Ephesians 5:3
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
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(3b) Ephesians 5:3-14 warn, with even greater fulness and emphasis, against the sins of impurity and lust, as incompatible with membership of the kingdom of heaven, as works of darkness, impossible to those who are children of light.

(3) But fornication, and all uncleanness, or Christian light covetousness.—“Fornication” is closely joined (as in 2Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5) with “uncleanness,” of which general sin it is a flagrant species. It is distinguished (as also in Colossians 3:5) from “covetousness,” or greediness. “Uncleanness” is a sin against our own body and soul (see 1Corinthians 6:18); “covetousness” (literally, the insatiable desire for more) is a sin against our neighbour. At the same time, the constant connection of the two words suggests the truth which is conveyed by the union of the two kinds of “coveting” in the Tenth Commandment, viz., that the temper of selfish and unbridled concupiscence has a two-fold direction—to the covetousness of lust, and to the covetousness of avarice—the one perhaps especially a vice of youth, and the other of old age.

Ephesians 5:3-4. But fornication, &c. — But any impure love, and any vice flowing therefrom, or connected therewith; let it not be once named — Or heard of; among you — Except with detestation. Keep at the utmost distance from it; as becometh saints — Who are conscious of the sanctity of your name and profession, and dread the thoughts of debasing it; for certainly it is reasonable and proper that they who are separated from the world, and dedicated to God, should shun all such mention of these things, as may any way encourage and countenance the practice of them. Neither filthiness — Wanton, lewd, lascivious speeches; nor foolish talking — Tittle-tattle, talking of the weather, fashions, meat, and drink, and such vain discourse as betrays folly and indiscretion, and has no tendency to edify; nor jesting Ευτραπελια, wittiness, facetiousness, or such artfully turned discourse as is only calculated to produce mirth and laughter. Such turns of wit were esteemed by the heathen a sort of virtue: but how frequently every thing of this kind quenches the Spirit, those who are of a tender conscience know. Which things are not convenient — Or proper for a Christian, as neither increasing his faith nor holiness, and are therefore utterly unsuitable to his profession. But rather giving of thanks — Rather abound in the language of thanksgiving and devotion, to which you are under so many and such strong obligations, and which will yield a pleasure much more sublime and satisfactory than any animal indulgences or delights. Observe, reader, the deliverances which God hath wrought out for us, and the benefits which he hath conferred on us in the course of his providence, the great blessings of redemption and salvation from sin and misery procured for us, and the gift of eternal life consequent thereon, with whatever is necessary to prepare us for these blessings, are powerful considerations why we should be frequent and fervent in praise and thanksgiving.

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 fornication - A "common" vice among the pagan then as it is now, and one into which they were in special danger of falling; see Romans 1:29 note; 1 Corinthians 6:18 note.

And all uncleanness - Impurity of life; see the notes on Romans 1:24; compare Romans 6:19; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; Colossians 3:5.

Or covetousness - The "connection" in which this word is found is remarkable. It is associated with the lowest and most debasing vices, and this, as well as those vices, was not once to be "named" among them. What was Paul's estimate then of covetousness? He considered it as an odious and abominable vice; a vice to be regarded in the same light as the most gross sin, and as wholly to be abhorred by all who bore the Christian name see Ephesians 5:5. The covetous man, according to Paul, is to be ranked with the sensual, and with idolaters Ephesians 5:5, and with those who are entirely excluded from the kingdom of God Is this the estimate in which the vice is held now? Is it the view which professing Christians take of it? Do we not feel that there is a "great" difference between a covetous man and a man of impure and licentious life? Why is this? Because:

(1) it is so common;

(2) because it is found among those who make pretensions to refinement and even religion;

(3) because it is not so easy to define what is covetousness, as it is to define impurity of life; and,

(4) because the public conscience is seared, and the mind blinded to the low and grovelling character of the sin.

