Vincent's Word Studies
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Taking up the closing thought of the preceding chapter, the magnitude of God's power toward believers as exhibited in Christ's resurrection. He now shows that the same power is applied to his readers. Hence the connection is: "When He raised Him from the dead, etc., and you did He quicken, even as He quickened Christ." The structure of the passage is broken. Paul having prominently in mind the thought God quickened you as He did Christ, begins with you also. Then the connection is interrupted by Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 2:3, which describe their previous condition. Then Ephesians 2:1 is taken up in Ephesians 2:4, by but God, God introducing a new sentence.
Who were dead (ὄντας νεκροὺς)
Better, Rev., when ye were dead, thus giving the sense of the continued state in the past expressed by the participle being.
Trespasses - sins (παραπτώμασιν - ἁμαρτίαις)
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Lit., age. See on John 1:9.
Collective, the whole empire of evil spirits.
See on 1 Corinthians 2:12. The term designates the power over which Satan rules, on the side of its operation in men's hearts.
With an implied reference to its former working in his readers. Compare once, Ephesians 2:3
Children of disobedience (υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας)
Compare Ephesians 5:6. A Hebraistic expression. Compare son of perdition, John 17:12; children of obedience, 1 Peter 1:14; children of cursing, 2 Peter 2:14. Rev., correctly, sons of disobedience: belonging to disobedience as sons to a parent.
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Had our conversation (ἀνεστράφημεν)
See on the kindred noun conversation, 1 Peter 1:15. Rev., more simply, lived.
Lit., willings. See on Colossians 3:12.
By nature children of wrath
See on Ephesians 2:2. Children (τέκνα) emphasizes the connection by birth; see on John 1:12. Wrath (ὀργῆς) is God's holy hatred of sin; His essential, necessary antagonism to everything evil, Romans 1:18. By nature (φύσει) accords with children, implying what; is innate. That man is born with a sinful nature, and that God and sin are essentially antagonistic, are conceded on all hands: but that unconscious human beings come into the world under the blaze of God's indignation, hardly consists with Christ's assertion that to little children belongs the kingdom of heaven. It is true that there is a birth-principle of evil, which, if suffered to develop, will bring upon itself the wrath of God. Whether Paul means more than this I do not know.
Others (οἱ λοιποί)
Rev., correctly, the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Resuming Ephesians 2:1.
For His great love (διά)
For the sake of, in order to satisfy His love.
Quickened us together
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Raised us up
Compare Romans 6:5.
Made us sit together (συνεκάθισεν)
Compare set Him, Ephesians 1:20. Together is ambiguous. Render with Him, as Rev. "Even now we sit there in Him, and shall sit with Him in the end" (Andrews, cited by Ellicott). Compare Romans 8:30; Revelation 3:21. Meyer renders hath given us joint seat.
In Christ Jesus
Connect with raised up, made us sit, and in heavenly places. Resurrection, enthronement, heaven, all are in Christ.
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
The ages to come (τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις)
Lit., the ages, those which are coming on. Which are successively arriving until Christ's second coming.
He might show (ἐνδείξηται)
The middle voice denotes for His own glory. See on Colossians 1:6.
In kindness (ἐν χρηστότητι)
See on easy, Matthew 11:30. The grace of God is to be displayed in His actual benefits.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
For by grace, etc.
Not faith, but the salvation.
Emphatic. Of God is it the gift.
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
For we are His workmanship
A reason why no man should glory. If we are God's workmanship, our salvation cannot be of ourselves. His is emphatic. His workmanship are we.
See on John 1:3. The verb originally means to make habitable, to people. Hence to found. God is called κτίστης creator, 1 Peter 4:19, and ὁ κτίσας he that created, Romans 1:25. Compare Revelation 4:11. Κτίσις is used of the whole sum of created things, Mark 10:6; Romans 8:22.
Afore prepared (προητοίμασεν)
Rev, more correctly, prepared. Made ready beforehand. God prearranged a sphere of moral action for us to walk in. Not only are works the necessary outcome of faith, but the character and direction of the works are made ready by God.
That we should walk
In order that; to the end that.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Uncircumcision - circumcision
Abstract for concrete terms, the uncircumcised and circumcised.
Which is called
Notice the irony, giving back the called of the circumcised.
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Being aliens (ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι)
Rev., better, giving the force of the verb, alienated. As they had once been otherwise. Paul speaks ideally of a spiritual commonwealth in which Jew and Gentile were together at peace with God, and of which the commonwealth of Israel is a type.
