Ephesians

6:10-20

5. Concluding exhortation to right action, 6:10-23

i] The whole armor of God

Argument

Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians with a strong exhortation for faithful service - "be strong in the Lord". The believer faces constant warfare, not so much against human adversaries, but against evil spiritual forces. In the face of this enemy the believer needs spiritual armor to defeat what is a spiritual foe. This armor, reflecting God's character, must put it on.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 1:1-2. This passage serves to conclude Paul's ethical application of his all one in Christ thesis expounded in chapters 1-3. The practical application of this oneness theme covers chapters 4:1-6:9, with the passage before us serving as a concluding exhortation to put on Christ-like characteristics.

 

ii] Background: See 1:1-2.

 

iii] Structure: This passage, dealing with Christian warfare, presents as follows:

The exhortation: put on the full armor that is characteristic of God's person, v10-11.

Reasoning: the armor enables us to stand against the wiles of the devil, v12-13.

Description: The armor described piece by piece, v14-18:

The belt - put on truthfulness, v14a;

The breastplate - put on righteousness / right behavior, v14b;

The shoes - put on peacefulness, v15;

The shield - put on trustworthiness, v16;

The helmet and sword - put on prayerfulness, v17-18.

Conclusion: A prayer for bold speech, v19-20.

 

iv] Interpretation:

"This paragraph not only ends the paraenetic (exhortatory) material begun in 4:1, but it also serves as the climax of the letter as a whole, bringing it to a conclusion. The paragraph is neither an irrelevant appendix to Ephesians nor a parenthetical aside within it, but a crucial element to which the rest of the epistle has been pointing", O'Brien.

 

The armor of the Lord, v13-18: The imagery reflects Isaiah 59:17 and is an image already used by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. There is some debate about the meaning of the armor analogy. For example, is the belt of truth theology / wisdom, or is it truthfulness? This type of question applies to each individual piece. Although not widely accepted, it well may be that Paul uses the armor to illustrate ethical qualities which derive from the character of Christ and which are developed through the renewing work of Christ. If this is the case then we are being encouraged to put on Christ / Christ-likeness, put him on as pieces of armor - be what we are in Christ:

The belt. As Christian soldiers, prepared for battle, we are to put on truthfulness like a belt. In simple terms, tell the truth, rather than put on the theology / wisdom / the truth of the Bible, etc.

The breastplate. The genitive thV dikaiosunhV, "of righteousness", is drawn from Isaiah 59:17. It is probably adjectival, attributive, "the righteous breastplate", the right behavior breastplate. We are to put it on in an ethical sense, be Christ-like, rather than put on righteousness in the sense of be justified.

Shoes. We are to put on peacefulness like shoes. When not taken as an ethical instruction, commentators see it in terms of witnessing, evangelism. Yet, an ethical sense seems more likely. Paul probably means something like speaking peace - being peaceful rather than argumentative.

The shield. The genitive thV pistewV, "of faith", reflecting "of righteousness", is again attributive, "the faith / faithful / faithfulness shield. We are to take up trustworthiness like a shield. Again, this image is often interpreted in the terms of faith in Christ - saving faith. Yet, when treated as an ethical quality, the shield represents faithfulness rather than faith in God.

The helmet and the sword. The helmet is most often understood in the terms of putting on salvation as a soldier puts on his helmet. This image does not present in ethical terms. The most accepted view is to see the image in the terms of assurance - "be sure of your salvation." There is no reason why each piece of the armor has to be ethical. The term "helmet of salvation" is straight from Isaiah 59:17. This "is a crown which belongs, together with other garments of glory, to the messiah's adornment when he will stand on a mountain and announces to Israel that salvation is nigh", Barth, re. Jewish midrash. In Hebrew, "salvation" can mean "victory", this with "the hope of salvation", 1Thes.5:8, gives us an attributive "victorious helmet" / "the victory helmet", a highly adorned helmet.

