The Meaning of Ephesians 4:3 Explained

Ephesians 4:3

KJV: Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

YLT: being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of the peace;

Darby: using diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.

ASV: giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

Endeavouring  to keep  the unity  of the Spirit  in  the bond  of peace. 

What does Ephesians 4:3 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church. Paul viewed peace as what keeps potential factions together. He had in mind peace between all kinds of diverse groups in the church, the most basic being Jews and Gentiles.

Context Summary

Ephesians 4:1-10 - Keeping The "unity Of The Spirit"
Paul here admonishes lowliness in the presence of another's excellence; meekness in suffering injury; long-suffering under provocation; forbearance toward the trying mistakes and failures of others. Remember that the unity of the Church, as the body of Christ, is already made; but it is for us to maintain it. We must avoid whatever in word or deed would break it. There are seven different bonds of unity, but of these the greatest is the nature of God, which is transcendent, who is above all; penetrant, through all; and immanent, in all. Each saint has some grace or gift; use it. On the whole, after we reach maturity, we had better center on what we can do best.
What a magnificent conception is given in Ephesians 4:8-9 of the ascended Christ! The original conception was supplied by Deborah in her noble song. Descending from her morning vigil on Tabor, she summoned Barak to lead captive the foe who for so long had held the land in captivity. But in Jesus' ascension, a long procession of yet mightier foes was led captive by Him. Among them were Death, the Grave, and Hades, the underworld. It is from the hands of Jesus that even the rebellious may obtain their gifts. There is no depth to which Jesus will not go to save; no height to which He will not lift us [source]

Chapter Summary: Ephesians 4

1  He exhorts to unity;
7  and declares that God therefore gives various gifts unto men;
11  that his church might be edified,
16  and grow up in Christ
18  He calls them from the impurity of the Gentiles;
24  to put on the new man;
25  to cast off lying;
29  and corrupt communication

Greek Commentary for Ephesians 4:3

The unity [την ενοτητα]
Late and rare word (from εις — heis one), in Aristotle and Plutarch, though in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:13. [source]
In the bond of peace [εν τωι συνδεσμωι της ειρηνης]
In Colossians 3:14 αγαπη — agapē (love) is the συνδεσμος — sundesmos (bond). But there is no peace without love (Ephesians 4:2). [source]
Endeavoring [σπουδάζοντες]
Not strong enough. Originally the verb means to make haste. So the kindred noun σπουδή haste Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39. Hence diligence. Rev., here, giving diligence. [source]
To keep [τηρεῖν]
See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4. [source]
Unity of the Spirit []
Wrought by the Holy Spirit. [source]
Bond of peace []
The bond which is peace. Compare Ephesians 2:14, our peace - made both one. Christ, our peace, is thus a bond of peace. Others, however, treat in the bond as parallel with in love of Ephesians 4:2, and cite Colossians 3:14, “love the bond of perfectness.” [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Ephesians 4:3

