|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:15-21 Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other.
Verse 21. - Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. The last of the participial exhortations depending on the general exhortation of ver. 15 to walk strictly, Most commentators connect it with the three immediately preceding participles (speaking, singing, giving thanks), but are unable to find a link of connection. Better connect with ver. 15. Mutual subjection is part of a wise, circumspect walk, i.e. mutual recognition of each other's rights and of our obligations to serve them. In some sense we are all servants, i.e. we are bound to serve others; the very father is, in this sense, servant of his child. So in the Christian Church we are all in a sense servants ("By love serve one another," Galatians 5:15; comp. Matthew 20:26-28; John 13:15, 16). This view is in harmony with the humble spirit of the gospel. Pride leads us to demand rigorously from others what we fancy they owe to us; humility, to give to others what Christ teaches that we owe to them. The one feeling is to be discouraged, the other exercised and strengthened. In the verses following we have this precept split up into its constituent filaments. The reading of R.V., "in the fear of Christ," has more authority than A.V., "in the fear of God." It brings to our mind the wonderful example of Christ in this clement of character (comp. Luke 2:51; Hebrews 5:8). Reverential regard for him should inspire us with the same spirit (Philippians 2:5-8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Submitting yourselves one to another,.... Which may be understood either in a political sense, of giving honour, obedience, and tribute, to civil magistrates, since they are set up by God for the good of men, and it is for the credit of religion for the saints to submit to them; or in an economical sense; thus the wife should be subject to the husband, children to their parents, and servants to their masters, which several things are afterwards insisted on, as explanative of this rule; or in an ecclesiastic sense, so the Ethiopic version renders it, "subject yourselves to your brethren": thus members of churches should be subject to their pastors, not in the same sense as they are to Christ, the head, nor are they obliged to believe or do everything they say, right or wrong; yet honour and esteem are due to them, and submission and obedience should be yielded to their doctrines, precepts, and exhortations, when they are agreeably to the word of God; since God has set them in the highest place in the church, called them to the highest service, and most honourable work, and bestowed on them the greatest gifts; the younger members should also submit to the elder, and the minority to the majority; one member should submit to another, to the superior judgment of another, and to the weakness of another, and to the admonitions of others, and so as to perform all offices of love: and the manner in which this duty is to be performed, is
in the fear of God; which may be considered as the moving cause of submission, or, as the rule of it; submission should be on account of the fear of God, and so far as is consistent with it; and indeed, the fear of God is that which should influence and engage to every duty; and which should be before our eyes, and in exercise in our hearts, in all concerns, civil and religious: the Alexandrian copy and some others, the Complutensian edition, and the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "in the fear of Christ"; who is the head of the church, and King of saints, and as such to be feared and reverenced; and for his sake there should be a submission to one another; the Syriac version reads, in the love of Christ, which should constrain the saints to this duty.
Ephesians 5:21 Parallel Commentaries
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