Ephesians 4:18
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

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

Darby Bible Translation
being darkened in understanding, estranged from the life of God by reason of the ignorance which is in them, by reason of the hardness of their hearts,

World English Bible
being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts;

Young's Literal Translation
being darkened in the understanding, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart,

Ephesians 4:18 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Having the understanding darkened - That is, because they were alienated from the true God, and particularly because of "the blindness of their hearts." The apostle does not say that this was a "judicial" darkening of the understanding; or that they might not have perceived the truth; or that they had no ability to understand it. He speaks of a simple and well-known fact - a fact that is seen now as well as then that the understanding becomes darkened by indulgence in sin. A man who is intemperate, has no just views of the government of the appetites. A man who is unchaste, has no perception of the loveliness of purity. A man who is avaricious or covetous, has no just views of the beauty of benevolence. A man who indulges in low vices, will weaken his mental powers, and render himself incapable of intellectual effort. Indulgence in vice destroys the intellect as well as the body, and unfits a man to appreciate the truth of a proposition in morals, or in mathematics, or the beauty of a poem, as well as the truth and beauty of religion.

Nothing is more obvious than that indulgence in sin weakens the mental powers, and renders them unfit for high intellectual effort. This is seen all over the pagan world now - in the stolid, stupid mind; the perverted moral sense; the incapacity for profound or protracted mental effort, as really as it was among the pagans to whom Paul preached. The missionary who goes among the pagan has almost to create an "intellect" as well as a "conscience," before the gospel will make an impression. It is seen, too, in all the intellect of the bar, the senate, the pulpit, and the medical profession, that is ruined by intemperance, and in the intellect of multitudes of young men wasted by licentiousness and drunkenness. I know that under the influence of ambition and stimulating drinks, the intellect may seem to put forth unnatural efforts, and to glow with an intensity nowhere else seen. But it "soon burns out" - and the wastes of such an intellect become soon like the hardened scoriae of the volcano, or the cinders of the over-heated furnace. Learn hence, that if a man wishes to be blessed with a clear understanding, he should he a "good man." He who wishes a mind well balanced and clear, should fear and love God; and had Christianity done no other good on earth than to elevate the "intellect" of mankind, it would have been the richest blessing which has ever been vouchsafed to the race. It follows, too, that as man has debased his "understanding" by sin, it is needful to make an exertion to elevate it again: and hence a large part of the efforts to save people must consist in patient "instruction." Hence, the necessity of schools at missionary stations.

Being alienated - see the notes on Ephesians 2:12.

From the life of God - From a life "like" that of God, or a life of which he is the source and author. The meaning is, that they lived a life which was "unlike" God, or which he could not approve. Of the truth of this in regard to the pagan everywhere, there can be no doubt; see the notes on Romans 1.

Through the ignorance that is in them - The ignorance of the true God, and of what constituted virtue; compare notes on Romans 1:20-23.

Because of the blindness of their heart - Margin, "hardness." Hardness is a better word. It is a better translation of the Greek; and it better accords with the design of the apostle. Here the reason is stated why they lived and acted as they did, and why the "understanding" was blinded. It is not that God has enfeebled the human intellect by a judicial sentence on account of the sin of Adam, and made it incapable of perceiving I the truth. It is not that there is any I deficiency or incapacity of natural powers. It is not that the truths of religion are so exalted that man has no natural ability to understand them, for they may be as well understood as any other truth; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 1:14. The simple reason is, "the hardness or the heart." That is the solution given by an inspired apostle, and that is enough. A man who has a blind and hard heart sees no beauty in truth, and feels not its force, and is insensible to all its appeals. Learn, then:

(1) That people are to blame for the blindness of their understanding. Whatever proceeds from a "wicked heart" they are responsible for. But for mere "inferiority of intellect" they would not be to blame.

(2) they are under obligation to repent and love God. If it was required of them to enlarge their intellects, or create additional faculties of mind, they could not be bound to do it. But where the whole thing required is to have a "better heart," they may be held responsible.

(3) the way to elevate the understandings of mankind is to purify the heart. The approach must be made through the affections. Let people "feel" right toward God, and they will soon "think" right; let the heart be pure, and the understanding will be clear.

(Doubtless there is a reciprocal influence between the dark mind and depraved heart. The one acts on the other. Admitting that the understanding is affected "first," through the will or heart, and that it is a bad heart which makes a spiritually dark mind, still the fact remains the same, that "in consequence of our union with Adam, in consequence of the fall," all our faculties, understanding, will, affections, have been corrupted. See the supplementary notes, Romans 5)

Ephesians 4:18 Parallel Commentaries

Library
June 15. "Grow up into Him in all Things" (Eph. Iv. 15).
"Grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. iv. 15). Harvest is a time of ripeness. Then the fruit and grain are fully developed, both in size and weight. Time has tempered the acid of the green fruit. It has been mellowed and softened by the rains and the heat of summer. The sun has tinted it into rich colors, and at last it is ready and ripe to fall into the hand. So Christian life ought to be. There are many things in life that need to be mellowed and ripened. Many Christians have orchards full of
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity the Christian Calling and Unity.
Text: Ephesians 4, 1-6. 1 I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Of the Church
"I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:1-6. 1. How much do we almost continually hear about the Church!
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Ascension of Christ
It seemed expedient for him to stay, to accomplish the conversion of the world. Would not his presence have had an influence to win by eloquence of gracious word and argument of loving miracle? If he put forth his power the battle would soon be over, and his rule over all hearts would be for ever established. "Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee." Go not from the conflict, thou mighty bowman, but still cast thine all-subduing darts abroad.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Cross References
Isaiah 25:7
And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.

Mark 3:5
After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Acts 3:17
"And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.

Acts 17:30
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

Romans 1:21
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 11:7
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;

Romans 11:25
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

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