Ephesians 2:2
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:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(2) The course (or, age) of this world.—Here again are united the two words often rendered by “world,” the former signifying simply “the age,” or appointed period of this visible universe, the latter its material and sensuous character. When we are warned against the one (as in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world;” see also 1Corinthians 1:20; 1Corinthians 2:6; 2Timothy 4:10), it is against the” vanity”—that is, the transitoriness and unreality—of the present life; when against the other (see Galatians 4:3; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:8-10), it is against its “pomp,” its carnal, material, unspiritual splendour. Here the former life of the Ephesians is described as at once transitory and carnal.

The prince of the power of the air.—The connection of the “world” with the Evil One as its “prince” is not uncommon in Holy Scripture (see John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11); and the “power” of this passage is exactly that which Satan claims as “committed” to him in Luke 4:32. But the phrase “the power of the air” is unique and difficult. We note (1) that this phrase signifies not “a power over the air,” but “a power dwelling in the region of the air.” Now, the word “power” (see Note on Ephesians 1:21), both in the singular and the plural, is used in this Epistle, almost technically, of superhuman power. Here, therefore, the Evil One is described as “the prince,” or ruler, of such superhuman power—considered here collectively as a single power, prevailing over the world, and working in the children of disobedience—in the same sense in which he is called the “prince of the devils,” the individual spirits of wickedness (Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24). Next (2), Why is this spoken of as ruling “in the air”? There may possibly be allusion (as has been supposed) to the speculations of Jewish or Gentile philosophy; but it seems far more probable that the “air” is here meant simply to describe a sphere, and therefore a power, below the heaven and yet above the earth. The “air” is always opposed to the bright “ether,” or to the spiritual “heaven”; the word and its derivatives carry with them the ideas of cloudiness, mist, and even darkness. Hence it is naturally used to suggest the conception of the evil power, as allowed invisibly to encompass and move above this world, yet overruled by the power of the true heaven, which it vainly strives to overcloud and hide from earth. In Ephesians 6:12 the powers of evil are described with less precision of imagery, as dwelling “in heavenly places,” the opposition being there only between what is human and superhuman; yet even there the “darkness” of this world is referred to, corresponding to the conception of cloudiness and dimness always attaching to “the air.”

The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.—The Greek here shows that the word “spirit” must be taken in apposition, not to “prince,” as an English reader would naturally suppose, but to “power.” As the individual demons when considered as working on the human spirit are called spirits—“unclean spirits “in the Gospels, “evil spirits” in Acts 19:12 (comp. Acts 16:16), “deceiving spirits” in 1Timothy 4:1—so here the collective power of evil, considered as working in “the children of disobedience,” is called “a spirit,” like the “spirit of the world,” in 1Corinthians 2:12, but here even more distinctly opposed to the “Spirit of God.” In reference to this spiritual power over the soul our Lord’s casting out demons is described (Acts 10:28) as a deliverance of those who were “oppressed of the devil;” the apostolic work of conversion (Acts 26:18) as a turning “from the power of Satan to God,” and excommunication as “a deliverance to Satan” (1Corinthians 5:5; 1Timothy 1:20); and in 2Thessalonians 2:9 exactly the same word for “inward working” is applied to the action of Satan on the soul. From this half-personal use of the word “spirit” it is easy to pass to the more abstract sense of an inner spiritual principle (as in Romans 8:15; Romans 11:8; 2Timothy 1:7; 1John 4:6).

2:1-10 Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.Wherein - In which sins, or in the practice of which transgressions.

Ye walked - You lived, life being often compared to a journey or a race. note, Romans 6:4.

According to the course of this world - In conformity with the customs and manners of the world at large. The word rendered here as "world" - αἰων aiōn - means properly "age," but is often used to denote the present world, with its cares, temptations, and desires; and here denotes particularly the people of this world. The meaning is, that they had lived formerly as other people lived, and the idea is strongly conveyed that the course of the people of this world is to walk in trespasses and sins. The sense is, that there was by nature no difference between them and others, and that all the difference which now existed had been made by grace.

According to the prince of the power of the air - see Ephesians 6:12; compare the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:4. There can be no doubt that Satan is here intended, and that Paul means to say that they were under his control as their leader and prince. The phrase, "the prince of the power," may mean either "the powerful prince," or it may mean that this prince had power over the air, and lived and reigned there particularly. The word "prince" - ἄρχοντα archonta - "Archon," means one first in authority and power, and is then applied to anyone who has the pre-eminence or rule. It is applied to Satan, or the chief of the fallen angels, as where he is called "the prince - ἄρχων archōn - of the devils," Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15; "the prince of this world," John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11. But "why" he is here called the prince having power "over the air," it is not easy to determine.

Robinson (Lexicon) supposes it to be because he is lord of the powers of the air; that is, of the demons who dwell and rule in the atmosphere. So Doddridge supposes that it means that he controls the fallen spirits who are permitted to range the regions of the atmosphere. It is generally admitted that the apostle here refers to the prevailing opinions both among the Jews and pagan, that the air was thickly populated with spirits or demons. That this was a current opinion, may be seen fully proved in Wetstein; compare Bloomfield, Grotius, and particularly Koppe. Why the region of the air was supposed to be the dwelling-place of such spirits, is now unknown. The opinion may have been either that such spirits "dwelt" in the air, or that they had control over it, according to the later Jewish belief. Cocceius and some others explain the word "air" here as meaning the same as "darkness," as in profane writers. It is evident to my mind that Paul does not speak of this as a mere tradition, opinion, or vagary of the fancy, or as a superstitious belief: but that he refers to it as a thing which he regarded as true. In this opinion I see no absurdity that should make it impossible to believe it. For:

(1) the Scriptures abundantly teach that there are fallen, wicked spirits; and the existence of fallen angels is no more improbable than the existence of fallen people.

(2) the Bible teaches that they have much to do with this world. They tempted man; they inflicted disease in the time of the Saviour; they are represented as alluring and deceiving the race.

