Ephesians 6


Children should obey their parents, that they may live long

and be happy, 1-3.

Parents should be tender towards their children, 4.

Servants should show all obedience and fidelity to their

masters, 5-8.

And masters should treat their servants with humanity, 9.

All should be strong in the Lord, and be armed with his armour,

because of their wily, powerful, and numerous foes, 10-13.

The different parts of the Christian armour enumerated, 14-17.

The necessity of all kinds of prayer and watchfulness, 18-20.

Tychicus is commissioned to inform the Ephesians of the

apostle's affairs, 21, 22.

The apostolic benediction and farewell, 23, 24.


Verse 1. Children, obey your parents] This is a duty with

which God will never dispense; he commands it, and one might think

that gratitude, from a sense of the highest obligations, would

most strongly enforce the command.

In the Lord] This clause is wanting in several reputable MSS.,

and in same versions. In the Lord may mean, on account of the

commandment of the Lord; or, as far as the parents commands are

according to the will and word of God. For surely no child is

called to obey any parent if he give unreasonable or unscriptural


Verse 2. Honour thy father] See Clarke on Ex 20:12,

&c., where this subject, together with the promises and threatenings

connected with it, is particularly considered, and the reasons of

the duty laid down at large.

Verse 4. Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath] Avoid

all severity; this will hurt your own souls, and do them no good;

on the contrary, if punished with severity or cruelty, they will

be only hardened and made desperate in their sins. Cruel parents

generally have bad children. He who corrects his children

according to God and reason will feel every blow on his own heart

more sensibly than his child feels it on his body. Parents are

called to correct; not to punish, their children. Those who

punish them do it from a principle of revenge; those who correct

them do it from a principle of affectionate concern.

Bring them up, &c.] εκτρεφετεαυταενπαιδειακαινουθεσια

κυριου. literally, Nourish them in the discipline and instruction

of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome

discipline and instruction, as the body is with proper food.

παιδεια, discipline, may refer to all that knowledge which is

proper for children, including elementary principles and rules for

behaviour, &c. νουθεσια, instruction, may imply whatever is

necessary to form the mind; to touch, regulate, and purify the

passions; and necessarily includes the whole of religion. Both

these should be administered in the Lord-according to his will and

word, and in reference to his eternal glory. All the important

lessons and doctrines being derived from his revelation, therefore

they are called the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Verse 5. Servants, be obedient] Though δουλος frequently

signifies a slave or bondman, yet it often implies a servant in

general, or any one bound to another, either for a limited time,

or for life. Even a slave, if a Christian, was bound to serve him

faithfully by whose money he was bought, howsoever illegal that

traffic may be considered. In heathen countries slavery was in

some sort excusable; among Christians it is an enormity and a

crime for which perdition has scarcely an adequate state of


According to the flesh] Your masters in secular things; for

they have no authority over your religion, nor over your souls.

With fear and trembling] Because the law gives them a power to

punish you for every act of disobedience.

In singleness of your heart] Not merely through fear of

punishment, but from a principle of uprightness, serving them as

you would serve Christ.

Verse 6. Not with eye-service] Not merely in their presence,

when their eye is upon you, as unfaithful and hypocritical

servants do, without consulting conscience in any part of their


Doing the will of God] Seeing that you are in the state of

servitude, it is the will of God that you should act

conscientiously in it.

Verse 7. With good will] μετευνοιας. With cheerfulness; do

not take up your service as a cross, or bear it as a burden; but

take it as coming in the order of God's providence, and a thing

that is pleasing to him.

Verse 8. Whatsoever good thing any man doeth] Though your

masters should fail to give you the due reward of your fidelity

and labour, yet, as ye have done your work as unto the Lord, he

will take care to give you the proper recompense.

Whether he be bond] A slave, bought with money;

Or free.] A person who has hired himself of his own free


Verse 9. Ye masters, do the same things unto them] Act in the

same affectionate, conscientious manner towards your slaves and

servants, as they do towards you.

Forbearing threatening] If they should transgress at any time,

lean more to the side of mercy than justice; and when ye are

obliged to punish, let it be as light and as moderate as possible;

and let revenge have no part in the chastisement, for that is of

the devil, and not of God.

The words, forbearing threatening; ανιεντεςτηναπειλην, signify

to mitigate, relax, or not exact threatening; that is, the

threatened punishment. The sense is given above.

