Ephesians 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) That we be no more children.—Here the process of growth is described negatively; in the next verse positively. We are to be no more children. The word used here and in 1Corinthians 3:1; 1Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 4:1; Galatians 4:3; Hebrews 5:13 (often rendered “babes”), is a word almost always applied in a bad sense, like our word “childish”—not to the guilelessness, the trustfulness, or the humility of children, which our Lord emphatically blessed (Matthew 18:2-4), but to their unforeseeing and unthinking impulsiveness. The distinction is marked in 1Corinthians 14:20, “Be not children in understanding: howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” Thus, in 1Corinthians 3:1; 1Corinthians 13:11, Hebrews 5:13, it describes crudeness and shallowness of conception; in Galatians 4:1; Galatians 4:3, incapability of free self-direction; here, liability to disturbance and change by every external impression from without, so as to be “everything by turns and nothing long.”

Tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.—The metaphor is of a ship drifting at the mercy of a storm, tossed by the waves, and carried round from time to time by every blast. The word “tossed” is more properly used of the waves (compare James 1:6) themselves, but the following words seem to show that here it is applied to the ship rising and falling with them. The word “doctrine,” as usual, is a general word for all deliberate “teaching,” whether acting on the understanding or the heart. It includes, in fact, all influence consciously exercised to a definite end.

The metaphor is then dropped, and the evil influences to which childish instability is a prey are described—first, as the “sleight,” i.e., the sleight of hand of the dice-thrower, describing quick, sudden deceit of detail; next (to substitute an accurate translation for the unusually paraphrastic rendering of our version), as a “craftiness devoted to the systematic plan of deceit,” thus referring to deeper and subtler forms of delusion. This reference is so definite in the original, that we are tempted to believe St. Paul to have had in view some particular scheme of erroneous teaching, which had already struck root in the soil of Asia Minor. The Epistle to the Colossians shows that such false teaching had appeared itself at Colossæ; it was, perhaps, the germ of the more full-grown Gnosticism noted in the Pastoral Epistles.

Ephesians 4:14. That we henceforth be no more children — Mere babes in Christian knowledge, experience, and practice; weak and unstable; tossedΚλυδωνιζομενοι, fluctuating from within, through various restless lusts and passions working in our hearts, even when there is nothing external to agitate or excite them; and carried about with every wind of doctrine — And temptation from without, when we are assaulted by others who are themselves unstable as the wind; by the sleight, or subtlety, of men — Greek, εν τη κυβεια των ανθρωπων, which words Chandler proposes rendering, by the dicing of men; the expression referring to the artifice of those infamous gamesters, who know how to cog the dice. So that the deceitful arts of false teachers and others, who endeavour to draw men from the belief and practice of the truth as it is in Jesus, by their insinuations and wiles, are here compared to the tricks of gamesters, who, by using false dice, and by various arts, cheat those with whom they play. And cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive — Greek, εν πανουργια προς την μεθοδειαν της πλανης, a clause which Beza renders, “veteratoria ad insidiose fallendum versutia,” by the tricking of those long exercised in craftily deceiving others; Doddridge’s translation is, by their subtlety in every method of deceit; and Macknight’s, by craftiness formed into a subtle scheme of deceit. The former noun, πανουργια, signifies the doing of things by trick and sleight of hand, and the latter, μεθοδεια, (which, Ephesians 6:11, is applied to the wiles and subtle contrivances of the devil, in order to deceive and ruin men,) properly signifies a regular plan of proceeding in any affair, and is here used for a regular plan of deceit, formed either for upholding people in their ignorance of, and opposition to the gospel, or for drawing them from their faith in, or obedience to, some article of it. “The men,” Macknight thinks, “whose base arts the apostle describes in this passage, were the unbelieving Jews and the heathen philosophers, who opposed the gospel by sophistry and calumny; also such false teachers as arose in the church itself, and corrupted the doctrines of the gospel for worldly purposes, while at the same time they assumed the appearance of great disinterestedness and piety.”

