Ephesians 4:25
Why putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) For we are members.—Accordingly the reason given for “putting away lying” is that “we are members one of another.” Truth is the first condition of the mutual confidence which is the basis of all unity. Hence it is the first duty of that “membership one of another,” which follows from our being “one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:27). No doubt it is also the first duty to our own humanity, and to the God “who hateth a lie.” But these views, though true in themselves, would not be relevant to St. Paul’s great subject here.

Ephesians 4:25-27. Wherefore — Since you have been thus taught what is your duty and interest, let it appear in your tempers, words, and works, that there is such a change wrought in them; and that, having received a new nature, you live in a new manner. The apostle now proceeds to caution them against particular sins, to which they had been habituated, and to urge them to the pursuit of particular graces, and the practice of particular virtues, which they had formerly neglected. Putting away lying — Which many of your philosophers have thought allowable, in certain cases; (so Whitby has shown in his note here;) speak every man truth with his neighbour — In your converse with your fellow-creatures; for we are members one of another — By virtue of our union with Christ our common head, to which intimate union, all deceit is quite repugnant. Be ye angry, and sin not — That is, if at any time ye are angry, take heed ye do not sin. We may be angry, as Christ was, and not sin; when he looked round about upon the people with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts; (Mark 3:5;) that is, we may be displeased and grieved at the sin or folly of others, and not sin by being so. Indeed, if we should observe people to do or say what we know to be sinful, or should see them indulging evil tempers and vile affections, and should not be displeased and grieved, we would commit sin. For to be insensible, and without emotion, when we observe God to be dishonoured, his laws violated, his presence, power, and holiness disregarded, and his justice and wrath contemned, certainly manifests a state of soul devoid of all proper religious feeling. But in what sense we may be angry and not sin, see explained more at large in the note on the above-cited text. Let not the sun go down on your wrath — If at any time you be in such a sense angry as to sin — if your anger imply resentment of an injury or affront received, or ill-will and bitterness of spirit, look to God for grace to enable you to suppress this kind of anger or wrath speedily: reprove your brother for the offence he has given you, and be reconciled immediately: lose not one day. A clear, express command this; but, alas! how few observe it. Neither give place to the devil — By delaying to cast the fire out of your bosom; remembering how much that enemy of mankind labours to inflame the spirits of men with mutual animosity, malevolence, and hatred; and, in order thereto, induces them to give ear to slanderous reports and accusations, that he may make their state and character miserable and detestable, like his own.4:25-28 Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn our Christian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary to truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God's people are children who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhor lying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil. Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious, that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings.Wherefore putting away lying - It may seem strange that the apostle should seriously exhort Christians to put away "lying," implying that they were in the habit of indulging in falsehood. But we are to remember:

(1) that lying is the universal vice of the pagan world. Among the ancient pagans, as among the moderns, it was almost universally practiced. It has been remarked by a distinguished jurist who had spent much time in India, that he would not believe a Hindu on his oath. The same testimony is borne by almost all the missionaries. of the character of pagans everywhere. No confidence can be placed in their statements; and, where there is the slightest temptation to falsehood, they practice it without remorse.

(2) the Ephesians had been recently converted, and were, to a great extent, ignorant of the requirements of the gospel. A conscience has to be "created" when pagans are converted, and it is long before they see the evils of many things which appear to us to be palpably wrong.

(3) the effects of former habits abide long, often, after a man is converted. He who has been in the habit of profane swearing, finds it difficult to avoid it; and he who has been all his life practicing deception, will find himself tempted to practice it still. It was for reasons such as these, probably, that the apostle exhorted the Ephesians to put away "lying," and to speak the truth only. Nor is the exhortation now inappropriate to Christians, and there are many classes to whom it would now be proper - such as the following:

(1) He who is in the habit of concealing the defects of an article in trade, or of commending it for more than its real value - "let him put away lying."

(2) he, or she, who instructs a servant to say that they are not at home, when they are at home: or that they are sick, when they are not sick or that they are engaged, when they are not engaged - "let them put away lying."

