EPHESIANS 4:20-32  


Verses 20-24
Exhortation to discontinue the darkening process and begin the spiritual growth process again.


Verse 20
1. but you:  Personal pronoun to indicate that these specific believers had received doctrinal teaching with regard to living the Christian way of life.

BUT: de, contrasts their “darkness” way of life with the doctrinal truth they received as to how they should live.

2. NOT IN THIS WAY: this is the correct order in the Greek.
   A. Ouk, strong negative occurs directly in front of the adverb, in this way (houtOs). 
   B. In this manner refers to the way of living described in verses 17-19.
   C. The construction is very strong because it is placed before the verb (the negative is with the
        adverb, not the verb).
3. learned: manthanO, as an aorist active indicative. The Aorist tense looks at the whole period of their previous doctrinal instruction as one point of time (Acts
20:31). The active voice indicates that personal volition is involved in Bible study. And the indicative mood expresses the reality that clear doctrinal information was provided for them.
4. The Christ: This is the technical use of the Name to indicate CWL (Christian Way of Life) information that is designed to produce a reflection or radiance of the character of Christ in the life.
This is the issue of Light vs. Darkness.

Verse 21 Introduces a REVIEW of what was previously taught to them
1. IF INDEED:  ei ge, This is a 1st class condition IF clause. The 1st class condition usually recognizes a statement as indeed factual; true. The first class condition exists by using the word, EI, and the indicative mood of the next verb, which in this case is HEARD.
IF, and I am recognizing it to be true. A more accurate translation would use our word, SINCE.
The little particle, ge, adds to the certainty of this previous instruction. In our language, “since indeed” communicates that certainty.

2. you heard: akouo as an aorist active indicative. Again, the aorist tense refers to the period of time they were taught. The indicative mood shows the reality of their previous instruction. And akouo by definition refers to audio perception of the instruction received.
3. Him: refers back to Christ and indicates the content of the teaching as that which elicits the imitation of Christ in the life. They were taught CHARACTER that is in fact, WHO Christ is, or more specifically, the character that He evidenced during his life on earth.

4. and were taught: This is the verb, didasko as an aorist passive indicative. The passive voice indicates that they RECEIVED the instruction.
The result of hearing is to be truly taught so that you learn and accept the information communicated. The real issue for them, is not whether they were taught (Acts 20), but whether they really accepted the teaching. The passive voice of the verb indicates that people receive instruction. The experience of being taught, is the Word of God acting upon the soul and providing Divine viewpoint.

5. in Him: This is en plus the locative case of the pronoun, HIM; in the sphere of Him. What is taught IS the mind of Christ; the viewpoint and character of Christ. At 1 Corinthians 2:16, Paul tells us that the information he has been given and has been teaching IS IN FACT, “the mind of Christ.”

6. Even as truth is in Jesus: This phrase connects the message that was taught with the fact that all truth is embodied in the person of Christ. TRUTH refers to what is right and proper for living in God’s universe. The issue is NOT what is REAL or not real. Darkness – that which is opposite to God’s truth is certainly REAL, but it is not “right and proper” for living in God’s universe.
The “to be” verb, eimi, as a present indicative, indicates that Jesus is the absolute source and embodiment of truth. John 14.6, “I am the way the truth and the life.”
Absolute Truth is found nowhere else except within the scope of the plan and character of God. And the fullness of the Godhead is in the person of Christ (Col.1:15, 19; Heb. 1.3).
       A. Salvation:  Acts 4.12; John 14.6
       B. Christian living: Col. 2:3
7. The issue of whether these believers accepted what was previously taught cannot be pursued any further since it is a volitional issue between the believer and God.
So Paul by-passes the issue by repeating and re-teaching the principles of truth that were taught when he was with them in person.

Verses 22-24, Re-teaching the imitation issue in the
Christian Way of Life (CWL)


1. That: this comes from the infinitive of the verb and is used to introduce the content of the teaching.
There are 3 infinitives to mention 3 items.
(1) They were taught to leave behind the old way of life.
(2) They were taught to LEARN new spiritual information.
(3) They were taught to imitate Christ.

    A. in reference to: This is kata plus the accusative case of the noun. It points to what needs to be changed. It also has the idea of “according to the standards of.”
    B. your former manner of life: proteros anastrophe refers to the way of living while they were in status quo unbelief.
    C. you lay aside: This verb, apotithAmi, means to PUT something away from your self. There is no room for any remnant of the old way of life dominated by the lusts of the sin nature. The aorist middle infinitive focuses on the point of time when the believer makes a volitional decision to follow Divine design. And as already mentioned, the infinitive is used to give us the FIRST item on the list of what they were taught. This is not saying, “that you HAVE LAID ASIDE,” either positionally or experientially. That is not the focus of what Paul is writing about. He is writing to remind them of what they were taught in regard to LIVING the Christian life. BEFORE the believer can learn new information and have that new information bring about change, there must be an ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. The believer must WANT to pursue the growth process. It is the same in regard to salvation. The person must LET GO of his old belief system and adopt the new belief system which is trust in the character and plan of God through Christ the Savior. That is what REPENTANCE means. It means to change your mind about your previous belief system and accept a new one. And that is why such repentance is required as one of the two conditions required for salvation (Mark
1:15, “repent and believe the gospel”).

