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Ephesians Chapter Five


I. Content of the Chapter


The Virtues in Christ

A.  As Dear Children:

1. To imitate God (v.1);

2. To walk in love, as Christ has given Himself for us (v.2);

3. Do not say the words that are not fit for saints (v.3-4).

4. To give words of thanks (v.4);

5. Let no one deceive us with empty words. Do not be partakers with the sons of disobedience (v.6-7).

B.  As the Children of Light:

1. To bear the fruit of goodness, righteousness, and truth (v.9)

2. To find out what is acceptable to the Lord (v.10)

3. To have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but expose them (v.11-13)

4. Do not sleep, and arise from the dead (v.14).

C.  As Wise:

1. Who shall walk circumspectly ---- do not be fools (v.15)

2. Who shall redeem the time ---- do not follow the days (v.16)

3. Who shall understand the will of the Lord ---- do not be unwise (v.17)

4. Who shall be filled with the Spirit ---- do not be drunk with wine (v.18)

5. Who shall sing, praise and give thanks to God ---- do not complain at God (v.19-20)

6. Who shall submit to one another in the fear of Christ ---- do not despise Christ (v.21)


The Mysterious Relationship Between Husband and Wife

A.  The husband is head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church (v.22-24)

B.  The husband shall love the wife, as Christ loved the church (v.25-27).

C.  The husband shall treat the wife as how Christ treats the church (v.28-30).

D.  The husband shall be joined to his wife, as Christ and the church (v.31-32).

E.  The husband shall love his wife, and his wife shall also respect her husband (v.33).


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

YLT: “Become, then, followers of God, as children beloved,”

Meaning of Words: “Imitators”: followers;

Literal Meaning: the word therefore” connects this verse with the previous chapter. Therefore, the following exhortations are concluded from the previous chapter four.

“Be imitators of God”, for we have already received the new life, “which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). He who does not have the life of God cannot be imitator of God. Only those who have possessed the life of God ---- those who are God’s children ---- can imitate Him.

“As dear children”, to be imitators of God is not done by us, but God Himself. We need only put off the old man and put on the new man and live in the new man. God’s Spirit will manifest the life of God through us as dear children of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)       Those who have received the Lord Jesus are the children of God, but may not be the beloved children of God. The beloved children of God must meet the condition of being beloved, that is, they should walk as God.

2)       Christians ought to be like God, just as that the children ought to be like their physical fathers.


Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

YLT: “and walk in love, as also the Christ did love us, and did give himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odour of a sweet smell,”

Meaning of Words: given Himself for us”: to hand oneself over to another and let another person reign; “offering”: things that are brought; “a sacrifice”: the victim; things that are killed;

Literal Meaning: and walk in love”, to be imitators of God, we shall walk in love. God is love ---- as we walk in love, we are taking the words and deeds of Christ as the model. “Walk”, in the present tense, means that it has to become our habitual conduct.

“And given Himself for us”, there is a principle of walking in love, that is, giving ourselves for others. Christ came to the earth to give His life for us. God loves us and gave His Son to us freely, and thus the love of God has been manifested through Christ.

“An offering and a sacrifice”,sacrifice” emphasizes sacrifice, which carries the meaning of being killed and shedding the blood. It refers to the Lord’s death on the cross in order to redeem us from our sins. While “offering” does not refer to the sacrifice or the shedding of blood, e.g. the first-fruits in the Old Testament. It refers to the whole life of the Lord Jesus on the earth, focusing on the aspect of fellowship. What the Lord has done for us is not just His death on the cross, but also His whole life on the earth.

“To God for a sweet-smelling aroma”, what the Lord Jesus had done for us before God is to redeem us from our sins on the one hand, and to restore the fellowship with God for us on the other hand. He gave Himself for us both as an offering and a sacrifice and became a fragrant aroma for the enjoyment of God. Therefore, to walk in love is: (1) to deny our selves; (2) to give ourselves for others; (3) to offer the fruits to God for his enjoyment.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      To be the beloved children of God (v.1), we must walk in love. He who only receives love but never gives love is not a normal Christian.

2)      To be imitators of Christ is to be imitators of God (v.1), because all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Col. 2:9).

3)      The more we hear of what Christ has done for us, the more will we seek to be united with Him.

4)      What we have seen in Christ at first is His sacrificial love.

5)      The greatest principle in the Christians’ daily life is love. This love is not the natural affective love, but the love of Christ on the cross.

6)      Only the love that is out of Christ and that has gone through the purification of the cross can really be beneficial to others, and be a fragrant aroma to God, and be acceptable to God and satisfy God.

7)      The true love of Christ will pay all prices for the beloved ones, without any consideration of the sacrifice.

8)      True love is giving oneself for others without any covetousness or “self.  A spiritual love is pure in its motive and is given out to others. The real meaning of love is the sacrificing of oneself, not social custom or courtesy in reciprocation.

9)      How much love we have will determine how much we will give ourselves. If there is no love, there is no self denial.

10)   Whenever we come before God, we have to bring along with us “offerings and sacrifices” to offer to Him, instead of coming with empty hands.


Eph. 5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;

YLT: “and whoredom, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints;”

Literal Meaning: fornication”: wench, which refers to any improper sexual relationship.

“Uncleanness”: things that will pollute a person’s ears, thoughts, emotions, beliefs and etc., including evil and unclean desires.

“Covetousness”: it does not only refer to the insatiable greed for material things, but also the self-indulgence in sexual desires. One seeks to satisfy one’s own lust, but ignores the harm to others.