(3) they must have "some" locality - some part of the universe where they dwell. That they were not confined down to hell in the time of the Redeemer, is clear from the New Testament; for they are often represented as having afflicted and tortured people.

(4) why is there any improbability in the belief that their residence should have been in the regions of the air? That while they were suffered to be on earth to tempt and afflict people, they should have been permitted especially to occupy these! regions? Who can tell what may be in the invisible world, and what spirits may be permitted to fill up the vast space that now composes the universe? And who can tell what control may have been given to such fallen spirits over the regions of the atmosphere - over clouds, and storms, and pestilential air? People have control over the earth, and pervert and abuse the powers of nature to their own ruin and the ruin of each other. The elements they employ for the purposes of ruin and of temptation. Fruit and grain they convert to poison; minerals, to the destruction caused by war. In itself considered, there is nothing more improbable that spirits of darkness may have had control over the regions of the air, than that fallen man has over the earth; and no more improbability that that power has been abused to ruin people, than that the power of people is abused to destroy each other. No one can "prove" that the sentiment here referred to by Paul is "not" true; and no one can show how the doctrine that fallen spirits may do mischief in any part of the works of God, is anymore improbable than that wicked "men" should do the same thing. The word "power" here - "power of the air" - I regard as synonymous with "dominion or rule;" "a prince having dominion or rule over the air."

The spirit that now worketh - That still lives, and whose energy for evil is still seen and felt among the wicked. Paul here means undoubtedly to teach that there was such a spirit, and that he was still active in controlling people.

The children of disobedience - The wicked; Colossians 3:6.

2. the course of this world—the career (literally, "the age," compare Ga 1:4), or present system of this world (1Co 2:6, 12; 3:18, 19, as opposed to "the world to come"): alien from God, and lying in the wicked one (1Jo 5:19). "The age" (which is something more external and ethical) regulates "the world" (which is something more external).

the prince of the power of the air—the unseen God who lies underneath guiding "the course of this world" (2Co 4:4); ranging through the air around us: compare Mr 4:4, "fowls of the air" (Greek, "heaven") that is, (Eph 2:15), "Satan" and his demons. Compare Eph 6:12; Joh 12:31. Christ's ascension seems to have cast Satan out of heaven (Re 12:5, 9, 10, 12, 13), where he had been heretofore the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:6-11). No longer able to accuse in heaven those justified by Christ, the ascended Saviour (Ro 8:33, 34), he assails them on earth with all trials and temptations; and "we live in an atmosphere poisonous and impregnated with deadly elements. But a mighty purification of the air will be effected by Christ's coming" [Auberlen], for Satan shall be bound (Re 12:12, 13, 15, 17; 20:2, 3). "The power" is here used collectively for the "powers of the air"; in apposition with which "powers" stand the "spirits," comprehended in the singular, "the spirit," taken also collectively: the aggregate of the "seducing spirits" (1Ti 4:1) which "work now (still; not merely, as in your case, 'in time past') in the sons of disobedience" (a Hebraism: men who are not merely by accident disobedient, but who are essentially sons of disobedience itself: compare Mt 3:7), and of which Satan is here declared to be "the prince." The Greek does not allow "the spirit" to refer to Satan, "the prince" himself, but to "the powers of the air" of which he is prince. The powers of the air are the embodiment of that evil "spirit" which is the ruling principle of unbelievers, especially the heathen (Ac 26:18), as opposed to the spirit of the children of God (Lu 4:33). The potency of that "spirit" is shown in the "disobedience" of the former. Compare De 32:20, "children in whom is no faith" (Isa 30:9; 57:4). They disobey the Gospel both in faith and practice (2Th 1:8; 2Co 2:12).

Wherein in time past ye walked; conversed in a continual course of life. They were alive to sin, when dead in sin; or by sin dead to spiritual good.

According to the course of this world; either according to the age of the world that then was, or men then in the world, or according to the custom and mode, the shape and fashion, of the world. The same word here translated course is rendered world, Romans 12:2:

Be not conformed (configured or fashioned) to this world, i.e. to the ways and manners of it. So here,

according to the course, is, according to the ways of men in the world, both in manners and religion.

According to the prince; the devil, or, as Matthew 12:24,26, the prince of devils.

Of the power; power for powers, as they are called, Ephesians 6:12: those devils, or powers of darkness, are marshalled under him as their prince, who sets up a kingdom to himself in opposition to Christ.

Of the air; that are in the air, this lower region, (by God’s permission), that they may be ready and at hand to tempt men, and do mischief in the world. Or, that work so many effects in the air, raise storms and tempests, &c., as in the case of Job and his children.

The spirit that now; even at this time, since the coming of the gospel, still continues to work.

Worketh in; effectually works in; rules, and governs, and acts them, 2 Timothy 2:26.

The children of disobedience, by a Hebraism; they that are addicted to disobedience, i.e. obstinate sinners.

Wherein in time past ye walked,.... Sins and transgressions are a road or path, in which all unconverted sinners walk; and this path is a dark, crooked, and broad one, which leads to destruction and death, and yet is their own way, which they choose, approve of, and delight to walk in; and walking in it denotes a continued series of sinning, an obstinate persisting in it, a progress in iniquity, and pleasure therein: and the time of walking in this path, being said to be in time past, shows that the elect of. God before conversion, walk in the same road that others do; and that conversion is a turning out of this way; and that when persons are converted, the course of their walking is altered, which before was

according to the course of this world meaning this world, in distinction from the world to come, or the present age, in which the apostle lived, and designs the men of it; and the course of it is their custom, manner, and way of life; to which God's elect, during their state of unregeneracy, conform, both with respect to conversation and religious worship: great is the force that prevailing customs have over men; it is one branch of redemption by Christ, to deliver men from this present evil world, and to free them from a vain conversation in it; and it is only the grace of God that effectually teaches to deny the lusts of it; and it is only owing to the prevalent intercession and power of Christ, that even converted persons are kept from the evil of it:

