ICC New Testament Commentary
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;2:1-10. This exhibition of God’s power has not stopped there He has made us partakers of Christ’s resurrection and exaltation, having given us life when we were dead through our sins. Not for any merit of our own, but of His own free grace, for it was when we were dead in our sins that He thus loved us. But though our salvation was not on account of any works of ours, it was God’s purpose in His new creation of us that we should walk in the path of holiness which He designed
1. καὶ ὑμᾶς from its position means “and you, too.” Resumed in ver.5, where first the verb συνεζωοποίησε is expressed. Some commentators, indeed, have closely connected this with the preceding verse, so as to make ὑμᾶς depend on πληρουμένου. But the relation between νεκρούς and συνεζ. is decisive against this. Lachmann, while taking ὑμᾶς to be dependent on συνεζ., puts only a comma after 1:23, so as to co-ordinate καὶ (συνεζ.) ὑμᾶς with αὐτὸν ἔδωκε. But in this case we should certainly expect ἡμᾶς here, since the apostle would be passing from what God has done with respect to Christ, to what He has done to Christians; cf. 1:19, εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστ. Moreover,1:23 has the character of a solemn close, not of a parenthetical insertion; while the exposition which begins in 2:1 is too important to be regarded as a mere appendage to the foregoing. Hence, also, it is not a mere exemplification of the general act of grace referred to in 1:23. Rather are we to understand that the apostle, having spoken of the exceeding power of God towards those that believe, which might be recognised by reflection on what He had done in raising and exalting Christ, now, applying this to his readers, reminds them that in them also God had shown that exceeding power (Meyer). The grammatical structure is interrupted before the subject or the verb is expressed. It is taken up again with δέ in ver. 4, where the subject is expressed, and in ver. 5 the object is repeated, which, however, is now changed to the first person in consequence of the καὶ ἡμεῖς introduced in ver. 3.
ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν. ὑμῶν is added with א B D G, Syr. (both) Vulg., Theodoret, etc. It is omitted by K L, most cursives, Chrys., Oec. A has ἑαυτῶν ὄντας ν., “dead as ye were through your trespasses and sins.” Many attempts have been made to distinguish between ἁμαρτίαι and παραπτώματα. Tittmann, following Augustine’s distinction (ad Lev. qu. 20), supposes the former to be deliberate sins, the latter sins of thoughtlessness. Augustine himself in the same place suggests a different view, viz. that π. meant “desertio boni,” and ἁμ. “perpetratio mali.” He seems then to have been guessing. Certainly these distinctions are both untenable. Jerome takes παρ. to refer to the beginnings of sin in thought, ἁμ. to the actual deeds, which is not admissible. Many understand ἁμ., which is the more general term, as meant to include the sinful disposition, παρ. being only concrete acts. However reasonable this may be with the singular ἁμαρτία, it can hardly be maintained of the plural. Etymology gives no help, for παραπίπτω means to fall or go aside from, to miss, e.g. τῆς ὁδοῦ, Polyb. iii. 54. 5; τῆς ἀληθείας, ib. xii. 7. 2, also without a genitive, to err. So that etymologically παρ. is the same as ἁμαρτία. St. Paul appears to use the words as synonymous, see Romans 5:20, ἵνα πλεονάσῃ τὸ παράπτωμα; οὗ δὲ ἐπλεόνασεν ἡ ἁμαρτία, κ.τ.λ. Comp. also Romans 4:25 with 1 Corinthians 15:3.
Νεκρούς is here taken by Meyer to mean liable to eternal death. That νεκροί may be used proleptically appears from Romans 8:10. In that case the dative is instrumental. But this is hard to reconcile with the tense of συνεζωοποίησε. And surely it is very improbable that the apostle in speaking of the working of God’s power towards them, would mention only their future deliverance from death, and not their actual deliverance from spiritual death. Nor could the readers fail to think of spiritual death. This sense is sufficiently indicated by τοῖς παρ. κ.τ.λ., as well as by the following verse. So Chrysostom, εἰς ἕς χατον κακίας ἠλάσατε (τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι νεκρωθῆναι). This figure of spiritual (or moral) death is frequent amongst the ancients. Clement of Alexandria says that ἐν τῇ βαρβάρου φιλοσοφίᾳ νεκροὺς καλοῦσι τοὺς ἐκπεσόντας τῶν δογμάτων καὶ καθυποτάξαντας τὸν νοῦν τοῖς πάθεσι τοῖς ψυχικοῖς. The Jewish Rabbis have similar expressions. But Christianity has given a much deeper meaning to “death” in this connexion. We have the same phrase in Colossians 2:13, where ἐν is not part of the genuine text, and τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν is against the mere instrumental sense of the dative. It expresses that in which the death consisted.
2. ἐν αἷς refers to both substantives, though agreeing in gender with the nearer. περιπατεῖν in this sense is a Hebraism. The figure has disappeared, so that we are not to press the preposition as if marking “the walk which they trod”; see Romans 13:13, περιπατήσωμεν, μὴ κώμοις καὶ μέθαις, κ.τ.λ., and the parallel use of πορεύεσθαι, Acts 9:31, π. τῷ φόβῳ τοῦ κυρίου. It is of frequent occurrence in St. Paul and St. John, but is not found in St. James or St. Peter, who use ἀναστρέφεσθαι (a classical word, though not before Polybius); cf. 1 Peter 1:17.
κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. “In accordance with the course of this world.” This combination of αἰών and κόσμος creates some difficulty. Elsewhere we have ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος (1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 3:18, etc.), or ὁ κόσμος οὗτος, 1 Corinthians 3:19. ἡ σοφία τοῦ κ. τούτου in the latter passage being synonymous with ἡ σοφία τοῦ αἰ. τούτου in 1 Corinthians 2:6. But the two substantives are not synonymous; αἰών means a period of time; κόσμος, the world existing in that period. Thus Antoninus (2:12) says that all things quickly vanish, τῷ μὲν κόσμῳ αὐτὰ τὰ σώματα, τῷ δὲ αἰῶνι αἱ μνῆμαι αὐτῶν. The signification “life,” frequent in classical Greek, especially in the tragic poets, is never found in the N.T. As a paraphrase, however, “spirit of the age” fairly represents the sense, except that “age” refers to the whole period of this κόσμος. Comp. Tacitus, “corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum vocatur” (Germ. i. 9). αἰών being a technical word with the Gnostics, it was to be expected that some expositors would adopt a similar meaning here. Accordingly, this has been done by Michaelis, who supposes the words αἰὼν τοῦ κ. τ. to mean “the devil,” with a polemic reference to the Gnostic aeons; and by Baur, who regards the expression itself as Gnostic, and equivalent to κοσμοκράτωρ, 6:12, meaning “the devil.” Holtzmann regards it as representing a transition stage between Paulinism and Gnosticism. As the ordinary signification of αἰών yields a perfectly good and Pauline sense, there is no ground for such hypotheses. If the devil were intended to be designated here as ruler of this world, we might expect some such expression as ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦτου, as in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος. Most expositors take ἐξ. here collectively = αἱ ἐξουσίαι, understanding τοῦ ἀέρος as expressing the sphere of their existence. Such words as συμμαχία for σύμμαχοι, δουλεία for δοῦλοι, πρεσβεία for πρέσβεις etc., exemplify this collective use of abstract for concrete terms. So occasionally in English, as “embassy,” “flight” (of arrows). The present case, however, is not quite parallel, since the distribution for which ἐξ. is supposed to stand is the plural of this word itself, viz. αἱ ἐξουσίαι. This implies that the singular might be used of one of the ἐξουσίαι; cf. Romans 13:2, Romans 13:3, where, however, ἡ ἐξ. does not mean a ruling person. To use it collectively for αἱ ἐξ. is, therefore, very different from using ἡ συμμαχία for οἱ σύμμαχοι. Besides, we must not assume that the word can be treated apart from the following genitive. ὁ ἄρχων is defined, not by τῆς ἐξ., but by τῆς ἐξ. τοῦ ἀέρος. For this reason, too, we cannot take τ. ἐ. as a genitive of apposition = “princeps potentissimus.” Now, the genitive following ἐξουσία is elsewhere either subjective, as ἡ ἐξ. τοῦ σατανᾶ, Acts 26:18; τοῦ ἡγεμόνος, Luke 20:20; ὑμῶν, 1 Corinthians 8:9; or objective, πάσης σαρκός, John 17:2; πνευμάτων, Matthew 10:1; ὑμῶν, 1 Corinthians 9:12. It is possible, therefore, to understand the words as meaning “the ruler to whom belongs the power over the region of the air”; but this would create a difficulty in connexion with πνεύματος. It is therefore perhaps best to take ἡ ἐξ. τοῦ ἀ. as the power whose seat is in the air. Some commentators take ἀήρ here as = σκότος; and if this were possible we should have obvious parallels in 6:12, κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τοῦτου, and Colossians 1:13, τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ σκότους. But although ἀήρ, is used in Homer and elsewhere of “thick air” in contrast to αἰθήρ, as in Plutarch (of the first creation), ἔτι μὲν οὐρανὸν ἔκρυπτεν ἀήρ (De esu carn. Or. I. § 2), it does not appear that it can be used simply for σκότος, nor again that if so used figuratively, it could by another figure be used of spiritual darkness. What, then, does the expression mean? Oecumenius’ view is that as the rule of Satan is under heaven, not above, it must be either in the earth or the air; but, being a spirit, it must be in the air, φύσις γὰρ τοῖς πνεύμασιν ἡ ἐναέριος διατριβή; and this is adopted by Harless and others. The air being understood to mean, not merely the region of the atmosphere, but “all that supra-terrestrial, but sub-celestial, region, which seems to be, if not the abode, yet the haunt of evil spirits,” Ellicott, who compares Job 1:7 LXX, ἐμπεριπάτησαν τὴν ὑπʼ οὐρανόν, which surely is not to be appealed to as giving any light. Eadie ingeniously suggests that “the ἀήρ and κόσμος must correspond in relation. As there is an atmosphere round the physical globe, so air, ἀήρ, envelops this spiritual κόσμος, ”—an atmosphere “in which it breathes and moves.” Compare our own phrases in which “atmosphere” is used figuratively, “an atmosphere of flattery,” etc. But if such a figure were intended, some word must be added which would indicate the figure, such as the words “breathes and moves” in Eadie’s explanation. Indeed, he admits that it is perhaps too ingenious to be true, and falls back on the alternative that either the apostle used current language, which did not convey error, as Satan is called Beelzebub, without reference to the meaning of the term “Lord of flies,” or that he means to convey the idea of “near propinquity,” or alludes to what he had more fully explained during his residence at Ephesus. That the notion of the air being the dwelling-place of spirits, and specially of evil spirits, was current, appears to be beyond doubt. Thus Pythagoras held εἶναι πάντα τὸν ἀέρα ψυχῶν ἔμπλεων (Diog. L. viii. 32). Philo says, οὓς ἄλλοι φιλόσοφοι δαίμονας, ἀγγέλους Μωσῆς εἴωθεν ὀνομάζειν· ψυχαὶ δʼ εἰσὶ κατὰ τὸν ἀέρα πετόμεναι. In the Test. XII. Patr. it is of ὁ δεύτερος οὐρανός that it has fire, snow, ice ready for the day of the Lord’s command, ἐν αὐτῷ εἰσὶ πάντα τὰ πνεύματα τῶν ἐπαγωγῶν εἰς ἐκδίκησιν τῶν ἀνόμων (Levi, ap. Fabric. Cod. Apoc. V.T. p. 547), and in Test. Benj. p. 729, Βελιάρ is called τὸ ἀέριον πνεῦμα. Drusius cites from the commentary on Aboth, “sciendum, a terra usque ad expansum omnia plena esse turmis et praefectis et infra plurimas esse creaturas credentes et accusantes, omnesque stare ac volitare in aere … quorum alii ad bonum, alii ad malum incitant.” There is no difficulty in supposing that St. Paul is here alluding to such current notions. Nor are we to suppose that he is conveying any special revelation about the matter. Harless’ objection, that according to the views referred to, the air was inhabited by good spirits as well as bad, is by no means fatal, since it is on the bad spirits that men’s thoughts would chiefly dwell, and to them would be referred evil suggestions and desires.
τοῦ πνεύματος is understood by some (including Rückert and De Wette) as in apposition with τὸν ἄρχοντα. Winer, while rejecting this view, admits that in this case the apostle might most easily have wandered from the right construction, namely, on account of the preceding genitives. It is, however, unnecessary to suppose this, although it must be conceded that the only admissible alternative, viz. that πν. depends on ἄρχοντα, is more harsh as to sense, although the harshness is lessened by the distance from ἄρχοντα. Adopting this, the sense is, “the ruler of the spirit,” etc. Here πνεῦμα is not to be understood collectively, which it cannot be; it is what in 1 Corinthians 2:12 is called τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, the spiritual influence which works in the disobedient. It seems to be a sort of explanation of the preceding ἐξουσία.
νῦν. Not “even now,” which would require καὶ νῦν, but in contrast to ποτέ, when this spirit operated in the readers also.
ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας. A Hebrew form of expression. We have “son of misery,” Proverbs 31:5; “sons of iniquity,” 2 Samuel 7:10; “sons of Belial (= worthlessness).” Compare ch. 5:6; Colossians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (“sons of light”); 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (“son of perdition”). Greek authors used the expression παῖδες ζωγράφων and the like, but not with abstracts. The opposite to υἱοῖ ἀπ. is τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, 1 Peter 1:14. ἀπείθεια is not unbelief, but disobedience; compare Romans 11:30, καὶ ὑμεῖς ποτὲ ἠπειθήσατε τῷ Θεῷ. Chrysostom very curiously says, ὁρᾶς ὅτι οὐ βίᾳ οὐδὲ τυραννίδι ἀλλὰ πειθοῖ προσάγεται; ἀπείθειαν γὰρ εἶπεν, ὡς ἄν τις εἴποι, ἀπάτῃ καὶ πειθοῖ τοὺς πάντας ἐφέλκεται. But on Colossians 3:6 he says, δεικνὺς ὅτι παρὰ τὸ μὴ πεισθῆναι ἐν τούτοις εἰσιν. The former remark looks more like a rhetorical play on words than a serious comment.
3. ἐν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς. καὶ ἡμεῖς, “we also, we too.” Having spoken specially of the Gentiles in the preceding verses, the apostle now passes to the Jews. The πάντες is certainly no objection to this. “Even amongst us (the chosen people) there was no exception.” What more natural than to say “all of us also.” If πάντες included both Jews and Gentiles, ἡμεῖς would be quite superfluous; and the emphatic καὶ ἡμεῖς would be unintelligible if it included ὑμεῖς of vv. 1 and 2. ἐν οἷς is connected by Stier with παραπτώμασιν (which he thinks appropriate to Jews, as ἁμαρτίαις to Gentiles). His reasons are, first, that as υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπ. are the heathen, not all the unbelieving, it would not be suitable to reckon the Jews amongst them; secondly, that the harshness of supposing that ἐν just now used with ἐνεργοῦντος is immediately used with the same object in a different signification; and thirdly, that the parallelism of 2 and 3 compels us to take ἐν αἷς and ἐν οἷς as parallel. With the reading ὑμῶν adopted above in ver. 1 it is impossible thus to separate παρ. from ἁμ. It might more plausibly be maintained that οἷς refers to both substantives, the feminine having been adopted only because ἁμ. was the nearest substantive, and the neuter being used where that reason does not exist. But we cannot well avoid referring the relative to the nearest antecedent when that gives a suitable sense, and the change of verb from περιπατεῖν to ἀναστρέφεσθαι, which is more suitable if οἷς be persons, is in favour of this; “amongst whom we also,” belonging to the same class of the disobedient.
ἀνεστράφημεν. “Versabamur,” “lived our life”; “speciosius quam ambulare,” Bengel, but rather perhaps adopted because περιπατεῖν ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς could not be said.
ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκός. σάρξ, though primarily signifying the matter of the body, and hence the appetites arising from the body, is not to be limited to these, but includes the whole of the lower or psychical nature. In Rom_7. it appears in the natural man as opposed to νοῦς or ἐγώ in the higher sense; in Rom_8. in the regenerate it is opposed to πνεῦμα. Amongst the works of σάρξ are “strifes,” etc., Galatians 5:19, Galatians 5:22. Compare Colossians 2:18, puffed up by the νοῦς of his σάρξ.” The ἐπιθυμίαι of the flesh are therefore not merely the bodily appetites, but in general what Butler calls “particular propensions.” So here it includes σάρξ proper and διάνοιαι.
ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα, κ.τ.λ., expresses the result in act of the ἐπιθυμίαι; there is no tautology. Διάνοιαι is not found elsewhere with a bad signification. In classical authors διάνοια means the understanding, or a thought or purpose. In Aristotle virtue is προαίρεσις μετὰ λόγου καὶ δίανοιας. The plural also is used by Plutarch in a good sense. In the N.T. it occurs frequently in a good sense, 1 Peter 1:13, “girding up the loins of your δ.”; 2 Peter 3:1“I stir up your pure δ.”; 1 John 5:20, “hath given us a δ.”; cf. also ch. 1:18. Harless conjectures that the plural here is used in the sense common in Greek writers, viz. purpose, the plural suggesting vacillation; and he compares the use of σοφίαι in Aristoph. Ran., and “sapientiae” in Cic. Tusc. iii. 18. But this is too refined. It deserves notice that in ch. 4:18 and Colossians 1:20, St. Paul speaks of his readers having been “darkened in their δίανοια” and “enemies in their δ.” Here, while by no means admitting a hendiadys, “cogitationes carnales,” we must at least allow that διανοιῶν acquires its bad significance from the preceding σαρκός so that it nearly = “the σάρξ and its δίανοιαι.”
καὶ ἤμεθα τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς. This order, which is that of the Text. Rec., is established by א B K etc., Chrys., Lachmann adopted φύσει τέκνα, with A D G L P, Vulg., Syr-Harcl.
The change from the participle to the finite verb need occasion no difficulty; it is, in fact, required by the sense. Had ὄντες been written it would be co-ordinate with ποιοῦντες and subordinate to ἀνεστράφημεν, and explanatory of it, “doing the desires … and being the children …” Whatever view is taken of the latter clause, these two are not co-ordinate. Not merely, therefore, for emphasis, but because the latter is a distinct predication, co-ordinate with ἐν οἷς ἀνεστρ., or, more exactly, expressing a consequence of that, the verb is in the indicative,—“and so we were.”
τέκνα ὀργῆς is understood by many as = actual objects of God’s wrath, τέκνα being used as suitable to Israel, and then by a sort of irony is added, not “of Abraham” or “of God,” but “by nature of wrath.” There could be no objection to such an interpretation if it corresponded with the context; but here, if the actual wrath of God were intended, we should expect it to be defined by Θεοῦ or the article, or otherwise. But how strange, if not impossible, would be the expression “children of God’s wrath”; and especially so here, where in the same breath they are described as at the same time objects of God’s love, without anything to soften the apparent opposition ! Nor can it be said that this is at all implied in the word τέκνα. On the contrary, we have several instances in the Old Testament in which “son of” followed by a word denoting punishment cannot reasonably be given any other meaning than either “worthy of,” or “in danger of.” Thus Deuteronomy 25:2, “If the wicked man be a son of stripes, the judge shall … cause him to be beaten before his face,” etc.; rightly rendered in the Sept. ἐὰν ἄξιος ᾖ πληγῶν. 1 Samuel 26:16 (David to Abner), “Ye are sons of death, because ye have not kept watch over your lord.” 2 Samuel 12:5 (David to Nathan), “The man that hath done this is a son of death.” In these two passages the RV. has correctly “worthy to die,” and in the former no other interpretation is possible. In 1 Samuel 20:31, RV. has in the text (with AV.) “shall surely die,” but in the margin “is worthy to die.” In Psalm 79:11 and 102:20, “sons of death” are “those who are in danger of death.”
These instances, together with the indefiniteness of ὀργῆς, justify us in understanding the words to mean “objects, i.e. fit objects of wrath,” “deserving of wrath.” And so they are interpreted by Chrysostom, “We have provoked God to wrath, τουτέστιν ὀργὴ ἦμεν καὶ οὐδὲν ἕτερον” (explaining that he who is ἀνθρώπου τέκνον is ἄνθρωπος). “πάντες ἐπράττομεν ἄξια ὀργῆς.” Similarly Oecumenius, “As those who do things worthy of perdition or of hell are called τέκνα ἀπωλείας καὶ γεέννης [e.g. 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Matthew 23:15] οὕτω καὶ τέκνα ὀργῆς οἱ ἄξια ὀργῆς.
Why is φύσει inserted? This question does not seem hard to answer. It must first be remarked that φύσις is opposed sometimes to νόμος, sometimes to θέσις, ἀνάγκη, etc., but does not necessarily mean “by birth.” Romans 2:14, the Gentiles do φύσει τὰ τοῦ νόμου; 1 Corinthians 11:14, ἡ φύσις teaches that if a man have long hair it is a shame. Josephus says of David that he was φύσει δίκαιος καὶ θεοσεβής (Ant. vii. 7, 1), and of the Pharisees φύσει ἐπιεικῶς ἔχουσιν (xiii. 10, 6). We have φύσει φιλογεωργότατος in Xen. Oec. xx. 25. Compare also Philo, De Conf. Ling. p. 327 E, ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἀντιλογικοὶ γεγόνασιν ὅσοι τῆς ἐπιστήμης καὶ ἀρετῆς ζῆλον ἔσχον. It is, in fact, used like our word “naturally.” Here the opposition suggested might be to χάριτι; but as the Jews are in question, it is more probably to θέσει, their covenant position as the people of God, by which they were holy branches of a holy root, to whom belonged the υἱοθεσία (Romans 11:16, Romans 11:21). “We Jews, too, just as the heathen, were, apart from the covenant, τέκνα ὀργῆς.”
From the time of Augustine these words have been supposed by many to contain a direct assertion of original sin. Thus Calvin, “Paulus nos cum peccato gigni testatur, quemadmodum serpentes suum venenum ex utero afferunt.”
But, first, this gives a very great emphasis to φύσει, which its position forbids. Secondly, it supposes καὶ ἤμεθα to refer to, or at least include, a time prior to ἐν οἶς ἀν., which seems not possible. Thirdly, it does not harmonise with the context. That treats of actual sin (including, of course, character), and the immediate context of the Jews only. It would be natural and intelligible that this description should be followed by mention of the wrath thereby incurred; it would also be intelligible, though less natural, that it should be followed by a statement that in addition to this we inherited a sinful and guilty nature. The interpretation in question supposes that neither of these is mentioned; the wrath incurred by actual sin is omitted, while that incurred by birth sin is mentioned without mention of its cause, which is left to be inferred. And fourthly, even this is stated expressly only of the Jews; it is assumed as self-evident of the Gentiles, οἱ λοιποί. The reader has to fill up the sentence somewhat in this way, “We fulfilled the desires of the flesh [and thus became objects of God’s wrath; and, in addition to this, we were even before committing any actual sin inheritors of a sinful nature, and so] already by nature objects of His wrath.”
It is true, indeed, that men are born with a sinful and corrupt nature; but to say this is not to say that the infant who has committed no actual sin is an actual object of God’s wrath; still less does it prove that the apostle’s words here imply it. Chrysostom has no trace of such an interpretation; in fact he seems even to regard these words as guarding against a similar interpretation of θελήματα σαρκός. “That is [he says], οὐδὲν πνευματικὸν φρονοῦντες. But that he may not be suspected of saying this in disparagement of the flesh, and lest one should think the offence not great, see how he guards himself. Fulfilling the desires, etc.; he (the apostle) says, we provoked God”; adding what has been quoted above. Jerome gives as alternatives, “Vel propter corpus humilitatis corpusque mortis et quod ab adolescentia mens hominum apposita sit ad malum.” “Vel quod ex eo tempore quo possumus habere notitiam Dei, et ad pubertatem venimus, omnes aut opere aut lingua aut cogitatione peccemus.” He mentions some who took φύσει here to mean “prorsus”; cf. ἀληθῶς or ἀληθῶς or γνησίως, Oecum.; but the word never has this meaning.
οἱ λοιποί, the heathen, cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
4. ὁ δὲ Θεός resumes from ver. 1 after the interruption, and now with the subject; οὖν is more usual in such a resumption; but δέ is more suitable here, on account of the contrast of what is now to be said with what precedes. Jerome’s comment is characteristic, “Conjunctionem causalem in eo loco in quo ait: Deus autem etc. arbitramur aut ab indoctis scriptoribus additum et vitium inolevisse paulatim, aut ab ipso Paulo, qui erat imperitus sermone et non scientia, superflue usurpatum.” Erasmus’ remark is more correct, “Hyperbati longioris ambitum ipse correxit Apostolus.”
πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει, “being as He is” (the participle assigning the reason), not simply ἐλεήμων, but “rich in mercy” (Chrys.). Compare Romans 9:23, “make known the riches of His glory on σκεύη ἐλέους.” In classical writers πλούσιος is construed with a genitive of the thing, but in the N.T. with ἐν, see Jam 2:5, ἐνπίστει; and similarly the verbs πλουτεῖν, πλουτίζεσθαι (1 Corinthians 1:5). Compare the correspondence of ἔλεος and ἀπειθεία in Romans 11:31. ἀγάπη is not a particular form of ἔλεος, but is the cause from which, or by reason of which, ἔλεος was exercised.
διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην, “propter,” Vulg. “for His great love”; cf. Philemon 1:8, “for love’s sake.” ἥν, cognate accusative, a very common usage, both in classical and N.T. Greek. Here the addition ἣν ἠγ. ἡμᾶς, being not necessary to the sense, gives great emphasis to the expression of the Divine love. Nor is αὐτοῦ to be neglected, “His love” marking more distinctly that it is from Him alone and His attitude of love that this mercy proceeds.
ἡμᾶς now includes both the ὑμεῖς of ver. 1 and the ἡμᾶς ver. 3. and includes therefore both Jews and Gentiles.