“Let it not even be named among you”, not only must we not do these things, but we should not even mention them.

“As is fitting for saints”, since we are imitators of God, we should not do anything that is of Satan. If one has these negative things, he is not like a saint, and is not fit for the dignity of those who have been separated out of the world by God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Fornication and covetousness are twins. One seeks after happiness, and the other seeks after the material gains. He who seeks things outside of God will commit fornication and covetousness.

2)    The love of Christ is holy love, which can neither bear sins nor make anyone associate with evil person. If you love the brothers and sisters, you will not use words that are not fit for saints to hurt them

3)    The life of believers has its own style that differs from those of the world.


Eph. 5:4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

YLT: “also filthiness, and foolish talking, or jesting, -- the things not fit -- but rather thanksgiving;”

Literal Meaning: filthiness”: the debauchery, obscenity, indecency, disgraceful conversation;

“Foolish talking”: untimely, meaningless and useless conversation, especially preposterous drivel, random conversation or even rumors without any true knowledge of the certain matter.

Coarse jesting”: it refers to vulgar utterance not only, but also nonsensical idle talks. Here it especially refers to teasing with filthy topical matters mutually, revealing one’s own foolishness completely.

But rather giving of thanks, it is not only giving thanks for what we are grateful of, but also encouraging those who have heard the gratitude that we have given to God to be grateful as well. “Giving thanks” can also be translated aselegance” in the original. Paul here means that all our words and conversation should be filled with the sweetness of truth and grace, and we should speak to others gently to edify others.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The conversation of Christians is a most important matter. A wrong word may be not fitting for saints (v. 3), and cause our spirit be depressed. We should frequently give thanks to the Lord to glorify Him and make us be joyful in our spirit.

2)    If you truly love the brothers, you will not speak foolish talking or coarse jesting to contaminate their thoughts and ears or harm them.

3)    Only those who know the Lord’s sovereignty will give thanks to the Lord in all things without any hatred. When we encounter a situation yet we cannot give a heartfelt “thanks to Lord”, it proves that we have not adequately learnt that “Christ is the Lord of all.”

4)    We Christians cannot actually say the words of “thank the Lord” all days. However, we can always speak with a grateful heart to the Lord.


Eph. 5:5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

YLT: “for this ye know, that every whoremonger, or unclean, or covetous person, who is an idolater, hath no inheritance in the reign of the Christ and God.”

Meaning of Words: has any …”: cannot gain, has no share, be not included;

Literal Meaning: fornicator”: those who commit adultery or any other immoral act.

“Unclean person”: those whose acts are indecent;

“Covetous man”: those who are discontent with material things or passionate lusts and seek after the improper enjoyment.

“The kingdom of Christ and God”, God handed over His kingdom to His Son that we may enter into His heavenly kingdom through Him.

“No… has any inheritance”, one is saved through faith, not man’s deeds. However, if a believer commits the sins of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, and etc. after has been saved, but refuses to repent and even continues in these habitual sins, he will become a fornicator, unclean person, or a covetous man. He will not only have no share in the reality of the kingdom of God today, but also have no inheritance in the manifestation and reward of God’s kingdom.

Some Bible commentators think that the kingdom of Christ is the Messianic kingdom, namely, the millennial kingdom. The Messianic kingdom is also the kingdom of God. Therefore, “the kingdom of Christ and God” is talking about the millennial kingdom. The believers will receive the portion of inheritance as their reward according to their good works in the coming the millennial kingdom. However, if anyone commits any of the sins mentioned in this verse, they will lose the reward and have no share in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

“Covetous man, who is an idolater”, any person, thing, or deed that can snatch away one’s heart and replace God’s status in his heart is idolatry.  There are several kinds of idolatry, and one of them is covetousness, which may cause a believer to lust after other blessing or benefit outside of only true God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Covetousness is an attitude of discontentment. An insatiable heart that constantly covets will cause men to do things that miss the mark and even to commit sins.

2)    The love of money is spiritual fornication, because money has preoccupied man’s heart.

3)    If you love your brothers, you will not give place to the thought of covetousness to invade what your brothers have or to take advantage of your brothers.


Eph. 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

YLT: “Let no one deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the sons of the disobedience,”

Literal Meaning: empty words” have two meanings: (1) Words that do not focus on God and have no reality of God within are words of vanity. (2) Words of unknown origin are empty fable gossips.

These two categories of words are deceitful and can swindle men to depart from the right way of the Lord.

“Because of these things”: because of the empty words.

“Comes upon”, it is the present tense, and this word is a proper noun describing that God judges the world. It definitely indicates that God will surely deal with those who seek personal gains in sins.

“The sons of disobedience”, it refers mainly to man of the world, as well as believers. Though believers have already received the eternal life of God, they will still have to face the judgment of God and give an account to Him about their conduct after they are saved.


Eph. 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

YLT: “become not, then, partakers with them,”

Meaning of Words: “be partakers with”: a co-participant;

Literal Meaning: therefore”, it is a continuation of the above text.

“Do not be partakers with them”, although believers have already been accepted by God in Christ, if they continue to participate in what the unbelievers do, God’s wrath will also come upon them as it does on the unbelievers.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We are incompatible with the unbelievers, and we should not be unequally yoke together with them (2 Cor. 6:14). If a believer partakes together with an unbeliever in the matters of darkness, he will inevitably fall into their sins.

2)    To flow together with them and not be stained ---- how difficult it is! If a believer wants to avoid the end of the children of disobedience, he has to avoid associating with them.


Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

YLT: “for ye were once darkness, and now light in the Lord; as children of light walk ye,”

Literal Meaning: for you were once darkness”, God is Light. Darkness is contrary to the light, and therefore darkness is Satan. Before we were saved, our nature and our natural disposition were darkness and were filled with darkness. Therefore, we were not only in darkness, but we were darkness.

“But now you are light in the Lord”, now the Lord has entered into us and He is Light, we have the nature of light in us. Therefore, we are not just bright in the light, but we are light.

“Children of light’”, the children of light have the life of light, the disposition of light, and will live the life of light. To imitate God is to live out the nature of God who is light.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    After we are saved, we have become the children of light. Therefore, on one hand we have to abandon the previous behavior of darkness, on the other hand, we should live out the life of light.

2)    On the one hand, we have to obtain the being before we have the conduct. On the other hand, we have to approve and prove who we are through our conduct.

3)    Since the essence of our life has been changed from darkness to light, our conduct should also be changed accordingly.


Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

YLT: “for the fruit of the Spirit in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth,”

Literal Meaning: for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness”, goodness, righteousness, and truth ---- the fruit of light ---- are manifested in the light. As regards the nature, it is light. As regards the conduct, it should be the fruit of light.

“Goodness”: without anything bad. It does not only refer to the nature of a certain matter, but also to the attitude towards men. The emphasis here is on love and tolerance, that is, the spirit of helping others gladly.

“Righteous”: without unreasonableness, honest, fair, and have no room for others to criticize. The emphasis here is on respecting the authority of God and others… giving to each their respective due.

“Truth”: without falsehood. One is not only true to his words, but also is sincere, frank and upright. The manifestation of God is reality.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Fruit is something borne naturally by the maturity of life. Therefore, we have to cultivate the life of light only, and will have all the goodness, righteousness and truth.

2)    Conduct that is out of the light can surely stand up the test of goodness, righteousness and truth. Therefore, concerning our conduct, we have to ask ourselves ---- whether the nature of this matter is good or not? Is the procedure legitimate? And whether the goal of this matter is for God or not?

3)    We often say, “The society is in darkness”. It is because the relationship of men in the society lacks the fruit of the light, namely, goodness, righteousness, and truth.


Eph. 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

YLT: “proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord,”

Meaning of Words: finding out”: examining, experimenting, reflecting out, selecting;

Literal Meaning: the thought here is that we shall try to find out that what pleases the Lord and then walk accordingly. In principle, goodness, righteousness and truth are all consistent with the Lord’s disposition.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    What the believers ought to pay their attention to is not whether the matters are great or small, nor they are important or not, but whether the Lord pleases it or not.

2)    Believers should always seek what is acceptable to the Lord and do what He pleases.

3)    If we want to know what is acceptable to the Lord, we should observe carefully His words and His doings. In other words, we have to know “what the will of the Lord is”.


Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

YLT: “and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness and rather even convict,”

Meaning of Words: expose”: to reveal, to expose, to correct, and to point out;

Literal Meaning: the unfruitful works of darkness”, it refers to things that are not good, unrighteous or untrue. Men dare not expose these improper things in the light, so they keep them in secret.

“But rather expose them”, that is to admonish those who commit evils in love, intelligence and wittiness. This is a kind of difficult and pleasant task. The word “them” indicates that they reprove not only those who do the unfruitful works of darkness, but also those unfruitful works. Therefore, if someone occasionally makes the mistake carelessly, he should be bold to confess it and reprove what he has done.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though believers are children of light, they may also have the unfruitful works of darkness.

2)    On the negative aspect, believers should not have the unfruitful works of darkness. But on the positive aspect, they should also reprove and oppose those who walk in darkness. Today, many believers pay attention to only the former part, but ignore the latter one.

3)    The public exposure is hatred, but individual frankness is love.

4)    If a believer does in the same manner as others, how can he reprove others?


Eph. 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

YLT: “for the things in secret done by them it is a shame even to speak of,”

Meaning of Words: to speak of”: to discuss;

Literal Meaning: those things which are done by them in secret”, it indicates that the unfruitful works of darkness can only be done in darkness, because men dare not let others see what they are doing. If they walk in the light, they cannot do what they have done in darkness.

“For it is shameful”, why shall we accuse and expose these things? It is because these things are shameful.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The normal life of a Christian will expose the sins of others, but Christians should not mainly emphasize the discussion of these sins.

2)    The goal for believers talking about matters concerning sins is to cause others to have a proper sense of shame.


Eph. 5:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

YLT: “and all the things reproved by the light are manifested, for everything that is manifested is light;”

Literal Meaning: but all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light”, to expose the hidden sinful conducts is to let the light shine upon them so as to unveil them. Therefore, he who receives exposure is to receive the light of Christ.

“For whatever makes manifest is light”, it can also be translated as: for whatever has been manifested becomes light” in the original. The responsibility of the children of light is not just to expose those who are in darkness so as to let them be “made manifest”, but also to make them be the children of the light as well.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    One of the most important things in a Christian’s life is to be constantly in the light of the Lord. This is not the physical light that can be seen by our physical eyes, but a kind of revelation or exposure in the depth of us, which points out our transgressions or faults on a certain matter. When we have such sense in us, we have to know that the Lord is shining upon us. At this time, we have to receive it and repent.

2)    The effectiveness of the light of Christ is often manifested through the fellowship among the members of the body of Christ. Generally speaking, the inner shining of the Holy Spirit is not as strong as the outward reproach. Those who are unwilling to receive the constructive criticism of others must be dark, low and gloomy within.