In Shemoth Rabba, sect. 21, fol. 120, there is a good saying

concerning respect of persons: "If a poor man comes to a rich man

to converse with him, he will not regard him; but if a rich man

comes he will hear and rehear him. The holy and blessed God acts

not thus; for all are alike before him, women, slaves, the poor,

and the rich."

Knowing that your Master also is in heaven] You are their

masters, GOD is yours. As you deal with them, so GOD will deal

with you; for do not suppose, because their condition on earth is

inferior to yours, that God considers them to be less worthy of

his regard than you are; this is not so, for there is no respect

of persons with Him.

Verse 10. Finally] Having laid before you, your great and high

calling, and all the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel, it is

necessary that I should show you the enemies that will oppose you,

and the strength which is requisite to enable you to repel them.

Be strong in the Lord] You must have strength, and strength of

a spiritual kind, and such strength too as the Lord himself can

furnish; and you must have this strength through an indwelling

God, the power of his might working in you.

Verse 11. Put on the whole armour of God] ενδυσασθετην

πανοπλιαντουθεου. The apostle considers every Christian as

having a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and

subtle foes; and that therefore they would need much strength,

much courage, complete armour, and skill to use it. The panoply

which is mentioned here refers to the armour of the heavy troops

among the Greeks; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks,

who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, &c. Their

ordinary armour was the shield, the helmet, the sword, and the

greaves or brazen boots. To all these the apostle refers below.

See Clarke on Eph 6:13.

The wiles of the devil.] ταςμεθοδειαςτουδιαβολου. The

methods of the devil; the different means, plans, schemes, and

machinations which he uses to deceive, entrap, enslave, and ruin

the souls of men. A man's method of sinning is Satan's method of

ruining his soul. See Clarke on Eph 4:14.

Verse 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood] ουκ

εστινημινηπαληπροςαιμακαισαρκα. Our wrestling or

contention is not with men like ourselves: flesh and blood is a

Hebraism for men, or human beings.

See Clarke on Ga 1:16.

The word παλη implies the athletic exercises in the Olympic and

other national games; and παλαιστρα was the place in which the

contenders exercised. Here it signifies warfare in general.

Against principalities] αρχας. Chief rulers; beings of the

first rank and order in their own kingdom.

Powers] εξουσιας, Authorities, derived from, and constituted

by the above.

The rulers of the darkness of this world] τουςκοσμοκρατορας

τουσκοτουςτουαιωνοςτουτου. The rulers of the world; the

emperors of the darkness of this state of things.

Spiritual wickedness] ταπνευματικατηςπονηριας. The

spiritual things of wickedness; or, the spiritualities of

wickedness; highly refined and sublimed evil; disguised falsehood

in the garb of truth; Antinomianism in the guise of religion.

In high places.] εςτοιςεπουρανιοις. In the most sublime

stations. But who are these of whom the apostle speaks?

Schoettgen contends that the rabbins and Jewish rulers are

intended. This he thinks proved by the words τουαιωνοςτουτου,

of this world, which are often used to designate the Old

Testament, and the Jewish system; and the words εντοις

επουρανιοις, in heavenly places, which are not unfrequently used

to signify the time of the NEW TESTAMENT, and the Gospel system.

By the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, he thinks false

teachers, who endeavoured to corrupt Christianity, are meant; such

as those mentioned by St. John, 1Jo 2:19:

They went out from us, but they were not of us, &c. And he thinks

the meaning may be extended to all corrupters of Christianity in

all succeeding ages. He shows also that the Jews called their own

city sar shel olam, κοσμοκρατωρ, the ruler of the

world; and proves that David's words, Ps 2:2,

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel

together, are applied by the apostles, Ac 4:26, to the Jewish

rulers, αρχοντες, who persecuted Peter and John for preaching

Christ crucified. But commentators in general are not of this

mind, but think that by principalities, &c., we are to understand

different orders of evil spirits, who are all employed under the

devil, their great head, to prevent the spread of the Gospel in

the world, and to destroy the souls of mankind.

The spiritual wickedness are supposed to be the angels which

kept not their first estate; who fell from the heavenly places but

are ever longing after and striving to regain them; and which have

their station in the regions of the air. "Perhaps," says Mr.