5. καὶ ὄντας ἡμᾶς νεκρούς. The καί does not signify “us also altogether,” which is forbidden by the position of ἡμᾶς (not καὶ ἡμᾶς), and for the same reason it does not resume the καί of ver. 1. It is best taken as “Even,” “Even when we were dead,” etc. It is objected, indeed, that it is only the dead who can be “brought to life,” and for this reason Meyer takes καί as the copula, “on account of His great love, and when we were dead”; but these two ideas are not co-ordinate. Soden, for the same reason, joins the words with the preceding, “loved us even when,” etc. This, no doubt, gives a good sense, although the antithesis between “loved” and “when dead” is not very natural, whereas that between νεκρούς and ἐξωοποίησε is striking. Besides, the proposed construction would require ἡμᾶς to be expressed with συνεζ. not with ὄντας, since ἠγάπησεν already has its object expressed. But the objection is hypercritical. The answer to it is, not that νεκ. is qualified by τοῖ παραπτ. which has no emphasis, nor that συνεζ. is defined by ἐν Χριστῷ. The true answer is found in the position of the verb. “Gave life even to the dead” would not be a natural mode of expression, but “Even the dead He restored to life” is perfectly natural. The καὶ ὄντας, κ.τ.λ., attracts the reader’s attention to some striking instance of God’s love about to be mentioned. Comp. Colossians 2:13, where the connexion is unambiguous. Indeed, it is not quite true that ζωοποιεῖν can be only of the dead. See John 6:63 compared with ver. 54; also 1 Corinthians 15:36; 2 Corinthians 3:6.
τοῖς παραπτώμασιν = our trespasses, the trespasses already mentioned in ver. 1.
συνεζωοποίησε τῷ Χριστῷ.
B adds ἐν after the verb with 17 Arm. and some other authorities, —a reading admitted to the margin by Westcott and Hort, and in brackets by Lachmann. It might, with equal ease, be omitted or inserted accidentally. There could be no reason for intentional omission, but it might be added intentionally from the construction being mistaken. It is observable that B, Arm. also insert ἐν after νεκροῖς, if, indeed, a version can be safely cited in such a case. Internal evidence is against ἐν, as we get a better sense by taking χριστῷ as dependent on συν.
Meyer, having understood νεκρούς to refer to future eternal death, of course understands συνεζ. as referring to the eternal life which begins with the resurrection. This view he regards as alone consistent with the context in which the translation into heaven is expressed, and again in ver. 7 the times after the Parousia are referred to. His view then is, that God has made believers alive with Christ; that is, that by virtue of the dynamic connexion of Christ with His believers as the Head with its body, their revivification is objectively included in His; “quum autem fides suscipitur ea omnia a Deo applicantur homini et ab homine rata habentur,” Bengel. The apostle therefore views this as having already taken place, although the subjective individual participation remains future, and he might have used the future as in 1 Corinthians 15:22. The peculiar use of the aorist here he refers to the principle thus stated by Fritzsche (on Romans 8:30, ii. p. 206), “Ponitur Aoristus de re, quae, quamvis futura sit, tamen pro peractâ recte censeatur, quum vel aliâ re jam factâ contineatar, ut h. 1., vel a conditione suspensa cogitetur, quam jam obtinuisse finxeris, v. Hom. Il. iv. 161; John 15:6.” This usage was first explained by Hermann, “De emend. ratione graecae gr.” pp. 190 ff., but, as stated by him, does not apply here.
Of the two passages to which Fritzsche after Hermann refers, that from Homer is, says Hermann, the only instance known to me in which it may be reasonably questioned whether the aorist has not the signification of the future, viz. Hom. Il. iv. 160-162. It is as follows:—
εἴπερ γάρ τε καὶ αὐτικʼὈλύμπιος οὐκ ἐτέλεσσεν,
ἔκ τε καὶ ὀψὲ τελεῖ, σύν τε μεγάλῳ ἀπέτισαν,
σὺν σφῇσιν κεφαλῇσι γυναιξί τε καὶ τεκέεσσιν.
Here the poet throws himself forward into the time of the verb τελεῖ and sees the instantaneous carrying out of this vindication of oaths; as if he said, “And, lo! at once they have paid the penalty.” “Rem futuram non ut futuram sed ut praeteritam narrat: nimirum post quam Troianos punierit Iuppiter turn illi poenas dederunt” (Hermann). The other example is from John 15:6, ἐὰν μή τις μείνῃ ἐν ἐμοί, ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα, καὶ ἐξηράνθη. Here also a condition is expressed from which the consequence necessarily follows. Similarly Epictetus, cap. 59, ἂν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἀναλάβῃς τι πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ ἠσχημόνησας, καὶ ὃ ἠδύνασο ἐκπληρῶσαι, παρέλιπες (see Jelf, § 403). In the present passage, if συνεζ. is referred to the future, there is no resemblance to these instances. We have already seen, however, that νεκρούς includes present spiritual death, and that indeed as its primary notion, although it cannot be limited to that, since the consequence, natural and eternal death, is necessarily suggested with it. Accordingly, the vivification, though primarily spiritual, includes in it our share in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. In 1:20, 21 the writer has pointed to the resurrection and exaltation of Christ as an exhibition of Divine power; here he declares that by virtue of our union with Him as of members with the head, we participate in the same. “Quamvis salus nostra in spe sit adhuc abscondita quantum ad nos spectat: in Christo nihilominus beatam im-mortalitatem possidemus,” Calvin. Colossians 2:13 is closely parallel. The fact that baptism is there referred to as the means by which the individual entered subjectively into fellowship with Christ, and is not mentioned here, does not justify the adoption of a different meaning for συνεζ. here, such as that of Harless, whose view is that the risen life and glorification of Christ are here spoken of as ours, because they are the glory of “our” Redeemer.
Chrysostom’s comment is: εἰ ἡ ἀπαρχὴ ζῇ, καὶ ἡμεῖς· ἐζωοποίησε κἀκεῖνον καὶ ἡμᾶς, to which Theophylact adds: ἐκεῖνον ἐνεργείᾳ, ἡμᾶς δυνάμει νῦν, μετʼ ὀλίγον δὲ καὶ ἐνεργείᾳ. συν- clearly “with Christ,” Colossians 2:13.
χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι. “It is by grace that ye have been saved,”—a lively parenthetical reminder suggested by the preceding words, and vindicating the expression “vivified when dead.” Being dead, ye could do nothing of yourselves, so that it must needs be all by grace, i.e. simply by God’s free gift. We are so accustomed to use “grace” in a technical theological sense, that we are prone to think of that sense where it does not really come in. This technical sense of “grace” as something conferred is not in question here, and any reference to the distinction between prevenient and co-operating grace, etc., is out of place. The word is used just as in royal letters the words “by our special grace and mere motion.”
D G, Vulg. al. prefix οὗ(D οὗ τῇ) to χάριτι.
The perfect ἐστε σεσωσμένοι here is in striking contrast with the aorist ἐσώθημεν in Romans 8:24, τῇ γὰρ ἐλπίδι ἐς. But the perfect is as suitable here as it would have been unsuitable there, where it would contradict ἐλπίδι. Then, what was to be said had reference to the definite moment of the readers’ introduction into the Christian Church, and the point was that the σωτηρία obtained at that definite moment was in part a matter of hope. Here it is not a past moment that is in question, as if χάρις was over and done with, but the readers’ present condition as the continuing result of their conversion. In one sense their σωτηρία was complete, viz. regarded with respect to that from which they were delivered; in another incomplete, viz. with respect to that which was reserved for them. So to persons rescued from a wreck, but not yet arrived in port, we might say either ἐσώθητε or σεσωσμένοι ἐστε.
6. συνήγειρε is nearly synonymous with συνεζωοποίησε, but suggests more distinctly physical resurrection. In Colossians 3:1, as here, the ἐγερθῆναι σὺν Χριστῷ is treated as past, and is made the motive for seeking those things which are above, “… for ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The present passage expresses this more vividly and strikingly, συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. “Non dicit in dextra; Christo sua manet excellentia,” Bengel (and so Estius less tersely). ἐν τοῖς ἐπ. denotes the true or ideal locality of the Church as the “kingdom of heaven.” Comp. Hebrews 12:22, προσεληλύθατε … πόλει Θεοῦ ζῶντος, Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐπουρανίῳ.
ἐν Χριστῷ after συν- has caused some perplexity, and led some commentators to understand the συν- in ver. 6 (not in ver. 5) as joining ὑμεῖς and ἡμεῖς together. But it seems better to understand ἐν Χ. as completing and defining with more precision what was intended by σύν, for it is not simply together with Christ that this vivification and exaltation takes place, but also in Him, by virtue of union with Him as the Head.
7. ἵνα ἐνδείξηται. The middle does not mean “for His own glory,” nor does the language of the verse suggest the idea of showing as a sample or specimen. The verb seldom occurs in the active voice except as a legal expression, never in N.T. The middle involves no more than is already contained in αὐτοῦ, as the instances show: Romans 2:15, “show the work of the law written in their hearts”; 2 Corinthians 8:24, “showing the ἔνδειξις of your love and of our boasting”; 2 Timothy 4:14, “Alexander the coppersmith πολλά μοι κακὰ ἐνεδείξατο.” See also Titus 2:10, Titus 2:3:2; Hebrews 6:10, Hebrews 6:11. These instances also show that the word means, not “make known,” but “exhibit in fact or act.”
ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις. “In the coming ages.” It seems more suitable to the context, as well as to the use of parallel expressions, to understand this of the future life, ὁ αἰὼν ὁ μέλλων, in which the state described in the preceding words will be actually realised and made manifest. The present participle is not against this, for in Mark 10:30 we have ὁ αἰὼν ὁ ἐρχόμενος in this sense. The plural may at first sight seem against it, but is not really so; it only indicates that the apostle viewed the future age as involving stages of development in which the exceeding riches of God’s grace will be more and more clearly manifested, and that becomes actual, the knowledge of which is mentioned as the object of desire in 1:18. Compare the frequent expression εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, also Judges 1:25, εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας; and the remarkable expression, 1 Timothy 1:17, τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων. These αἰῶνες may be regarded as constituting a whole in contrast to the present life, and so be named in the singular ὁ αἰ. ὁ μέλλων.
τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ. The neuter πλοῦτος is best supported here. In modern Greek the word is indifferently masculine or neuter.
ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς. These words are to be so connected, not ὑπερβάλλον ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς. To exhibit χάρις in χρηστότης would be tautological. Nor is the absence of the article any objection, for χρηστότης implies, not merely an inherent quality, but one which involves in its idea exercise towards another, so that it requires to be completely defined by the expression of this object.
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. The ground of this kindness shown towards us is in Christ, not in us. As Calvin remarks, “Notanda repetitio nominis Christi quia nihil gratiae neque amoris a Deo sperari vult, nisi ipso intercedente.”
8. τῇ γὰρ χάριτι, κ.τ.λ. How justly I say “the exceeding riches of His grace,” for, etc. The apostle now speaks in more detail about the truth of which his mind was so full. χάριτι has the article, because it is the grace already mentioned.
διὰ πίστεως without the article, א A B D* G P 17, Chrys., Rec. has the article, with Dc K L and most cursives.
This is the subjective condition, the “causa apprehendens,” the necessary medium on the side of man, “the living capacity for receiving the powers of the higher world,” Olshausen. The whole emphasis is on τῇ χάριτι. The article before πίστεως would imply that its possession was presupposed: “your faith.”
καὶ τοῦτο, “and that” (for which καὶ ταῦτα is more frequent in classical writers), is referred by the Fathers, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Jerome, to “faith.” Thus Chrysostom says: οὐδὲ ἡ πίστις ἐξ ἡμῶν, εἰ γὰρ οὐκ ἦλθεν, εἰ γὰρ μὴ ἐκάλεσε, πῶς ἠδυνάμεθα πιστεῦσαι; πῶς γὰρ, φησὶ, πιστύσουσιν ἐὰν μὴ ἀκούσωσιν. He proceeds to interpret the words Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον as applying, not to faith, but to the grant of salvation on condition of faith, ἐπεὶ πῶς σώζει ἡ πίστις, εἰπέ μοι, ἄνευ ἔργων; τοῦτο αὐτὸ Θεοῦ δῶρόν ἐστιν. This is not very different from what Theophylact says: οὐ τὴν πίοτιν λέγει δῶρον Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὸ διὰ πίστεως σωθῆναι, τοῦτο δῶρόν ἐστι θεοῦ. Modern commentators (Erasmus, Beza, Bengel, etc.) who have adopted the view that τοῦτο refers to πίστις, understand the meaning to be that the power or exercise of faith (faith subjectively considered) is the gift of God (as Php 1:29), in which case καὶ τοῦτο to δῶρον must be parenthetical, since to say that faith is not ἐξ ἔργων would be trivial in the extreme.
The gender of τοῦτο is not fatal to the reference to πίστις, but to separate ἐξ ὑμῶν in this way from ἐξ ἔργων does violence to the connexion. The latter is a nearer definition of the former. Recent commentators refer καὶ τοῦτο to σεσωσμένοι ἐστε, or, better, to the whole clause; for after χάριτι had been expressed with σες., the emphatic καὶ τοῦτο would be out of place. In fact, the apostle emphasises and defines τῇ χ. more closely by denying the opposites; first, of the objective source χάρις by οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν; and, secondly, of the subjective element by οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων (Meyer).
Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον. God’s is the gift = Θεοῦ δῶρον τὸ δῶρόν ἐστι,Θεοῦ being placed first for the sake of the emphatic contrast with ὑμῶν.
9. οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων. He does not say ἔργων νόμου, because not writing to Jewish believers. De Wette (who does not accept the Pauline authorship) thinks the opposition in οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων has no meaning, since the writer is not thinking of Jews, and heathen believers did not need to be warned against taking pride in the righteousness of works, especially after what had preceded in vv. 1 and 5. But the οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων was such an essential principle of St. Paul’s teaching that no doubt he must have often repeated it amongst both Jews and Gentiles; nor is there any force in the reference to the past condition of the readers. Might not Gentile converts be tempted to regard their salvation as secured by their new holiness of life? and not the less because their former sins were when they were in darkness.
ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται. Some commentators insist on giving ἵνα its full final force, “in order that”; so that to prevent boasting was God’s purpose, or one of His purposes, in appointing that men should not be justified by works. Are we then to say that, in order that men should not boast, He has refused to allow salvation or justification by works? Nay; but no man can be justified by his works, and “when they have been betrayed by these,” God appointed that He should save them χάριτι διὰ πίστεως. So in substance Chrysostom and Theophylact, whose words are: τὸ γὰρ ἵνα οὐκ αἰτιολγικόν ἐστι, ἀλλʼ ἐκ τῆς ἀποβάσεως τοῦ πράγματος. Yet the clause is not to be reduced to a mere statement of result, since it is a result inseparable from God’s purpose. Stier suggests that ἵνα, κ.τ.λ., may be viewed as the expression of the writer’s purpose: “This I say in order that,” etc. This cannot fairly be called unnatural, but it would require the verb to be present.
10. αὐτοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν ποίημα κτισθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς. Proof of the foregoing clauses from οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, not of ἵνα τις … only, which is only a secondary thought. If we are God’s workmanship, our salvation is not our own work, but the gift of God; and if we are created in Christ for good works, there could be no works preceding this creation from which any merit could arise. The argument turns on αὐτοῦ, which is emphatic, “His workmanship we are,” and on κτισθέντες; and the following words still more distinctly express the impossibility of any merit preceding this κτίσις.
ποίημα, found again only Romans 1:20 of the works of creation. Here, too, it is referred by Tert. Greg. Naz. and Basil to physical creation. This is refuted by the nearer definition given in κτισθέντες, κ.τ.λ. Pelagius includes both the physical and the spiritual, “quod vivimus, quod spiramus, quod intelligimus, quod credere possumus, ipsius est, quia ipse conditor nostri est.” The word can hardly of itself be used simply of the new or spiritual creation; it may perhaps be chosen to suggest strongly the analogy of this to the first creation, the nature of this ποίημα being left to be defined by the following words. Perhaps we may better say that the apostle’s mind was so full of the idea of the “new man,” that he writes as if this new creation might be regarded as the first “making” of us.
κτισθέντες. “Created”; for if anyone is in Christ, he is καινὴ κτίσις, 2 Corinthians 5:17; compare also Galatians 6:15. κτίζειν is appropriately used of the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος, the coming into being of which is called παλιγγενεσία, Titus 3:5. We are not, then, to weaken it into “efficere.”
ἐν χριστῷ Ἰ. Cf. ver. 15 and 2 Corinthians 5:17, above. ἐν expresses the fellowship in which that new creation takes place.
ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς. ἐπί, with the dative, is used to express the condition upon which a thing happens or is done; for instance, the conditions of a treaty ἐπʼ ἴσοις, ἐπὶ πᾶσι δικαίοις, ἐπὶ ῥητοῖς, ἐπʼ ἀργυρίῳ, ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ψυχῇ (Plato, Rep. 9. p. 590 A); δανείζειν ἐπὶ ὑποθήκῃ (Dem. p. 908, 21). Hence the expression ἐφʼ ᾧτε. Many, if not most, of the instances adduced in support of the meaning, “with a view to such and such an end,” are better explained by this usage, e.g. δώρῳ ἔπι μεγάλῳ in Hom. Il. x. 304, τίς κέν μοι τόδε ἔργον ὑποσχόμενος τελέσειεν δώρῳ ἔπι μ., certainly not “with a view to,” but “on the terms of receiving”; Il. ix. 482, μοῦνον, τηλύγετον, πολλοῖσιν ἐπὶ κτεάτεσσιν; and v. 154, “he begat no other son,” ἐπὶ κτεάτεσσι λιπέσθαι, the possessions being an accompanying condition of the sonship. So also in such phrases as ἐπὶ ξενίᾳ δέχεσθαι or καλεῖν ; φάσκοντες ἐπʼ ἐλευθερίᾳ προεστάναι τῶν Ἑλλήνων (Dem. p. 661, 16); ἐπʼ ἐλευθερίᾳ (τινὸς κατατιθέναι χρήματα) (ib. p. 1355, 18). καὶ ἐφʼ ᾧ ἐν Κορίνθῳ μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι. Where the condition is (as in the last instance, not in that preceding) that something be granted, the meaning amounts to the same as “with a view to”; but this does not seem to be contained in the preposition. Indeed, the following words, καὶ ἐφʼ ᾧ, κ.τ.λ., appear to decide the signification of ἐπί here.
Similarly in Galatians 5:13, ἐπʼ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε means, not that freedom was the end or object, but the condition of their calling, the terms on which they were called, viz. so as to be free. Again, 1 Thessalonians 4:7, οὐ γὰρ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ Θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ. Not on such terms were we called, not so that we should be impure. In the following words, ἀλλὰ ἐν ἁγιασμῷ, ἐν appears to be preferred, because ἁγιασμός did not express any outward condition. 2 Timothy 2:14, ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων “with a view to,” would be clearly out of place; “to the subverting” gives the sense correctly. It is the inevitable concomitant. Here ἔργα ἀγαθά are not the object of the new creation, but are involved in it as an inseparable condition
οἷς προητοίμασεν ὁ Θεὸς ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν. construction here is much disputed. The most obvious explanation is that οἶς is in the dative by attraction, “which God before prepared.” Then we ask in what sense can works be said to have been prepared, since they have no existence previous to their being done. An easy answer appears to be, that they are appointed, and so, though not realised in fact, are realised in the divine thought or purpose. This is the view taken after Augustine by Harless, who thinks this the only possible sense here, since the apostle expressly adds that the actual realisation is expected from the believers. Thus St. Paul uses προετοιμάζειν here of things, in the same sense as he had used προορίζειν in 1:11 of persons. De Wette and Braune, etc., agree. The difficulty in this view is that ἑτοιμάζειν is not = ὁρίζειν. “Aliud est enim, Parare ἑτοιμάζειν, aliud definire ὁριζειν” (Fritzsche, Rom. iii. 339). The instance which Harless cites from Matthew 25:34, “the kingdom prepared,” is not parallel, nor Genesis 24:14.
For this reason Ellicott, Eadie, Meyer, etc., reject this view, but fail to give a satisfactory interpretation. “God (says Ellicott) made ready for us, prearranged, prepared a sphere of moral action, or (to use the simile of Chrys.) a road, with the intent that we should walk in it and not leave it: this sphere, this road, was ἔργα ἀγαθά.” Similarly Eadie, who suggests that προορίζειν marks the destination, προετοιμ. the means: “they have been prescribed, defined, adapted to us,” “by prearranging the works in their sphere, character, and suitability, and also by preordaining the law which commands, the inducement or appliances which impel, and the creation in Christ which qualifies and empowers us,” etc. But he does not explain how things non-existent can be arranged except by ordaining. These interpretations do not essentially differ from the first.
The similes of a sphere or a road (used by Chrysostom for homiletical purposes) are inappropriate. A road exists objectively before one walks in it. A truer simile would be a path through the seas. Perhaps we might say that the word προετ. is chosen, not as being logically accurate, but in order to express in the most striking manner the truth that the good works do not proceed from ourselves; they are, as it were, received from the Creator as out of a treasure, which is thus figuratively conceived as being prepared before. But this hardly meets the difficulty. Olshausen understands that the circumstances and conditions under which it becomes possible to do good works are ordered by God, προετ. differing from προορίζειν only as relating more to details (compare Eadie, above).
Stier suggests taking the verb intransitively, οις being the dative of reference. “For which God made previous preparation.” The simple verb ἐτοιμάζειν is used intransitively in Luke 9:52, ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ. This, however, is not entirely parallel. The object to be understood there is readily supplied “parare paranda”; just as in English we may say “prepare,” “make ready,” viz. “things.” But here we should have to ask, Prepare what? The answer would perhaps be “us.” And as Fritzsche points out, this ἡμᾶς as the object did not require to be expressed, since it is sufficiently indicated by the following words, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν. This seems, after all, the most unobjectionable interpretation, and is adopted by Reuss, v. Soden, Oltramare, etc. Eadie also expresses himself as inclined to adopt it, if it could be fully justified, but he does not refer to the suggestion of ἡμᾶς contained in the following words. This interpretation cannot fairly be charged with making ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν a mere tautology. These words strongly accentuate the moral purpose of the preparation. The supposition of a Hebraism, as if οἷς … ἐν αὐτοῖς were = ἐν οἷς, is inadmissible.
προ has its proper force, not, however, as if it meant before the κτίσις, as ἑτ. expresses an act, not a purpose; and, of course, not after, because of προ-, therefore at the time of the κτίσις, so that ἑτοιμάζειν repeats κτίζειν ἐπὶ ἐρ. ἀγ., only with the addition of προ to express that the new creation is the primary thing but has this end in view, the works being only a result. It must be observed that ἔργα ἀγαθά is general; not τοῖς ἀγ. ἔργοις, the definite good works, etc.
There is no ground for saying that the weight here assigned to good works goes beyond what is elsewhere expressed by St. Paul, as Baur insists, or that the importance of faith is lessened. Here, as elsewhere, works have their ground in faith. Bengel well says: “ut ambularemus, non salvaremur, aut viveremus.”
11-22. Ye Gentiles were formerly aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and had no share in the covenants of promise; but Christ by His death has cast down the barrier which separated you from the City of God, and has reconciled you both to God. Now, therefore, all alike have access to Him, the Father, and all alike form part of the holy temple which He inhabits
11. Διὸ μνημονεύετε. These blessings should move them to think more of their former state, so that they should be the more thankful. “Talis recordatio gratum animum acuit, et fidem roborat.” Διό is best taken as referring to the whole section, vv. 1 to 10.
ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς in this order א* A B D* Vulg., Rec. has ὑμεῖς ποτέ, with אc Dc G (prefixes οἱ to ποτέ), Syr-Harcl. But Syr-Pesh, Boh. and some other versions have ποτε after ἔθνη. ὄτι is resumed by ὅτι, ver. 12, and ποτέ by τῷ καιρῷ ἐκ. Hence we need not supply either ὄντες or ἦτε, but τὰ ἔθνη is in simple apposition to ὑμεῖς.
τὰ ἔθνη, with the article as indicating a class. Since ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί expresses one single idea, the article does not require repetition before ἐν. ἐν σαρκί must have the same sense here as in the following clause, since the former is explained by οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία, and this has its antithesis in τῆς λεγ. περιτομῆς. It therefore refers to their uncircumcision, not to their former carnal state, nor to their descent. Chrysostom and other Fathers take ἐν σαρκί as opposed to ἐν πνεύματι. Thus Jerome: “Ephesios in carne vocans ostendit in spiritu esse non gentes.” This contradicts ποτέ and ver. 12. The apostle is not exalting them, but calling attention to their previous inferiority to the Jews.
“Remember that formerly ye Gentiles in the flesh called (in contempt) Uncircumcision by the so-called Circumcision in the flesh, a circumcision merely physical, made with hands.” He reminds them of the ignominy which in the mind of the Jews attached to the name of heathen and of the uncircumcised. This contempt is already predicated in the words οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκρ.; and the lowness of their condition is further shown by the following description of those who so despised them, those, namely, who prided themselves on a mere fleshly distinction made with hands. Why, in fact, does he say λεγομένης περιτομῆς, and why χειροποιήτου? There was no need to give the readers information on the name or the fact. The latter word is clearly depreciatory, “a merely external and artificial thing-” But he is far from depreciating circumcision, in its true significance, as the sign of membership of the commonwealth of the people of God. Hence the use of λεγομένης, which by its adjectival connexion with περιτομῆς gets the signification “so called.” This is readily explained from the apostle’s use of περιτομή elsewhere in a spiritual, as contrasted with a merely physical sense, as in Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29, “Neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh … circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter.” Php 2:2, he calls the physical circumcision κατατομή, a term more contemptuous than χειροποιήτου here: adding in ver. 3, “We are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”; and in Colossians 2:11, which is strikingly illustrative of the present passage, “in whom ye were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands.” Soden thinks that χειροποιήτου here is superfluous, because there is no reference (as in Col.) to a spiritual circumcision, and ἐν σαρκί sufficiently emphasises the merely external character of the sign; and hence he thinks the word introduced out of imitation of Colossians 2:11. But it seems, on the contrary, to give emphasis and completeness to the thought, and would naturally occur to the writer who about the same time wrote ἀχειροποιήτου in Col.
Although “circumcision” is not used figuratively in the O.T., “uncircumcision” is. Even in Leviticus 26:41 we have “their uncircumcised heart.” Jeremiah speaks of the uncircumcised ear of those who will not hearken (6:10), and calls the house of Israel “uncircumcised in heart” (9:26). Comp. Ezekiel 44:7, “uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh,” and Acts 7:51.
12. ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ χωρὶς χριστοῦ. Rec. has ἐν before τῷ καιρῷ. It is omitted by א A B D G.
ὅτι resumes the former ὅτι. “Remember, I say, that.”