according to the prince of the power of the air: which is not to be understood of any supposed power the devil has over the air, by divine permission, to raise winds, but of a posse, or body of devils, who have their residence in the air; for it was not only the notion of the Jews (m), that there are noxious and accusing spirits, who fly about "in the air", and that there is no space between the earth and the firmament free, and that the whole is full of a multitude of them; but also it was the opinion of the Chaldeans (n), and of Pythagoras (o), and Plato (p), that the air is full of demons: now there is a prince who is at the head of these, called Beelzebub, the prince of devils, or the lord of a fly, for the devils under him are as so many flies in the air, Matthew 12:24 and by the Jews called (q), , "the prince of spirits"; and is here styled, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; by which spirit is meant, not the lesser devils that are under the prince, nor the spirit of the world which comes from him, and is not of God; but Satan himself, who is a spirit, and an evil, and an unclean one; and who operates powerfully in unbelievers, for they are meant by children of disobedience, or unbelief; just as , "children of faith" (r), in the Jewish dialect, designs believers; and over these Satan has great influence, especially the reprobate part of them; whose minds he blinds, and whose hearts he fills, and puts it into them to do the worst of crimes; and indeed, he has great power over the elect themselves, while in unbelief, and leads them captive at his will; and these may be said in their unregeneracy to walk after him, when they imitate him, and do his lusts, and comply with what he suggests, dictates to them, or tempts them to.

(m) Shaare Ora, fol. 4. 1.((n) Laert. Procem. in Vit. Philos, p. 5. (o) lb. in Vit. Pythagor. p. 587. (p) Apuleius de Deo Socratis, p. 331. (q) T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 21. 2.((r) Zohar in Gen. fol. 21. 2. & 22. 4. & 27. 4. & 28. 2. & 35. 2. & 44. 1.

{3} Wherein in time past ye walked {4} according to the course of this world, {b} according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now {5} worketh in the {c} children of disobedience:

(3) He proves by the effects that all were spiritually dead.

(4) He proves this evil to be universal, insomuch that all are slaves of Satan.

(b) At the pleasure of the prince.

(5) Men are therefore slaves to Satan, because they are willingly rebellious against God.

(c) They are called the children of disobedience, who are given to disobedience.

Ephesians 2:2. Shadows before the light which arises in Ephesians 2:4.

ἐν αἷς] domain, in which, etc. It is the pre-Christian sphere of life, and then follows (κατὰ κ.τ.λ.) the normal standard which rules in it. αἷς has shaped itself after the gender of the last substantive, but embraces both. See Matthiae, p. 991.

κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου] according to the age of this world, i.e. as was in keeping with the period of time appointed for the present world (subsisting up to the Parousia). For immorality is the characteristic of this world-period (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12) in contrast to the future new world, in which δικαιοσύνη bears sway, and the nearer the Parousia, the more the αἰών is πονηρός (see on Galatians 1:4; comp. Ephesians 5:16, and on Ephesians 6:13). Others explain αἰών as life (so also Harless; comp. H. Stephanus: “secundum eam, quae in hoc mundo est, vivendi rationem,” Castalio, Beza, Grotius, et al.); for which Rückert—who, in a strangely erroneous way, explains it as equivalent to κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον τοῦ κόσμου—and Matthies put: spirit of the time, and Olshausen: tendency of the time; comp. Bleek. But, however current αἰών in the signification of life may be in classical Greek, especially in Homer, Pindar, Herodotus, and the tragic poets (see Duncan, ed. Rost, p. 47; Blomf. ad Aesch. Prom. 887; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 50), yet in the N.T., often as the habitually used word recurs, it is never so employed, but always in the signification of juncture of time, age. The shift to which Koppe has recourse (comp. Estius and Flatt), that αἰών and κόσμος are synonymous—hence Koppe makes ὁ αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου equivalent to ὁ κόσμος οὗτος—stands on a level with the capricious inversion of Bretschneider, who makes it tantamount to ὁ κόσμος τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου: homines pravi ut nunc sunt. No, Paul might have written briefly κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον (comp. Ephesians 1:21); but, in accordance with the graphic amplification of the passage carrying such terrible emphasis, he has paraphrased this τοῦτον by τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. According to Beausobre and Michaelis (“the God of this world”), αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου is meant to denote the devil in polemic reference to the Gnostic doctrine of aeons (see what follows). According to Baur, p. 433 f., the expression itself is a Gnostic one, equivalent to the κοσμοκράτωρ (comp. Ephesians 6:12), and denoting the devil. But this is imported, inasmuch as the explanation of αἰών in the sense usual in the N.T. yields quite a Pauline thought. The devil appears only in what follows, and would, if he was to he designated already here, and that as Lord of the pre-Messianic period, have been designated, as at 2 Corinthians 4:4, as ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, or in a like concrete manner.

κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος] climactic parallel to the preceding. “Sic res fit expressior,” Bengel. The opposite is κατὰ Θεόν, Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 7:9. Comp. 1 John 5:14 : κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ. The devil Paul here represents as the ruler over the might of the air, in which ἐξοσία is collective, denoting the totality of the mighty ones (the demons, Matthew 12:24) concerned. Comp. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 469; Bernhardy, p. 47. This ἐξουσία has its seat in the air, which exists between heaven and earth (τοῦ ἀέρος); the atmosphere, pertaining, in contrast to the higher pure αἰθήρ (see Duncan, Lex. Hom., ed. Rost, p. 36), still to the physical realm of earthly things (γῆς ἰσόμοιρος ἀήρ, Soph. El. 87), is the seat, the territory of the might of the demons. This and nothing else Paul expresses in distinct words, the ἐναέριος διατριβή (Oecumenius, comp. Theophylact), the ὑπουράνιος τόπος (Chrysostom) of the demons; and neither ought τοῦ ἀέρος to have been taken (Clericus, Heinsius, Michaelis, Storr, Flatt, Matthies, and others) as equivalent to τοῦ σκότους (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), because, though it may, as it often does in Homer, denote misty gloom, clouds, etc., in contradistinction to the pure αἰθήρ, it never takes the place of the absolute σκότος (comp. Buttmann, Lexilog. I. p. 115), and in the N.T. always means simply air; nor ought it to have been explained by a metonymy as mundus (Thomas, Bullinger, and others). According to Hahn, Theol. d. N.T. I. p. 328 f., τοῦ ἀέρος is designed to express the aeriform nature of the demons; they are not really spiritual, but only spirit-like; aeriformness is their physical constitution. This is already in itself incorrect, since the demons must of necessity have the same physical constitution as the angels (including also their supra-terrestrial corporeity, comp. on Matthew 22:30), and hence, although they have become ἀκάθαρτα, they have yet remained πνεύματα, see in this very Epistle, Ephesians 6:12 (τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας). Olshausen would remove the demons from the atmosphere by taking ἀήρ as equivalent to οὐρανός,[129] appealing to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (where, however, ἀήρ is nothing else than air), and even giving out this passage as the only one in the N.T. where the word ἀήρ elsewhere occurs (but see Acts 22:23; 1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Corinthians 14:9; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 16:17). As an equally exemplary companion-piece of rationalizing artifice may be quoted the interpretation of Stolz, Erläut. p. 175: “We have here to think of the rational beings acting and walking upon the earth, of men, who as sensuous creatures breathe in the air, in the atmosphere surrounding the earth.” Hofmann, who elsewhere took ἀήρ erroneously as equivalent to ΠΝΕῦΜΑ, would now (Schriftb. I. p. 457) not less erroneously make τοῦ πνεύματος dependent upon ΤΟῦ ἈΈΡΟς, and by the latter understand the atmosphere formed by the breathing of that πνεῦμα. “So long as they [the disobedient] allow this spirit to be their spirit, they live in the atmosphere thereof, and as it were inhale it—an atmosphere, which is the sphere of dominion [the ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ] of Satan.” But apart from the clumsy and obscure accumulation of three genitives (at 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 4:7, they flow easily and clearly one out of the other), there may be urged against this view generally the strange awkwardness of the thought (“the air of the spirit which worketh in the disobedient is the atmosphere formed by the breathing of the same spirit”), and more specially the considerations, first, that ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ does not mean sphere of dominion;[130] secondly, that there is nothing to indicate that the ἀήρ originated through the breathing (or blowing) of the spirit (we should at least expect the essential πνέοντος instead of ἘΝΕΡΓΟῦΝΤΟς); thirdly, that, if ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ is to denote the sphere of dominion, τῆς ἐξουσίας would be only an ambiguous pleonasm, and we cannot see why Paul should not have written merely ΤῸΝ ἌΡΧΟΝΤΑ ΤΟῦ ἈΈΡΟς Κ.Τ.Λ.

As regards the historic basis of the conception of the apostle, that the demons have their abode in the air, he has carried it over from his pre-Christian, Jewish-Rabbinic circle of ideas into the contents of his Christian belief. It is true that there are found among the Rabbins very diverse, confused, and at times very monstrous assertions concerning the dwelling-place of the demons (see, especially, Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 437 ff.), but Harless (followed by Olshausen) far too hastily thence concludes: “in such sloughs as these one seeks in vain for the explanation of the apostle’s expression.” For while there are found diverse opinions in the Rabbins, and among them also that which assigns to the demons the air as a territory, the expression of the apostle shows us which of the different Rabbinic conceptions he has not followed, and which is accepted by him. Thus doubtless, e.g., the doctrine which R. Bechai, in Pentat. f. 90, 1, presents as a well-known one, that only those demons which produce dreams dwell in the air, but those which seduce man to sin in the man himself, and yet others in the depths of the sea, is not the view of the apostle. But the belief, which Paul here announces as his own and presupposes in his readers, namely, that the demoniac kingdom in general, and not merely a single division of it, is in the air, is to be found very definitely preserved among the Rabbins also. For (1) the very Rabbinical tenet of the winged nature of the demons (Talmud, Chagig. 2; R. Eliezer in Bartolocc. I. p. 320 ff., al.) manifestly points to the region of the air as their abode, since they are shut out from the communion of God. (2) In particular passages this is expressly stated. Comment. in libr. Aboth. f. 83, Ephesians 2 : “Sciendum, a terra usque ad expansum omnia plena esse turmis et praefectis, et infra (that is precisely in the ἀήρ) plurimas esse creaturas laedentes et accusantes, et omnes stare ac volitare in aëre,” etc. Further, it is said in Tuf haarez, f. 9, 2, that under the sphere of the moon, which is the last under all, is a firmament (רקיע) … and there are the souls of the devils, etc. See Eisenmenger, II. p. 411. Further, R. Bechai says, in Pentat. f. 139, 4, where he is explaining how it comes about that the demons know what is future: “because they dwell in the air (באויר), … they learn future things from the princes of the planets.” The same R. Bechai, in Pentat. f. 18, 1, relates, as a Rabbinical tradition, that Noah had in his ark, according to Genesis 6:19, preserved devils also, and says in confirmation of this exposition: for it would have been impossible for them to remain in their own place, which is the air (במקוטם שההוא חאויר). Comp. Nishmath chasim, f. 115, 2. The assertion, too, of R. Menasseh, in Eisenmenger, II. p. 456 f., that the rising smoke of the incense which was offered to the devils was their food, points to the air as their dwelling-place; as, indeed, according to the Cabbala (Cabb. denud. I. p. 417), the demons dwell “below the upper sanctuary.”[131] Thus much, consequently, is clear and transparent enough in the “muddy sloughs” of Rabbinical tradition, that the kingdom of the demons was located in the air; and with this we find the apostle in agreement. Hence we have no right to deny that he has retained this conception from the sphere of his Rabbinical training, but at the same time it would be quite unwarrantable to attribute to him the singularities associated with this tenet by the Rabbins, since, in fact, he asserts nothing more than that the devilish powers are in the air. This is a simple historical statement, in which, we may add, it is quite arbitrary to discern a “profound hint,” namely, of their dismal and spectral nature (in opposition to Schenkel). The right explanation is given also by Schmid, Bibl. Theol. § 86, and Bleek. Among the Pythagoreans, too, we meet with an analogous view (Diog. Laert. viii. 32: κατὰ τὸν μὲν Πυθάγοραν εἶναί τε πάντα τὸν ἀέρα ψυχῶν ἔμπλεον, καὶ τούτους δαίμονάς τε καὶ ἥρωας νομίζεσθαι, and compare the other passages in Wetstein, and Elsner, p. 206; Dougt. Anal. p. 127); but quite unfounded is the assertion of Wetstein: “P. ita loquitur ex principiis philosophiae Pythagoreae, quibus illi, ad quos scribit, imbuti erant.” Paul presupposes in his readers an acquaintance with his expression as the expression of his doctrine, and speaks so emphatically and solemnly that any sort of accommodation is not to be thought of.

