New English Translation
Live in Unity
4 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord,[a] urge you to live[b] worthily of the calling with which you have been called,[c] 2 with all humility and gentleness,[d] with patience, putting up with[e] one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he captured[f] captives; he gave gifts to men.”[g] 9 Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended[h] to the lower regions,[i] namely, the earth?[j] 10 He, the very one[k] who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 11 And he himself[l] gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,[m] 12 to equip[n] the saints for the work of ministry, that is,[o] to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to[p] the measure of Christ’s full stature.[q] 14 So[r] we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.[s] 15 But practicing the truth in love,[t] we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together[u] through every supporting ligament.[v] As each one does its part, the body builds itself up in love.
Live in Holiness
17 So I say this, and insist[w] in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility[x] of their thinking.[y] 18 They are darkened in their understanding,[z] being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.[aa] 20 But you did not learn about Christ like this, 21 if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside[ab] the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image[ac]—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.[ad]
25 Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor,[ae] because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin;[af] do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.[ag] 27 Do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 The one who steals must steal no longer; instead he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need. 29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need,[ah] that it would give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 You must put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and slanderous talk—indeed all malice.[ai] 32 Instead,[aj] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
- Ephesians 4:1 tn Grk “prisoner in the Lord.”
- Ephesians 4:1 tn Grk “walk.” The verb “walk” in the NT letters refers to the conduct of one’s life, not to physical walking.
- Ephesians 4:1 sn With which you have been called. The calling refers to the Holy Spirit’s prompting that caused them to believe. The author is thus urging his readers to live a life that conforms to their saved status before God.
- Ephesians 4:2 tn Or “meekness.” The word is often used in Hellenistic Greek of the merciful execution of justice on behalf of those who have no voice by those who are in a position of authority (Matt 11:29; 21:5).
- Ephesians 4:2 tn Or “bearing with” (NRSV, NIV); or “forbearing” (KJV, ASV).
- Ephesians 4:8 tn Grk “he led captive captivity.”
- Ephesians 4:8 sn A quotation which is perhaps ultimately derived from Ps 68:18. However, the wording here differs from that of Ps 68 in both the Hebrew text and the LXX in a few places, the most significant of which is reading “gave gifts to” in place of “received gifts from” as in HT and LXX. It has sometimes been suggested that the author of Ephesians modified the text he was citing in order to better support what he wanted to say here. Such modifications are sometimes found in rabbinic exegesis from this and later periods, but it is also possible that the author was simply citing a variant of Ps 68 known to him but which has not survived outside its quotation here (W. H. Harris, The Descent of Christ [AGJU 32], 104). Another possibility is that the words here, which strongly resemble Ps 68:19 HT and LXX (68:18 ET), are actually part of an early Christian hymn quoted by the author.
- Ephesians 4:9 tc The majority of mss (א2 B C3 Ψ 1175 1505 2464 M) read πρῶτον (prōton, “first”) here in conjunction with this verb: “he first descended.” The shorter reading, which lacks πρῶτον, should be considered autographic on the basis of both external and internal evidence: It has strong external support from the Alexandrian and Western witnesses (P46 א* A C* D F G Ivid 082 6 33 81 1739 1881 it); internally, the inclusion of πρῶτον is most likely an addition to clarify the sense of the passage.
- Ephesians 4:9 tc The Western text (D* F G it) lacks the plural noun μέρη (merē, “regions”); the shorter reading cannot be dismissed out of hand since it is also supported by P46 (which often has strong affinities, however, with the Western witnesses). The inclusion of the word has strong external support from significant, early mss as well as the majority of Byzantine cursives (א A B C D2 I Ψ 33 1175 1505 1739 1881 2464 M). Certain scribes may have deleted the word, thinking it superfluous; in addition, if the shorter reading were original one would expect to see at least a little variation in clarifying additions to the text. For these reasons the inclusion of μέρη should be regarded as original.
- Ephesians 4:9 tn Grk “to the lower parts of the earth.” This phrase has been variously interpreted: (1) The traditional view understands it as a reference to the underworld (hell), where Jesus is thought to have descended in the three days between his death and resurrection. In this case, “of the earth” would be a partitive genitive. (2) A second option is to translate the phrase “of the earth” as a genitive of apposition: “to the lower parts, namely, the earth” (as in the present translation). Many recent scholars hold this view and argue that it is a reference to the incarnation. (3) A third option, which also sees the phrase “of the earth” as a genitive of apposition, is that the descent in the passage occurs after the ascent rather than before it, and refers to the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost (cf. Acts 4:11-16). Support for this latter view is found in the intertestamental and rabbinic use of Ps 68:18 (quoted in v. 8), which is consistently and solely interpreted as a reference to Moses’ ascent of Mt. Sinai to “capture” the words of the law. The probability, therefore, is that the comments here in v. 9 reflect a polemic against the interpretation of Ps 68:18 in certain circles as a reference to Moses. See W. H. Harris, The Descent of Christ (AGJU 32), 46-54; 171-204.