Wesley, "the principalities and powers remain mostly in the

citadel of their kingdom of darkness; but there are other spirits

which range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are

committed; the darkness is chiefly spiritual darkness which

prevails during the present state of things, and the wicked

spirits are those which continually oppose faith, love, and

holiness, either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief,

pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, and hatred." Some translate

the words εντοιςεπουρανιοις, about heavenly things; that is: We

contend with these fallen spirits for the heavenly things which

are promised to us; and we strive against them, that we may not be

deprived of those we have.

Verse 13. Wherefore] Because ye have such enemies to contend

with, take unto you-assume, as provided and prepared for you, the

whole armour of God; which armour if you put on and use, you shall

be both invulnerable and immortal. The ancient heroes are fabled

to have had armour sent to them by the gods; and even the great

armour-maker, Vulcan, was reputed to be a god himself. This was

fable: What Paul speaks of is reality.

See Clarke on Eph 6:11.

That ye may be able to withstand] That ye may not only stand

fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, but also

discomfit all your spiritual foes; and continuing in your ranks,

maintain your ground against them, never putting off your armour,

but standing always ready prepared to repel any new attack.

And having done all, to stand.] καιαπαντακατεργασαμενοι

στηναι. rather, And having conquered all, stand: this is a

military phrase, and is repeatedly used in this sense by the best

Greek writers. So Dionys. Hal. Ant., lib. vi., page 400: και

πανταπολεμιαενολιγωκατεργασαμενοιχρονω. "Having in a short

time discomfited all our enemies, we returned with numerous

captives and much spoil." See many examples in Kypke. By evil

day we may understand any time of trouble, affliction, and sore


As there is here allusion to some of the most important parts of

the Grecian armour, I shall give a short account of the whole. It

consisted properly of two sorts: 1. Defensive armour, or that

which protected themselves. 2. Offensive armour, or that by which

they injured their enemies. The apostle refers to both.

I. Defensive armour:

περικεφαλαια, the HELMET; this was the armour for the head, and

was of various forms, and embossed with a great variety of

figures. Connected with the helmet was the crest or ridge on the

top of the helmet, adorned with several emblematic figures; some

for ornament, some to strike terror. For crests on ancient

helmets we often see the winged lion, the griffin, chimera, &c.

St. Paul seems to refer to one which had an emblematical

representation of hope.

ζωμα, the GIRDLE; this went about the loins, and served to brace

the armour tight to the body, and to support daggers, short

swords, and such like weapons, which were frequently stuck in it.

This kind of girdle is in general use among the Asiatic nations to

the present day.

θωραξ, the BREAST-PLATE; this consisted of two parts, called

πτερυγες or wings: one covered the whole region of the thorax or

breast, in which the principal viscera of life are contained; and

the other covered the back, as far down as the front part


κνημιδες, GREAVES or brazen boots, which covered the shin or

front of the leg; a kind of solea was often used, which covered

the sole, and laced about the instep, and prevented the foot from

being wounded by rugged ways, thorns, stones, &c.

χειριδες, GAUNTLETS; a kind of gloves that served to defend the

hands, and the arm up to the elbow.

ασπις, the clypeus or SHIELD; it was perfectly round, and

sometimes made of wood, covered with bullocks' hides; but often

made of metal. The aspis or shield of Achilles, made by Vulcan,

was composed of five plates, two of brass, two of tin, and one

of gold; so Homer, Il. U. v. 270:-




Five plates of various metal, various mould,

Composed the shield; of brass each outward fold,

Of tin each inward, and the middle gold.

Of shields there were several sorts:

γερρων or γερρα, the gerron; a small square shield, used

first by the Persians.

λαισηιον, LAISEION; a sort of oblong shield, covered with rough

hides, or skins with the hair on.

πελτη, the PELTA; a small light shield, nearly in the form of a

demicrescent, with a small ornament, similar to the recurved

leaves of a flower de luce, on the centre of a diagonal edge or

straight line; this was the Amazonian shield.

θυρεος, the scutum or OBLONG SHIELD; this was always made of

wood, and covered with hides. It was exactly in the shape of the

laiseion, but differed in size, being much larger, and being

covered with hides from which the hair had been taken off. It was

called θυρεος from θυρα, a door, which it resembled in its oblong

shape; but it was made curved, so as to embrace the whole forepart

of the body. The aspis and the thureos were the shields

principally in use; the former for light, the latter for heavy

armed troops.