τοῦ πνεύματος] is still dependent on τὸν ἄρχοντα, so that the power over which the devil rules, after being designated as regards its outward existence by the phrase ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, is now designated as regards its active operation in men’s hearts, namely, as the spirit which is at work in the disobedient. This πνεῦμα, of which Satan is the ruler, is not, however, to be thought of as being the human mind, since, thus understood, it would not suit as apposition to the τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος which is different from the human individuality, as, indeed, τοῦ ἐνεργ. κ.τ.λ. points to an agent different from the human individual; but rather as the principle proceeding from its ἄρχων, the devil, and passing over into men to become operative in their hearts—the antithesis of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from God. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:12. This πνεῦμα is, in contrast to τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, the πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης, 1 John 4:6. It is not, however, “odd” (de Wette), nor is it “unnatural” (Bleek), to speak of a “ruler of this spirit;” but this is quite analogous to the conception, according to which Christ is spoken of as “Lord of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We have further not to understand τοῦ πνεύματος collectively (Vatablus, Grotius, Estius, Wolf, Michaelis, Holzhausen); for the ἐξουσία τοῦ ἀέρος is, indeed, the sum total of the plurality of the demons, but the spirit, which is brought by its ruler, the devil, into the hearts of men and operates within them, is in all υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθ. one and the self-same spirit, just as the Holy Spirit is in all individuals who believe one and the same. Others regard τοῦ πνεύματος as apposition to τὸν ἄρχ. τ. ἐξουσ. τ. ἀέρ., in that they either assume the use of an abnormal case occasioned by a deviation from the construction (genitive for accusative), as Piscator, Calovius, Semler, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Rückert, de Wette, Bleek, or look upon the genitive as one of apposition to τὸν ἄρχοντα, as Flatt. But how purely arbitrary is the former! and how impossible the latter, since τὸν ἄρχοντα in accordance with its significance demands a defining genitive, and already has it in τῆς ἐξουσ. τ. ἀέρ., and consequently τοῦ πνεύματος cannot be taken in any other relation!

νῦν] is emphatic,—not, however, as Meier supposes (comp. Zanchius): “even now, when it is so powerfully counteracted by the gospel,” which must have been expressed by καὶ νῦν (as Ignat. ad Smyrn. interp. 7); but νῦν stands opposed to the preceding ποτέ, when the diabolic πνεῦμα was active in all, even in the readers. Comp. Ephesians 2:3. Rückert (comp. Bengel and Holzhausen) thinks of the extraordinary, especially dangerous power which the Satanic kingdom developed just at the time of the redemption (2 Thessalonians 2:2 ff.); so also de Wette. But that could not be understood from the simple ἐνεργ., and would have required the addition of a περισσοτέρως, ὑπερβαλλόντως, or the like. According to Olshausen, νῦν is to be held as opposed to the future age, and to make the diabolic activity appear as limited, in contrast to the everlasting, divine activity of the Holy Spirit. But a contrast to the αἰὼν μέλλων is not at all implied in the context; indeed, it was entirely self-evident that the Satanic activity extends only to the time before the Parousia; how then could it occur to a reader to find in the νῦν a negation of the αἰὼν μέλλων?

ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθ.] in their souls. The expression υἱοὶ τ. ἀπείθ. is Hebraizing (for among Greek writers are found only such expressions as υἷες Ἀχαιῶν, παῖδες ζωγράφων, and the like, but not with abstract nouns; see Blomfield, Gloss. Pers. 408, p. 138; Stallb. ad Plat. Phil. p. 107), and denotes the dependence which has its basis in the relation of the person or thing concerned to the genitive-noun, here the genesis of the spiritual condition, so that τοῖς ἐξ ἀπειθείας (comp. Romans 2:8) would signify the same thing. Comp. Winer, p. 213 [E. T. 298]. The opposite is τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, 1 Peter 1:14. By ἀπείθεια, however, is not meant unbelief (Luther, Bengel, Koppe, Harless, and others); for this could only be logically included under the notion of disobedience as refusal of belief, consequently as opposite to the ὑπακοὴ πίστεως (Romans 1:5; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11; and see Fritzsche on Romans 11:30). And with that sense in the present case the following ἐν αἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες would be at variance, since not all Jewish-Christians had, like Paul, resisted the faith. Now, as Paul is speaking only of the immorality of the unbelievers (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:3), ἀπείθεια is here the want of compliance towards God (Romans 11:30), i.e. towards His revealed and natural law respectively (Romans 2:8 ff.), displaying itself through their immoral conduct.