It seems likely that the connective kai links together both the "helmet" and the "sword". The genitive tou pneumatoV, "of the spirit", as with tou swthriou, "of salvation", is likely again to be attributive, so "take up the victory helmet and the spiritual sword." The relative pronoun o{, "which / that is", being neuter may be attracted to the gender of "spirit", but is more likely referring to the previous nouns, any gender, namely both the helmet and sword. But what is the intended sense of this double image? The relative clause provides the explanation. The representative meaning of the victory helmet and spiritual sword is explained as "the word of God." Commentators tend to the view that the sword refers to the word of God, the Bible. So, the exhortation is that we read the Bible and believe in it. Yet, there is a strong possibility that the exhortation is to prayer. This is evident when, following the Gk., we read v17-18a together. The victory helmet and spiritual sword represents Word orientated prayer. This is the prayer of faith through the Spirit according to the will of God (prayer that is based on God's promises / will). "Take up prayer as a soldier takes up his helmet and sword ready for battle."

 

v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 6:10

The whole armor of God, 10-20: i] The exhortation: be strong and put on the armor of God - put on Christ-likeness as a soldier puts on his armor so that you can stand against the attack of evil powers, v10-11. "Be strengthened in the Lord". The source of this courage is found "in the Lord." He is the one who will strengthen the believer in the trials of life. This strengthening Paul calls God's "mighty power", the power that raised Christ to life, Eph.1:19-20. It is the power that comes from the operation of the Holy Spirit in the inner self, Eph.3:16.

tou loipou gen. "finally" - of the rest, remaining. The genitive is adverbial, reference, "with respect to what remains" = "finally". Often with a temporal sense, "in the future", but obviously not so here.

endunamousqe (endunamow) pres. pl. pas/mid. imp. "be strong" - be continually empowered. The present tense indicating ongoing strengthening. This strengthening is explained in a series of two aorist imperatives and four aorist participles in verses 11-17. The plural number may imply that the imperative is directed to the Christian fellowship as a whole, although it is more likely a call to common action. Bruce argues for a middle voice, but most commentators opt for passive. So, instead of "be strong", the sense is probably "be strengthened." "Find your strength in the Lord", NEB.

en + dat. "in [the Lord]" - in/with/by [lord]. Local, expressing sphere / incorporative union. A common phrase in Ephesians most probably meaning "in union with the Lord."

kai "and" - This conjunction here serves to introduce an epexegetic clause explaining the nature of the strengthening. The power is the power which raised Christ to life and this power we are to appropriate, cf. 1:19. "Let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong", CEV.

en + dat. "in" - Local, expressing sphere, "in", rather than reference; "with respect to his mighty power."

autou gen. pro. "his" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

thV iscuoV (uV uoV) gen. "mighty [power]" - [the power] of the might [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "power".

 
v11

A believer is strengthened by putting on armor that is good for attack and defense. This Christ-like armor enables the wearer to stand against the deceitful attack of the devil. Paul has already described the devil's schemes earlier in his letter, 4:26-27, and now he again reminds his readers of the attack of the powers of darkness.

endusasqe (enduw) aor. imp. "put on" - be clothed. As noted above the aorist tense probably serves to express a single item in the strengthening process, rather than identifying a single action such as conversion or baptism. Probably paralleling "be strong."

thn panoplian (a) "the full armor" - complete, or whole armor. "The full weaponry of a soldier about to go into battle" probably serves to parallel "God's mighty power."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is usually taken as ablative, expressing origin, God is the supplier of the armor, Best, Hoehner, ..., but adjectival possessive seems more likely, O'Brien, Lincoln, ...; it's God's own armor. So, the exhortation is all about putting on Christ-likeness as soldier puts on armor.

proV to dunasqai (dunamai) pres. pas. inf. "so that [you] can" - to be able. This construction, the preposition proV + the neuter articular infinitive, is used to form a purpose clause, as NIV, or sometimes a result clause, eg. "and then you will be able to resist the stratagems of the devil", Barclay. The subject of the infinitive, uJmaV, "you", takes the accusative case, as usual.

sthnai (iJsthmi) aor. inf. "take your stand" - to stand. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the infinitive "to be able". Here meaning "stand your ground / hold the enemy at bay / repel." "Hold your ground in the battle" is probably the sense, so Hoehner.

taV meqodeiaV (a) "[the devil's] schemes" - the wiles, trickery, deceit [of the devil]. The genitive "of the devil" may be treated as subjective, "the cunning deceitfulness of the devil / enacted by the devil", or possessive, as NIV.

