Ephesians 4:17-32

Instructions for Christian Living

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned
21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26 “In your anger do not sin”[a] : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:17 in Other Translations

KJV
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
ESV
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
NLT
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.
MSG
17 And so I insist - and God backs me up on this - that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.
CSB
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts.

Ephesians 4:17-32 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EPHESIANS 4

The apostle having in the three former chapters treated of the doctrines of grace, and explained and established them, proceeds in the three following to exhort to the duties of religion; and in this advises to a becoming conversation in general, and to brotherly concord and unity in particular; and dehorts from several vices, and encourages to the contrary virtues. And inasmuch as these Ephesians were called with an holy calling, he entreats them, if they had any regard for him as a prisoner of Christ, that they would walk worthy of it, Eph 4:1, and directs to the manner in which they should act becoming it, with all humility, patience, forbearance, and love; seeking to preserve a spiritual harmony, unity, and peace, one among another, Eph 4:2,3, for the encouragement of which, he makes use of various arguments, taken from the unity of the body, of which they were members; from their being quickened and influenced by one and the same Spirit; from having the same hope of eternal happiness, to which they were called; from their having one Lord over them, who is Christ; from their having the same like precious faith in him; from their being baptized with the same baptism in him; and from their having one, and the same God and Father, Eph 4:4-6, and from all of them having gifts, though different, for mutual usefulness; which gifts are described by the author and donor of them, Christ, Eph 4:7, which is proved Eph 4:8, out of a passage in Ps 68:18, which is explained of the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, of his descent from heaven, and ascension thither; the end of which latter was to fill all things, or persons, with gifts, Eph 4:9,10, of which a particular enumeration is given, Eph 4:11, the design of which is, to fit men for the work of the ministry, and by them to convert sinners, and edify saints, Eph 4:12, which ministry is to be continued, until all the saints arrive to a perfection of spiritual knowledge, and make up one perfect man, or body of men in Christ, Eph 4:13, for the use and end of the Gospel ministry is not, that such who are converted by it should continue children, be in suspense about truth, and under the deceptions of men, Eph 4:14, but that through speaking the truth in love, they should grow up into Christ their head; from whom supplies of grace are communicated, for the increase and edification of every member of the body, Eph 4:15,16, and seeing these Ephesians to whom the apostle writes were separated in the effectual calling from the rest of the Gentiles, they ought not to walk as the others did; whose minds were vain, their understandings darkened, and their hearts blinded, hardened, and ignorant; and had no sense of things, but were given up to all manner of wickedness, Eph 4:17-19, whereas they had learned Christ, and through hearing had been taught the truth of the Gospel, as it was in him, Eph 4:20,21, wherefore it became them in their conversation, not to follow the dictates of corrupt nature, called the old man, that being full of lusts, corrupt, and deceitful, but to act becoming the renewing work of the Spirit upon their souls, and agreeably to the new principles of the grace of God created in them, in order to righteousness and holiness, Eph 4:22-24, and in particular it became them to avoid lying, and on the contrary to speak truth to one another; and that for this reason, because they were members of the same body, and of one another, Eph 4:25, and likewise to abstain from sinful anger, and not continue a wrathful disposition, Eph 4:26, nor was it advisable to yield to the suggestions, solicitations, and temptations of Satan, Eph 4:27, nor to commit theft, but on the other hand give themselves to manual labour at some commendable calling, that they might have for their own use, and others too, Eph 4:28, and it was also right to be careful not to suffer corrupt and unchaste words to come out of their mouths, but such as would be grateful and useful to others, Eph 4:29, and the rather this, and all the rest of the things mentioned, and likewise what follows, should be attended to; since by such evil lusts, words, and actions, the Holy Spirit of God is grieved, who should not, since he is the sealer of the saints unto the day of redemption, Eph 4:30. And the chapter is concluded with a dehortation from several vices of the mind and tongue, respecting wrath and revenge; and an exhortation to the contrary virtues, kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness; to which encouragement is given, by the example of God, who forgives for Christ's sake, Eph 4:31,32.

Ephesians 4:17-32 In-Context

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned
21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Cross References 31

  • 1. Ephesians 2:2
  • 2. Romans 1:21
  • 3. Deuteronomy 29:4; Romans 1:21
  • 4. Ephesians 2:12
  • 5. 2 Corinthians 3:14
  • 6. 1 Timothy 4:2
  • 7. Romans 1:24
  • 8. Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 4:3
  • 9. ver 25,31; Col 3:5,8,9; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1
  • 10. S Romans 6:6
  • 11. Jeremiah 17:9; Hebrews 3:13
  • 12. Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10
  • 13. S Romans 13:14
  • 14. S Romans 6:4
  • 15. Ephesians 2:10
  • 16. Psalms 15:2; Leviticus 19:11; Zechariah 8:16; Colossians 3:9
  • 17. S Romans 12:5
  • 18. Psalms 4:4; S Matthew 5:22
  • 19. 2 Corinthians 2:10,11
  • 20. Acts 20:35
  • 21. 1 Thessalonians 4:11
  • 22. Luke 3:11; Galatians 6:10
  • 23. Matthew 12:36; Ephesians 5:4; Colossians 3:8
  • 24. S Romans 14:19
  • 25. Isaiah 63:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:19
  • 26. 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13
  • 27. Romans 8:23
  • 28. S ver 22
  • 29. Colossians 3:8; 1 Peter 2:1
  • 30. 1 Peter 3:8
  • 31. Matthew 6:14,15; Colossians 3:12,13

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Psalm 4:4 (see Septuagint)
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