Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 5

Wrong words and thoughts for Christians

Ephesians 5:3

Our wrong and evil deeds offend God, but so do our wrong words and thoughts. Paul’s subject in Ephesians 5:3-4 is the wrong things that Christians talk about, for example in friendly conversation.

In the church at Corinth, some church members were carrying out wrong sex acts (1 Corinthians 5:1 and 6:12-20). In the church at Ephesus, there was a less severe problem, but it still mattered to God. There, Christians liked to talk about such matters. There was gossip, for example, about men who desired sex with someone else’s wife. The Christians liked to tell stories and jokes about such things.

Paul had to warn these Christians. In their foolish conversations, they were not speaking as Christians should. It is shameful even to speak about such things (5:12). So Paul told them not to name (that is, not to mention) such subjects. He reminded them that all Christians are God’s holy people (1 Peter 2:9). In other words, God has, for his own purposes, made them different from other people. Therefore, they cannot simply talk about the same things that evil, unholy and foolish people talk about. Instead, they must ask themselves what is right and proper for God’s people to discuss.

Of course, Paul himself mentioned these wrong subjects in his letters. That shows us that it is sometimes necessary to talk about these things in a serious manner. We might do that, for example, to warn people or to help people (James 5:19-20). In such circumstances, we must be especially careful. Even the mention of such things can tempt people to do these wrong things.

Next part: Foolish jokes and wise conversation (Ephesians 5:4)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.