(3) he that is in the habit of giving a coloring to his narratives; of conveying a false impression by the introduction or the suppression of circumstances that are important to the right understanding of an account - "let him put away lying."

(4) he that is at no pains to ascertain the exact truth in regard to any facts that may affect his neighbor; that catches up flying rumors without investigating them, and that circulates them as undoubted truth, though they may seriously affect the character and peace of another - "let him put away lying."

(5) he that is in the habit of making promises only to disregard them - "let him put away lying." The community is full of falsehoods of that kind, and they are not all confined to the people of the world. Nothing is more important in a community than simple "truth" - and yet, it is to be feared that nothing is more habitually disregarded. No professing Christian can do any good who has not an unimpeachable character for integrity and truth - and yet who can lay his hand on his breast and say before God that he is in all cases a man that speaks the simple and unvarnished truth?

For we are members one of another - We belong to one body - the church - which is the body of Christ; see the notes Romans 5:12. The idea is, that falsehood tends to loosen the bonds of brotherhood. In the "human body" harmony is observed. The eye never deceives the hand, nor the hand the foot, nor the heart the lungs. The whole move harmoniously as if the one could put the utmost confidence in the other - and falsehood in the church is as ruinous to its interests as it would be to the body if one member was perpetually practicing a deception on another.

25. Wherefore—From the general character of "the new man," there will necessarily result the particular features which he now details.

putting away—Greek, "having put away" once for all.

lying—"falsehood": the abstract. "Speak ye truth each one with his neighbor," is quoted, slightly changed, from Zec 8:16. For "to," Paul quotes it "with," to mark our inner connection with one another, as "members one of another" [Stier]. Not merely members of one body. Union to one another in Christ, not merely the external command, instinctively leads Christians to fulfil mutual duties. One member could not injure or deceive another, without injuring himself, as all have a mutual and common interest.

Wherefore putting away lying; all fraudulency and dissimulation, and whatever is contrary to truth.

Speak every man truth; not only speak as things are, but act sincerely and candidly.

For we are members one of another; i.e. to or for one another, and therefore must be helpful to each other. Wherefore putting away lying,.... Which is one of the deeds of the old man, and a branch of the former conversation agreeable to him: a lie is a voluntary disagreement of the mind and speech, with a design to deceive; it is to speak that which is false, contrary to truth shining in the mind; and it is spoken knowingly and willingly, and with a design to impose upon others; hence a man may speak what is false, and not be a liar, if he does not know it to be so; and hence parables, fables, tropes, figures, hyperboles, &c. are not lies, because they are not used to deceive, but to illustrate and enforce truth: there are several sorts of lies; there is an officious lie, which is told for the service of others, but this is not lawful; for evil is not to be done, that good may come of it; and a man may as well tell a lie to serve himself, as another; and any other sin by the same rule may be allowed of, and tolerated; besides, it is not lawful to lie for God, and therefore not for a creature: and there is a jocose lie; this ought not to be encouraged; all appearance of evil should be abstained from; every idle word must be accounted for; and hereby also an evil habit of lying may be acquired: and there is a lie which is in itself directly hurtful, and injurious; as is every false thing, said with a design to deceive: and there are religious lies, and liars; some practical ones, as those who do not sincerely worship God, and who are dissolute in their lives, and their practice is not according to their profession; and there are others who are guilty of doctrinal lies, as antichrist and his followers, who are given up to believe a lie; and such who deny the deity, incarnation, Messiahship, work, office, grace, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ; and who profess themselves to be Christians, and are not: the springs and causes of lying are a corrupt heart and the lusts of it, which prompt unto it; such as covetousness, malice, and the fear of men; and also a tempting devil, the father of lies; and who is a lying spirit, in the hearts and mouths of men; this is a vice which ought to be put away, especially by professors of religion; the effects of it are sad; it brings infamy, disgrace, and discredit, upon particular persons; and has brought judgments upon nations, where it has in general obtained; and has been the cause of corporeal diseases and death; and even makes men liable to the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death: it is a sin exceeding sinful; it is a breach of God's law; an aping of the devil; it is against the light of nature, and is destructive of civil society, and very abominable in the sight of God: wherefore

