Ephesians 4:6
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) One God and Father of all.—Necessarily, through the Son, we pass to the Father (as the Lord Himself invariably teaches us to do), since He is (to use the old Greek expression) “the fount of Deity.” He is said to be the “Father of all.” We cannot limit this universal Fatherhood; although, undoubtedly, the context shows that the immediate reference is to those who are His children by adoption in Jesus Christ. The Church is essentially Catholic, inheriting by special gift what is the birthright of all humanity; incapable of perfection till all be drawn into that closer sonship, yet having neither right nor desire to deny that outside her pale at any moment the wider Fatherhood of God extends.

Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.—The word “you” has little authority; many MSS. and commentaries have “us.” But the best MSS. and authorities omit both, as probably early glosses of explanation which have crept into the text. Accordingly, the word “all” throughout must be taken, as above, as applying to all God’s rational creatures, made in His image (and indeed, in a lower sense, even to all His creatures), but especially and properly to the members of Christ’s Church. In the three-fold sentence many ancient and modern interpreters trace a reference to the Holy Trinity. But, strictly speaking, this cannot be, as the passage expressly points to the Father; although, in virtue of the eternal unity of the Godhead, it may be true that in the expression “through all” and “in all” we trace those manifestations of the Father which are especially made through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Hence we must refer all properly to the ultimate conception of God the Father; as “above all” in the sovereignty of His will, since to work out “His pleasure they are and were created,” and His will becomes to them the “law eternal;” as “through all” in the diffusive power of the forces—physical, moral, and spiritual—by which the world of nature, still more the world of man, most of all the society of Christians, are swayed as wholes; and “in all” by the indwelling of God in the individual for creation, sustentation, regeneration, which is the breath of life—both the physical and spiritual life. (This individuality, and the especial reference to Christians, are marked by the very natural gloss “us,” or “you,” in this clause.)

4:1-6 Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as becomes those called to Christ's kingdom and glory. By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive. There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.One God - The same God; therefore there should be unity. Were there many gods to be worshipped, there could be no more hope of unity than there is among the worshippers of Mammon and Bacchus, and the various other idols that people set up. People who have different pursuits, and different objects of supreme affection, can be expected to have no union. People who worship many gods, cannot hope to be united. Their affections are directed to different objects, and there is no harmony or sympathy of feeling. But where there is one supreme object of attachment there may be expected to be unity. The children of a family that are devoted to a parent, will be united among themselves; and the fact that all Christians have the same great object of worship, should constitute a strong bond of union among themselves - a chain always kept bright.

And Father of all - One God who is the Father of all; that is, who is a common Father to all who believe. That this refers to the Father, in contradistinction from the Son and the Holy Spirit, seems evident. The Spirit and the Son are mentioned in the previous verses. But the fact that the "Father of all" is mentioned as "God," does not prove that the Spirit and the Son are not also endowed with divine attributes. That question is to be determined by the attributes ascribed to the Son and the Holy Spirit in other places. All sincere Christians worship "one" God, and "but" one. But they suppose that this one God subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, united in a mysterious manner, and constituting the one God, and that there is no other God. That the Father is divine, they all hold, as Paul affirms here; that the Son and the Holy Spirit are also divine, they also hold; see the John 1 note; Hebrews 1 note; Philippians 2:6 note; Romans 9:5 note. The meaning here is, that God is the common Father of "all" his people - of the rich and the poor; the bond and the free; the learned and the unlearned. He is no respecter of persons. Nothing would tend more to overcome the prejudices of color, rank, and wealth, than to feel that we all have one Father; and that we are all equally the objects of his favor; compare notes on Acts 17:26.

Who is above all - Who is supreme; who presides over all things.

And through all - He pervades universal nature, and his agency is seen everywhere.

And in you all - There is no one in whose heart he does not dwell. You are his temple, and he abides in you; see Ephesians 2:22; notes, 1 Corinthians 6:19. The argument here is, that as the same God dwelt in every heart, they ought to be one. See this argument beautifully expressed in the Saviour's prayer, John 17:21; compare John 14:23.

