Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5:1-7

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not associate with them;

Those who are Christians are called upon to live a lifestyle that includes being “imitators of God” and “to walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2). This is in contrast to the lifestyle of the world, which is described in Ephesians 5:3-7. Those who live the lifestyle of the world need to realize that they have no “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5) and that “the wrath of God” (Ephesians 5:6) will come down upon them.

Ephesians 5:8-14

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Another contrast of the two lifestyles is the difference in individuals who “walk in light” (Ephesians 5:8) and those that participate in “the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). Compare this passage to what Christ had to say in John 12:35-36 and the apostle John in I John 1:5-7. The lifestyle of the Christian is one that centers on “all that is good, and right, and true” (Ephesians 5:9).

Ephesians 5:15-21

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

In Ephesians 5:15-21, the lifestyles are described as “wise” versus “foolish.” In one case the individual is living a life of “drunkenness” and “debauchery” (Ephesians 5:18). In the other, she/he is interested in understanding “what the will of the Lord is” (5:17) and addressing one another in psalms, (from the Old Testament, see Psalm 92:1-4) hymns (songs of praise) and spiritual songs (a generic term for what we might call religious songs). This is to be done by “singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart” (Ephesians 5:19). Two characteristics of doing this with all your heart are (1) “giving thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20) and (2) “submitting to one another” (Ephesians 5:21).

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

One of the closest relationships, and one where this lifestyle will be seen, is that of husband and wife. The way that this will manifest itself in the wife is that the wife will “submit to your own husband” (Ephesians 5:22-24) and see that she “respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Husbands, you are to “love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25) and “gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). As a matter of fact, “husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28).


Paul summarizes the husband-wife relationship by quoting Genesis 2:24, which states that, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” While this statement was first used to describe the relationship between Adam and Eve, Paul says it also refers to the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). This shows that the two relationships involve total commitment (“a man shall leave father and mother”) and inseparability (“the two shall become one flesh”).

Review Questions:

1. In Hebrews 13:15 Christians are told, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” What are at least two ways this can be done according to Ephesians 5?

2. According to Ephesians 5:22-24, how should the wife act in relation to her husband?

3. According to Ephesians 5:25, how should a husband act in relation to his wife?

4. Since a wife is to submit to her husband, does this mean that the wife should be seen as a servant?

5. What does the physical relationship of husband and wife show in the spiritual realm?

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