What I hope to do is to offer a few probings into the cultural background of this passage—which has become such a crux for people on both sides of the issue of whether there is a divinely ordained hierarchy in the life of the church and home, based on gender alone. Compare Colossians 4:5 , "Walk in wisdom (answering to 'as wise' here) toward them that are without" (answering to "circumspectly," that is, correctly, in relation to the unbelievers around, not giving occasion of stumbling to any, but edifying all by a consistent walk). 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. 28. As, therefore, He brought to His feet one that so treated Him, and that even wantonly spurned Him, by much tenderness of regard, not by threats, insults, and terror: so also do you act towards your wife, and though you see her disdainful and wantonly wayward, you will be able to bring her to your feet by much thoughtfulness for her, by love, by kindness. We are members of His glorified body ( John 6:53 ). 33. CIRCUMSPECTION IN WALK: REDEEMING THE TIME: BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT: SINGING TO THE LORD WITH THANKFULNESS: THE WIFE'S DUTY TO THE HUSBAND RESTS ON THAT OF THE CHURCH TO CHRIST. Philemon, provide your slaves [including Onesimus] with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.”. Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light ( John 3:19 John 3:20 ). This was about the same time he wrote Ephesiansand Philemon. Here, for example, is the ideal about woman’s place found in Philo of Alexandria: Market-places and council-halls and law-courts and gatherings and meetings where a large number of people are assembled, and open-air with full scope for discussion and action—all these are suitable to men both in war and peace. Do you wish your wife to obey you, as the Church is to obey Christ? gave himself--Greek, "gave Himself up." published in Great Britain by Hodder &Stoughton (1996 edition). Hence arose the abstinence from wine of many of the prophets, for example, John the Baptist, namely, in order to keep distinct before the world the ecstasy caused by the Spirit, from that caused by wine. Philemon, love Apphia and do not be harsh with her. Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 6:10-11: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 5:18. The Greek expresses, "Being formed out of" or "of the substance of His flesh." “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1–2 NIV11) Have they taken their eyes off God? What the slaveholders didn't bother to quote was the rest of the passage, which goes on to say, "masters, do the same things to them" (6:9). Paul’s Stewardship 1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. In the same manner, Paul may have had in mind the drunken activities of the Dionysian cult as he penned Ephesians 5:18. . (NIV) - Ephesians was for Jews and Gentiles (who comprise one church) 3:1, 4:1).Paul is sending the slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon, in the care of Tychicus. The slave narratives are replete with sentiments from former slaves who loved Jesus but hated Paul, because slaveholders regularly quoted Ephesians 6:5, "Slaves, obey your masters." And even though such households would often be the location of a “church that met in someone’s household,” this is not the basic pattern assumed in Ephesians 5—which, as noted above, is probably related to the fact that Paul has just been writing to Philemon of Colossae and to the church that meets in his house. Still the Church is termed "holy" in the creed, in reference to her ideal and ultimate destination. We are heirs of a culture in which two major events in the past 300 years have radically altered Western culture forever, and which turned the basically patronal culture that preceded it completely on its head—namely, the so-called Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Thus wives and slaves, respectively, are to continue to submit and obey but now to do so as those who are thereby serving the Lord. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with hi Wherefore--referring to the whole foregoing argument ( Ephesians 5:8 Ephesians 5:11 Ephesians 5:13 ). Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. The women are best suited to the indoor life which never strays from the house, within which the middle door is taken by the maidens as their boundary, and the outer door by those who have reached full womanhood. . Ephesians 4:11-12 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 5:21-25 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 8. 15. that--rather as Greek, "See how ye walk," &c. The double idea is compressed into one sentence: "See (take heed) how ye walk," and "See that ye walk circumspectly." children--rather, "sons of disobedience" ( Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:3 ). 