 
v12

ii] The reason for putting on Godly armor - to stand against the wiles of the Devil, the tests and trials that daily confront us, v12-13. Paul reminds his readers that the real battle is not against the circumstances of life, or even against evil people; the real battle is spiritual, and to stand in this battle it is necessary to possess spiritual armor - "the full armor of God." Paul gives a number of titles to these evil powers and sums them up in the phrase, "spiritual forces of evil." It is fascinating to realize that not only do they inhabit the earth, but they also reside in the "heavenly realms." That is, their headquarters is in the spiritual domain, but of course, Christ is bringing them into subjection to himself.

oJti "for" - Here causal; "because".

hJmin dat. pro. "our" - [the struggling is not] to us. The dative either expresses reference / respect, "the struggle, with respect to us, is not ....", or possession, as NIV.

hJ palh (h) "struggle" - Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The word is used of wrestling, conflict, a struggle at close-quarters.

proV + acc. "against" - to, toward. Here expressing opposition. Introducing a series of prepositional phrases which describe the enemy. The enemy we wrestle with is not a fleshly enemy such as our human nature, people or governmental authorities, but is a spiritual enemy.

alla "but" - but. Adversative. "Our fight is not against any physical enemy (but rather) we are up against the unseen powers which control this world", Phillips.

touV kosmokratoraV (wr oroV) "powers" - world rulers, powers. The word is used to describe cosmic spiritual powers, not governmental authorities. None-the-less, these spiritual powers exercise authority in the world, ie. this world is under alien occupation, Lk.4:5-7, Jn.12:31, 16:11. The four descriptives of the dark powers have been viewed in hierarchical terms, but the text does not imply such.

tou skotouV toutou gen. "dark" - [world rulers] of this darkness. The genitive is adjectival, attributive / describing the state of the world under satanic rule, "this era of darkness", Bruce, but possibly idiomatic / subordination, "world-rulers over this darkness."

ta pneumatika adj. "the spiritual forces" - the spiritual. The articular adjective serves as a substantive, probably describing satan's evil heavenly army; "the spiritual army of evil in the heavens", JB.

en toiV epouranoiV "in the heavenly realms" - in the heavenlies. The preposition en is local, expressing space; the location of the spiritual forces. Used to describe the supernatural realm beyond our physical realm. This is the base of operations for these evil spiritual powers. The image of Satan cast from heaven implies that this realm is God's realm as well, but this is rather speculative. "The spiritual world", CEV; "the headquarters of evil", Phillips.

 
v13

These powers of darkness will confront God's people in the "day of evil" and it is then that each must be found wearing God's armor. The evil day is the time of the great tribulation at the return of Christ, but it is also represented in the daily troubles that inflict the human race. The armor will enable the believer to stand as a good soldier, fully doing their duty - to stand and not retreat.

dia touto + acc. "therefore" - because of, on account of. Possibly causal, "because of this", ie., v12, the devilish superiority of the enemy, then "that is why you must take up all God's armor", NJB. None-the-less, the construction is often inferential; "therefore / for this reason."

analabete (analambanw) aor. imp. "put on" - take up, raise up. Imaging a soldier taking up his armor and weapons ready for the fight. As noted in v11 the armor is "of God", an ablative genitive, "from God", or adjectival, possessive, "belonging to God."

iJna + subj. "that ..... [you may be able]" - that [you may be able]. Introducing a purpose clause, "in order that."

antisthnai (anqisthmi) aor. inf. "to stand your ground" - to withstand, resist. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of "you may be able". "You will be able to see things through to the end", Barclay.

en th/ hJmera/ th/ ponhria/ "in the day of evil" - in the day the evil. The preposition en, "in", serves to introduce a temporal phrase. The presence of two definite articles serves to underline that this is a particular day. This "evil day" is the day of tribulation rather than just a general time of difficulty; "when things are at their worst", NEB. The language is apocalyptic, although "the coming" of these days are many in that shadows of the coming day intrude into the present. All such days, for example, the destruction of Jerusalem, image the final day of tribulation, Dan.12:1. The believer must be ready and prepared to meet such days, but above all, meet the day.