    D.  the old man: palaios anthrOpos

         1. this refers to the manner (character) of living the former life as an unbeliever. It is what Paul already mentioned in verse 17, “the way the Gentiles walk.”
         2. old: This is, of course, in contrast to the new life that the believer has available to him because he is in the family of God; the new character and WAY OF LIFE, which is mentioned in verse 24. This OLD way of life is explained by the next phrase.
         3. which is corrupt: The verb, phtheiro, as a present passive participle is DESCRIBING the nature of the old life. The idea of CORRUPT communicates that which is NOT NORMAL; that is, not in line with the DESIGN that God created for how man should live. Paul tells us that men (Gentiles) “have the work of the law written in their hearts,” (Rom.
2:15). Solomon tells us “that God made men morally upright,” (Ec. 7:29). But Solomon continues, “but they have sought out many rationalizations.” And we are told at Genesis 8:21 that “the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
This “inclination to evil” and “many rationalizations” are a corruption of how God wants mankind to live, but it is the SIN NATURE that brings this corruption and influence into the soul.
The sin nature is within the mind of every person who has been born into this world (except Christ) because it is inherited from one’s parents.
The passive voice indicates that the subject RECEIVES the corruption from something that was not in the original design. Man’s “heart” – his soul; his mentality - receives this corruption from the INHERENT influence of the sin nature. For this reason it is the “heart” that is described as deceptive and sick at Jeremiah 17:9. But it is technically the SIN NATURE, as Paul now indicates.

        4. according to the lusts of deceit: the word, lusts, is epithumia, and means lusts and desires. These lusts come from the sin nature and influence the soul (heart) to think and act independently from God’s viewpoint and standards. It DECEIVES the soul into living in a way that is not according to how God designed the human soul to live. At Hebrews 3:13, we are warned against “the deceitfulness of THE sin nature.”

         a. The unbeliever is dominated by this deceptive sin nature throughout all his life.
             The present passive participle of CORRUPT tells us this.
         b. The believer is given the resources to live above and outside this evil influence. But to do so,
              he must learn and use the word of God and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
              At Galatians 5:16, Paul tells us to “walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the lust of the
              flesh (sin nature).”
          c. Whenever the believer commits an act of personal sin, this quenches the control of the Holy
             Spirit, breaks fellowship with God, and puts the believer under the control of the sin nature.
             According to 1 John 1:7-9, when the believer confesses that sin(s) to the Father, they are
             forgiven, and the believer is restored to fellowship with God. We are of course, exhorted to
             NOT SIN (1 John 2:1), but it is only through knowledge and application of God’s word that we
             are able to accomplish that (Psalm 119:11).


Verse 23
The process of growth

1. and: de, is a simple connective to introduce the process involved to fulfill the aorist tense of the dedication exhorted in verse 22.

2. that you be renewed: The verb is ananeoo as a present passive infinitive. It means, to make new or make again. The present tense indicates the continuous action of a process. The passive voice shows that the subject receives the action of renewal. That means that something else, must do the renewing. Our volition enters into the process through the initial act of dedication, the ACTIVE learning of God’s word, and the habitual use of 1 John 1.9, but God renews the content of our mind through the ministry of  the Holy Spirit and the entrance of the Word into the soul.  
The process of renewal is the growth process. cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 1.9-12; 3:9-10; Rom . 12:2.
The infinitive is used to indicate the 2nd item of the instruction previously given to the Ephesian believers.

3. in the spirit: The word, pneuma is used technically to refer to the makeup, content, essence and attitude.

4. of your mind: nous, indicates the place of knowledge in the soul with emphasis on perception.
Acceptance and use of the information is implied.

5. The phrase, “spirit of your mind,” is technical to refer to attitude and content; that which is the basis for the function of the mind.
The “essence” of the mind is KNOWLEDGE.
For RENEWAL, the mind must learn God’s knowledge.

The volitional choice to let the renewing process reflect the character of Christ via THE NEW MAN

1.       and: kai plus the infinitive indicates the third item of the instruction that Paul gave to the Ephesians.
First Item: The believer needs to have a mental attitude dedication to reject the viewpoint and way of life of evil. The aorist tense indicates a desire to put off the old man.
Second item: through the filling of the Holy Spirit and intake of the Word of God, participate in the growth process which is a process of transformation toward imitation of Christ.
The present tense is used to show that the renewal is the result of the transformation PROCESS.
Third item: The choice to apply the transformation process through obedience. It involves a consistent expression of the character and standards of Christ in the life. The aorist tense once again indicates a mental attitude dedication to the plan of God based on the growth process.

2.       that you put on: The aorist infinitive is used to list the third item of instruction. The verb is enduo, and means to put on, or cover. This COVERING provides a new character and new image. It produces a NEW “real you” that now reflects the character and viewpoint of Jesus Christ.
The aorist tense indicates a specific point of time that the believer begins to express a new dedication attitude. However, reflection of the NEW MAN depends on a volitional choice to USE God’s word; use His character attributes to handle every situation in life.  The filling/control of the Holy Spirit and the word of God begin to provide divine viewpoint standards for the soul in order to TRANSFORM it into a NEW person. It is the PROCESS that BEGINS to produce an attitude change and character change that is viewed as a CONDITION of the life or soul. But the moment-by-moment LIVING of that character requires a moment-by-moment “point-of-time” decision. Thus, the aorist tense is used.

3.       the new man: kainos anthropos is contrasted with the old (palaios) man. The growth process produces a new character and a new way of life that is patterned after the righteousness and devotion of Jesus Christ. At Romans 13:14, Paul instructs the believers to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
He uses the “same” aorist tense to exhort the believer to MAKE THE DECISION to apply the truths of the word of God so that Christ’s character will be reflected in his life.
Paul then amplifies this CONCEPT of dedication by adding, “and do not be making plans for the flesh, in regard to lusts.” Once again, it is the “new man” vs. the “old man;” the old character vs. the new character.

