Ephesians 5:1-21

Walk in Love

1 1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And 2walk in love, 3as Christ loved us and 4gave himself up for us, a 5fragrant 6offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But 7sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness 8must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be 9no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, 10which are out of place, but instead 11let there be thanksgiving.
5 For you may be sure of this, that 12everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (13that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 14Let no one 15deceive you with empty words, for because of these things 16the wrath of God comes upon 17the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore 18do not become partners with them;
8 for 19at one time you were 20darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 21Walk as children of light
9 (for 22the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
10 and 23try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 24Take no part in the 25unfruitful 26works of darkness, but instead 27expose them.
12 For 28it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
13 But when 29anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 30"Awake, O sleeper, and 31arise from the dead, and 32Christ will shine on you."
15 33Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16 34making the best use of the time, because 35the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what 36the will of the Lord is.
18 And 37do not get drunk with wine, for that is 38debauchery, but 39be filled with the Spirit,
19 addressing one another in 40psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
20 41giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father 42in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 43submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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Ephesians 5:1-21 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 5:1-21 In-Context

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not become partners with them;
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
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."
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Cross References 43

  • 1. [Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 5:7, 48; Luke 6:36]
  • 2. Romans 14:15; [Colossians 3:14]; See John 13:34
  • 3. See Romans 8:37
  • 4. See Romans 4:25
  • 5. See Genesis 8:21
  • 6. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:10, 12
  • 7. 1 Corinthians 6:18; See Galatians 5:19
  • 8. [ver. 12; Psalms 16:4]
  • 9. Ephesians 4:29; [Ecclesiastes 10:13]
  • 10. [Romans 1:28]
  • 11. ver. 20
  • 12. See 1 Corinthians 6:9
  • 13. Colossians 3:5
  • 14. See Matthew 24:4
  • 15. Colossians 2:8
  • 16. Romans 1:18; Colossians 3:6
  • 17. Ephesians 2:2; [1 Peter 1:14]
  • 18. Ephesians 3:6
  • 19. See Ephesians 2:1, 2
  • 20. See Acts 26:18
  • 21. Isaiah 2:5; See Luke 16:8; John 12:35, 36
  • 22. [Galatians 5:22]; See Romans 7:4
  • 23. 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  • 24. See 1 Corinthians 5:9
  • 25. Romans 6:21
  • 26. Romans 13:12
  • 27. Leviticus 19:17; 1 Timothy 5:20
  • 28. [ver. 3]
  • 29. John 3:20, 21; [ver. 9]
  • 30. [Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 60:1; Malachi 4:2]; See Romans 13:11
  • 31. Isaiah 26:19
  • 32. Luke 1:78, 79
  • 33. Colossians 4:5; [Proverbs 15:21]
  • 34. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 35. Ephesians 6:13; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Amos 5:13; Galatians 1:4
  • 36. Romans 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • 37. Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:20, 31; 1 Corinthians 5:11
  • 38. Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4
  • 39. [Luke 1:15]
  • 40. Acts 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13
  • 41. Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3
  • 42. Hebrews 13:15; [John 14:13]
  • 43. [Philippians 2:3]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.