3)    The children of light (v.8) are not only bright of themselves, but they can also shine upon others, causing others to be reproved within and see their sins.

4)    We have to reprove others and also be able to receive reproach from others.

5)    The light of Christ can reveal the secret of men in the darkness and point out men’s faults on the negative aspect. We need not only the positive function of light ---- “to enlighten the eyes of our heart” (1:18) and know the fullness of Christ, but also the other function of the light ---- to manifest the nature of ourselves and let us see the evil of ourselves.

6)    We tend to be in darkness by nature, and even feel happy to live in the darkness, for many things cannot be brought to the light. The shamefulness will be immediately manifested under the light.


Eph. 5:14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

YLT: “wherefore he saith, `Arouse thyself, thou who art sleeping, and arise out of the dead, and the Christ shall shine upon thee.'”

Literal Meaning: therefore He says”, where the following words are quoted is not mentioned in the Bible. However, the Lord often speaks to us by men’s preaching or reproach.

“You who sleep”, those who walk in the darkness are listed in the members who sleep.

“Arise from the dead”, a man in the darkness is not only asleep, but is also dead spiritually. Therefore, the exposure will not only bring them back into light, but also bring them back into life.

“And Christ will give you light”, this light is subjective, realistic, and an exposing light. Therefore to receive the rebuke is to receive the shining of Christ, and it will bring one back into the light.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should do our utmost to awaken those who are in a lethargic sleep and who are spiritually dead and bring them back into the light of Christ.

2)    The light of Christ is a light of life (Jn. 8:12). The shining of Christ and being raised from the dead are intimately related. The light and life are interrelated. 


Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

YLT: “See, then, how exactly ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise,”

Literal Meaning: circumspectly”: carefully guard, be cautious to watch what is in front of and behind you… like a person going through a dangerous place who has to pay close attention to the circumstance;

“Walk”: it carries the adjectives like right and upright in the original, which means that the walking of believers should be sober and proper without errors.

“Not as fools”: those who are unwise in the original.

“But as wise”: those who have been instructed by the Lord in the real school of wisdom. The Lord is both our guidance and our teacher, teaching us His will so as to give us the real wisdom.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The difference between the wise and the fools lies in whether they walk circumspectly.

2)    The wise do not walk rashly, but do all things in conformance to the strict criteria.

3)    A lot of believers stumble and fall because they are not careful and discrete, and are not cautious enough in guarding against the enemy so that they have given ground to the devil.


Eph. 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

YLT: “redeeming the time, because the days are evil;”

Meaning of Words: redeem”: to purchase, redeem entirely; “Time”: opportunity;

Literal Meaning: redeeming the time” has two meanings: (1) the word “redeem means that we have to pay the price to redeem our squandered time and wisely use each minute and second of our time. (2) “Time” is opportunity in the original, indicating that each minute of our time is an opportunity given by God to us. We need to seize every opportunity to live a meaningful life.

“Because the days are evil”, why shall we redeem the time? It is because the days are evil. There are many things today that are evil and consume our time. If we are going to redeem the time, we shall overcome the evil of the days.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      All those who are progressive in this world try to redeem the time to achieve their goals on this earth. In contrast, we, the children of God, ought to redeem the time to know the will of God. Otherwise, we will be like the unwise mentioned in the following verse (v.17).

2)      The enemy usually uses the good and spiritual things to consume our time and distract our attention to make us be unable to focus on Christ Himself. Therefore, we shall try to redeem the time that was spent on other things in the past and focus on Christ Himself now. Otherwise, we will be the spiritual “unwise”.

3)      Among the grace given to us by God, all of them are gradually increased, except for the time”, which becomes less and less.

4)      A truly wise men is one who knows how to properly seize every opportunity given by God and spend it on the most valuable things.

5)      Man is fallen and lost before the eyes of God. How long a man remains in the sins, he will correspondingly lose that much time as well. Therefore, if anyone wants to redeem the time, the man himself should be redeemed first.


Eph. 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

YLT: “because of this become not fools, but -- understanding what the will of the Lord,”

Meaning of Words: unwise”: an unwise person or one who is generally ignorant;

Literal Meaning: but understand what the will of the Lord is, we should take the will of God as the goal in our life. All the conduct outside the will of God is of vanity. Only in the will of God can we redeem the time. One of the foremost concerns for a Christian is to discern what God wants him to do.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      We know from this verse that those who are “unwise” are those who do not know the will of God.

2)      Admittedly, the conduct is out of one’s life, but once a man has obtained the life, he still needs cultivation, so that he may walk becomingly. Though believers have the life of God, they still have to understand the will of God so that they will walk worthily of the Lord (Col 1:9-10).

3)      The will of God can be known through careful search. A sloppy, careless and muddled man cannot understand. Therefore, if we want to be wise and spiritual, we shall treasure our time (v.16) and seek to know the will of God in the reasonable application of time.

4)      The will of God shall not be counted as big or small. What a believer has to seek is whether it is of the Lord’s will or not. We should never think that we have to keep the will of the Lord in big matters but can disregard it in small matters.

5)      The focus of the will of the Lord is that all those who belong to Him will come to the full knowledge of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Only those who have truly known Christ have understood the will of the Lord.


Eph. 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

YLT: “and be not drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in the Spirit,”

Meaning of Words: dissipation”: excessive, intemperate, waste, unsavedness;

Literal Meaning: do not be drunk with wine,being drunk with wine is the temporary fervency, which makes man be aberrant, dissipated or corrupted and even be unable to restrain oneself from doing something.