4:7-16 Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.That we henceforth be no more children - In some respects Christians "are" to be like children. They are to be docile, gentle, mild, and free from ambition, pride, and haughtiness; see the notes on Matthew 18:2-3. But children have other characteristics besides simplicity and docility. They are often changeable Matthew 11:17; they are credulous, and are influenced easily by others, and led astray, In these respects, Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be no longer children but urges them to put on the characteristics Of manhood; and especially to put on the firmness in religious opinion which became maturity of life.

Tossed to and fro - κλυδωνιζόμενοι kludōnizomenoi. This word is taken from waves or billows that are constantly tossed about - in all ages art image of instability of character and purpose.

And carried about with every wind of doctrine - With no firmness; no settled course; no helm. The idea is that of a vessel on the restless ocean, that is tossed about with every varying wind, and that has no settled line of sailing. So many persons are in regard to religious doctrines. They have no fixed views and principles. They hold no doctrines that are settled in their minds by careful and patient examination, and the consequence is, that they yield to every new opinion, and submit to the guidance of every new teacher. The "doctrine" taught here is, that we should have settled religious opinions. We should carefully examine what is truth, and having found it, should adhere to it, and not yield on the coming of every new teacher. We should not, indeed, close our minds against conviction. We should be open to argument, and be willing to follow "the truth" wherever it will lead us. But this state of mind is not inconsistent with having settled opinions, and with being firm in holding them until we are convinced that we are wrong. No man can be useful who has not settled principles. No one who has not such principles can inspire confidence or be happy, and the first aim of every young convert should be to acquire settled views of the truth, and to become firmly grounded in the doctrines of the gospel.

By the sleight of men - The cunning skill "trickery" of people. The word used here - κυβεία kubeia - is from a word (κύβος kubos) meaning a cube or die, and properly means a game at dice. Hence, it means game, gambling; and then anything that turns out by mere chance or hap-hazard - as a game at dice does. It "may" possibly also denote the trick or fraud that is sometimes used in such games; but it seems rather to denote a man's forming his religious opinions by "the throw of a die;" or, in other words, it describes a man whose opinions seem to be the result of mere chance. Anything like casting a die, or like opening the Bible at random to determine a point of duty or doctrine, may come under the description of the apostle here, and would all be opposed to the true mode, that by calm examination of the Bible, and by prayer A man who forms his religious principles by chance, can un" form" them in the same way; and he who has determined his faith by one cast of the die, will be likely to throw them into another form by another. The phrase "the sleight of men" therefore I would render "by the mere chance of people, or as you may happen to find people, one holding this opinion, and the next that, and allowing yourself to be influenced by them without any settled principles."

Cunning craftiness - Deceit, trick, art; see 2 Corinthians 12:16; Luke 20:23; 1 Corinthians 3:19; notes, 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3, note.

Whereby they lie in wait to deceive - Literally, "Unto the method of deceit;" that is, in the usual way of deceit. Doddridge, "In every method of deceit." This is the true idea. The meaning is, that people would use plausible pretences, and would, if possible, deceive the professed friends of Christ. Against such we should be on our guard; and not by their arts should our opinion be formed, but by the word of God.

14. Translate, "To the end that"; the aim of the bestowal of gifts stated negatively, as in Eph 4:13 it is stated positively.

tossed to and fro—inwardly, even without wind; like billows of the sea. So the Greek. Compare Jas 1:6.

carried about—with every wind from without.

doctrine—"teaching." The various teachings are the "winds" which keep them tossed on a sea of doubts (Heb 13:9; compare Mt 11:7).

by—Greek, "in"; expressing "the evil atmosphere in which the varying currents of doctrine exert their force" [Ellicott].

sleight—literally, "dice playing." The player frames his throws of the dice so that the numbers may turn up which best suit his purpose.

of men—contrasted with Christ (Eph 4:13).

and—Greek, "in."

cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive—Translate as Greek, "craftiness tending to the methodized system of deceit" ("the schemes of error") [Alford]. Bengel takes "deceit," or "error," to stand for "the parent of error," Satan (compare Eph 6:11); referring to his concealed mode of acting.