Selecting the most honorable title to describe the Jew. See on Acts 3:12. The reference is to the spiritual rather than to the national distinction. In being separated from Christ, they were separated from that commonwealth in which, according to the promise, Christ would have been to them, as to the faithful Israelites, the object of their faith and the ground of their salvation.
The several renewals of God's covenant with the patriarchs.
Of promise (τῆς ἐπαγγελίας)
Better, the promise. The messianic promise, which was the basis of all the covenants.
Without God (ἄθεοι)
God-forsaken. It might also mean godless or impious. The gentile gods were no gods.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Now in Christ Jesus
Now, in contrast with at that time. In Christ Jesus, in contrast with alienated from, etc. Jesus is added because the Christ who was the subject of promise, the Messiah, has come into the world under that personal name. The phrase includes the promised Messiah and the actual Savior.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Our peace (ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν)
Christ is similarly described in abstract terms in 1 Corinthians 1:30; wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption. So Colossians 1:27, hope of glory. Christ is thus not merely our peace-maker, but our very peace itself.
Both (τὰ ἀμφότερα)
Hath broken down (λύσας)
Lit, loosened or dissolved. Rev., giving the force of the aorist tense, brake down. The participle has an explanatory force, in that He brake down.
The middle-wall of partition (τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ)
Lit., the middle wall of the fence or hedge. The wall which pertained to the fence; the fact of separation being emphasized in wall, and the instrument of separation in fence. The hedge was the whole Mosaic economy which separated Jew from Gentile. Some suppose a reference to the stone screen which bounded the court of the Gentiles in the temple.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Having abolished in His flesh the enmity (τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ καταργήσας)
The enmity immediately follows the middle wall of partition, and should be rendered in apposition with and as defining it, and as dependent on brake down, not on abolished: the middle wall which was the enmity. It is used abstractly, as peace in Ephesians 2:14. The enmity was the result and working of the law regarded as a separative system; as it separated Jew from Gentile, and both from God. See Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:7-11. For abolished, see on cumbereth, Luke 13:7, and make without effect, see on Romans 3:3.
The law of commandments contained in ordinances (τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν)
The law, etc., depends in construction on having abolished, and is not in apposition with the enmity, as A.V. The middle wall of partition, the enmity, was dissolved by the abolition of the law of commandments. Construe in His flesh with having abolished. Law is general, and its contents are defined by commandments, special injunctions, which injunctions in turn were formulated in definite decrees. Render the entire passage: brake down the middle-wall of partition, even the enmity, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances.
For to make (ἵνα κτίσῃ)
Rev., that He might create. See on created, Ephesians 2:10. The work was to be a new creation on a new foundation.
As the medium of reconciliation.
Of the twain one new man (τοὺς δύο εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον).
The Greek is livelier: make the two into one new man. Καινὸν new, emphasizes the new quality; not newness in point of time. See on Matthew 26:29.
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Might reconcile (ἀποκαταλλάξῃ)
Only here and Colossians 1:20, Colossians 1:21. See on Colossians 1:20. The new man precedes the reconciling in Paul's statement, though, as a fact, the order is the reverse. The verb contains a hint of restoration to a primal unity. See on Ephesians 2:12.
Thereby (ἐν αὐτῷ)
Or upon it - the cross.
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
You which were afar off
Them that were nigh
Jews. See on Romans 3:30. As children of the messianic covenant. See on Ephesians 2:12. Compare Isaiah 57:9, where the Septuagint reads, peace upon peace to those who are far and to those who are near.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
See on Romans 5:2. Notice the three persons of the Godhead: through Him (Christ); one Spirit, the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
See on Luke 24:18. Rev., better, sojourners. Without rights of citizenship.
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Of the apostles and prophets
Chief corner-stone (ἀκρογωνίαου)
Only here and 1 Peter 2:6.
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
All the building (πᾶσα οικοδομὴ)
Lit., every building. Rev., each several building. But the reference is evidently to one building, and the rendering of A.V. should be retained though the article is wanting.
Fitly framed together (συναρμολογουμένη)
The present participle indicates the framing as in progress.
Sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5. The more sacred portion of the structure is chosen for the figure.
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Are builded together (συνοικοδομεῖσθε)
As component parts of the one building. The reference is to individual Christians, not to communities.
Through the Spirit (ἐν)
Better, as Rev., in. In the fellowship of the indwelling Spirit.