Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,4:1-6:20.] Second (hortatory) portion of the Epistle: and herein [A] (4:1-16) ground of the Christian’s duties as a member of the Church, viz. the unity of the mystical Body of Christ (vv. 1-6) in the manifoldness of grace given to each (7-13), that we may come to perfection in Him (14-16).
1.] I exhort (see reff. παρακαλῶ, τὸ προτρέπω, ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ. Thom.-Mag. in Ellic.) you therefore (seeing that this is your calling: an inference from all the former part of the Epistle, as in Romans 12:1; but here perhaps also a resumption of τούτου χάριν of ch. 3:1, 14, and thus carried back to the contents of ch. 1:2.),—the prisoner in the Lord (who am, as regards, and for the sake of the cause, of the Lord, a prisoner; so that my captivity is in the Lord, as its element and sphere, and therefore to be regarded as an additional inducement to comply with my exhortation. “Num quicquid est Christi, etiamsi coram mundo sit ignominiosum, summo cum honore suscipiendum a vobis est.” Calv. τοῖς διὰ τὸν χριστὸν δεσμοῖς ἐναβρύνεται μᾶλλον ἢ βασιλεὺς διαδήματι. Thdrt. Beware of joining ἐν κυρ. with παρακαλῶ, as in 2Thessalonians 3:12 (see ver. 17), which the arrangement of the words here will not permit), to walk worthily of the calling (see ch. 1:18, and note Romans 8:28, Romans 8:30) wherewith (see ch. 1:6. The attracted genitive may stand either for the dative ᾗ or the accusative ἥν. Both constructions are legitimate attractions: cf. for the dative, Xen. Cyr. v. 4. 39, ἤγετο δὲ καὶ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ τῶν τε πιστῶν, οἷς ἥδετο, κ. ὧν ἠπίστει πολλούς.—ὧν, for ἐκείνων, οἷς; and for the accusative, ch. 1:6, and Hom. II. χ. 649,—τιμῆς ἧστέ μʼ ἔοικε τετιμῆσθαι. De W. denies the legitimacy of κλῆσιν καλεῖν; but Raphel produces from Arrian, Epict. p. 122, καταισχύνειν τὴν κλῆσιν ἣν κέκληκεν) ye were called, with (not ‘in,’ as Conyb., which, besides not expressing μετά, the association of certain dispositions to an act,—confuses the ἐν which follows) all (see on ch. 1:8) lowliness (read by all means Trench’s essay on ταπεινοφροσύνη and πραότης, in his N. T. Synonymes (xlii.). I can only extract one sentence here, to put the reader on his guard: “Chrys. is in fact bringing in pride again under the disguise of humility, when he characterizes it as a making of ourselves small when we are great (ταπεινοφροσύνη τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅταν τις μέγας ὤν, ἑαυτὸν ταπεινοῖ: and he repeats this often: see Suicer, Thes. s. v.): it is rather the esteeming ourselves small, inasmuch as we are so: the thinking truly, and because truly, lowlily of ourselves”) and meekness (before God, accepting His dealings in humility, and before men, as God’s instruments, 2Samuel 16:11: resting therefore on ταπεινοφρ. as its foundation. See Trench, as above), with long-suffering (μακροθυμία consists in not taking swift vengeance, but leaving to an offender a place for repentance. From this, its proper meaning, it is easily further generalized to forbearance under all circumstances of provocation. Some, as Est., Harl., Olsh., al., join these words with ἀνεχόμενοι. But thus (1) we should have an emphatic tautology—for how could the ἀνέχεσθαι be otherwise than μετὰ μακροθυμίας? and (2) the parallelism, μετὰ πάσης ταπ. κ. πραΰτ., μετ. μακρ.,—would be destroyed. Still less should we, with Thdrt., Œc., and Bengel, make all one sentence from μετὰ πάσ. to ἀγάπ.: for thus (Mey.) we should lose the gradual transition from the general ἀξίως περιπ. τ. κλ. to the special ἀνεχ. ἀλλ.),—forbearing (see reff. and Romans 2:4; on the nom. part., see ch. 3:18) one another in love (it is very unnatural, as Lachm. and Olsh. have done, to join ἐν ἀγ. with σπουδάζοντες, making thereby an exceedingly clumsy clause of the following), earnestly striving (reff.) to maintain the unity of the Spirit (that unity, in which God’s Holy Spirit in the Church τοὺς γένει κ. τρόποις διαφόροις διεστηκότας ἑνοῖ, as Chr.: not animorum inter vos conjunctionem, as Est.,—and so Ambr., Anselm, Erasm., Calv., al. The genitive is in fact a possessive—the Spirit’s unity, that unity which the Spirit brings about, ἣν τὸ πν. ἔδωκων ἡμῖν, Thl.) in (united together by: within) the bond of peace (again Lachm. joins the qualifying clause to the following sentence: here again most unnaturally, both as regards what has preceded, and the general truths which are afterwards enounced: see below.
The σύνδ. is εἰρήνη, not that which brings about εἰρήνη, ‘vinculum quo pax retinetur, id est, amor.’ Beng. So Thl., Rück., Harl., Stier. Colossians 3:14, which is quoted to support this meaning, is not applicable, because love there is expressly named, whereas here it certainly would not occur to any reader, especially after ἐν ἀγάπῃ has just occurred. The genitive of apposition is the simplest—peace binds together the Church as a condition and symbol of that inner unity which is only wrought by the indwelling Spirit of God).
4.] Lachm., joining ἓν σῶμα κ.τ.λ. as far as ἐν πᾶσιν, with what has gone before, makes these words hortatory: ‘as one Body and one Spirit, even as, &c.’ Certainly the reference to ἡ κλῆσις ὑμῶν seems to tell for this. But, on the other hand, it is very unlikely that the Apostle should thus use ἓν σῶμα and ἓν πνεῦμα, and then go on in the same strain, but with a different reference. I therefore prefer the common punctuation and rendering. (There is) (better than ‘ye are,’ which will not apply to the following parallel clauses. The assertion of the unity of the Church, and of our Lord in all His operations and ordinances, springs immediately out of the last exhortation, as following it up to its great primal ground in the verities of God. To suppose it connected by a γάρ understood (Eadie) is to destroy the force and vividness with which the great central truth is at once introduced without preface) one Body (reff.: viz. Christ’s mystical Body. τί δʼ ἔστιν, ἓν σῶμα; οἱ πανταχοῦ τῆς οἰκουμένης πιστοί, καὶ ὄντες κ. γενόμενοι κ. ἐσόμενοι. πάλιν καὶ οἱ πρὸ τῆς τοῦ χριστοῦ παρουσίας εὐηρεστηκότες, ἓν σῶμά εἰσι. Chrys. But these last hardly sensu proprio here) and one Spirit (viz. the Holy Spirit, who dwells in, and vivifies, and rules that one body: see ch. 2:18, 22; 1Corinthians 12:13 al.: not as Chrys., ἓν πν. καλῶς εἶπε, δεικνὺς ὅτι ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς σώματος ἓν πνεῦμα ἔσται, ἢ ὅτι ἐστὶ μὲν σῶμα εἶναι ἕν, οὐχ ἓν δὲ πνεῦμα· ὡς ἂν εἴ τις καὶ αἱρετικῶν φίλος εἴη· ἢ ὅτι ἀπʼ ἐκείνου δυσωπεῖ, τουτέστιν, οἱ ἓν πνεῦμα λαβόντες, καὶ ἐκ μιᾶς ποτισθέντες πηγῆς οὐκ ὀφείλετε διχονοεῖν· ἢ πν. ἐνταῦθα τὴν προθυμίαν φησίν), as also (τὸ καθὰ οἱ Ἀττικοὶ χρῶνται, τὸ δὲ καθὼς οὐδέποτε, ἀλλʼ ἢ τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων διάλεκτος, καθʼ ἣν ἡ θεῖα γραφὴ γέγραπται. Emm. Moschop. a Byzantine grammarian, cited by Fabricius, vi. 191. See also Phryn. p. 426, and Lobeck’s note: and Ellic. on Galatians 3:6) ye were called in (elemental—the condition and sphere in which they were called to live and move, see reff. Mey. referring to Galatians 1:6, takes the instrumental sense: see there) one hope of (belonging to: you were called in it as the element, see above: it is then an accident of the κλῆσις. Or perhaps it may be the genitive of the causa efficiens, ‘which the calling works,’ as Ellic. Cf. 1Thessalonians 1:6, μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου) your calling: 5
5.] one Lord (as the Head of the Church: in this verse he grounds the co-existence of the ἓν σῶμα κ. ἓν πνεῦμα in the three great facts on which it rests—the first objective,—εἷς κύριος—the second subjective,—μίαπίστις—the third compounded of the two,—ἓν βάπτισμα), one faith (in that one Lord: the subjective medium by which that one Lord is apprehended and appropriated: not ‘fides quæ creditur,’ but ‘fides quâ creditur:’ but it is necessarily understood, that this subjective faith has for its object the One Lord just mentioned) one baptism (the objective seal of the subjective faith, by which, as a badge, the members of Christ are outwardly and visibly stamped with His name. The other sacrament, being a matured act of subsequent participation, a function of the incorporate, not a seal of incorporation (a symbol of union, not of unity: so Ellicott), is not here adduced. In 1Corinthians 10:17, where an act was in question which was a clear breach of union, it forms the rallying-point),
