Ephesians 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
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(18, 19) And supplication for all saints; and for me.—It is curious, and probably not accidental, that the prepositions in these two clauses are different. The first is properly “touching all saints,” and the second “on behalf of me.” Both are often interchanged; but there is, perhaps, here a touch of greater earnestness in the request of their prayers for himself, in especial reference to the need which is spoken of in the next words.



Ephesians 6:18We reach here the last and only offensive weapon in the panoply. The ‘of’ here does not indicate apposition, as in the ‘shield of faith,’ or ‘the helmet of salvation,’ nor is it the ‘of’ of possession, so that the meaning is to be taken as being the sword which the Spirit wields, but it is the ‘of’ expressing origin, as in the ‘armour of God’; it is the sword which the Spirit supplies. The progress noted in the last sermon from subjective graces to objective divine facts, is completed here, for the sword which is put into the Christian soldier’s hand is the gift of God, even more markedly than is the helmet which guards his head in the day of battle.

I. Note what the word of God is.

The answer which would most commonly and almost unthinkingly be given is, I suppose, the Scriptures; but while this is on the whole true, it is to be noted that the expression employed here properly means a word spoken, and not the written record. Both in the Old and in the New Testaments the word of God means more than the Bible; it is the authentic utterance of His will in all shapes and applying to all the facts of His creation. In the Old Testament ‘God said’ is the expression in the first chapter of Genesis for the forthputting of the divine energy in the act of creation, and long ages after that divine poem of creation was written a psalmist re-echoed the thought when he said ‘For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in the heavens. Thou hast established the earth and it abideth.’

But, further, the expression designates the specific messages which prophets and others received. These are not in the Old Testament spoken of as a unity: they are individual words rather than a word. Each of them is a manifestation of the divine will and purpose; many of them are commandments; some of them are warnings; and all, in some measure, reveal the divine nature.

That self-revelation of God reaches for us in this life its permanent climax, when He who ‘at sundry times and in divers manner spake unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by a Son.’ Jesus is the personal ‘word of God’ though that name by which He is designated in the New Testament is a different expression from that employed in our text, and connotes a whole series of different ideas.

The early Christian teachers and apostles had no hesitation in taking that sacred name-the word of the Lord-to describe the message which they spoke. One of their earliest prayers when they were left alone was, that with all boldness they might speak Thy word; and throughout the whole of the Acts of the Apostles the preached Gospel is designated as the word of God, even as Peter in his epistle quotes one of the noblest of the Old Testament sayings, and declares that the ‘word of the Lord’ which ‘abideth for ever’ is ‘the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.’

Clearly, then, Paul here is exhorting the Ephesian Christians, most of whom probably were entirely ignorant of the Old Testament, to use the spoken words which they had heard from him and other preachers of the Gospel as the sword of the Spirit. Since he is evidently referring to Christian teaching, it is obvious that he regards the old and the new as one whole, that to him the proclamation of Jesus was the perfection of what had been spoken by prophets and psalmists. He claims for his message and his brethren’s the same place and dignity that belonged to the former messengers of the divine will. He asserts, and all the more strongly, because it is an assertion by implication only, that the same Spirit which moved in the prophets and saints of former days is moving in the preachers of the Gospel, and that their message has a wider sweep, a deeper content, and a more radiant light than that which had been delivered in the past. The word of the Lord had of old partially declared God’s nature and His will: the word of God which Paul preached was in his judgment the complete revelation of God’s loving heart, the complete exhibition to men of God’s commandments of old; longing eyes had seen a coming day and been glad and confidently foretold it, now the message was ‘the coming one has come.’

It is as the record and vehicle of that spoken Gospel, as well as of its earlier premonitions, that the Bible has come to be called the word of God, and the name is true in that He speaks in this book. But much harm has resulted from the appropriation of the name exclusively to the book, and the forgetfulness that a vehicle is one thing and that which it carries quite another.

