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Ephesians 5:22--6:9

Context
Exhortations to Households

5:22 1 Wives, submit 2  to your husbands as to the Lord, 5:23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body. 5:24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your 3  wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 5:26 to sanctify her by cleansing her 4  with the washing of the water by the word, 5:27 so that he 5  may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 6  5:28 In the same way 7  husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 5:29 For no one has ever hated his own body 8  but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 5:30 for we are members of his body. 9  5:31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become 10  one flesh. 11  5:32 This mystery is great – but I am actually 12  speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 5:33 Nevertheless, 13  each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, 14  and the wife must 15  respect 16  her husband.

6:1 Children, 17  obey your parents in the Lord 18  for this is right. 6:2Honor your father and mother, 19  which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 6:3that it may go 20  well with you and that you will live 21  a long time on the earth. 22 

6:4 Fathers, 23  do not provoke your children to anger, 24  but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

6:5 Slaves, 25  obey your human masters 26  with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ, 6:6 not like those who do their work only when someone is watching 27  – as people-pleasers – but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. 28  6:7 Obey 29  with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord 30  and not people, 6:8 because you know that each person, whether slave or free, if he does something good, this 31  will be rewarded by the Lord.

6:9 Masters, 32  treat your slaves 33  the same way, 34  giving up the use of threats, 35  because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, 36  and there is no favoritism with him.

1 tn Many scholars regard Eph 5:21 as the verse which introduces this section, rather than 5:22. This is due in part to the lack of a main verb in this verse (see tc note which follows). This connection is not likely, however, because it requires the participle ὑποτασσόμενοι (Jupotassomenoi, “submitting”) in 5:21 to act as the main verb of the section, and this participle more likely is linked to the command “be filled by the Spirit” in 5:18 as a participle of result (see sn above). In any case, 5:21 does form a strong link between 5:18-21 and what follows, so the paragraph division which has been placed between 5:21 and 22 should not be viewed as a complete break in the author’s thought.

2 tc The witnesses for the shorter reading (in which the verb “submit” is only implied) are minimal (Ì46 B Cl Hiermss), but significant and early. The rest of the witnesses add one of two verb forms as required by the sense of the passage (picking up the verb from v. 21). Several of these witnesses have ὑποτασσέσθωσαν (Jupotassesqwsan), the third person imperative (so א A I P Ψ 0278 33 81 1175 1739 1881 al lat co), while other witnesses, especially the later Byzantine cursives, read ὑποτάσσεσθε (Jupotassesqe), the second person imperative (D F G Ï sy). The text virtually begs for one of these two verb forms, but the often cryptic style of Paul’s letters argues for the shorter reading. The chronology of development seems to have been no verb – third person imperative – second person imperative. It is not insignificant that early lectionaries began a new day’s reading with v. 22; these most likely caused copyists to add the verb at this juncture.

3 tn The Greek article has been translated as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

4 tn The direct object “her” is implied, but not found in the Greek text. It has been supplied in the English translation to clarify the sense of the passage.

5 tn The use of the pronoun αὐτός (autos) is intensive and focuses attention on Christ as the one who has made the church glorious.

6 tn Grk “but in order that it may be holy and blameless.”

7 tn Grk “So also.”

8 tn Grk “flesh.”

9 tc Most Western witnesses, as well as the majority of Byzantine mss and a few others (א2 D F G Ψ 0278 0285vid Ï lat), add the following words to the end of the verse: ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων αὐτοῦ (ek th" sarko" autou kai ek twn ostewn autou, “of his body and of his bones”). This is a (slightly modified) quotation from Gen 2:23a (LXX). The Alexandrian text is solidly behind the shorter reading (Ì46 א* A B 048 33 81 1739* 1881 pc). Although it is possible that an early scribe’s eye skipped over the final αὐτοῦ, there is a much greater likelihood that a scribe added the Genesis quotation in order to fill out and make explicit the author’s incomplete reference to Gen 2:23. Further, on intrinsic grounds, it seems unlikely that the author would refer to the physical nature of creation when speaking of the “body of Christ” which is spiritual or mystical. Hence, as is often the case with OT quotations, the scribal clarification missed the point the author was making; the shorter reading stands as original.

