Ephesians 5:13
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatever does make manifest is light.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light.—This should properly be rendered, But all things, when reproved, are illuminated by the light. The translation “are made manifest” is indeed fully in accordance with the common usage of the word. But the whole context shows that St. Paul is here using it in what is indeed its more proper etymological sense, for “are illumined.” For the mere “being made manifest” is implied in the “being reproved;” whereas he is certainly passing on here to a fresh idea, and, moreover, to one which will bear the inference of the last clause of the verse. To “reprove” after the Christian manner is to bring into the full light of Christ’s truth; and the effect of this is not merely to reprove, but to illumine by the inherent power of the light. Exactly with the same distinction of sense St. John uses both words (John 3:20-21).

For whatsoever doth make manifest is light.—That this translation (suggested, perhaps, by the difficulty of the passage when rightly rendered) is nevertheless certainly wrong, is shown both by the usage of the original word and by the genius of the whole context. It should be, for everything which is illuminated is light. St. Paul here explains still more clearly what he means by illumination. It implies the catching the light and reflecting it, so as to become a new source of light. It must be noted that the subject of the sentence is not “the works of darkness,” but “all things” in general. Hence the whole process is described, with almost scientific accuracy, as three-fold. First, the things, or persons, are dragged out of darkness into light; then they are illuminated; lastly, they become light in themselves and to others. There are, no doubt, exceptions to this, the right and normal process, in the case of the utterly reprobate, who have lost all power of reflecting light, and are therefore dark still in the blaze of noon; but the next verse shows that St. Paul is not contemplating these; and even these may be beacons of warning to others. The whole metaphor is more and more striking to us as modern science enlarges our knowledge of the manifold effects of light, not only to illuminate, but to change and to vivify.

Ephesians 5:13-14. But all things that are reproved — Or, discovered, or confuted, as ελεγχομενα may be properly rendered; are made manifest — Have their iniquity laid open to the actors themselves, as well as to others; by the light — Of divine truth; or, as Whitby interprets the clause, “being discovered by the light, they are made manifest.” For whatsoever doth make any thing of a moral or immoral nature manifest, is light — That is, nothing can make any thing in men’s spirit or conduct manifest but light, yea, light from heaven; “and therefore the gospel well deserves that name, as teaching those who are instructed in it to judge rightly concerning the moral nature of actions, and inculcating such general principles, as will be of use to them in every particular case that can possibly arise.” Wherefore he saith — Namely, God, in the general tenor of his word, to all who are still in darkness; Awake thou that sleepest — In ignorance of God, of thyself, and of his will concerning thee, and in a state of stupid insensibility respecting invisible and eternal things; and arise from the dead — From thy state of spiritual death, a state of alienation from the life of God here, and obnoxiousness to eternal death hereafter. See on Ephesians 2:5. And Christ shall give thee light — Spiritual and divine light, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, and happiness, the light of grace and glory.5:3-14 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors repent and believe the gospel, they become children of obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.But all things that are reproved - Margin, discovered. The word used here properly means proved, demonstrated, reproved, or convicted (see the notes on John 16:8); but it seems here to be used in the sense of disclosed, or discovered. The sense is, that "its true nature is demonstrated;" that is, it is made known.

Are made manifest by the light - The sense is, "light is the means of seeing what things are. We discern their form, nature, appearance, by it. So it is with the gospel - the light of the world. It enables us to see the true nature of actions. They are done in darkness, and are like objects in the dark. Their form and nature cannot then be known; but, when the light shines, we see what they are;" compare notes on John 3:20-21.

For whatsoever doth make manifest is light - "Anything which will show the real form and nature of an object, deserves to be called light." Of the truth of this, no one can doubt. The meaning in this connection is, that that system which discloses the true nature of what is done by the pagan, deserves to be considered as "light;" and that the gospel which does this, should be regarded as a system of light and truth. It discloses their odiousness and vileness, and it stands thus in strong contrast with all the false and abominable systems which have upheld or produced those vices.

