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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ephesians 4



Other Authors
Verse 1

begins the second part of this epistle, in which he exhorts them to the practice of Christian virtues. (Witham)

Verse 4

In one hope of your vocation. The three great reasons that we have to love one another are contained in this verse, because we have but one body, of which Christ is the head. We are all animated by the same spirit, viz. the Holy Ghost, who is given to us all, and we all live in the same hope of eternal happiness. (Calmet)

Verse 5

contains some more reasons why Christians should love one another. We are all servants of the same God, believe the same mysteries, and receive the same sacraments, whoever may be the dispenser of them. --- One faith. As rebellion is the bane of commonwealths and kingdoms, and peace and concord the preservation of the same; so is schism, and diversity of faith or fellowship in the service of God, the calamity of the Church: and peace, unity, and uniformity, the special blessing of God therein. St. Cyprian, in his book on the unity of the Church, writeth thus: "One Church, for one is my dove. This unity of the Church, he that holdeth not, doth he think he holdeth the faith? He that withstandeth or resisteth the Church, he that resisteth Peter's chair, upon which the Church was built, doth he trust that he is in the Church?" And again, Ep. xl. "There is one God, and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair, by our Lord's voice founded upon Peter. To set up another altar, or to constitute another priesthood, besides the one altar and the one priesthood, is impossible. Whosever gathereth elsewhere scattereth. It is adulterous, it is impious, it is sacrilegious, whatsoever is instituted by man to the breach of God's disposition. Get ye far from such men: they are blind, and leaders of the blink." St. Hilary also applies this text against the Arians thus: "Perilous and miserable is it that there are now among them as many faiths as wills, and as many doctrines as manners; whilst modes of faith are written as men will, or as they will, so are understood. Whereas the one truth teaches there is but one God, one Lord, one baptism, and also one faith: hence whilst more faiths are made, they begin by falling from that which is the only faith, and end in having no faith at all." (St. Hilary, lib. ad Constantium Augustum.)

Verse 7

To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. That is, as it hath pleased Christ to bestow his free gifts upon us; to shew, says St. John Chrysostom, that it was not according to any merit of ours. The words also shew that Christ is the giver and author of graces, and consequently the true God. (Witham) --- We must endeavour by all means in our power to preserve this unity, especially by avoiding jealousy, or being envious of the graces which have been given to our neighour; considering that they all proceed from the same God, who divides to each one as he pleaseth. (Tirinus)

Verse 8



Captivam duxit captivitatem. On which words St. Jerome: (p. 364.) Descendit ad inferna, et sanctas animas, quæ ibi detinebantur, secum ad cœlos victor deduxit. See 1 Peter chap. iii.

Verse 9

Into the lower parts of the earth. This cannot signify into the grave only, especially since in that which we look upon as the apostles' creed, we first profess to believe that he was buried, and afterwards that he descended into hell. (Witham)

Verse 11

Some indeed he gave to be apostles, &c. It is said (1 Corinthians xii. 28.) that God (even with the Greek article) gave some to be apostles, &c. and here it is said of Christ: another proof that Christ is the true God. (Witham)

Verse 13



In mensuram ætatis plenitudinis Christi; Greek: eis metron elikias (ætatis vel staturæ) Greek: tou pleromatos tou Christou. See St. Augustine, lib. xxii. de Civ. Dei, chap. xv. et seq. tom. vii. p. 678.; St. Jerome in Epitaphio Paulæ. tom. iv. part 2. p. 635.; St. John Chrysostom, hom. xi.

Verse 13-14

Verse 14



In nequitia hominum, Greek: en te kubeia, in fallacia: Greek: kubeia, est lusus aleæ. See St. John Chrysostom, p. 821. Ed. Sav.

Verse 14-15

Verse 16

by what every joint supplieth, &c. St. Paul compares the Church and mystical body of Christ (as he does elsewhere) to a natural body, whose perfection depends on the harmony, union, and concurrence of all the different parts; and so in the Church, of which Christ is the head, some are apostles, some prophets, &c. and Christ hath been pleased to give them different offices, talents, and gifts, for the edifying and increase of the whole body, which is his Church, that they may no longer be like Gentiles,...alienated from the life of God; from such a life as God requires they should lead. (Witham) --- The obscurity of this verse my be thus explained: the apostle compares the mystical body of the Church, of which Christ is the head, to the natural body of man; and as the head directs different members to different operations, according to their various properties, so in the Church Christ distributes to each his proper office, that being all intent upon their relative duties, all may grow up in charity and become perfect. (Estius)

Verse 19



Deperantes. The Latin interpreter seems to have read Greek: apelpikotes, as in some manuscripts, but in most other copies Greek: apelgekotes, indolentes. See St. Jerome in his Commentary, p. 368.



In avaritiam: Greek: en pleonexia, in cupiditate. See ver. 3. of the next chapter.


Verse 26

Be angry, and sin not, as it is said Psalm iv. 5. Anger, as a passion of the mind, may proceed from a good motive and be guided by reason; as our Saviour, Christ, (Mark iii. 5.) is said to have looked about at the Jews with anger, i.e. with a zeal against their blindness and malice. --- Let not the sun go down upon your anger. If moved to anger, return without delay to a calmness of mind and temper. (Witham) --- Be angry when reason or necessity compels you; but even then, so restrain your anger that you neither offend God nor scandalize your neighbour. Moreover, lay it aside as soon as you are able, so that the sun go not down upon your anger. (Jansenius)

Verse 29

That it may afford grace to the hearers; i.e. that your speech may contribute to their good and edification. (Witham)

Verse 30

Grieve not the Holy Spirit: not that the Holy Ghost can be contristated. It is a metaphor; and the sense is, sin not against the Holy Ghost. (Witham) --- To contristate the Holy Spirit is a metaphorical expression, which signifies to offend God, or the Holy Ghost, who has sealed us by the sacraments of baptism and confirmation with particular marks, by which we shall be distinguished from others in the day of our retribution. (Sts. Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrose, &c.)


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

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