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Ephesians 5:8-14

Context
5:8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are 1  light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light – 5:9 for the fruit of the light 2  consists in 3  all goodness, righteousness, and truth – 5:10 trying to learn 4  what is pleasing to the Lord. 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather 5  expose them. 6  5:12 For the things they do 7  in secret are shameful even to mention. 5:13 But all things being exposed by the light are made evident. 5:14 For everything made evident is light, and for this reason it says: 8 

“Awake, 9  O sleeper! 10 

Rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you!” 11 

1 tn The verb “you are” is implied in the Greek text, but is supplied in the English translation to make it clear.

2 tc Several mss (Ì46 D2 Ψ Ï) have πνεύματος (pneumatos, “Spirit”) instead of φωτός (fwtos, “light”). Although most today regard φωτός as obviously original (UBS4 gives it an “A” rating), a case could be made that πνεύματος is what the author wrote. First, although this is largely a Byzantine reading (D2 often, if not normally, assimilates to the Byzantine text), Ì46 gives the reading much greater credibility. Internally, the φωτός at the end of v. 8 could have lined up above the πνεύματος in v. 9 in a scribe’s exemplar, thus occasioning dittography. (It is interesting to note that in both Ì49 and א the two instances of φωτός line up.) However, written in a contracted form, as a nomen sacrum (pMnMs) – a practice found even in the earliest mssπνεύματος would not have been easily confused with fwtos (there being only the last letter to occasion homoioteleuton rather than the last three). Further, the external evidence for φωτός is quite compelling (Ì49 א A B D* F G P 33 81 1739 1881 2464 pc latt co); it is rather doubtful that the early and widespread witnesses all mistook πνεύματος for φωτός. In addition, πνεύματος can be readily explained as harking back to Gal 5:22 (“the fruit of the Spirit”). Thus, on balance, φωτός appears to be original, giving rise to the reading πνεύματος.

3 tn Grk “in.” The idea is that the fruit of the light is “expressed in” or “consists of.”

4 tn BDAG 255 s.v. δοκιμάζω 1 translates δοκιμάζοντες (dokimazonte") in Eph 5:10 as “try to learn.”

5 tn The Greek conjunction καὶ (kai) seems to be functioning here ascensively, (i.e., “even”), but is difficult to render in this context using good English. It may read something like: “but rather even expose them!”

6 tn Grk “rather even expose.”

7 tn The participle τὰγινόμενα (taginomena) usually refers to “things happening” or “things which are,” but with the following genitive phrase ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν (Jupautwn), which indicates agency, the idea seems to be “things being done.” This passive construction was translated as an active one to simplify the English style.

8 sn The following passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.

9 tn Grk “Rise up.”

10 tn The articular nominative participle ὁ καθεύδων (Jo kaqeudwn) is probably functioning as a nominative for vocative. Thus, it has been translated as “O sleeper.”

11 sn A composite quotation, possibly from Isa 26:19, 51:17, 52:1, and 60:1.



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