A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians (eBook)

by Charles Hodge

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

‘Most valuable. With no writer to we more fully agree.’ — C.H. SPURGEON

The apostle addresses himself principally to Gentile Christians. His object was, 1. To bring them to a just appreciation of the plan of redemption, as a scheme devised from eternity by God, for the manifestation of the glory of his grace. 2. To make them sensible of the greatness of the blessing which they enjoyed in being partakers of its benefits. 3. To lead them to enter into the spirit of the gospel as a system which ignored the distinction between Jews and Gentiles, and united all the members of the church in one living body destined to be brought into full conformity to the image of Christ. 4. To induce them to live as it became a religion which had delivered them from the degradation of their condition as heathen, and exalted them to the dignity of the sons of God.

He begins, therefore, with the primal fountain of all spiritual blessings. He refers them to their predestination to sonship, and their consequent election to holiness, before the foundation of the world. From this flowed their actual redemption by the blood of Christ; and the revelation of the divine purpose to unite all the subjects of redemption in one body in Christ; in whom first the Jews, and then the Gentiles, had been made the heirs of eternal life. Ch. 1: 1-14.

He next earnestly prays that God would enable them to appreciate the hope which they were thus entitled to cherish; the glory of the inheritance in reserve for them; and the exceeding greatness of that power which had already wrought in them a change analogous to that effected in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. For as Christ was dead and deposited in the tomb, so they were spiritually dead; and as Christ was raised and exalted above all creatures, so they also were quickened and exalted to a heavenly state in Him. Ch: 1, 15. 2, 10.

He therefore calls upon them to contrast their former condition as heathen, with their present state. Formerly they were without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, without God, and without hope. But by the blood of Christ a two-fold reconciliation had been effected. The Jews and Gentiles are united as one body, and both are reconciled to God, and have equally free access to his presence. The Gentiles, therefore, are now fellow-citizens of the saints, members of the family of God, and living stones in that temple in which God dwells by his Spirit. Ch. 2: 11-22.

This great mystery of the union of Jews and Gentiles, had been partially revealed under the Old Dispensation, but it was not then made known so clearly as it had since been revealed to the apostles and prophets of the New Dispensation; whose great vocation it was to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men understand the plan of redemption, hid for ages in God, but now revealed, that through the church might be made known to principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God. Ch. 3, 1-13.

The apostle, therefore, bows his knees before the common Father of the redeemed, and prays that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith; that they being rooted and grounded in love, might be able to apprehend the infinite love of Christ, and be filled with the fulness of God, who is able to do for us far more than we are able either to ask or to think. Ch: 3: 14-21.

The Gentiles, therefore, are bound to enter into the spirit of this great scheme—to remember that the church, composed of Jews and Gentiles, bond and free, wise and unwise, is one body, filled by one Spirit, subject to the same Lord, having one faith, one hope, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is in, through, and over all. They should also bear in mind that diversity in gifts and office was not inconsistent with this unity of the church, but essential to its edification. For the ascended Saviour had constituted some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the very purpose of building up the church, and through them as the channels of the truth and grace of Christ, the church was to be brought to the end of its high calling. Ch. 4: 1-16.

They should not, therefore, live as did the other Gentiles, who, being in a state of darkness and alienation from God, gave themselves up to uncleanness and avarice. On the contrary, having been taught by Christ, they should put off the old man, and be renewed after the image of God. Avoiding all falsehood, all undue anger, all dishonesty, all improper language, all malice, all impurity and covetousness, they should walk as children of the light, reproving evil, striving to do good, and expressing their joy by singing hymns to Christ, and giving thanks to God. Ch. 4: 17. 5: 20.

He impresses upon his readers reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ as the great principle of Christian obedience. He applies this principle especially to the domestic obligations of men. The marriage relation is illustrated by a reference to the union between Christ and the church. The former is an obscure adumbration of the latter. Marriage is shown to be not merely a civil contract, not simply a voluntary compact between the parties, but a vital union producing a sacred identity. The violation of the marriage relation is, therefore, presented as one of the greatest of crimes and one of the greatest of evils. Parents and children are bound together not only by natural ties, but also by spiritual bands; and, therefore, the obedience on the part of the child, and nurture on the part of the parent, should be religious. Masters and slaves, however different their condition before men, stand on the same level before God; a consideration which exalts the slave, and humbles and restrains the master. Finally, the apostle teaches his readers the nature of that great spiritual conflict on which they have entered; a conflict, not with men but with the powers of darkness. He tells them what armour they need, how it is to be used, and whence strength is to be obtained to bring them off victorious. Ch. 5: 21. 6: 1-20.




Section I. The City of Ephesus. 

Section II. Paul’s labours in Ephesus. 

Section III. The date of this Epistle and the place whence it was sent. 

Section IV. The persons to whom this Epistle was addressed. 

Section V. The relation between this Epistle and that to the Colossians. 

Section VI. The Genuineness of the Epistle. 

Section VII. Contents of the Epistle. 

Section VIII. Commentaries. 

Chapter One 

Section I. Vs. 1-2. 

Section II. Vs. 3-14. 

Section III. Vs. 15-21. 

Chapter Two 

Section I. Vs. 1-10. 

Section II. Vs. 11-22. 

Chapter Three 

Section I. Vs. 1-13. 

Section II. Vs. 14-21. 

Chapter Four 

Section I. Vs. 1-16. 

Section II. Vs. 17-32, 

Chapter Five 

Section I. Vs. 3-20. Section II. Vs. 21-33. 

Chapter Six 

Section I. Vs. 1-9. 

Section II. Vs. 10-24. 

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