Ephesians 2:2. ἐν αἶς ποτὲ περιεπατήσατε: wherein in time past (RV, “aforetime”) ye walked. The αἷς takes the gender of the nearer noun, but refers to both the παραπτώμασι and the ἁμαρτίαις. Trespasses and sins were the domain in which they had their habitual course of life in their former heathen days.—κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου: according to the course (or age) of this world. As the ἐν of the former clause gave the stated sphere within which their pre-Christian life moved, so the κατά of this clause and the next gives the standard to which it conformed and the spirit by which it was ruled. The phrase κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον might have sufficed; the fuller form which introduces both αἰὼν and κόσμος is more expressive. The κόσμος is the world as the objective system of things, and that as evil. The αἰών is the world as a world-period—the world as transitory. In such a connection as the present αἰών comes near what we understand by “the spirit of the age,” but is perhaps most happily rendered course, as that word conveys the three ideas of tenor, development, and limited continuance. This course of a world which is evil is itself evil, and to live in accordance with it is to live in trespasses and sins.—κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος: according to the prince of the power of the air. A yet darker colour is now given to the description of the former heathen walk of those addressed. Their life was determined and shaped by the master of all evil, the supreme ruler of all the powers of wickedness. The terms obviously designate Satan, but their precise sense is somewhat difficult to decide. Three different shades of meaning are suggested for ἐξουσία here, viz., (a) supreme right or power, in which case the idea would be the prince to whom belongs the authority of the air; (b) the domain or sphere of authority, as possibly in Colossians 1:13 (Chrys., Theod., Hofm., Oltr.); (c) authority in the collective sense, the totality of evil powers, all that is known as evil authority. The third sense is supported in some measure by Romans 13:1-2, and is preferred by most. The idea thus becomes “the prince who rules over all that is called authority”. The ἀέρος then is best taken as the gen. of place, denoting the seat of this overlordship of evil. The word ἀήρ cannot be taken as equivalent to mundus (Aquin.) or οὐρανός (Olsh.) or σκότος (Kl.) or πνεῦμα (Hofm.); neither can it express the quality of these evil powers—their incorporeal or aeriform nature (Hahn). In all its other NT occurrences (Acts 22:23; 1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Corinthians 14:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 16:17) it has the literal sense. It has it here, and it describes these demonic powers as between earth and heaven, in that “supra-terrestrial but subcelestial region (ὁ ὑπουράνιος τόπος, Chrys.) which seems to be, if not the abode, yet the haunt of evil spirits” (Ell.). Thus the prince of evil is described as the Lord-Paramount over all the demonic powers; and these demonic powers, as having their seat in the air, are distinguished from the angels whose abode is in heaven (ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν, Matthew 24:36). The Rabbinical literature has many extraordinary and grotesque speculations about the demons as being winged (Talmud, Chagig., 2), as dwelling in the air (R. Bechai, Pent., f. 139, 4), about the souls of devils as dwelling in a firmament under the sphere of the moon (Tuf haarez, f. 9, 2), etc. Such fancies were also entertained by the Greek philosophers, e.g., the Pythagoreans (Diog. Laert., viii. 2). But these have little or no relation to the present passage. In Philo and in the Jewish Pseudepigraphic writings things more akin to it are found. There is, e.g., the description of Beliar as the ἀέριον πνεῦμα (Test. xii. Patr. p. 729); of the “prince of this world” as dwelling in the firmament (Ascens. Isaiah , 10); of the “air” as peopled by souls (Philo, Gig., i. 263). But even these form very partial analogies, and the passages in the Book of Enoch (ch. xv., 10, 11, 12; xvi., 1), which have been taken to refer to the subject, are of uncertain interpretation (cf. Charles, Book of Enoch, p. 84). We have no definite knowledge, therefore, of the origin of this idea. But it seems to have been familiar enough to the readers to require no explanation.—τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦνστος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας: of the spirit that worketh now in the sons of disobedience. How is the gen. τοῦ πνεύματος to be construed? It naturally suggests itself to regard the “spirit” now mentioned as in apposition to the “prince” just described. But to understand the gen. here as continuing the acc. ἄρχοντα (Rück., De Wette, Bleek, etc.) is to take too violent a liberty with grammar. The τοῦ πνεύματος is under the regimen of the ἄρχοντα as the ἐξουσίας is, and it adds something to the idea. The ruler over all that is called authority is also the ruler over this particular spirit. It is objected that the designation of a ruler over a spirit is an anomaly. But we have a parallel in the Pauline description of Christ as Κυρίου πνεύματος (2 Corinthians 3:18). The πνεῦμα here is not the spirit or mind of man (which would be inconsistent with the force of the ἐξουσίας), nor is it a collective term equivalent to the ἐξουσία (for its form is against that, as is also the statement of its operation). It is either (a) the evil principle or power that comes into men from Satan, cf. τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, 1 Corinthians 2:12; τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου, 1 John 4:3; ἕτερον πνεῦμα λαμβάνειν, Ephesians 4:23; or (b) the personal Spirit—that particular Spirit whose domain and work are in evil men. The latter is perhaps to be preferred, as in more definite accordance with the contrast with the Holy Spirit of God which seems to be in view. By ἀπειθεία is meant not merely unbelief but disobedience. Its stated sense in the NT is that of “obstinate opposition to the Divine will” (Thay.-Grimm, sub voce). The term υἱός in its topical sense and followed by the gen. of a thing, expresses what is in intimate relation to the thing, what belongs to it and has it as its innate quality. “Sons of disobedience” are those to whom disobedience is their very nature and essential character, who belong wholly to it. It is a well-known Hebrew idiom, occurring often in the NT, especially in the case of Hebraisms of translation. But the same or similar forms are found now and again in profane Greek, especially in inscriptions and in dignified speech (cf. Plato’s use of ἔκγονος, Phacdr., p. 275 D), the υἱὸς τύχης of the Tragedians, etc.; see Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 161–166. The νῦν does not refer to the present in contrast with the future of the Parousia (Olsh.), nor with any other future; nor again is it = “Even now,” which would have been καὶ νῦν. It looks back upon the previous πότε, and contrasts the present working of the πνεῦμα with the past. Once that spirit worked in all those addressed; now it works not in them indeed, but in those given over to disobedience to God’s will. So the lordship belonging to the Prince of evil extends not only over all those malign powers whose seat is in the air, but also and more particularly over that Spirit who operates as an energy of wickedness in the hearts of men opposed to God.