6.] one God (the unity is here consummated in its central Object: ‘hoc est præcipuum, quia inde manant reliqua omnia,’ Calv. But we must not miss the distinct witness to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in these verses:—going upwards, we have 1st, the One Spirit dwelling in the one body:—2nd, the One Lord appropriated by faith and professed in baptism:—3rd, One God and Father supreme, in whom all find their end and object) and Father of all (masculine: ‘of all within the Church,’ for so is clearly the primary meaning, where he is speaking distinctly of the Church:—of all (Mey.) who have the υἱοθεσία. But it can hardly be doubted, that there is a further reference—to the universal Father-ship of all men—which indeed the Church only inherits in its fulness, others having fallen out of it by sin,—but which nevertheless is just as absolutely true), who is over all (men, primarily; and from the following,—men only, in this place. He is over all, in his sovereignty as the Father), and through all (men: in the co-extensiveness of Redemption by the Son with the whole nature of man: see on ver. 10 below, and ch. 2:20, 21) and in all (men: by the indwelling of the Spirit, see ch. 2:22. So that I cannot but recognize, in these three carefully chosen expressions, a distinct allusion again to the Three Persons of the blessed Trinity. All these are the work of the Father:—it is He who in direct sovereignty is over all—He who is glorified in the filling of all things by the Son:—He who is revealed by the witness of the indwelling Spirit. Many Commentators deny such a reference. Almost all agree in ἐν πᾶσιν representing the indwelling of the Spirit: the διὰ πάντων has been the principal stumbling-block: and is variously interpreted:—by some, of God’s Providence,—τουτέστιν, ὁ προνοῶν καὶ διοικῶν, Chrys., al.: by others, of His pervading presence by the Spirit,—‘spiritu sanctificationis diffusus est per omnia ecclesiæ membra,’ Calv.: by others, to the creation by the Son, ‘per quem omnia facta sunt’ (Aquin. in Ellic.): but this seems to be a conversion of διὰ πάντων into διʼ οὗ πάντες, as indeed Olsh. expressly does, ‘als Werfzeug¸ durch das die sind.’ Irenæus, v. 18. 2, p. 315, gives the meaning thus, adopting the Trinitarian reference, but taking the πάντων both times as neuter, and reading ἐν πᾶσιν ἡμῖν: ‘super omnia quidem Pater, et ipse est caput Christi: per omnia autem verbum, et ipse est caput ecclesiæ: in omnibus autem nobis Spiritus, et ipse est aqua viva,’ &c.).
7.] But (the contrast is between ἐν πᾶσιν and ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ—the general, and the particular. And the connexion is—as a motive to keep the unity of the Spirit—‘none is overlooked:—each has his part in the distribution of the gifts of the One Spirit, which part he is bound to use for the well-being of the whole’) to each one of us was given (by Christ, at the time of His exaltation—when He bestowed gifts on men) [the] grace (which was then bestowed: the unspeakable gift,—or, if the art. be omitted, grace, absolutely,—was distributed to each κατά &c.) according to the measure of (subjective genitive: the amount of: cf. Romans 12:3, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως) the gift of Christ (‘Christ’s gift;’—the gift bestowed by Christ. 2Corinthians 9:15: not, ‘the gift which Christ received,’—for He is the subject and centre here—so Calv.,—‘porro Christum facit auctorem, quia sicut a Patre fecit initium, ita in ipsum vult nos et nostra omnia colligere.’
Still less must we with Stier, suppose both senses of the genitive included).
8.] Wherefore (‘quæ cum ita sint:’ viz.—the gift bestowed by Christ on different men according to measure) He (viz. God, whose word the Scriptures are. See reff. and notes: not merely ‘it,’ es heisst, as De W. al.: nor, ἡ γραφή: had it been the subject, it must have been expressed, as in Romans 4:3; Romans 9:17 al.) says (viz. in Psalm 68:18, see below: not, in some Christian hymn, as Flatt and Storr,—which would not agree with λέγει, nor with the treatment of the citation, which is plainly regarded as carrying the weight of Scripture. With the question as to the occasion and intent of that Psalm, we are not here concerned. It is a song of triumph, as ver. 1 (cf. Numbers 10:35) shews, at some bringing up of the ark to the hill of Zion. It is therefore a Messianic Psalm. Every part of that ark, every stone of that hill, was full of spiritual meaning. Every note struck on the lyres of the sweet singers of Israel, is but part of a chord, deep and world-wide, sounding from the golden harps of redemption. The partial triumphs of David and Solomon only prefigured as in a prophetic mirror the universal and eternal triumph of the Incarnate Son of God. Those who do not understand this, have yet their first lesson in the O. T. to learn. With this caution let us approach the difficulties of the citation in detail) He ascended up on high (viz. Christ, at His Ascension: not ‘having ascended:’ the aorist participle denotes an action not preceding, but parallel to, that expressed in the finite verb which it accompanies: see Bernhardy, Synt. p. 383. The ascending in the Psalm is that of God, whose presence was symbolized by the ark, to Zion. The Apostle changes the words from the 2nd person to the 3rd; the address asserting a fact, which fact he cites), he led captive a captivity (i.e. ‘those who suffer captivity:’ a troop of captives: such is the constant usage of the abstract αἰχμαλωσία for the concrete in LXX: cf. reff.: and it is never put for captivatores, ‘those who cause captivity,’ as some would interpret it. In the Psalm, these would be, the captives from the then war, whatever it was: in the interpretation, they were God’s enemies, Satan and his hosts, as Chr., ποίαν αἰχμαλωσίαν φησί; τὴν τοῦ διαβόλου. αἰχμάλωτον τὸν τύραννον ἔλαβε, τὸν διάβολον καὶ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὴν ἀρὰν καὶ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, he gave gifts to mankind (Heb.: לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם,—LXX, ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ (-ποις  F [A def.]). The original meaning is obscure. There seems to be no necessity to argue for a sense of ἔλαβες—‘thou receivedst in order to give;’ as the qualifying ἐν ἀνθρώποις will shew for what purpose, in what capacity, the receipt took place. But certainly such a sense of לָקַח seems to be substantiated: see Eadie’s note here, and his examples, viz. Genesis 15:9; Genesis 18:5 (where the sense is very marked, E. V. ‘I will fetch’),—27:13 (ib. ‘fetch me them’), 42:16,—Exodus 27:20 (‘that they bring thee’),—1Kings 17:10 (‘fetch me,’ λαβὲ δή μοι), al. Then, what is בָּאָדָם? First, אָדָם is clearly used in a collective sense: we have Jeremiah 32:20, יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָדָם, ‘Israel and the rest of mankind,’ see also Isaiah 43:4 al. In Proverbs 23:28, we have בְּאָדָם used for ‘inter homines,’ which is evidently its simplest meaning. If then we render here, ‘hast taken gifts among men,’ hast, as a victor, surrounded by thy victorious hosts, brought gifts home, spoils of the enemy,—the result of such reception of gifts would be naturally stated as the distribution of them among such hosts, and the people,—as indeed ver. 12 of the Psalm has already stated. And so the Chaldee paraphrast (and Syr. and Arabic vss.: but their testimony, as Christian, is little worth) understood the words, interpreting the passage of Moses (which does not invalidate his testimony: against Harl.): ‘thou hast given gifts to the sons of men.’ The literature of the passage may be seen in De W. and Meyer: and more at length in Stier, Eadie, and Harless. To give even a synopsis of it here would far exceed our limits).