katergasamenoi (katergazomai) aor. part. "after you have done [everything]" - [all] having done. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV. Resisting is the image, not winning; "that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground", Phillips.

sthnai (iJsthmi) aor. inf. "to stand" - The infinitive may form a result clause with the emphasis on victory, although continual struggle is more likely and so it is best translated as forming a purpose clause, "having done everything possible in order to resist (stand) the enemy." Merkle suggests that it is complementary, completing the sense of the assumed verb dunhqhte, "you are able [to stand]."

 
v14

iii] The armor is described piece by piece, v14-18; see "Interpretation" above. Put on truthfulness as a soldier puts on his belt, and put on right behavior as a soldier puts on his breastplate.

The armor is that which the messiah wears when he enters into battle with the forces of evil, an armament that we also need to put on. The pieces of armor are usually viewed as God-supplied armor enabling the believer to stand firm in the spiritual battles of life. There is much debate over what the armor represents, as already noted in the Interpretation above. Caird presents a classic view when he argues that each piece represents a variation of the gospel: the truth of the gospel, right standing in the sight of God, the good news, the faith that appropriates God's grace, salvation, and the Word of God. Although not widely held, there is much to support the view that the armament is primarily ethical, certainly the context supports this view, ie., Paul concludes his ethical instructions by telling his readers to put on Christ-likeness as if putting on pieces of armor ready for battle. The first four pieces being truthfulness, righteousness in the sense of right behavior, peacefulness and faithfulness / reliability.

oun "then" - therefore. Inferential / drawing a logical conclusion. The believer is to put on the whole armor of God in order to resist the onslaught of the evil one, "therefore resist his onslaught with the belt of truth", etc.

sthte (iJsthmi) aor. imp. "stand firm" - This fourth use of the verb covers all the following participles.

perizwsamenoi (perizwnnumi) aor. part. "with the belt [of truth] buckled around [your waist]" - having girded, fastened [the waist of you with truth]. This participle, along with the three following, may be a participle of means (instrumental), describing how we are to stand firm, "by means of." O'Brien suggests attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the imperative "stand", in which case imperatival; "tighten the belt of truth around your loins", Moffatt.

en + dat. "of [truth]" - in [truthfulness, faithfulness]. Here probably instrumental; "by truthfulness" = "by speaking the truth." As noted above, it seem likely that most of the pieces of armor represent an aspect of ethical behavior. So, although "truth" is often aligned with the Bible / gospel, as an essential piece of armor in the struggle against evil powers, which indeed it is, the belt (a solid leather strap protecting the loins as well as serving to support a sward) is possibly "truthfulness / sincerity / integrity / telling the truth / being honest". "Put on truthfulness ("integrety", Bruce) as a soldier puts on his belt ready for battle."

endusamenoi (enduw) aor. part. "with ..... in place" - having put on. On this participle see above.

thV dikaiosunhV (h) gen. "of righteousness" - of righteousness, justice. The genitive is adjectival, probably epexegetic, limiting the breastplate by defining it; a breastplate which consists of doing what is right. As with "truth", "righteousness" has numerous possibilities, eg. "justification", so Best, but again an ethical sense is probably intended - "righteousness" in the sense of doing what is right, even obedience to the will of God, so Bruce, O'Brien, ..... "Put on right/just behavior / obedience, as a soldier puts on his breastplate ready for battle."

 
v15

Put on peacefulness as a soldier puts on his boots.

uJpodhsamenoi (uJpodew) aor. part. "with your feet fitted" - having put on, fitted [footwear]. The participle as in v14. The "fitting" of military footwear is probably in mind - the studded sandals of a Roman soldier. "Have your feet shod", Moffatt.

en + dat. "with" - in, by, with. As in v14, it seems likely that an instrumental sense is intended; "have your feet shod by / with."

eJtoimasia/ (a) "the readiness" - firm footing, sure footing, firmness, solid foundation / preparation, readiness. A hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The sense of the word is unclear, either "steadfastness", "with the stability of the gospel", Moffatt, cf. NEB, or "readiness", as NIV, TEV, JB, "put preparedness to preach the gospel on your feet", Barclay. Although not widely accepted, the first sense, "solid foundation", may well mean the actual footwear, so "be fitted with the shoes of the gospel of peace"; "having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace", RSV.