II. The purpose and power of the word.

The sword is the only offensive weapon in the list. The spear which played so great a part in ancient warfare is not named. It may well be noted that only a couple of verses before our text we read of the Gospel of peace, and that here with remarkable freedom of use of his metaphors, Paul makes the word of God, which as we have seen is substantially equivalent to the preached Gospel, the one weapon with which Christian men are to cut and thrust. Jesus said ‘I come not to send peace, but a sword,’ but Paul makes the apparent contradiction still more acute when he makes the very Gospel itself the sword. We may recall as a parallel, and possibly a copy of our text, the great words of the Epistle to the Hebrews which speak of the word of God as ‘living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.’ And we cannot forget the magnificent symbolism of the Book of Revelation which saw in the midst of the candlestick one like unto a Son of Man, and ‘out of His mouth proceeded a sharp, two-edged sword.’ That image is the poetic embodiment of our Lord’s own words which we have just quoted, and implies the penetrating power of the word which Christ’s gentle lips have uttered. Gracious and healing as it is, a Gospel of peace, it has an edge and a point which cut down through all sophistications of human error, and lay bare the ‘thoughts and intents of the heart.’ The revelation made by Christ has other purposes which are not less important than its ministering of consolation and hope. It is intended to help us in our fight with evil, and the solemn old utterance, ‘with the breath of His mouth He will slay the wicked,’ is true in reference to the effect of the word of Christ on moral evil. Such slaying is but the other side of the life-giving power which the word exercises on a heart subject to its influence. For the Christian soldier’s conflict with evil as threatening the health of his own Christian life, or as tyrannising over the lives of others, the sword of the Spirit is the best weapon.

We are not to take the rough-and-ready method, which is so common among good people, of identifying this spirit-given sword with the Bible. If for no other reason, yet because it is the Spirit which supplies it to the grasp of the Christian soldier, our possession of it is therefore a result of the action of that Spirit on the individual Christian spirit; and what He gives, and we are to wield, is ‘the engrafted word which is able to save our souls.’ That word, lodged in our hearts, brings to us a revelation of duty and a chart of life, because it brings a loving recognition of the character of our Father, and a glad obedience to His will. If that word dwell in us richly, in all wisdom, and if we do not dull the edge of the sword by our own unworthy handling of it, we shall find it pierce to the ‘dividing asunder of joints and marrow,’ and the evil within us will either be cast out from us, or will shrivel itself up, and bury itself deep in dark corners.

Love to Christ will be so strong, and the things that are not seen will so overwhelmingly outweigh the things that are seen, that the solemn majesty of the eternal will make the temporal look to our awed eyes the contemptible unreality which it really is. They who humbly receive and faithfully use that engrafted word, have in it a sure touchstone against which their own sins and errors are shivered. It is for the Christian consciousness the true Ithuriel’s spear, at the touch of which ‘upstarts in his own shape the fiend’ who has been pouring his whispered poison into an unsuspicious ear. The standard weights and measures are kept in government custody, and traders have to send their yard measures and scales thither if they wish them tested; but the engrafted word, faithfully used and submitted to, is always at hand, and ready to pronounce its decrees, and to cut to the quick the evil by which the understanding is darkened and conscience sophisticated.

III. The manner of its use.

Here that is briefly but sufficiently expressed by the one commandment, ‘take,’ or perhaps more accurately, ‘receive.’ Of course, properly speaking, that exhortation does not refer to our manner of fighting with the sword, but to the previous act by which our hand grasps it. But it is profoundly true that if we take it in the deepest sense, the possession of it will teach the use of it. No instruction will impart the last, and little instruction is needed for the first. What is needed is the simple act of yielding ourselves to Jesus Christ, and looking to Him only, as our guide and strength. Before all Christian warfare must come the possession of the Christian armour, and the commandment that here lies at the beginning of all Paul’s description of it is ‘Take.’ Our fitness for the conflict all depends on our receiving God’s gift, and that reception is no mere passive thing, as if God’s grace could be poured into a human spirit as water is into a bucket. Hence, the translation of this commandment of Paul’s by ‘take’ is better than that by ‘receive,’ inasmuch as it brings into prominence man’s activity, though it gives too exclusive importance to that, to the detriment of the far deeper and more essential element of the divine action. The two words are, in fact, both needed to cover the whole ground of what takes place when the giving God and the taking man concur in the great act by which the Spirit of God takes up its abode in a human spirit. God’s gift is to be received as purely His gift, undeserved, unearned by us. But undeserved and unearned as it is, and given ‘without money and without price,’ it is not ours unless our hand is stretched out to take, and our fingers closed tightly over the free gift of God. There is a dead lift of effort in the reception; there is a still greater effort needed for the continued possession, and there is a life-long discipline and effort needed for the effective use in the struggle of daily life of the sword of the Spirit.