χωρίς χριστοῦ is taken by De Wette and Bleek as, not a predicate, but a circumstantial addition, “being at that time without Christ.” It would thus correspond with ἐν Χριστῷ, ver. 13, and would give the reason of their alienation from the commonwealth of Israel. But, considering the position of the words, this is a harsh construction, and would deprive the words of the emphasis which belongs to them as the opposite of the frequent ἐν Χρ. in this Epistle. χωρὶς Χρ. is, as Meyer says, the first tragic predicate. χωρίς is distinguished from ἄνευ by Tittmann as follows: “χωρίς ad subjectum quod ab objecto sejunctum est refertur, ἄνευ ad objectum quod a subjecto abesse cogitandum est.” According to this, χωρίς Χρ. would mean “ye were far from Christ”; ἄνευ Χρ. would be “Christ was not with you.” But this must be received with hesitation, seeing that χωρίς occurs in the N.T. forty times, and ἄνευ only thrice (Ellicott), viz. Matthew 10:29; 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 4:9. In the last quoted passage ἄνευ γογγυσμοῦ is equivalent to χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν, Php 2:14.
Schwegler sees here a concession to Judaism which is unlike St. Paul; but without reason, since the concession only relates to pre-Christian times, and the advantage possessed by the Jews in this respect is, as it must be, fully admitted by St. Paul (Romans 3:1 ff.).
What is meant by χωρὶς Χριστοῦ is explained in the following words:—
ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. The verb ἀπαλλοτριόω occurs also in 4:18, ἀπ. τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ, and Colossians 1:21, without a genitive. In Ezekiel 14:5, Ezekiel 14:7 we have ἀπ. ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ; in 3 Macc. 1:4, τῶν πατρίων δογμάτων. The active verb occurs in Eccles. 11:34, ἀπ. σε τῶν ἰδίων σου.
The verb always means to estrange; here therefore “estranged from” as opposed to “being at home in.”
πολιτεία was interpreted by the ancients in the sense “manner of life,” “conversatio,” Vulg., a meaning which the word frequently has in Christian writers, and not in these alone; see Athen. 1. p. 19 A. But to take it so here would be contrary to ver. 19, where the opposite of ἀπ. κ.τ.λ. is συμπολῖται. It may mean either citizenship, or state, commonwealth. Many commentators have taken it in the former sense. It is questionable whether it could be so used with a genitive of the nation or city. Nor does the verb ἀπηλλ. suggest such a meaning. Besides, the Greek and Roman conception of citizenship would not be appropriate here, and further, we should have to explain the exclusion from citizenship as arising from exclusion from the commonwealth. Naturally it is the theocratic constitution from which they were excluded; and the name Israel implies this, since this was the name of the people in their theocratic relation. Yet Chrysostom refers the words to the exclusion of the Gentiles from the temporal glories of Israel, εἷπε περὶ τῶν οὐρανίων πραγμάτων, λέγει καὶ περὶ τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐπειδὴ μεγάλην δόξαν εἶχον περὶ αὐτῶν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, in which he was followed by some moderns (as by Grotius). As if any Roman citizen or subject could regard as a misfortune the exclusion from a State which was an object of contempt!
Many commentators suppose that ἀπηλλ. implies a previous unity. Thus Bengel: “Abalienati, non alieni; participia praesupponunt gentes ante defectionem suam a fide patrum into potius ante lapsum Adami fuisse participes lucis et vitae.” However attractive this view may be in itself, the conception is too new and important to be introduced here on so slight a ground. If it had been in the apostle’s mind, he would doubtless have referred to it more explicitly in some part of his writings. It is not hinted at in ver. 14, where we might have expected “again made” or the like. For an instance of the verb being used without reference to a previous state, see Psa_57(58):3, ἀπηλλοτριώθησαν οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀπὸ μήτρας. Olshausen’s view is that the exclusion referred to is that which resulted from God’s restriction of His peculiar operations of grace to Israel. As far as alienation from God is referred to, however, it is true that men are regarded as originally, and from an ideal point of view, at one with God.
καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. A further specification of what is meant by the preceding clause. ξένος is followed by a genitive, not of “the point of view” (“extraneos quod ad pactorum promissiones attinet,” Beza), but simply of separation or privation. So Soph. Oed. R. 219, ξένος λόγου τοῦδʼ ἐξερῶ, ξένος δὲ τοῦ πραχθέντος. Plato, Apol. 1., ξέως (ἔχειν) τῆς ἔνθαδε λεξεως.
“The covenants of the promise.” ἐπαγγ. is connected with διαθηκῶν, not with ἐλπίδα, as the position of the word shows. The covenants were characterised by the promise of the Messiah (cf. Acts 13:32). The plural is used with reference to the covenants with the patriarchs, but the Mosaic covenant is not excluded, although it was primarily νομοθεσία.
ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες. The absence of the article shows that it is not the definite hope of the Messiah that is meant, but hope in the widest sense, so that the expression is so much the stronger, “having no hope.” μή is used, not because the thought is dependent on what precedes, but because it is their own consciousness that is referred to. οὐκ ἔχοντες would express only the writer’s judgment of their state. Cf. οὐκ εἰδότες Θεόν, Galatians 4:8.
καὶ ἄθεοι. “The deepest stage of heathen misery,” Meyer. The word ἄθεος is not found in the Sept. or Apocrypha, and only here in the N.T. In Greek writers it occurs in three senses, “not believing in God, atheist” (Plato, Apol. p. 26 C). Secondly, “impious, godless” (Plato, Legg. p. 966 E), or “without God, without God’s help,” Soph. Oed. R., ἐπεὶ ἄθεος ἄφιλος ὅ τι πύματον ὀλοίμαν. To understand it here as “forsaken by God” would be to introduce a conception not warranted by the expressions in the text. They were truly “without God,” as not knowing Him. Notwithstanding their many gods, they had no conception of a Creator and Governor to be loved and trusted. So far as their consciousness was concerned, they had no God. But God had not left Himself without a witness amongst them. The description is general, of the class to which the readers belonged. This was not the occasion for referring to the noble exceptions to the moral degradation of heathenism. It was, indeed, in Asia Minor that this degradation was lowest, so that the Romans traced to it the corruption which spread to the whole empire.
ἐν τῷ κοσμῷ, to be joined both with ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχ. and with ἄθεοι, “in the world,” with all its troubles, trials, and uncertainties, ye were without Divine help; generally understood as contrasted with πολιτεία.
13. νυνὶ δὲ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ὑμεῖς οἱ ποτὲ ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγενήθητε ἐγγύς. νυνί opposed to τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ. ἐν Χρ. Ἰ. opposed to χωρὶς Χριστοῦ. We are not to supply either ἐστέ or ὄντες. Since the being in Christ was not prior to the being brought near, the interpretation, “postquam in Christo estis recepti” (Calvin, Harless), is not admissible. Nor can we understand “cum in Christo sitis recepti,” which would not only make these words a superfluous addition, but would be hard to reconcile with the aorist.
Ἰησοῦ is suitably added to Χριστῷ here, and indeed was almost necessary to the distinct expression of the thought. In ver. 12 it could not have been added, since that included times preceding the incarnation, and χωρὶς Χρ. Ἰ. would imply the existence of the historical Jesus then; whereas here, not only the Messiah as such is referred to, but the personal Jesus as the Christ and the Saviour.
ποτὲ ὄντες μακράν corresponds to the expressions ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι, κ.τ.λ. μακράν and ἐγγύς, then, have reference both to the πολιτεία τοῦ Ἰς. with its διαθῆκαι, and to the ἐλπίς with God Himself. Accordingly in the following verses we have two points of view combined, viz. the reconciliation of the Gentiles to God, and their admission to the πολιτεία of Israel, namely, the true Israel—the Christian Church.
The terms μακράν and ἐγγύς were suggested by Isaiah 57:19, “Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is nigh.” There, indeed, as in Acts 2:39, the words have a local meaning, and have no reference to the admission of Gentiles to the theocracy; but they easily lend themselves to this conception, and, in fact, were frequently used by Rabbinic writers with reference to proselytes, who were said to be “brought near.” Many passages may be seen in Schoettgen and Wetstein. One may be quoted. “A woman came to R. Eliezer confessing certain gross sins, and asked to be made a proselyte, saying, ‘Rabbi, propinquam me fac’; on hearing her sin he rejected her. She went to R. Joshua, who received her. His disciples said, ‘R. Eliezer illam removit, tu vero eam propinquam facis?’ ”
ἐγγὺς γίνεσθαι, frequent in classical writers, but not found elsewhere in the N.T.
The order ἐγενήθητε ἐγγύς is that of א A B, 17. Rec. has ἐγγ. ἐγεν., with D G K L P. Ellicott thinks the Rec. genuine, the order here adopted being due to a mistaken correction of the emphatic juxtaposition of μακράν and ἐγγύς. Harless is of the same opinion. But why should copyists correct this emphatic juxtaposition? It is just what would strike an ordinary reader. Looking closer, we see that the opposition is not merely between these two, but between ὄντες μακράν and ἐγενήθητε ἐγγύς, and that the verb is properly placed in the most emphatic position.
ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ more particularly defines the instrumentality. It is not possible to draw any satisfactory distinction between this and διὰ τοῦ αἵ. 1:7.
14. αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, “He Himself is our peace”; He has not brought about peace by a mere external action or arrangement; it is in His own person that He gives it. “Non modo pacificator nam sui impensa pacem peperit et ipse vinculum est utrorumque,” Bengel. The context shows that what is primarily intended is the union of Jews and Gentiles; but as it was not this union of itself that was of importance, but the essential basis of it, as the union of both in one body of Christ, it is manifest that the idea of peace with God could not be absent from the mind of the apostle in writing ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν. Comp. ver. 17.
Schoettgen quotes a Rabbinic writer who calls the Messiah “Peace,” in allusion to Isaiah 9:6.
ὁ ποιήσας. “Quippe qui.”
τὰ ἀμφότερα ἕν. Both, i.e. both Jews and Gentiles. There is no ellipsis (as of γένη, ἔθνη, or the like). It is simply an instance of the neuter being used of persons in a general sense; cf. Hebrews 7:7, τὸ ἔλαττον ὑπὸ τοῦ κρείττονος εὐλογεῖται; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 1:28, τὰ μωρὰ τοῦ κόσμου … τὰ ἀσθενῆ (opposed to ver. 26, οἱ σοφοί). So in classical Greek, e.g. Xen. Anab. vii. 3. 11, τὰ φεύγοντα ἱκανοὶ ἐσόμεθα διώκειν.
ἕν. Comp. Galatians 3:28, πάντες ὑμεῖς ἕν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Not, says Chrysostom, that He has brought us to that nobility of theirs, but both us and them to a greater; as if one should melt down a statue of silver and one of lead, and the two should come out gold.
καί, exegetical = inasmuch as, He, τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, “brake down the partition wall of the fence.”
μεσότοιχον is a rare word, found, besides the Fathers, only in Eratosth. ap. Athen. vii. 281 D (masc.), and Hesychius. The genitive has been variously explained, as of quality = “the separating partition” (against which is the fact that this adjectival notion belongs to μεσότοιχον itself); or of possession, “the wall which belonged to the fence”; or better, of apposition, “the partition which consisted in the fence.” φραγμός means a fence, hedge, or enclosure, not a separation.
It seems probable that the figure was suggested by the partition which separated the Court of the Gentiles from the temple proper, and on which there was an inscription threatening death to any alien who passed it. That the Ephesian readers can hardly be supposed to be familiar with the arrangements of the temple, is no proof that these may not have been in the apostle’s mind. But it is worth noticing that it was an Ephesian, Trophimus, that St. Paul was charged with bringing into the temple. A more serious objection seems to be, that when the Epistle was written the wall referred to was still standing. But the apostle is not speaking of the literal wall, but using it as an illustration. Any reference to the vail which was rent at the time of the crucifixion would be out of harmony with the context. That vail did not separate Jews and Gentiles.
λύσας is suitable to the figure; cf. John 2:19, λύσατε τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον. It is equally suitable to the following ἔχθραν, since λύειν ἔχθραν is of frequent occurrence in classical writers.
Here it is questioned whether ἔχθραν is to be connected with the words preceding or those following, and if with the preceding, whether ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ is to be taken with λύσας or with κατάργησας. Another alternative will be mentioned presently. We have to choose, then, between the following renderings:—
Having done away with the middle wall, namely, the enmity; having in His flesh annulled the law.
Having in His flesh done away with the middle wall, namely, the enmity, etc.
Having done away with the middle wall, having in His flesh annulled the enmity, namely, the law, etc.
The view which connects ἐν τῇ σαρκί αὐτοῦ with ἔχθραν as = the enmity in his flesh, whether “his flesh” be understood to mean humanity in general (Chrys.) or the Jews (cf. Romans 11:14), must be set aside as inconsistent with the absence of the article before ἐν τῇ σαρκί. The first-mentioned interpretation gives an awkward isolation to ἔχθραν, and adds the harshness of making the specification of manner, ἐν τῇ ς., precede the object and its verb.
The third construction is objectionable, first, because the law cannot itself be called ἔχθρα (the designation of it as δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας, 1 Corinthians 15:56, is not analogous); and, secondly, because the position of ἐν τῇ ς. αὐτοῦ would be inexplicable, coming, as it does on that supposition, between the two nouns in apposition, although it has no relation to either. Indeed, it may be added that κατάργησας is not a verb appropriate to ἔχθραν; it does not properly mean to destroy, but “to make of none effect,” “to deprive of power”; of the faith of God, Romans 3:3; of the law, Romans 3:31; the promise, 4:14; persons from the law, 7:2, 6. It is, indeed, used of things coming to an end, as knowledge and prophecy, but coming to an end by being superseded.