That we henceforth be no more children; i.e. weak in the faith, unstable in judgment, children in understanding, 1 Corinthians 14:20; such as need teaching, and strengthening: see Romans 2:20 1 Corinthians 3:1 Hebrews 5:13.

Tossed to and fro; light and unconstant, like ships without ballast, tossed with every wave.

And carried about with every wind of doctrine; not only shaken and staggering as to our faith, (as in the former clause), but carried about to errors for want of judgment, by false doctrines, here compared to violent winds.

By the sleight of men; their sophistry, whereby they easily seduce those that are unskilful, as men easily cheat children in playing at dice, from whence this metaphor is taken.

Cunning craftiness; their skilfulness in finding out ways of deceiving, whereby they can make any thing of any thing.

Whereby they lie in wait to deceive, viz. as in ambush; the word here used, is translated wiles, Ephesians 6:11, against which the apostle would have them fenced with the whole armour of God, and seems to signify a laying in ambush, or assaulting a man behind his back; a secret and unseen way of circumventing, a laying wait to draw them that are weak from the truth.

That we henceforth be no more children,.... Meaning not children of men, for grace does not destroy natural relations; nor children of God, which is a privilege, and always continues; nor indeed children of disobedience, though the saints cease to be such upon conversion; but in such sense children, as they were when first converted, newborn babes, little children: there are some things in which they should be children still, namely, with respect to an ardent and flaming love to God and Christ, and to the saints; and with regard to their eager desire after the sincere milk of the word; and as to pride, malice, envy, evil speakings, guile and hypocrisy; in these things it becomes them to be children: but not in understanding; they should not always remain ignorant, imprudent, or be always fed with milk, and not able to digest meat; nor be unable to go unless led, and be tender and incapable of bearing hardships for Christ and his Gospel, and of defending it, and his cause and interest; but should play the man, and quit themselves as such and be strong, which the Gospel ministry is a means of, and encourages to:

tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine; false doctrine, which may be compared to wind for its lightness and emptiness, and for its swelling and puffing nature, and for the noise and bluster it makes, and for its rapidity and force, with which it sometimes comes and bears all before it, and for its infectiousness, which is the nature of some winds; and to be tossed to and fro, and carried about with it, is expressive of much ignorance and want of a discerning spirit, and implies hesitation, and doubts and scruples, and shows credulity, fickleness, and inconstancy: and which is brought on

by the sleight of men; either through the uncertain and changeable state of things in life; the mind of man is fickle, the life of man is uncertain, and all the affairs of human nature are subject to change, by reason of which men are easily imposed upon; or rather through the tricking arts of false teachers; the word here used is adopted by the Jews into their language, and with them signifies the game at dice (a); and is a gamester at that play, and is interpreted by them, one that steals souls (b), and deceives and corrupts them; and may be filly applied to false teachers, who make use of such like artifices and juggling tricks, to deceive the hearts of the simple, as the others do to cheat men of their money: hence it follows,

and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; or "unto the deceitful methods or wiles of the devil", as the Alexandrian copy reads; which not only suggests that their principal end in view is to deceive, but their insidious, private, and secret way of deceiving, and their expertness in it, which they have from the devil; and now the ministration of the Gospel is the best and surest guard and antidote against such fluctuations and deceptions.

(a) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 82. 1. Misna Roshhashana, c. 1. sect. 8. & Sanhedrin, c. 3. sect 3.((b) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 91. 2. & Jarchi & Tosephot in ib. & Juchasin, fol. 88. 1.