speak every man truth with his neighbour; both with respect to civil and religious affairs, in common conversation, in trade and business, and in all things relating to God and men:

for we are members one of another; as men, are all of one blood, descended from one man, and so are related one to another; and as in civil society, belong to one body politic; and in a religious sense, members of the same mystical body, the church; of which Christ, who is the truth itself, is the head; and therefore should not attempt to deceive one another by lying, since there is such a near relation and close union of one to another.

{14} Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

(14) He commends separately certain special Christian virtues, and first of all he requires truth (that is to say, sincere manners), condemning all deceit and hypocrisy, because we are born one for another.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 4:25. On the ground of what was previously said (διό), as application of ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ. on to Ephesians 4:24, there now follow various special (not systematically arranged) exhortations as far as Ephesians 4:32.

That the encouragement to lay aside lying and to speak the truth stands at the head, appears to be occasioned simply by the last uttered τῆς ἀληθείας; and the figurative form of the precept (ἀποθέμενοι) is an echo from what precedes. It is possible also, however, that the prohibitions of lying, wrath, stealing, as they are here given, had their concrete occasion with which we are not acquainted. The reasons which Zanchius, e.g., has discovered, are arbitrary. And Grotius says incorrectly: “Hoc adversus eos dicit, qui, ut gratias captarent aut Judaeorum aut gentium, alia dicebant, quam sentirent.” The subsequent ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλ. μέλη shows, in fact, that Paul has thought merely of the relation of fellowship of Christians one with another, and has meant μετὰ τοῦ πλησίου αὐτοῦ of the fellow-Christian, not of the fellowman generally (Jerome, Estius, Grotius, Michaelis, and others).

λαλεῖτεαὐτοῦ is a reminiscence from Zechariah 8:16.

ὅτι ἐσμὲν κ.τ.λ.] Motive (reminding them of Ephesians 4:12-16). Members one of another, and to lie one to another, how contradictory! Reciprocal membership is, in fact, a connection so intimate and vital, subsisting in constant mutual furtherance and rendering of service! “est enim monstrum, si membra inter se non consentiant, imo si fraudulenter inter se agant,” Calvin. Chrysostom shows at great length how the several members of the real body do not deceive one another, and Michaelis repeats it; but Paul says nothing of this.

ἀλλήλ. μέλη] members of each other, mutually the one of the other. The same conception is met with Romans 12:5, and is not inaccurate (Rückert), since, indeed, in the body of Christ, even as in the physical body, no member exists for itself, but each belonging to each, in mutual union with the other members, 1 Corinthians 12:15 ff.Ephesians 4:25-32. A paragraph containing a series of detached, practical exhortations, dealing with certain evils to be forsworn and duties to be fulfilled. These injunctions are all based on the preceding statement, or are delivered as applications of the foregoing charge to put off the old man and put on the new.25–32. The subject pursued: the revolution coming out in truthfulness, kindness, honesty, purity, patience, forgivingness

25. Wherefore] From these deep principles come now the more detailed inferences of holy practice, and these fill most of the rest of the Epistle. Here and there (as in this verse, and in ch. Ephesians 5:23) the basis of the whole in the relations of the Church to Christ appears explicitly.

putting away lying] Cp. Colossians 3:9-10, for a suggestive parallel. There, as here, truthfulness is connected with “new creation.” He who is “in Christ” is, above all things, in a region of light and of right, whose first result will be the aim to do and speak truth; the truth of entire and unselfish sincerity.—“Putting away” carries on the imagery of Ephesians 4:22. For the phrase, in reference to a definite break with sinful principle and practice, cp. Colossians 3:8; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1 (A.V., “lay aside,” in the last three places). And see below, Ephesians 4:31.—This “putting away” may be viewed either as a thing done, in principle, for the member of Christ has, in respect of that union, definitely “done with sin”; or as a thing to be done (Colossians 3:8, imperative), in each application of sinless principle. The Gr. is an aorist participle, and thus, grammatically, allows either view. We recommend the former, as most in harmony with the previous context.

