4:1 I therefore, 1 the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the a vocation wherewith ye are called,
(1) Another part of the epistle, containing
precepts of the Christian life, the sum of which is this, that every man
behave himself as it is fitting for so excellent a grace of God.
(a) By this is meant the general calling of the
faithful, which is this, to be holy as our God is holy.
4:2 2 With
all lowliness and meekness, with b
longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
(2) Secondly, he commends the meekness of the
mind, which is demonstrated by bearing with one another.
(b) See (Matthew
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(3) Thirdly he requires perfect agreement, but
yet such that is joined with the band of the Holy Spirit.
4:4 4 [There
is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
(4) An argument of great weight for an earnest
displaying of brotherly love and charity with one another, because we are made
one body as it were of one God and Father, by one Spirit, worshipping one Lord
with one faith, and consecrated to him with one baptism, and having hope of
one self same glory, unto which we are called. Therefore, whoever breaks
charity, breaks all of these things apart.
4:6 One God and Father of all,
who [is] c above all, and d
through all, and e in you all.
(c) Who alone has the chief authority over the
(d) Who alone pours forth his providence, through
all the members of the Church.
(e) Who alone is joined together with us in
4:7 5 But
unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the f
gift of Christ.
(5) He teaches us that we indeed are all one
body, and that all good gifts proceed from Christ alone, who reigns in heaven
having mightily conquered all his enemies, from where he heaps all gifts upon
his Church. But yet nonetheless these gifts are differently and variously
divided according to his will and pleasure, and therefore every man ought to
be content with that measure that God has given him, and to bestow it to the
common profit of the whole body.
(f) Which Christ has given.
4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high,
he led g captivity captive, and gave
gifts unto men.
(g) A multitude of captives.
4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he
also descended first into the h lower
parts of the earth?
(h) Down to the earth, which is the lowest part
of the world.
4:10 He that descended is the same also that
ascended up far above all heavens, that he might i
fill k all things.)
(i) Fill with his gifts.
(k) The Church.
4:11 6 And
he gave some, l apostles; and some, m
prophets; and some, n evangelists; and
some, o pastors and teachers;
(6) First of all he lists the ecclesiastical
functions, which are partly extraordinary and for a season, such as apostles,
prophets, and evangelists, and partly ordinary and perpetual, such as pastors
(l) The apostles were those twelve to whom Paul
was afterward added, whose office was to plant churches throughout all the
(m) The prophet's office was one of the
chiefest, who were men of marvellous wisdom, and some of them could foretell
things to come.
(n) The apostles used these as companions in the
execution of their office, being not able to go to all places by themselves.
(o) Pastors are those who govern the Church, and
teachers are those who govern the schools.
4:12 7 For
the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of
the p body of Christ:
(7) He shows the aim of ecclesiastical functions,
that is, that by the ministry of men all the saints may so grow up together,
that they may make one mystical body of Christ.
(p) The Church.
4:13 8 Till
we all come in the q unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of
the r stature of the fulness of Christ:
(8) The use of this ministry is perpetual so long
as we are in this world, that is, until that time that having put off the
flesh, and thoroughly and perfectly agreeing between ourselves, we will be
joined with Christ our head. And this thing is done by the knowledge of the
Son of God increasing in us, and he himself by little and little growing up in
us until we come to be a perfect man, which will be in the world to come, when
God will be all in all.
(q) In that most near joining which is knit and
fastened together by faith.
(r) Christ is said to grow up to full age, not in
himself, but in us.
4:14 9 That
we [henceforth] be no more children, 10
tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the s
sleight of men, [and] t cunning
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(9) Between our childhood (that is to say, a very
weak state, when we are still wavering) and our perfect age, which we will
have at length in another world, there is a mean, that is, our youth, and
steady going forward to perfection.
(10) He compares those who do not rest themselves
upon the word of God, to little boats which are tossed here and there with the
doctrines of men as it were with contrary winds, and in addition forewarns
them that it comes to pass not only by the unsteadiness of man's brain, but
also by the craftiness of certain ones, who make as it were an art of it.
(s) With those uncertain events which toss men to
(t) By the deceit of those men who are very well
practised in deceiving others.