tou euaggeliou (on) gen. "that comes from the gospel" - of the gospel. Usually classified as a verbal genitive, objective, O'Brien, Bruce, possibly a genitive of source / origin, Hoehner. Possibly adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "equipment", see RSV, or more likely epexegetic, defining / explaining / specifying the "equipment", "the footwear which is the gospel." It is likely that this pattern repeats through all the pieces of armor. As a Christian soldier, ready to resist the enemy, we must put on protective footwear which is the gospel. The euaggelion, "gospel / news", is usually understood as "the good news", God's important message to humanity; this we must put it on and stand ready to proclaim. Yet, if Paul still has in mind an ethical imperative then "the act of speaking / proclaiming peacefully" may be intended here, rather than preaching the gospel message.

thV eirhnhV gen. "of peace" - of peace, tranquility. The genitive is most likely adjectival, attributive, limiting "the act of speaking." It is tranquil speaking, rather than argumentative speaking. "Put on peacefulness as a soldier puts on his footwear ready for battle."

 
v16

Take up trustworthiness as a soldier takes up his shield.

en + dat. "in [addition to all this]" - in [all things]. Reference; "with respect to [all this] add ..."Above all", AV, RSV, Moffatt, is probably not intended. Possibly "in all circumstances"; "through thick and thin", Barclay. "And besides all these", Weymouth, is close, but better, "with all these", REB.

analabonteV (analambanw) aor. part. "take up" - having taken up. The participle, as above, either instrumental or attendant circumstance / imperatival. Having attached the pieces of armor the soldier is now to take up his shield.

thV pistewV (iV ewV) "of faith" - of faith. Again, the genitive is probably adjectival, epexegetic / appositional' "the shield which consists of faith." Usually taken to mean faith in the sense of "reliance on the revealed will of God", "trusting Christ." Again, if the quality being called for is ethical then the Christian soldier is being commanded to take up his shield like taking up "trustworthiness / reliability / faithfulness", a "flint-like resolution", Selwyn. "Take up trustworthiness as a soldier takes up his shield ready for battle."

en + dat. "with [which]" - in, by. Instrumental, expressing means, "by which."

sbesai (sbennumi) aor. inf. "extinguish" - to quench, extinguish, put out. A complementary infinitive completing the sense of the verb "you will be able." Probably imaging "every kind of temptation to ungodly behavior", O'Brien. "It can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you", Phillips.

tou ponhrou gen. "of the evil one" - of the evil one. Either a genitive of source, the arrows come from the evil one, or a possessive genitive, the arrows belong to the evil one.

 
v17

Take up prayer as a soldier takes up his helmet and sword ready for battle.

Up to this point it seems likely that the pieces of armor represent ethical behavior; a Christian soldier must stand his ground in the face of the powers of darkness; he must gird himself with truthfulness as a soldier would buckle up his belt, he must put on righteousness as a soldier would fit his breastplate, he must put on peacefulness as a soldier pulls on his boots, and he must take up faithfulness as a soldier takes up his shield. Now with the imperative dexasqe, we are told to "take up" two more pieces of armor, "the helmet", qualified by "salvation", and the "sword", qualified by "S/spirit". Neither of the qualifiers imply an ethical instruction, in fact, they don't imply much at all because both pieces of armor together are explained as "the word of God through prayer and petition", v17b-18a. Paul seems to identify the final pieces of a Christian's armor as Word directed prayer, ie., prayer according to the will of God - in the face of battle a Christian must take up prayer as a soldier takes up his salvation / victory helmet and his spiritual sword. See notes below.

dexasqe (decomai) aor. imp. "take" - take, receive. Here a simple imperative does the work of the previous participles, evidencing that they are imperatival.

thn perikefalaian "helmet" - The Roman bronze helmet is possibly in mind.