Yet, is not the view of Paul the right view? Who is a covetous man? A man who, in the pursuit of gold, neglects his soul, his intellect, and his heart. A man who, in this insatiable pursuit, is regardless of justice, truth, charity, faith, prayer, peace, comfort, usefulness, conscience; and who shall say that there is any vice more debasing or degrading than this? The time "may" come, therefore, when the covetous man will be regarded as deserving the same rank in the public estimation with the most vicious, and when to covet will be considered as much opposed to the spirit of the gospel as any of the vices here named. When that time shall come, the world's conversion will probably be not a distant event.

Let it not be once named among you - That is, let it not exist; let there be no occasion for mentioning such a thing among you; let it be wholly unknown. This cannot mean that it is wrong to "mention" these vices for the purpose of rebuking them, or cautioning those in danger of committing them - for Paul himself in this manner mentions them here, and frequently elsewhere - but that they should not "exist" among them.

As becometh saints - As befits the character of Christians, who are regarded as holy. Literally, "as becometh holy ones" - ἁγίοις hagiois.

3. once named—Greek, "Let it not be even named" (Eph 5:4, 12). "Uncleanness" and "covetousness" are taken up again from Eph 4:19. The two are so closely allied that the Greek for "covetousness" (pleonexia) is used sometimes in Scripture, and often in the Greek Fathers, for sins of impurity. The common principle is the longing to fill one's desire with material objects of sense, outside of God. The expression, "not be even named," applies better to impurity, than to "covetousness." But fornication; folly committed between unmarried persons, especially men’s abuse of themselves with common strumpets, a sin not owned as such among the heathen.

And all uncleanness; all other unlawful lusts whereby men defile themselves.

Or covetousness; either an insatiable desire of gratifying their lusts, as Ephesians 4:19; or rather an immoderate desire of gain, which was usual in cities of great trade, as Ephesus was: see Ephesians 5:5.

Let it not be once named among you; not heard of, or not mentioned without detestation: see Psalm 16:4 1 Corinthians 5:1.

As becometh saints, who should be pure and holy, not in their bodies and minds only, but in their words too.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,.... The apostle proceeds to dehort from several vices, which are unbecoming the dear children and followers of God; and which the love of Christ should constrain them to avoid: the first of these, which is simple "fornication", is the sin which is committed between single or unmarried persons; and is contrary to the law of God, is a work of the flesh, and is against a man's own body; it renders persons unfit for church communion, brings many temporal calamities upon them, and exposes them to divine wrath, and excludes from the kingdom of heaven, without repentance; and the reason why it is so often taken notice of is, because it was very frequent among the Gentiles, and not thought criminal: "all uncleanness" takes in adultery, incest, sodomy, and every unnatural lust; and "covetousness" seems not so much to design that sin which is commonly so called, namely, an immoderate desire after worldly things, as a greedy and insatiable appetite after the above lusts:

let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; that is, neither one or other of them; the sense is, that they should not be committed; so that there might be no occasion to speak of them, even though with abhorrence, as if there were no such vices in being; and much less should they be named with pleasure, and pleaded for: for thus it becomes such who are set apart by God the Father, whose sins are expiated by the blood of Christ, and whose hearts are sanctified by the Spirit of God; who profess the Gospel of Christ, and have a place and a name in God's house, better than that of sons and daughters.

{1} But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

(1) Now he comes to another type of affections, which is in that part of the mind which men call covetous or desirous: and he reprehends fornication, covetousness, and jesting very sharply.

Ephesians 5:3. Δέ] leading over to another portion of the exhortation.

ἀκαθαρσία and πλεονεξία, quite as at Ephesians 4:19, the two main vices of heathendom. The latter thus is here neither insatiability in lust, as Heinsius (controverted by Salmasius, de foen. Trap. p. 121 ff.), Estius, Locke, Baumgarten, Michaelis, Zachariae, and others would take it, nor “imprimis de prostibulis, quae sunt vulgato corpore, ut quaestum lucrentur,” Koppe, Stolz, but: avarice.

