Ephesians 4:1-16


Verses 1-16 are based on based chapters 1-3 and are the transition into 4:17-6:20

  1. 4:1-6, first part, is an exhortation that mentions four characteristics of the new life (humility, gentleness, patience and love) which lead into unity which is described with seven-fold unity (one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God/Father)
  2. 4:7-16, second part, introduces the necessity of diversity within the unity which will cause the body to reach maturity and unity.


4:1 is the topic sentence for the rest of the letter.

“Urge” or “exhort” is the first word in the Greek sentence. Although Paul had the authority as an apostle to demand he instead chose to “exhort” and “encourage” the Ephesians.

“live a life worthy of the calling you have received” is similar to these verses in other books that show Paul is addressing every area of life:

  1. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
  2. Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, I urge you , brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living  sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
  3. 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
  4. Philippians 1:27 – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
  5. Colossians 1:10 – “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord an dmay please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God . . .”
  6. Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


“living a life” or “walking” is an image seen in 2:1-2 concerning the former life and will now be used to refer to the new life in 4:17, 5:2, 8, 15.


4:2-3, be eager to maintain unity with the four graces of God’s character now infused into the believer that we will need to cultivate:

  1. Humility (tapeinofrosunhV) –used in the Greek rarely but derogatory as in service and weakness. In the OT the humble are exalted and are in contrast to the proud and arrogant. In the NT (Acts 20:19; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:12; 1 Peter 5:5) humility towards God refers to us seeing ourselves small and God as great. Humility towards each other is described in Philippians 2:6-11 when it says to considers others before yourselves.
  2. Gentleness, meekness (trauthtoV) – reflects the attitude which does not allow itself to be aroused by offenses. Jesus was gentle when he brought salvation and authority without force (Matt. 21:5; Zech. 9:9). Jesus described himself this way in Matthew 11:29 and Christ is described this way in 2 Corinthians 10:1. The church is to have this attitude toward others caught in sin (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:25). This is not a position of weakness but a position that considers others from a position of strength and is willing to wave ones rights in an attempt to help the other person.
  3. Patience (makroqumauV) – this word means “steadfastness” and “forbearance” God is patient in Exodus 34:6. We are to treat others like this (Matthew 18:23-35; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). Patience avoids rage and revenge. Instead bears with others shortcomings. Also, a fruit of the spirit. Needed for unity in the body in these verses:

-          1 Thessalonians 5:14 – “We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind (good that is beneficial) to each other and to everyone else.”

-          1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Love is patient”

-          2 Corinthians 6:6 (3-10) – “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path . . . rather as servants of God . . . in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love . . . sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

  1. Love, “bearing with one another in love” (describes the sense of what is meant by “patience” and the other two above) which is the power within us that enables us to be humble, gentle and patient. These four together provide the framework for the development and maintenance of unity.


4:3 – Without these four character/graces there would  be no possibility of unity.

“Make every effort” functions as an imperative. It is urgent and according to Greek scholars it cannot easily be translated into English. The verb has an element of haste, urgency and crisis.


“Unity of the Spirit” is not the “unity of the believers” but  “of the Spirit”.

  1. The Spirit provides or creates the unity. Holy Spirit is the source or the agent producing the unity.
  2. The Ephesians (or, believers) need to maintain the unity provided by the Spirit. When the believers do not “live a life worthy of the calling” the break the unity.


“Keep” (threin) is resent active and means to guard, to keep, to maintain.


“Bond of peace” – the unity provided by the Spirit is to be maintained by the believers by using the “bond of peace”

  1. “bond” (enothta) is that which binds together, a bond. It is that which keeps something together.]
  2. “peace” (eirhnhV)  is the harmony, cooperation,


Maintain “UNITY” (togetherness) by “PEACE” (harmony)


4:4-6, maintain unity because of the seven-fold reality of our Christian faith:

  1. one body
  2. one Spirit
  3. one hope
  4. one Lord
  5. one faith
  6. one baptism
  7. one God/Father