Ephesians 5

5:1 Be imitators of God [follow example of Christ], therefore, as dearly loved children

5:2 and live [to walk about] a life of love [self-sacrificing kind of love], just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant [designates that the sacrifice was acceptable] offering [indicates a gift] and sacrifice [designates a slain animal (as in OT sacrifices)] to God.

5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint [any indication or amount, however slight or perceptible] of sexual immorality [any kind of sexual perversion; Gr. “porneia”], or of any kind of impurity [uncleanness, filthiness; sexual indulgence], or of greed [inordinate desire for anything (in this case may refer to sexual immorality)], because these are improper [unsuitable] for God’s holy people.

5:4 Nor should there be obscenity [filthy speech and conduct], foolish [silly] talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather [replace obscenity and course language with something better] thanksgiving.

Note: Do you take bad language for granted? Do you ever resort to or use foul language to help you remain inconspicuous in the world?

5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral [one who practices sexual immorality], impure or greedy person—such a man [one whose life is governed and characterized by immorality, impurity, and greed] is an idolater [one who makes something else more important than God]—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God [emphasizes unity of Father and Son].

5:6 Let no one [false teachers (cf. Eph. 4:14); Paul warned Ephesian elders to watch out for false teachers (Acts 20:28-31)] deceive [to lead astray, to mislead] you with empty [void of content and truth; without weight or depth] words [words that minimized the seriousness of sin (especially those sins already named by Paul); words that distort the truth], for because of such things [empty words; sinful behavior] God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

5:7 Therefore [because of the things that are out of place among God’s people (5:4) and because of God’s wrath on sin (5:6)] do not be partners [one who shares together with another] with them [those who pretend to be Christians but live contrary lifestyles].

5:8 For you were once [formerly] darkness [life outside of Christ], but now [after hearing and responding to the gospel] you are light [life in Christ; radically different from former existence] in the Lord. Live as children of [those who are characterized by] light

5:9 (for the fruit [the natural outcome] of the light consists in [cf. Gal. 5:22-23] all goodness, righteousness and truth)

5:10 and find out [take the initiative; be responsible to discover through the study of God’s Word, prayer, and wise counsel] what pleases [is acceptable to] the Lord.

5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless [end in death and decay] deeds of darkness [light and darkness cannot coexist], but rather expose [a characteristic of light is to expose] them [the things that thrive in the dark].

Note: How can believers “expose” the “fruitless deeds of darkness” today?

5:12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

5:13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible [to make known; nothing can hide from the revealing power of light],

5:14 for it is light that makes everything visible [light pierces darkness; these words describe the mission of believers]. This is why it is said [possibly words from a hymn known to Paul’s readers and based on Isa. 26:19; 51:17; 52:1; 60:1]: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

5:15 Be very careful [watch, give heed], then, how you live [to conduct one’s life]—not as unwise but as wise [take what you know about Christ and apply it to everyday life],

5:16 making the most of [to buy up at the marketplace] every opportunity [cf. Gal. 6:10], because the days are evil.

5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is [cf. 1 Thess. 4:3].

5:18 Do not [discontinue an action in progress; prohibit a habitual action] get drunk [associated with old life] on wine, which leads to debauchery [excess; wastefulness; out of control]. Instead, be [continually] filled [controlled by; “be filled” is a command for all believers] with the Spirit.

Note: What or who is in control of your life? To “be filled with the Spirit” does not mean that we get more of the Spirit, but rather that the Spirit gets more of us!

5:19 Speak to one another with psalms [songs of praise; OT psalms], hymns and spiritual songs [written by believers for use in worship]. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

5:20 always giving thanks [the focus of singing] to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5:21 Submit [voluntarily surrender one’s rights] to one another out of reverence [fear] for Christ.

Note: Paul taught that all Christians are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). The submission Paul wrote about was modeled by Christ (see Phil. 2:5-8) and reflects the essence of the gospel. The Holy Spirit can enable us to conduct our relationships in light of Christ’s example (Eph. 5:18).

Paul applied the principle of mutual submission to the marriage relationship. Paul asked Christian wives to submit voluntarily to their own husbands as to the Lord (v. 22). Paul was not suggesting that women are inferior to men. Nor was Paul suggesting that a husband was to dominate his wife.

Paul challenged Christian husbands to love their wives with the sacrificial, self-giving kind of love modeled by Christ (v. 25). This kind of love is always concerned about the well-being and interests of others. A husband and wife in a Christian marriage should live by the Christlike standards of mutual submission and self-giving love.

5:22 Wives, submit [voluntarily; without external coercion] to your [one’s own] husbands [not to all men] as to the Lord.

Note: What are some misconceptions about the meaning of the word “submit”?

5:23 For the husband is the head [authority, provider, leader] of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior [protector].

5:24 Now as the church submits [continual action or state] to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything [every area of life; “presupposes that the husband is completely fulfilling his God-given responsibilities properly” (Hobbs, p. 64) and will not ask wife to do something that is immoral, in which case her higher obligation is to obey God].

5:25 Husbands, love [Gr. agape: sacrificial love; continual habitual action] your wives, [1] just as Christ loved [sacrificially to the point of death; compassionately, gently] the church and gave Himself up for her

Note: Notice how husbands are to love their wives. This kind of love removes fear of submission.

5:26 to make her [the church] holy, cleansing her by the washing with water [most likely refers to baptism] through the word [the gospel message; or, perhaps the baptismal candidate’s confession made at baptism or baptismal formula pronounced over candidate],

5:27 and to present [at a future time; cf. Rev. 19:7; 21:2] her to himself as a radiant [moral splendor, beauty, purity] church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy [set apart for God’s use] and blameless.

5:28 In this same way, husbands ought [continual moral obligation] to love [the kind of love that seeks the highest good for the other; Gr. “agapao”] their wives [2] as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself [cf. Matt. 22:39].

5:29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds [to nurture] and cares [to cherish tenderly; both words refer to self-preservation] for it, just as Christ does the church—

5:30 for we [all Christians] are members of his body [the church].

5:31 [cf. Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6] “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united [be glued] to his wife, and the two will become one [therefore what affects one affects the other] flesh [“one flesh” refers to sexual intimacy].”

5:32 This is a profound mystery [a truth once hidden but now revealed]—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

5:33 However [introduces Paul’s summary exhortation], each one of you [husbands] also must love his wife [3] as he loves himself, and the wife must respect [honor or revere; with attitude and actions] her husband.

Note: What are some practical ways in which a husband and wife can express mutual respect and affirmation?

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