point must also be made that “one baptism” does not exclude other baptisms, such as baptism in the Spirit, since Hebrews 6:2 reveals there is more than one sort of baptism. Paul here refers to water baptism alone.

2. In opposition to the incorrect doctrine of “Nine gifts of the Spirit” based upon the word “gifts” arbitrarily added to the text of 1 Cor. 12:1, these are the true “gifts of the Spirit”--i.e. people and offices in the church.

3. Unfortunately, some false doctrine has arisen from this verse relating how Christ descended into the realm of the dead (which was thought to be in the bowels of the earth). It does not mean Christ went to the Lake of Fire and suffered in flames to atone for our sins, or that Jesus suffered at the hands of demons after death.

4. Incorrectly taught as the “five-fold ministry,” there are actually only four offices mentioned here. “Pastors and teachers” is meant to be one office, and is better translated as a “pastor who can teach,” or a “teaching pastor,” or “pastor-teacher.”

5. Holiness type folks love to go beyond the Scripture and label gambling a sin when there isn’t one word in Scripture saying that. However, we have here one of the only references in the Bible to gambling, for “sleight” actually refers to playing a dice game where the thrower is cheating.

6. The Knox translation of the Vulgate renders this wordy verse in a better fashion: “On him all the body depends; it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; and thus, each limb, receiving the active power it needs, achieves its natural growth, building itself up through (love).”

7. This means to not be worldly-minded, and to conform one’s thinking to what the Scripture teaches, adopting God’s attitudes.

8. “Conversation” means, of course, “lifestyle.”

9. Perhaps better understood as: Be renewed by the Spirit of your mind.” (More literally, But that you be renewed to the spirit of your mind--i.e., the Holy Spirit has already revealed the truth; one must just yield to, and walk in it: 1 Cor. 2:16, Col. 3:10.)

10. A quote from Psalm 4:4 in the Septuagint, which differs from the normal Hebrew version.

11. This doesn't mercenarily refer to cursing and swearing, but worthless speech of any sort.



1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

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 jesting1, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks1.

5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater,2 hath any inheritance in the 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 disobedience.3

7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9 (For the fruit of the Spirit4 is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.5

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.6

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs7, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

1 Follow God’s ways as dear children of His should.

2 And walk in (selfless) love just as Christ also loved and gave himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice, a delightful aroma to God.

3 But let not sexual sin, uncleanness, or greed be seen in any form among you as this unacceptable for the righteous.

4 Neither let obscene, foolish, or profane talk escape your lips, for this is not acceptable either. Instead, let your mouth be filled with thanksgiving.

5 You can be sure of this: No one who sleeps with prostitutes, nor those who are impure, nor those who are greedy--which is idolatry--has any share in the inheritance of the Kingdom of Christ, and God.

6 Let no man deceive you (into thinking these things are acceptable) with crafty arguments, for it is because of sins like these that the wrath of God is going to fall on the children of those who refuse to believe the Gospel.

7 So do not be persuaded by such lies and become co-conspirators with people who do these things.

8 For there were times in your past when you were children of darkness. But now you are lights in the Lord, so walk as children of light.

9 Remember the fruit of light is found in all goodness, righteousness, and truth,

10 Which proclaim what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no friendship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead speak out against them.

12 For it’s shameful to even talk about the impure acts people commit in secret.

13 But such wrongdoing becomes seen for what it is when it is exposed to the light, and the light shows things as they really are.

14 This is why it is said: Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead--and Christ shall give you light.

15 So be careful about what sort of lifestyle you have, not living like fools, but as wise men,

16 Making the most of the time you have on earth, because these are evil days that we live in.

17 So don’t be airheads, but instead understand what the will of the Lord is.

18-20 Don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to ungodliness; but keep being filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, and singing in Tongues, singing and making melodies in your hearts to the Lord. Also, make sure, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to also give thanks to God the Father at all times and in every circumstance.

21 And give place to one another out of reverence for God.

22 Wives, give place to your husbands as you would the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the church; and he is the savior of the body.

24 Therefore, as the church yields to, and obeys Christ, so wives should do likewise with their husbands in everything.

25-27 Meanwhile, husbands, you should love your wives with the same (selfless, sacrificial) love Christ had toward the church that he gave himself for, that he might set it apart and cleanse it through a washing imparted by the Message, so that he might present it to himself as a glorious church with no disqualifying spots, wrinkles, or anything similar, that it might be holy and unblemished (as a sacrificial offering should be).

28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as much as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself.

29 For no man ever hated his own flesh body; but he nourishes and takes care of it even as the Lord does the church.

30 For we are members of his body--his flesh, and his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery, but I’m speaking of the relationship between Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless, let every one of you make a special point of loving his wife as he does himself; and let the wife see to it that she reverences her husband.

1. Paul uses a word play here on the words eutrapelia (jesting, or off-color talk) and eucharistia (thanksgiving).

2. It’s interesting that Paul here equates greed with the sin of idolatry.

3. Again, “children of disobedience” can be understood as the segment of humanity who refuse to believe the Gospel, and live their lives their own way.

4. “Spirit” was a modification to the text in later centuries. The proper word here is “light,” just as is being used in the prior verse.

5. This is not a quote from Scripture, but is thought to be a verse from an ancient baptismal hymn or part of the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah.

6. “Be filled with the Spirit” is more correctly rendered as: “Keep being filled with the Spirit.” Contrary to the typical beliefs of many Charismatics and non-Charismatics alike, reception of the Spirit’s power is not a one-time event. We need to continually be refilled with the anointing of the Spirit for even everyday life.

