Ephesians 5:30
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
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5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.For we are members of his body - Of the body of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 11:3, note; 1 Corinthians 12:27, note; John 15:1-6, notes, and Ephesians 1:23, note. The idea here is, that there is a close and intimate union between the Christian and the Saviour - a union so intimate that they may be spoken of as "one".

Of his flesh, and of his bones - There is an allusion here evidently to the language which Adam used respecting Eve. "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;" Genesis 2:23. It is language which is employed to denote the closeness of the marriage relation, and which Paul applies to the connection between Christ and his people. Of course, it cannot be understood "literally." It is not true literally that our bones are a part of the bones of Christ, or our flesh of his flesh; nor should language ever be used that would imply a miraculous union. It is not a physical union, but a union of attachment; of feeling; of love. If we avoid the notion of a "physical" union, however, it is scarcely possible to use too strong language in describing the union of believers with the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures make use of language which is stronger than that employed to describe any other connection; and there is no union of affection so powerful as that which binds the Christian to the Saviour. So strong is it, that he is willing for it to forsake father, mother, and home; to leave his country, and to abandon his possessions; to go to distant lands and dwell among barbarians to make the Redeemer known; or to go to the cross or the stake from simple love to the Saviour. Account for it as people may, there has been manifested on earth nowhere else so strong an attachment as that which binds the Christian to the cross. It is stronger love that that which a man has for his own flesh and bones; for it makes him willing that his flesh should be consumed by fire, or his bones broken on the wheel rather than deny him. Can the infidel account for this strength of attachment on any other principle than that it has a divine origin?

(See the supplementary note, Romans 8:10, on the union between Christ and his people, in which it is shown that a mere union of feeling and love is far beneath the truth.)

30. For—Greek, "Because" (1Co 6:15). Christ nourisheth and cherisheth the Church as being of one flesh with Him. Translate, "Because we are members of His body (His literal body), being OF His flesh and of His bones" [Alford] (Ge 2:23, 24). The Greek expresses, "Being formed out of" or "of the substance of His flesh." Adam's deep sleep, wherein Eve was formed from out of his opened side, is an emblem of Christ's death, which was the birth of the Spouse, the Church. Joh 12:24; 19:34, 35, to which Eph 5:25-27 allude, as implying atonement by His blood, and sanctification by the "water," answering to that which flowed from His side (compare also Joh 7:38, 39; 1Co 6:11). As Adam gave Eve a new name, Hebrew, "Isha," "woman," formed from his own rib, Ish, "man," signifying her formation from him, so Christ, Re 2:17; 3:12. Ge 2:21, 23, 24 puts the bones first because the reference there is to the natural structure. But Paul is referring to the flesh of Christ. It is not our bones and flesh, but "we" that are spiritually propagated (in our soul and spirit now, and in the body hereafter, regenerated) from the manhood of Christ which has flesh and bones. We are members of His glorified body (Joh 6:53). The two oldest existing manuscripts, and Coptic or Memphitic version, omit "of His flesh and of His bones"; the words may have crept into the text through the Margin from Ge 2:23, Septuagint. However, Irenæus, 294, and the old Latin and Vulgate versions, with some good old manuscripts, have them. We are members of his body; his mystical body.

Of his flesh, and of his bones; as Eve was of Adam’s, Genesis 2:23; only that was in a carnal way, this in a spiritual, as by the communication of Christ’s flesh and blood to us by the Spirit we are united to him, and members of him.

For we are members of his body,.... Not of his natural body, for this would make Christ's human nature monstrous; Christ, as man, is of our flesh and of our bones, or a partaker of the same flesh and blood with us; or otherwise, his incarnation would have been of no service to us; and had our human nature been from Christ, it would not have been corrupted; but our bodies, flesh, and bones, are from the first, and not the second Adam, and so corrupt and sinful; Christ indeed, as God, is the former of all human nature, and, as man, was set up in God's thoughts as the pattern of it; but the apostle is here speaking of the saints, not as men, but as Christians, as new creatures in Christ; and of what is peculiar to them; and therefore this must be understood of Christ's mystical body the church; which is his by the Father's gift, and his own purchase; and of which he is the head, and which is united to him; now of this saints are members; see Romans 12:5.

Of his flesh and of his bones: for so the church may be called, his own flesh, his flesh and bones, on account of the marriage relation she stands in to him, and that spiritual union there is between them, which these phrases are expressive of; and which the near relation of man and wife is an emblem of; these words are wanting in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Ethiopic version.

For we are members of his body, {q} of his flesh, and of his bones.

(q) He alludes to the making of the woman, which signifies our union with Christ, which is accomplished by faith, but is signified in the ordinance of the Lord's supper.

Ephesians 5:30. Reason why Christ ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει the church: because we are members of His body. μέλη is prefixed with emphasis; for we are not an accidens, but integral parts of His body. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:27.

ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ κ. ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ] More precise definition of the μέλη τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ just said, in order to express this relation as strongly as possible: (proceeding) from His flesh and from His bones. This form of expression is a reminiscence of Genesis 2:23,[283] where Adam expresses the origin of Eve out of his bones and out of his flesh,[284]—to which origin the derivative relation of Christians to Christ is analogous, of course not physically, but in the spiritual, mystical sense, inasmuch as the Christian existence as such—the specific being and spiritual nature of Christians—proceeds from Christ, has in Christ its principle of origination, as in a physical manner Eve proceeded from Adam. The at any rate non-literal expressions are not intended to bear minuter interpretation. They do not affirm that believers are produced and taken out of Christ’s glorified body (Gess, Person Christi, p. 274 ff.; comp. Bisping), which is already forbidden by the expression “flesh and bones.” Rather is the same thing intended—only brought, in accordance with the connection, into the definite sensuously genetic form of presentation suggested by Gen. l.c.—which elsewhere is denoted by καινὴ κτίσις (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), as well as by ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγὼ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός (Galatians 2:20), by Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε (Galatians 3:27), by the relation of the ἓν πνεῦμα εἶναι to Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17), and in general by the expressions setting forth the Christian παλιγγενεσία.[285] Comp. the ΚΟΙΝΩΝῸΝ ΓΊΝΕΣΘΑΙ ΘΕΊΑς ΦΎΣΕΩς, 2 Peter 1:4. With various modifications it has been explained of the spiritual origination from Christ already by Chrysostom (who understood the regeneration by baptism), Ambrosiaster, Theodoret, Oecumenius (ἐξ αὐτοῦ δὲ, καθὸ ἀπαρχὴ ἡμῶν ἐστι τῆς δευτέρας πλάσεως, ὥσπερ ἐκ τοῦ Ἀδὰμ διὰ τὴν πρώτην), Theophylact, Erasmus, Beza, Vorstius (“spirituali tantum ratione ex ipso Christo quasi procreatos esse”), Calvin (“qui spiritus sui virtute nos in corpus suum inserit, ut vitam ex eo hauriamus”), Calovius, Bengel, Matthies, de Wette (who, however, in the second edition, regards the words as spurious), Hofmann, Reiche, and others; while, withal, Koppe (so also Meier) thought only arctissimam quamlibet conjunctionem to be denoted, whereby justice is not done to the genetic signification of the ἐκ. Others explained it: in so far as we have the same human nature as He. So Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Thomas, Michaelis; comp. also Stolz and Rosenmüller. Decidedly erroneous, partly because Paul could not in this sense say: “we are of Christ’s flesh and bone,” but only the converse: “Christ is of our flesh and bone” (Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5; John 1:14); partly because the element of having like nature with Christ would apply not merely to Christians, but to men as such generally. Others refer it to the crucifixion of Christ: “ex carne ejus et ossibus crucifixis, i.e. ex passione ejus predicata et credita ortum habuit ecclesia,” Grotius. Comp. already Cajetanus, as also Zanchius, Zachariae, Schenkel, having reference to John 6:51 f., John 14:18 ff. But the crucifixis is purely imported, and could the less be guessed here, inasmuch as from the words the history of Adam and Eve inevitably came to be recalled; and there is nothing to remind us (in opposition to Schenkel) of the “martyr-stake of the cross,” upon which Christ “gave up” His flesh and bones “and suffered them to be broken” (? see John 19:33; John 19:36). Others, finally, have explained it of the real communion with the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. So recently,[286] in addition to Kahnis and Thomasius, III. 2, p. 73, also Harless and Olshausen, the latter of whom says: “it is the self-communication of His divine-human nature, by which Christ makes us to be His flesh and bone; He gives His people His flesh to eat and His blood to drink.” But not even the semblance of a plea for explaining it of the Supper lies in the words; since Paul has not written καὶ ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, which would have been specific in the case of the Supper, but καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ! Rückert has renounced any attempt at explanation, and doubts whether Paul himself thought of anything definite in the words. A very needless despair of exegesis!

[283] This reminiscence the more readily suggested itself to the apostle, not only in general, because he was wont to think of Christ as the second Adam (Romans 5:12 ff.), but also specially because he was just treating of the subject of marriage.

[284] That Paul should not prefix ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων, as in Genesis 2:23, but ἐκ τῆς σαρκός, was quite naturally suggested to him by ver. 29. The explanation of Bengel is arbitrary and far-fetched.

[285] Philo also, p. 1094, applies the words of Gen. l.c. to a spiritual relation—to the relation of the soul to God. If the soul were better and more like God, it would be able to make use of those words, because, namely, it οὐκ ἐστὶν ἀλλοτρία αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ σφόδρα οἰκεῖα.

[286] Many of the older expositors, following Theodoret and Theophylact, at least mixed up the Supper in various ways in their interpretation. So Beza and Calvin say that it is obsignatio et symbolum of the mystic fellowship with Christ here meant. Grotius found an allusion to the Supper; while, on the other hand, Calovius maintained that we were ex Christo not only by regeneration, but also by the communication of His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.