13. that are reproved—rather, "when they are reproved," namely, by you (Eph 5:11).

whatsoever doth make manifest—rather, "everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,' Eph 5:8, but) light." The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them. Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light (Joh 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your "armor of light" (Ro 13:12) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.

But all things; or all those things, viz. those unfruitful works of darkness, which are to be reproved.

Are made manifest; i.e. in the minds and consciences of the sinners themselves.

By the light; the light of doctrine in verbal reproofs, and of a holy life in real and practical ones.

For whatsoever doth make manifest is light; or, it is the light which manifests every thing, viz. which was before in the dark. The apostle argues from the nature and office of light; q.d. It is the property of light to discover and manifest what before was not seen, and therefore it becomes you who are light in the Lord to shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:15, that ye may by your holy conversation convince wicked men of their wickedness, and deeds of darkness, which they did not before perceive in themselves. But all things that are reproved,.... As all sins should be, by the ministers of the Gospel, and by other saints, and will be by God; either by his Spirit convincing of them, or by his judgments, and the letting out of his wrath and fury, either here or hereafter, for the punishment of them:

are made manifest by the light: either by the saints, who are made light in the Lord, and detect and reprove the sins of others; or by the word of the Lord, which discovers the heinousness of sins; or by Christ the light of the world, who as Judge will bring to light the hidden things of darkness; or by the omniscience of God, to whom darkness and light are both alike

for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light; this is true in things natural and spiritual, whether of the sun in the firmament, or of Christ the sun of righteousness; or of the divine word, or of good men.

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 5:13. The assigning of grounds for that precept, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε, is continued,—being attached by means of the contradistinguishing δέ,—inasmuch as there is pointed out the salutary action of the Christian light which is brought to bear by means of the required ἐλέγχειν upon all those secret deeds of shame: But everything (all those secret sins), when it is reproved, when you carry that ἐλέγχετε into effect upon it, is by the light (ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός has the emphasis) made manifest, is laid bare in its real moral character, unveiled and brought into distinctness before the moral consciousness by the light of Christian truth which is at work in your ἐλέγχεν; by the light, I say, it is made manifest, for—in order to ἐλέγχειν prove by a general proposition that this cannot come otherwise than from the light—all that which is made manifest, which is brought forth from concealment and is laid open in its true nature, is light, has ceased thereby to have the nature of darkness, and is now of the essence of light. This demonstrative proposition is based upon the inference: “Quod est in effectu (φῶς ἐστι), id debet esse in causa (ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός).” If thus there is warrant for the general πᾶν τὸ φανερούμ. φῶς ἐστι, so must there also be warrant for what was previously said in the Christian sense, ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται. From this simple explanation of the words it becomes at once clear that we have not, with most expositors (including Baumgarten-Crusius and de Wette), to attach ὑπὸ τοῦ φ. to ἐλεγχόμενα, but to φανεροῦται (Castalio, Zanchius, Zeger, Erasmus Schmid, Estius, Bengel, Meier, Harless, Olshausen, Schenkel, Bleek), to which it is emphatically prefixed; and further, that φανερούμενον is not to be taken as middle, in which case again various explanations have been brought out, namely, either: “Lux enim illud est, quod omnia facit manifesta” (Beza; so Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, and others, as also Bleek, who in place of φανερούμενον conjectures: φανεροῦν τό), or: “Omne enim illud, quod manifesta facit alia, lux est” (Erasmus Schmid; so also Cajetanus, Estius, Michaelis, and others), or: “Quilibet autem [γάρ!], qui alios docet, est lux, … eo ipso declarat, se esse verum Christianum,” Kuinoel in Velthusen, etc., Commentatt. III. p. 173 ff., or: “he who does not refuse to be made manifest, becomes an enlightened one,” Bengel,—against which interpretations not only the immediately preceding passive φανεροῦται is decisive, but also linguistic usage, in accordance with which φανεροῦμαι is always passive.[262] And if we adhere to the view of φανερούμ. as passive, we must exclude every explanation, in which a quid pro quo is perpetrated or something is imported, or γάρ is either neglected or incorrectly taken. We have therefore to set aside—(1) the explanation given by Eisner and Wolf, that Paul says: “hominum scelera in tenebris patrata, a fidelibus, qui lux sunt, improbata, non modo protrahi in lucem, verum etiam homines, illis sceleribus inquinatos, rubore suffundi increpitos convictosque, et ipsos quoque φῶς fieri hac ratione, emendatis vitiis tenebrisque in novae vitae lucem conversis;” (2) that of Zachariae: “Everything which is sharply tested according to the light of the doctrine of Christ and holds its ground, one has no need to keep secret; … all, however, which one can perform openly and before every one’s eyes … is itself light, and strikes every one as good and praiseworthy;” (3) that of Storr: “Quisquis ea, quae monitus est a luce, audit, is patefit, emergit e tenebris; quisquis autem patefactus est, is luce collustratus est;” (4) that of Koppe (comp. Cramer): “for what is itself enlightened, must he also a light for others;” (5) that of Rückert, who would refer γάρ to a conclusion tacitly drawn from what precedes (“ye are light, consequently it is also your business ἐλέγχειν τὰ ἐκείνων ἔργα”): “for all that is made manifest, that is, or by that very fact becomes, light,” from which again the suppressed conclusion is to be drawn: consequently it may be hoped that those also will become light, when they are convinced of the reprobate character of their action; (6) that of Meier and Olshausen: “for all that is enlightened by the light, is itself light” (Olshausen), which according to Meier is equivalent to: “becomes itself transparent and pure as light,” according to Olshausen: “becomes changed into the nature of light.” (7) Nearest to our interpretation comes that of Harless, followed in part by Schenkel. Harless, however, finds expressed from τὰ δὲ πάντα onward the necessity of the ἐλέγχειν, which is rather implied in Ephesians 5:12, to which in Ephesians 5:13 the salutariness of the ἐλέγχειν attaches itself; he explains φανερούμ., moreover, as if it were praeterite, and does not retain πᾶν γὰρ τὸ φανερούμ. κ.τ.λ. in its generality as locus communis, inasmuch as he takes φῶς ἐστιν: is no longer a secret work of darkness, but is light.

