Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ephesians 5:15-6:6, guest post by Don Johnson

Ephesians 5-6 Pericope Structure
Draft 1.0 by Don Johnson, August 25, 2008

The pericope is from Eph 5:15 to Eph 6:9. I use my own translation below to highlight some aspects.

There are multiple chiasms that contain phrases that are in an inverted parallel form. The chiasms allow one to pair up the appropriate phrases (A with A', B with B' and so on) as they are related in some way. The most important part of a chiasm is in the middle, which is not often the way we do things today; we usually use either the newspaper form with the most important things first or the proof form with the most important thing, the conclusion, last. To assist in the discussion, I gave a unique letter number code to each phrase, so a specific phrase or set of phrases can be discussed easier. Brackets indicate words implied by the Greek text and inserted for clarity.

UPDATE: Indentation to visually assist seeing the chiastic structure can be seen in a pdf version of this file.

A1 Then watch carefully how you walk
B1 not as unwise
B1' but as wise
A1' redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

A2 For this reason,
B2 do not be foolish,
B2' but understanding
A2' what the will of the Lord is.

A3 And do not be drunk with wine,
B3 which is debauchery,

A4 but be filled by the Spirit,
B4 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
C4 singing and praising in your heart to the Lord,
C4' giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to God the Father,
B4' submitting to one another in the fear of Messiah;
A4' wives, [submitting to one another] to your own husbands as to the Lord.

A5 For a husband
B5 is head of his wife,
C5 as also Christ
D5 is Head of the church,
E5 and He is the Savior of the body.
D5' But even as the church
C5' submits to Christ,
B5' so also wives
A5' to their own husbands in everything.

A6 Husbands, agape-love your wives,
B6 even as Christ also agape-loved the assembly and gave Himself up on its behalf
C6 that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the washing of the water in the Word,
D6 that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church,
C6' not having spot or wrinkle, or any such things,
B6' but that it be holy and without blemish.
A6' So, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.

A7 He who loves his wife loves himself,
(for no one hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it)
B7 even as also the Lord the church for we are members of His body,
A7' "For this (reason), a man shall leave his father and mother,
and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:24)
B7' The mystery is great, but I speak of Christ and the church.

A8 Nevertheless, everyone in particular, let each one
B8 be loving his own wife as himself
B8' and the wife
A8' respect/fear her husband.

A9 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
B9 "Honor your father and mother," (Ex. 20:12a, with Ex. 20:12b following )
C9 (which is the first commandment with a promise)
B9' "that it may be well with you and you may be long-lived on the earth".
A9' And fathers/parents, do not provoke your children,
but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

A10 Slaves, obey your masters according to flesh,
B10 with fear and trembling,
C10 in singleness of your heart,
D10 as to Christ;
E10 not with eye-service as men-pleasers,
D10' but as slaves of Christ
C10' doing the will of God from the soul,
B10' with good will
A10' serving as slaves to the Master and not as to men.

A11 Each one knowing
B11 that whatever good thing he does,
C11 this he shall receive
D11 from the Master
E11 whether a slave or a freeman.
D11' And masters,
C11' do the same things toward them,
B11' forbearing threatening,
A11' knowing that the Master of you and them is in Heaven
and there is no partiality with Him.

Notes on each numbered section:
1. Herein lies wisdom.

2. Herein lies understanding the will of God.

3. Being filled with the Spirit can appear like drunkenness, but it is not that at all.

4. Here are 4 “-ing” verbs the inner 2 are to God, the outer 2 are to the church. It is important to notice that just as speaking to one another is mutually speaking (each one to others), so submitting to one another is mutually submitting (each one to others), contra Grudem (who correctly points out it might mean some to others, but not in this case). B4' serves as the header principle that will be explained further with examples in the remainder of the pericope. In A4' the verb is omitted and Paul carefully crafts the verb that is to be brought down in the previous phrase, it is reflexive (voluntary), it is to one another (mutually) and it is submitting. That is, the wife is to submit to her husband and the husband is to submit to his wife.

5. C5-C5' is about Christ and the church, the body of Christ. Both (A) husband and wife and
(B) Christ and the church are unity examples using a head/body metaphor. Notice that all the examples of Christ as head in sections 5 and 6 are serving examples, a husband as head is on solid Biblical ground by using those examples in his relationship with his wife.

6. Again, a husband is to consider his wife as his own body and treat her accordingly, that is, with agape-love. Note that agape love per 1 Cor 13 “does not insist on its own way” contra the non-egal claims that the husband has final decision making power.

7. The metaphor of the wife being considered part of the husband's body is continued.

8. This section is the summary and recapitulation of the spousal mutual submission theme in A4'.

9. In B9 and B9' the common theme is that it is a quote from Exodus.

10. In A10, A10', D11 and D11' the common theme is kurios which I translate as Master (instead of Lord) when referring to Jesus and master when referring to humans to show this easier. Section 10 is about slaves, and contains the infamous proof text of slave owners “Slaves, obey your masters.” so we know we need to be extra careful with this pericope.

11. This section is sometimes thought to refer to only slaves (that is, it contains a sometimes missed reference to freeman and slaves) but the structure shows what is going on. C11' contains a symmetry reference “Do the same things” when referring to masters, such symmetry in the hierarchical relationship of masters and slaves is strikingly countercultural.

I wish to thank Bruce Fleming, Nils Lund, Kenneth Bailey, and David Instone-Brewer for their insights into this passage.