- Ephesians 4:10 tn The Greek text lays specific emphasis on “He” through the use of the intensive pronoun, αὐτός (autos). This is reflected in the English translation through the use of “the very one.”
- Ephesians 4:11 tn The emphasis on Christ is continued through the use of the intensive pronoun, αὐτός (autos), and is rendered in English as “he himself” as this seems to lay emphasis on the “he.”
- Ephesians 4:11 sn Some interpreters have understood the phrase pastors and teachers to refer to one and the same group. This would mean that all pastors are teachers and that all teachers are pastors. This position is often taken because it is recognized that both nouns (i.e., pastors and teachers) are governed by one article in Greek. But because the nouns are plural, it is extremely unlikely that they refer to the same group, but only that the author is linking them closely together. It is better to regard the pastors as a subset of teachers. In other words, all pastors are teachers, but not all teachers are pastors. See ExSyn 284.
- Ephesians 4:12 tn On the translation of πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων (pros ton katartismon tōn hagiōn) as “to equip the saints” see BDAG 526 s.v. καταρτισμός. In this case the genitive is taken as objective and the direct object of the verbal idea implied in καταρτισμός (katartismos).
- Ephesians 4:12 tn The εἰς (eis) clause is taken as epexegetical to the previous εἰς clause, namely, εἰς ἔργον διακονίας (eis ergon diakonias).
- Ephesians 4:13 tn The words “attaining to” were supplied in the translation to pick up the καταντήσωμεν (katantēsōmen) mentioned earlier in the sentence and the εἰς (eis) which heads up this clause.
- Ephesians 4:13 tn Grk “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” On this translation of ἡλικία (hēlikia, “stature”) see BDAG 436 s.v. 3.
- Ephesians 4:14 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Ephesians 4:14 tn While the sense of the passage is clear enough, translation in English is somewhat difficult. The Greek says: “by the trickery of men, by craftiness with the scheme of deceit.” The point is that the author is concerned about Christians growing into maturity. He is fearful that certain kinds of very cunning people, who are skilled at deceitful scheming, should come in and teach false doctrines which would in turn stunt the growth of the believers.
- Ephesians 4:15 tn The meaning of the participle ἀληθεύοντες (alētheuontes; from the verb ἀληθεύω [alētheuō]) is debated. In classical times the verb could mean “to speak the truth,” or “to be true, to prove true.” In the LXX it appears five times (Gen 20:16; 42:16; Prov 21:3; Isa 44:26; Sir 34:4) and translates four different Hebrew words; there it is an ethical term used of proving or being true, not with the idea of speaking the truth. In the NT the only other place the verb appears is in Gal 4:16 where it means “to speak the truth.” However, in Ephesians the concept of “being truthful” is the best sense of the word. In contrast to the preceding verse, where there are three prepositional phrases to denote falsehood and deceit, the present word speaks of being real or truthful in both conduct and speech. Their deceit was not only in their words but also in their conduct. In other words, the believers’ conduct should be transparent, revealing the real state of affairs, as opposed to hiding or suppressing the truth through cunning and deceit. See H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 564-65, and R. Bultmann, TDNT 1:251.
- Ephesians 4:16 tn The Greek participle συμβιβαζόμενον (sumbibazomenon) translated “held together” also has in different contexts, the idea of teaching implied in it.
- Ephesians 4:16 tn Grk “joint of supply.”
- Ephesians 4:17 tn On the translation of μαρτύρομαι (marturomai) as “insist” see BDAG 619 s.v. 2.
- Ephesians 4:17 tn On the translation of ματαιότης (mataiotēs) as “futility” see BDAG 621 s.v.
- Ephesians 4:17 tn Or “thoughts,” “mind.”
- Ephesians 4:18 tn In the Greek text this clause is actually subordinate to περιπατεῖ (peripatei) in v. 17. It was broken up in the English translation so as to avoid an unnecessarily long and cumbersome statement.
- Ephesians 4:19 sn Greediness refers to an increasing desire for more and more. The point is that sinful passions and desires are never satisfied.
- Ephesians 4:22 tn An alternative rendering for the infinitives in vv. 22-24 (“to lay aside…to be renewed…to put on”) is “that you have laid aside…that you are being renewed…that you have put on.” The three infinitives of vv. 22 (ἀποθέσθαι, apothesthai), 23 (ἀνανεοῦσθαι, ananeousthai), and 24 (ἐνδύσασθαι, endusasthai), form part of an indirect discourse clause; they constitute the teaching given to the believers addressed in the letter. The problem in translation is that one cannot be absolutely certain whether they go back to indicatives in the original statement (i.e., “you have put off”) or imperatives (i.e., “put off!”). Every other occurrence of an aorist infinitive in indirect discourse in the NT goes back to an imperative, but in all of these examples the indirect discourse is introduced by a verb that implies a command. The verb διδάσκω (didaskō) in the corpus Paulinum may be used to relate the indicatives of the faith as well as the imperatives. This translation implies that the infinitives go back to imperatives, though the alternate view that they refer back to indicatives is also a plausible interpretation. For further discussion, see ExSyn 605.