If that engrafted word is ever to become sovereign in our lives, there must be a life-long attempt to bring the tremendous truths as to God’s will for human conduct which it plants in our minds into practice, and to bring all our practice under their influence. The motives which it brings to bear on our evils will be powerless to smite them, unless these motives are made sovereign in us by many an hour of patient meditation and of submission to their sweet and strong constraint. One sometimes sees on a wild briar a graft which has been carefully inserted and bandaged up, but which has failed to strike, and so the strain of the briar goes on and no rosebuds come. Are there not some of us who profess to have received the engrafted word and whose daily experience has proved, by our own continual sinfulness, that it is unable to ‘save our souls’?

There are in the Christian ranks some soldiers whose hands are too nerveless or too full of worldly trash to grasp the sword which they have received, much less to strike home with it at any of the evils that are devastating their own lives or darkening the world. The feebleness of the Christian conflict with evil, in all its forms, whether individual or social, whether intellectual or moral, whether heretical or grossly and frankly sensual, is mainly due to the feebleness with which the average professing Christians grasp the sword of the Spirit. When David asked the priests for weapons, and they told him that Goliath’s sword was lying wrapt in a cloth behind the ephod, and that they had none other, he said, ‘There is none like that, give it me.’ If we are wise, we will take the sword that lies in the secret place, and, armed with it, we shall not need to fear in any day of battle.

We do well that we take heed to the word of God, ‘as unto a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawn,’ when swords will be no more needed, and the Word will no longer shine in darkness but be the Light that makes the Sun needless for the brightness of the New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 6:18. Praying always — As if he had said, And join prayer to all these graces, for your defence against your spiritual enemies, and that at all times, and on every occasion, in the midst of all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:7; with all prayer — Public and private, mental and vocal, ordinary and extraordinary, occasional and solemn. Some are careful with respect to one kind of prayer only, and negligent in others: some use only mental prayer, or ejaculations, and think they are in a high state of grace, and use a way of worship far superior to any other; but such only fancy themselves to be above what is really above them; it requiring far more grace to be enabled to pour out a fervent and continued prayer, than to offer up mental aspirations. If we would receive the petitions we ask, let us use every sort. And supplication — Repeating and urging our prayer, as Christ did in the garden; and watching thereunto — Keeping our minds awake to a sense of our want of the blessings we ask, and of the excellence and necessity of them; and maintaining a lively expectation of receiving them, and also inwardly attending on God to know his will, and gain power to do it. With all perseverance — With unwearied importunity renewing our petitions till they be granted, Luke 18:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:8; notwithstanding apparent repulses, Matthew 15:22-28. And supplication for all saints — Wrestling in fervent, continued intercessions for others, especially for the faithful, that they may do all the will of God, and be steadfast to the end. Perhaps we receive few answers to prayer, because we do not intercede enough for others.

6:10-18 Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our spiritual warfare and suffering. Those who would prove themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts. We must resolve by God's grace, not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we give way, he will get ground. If we distrust either our cause, or our Leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. The different parts of the armour of heavy-armed soldiers, who had to sustain the fiercest assaults of the enemy, are here described. There is none for the back; nothing to defend those who turn back in the Christian warfare. Truth, or sincerity, is the girdle. This girds on all the other pieces of our armour, and is first mentioned. There can be no religion without sincerity. The righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan. Resolution must be as greaves, or armour to our legs; and to stand their ground or to march forward in rugged paths, the feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Motives to obedience, amidst trials, must be drawn from a clear knowledge of the gospel. Faith is all in all in an hour of temptation. Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace from him, is like a shield, a defence every way. The devil is the wicked one. Violent temptations, by which the soul is set on fire of hell, are darts Satan shoots at us. Also, hard thoughts of God, and as to ourselves. Faith applying the word of God and the grace of Christ, quenches the darts of temptation. Salvation must be our helmet. A good hope of salvation, a Scriptural expectation of victory, will purify the soul, and keep it from being defiled by Satan. To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary. Prayer must fasten all the other parts of our Christian armour. There are other duties of religion, and of our stations in the world, but we must keep up times of prayer. Though set and solemn prayer may not be seasonable when other duties are to be done, yet short pious prayers darted out, always are so. We must use holy thoughts in our ordinary course. A vain heart will be vain in prayer. We must pray with all kinds of prayer, public, private, and secret; social and solitary; solemn and sudden: with all the parts of prayer; confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving for favours received. And we must do it by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, in dependence on, and according to, his teaching. We must preserve in particular requests, notwithstanding discouragements. We must pray, not for ourselves only, but for all saints. Our enemies are mighty, and we are without strength, but our Redeemer is almighty, and in the power of his mighty we may overcome. Wherefore we must stir up ourselves. Have not we, when God has called, often neglected to answer? Let us think upon these things, and continue our prayers with patience.Praying always - It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray - to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armor; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray; see notes on Luke 18:1.