4. which according to the standard of God: This is the preposition, kata + accusative case of Theos (God). The new man exists in conformity to Divine standards.

5. is created:  This is an aorist passive participle of ktidzo.   The aorist tense focuses on a general point of time or SPHERE of time. It is not the tense of PAST ACTION, but the tense of FACT. The new man that Paul is talking about is not something that WAS created, nor HAS BEEN created, but it is something that IS created through the growth process. The participle is used to state a principle of FACT. It is the principle of an established design.  WHENEVER the new man is created this is the only way it is created. The passive voice tells us that the new man receives inception and cultivation from the instruments of the growth process; God the Holy Spirit and the WORD.

6. in righteousness: The noun is dikaiosunA, and refers to CHARACTER; specifically, the perfect goodness of Christ. This is the standard for creating and reflecting the NEW MAN.

7. and holiness: This is the noun, hosiotAs. This is not the same as the word group, hagios (saint, holy, sanctification), but refers more to the idea of a dedication that OBEYS the one to whom you are dedicated. Thus, it focuses on ACTION; proper spiritual and moral living that reflects a devotion and dedication to God; to God’s viewpoint and policy.

8. of the truth: This is probably best seen as an ablative of SOURCE. Thus, the idea is that it is THROUGH the truth. Righteousness and devotion is built in the soul THROUGH the truth of God’s word. The word, TRUTH, goes back to verse 21, “just as TRUTH is in Jesus.”
These two words together sum up the way the believer is to live on this earth after salvation. It is the way the believer fulfills the Divine Priority. Luke 1:75
”To grant us that we . . . might serve Him without fear in devotion (holiness; hosiotAs) and righteousness before Him all our days.”

The only way this can be done is through spiritual growth. As we learn God’s word, it produces a work within us (1 Thes. 1:13) that results in building a character structure in the soul; a new man. This character structure reflects the righteousness and devotion of Jesus.
At 2 Cor. 3:18, it is called “being transformed into the same image,” which is the glory of the Lord.
What Paul taught them was much more than just the FACT and principle of growth, but he taught them the specifics of WHO Jesus Christ IS; His character. This is what is meant at verse 20, “learn Christ.”
Accordingly, WE need to study WHO Christ is in order to see the nature of His righteousness and devotion. (1) we learn about His righteousness in principle at John 8:29, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him (the Father).” And (2) we learn about His devotion at John
6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
As we learn more and more about WHO Jesus is, the “new man” is formed within us. But in order for that new character to be reflected in our life, we need to CHOOSE to apply those standards.
It is true, that slowly the new character will become a natural expression of our soul, but many times, there still needs to be a CONSCIOUS choice to DO what we have been taught.

9. See Colossians 3:9-10 for the similar exhortation to those believers.

Vs. 25-29, Specific sins that were problems for the Ephesians
Vs. 30-31, Special concern for mental attitude sins and verbal sins
V.  32, The issue of kindness and forgiveness

Verse 25a, The Negative side
1. Therefore: the particle, dio, introduces a conclusion to Paul’s repetition of previously given doctrinal information concerning building a NEW character in your soul.
A. There should be a Mental attitude dedication to rejection of evil.
B. And there should be a volitional decision to participate in the growth process
C. And there should be a CHOICE to allow the reflection of Christ’s character in the life.
D. The conclusion should be a HABITUAL cessation of particular activity. That habitual cessation is indicated by the PRESENT imperatives in verses 25-32.

2. laying aside: This is the verb, apotithAmi,  This is an aorist middle participle

A. It is the same verb as is used for the principle of rejecting evil at verse 22.
B. The Aorist tense is used to enlist a specific act of volitional dedication on the part of the Ephesians. C. The middle voice expresses the same idea as before; that of putting away from self or taking clothes off of self.
D. The participle (an aorist) in this case refers to action that precedes the action of the main verb.
The 'Main verb” is the present imperative of SPEAK TRUTH.
E. The mental attitude dedication to reject evil in general, must precede the aorist tense of putting away FALSEHOOD and of course, includes the growth process of “learning Christ.”
Then, IN VIEW of one’s dedication to TRUTH, Paul gives a list of commands for reflecting the standards of God into one’s Christian life.
F. The word falsehood is pseudos with the definite article; THE FALSEHOOD. This is the NEGATIVE side of human communication. Falsehood – the idea of misrepresentation, deception, error and consciously lying. It is not really looking at false DOCTRINE but rather at the general communications in our interpersonal relationships

Verse 25b, The positive side of human communication

1. Speak truth each one with his neighbor: The verb is laleo as a present active imperative
A. Present tense focuses on constantly communicating and expressing the character of the New man; category – truthfulness. The present tense MUST logically, and by Divine design, follow the Aorist of dedication.

B. Active voice: You alone are responsible for every decision in life. There is (1) the MAIN decision to adjust to the Divine priority in salvation; (2) the decision to adjust to the Divine priority in the Christian way of life through participating in the growth process; and (3) the many decisions every day to perpetuate and cultivate that dedication.
C. Imperative mood: the commanded procedure to perpetuate the attitude of dedication to God and God’s standards, as directed toward others.