] is not equivalent to καί (Salmasius, Schleusner), nor yet explicative (Heinsius), but disjunctive, separating another vice from the correlative πορνεία καὶ πᾶσα ἀκαθαρσία (comp. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 275 f.); neither fornication and every kind of uncleanness, nor avarice, nor shamelessness (Ephesians 5:4), etc.

μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν] not once be named, etc.; ἱκανῶς τὸ μυσαρὸν τῶν εἰρημένων ὑπέδειξε, καὶ αὐτὰς αὐτῶν προσηγορίας τῆς μνήμης ἐξορίσαι κελεύσας, Theodoret. Comp. Ephesians 5:12. Dio Chrys. p. 360 B: στάσιν δὲ οὐδὲ ὀνομάζειν ἄξιον παρʼ ὑμῖν. Herod, i. 138: ἅσσα δέ σφι ποιέειν οὐκ ἔξεστι, ταῦτα οὐδὲ λέγειν ἔξεστι. Dem. 1259, 17: ἃ καὶ ὀνομάζειν ὀκνήσαιμʼ ἄν.

καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις] namely, that these vices should not once be mentioned among them. So αἰσχρὰ ὀνόματα (Plat. Rep. p. 344 B, and Stallbaum in loc.) are they!

Ephesians 5:3. πορνεία δὲ καὶ πᾶσα ἀκαθαρσία: but fornication and all uncleanness. The better order ἀκαθαρασία πᾶσα (LTTrWHRV) throws the emphasis on πᾶσα, = “fornication and uncleanness, every kind of it”. The metabatic δέ carries the exhortation over to a prohibition expressed in the strongest terms, which is levelled against one of the deadliest and most inveterate temptations to which Gentile Christians were exposed. The term πορνεία is to be taken in its proper sense and is not to be restricted to any one particular form—the license practised at heathen festivals, concubinage, marriage within prohibited degrees, or the like. The moral life of the Graeco-Roman world had sunk so low that, while protests against the prevailing corruption were never entirely wanting, fornication had long come to be regarded as a matter of moral indifference, and was indulged in without shame or scruple not only by the mass, but by philosophers and men of distinction who in other respects led exemplary lives.—ἢ πλεονεξία: or covetousness. Here, as in Ephesians 4:19, πλεονεξία is named along with ἀκαθαρσία. In this passage, as in the former, most commentators take the two terms to designate two distinct forms of sin, viz., the two vices to which the ancient heathen world was most enslaved, immorality and greed; while some understand πλεονεξία to be rather a further definition of ἀκαθαρσία and give it the sense of insatiability, inordinate affection, sensual greed. The noun is found ten times in the NT and the verb πλεονεκτεῖν five times. In some of these occurrences πλεονεξία can mean nothing else than covetousness (e.g., Luke 12:15; 2 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5). But the question is whether it has that sense in all the passages, or has taken on the acquired sense of sensual greed or overreaching in some of them. That is not very easy to decide. The association of the word πλεονέκτης with sins of the flesh (e.g., in 1 Corinthians 5:10-11) is urged in favour of the latter application (cf. Trench, Syn. of the N. T., p. 79). But it is argued with reason that the use of the disjunctive between πόρνοις and πλεονέκταις there and the connecting of πλεονέκταις with ἅρπαξιν by καί point to a distinction between the former two and an identity between the latter. So, too, in Colossians 3:5 the noun πλεονεξίαν is differentiated from the πορνείαν, etc., by τήν. On the other hand, the passages in Romans 1:29 and 2 Peter 2:14 seem to suggest something more than covetousness, and it is also to be noticed that the original idea of these terms was that of having or taking an advantage over others. In 1 Thessalonians 4:6 the verb πλέονεκτεῖν is used along with ὑπερβαίνειν in this sense, with reference to the sin of adultery. The present passage is probably the one, so far as Pauline use is concerned, that most favours the second sense, and it must be added that even the argument from the force of the disjunctive must not be made too much of. For in chap. Ephesians 5:5 we find πόρνος and ἀκάθαρτος connected by .—μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ενὑμῖν: let it not be even named among you. Cranm., Gen., Bish. render it “be once named”. The strong neg. μηδέ gives it this force—“Not to speak of doing such a thing, let it not be even so much as mentioned among you”. The partial parallel in Herod., i., 138, ἅσσα δὲ σφι ποιέειν οὐκ ἔξεστι, ταῦτα οὐδὲ λέγειν ἔξεστι, is noticed here by most.—καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις: as becometh saints. The position of sainthood or separation to God, in which the Gospel places the Christian, is so far apart from the license of the world as to make it utterly incongruous even to speak of the inveterate sins of a corrupt heathenism.

