Ephesians 5 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Ephesians 5)
5:3 1 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

(1) Now he comes to another type of affections, which is in that part of the mind which men call covetous or desirous: and he reprehends fornication, covetousness, and jesting very sharply.

5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor a jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

(a) Jests which men cast at one another: that no lightness is seen, nor evil example given, nor any offence made by evil words or backbiting.

5:5 2 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an b idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

(2) Because these sins are such that the most part of men do not consider them to be sins, he awakes the godly to the end that they should so much the more take heed to guard themselves from these sins as from most harmful plagues.
(b) A bondslave to idolatry, for the covetous man thinks that his life consists in his goods.

5:7 3 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

(3) Because we are most ready to follow evil examples, therefore the apostle warns the godly to always remember that the others are but as it were darkness, and that they themselves are as it were light. And therefore the others commit all evils (as men are accustomed to do in the dark), but they ought not to follow their examples, but rather (as the property of the light is) reprove their darkness, and to walk in such a way (having Christ that true light going before them) as it becomes wise men.

5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] c light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(c) The faithful are called light, both because they have the true light in them which enlightens them, and also because they give light to others, insomuch that their honest conversation reproves the life of wicked men.

5:9 (For the fruit of the d Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

(d) By whose power we are made light in the Lord.

5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather e reprove [them].

(e) Make them open to all the world, by your good life.

5:14 Wherefore f he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the g dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

(f) The scripture, or God in the scripture.
(g) He speaks of the death of sin.

5:15 4 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

(4) The worse and more corrupt that the manners of this world are, the more watchful we ought to be in every situation, and give regard to nothing but the will of God.

5:16 h Redeeming the time, because the i days are evil.

(h) This is a metaphor taken from the merchants: who prefer the least profit that may be before any of their pleasures.
(i) The times are troublesome and severe.

5:18 5 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is k excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

(5) He sets the sober and holy assemblies of the faithful against the immoral banquets of the unfaithful, in which the praises of the only Lord must ring, whether it is it in prosperity or diversity.
(k) Every type of disorder, together with every manner of filthiness and shamefulness.

5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your l heart to the Lord;

(l) With an earnest affection of the heart, and not with the tongue only.

5:21 6 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

(6) A short repetition of the end to which all things ought to be referred, to serve one another for God's sake.

5:22 7 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, 8 as unto the Lord.

(7) Now he descends to a family, dividing orderly all the parts of a family. And he says that the duty of wives consists in this, to be obedient to their husbands. (8) The first argument, for they cannot be disobedient to their husbands except by also resisting God, who is the author of this subjection.

5:23 9 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: 10 and he is the saviour of the body.

(9) A declaration of the former saying: because God has made the man head of the woman in marriage, as Christ is the head of the Church.
(10) Another argument: because the good estate of the wife depends on the man, so that this submission is not only just, but also very profitable: as also the salvation of the Church depends on Christ, although to a far greater degree.

5:24 11 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.

(11) The conclusion of the wives' duties towards their husbands.

5:25 12 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

(12) The husbands duty towards their wives is to love them as themselves, of which love the love of Christ towards his Church is a graphic image.

5:26 13 That he might m sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the n word,

(13) Because many men pretend the infirmities of their wives to excuse their own hardness and cruelty, the apostle wishes us to mark what manner of Church Christ received, when he joined it to himself, and how he does not reject her for all her filth, and uncleanness, but ceases not to wipe it away with his cleanness, until he wholly purifies it.
(m) Make it holy.
(n) Through the promise of free justification and sanctification in Christ, received by faith.

5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, o not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

(o) The Church as it is considered in itself, will not be without wrinkle, before it come to the mark it aims at: for while it is in this life, it runs in a race. But if it is considered in Christ, it is clean and without wrinkle.

5:28 14 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

(14) Another argument: every man loves himself, even by nature: therefore he strives against nature that does not love his wife. He proves the conclusion, first by the mystical knitting of Christ and the Church together, and then by the ordinance of God, who says that man and wife are as one, that is, not to be divided.

5:29 For no man ever yet hated his p own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

(p) His own body.

5:30 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.

5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall r be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

(r) See Matthew 19:5

5:32 15 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

(15) That no man might dream of natural union or knitting of Christ and his Church together (such as the husbands and the wives is) he shows that it is secret, that is, spiritual and such as differs greatly from the common capacity of man. And it consists by the power of the Spirit, and not of the flesh, by faith, and by no natural bond.

5:33 16 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.

(16) The conclusion both of the husband's duty toward his wife, and of the wife's toward her husband.