9.] Further explanation of this text. But that He ascended (τὸ ἀν. does not here mean, ‘the word’ ἀνέβη, which does not occur in the text cited), what is it (does it imply) except that he also (as well) descended to the lower parts of the earth (the argument seems to be this: the Ascension here spoken of was not a first exaltation, but a return to heaven of one who dwelt in heaven—οὐδεὶς ἀναβέβηκεν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, εἰ μὴ ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, ὁ υἱὸς τ. ἀνθρώπου ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, John 3:13, which is in fact the key to these verses. The ascent implied a previous descent. This is the leading thought. But it is doubted how far the words κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς carry that descent, whether to earth merely, so that τῆς γῆς is the genitive of apposition,—or to Hades, so that it is genitive of possession. Usage will not determine—for 1) it is uncertain whether the Apostle meant any allusion to the corresponding Hebrew expression: 2) that expression is used both for Hades, Psalm 63:9, and for earth (θεμέλια, LXX), Isaiah 44:23 (and for the womb, Psalm 139:15). Nor can it be said (as Harl., Mey.) that the descent into hell would be irrelevant here—or that our Lord ascended not from Hades but from the earth: for, the fact of descent being the primary thought, we have only to ask as above, how far that descent is carried in the Apostle’s mind. The greater the descent, the greater the ascent: and if the αἰχμαλωσία consisted of Satan and his powers, the warfare in which they were taken captive would most naturally be contemplated in all its extent, as reaching to their habitation itself:—‘this ascent, what does it imply but a descent, and that even to the lower parts of the earth from which the spoils of victory were fetched?’ And this meaning seems to be upheld by the ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα which follows, as well as by the contrast furnished by ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν. This interpretation is upheld by most of the ancients, Iren., Tert., Jer., Pelag., Ambrst.; also by Erasm., Est., Calov., Bengel, Rück., Olsh., Stier, Baur (uses it as a proof of the gnostic origin of the Epistle), Ellicott, al.: that of the Incarnation merely, descent on earth, by Beza, Calv., Grot., Schöttg., Mich., Storr, Winer, Harl., B.-Crus., Meyer, De W., al.: that of Christ’s death (and burial), by Chr., Thdrt., Œc., al.: that corresponding to Psalm 139:15, by Beza (alt.), Witsius, al.)?
10.] He that descended, He (and no other: οὐ γὰρ ἄλλος κατελήλυθεν κ. ἄλλος ἀνελήλυθεν, Thdrt. αὐτός is the subject, and not the predicate (ὁ αὐτός)) is also he that ascended (see again John 3:13) up above (reff.) all the heavens (cf. Hebrews 7:26, ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος: and ib. 4:14, διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς. It is natural that one who, like St. Paul, had been brought up in the Jewish habits of thought, should still use their methods of speaking, according to which the heaven is expressed in the plural, ‘the heavens.’ And from such an usage, πάντες οἱ οὐρανοί would naturally flow. See, on the idea of a threefold, or sevenfold division of the heavens, the note on 2Corinthians 12:2. Ellicott quotes from Bishop Pearson,—‘whatsoever heaven is higher than all the rest which are called heavens, into that place did he ascend.’ Notice the subjunctive after the aorist participle, giving the present and enduring sense to the verb: used, when “res ita comparata est, ut actione præterita tamen eventus noudmn expletus sit, sed etiam nunc duret: … Eur. Med. 215, Κορίνθιαι γυναῖκες, ἐξῆλθον δόμων, μή μοί τι μέμφησθʼ.” Klotz, Devar. ii. 618), that He may fill (not as Anselm, al., ‘fulfil’) all things (the whole universe: see ch. 1:23, note: with His presence, His sovereignty, His working by the Spirit: not, with His glorified Body, as some have thought. “Christ is perfect God, and perfect and glorified man: as the former He is present every where, as the latter He can be present any where.” Ellicott).
11.] Resumption of the subject—the diversity of gifts, all bestowed by Him, as a motive to unity. And HE (emphatic; ‘it is He, that’) gave (not for ἔθετο, any more than in ch. 1:22:—the gifts which He gave to His Church are now enumerated. “The idea is, that the men who filled the office, no less than the office itself, were a divine gift.” Eadie) some as Apostles (see 1Corinthians 12:28, and note; and a good enumeration of the essentials of an Apostle, in Eadie’s note here), some as prophets (see on 1Corinthians 12:10: and cf. ch. 2:20; 3:5, notes), some as evangelists (not in the narrower sense of the word, writers of gospels, but in the wider sense, of itinerant preachers, usually sent on a special mission: οἱ μὴ περιϊόντες πανταχοῦ, ἀλλʼ εὐαγγελιζόμενοι μόνον, ὡς Πρίσκιλλα κ. Ἀκύλας. Chr. See note on Acts 21:8), some as pastors and teachers (from these latter not being distinguished from the pastors by the τοὺς δέ, it would seem that the two offices were held by the same persons. The figure in ποιμένες, if to be pressed, would imply that they were entrusted with some special flock, which they tended, καθήμενοι καὶ περὶ ἕνα τόπον ἠσχολημένοι, as Chr.; and then the διδασκαλία would necessarily form a chief part of their work. If this view be correct, this last class includes all the stationary officers of particular Churches), in order to (ultimate aim of these offices, see below) the perfecting of the saints,—for (immediate object, see below) (the) work of (the) ministry (of διάκονοι in God’s Church. The articles give completeness in English, but do not affect the sense),—for building up of the body of Christ (the relation of these three clauses has been disputed. Chr., al., regard them as parallel: ἕκαστος οἰκοδομεῖ, ἕκαστος καταρτίζει, ἕκαστος διακονεῖ: but this is to confound the distinct prepositions, πρός and εἰς, after the unsupported notion that St. Paul uses prepositions almost indifferently. Others, as De W., regard εἰς … εἰς as dependent on πρός, and thus are obliged to give to διακονία a wider sense (genus omnium functionum in ecclesia) than it will bear. The best way certainly seems to be, with Mey. and Ellic., to regard πρός as the ultimate end, εἰς as the immediate use, as in Romans 15:2, ἕκαστος ἡμῶν τῷ πλησίον ἀρεσκέτω εἰς τὸ ἀγαθὸν πρὸς οἰκοδομήν), until (marks the duration of the offices of the ministry) we (being thus κατηρτισμένοι by virtue of the ἔργον διακονίας and the οἰκοδομή) arrive (see reff.: no sense of ‘meeting,’ but simply of ‘attaining.’ Ellicott well remarks, that we must be careful of applying to later Greek the canons of the grammarians respecting the omission of ἄν, as giving an air of less uncertainty to subjunctives in such constructions as this; and he adds, “the use of the subjunctive (the mood of conditioned but objective possibility), not future (as Chrys.), shews that the καταντᾶν is represented, not only as the eventual, but as the expected and contemplated result of the ἔδωκεν”), all of us (Christians, Jews as well as Gentiles: first person, because he himself was among the number. The article brings out the πάντες, as belonging to one class), at the unity of the faith (“How so? have not all Christians the same faith?… No doubt they have, as regards its substance, but not as regards clearness and purity; because the object of faith may be diversely known, and knowledge has ever such a powerful influence on faith. Therefore he adds to this unity of faith καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως κ.τ.