2. Wherein … ye walked] The transgressions were the road, or region, of the moral “walk,” i.e. the successive acts and practices of life. Contrast below, Ephesians 2:10, the region of the regenerate “walk.” The Gr. verb is aorist. The whole past experience, however long, is gathered up in memory into a point.

the course] Lit. the age. But the A. V. perfectly represents the meaning. See above on Ephesians 1:21.

this world] This present sinful order of things, as characterized by discord with the will of God. Cp. for the precise phrase John 8:23; John 9:39; John 12:25; John 12:31; John 13:1; John 16:11; John 18:36; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 4:17; (and see Galatians 1:4, where however “world” is aiôn). In almost all the above passages the word (cosmos) will be seen clearly to mean not the physical world, (or certainly not it alone,) but the sinful human race, as now conditioned on earth. Full illustration will be found in very many passages where “the world,” (not as here, “this world”), occurs, and which context will distinguish from others (e.g. Ephesians 1:4 above) where the Cosmos of Creation is intended. The Gr. word rendered “world” in some passages of A. V. (Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:1; Luke 4:5; Acts 17:31; Romans 10:18; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 2:5; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:14; are the most important) is different, meaning literally “the inhabited earth,” and so either the Roman empire and its surroundings, or the mystic empire of the Messiah, according to context.

the prince, &c.] Lit., the Ruler of the authority of the air; the great Personal Evil Spirit, Satan; whose existence, sparingly indicated in the O. T., is largely dwelt upon in the N. T. To the Lord and the Apostles he was assuredly no mere personification of evil, but an evil personality, as truly as for example “Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God,” is a good personality. As such, his existence is a fact-mystery, so to speak, not greater in kind, though in degree, than that of the permitted existence of an evil man who tempts and influences others. There is a strong prejudice in our time against the recognition of the personality of Satan; but it must stand on the level of other mysteries of Revelation; and the prejudice should never be fostered by exaggeration. Some food for prejudice has perhaps been found in the grotesque terrors of medieval art and legendary demonology; but this is not Scripture, rather the deepest contrast to Scripture.—The belief of a Devil has been called (Westminster Review, April, 1865, in an article on the Positive Philosophy), “a thoroughly polytheistic conception;” but what excuse is there for this statement in the Scripture portrait of the Enemy, save the solitary and quite explicable phrase, “God of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4)?

For St Paul’s recognition of the great fact, cp. Acts 13:10; Acts 26:18; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Timothy 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:6-7; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Timothy 2:26; and below, Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:11.

The authority of the air:”—“The ruler of the authority” means the chief of all that is in power, the general of subordinate governors; an allusion to the organization of the evil spiritual world, of which much more is said below, Ephesians 6:12.—The word rendered “authority” does not necessarily mean lawful authority; indeed it often inclines to mean usurped or arbitrary authority. But it is authority as distinguished from mere dynamic force. See Bp. Lightfoot on Colossians 1:13.

Of the air:”—on this phrase much has been written. It here stands alone (as connected with spiritual mysteries) in the N. T., and hence is the more difficult to analyse with certainty. In studying it we must dismiss the thought (Wetstein) that St Paul is speaking “the language of Pythagorean philosophy, in which his readers were versed,” or the like; no where is his tone more dogmatic. And we must seek a meaning of “air” literal and local, rather than otherwise, looking at his usage elsewhere (1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Corinthians 14:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). This however does not mean a narrow localization, or hard literality, only that “air” is not a mere figure of speech for “mystery,” “darkness,” or the like. On the whole we gather, as the revelation of this passage, that as earth is the present abode of embodied spirits, mankind, so the airy envelope of earth is the haunt, for purposes of action on man, of the spirits of evil, which, if not bodiless, have not “animal” bodies (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:44). Observe our Lord’s use of “the birds of the sky” (Luke 8:5) as the figure for the Tempter in the parable of the Sower.

Abundant illustrations of such a view may be found in quotations from classical, Jewish, and medieval literature. But it would be a hasty inference either that the Apostle derived his doctrine from previous extraneous sources, or that below the wildest exaggerations there lay no fact.

the spirit] This word is in grammatical apposition, in the Greek, with that rendered “power” or “authority” just before. That “authority” meant, as we have said, “those in authority,” the unseen lords of evil, including their head. “The spirit” seems accordingly to mean, practically, “the spirits,” summed up into one idea, and used by one central power.

that now worketh] “Now,” as opposed to the “then” of its former action on those now rescued from it.—For illustrations of its “working” cp. the language used of Satan’s power on Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:2; John 13:27), and Ananias (Acts 5:3), and of his energies (through men) at a time of persecution (Revelation 2:10). See also 2 Thessalonians 2:9. The subtle power of human personal influence may well prepare us to believe in the mysterious depth, force, and variety, of Satanic influences.

in the children of disobedience] I.e., in men characterized by moral resistance to the Holy God; a “disobedience” which, whether explicit or implicit, patent or latent, marks fallen man as such. There is that in the central Ego of fallen man which is antagonistic to the true claims of the God of Revelation, and which waits only the presentation of those claims to come out in action.—For the phrase, sons of disobedience, cp. ch. Ephesians 5:6, and Colossians 3:6. It is an example of the frequent Hebrew phrase, “son of,” “child of,” in the sense of close connexion, whether a connexion, as here, of principle and motive, or, as Luke 20:36 (“sons of the resurrection”), and 2 Peter 2:14 (“children of a curse”), of result and reward.—“Disobedience:”—the Latin versions have diffidentia, unbelief; and so the A.V. renders the same word, Romans 11:30; Romans 11:32; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11. But the proper meaning of the word is resistance of the will. This is deeply connected with spiritual unbelief, but not identical.—The same remarks apply to the kindred verb, which occurs John 3:36; Acts 14:2; Acts 17:5; Acts 19:9; Romans 11:30-31; Romans 15:31; Hebrews 3:18; Hebrews 11:31; places where A.V. has “believe not,” &c.

