Be Imitators of God
5 Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.(A)
3 But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]. 4 Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God]. 5 For be sure of this: no immoral, impure, or greedy person—for that one is [in effect] an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God [for such a person places a higher value on something other than God].
6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments [that encourage you to sin], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience [those who habitually sin].(B) 7 So do not participate or even associate with them [in the rebelliousness of sin]. 8 For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] 9 (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation]. 11 Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character]; 12 for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light [of God’s precepts], for [a]it is light that makes everything visible. 14 For this reason He says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine [as dawn] upon you and give you light.”(C)
15 Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.(D) 19 [c]Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Marriage Like Christ and the Church
22 Wives, be subject [d]to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
25 Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. 28 Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become [e]one flesh.(E) 32 This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church. 33 However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].(F)
- Ephesians 5:13 Paul, who was privileged to study under the brilliant Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), is probably speaking from the viewpoint of ancient Greek science. Even the philosopher Plato maintained that vision essentially is the process of light forming an image of an object it touches and conveying that image to the eyes. So Paul may mean that what is actually seen is an image composed of light (like the photographic process), and since light is always reliable and its physical properties are constant, nothing exposed to light escapes being revealed. Spiritually speaking, to the extent that a believer functions as Light (v 8), he will expose the sins of unbelievers simply by his presence, just as it is the nature of light to expose whatever it touches.
- Ephesians 5:16 The Greek word in this verse means “buy up at the market place.” Opportunity is regarded as a commodity to be used by believers.
- Ephesians 5:19 The Greeks had a tradition of holding drinking parties (called, in the singular, a symposium) where the object was to sing the praises of the pagan gods while becoming drunk. Perhaps with this tradition in mind, Paul instructs believers to “be filled” instead with the Holy Spirit and to sing meaningful praises to God.
- Ephesians 5:22 The wife to her husband, not to men in general; not as inferior to him, nor in violation of her Christian ethics, but honoring her husband as protector and head of the home, respecting the responsibility of his position and his accountability to God.
- Ephesians 5:31 The bond between husband and wife supersedes all other relationships.