  “In which is dissipation”, “dissipation” does not only mean the dissipated acts, but also wasting property. It is not the wine that makes man be dissipated, but being drunk with the wine makes one be dissipated. Therefore, one should not drink wine so as to prevent from being drunk with it.

But be filled with the Spirit, the opposite part of “being drunk with wine” is “being filled with the Spirit. The life of Christians should live the life that is filled with the Holy Spirit.

“One should be filled with…”, this verb has these features: (1) it is passive ---- it is the Holy Spirit that actively fills in us, so that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit. (2) It is a command ---- though it is passive, we should come to “ask” and “seek”. (3) It is the present tense ---- it indicated that we should seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit continually.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When we are filled with the Spirit, we may have some semblance of being drunk (Act 2:13-17) outwardly, but in reality we do not lack the temperance as those who are drunk with wine. A man who is truly filled with the Spirit will show that he is properly controlled by the Holy Spirit.

2) To “be filled” indicates that we have not received a little of the Spirit, but abundant measure of it. Our receiving of the Holy Spirit should not be in a small petty measure, but in full measure.

3) D.L. Moody said, “If we want to live the victorious Christian life, we need not draw out the hidden sins within us and disregard them, we only need to be filled with the Spirit.”


Eph. 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

YLT: “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,”

Literal Meaning: psalms”, it refers to the psalms in the Old Testament, which were sung with the accompaniment of the musical instruments in that days.

Hymns”: songs used by the saints to praise and worship God.

“Spiritual songs”: impromptu songs with rhythms composed by believers in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”, it indicates that our praising of the Lord is not just in words or on our tongues (1 Jn. 5:18), but also in spirit and reality (Jn. 4:24). Otherwise, we will not be accepted by the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The result of being filled with the Spirit is “speaking to one another and singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”, for the work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. Whether it is the true work of the Holy Spirit lies in whether Christ has received more praise and glory.

2) A Christian does not enjoy the false happiness by anaesthetizing him in his life, but seeks to be filled with the Spirit in praising God.

3) When our hearts are filled with gratitude towards God, then very spontaneously we will praise Him.

4) When praise and worship to God are overflowed through one’s life, others will touch the spirit of worship in him.

5) The peak our spiritual exercise is to be in the spirit of worship in life.

6) Praise from men’s effort will definitely not be harmonious. However, praise from men’s heart will be a pure and delightful song of praise.


Eph. 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

YLT: “giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the God and Father;”

Literal Meaning: all things” means all things that come from the Lord. We should willingly accept all that has been arranged by God for us… whether it is good or bad, bitter or joyful.

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”, we shall always live in the Lord, be joined to the Lord, and give thanks in His name.

“Giving thanks always”, the most obvious mark of being filled with the Holy Spirit is that the one may give thanks always for all things to God. “God the Father”, God has the dual relation with us ---- sometimes, He relates to us as a God, and sometimes as the Father. It is always God first and Father afterwards.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The principle of the believers’ life is not based on reasons, but on whether we can do things in the name of the Lord and give thanks to the God.

2) No one can be saved without knowing the name of the Lord. And no one can be truly used by the Lord without knowing the power of Lord's name.

3) The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is a name given to man now (Act 4:12). The Lord has entrusted His name to us, so we should do everything in His name.

    4) Everyone may dislike those who are ungrateful, yet we ourselves often overlook to give thanks.

5) There is a saying: “The hardest kind of arithmetic to learn is learning to count the grace we have received.”

    6) Believers shall not only “always” give thanks to God, but give thanks to God in all things.


Eph. 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

YLT: “subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of God.”

Literal Meaning: in the fear of God”, in the original, it is “being in fear of Christ”. To fear Christ is to fear Christ who is the head of the Church. The other side of the life of praise is to acknowledge the power of Christ and to fear Christ. Fear means fearing ---- being afraid of disappointing Him and making Him sad.

“Submit to one another”, the mind of fear must be manifest in our life, i.e. an attitude of submission. “One another”: the relationship among the members. Once the relationship of the members is not right, it will offend the Head, Christ.

“Submit to one another” is a significant mark of a person who has been filled by the Holy Spirit. This is also an attitude of showing respect to each other. We should not only submit to the Lord, but also to those whom the Lord makes us submit. Outwardly, we are submitting to men. However, we are submitting to the God inwardly.

This verse leads to the next paragraph, which mentions the relationship between husband and wife, parent and children, as well as master and bond servant. “Submit to one another means that we all have to stand on our own positions. For fear of hurting the heart of our Head, we shall keep our own positions and submit to one another.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) In the church, no one is the “head, for only Christ is the “head”. Therefore all of us have to submit to one another. The problem in the church today is that a lot of men want to be the head.

2) We should have the heart of fearing Christ at first, so that we will be able to submit to one another.

3) He who really fears the Lord is the one who is truly willing to follow the examples of the Lord, who served others on the earth, so we should serve others and learn to submit to one another.                    

4) If a believer lives in a right condition in his individual life before the Lord, he should also seek to be right in the corporate life among the saints. Many children of God love the Lord every much in their private life, but when they are gathered with other saints, their problems will be completely manifested.


Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

YLT: “The wives! to your own husbands subject yourselves, as to the Lord,”

Literal Meaning: wives”, according to ordinary customs, husbands may be mentioned first, and then wives, but here the Bible puts it in the reverse order. There are two reasons:

1)    The first couple got into trouble for the sake of Eve. Therefore, in the sight of God, it is the wife that firstly makes the mistake, so the wife shall be firstly persuaded.