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. But whatever the structure, at issue is that we live Christlike in our relationships with one another in our homes. It is interesting to note and observe that while the New Testament often refers to the church, it does not speak of going … the (nearly unheard of) right for women to vote. 8 Adv. idolater--( Colossians 3:5 ). Furthermore, I think the letter has to be kept in its historical context as a companion letter with Colossians and Philemon. even as--Translate, "even as also." [ a] ( L) 6 Let no one deceive you. The point, of course, is that the so-called house rules that occur only in Colossians and Ephesians almost certainly spring from the circumstances that brought Onesimus back to Philemon’s household and thus back to his house church. This is almost certainly because the former (worship) took place primarily in the latter (the household). they two shall be one flesh--So the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, &c., read ( Genesis 2:24 ), instead of "they shall be one flesh." In a larger sense, the whole season from the time that one is spiritually awakened, is to be "redeemed" from vanity for God (compare 2 Corinthians 6:2 , 1 Peter 4:2-4 ). This is a typical insula, based on the ruins of Ostia, the ancient seaport of Rome. [According to] Solange Bentes Jurema, president of the National Council for Women’s Rights, one of the country’s leading feminist organizations, “The family is no longer an institution that is the property of the man, but a union in which all members have responsibilities and duties.” . Redeeming the time--( Colossians 4:5 ). The point is that most of the earliest churches met in households, and the various households themselves, therefore, served as the primary nuclei of the body of Christ (or God’s household) in any given location. psalms--generally accompanied by an instrument. "Speak of," I think, is used here as "speaking of without reproving," in contrast to "even reprove them." Ephesians 5:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Ephesians 5:16, NIV: "making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians September 2, 2011 Some people used Ephesians 6:5-9 alongside Greek, Roman, and Arab discussions of slavery to support the kind of slavery practiced in the Americas, but a simple knowledge of the nature… Ephesians 5:30 said, “even as the blessed Paul declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that ‘we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.’” Irenaeus attributed Ephesians to Paul This letter was written at least ten years after 1 Thessalonians. The expression, "not be even named," applies better to impurity, than to "covetousness.". to yourselves--"to one another." Christ is thus the “savior of the body” (a remarkable phrase indeed). 19. Background on Ephesians . "Cleansing" is the necessary preliminary to both. Written in 62 A.D. Apostle Paul explains the identity of the newcomers in Christ both Jews and Gentiles having been brought together into one body with Jesus Christ at the head. but be filled with the Spirit--The effect in inspiration was that the person was "filled" with an ecstatic exhilaration, like that caused by wine; hence the two are here connected (compare Acts 2:13-18 ). Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 14. I begin this discourse with a disclaimer, since the title suggests far more than one can deliver in a limited amount of space. Verses 1-33. understanding--not merely knowing as a matter of fact ( Luke 12:47 ), but knowing with understanding. Ephesians 5:19-20 – Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. What kind of a world is this into which Paul is speaking, as he leaves the structures intact, but radically alters the relationships in terms of living cruciform? Support for the Dionysian Background covetous . The letter was probably not written specifically to the church in Ephesus—some early manuscripts lack a name in 1:1; in 1:15 Paul speaks about only having heard about their faith, and there are no personal words whatsoever. To know Christ Himself, is the great lesson of the Christian life: this the Ephesians began to … in the fear of God--All the oldest manuscripts and authorities read, "in the fear of CHRIST." Graces, on the other hand, as flourishing in "the light," are reproductive, and abound in fruits; which, as harmoniously combining in one whole, are termed (in the singular) "the FRUIT of the Spirit" ( Ephesians 5:9 ). This constitutes true "wisdom" ( Ephesians 5:15 ). It suggests far more knowledge about this topic than I actually have—indeed, it is safe to say that there is much more that we don’t know about these things than we actually do. given himself for us--Greek, "given Himself up (namely, to death, Galatians 2:20 ) for us," that is, in our behalf: not here vicarious substitution, though that is indirectly implied, "in our stead." Bacchus, the god of wine, form the general cultural background for Paul’s two commands in Ephesians 5:18.1 Interpreting a passage of Scripture in its cultural setting is not new. and, eventually, the right to serve in almost every way in the public domain. followers--Greek, "imitators" of God, in respect to "love" ( Ephesians 5:2 ): God's essential character ( 1 John 4:16 ). Marc. The Book of Ephesians was written to “God’s holy people in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1, NIV). The oldest manuscripts omit "submit yourselves"; supplying it from Ephesians 5:21 , "Ye wives (submitting yourselves) unto your own husbands." Note then the only thing that is said to the householder in terms of his relationship to his wife. He also sent along the letter to the Colossian church. This letter was written at least ten years after 1 Thessalonians. for all things--even for adversities; also for blessings, unknown as well as known ( Colossians 3:17 , 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ). Proud member Three times—at the beginning (v. 25), in the middle (v. 28), and at the end (v. 33)—Paul says the one truly radical thing: “Love your wife.” That does not refer to either romance or sex, but to him giving his life in loving service to her. After all, look at the British manor house, with its “enlightened” autocrat, which has taken such a beating in a whole series of movies in the past decade. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. 