λ.: true and full unity of faith is then found, when all thoroughly know Christ, the object of faith, alike, and that in His highest dignity as the Son of God.” De Wette) and of the knowledge (further result of the faith, ch. 3:17, 19; 2Peter 1:5) of the Son of God (this objective genitive belongs to both τῆς πίστεως and τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως), at a perfect man (an awkwardness is given by the coupling of an abstract (εἰς ἑνότητα) to a concrete (εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον). The singular not only denotes unity (Beza), but refers to the summation of us all in the one perfect Man Christ Jesus. The maturity of the ἀνὴρ τέλειος is contrasted with the νηπιότης which follows. Among curiosities of exegesis may be adduced that which Aug. mentions, de Civ. Dei xxii. 17, vol. vii. p. 778: “Nonnulli, propter hoc quod dictum est, Ephesians 4:13, nec in sexu fœmineo resurrecturas fœminas credunt, sed in virili omnes aiunt”) to the measure of the stature (or, ‘age?’ this is doubtful. The similitude in ἄνδρα τέλειον seems to be derived from age: that in ver. 16, from stature. The fact seems to be, that ἡλικία is a comprehensive word, including both ideas—answering to the German ‘Erwachsenheit,’ but having no corresponding word in our language. We have μέτρον ἥβης in Hom. Il. λ. 225. Od. λ. 317, σ. 217. The expression itself occurs in Lucian, Imag. 7 (Wetst.), τῆς ἡλικίας δὲ τὸ μέτρον, ἡλίκον ἂν γένοιτο· κατὰ τὴν ἐν Κνίδῳ ἐκείνην μάλιστα … μεμετρήσθω,—and Philostratus, vit. Sophist. p. 543, τὸ δὲ μέτρον τῆς ἡλικίας ταῖς μὲν ἄλλαις ἐπιστήμαις γήρως ἀρχή. Clearly, none of these passages settles the question. In Homer, the meaning is ‘the measure of youth,’—the size and ripeness of youth: in Lucian, as decidedly ‘the measure of the stature,’ as in Philostr., ‘the ripeness of manly age.’ The balance must here be inclined by the prevalence of the image of growth and extension, which can hardly be denied as pervading the passage) of the fulness of Christ (see note on ch. 1:23; 3:19. χρ. is a genitive subjective:—the fulness which Christ has: ‘Christ’s fulness.’ Cf. Galatians 4:19),—that (apparently another, and subordinate, aim of the bestowal of gifts on the church is here adduced. For we cannot go forward from the finished growth of ver. 13, and say that its object is ἵνα μηκ. ὦμεν νήπιοι, but must go back again to the growth itself and its purpose; that purpose being mainly the terminal one of ver. 13, and subordinately the intermediate one of our ver. 14. See Meyer’s note) we be no more (having been so once: τὸ μηκέτι δείκνυσι πάλαι τοῦτο παθόντας. Chr.) children, tossed (like waves: see James 1:6: Jos. Antt. ix.11. 3, ἔσται Νινευὴ κολυμβήθρα ὕδατος κινουμένη, οὕτως κ. ὁ δῆμος ἅπας ταρασσόμενος κ. κλυδωνιζόμενος οἰχήσεται φεύγων) and borne about by every wind of teaching (τῇ τροπῇ ἐμμένων καὶ ἀνέμους ἐκάλεσε τὰς διαφόρους διδασκαλίας. Thl. Wetst. quotes from Plut. de Audiend. Poetis, p. 28 d, μὴ παντὶ λόγῳ πλάγιον, ὥσπερ πνεύματι, παραδιδοὺς ἑαυτόν. The article before διδασκαλίας gives a greater definiteness to the abstract word, but cannot be expressed in English. So ἅπαξ προσουρήσαντα τῇ τραγῳδίᾳ, Aristoph. Ran. 95) in (elemental: “the evil atmosphere, as it were, in which the varying currents of doctrine exist and exert their force.” Ellic. This is better than instrumental, which, as we have just had παντὶ ἀνέμῳ, would be a repetition) the sleight (‘dice-playing,’ from κύβος. The word, as well as κυβεύω, was naturally and constantly used to signify ‘entrapping by deceit:’ κυβείαν τὴν πανουργίαν καλεῖ· πεποίηται δὲ ἀπὸ κύβων τὸ ὄνομα· ἴδιον δὲ τῶν κυβευόντων, τὸ τῇδε κἀκεῖσε μεταφέρειν τὰς ψήφους, καὶ πανούργως τοῦτο ποιεῖν. Thdrt. See examples in Wetst. The word was borrowed by the. Rabbinical writers, and used in this sense: see Schöttg. h. l.) of men (as contrasted with τοῦ χριστοῦ, ver. 13), in craftiness (reff.) furthering (tending or working towards: or perhaps, but not so well,—after, according to, gemäss) the system (see reff. and especially ch. 6:11, note, and Chr.’s explanation) of error (not, deceit, though in fact the sense is so: πλάνη, even in the passages generally alleged for this active meaning, is best taken as ‘error.’ The genitive πλάνης is subjective—the plans are those which error adopts. τῆς πλ., as τῆς διδασκαλίας: see above),
15.] but (opposition to the whole last verse; introducing as it does, not only ἀληθεύοντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ, but the αὐξήσωμεν below) being followers of truth (ἀληθεύειν cannot here mean merely to speak the truth, as the whole matter dealt with is more general; the particular follows, ver. 25. The verb has the widest meaning of being ἀληθής—and (as Stier remarks) not without a certain sense of effort, ‘sectari veritatem.’ The Vulg. gives it well, but perhaps with too exclusively practical a bearing, ‘veritatem facientes:’ Bengel, ‘verantes:’ the old English versions, ‘folowe the truth,’ which gives too much the objective sense to truth. It is almost impossible to express it satisfactorily in English. I have somewhat modified this last rendering, restoring the general sense of ‘truth.’ The objection to ‘followers of truth’ is that it may be mistaken for ‘searchers after truth’—but I can find no expression which does not lie open to equal objection) in love (must be joined with ἀληθεύοντες, not with αὐξήσωμεν. For 1) the mere participle with δέ would stand most feebly and awkwardly at the beginning of the sentence: and 2) we have already observed the habit of the Apostle to be, to subjoin, not to prefix, his qualifying clauses. ἐν ἀγάπη is added, as the element in which the Christian ἀληθεύειν must take place: it is not and cannot be an ἀληθεύειν at all hazards—a ‘fiat justitia, ruat cœlum’ truthfulness: but must be conditioned by love: a true-seeking and true-being with loving caution and kind allowance—not breaking up, but cementing, brotherly love by walking in truth) may grow up into (increase towards the measure of the stature of;—to the perfect man in Him. Again an allusion to the incorporation of all the Church in Christ: see below) Him in all things (accusative of reference; the article implying, in every department of our growth, ‘in all things wherein we grow,’ as Meyer) who is the Head (see ch. 1:22), namely, Christ (the nominative is best regarded as an attraction to the foregoing relative, just as in ‘urbem quam statuo vestra est’ the substantive is attracted to the following relative. So we have, Eur. Hecub. 754, πρὸς ἄνδρʼ, ὃς ἄρχει τῆσδε Πολυμήστωρ χθονός: and Plato, Apol. p. 41 a, εὑρήσει τοὺς ὡς ἀληθῶς δικαστάς, υἵπερ κ. λέγονται ἐκεῖ δικάζειν, Μίνως τε καὶ Ῥαδάμανθυς κ. Αἴακος. In the face of these examples, there is no occasion, with De W. and Ellic., to suppose that the Apostle places χρ. at the end to give force to ἐξ οὗ which follows. Beware of Eadie’s rendering, ‘who is the Head, the (ὁ χρ.) Christ,’ as alien from any design apparent in the argument, or indeed in the Epistle),
