Answers to Questions from the Bible Treasury Volume 10.

34 Queries on Ephesians
Those who labour in the word — 1 Corinthians 9; 1 Timothy 5
The unjust steward — Luke 16

Bible Treasury Volume 10, p. 15. January 1874.

Queries on Ephesians

Ephesians 1.

1. Wherein lies the special fitness of the apostle's designation of himself here (ἀπ. Χ. Ἰ. δ. θ. Θ.) and of the saints addressed?

4. What does the apostle mean by εἵλατο ἀπ᾽ αρχῆς, (2 Thess. 2:13) as distinguished from ἐξελέξατο ἡ. ἐν. αὐ.? And how does πρὸ κατὰ κ.  differ from πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (2 Timothy 1:9)? Should ἐν ἀγάπῃ be joined with προορίσας?

7. What is the proper force of ἔχομεν? will it bear "ever needing and ever having," "never complete here below?" Why ἐν ῳ? Why in Colossians 1 does the Spirit omit δια τ. αἵ αὐτοῦ? Why παραπτωμάτων rather than ἅμ?

8. Difference of σοφία and φρόνησις?

10. What is the force of the plural οὐρ. here and elsewhere as distinct from the singular?

11. Can ἐκληρώθημεν be taken here as "were chosen as His inheritance?" or "were enfeoffed"? Does καί bear on it?

13. Construction of ὑμεῖς with what verb to be supplied?

14. τῆς περιποιήσεως, form why? reference? Why ἡ καθ᾽ ὑμᾶς πίστις rather than ἡ π. ὑμ.?

17. How are we to understand δῳη ὑμῖν Πν. σ. κ. ἀποκ. of those already sealed and anointed? Construction of πεφ. τ. ὀφθ.?

19. Difference of δύναμις, κράτος, ἴσχυς?

21. Difference of ἀρχή, ἐξουσία, δύν. and κυρ.?

23. Precise force of τὰ π. ἐν π. πλ.?

Ephesians 2.

2. Why the twofold description of the enemy?

3. What is the precise idea of ὀργῆς here?

7. Does the phrase τοῖς αἰῶσιν τ. ἐπερχομένοις take in the eternal state?

14. Why τὰ ἀμφότερα rather than τοὺς ἀμφ.?

21. Are we compelled either to adopt the R.T. insertion of ἡ (with A, C, P, etc.) or to admit the later Greek usage and translate πᾶσα οἰκ. "the whole" or "all the building?"

Ephesians 3.

6. Does εἶναι here express not the design but the subject and purpose, "that the Gentiles are?"

8. Is it just to draw from τῳ ἐλαχ. π. ἁ. not only the remembrance of the former persecution of the church but of his own sinful nature (1 Timothy 1:15, εἰμί, νοτ ἦν)?

9. How are we to understand ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων compared with Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7, as well as verse 11 following?

21. Does the last phrase take in eternity as well as the millennial age?

Ephesians 4.

1-4. What exactly is "the calling" here? and what the unity of the Spirit (ver. 3)? and what the connection with "There is one body" etc.?

9. What is the exact meaning of τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς?

12. Are we to regard εἰς — εἰς as two members referring to the more immediate, πρός to the more ultimate and final purpose of the action? Cf. Romans 15:2.

13. What is the force of the various clauses "at the unity," etc. "at the full-grown man," "at the measure," etc.? Was it then, or will it be when all is complete?

22. What is the construction in verse 22-24?

Ephesians 5.

13. Is it "everything that is manifested" or "that which maketh everything manifest?"

14. What Old Testament scripture is used, and how?

19. Difference of "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?"

21. The best authorities have "fear of Christ;" what is gained spiritually?

23. What is the connection of "He is the Saviour of the body?"

Ephesians 6.

2. Why this use of the law for Christian children? knowing what 1 Timothy 1 says of its application?

12. Why "blood and flesh?" and what is conveyed by the various designations of the power of evil?

24. The force of "in incorruption" and its connection?


Ephesians 1.

Verse 1. There is nothing very special in it, being used in 2 Corinthians, Colossians, and practically in 1 Corinthians.

4. 2 Thessalonians 2:13, is security in presence of the power of evil; Ephesians 1:4 is the special calling of God's purpose in Christ as to our place before God, as verse 5 before the Father. ἐν ἀγάπῃ should not be joined with προορίσας. προ κ. κ. is essentially the same with πρὸ χ. αἰ. but the former alludes to the absolute purpose of God's own mind as wisdom, as Proverbs 8, π. χ. α. compares it with God's dealings in all ages and its present revelation through the appearing of the second Man when probation of angels and men had been gone through.

7. ἔχομεν means we have as a present thing in contrast with ver. 14. ἐν ῳ. however gives it as in Christ, not its application at any given moment. Everything is said to be in Him in a special way. The introduction of complete or incomplete is a mistake; it is what we have in Christ, not in ourselves, though we have it. All is viewed in the thoughts of God, in Christ. In Colossians 1:14, the object was to show what we had and in Whom, not how; in Whom, who by Him, and He is before, etc. παράπτωμα is more the actual offence against God, not the wandering from what is right. He deals as to these in the riches of His grace. Compare Romans 5:17.