The second construction mentioned above seems to have the advantage of these two, although it must be admitted that it is not without difficulty. For the enmity was not the wall of partition. It was not the law only, although that was the ultimate cause, but the separation, religious, moral, and social, which forbade fellowship between Jew and Gentile. This partition was broken down by the annulling of the law.
V. Soden has proposed a view of the passage which, if admissible, would meet the difficulties. It is that τὴν ἔχθραν is the beginning of the participial clause, which, having been interrupted by the statement of the process by which the effect was produced, is taken up again in ver. 16, where ἔχθραν is repeated. If the text had run thus, τὴν ἔχθραν, τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντ. ἐν δογ. κατάργησας, ἀπέκτεινε, there would have been nothing harsh in the order of the words. As it is, the parenthesis is enlarged, as in the manner of this Epistle, 2:1 and 4, 11 and 12, 3:1 and 12, and the interrupted thought is resumed in ver. 16. The two participles, κατάργησας, ἀποκτείνας, in their relation to one another, correspond exactly with the two in ver. 14. Soden connects ἐν τῇ ς. αὐτοῦ with the following clause. The parenthetic digressions, however, with which Soden compares this, are not quite parallel. In each of them, while the train of thought is interrupted, it is easy to account for the interruption by the influence of some particular word; they are, in fact, instances of what Paley well calls St. Paul’s habit of “going off at a word.” Thus in 2:1 he goes off at ἁμαρτιαις, ἐν αἷς; in 2:11 at ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί; in 3:1 at ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν τῶν ἔθνων.
The verbal connexion is in each instance easy. But here there is no similar connexion between the words which precede the digression and τὸν νόμον, κ.τ.λ.
The ἔχθρα is obviously that of Jews and Gentiles. This naturally loomed much larger in the apostle’s eyes than it does in ours, or than it did in those of Chrysostom and his successors. With us as with them, the more pressing thought is of the enmity of both Jew and Gentile to God. So Oecumenius: μεσότοιχον φραγμοῦ φησι τὴν ἔχθραν τὴν πρὸς Θεόν, ἡμῶν τε καὶ Ἰουδαίων, ἥτις ἐκ τῶν ἡμετέρων παραπτωμάτων. And so Chrysostom interprets τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκί as being the μεσότοιχοντ ῷ κοινὸν εἶναι διάφραγμα ἀπὸ Θεοῦ διατειχίζον ἡμᾶς, rejecting the interpretation which makes the law the ἔχθρα. But even though ἡ ἔχθρα is not = ὁ νόμος, it is the annulling of the law that removes the ἔχθρα, and the law is characterised in terms which exclude the natural law. Moreover, the reconciling of both to God is stated as a further object of the removal of the enmity and the creating of both into one new man.
τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν κατάργησας. τὸν ν. τῶν ἐντ. ἐν δ. belong together; “the law of commandments expressed in decrees.” The law consisted of ἐντολαί, and the definite form in which these were expressed was that of δόγματα, authoritative decrees (“legem imperiosam,” Erasm.). This connexion does not require the article to be repeated after ἐντολῶν. For we might with propriety say ἐντολὴν διδόναι ἐν δόγματι, and therefore ἐντολὴ ἐν δ. may form a single conception. So Winer in his later editions. Compare τὸν ὑμῶν ζῆλον ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, 2 Corinthians 7:7. In fact, τῶν ἐντ. τῶν ἐν δ. would denote the ἐντολαί as a particular class, “commandments, even those expressed in decrees.”
Δόγμα in classical Greek means, first, an opinion or resolution. In the plural it is used of the “placita philosophorum,” whence the use of the word in Christian writers in the sense of “dogma.” But it also means a decree (Xen. Demosth. Plato), and this is the meaning which alone it has in the N.T. We have ἐξῆλθε δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος, Luke 2:1; δόγματα Καίσαρος, Acts 17:7; τὰ δ. κεκριμένα ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστ., ib. 16:4. The word occurs also in Lachmann’s text, Hebrews 11:23, δ. τοῦ βασιλέως. The remaining passages are the present and Colossians 2:14. Chrysostom does not seem to have contemplated this meaning. He suggests that what is meant is either faith, δόγμα αὐτὴν καλῶν, for by faith alone He saved us, or the precept τὴν παραγγελίαν, as Christ said, ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν. He is followed by Theophylact, Theodoret (δόγματα τὴν εὐαγγελικὴν διδασκαλίαν ἐκάλεσεν), and Oecumenius. Theodore Mops. also connects the word with κατάργησας, but interprets differently, understanding δόγματα of the facts and hopes of the Gospel, “διὰ τῶν ἰδίων δογμάτων· ἵνα εἴπῃ, τῆς ἀναστάσεως, τῆς ἀφθαρσίας, τῆς ἀθανασίας· δόγματα καλέσας ταῦτα ὡς ἐν πράγμασιν ὄντα, the Divine grace working in us so that we do not need commandments and precepts.” This interpretation, as well as Chrysostom’s, would clearly require τοῖς δόγμασιν αὐτοῦ or the like. Against Chrysostom’s view, indeed, it is decisive that it was not by doctrines or precepts that Christ annulled the law. Theodore’s view avoids this error, but gives δόγμα an impossible sense. Of course, when once these commentators connected ἐν. δ. with the following, taking ἐν as instrumental, they were driven to some such interpretation.
Harless also connects ἐν δ. with κατάργησας, thinking that the absence of the article forbids the connexion with ἐντολῶν. But his interpretation is that Christ annulled the law only in respect of δόγματα, comparing Cic. Phil. i. 7, “In maximis vero rebus, id est legibus, acta Caesaris dissolvi ferendum non puto,” and such phrases as ἐν τῇ πίστι ὠνείδισε (Arrian, Exp. iii. 30; Bernhardy, p. 212). St. Paul has already indicated by τῶν ἐντ. that he is not speaking of the law so far as it belonged to the covenants of promise, and now, to avoid all misconception, he adds ἐν δόγμασι. Olshausen follows Harless, who had, indeed, been preceded in this interpretation by Crellius. But this would require the article before δόγμασιν. Moreover, while it is true that the law as σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων or as παιδαγωγὸς εἰς Χριστόν was not annulled, it was superseded. Such a limitation of the statement as to the abolition of the law would be out of place here, and would require more explicit statement, since it is not elsewhere referred to. The Mosaic law as such, not merely in certain aspects of it, has come to an end in Christ. He is the “end of the law,” Romans 10:4. Faith having come, we are no longer ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν (Galatians 3:25).
If ἐν δ. be connected with κατάργησας, then, considering the absence of the article, the only grammatical interpretation seems to be Hofmann’s, viz. that Christ deprived the O.T. law of validity, by putting an end to all precepts, “Satzungen.” He compares the construction in 1 Corinthians 2:7, λαλοῦμεν σοφίαν Θεοῦ ἐν μυστηρίῳ, i.e. λαλοῦντες σοφίαν λαλοῦμεν μυστήριον. But surely the N.T. contains many specific precepts which may be properly called δόγματα. Comp. also τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Galatians 6:2; ἔννμος Χριστοῦ, 1 Corinthians 9:21; and the parallel to the present passage in Colossians 2:14. As Meyer observes, the δόγματα of Christianity are the true ἀεὶ παρόντα δόγματα, Plato, Theaet. p. 158 D. Had the intention been what Hofmann supposes, St. Paul would doubtless have added some qualification, such as ἐν δόγμασι δουλείας. νόμος here is not to be limited to the ceremonial law; there is nothing in the connexion to show such a limitation, which, on the contrary, would make the statement very weak. No reader would fail to see that, as Theodoret says, οὐκ ἀνεῖλε τὸ οὐ μοιχεύσεις, κ.τ.λ. The moral law retains its obligation, not, however, because the Jewish law is only partially annulled, but because its obligation was independent of the law and universal (Romans 2:14). If a Mohammedan becomes a Christian, we do not say that the Koran retains its obligation for him in its moral part, although he still acknowledges the obligation of many moral precepts contained in it. The Christian now fulfils the moral law, not because of external precepts, but because conformity with it is the natural fruit of the Spirit. Hence the contrast between the expressions, “works of the law,” “fruits of the Spirit.”
ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὑτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. The neuter was used in ver. 14 to express the general characteristics of the two classes; but here, where the Jews and Gentiles are conceived as concrete persons, the masculine was necessary.
καινόν is necessary because the one is neither Jew nor Greek. Both have put off their former religious condition, and have received the same new nature. Chrysostom says: ὁρᾶς οὔχι τὸν Ἕλληνα γενόμενον Ἰουδαῖον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτον κἀκεῖνον εἰς ἑτέραν κατάστασιν ἥκοντας. οὐχ ἵνα τοῦτον ἕτερον ἐργάσηται τὸν νόμον κατήργησεν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ. κ.τ.λ. On κτίζειν, cf. ver. 10. It is specially appropriate here with καινὸς ἄνθ. οὐκ εἶπε, Μεταβάλῃ, ἵνα δείξῃ τὸ ἐνεργὲς τοῦ γενομένου, says Chrysostom.
ἐν αὑτῷ. Rec. has ἑαυτῷ, with אc D G K L and most cursives, Chrys., Jerome. αυτω is the reading of א A B P, 17. Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles write αὐτῷ, but Westcott and Hort αὑτῷ. The sense here is certainly reflexive.
“In Himself.” Not δἰ ἑαυτοῦ, as Chrys., but, Christ is Himself the principle and ground of the unity; “ne alibi quam in Christo unitatem quaerant,” Calv. Cf. Galatians 3:28, πάντες ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Chrysostom, indeed, gives another interpretation, as if it were only a development of the former. “Fusing both this and that, he produced one, an admirable one, Himself having first become this; which is a greater thing than the former creation. For this is the meaning of ἐν ἑαυτῷ, Himself first affording the type and pattern.” Oecumenius states the two interpretations as alternatives, explaining the first as οὐ δἰ ἀγγέλων ἢ ἄλλων τινων δυναμέων.
ποιῶν εἰρήνην, present participle, “making peace,” i.e. so that by this new creation He makes (not “made”) peace. The words explain αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν of ver. 14. The peace is, from the context, that between Jews and Gentiles; but as the basis of that is peace with God, the latter thought underlies the former, and to it the apostle now turns.
16. καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ. The καί is not the mere copula, but indicates a logical sequence, “and consequently reconcile both, now one body, to God by the Cross, having on it slain the enmity previously existing between them.”
ἀποκαταλλάσσειν is found only here and Colossians 1:20. It seems to be only an intensified form of the usual Greek word ἀλλάσσειν. ἀπό in composition frequently has this intensive meaning; cf. ἀπεκδέχεσθαι, ἀποκαραδοκεῖν, to await patiently; so ἀποθαρρεῖν, ἀποθαυμάζειν, ἀποθεᾶσθαι, etc In a few instances, indeed, it seems to be equivalent to re- and to mean “again,” as in ἀποδίδωμι, ἀπολαμβάνω, ἀποκαθίστημι, ἀποκατορθόω. In the first two of these the idea is rather to give or take what belongs of right to the receiver, as ἀποδ. χάριν, ὑπόσχεσιν. Here it is the idea of remotion from, that explains the meaning of the verb. In the other two examples also this local idea is involved.
In any case, as this use of ἀπο- is much less common than the intensive use, we are not justified in assuming it in a compound that does not elsewhere occur.
ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι is interpreted by Chrysostom as referring to the human body of Christ. So Bengel: “in uno corpore cruci affixo.” But in that case we should expect “His body.” Nor is it easy to see why that should be designated ἓν σῶμα. The order of the words indicates the correct interpretation, “both now united in one body.” The ἓν σῶμα is the εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος. So most commentators. It is not the Church, for it is only as reconciled that Jews and Greeks belong to the Church. But when reconciled they become the body of Christ, and so, the Church.
διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ is joined by Soden with the following, αὑτῷ being read for αὐτῷ (so G, Vulg. and some Latin codices with other authorities). The connexion with the two notions, ἀποκτείνας and ἔχθρα, gives it a subtle point. “By His death He was slain; by death on the Cross, in which the ἔχθρα showed itself, He has overcome the ἔχθρα.” We have a parallel in Colossians 1:20, only that there, instead of the negative ἀποκτείνειν τὴν ἐ., we have the positive εἰρηνοποιεῖν; also in connexion with διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ. ἐν αὑτῷ, then, as in 15b, echoes with emphasis the fundamental thought: “He Himself is our peace.” If we read ἐν αὐτῷ, it could not be referred to σῶμα, because this ς. was just mentioned as the medium of reconciliation to God, whereas here it is the enmity between Jews and Gentiles that is in question.
17. καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην. “And He came and preached good tidings of peace.” The preceding verses showed how Christ secured peace; this, how He proclaimed it. This, therefore, is posterior, and hence cannot refer to His life on earth, as Harless, following Chrysostom, understands it. Bengel interprets the “coming and preaching,” as that of Christ personally after the resurrection, “veniens a morte, profectione ad inferos, resurrectione victor laetus ipse ultro nuntiavit.” But it is much better to understand the words of Christ preaching by His Spirit in the apostles and other messengers of His. Not that εὐηγγ. means “caused to be preached” (as Harless objects), for what is thus done by Christ’s Spirit is properly said to be done by Him; nor is ἐλθών superfluous, but, on the contrary, important as expressing the spiritual coming referred to in John 14:18, ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς, and in Acts 26:23, (Χριστὸς) πρῶτος ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν φῶς μέλλει καταγγέλλειν τῷ τε λαῷ καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσι.
ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν καὶ εἰρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς. The second εἰρήνην has preponderant authority in its favour, א A B D G P, 17, Vulg. and other versions except Syr. Contra, K L, most cursives, Syr. The repetition is highly emphatic.
The datives depend on εὐηγγελίσατο. τοῖς μακράν comes first, because it is these that are addressed, and are chiefly in view in the whole passage. This also agrees with the view that it is not Christ’s personal preaching that is intended, since that would have required τοῖς ἐγγύς to come first. The repetition of εἰρήνην excludes the interpretation of τοῖς ἐγγύς as in apposition with ὑμῖν, and so = the Jewish Christians in Ephesus.
18. ὅτι διʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ἀμφότεροι ἐν ἑνὶ Πνεύματι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα. “For through Him we both have our access (or introduction) in one Spirit unto the Father.”
Proof of what precedes. The emphasis, therefore, is not on δἰ αὐτο͂, but on οἱ ἀμφ. ἐν ἑνὶ Πν. Since both have their προς. in one Spirit to the Father, it follows that the same good tidings of peace have been brought to both by Him. ὅτι is “for,” not “that,” as if the verse contained the substance of the passage which has been already expressed in εἰρήνη. And it is not the common access as such that is in question, but the peace therein assured (between Jews and Gentiles).
ἔχομεν. Compare Romans 5:2, “διʼ οὗ καὶ τὴν προσαγωγὴν ἐσχήκαμεν … εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην ἐν ἧ ἐστήκαμεν. There, the πρ. is into the present condition, and accordingly the perfect is suitable; here, it is the πρ. to the Father, which is a present privilege.
Προσαγωγή in classical writers is usually transitive, but is also found fairly frequently in an intransitive sense.
The word is understood transitively here by Ellicott, Eadie, Meyer, after Chrysostom, οὐκ εἶπεν πρόσοδον ἀλλὰ προσαγωγήν, οὐ γὰρ ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν προσήλθομεν, ἀλλʼ ὑπʼ αὑτοῦ προσήχθημεν; cf. 1 Peter 3:18, ἵνα ἡμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ Θεῷ, and it is supposed that there may be an allusion to the προσαγωγεύς at Oriental courts. Such an allusion would not be in harmony with the context. The ἐν πνεύματι is decidedly against the supposition that the apostle intended this ceremonial figure. Apart from this, the transitive sense is not suitable in 3:12, where the word is used absolutely, and here also the intransitive agrees better with ἔχομεν, especially as the tense is present. προσαγωγή is something we possess.
τὴν προς. “Our access.”
ἐν ἑνὶ Πνεύματι is understood by Anselm (and some moderns) of the human spirit (ὁμοθυμαδόν), against the clear reference to Father, Son, and Spirit, διʼ αὐτοῦ, ἐν ἑνὶ Π., πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα.
19. ἄρα οὖν οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι. “So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners.” ἄρα οὖν, a favourite combination with St. Paul, is not found in classical writers except in the interrogative form, ἆρʼ οὖν. ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι, equivalent to ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι, ver. 12. ξένος is “foreigner” in general; πάροικος, a foreigner dwelling in a state, and not having rights of citizenship. In classical Greek, indeed, it seems to be found only in the sense of neighbour. Rost and Palm name the Pandects (without reference) as having the word in the sense “inquilinus.” In the Sept. it occurs eleven times as the rendering of נֵּר, which is usually rendered προσήλυτος. None of these instances are in Leviticus or Numbers. Ten times it occurs as the rendering of תּוֹשָׁב, “a foreign sojourner.” Of this it is the usual rendering. The verb παροικέω occurs in Philo with the corresponding verbal meaning; see on Luke 24:18. The noun seems to be equivalent to μέτοικος, which the Sept. have only once (Jeremiah 20:3). In 1 Peter 2:11 it is used of Christians in the world, and so παροικία, ib. 1:17.
The meaning “proselyte” (Anselm, Whitby) is clearly excluded by the context, vv. 11 to 13; the other sense is pressed thus by Estius: “accolas fuisse dicit Gentiles quatenus multi ex illis morabantur inter Judaeos … non tamen iisdem legibus aut moribus aut religîone utentes.” But such a reference to local settlement would be too trivial, and quite out of place in writing to Ephesians. Nor had the Gentiles in a figurative sense been sojourners in the commonwealth of Israel. The word is simply used as contrasted with πολῖται. Bengel, followed by Harless, Eadie, al., supposed πάροικοι here to be specially opposed to οἰκεῖοι, and ξένοι to συμπολῖται, the metaphors being respectively from the house and the State. συμπ., says Harless, is sufficient to show in what sense ξένος is used, so that πάροικος is not required as a nearer definition. Accordingly, he interprets the word here by Leviticus 22:10, where the παρ. of the priest is mentioned, i.e. “the guest in the priest’s house,” and thinks there may be even an allusion to that passage where the πάροικος of the priest is not allowed to eat of the holy things, but the οἰκογενεῖς αὐτοῦ are permitted. But this passage is quite insufficient to establish such an otherwise unknown sense of the Hebrew, and still less of the Greek word. The πάροικος of the priest is simply the π. who dwells in his house. Nor would the figure be suitable, for the Gentiles could not be called guests in the house of God.
ἀλλά ἐστε συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ. “But ye are fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God.” The second ἐστε is added on preponderant authority. It gives greater independence to the clause, an independence befitting its importance. Cf. Romans 8:15.
Συμπολίτης is condemned by Phrynichus, and said by grammarians to be a word of later Greek (Josephus, Aelian). It seems strange that they overlooked its occurrence in Euripides (Heracl. 826), now noted in the Lexicons. (In Aesch. Sept. c. Thet. 601, the true reading is ξὺν πολίταις.)
τῶν ἁγίων. The clear reference to the πολιτεία of Israel shows decisively that the ἅγιοι are those who constitute the people of God. Such formerly had been the Jews, but now are all Christians. These are now the Israel of God, Galatians 6:16, the true seed of Abraham, ib. 3:7, 16; Romans 4:16.
The ἅγιοι, then, are not the Jews, nor specially the patriarchs or Old Testament saints, τῶν περὶ Ἀβραὰμα καὶ Μωϋσῆν καὶ Ἠλίαν, as Chrysostom says, nor the angels, as some other commentators. Nor, again, does the word mean “holy men of all times and places.” The word does not refer to personal holiness, but to membership of the spiritual commonwealth to which Jewish and Gentile Christians alike belong. Hence in ch. 1:1 the apostle addresses his readers as ἅγιοι.
οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ, “belonging to the οἶκος or household of God,” the theocracy regarded as a family; cf. 1 Timothy 3:15, “to conduct thyself ἐν οἴκῳ Θεοῦ, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία Θεοῦ ζῶντος”; Hebrews 10:20; 1 Peter 4:17. In Galatians 6:10 we have the adjective as here, πρὸς τοῦς οἰκείους τῆς πιστέως, “those that are of the household of faith.” But as οἰκεῖος was common with such words as φιλοσοφίας, γεωγραφίας, etc., the reference to an οἶκος cannot be pressed there.
Harless, while supposing the word to be specially contrasted with πάροικοι, remarks that the house is itself nothing but the community of the faithful, they being themselves the stones of which is built the house in which God dwells. They are οἰκεῖοι as ἐποικοδομηθέντες. But this would be to confound two figures founded on two different senses of οἶκος. It is, however, safe to say that the idea of οἶκος in one sense suggested to the apostle the kindred figure. This is quite in accordance with St. Paul’s mobility of thought.
20. ἐποικοδομηθέντες. The aorist refers to the time when they became Christians. The further building of which they were the subjects is referred to in ver. 22. The compound verb does not stand merely for the simple, but expresses “superaedificati.” Comp. Colossians 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 3:10. As regards the use of the dative case, ἐπὶ τῷ θεμ., it is easy to see why the accusative is not used, as that would suggest the idea of motion towards; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12, Romans 15:20. It is less easy to give a reason for the preference of the dative to the genitive. It can hardly be maintained that the genitive expresses separable superposition (Ellicott), for in Luke 4:29 we have the genitive used of the building of a city on a hill, ἐφʼ οὗ ἡ πόλις αὐτῶν ᾠκοδόμητο. What that passage suggests is that ἐπί with the genitive expresses locality; cf. Matthew 10:27, ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων; 21:19, ἐπὶ τ. ὁδοῦ; 24:30, ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τ. νεφελῶν; hence it is used loosely of proximity, like our “on the river,” ἐπὶ τ. θαλάσσης, either “on the sea” or “on the seashore.” Yet the dative is similarly used, ἐπὶ Στρυμόνι (Herod. vii. 75). But, in general, the dative seems to imply more close and exact superposition.
τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν. The genitive has been understood in four ways: first, as the genitive of possession, “the foundation on which the apostles and prophets have built”; secondly, as the genitive auctoris, “the foundation they laid”; thirdly, as genitive of apposition, “the foundation which consists of the apostles and prophets”; fourthly, “the foundation on which they themselves have been built.”
The first view is adopted by Anselm and Beza. Beza’s paraphrase is, “Supra Christum qui est apostolicae et propheticae structurae fundamentum.” But this interpretation mixes up the θεμέλιος and the ἀκρογων. Christ here is spoken of as the cornerstone, not the foundation. The same objection applies to the fourth view (Bucer, Alford). The second view is very generally adopted, and is supported by reference to 1 Corinthians 3:10. In Bengel’s words: “Testimonium apostolorum et prophetarum substructum est fidei credentium omnium.” Eadie interprets the foundation as εἰρήνη, —not so much Christ in person as Christ “our peace”; others more generally of the doctrine preached by the apostles and prophets.
But nowhere is the gospel or any doctrine called the foundation of the Church. Moreover, it would be rather incongruous to assume as the foundation the system of teaching about Christ, and as the corner-stone, Christ’s person. If, in order to preserve the congruity of the figure, we identify “Christ preached” with “the preaching about Christ,” we identify the corner-stone with the foundation. Moreover, the building consists of persons. In 1 Corinthians 3:10 the figure is different; the building there is of doctrine, and naturally the foundation is doctrinal, “Christ,” i.e. teaching about Christ. Still further, if this view be adopted, the point that is brought out is an incidental one, quite unessential to the connexion. The important point was that the Gentiles were now along with Jewish believers members of one and the same theocracy, or, adopting the apostle’s figure, were stones in the same building as the ἅγιοι. This would by no means be expressed by saying that they were built on a foundation laid by the apostles and prophets.
Hence the interpretation of Chrysostom, Oecumenius, etc., is preferable, viz. that the apostles and prophets are themselves the foundation. It is true that elsewhere, with the exception of Revelation 21:14, Christ is the foundation, not the apostles; but here Christ is the corner-stone, and the passage in Rev., although not precisely parallel, quite justifies our interpretation here. The fact that the words there are taken from a vision is surely no objection to this. What seems a graver objection is that Christ seems thus to be named only as “primus inter pares.” The answer to this is that by Orientals the corner-stone was reckoned of greater importance than the foundation, and as connecting and concentrating on itself the weight of the building. Hence the expression in Isaiah 28:16, alluded to here, and 2 Peter 2:6; Cf. Psalm 118:22; Acts 4:11; Matthew 21:42.
Amongst recent commentators, Soden and Macpherson have adopted this view. The latter further defends the reference to the apostles as the foundation by 2 Timothy 2:19, “The firm foundation of God standeth,” “where undoubtedly the true elect of God are intended, who resist all temptations to unfaithfulness.” He adds, “In the building up a special rank is given to those who have been by immediate Divine calling and inspiration His witnesses unto all besides. They, in fellowship with Christ, as forming the first layer, are called the foundation.”
ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου αὐτοῦ χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. Showing, as Chrysostom says, that it is Christ that holds the whole together; for the corner-stone holds together both the walls and the foundations. “Participium ὄντος initio commatis hujus, valde demonstrat in praesenti tempore,” Bengel. ἀκρογ. (λίθου understood, which is added in D* G). The figure of the corner-stone as uniting the two walls is pressed by Theodoret as referring to the union of Jews and Gentiles; and many expositors have followed him. But this is not only to press the figure unduly, it is also unsuitable. For the point is that Jews and Gentiles now indifferently are built into the one building, not as if the Jews were one wall and the Gentiles another.
αὐτοῦ is referred to θεμέλιος by Bengel, Soden, Macpherson. Bengel urges the absence of the article before Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. But, in fact, the article would imply the previous mention of Christ Jesus, and the sense would be “He Himself, even Christ Jesus”; see Fritzsche on Matthew 3:4, where αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Ἰωάννης and αὐτὸς Ἰωάννης (as in D) are equally possible. Similarly John 4:44, where the best texts have αὐτὸς Ἰησοῦς; but the article (as inserted in R, 69, al.) is admissible. Also Luke 20:42, αὐτὸς Δαυείδ. It is better to connect αὐτοῦς with Χρ. Ἰ., since it is more to the purpose that Christ should be called the corner-stone of the building than of the foundation; and in this connexion the emphatic pronoun is by no means superfluous, but fittingly distinguishes Christ from the apostles and prophets.