speak … truth] The application of the decisively accepted principle of truth. Observe the sober and humbling practicality of the Apostle’s precepts; as necessary now as ever. And earnestly observe the uncompromising condemnation, by the Gospel, of all kinds and phases of dishonesty. Nothing untruthful can possibly be holy. A pious fraud is, in the light of true Christianity, a most grievous sin.—The emphasis laid on truthfulness in Scripture is all the more significant of the character and origin of Scripture when we remember the proverbial Oriental laxity about truth. Lying is a vice deeply characteristic of heathenism. An Indian missionary said of his first convert, “he would often come to me with tears in his eyes, saying, ‘I told you a falsehood, but it seemed nature to me to say yes when I should say no, and no when I should say yes’.” (Communicated by the Dean of Peterborough).—Contrast Psalm 15:2-3.

his neighbour] Primarily, the fellow-Christian is in view; see the next clause. But this first bearing of such a precept is pregnant with a universal reference. For to the believer his fellow-Christian is a fellow-member of Christ, his fellow-man may be.—On the word “neighbour” it is obvious thus to compare the Lord’s parable, Luke 10:29 &c.

for we are members one of another] Each vitally and directly joined to the Head (see on Ephesians 4:16) and so, through Him, incorporated into one another. And thus comes a profound correction to that selfishness which inheres in falsehood. The interests of each member centre not in itself but in the Head, and the Head is equally related to and interested in each member. In Him, therefore, each is as important to each as each to itself.—Cp. Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.—On the universal application latent in this argument, see last note.Ephesians 4:25. Τὸ ψεῦδος, lying) The mentioning of lying and truth in conversation[70] is properly added to the universal commendation of truth.—ὍΤΙ, because) Colossians 3:11, note.—ἀλλήλων, of one another) Jews and Greeks, ibid.—μέλη, members) Ephesians 4:4.

[70] Ἀλήθειαν, truth, Ephesians 4:21; Ephesians 4:24.—V. g.Verse 25. - Ephesians 5:2. - RAGS OF THE OLD MAN AND ROBES OF THE NEW. Verse 25. - Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak every man truth with his neighbor. Lying or falsehood is pre-eminently a heathen vice, as missionaries in India and other countries abundantly testify. It is an attribute of fallen humanity: "They go astray from the womb, speaking lies;" and one of the earliest vices that appear in children is deceit. Not only is it God's will and command that we speak the truth, but it is peculiarly incumbent on Christians as children of the light, as followers of him who is the Truth, as having renounced the devil, who is the father of lies. Another reason is added. For ye are members one of another. Falsehood is always designed to mislead; but to deceive our own members is emphatically wicked. Says Chrysostom (quoted by Eddie), "Let not the eye lie to the foot, nor the foot to the eye. If there be a deep pit, and its mouth, covered with reeds, shall present to the eye the appearance of solid ground, will not the eye use the foot to ascertain whether it is hollow underneath or whether it is firm and resists? Will the foot tell a lie, and not the truth as it is? And what, again, if the eye were to spy a serpent or a wild beast, will it lie to the foot?" Falsehood (τὸ ψεῦδος)

Lit., the lie; used abstractly. See on John 8:44.

Members one of another

Compare Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Chrysostom says: "Let not the eye lie to the foot, nor the foot to the eye. If there be a deep pit, and its mouth covered with reeds shall present to the eye the appearance of solid ground, will not the eye use the foot to ascertain whether it is hollow underneath, or whether it is firm and resists? Will the foot tell a lie, and not the truth as it is? And what, again, if the eye were to spy a serpent or a wild beast, will it lie to the foot?"

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