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Ephesians 5:6-11

Context
Live in the Light

5:6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. 1  5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 2  5:8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are 3  light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light – 5:9 for the fruit of the light 4  consists in 5  all goodness, righteousness, and truth – 5:10 trying to learn 6  what is pleasing to the Lord. 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather 7  expose them. 8 

1 sn The expression sons of disobedience is a Semitic idiom that means “people characterized by disobedience.” In this context it refers to “all those who are disobedient.” Cf. Eph 2:2-3.

2 tn The genitive αὐτῶν (autwn) has been translated as a genitive of association because of its use with συμμέτοχοι (summetocoi) – a verb which implies association in the σύν- (sun-) prefix.

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

4 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.

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

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

7 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!”

8 tn Grk “rather even expose.”



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