New English Translation
Live in Love
5 Therefore, be[a] imitators of God as dearly loved children 2 and live[b] in love, just as Christ also loved us[c] and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering[d] to God. 3 But[e] among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind,[f] or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints.[g] 4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting—all of which are out of character—but rather thanksgiving. 5 For you can be confident of this one thing:[h] that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Live in the Light
6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience.[i] 7 Therefore do not be sharers with them,[j] 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are[k] light in the Lord. Live[l] like children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light[m] consists in[n] all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 trying to learn[o] what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather[p] expose them.[q] 12 For the things they do[r] in secret are shameful even to mention. 13 But all things being exposed by the light are made visible. 14 For everything made visible is light, and for this reason it says:[s]
15 Therefore consider carefully how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise[w] by understanding[x] what the Lord’s will is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, which[y] is debauchery,[z] but be filled by the Spirit,[aa] 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music[ab] in[ac] your hearts to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for all things[ad] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.[ae]
Exhortations to Households
22 [af] Wives, submit[ag] to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church (he himself being the savior of the body). 24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your[ah] wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her[ai] with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he[aj] may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.[ak] 28 In the same way[al] husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one has ever hated his own body,[am] but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.[an] 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become[ao] one flesh.[ap] 32 This mystery is great—but I am actually[aq] speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless,[ar] each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself,[as] and the wife must[at] respect[au] her husband.
- Ephesians 5:1 tn Or “become.”
- Ephesians 5:2 tn Grk “walk.” The NT writers often used the verb “walk” (περιπατέω, peripateō) to refer to ethical conduct (cf. Rom 8:4; Gal 5:16; Col 4:5).
- Ephesians 5:2 tc A number of significant witnesses have ὑμᾶς (humas, “you”; e.g., א*,2b A B P 0159 81 1175 al it co as well as several fathers). Other, equally valuable witnesses read ἡμᾶς (hēmas, “us”; P46 א2a D F G Ψ 0278 33 1505 1739 1881 2464 al lat sy). It is possible that ἡμᾶς was accidentally introduced via homoioarcton with the previous word (ἠγάπησεν, ēgapēsen). On the other hand, ὑμᾶς may have been motivated by the preceding ὑμῖν (humin) in 4:32 and second person verbs in 5:1, 2. Further, the flow of argument seems to require the first person pronoun. A decision is difficult to make, but the first person pronoun has a slightly greater probability of being authentic.
- Ephesians 5:2 tn Grk “an offering and sacrifice to God as a smell of fragrance.” The first expression, προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν (prosphoran kai thusian), is probably a hendiadys and has been translated such that “sacrificial” modifies “offering.” The second expression, εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας (eis osmēn euōdias, “as a smell of fragrance”) has been translated as “a fragrant offering”; see BDAG 728-29 s.v. ὀσμή 2. Putting these two together in a clear fashion in English yields the translation: “a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
- Ephesians 5:3 tn The term “But” translates the δέ (de) in a contrastive way in light of the perfect obedience of Jesus in vv. 1-2 and the vices mentioned in v. 3.
- Ephesians 5:3 tn Grk “all impurity.”
- Ephesians 5:3 tn Grk “just as is fitting for saints.” The καθώς (kathōs) was rendered with “as” and the sense is causal, i.e., “for” or “because.” The negative particle “not” (“for these are not proper for the saints”) in this clause was supplied in English so as to make the sense very clear, i.e., that these vices are not befitting of those who name the name of Christ.
- Ephesians 5:5 tn Grk “be knowing this.” See also 2 Pet 1:20 for a similar phrase: τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες (touto prōton ginōskontes).
- Ephesians 5:6 sn The expression sons of disobedience is a Semitic idiom that means “people characterized by disobedience.” In this context it refers to “all those who are disobedient.” Cf. Eph 2:2-3.
- Ephesians 5:7 tn The genitive αὐτῶν (autōn) has been translated as a genitive of association because of its use with συμμέτοχοι (summetochoi)—a verb which implies association in the σύν- (sun-) prefix.
- Ephesians 5:8 tn The verb “you are” is implied in the Greek text, but is supplied in the English translation to make it clear.
- Ephesians 5:8 tn Grk “Walk,” a common biblical idiom for one’s conduct of life.
- Ephesians 5:9 tc Several mss (P46 D2 Ψ 1175* 1505 M) have πνεύματος (pneumatos, “Spirit”) instead of φωτός (phōtos, “light”). Although most today regard φωτός as obviously the reading of the initial text (UBS5 gives it an “A” rating), a case could be made that πνεύματος is what the author wrote. First, although this is largely a Byzantine reading (D2 often, if not normally, assimilates to the Byzantine text), P46 gives the reading much greater credibility. Internally, the φωτός at the end of v. 8 could have lined up above the πνεύματος in v. 9 in a scribe’s exemplar, thus occasioning dittography. (It is interesting to note that in both P49 and א the two instances of φωτός line up.) However, written in a contracted form, as a nomen sacrum (pMnMs)—a practice found even in the earliest mss—πνεύματος would not have been easily confused with fwtos (there being only the last letter to occasion homoioteleuton rather than the last three). Further, the external evidence for φωτός is quite compelling (P49 א A B D* F G P 33 81 1175c 1739 1881 2464 latt co). It is thus doubtful that the early and widespread witnesses all mistook πνεύματος for φωτός. In addition, πνεύματος can be readily explained as harking back to Gal 5:22 (“the fruit of the Spirit”). Thus, on balance, φωτός appears to be autographic, giving rise to the reading πνεύματος.
