Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

Ephesians 2

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Verse 1

And you did he quicken (κα υμας). The verb for

did he quicken does not occur till verse Ephesians 2:5 and then with ημας (us) instead of υμας (you). There is a like ellipsis or anacoluthon in Colossians 1:21; Colossians 1:22, only there is no change from υμας to ημας.

When ye were dead (οντας νεκρους). Present active participle referring to their former state. Spiritually dead.

Trespasses and sins (παραπτωμασιν κα αμαρτιαις). Both words (locative case) though only one in verse Ephesians 2:5.

Verse 2

According to the course of this world (κατα τον αιωνα του κοσμου τουτου). Curious combinations of αιων (a period of time), κοσμος (the world in that period). See 1 Corinthians 1:20 for "this age" and 1 Corinthians 3:9 for "this world."

The prince of the power of the air (τον αρχοντα της εξουσιας του αερος). Αηρ was used by the ancients for the lower and denser atmosphere and αιθηρ for the higher and rarer. Satan is here pictured as ruler of the demons and other agencies of evil. Jesus called him "the prince of this world" (ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου, John 16:11).

That now worketh (του νυν ενεργουντος). Those who deny the existence of a personal devil cannot successfully deny the vicious tendencies, the crime waves, in modern men. The power of the devil in the lives of men does explain the evil at work "in the sons of disobedience" (εν τοις υιοις της απεθιας). In Ephesians 5:6 also. A Hebrew idiom found in the papyri like "sons of light" (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

Verse 3

We also all (κα ημεις παντες). We Jews.

Once lived (ανεστραφημεν ποτε). Second aorist passive indicative of αναστρεφω, old verb, to turn back and forth, to live (2 Corinthians 1:12). Cf. ποτε περιεπατησατε, of the Gentiles in verse Ephesians 2:2.

The desires (τα θεληματα). Late and rare word except in LXX and N.T., from θελω, to will, to wish. Plural here "the wishes," "the wills" of the flesh like ταις επιθυμιαις της σαρκος just before. Gentiles had no monopoly of such sinful impulses.

Of the mind (των διανοιων). Plural again, "of the thoughts or purposes."

Were by nature children of wrath (ημεθα τεκνα φυσε οργης). This is the proper order of these words which have been the occasion of much controversy. There is no article with τεκνα. Paul is insisting that Jews as well as Gentiles ("even as the rest") are the objects of God's wrath (οργης) because of their lives of sin. See Romans 2:1-3 for the full discussion of this to Jews unpalatable truth. The use of φυσε (associative instrumental case of manner) is but the application of Paul's use of "all" (παντες) as shown also in Romans 3:20; Romans 5:12. See φυσε of Gentiles in Romans 2:14. The implication of original sin is here, but not in the form that God's wrath rests upon little children before they have committed acts of sin. The salvation of children dying before the age of responsibility is clearly involved in Romans 5:13.

Verse 4

But God (ο δε θεος). Change in the structure of the sentence here, resuming verse Ephesians 2:1 after the break.

Being rich in mercy (πλουσιος ων εν ελεε). More than ελεημων (being merciful).

Wherewith (ην). Cognate accusative with ηγαπησεν (loved).

Verse 5

Even when we were dead (κα οντας ημας νεκρους). Repeats the beginning of verse Ephesians 2:1, but he changes υμας (you Gentiles) to ημας (us Jews).

Quickened us together with Christ (συνεζωοποιησεν τω Χριστω). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb συνζωοποιεω as in Colossians 2:13 which see. Associative instrumental case in Χριστω. Literal resurrection in the case of Jesus, spiritual in our case as pictured in baptism.

By grace have ye been saved (χαριτ εστε σεσωσμενο). Instrumental case of χαριτ and perfect passive periphrastic indicative of σωζω. Parenthetical clause interjected in the sentence. All of grace because we were dead.

Verse 6

In Christ Jesus (εν Χριστω Ιησου). All the preceding turns on this phrase. See Colossians 3:1 for the word συνηγειρεν.