tou swthriou (on) gen. "of salvation" - It is unusual for Paul to use the neuter "salvation", indicating that he is alluding to Isaiah 59:17. The adjectival genitive is usually taken as adjectival, epexegetic, limiting by specifying the "helmet"; "the helmet which is salvation." Here, not "the hope of salvation", a future gift, but rather a present reality. Most commentators see this in the terms of assurance rather than conversion; "it is a glad awareness of having been put right with God, and the inward sense of wholeness, peace and vitality which this brings", Mitton. So, "take up assurance as a soldier takes up his helmet ready for battle." Yet, it seems likely that Paul has not got salvation / assurance in mind. The genitive is probably attributive, limiting "helmet", so "the salvation helmet", or better, following OT usage, "the victory helmet"; see "Interpretation" above. The important point to note is that Paul links both the "saving / victory helmet" and the "spiritual sword" together, ie., kai serves as a connective linking both "helmet" and "sword" to the imperative dexasqe, "take up." Together they will be defined by the relative clause introduced by o{, "which is ......." and this with the adverbial clause introduced by dia, "by means of .....", v18, gives the sense "prayer according to God's will."

tou pneumatoV (a atoV) "of the spirit" - Possibly a genitive of source, indicating that the Spirit supplies the sword which is the word of God, "the sword ....... that comes from the Spirit", CEV, although better "spirit / spiritual" may be intended and the genitive adjectival, attributive; "spiritual sword."

o{ neut. pro. "which is" - The antecedent is likely to be both the feminine "helmet" and "sword", so explaining a collective neuter = "both of which ...." See "Interpretation" above.

rJhma qeou "the word of God" - word of God. Usually understood to mean the Bible; we "take" it by reading and studying it and so we are prepared for battle. The trouble is it seems likely that the sentence continues into v18, "which is the word of God dia through/by means of prayer." So, it well may be that the sword is prayer, a praying in the Spirit type prayer, a prayer that is according to the will of God, a prayer sourced from the word of God. "Take up Word directed (Spirit breathed??) prayer as a soldier takes up his helmet and sword ready for battle."

 
v18

NIV11, NRSV, NJB, CEV..., commence a new paragraph with this verse, but this is an unhelpful division. Verse 18a follows on from v17b, ending after "prayer and petition", ie., the sentence commenced in v17 includes v18a; "take up the victory helmet and spiritual sword, that is, the word of God in / through / by means of (dia + gen., instrumental, expressing means) all prayer and petition / entreaty." So, the "word / message / statement" of God through prayer indicates a prayer that is God-breathed / guided, prayer that is based on God's revealed will. A Christian soldier stands firm in the spiritual battle by prayerfully approaching life's difficulties, constantly seeking out God's will and committing that will to prayer through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

proseucomenoi (proseucomai) pres. part. "pray" - praying. Probably an imperatival participle, following the form of the series of previous participles attendant on the imperative "stand up", as NIV, so commencing a new sentence which further expands on the business of taking up the helmet and sword, that is, prayer and petition according to the will of God. "Keep on praying fervently", Barclay.

en pneumati (a atoV) "in the Spirit" - in/by/with spirit. The preposition en is local, expressing space/sphere; the sphere within which the prayers operate, but possibly instrumental, "by". Possibly "spiritual prayer", Phillips, but usually taken to mean "the Holy Spirit", the one who guides and inspires believers through the word of God.

en panti kairw/ "on all occasions" - at ever time. Temporal prepositional construction. "At every opportunity", so possibly "unceasingly", or even better, "regularly". "Never stop praying", CEV.

kai eiV auto "with this in mind" - and to this very thing, and for this. Reference; "with respect to this."

agrupnounteV (agrupnew) pres. part. "be alert" - keeping watch. Probably an imperatival participle again, as above. The sense is "don't lose interest in prayer"; "stay alert", CEV.

en pash/ proskarterhsei "always keep on praying" - with all perseverance. The preposition en here is probably being used adverbially, modal, expressing manner. "Perseverance" carries the idea of doing something in the face of difficulties with great effort. Paul is not promoting divine arm-bending (keep asking until we get it), but rather that we apply ourselves to prayer. "Unsleeping alertness is to be shown especially in persevering intercession on behalf of all our comrades in the fight", Beare.

peri + gen. "for [all the saints]" - concerning [all the saints]. Expressing advantage; "for the sake of." Possibly Paul's specific sense, namely "Jewish believers", although here probably just "believers".

 
v19

iv] Paul winds up his exhortation with what is virtually an aside, v19-20. Having exhorted the Ephesian believers to pray in the Spirit he now actually asks them to do that for him. He asks for their prayerful support in his service as an ambassador of Christ. First, "that he might have the right message and readiness of speech", Caudill; "that God might give him the words to make known the mystery of the gospel", Hoehner, v19-20b. Second, "that he might faithfully discharge his responsibility in making known the 'mystery' of the gospel", Caudill; "that he would speak as boldly as he aught about the mystery", Hoehner, v20b.