3. but] The word imports a sort of a fortiori. The Examples of the Father and the Son oblige the believer to a uniform life of holy unselfish love; how complete then is the condemnation, for the believer, of all gross sins!

fornication] A sin lightly regarded by the heathen, and too often palliated in modern Christendom, but utterly condemned by the Lord and the Apostles. See esp. Matthew 15:19; Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4; and below, Ephesians 5:5. Regarding it, as regarding all sin, total abstinence is the one precept of the Gospel; and the Divine precept will always be found, sooner or later, to coincide with the highest physical law.

all uncleanness] Act, word, or thought, unworthy the children of the All-Pure. Observe the characteristic “all”; and cp. last note, and on Ephesians 4:31.

covetousness] The Gr. word has occurred Ephesians 4:19 (A.V. “greediness”), where see note. Here as there the root idea is the grasp after another’s own, whatever it may be; money, person, wife. This passage, more perhaps than any other, suggests that the word had acquired by usage, in St Paul’s time, a familiar though not fixed connexion with sensual greed, just such as our word “covetousness” has acquired with the greed of material property. It would scarcely otherwise be used to denote an “unnamable” sin.

once named] Lit. and better, even named; obviously in the sense of approving or tolerant mention. The Apostle himself here “names” these sins for exposure and condemnation; and Christians may need, on occasion, to do the same, and very explicitly. But let them beware that it is done in the spirit of Scripture—in self-distrust, and as in God’s presence.—For the phrase, 1 Corinthians 5:1 gives a parallel, in the A.V.; but the word “named” is probably to be omitted there from the text. The resolve not to “name” the Gods of Canaan (Psalm 16:4) is parallel and illustrative.

Ephesians 5:3. Πορνεία, fornication) impure love.—ἢ πλεονεξία, or covetousness) Ephesians 5:5, ch. Ephesians 4:19.—μηδὲ ὀνομζέσθω, let it not be even named) viz. as a thing (ever) done; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:1, ἀκούεται, it is reported commonly that, etc.; or (let it not be named) without necessity: comp. Ephesians 5:4-12.—πρέπει, becomes) Its opposite is οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, which are not convenient [proper], Ephesians 5:4.

Verses 3-21. - THE WALK SUITABLE TO THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT. Verse 3. - But. Another of the remarkable contrasts of this Epistle; the fumes of lust are doubly odious in contact with the sweet savor of Christ's offering. Fornication and all impurity, or covetousness. The combination of covetousness with sins of the flesh, occurring several times in the apostle's writings (1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5), is rather unexpected. Πλεονεξία, covetousness, means the desire of having more, which is peculiarly true of sensual sins; but it is not coupled with them by a καὶ, but disjoined by an η}, indicating something of another class. In the mind of the apostle, sensuality was inseparable from greed, unnatural craving for more, dissatisfaction with what was enough; hence the neighborhood of the two vices. Let it not be even named among you, as becometh saints. The practice of such sins was out of the question; but even speaking of them, as matters of ordinary conversation, was unsuitable for saints; the very conversation of Christians must be pure. The exhortation bears on Christians in their social relations; had the apostle been treating of the duty of the individual, he would have urged that such sins should never be admitted even to the thoughts or the imagination. Ephesians 5:3Or covetousness

Or sets this sin emphatically by itself.

Let it

It refers to each of the sins.

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