8. σοφία is the mind conceiving all things rightly; φρονήσις is the activity of the mind seizing the objects presented to it.

10. οὐρανοί are the actual heavens; οὐρανός what it is.

11. ἐκληρώθημεν does not mean chosen as His inheritance (enfeoffed is the opposite of this, put in possession of a fee or feu). It means 'have been made to have our lot or inheritance,' καί is the inheritance as opposed to calling. We have both, see verse 18.

13. "Trusted" is all right enough, or "pretrusted."

14. περιποίήσεως is the acquired possession in glory contrasted with our being ourselves redeemed. Compare Colossians 1:20-21. — The faith which you have, or which is found in you, is much more expressive; that is all. He realizes a set of people where it is.

17. These questions on δῳη are answered in verse 13. Πεφ. τ. ὀφθ. is quite simple, the eyes are the object of the πεφ.

19. δύναμις is competency to act, δύναμαὶ κράτος might, relative power; ἴσχυς mere bodily or actual strength. But the words are multiplied immutatively.

21. ἀρχή is authority contemplated as the beginning or origin of acts; ἐξουσία one who has a title to act, a right over; δύναμις power (see above) κυριότης from one who is over or rules, lordship; but it purposely takes in all forms, not with the object of distinction but of universality.

23. Divine filling of all things absolutely; compare also Ephesians 4:10, which is not to be left out.

Ephesians 2.

2. Because his power in heavenly places and his influence in heathen minds, specially in idolatry, was before the Spirit's mind.

3. Just wrath, but shows Jews, though nearer in dispensation, alike objects of it.

7. The word is used in contrast with the present time, but I do not doubt as a generality it includes all.

14. Because it is a great deal plainer thus generalized; to whom would ἀμφοτέρους apply?

21. The context shows that it means the whole building. The criticism is difficult. I am supposed to leave out ἡ. (a has it as a correction. Chrys. in text); but I think πᾶσα ἡ οἰκοδομή would not do, as it would be then built, and that the force is as a whole, all the building. Compare Acts 2:36; Ezekiel 16:2. Moral words have not the article; in them 'every' and 'the whole' run into one another, as "all righteousness," every thing so characterised. This is quite general: so used of δύναμις. We get Israel as an army where it is Israel as a whole, not those of it; and where a thing which may be composed of many parts but is viewed as a whole, not as one, the article is not added. Often 'every' is tantamount. This is practically the case with πασα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος where 'all' is as good as 'every,' or better. πᾶσ ὁ  Ἰσραήλ is one object, πᾶσ  Ἰσραήλ Israel as a whole. In Ephesians 2 the church as a building is viewed as a whole (not yet ναὸς ἅγιος, it is growing to that); it is a building going on, the building grows as a whole. The following verse gives the particular present habitation in which the Gentiles συνοικοδομουνται.

Ephesians 3.

6. εἶναι is the abstract thought; they were to be so.

8. It is a present sense: what he was accounts for his sense of it. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:9.

9. The apostle everywhere speaks of a mystery which was in the counsels of God before the world and not revealed before the cross, when the responsibility of man, the first Adam, reached its climax (save Christ's intercession for the Jews on the cross).

21. Yes, it uses elaborate expressions to give continuance and for ever.

Ephesians 4.

1-4. The calling refers back to Ephesians 2 and what precedes, only enlarged by Ephesians 3. The unity of the Spirit is the realization, in walk down here by the power of the Spirit and in spiritual life, of the unity they have in Christ. The body is one and cannot but be; it gives character to the unity but is not it.

9. κατώτερα does not mean anything particular but what is below, the apparent earth in contrast with above all heavens, so as to fill all things. It naturally suggests Hades, which gives no definite idea, and is not meant to do so.

12. πρός is the proper object and purpose first in the apostle's mind, but then use reaches out to the secondary more collective ones.

13. The whole is Christ being fully formed in us and we after Him in soul, according to the revelation that has been made of Him, my soul formed into all revealed of Him.

22-24. The truth as it is in Jesus is the having put off and having put on; the renewing is constant, hence ἀνανεοῦσθαι, in Colossians ἀνακαινούμενον and in knowledge.

Ephesians 5.

13. I believe "what makes everything manifest," though difficulty is made as to the voice of φαν.

14. I suppose Isaiah 60:1.

19. "Hymns" were more especially festive praises to God. "Psalms" were chanted with instruments, but afterwards, though in divine service, of a general character. "Spiritual songs" were not necessarily divine service, though spiritual with every kind of development of thought. But the object is not to define but to speak of every sort which saints could sing together in liberty.

21. The importance is the place it puts Christ in. The fear of God is not within the special circle of Christ's government as Lord. This is (so in Colossians), the grace of Christ and word of Christ are not the same surely but bring them close to the heart in the path in which we walk. The fear of God is a general moral state.

