VARYING IN THE
GIVEN TO THE
COME UNTO A
1. Translate, according to the Greek order, "I beseech you,
therefore (seeing that such is your calling of grace, the first through
third chapters) I the prisoner in the Lord
(that is, imprisoned in the Lord's cause)." What the world counted
ignominy, he counts the highest honor, and he glories in his bonds for
Christ, more than a king in his diadem [THEODORET].
His bonds, too, are an argument which should enforce his exhortation.
vocation--Translate, "calling" to accord, as the Greek does, with
Ro 8:28, 30).
similarly grounds Christian duties on our Christian "calling." The
exhortations of this part of the Epistle are built on the conscious
enjoyment of the privileges mentioned in the former part. Compare
with Eph 1:7;
with Eph 1:5;
with Eph 1:13;
with Eph 1:8.
2, 3. lowliness--In classic Greek, the meaning is
meanness of spirit: the Gospel has elevated the word to express a
Christian grace, namely, the esteeming of ourselves small, inasmuch as
we are so; the thinking truly, and because truly, therefore lowlily, of
meekness--that spirit in which we accept God's dealings with us
without disputing and resisting; and also the accepting patiently of the
injuries done us by men, out of the thought that they are permitted by
God for the chastening and purifying of His people
It is only the lowly, humble heart that is also meek
As "lowliness and meekness" answer to "forbearing one another in love"
Eph 4:15, 16),
so "long-suffering" answers to
"endeavoring (Greek, 'earnestly' or 'zealously giving
diligence') to keep (maintain) the unity of the Spirit (the unity
between men of different tempers, which flows from the presence of the
Spirit, who is Himself 'one,'
in (united in) the bond of peace" (the "bond" by which "peace" is
maintained, namely, "love,"
Col 3:14, 15
[BENGEL]; or, "peace" itself is the "bond" meant,
uniting the members of the Church [ALFORD]).
4. In the apostle's creed, the article as to
CHURCH properly follows that as to
GHOST. To the Trinity naturally is annexed the
Church, as the house to its tenant, to God His temple, the state to its
founder [AUGUSTINE, Enchiridion, c. 15].
There is yet to be a Church, not merely potentially, but actually
catholic or world-wide; then the Church and the world will be
co-extensive. Rome falls into inextricable error by setting up a mere
man as a visible head, antedating that consummation which Christ, the
true visible Head, at His appearing shall first realize. As the "SPIRIT" is mentioned here, so the "LORD" (Jesus),
and "GOD the Father,"
Thus the Trinity is again set forth.
hope--here associated with "the Spirit," which is the "earnest
of our inheritance"
(Eph 1:13, 14).
As "faith" is mentioned,
so "hope" here, and "love,"
The Holy Spirit, as the common higher principle of life
(Eph 2:18, 22),
gives to the Church its true unity. Outward uniformity is as yet
unattainable; but beginning by having one mind, we shall hereafter end
by having "one body." The true "body" of Christ (all believers of every
age) is already "one," as joined to the one Head. But its unity is as
yet not visible, even as the Head is not visible; but it shall appear
when He shall appear
Meanwhile the rule is, "In essentials, unity; in doubtful questions,
liberty; in all things, charity." There is more real unity where both
go to heaven under different names than when with the same name one
goes to heaven, the other to hell. Truth is the first thing: those who
reach it, will at last reach unity, because truth is one; while
those who seek unity as the first thing, may purchase it at the
sacrifice of truth, and so of the soul itself.
of your calling--the one "hope" flowing from our "calling," is the
element "IN" which we are "called" to live. Instead of privileged
classes, as the Jews under the law, a unity of dispensation was
henceforth to be the common privilege of Jew and Gentile alike.
Spirituality, universality, and unity, were designed to characterize
the Church; and it shall be so at last
(Isa 2:2-4; 11:9, 13;
5. Similarly "faith" and "baptism" (the sacramental seal of faith)
"Faith" is not here that which we believe, but the act of
believing, the mean by which we apprehend the "one Lord."
"Baptism" is specified, being the sacrament whereby we are
incorporated into the "one body." Not the Lord's Supper, which
is an act of matured communion on the part of those already
incorporate, "a symbol of union, not of unity" [ELLICOTT]. In
where a breach of union was in question, it forms the rallying point
[ALFORD]. There is not added, "One pope, one
council, one form of government" [Cautions for Times]. The
Church is one in unity of faith
unity of origination
unity of sacraments
1Co 10:17; 12:13):
unity of "hope"
unity of charity
unity (not uniformity) of discipline and
government: for where there is no order, no ministry with Christ as
the Head, there is no Church [PEARSON,
Exposition of the Creed, Article IX].