7. An apparent reference to singing in Tongues.



1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)1

3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

5 Servants2, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.3

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,4 that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod5 with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God6:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit7, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

1 Teenagers, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is proper.

2 Honour thy father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise:

3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

4 Meanwhile, fathers, don’t treat your children in such a way that you (needlessly) provoke them to wrath. Instead, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey those who are your earthly masters with fear and trembling; and do so sincerely, as you would Christ.

6-7 Don’t do it only when you’re being watched, like men-pleasers. But do so as slaves of Christ, performing the will of God from the heart, displaying efficiency and a good attitude as if you were doing this for the Lord, rather than men.

8 For you know that any good thing a man does, the same shall receive a reward from God whether he is a slave or free.

9 You masters do likewise! Don’t threaten and mistreat your slaves, for you have the same Master in heaven, who does not show partiality.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

11 (The church should) put on the whole armor of God that you all may be able to withstand the tricks of the devil.

12 For our battle is not against people, but with the spirits behind the people: Demonic principalities and Powers (who carry out Satan’s will) that rule over the darkness of this world, and various other wicked spirits in the heavens.

13 Thus, you should take up the whole armor of God, that you all might be able to withstand in the evil day; and having done all, stay on your feet.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins clothed with truth, and wearing the breastplate of righteousness (which is faith and love);

15 And on your feet, the spiked shoes of readiness to march out and proclaim the “Good News” of peace (with God) at a moment’s notice.

16 And above all, you should use the shield of faith to extinguish every fire arrow of the (devil).

17-18 Keep on the helmet of your salvation (as the protector of your thoughts), and wield the sword of the Spirit--which are the things God has spoken--as you always pray and entreat God through the use of Spiritual language. Persevere in watching and entreating God for all the righteous.

19 Pray also that God would give me words and courage to open my mouth and boldly proclaim the mystery of the Gospel,

20 For which, as an ambassador, I am in chains. Pray that I might speak boldly as I should.

21 So that you can know of all that is going on, and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister of the Lord, will bring you up to speed.

22 I sent him to you for that very purpose, that you might know what is going on with us; and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace to the brethren, and love and faith, from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all those who sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. A point must be made that while Paul has quoted one of the 10 Commandments, his intention is not to uphold the body of the 10 Commandments as a stripped-down version of the Torah that is a replacement for the 613, functioning as some canon of justification against which Christians' behavior will be measured. He simply is underscoring how important this precept--which has always existed--is. Certainly, he expects Christians to honor their parents, avoid murder, adultery, etc.--not because they are in the 10 Commandments, but because those sins are universally forbidden, and have always been forbidden, which is why Cain was judged without having ever heard of the 10 Commandments, and why the world was destroyed on the Flood before the 10 Commandments were ever given.

2. The word means “slaves.”

3. Paul here outlines a hierarchical structure of demonic forces:

Principalities. These are apparent overlords (generals, if you will) over specific nations. If you refer back to Daniel 10, you’ll see an example of “the prince of Persia,” one of these overlords who restrained the angel Gabriel for 21 days from reaching Daniel with the answer to his prayer. Principalities are unquestionably fallen angels.

Powers. These may refer to demonic forces in charge of specific territories or cities within a larger state. In classic Judaism, Powers were considered to be the angelic entities through which God worked to accomplish His will. Paul may have concluded there was a demonic counterpart. Jesus, in the Gospels (Matt. 24:29), may tie Powers to fallen spiritual entities in the heavens.

Spiritual wickedness in high places. This probably refers to elemental spirits of the heavens, who in ancient mythology were thought to push the stars around. (As noted in the commentary in James, there were legends among the Jews that some of the stars rebelled against God at the beginning of time. Christ also suggests in the Gospels that there are evil beings in the heavens somehow connected to the stars, for the stars will fall with His return to earth and the overthrow of evil in the heavenly realms.) However, Paul might be referring to the demonic influences upon unsaved people--like Nero--who are influenced by Satan to promote the devil’s plan for mankind, although this is unlikely given the fact that the context of these verses is demonic forces.


4. Whole books have needlessly been written on what the “armor of God” is, and how to use it. All one need do is heed what Paul has been teaching here, and in virtually all his epistles: Serve God with all one’s heart, and love others as God has loved you, and you will be walking in all the power of God’s armor. Beyond that, a critical point missed by many is that Paul was drawing not upon the medieval knight for his example, but the Roman legionnaire! The knight and the legionnaire had totally dichotomous fighting styles. Some, equating this passage with the knight, treat spiritual warfare as the knight viewed combat: One-on-one combat. The legionnaire, however, fought in an entirely different way--he fought as a group, supported by other soldiers at his side! Individual combat was the last thing the Roman legion wanted to engage in, for it was their strength as a single fighting unit that made them unbeatable. When they were forced out of their group tactics into individual combat, more often than not, they would lose the battle. Thus, this verse refers not to the individual Christian putting on God’s armor to withstand the devil--it refers to the church, as a whole, doing that!

5. “Your feet shod” is an idiom meaning to be ready to start on a journey at a moment’s notice, but Paul may be using the term mindful of the Roman legionnaire’s spiked sandals that allowed him to stand firm or move forward against the enemy without slipping. Paul’s intent may be to remind the Ephesians that God’s wrath has been averted, and now they are in complete harmony and peace with Him through Christ, and need fear nothing, so they can move forward or stand firm, confident of God’s being with them.

6. The term “word of God” is not referring to the Scriptures (because it is the word rhema, not logos). Instead, it refers to either the message or proclamation of God the people have been taught, and also God’s prophetic pronouncements, which can be found either in Scripture, or given to us personally (1 Tim. 1:18).

7. A probable reference to praying in Tongues.