6. above—"over all." The "one God over all" (in His sovereignty and by His grace) is the grand source and crowning apex of unity (Eph 2:19, end).

through all—by means of Christ "who filleth all things" (Eph 4:10; 2:20, 21), and is "a propitiation" for all men (1Jo 2:2).

in you all—The oldest manuscripts omit "you." Many of the oldest versions and Fathers and old manuscripts read, "in us all." Whether the pronoun be read or not, it must be understood (either from the "ye," Eph 4:4, or from the "us," Eph 4:7); for other parts of Scripture prove that the Spirit is not "in all" men, but only in believers (Ro 8:9, 14). God is "Father" both by generation (as Creator) and regeneration (Eph 2:10; Jas 1:17, 18; 1Jo 5:1).

One God; God is here taken personally for the Father, the other two Persons being before mentioned, Ephesians 4:4,5.

And Father of all; of all believers.

Who is above all; not only in the excellencies of his nature, but especially in his sovereign dominion over the church.

And through all; by his special providence, through all the members of the church.

And in you all; by inhabitation, and the conjunction of believers with him. Though the former two may be applied to God’s universal dominion and providence over all the creatures, yet, the apostle speaking of the conjunction of believers in one Father, they are both to be restrained according to this last clause. One God and Father of all,.... That there is but one God is the voice of nature and of revelation; and may be concluded from the perfections of deity, for there can be but one eternal, infinite, immense, omnipotent, all-sufficient, perfect, and independent Being; and from one first cause of all things, and the relations he stands in to his creatures: there is but one God, who is truly, and really, and properly God, in opposition to all nominal and figurative deities, and which are not gods by nature, and to the fictitious deities and idols of the nations; and there is but one God of Jews and Gentiles; nor is the unity of the Godhead inconsistent with a trinity of persons in it: and this one God is the Father of all; the Father of all mercies, and of all spirits, both angels and souls of men; and he is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of all the elect in him: and seeing that they have all one covenant God and Father, who has predestinated them to the adoption of children, and who has put them among the children, and adopted them into his family, and stand in the same relation to him, and enjoy the same privileges, they ought to love as brethren:

who is above all; which may denote the superior excellency of his nature, not above his Son and Spirit, who are of the same nature with him, but above angels and men; and the extensiveness of his government, over all creatures in general, and over his church and people in particular:

and through all; the Arabic version renders it, "taking care of all"; which may have respect to his providence, which is either universal, and reaches to all creatures his hands have made; or special, and concerns his own chosen people, who belong to his family, and to whom he stands in the relation of a covenant God and Father: or this clause may refer to the perfections of his nature, which appear through the whole of the salvation of all the chosen ones; as his wisdom, love, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, truth, and faithfulness:

and in you all; which is to be understood, not of his being in his creatures, by his powerful presence, which is everywhere supporting them; but of the gracious union there is between him and his people, and of his gracious inhabitation in them by his Spirit. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, the Complutensian edition, and some copies, read, "in us all"; and the Alexandrian copy, and the Ethiopic version, read only, "in all".

One God and Father of all, who is {c} above all, and {d} through all, and {e} in you all.

(c) Who alone has the chief authority over the Church.

(d) Who alone pours forth his providence, through all the members of the Church.

(e) Who alone is joined together with us in Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 4:6. Observe the climactic advance in Ephesians 4:4-6 : the Church, Christ, God;—and at the same time the climax in the divine Triad: Spirit, Lord, Father. Only the dominion of the Father is the absolute one, that of the Son is the derived, conferred, obtained (Php 2:9; 1 Corinthians 15:24 ff; 1 Corinthians 3:23, al.; comp. Ernesti, Ursprung d. Sünde, I. p. 194 ff.), in which He also disposes of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). See also Gess, von der Person Christi, p. 158 ff.

πάντων] i.e. of all believers, as those who have the υἱοθεσία (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 4:5), so that God is their God and Father. Holzhausen erroneously (seeing that the context treats of the Christian ἑνότης) thinks that all men are intended. Not even the spiritually dead members of the church are included (in opposition to Münchmeyer), as results from the sequel indicated by διά and ἐν, since they have not the Spirit and belong not to Christ (Romans 8:9), but are aloof from connection with Him and stand outside of grace (Galatians 5:4 f.; John 15:2; John 15:6), consequently have no share in the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23) and in the living temple of God (Ephesians 2:22 f.).

ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων κ.τ.λ.] The relation of the Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων to the πᾶσι in threefold manner. Comp. Romans 11:36, where, however, the prepositions define the subject, not, as here, the object. πάντων, πάντων, and πᾶσιν are equally to be taken as masculine, because the preceding πάντων was masculine, and because the discourse continues in Ephesians 4:7 with ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν, wherein the πάντες are individualized. Wrongly, therefore, many (including Erasmus, Michaelis, Morus, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius) have taken the first two as neuter, while the Vulgate, Zachariae, Koppe, et al., give the second point alone as neuter, and Matthies, on the other hand, explains all three elements of the relation of God to the world and mankind, consequently as neuter.

ἐπὶ πάντων] ἐπάνω πάντων, Chrysostom; τὴν δεσποτείαν σημαίνει, Theodoret. Comp. Romans 9:5. See Wessel, ad Diodor. xiii. 14; Lobeck, ad Phryn p. 474; Winer, p. 335 [E. T. 521]. After this relation of transcendence there follows, in διὰπᾶσιν, that of immanence.

διὰ πάντων] cannot, since the πάντες are the Christians and the relation of God to what is Christian is characterized, apply either to the creation (Estius, Wolf, and others), so that we should have to think of the all-penetrating creative power of God, or to providence (Chrysostom and his successors; Beza, Grotius: “per omnes diffundit providam suam gubernationem”); but the charismatic presence of God by means of the Holy Spirit, pervading and ruling all Christians, is meant. See also Ephesians 4:7, and comp. 1 Corinthians 12:6. The distinction from the following ἐν πᾶσιν lies not in the thing itself, since both elements denote the immanent ruling of God by virtue of His Spirit, but in the form of conception, since with ἐν the relation is conceived of as operative indwelling, and with διά as operative movement throughout all Christian hearts (“Deus enim Spiritu sanctificationis diffusus est per omnia ecclesiae membra,” Calvin). According to Harless, the thought expressed in διὰ πάντων is, that God as head works through the members. But of the conception of the head and the members there is absolutely nothing in the context; further, though mention is made of God as Father, it is not the Father, but Christ, that is Head of the members; lastly, in place of the simple ὤν, which is to be mentally supplied, there would be insensibly introduced a wholly different supplement, namely, ἐνεργῶν, or a similar verb.[202] At the bottom of this explanation there lies, indeed, the presupposition, that the relation of the Trinity is expressed in the three prepositions, as Jerome, Thomas, and many of the older expositors would have it. Against this altogether arbitrary supposition, however, Theophylact already rightly declared himself. See also Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 201. Olshausen, too, finds here, as at Romans 11:36, the Trinity; holding that God is described in His various relations to the creature [rather to the Christians] as Lord over all things, as instrument by which they are (this being held to apply to the Son), and as the element in which they are. Thus, moreover, the prepositional relation of the last two clauses is exactly reversed, inasmuch as not διὰ πάντων κ.τ.λ. is explained, but διʼ οὗ πάντες κ.τ.λ.! According to Beyschlag, Christol. d. N.T. p. 250, there is expressed, at least in the form of hint, the threefold mode of existence of God (“self-preservation, self-disclosure, self-communication”). But apart from the fact that such a threefold form of existence is not the expression of the New Testament triad, the self-communication, in fact, is implied not only in ἐν πᾶσιν, but necessarily already in διὰ πάντων. Lastly, Koppe is wrong in an opposite way: “Sententia videtur una, tantum variis formulis synonymis (!) expressa haec: cui vos omnes debetis omnia.”

Observe, further, that the great fundamental elements of unity, Ephesians 4:4-6, are matters of fact, historically given with Christianity itself, and as such are not affected by differences of doctrine; hence without reason there have been found here traces of the later age, when “upon the basis of the Pauline thought a Catholic church was built,” of which the centralization in doctrine and constitution was not derived from the adherents of Paul, but was a Petrine thought (Schwegler). The Catholic idea in our passage is just the Pauline one (1 Corinthians 12), cherished by Christ Himself (John 17:20 f.).