16.] from whom (see Colossians 2:19, an almost exact parallel, from which it is clear that ἐξ οὗ belongs to τὴν αὔξησιν ποιεῖται—He being the source of all growth) all the body (see on Col.), (which is) being closely framed together (note the present participle—the framing is not complete but still proceeding. For the word, see on ch. 2:21) and compounded (‘notat simul firmitudinem et consolidationem,’ Bengel),—by means of every joint (to be joined, not with the participles preceding, but (see below) with τ. αὔξ. ποι., as Chr., Thdrt., Beng., Mey., except that they understand ἁφή to mean αἴσθησις—the perception of the vital energy imparted from the head (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀπὸ τ. ἐγκεφάλου καταβαῖνον, τὸ διὰ τῶν νεύρων), which is the cause of all growth to the body. But it seems hardly controvertible that ἁφή does signify ‘joint’ (συναφή) in the parallel Colossians 2:19; it is there (see note) joined with συνδεσμῶν so closely, as necessarily to fall into the same class of anatomical arrangements, and cannot mean αἴσθησις. Also in Damoxenus in Athenæus, iii. 102 e, we have it in this sense—καὶ συμπλεκομένης οὐχὶ συμφώνους ἁφάς. Indeed the meaning Berührung, ‘point d’appui,’ would naturally lead to that of joint) of the (article just as παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκ. above: see note there) supply (the joints are the points of union where the supply passes to the different members, and by means of which the body derives the supply by which it grows. σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, σκεύη τῆς λειτουργίας: “a kind of genitive definitivus, by which the predominant use, purpose, or destination of the ἁφή is specified and characterized.” Ellic.),—according to vital working in the measure of each individual part,—carries on (remark the intensive middle ποιεῖται, denoting that the αὔξησις is not carried on ab extra, but by functional energy within the body itself) the growth of the body (I thus render, preferring to join as well διὰ π. ἁφ. τ. ἐπιχ. as κατʼ ἐν. κ τ.λ. with τ. αὔξ. ποιεῖται rather than with the preceding participles, 1) to avoid the very long awkward clause encumbered with qualifications, πᾶν τὸ σῶμα σ. κ. σ. διὰ πᾶσ. ἁφ. τῆς ἐπιχ. κατʼ ἐνέργ. ἐν μέτρ. ἑν. ἑκ. μέρους: 2) because the repetition of τοῦ σώματος is much more natural in a cumbrous apodosis, than in a simple apodosis after a cumbrous protasis: 3) for perspicuity: the whole instrumentality and modality here described belonging to the growth (ἐπιχορ., ἐνέργ., ἐν μέτρῳ), and not merely to the compaction of the body. τοῦ σώματος is repeated, rather than ἑαυτοῦ used, perhaps for solemnity, perhaps (which is more likely) to call back the attention to the subject αῶμα after so long a description of its means and measure of growth) for the building up of itself in love (Meyer would join ἐν ἀγ. with τ. αὔξ. τ. σώμ. ποι. as suiting better ver. 15. This is hardly necessary, and encumbers still further the already sufficiently qualified αὔξ. ποιεῖται. Love is just as much the element in which the edification, as that in which the growth, takes place).
[B] (See on ver. 1.) 4:17-6:9.] Exhortations to a course of walking and conversation, derived from the ground just laid down, and herein (4:17-5:21) general duties of Christians as united to Christ their Head.
17.] This (which follows) then (resumptive of ver. 1; as Thdrt., πάλιν ἀνέλαβε τῆς παραινέσεως τὸ προοίμιον. This is shewn by the fact that the μηκέτι περιπατ. here is only the negative side of, and therefore subordinate to, the ἀξίως περιπ. of ver. 1. Vv. 4-16 form a digression arising out of τ. ἑνότητα τ. πν. in ver. 3. Still this must not be too strictly pressed: the digression is all in the course of the argument, and μηκέτι here is not without reference to μηκέτι in ver. 14. The fervid style of St. Paul will never divide sharply into separate logical portions—each runs into and overlaps the other) I say (see Romans 12:3. There is no need to understand δεῖν before the infinitive which follows. The μηκ. ὑμ. περιπατεῖν is the object of λέγω expressed in the infinitive, just as regularly as in βούλομαί σε λέγειν. That an imperative sense is involved, lies in the context) and testify (see reff.: cf. Plato, Phileb. p. 47 d, ταῦτα δὲ τότε μὲν οὐκ ἐμαρτυράμεθα, νῦν δὲ λέγομεν: Thuc. vi. 80; viii. 53, Duk.) in the Lord (element; not ‘formula jurandi,’ see 1Thessalonians 4:1, note), that ye no longer (‘as once:’ implied also by καί below) walk as also (besides yourselves: though the Ephesians did not walk so now, their returning to such a course is made the logical hypothesis) the Gentiles (ye being now distinguished from them by being members of God’s church, though once Gentiles according to the flesh. Perhaps from this not being seen, λοιπά was inserted) walk in (element) vanity (see Romans 1:21: they ἐματαιώθησαν in their downward course from God. But we must not restrict the word to idolatry: it betokens the waste of the whole rational powers on worthless objects. See also on Romans 8:20) of their mind (their rational part), being (beware of referring ὄντες to ἀπηλλ. with Eadie. Besides its breaking the force of the sentence, I doubt if such an arrangement is ever found) darkened (see again Romans 1:21, and the contrast brought out 1Thessalonians 5:4, 1Thessalonians 5:5, and ch. 5:8) in (the dative gives the sphere or element in which. The difference between it and the accusative of reference (τὴν διάνοιαν ἐσκοτισμένους, Jos. Antt. ix. 4. 3) is perhaps this, that the dative is more subjective—The man is dark:—wherein? in his διάνοια: the accusative more objective—Darkness is on the man:—in him, whereon? on his διάνοια) their understanding (perceptive faculty: intellectual discernment: see note, ch. 2:3), alienated (reff.: objective result of the subjective ‘being darkened’) from the life of God (not ‘modus vivendi quem Deus instituit,’ as the ancients (Thdrt., Thl., and Grot., al.), for ζωή in N. T. never has this meaning (see the two clearly distinguished in Galatians 5:25), but always life, as opposed to death. Thus ‘the life of God’ will mean, as Beza beautifully says, ‘vita illa qua Deus vivit in suis:’ for, as Beng., ‘vita spiritalis accenditur in credentibus ex ipsa Dei vita.’ Stier makes an important remark: “The Apostle is here treating, not so much of the life of God in Christ which is regenerated in believers, as of the original state of man, when God was his Life and Light, before the irruption of darkness into human nature”) on account of the ignorance (of God: see ref. 1 Pet.) which is in them (not, by nature: cf. Romans 1:21-28: they did not choose to retain God in their knowledge, and this loss of the knowledge of Him alienated them from the divine Life), on account of (second clause, subordinate to ἀπηλλ.: not subordinate to and rendering a reason for τὴν ἄγν. τ. οὖσαν, as Meyer, which would be awkward, and less like St. Paul) the hardening (‘πώρωσις est obduratio, callus. Rem quæ hac voce significatur, eleganter describit Plutarchus, de auditione p. 46, ubi nullo monitorum ad vitam emendandam sensu duci, negotium esse dicit ἀνελευθέρου τινὸς δεινῶς κ. ἀπαθοῦς πρὸς τὸ αἰδεῖσθαι νέου διὰ συνήθειαν ἁμαρτημάτων κ. συνέχειαν, ὥσπερ ἐν σκληρᾷ σαρκὶ κ. τυλώδει τῇ ψυχῇ, μώλωπα μὴ λαμβάνοντος.’ Kypke. The sense ‘blindness’ is said by Fritzsche, on Romans 11:7, to be invented by the grammarians. Thdrt. says πώρωσιν τὴν ἐσχάτην ἀναλγησίαν λέγει· καὶ γὰρ αἱ τῷ σώματι ἐγγινόμεναι πωρώσεις οὐδεμίαν αἴσθησιν ἔχουσι διὰ τὸ παντελῶς νενεκρῶσθαι) of their heart,