{9} That we henceforth be no more children, {10} tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the {s} sleight of men, and {t} cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

(9) Between our childhood (that is to say, a very weak state, when we are still wavering) and our perfect age, which we will have at length in another world, there is a mean, that is, our youth, and steady going forward to perfection.

(10) He compares those who do not rest themselves upon the word of God, to little boats which are tossed here and there with the doctrines of men as it were with contrary winds, and in addition forewarns them that it comes to pass not only by the unsteadiness of man's brain, but also by the craftiness of certain ones, who make as it were an art of it.

(s) With those uncertain events which toss men to and fro.

(t) By the deceit of those men who are very well practised in deceiving others.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 4:14. Ἵνα] cannot, at all events, introduce the design of the attained goal in Ephesians 4:13, in opposition to which αὐξήσωμεν, Ephesians 4:15, clearly testifies; since, in the case of him who has already become the ἀνὴρ τέλειος, the αὐξάνειν no longer has place. But it is also arbitrary to refer the affirmation of aim to Ephesians 4:11-12 (Koppe, Flatt; comp. Michaelis and Zanchius), as Harless would do (comp. Bleek), who holds Ephesians 4:13 and Ephesians 4:14 ff. as co-ordinate, so that Ephesians 4:13 describes the final goal up to which the arrangement endures, and Ephesians 4:14 ff. the design of this same. That Ephesians 4:14 stands in a subordinate relation to Ephesians 4:13, is shown by the retaining of the same figure, as by ἵνα itself, which is not preceded by another ἵνα, or something similar, to which it would be parallel. If Paul had referred ἵνα to Ephesians 4:11-12, it would have been logically the most natural course to arrange the verses thus: Ephesians 4:11-12; Ephesians 4:14-15; Ephesians 4:13; Ephesians 4:16. The relation of our sentence expressive of aim to the preceding is rather as follows: while in Ephesians 4:13 there was expressed the terminus ad quem, which is appointed to the labour-task, contained in Ephesians 4:12, of the teachers given according to Ephesians 4:11 by Christ, there is now adduced that which is aimed at in the case with a view to the ultimate attainment of that terminus ad quem, namely, the change, which meanwhile, in accordance with that final aim, is to take place in the—till then still current—condition of the church. This change, divinely aimed at, is characterized Ephesians 4:14 in its negative nature (μηκέτι κ.τ.λ.), and Ephesians 4:15 in its positive nature (ἀληθεύοντες δὲ κ.τ.λ.).

μηκιέτι] no longer, as this is still at present the case. It points to the influence, which had at that time not yet ceased, of false teachers in the Christian church at large (see Ephesians 4:13). Of false teachers in Ephesus itself there is in our Epistle still no trace, although in Acts 20:29 f. Paul had already expressed their future emergence.

νήπιοι] for, in order to attain to full maturity, one must first emerge out of the state of childhood. What Paul here represents as νηπιότης, namely, the dependence on false teachers, in connection with which the ἑνότης described in Ephesians 4:13 cannot set in, he himself expresses by κλυδωνιζόμενοι, becoming tossed by waves (Isaiah 57:20) and driven to and fro (as a ship abandoned to the breakers), on which figurative representation of restless passive subjection to influences, comp. Hebrews 13:9; Jam 1:6; Judges 1:12 f.; Josephus, Antt. ix. 11. 3; Aristaenet. i. 27; Dio Chrys. Orat. 32.

παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλ.] τῇ τροπῇ δὲ ἐμμένων καὶ ἀνέμους ἐκάλεσε τὰς διαφόρους διδασκαλίας, Theophylact. Comp. Plut. de aud. poet. p. 28 D: μὴ παντὶ λόγῳ πλάγιον, ὥσπερ πνεύματι, παραδιδοὺς ἑαυτόν. The use of the article with διδασκαλ. denotes the doctrine in abstracto. In the fact that now this, now that, is taught according to varying tendencies, there blows now this, now that, wind of doctrine. That Paul false teachers before his mind, is evident from the context.

ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπ.] instrumental: becoming tossed and driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine in virtue of the deceit of men. After διδασκ. no comma is to be placed (comp. Lachmann and Tischendorf). κυβεία, from κύβος (cubus), a die, means properly dice-play (Plato, Phaedr. p. 274 D; Xen. Mem. i. 3. 2; Athen. x. p. 445 A); then in a derived signification fraudulentia (Arrian. Epict. ii. 19, iii. 21, and see Oecumenius). Comp. the German Spiel. In this signification the word has also passed over to the language of the Rabbins קוּבְיָא. See Schoettgen, Horae, p. 775; Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1984. Others have explained it as: levitas, temeritas (Beza, Salmasius, Morus, Flatt, and others),—which notion (like the German auf’s Spiel setzen: to put at stake) κυβεύειν really expresses in Plat. Prot. p. 314 A; Meleag. 73 (see Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 89),—but this is opposed to the context, which represents the false teachers as deceivers.

τῶν ἀνθρώπων] Instead of being under the gracious influence of Christ (Ephesians 4:13), and thereby becoming strong and firm (comp. Ephesians 3:16 ff.), one is given up to the deceptive play of men!

ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης] more precisely defining parallel to the preceding: by means of cunning, which is effectual for the machination of error. On πανουργία, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Plat. Menex. p. 247 A. μεθοδεία is preserved only here and Ephesians 6:11, but from the use of μέθοδος (2Ma 13:18; Esth. 16:13; Plut. Mor. p. 176 A; Artem. iii. 25; Aristaen. i. 17) and μεθοδεύω (2 Samuel 19:27; Aquila, Exodus 21:13; Diod. Sic. vii. 16; Charit. vii. 6) is not doubtful as to its signification. πλάνη means error, also at Matthew 27:64; Romans 1:27; 2 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:18; Jam 5:20. Whether this has been brought about through the fault of lying and immorality (Harless) must be decided by the context, as this must in reality be assumed to be the thought of the apostle in the present case, both from the connection and from the view which Paul had formed on the basis of experience (not, as Rückert pronounces, from a certain dogmatical defiance, which had remained with him as his weak side; comp. on the other hand, on 2 Corinthians 11:12) with regard to the false teachers of his time (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 11:13Ephesians 4:14. ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι: that we may be no longer children. Statement of aim following on the previous statement of goal or limit. The verse is regarded by some (Harl., etc.) as connected immediately with Ephesians 4:11-12, and coordinate with Ephesians 4:13. Others understand it as an explanation of what the attainment of the goal spoken of in Ephesians 4:13 means. But it is best to take it as subordinate to the immediately preceding statement. That is to say, as Ephesians 4:13 has set forth the goal to be reached and the limit put upon the bestowal of the gifts referred to as given by Christ, this verse now gives the purpose which was in view in setting such a goal before us and in giving the gifts of Apostles, prophets, etc. (Mey., Ell., etc.). That purpose looks to a change which has to take place in us from the condition of νήπιοι and κλυδωνιζόμενοι to that of ἀληθεύοντες, αὐξάνοντες, etc. The μηκέτι implies something different from the existing condition, and that existing condition, we see, is one of immaturity, assailed, wavering faith, and subjection to the distracting influence of false teachers. In his address to the elders at Miletus (Acts 20:29) Paul had spoken of “grievous wolves” that would enter the Ephesian Church after his departure. But the statement here is wide enough to apply to the Church generally and not merely to the Ephesians. νήπιοι, literally infants (Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 13:11), and then minors (Galatians 4:1), the immature or untaught (Matthew 11:25; Romans 2:20; Hebrews 5:13, etc.).—κλυδωνιζόμενοι: tossed to and fro. κλύδων means a dashing or surging wave (Luke 8:24; Jam 1:6; cf. Thayer-Grimm’s Lex., sub voce); and κλυδωνιζόμενοι means tossed about by waves (cf. LXX of Isaiah 57:20). In the changefulness and agitation which were the results of their unthinking submission to false teaching their νηπιότης or lack of Christian manhood was seen.