[202] This also in opposition to Winzer: “qui per omnes operatur, quasi unoquoque utitur ad declarandam suam majestatem, ad consilia sua exsequenda.” So, in the main, de Wette (comp. Bengel): it applies to the operation brought about by means of all; and Reiche: “omnibus utitur quasi instrumentis, quibus … res Christiana stabilitur, augetur, consummatur.”Ephesians 4:6. εἶς Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων: one God and Father of all. This supreme name, Θεὸς or ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατήρ, is used both absolutely (1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 5:20; Jam 1:27), and with defining terms, e.g., τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν, Ephesians 1:10 (Romans 15:6; Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3), ἡμῶν (Galatians 1:4; Php 4:20; 1 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16), πάντων (here; cf. the longer designation εἷς Θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα, 1 Corinthians 8:6). Christian unity being here in view, the name applies to the special Fatherhood of God in grace, not (with Holz., Abb.) to the universal Fatherhood of God and His relation to all men. Attention is rightly called by Mey. and others to the advance in the thought in these verses from Church to Christ, and from Christ to God who is One in the highest and most absolute sense—the One source of life and good in all His people, the one to whom both Christ and the Spirit are related.—ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων, καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν ὑμῖν ὑμῖν: who is over all, and through all, and in [you] all. The ὑμῖν of the TR (following some cursives and Fathers), and the variant ἡμῖν (in [359] [360] [361] [362], Lat., Syr., Goth., etc.) must be omitted (with LTTrWHRV) as having no support from [363] [364] [365] [366], 17, Copt., Eth., etc. The πάντων and the πᾶσιν are most naturally taken as masculines here, in harmony with the previous πάντων. The clause, therefore, expresses a three-fold relation of the One God and Father to the all who are His: first, the relation of transcendence (Mey.) or sovereigntyἐπί (= ὑπεράνω, over or above) expressing the supremacy of absolute Godhead and Fatherhood; second, that of immanenceδιά (= through) expressing the pervading, animating, controlling presence of that One God and Father; and third, that of indwelling—the ἐν expressing the constant abode of the One God and Father in His people by His Spirit. Neither the creative action of God (Est.), nor His providential rule (Chrys., Grot.), is in view, but what He is to the Christian people in His dominion over them and His gracious operative presence in them.

[359] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[360] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[361] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[362] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[363] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[364] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[365] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[366] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.6. one God and Father of all] The ultimate Source of spiritual unity. Baptism seals faith, faith unites to the Lord Christ, Christ reveals the Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3), with Whom He, one with His Church, is eternally one.—“Of all:—here, obviously, all believers. Other aspects of Divine Fatherhood are not here in question. See above on Ephesians 1:2. And cp. on this Ephesians 4 :1 Corinthians 8:6.

above all, &c.] The thought in these clauses progresses downwards and inwards. The Eternal Father, in His Son, supremely presides “over all” His regenerate children, carries out action “through” them, and dwells “in” them. On the last word see Ephesians 2:22; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 1 John 4:12; 1 John 4:16.—“In you all:—there is clear evidence for the omission of “you”; considerable evidence for the reading “us”; but a preponderance, chiefly of patristic quotations, against any pronoun. The context however is clear for the special reference to the Church. The power and immanence of God in the Universe would be only a remote plea for Christian union.Ephesians 4:6. Πάντων, of all) This word occurring thrice, and πᾶσιν presently after, both are masculine; for all are reduced to unity [are brought together as one, under the one God and Father].—ἐπὶ) high above all with His grace.—διὰ πάντων) Working throughout all, through [by means of] Christ.—ἐν πᾶσιν,[56]) in all dwelling, in (i.e., by) the Holy Spirit.

[56] ABC Memph. read ἐν πᾶσιν only. DGfg Vulg., both Syr. Versions, Iren., Firmilian ad Cypr. 150, Hilary, add ἡμῖν. Rec. Text, with no very old authority, reads ὑμῖν.—ED.

The larger Ed. had preferred the omission of the pronoun, whether ὑμῖν or ἡμῖν; but the Germ. Vers., following the decision of the 2d Ed., received the pronoun ἡμῖν.—E. B.One God and Father

The fundamental ground of unity. Note the climax: One Church, one Christ, one God.

Above all (ἐπὶ πάντων)

Rev, over: as ruler.

Through - in (διὰ - ἐν)

Through, pervading: in, indwelling. Compare Ephesians 2:22; Ephesians 3:17.

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