Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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EPHESIANS - Chapter 5

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Ephesians 5

Supplemental Commentary:

II.  MORAL  4, 1 -- 6, 20 (continued)

1.  For Christians in General  4, 1 -- 5, 20 (continued)

4, 25 -- 5, 20:  Vices to Be Avoided (continued).    5, 1.  The thought of imitating God leads to other practical warnings.    8.  Light in the Lord: a metaphor familiar to St. Paul.  See Rom. 13, 11 ff; 1 Thess. 5, 4 ff.  To be a child of the light we must avoid sin and error.  Doubtless 14 gives us a formula known to Paul and his readers, borrowed from the liturgy.    20.  Giving thanks always: the Apostle realizes very keenly the greatness of this spiritual benefits granted  him and his converts.  Thanksgiving occupies an important part of his Epistles.  The songs of the Christians to which he refers are very likely songs of thanksgiving.

2.  The Christian Hope  5, 21 -- 6, 9

5, 21-33:  The Wife and the Husband.  The union of Christ and His Church is symbolized by the union of man and wife.  The great mystery St. Paul refers to is the union of Christ and the Church: it is a hidden truth now made known.  It is certain that the mystery here cannot mean "sacrament."

Confraternity Bible:

1 Be you, therefore, imitators of God, as very dear children 2 and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and delivered himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God to ascend in fragrant odor.

3 But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints; 4 or obscenity or foolish talk or scurrility, which are out of place; but rather thanksgiving.  5 For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  6 Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience.  7 Do not, then, become partakers with them.  8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk, then, as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth), 10 testing what is well pleasing to God; 11 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  12 For of the things that are done by them in secret it is shameful even to speak; 13 but all the things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for all that is made manifest is light.  14* Thus it says,
"Awake, sleeper,

And arise from among the dead,

And Christ will enlighten thee." 
15 See to it therefore, brethren, that you walk with care: not as unwise 16 but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  17 Therefore do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  18 And do not be drunk with wine, for in that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

The Wife and the Husband  21 Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.  22 Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; 23 because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, being himself savior of the body.  24* But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for her, 26* that he might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water by means of the word; 27 in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.  28 Even thus ought husbands also to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife, loves himself.  29 For no one ever hated his own flesh; on the contrary he nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ also does the Church 30 (because we are members of his body, made from his flesh and from his bones). 
31* "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." 
32 This is great mystery---I mean in reference to Christ and to the Church.  33 However, let each one of you also love his wife just as he loves himself; and let the wife respect her husband.


14: Isa. 26, 19.

24: In all things: i.e., in all things that pertain to the right relationship of husband and wife.  Note well that the subjection inculcated in these verses is not a brutal or slavish subjection as to a tyrant, but that of the loved one to her lover, who is according to right order head of the family, as Christ is head of the Church.

26: The bath of water: the Sacrament of Baptism.

31: Matt. 19, 5.