With all prayer and supplication - With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying (see the notes, Matthew 6:6) prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armor, and by this we may hope to prevail.

"Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;

Prayer makes the Christian armor bright,

And Satan trembles when he sees.

The meanest saint upon his knees."

In the Spirit - By the aid of the Holy Spirit; or perhaps it may mean that it is not to be prayer of form merely, but when the spirit and the heart accompany it. The former idea seems, however, to be the correct one.

And watching thereunto - Watching for opportunities to pray; watching for the spirit of prayer; watching against all those things which would hinder prayer; see the Matthew 26:38, note, 41, note; compare 1 Peter 4:7.

With all perseverance - Never becoming discouraged and disheartened; compare notes, Luke 18:1.

And supplication for all saints - For all Christians. We should do this:

(1) because they are our brethren - though they may have a different skin, language, or name.

(2) because, like us, they have hearts prone to evil, and need, with us, the grace of God.

(3) because nothing tends so much to make us love others and to forget their faults, as to pray for them.

(4) because the condition of the church is always such that it greatly needs the grace of God. Many Christians have backslidden; many are cold or lukewarm; many are in error; many are conformed to the world; and we should pray that they may become more holy and may devote themselves more to God.


18. always—Greek, "in every season"; implying opportunity and exigency (Col 4:2). Paul uses the very words of Jesus in Lu 21:36 (a Gospel which he quotes elsewhere, in undesigned consonance with the fact of Luke being his associate in travel, 1Co 11:23, &c.; 1Ti 5:18). Compare Lu 18:1; Ro 12:12; 1Th 5:17.

with all—that is, every kind of.

prayer—a sacred term for prayer in general.

supplication—a common term for a special kind of prayer [Harless], an imploring request. "Prayer" for obtaining blessings, "supplication" for averting evils which we fear [Grotius].

in the Spirit—to be joined with "praying." It is he in us, as the Spirit of adoption, who prays, and enables us to pray (Ro 8:15, 26; Ga 4:6; Jude 20).

watching—not sleeping (Eph 5:14; Ps 88:13; Mt 26:41). So in the temple a perpetual watch was maintained (compare Anna, Lu 2:37).

thereunto—"watching unto" (with a view to) prayer and supplication.

with—Greek, "in." Persevering constancy ("perseverance") and (that is, exhibited in) supplication are to be the element in which our watchfulness is to be exercised.

for all saints—as none is so perfect as not to need the intercessions of his fellow Christians.

Praying always; i.e. in every opportunity, so often as our own or others’ necessities call us to it, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

With all prayer and supplication; prayer, when opposed to supplication, seems to signify petitioning for good things, and supplication the deprecating of evil, 1 Timothy 2:1.

In the Spirit; either our own spirit, with which we pray, so as not to draw nigh to God with our mouth only, as Isaiah 29:13; or rather, the Holy Spirit of God, by whose assistance we pray, Romans 8:26,27 Jude 1:20.

Watching thereunto; to prayer, in opposition to sloth and security: see Matthew 26:41 Colossians 4:2 1 Peter 4:7.

With all perseverance; constancy and continuance in prayer in every condition, adverse as well as prosperous, though prayer be not presently answered, Luke 18:1.