- Ephesians 5:9 tn Grk “in.” The idea is that the fruit of the light is “expressed in” or “consists of.”
- Ephesians 5:10 tn BDAG 255 s.v. δοκιμάζω 1 translates δοκιμάζοντες (dokimazontes) in Eph 5:10 as “try to learn.”
- Ephesians 5:11 tn The Greek conjunction καὶ (kai) seems to be functioning here ascensively, (i.e., “even”), but is difficult to render in this context using good English. It may read something like: “but rather even expose them!”
- Ephesians 5:11 tn Grk “rather even expose.”
- Ephesians 5:12 tn The participle τὰ…γινόμενα (ta…ginomena) usually refers to “things happening” or “things which are,” but with the following genitive phrase ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν (hup’ autōn), which indicates agency, the idea seems to be “things being done.” This passive construction was translated as an active one to simplify the English style.
- Ephesians 5:14 sn The following passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.
- Ephesians 5:14 tn Grk “Rise up.”
- Ephesians 5:14 tn The articular nominative participle ὁ καθεύδων (ho katheudōn) is probably functioning as a nominative for vocative. To reflect this, it has been translated as “O sleeper.”
- Ephesians 5:14 sn A composite quotation, possibly from Isa 26:19; 51:17; 52:1; and 60:1.
- Ephesians 5:17 tn “become wise by understanding”; Grk “understanding.” The imperative “be wise” is apparently implied by the construction of vv. 15-21. See the following text-critical note for discussion.
- Ephesians 5:17 tc ‡ The best witnesses read the imperative here (so P46 א A B P 0278 33 81 1739 pc). The participle is found primarily in the Western and Byzantine families (D2 Ψ 1175 1505 1881 2464 M latt [D* F G are slightly different, but support the participial reading]). But the participle is superior on internal grounds: The structure of v. 17 almost requires an imperative after ἀλλά (alla), for this gives balance to the clause: “Do not become foolish, but understand…” If the participle is authentic, it may be imperatival (and thus should be translated just like an imperative), but such is quite rare in the NT. More likely, there is an implied imperative as follows: “Do not become foolish, but become wise, understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Either way, the participle is the harder reading and ought to be considered original. It is significant that seeing an implied imperative in this verse affords a certain symmetry to the author’s thought in vv. 15-21: There are three main sections (vv. 15-16, v. 17, vv. 18-21), each of which provides a negative injunction, followed by a positive injunction, followed by a present adverbial participle. If συνίετε (suniete) is original, this symmetry is lost. Thus, even though the external evidence for συνιέντες (sunientes) is not nearly as weighty as for the imperative, both the transcriptional and intrinsic evidence support it.
- Ephesians 5:18 tn Grk “in which.”
- Ephesians 5:18 tn Or “dissipation.” See BDAG 148 s.v. ἀσωτία.
- Ephesians 5:18 tn Many have taken ἐν πνεύματι (en pneumati) as indicating content, i.e., one is to be filled with the Spirit. ExSyn 375 states, “There are no other examples in biblical Greek in which ἐν + the dative after πληρόω indicates content. Further, the parallel with οἴνῳ as well as the common grammatical category of means suggest that the idea intended is that believers are to be filled by means of the [Holy] Spirit. If so there seems to be an unnamed agent. The meaning of this text can only be fully appreciated in light of the πληρόω language in Ephesians. Always the term is used in connection with a member of the Trinity. Three considerations seem to be key: (1) In Eph 3:19 the ‘hinge’ prayer introducing the last half of the letter makes a request that the believers ‘be filled with all the fullness of God’ (πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ). The explicit content of πληρόω is thus God’s fullness (probably a reference to his moral attributes). (2) In 4:10 Christ is said to be the agent of filling (with v. 11 adding the specifics of his giving spiritual gifts). (3) The author then brings his argument to a crescendo in 5:18: Believers are to be filled by Christ by means of the Spirit with the content of the fullness of God.”
- Ephesians 5:19 tn See BDAG 1096 s.v. ψάλλω.
- Ephesians 5:19 tn Or “with.”
- Ephesians 5:20 tn Grk “for all.” The form “all” can be either neuter or masculine, and an alternative view is “for all” referring to people. The context could suggest believers (“one another” in v. 19). In other places this Greek phrase occurs in the NT, it refers to people (1 Tim 2:6; 2 Cor 5:14-15).