Ephesians 5:30. ὅτι μέλη ἐσμὲν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ: for we are members of His body. The μέλη, which is the heart of the statement, has the emphatic position. We are not something apart from Christ, nor do we occupy only an accidental relation to Him. We are veritable parts of that body of which He is head, and this is the reason why He nourishes and cherishes the Church; cf. the detailed description in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.—ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ: being of His flesh and of His bones. This sentence, which is added by the TR, has considerable documentary testimony—[679] [680] [681] [682] [683] [684], most cursives, such Versions as the Syr. and the Arm., and such Fathers as Iren., Jer., etc. If it is retained, as is done by Mey., Ell., Reiche, Alf., etc., it will be an explanation of the affirmation that we are μέλη τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, drawn from the thought of our origin (ἐκ). We are members of Christ’s body, as having the source of our spiritual being in Him. This statement of our spiritual origin is expressed in terms like those used of the origin of our physical life, the allusion being probably to the record of the formation of Eve in Genesis 2:23. As the first woman derived her physical being from Adam in the way there recorded, so we Christians draw our spiritual being from Christ. The evidence, however, is decidedly adverse, the clause not appearing in [685] [686] [687] [688], 17, 672, Boh., Eth., Method., Euthal., Origen (prob.), etc. The internal evidence may be said to be against it, in so far, e.g., as a new figure is suddenly introduced, the statement is carried beyond the idea of relationship, and no clear or congruous meaning can be readily attached to the new terms, flesh and bones. Nor is it easy in face of evidence so old and so various to suppose that the words were mistakenly omitted by homœoteleuton. The clause, therefore, is deleted from the text by LTTrWHRV; Tr., however, giving it a place on the margin.

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

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

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

[682] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

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

[684] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.

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

[686] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[687] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

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

30. members] Limbs; the word used above Ephesians 4:25; and cp. Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15 (a strict parallel), 1 Corinthians 12:27.

of his flesh, and of his bones] Three important MSS. (ABא) supported by other but not considerable authority, omit these words. It has been suggested that they were inserted by transcribers from Genesis 2:23, as the next verse is certainly quoted from Genesis 2:24. But the phrase here is not verbally close enough to that in Gen. to make this likely. A transcriber would probably have given word for word, while the Apostle would as probably quote with a difference, such as we find here. And the difference is significant. “We” are not said here to be “bone of His bone &c.,” which might have seemed to imply that our physical frame is derived from that of the Incarnate Lord, but, more generally, “limbs of His body, out of His flesh and out of His bones.” Our true, spiritual, life and being is the derivative of His as He is our Second Adam, in a sense so strong and real as to be figured by the physical derivation of Eve from Adam. “As for any mixture of the substance of His flesh with ours,” says Hooker (Eccl. Pol. v. 56, end), “the participation which we have of Christ includeth no such gross surmise[40]”.

[40] The remarkable chapter which thus closes deserves very careful study. It will be seen that Hooker’s view of “Christ’s body in ours as a cause of immortality” is that it is “a cause by removing, through the death and merit of His own flesh, that which hindered the life of ours.”

In brief, this statement, in the light of other Scripture, amounts to the assertion that “we,” the believing Church, as such, are, as in the Case of Eve and Adam, at once the product of our Incarnate Lord’s existence as Second Adam, and His Bride. This profound and precious truth is not dwelt upon, however. Strictly speaking, it is only incidental here.

Ephesians 5:30. Ὅτι, because) The reason why the Lord nourishes and cherishes the Church, is the very close relationship, which is here expressed in the words of Moses regarding Eve, accommodated to the present subject. The Church is propagated from Christ, as Eve was from Adam; and this propagation is the foundation of the spiritual marriage: for this cause, Ephesians 5:31.—τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, of His body) The body here does not mean the Church, which is contained in the subject, we are, but the body of Christ Himself.—ἐκ, of) Genesis 2:23-24, in the LXX.—εἶπενʼ Αδὰμ, τοῦτο νῦν ὀστοῦν ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων μου, καὶ σὰρξ ἐκ τῆς σαρκός μου. Αὕτη κληθήσεται γυνὴ, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς ἐλήφθη. Ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ προσκολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.—ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, κ.τ.λ., of His flesh) Moses mentions bones first, Paul flesh; because it is the bones chiefly that support the natural structure, of which the former (Moses) is speaking; but in the new creation [of which Paul is speaking], the flesh of Christ is more considered. Moreover, Moses speaks more fully; Paul omits what does not so much belong to the subject in hand. It is not our bones and our flesh, but we, that are spiritually propagated from the humanity of Christ, which has flesh and bones.

Verse 30. - For we are members of his body [being], of his flesh, and of his bones (the last seven words omitted in many manuscripts and in the R.V.). The reference is to the original formation of woman as narrated in Genesis 2. Her very name indicated that she was "taken from man." She was taken from him and given to him. So the Church is taken from Christ and given to him. Taken from his body, sprung from his incarnation and his crucifixion and resurrection, the spiritual offspring of his humanity, and then given to him, to be his servant, nay, above a servant, his companion, friend, and confidant for evermore. If it had not been for the body of Christ (Hebrews 10:5) the Church could have had no existence. No bride fit for the King of heaven could have sprung from the earth. As Eve came from the opened side of Adam, so figuratively the Church springs from the pierced side of Jesus. Ephesians 5:30Omit of His flesh and of His bones.
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