2)    The husband represents Christ while the wife represents the church.  Therefore, the church shall be firstly encouraged.

“Submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”, wives must submit to their own husbands as to the Lord. It does not mean that submitting to the husband and submitting the Lord are of the same level, but that submitting to husbands is the responsibility of wives given by Christ. To submit is an inward attitude, showing full submission to the authority ---- this is true and deep.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)Submit” is a neutral verb means being willing to submit. The submission of the wife is not fiercely commanded by the brutal husband.

2) In creation of God, men and women are equal in status, value, and dignity. However, in the will of God, their functions and the rolls they play are distinct.

3) The secret of submitting to the husband is submitting to the Lord.

4) This verb indicates that wives should submit to their own husbands. Many wives can submit to other women’ husbands and say that other women’ husbands are good, but cannot submit to their own husbands.


Eph. 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

YLT: “because the husband is head of the wife, as also the Christ head of the assembly, and he is saviour of the body,”

Literal Meaning: husband is head of the wife”, this is Lord's arrangement for man, not the matter concerning equality.

“As also Christ is head of the church”, it states that it is indisputable that God makes the husband be the head of the wife, as it is indisputable that Christ is head of the church.

“He is the savior of the body”, Christ is not only the head of the church, but also is the savior of thebody. It denotes that though the husband is the head of the wife, he can not randomly use his position of being the head to suppress wife, for the husband will never be the savior of the wife. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) There will never be two heads in a body. Likewise, there can never be two heads in a single family, or else, there will be confusion.

2) That Christ is the head speaks of His dominion. And that Christ is the savior speaks of His grace and love. Christ comes to be the head of Church in His boundless grace and love.


Eph. 5:24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

YLT: “but even as the assembly is subject to Christ, so also the wives to their own husbands in everything.”

Literal Meaning: there is a word “but” in the beginning of this verse in the original. It means though Christ is the savior of the church, the husband can not be the savior of wife, the wife should still submit to the husband, just as the church submits to Christ.

“Submit to their own husbands in everything”, it is a matter concerning authority. Therefore, the wives have to submit in everything. “Everything” is limited to the matters within a family only. Even though in this area, it should also be in the principle of the faith in Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord uses the matter of wife’s submission to husband remind the church to submit to Christ. And He also uses the matter of church’s submission to Christ to remind sisters to submit to their own husbands.

2) Only when a man knows the proper relation between Christ and the church, will he understand the true meaning of husband and wife, thus manifesting a normal married life.

3) It will be of no difficulty that Christ be the head of the church, if all the children of God submit to the Lord in their daily life. Or else, the church may lose its testimony of the body.

4) That the church submits to Christ in everything is an example for the wife’s submission to her husband. In other words, there will be good family life as long as there is good church life.


Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

YLT: “The husbands! love your own wives, as also the Christ did love the assembly, and did give himself for it,”

The Background: the ancient world is a the world of men, even it was so in the family. Among the Jews, the position of the wife is just a little bit higher than a slave. The Greeks even kept the women in a certain room of their houses, and did not allow them to eat with men.

Literal Meaning: love your wives”, in the third chapter of Genesis (3:16), God judged that husband would rule over the wives. Why here it does not command that husbands should rule over wives, but exhorts the husbands should love their wives? It is because love is the real effective ruling. Therefore, husbands should not be proud of the headship, for it is not with authority, but in love. In Genesis, the words of “the wives’ being ruled over” were spoken to the women. 

     “And gave Himself for her”, “gave” means that Christ gave Himself for the church for the sake of His love to her. This is the greatest gift. Christ loves the church. He lay down His life (put Himself to death) in order to give birth to and gain the church. Here, we can see the will of the Lord does not lie in any individual, but in the church. That Christ has gained us is for the purpose of building the church.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Christ is the head of the church (v.23). However, he does not boast His commanding position or treat His church in a bossy manner, but rather “loves the church, and gave Himself for the church”. That He becomes the head in the sacrificial love has just manifested the nature of Christ's authority. In the church, the condition of one’s being unwilling to humble them or lacking the authority of tender love is just that the flesh sits on the throne, which cannot truly represent Christ's authority.

2) The love of the husband to the wife should not be an occupying love, but rather a sacrificial one.

3) A sacrificial love never demands anything from others, but seeks to give to others.

4) The unselfish love of the husband encourages the wife to obey the wife. Even the husband has to sacrifice himself for the happiness of his wife without hesitation.

5) The Bible demands the wife to submit and husband to love. Outwardly, it seems to demand two different virtues, but actually they both require self-denial and self-sacrifice in order to have real submission and real love. Therefore, the requirement of the Bible toward husband and wife are the same in fact.

6) The relationship between husband and wife is interrelated. However, it benefits the other one from sacrificing one’s self first. The wife's submission is self-denial, so is the husband’s love. The marriage of Christians is not sowing to one’s flesh. Family should not be a Christian’s fallen ground, but a Christians practicing ground.                           


Eph. 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

YLT: “that he might sanctify it, having cleansed with the bathing of the water in the saying,”

The Background: in the old days, when a Jewish girl got married, there would be a ceremonial bath before the wedding ceremony. After that, she would put on the beautiful gown and wait for the groom.