- Ephesians 5:21 sn Eph 5:19-21. In Eph 5:18 the author gives the command to be filled by means of the Holy Spirit. In 5:19-21 there follows five participles: (1) speaking; (2) singing; (3) making music; (4) giving thanks; (5) submitting. These participles have been variously interpreted, but perhaps the two most likely interpretations are (1) the participles indicate the means by which one is filled by the Spirit; (2) the participles indicate the result of being filled by the Spirit. The fact that the participles are present tense and follow the command (i.e., “be filled”) would tend to support both of these options. But it seems out of Paul’s character to reduce the filling of the Spirit to a formula of some kind. To the extent that this is true, it is unlikely then that the author is here stating the means for being filled by the Spirit. Because it is in keeping with Pauline theology and has good grammatical support, it is better to take the participles as indicating certain results of being filled by the Spirit. See ExSyn 639.
- Ephesians 5:22 tn Many scholars regard Eph 5:21 as the verse which introduces this section, rather than 5:22. This is due in part to the lack of a main verb in this verse (see tc note which follows). This connection is not likely, however, because it requires the participle ὑποτασσόμενοι (hupotassomenoi, “submitting”) in 5:21 to act as the main verb of the section, and this participle more likely is linked to the command “be filled by the Spirit” in 5:18 as a participle of result (see sn above). In any case, 5:21 does form a strong link between 5:18-21 and what follows, so the paragraph division which has been placed between 5:21 and 22 should not be viewed as a complete break in the author’s thought.
- Ephesians 5:22 tc The witnesses for the shorter reading (in which the verb “submit” is only implied) are minimal (P46 B Cl Hiermss), but significant and early. The rest of the witnesses add one of two verb forms as required by the sense of the passage (picking up the verb from v. 21). Several of these witnesses have ὑποτασσέσθωσαν (hupotassesthōsan), the third person imperative (so א A I P Ψ 0278 33 81 1175 1505 1739 1881 2464 al lat co), while other witnesses, especially the later Byzantine cursives, read ὑποτάσσεσθε (hupotassesthe), the second person imperative (D F G M sy). The text virtually begs for one of these two verb forms, but the often cryptic style of Paul’s letters argues for the shorter reading. The chronology of development seems to have been no verb—third person imperative—second person imperative. It is not insignificant that early lectionaries began a new day’s reading with v. 22; these may have caused copyists to add the verb at this juncture.
- Ephesians 5:25 tn The Greek article has been translated as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
- Ephesians 5:26 tn The direct object “her” is implied, but not found in the Greek text. It has been supplied in the English translation to clarify the sense of the passage.
- Ephesians 5:27 tn The use of the pronoun αὐτός (autos) is intensive and focuses attention on Christ as the one who has made the church glorious.
- Ephesians 5:27 tn Grk “but in order that it may be holy and blameless.”
- Ephesians 5:28 tn Grk “So also.”
- Ephesians 5:29 tn Grk “flesh.”
- Ephesians 5:30 tc Most Western witnesses, as well as the majority of Byzantine mss and a few others (א2 D F G Ψ 0278 0285vid 1175 1505 1739mg M lat), add the following words to the end of the verse: ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ (ek tēs sarkos autou kai ek tōn osteōn autou, “of his flesh and of his bones”). This is a (slightly modified) quotation from Gen 2:23a (LXX). The Alexandrian text is solidly behind the shorter reading (P46 א* A B 048 33 81 1739* 1881 co). Although it is possible that an early scribe’s eye skipped over the final αὐτοῦ, there is a much greater likelihood that a scribe added the Genesis quotation in order to fill out and make explicit the author’s incomplete reference to Gen 2:23. Further, on intrinsic grounds, it seems unlikely that the author would refer to the physical nature of creation when speaking of the “body of Christ” which is spiritual or mystical. Hence, as is often the case with OT quotations, the scribal clarification missed the point the author was making; the shorter reading stands as autographic.
- Ephesians 5:31 tn Grk “the two shall be as one flesh.”
- Ephesians 5:31 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24.
- Ephesians 5:32 tn The term “actually” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied in the English translation to bring out the heightened sense of the statement.
- Ephesians 5:33 tn The translation of πλήν (plēn) is somewhat difficult in this context, though the overall thrust of the argument is clear. It could be an adversative idea such as “but,” “nevertheless,” or “however” (see NIV, NASB, NRSV), or it could simply be intended to round out and bring to conclusion the author’s discussion. In this latter case it could be translated with the use of “now” (so A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 384).
- Ephesians 5:33 tn Grk “Nevertheless, you also, one by one, each his own wife so let him love as himself.” This statement is cumbersome and was cleaned up to reflect better English style.
- Ephesians 5:33 tn The ἵνα (hina) clause was taken as imperatival, i.e., “let the wife respect….”
- Ephesians 5:33 tn The Greek verb φοβέομαι (phobeomai) here has been translated “respect” and the noun form of the word, i.e., φόβος (phobos), has been translated as “reverence” in 5:21.