Ephesians 2:2. Κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου) Αἰὼν and κόσμος differ;[21] 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:18-19. The former regulates the latter, and in a manner gives it form: κόσμος is something more external; αἰὼν something more subtle and internal in its character. Time is spoken of not only physically, but also morally, there being included in its signification [in the notion of it] the character of the men who live in it; and so αἰὼν applies to a long series of times, in which one bad age follows another bad age; comp. Acts 14:16; 1 Peter 1:18.—κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα, according to the prince) Thus the fact becomes more expressly represented and realized. All men are sensible of the existence of the world; but they are not aware that this prince lurks beneath it; ch. Ephesians 6:11-12 : comp. John 12:31.—τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέπος, of the power of the air) This power is widely diffused and penetrating: comp. Job 1:15, etc.; but yet it does not reach [it is beneath] the sphere of believers, Ephesians 2:6; 1 John 5:18. See Buxt. Dict. Rabb., col. 1495. Even the celestial orbs themselves are various. Christ however is superior to Satan, although the latter also holds himself [keeps a position] in heavenly places; Ephesians 6:12 [ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, in the heavenlies, Engl. Vers., in high places].—τοῦ πνεύματος, the spirit) In apposition to τῆς ἐξουσίας, τοῦ πνέυματος. Here the prince himself is not called a spirit: but the spirit in this passage is that internal principle, from which the actions of unbelievers flow, and is opposed to the spirit of the believing sons of God: comp. Luke 4:33.—νῦν, now) in the present day; or rather, [that] now most of all; for he does not say, still, or as yet, but now. Those who despise the Gospel through disbelief, remain the slaves of that spirit, and are more and more captivated by him. Express mention of Satan is principally made in the description of the state of the Gentiles; Acts 26:18.—ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας, in the children of disobedience or disbelief) Disobedience, or disbelief, in regard to the Gospel, shows of itself how powerful that spirit is. Akin to this is the phrase, children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3. Wrath abides upon unbelievers, John 3:36.

[21] See note, Ephesians 6:12. Κόσμος is the world, mundus, in its wide extension; Αἰὼν the age, sœculum, the present world, in its distinguishing character, its course, and the estimate to be formed of it.—ED.

Verse 2. - Wherein aforetime ye walked according to the course of this world. The idea of a dead creature walking is not altogether incongruous. It implies that a kind of life remained sufficient for walking; but not the true, full, normal life; rather the life of a galvanized corpse, or of one walking in sleep. The figurative use of walking for living, or carrying on our life, is frequent in this Epistle (Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 5:2, etc.). "The course of this world," elsewhere" the world," denotes the present system of things, as conducted by those who have regard only to things seen and temporal, and no regard to God or to the future life. Where there is spiritual death there is insensibility to these things. According to the prince of the power of the air. It is obvious that this is equivalent to "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), but the explanation of the term is difficult. Allusion is made to a corporate body, "the power [or, 'government'] (ἐξουσία) of the air," and to one who is "prince" of this government. There is no difficulty in identifying the evil one and his host, of whom Milton gives such graphic pictures. But why should they be specially connected with the air? The notion, entertained by some of the Fathers and others, that storms and disturbances of the atmosphere are caused by them, is preposterous; it is unscriptural (Psalm 148:8) and quite unscientific. The term seems to denote that evil spirits, who have some power of influencing us by their temptations, have their abode in the atmosphere, or at least haunt it, being invisible like it, yet exercising a real influence on human souls, and drawing them in worldly directions, and contrary to the will of God. The spirit which is now working hi the sons of disobedience. The fact that this spirit is still working in others makes the escape of the Ephesians from him the more striking. He is not destroyed, but vigorously at work even yet. Though Jesus beheld him fall from heaven as lightning, and though he said that the prince of this world had been judged, these expressions denote a prophetic rather than an actual condition. This spirit energizes in the "sons of disobedience." This designation is striking; it denotes persons born of disobedience, bred by disobedience, having disobedience in their very nature; comp. Romans 8:7, "The carnal mind is enmity against God," and passages where fallen man is called a rebel (Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 63:10; Psalm 68:6; Jeremiah 5:23, etc.). It denotes the essential antagonism of man's will to God's, arising from man's devotion to this world and its interests, and God's regard to what is higher and holier - an antagonism often held in check and suppressed - but bursting out wildly at times in fierce opposition, as at the tower of Babel or the crucifixion of Jesus. The devil inflames man's inherent dislike to God's will, and encourages outbreaks of it. Ephesians 2:2Course (αἰῶνα)

Lit., age. See on John 1:9.

Power (ἐξουσίας)

Collective, the whole empire of evil spirits.

The air

According to Paul's usage, in the simple physical sense. See Acts 22:23; 1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 16:17. The air is regarded as the region of the demons' might.

The spirit

See on 1 Corinthians 2:12. The term designates the power over which Satan rules, on the side of its operation in men's hearts.


With an implied reference to its former working in his readers. Compare once, Ephesians 2:3

Children of disobedience (υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας)

Compare Ephesians 5:6. A Hebraistic expression. Compare son of perdition, John 17:12; children of obedience, 1 Peter 1:14; children of cursing, 2 Peter 2:14. Rev., correctly, sons of disobedience: belonging to disobedience as sons to a parent.

Ephesians 2:2 Interlinear
Ephesians 2:2 Parallel Texts

Ephesians 2:2 NIV
Ephesians 2:2 NLT
Ephesians 2:2 ESV
Ephesians 2:2 NASB
Ephesians 2:2 KJV

Ephesians 2:2 Bible Apps
Ephesians 2:2 Parallel
Ephesians 2:2 Biblia Paralela
Ephesians 2:2 Chinese Bible
Ephesians 2:2 French Bible
Ephesians 2:2 German Bible

Bible Hub

Ephesians 2:1
Top of Page
Top of Page