19.] who as (οἵτινες, see ch. 1:23 note) being past feeling (ὥσπερ τῶν ἀπὸ πάθους τινὸς μέρη πολλάκις τοῦ σώματος νενεκρωμένων οἷς οὐ μόνον ἄλγος οὐδὲν ἐκεῖθεν ἐγγίνεται, ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ ἡ τοῦ μέρους ἀφαίρεσις αἴσθησιν ἐμποιεῖ. Theod. Mops. in Stier. From the ‘desperatio’ of the Vulg. Syr., seems to have come the reading ἀπηλπικότες, see var. readd. The obduration described may spring in ordinary life from despair:—so Cicero, Ep. fam. ii. 16, in Bengel, ‘diuturna desperatione rerum obduruisse animum ad dolorem novum,’—and Polyb. ix. 40. 9, ἀπαλγοῦντες ταῖς ἐλπίσι (where see Ernesti’s note), but may also result from other reasons. Certainly despair has nothing to do with the matter here, but rather the carrying on of the πώρωσις to positive ἀπάλγησις by the increasing habit of sin) gave up themselves (“ἑαυτ., with terrific emphasis. It accorded here with the hortatory object of the Apostle to bring into prominence that which happened on the side of their own free will. It is otherwise in Romans 1:24, παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεός: and the two treatments of the fact are not inconsistent, but parallel, each having its vindication and its full truth in the pragmatism of the context.” Meyer) to wantonness (see Galatians 5:19 note) in order to (conscious aim, not merely incidental result of the παραδοῦναι—see below) the working (yes and more—the being ἐργάται—the working as at a trade or business—but we have no one word for it: cf. Chrys., ὁρᾷς πῶς αὐτοὺς ἀποστερεῖ συγγνώμης ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας εἰπών; οὐ παραπεσόντες, φησίν, ἥμαρτον, ἀλλʼ εἰργάζοντο αὐτὰ τὰ δεινά, κ. μελέτῃ τῷ πράγματι ἐκέχρηντο) of impurity of every kind (see Romans 1:21-27. Ellic. remarks, “As St. Paul nearly invariably places πᾶς before, and not as here after the abstract (anarthrous) substantive, it seems proper to specify it (that circumstance) in translation”) in greediness (such is the meaning, and not ‘with greediness,’ i.e. greedily, as E. V., Chr. (appy), Thdrt., Œc., Erasm., Calv., Est., al., nor ‘certatim, quasi agatur de lucro, ita ut alius alium superare contendat,’ as Beza, nor as Harl. ‘in gluttony’ (which meaning his citation from Chrys. does not bear out).
πλεονεξία, the desire of having more, is obviously a wider vice than mere covetousness, though this latter is generally its prominent form. It is self-seeking, or greed: in whatever direction this central evil tendency finds its employment. So that it may include in itself as an element, as here, lustful sins, though it can never actually mean ‘lasciviousness.’ In 1Corinthians 5:10 it (πλεονέκταις) is disjoined from πόρνοις by ἤ, and joined by καί to ἅρπαξιν—clearly therefore meaning covetous persons. See also ch. 5:3, and Colossians 3:5: and compare Ellicott’s note here).
20.] But you (emphatic) did not thus (οὐκ ἐπὶ τούτοις, Chr.—not on these conditions, nor with such prospects. Beza suggests that a stop might be put at οὕτως—‘ye are not thus: ye learned,’ &c.: but the sense is altogether marred by it) learn Christ (Christ personal—not to be explained away into ὀρθῶς βιοῦν, as Chr., or any thing else: cf. 1Corinthians 1:23, ἡμεῖς κηρύσσομεν χριστόν: Philippians 1:15-18; Colossians 2:6. Christ Himself is the subject of all Christian preaching and all Christian learning—τὸ γνῶναι αὐτόν (Philippians 3:10) is the great lesson of the Christian life, which these Ephesians began to learn at their conversion: see next verse), if, that is (see ch. 3:2 note, and 2Corinthians 5:3. He does not absolutely assume the fact, but implies that he then believed and still trusts it was so), it was Him that ye heard (if ye really heard at your conversion the voice of the Shepherd Himself calling you as his sheep—τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἐμὰ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούει, John 10:27, see also John 5:25) and in Him that ye were taught (if it was in vital union with Him, as members of Him, that ye after your conversion received my teaching. Both these clauses are contained in ἐμάθετε τὸν χρ.,—the first hearing of the voice of the Son of God, and growing in the knowledge of Him when awakened from spiritual death), as is truth in Jesus (the rendering and connexion of this clause have been much disputed. I will remark, 1) that it seems by its form to be subordinate to ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε, and the καθώς to express the quality of the διδαχή: 2) that in this case we have ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησ. answering to ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε. 3) to take the easier members first, ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ is a closer personal specification of ἐν αὐτῷ—in Jesus—that one name recalling their union in both in His Person, and, which is important here, in His example also: 4) καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια expands ἐδιδάχθητε—if the nature of the teaching which you received was according to that which is truth (in Him). So that the meaning will amount to this—if ye were taught in Him according to that which is truth in Jesus;—if you received into yourselves, when you listened to the teaching of the Gospel, that which is true (respecting you—and Him) in your union with and life in Jesus, the Son of God manifest in the flesh. See Ellicott’s note),
22.] namely (the infinitive depends on ἐδιδάχθητε (not on λέγω, ver. 17, as Bengel and Stier), and carries therefore (not in itself, but as thus dependent) an imperative force—see on ver. 17) that ye put off (cf. ἐνδύσασθαι ver. 24: aorist, because the act of putting off is one and decisive, so also of ἐνδύσασθαι below: but ἀνανεοῦσθαι, because the renewal is a gradual process. Beware of rendering, with Eadie and Peile, ‘that ye have put off,’ which is inconsistent with the context (cf. ver. 25), and not justified by ὑμᾶς being expressed. This latter is done merely to resume the subject after the parenthetical ver. 21), as regards your former conversation (explains the reference of ἀποθέσθαι: q. d. (for you were clothed with it in your former conversation): and must not, as by Œc., Jer., Grot., Est., al., be joined with τὸν παλ. ἄνθρ.: on ἀναστρ., see note, Galatians 1:13), the old man (your former unconverted selves, see note on Romans 6:6) which is (“almost, ‘as it is, &c.,’ the participle having a slight causal force, and serving to superadd a further motive.” Ellic.) being corrupted (inasmuch as the whole clause is subjectively spoken of the παλ. ἄνθρ., it is better to take φθ. (as usually) of inward ‘waxing corrupt,’ as in reff. (especially Jude), than of destination to perdition, as Mey., which would be introducing an outward objective element) according to (in conformity with; as might be expected under the guidance of) the lusts of deceit (ἡ ἀπάτη is personified—the lusts which are the servants, the instruments of deceit: cf. ἐκ χειλέων ἀπάτης μου, Judith 9:10. Beware of the unsatisfactory hendiadys, ‘deceitful lusts,’ E. V., which destroys the whole force and beauty of the contrast below to ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας),
23.] and undergo renewal (both should be marked,—the gradual process implied in the present, and the passive character of the verb. Of this latter there can be no doubt: the middle ἀνανεοῦσθαι having always an active force: so we have ἀνανεοῦσθαι τ. συμμαχίαν, Polyb. xxiii. 1. 5: see many more examples in the Lex. Polybianum, and in Harl.’s note here: and we have even, in Autonin. iv. 3 (Harl.), ἀνανέου σεαυτόν. Stier’s arguments in favour of the middle sense seem to me to be misplaced. ἐνδύσασθαι is middle, but that refers to a direct definite reflexive act; whereas the process here insisted on is one carried on by the Spirit of God, not by themselves. And it is not to the purpose to ask, as Stier does, ‘How can the Apostle say and testify by way of exhortation, that they should be renewed as they ought to walk?’ for we have perpetually this seeming paradox, of God’s work encouraged or checked by man’s cooperation or counteraction. The distinction between ἀνακαίνωσις and ἀνανέωσις is not (as Olsh.) beside the purpose here, but important. The reference in καινός (novus) to the objective is prominent, in νέος (recens) to the subjective. The καινός is used as opposed to the former self; the νέος, as regards the new nature and growth in it: cf. Colossians 3:10, τὸν νέον, τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον. Thus in Romans 12:2 it would not be said μεταμορφ. τῇ ἀνανεώσει τ. νοός, because it is not by nor in the ἀνανέωσις, but by or in the ἀνακαίνωσις, that the μεταμορφ. takes place. Whereas here, where a process of growing up in the state of ἀνακαίνωσις is in question, ἀνανεοῦσθαι is properly used. ἀνακαινοῦσθαι is more ‘renewal from the age of the old man;’ ἀνανεοῦσθαι, ‘renewal in the youth of the new man.’ See Tittmann, Syn. p. 60 ff.) by (though (see more below) the expression τῷ πν. τοῦ νοὸς ὑμ. stands contrasted with ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν, ver. 17, yet the omission of ἐν here serves to mark that not merely the sphere in which, but the agency by which, is now adduced) the Spirit of your (emphatic) mind (the expression is unusual, and can only be understood by reference to the N. T. meaning of πνεῦμα, as applied to men. First, it is clearly here not exclusively nor properly ‘the Holy Spirit of God,’ because it is called τὸ πν. τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν. It is a πνεῦμα, in some sense belonging to, not merely indwelling in, ὑμεῖς. The fact is, that in the N. T. the πνεῦμα of man is only then used ‘sensu proprio,’ as worthy of its place and governing functions, when it is one Spirit with the Lord. We read of no πνεῦμα παλαιόν: the πνευματικός is necessarily a man dwelt in by the Spirit of God: the ψυχικός is the ‘animal’ man led by the ψυχή, and πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχων, Jude 1:19. Thus then the disciples of Christ are ἀνανεούμενοι, undergoing a process of renewal in the life of God, by the agency of the πνεῦμα of their minds, the restored and divinely-informed leading principle of their νοῦς, just as the children of the world are walking in the ματαιότης of their minds. νοῦς, see above, ver. 17),
24.] and put on (see on ἀποθέσθαι above) the new man (as opposed to παλαιόν; not meaning Christ, any further than as He is its great Head and prototype, see on κτισθ.), which was created (mark the aorist, as historical fact, once for all, in Christ. In each individual case, it is not created again, but put on: cf. Romans 13:14) after God (= κατʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν, Colossians 3:10: also κατʼ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν, Genesis 1:27: so 1Peter 1:15, κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον καὶ αὐτοὶ ἅγιοι κ.τ.λ. The doctrine of the restoration to us of the divine image in Christ, as here implied, is not to be overlooked. Müller, ‘Lehre von der Sünde,’ ii. p. 485 ff., denies any allusion to it here, but on insufficient grounds, as indeed he himself virtually allows. Not the bare fact of Genesis 1:27, but the great truth which that fact represents, is alluded to. The image of God in Christ is a far more glorious thing than Adam ever had, or could have had: but still the κατʼ εἰκόνα θεοῦ, = κατὰ θεόν, is true of both: and, as Müller himself says, ‘jenes ist erst die wahrhafte Erfüllung von diesem’) in (element, or sphere, of the character of the new man) righteousness and holiness of truth (again, beware of ‘true holiness,’ E. V.—as destroying the whole antithesis and force of the words. The genitive, too, belongs to both substantives.
ἡ ἀλήθεια, God’s essence, John 3:33; Romans 1:25; Romans 3:7; Romans 15:8, opposed to ἡ ἀπάτη above. “δικαιοσύνη and ὁσιότης occur together, but in contrary order, in ref. Luke, and Wisd. 9:3. The adjectives and adverbs are connected, 1Thessalonians 2:10: Titus 1:8. δικαιοσύνη betokens a just relation among the powers of the soul within, and towards men and duties without. But ὁσιότης, as the Heb. תָּמִים (Proverbs 2:21.Amo 5:10Amo 5:10), betokens the integrity of the spiritual life, and the piety towards God of which that is the condition. Hence both expressions together complete the idea of moral perfection (Matthew 5:48). As here the ethical side of the divine image is brought out, Colossians 3:10 brings out the intellectual. The new birth alone leads to ἐπίγνωσις: all knowledge which proceeds not from renewal of heart, is but outward appearance: and of this kind was that among the false Colossian teachers. On the other hand, in Wisd. 2:23 (ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισεν τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐπʼ ἀφθαρσίᾳ, καὶ εἰκόνα τῆς ἰδίας ἰδιότητος (ἀϊδιότ. F. (not A.)) ἐποίησεν αὐτόν) the physical side of the divine image is brought out.” Olsh. Stier suggests that there is perhaps a slight contrast in δικαιοσύνη to πλεονεξία ver. 19, and in ὁσιότης (τὸ καθαρόν, Chr.) to ἀκαθαρσία).
25.] Wherefore (because of the general character of the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος as contrasted with the παλαιός, which has been given: εἰπὼν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον καθολικῶς, λοιπὸν αὐτὸν κ. ὑπογράφει κατὰ μέρος, Chr.) having put off (the aorist should be noticed here: it was open to the Apostle to write ἀποτιθέμενοι, but he prefers the past—because the man must have once for all put off falsehood as a characteristic before he enters the habit of speaking truth) falsehood (abstract, see reff.), speak truth each one with his neighbour (‘sciamus de Zacharia propheta sumptum,’ Jer.: see ref. ‘We allow ourselves the remark, hoping it may not be over-refining, that the Apostle instead of πρὸς τὸν πλησίον with the LXX, prefers following the Hebrew text and writing μετά, to express by anticipation our inner connexion with one another as ἀλλήλων μέλη.’ Stier): for we are members of one another (Romans 12:5. The ἀλλήλων brings out the relation between man and man more strongly than if he had said, of one body: at the same time it serves to remind them that all mutual duties of Christians are grounded on their union to and in Christ, and not on mere ethical considerations).
26.] Be ye angry and sin not (citation: see ref. Psa.: and that from the LXX, not from the Hebrew, which (see Hupfeld on the Psalms in loc.) means ‘tremble (‘stand in awe,’ E. V.) and sin not.’ The first imperative, although jussive, is so in a weaker degree than the other: it is rather assumptive, than permissive.
‘Be angry (if it must be so):’ as if he had said, 1Corinthians 7:31, χράσθε τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ (for that must be), καὶ μὴ καταχρᾶσθε. As Chr., εἴ τις ἐμπέσοι ποτὲ εἰς τὸ πάθος, ἀλλὰ μὴ εἰς τοσοῦτον. Thus Tholuck’s question, Bergpred., p. 186, is answered:—“If Paul speaks of culpable anger, how can he distinguish sinning from being angry? If of allowable anger, how can he expect not to retain it over the night?”—the answer being, that he speaks of anger which is an infirmity, but by being cherished, may become a sin): let the sun not set upon (so Thuc. has, νὺξ ἐπεγένετο τῷ ἔργῳ) your irritation (i.e. set to your wrath with a brother (in every case: the omission of the art. gives the sense ‘upon any παροργισμός’) a speedy limit, and indeed that one which nature prescribes—the solemn season when you part from that brother to meet again perhaps in eternity. The Commentators quote from Plut. de am. frat., p. 488 b, a custom of the Pythagoreans, εἴποτε προσαχθεῖεν εἰς λοιδορίας ὑπʼ ὀργῆς, πρὶν ἢ τὸν ἥλιον δῦναι, τὰς δεξιὰς ἐμβάλλοντες ἀλλήλοις κ. ἀσπασάμενοι διελύοστο.
παροργισμός is a late word, apparently not found beyond the N. T. and LXX: the verb -ίζω occurs ch. 6:4, where see note. The παρ- implies, irritation on occasion given, as in παρορμάω, παροξύνω),
27.] nor again (there is a slight climax: see below. The rec. μήτε would require that μή before should be capable of being taken as μήτε, which it clearly cannot, on account of its position after ὁ ἥλιος) give scope (opportunity of action, which you would do by continuing in a state of παροργισμός) to the devil (not, to the slanderer, as Erasm., al.: διάβολος as a substantive always has this personal meaning in the N. T.; see reff.).