6. above--"over all." The "one God over all" (in His
sovereignty and by His grace) is the grand source and crowning apex of
through all--by means of Christ "who filleth all things"
(Eph 4:10; 2:20, 21),
and is "a propitiation" for all men
in you all--The oldest manuscripts omit "you." Many of the oldest
versions and Fathers and old manuscripts read, "in us all." Whether
the pronoun be read or not, it must be understood (either from the "ye,"
or from the "us,"
for other parts of Scripture prove that the Spirit is not "in all" men,
but only in believers
(Ro 8:9, 14).
God is "Father" both by generation (as Creator) and regeneration
Jas 1:17, 18;
7. But--Though "one" in our common connection with "one Lord, one
faith, &c., one God," yet "each one of us" has assigned to him his own
particular gift, to be used for the good of the whole: none is
overlooked; none therefore can be dispensed with for the edifying of the
A motive to unity
Translate, "Unto each one of us was the grace (which was
bestowed by Christ at His ascension,
given according to," &c.
the measure--the amount "of the gift of Christ"
(Ro 12:3, 6).
8. Wherefore--"For which reason," namely, in order to intimate that
Christ, the Head of the Church, is the author of all these different
gifts, and that giving of them is an act of His "grace" [ESTIUS].
he saith--God, whose word the Scripture is
When he ascended--GOD is meant in the Psalm, represented by the ark,
which was being brought up to Zion in triumph by David, after that "the
Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies"
Paul quotes it of CHRIST ascending to heaven, who
is therefore GOD.
captivity--that is, a band of captives. In the Psalm, the captive
foes of David. In the antitypical meaning, the foes of Christ the Son of
David, the devil, death, the curse, and sin
led as it were in triumphal procession as a sign of the destruction of
gave gifts unto men--in the Psalm, "received gifts for men,"
Hebrew, "among men," that is, "thou hast received gifts"
to distribute among men. As a conqueror distributes in token of his
triumph the spoils of foes as gifts among his people. The impartation of
the gifts and graces of the Spirit depended on Christ's ascension
(Joh 7:39; 14:12).
Paul stops short in the middle of the verse, and does not quote "that
the Lord God might dwell among them." This, it is true, is
partly fulfilled in Christians being an "habitation of God through the
But the Psalm
refers to "the Lord dwelling in Zion for ever"; the ascension
amidst attendant angels, having as its counterpart the second advent
amidst "thousands of angels"
accompanied by the restoration of Israel
the destruction of God's enemies and the resurrection
(Ps 68:20, 21, 23),
the conversion of the kingdoms of the world to the Lord at Jerusalem
9. Paul reasons that (assuming Him to be God) His ascent
implies a previous descent; and that the language of the Psalm
can only refer to Christ, who first descended, then ascended.
For God the Father does not ascend or descend. Yet the Psalm plainly
refers to God
(Eph 4:8, 17, 18).
It must therefore be GOD THE SON
(Joh 6:33, 62).
As He declares
"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from
heaven." Others, though they did not previously descend, have
ascended; but none save Christ can be referred to in the Psalm
as having done so; for it is of God it speaks.
lower parts of the earth--The antithesis or contrast to "far
above all heavens," is the argument of ALFORD and
others, to show that this phrase means more than simply the
earth, namely, the regions beneath it, even as He
ascended not merely to the visible heavens, but "far above" them.
Moreover, His design "that He might fill all things"
Greek, "the whole universe of things") may imply the same. But
on those words. Also the leading "captive" of the "captive hand"
("captivity") of satanic powers, may imply that the warfare reached to
their habitation itself
Christ, as Lord of all, took possession first of the earth the unseen
world beneath it (some conjecture that the region of the lost is in the
central parts of our globe), then of heaven
(Ac 2:27, 28).
However, all we surely know is, that His soul at death descended
to Hades, that is, underwent the ordinary condition of departed spirits
of men. The leading captive of satanic powers here, is not said to be
at His descent, but at His ascension; so that no argument can be
drawn from it for a descent to the abodes of Satan.
Ac 2:27, 28,
and Ro 10:7,
favor the view of the reference being simply to His descent
to Hades. So PEARSON in
Exposition of the Creed
10. all heavens--Greek, "all the heavens"
(Heb 7:26; 4:14),
Greek, "passed through the heavens" to the throne of God
might fill--In Greek, the action is continued to the present time,
both "might" and "may fill," namely, with His divine presence and
Spirit, not with His glorified body. "Christ, as God, is present
everywhere; as glorified man, He can be present anywhere"
11. Greek, emphatical. "Himself" by His supreme power.
"It is HE that gave," &c.
gave some, apostles--Translate, "some to be apostles, and some
to be prophets," &c. The men who filled the %%%