II. Offensive armour, or weapons; the following were chief:

εγχος, enchos, the SPEAR; which was generally a head of brass

or iron, with a long shaft of ash.

δορυ, the LANCE; differing perhaps little from the former, but

in its size and lightness; being a missile used, both by infantry

and cavalry, for the purpose of annoying the enemy at a distance.

ξιφος, the SWORD; these were of various sizes, and in the

beginning all of brass. The swords of Homer's heroes are all of

this metal.

μαχαιρα, called also a sword, sometimes a knife; it was a

short sword, used more frequently by gladiators, or in single

combat. What other difference it had from the xiphos I cannot


αξινη, from which our word AXE; the common battle-axe.

πελεκυς, the BIPEN; a sort of battle-axe, with double face, one

opposite to the other.

κορυνη, an iron club or mace, much used both among the ancient

Greeks and Persians.

τοξον, the BOW; with its pharetra or quiver, and its stock or

sheaf of arrows.

σφενδονη, the SLING; an instrument in the use of which most

ancient nations were very expert, particularly the Hebrews and

ancient Greeks.

The arms and armour mentioned above were not always in use; they

were found out and improved by degrees. The account given by

Lucretius of the arms of the first inhabitants of the earth is

doubtless as correct as it is natural.

Arma antiqua manus, ungues, dentesque fuere,

Et lapides, et item silvarum fragmina rami,

Et flammae, atque ignes postquam sunt cognita primum:

Posterius ferri vis est, aerisque reperta:

Sed prius aeris erat quam ferri cognitus usus:

Quo facilis magis est natura, et copia major.

De Rerum Nat., lib. v. ver. 1282.

Whilst cruelty was not improved by art,

And rage not furnished yet with sword or dart;

With fists, or boughs, or stones, the warriors fought;

These were the only weapons Nature taught:

But when flames burnt the trees and scorched the ground,

Then brass appeared, and iron fit to wound.

Brass first was used, because the softer ore,

And earth's cold veins contained a greater store.


I have only to observe farther on this head, 1. That the

ancient Greeks and Romans went constantly armed; 2. That before

they engaged they always ate together; and 3. That they commenced

every attack with prayer to the gods for success.

Verse 14. Stand therefore] Prepare yourselves for combat,

having your loins girt about with truth. He had told them before

to take the whole armour of God, Eph 6:13,

and to put on this whole armour. Having got all the pieces of it

together, and the defensive parts put on, they were then to gird

them close to their bodies with the ζωμα or girdle, and instead of

a fine ornamented belt, such as the ancient warriors used, they

were to have truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth of

God; unless this be known and conscientiously believed no man can

enter the spiritual warfare with any advantage or prospect of

success. By this alone we discover who our enemies are, and how

they come on to attack us; and by this we know where our strength

lies; and, as the truth is great, and must prevail, we are to gird

ourselves with this against all false religion, and the various

winds of doctrine by which cunning men and insidious devils lie in

wait to deceive. Truth may be taken here for sincerity; for if a

man be not conscious to himself that his heart is right before

God, and that he makes no false pretences to religion, in vain

does he enter the spiritual lists. This alone can give him


---------------- Hic murus aheneus esto,

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa.

Let this be my brazen wall; that no man can reproach me with a

crime, and that I am conscious of my own integrity.

The breast-plate of righteousness] What the θωραξ or

breast-plate was, see before. The word righteousness, δικαισυνη,

we have often had occasion to note, is a word of very extensive

import: it signifies the principle of righteousness; it signifies

the practice of righteousness, or living a holy life; it

signifies God's method of justifying sinners; and it signifies

justification itself. Here it may imply a consciousness of

justification through the blood of the cross; the principle of

righteousness or true holiness implanted in the heart; and a holy

life, a life regulated according to the testimonies of God. As

the breast-plate defends the heart and lungs, and all those vital

functionaries that are contained in what is called the region of

the thorax; so this righteousness, this life of God in the soul of

man, defends every thing on which the man's spiritual existence

depends. While he possesses this principle, and acts from it, his

spiritual and eternal life is secure.