—καὶ περιφερόμενοι πάντι ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας: and carried about by every wind of doctrine. The ἀνέμῳ is the instrum. dat.; the article τῆς denotes that doctrine in the abstract is meant—“every kind and degree of it” (Ell.). διδασκαλία means teaching, either in the sense of instructing (Romans 12:7; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 4:13; 1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:7), or in that of doctrine, the thing taught (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:1; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; Titus 2:10). Here AV, RV, Ell., etc., take the second sense. “In the fact that now this, now that, is taught according to varying tendencies, there blows, now this, now that, wind of doctrine” (Mey.).—ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων: in the sleight of men. For κυβείᾳ TWH give the form κυβείᾳ. The prep. may be the instrumental ἐν (so Mey., Haupt, etc.). But the contrast with the following ἐν ἀγάπῃ (Ephesians 4:15) points rather to the usual force of ἐν as = in (so Vulg., Copt., etc.), the κυβεία being the “element, the evil atmosphere, as it were, in which the varying currents of doctrine exist and exert their force” (Ell.). κυβεία means dice-playing (e.g., in Plato, Phaedr., p. 274 D), and then deception, fraud. Some (e.g., Beza, Von Soden, etc.) give it the sense of levity, or putting at stake—a shade of meaning occasionally expressed by the verb κυβεύειν (e.g., Plato, Prot., p. 314 A). The idea expressed here by the κυβεία itself might be simply that of hazard, unsettlement, with reference to the uncertainties into which the νήπιοι were cast by the diverse forms of false teaching under which they fell (cf. Haupt). But it is in the character, not of gamesters, but deceivers that the false teachers are immediately presented (cf. Mey.). This “sleight of men” is in contrast with “the faith and the knowledge of Christ,” or it may be with the pure, sure word of God by which the faith and knowledge of the Son of God came.—ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης: in craftiness with a view to the machination of error. The renderings of the great Versions show how difficult it is to do justice to this sentence in English. The AV takes refuge in a paraphrase, “and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive”. Wicl. gives “to the deceiving of error”; Cov., “to the deceitfulness of error”; Bish., “in craftiness to the laying in wait of error”; Rhem., “to the circumvention of error”; RV, “in craftiness, after the wiles of error”. The Vulg. has in astutia ad circumventionem erroris. πανουργία, used in 1 Corinthians 3:19, of a false wisdom, means here, as in classical and also in later Greek, cunning, knavishness, treacherous deceitfulness. The ἐν πανουργίᾳ is taken by some as a definition of the ἐν κυβείᾳ, adding to the idea of hazard and destruction contained in the latter, the idea of fraud. But it is rather a distinct clause, emphasising the dishonesty and trickery of the false teaching. Its authors used all the arts of deception to persuade the νήπιοι that their self-made doctrine was the Divine truth. The prep. πρός is not to be identified with κατά (= after, according to), but has its sense of with a view to, furthering, tending to. The noun μεθοδεία (or μεθοδία according to TWH) is nowhere found in the NT except here and once again in this same Epistle (Ephesians 6:11), and seems not to occur in non-Biblical Greek, whether that of the LXX or that of the Classics. Its meaning here, however, may be safely taken to be trickery, cunning arts, treacherous wiles; as its verb μεθοδεύω, which means primarily to pursue a plan, whether honest (Diod. Sic., i., 81), or dishonest (Polyb., xxxiv., 4, 10), came to have the sense of following craftily, practising deceitful devices (Diod., vii., 16; 2 Samuel 19:27). The gen. πλάνης is usually taken as the gen. subj., = the πλάνη which practises craft. But it may rather be the gen. obj., expressing the object or result of the μεθοδεία, = “the cunning art that works to error”. The article gives the noun the abstract sense or the force of a personification, = Error. Here, as elsewhere, πλάνη has the passive sense of error, not the active sense of seduction, or misleading (Luth., de Wette, etc.). But the question remains as to the precise idea here. The term means properly speaking error in the sense of straying from the way, wandering hither and thither. That sense is frequent in classical Greek—Aeschyl., Eurip., Plato, etc. In the NT the word is usually said to be used of mental error, wrong opinion, as e.g., in 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 2 Peter 2:18; 2 Peter 3:17; Judges 1:11; 1 John 4:6. But it is doubtful whether that sense fully meets the case in some of the passages thus cited, e.g., 1 John 4:6. In such passages as Romans 1:27; Jam 1:20, it denotes error in practice, a wrong way of life or action. This seems to be its force here. Consequently the idea of the clause is more definite than “in craftiness tending to the settled system of error” (Ell.). It means “in craftiness, furthering the scheming, deceitful art which has for its result the false way of life that strays fatally from truth.”

