1So be imitators of God,* as beloved children,a 2and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.b 3Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones,c 4no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.d 5Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.e
Duty to Live in the Light. 6f Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.* 7So do not be associated with them. 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light,g 9for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.h 10Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.i 11Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them,j 12for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,k 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:l
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”*
15* Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise,m 16making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 18And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,n 19addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,o 20giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.p
Wives and Husbands. 21* Be subordinate to one anotherq out of reverence for Christ.* 22Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.r 23For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.s 24As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for hert 26to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,u 27that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.v 28So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body.w
31“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”x
32This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.y 33In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
* [5:21–6:9] Cf. notes on Col 3:18–4:1 and 1 Pt 2:18–3:7 for a similar listing of household duties where the inferior is admonished first (wives, Eph 5:22; children, Eph 6:1; slaves, Eph 6:5), then the superior (husbands, Eph 5:25; fathers, Eph 6:4; masters, Eph 6:9). Paul varies this pattern by an emphasis on mutuality (see Eph 5:20); use of Old Testament material about father and mother in Eph 6:2; the judgment to come for slave-owners (you have a Master in heaven, Eph 6:9); and above all the initial principle of subordination to one another under Christ, thus effectively undermining exclusive claims to domination by one party. Into the section on wives and husbands an elaborate teaching on Christ and the church has been woven (Eph 5:22–33).
* [5:21–33] The apostle exhorts married Christians to a strong mutual love. Holding with Gn 2:24 that marriage is a divine institution (Eph 5:31), Paul sees Christian marriage as taking on a new meaning symbolic of the intimate relationship of love between Christ and the church. The wife should serve her husband in the same spirit as that of the church’s service to Christ (Eph 5:22, 24), and the husband should care for his wife with the devotion of Christ to the church (Eph 5:25–30). Paul gives to the Genesis passage its highest meaning in the light of the union of Christ and the church, of which Christlike loyalty and devotion in Christian marriage are a clear reflection (Eph 5:31–33).