Verse 15. Your feet shod] The κνημιδες, or greaves, have been

already described; they were deemed of essential importance in the

ancient armour; if the feet or legs are materially wounded, a man

can neither stand to resist his foe, pursue him if vanquished, nor

flee from him should he have the worst of the fight.

That the apostle has obedience to the Gospel in general in view,

there can be no doubt; but he appears to have more than this, a

readiness to publish the Gospel: for, How beautiful upon the

mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that

publisheth PEACE; that bringeth good tidings of good, that

publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isa 52:7; Ro 10:15.

The lsraelites were commanded to eat the passover with their

feet shod, to show that they were ready for their journey. And

our Lord commands his disciples to be shod with sandals, that they

might be ready to go and publish the Gospel, as the Israelites

were to go to possess the promised land. Every Christian should

consider himself on his journey from a strange land to his own

country, and not only stand every moment prepared to proceed, but

be every moment in actual progress towards his home.

The preparation of the Gospel] The word ετοιμασια which we

translate preparation, is variously understood: some think it

means an habitual readiness in walking in the way prescribed by

the Gospel; others that firmness and solidity which the Gospel

gives to them who conscientiously believe its doctrines; others,

those virtues and graces which in the first planting of

Christianity were indispensably necessary to those who published


Should we take the word preparation in its common acceptation,

it may imply that, by a conscientious belief of the Gospel,

receiving the salvation provided by its author, and walking in the

way of obedience which is pointed out by it, the soul is prepared

for the kingdom of heaven.

The Gospel is termed the Gospel of peace, because it establishes

peace between God and man, and proclaims peace and good will to

the universe. Contentions, strife, quarrels, and all wars, being

as alien from its nature and design, as they are opposed to the

nature of Him who is love and compassion to man.

Verse 16. Above all, (επιπασιν, over all the rest of the

armour,) taking the shield of faith] In the word θυρεος, thureos,

the apostle alludes to the great oblong shield, or scutum, which

covers the whole body. See its description before. And as faith

is the grace by which all others are preserved and rendered

active, so it is properly represented here under the notion of a

shield, by which the whole body is covered and protected. Faith,

in this place, must mean that evidence of things unseen which

every genuine believer has, that God, for Christ's sake, has

blotted out his sins, and by which he is enabled to call God his

Father, and feel him to be his portion. It is such an

appropriating faith as this which can quench any dart of the


The fiery darts of the wicked.] βελος, a dart, signifies any

kind of missile weapon; every thing that is projected to a

distance by the hand, as a javelin, or short spear; or by a bow,

as an arrow; or a stone by a sling.

The fiery darts-ταβεληταπεπυρωμενα. It is probable that the

apostle alludes to the darts called falarica, which were headed

with lead, in or about which some combustible stuff was placed

that took fire in the passage of the arrow through the air, and

often burnt up the enemy's engines, ships, &c.; they were

calculated also to stick in the shields and set them on fire.

Some think that poisoned arrows may be intended, which are called

fiery from the burning heat produced in the bodies of those who

were wounded by them. To quench or extinguish such fiery darts

the shields were ordinarily covered with metal on the outside, and

thus the fire was prevented from catching hold of the shield.