4:15 11 But
speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the
head, [even] Christ:
(11) By earnest affection of the truth and love,
we grow up into Christ: for he (being effectual by the ministry of his word,
which as the vital Spirit makes alive the whole body in such a way that it
nourishes all the limbs of it according to the measure and proportion of each
one) quickens and cherishes his Church, which consists of various functions,
as of various members, and preserves the need of every one. And from this it
follows that neither this body can live without Christ, neither can any man
grow up spiritually, who separates himself from the other members.
4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the u
effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh x
increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in y
(u) Of Christ, who with regard to the soul,
empowers all the members.
(x) Such increase as is fit for the body to have.
(y) Charity is the knitting of the limbs
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as
other Gentiles walk, in the z vanity of
(12) He descends to the fruits of Christian
doctrine, and reasons first upon the principles of conduct and actions,
setting down a most grave comparison between the children of God, and those
who are not regenerated. For in these men all the powers of the mind are
corrupted, and their mind is given to vanity, and their senses are darkened
with most gross mistiness, and their affections are so accustomed by little
and little to wickedness, that at length they run headlong into all
uncleanness, being utterly destitute of all judgment.
(z) If the noblest parts of the soul are
corrupted, what is man but solely corruption?
4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being
alienated from the a life of God through
the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
(a) By which God lives in them.
4:19 Who being b
past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all
uncleanness with c greediness.
(b) Void of all judgment.
(c) They strove to surpass one another, as though
there were some gain to be gotten by it.
4:20 13 But
ye have not so learned Christ;
(13) Here follows the contrary part concerning
men who are regenerated by the true and living knowledge of Christ, who have
other principles by which they act that are very different, that is, holy and
honest desires, and a mind completely changed by the power of the Holy Spirit,
from which proceeds also like effects, as a just and holy life indeed.
4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been
taught by him, d as the truth is in
(d) As they have learned who acknowledge Christ
indeed, and in good earnest.
4:22 That ye put off concerning the former
conversation e the old man, which is
corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
4:23 And be renewed in the f
spirit of your mind;
(f) Where there ought to have been the greatest
force of reason, there is the greatest corruption of all, which gradually
weakens all things.
4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which g
after God is created h in righteousness
and i true holiness.
(g) After the image of God.
(h) The effect and end of the new creation.
(i) Not fake nor counterfeit.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we
are members one of another.
(14) He commends separately certain special
Christian virtues, and first of all he requires truth (that is to say, sincere
manners), condemning all deceit and hypocrisy, because we are born one for
4:26 15 Be k
ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down l
upon your wrath:
(15) He teaches us how to bridle our anger in
such a way that, even though our anger is fierce, yet it does not break out,
and that it is without delay quenched before we sleep. And this is so that
Satan may not take occasion to give us evil counsel through the wicked
counsellor, and destroy us.
(k) If it so happens that you are angry, yet do
not sin, that is, bridle your anger, and do not wickedly do that which you
have wickedly conceived.
(l) Let not the night come upon you in your
anger, that is, make atonement quickly, for all matters.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his]
hands the thing which is m good, that he
may have to give to him that needeth.
(16) He descends from the heart to the hands,
condemning theft: and because the men who give themselves to this wickedness
often pretend to be poor, he shows that labour is a good remedy against
poverty, which God blesses in such a way that those who labour always have
some surplus to help others. And therefore it is far from being the case that
they are forced to steal other men's goods.
(m) By labouring in things that are holy, and
profitable to his neighbour.
4:29 17 Let
no n corrupt communication proceed out
of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may
minister o grace unto the hearers.
(17) He bridles the tongue as well, teaching us
to so temper our talk, that our hearer's minds are not destroyed, and are
(n) Literally, "rotten".
(o) By grace he means that by which men most
profit with regard to going forward in godliness and love.
4:30 18 And
grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of
(18) A general precept against all excess of
affections which dwell in that part of the mind, which they call
"angry", and he sets against them the contrary means. And he uses a
most strong preface, how we ought to take heed that we grieve not the Holy
Spirit of God through our immoderateness and excessiveness, who dwells in us
to the end of moderating all our affections.
4:32 And be ye kind one to
another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 19
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
(19) An argument taken from the example of
Christ, most grave and strong, both for the pardoning of those injuries which
have been done to us by our greatest enemies, and much more for having
consideration of the miserable, and using moderation and gentle behaviour
towards all men.