28.] Let him that stealeth (not ‘that stole,’ as E. V.; ‘qui furabatur,’ Vulg.: cf. reff., and Winer, § 45. 7. Stier remarks well, that the word lies between κλέψας and κλέπτης: the former would be too mild, the latter too strong) steal no longer, but rather (οὐ γὰρ ἀρκεῖ παύσασθαι τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἐναντίαν αὐτῆς ὁδὸν μετελθεῖν, Thl.: similarly Chr.) let him labour, working (cf. besides reff., John 6:27 and note) with his hands (contrast to his former idleness for good, and bad use of those hands) that which is good (τὸ ἀγ. ‘antitheton ad furtum prius manu piceata commissum.’ Beng.), in order that (as a purpose to be set before every Christian in his honest labour) he may have to impart to him that has need.
29.] Let every worthless (ὃ μὴ τὴν ἰδίαν χρείαν πληροῖ, Chr. (in Mey.: not in Hom. h. l.): not so much ‘filthy,’—see ch. 5:4) saying not come forth from your mouth,—but whatever (saying) is good for edification of the (present) need (the χρεία is the deficiency: the part which needs οἰκοδομεῖσθαι, = the defect to be supplied by edification; and so is the regular objective genitive after οἰκοδομήν, which has no article, because it has a more general reference than merely to τῆς χρείας, which afterwards limits it. The renderings ‘quâ sit opus’ (Erasm., Peile, al.), ‘use of edifying’ (Syr., Beza, E. V.), are manifestly wrong), that it may give grace (minister spiritual benefit: be a means of conveying through you the grace of God. Such, from the context (cf. οἰκοδ. τῆς χρ.), must be the meaning, and not ‘may give pleasure,’ as Thdrt., Kypke, al.) to them that hear:
30.] and (Thl. finely gives the connexion: ἐὰν εἴπῃς ῥῆμα σαπρὸν κ. ἀνάξιον τοῦ χριστιανοῦ στόματος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ἐλύπησας, ἀλλὰ τὸ πν. τ. θεοῦ) grieve not (the expression is anthropopathic,—but as Meyer remarks, truly and touchingly sets forth the love of God, which (Romans 5:5) is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit) the Holy Spirit of God (the repetition of the articles gives solemnity and emphasis), in whom (as the element, condition, of the sealing: not by whom; the sealing, both of the Lord and of us His members, is the act of the Fathar, John 6:27: the Spirit being the seal, ch. 1:13) ye were sealed unto (in reservation for) the day of redemption (the day when redemption shall be complete in glory—see again ch. 1:13. On the genitive, see Winer, § 30. 2,—so ἡμέρα ὀργῆς, Romans 2:5, &c. So far from the doctrine of final perseverance, for which Eadie more sharply than reasonably contends, being involved here, there could hardly be a plainer denial of it by implication. For in what would issue the grieving of the Holy Spirit, if not in quenching His testimony and causing Him to depart from them? The caution of Thl., μὴ λύσῃς τὴν σφραγῖδα, is a direct inference from the passage).
31.] Let all bitterness (οἱ δὲ πικροὶ δυσδιάλυτοι, κ. πολὺν χρόνον ὀργίζονται, κατέχουσι γὰρ τὸν θυμόν, Aristot. Eth. Nic. iv. 11. ὁ τοιοῦτος κ. βαρύθυμός ἐστι κ. οὐδέποτε ἀνίησι τὴν ψυχήν, ἀεὶ σύννους ὢν κ. σκυθρωπός, Chrys. So that it is not only of speech, but of disposition) and wrath and anger (θυμὸς μέν ἐστι πρόσκαιρος, ὀργὴ δὲ πολυχρόνιος μνησικακία, Ammon. Both are effects of πικρία, considered as a rooted disposition. See Trench, Synon., § 37) and clamour (‘in quem erumpunt homines irati,’ Est. Chrys. quaintly says, ἵππος γάρ ἐστιν ἀναβάτην φέρων ἡ κραυγὴ τὴν ὀργήν· συμπόδισον τὸν ἵππον, κ. κατέστρεψας τὸν ἀναβάτην. His reproofs to the ladies of Constantinople on this head give a curious insight into the domestic manners of the time) and evil speaking (the more chronic form of κραυγή—the reviling another not by an outbreak of abuse, but by the insidious undermining of evil surmise and slander. Chrys. traces a progress in the vices mentioned: ὅρα πῶς πρόεισι τὸ κακόν. ἡ πικρία τὸν θυμὸν ἔτεκεν, ὁ θ. τὴν ὀργήν, ἡ ὀρ. τὴν κραυγήν, ἡ κρ. τὴν βλασφημίαν, τουτέστι τὰς λοιδορίας) be put away from you, with all malice (the inner root, out of which all these spring, ἢ οὐκ οἶδας, ὅτι αἱ πυρκαϊαὶ μάλιστά εἰσι χαλεπώταται, αἵπερ ἂν ἔνδον τρεφόμεναι μὴ φαίνωνται τοῖς περιεστηκόσιν ἐκτός; Chrys.):
32.] but be ye (it is very difficult to mark the distinction between γίνεσθε and ἐστέ in a translation. Become ye (Ellic.) is certainly too far off the time present; be ye, too immediately belonging to it. The difficulty is best seen in such a command as that in John 20:27, μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος ἀλλὰ πιστός) towards one another kind (see note, Galatians 5:22), tender-hearted (“εὔσπλ. profanis animosum, fortem, cordatum notat (see Eurip. Rhes. 192). At res ipsa docet h. l. esse, misericordem, benignum (ref.). In testament. xii. patriarch. p. 644, de Deo dicitur: ἐλεήμων ἐστὶ καὶ εὔσπλαγχνος, ibid. paulo post; piis ἴασις κ. εὐσπλαγχνία, ‘salus et misericordia futura’ dicitur, ibid. p. 641, ἔχετε εὐσπλαγχνίαν κατὰ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου.” Kypke. So also in the prayer of Manasseh, 6, εὔσπλαγχνος, μακρόθυμος κ. πολυέλεος; see also the parallel, Colossians 3:12), forgiving (see Luke 7:42. Bengel notices that the three, χρηστοί, εὔσπλαγχνοι, χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς, are opposed respectively to πικρία, θυμός, and ὀργή) each other (this idiom is found in classical Greek—καθʼ αὑτοῖν δικρατεῖς λόγχας στήσαντʼ ἔχετον κοινοῦ θανάτου μέρος ἄμφω, Soph. Antig. 145. See Matthiæ, Gr. § 489. See remarks on its especial propriety as distinguished from ἀλλήλοις, on ref. Col.), even as (argument from His example whom we ought to resemble—also from the mingled motives of justice and gratitude, as Matthew 18:33, οὐκ ἔδει καί σε ἐλεῆσαι τὸν σύνδουλόν σου, ὡς κἀγώ σε ἠλέησα;) God in Christ (not ‘for Christ’s sake,’ as E. V., see 2Corinthians 5:19, 2Corinthians 5:20. God in Christ, manifested in Him, in all He has done, and suffered: Christ is the sphere, the conditional element in which this act took place. Chrys. appears to take ἐν as ‘at the cost of,’ as (?) Joshua 6:26; Matthew 17:21: for he says, ἵνα σοι συγγνῷ, τὸν υἱὸν ἔθυσε) forgave you (not ‘has forgiven’ (κεχάρισται), as E. V. It is the historical fact of Christ once for all putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, which is alluded to. So that we are not 1) to attempt to change the meaning into a future (“even as thou, Lord, for Christ’s sake, hast promised to forgive us.” Family Prayers by Bishop Blomfield, p. 43): nor 2) to render χαριζόμενοι and ἐχαρίσατο, with Erasmus, ‘largientes’ and ‘largitus est,’ a meaning clearly at variance with the context).