Made to sit with him (συνεκαθισεν). First aorist active indicative of συνκαθιζω, old causative verb, but in N.T. only here and Luke 22:55.

Verse 7

That he might shew (ινα ενδειξητα). Final clause with ινα and first aorist middle subjunctive of ενδεικνυμ. See Ephesians 1:7 for "riches of grace" and Ephesians 1:19 for "exceeding" (υπερβαλλον).

In kindness toward us (εν χρηστοτητ εφ' ημας). See Romans 2:7 for this word from χρηστος and that from χραομα, here God's benignity toward us.

Verse 8

For by grace (τη γαρ χαριτ). Explanatory reason. "By the grace" already mentioned in verse Ephesians 2:5 and so with the article.

Through faith (δια πιστεως). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse Ephesians 2:5 to make it plainer. "Grace" is God's part, "faith" ours.

And that (κα τουτο). Neuter, not feminine ταυτη, and so refers not to πιστις (feminine) or to χαρις (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (εξ υμων, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God's gift (δωρον) and not the result of our work.

Verse 9

That no man should glory (ινα μη τις καυχησητα). Negative final clause (ινα μη) with first aorist middle subjunctive of καυχαομα. It is all of God's grace.

Verse 10

Workmanship (ποιημα). Old word from ποιεω with the ending -ματ meaning result. In N.T. only here and Revelation 1:20.

Created (κτισθεντες). First aorist passive participle of κτιζω, not the original creation as in Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9, but the moral and spiritual renewal in Christ, the new birth, as in Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24.

For good works (επ εργοις αγαθοις). Probably the true dative of purpose here with επ (Robertson, Grammar, p. 605). Purpose of the new creation in Christ.

Which (οις). Attraction of the relative α (accusative after προητοιμασεν) to case of the antecedent εργοις.

Afore prepared (προητοιμασεν). First aorist active indicative of προητοιμαζω, old verb to make ready beforehand. In N.T. only here and Romans 9:23. Good works by us were included in the eternal foreordination by God.

That we should walk in them (ινα εν αυτοις περιπατησωμεν). Expexegetic final clause explanatory of the election to good works.

Verse 11

Wherefore (διο). This conjunction applies to the Gentile Christians the arguments in Ephesians 2:1-10.

That aforetime ye (οτ ποτε υμεις). No verb is expressed, but in verse Ephesians 2:12 Paul repeats οτ εν τω καιρω εκεινω (for ποτε) "that at that time" and inserts ητε (ye were).

Uncircumcision (ακροβυστια),

circumcision (περιτομης). The abstract words are used to describe Gentiles and Jews as in Galatians 5:6; Romans 2:27.

Made by hands (χειροποιητου). Agreeing with περιτομης. Verbal (Mark 14:58) from χειροποιεω like αχειροποιητος in Colossians 2:11.

Verse 12

Separate from Christ (χωρις Χριστου). Ablative case with adverbial preposition χωρις, describing their former condition as heathen.

Alienated from the commonwealth of Israel (απηλλοτριωμενο της πολιτειας του Ισραηλ). Perfect passive participle of απαλλοτριοω, for which see Colossians 1:21. Here followed by ablative case πολιτειας, old word from πολιτευω, to be a citizen (Philippians 1:27) from πολιτης and that from πολις (city). Only twice in N.T., here as commonwealth (the spiritual Israel or Kingdom of God) and Acts 22:28 as citizenship.

Strangers from the covenants of the promise (ξενο των διαθηκων της επαγγελιας). For ξενος (Latin hospes), as stranger see Matthew 25:35; Matthew 25:38; Matthew 25:43, as guest-friend see Romans 16:23. Here it is followed by the ablative case διαθηκων.

Having no hope (ελπιδα μη εχοντες). No hope of any kind. In Galatians 4:8 ουκ (strong negative) occurs with ειδοτες θεον, but here μη gives a more subjective picture (1 Thessalonians 4:5).

Without God (αθεο). Old Greek word, not in LXX, only here in N.T. Atheists in the original sense of being without God and also in the sense of hostility to God from failure to worship him. See Paul's words in Romans 1:18-32. "In the world" (εν τω κοσμω) goes with both phrases. It is a terrible picture that Paul gives, but a true one.