2. TRUTH:  the noun is alAtheias. The emphasis is on the principle of truth and honesty. It is not only LOGICAL for the promotion of healthy interpersonal relationships, but it is necessary in order to be consistent with the new man. As a reflection of the character of Christ the new man; the character expressions of the functional believer will follow the example of Jesus Christ our copybook as summarized at 1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”

3. Each one of you with his neighbor. The only basis for proper adjustment to one another in inter-personal relations is the standard of truth and honesty. Paul very likely has in mind the exhortation to God’s people given at Zechariah 8:16-17.
These are the things you must do: Speak the truth, each of you, to one another. Practice true and righteous judgment in your courts. Do not plan evil in your hearts against one another. Do not favor a false oath – these are all things that I hate,’ says the Lord.”

A. At Colossians 3:10, the same instruction is given with different vocabulary.
Do not lie to one another: This is a present middle imperative of pseudomai.
The basis for this character expression is the dedication attitude of rejecting the old man and embracing the new man.
It is possible that Paul has in mind a POSITIONAL status of having put aside the old and put on the new. In that case, the basis for the character expressions commanded in verses 8 and 9 would be the believer’s new position IN CHRIST. In other words, BECAUSE the believer is now righteous and sinless IN CHRIST, he should LIVE THAT way in his Christian experience.
However, it think it is just as possible and in fact, more likely, that Paul is recognizing the dedication attitude that has been expressed IN GENERAL by these believers. Thus, based on that attitude, they are exhorted to put that dedication into practice by avoiding the sinful expressions of the sin nature that characterized them when they were unbelievers.
This interpretation is more consistent with Ephesians 4:22-24, where, as we have seen, the instruction is TO DO SOMETHING (put aside the old man and put on the new man) rather than the idea of telling them that it HAS BEEN DONE in a positional sense.

B. The ultimate expression of these standards of TRUTH is AgapA love. Romans 13:8-10.
C. Love is taught through the Word of God and developed in the soul through making the WORD part of the soul. Principle of 1 Tim. 1.5, “the goal of the instruction is love.”
D. This is accomplished through the growth process which transforms the soul into a building that “houses” the character of Christ. That is what edification means.  
E. And love is presented in Chapter 5 as the ultimate expression of the imitation of Christ - or the character of the new man, that results from that transformation.
F. True Divine LOVE is based on the absolute standards of truth found in God's Word; not on emotions, feelings or sentimentality, and not from religious ritual or discipline.
G. without the PRINCIPLES OF TRUTH from the Bible as the basis for love expressed in Christian living, that love becomes human in nature; empty and without content or real impact.

4. Now, the mention of this command and the ones that follow are of such a personal and specific nature that it indicates that the primary expression of the old man was in the area of self-centered personality conflicts (Review chapter 4:1-7) And Paul goes right back to the issue of these seven verses with the next phrase.

5. Because we are members of one another: There is a POSITIONAL UNITY between all believers. We are ALL in union with Christ; in ONE body (1 Cor.
12:13), and remain here on earth to serve God in a unified PURPOSE.
Thus, there should be a UNITY of mutual love and respect; concern and devotion.

Verses 26-29, Three specific areas of inter-personal conflict
(1) Anger
(2) Stealing
(3) negative speech
These three particularly grieve (sadden) the Holy Spirit in this context of inter-relating with our fellow Christians, and accordingly prevent Him from ministering to us in His filling/control capacity (Ephesians 4:30; 5:18; Gal.

All of these are prohibited using the present imperative of the verbs to emphasize the continual or habitual avoidance of these “unity-breaking” sins. In the cases where the negative is used (do not do), the focus is either on “do not be doing” or “STOP doing,” as both ideas apply to the recipients of the letter, and in fact to all of us, since the conflict between the sin nature and the Spirit is an on-going reality for all believers (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:23; 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 3:13).

Verse 26-27 ANGER

Verse 26
1. Be angry:  This is a present middle imperative of orgidzo. There are three basic Greek words for Anger.

A.      thumos: This is a very emotional, passion-filled uncontrolled anger which is never condoned.

B.      Parorgismos: This is an embittered, irritated, exasperated, vindictive anger which is never condoned.

C.      OrgA and the verb, orgidzo: This is a settled, established and controlled anger, which can be good or bad.
1. The Holy Spirit produces a righteous anger based on Divine viewpoint standards in the soul. It is directed against anything that is contrary to and in opposition to Divine Design.
2. orgA expressed by the sin nature always adds one or both of the other aspects of anger, even when that orgA has a proper object. Nothing that comes from the sin nature is EVER good. Romans 8:9, “they that are in the flesh (under the control of the sin nature) cannot please God.

D.      The significance of the command is the exhortation that whenever any danger of sinful anger is encountered, the believer should stay focused on RIGHTEOUSNESS and the proper motivation for anger, and not let the emotions take control of the situation. If this happens, then the result is sin. That’s why Paul gives the second command.
(1) There is a settled, controlled nonjudgmental anger that is expressed objectively toward the advances of evil in the world. It comes from the Divine viewpoint standards in the soul which are the basis for “hating” evil.
(2) Whenever this “righteous indignation” is expressed, there is always the danger of the believer becoming personally and emotionally involved, and adding one or both of the sinful angers. In this case, the righteous anger is sin.
(3) Orgidzo (from orgA) means to express objective, controlled, righteous anger. The present imperative (command) authorizes a continual mental attitude anger in the soul of the believer. Volition is the decider that will determine whether orgA will be based on objective, Divine viewpoint standards, or be polluted with emotion and passion, in which case it is inconsistent with the mandate to constantly be expressing principles of truth to one another.
This is God’s commanded pattern for proper follow through in dedication to Divine design.

