Ephesians 5:1-5

Ephesians 5:1-5

5.1  γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ θεοῦ ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητὰ

γίνεσθε οὖν – The particle οὖν indicates a new topic that builds on what has proceeded, i.e., “so then.” γίνεσθε is a present middle imperative, 2nd pl form, “become.” This indicates changing to something new, becoming. The present form suggests a process that is not completed. The middle intensifies the involvement of the subject in the action.

μιμηταὶ θεοῦ — A predicate nominative. The genitive indicates that God is the pattern and thus probably is an objective genitive, i.e., the person being imitated. μιμητής is a first declension masculine noun (cf. 1 Cor. 4:16; Heb. 6:12; 1 Thess 1:6).

ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητὰ — A comparison, which probably defines the subject of the imperative.  ἀγαπητός is a verbal adjective with the sense “beloved, loved, prized, valued.” Cf. 1 Cor. 4:17. A τέκνον can be an adult “child.”

5.2  καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ, καθὼς καὶ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας.

καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ — Simple parataxis joins these two present commands, but this καί could be expexegetical. περιπατεῖτε could be viewed as continuative, i.e., “keep walking.” Walking = way of life, conduct (Jewish Halakah), a non-literal meaning common in Paul’s writings. The language of imitation and walking, together form a strong image of a disciple who follows and thus imitates by walking in the path of the master. The prepositional phrase probably indicates manner, but could be locative. It may reflect the two principles that summarize the OT Law. Notice the concentration of ἀγάπη cognates in these two verses.

καθὼς καὶ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς – This comparative clause employs Christ’s active loving as the model and the believers as the imitators. καί is ascensive here, emphasizing Χριστός. The subject is at the head of the clause and this position gives it prominence. The verb is an aorist active tense form with a direct object ἡμᾶς.

καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν – This is a second part of the comparative clause joined with the first by καί. παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμᾶς in conjunction with the verb ἀγαπάω ocurs also in Gal. 2:20 to describe Jesus Christ. It means “he handed himself over, delivered himself…for our sakes” (cf. Rom. 8:32). The nature of this action is set within the context of sacrificial ritual because of the following terms. The beneficiary of this voluntary gift of self is ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν.

προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ — The two accusatives are complementary to ἑαυτόν, functioning as modifiers/definers of the reflexive pronoun. προσφορά describes a voluntary offering (cf. Acts 21:26). Note the use of these two terms in Ps 39(40):7(6) – θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας (applied to Christ in Hebrews 10). The dative τῷ θεῷ identifies the indirect object of the verb, the one το whom the sacrifice is given.

εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας – εἰς indicates purpose or goal. The head noun means “odour” and the genitive describes a “fragrance, perfume.” The genitive could be attributive, i.e., a “fragrant odour.” The phrase occurs in Phil. 4:18. It first occurs in LXX Gen 8:21, but then also in Ex. 29:18 ( רוח ניחוח = a soothing, quieting odour/smell) and frequently in Lev. It describes how a burnt offering is intended in its burning to be εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας in God’s presence.

5.3  πορνεία δὲ καὶ ἀκαρθαρσία πᾶσα πλεονεξία μηδὲ ὀνομαξέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν, καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις,

πορνεία δὲ καὶ ἀκαρθαρσία πᾶσα πλεονεξία – The initial δέ marks a new topic in the discourse. πορνεία is the key term which is developed or expanded by the following two terms marked by an exepexegetical καί and coordinated by ἢ. πᾶσα would presumably apply to the second and third elements and lacking the article expresses inclusiveness. The focus is upon improper sexual conduct, which is complete impurity and insatiability. The subject is at the head of the clause and receives prominence.

μηδὲ ὀνομαξέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν – μηδέ is ascensive – let it not even be named. The verb is a present passive 3rd person imperative. Activities that should not be dignified even by suggesting in conversation anything about them. ἐν ὑμῖν has a locative sense – among you.

καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις This is another adverbial comparative clause. The verb is impersonal “it is fitting, appropriate.” The dative is usual following this verb, but is a dative of reference. The absence of the article with ἁγίοις means it is a general reference, i.e., “for holy people.”

5.4  καὶ αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία εὐτραπελία, οὐκ ἀνῆκεν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία.

καὶ αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία εὐτραπελία – Note the same ordering of particles, with the first καίbeing conjunctive, but the second probably epexegetical. αἰσχρότης is a noun meaning “shamefulness, obscenity(obscene speech).” It presumes a repeated ὀνομαζέσθω, of which it is the subject. It is further defined by μωρολογία ἢ εὐτραπελία – “silly talk and racy humour.” It may imply speech that has sexual overtones or innuendoes.

οὐκ ἀνῆκεν – A relative clause that probably has all three nominative nouns as its antecedent and this is why a neuter plural form is used. ἀνήκω (cf. Phlm 8) can mean “it is proper,” somewhat synonymous with πρέπει. Probably a present active indicative tense form here. The singular verb is common with neuter plural subjects.

ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία – A contrasting element, designed to replace the previous two sets of actions and speech acts. μᾶλλον emphasizes the contrast. εὐχαριστία refers to thanksgiving. There is discussion about whether it contrasts only with the three preceding elements or all six. Again the verb ὀνομαζέσθω is implied.

5.5  τοῦτο γὰρ ἴστε γινώσκοντες, ὅτι πᾶς πόρνος ἀκάθαρτος πλεονέκτης, ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης, οὐκ ἔχει κληρονομίαν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ.

τοῦτο γὰρ ἴστε γινώσκοντες – This clause is marked by γάρ as an explanation for the previous commands, giving a rational for the audience to heed them. The main verb ἴστε is the perfect active imperative of οἶδα and and it is modified by the adverbial present participle γινώσκοντες. The close conjunction of two verbs with similar meanings suggests that they each reinforce and emphasize the key idea that they share, i.e., “know this for sure.” Perhaps given the explanatory function of the clause we should render “for you should know this for sure.” Paul places the object first, giving it focal prominence, but then the following ὅτι clause defines it more explicitly.

ὅτι πᾶς πόρνος ἀκάθαρτος πλεονέκτης — ὅτι marks this clause as indirect discourse. The subject references the people in the first three categories particularly. Note the use of πᾶς once again in an inclusive sense, i.e., “every sexually promiscuous person,…” ἤ is a correlative conjunction.

ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης – This relative clause usually is related specifically to πλεονέκτης. It is an equative clause with the subject being characterized by the predicate nominative.

οὐκ ἔχει κληρονομίαν – The verb is singular, because the nominatives are coordinated by ἢ which proposes alternatives. The use of the present active indicative should be noted – i.e., does not possess an inheritance. The object lacks an article and so probably the noun has a general sense.

ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ — If Χριστός is viewed as a title and not a proper noun, then this construction may be an example of article-substantive-καί-substantive (TSKS) that would imply that Χριστός and θεός refer to the same person because one article applies to both. A possible translation might be “of the Messiah, who is God.” Paul does not refer to the “kingdom” idea very often, but he does so here and it has a locative sense.