When they stuck on a shield of another kind and set it on fire,

the soldier was obliged to cast it away, and thus became


The fiery darts of the wicked, τουπονηρου, or devil, are evil

thoughts, and strong injections, as they are termed, which in the

unregenerate inflame the passions, and excite the soul to acts of

transgression. While the faith is strong in Christ it acts as a

shield to quench these. He who walks so as to feel the witness of

God's Spirit that he is his child, has all evil thoughts in

abhorrence; and, though they pass through his mind, they never fix

in his passions. They are caught on this shield, blunted, and


Verse 17. Take the helmet of salvation] Or, as it is

expressed, 1Th 5:8,

And for a helmet, the hope of salvation. It has already been

observed, in the description of the Grecian armour, that on the

crest and other parts of the helmet were a great variety of

emblematical figures, and that it is very likely the apostle

refers to helmets which had on them an emblematical representation

of hope; viz. that the person should be safe who wore it, that he

should be prosperous in all his engagements, and ever escape safe

from battle. So the hope of conquering every adversary and

surmounting every difficulty, through the blood of the Lamb, is as

a helmet that protects the head; an impenetrable one, that the

blow of the battle-axe cannot cleave. The hope of continual

safety and protection, built on the promises of God, to which the

upright follower of Christ feels he has a Divine right, protects

the understanding from being darkened, and the judgment from being

confused by any temptations of Satan, or subtle arguments of the

sophistical ungodly. He who carries Christ in his heart cannot be

cheated out of the hope of his heaven,

The sword of the Spirit] See what is said before on ξιφος and

μαχαιρα, in the account of the Greek armour. The sword of which

St. Paul speaks is, as he explains it, the word of God; that is,

the revelation which God has given of himself, or what we call the

Holy Scriptures. This is called the sword of the Spirit, because

it comes from the Holy Spirit, and receives its fulfilment in the

soul through the operation of the Holy Spirit. An ability to

quote this on proper occasions, and especially in times of

temptation and trial, has a wonderful tendency to cut in pieces

the snares of the adversary. In God's word a genuine Christian

may have unlimited confidence, and to every purpose to which it is

applicable it may be brought with the greatest effect. The

shield, faith, and the sword-the word of God, or faith in God's

unchangeable word, are the principal armour of the soul. He in

whom the word of God dwells richly, and who has that faith by

which he knows that he has redemption, even the forgiveness of

sins, need not fear the power of any adversary. He stands fast in

the liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free. Some suppose

that τουπνευματος, of the Spirit, should be understood of our own

spirit or soul; the word of God being the proper sword of the

soul, or that offensive weapon the only one which the soul uses.

But though it is true that every Christian soul has this for its

sword, yet the first meaning is the most likely.

Verse 18. Praying always] The apostle does not put praying

among the armour; had he done so he would have referred it, as he

has done all the rest, to some of the Grecian armour; but as he

does not do this, therefore we conclude that his account of the

armour is ended, and that now, having equipped his spiritual

soldier, he shows him the necessity of praying, that he may

successfully resist those principalities, powers, the rulers of

the darkness of this world, and the spiritual wickednesses in

heavenly places, with whom he has to contend. The panoply, or

whole armour of God, consists in, 1. the girdle; 2. the

breast-plate; 3. the greaves; 4. the shield; 5. the helmet;

and 6. the sword. He who had these was completely armed. And as

it was the custom of the Grecian armies, before they engaged, to

offer prayers to the gods for their success, the apostle shows

that these spiritual warriors must depend on the Captain of their

salvation, and pray with all prayer, i.e. incessantly, being

always in the spirit of prayer, so that they should be ever ready

for public, private, mental, or ejaculatory prayer, always

depending on HIM who can alone save, and who alone can destroy.

When the apostle exhorts Christians to pray with all prayer, we

may at once see that he neither means spiritual nor formal prayer,

in exclusion of the other. Praying, προσευχομενοι, refers to the

state of the spirit as well as to the act.

With all prayer] Refers to the different kinds of prayer that

is performed in public, in the family, in the closet, in

business, on the way, in the heart without a voice, and

with the voice from the heart. All those are necessary to the

genuine Christian; and he whose heart is right with God will be

frequent in the whole. "Some there are," says a very pious and

learned writer, who use only mental prayer or ejaculations, and

think they are in a state of grace, and use a way of worship far

superior to any other; but such only fancy themselves to be above

what is really above them; it requiring far more grace to be

enabled to pour out a fervent and continued prayer, than to offer

up mental aspirations." Rev. J. Wesley.

And supplication] There is a difference between προσευχη,

prayer, and δεησις, supplication. Some think the former means

prayer for the attainment of good; the latter, prayer for averting

evil. Supplication however seems to mean prayer continued in,

strong and incessant pleadings, till the evil is averted, or the

good communicated. There are two things that must be attended to

in prayer. 1. That it be ενπαντικαιρω, in every time, season,

or opportunity; 2. That it should be ενπνευματι, in or through

the Spirit-that the heart should be engaged in it, and that its

infirmities should be helped by the Holy Ghost,

Watching thereunto] Being always on your guard lest your

enemies should surprise you. Watch, not only against evil, but

also for opportunities to do good, and for opportunities to

receive good. Without watchfulness, prayer and all the spiritual

armour will be ineffectual.

With all perseverance] Being always intent on your object, and

never losing sight of your danger, or of your interest. The word

implies stretching out the neck, and looking about, in order to

discern an enemy at a distance.