2. and sin not: The verb is hamartano as a present tense plus the Negative. The present tense indicates the status in mental attitude of many of the Ephesian believers. The active voice indicates that each individual believer is responsible for his own mental attitude, and the sins that disrupt it and produce disunity.  The imperative + the negative exhorts those who are in violation, to stop doing something that they are doing. Many of them were constantly expressing parorgismos toward one another, and in many cases it was directed against evil present in the lives of the other. But orgA “plus”; that is anything ADDED to the basic objective anger, equals sin. So Paul tells them to express orgA only, and keep the principles of Truth the standard for dealing with personalities and situations in your life.

3. do not let the sun go down on your wrath: The word, wrath, is parorgismos, which is emotional and vindictive and bitter, etc. This was the addition to orgA that the Ephesians were expressing. The expression, “sun go down,” is an idiom to emphasize one-day-at-a-time living. The present active imperative plus the negative expresses what should be a consistent habit. That is, whenever sinful anger has occurred, the believer SHOULD deal with it immediately and never let it fester and grow through the night so that one starts the next day with that sin still on the mind and the sin nature still in control. The believer needs to recognize the pattern of sin that might be present in his life, and apply the attitude of dedication to Divine design. Confess the sin immediately. When Jesus teaches the disciples about WORRY at Matthew 6:25-34, he makes a summary statement, “sufficient for the day is its evil.”  There is enough evil that we encounter each day. We don’t need to ADD to it with worry. Likewise, there is enough evil that we encounter each day, and we don’t need to bring “yesterday’s” sins to the collection.

See Topic:  ANGER


    A. The character of this anger:

        1. the Greek word parorgismos

            a. comes from orgA; a settled, organized, controlled anger, usually directed toward a violation of ones
                personal standards. It is basically an objective type of anger.
            b. para: This is a preposition, which means, beside, in addition, added.  Also, it has the idea of from the side of something, or away from something.

            c. So it is orgA plus something added to it, which would be emotional subjectivity, and that would be sin. Or it is orgA and something taken away from it, which would be its objectivity and would result in sin.
      2. Parorgismos is when a normally justified expression of orgA anger or displeasure toward something, is fed by selfishness, jealousy, bitterness and vindictiveness toward the person involved. The subject becomes emotionally involved, by taking the object of the anger personally rather than keeping it in perspective with the Plan of God. He fails to view the person’s deviation from the perspective of the character and viewpoint of God. Romans 12:12-21

   B. The Danger of this anger:

       1. Mental attitude sins lead to verbal sins and overt sins.
       2. M.A. sins involve you and God. Verbal and overt sins involve you, God and others.  
       3. You then become a source of temptation to those others involved as well as to any who can not help
           but observe. Hebrews
       4. The real danger of Parorgismos is expressed by the warning in Eph. 4.27, “Do not give the Devil an
           opportunity. a. toward you b. toward others c. toward the Plan of God

Verse 27, The danger of Parorgismos anger.

1. AND DO NOT: This negative word, mAde is used to connect the following phrase directly with the preceding. It indicates that the expression of subjective, emotional, vindictive anger gives the Devil an opportunity to advance his own evil designs in the believer’s life. We have THREE great advantages over Satan. (1) the written word of God (Hebrews
4:12) (2) the indwelling Holy Spirit, and (3) the presence of Jesus Himself within us (1 John 4).
Anger, and in fact all mental attitude sins give away this advantage, and make us vulnerable to the deception of the sin nature (Hebrew
3:13) and the schemes of the devil

2. give is the verb, didomi, as a present active indicative. The present tense indicates that when the believer holds this kind of anger in his soul, he leaves the door wide open for the devil to use it against him; to hurt himself and others, as well as to discredit that believer’s testimony.
The active voice reminds us that WE are the ones responsible for putting ourselves in a vulnerable condition. Peter tells us that the devil as a roaring lion, prowls about seeking someone to devour. He also tells us that we can resist him firm in THE FAITH (1 Peter 5:8-9). Accordingly, when we give the devil an opportunity, it is because we have failed to use the word of God (THE FAITH) to resist the lusts of the sin nature, which are the point of contact between our soul and the devil.
2. TO THE DEVIL:  This refers to Satan and any demons he has in the vicinity of your life. The devil's army is personally and directly involved with every believer who is promoting the standards of Divine Design, and any believer who is making progress toward that potential. I Peter 5:8

3. AN OPPORTUNITY: The Greek word is topos; place, space, position, room - opportunity. This is the valuable weapon the believer gives away to the devil when he allows anger to keep him out of fellowship.
   A. The believer has an overwhelming advantage in the spiritual conflict. 2 Cor. 10.3-6
   B. That advantage is maintained only through the filling of the Holy Spirit and the processing of Divine viewpoint in the soul.

   C. The very moment that the believer concedes to sin and human viewpoint by rejecting the divine viewpoint of God’s word, at that very second the Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched and the advantage is given up and away to the enemy.
   D. Once this concession to “darkness” viewpoint becomes apparent to the Devil he can then feed it from the outside in an attempt to make it worse and more consistent. It need not be verbal or overt, for the devil is a perfect judge of human nature, even though he cannot read minds.