"Pray" - Understood.

kai "also" - and. Possibly emphatic, "especially", rather than adjunctive, "also".

uJper gen. "for [me]" - Expressing advantage; "for the sake of me."

iJna + subj. "that [..... may be given]" - Possibly introducing a purpose clause, "in order that ...", but it is more likely to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of Paul's prayer request.

en + dat. "whenever [I open / speak]" - in [opening]. Here adverbial, temporal, "when".

tou stomatoV (a atoV) gen. "[my] mouth / speak" - the mouth [of me]. The NIV takes the genitive as verbal, objective; "I open the mouth of me" = "I speak", NIV11.

logoV (oV) "words" - word. Obviously here "utterance"; "ask God to give me a message when I speak", Barclay.

doqh/ (didwmi) aor. pas. subj. "may be given" - Divine/theological passive, God speaking through Paul.

moi dat. pro. "me" - to me. Dative of indirect object, emphatic by position in the Gk.

gnwrisai (gnwrizw) aor. inf. "so that I will [fearlessly] make known" - to make known]. The infinitive is adverbial expressing purpose / result, as NIV; "In order to expound", Moffatt.

en + dat. "fearlessly" - in/with [boldness]. Here the preposition is adverbial, expressing manner, "with boldness"; "fearlessly", NJB etc.

to musthrion (on) "the mystery" - Qualified by "gospel", see below. The mystery is often defined in terms of Gentile incorporation with Jews in the forming of one new body, but this is likely the consequence of the mystery proclaimed by Paul to the Gentiles. The mystery is more likely "the unfathomable riches in Christ which must increasingly be recognized and grasped (cf. 3:18f.)", Schnackenburg.

tou euaggeliou (on) gen. "of the gospel" - Omitted in some texts, but a natural qualification of "mystery". The genitive is most likely adjectival, epexegetic / appositional, "the mystery which is / namely the gospel", so Bruce, Hoehner. O'Brien opts for a genitive of content, "the mystery containing the gospel", but the gospel is probably the mystery revealed.

 
v20

Again Paul asks that he might make the gospel known "fearlessly". As a prisoner in Rome the temptation is to play it cool, but he wants the gospel known and so he wants to be brave enough to proclaim it.

uJper "for" - for [which]. Here expressing representation / advantage; "concerning" / "on behalf of, for the sake of." "Which" = "the gospel", but possibly "mystery", or better both.

presbeuw pres. "I am an ambassador" - a representative of a ruling authority*.

en + dat. "in [chains]" - Local, expressing space. Of being bound with chains = imprisonment; "I was sent to do this work and that's the reason I am in jail", CEV.

"Pray" - The imperative is assumed.

iJna + subj. "that" - Probably introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the prayer, as in v19. So, serving as a second prayer point. Of course, purpose is possible, so Best.

parrhsiaswmai (arrhsiazomai) aor. subj. "I may declare" - I may speak with boldness.

en autw/ "it" - in it. Referring back to "which" = the mystery = the gospel; "that I may proclaim the gospel fearlessly." The preposition en, "in", is either local, sphere, "in the sphere of [the gospel]", or reference / respect, "with respect to/with regard to/concerning [the gospel]", or even possibly standard, "according to the standard of [the gospel]. "Pray that I may speak of it (about/concerning the gospel) boldly", REB.

lalhsai (lalew) aor. inf. "[as I should]" - [as it is necessary me] to speak. The infinitive serves as the subject of the clause, "as to speak is necessary [for] me". The subject of the infinitive me, "me" is, as usual, accusative. "As I ought to [speak]", NJB.

 

Ephesians Introduction

Exposition

 

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