To The Ends Of The EartH

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In the last days, instruction will go forth from Zion...


Paul explains God’s vision for Jews and Gentiles together in the Body of Messiah

A literal translation from the Greek by Jeffrey J. Harrison. You can also print out this translation as a booklet

Ephesians 5

[Intro   1   2   3   4   5   6]

5 1 Be, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and walk [or live] in love, just as the Messiah also loved us and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a fragrance of pleasing aroma.

3 But don’t let immorality and any uncleanness or covetousness even be mentioned among you,# as is fitting for those who are holy; 4 and let there be no indecent behavior and foolish or dirty talk, which are not appropriate, but rather words of thanksgiving. 5 For you# can be sure of this: that any immoral, or unclean, or covetous person, who is an idol worshipper, does not have a share in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you# with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [apathy, stubborn indifference].

7 Do not, therefore, become participants with them, 8 for you# were once darkness, but now in the Lord you# are light. Walk [or live] as children of light—9 for the fruit of the light is in every act of goodness and righteousness and truth—10 trying to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

11 And do not take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even expose them. 12 For the things done by them in secret are disgraceful even to speak of; 13 but when they are exposed by the light, all things are revealed, 14 for every thing that is revealed is light. Therefore it [Scripture] says, Wake up, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you* [Isaiah 60:1-2].

15 Therefore, watch carefully how you# walk [or live], not as unwise but as wise people, 16 making good use of the time, for the days are evil. 17 So then don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which is wasteful self-indulgence, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to yourselves# [or each other] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord and praising him in song with your# heart, 20 always giving thanks for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah to our God and Father.

21 Submit to one another in the fear of Messiah: 22 wives to their own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for a man is head of his wife even as the Messiah is head of the church, being himself savior of the body; 24 but as the church submits to the Messiah, so also should the wives submit to their husbands in all things.

25 Husbands, love your# wives, just as the Messiah also loved the church and gave himself up for her,

26 that he might make her holy, having first cleansed her in preparation for the bath of the water [of baptism] by his word,

27 that he might present the church to himself as glorious, not having a stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and blameless.

28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. The one who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Messiah also does the church, 30 for we are parts of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh [Genesis 2:24]. 32 This mystery is great; but I speak with regard to Messiah and the church. 33 Nevertheless, you,# too, let each one of you# love his own wife as himself; but the wife must fear [respect] her husband.


5:2 Gave himself up: Turned himself in to the authorities. This is a reference to Jesus’ voluntary submission to his arrest, trials, and crucifixion.

5:2 For us, an offering and a sacrifice to God: Jesus died in our place as a sacrificial offering for our sins.

5:2 A fragrance of pleasing aroma: That is, a sacrifice found acceptable to God. Compare Genesis 8:21 and Exodus 29:18.

5:3 Uncleanness: Moral impurity or evil.

5:3 Covetousness: The desire for more; greediness.

5:5 Who is an idol worshipper: Paul identifies coveting as a form of idolatry.

5:10 Trying to find out: Or, testing, proving.

5:11 Expose them: Or, point out the error in them.

5:13 Exposed: Or, when their error is pointed out.

5:13 Are revealed: That is, they are no longer hidden; their true nature has been revealed.

5:14 Revealed is light: Without light shining on something, it cannot be seen. But if light shines on it, what is actually seen by our eyes is the light reflected from it. In the same way Paul argues that exposing sin with truth is quite different than participating in it, even by way of talking about it, since you are bringing to light God’s word on the subject, and are thereby looking at the light of God’s word rather than the sinful action itself. In the same way, he continues, Scripture calls us to rise up out of the darkness of spiritual death, so that the light of Messiah can shine on us, exposing every evil way, and replacing the darkness with God’s light. This is an allusion to Isaiah 60:1-2. Compare Romans 13:11-12.

5:26 Cleansed her for the bath of the water: Immersion in a ritual bath (or mikveh), the Jewish custom on which Christian baptism is based, is not for getting the dirt off. That is done in an ordinary bath that precedes the ritual immersion. In the same way, Messiah’s spoken word performed the cleansing that prepared his followers for the baptism to follow (see John 15:3). Paul paints a humble and tender picture of Jesus washing his bride while she is in a state of ritual impurity. For more on this verse, see our teaching The Washing of Water with the Word.

5:33 Fear her husband: Far from teaching that a woman should be terrified of her husband, Paul was speaking to a culture in which women had nearly complete independence from their husbands thanks to recent changes in marriage customs in the Roman Empire. Since the wife was no longer under the legal authority of her husband, this left the husband with little authority in the family. This weakened the family unit and often led to divorce. Paul was advocating a more traditional style of marriage in which the husband would be respected rather than ignored and the marriage bond would be taken seriously as a relationship established by God. See our teaching on Marriage, Divorce, and Singleness.

⮜ Ephesians 4  |  Ephesians 6 ⮞

Translation and notes by Jeffrey J. Harrison. Copyright © 1992, 2001, 2006-2008, 2021 by Jeffrey J. Harrison. Title photo collage by Jeffrey J. Harrison using royalty-free images from Turkey Picture Gallery, copyrighted by
Unattributed photos are by the author. All rights reserved.