Who are these apostles and prophets? According to Chrysostom they are the Old Testament prophets. The absence of the article before προφητῶν is against this, though not decisive, since the O.T. prophets and the apostles might possibly be regarded as constituting one class, though this would hardly be natural. The order of the words is also against it, and is not satisfactorily accounted for by the superior dignity of the apostles as having seen and heard Christ (Estius). Again, we have the analogy of 3:5 and 4:11, in both of which passages apostles and prophets are named together, and the prophets are New Testament prophets. These passages also disprove the suggestion that the apostles themselves are here called prophets. The absence of the article before προφητῶν is natural, since the apostles and prophets formed one class as teachers of the Church. The objection, that the prophets themselves were built on the foundation of the apostles (in whichever sense we take the genitive), loses all force when we consider, first, the high value which St. Paul sets on the gift of prophesying (1 Corinthians 14:1 ff.); and, secondly, that with him “apostles” does not mean the Twelve only (see hereafter on 4:11). Nor does there appear any reason here why the apostles should be called by this additional title.
21. ἑ͂ν ᾧ, i.e. ἐν Χρ. Ἰησοῦ, not ἀκρογωνιαίῳ, as Theophylact, Beza, al.
πᾶσα οἰκοδομή. Rec. πᾶσα ἡ οἰκ.
The reading is difficult.
πᾶσα οἰκοδομή, א* B D G K L and most others, Chrys (Comment.), Theodoret.
πᾶσα ἡ οἰκοδομή, אc A C P, Arm., Chrys. (text; but this is probably a copyist’s error or correction). Thus the balance of documentary evidence is strongly against the insertion of the article. Before deciding in favour of this reading, we must consider the comparative likelihood of the article being either omitted or inserted in error. Reiche, for instance, thinks it probable that copyists either neglected the article from lack of exact knowledge of Greek, “quod in codicibus, qui articulo hic carent, saepe observatur,” or misinterpreted the words of the apostle as referring to individual churches, or (as Chrysostom) to the various parts of each edifice (Comment. Crit. in loc.). He thinks ἡ might more easily be omitted because of the homoeoteleuton οἰκοδομή, and because in 4:12, 16 the same word is without the article. But this is not a case of possible omission from homoeoteleuton; if the scribe’s eye leaped from η to η, οικοδομη would be the word omitted. Itacism would be a more plausible explanation. In fact, the accidental omission of the article in cases where it is grammatically required is extremely rare, even in single MSS. Even where homoeoteleuton or other sources of parablepsy might have been expected to cause omission in one or two MSS., we find no variation, as in Matthew 25:7, πᾶσαι αἰ, or ὁ before words beginning with o, as πᾶς ὁ ὄχλο̈ς Matthew 13:2; Luke 6:19. Intentional variation in the addition or omission of the article is pretty frequent, especially with such words as Θεός, Χριστός, πίστις. That the variation is intentional appears further from the grouping of the MSS. on each side, those to which the preference is given by recent critics being usually on the side of omission (not Romans 15:14 or Colossians 3:16). Nor does any reason appear for the intentional omission of the article in these cases. Where the article was omitted by the first scribe of א and D (Epp.), it is generally supplied by a corrector. A remarkable instance of (probably) erroneous omission is in Ephesians 6:16, τά before πεπυρωμένα (om. B D* G). On the other hand, a striking example of the article (probably) added erroneously after πᾶς occurs Romans 15:14, πάσης τῆς γνωσέως (א B R, but om. A C D and most). In Matthew 3:5, πᾶσα ἡ Ἰουδαία, ἡ is om. by Μ Γ Δ and about twenty others, It is unnecessary before the proper name. In the present case, intentional addition is much more likely than intentional omission, since with the article the meaning is obvious, and without it there is a difficulty. Such a consideration as Reiche suggests does not seem sufficiently obtrusive to influence the scribes.
The word οἰκοδομή belongs to later Greek, and is condemned by Phrynichus. It is used both for οἰκοδόμημα and οἰκοδόμησις. For the former see 1 Chronicles 29:1; for the latter, Ezekiel 16:61, Ezekiel 17:17, where it represents the Hebrew infinitive. In the N.T. it seems to have a sort of intermediate sense, like the English “building.” Thus in 1 Corinthians 3:9, “ye are God’s husbandry (γεώργιον), ye are God’s building (οἰκοδομή),” the word is not equivalent either to οἰκοδόμημα or to οἰκοδόμησις. As γεώργιον there is that which is cultivated by God, so οἰκ. is that which is builded up by God. In Matthew 24:1 and Mark 13:1, Mark 13:2, it is used of the buildings of the temple: ποταποὶ λίθοι καὶ ποταπαὶ οἰκοδομαί … βλέπεις ταύτας τὰς μεγάλας οἰκοδομάς. Here it does not appear to mean “edifices,” for the temple could not properly be said to consist of several edifices. The separate λίθοι were not οἰκοδομαί, but every combination of them might be called an οἰκ. Just so we might say, “what carvings,” “what outlines,” or of a picture, “what harmonies.” The Vulgate has in Matthew 24:1 and Mark 13:2, “aedificationes”; in Mark 13:1, “structurae.” In 2 Corinthians 5:1, “we have a building from God,” the word is nearly equivalent to “structure,” yet it is plain that οἰκοδόμημα would not have been so suitable. It is “a house that God builds,” not “has built.” The English words “building, construction, structure” all have a similar ambiguity. The most common meaning of the word in the N.T. is the figurative one, “edification”; that sense it has in this Ephesians 4:12; Eph 4:16. The meaning in 4:29 is analogous.
Now let us turn to the text; and first, if the reading with the article is adopted, there is no obvious difficulty, “the whole building,” that is, the whole organised body of believers. When we look closer, indeed, we find something strange in the expressions. συναρμολογουμένη is present. It seems strange that the whole building should be spoken of thus as in course of being framed together. Still more unexpected is αὔξει. The whole building is growing into a temple. The ambiguity of the English “building” disguises this strangeness, which is apparent when we substitute “edifice.” “The whole edifice is growing into a temple.” The words, “the whole building or edifice,” express the conception of a thing completed. If the reading were well established, we might explain this as due to a want of precision in the metaphor; but, as we have seen, this reading is not so well supported as the other, to which we now turn.
Many expositors, including Eadie, Ellicott (more doubtfully), Barry, Moule, Meyrick, not Findlay, Macpherson, nor the Revisers, hold that πᾶσα οἰκοδομή may be rendered as if it were πᾶσα ἡ οἰκ., and they refer especially to Luke 4:13, πάντα πειρασμόν: Acts 2:36, πᾶς οἶκος Ἰσραήλ: 7:22, πᾶσα σοφία Αἰγυπτίων: Homer, Il. xxiv. 407, πᾶσαν ἀληθείην. None of these passages bear out the assertion. πάντα πειρασμόν is not “all the temptation,” but “every temptation,” as RV., i.e. “every form of temptation.” See on Luke 4:13. So in Acts 7:22, although the English version sufficiently expresses the sense, what is meant is not the totality of the wisdom of Egypt, but the wisdom in all its branches. In Hom. Il. xxiv. 407, ἄγε δή μοι πᾶσαν ἀληθείην κατάλεξον, the meaning clearly is: “Come, tell me the exact truth, nothing but the truth.” The article here would not be appropriate. Similarly in Josephus, Antiq. iv. 5. I, ποταμὸς διὰ πάσης ἐρήμου ῥέων is a river flowing through a country which is all desert.
οἶκος Ἰσραήλ in Acts 2:36 is an expression borrowed from the O.T., where it occurs with πᾶς in Jeremiah 9:26, Ezekiel 36:10, Ezekiel 37:11, and is treated as a proper name, as it is without πᾶς in 39:12, 22, 23, etc. So, too, οἶκος Κυρίου. So in classical writers γῆ, for example, is treated as a proper name. The general rule is that a word cannot be used with πᾶς without the article when the sense is “the whole,” unless it is such that without πᾶς it can be employed definitely, or does not require the article to give it definiteness. A somewhat similar rule holds good in English, where we can say, not only “all England,” but “all town,” “all school,” “all college,” “all parliament”; but by no means “all house.” It is, no doubt, immemorial use that has enabled such words to dispense with the article, when the thing meant, though only one of many, is marked out by its familiarity. We can also say “all night, “all day,” as the Greeks did. Nor does it appear that π. οἰκ. would, to a reader of St. Paul’s time, be any more likely to suggest “the whole building” than would “all building” to an English reader. We must therefore acquiesce in some such rendering as “every building,” or “each several building,” RV., modified, perhaps, as will be presently mentioned.
But what is meant by “every building”? Hardly “every church”; for to speak of the several local churches, or of the Jews and Gentiles as so many several buildings, would not be in accordance with the figure in ver. 20, or with St. Paul’s language elsewhere. Moreover, he has just used a forcible figure to express the unity of the whole Church, and it would be strange if he now weakened it by speaking of several buildings. The individual believer, again, is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 3:16 as ναὸς Θεοῦ; but there the figure is explained by the context, as founded on the conception of the indwelling of the Spirit. This is very different from calling each believer an οἰκοδομή. The passages above referred to in Matthew and Mark suggest that what is intended is “everything that from time to time is builded in,” “every constituent element of the building.” The English words “all the building” would admit of being understood in this way, but are ambiguous. The image is that of an extensive pile of buildings in process of construction at different points on a common plan. The several parts are adjusted to each other so as to preserve the unity of design. So Findlay, who remarks that an author of the second century, writing in the interests of Catholic unity, would scarcely have omitted the article.
Hofmann compares πάσης κτίσεως, Colossians 1:15, which he says does not mean “the whole creation,” nor “every creature,” but “all that is created,” as πᾶσα σοφία καὶ φρόνησις in 1:8 is “all that is wisdom”; πᾶν θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, Colossians 4:12, “all God’s will,” to which we may add πᾶσα γραφή, 2 Timothy 3:16; π. ἀναστροφή, 1 Peter 1:15. Soden’s view is similar. Comp. 4:16.
συναρμολογουμένη, “fitly joined together,” present participle, because this harmonious framing together is a process still going on. The compound verb occurs only here and 4:16. The simple verb ἁρμολογέω seems to be equally rare. The classical word is συναρμόζω. None of these is found in the Sept.
αὔξει, “groweth,” the present, as in the former word, indicating the perpetual growth. The verb is neither rare nor poetical, as is sometimes stated; on the contrary, it is more frequent than αὐξάνω in the best Attic prose (Thuc. Xen. Plato), but the use of the active in an intransitive sense is later (Aristot. Polyb. Diod.). It occurs also in Colossians 2:19.
εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον ἐν Κυρίῳ. “Unto a holy temple (or sanctuary) in the Lord.” Κύριος, according to the Pauline usage, must be Christ. ἐν Κ. seems best connected with ἅγιος, “holy in the Lord”; to join it with αὔξει alone would be a tautology.
22. ἐν ᾧ takes up the ἐν ᾧ of ver. 21; cf. ch. 1:11 and 12.
καὶ ὑμεῖς, “ye also”; cf. ver. 13.
συνοικοδομεῖσθε, not imperative, as Calvin: “Ephesios hortatur ut crescant in fide Christi magis et magis postquam in ea semel fuerunt fundati,” but indicative, as is proved by vv. 19, 20, in which the apostle describes what the readers are, not what they ought to be. Note the present tense, because the building is still going on; cf. 1 Peter 2:5, “are being builded in together,” i.e. together with the others; συν- as in συμπολῖται. The πᾶσα before οἰκ. looks forward to this καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικ., and this is a fitting conclusion to the paragraph which commenced with “ye are no more strangers and foreigners.” Meyer and Ellicott understand the συν- differently, viz. as referring to the putting together the single parts of the building; Meyer quoting Philo, De Proem. § 20, p. 928 E (ed. Mang. ii. p. 427), οἰκίαν εὖ συνῳκοδομημένην καὶ συνηρμοσμένην. But the whole context favours the interpretation “you together with others,” and there is no reason to give any other sense to the συν- in συναρμολογουμένη.
εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ Θεοῦ. κατοικητήριον only in Revelation 18:2 in N.T., but freq. in the Sept. “Into a habitation of God,” the same which was expressed by ναὸς ἅγιος, only further specifying the essential nature of this ναός. Harless, who reads πᾶσα ἡ οἰκ., supposes κατοικ. here to be used of each individual Christian in whom God dwells, the whole forming a ναὸς ἅγιος. Griesbach places ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικ. in a parenthesis, which is awkward and unnecessary.
ἐν πνεύματι, “in the Spirit.” It is interpreted by Chrysostom as = spiritually, οἶκος πνευματικός, and so Theophyl., Oecum., Olshausen also thinks there is a glance at the ναὸς χειροποιητός. But there is no suggestion of this in the context; and as the whole is so distinctly figurative, it would be worse than superfluous to add this definition. Moreover, it does not appear that ἐν πνεύματι could be used with a substantive as = spiritual, except so far as the substantive involves a verbal notion, as περιτομή ἐν πν. = τὸ περιτέμνεσθαι ἐν πν., δέσμιος ἐν Χριστῷ = δεδεμένος ἐν Χρ.
But ἐν here is not merely instrumental, as if = διά. The Spirit is not the means or instrument only, but the medium by virtue of which God dwells in the Church. The ἐν refers to the act of κατοίκησις. He by or in His Spirit dwells in this temple. The article is not required, as πνεῦμα is frequently treated as a proper name where no ambiguity is caused thereby.
Syr-Harcl. The Harclean Syriac.
Syr-Pesh The Peshitto Syriac.
Boh Bohairic. Cited by Tisch. as “Coptic,” by Tregelles as “Memphitic,” by WH. as “me.”
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation 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.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
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;
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:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
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;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.