For all saints] For all Christians; for this was the character

by which they were generally distinguished.

Verse 19. And for me, that utterance may be given unto me]

ιναμοιδοθειηλογος. Kypke has proved by many examples that

λογοςδιδοναι signifies permission and power to defend one's

self in a court of justice; and this sense of the phrase is

perfectly applicable to the case of St. Paul, who was an

ambassador in bonds, (Eph 6:20,) and expected to be called to a

public hearing, in which he was not only to defend himself, but to

prove the truth and excellency of the Christian religion. And we

learn, from Php 1:12-14, that he had his desire in this respect;

for the things which happened to him fell out to the furtherance

of the Gospel, so that his bonds in Christ were manifest in all

the palace, and in all other places. Thus God had enabled him to

make a most noble defence, by which the Gospel acquired great


The mystery of the Gospel] The whole doctrine of Christ, not

fully revealed previously to that time.

Verse 20. An ambassador in bonds] An ambassador being the

representative of his king, his person was in all civilized

countries held sacred. Contrary to the rights of nations, this

ambassador of the King of heaven was put in chains! He had

however the opportunity of defending himself, and of vindicating

the honour of his Master. See above.

As I ought to speak.] As becomes the dignity and the importance

of the subject.

Verse 21. That ye also] As well as other Churches to whom I

have communicated the dealings both of God and man to me.

May know my affairs] May be acquainted with my situation and


And how I do] How I employ my time, and what fruit there is of

my apostolical labours.

Tychicus, a beloved brother] We learn, from Ac 20:4, that

Tychicus was of Asia, and that he was a useful companion of St.

Paul. See the note on the above place.

This same person, and with the same character and commendation,

is mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians, Col 4:7. He is

mentioned also in Tit 3:12, and in 2Ti 4:12; from all these

places it is evident that he was a person in whom the apostle had

the highest confidence, and that he was a very eminent minister of


Verse 22. Whom I have sent-for the same purpose] Namely, that

the Ephesians might know his affairs, and those of the Church at

Rome: messengers of this kind frequently passed between the

Churches in those ancient times.

Comfort your hearts.] By showing you how powerfully he was

upheld in all his tribulations, and how God turned his bonds to

the furtherance of the Gospel. This must have been great

consolation to all the followers of God; and particularly to those

in Ephesus or Laodicea, or to whomsoever the epistle was directed.

The question, To whom was it sent? is divided between the

Ephesians and the Laodiceans. Dr. Lardner has argued strongly in

favour of the former; Dr. Paley not less so in favour of the


Verse 23. Peace be to the brethren] If the epistle were really

sent to the Ephesians, a people with whom the apostle was so

intimately acquainted, it is strange that he mentions no person by

name. This objection, on which Dr. Paley lays great stress, (see

the preface to this epistle,) has not been successfully answered.

Peace] All prosperity, and continual union with God and among

yourselves; and love to God and man, the principle of all

obedience and union; with faith, continually increasing, and

growing stronger and stronger, from God the Father, as the

fountain of all our mercies, and the Lord Jesus Christ, through

whose sacrifice and mediation they all come.

Verse 24. Grace be with all them] May the Divine favour, and

all the benedictions flowing from it, be with all them who love

our Lord Jesus Christ, who has so loved us as to give his life to

redeem ours, and to save us unto life eternal.

In sincerity.] εναφθαρσια� In incorruptibility. Those who

show the genuineness of their love, by walking before him in

holiness of life. Many profess to love our Lord Jesus who are

corrupt in all their ways; on these the grace or favour of God

cannot rest; they profess to know him, but in works deny him.

Such can neither expect favour here, nor hereafter.

Amen.] This is wanting in ABFG, and some others. It is,

however, more likely to be a genuine subscription here than most

others of its kind. The apostle might have sealed his most

earnest wish by this word, which means not so much, so be it! or

may it be so! but rather implies the faithfulness of him who had

given the promises, and whose prerogative it was to give effect to

the prayers which his own Spirit had inspired.

