Ephesians 5

Be Imitators of God

1 1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and 2walk in love, just as Christ also 3loved you and 4gave Himself up for us, an 5offering and a sacrifice to God as a 6fragrant aroma.
3 But 7immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
4 and there must be no 8filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which 9are not fitting, but rather 10giving of thanks.
5 For this you know with certainty, that 11no * immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom 12of Christ and God.
6 13Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things 14the wrath of God comes upon 15the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be 16partakers with them;
8 for 17you were formerly 18darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as 19children of Light
9 (for 20the fruit of the Light consists in all 21goodness and righteousness and truth ),
10 22trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 23Do not participate in the unfruitful 24deeds of 25darkness, but instead even 26expose them;
12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things become visible 27when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
14 For this reason it says, "28Awake, sleeper, And arise from 29the dead, And Christ 30will shine on you."
15 Therefore be careful * how you 31walk, not 32as unwise men but as wise,
16 33making the most of your time, because 34the days are evil.
17 So * then * do not be foolish, but 35understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And 36do not get drunk with wine, for that is 37dissipation, but be 38filled with the Spirit,
19 39speaking to one another in 40psalms and 41hymns and spiritual 42songs, 43singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
20 44always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to 45God, even the Father;
21 46and be subject to one another in the 47fear of Christ.

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 48Wives, 49be subject to your own husbands, 50as to the Lord.
23 For 51the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the 52head of the church, He Himself 53being the Savior of the body.
24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 54Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and 55gave Himself up for her,
26 56so that He might sanctify her, having 57cleansed her by the 58washing of water with 59the word,
27 that He might 60present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be 61holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to 62love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are 63members of His 64body.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to 66love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she 67respects her husband.

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Ephesians 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Exhortation to brotherly love. (1,2) Cautions against several sins. (3-14) Directions to a contrary behaviour, and to relative duties. (15-21) The duties of wives and husbands are enforced by the spiritual relation between Christ and the church. (22-33)

Verses 1-2 Because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you, therefore be ye followers of God, imitators of God. Resemble him especially in his love and pardoning goodness, as becomes those beloved by their heavenly Father. In Christ's sacrifice his love triumphs, and we are to consider it fully.

Verses 3-14 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors repent and believe the gospel, they become children of obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.

Verses 15-21 Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other.

Verses 22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.

Cross References 67

  • 1. Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:36; Ephesians 4:32
  • 2. Romans 14:15; Colossians 3:14
  • 3. John 13:34; Romans 8:37
  • 4. John 6:51; Romans 4:25; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:25
  • 5. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:10, 12
  • 6. Exodus 29:18, 25; 2 Corinthians 2:14
  • 7. Colossians 3:5
  • 8. Matthew 12:34; Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8
  • 9. Romans 1:28
  • 10. Ephesians 5:20
  • 11. 1 Corinthians 6:9; Colossians 3:5
  • 12. Colossians 1:13
  • 13. Colossians 2:8
  • 14. Romans 1:18; Colossians 3:6
  • 15. Ephesians 2:2
  • 16. Ephesians 3:6
  • 17. Ephesians 2:2
  • 18. Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12
  • 19. John 12:36; Romans 13:12
  • 20. Galatians 5:22
  • 21. Romans 15:14
  • 22. Romans 12:2
  • 23. 1 Corinthians 5:9; 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • 24. Romans 13:12
  • 25. Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12
  • 26. 1 Timothy 5:20
  • 27. John 3:20
  • 28. Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 60:1; Romans 13:11
  • 29. Ephesians 2:1
  • 30. Luke 1:78
  • 31. Ephesians 5:2
  • 32. Colossians 4:5
  • 33. Colossians 4:5
  • 34. Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 6:13
  • 35. Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • 36. Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:31; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:7
  • 37. Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4
  • 38. Luke 1:15
  • 39. Colossians 3:16
  • 40. 1 Corinthians 14:26
  • 41. Acts 16:25
  • 42. Revelation 5:9
  • 43. 1 Corinthians 14:15
  • 44. Romans 1:8; Ephesians 5:4; Colossians 3:17
  • 45. 1 Corinthians 15:24
  • 46. Galatians 5:13; Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5
  • 47. 2 Corinthians 5:11
  • 48. Eph 5:22-6:9: {Col 3:18-4:1}
  • 49. 1 Corinthians 14:34; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1
  • 50. Ephesians 6:5
  • 51. 1 Corinthians 11:3
  • 52. Ephesians 1:22
  • 53. 1 Corinthians 6:13
  • 54. Ephesians 5:28, 33; Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7
  • 55. Ephesians 5:2
  • 56. Titus 2:14; Heb 10:10, 14, 29; Hebrews 13:12
  • 57. 2 Peter 1:9
  • 58. Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5
  • 59. John 15:3; John 17:17; Romans 10:8; Ephesians 6:17
  • 60. 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 1:22
  • 61. Ephesians 1:4
  • 62. Ephesians 5:25, 33; 1 Peter 3:7
  • 63. 1 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • 64. Ephesians 1:23
  • 65. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7
  • 66. Ephesians 5:25, 28; 1 Peter 3:7
  • 67. 1 Peter 3:2, 5

Footnotes 18

Chapter Summary


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 Commentaries

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