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. "We are sons of men, when we do ill; sons of God, when we do well" [AUGUSTINE, on Psalm 52]; (compare Matthew 5:44 Matthew 5:45 Matthew 5:48 ). cometh--present, not merely "shall come." Just one statistic tells us how radically American culture changed during the past century. See how ye are walking, with a view to your being circumspect (literally, accurate, exact) in your walk. A New York Times news story late last summer reported the following: After 26 years of debate, amendments, delays and parliamentary maneuvering, the Brazilian Congress [has] approved a legal code that for the first time in the country’s history makes women equal to men in the eyes of the law. When we study and speak about this passage, phrases are usually dissected and closely examined, and certain words and phrases are highlighted, especially those that relate to the wife’s obligation. not as fools--Greek, "not as unwise, but as wise.". . And that changes things. Prayer for Ephesians' strength, praise to God - Ephesians 3:14-21. ( K) in the kingdom of Christ and of God. in every thing--appertaining to a husband's legitimate authority; "in the Lord" ( Colossians 3:18 ); everything not contrary to God. Redemption has been accomplished - Ephesians 2:1-3:13. Such people usually did not have slaves, but rather servants or hired workers. The key personalities of Ephesians are the Apostle Paul and Tychicus. We must heed the idea of 1 Peter 1:15-16: as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy. The two former (food and raiment) are here alluded to in a spiritual sense, by "nourisheth and cherisheth"; the third "duty of marriage" is not added in consonance with the holy propriety of Scripture language: its antitype is, "know the Lord" ( Hosea 2:19 Hosea 2:20 ) [BENGEL]. Salem Media Group. Thus the familia (a Latin term for which we have no exact equivalent), which consisted both of blood relatives and all those attached to the household, both slave and freedperson, automatically became the nucleus/locus of the earliest Christian communities. A common sense as to what was honorable or shameful was the fabric that held Greco-Roman culture together. For--Supply, and we all love ourselves: "For no man," &c. his own flesh--( Ephesians 5:31 , end). Some observations. 5. Therefore, these letters could also be called the “House Arrest Epistles”. This insula (an apartment house in this case) would also most likely be the pattern for the home of artisans like Priscilla and Aquila, where the living and gathering of the church would be upstairs while the ground floor rooms that opened onto the street were shops. of Christ and of God--rather, as one Greek article is applied to both, "of Christ and God," implying their perfect oneness, which is consistent only with the doctrine that Christ is God (compare 2 Thessalonians 1:12 , 1 Timothy 5:21 , 6:13 ). As Israel is called on to "awake" from its previous state of "darkness" and "death" ( Isaiah 59:10 , 60:2 ), for that her Light is come; so the Church, and each individual is similarly called to awake. 3. children of light--not merely "of the light"; just as "children of disobedience" is used on the opposite side; those whose distinguishing characteristic is light. Ephesians 4:11-12 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 5:21-25 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Ephesians Historical Background We must understand Ephesus if we want to understand the Book of Ephesians. Haer. a. The Greek of it, and of "filthiness," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Nevertheless--not to pursue further the mystical meaning of marriage. It is usually an unbloody offering, in the more limited sense. and he is--The oldest manuscripts read, "Himself (being) Saviour," omitting "and," and "is." Background on Ephesians The letter to the Ephesians has been called the crown of Pauline theology. No, it took the Industrial Revolution to really turn things on its head. It was written to encourage believers to walk as fruitful followers of Christ and to serve in unity and love in the midst of persecution. The average age of a man when he married was 30, and a woman’s age was less than 18; she thus entered his household as a teenager, whom he had also to educate in the ways of his household. Comprised of Jews and non-Jews, these followers form the covenant family God promised to Abraham. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Thus the "for" expresses this, Reprove them, for to speak of them without reproving them, is a shame ( Ephesians 5:3 ). The Greek order is, "For the things done in secret by them, it is a shame even to speak of." One final important note here. Genesis 2:21 Genesis 2:23 Genesis 2:24 puts the bones first because the reference there is to the natural structure. This, I would urge, is how these texts finally apply to us and to our homes. rather, &c.--Translate as Greek, "rather even reprove them" (compare Matthew 5:14-16 ). Take especially Paul’s conclusion to his argument with the Galatians over true ecclesiology, having to do with Jew and Gentile as members together in the one household of God. "Have no fellowship," does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse ( 1 Corinthians 5:10 ), but "avoid such fellowship as will defile yourselves"; just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light detects it, so, "even reprove sin. He speaks of baptism according to its high ideal and design, as if the inward grace accompanied the outward rite; hence he asserts of outward baptism whatever is involved in a believing appropriation of the divine truths it symbolizes, and says that Christ, by baptism, has purified the Church [NEANDER] ( 1 Peter 3:21 ). It was not necessarily written to the believers in the city of Ephesus. 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