The principal subscriptions to this epistle are the following:

To the Ephesians. The Epistle to the Ephesians is finished. To

the Ephesians, written from Rome. To the Ephesians, written from

Rome by Tychicus. (This is the subscription which we have

followed; and it is that of the larger number of modern MSS. and

editions.) The Epistle to the Ephesians, written from Rome, and

sent by Tychicus-SYRIAC. To the Ephesians.-AETHIOPIC. VULGATE,

no subscription. The end of this epistle, which was written from

Rome by Tychicus. Praise be to God for ever. Amen.-ARABIC.

Written at Rome, and sent by Tychicus.-COPTIC. The SAHIDIC is

defective. The Epistle to the Ephesians is ended, which was

written at Rome by Tychicus.-Philoxenian SYRIAC.

We have had already occasion to observe that the subscriptions

to the sacred books were not written by the authors themselves,

but were added in a much later age, and generally by unskilful

hands. They are consequently not much to be depended on, and

never should be quoted as a part of the Divine oracles.

1. IT may be supposed that on the principal subject of this

concluding chapter, the armour of God, I should have been much

more diffuse. I answer, my constant aim is just to say enough,

and no more, on any point. Whether I attain this, in general, or

not, I can still say it is what I have desired. As to the

Christian armour, it does not appear to me that the apostle has

couched such a profusion of mystical meaning in it as to require a

huge volume to explain. I believe the Ephesians did not

understand it so; nor did the primitive Church of God. Men of

rich imaginations may write large volumes on such subjects; but

when they come to be fairly examined, they will be found not to be

explanations of the text, on which they professedly treat, but

immense bodies of divinity, in which the peculiar creed of the

writer, both with respect to doctrine and discipline, is amply set

forth. Mr. Gurnal's Christian Armour contains a great many

excellences; but surely it does not require such a volume to

explain the five verses of this chapter, in which the apostle

speaks of the spiritual armour. The grand design of the apostle

was to show that truth, righteousness, obedience to the Gospel,

faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, a well grounded hope of salvation,

a thorough knowledge of the word of God, and a continual

dependence on and application to him by prayer, were essentially

necessary to every soul who desired to walk uprightly in this

life, and finally to attain everlasting blessedness. This is the

obvious meaning of the apostle; in this sense it was understood by

the Ephesians, and by the primitive Church; we may amplify it as

we please.

2. In two or three places, in the preceding notes, I have

referred to a piece on a very remarkable rule relative to the

Greek article, to be introduced at the end. From the labours of

several learned men this subject has acquired considerable

importance, and has excited no small interest among Biblical

critics. The late benevolent, learned, and excellent Mr.

Granville Sharp was, I believe, the first who brought this subject

fairly before the public; he was followed by the Rev. Dr.

Wordsworth, a learned and intelligent clergyman of the Established


The Rev. Dr. Middleton, late bishop of Calcutta, has presented

the subject in all its force and excellence, fortified by

innumerable proofs, and a great variety of critical disquisition.

The principal design of these writers was to exhibit a new and

substantial mode of proving the Divinity of our Lord and Saviour.

Their works are before the public, and within the reach of all who

are capable of judging of this mode of proof.

The piece which I now subjoin is the result of the researches of

one of my literary friends, H. S. Boyd, Esq., author of

Translations from Chrysostom, &c., who has read the Greek writers,

both sacred and profane, with peculiar attention; and has

collected a vast number of additional examples, both from prose

and poetic writers, for the confirmation and illustration of the

rule in question, and in support of the great doctrine of the

Godhead of Christ.

The critical reader, who has entered into this subject, will be

glad to see such a number of pointed examples brought within his

reach, which at once serve the purpose both of philology and

divinity. The learned author has transmitted them to me for the

purpose of insertion in this place; but want of room has obliged

me to omit several of his quotations.*

* Since Dr. Clarke wrote this paragraph, the Essay on the Greek

Article has undergone a careful revision by the author, and

several additions have been made to it, which will, it is hoped,

be valuable to the critical reader. It is now introduced in a

separate form from the Commentary.-THE PUBLISHERS

I would not wish the reader to suppose that these are the only

proofs of the grand doctrine of the Godhead of Christ; they are

not: the Holy Scripture, in its plain, obvious meaning,

independently of such criticism, affords the most luminous and

convincing proofs of the doctrine in question; but this is no

sufficient reason that we should reject any additional light which

may come to us in the way of Divine Providence.

Finished the correction for a new edition, Dec. 15th, 1831.

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