Literal Meaning: with the washing of water by the water”, water” refers to the risen life of the Lord as well as the Holy Spirit. “Word” is rhema (the subjective word), not logos (the objective word). Logos is a great message which was revealed by God in this universe. Until a certain day, some word of God touches you and inspires you through the working of the Holy Spirit, and it becomes rhema.

“Cleanse her (the church)”, “cleanse”: remove. The risen life of the Lord in us is taking off everything that is of the old creation. This is the washing of the water of life.

“That He might sanctify”, Christ gave Himself for the church in order to sanctify the church. Sanctification is that the life of God comes into us and makes us be separated from others. Only the church is sanctified in all things and is able to match Him and will be one with Him.

“Washing” is to get rid of sins and uncleanness. “Sanctify”: purify or consecrate; “Washing” is the way of being sanctified.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When we are enjoying the fellowship with the Lord, the Lord often uses His words to wash off our natural spots and wrinkles in us.

2) There are many so-called children of God who are not willing to be cleansed by the truth, but fervently live out of the truth without paying any attention to the Lord’s will of building the church. This is a reason why the church has not attained to its fullness on the earth.

3) One of the problems of the church is that there is only the objective              and dead doctrine, but lacks the subjective and living words.


Eph. 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

YLT: “that he might present it to himself the assembly in glory, not having spot or wrinkle, or any of such things, but that it may be holy and unblemished;”

Meaning of Words: spot”: scar, spot; “blemish”: spot or mixture on a piece of jade;

Literal Meaning: present her to Himself “, is a special term use in wedding ---- to lead the bride to the front of the groom. Christ gave himself to the church in order to sanctify the church. And that the church is sanctified in order to being presented to Christ Himself. This is the purpose of purpose.

“A glorious Church”, means that the church will be put on glory and be girded with glory.

“Without blemish”, He will wash the church to the point that it seems have no spots or dirt.

“Wrinkle” is a mark of senescence. The reason for the wrinkle of the church is the measure of the new creation is insufficient and the elements of the old creation still remain. Therefore, it soon gets old. The Lord will work in the church to an extent that there is no oldness remaining. Everything will be new.

“Any such thing”, it means that there is not any spot outside or any wrinkle inside and even there is no defect like that.

“But holy and without blemish”, it means by then the church will be absolutely perfect without any damage or spot or blemish.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The highest peak of sanctification is glory. Today the church can not be fully glorified, because the flesh of man has covered the glory. When the wedding of the lamb comes, the church will be a glorious church. God will fully be manifested through the church.

2) The blemishes of the church have been washed by the blood of Christ. But the spots of the church and the elements of the old creation should be washed through life. We will be fully sanctified and enter into the glory until we are brought to see the Lord.

3) God sees the church from the inside, spiritual, and eternal viewpoints, but man often look at the church from the outside, humanly, and present viewpoints. No wonder that man’s appraisal of the church is different from that of God.

4) Christ loves the Church ---- He not only gave His life to redeem the church (v. 25), but rather would wash the church (v.26) with the life in His word ---- “the water in the word” to make her a fully rich church that is holy, glorious, unblemished, pure ---- no “spot”, fresh ---- no “wrinkle”, and to present it to Himself. Here, what Christ has done for the church because of love are as follows: for the past, He saved us; for the present, He works until the church is filled with His fullness; for the future, He will unite with her eternally. Oh, the love of Christ toward the church is really excellent and incomparable!


Eph. 5:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

YLT: “so ought the husbands to love their own wives as their own bodies: he who is loving his own wife -- himself he doth love;”

Literal Meaning: as”, how Christ gave Himself for the church to perfect the church, likewise, the husband should also lay down his life for the benefit of His wife.

“As their own bodies”, it means husbands should love their own wives to the extent as loving himself. How much he loves himself, the same degree that he should love his wife.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) He who does not love his own wife does not love himself.

2) Man may often tend to be considerate of themselves and find excuses for themselves. Husbands should love their own wives to such an extent.

3) The love of a husband toward his wife can never be compared with the love of Christ toward the church. Therefore, no husband should ever think the love he has given to his wife is too much.


Eph. 5:29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

YLT: “for no one ever his own flesh did hate, but doth nourish and cherish it, as also the Lord -- the assembly,”

Literal Meaning: nourishes and cherishes”, nourish” focuses on feeding, supply the nutrition to the body. “Cherish” emphasizes the attendance, showing amiable consideration.

“Just as the Lord does the Church”, Christ gave the church the spiritual nutrition and gave her intimate attendance, just like a mother does her nursing baby.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Christ loves the church, like one loves his own body, always nurturing ---- feeding, and cherishing” her ---- taking care of. Admittedly, how unceasingly that Christ is always feeding the church with His riches to make the church grow up, and how tenderly He always cares for the church so that the church is protected. To such Christ who loves the church so much, how can we not love Him, long for Him, and submit to Him? 

2) The husband should nourish and cherish the wife and meet all her need and warm her heart with soft and gentle love as he does his body.

3) That the husband “nourishes and cherishes” his wife must include protection, nourishing, caring and cherishing.


Eph. 5:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

YLT: “because members we are of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones;”

Literal Meaning: the Lord nourishes and cherishes the church that much, for the church is His body and we are the members of His body ---- we are of His flesh and of His bones, for the church is a part of the Lord Himself, like Eve who was out of Adam. The church partakes of the flesh and bones only, not the blood Christ, for His blood had been shed on the cross for us. The risen Christ has bones and flesh, but no blood. That means He has put off the natural life, and only the risen life remains. Therefore, the church is the body of Christ.