14. that we henceforth, &c.] This verse takes up the thought of Ephesians 4:12. The mutual activity and influence of Christians, guided aright, is to result in, at once, fixity of principle and richness of power; both characteristic of spiritual maturity.

children] The same Gr. word as e.g. 1 Corinthians 3:1 (A.V., “babes”), 1 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 5:13 (A.V., “babe”). By usage, it denotes the young child in the aspect specially of ignorance or mental weakness, “childishness.” From another side the same word sometimes conveys ideas commended by the Gospel, the little child’s simplicity of purpose and willingness to be taught, “childlikeness” (e.g. Matthew 11:25; Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 14:20, where the kindred verb is used).

tossed to and fro] Lit., “billowed”; carried up and down as on waves. Another explanation of the (rare) Gr. word is “worked into waves,” as the sea by the wind. But the next phrase is against this, and so is the analogy of a verb of similar form, James 1:6 (A.V., “driven with the wind”).

carried about] Like St Paul’s own ship in Adria (Acts 27:27, where the Gr. verb is closely akin to this).

of doctrine] Lit., of the teaching, the teaching in question, that described just below.

by the sleight] Lit., in the dicing.—“In:”—more than “by.” The thought is of “the evil atmosphere, as it were, in which the varying currents of false doctrine … exert their force” (Ellicott).—“Dicing:—the word was familiar in later Greek, in the sense of deceit, sharp practice, in general. It was thence borrowed, and similarly used, by the Rabbis.

of men] Not of Christ, nor for Christ. Cp. Galatians 1:1.

and cunning craftiness, &c.] More lit., in cunning, with a view to the scheming of [their] deceit. R.V., “after the wiles of error.” But the Gr. preposition far more often means “with a view to” than “according to.” The practical difference, however, is minute.

The Apostle here recognizes and exposes the sad fact of intentional misguidance on the part of these preachers of “another Gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7). See the parallel cautions, Romans 16:17-18; Colossians 2:4.

Ephesians 4:14. Μηκέτι) that we may be not, as formerly and as yet.—νήπιοι, children) Νήπιοι, children, are opposed to a man in the second degree, and to a young man in the first: à perfect man, who can no longer increase in stature, but yet in other respects becomes more perfect; a child, who scarcely begins to grow.—κλυδωνιζόμενοι, tossing to and fro [as billows]) inwardly, upward and downward, even without wind.—περιφερόμενοι πάντι ἀνέμῳ, carried about with every wind) outwardly [with every wind that comes from without], hither and thither, others assaulting us.—κυβείᾳ, by the sleight) A metaphor taken from the player at dice, who frames his cast of the dice, so that the numbers may always turn up which may suit his purpose.—μεθοδείαν) The Methodists of the Church of Rome are much disposed to use this word: see ch. Ephesians 6:11 [where τὰς μεθοδείας is expressly joined to τοῦ διαβόλου], note. Add D. Michaelis’ Inaugural Dissertation on the exertions and methods (tricks) of the Church of Rome.—τῆς πλάνης,[60] of error) i.e. of Satan. The Metonymy of the abstract [for the concrete: error, for the Parent of error, Satan] expresses the concealed mode of acting which the enemy uses.