10 tn Grk “the two shall be as one flesh.”

11 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24.

12 tn The term “actually” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied in the English translation to bring out the heightened sense of the statement.

13 tn The translation of πλήν (plhn) is somewhat difficult in this context, though the overall thrust of the argument is clear. It could be an adversative idea such as “but,” “nevertheless,” or “however” (see NIV, NASB, NRSV), or it could simply be intended to round out and bring to conclusion the author’s discussion. In this latter case it could be translated with the use of “now” (so A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 384).

14 tn Grk “Nevertheless, you also, one by one, each his own wife so let him love as himself.” This statement is cumbersome and was cleaned up to reflect better English style.

15 tn The ἵνα (Jina) clause was taken as imperatival, i.e., “let the wife respect….”

16 tn The Greek verb φοβέομαι (fobeomai) here has been translated “respect” and the noun form of the word, i.e., φόβος (fobos), has been translated as “reverence” in 5:21.

17 tn The use of the article τά (ta) with τέκνα (tekna) functions in a generic way to distinguish this group from husbands, wives, fathers and slaves and is left, therefore, untranslated. The generic article is used with γύναῖκες (gunaikes) in 5:22, ἄνδρες (andres) in 5:25, δοῦλοι (douloi) in 6:5, and κύριοι (kurioi) in 6:9.

18 tc B D* F G as well as a few versional and patristic representatives lack “in the Lord” (ἐν κυρίῳ, en kuriw), while the phrase is well represented in Ì46 א A D1 Ivid Ψ 0278 0285 33 1739 1881 Ï sy co. Scribes may have thought that the phrase could be regarded a qualifier on the kind of parents a child should obey (viz., only Christian parents), and would thus be tempted to delete the phrase to counter such an interpretation. It is unlikely that the phrase would have been added, since the form used to express such sentiment in this Haustafel is ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ/Χριστῷ (Jw" tw kuriw/Cristw, “as to the Lord/Christ”; see 5:22; 6:5). Even though the witnesses for the omission are impressive, it is more likely that the phrase was deleted than added by scribal activity.

19 sn A quotation from Exod 20:12 and Deut 5:16.

20 tn Grk “be.”

21 tn Grk “will be.”

22 sn A quotation from Deut 5:16.

23 tn Or perhaps “Parents” (so TEV, CEV). The plural οἱ πατέρες (Joi patere", “fathers”) can be used to refer to both the male and female parent (BDAG 786 s.v. πατήρ 1.b).

24 tn Or “do not make your children angry.” BDAG 780 s.v. παροργίζω states “make angry.” The Greek verb in Col 3:21 is a different one with a slightly different nuance.

25 tn Traditionally, “Servants” (KJV). Though δοῦλος (doulos) is often translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

26 tn Grk “the masters according to the flesh.” In the translation above, the article τοῖς (tois) governing κυρίοις (kuriois) is rendered in English as a possessive pronoun (i.e., “your”) and the prepositional phrase κατὰ σάρκα (kata sarka) is taken as modifying κυρίοις (indicating that the author is referring to human masters) and not modifying the imperative ὑπακούετε (Jupakouete, which would indicate that obedience was according to a human standard or limitation).

27 tn Grk “not according to eye-service.”

28 tn Grk “from the soul.”

29 tn Though the verb does not appear again at this point in the passage, it is nonetheless implied and supplied in the English translation for the sake of clarity.

30 tn Grk “serving as to the Lord.”

31 sn The pronoun “this” (τοῦτο, touto) stands first in its clause for emphasis, and stresses the fact that God will reward those, who in seeking him, do good.

32 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

33 tn Though the Greek text only has αὐτούς (autous, “them”), the antecedent is the slaves of the masters. Therefore, it was translated this way to make it explicit in English.

34 tn Grk “do the same things to them.”

35 tn Grk “giving up the threat.”

36 tn Grk “because of both they and you, the Lord is, in heaven…”



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