- Ephesians 4:24 tn Or “in God’s likeness.” Grk “according to God.” The preposition κατά used here denotes a measure of similarity or equality (BDAG 513 s.v. B.5.b.α).
- Ephesians 4:24 tn Or “in righteousness and holiness which is based on truth” or “originated from truth.”
- Ephesians 4:25 sn A quotation from Zech 8:16.
- Ephesians 4:26 sn A quotation from Ps 4:4. Although several translations render the phrase Be angry and do not sin as “If you are angry, do not sin” such is unlikely on a grammatical, lexical, and historical level (see D. B. Wallace, “᾿Οργίζεσθε in Ephesians 4:26: Command or Condition?” CTR 3 : 352-72). The idea of vv. 26-27 is as follows: Christians are to exercise a righteous indignation over sin in the midst of the believing community (v. 26a; note that v. 25 is restricting the discussion to those in the body of Christ). When other believers sin, such people should be gently and quickly confronted (v. 26b), for if the body of Christ does not address sin in its midst, the devil gains a foothold (v. 27). “Entirely opposite of the ‘introspective conscience’ view, this text seems to be a shorthand expression for church discipline, suggesting that there is a biblical warrant for δικαία ὀργή [dikaia orgē] (as the Greeks put it)—righteous indignation” (ExSyn 492).
- Ephesians 4:26 tn The word παροργισμός (parorgismos), typically translated “anger” in most versions is used almost exclusively of the source of anger rather than the results in Greek literature (thus, it refers to an external cause or provocation rather than an internal reaction). The notion of “cause of your anger” is both lexically and historically justified. The apparently proverbial nature of the statement (“Do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger”) finds several remarkable parallels in Pss. Sol. 8:8-9: “(8) God laid bare their sins in the full light of day; All the earth came to know the righteous judgments of God. (9) In secret places underground their iniquities (were committed) to provoke (Him) to anger” (R. H. Charles’ translation). Not only is παροργισμός used, but righteous indignation against God’s own people and the laying bare of their sins in broad daylight are also seen.
- Ephesians 4:29 tn Grk “but if something good for the building up of the need.” The final genitive τῆς χρείας (tēs chreias) may refer to “the need of the moment” or it may refer to the need of a particular person or group of people as the next phrase “give grace to those who hear” indicates.
- Ephesians 4:31 tn Grk “with all malice.” This final phrase provides a cumulative point of focus for this list and presents a summary vice encompassing all the others. The translation attempts to make this nuance clear.
- Ephesians 4:32 tc ‡ Although most witnesses have either δέ (de; P49 א A D2 Ψ 33 1505 1739mg 2464 M lat) or οὖν (oun; D* F G 1175) here, a few significant mss lack a conjunction (P46 B 0278 6 1739* 1881). If either conjunction were originally in the text, it is difficult to explain how the asyndetic construction could have arisen (although the dropping of δέ could have occurred via homoioteleuton). Further, although Hellenistic Greek rarely joined sentences without a conjunction, such does occur in the corpus Paulinum on occasion, especially to underscore a somber point. “Instead” has been supplied in the translation because of stylistic requirements, not textual basis. NA28 places δέ in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.
New International Version
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
4 As a prisoner(A) for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy(B) of the calling(C) you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another(D) in love.(E) 3 Make every effort to keep the unity(F) of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(G) 4 There is one body(H) and one Spirit,(I) just as you were called to one hope when you were called(J); 5 one Lord,(K) one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all,(L) who is over all and through all and in all.(M)
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended(S) higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)(T) 11 So Christ himself gave(U) the apostles,(V) the prophets,(W) the evangelists,(X) the pastors and teachers,(Y) 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ(Z) may be built up(AA) 13 until we all reach unity(AB) in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God(AC) and become mature,(AD) attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(AE)
14 Then we will no longer be infants,(AF) tossed back and forth by the waves,(AG) and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.(AH) 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,(AI) we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,(AJ) that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows(AK) and builds itself up(AL) in love,(AM) as each part does its work.
Instructions for Christian Living
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer(AN) live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.(AO) 18 They are darkened in their understanding(AP) and separated from the life of God(AQ) because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.(AR) 19 Having lost all sensitivity,(AS) they have given themselves over(AT) to sensuality(AU) 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(AV) your old self,(AW) which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;(AX) 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;(AY) 24 and to put on(AZ) the new self,(BA) created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.(BB)
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully(BC) to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.(BD) 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]:(BE) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.(BF) 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,(BG) doing something useful with their own hands,(BH) that they may have something to share with those in need.(BI)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,(BJ) but only what is helpful for building others up(BK) according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,(BL) with whom you were sealed(BM) for the day of redemption.(BN) 31 Get rid of(BO) all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.(BP) 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,(BQ) forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(BR)