23. The connection of husband and wife is in the body though in the Lord, and His delivering power and blessing include the body.

Ephesians 6.

2. He is showing the importance which this duty had under the law, and thus God's mind.

12. He refers to Canaan and Joshua. Ours is another kind of combat. "Blood and flesh" are not evil here, but men as such contrasted with wicked spirits.

24. ἐν ἀφθ. is the character of their state and affections for himself before God, remembering that the things of God are spiritually discerned, and this too connected with the thought of God, the mind of Christ: qui hæret in literâ hæret in cortice.

Bible Treasury Volume 10, p. 128. August 1874.

Q. 1 Corinthians 9; 1 Timothy 5. What is the light of scripture as to those who labour in the word, whether in teaching or in preaching and pastoral care? How far does Acts 20:33-35 control the passages first referred to? X.Y.Z.

A. There ought to be no doubt as to the principle. Those who labour in the word, whether among those without or among those within, are entitled to the care of the church of God. The saints are bound to see that they should be supported without anxiety on their own part. The law itself lays it down, and this, the apostle's twofold citation of Deuteronomy 23:4 shows, as regards not merely the wandering evangelists, but the stationary elders who labour in the word and teaching. It is mischievous to make it a question of poverty. Divine love has its privileges, especially in honouring those who are its chief witnesses and workers. This no doubt is an appeal to the loving compassion of the saints; but no circumstances should hinder the privilege of loving respect and grateful care for those who give themselves up to serve in the word. Hence says the apostle (Galatians 6:6), "let him that is taught in the word communicate to him that teacheth in all good things." There is such a thing as the activity of love, not the need of poverty only; and it would be a loss indeed and shame to the saints, if, because the teacher was not actually poor, there was to be no room for love in the taught. Were such ideas to supplant or enfeeble plain scripture, the saints would be demoralized.

On the other hand it is a blessed testimony where a man possessed of the best gift and full of the most self-denying labours, like the apostle, is not above working with his hands in order to minister to the wants not of himself only but of others. In Paul's case it was not laying aside the Lord's work to acquire a respectable and lucrative profession, but the use of a trade he already knew to provide things honest and to help others in want. But, precious as this is, and not less in this day of clericalism than of old, the church has no just claim to plead such a scripture to excuse her own selfishness and neglect. It is a good word from one so working to his fellow-labourers small or great; but it is quite out of place when pleaded by the saints in order to repress the faith of a spiritual labourer, or to forget their own duty to such as are given up to the Lord's work. Would they have Him and His work put in a subordinate place? or the devotedness of the saints quenched? It is most of all serious, where one who has put his hand to the plough is exhorted to take up an occupation for the support of himself and his family, as if the Lord had said not a word to the contrary both for the exercise of his own faith and of love on the part of the saints.

Bible Treasury Volume 10, p. 144. September 1874.

Q. Luke 16. What is the bearing of this opening parable? The unjust steward was commended: wherein lay the wisdom for the children of light to learn by? G … .

A. Luke 15 in its three parables sets forth God's ways in grace with the sinner in character, activity, and effect. Luke 16 shows the way of a disciple in grace, now that man (especially Israel or man in privilege and under covenant with God) is viewed as no longer God's stewards, because of his unfaithfulness. Probation under law is closed. Prudence is the point singled out for our imitation in the otherwise censurable house-manager whose occupation was gone. It is no longer a question of rendering as a responsible man in flesh the fruits to God who demanded them as the One to whom all is due, but of sacrificing the present in view of the future. The steward, not now accredited by his lord, does not appropriate the money, however dishonest he may be; he cannot dig, for he has no longer even the land to till; too proud of the place he had lost, he is ashamed to beg. The discarded and outcast Jew can only for the time to come betake himself to sharp and shrewd and clever overreaching. Has it not been verified to the letter?

But what is the profit to which the Lord turns His prudence? Man's title is null; but in fact earthly things are still in his hand. The disciple then, if prudent after a heavenly sort, will not seek to accumulate or retain the means many men call his own; he will profit by the rich grace of God who does not call him to asceticism, while he delivers him from selfishness. For him as for Israel of the age to come it is no question of a state of things that shall not pass away; but on the contrary all judged and soon to give place to the kingdom which shall not be moved, with its "heavenly things" (John 3) for those who meanwhile are dead and risen with Christ. Hence what the steward did knavishly disciples are to do by grace. Knowing that the fashion of this world passes, the eye is on the everlasting dwellings; and instead of disposing of the world as their own (the true meaning of καταχρώμενοι in 1 Corinthians 7:31, not "abusing" but using for oneself even if there were no misuse whatever. See also 1 Corinthians 9:18), and so either hoarding or selfishly enjoying, they give away right and left thus making to themselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness. This is one of the greatest snares (for the love of money is a root of all evil) turned into a means of benefiting man, glorifying God, and proving that one's heart is not in the covetous present of fallen condemned man, but in the heavenly future of God. It is the character of those who get to heaven, not the means of being delivered from hell.