Verse 13

But now (νυν δε). Strong contrast, as opposed to "at that time."

Afar off (μακραν). Adverb (accusative feminine adjective with οδον understood). From the πολιτεια and its hope in God.

Are made nigh (εγενηθητε εγγυς). First aorist passive indicative of γινομα, a sort of timeless aorist. Nigh to the commonwealth of Israel in Christ.

In the blood of Christ (εν τω αιματ του Χριστου). Not a perfunctory addition, but essential (Ephesians 1:7), particularly in view of the Gnostic denial of Christ's real humanity.

Verse 14

For he is our peace (αυτος γαρ εστιν η ειρηνη ημων). He himself, not just what he did (necessary as that was and is). He is our peace with God and so with each other (Jews and Gentiles).

Both one (τα αμφοτερα εν). "The both" (Jew and Gentile). Jesus had said "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" (John 10:16).

One (εν) is neuter singular (oneness, unity, identity) as in Galatians 3:28. Race and national distinctions vanish in Christ. If all men were really in Christ, war would disappear.

Brake down the middle wall of partition (το μεσοτοιχον του φραγμου λυσας). "Having loosened (first aorist active participle of λυω, see John 2:19) the middle-wall (late word, only here in N.T., and very rare anywhere, one in papyri, and one inscription) of partition (φραγμου, old word, fence, from φρασσω, to fence or hedge, as in Matthew 21:33)." In the temple courts a partition wall divided the court of the Gentiles from the court of Israel with an inscription forbidding a Gentile from going further (Josephus, Ant. VIII. 3, 2). See the uproar when Paul was accused of taking Trophimus beyond this wall (Acts 21:28).

Verse 15

Having abolished (καταργησας). First aorist active participle of καταργεω, to make null and void.

The enmity (την εχθραν). But it is very doubtful if την εχθραν (old word from εχθρος, hostile, Luke 23:12) is the object of καταργησας. It looks as if it is in apposition with to μεσοτοιχον and so the further object of λυσας. The enmity between Jew and Gentile was the middle wall of partition. And then it must be decided whether "in his flesh" (εν τη σαρκ αυτου) should be taken with λυσας and refer especially to the Cross (Colossians 1:22) or be taken with καταργησας. Either makes sense, but better sense with λυσας. Certainly "the law of commandments in ordinances (τον νομον των εντολων εν δογμασιν) is governed by καταργησας.

That he might create (ινα κτιση). Final clause with first aorist active subjunctive of κτιζω.

The twain (τους δυο). The two men (masculine here, neuter in verse Ephesians 2:14), Jew and Gentile.

One new man (εις ενα καινον ανθρωπον). Into one fresh man (Colossians 3:9-11) "in himself" (εν αυτω). Thus alone is it possible.

Making peace (ποιων ειρηνην). Thus alone can it be done. Christ is the peace-maker between men, nations, races, classes.

Verse 16

And might reconcile (κα αποκαταλλαξη). Final clause with ινα understood of first aorist active subjunctive of αποκαταλλασσω for which see Colossians 1:20; Colossians 1:22.

Them both (τους αμφοτερους). "The both," "the two" (τους δυο), Jew and Gentile.

In one body (εν εν σωματ). The "one new man" of verse Ephesians 2:15 of which Christ is Head (Ephesians 1:23), the spiritual church. Paul piles up metaphors to express his idea of the Kingdom of God with Christ as King (the church, the body, the commonwealth of Israel, oneness, one new man in Christ, fellow-citizens, the family of God, the temple of God).

Thereby (εν αυτω). On the Cross where he slew the enmity (repeated here) between Jew and Gentile.

Verse 17

Preached peace (ευηγγελισατο ειρηνην). First aorist middle of ευαγγελιζω. "He gospelized peace" to both Jew and Gentile, "to the far off ones" (τοις μακραν) and "to the nigh ones" (τοις εγγυς). By the Cross and after the Cross Christ could preach that message.