   E. He can then use our sins to attack other believers.  Hebrews 12:15

   F. And over all, he uses it do discredit the Plan of God in the eyes of the unbelieving or other neutralized believers, and to promote his own evil standards.  Principle of 2 Peter 2:2

Verse 28
The professional thief vs. the laborer

1.       LET HIM WHO STEALS: This is a present active participle of klepto.
The present tense speaks of a habitual or continuous way of life. The idea is that this is actually one’s normal routine. The active voice speaks of volitional responsibility and not any kind of supposed “sickness.” The participle is nominal, which makes it the subject of the sentence and presents us with someone who is a PROFESSIONAL thief, that is, one who STEALS “for a living.” This was a common profession throughout many parts of the ancient world. It would be quite easy for converts to remain in such a previous profession, or to revert back to it, or even to pick it up for the first time as the road of least resistance in meeting financial needs. At any rate, it is not the Christian way: 2 Thes. 3:10-12; 1 The s.

2.       NO LONGER LET HIM BE STEALING: klepto again, but now as a present active imperative + the negative. The command is to discontinue a way of life; cease the practice; get out of your present profession. The active voice again stresses that volition is always the issue, and the imperative indicates a commanded pattern for making a living – NOT as a professional thief.


3. BUT RATHER - mallon de:
The word ”but”  gives us the contrast between good and evil.  “Rather,” is the standard of Divine design; the alternate choice for making a living.

4. LET HIM LABOR: This is the present active imperative of kopiao. It means to work hard, strive, and is idiomatic for “making a living.” It could be rendered, “let him make a living.” The command is given as the alternate to a life style of sin, and introduces the Christian standard for providing sustenance for self and family. It is explained by the next phrase.

5.       PERFORMING: This is a present middle PARTICIPLE of ergadzomai. (It is a deponent verb, which is “middle voice” in form, but active voice in function). The participle is adverbial and EXPLAINS the means by which the believer is to make a living. The present tense continues with the idea of practice and norm.

6.       WITH HIS HANDS: Personal skills and abilities; physical strength; something and anything to make a living that is consistent with 2Thes. 3:6-12.

7.       THE GOOD: The word is agathos and refers to what is right and proper in accordance with the Divine standards for “making a living.” it rules out anything illegal or which by the nature of the work is contrary to Divine priority living.  Paul’s example and specific instruction is found at 2 Thes. 3:6-12.

8.       IN ORDER THAT HE MAY HAVE: The possession of material goods should come from the principle of FREE ENTERPRISE; capitalism; fair payment for honest labor.
The first issue of focus must be the welfare of one’s own family. 1 Timothy 5:8.
After that, any generosity must be based on a mutual decision between husband and wife.

9.       IN ORDER TO GIVE: This is a present active infinitive of metadidomi.
The purpose of Christian material prosperity is for the benefit of all believers in the immediate sphere of his life. But acts of material generosity must come ONLY after one’s immediate family is cared for. Volition is always an issue in what to do with material prosperity, but one cannot force HIS OWN desires upon his family. If one is SINGLE, then he can sacrifice all he wants to as he gives to those in need. However, a parent has NO RIGHT to sacrifice his children’s welfare in order to fulfill some emotional zeal toward helping others.

The real issue in GRACE GIVING is no pressure or coercion, but revolves around two basic principles:
A. The ability to give: 2 Cor. 8:3, 12
B. Proper motivation: to give based on knowledge of God’s grace standards: 2 Cor. 9:7

10. TO THE ONE WHO HAS NEED: The word “need” refers to the basic necessities of life; food, shelter and clothing. There will always be a need to help those IN NEED. However, the issue in CHRISTIAN giving is primarily a matter of helping the BRETHREN, and not adopting some “feed the world” mentality.

CHRISTIAN WELFARE is bona-fide, but must be based on the grace-giving standards found in the word of God. 2 Thes. 3:7-12; 1 Tim. 5:3-16; Gal. 2:20; James 1:27; Acts 20:35; 1 John 3:17-18
See Topic:  Christian Welfare

For complete details see topic:  GIVING

VERSE  29a

1. Let no unwholesome word: in the Greek, the verse begins with "every unwholesome word."
The word, every, is pas, and is all inclusive. There are no exceptions if a word or phrase falls under the category of unwholesome. The word, sapros, means decayed and rotten and thus indicates something that is unusable, unfit, bad, evil.
 The meaning of sapros is amplified by the two positive aspects of the believer's speech mentioned in this verse; it is for edification and it expresses Grace. Anything that mitigates against edification to the hearer or does not reflect Grace viewpoint to the hearer is considered UNUSABLE.
Since therefore, the content of speech is emphasized from the positive standpoint, the best way to translate this adjective is, IMPROPER. This is not referring to the various degrees of “small talk” that we engage in throughout our lives.
It is talking about language that SPECIFICALLY undermines spiritual and moral values.
It is speech that reflects human and satanic viewpoint. It is anything that ridicules or rejects GRACE or any facet of GOD’S CHARACTER.

”Word” is logos, and really occurs right after “every” in the Greek. The emphasis with logos is expression, concept, idea rather than a single spoken word, but definitely VERBAL.
The right order in Greek: EVERY WORD, IMPROPER.
The emphasis is on the CONTENT not the ACT.
2. OUT OF YOUR MOUTH: This of course makes it clear that he is talking about VERBAL communication.

3. LET IT NOT BE PROCEEDING: ekporeuomai as a present middle imperative. This is a commanded pattern for verbal communication.
The present tense refers to constant, habitual control over the tongue. If you have improper thoughts, keep them to yourself. Deal with them between yourself and God. DO NOT SPEAK IT!