Eph. 5:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

YLT: “`for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they shall be -- the two -- for one flesh;'”

Literal Meaning: a man shall leave his father and mother”, it does not teach us that we shall disregard our parents and not take care of them, but that marriage is the most divine one among all the relationships in mankind.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       If any of them, either the husband or the wife, has not been delivered from the influence on their parents in their marriage, it will be hard to live a joyful life.

“Be joined to his wife”, in the original, it means sticking” to his wife, whose meaning is deeper than being united.

“The two shall become one flesh”, originally, the wife is a part of the husband. Now the wife is going back to husband and the two shall become one flesh. “One flesh” is not only the union in the flesh, but also in mind and spirit, which typifies that Christ will be jointed to the church completely.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is an unchangeable law that children should honor their parents. The union of husband and wife is even more intimate than the relationship between parents and children.

2) The life of marriage must manifest the reality of unity. If the Christian couples have very superficial relationships and merely constrain to maintain their marriage, they have violated the teaching that “the two become one flesh.”

3) The love of the husband towards his wife transcends his love towards his parents.

4) “A man shall leave his father and mother”, it means getting rid of the initial and traditional relationship. “Join to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”, it speaks of the complete union of Christ and the church. The experience of the believers can verify that only when the church has been more completely separated from all the old and traditional elements, will the church be able to have a more profound and intimate union with Christ. Concerning this matter, we need the intense work of the cross.


Eph. 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

YLT: “this secret is great, and I speak in regard to Christ and to the assembly;”

Literal Meaning: that the husband and the wife shall become one flesh is a great mystery, but the apostle refers this to Christ and the church. Since the church is out of Christ, the two shall become one.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The mystery of the union of Christ and the church can only be understood slightly from the relationship of the husband and the wife that will be one flesh.

2) In a certain marriage, both the husband and the wife should be identified with the way that Christ deals with the church and that the church deals with Christ and treat each other accordingly.


Eph. 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

YLT: “but ye also, every one in particular -- let each his own wife so love as himself, and the wife -- that she may reverence the husband.”

Literal Meaning: love your wife”: nourish and cherish;

“Respects” , in original text, it is “fear”. The Lord commands the husband to love his wife, yet the wife should also take two responsibilities: (1) submit; (2)fear. Wife should submit and fear her husband, because the husband is the head on behalf of Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If the husband does not love the wife and the wife also does not respect or fear the husband, they have not only committed the moral sins, but also violated the typification of God. To commit moral sins is serious matter, but to violate the typification and order of God is a much more serious matter.

2) Husband should love the wife, like Christ loves the church. The wife should also learn to submit to and fear the husband, like they obey and fear the Lord.

3) The unselfish love of the husband to his wife will greatly encourage the wife to submit. A husband who does not love his wife with his heart is unqualified to demand his wife's submission.

4) The more the wife submits to and fears her husband, the more will she receive the love of the husband.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Behavior One Should Have in the New Life

A.   As Dear Children:

1.    Who shall walk in love (v.1-2)

2.    Who shall have a sanctified life (v.3-6)

B.   As the Children of Light:

1.    The reason why believers should be like te children of light (v.7-8)

2.    The nature of the fruit of light (v.9-10)

3.    The significance of the light lies in exposing the darkness (v.11-13)

4.    They shall awake, that Christ will give them light (v.14)

C.   As Wise:

1.    Who shall walk circumspectly ---- do not be fools (v.15)

2.    Who shall redeem the time ---- do not follow the days(v.16)

3.    Who shall understand what the will of the Lord is ---- do not be unwise (v.17).

4.    Who shall be filled with the Holy Spirit ---- do not be drunk with wine (v.18)

5.    Who shall give thanks always for all things to God ---- do not grumble at God (v.19-20)

6.    Who shall submit to one another ---- do not despise Christ (v.21)


Seven Pictures of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

A.  Who are like the dear children (v.1)

B.  Who walks in love (v.2)

C.  Who gives oneself to God (v.2)

D.  Whose words are fit for the saints (v.4)

E.  Christ reigns in the believer’s heart (v.5)

F.  Who has the enlightenment of Christ (v.14)

G.  Who understands the will of the Lord (v.17)


Seven “Shall”s for the Conduct of Believers

A.  They shall walk circumspectly (v.15).

B.  They shall redeem the time (v.16).

C.  They shall understand the will of the Lord (v.17).

D.  They shall be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18).

E.  They shall always praise the Lord (v.19).

F.  They shall do everything in the name of the Lord (v.20)

G.  They shall submit to one another in the fear of Christ (v.21)


The Responsibilities of the Wife

A.  Who shall “submit to her own husband (v.22)

B.  Who shall be subject to her husband “in everything” (v.24)

C.  Who shall be holy and without blemish for the sake of her husband (v.26-27)

D.  Who shall “fear” her husband (v.32)


The Responsibilities of the Husband

A.  Who shall love his wife and give himself for her (v.25)

B.  Who shall love his wife as his own body (v.28-29)

C.  Who shall nourishes and cherishes his wife (v.29)

D.  Who shall be joined to his wife (v.31)


The Relationship Between Christ and the Church

A.  Christ is the head of the church (v.23), and the church is His body (v.30).

B.  Christ is the Savior of the whole church (v.23).

C.  Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (v.25).

D.  Christ might sanctify and cleanse the church with the washing of water by the word (v.26-27).

E.  Christ nourishes and cherishes the church (v.29).

F.  Christ and the church shall become one flesh (v.31-32).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Overcomer Wu & Mary Zhou