Verse 18

Through him (δι' αυτου). Christ.

We both (ο αμφοτερο). "We the both" (Jew and Gentile).

Our access (την προσαγωγην). The approach, the introduction as in Romans 5:2.

In one Spirit (εν εν πνευματ). The Holy Spirit.

Unto the Father (προς τον πατερα). So the Trinity as in Ephesians 1:13. The Three Persons all share in the work of redemption.

Verse 19

So then (αρα ουν). Two inferential particles (accordingly therefore).

No more (ουκετ). No longer.

Sojourners (παροικο). Old word for dweller by (near by, but not in). So Acts 7:6; Acts 7:29; 1 Peter 2:11 (only other N.T. examples). Dwellers just outside the house or family of God.

Fellow-citizens (συνπολιτα, old, but rare word, here only in N.T.), members now of the πολιτεια of Israel (verse Ephesians 2:12), the opposite of ξενο κα παροικο.

Of the household of God (οικειο του θεου). Old word from οικος (house, household), but in N.T. only here, Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:8. Gentiles now in the family of God (Romans 8:29).

Verse 20

Being built upon (εποικοδομηθεντες). First aorist passive participle of εποικοδομεω, for which double compound verb see 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 2:17.

The foundation (επ τω θεμελιω). Repetition of επ with the locative case. See 1 Corinthians 3:11 for this word.

Of the apostles and prophets (τον αποστολων κα προφητων). Genitive of apposition with θεμελιω, consisting in. If one is surprised that Paul should refer so to the apostles, he being one himself, Peter does the same thing (2 Peter 3:2). Paul repeats this language in Ephesians 3:5.

Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone (οντως ακρογωνιανιου αυτου Χριστου Ιησου). Genitive absolute. The compound ακρογωνιαιος occurs only in the LXX (first in Isaiah 28:16) and in the N.T. (here, 1 Peter 2:6). Λιθος (stone) is understood. Jesus had spoken of himself as the stone, rejected by the Jewish builders (experts), but chosen of God as the head of the corner (Matthew 21:42), εις κεφαλην γωνιας. "The ακρογωνιαιος here is the primary foundation-stone at the angle of the structure by which the architect fixes a standard for the bearings of the walls and cross-walls throughout" (W. W. Lloyd).

Verse 21

Each several building (πασα οικοδομη). So without article Aleph B D G K L. Οικοδομη is a late word from οικος and δεμω, to build for building up (edification) as in Ephesians 4:29, then for the building itself as here (Mark 13:1). Ordinary Greek idiom here calls for "every building," not for "all the building" (Robertson, Grammar, p. 772), though it is not perfectly clear what that means. Each believer is called a ναος θεου (1 Corinthians 3:16). One may note the plural in Mark 13:1 (οικοδομα) of the various parts of the temple. Perhaps that is the idea here without precise definition of each οικοδομη. But there are examples of πας without the article where "all" is the idea as in πασης κτισεως (all creation) in Colossians 1:15.

Fitly framed together (συναρμολογουμενη). Double compound from συν and αρμολογος (binding, αρμος, joint and λεγω), apparently made by Paul and in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:16. Architectural metaphor.

Into a holy temple (εις ναον αγιον). The whole structure with all the οικοδομα. Another metaphor for the Kingdom of God with which compare Peter's "spiritual house" (οικος πνευματικος) in which each is a living stone being built in (1 Peter 2:5).

Verse 22

Ye also are builded together (κα υμεις συνοικοδομεισθε). Ye Gentiles also. Present passive indicative (continuous process) of common old verb συνοικοδομεω, to build together with others or out of varied materials as here. Only here in N.T. In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter uses οικοδομεισθε for the same process.

For a habitation (εις κατοικητηριον). Late word (LXX), in N.T. only here and Revelation 18:2. From κατοικεω, to dwell, as Ephesians 3:17. Possibly each of us is meant here to be the "habitation of God in the Spirit" and all together growing (αυξε) "into a holy temple in the Lord," a noble conception of the brotherhood in Christ.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.