The growth process is involved, but the first step is knowledge of what is acceptable and unacceptable to God. Learning God’s standards changes character, and character influences what we say. Matthew 12:34-35

4. The Divine commentary on destructive speech: Proverbs 10.19; 12.18; 15.28 Titus 2.8;

5. See Topic:  VERBAL SINS

Verse 29b

1. BUT ONLY: The conjunction, alla, gives us a strong contrast between verbal adherence to Divine standards and speech that violates or discredits Divine standards.
2. WHAT IS GOOD:  The adjective, agathos, refers to good of intrinsic value; something that by its nature and character results in benefit.
3. FOR THE EDIFICATION: This noun, oikodomA, means a building up or strengthening. The proposition, pros, indicates the direction or purpose of our speech. The content of “what is good” has a beneficial effect upon the hearers.

4. OF THE NEED: whatever specific need may be involved. There is always a need for edification, There is always a need to focus on the character of God. Anything said or done that undermines the character and viewpoint of God creates the need in itself.

5. SO THAT: This is hina plus the subjunctive mood of the verb, which indicates a purpose clause, and thus gives us the purpose for speaking what is good.

6.  IT MIGHT GIVE: The verb is didomi, as an aorist active subjunctive. The aorist simply focuses on any given point of time when there is a need to be addressed by divine viewpoint.

7. GRACE TO THE HEARERS:  The noun is charis, and refers to everything God provides for the believer based on His perfect and uncompromising character. It refers to the details of divine provision that enable us to live in this life within the antagonistic environment that confronts us every day. It is provision so that we can HANDLE the attack of the sin nature, the sufferings of the body, and the attack of others. The believer should have KNOWLEDGE of Divine viewpoint standards so that he can handle these pressures himself, but also that he can provide encouragement and edification to others. Prov. 12:25.

And WHAT we say should never TEAR DOWN – emotionally, theologically, or socially.
This is not talking about every day SOCIAL interaction, but simply reminds us that within our socializing, even though the situation might not be a specific NEED situation, we need to make certain that our speech is not derogatory of God or man.

The Divine Commentary on Constructive Speech: Eph. 5:4; Col. 4:5-6; Titus 2:8; Mat. 12:34-35; 1 Peter 3:1-4, 9-10; Romans 14:19; 1 Cor. 10:31; 16:14; 2 Cor. 6:3.
Control of speech through control of the MIND:  1 Cor. 10:5

For details see Topic:  GRACE SPEAKING


1. AND: This is the first time that kai occurs as a major connective in this list of sins. It refers back to the sins of verses 26-29; the specific things that grieve the Spirit. It also looks forward to verse 31 - a list of sins that grieve the Spirit. The lists of sins give the specifics of grieving the Spirit while verse 30 gives the principle.

2. DO NOT GRIEVE: The verb is lupeo, as a present active imperative + the negative. The verb means, to cause sorrow or pain.  Of course, this is an anthropopathism for the Holy Spirit since He cannot ACTUALLY be sorrowed or pained, but these terms are used so that we can understand a specific expression of His character.
Sorrow relates to three expressions of God's character.

A. Sovereignty has a perfect plan for the believer, but sin separates him experientially from the benefits of that plan. Therefore, sorrow, as a term that expresses God's concern over the believer's rejection of his benefits.

B. Righteousness: God has perfect standards of good which are the key to maximum benefit in life. Sin is opposite to those standards. Therefore sorrow, because the believer rejects those perfect standards of God's goodness.

C. Love: Love is the attitude of God that wants only what is best for the believer. Sin puts the believer in the place where he cannot receive benefit. Therefore sorrow, because God cares so much about us.
D. Specifically, the absence of love as it relates to the unity of the body of believers.

     1. Experiential unity is the subject of Ephesians 4.

     2. The general classification of sin in the chapter is self-centered sensuality. Verse 19
     3. All the specific sins mentioned relate to inter-personal relations and affect Christian unity.
     4. Love as a reflection of God's love in the life of the believer is the perfect bond of unity. Col. 3:14
     5. When love is unexpressed because of the presence of these sins, unity is destroyed.
     6. This is the real issue of the passage and the reason the Holy Spirit is grieved.

The present tense indicates the continuous activity or practice of the sins mentioned. Whenever sin is committed, the Holy Spirit is grieved. The continuous activity of sin, destroys (quenches) the continuous activity of the Filling of the Holy Spirit and it is replaced with the continuous attitude of sorrow on the part of the Spirit.

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD: Third member of the Godhead co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Son.

4. BY WHOM: This is the preposition, en + the instrumental case of the relative pronoun which refers to the Holy Spirit.

5. You WERE SEALED: This is an aorist passive indicative of sphragidzo, which means to place a seal upon. The seal authenticates, guarantees and protects. The emphasis here is on GUARANTEE and PROTECTION.
A message that contained the royal seal not only showed the SOURCE of the message, but it also confirmed the validity of the message, that is, it PROTECTED the integrity of the message by remaining UNBROKEN.
Ephesians 1:13-14 explains the nature of this seal.
It says we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
That seal is said to be a, arrabOn. This is a pledge, a guarantee and a DOWNPAYMENT; a PROMISE to DO what has been said.
It is a downpayment of our inheritance – the completion of our salvation.
UNTO – toward the goal of – the release of the possession.
The “possession” is the believer. He will be “released” when he is resurrected. There will be nothing more to accomplish and the seal will no longer be necessary.

The aorist tense focuses on the point of time that the seal is given, which is the very moment of salvation; the very moment that a person trusts in Christ as Savior.
The passive voice indicates that the person RECEIVES this protection and guarantee. It is given BY GOD.

6. UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION: This is the completion of our salvation which will be realized at the moment that we are resurrected. The seal is needed only until then.
8:23 speaks of “the redemption of the body,” which COMPLETES our salvation by being given a resurrection body.

Summary list of inter-personal sins that grieve the Holy Spirit.

1. ALL: the adjective, pas, is all inclusive and leaves no room for compromise or rationalization in the commission of these anti-unity sins.

2.       bitterness- pikria: This refers to an attitude of anger that holds one’s mishaps, troubles and failures on SOMEONE or SOMETHING ELSE. Whether someone else is to blame or not is not the issue. The issue is FORGIVENESS. To “hang on” to bitterness toward people or circumstances undermines the stability of the soul and leads to other mental, verbal and overt sins. Again, we should look at Hebrews 12:13, where pikria occurs as the word for bitterness, and shows us that OTHERS can be affected by our sin cycles.

3.       and wrath - thumos- (kai thumos). This is a strong, uncontrolled emotional anger that is expressed without the application of love. Outbursts of anger fall under this word group as well as tantrums. It should be easy to see how bitterness and anger (both categories of anger) are inter-related.

4.       and anger - orgA (kai orgA). This refers to a more settled, controlled and INTENTIONAL expression of disfavor. In this context, it likewise is without the application of love.

5.       and clamor- kraugA -loud, boisterous, emotional arguing (kai kraugA). It is a verbal FIGHT.

6.       and slander - (kai) blasphAmia . This refers to any defamation of character, name calling and character assassination.


7.       LET IT BE PUT AWAY: This is an aorist passive imperative of airo, which means to remove or take away The Aorist tense again indicates the principle of dedication to Divine design. This is first and foremost the mental attitude rejection of these evil things. The passive voice indicates that these sins receive action from you. That puts the emphasis on your volition. The imperative mood gives us the commanded pattern to fulfill dedication to the Divine Priority and rejection of evil.

8.       FROM YOU: This is apo + personal pronoun to indicate “from the ultimate source of YOU.”  Your own personal life is the issue - not the life, speech or actions of others.

9.       ALONG WITH: sun - indicates the culmination of the already mentioned mental attitude sins.

10.   ALL MALICE: kakia, refers to ill will or malignity. It is that which seeks the harm or inconvenience of others. The emphasis is still on ATTITUDE. This sin group is the basis for the others, and if not corrected, the other sins in this list cannot be avoided.

11.   All of these are in opposition to Christian love and destroy experiential unity. Most of the believer's problems will be in this area. The sin nature is selfish, and selfishness attacks others while it promotes self. With friends, family or strangers, these sins are the easiest to fall into and have the potential of doing the greatest harm. Hebrews 12:15

Verse 32

1.  AND: There is no “and” in the Greek. We are just presented with another COMMAND, but this time in the positive. That is, what TO DO, rather than what NOT to do. The verb, giniomai is a present middle imperative and means to BECOME something that you were not before. The present tense presents the idea of continually doing something as a “habitual” practice or way of life. The present tense refers to the activity of fulfilling the mental attitude dedication to Divine Design. The word “become” refers to the process of becoming consistent in expressing that dedication.
The middle voice is because ginomai is a deponent verb, which is active in function. Volition must express the initial mental attitude dedication, and volition must make the every day, moment-by-moment decisions to follow through with that dedication. The imperative mood indicates that regardless of which way volition goes, this is the commanded pattern for fulfilling the Divine Priority concerning inter-personal relations.
The corrected translation:  Keep on becoming.

2. KIND: The adjective, chrAstos, refers to generosity of character (grace-thinking). This is not the giving of possessions, BUT THE GIVING OF SELF.  The opposite of selfishness is ChrAstos.

3. TO ONE ANOTHER: the emphasis is on other believers, but by application of other passages, it extends to all people. The emphasis on BROTHERLY LOVE in the New Testament does not permit the denial of expressing love to all people.  Galatians 6:10

4. TENDER HEARTED: eusplagchnos is the adjective, and literally it means, good-guts. This is a reference to one’s emotional pattern. It refers to an emotional response of compassion toward others. Compassion is based on understanding human needs and weaknesses in general, and responds with patience.

5. FORGIVING EACH OTHER:  This is the active viewpoint/action that results from both KINDNESS and COMPASSION. The verb is charidzomai, as a present middle participle. The present tense continues the stress that this should be the
NORMAL and habitual expression of Christian character. The participle is DESCRIPTIVE and describes the mental attitude and the overt expression of chrAstos and eusplagchnos (grace-thinking and grace-feeling). CONSTANTLY FORGIVING EACH OTHER

6. JUST AS GOD: This refers to the Father, who designed the plan of salvation and the promotion of LIGHT in the Christian who lives here on earth.

7.  IN CHRIST: This refers to the Son who fulfilled the plan by LIVING a life that exemplified forgiveness and by providing divine forgiveness for man by dying on the cross for the sins of the world. This is amplified at Ephesians 5:2.

8. HAS FORGIVEN YOU: It is the same verb, charidzomai, as an aorist middle indicative. The Aorist tense refers to the point of time of salvation; the moment of time that a person trusts in Christ as Savior. Christ DIED for sins but forgiveness does not become a PERSONAL reality until a person believes in Christ. Our own salvation is a reference point for our attitude and action toward other believers.
The key then, for success in the growth process; to become grace-thinking and grace-feeling is to orient completely to God's grace as expressed throughout all the history of the human race, and culminated in the cross-work of Christ. AND GRACE COMES FROM HIS PERFECT CHARACTER!


Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index



©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary


Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us