And supplication for all saints; not only for ourselves, but for our brethren in the world, none being in so good a condition but they may need our prayers.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit,.... The last weapon is prayer, and takes in all sorts of prayer, mental and vocal, public and private; and every branch of it, as deprecation of evils, petitions for good things, and thanksgiving for mercies: and which should be used always: this stands opposed to such who pray not at all, or who have prayed, but have left it off; or who pray only in distress, and it suggests, that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity; and particularly, that he should make use of it in times of darkness, desertion, and temptation: and this, when performed aright, is performed "in the Spirit"; with the heart, soul, and spirit engaged in it; it is put up with a true heart, and a right spirit, and without hypocrisy; in a spiritual way, and with fervency, and under the influence, and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.

And watching thereunto; either to the word, as a direction for prayer, or to prayer itself; for opportunities to pray for the assistance of the Spirit in prayer, for an answer of it, and to return thanks for blessings when bestowed; and against all dependence on it, and against Satan's temptations, and our own corruptions with respect to it:

with all perseverance; in it, notwithstanding what Satan and an unbelieving heart may suggest to the contrary:

and supplication for all saints; of every nation, age, sex, and condition, in all places, and of every denomination. So Christ taught his disciples to pray, saying, our Father, suggesting, that they were not only to pray for themselves, but for all the children of God.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the {l} Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

(l) That holy prayers may proceed from the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:18. After Paul has, Ephesians 6:14-17, placed before his readers in what armour they are to stand forth, he shows yet further how this standing ready for the combat must be combined with prayer: “with prayer and entreaty of every kind, praying at each moment in virtue of the Spirit.” These are two parallel specifications of mode, whereof the second more precisely defines the first, and which stand in grammatical and logical connection with στῆτε οὖν, Ephesians 6:14; not with the intervening δέξασθε, Ephesians 6:17, which rather is itself subordinate to the στῆτε, and only by a deviation from the construction has come to be expressed in the imperative instead of the participle, wherefore στῆτε οὖν remains the precept ruling the whole description, Ephesians 6:14-17. Should we join them to δέξασθε, neither πάσης nor ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ would be appropriate to this momentary act; for we would, in fact, be told not how the sword of the Spirit should be handled (Olshausen; comp. Harless: “the temper in which they are to wield such weapons”), but how it should be taken! An imperative signification (Bleek) the participle has not.

διὰ πάσης προσευχ. κ. δεήσ.] is to be taken by itself, not to be joined to the following προσευχόμ. (so usually, as also by Rückert, Matthies, Harless, Bleek; not Meier and Baumgarten-Crusius), since otherwise a tautological redundancy of expression would arise (not to be confounded with the mode of expression προσευχῇ προσεύχεσθαι, Jam 5:17),—arbitrarily conjectured by de Wette to have been occasioned by Php 4:6,—and because it is an impossibility to pray διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ.[312] διά here denotes “conditionem, in qua locatus aliquid vel facias vel patiaris,” Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 138; Winer, p. 339 [E. T. 453], i.e. while ye employ every kind of prayer and entreaty, omit no sort of prayer and entreaty. Those who join with προσευχόμ. take διά as by means of. But see above. The expression πάσης προσευχ. receives its elucidation from the following ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ, inasmuch as to different circumstances of the time different kinds of prayer, as respects contents and form, are appropriate. προσευχή and δέησις are distinguished not so, that the former applies to the obtaining of a blessing, the latter to the averting of an evil (Grotius and many)—a meaning which, quite without proof from the linguistic usage of the single words, is derived merely from the combination of the two; but rather as prayer and entreaty, of which only the former has the sacred character and may be of any tenor; the latter, on the other hand, may be addressed not merely to God, as here, but also to men, and is supplicatory in tenor. See Harless on the passage, and Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 372 f.

ἐν παντί καιρῷ] at every season, not merely under special circumstances and on particular occasions. Comp. Luke 21:36. It is the ἀδιαλείπτως προσεύχεσθαι, 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Romans 1:9.

ἐν πνεύματι] understood of the human spirit (Romans 8:10), would denote the heartfelt prayer in contrast to the mere utterance of the lips (Castalio, Zanchius, Erasmus Schmid, Grotius, Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and others). But this contrast was so obvious of itself, that such a description of prayer would be quite out of place in the flow of the passage before us, accumulating, as it does, simply elements that are specifically Christian. The Holy Spirit is meant (Ephesians 6:17), by virtue of whom the Christian is to pray. See Romans 8:15; Romans 8:26; Galatians 4:6.

καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπν. κ.τ.λ.] attaches to the general προσευχόμενοι ἐν π. κ. ἐν πν. something special, namely, intercession, and that for all Christians, and in particular for the apostle himself: and in that ye on this behalf are watchful in every kind of perseverance and entreaty for all saints and for me, etc. According to de Wette, εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρ. is to be held as still belonging to the general exhortation to prayer, and ἐν π. προσκαρτ. κ.τ.λ. to be the addition of a special element, like ἐν εὐχαρ., Colossians 4:2. But how idly would κ. εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρ. then be used, seeing that the continual praying is already before so urgently expressed! Moreover, καί betrays the transition to a new element of prayer.

εἰς αὐτό] in reference thereto, on behalf of this, namely, of the προσεύχεσθαι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι just required. By αὐτό, namely, is denoted that which is just being spoken of, and it is distinguished from αὐτὸ τοῦτο (the Recepta) only in this respect, that the latter (comp. on Romans 9:17) designates the subject in question at the same time demonstratively, and so still more definitely; see on Ephesians 6:22; Kühner, ad Xen, Mem. iii. 10. 14; Stallb. ad Plat. Rep. ii. p. 362 D. According to Holzhausen (comp. Koppe), it has reference to ἵνα μοι δοθῇ. But in that case εἰς τοῦτο must have been written; and, moreover, περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων would be from a logical point of view opposed to it.

ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτ. κ. δεήσει περὶ π. τ. ἁγ.] denotes the domain, wherein, etc. On behalf of the required προσεύχεσθαι they are to be watchful in every kind of perseverance and entreaty for all saints. The προσκαρτέρησις is, according to the context (and comp. Colossians 4:2), the perseverance in prayer, so that ἐν π. προσκ. corresponds to the διὰ πάσ. προσευχῆς at the beginning of the verse, and then with καὶ (ἐν πάσῃ) δεήσει, as there, the entreaty attaches itself, but now with the more precise definition: περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων, which hence belongs not to προσκαρτ., but only to δεήσει, as, indeed, accordingly the latter may not be amalgamated with προσκαρτ. into a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν. According to Rückert, ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτ. κ. δεήσει is added, in order to be able to annex περὶ πάντ. τ. ἁγ. But in that case could not Paul have written merely εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπν. περὶ πάντ. τ. ἁγ., and that without risk of being misunderstood? No, the ἐν πάσῃ προσκ. κ. δεήσ., in itself not essential, gives to his discourse the emphasis of earnestness and solemnity. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxviii. f.

πάσῃ] as previously πάσης.

[312] The case would be otherwise, and this impossibility would not exist, if it were said: διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς κ. δεήσ. καὶ ἐν π. καιρῷ.

