Ephesians 5:14-17

14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:14 in Other Translations

KJV
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
ESV
14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
NLT
14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
MSG
14 Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!
CSB
14 for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:14-17 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EPHESIANS 5

The apostle, in this chapter, goes on with his exhortations to the duties of religion; and such in general as relate to purity of life, and against uncleanness; and particularly treats of the duties of married persons. And whereas in the latter part of the preceding chapter, he had exhorted to kindness and tenderness, and which he enforced by the example of God himself, he here repeats and urges it; and to it adds the example of Christ in loving his people, and giving himself for them a propitiatory sacrifice, acceptable to God, Eph 5:1,2, then follows a dehortation from several vices of the impure kind, some as being filthy actions, and unbecoming saints, and not to be named by them, and much less done, Eph 5:3, others, and such as are vices of the tongue, as being inconvenient, and to which thanksgiving is preferred, Eph 5:4, and the former especially, as excluding from having any part or portion in the kingdom of God and Christ Eph 5:5, and all of them, as bringing the wrath of God upon men, Eph 5:6, wherefore professors of religion should avoid such sins, and not join with the children of disobedience in the commission of them, Eph 5:7, to which exhortation they should the rather give heed, from the consideration of their present state, illustrated by their former one; who were once darkness, but now light, and therefore should walk as enlightened persons, Eph 5:8, and as having the Spirit of God, which is known by its fruits, Eph 5:9, studying to know, approve of, and do that which is acceptable to God, Eph 5:10, and on the contrary, should have no society and communion with men in the commission of sins, the works of darkness, but should reprove them for them, Eph 5:11, since the things done by them were such, that it was a shame to relate them, and much more to commit them, Eph 5:12, and the rather this was incumbent upon them, since it was agreeably to their character, as being made light in the Lord; seeing it is the property of light to make manifest and detect what is done in the dark, Eph 5:13, which is confirmed by a passage of Scripture pertinently produced, to stir up drowsy and lifeless professors to the discharge of their duty, Eph 5:14, and from hence the apostle enforces a wise and circumspect walk and conversation, one part of which lies in redeeming time; and which should be done for this reason, because the present days were evil ones, Eph 5:15,16, and that they might avoid a foolish walk, and order their conversation wisely and aright, he suggests it would be proper to learn what was the will of the Lord, which is the rule of a Christian's walk and conversation, Eph 5:17, and whereas drunkenness is oftentimes the cause of all the above mentioned vices, the apostle cautions against that, and on the contrary advises them to be concerned for a larger measure of the Spirit of God; that under his influence they might sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in a melodious manner, and heartily to the Lord; and so express their thankfulness to him, for all mercies from him; and not abuse their mercies and themselves, spend their time in singing lewd and profane songs, as drunkards often do, Eph 5:18-20, and hence he passes to the special duties of wives and husbands, to which he premises a general exhortation to submission to one another, Eph 5:21, and begins with the subjection of wives to their husbands, this being the will of the Lord, Eph 5:22, and besides, the relation which the wife stands in to her husband, being her head, requires it; and which is illustrated by Christ being the head and Saviour of his body, the church, Eph 5:23, and which is further urged and enforced by the instance and example of the church's subjection to Christ, Eph 5:24, and next the apostle exhorts husbands to love their wives, in imitation of Christ, who has loved his church; and as an instance of it, has given himself to death for her; than which, there cannot be a greater instance of love, Eph 5:25, the ends of which were, the sanctification and cleansing of the church with his blood, by means of water and the word; and the presentation of her to himself, all glorious and beautiful, Eph 5:26,27, and then another argument is used, to engage the affections of husbands to their wives, they being their own bodies; so that loving them, is loving themselves, Eph 5:28, nor was it ever known, and it would be unnatural, for a man to hate his own flesh, but on the contrary, he nourishes and cherishes it; and therefore seeing the wife is a man's own flesh, he ought not to hate her, but to nourish and cherish her; and this is also enforced by the example of Christ, who does not hate his church, but nourishes and cherishes her, Eph 5:29, the reason of which is, because the saints which make up the church are members of him, one flesh and blood with him, Eph 5:30, which is the case of a man and his wife; and hence it is, that according to the original law of marriage, a man was to leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, Eph 5:31, the whole of which is a mystery, and typical of the marriage relation and union between Christ and his church, Eph 5:32, and the chapter is closed with a recapitulation of the mutual duties of husband and wife, love in the one, and reverence in the other, Eph 5:33.

Ephesians 5:14-17 In-Context

12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Cross References 7

  • 1. Romans 13:11
  • 2. Isaiah 26:19; John 5:25
  • 3. Isaiah 60:1; Malachi 4:2
  • 4. ver 2
  • 5. Colossians 4:5
  • 6. Ephesians 6:13
  • 7. Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3
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