According to Baur, p. 435, the proposition πᾶν τὸ φανερ. φῶς ἐστι belongs to the Gnostic theory of light (“all development takes place only through that which in itself already exists becoming manifest for the consciousness”), and has been introduced into its present connection out of this quite different sphere of ideas. But the state of the case is exactly the converse; the Valentinians laid hold of this utterance of the apostle as supporting their doctrine, and expressly cited it (τοῦτο δὲ ὁ Παῦλος λέγει κ.τ.λ., in Iren. i. 8. 5), and consequently took it away from the connection in which he used it so as to favour their own theory.

[262] The article before φῶς might (this we remark in opposition to Olshausen) be dispensed with even in Beza’s explanation, so that φῶς ἐστι would have to be translated: is light-essence, has the nature of light. If, however,—which is not the case,

φανερούμ. were really to be translated as active, the simplest rendering, and the one most in keeping with the context, would be: for it is the light making everything manifest.Ephesians 5:13. τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐλεγχόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται, πᾶν γὰρ τὸ φανερούμενον φῶς ἐστί: but all, when they are reproved, are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. Both the connection and the import of some of the words here are difficult to determine, and various interpretations have been proposed. The RV renders it “but all things when they are reproved are made manifest,” treating it as a general statement. But the point and the harmony of the whole verse are best seen if the phrase τὰ πάντα is taken to refer to the secret practices which have been immediately in view, = “all of them,” “all these things”. The ἐλεγχόμενα, again, must have its proper sense of reproved or rebuked, and cannot be dealt with as synonymous with πεφανεροῦται. The anarthrous participle will express the manner or the time of the action in question, and is not = “all things which are reproved” (Vulg., AV, etc.), but is = “all these things when they are reproved”. The πᾶν must be accepted as a neuter, there being no reason for taking it (with Bengel) as abstract for concrete and so = “every man”. Further, the φανερούμενον and the φανεροῦται are naturally to be taken as of the same Voice. That the former cannot have the force of the Middle, “that which makes manifest,” appears from the fact that there does not appear to be any instance of φανεροῦσθαι being anything else than a pure passive in the NT, although it occurs some fifty times there. Two particular difficulties remain, viz., (a) the connection of ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός, and (b) the sense of φῶς in the two clauses. As to (a), some attach the words to the ἐλεγχόμενα, = “when they are reproved by the light” (Syr., Copt., etc.). But, as the ἐλέγχετε (Ephesians 5:11) was introduced without any specification of the agent, it is most natural to connect the ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτός here not with the participle but with the fin. verb, and the best sense is got thereby. As to (b), it is held by some (e.g., Ell.) that the term φῶς must have the same sense in both clauses, whether the primary sense or the metaphorical. But it is difficult to get a clear and consistent sense for the statement on that supposition, neither is it necessary that the τοῦ φωτός in the first clause should have identically the same sense as φῶς in the second. In point of fact in the former the idea of the Christian light, the light of the Christian truth previously referred to, seems to be in view; while in the latter clause, which gives a general statement in support of the preceding particular affirmation, φῶς has its primary sense. It should be added that, if φανερούμενον is part of the statement of a general truth, the objection taken by some (e.g., Abb.) to the interpretation that deals with it as a true passive, viz., that it should then be πεφανερωμένον, falls to the ground. These considerations, therefore, negative all such interpretations as these—(1) “he who does not refuse to be made manifest, becomes an enlightened one” (Beng.); (2) “for all that is enlightened by the light, is itself light” (Olsh.); (3) “all things which are tested by the light of the doctrine of Christ, one has no need to keep secret; all, however, which one can perform openly is itself light”; (4) all those constructions which give φανερούμενον the Middle sense, e.g., omne enim illud, quod manifesta facit alia, lux est (Erasm.); lux enim illud est quod omnia facit manifesta (Beza; similarly Calv., Bleek, etc.); (5) and all that make the light the agent of the ἐλέγχειν (De Wette, etc.). The sense, therefore, is this—“all these shameful things which are done by them in secret, when they are subjected to the open rebuke which Christians ought to give them, are laid bare by the light of the Christian truth acting in their reproof, so that the doers of them are made to see them in the odiousness of their real nature; for everything that is disclosed in its real colours ceases to be secret and becomes of the nature of light”. So substantially Mey., Ell., etc. The δέ also has its proper, adversative force, as if = “these things indeed are done in secret; but (or yet) they are made manifest and displayed in their true character, when you reprove them in the power of Christian truth”. Thus, the whole sentence becomes a further reason, derived from the effects of the act, for practising the ἐλέγχειν; and the second clause confirms the particular power ascribed to the Christian φῶς by reference to the general statement of the connection between manifestation and light.13. all things that are reproved] More lit., all things, when being reproved, or convicted.

doth make manifest] Render, certainly, is made manifest, or more precisely, is being manifested. So the Lat. versions, and, with verbal variations, all the older English Versions except the Genevan (1557), which has, loosely, “it is light that discovereth all things.” The Gr. is decisive against this and the A.V.