[60] Ἐν πανουργιᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης, “by craftiness, with a view to a methodized plan of deception.” Beng., however, because of the antithesis ἀνθρώπων takes πλάνης = Satan, and perhaps takes the sense thus “By the methodized craftiness of the (parent of) error.”—ED.

Verse 14. - That we he no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of teaching. The apostle goes back to illustrate in another way the purpose of the ministry; it is designed to remedy childish fickleness and the causes that lead to it. The ignorant and inexperienced lie at the mercy of abler persons, and, when there is no regular ministry provided by Christ, are liable to be swept along by any plausible person that professes to be a Christian teacher, and such persons are often very dangerous, working by the sleight of men, i.e. the cunning legerdemain by which the teachings of men - teachings devised by the hearts of men - are made to appear to the uninitiated the same as Christ's teaching. In craftiness, tending to the scheme of error. Such teachers employ crafty methods, apparently harmless, but tending to further the method or scheme of error. The strong language here used corresponds with that in which, at Miletus, the apostle warned the elders of Ephesus of the "grievous wolves" that were to come in among them, and of the men "speaking perverse things" that were to arise among themselves, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29, 30). Ephesians 4:14Children (νήπιοι)

See on 1 Corinthians 2:6; see on 1 Corinthians 3:1. As to the connection, Ephesians 4:13 states the ultimate goal of christian training; Ephesians 4:14 that which is pursued with a view to the attainment of that goal. Ephesians 4:14 is subordinate to Ephesians 4:13, as is shown by the retention of the same figure, and is remotely dependent on Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 4:12. The remote end, Ephesians 4:13, is placed before the more immediate one, as in Ephesians 4:12. See note.

Tossed to and fro (κλυδωνιζόμενοι)

Only here in the New Testament. See on wave, James 1:6. For Paul's use of nautical metaphors, see on Philippians 1:23. Compare Plato: "Socrates. In a ship, if a man having the power to do what he likes, has no intelligence or skill in navigation, do you see what will happen to him and to his fellow-sailors? Alcibiades. Yes, I see that they will all perish" ("Alcibiades," i., 135).

Wind of doctrine

Or of the teaching. The different teachings of philosophers or of religious quacks are represented as winds, blowing the unstable soul in every direction.

Sleight (κυβείᾳ)

Only here in the New Testament. From κύβος a cube or die. Lit., dice-playing.

Cunning craftiness (πανουργίᾳ)

See on Luke 20:23. The craft which gamblers use.

Whereby they lie in wait to deceive (πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης)

Lit., tending to the system of error. Rev., after the wiles of error. Μεθοδεία means a deliberate planning or system. Of error includes the idea of deceit or delusion. See Matthew 27:64; Romans 1:27; 2 Peter 2:18; 2 Peter 3:17; James 5:20. Error organizes. It has its systems and its logic. Ellicott remarks that here it is almost personified.

Links
Ephesians 4:14 Interlinear
Ephesians 4:14 Parallel Texts


Ephesians 4:14 NIV
Ephesians 4:14 NLT
Ephesians 4:14 ESV
Ephesians 4:14 NASB
Ephesians 4:14 KJV

Ephesians 4:14 Bible Apps
Ephesians 4:14 Parallel
Ephesians 4:14 Biblia Paralela
Ephesians 4:14 Chinese Bible
Ephesians 4:14 French Bible
Ephesians 4:14 German Bible

Bible Hub








Ephesians 4:13
Top of Page
Top of Page