Ephesians 6:18. διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι: with all prayer and supplication praying. This clause is a further explanation of the manner in which the injunction στῆτε οὖν is to be carried. It is connected by some with the preceding δέξασθε; but it is not appropriate to the δέξασθε, which represents a single, definite act, while it is entirely suitable to the continuous attitude expressed by στῆτε. This great requirement of standing ready for the combat can be made good only when prayer, constant, earnest, spiritual prayer, is added to the careful equipment with all the parts of the panoply. Meyer would separate προσευχόμενοι from the διὰ πάσης, etc., and make it the beginning of a new, independent clause. His reason is that it is impossible to pray with every kind of prayer on every occasion. But the absoluteness of the statement is only of the kind that is often seen in Paul, as, e.g., when he charges us to pray ἀδιαλείπτως (1 Thessalonians 5:17). διά has the familiar sense of “by means of,” in the particular aspect of formal cause, the manner in which a thing is done (cf. εἶπε διά παραβολῆς, Luke 8:4; εἶπε διὰ ὁράματος, Acts 18:9; τῷ λόγῳ διʼ ἐπιστολῶν, 2 Corinthians 5:11, etc.; Grimm-Thayer, Lex., p. 133). The πάσης has the force of “every kind of”. The distinction attempted to be drawn between προσευχή (= תְּפִלָּה) and δέησις (= תִּחְנָּה), as between prayer for blessing and prayer for the withholding or removing of evil, cannot be made good. The only difference between the two terms appears to be that προσευχή means prayer in general, precatio, and δέησις, a special form of prayer, petition, rogatio.ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ: in every season. Not merely in the crisis of the conflict or on special occasions, but habitually, in all kinds of times.—ἐν πνεύματι: in the Spirit. The reference is not to our spirit, as if = with inward devoutness or with heart-felt pleading (Erasm., Grot., etc.), nor as opposed to βαττολογεῖν (Chrys.), but “in the Holy Spirit,” the Holy Spirit being the sphere or element in which alone true prayer of all different kinds can proceed and from which it draws its inspiration; cf. the great statement on the intercession of the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27); also Galatians 4:6, and especially Judges 1:20, ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ προσευχόμενοι. Thus the praying is defined in respect of its variety and earnestness (διὰ πάσης, etc.), its constancy (ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ), and its spiritual reality or its “holy sphere” (cf. Ell.).—καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ [τοῦτο] ἀγρυπνοῦντες: and thereunto watching. The τοῦτο of the TR inserted after αὐτό has the support only of such MSS. as [847]3J[848], etc.; it is omitted in [849] [850] [851], etc., while αὐτόν alone occurs in [852]*[853]. τοῦτο, therefore, is to be deleted, as is done by LTTrWHRV. The εἰς τοῦτο refers not to what is to follow, as, e.g., to the ἵνα μοι δοθῇ (Holzh.), but to what immediately precedes. The clause, therefore, attaches (by the καί) a more particular requirement to the general statement just made, specifying something that is to be done with a view (εἰς τοῦτο) to the fulfilment of the large injunction as to praying. That is watchfulness, readiness, and, as the next words state, watchfulness in intercession, ἀγρυπνεῖν = to keep awake or to keep watch, and then to be attentive, vigilant (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36), is much the same as γρηγορεῖν and νήφειν. So far as any distinction is made between them it may be that ἀγρυπνεῖν expresses alertness as opposed to listlessness, γρηγορεῖν watchfulness as the result of effort, and νήφειν wariness, the wakefulness that is safe against drowsiness (Sheldon Green, Crit. Notes on the N.T., sub Mark 13:33).—ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει: in all perseverance and supplication. The only occurrence of the noun προσκαρτέρησις. The verb, however, is found a number of times, both in profane Greek and in the NT, especially in Acts (Mark 3:9; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:7; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; Colossians 4:2) in the sense of giving heed to (e.g., τῇ προσευχῇ, Acts 1:14, etc.), continuing in, etc. The perseverance or stedfastness in view is in the matter of prayer, so that the “in every kind of perseverance and supplication” is much the same as “in every kind of persevering supplication,” although in the case of a hendiadys proper the order would rather have been ἐν δεήσει καὶ προσκαρτερήσει.—περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων: for all the saints. Thus in order to prayer of the kind described—prayer comprehensive, continuous, and moving in the domain of the Spirit of God, there must be intercession for all and watchfulness and perseverance in it. Only when we constantly pray in this way for others can we pray for ourselves “with all prayer and supplication in every season in the Spirit”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[853] 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.

18. praying always] Lit., praying on every occasion, every incident of life, especially every incident of temptation. Cp. the yet broader and deeper precept, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without intermission.” See too Luke 18:1; Php 4:6; Colossians 1:3; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 4:2. The attitude of the believer’s mind is to be one of perpetual prayer, in the sense of continuously maintaining a trustful and humble reference of all parts of life to his Lord’s will and grace. This will express itself in acts, if only momentary and wholly internal acts, of adoration and petition at each felt crisis of need. See Hebrews 4:16.

with] Lit., by means of; the expressions being the instruments of the spiritual state.

all prayer and supplication] “All:”—every variety; deliberate, ejaculatory; public, private, secret; confessing, asking, praising. Or again, more simply, with a full, not partial and stubborn, employment of the privilege and resource of prayer.