The drift of this somewhat difficult verse, suggested by the context, seems to be; “You are light in the Lord; use this character upon the surrounding moral darkness, in order to the rescue of its victims, that they also may become light. Nothing but light will do this work; no conquest over darkness, literal or spiritual, is possible except to light. And one evidence of this is that every such real conquest results in the subjects of darkness becoming now subjects of light, becoming lights.” More briefly; “You are light; keep pure then, but shine far into the dark. And then other men, as already you, shall become light in the Lord.”Ephesians 5:13. Δὲ) but; although those things cannot be spoken of or named.—ἐλεγχόμενα, reproved) by you, Ephesians 5:11.—ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται, are made manifest by the light) φάος, φανερός, are conjugates.—φανεροῦται, are made manifest) that their shamefulness may be known, whether those who have been guilty of doing them treat their reprovers with scorn or repent of them.—πᾶν, everything) The abstract for the concrete; for the subject here is the man himself; comp. the following verse, wherefore [He saith, Awake, etc., which proves that the πᾶν here refers to the man reproved].—γὰρ, for) For makes an emphatic addition [Epitasis[81]] in a gradation.—τὸ φανερούμενον, an Antanaclasis [the same word in a twofold sense], for φανεροῦται is passive; φανερούμενον is middle,[82] what does not avoid being made manifest; comp. afterwards ἔγειραι, and ἀνάστα.—φῶς, light) a Metonymy, as Ephesians 5:8.[83]—ἔστι, is) becomes, and afterwards is light.

[81] Πάντα virtually repeated in πᾶν with the Epitasis of γὰρ added to the latter, so forming a gradation.—ED.

[82] Everything which allows itself to be made manifest. Not as Eng. V., which takes it actively, Whatsoever doth make manifest.—ED.

[83] Abstract for the concrete—is light, for, is luminous—is a child of the light.—ED.Verse 13. - But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light. As, for instance, when our Lord reproved the hypocrisy of the Pharisees - their practices had not seemed to the disciples very evil before, but when Christ threw on them the pure light of truth, they were made manifest in their true character - they appeared and they still appear, odious. A just reproof places evil in a light that shows its true character. For everything which is made manifest is light. Literally, this is a truism; anything shone on is no longer dark, but light. The nearest approach to this, morally, is that light has a transforming power; when the light of the gospel shines on anything dark or evil, it transforms it into what is light or good. This is not uniformly true; all the light of heaven turned on hell would not make it morally light; but it is the general property and tendency of moral light to transform. The exhortation would thus mean - Use your light to reprove what is evil or dark, for not only will the true character of the evil thereby be made apparent, but your light will have a transforming power. But if this were the meaning, we should expect in the end of the verse, not φῶς ἐστι, but φῶς γινεταί, to denote this transformation. The rendering of A.V., giving to φανερούμενον an active meaning ("whatsoever doth make manifest is light"), is rejected by most grammarians, as not being consistent with the usage of the word. The meaning which that rendering gives is this: "Light is the element which makes all clear." We should thus have in the latter clause a proposition, affirming as universal what in the former clause is affirmed of one particular case; "things reproved are made manifest by the light, for it is only light that makes things clear." The exhortation to reprove would thus be confirmed by the consideration that the only way of making immoral things appear in their proper character is to let in on them the light of the gospel. The great practical point is that Christians ought to let in and diffuse the light. All things (τὰ πάντα)

More literally, they all, or all of them; the secret sins just mentioned.

That are reproved (ἐλεγχόμενα)

Lit., being reproved. Rev., when they are reproved. Reproved is to be taken in the same literal sense as in Ephesians 5:11, and not metaphorically in the sense of being demonstrated by light, or brought to light, which is almost synonymous with are made manifest.

By the light

Connect with are made manifest, not with are reproved.

Whatsoever doth make manifest is light (πᾶν τὸ φανερούμενον φῶς ἐστίν)

Wrong. The A.V. renders doth make manifest, as in the middle voice, but the verb is in the passive voice. It occurs nearly fifty times in the New Testament, and never as middle. Hence Rev., correctly, everything that is made manifest.

Is light

A general proposition, going to show that manifestation can come only through light. Whatever is revealed in its true essence by light is of the nature of light. It no longer belongs to the category of darkness. Manifestation is a law of good and evil alike. That which is of the truth seeks the light and cometh to the light. That which is evil avoids the light, and loves darkness better than light, but none the less is brought to the light and appears in its own light. See John 3:20, John 3:21. This truth is embodied in another form in the parable of the Tares. Growth is manifestation. By suffering the tares to grow, their difference from the wheat, which at first is not apparent, is fully revealed.

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