Ephesians 5:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

King James Bible
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Darby Bible Translation
and filthiness and foolish talking, or jesting, which are not convenient; but rather thanksgiving.

World English Bible
nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

Young's Literal Translation
also filthiness, and foolish talking, or jesting, -- the things not fit -- but rather thanksgiving;

Ephesians 5:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Neither filthiness - That is, obscene, or indecent conversation. Literally, that which is shameful, or deformed - αἰσχρότης aischrotēs. The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament.

Nor foolish talking - This word - μωρολογία mōrologia - does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means that kind of talk which is insipid, senseless, stupid, foolish; which is not suited to instruct, edify, profit - the idle "chitchat" which is so common in the world. The meaning is, that Christians should aim to have their conversation sensible, serious, sincere - remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment;" Matthew 12:36.

Nor jesting - εὐτραπελία eutrapelia. This word occurs also nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, that which is "well-turned" εὐ eu - well, and τρεπω trepō - to turn); and then that which is sportive, refined, courteous; and then "urbanity, humor, wit; and then jesting, levity" - which is evidently the meaning here. The apostle would not forbid courteousness, or refinement of manners (compare 1 Peter 3:8), and the reference, therefore, must be to that which is light and trifling in conversation; to that which is known among us as jesting. It may be observed:

(1) that "courteousness" is not forbidden in the Scriptures, but is positively required; 1 Peter 3:8.

(2) "Cheerfulness" is not forbidden - for if anything can make cheerful, it is the hope of heaven.

(3) "Pleasantry" cannot be forbidden. I mean that quiet and gentle humor that arises from good-nature, and that makes one good-natured in spite of himself.

Such are many of the poems of Cowper, and many of the essays of Addison in the "Spectator" - a benevolent humor which disposes us to smile, but not to be malignant; to be good-natured, but not to inspire levity. But levity and jesting, though often manifested by ministers and other Christians, are as inconsistent with true dignity as with the gospel. Where were they seen in the conversation of the Redeemer? Where in the writings of Paul?

Which are not convenient - That is, which are not fit or proper; which do not become the character of Christians; notes, Romans 1:28. Christians should be grave and serious - though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake, and that the world has too. They are redeemed - not to make sport; purchased with precious blood - for other purposes than to make people laugh. They are soon to be in heaven - and a man who has any impressive sense of that will habitually feel that he has much else to do than to make people laugh. The true course of life is midway between moroseness and levity; sourness and lightness; harshness and jesting. Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, bland, courteous, but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things, but pleasant, affable, and benignant. Think not a smile sinful; but think not levity and jesting harmless.

But rather giving of thanks - Thanks to God, or praises are more becoming Christians than jesting. The idea here seems to be, that such employment would be far more appropriate to the character of Christians, than idle, trifling, and indelicate conversation. Instead, therefore, of meeting together for low wit and jesting; for singing songs, and for the common discourse which often attends such "gatherings" of friends, Paul would have them come together for the purpose of praising God, and engaging in his service. Human beings are social in their nature; and it they do not assemble for good purposes, they will for bad ones. It is much more appropriate to the character of Christians to come together to sing praises to God, than to sing songs; to pray than to jest; to converse of the things of redemption than to tell anecdotes, and to devote the time to a contemplation of the world to come, than to trifles and nonsense.

Ephesians 5:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Cross References
Proverbs 26:19
So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "Was I not joking?"

Matthew 12:34
"You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Romans 1:28
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

Ephesians 4:29
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:20
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

Colossians 3:8
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Philemon 1:8
Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper,

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