“Prayer” is the larger word, “supplication” the more definite. The former includes the whole attitude and action of the creature’s approach to God; the latter denotes only petition. “Prayer,” however, is very often used in this narrower sense. See out of many passages Matthew 5:44; Luke 22:40.—The two words occur together, as here, Php 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Timothy 5:5.

in the Spirit] So also R. V. Lit., “in spirit;” but see last note on Ephesians 2:22 above.—The Holy Spirit was to be “the Place” of the prayer, in the sense of being the surrounding, penetrating, transforming atmosphere of the spirit of the praying Christian. Cp. Zechariah 12:10; Romans 8:26; Judges 20.

watching] Keeping awake. The Gr. word occurs also Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; Hebrews 13:17. There was to be no indolent, somnolent oblivion of the need of prayer, or of the fact of offered prayer. For similar precepts (with another Gr. word) see Matthew 26:41; Colossians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:7.

with all perseverance] Lit., in (as R. V.).—“All:”—that is, “full,” “utmost;” so “all faith” (1 Corinthians 13:2).—For a close parallel to the thought see Romans 12:12; where lit., “in the (matter of) prayer, persevering.” Our Lord’s parable (Luke 18:1, &c.), makes it plain that persistency as well as trust has a mysterious value in the efficacy of prayer.

supplication] “All supplication;” the “all” being implied from the previous words. “All:”—with the full particularity and thoughtfulness proper to faithful intercessions.

for all saints] Lit., for all the saints. With a noble abruptness the thought, long detained upon the combat and resources of the individual, and of the single community, now runs out to the great circle of the Church. The inner connexion of ideas is close and strong. The Christian cannot really arm himself with Christ, and use his armour, without getting nearer in sympathy to the brotherhood of the saints of Christ. Cp. 1 Peter 5:9 for the same connexion otherwise indicated.

Saints:”—see on Ephesians 1:1 above.

Ephesians 6:18. Διὰ, [by] with) As often as you pray, pray in the Spirit, inasmuch as He is at no time shut out from you.

Verse 18. - With all prayer and supplication praying. The metaphor of armor is now dropped, but not the idea of the conflict, for what is now insisted on is of the most vital importance for successful warfare. Though prayer is virtually comprehended in most of the previous exhortations, it is now specifically enjoined, and in a great variety of ways; "all prayer and supplication," equivalent to every form of it, e.g., ejaculatory, secret, spoken, domestic, social, congregational. At all seasons. No period of life should be without it - youth, middle life, old age, all demand it; no condition of life - adversity, prosperity, sunshine, desolation, under sore temptation, under important duty, under heavy trial, under all the changing circumstances of life, personal, social, Christian. See the hymn-

"Go, when the morning shineth;
Go, when the noon is bright;
Go, when the day declineth;
Go, in the hush of night."
In the Spirit; for true prayer is spiritual, and it is not true prayer unless by the Holy Spirit the heart is filled with heavenward longings and aspirations, changing our prayer from cold form to heartfelt realities. The ordinary habit of the soul should be prayerful, realizing the presence of God and looking for his grace and guidance. And watching thereunto; that is, "towards" spirituality, against formality, as also against forgetfulness and neglect of prayer. Perhaps also the idea of watching for the answer is involved, as you wait for an answer when you have dispatched a letter. In all perseverance; this being very specially needed to make prayer triumphant, as in the case of the Syro-phoenician mother, or in that of Monica, mother of Augustine, and many more. And prayer for all saints; this being one of the great objects for which saints are gathered into the "one body" the Church, that they may be upheld and carried on, in warfare and in work, by mutual prayer, kept from slips and infirmities, and from deadly sins, and enabled one and all to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called." Ephesians 6:18Always (ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ)

Incorrect. It means on every occasion. Rev., at all seasons. Compare Luke 21:36.

With all prayer and supplication (διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως)

Prayer is general, supplication special. Διά with is literally through; that is, through the medium of. All, lit., every. Prayer is of various kinds, formal, silent, vocal, secret, public, petitionary, ejaculatory - shot upward like a dart (jaculum) on a sudden emergency. Compare Psalm 5:1, Psalm 5:2.

Watching thereunto (εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες)

Compare Colossians 4:2. For watching, see on Mark 13:33, Mark 13:35. Thereunto, unto prayer, for occasions of prayer, and to maintain the spirit of prayer. One must watch before prayer, in prayer, after prayer.

Perseverance (προσκαρτερήσει)

Only here. The kindred verb προσκαρτερέω to continue, occurs often. See on Acts 1:14.

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