John 6:27 Work not for [μη εργαζεστε]
Prohibition with μη — mē and present middle imperative of εργαζομαι — ergazomai old verb from εργον — ergon work. The meat The act of eating (Romans 14:17), corrosion (Matthew 6:19), the thing eaten as here (2 Corinthians 9:10). See note on John 4:32. Which perisheth Present middle participle of apollumi They were already hungry again. Unto eternal life Mystical metaphor quite beyond this crowd hungry only for more loaves and fishes. Bernard thinks that John has here put together various sayings of Christ to make one discourse, a gratuitous interpretation. Will give Future active indicative of εις ζωην αιωνιον — didōmi The outcome is still future and will be decided by their attitude towards the Son of man (John 6:51). For him the Father, even God, hath sealed Literally, “For this one the Father sealed, God.” First aorist active indicative of διδωμι — sphragizō to seal. See elsewhere in John 3:33 (attestation by man). Sealing by God is rare in N.T. (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). It is not clear to what item, if any single one, John refers when the Father set his seal of approval on the Son. It was done at his baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon him and the Father spoke to him. Cf. John 5:37. [source]
Acts 8:23 Bond of iniquity [σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας]
Thou hast fallen into iniquity as into fetters. The word σύνδεσμον denotes a close, firm bond ( σύν , together)It is used of the bond of Christian peace (Ephesians 4:3); of the close compacting of the church represented as a body (Colossians 2:19); and of love as the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14:). See Isaiah 58:6. [source]
Acts 8:23 In the gall of bitterness [εις χολην πικριας]
Old word from χολας — cholas either from χεω — cheō to pour, or χλοη — chloē yellowish green, bile or gall. In the N.T. only in Matthew 27:34 and here. In lxx in sense of wormwood as well as bile. See Deuteronomy 29:18 and Deuteronomy 32:32; Lamentations 3:15; and Job 16:14. “Gall and bitterness” in Deuteronomy 29:18. Here the gall is described by the genitive πικριας — pikrias as consisting in “bitterness.” In Hebrews 12:15 “a root of bitterness,” a bitter root. This word πικρια — pikria in the N.T. only here and Hebrews 12:15; Romans 3:14; Ephesians 4:31. The “bond of iniquity” Peter describes Simon‘s offer as poison and a chain. [source]
Romans 8:4 The Spirit [πνεῦμα]
From πνέω tobreathe or blow. The primary conception is wind or breath. Breath being the sign and condition of life in man, it comes to signify life. In this sense, physiologically considered, it is frequent in the classics. In the psychological sense, never. In the Old Testament it is ordinarily the translation of ruach It is also used to translate chai life, Isaiah 38:12; nbreath, 1 Kings 17:17. In the New Testament it occurs in the sense of wind or breath, John 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hebrews 1:7. Closely related to the physiological sense are such passages as Luke 8:55; James 2:26; Revelation 13:15. Pauline Usage: 1. Breath, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. 2. The spirit or mind of man; the inward, self-conscious principle which feels and thinks and wills (1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 7:34; Colossians 2:5). In this sense it is distinguished from σῶμα bodyor accompanied with a personal pronoun in the genitive, as my, our, his spirit (Romans 1:9; Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 16:18, etc.). It is used as parallel with ψυχή souland καρδία heartSee 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; and compare John 13:21and John 12:27; Matthew 26:38and Luke 1:46, Luke 1:47. But while ψυχή soulis represented as the subject of life, πνεύμα spiritrepresents the principle of life, having independent activity in all circumstances of the perceptive and emotional life, and never as the subject. Generally, πνεύμα spiritmay be described as the principle, ψυχή soulas the subject, and καρδία heartas the organ of life. 3. The spiritual nature of Christ. Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Timothy 3:16. 4. The divine power or influence belonging to God, and communicated in Christ to men, in virtue of which they become πνευματικοί spiritual - recipientsand organs of the Spirit. This is Paul's most common use of the word. Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Galatians 4:6; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:8. In this sense it appears as: a. Spirit of God. Romans 8:9, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 7:40; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Ephesians 3:16. b. Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:6; Philemon 1:19. c. Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:8, etc. d. Spirit. With or without the article, but with its reference to the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit indicated by the context. Romans 8:16, Romans 8:23, Romans 8:26, Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, etc. 5. A power or influence, the character, manifestations, or results of which are more peculiarly defined by qualifying genitives. Thus spirit of meekness, faith, power, wisdom. Romans 8:2, Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:7, etc. These combinations with the genitives are not mere periphrases for a faculty or disposition of man. By the spirit of meekness or wisdom, for instance, is not meant merely a meek or wise spirit; but that meekness, wisdom, power, etc., are gifts of the Spirit of God. This usage is according to Old Testament analogy. Compare Exodus 28:3; Exodus 31:3; Exodus 35:31; Isaiah 11:2. 6. In the plural, used of spiritual gifts or of those who profess to be under spiritual influence, 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12. 7. Powers or influences alien or averse from the divine Spirit, but with some qualifying word. Thus, the spirit of the world; another spirit; spirit of slumber. Romans 11:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 1:7. Where these expressions are in negative form they are framed after the analogy of the positive counterpart with which they are placed in contrast. Thus Romans 8:15: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage, but of adoption. In other cases, as Ephesians 2:2, where the expression is positive, the conception is shaped according to Old-Testament usage, where spirits of evil are conceived as issuing from, and dependent upon, God, so far as He permits their operation and makes them subservient to His own ends. See Judges 9:23; 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Kings 22:21sqq.; Isaiah 19:4. Spirit is found contrasted with letter, Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6. With flesh, Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:24. It is frequently associated with the idea of power (Romans 1:4; Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:7); and the verb ἐνεργεῖν , denoting to work efficaciously, is used to mark its special operation (1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 3:20; Philemon 2:13; Colossians 1:29). It is also closely associated with life, Romans 8:2, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 15:4, 1 Corinthians 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 5:25; Galatians 6:8. It is the common possession of the Church and its members; not an occasional gift, but an essential element and mark of the christian life; not appearing merely or mainly in exceptional, marvelous, ecstatic demonstrations, but as the motive and mainspring of all christian action and feeling. It reveals itself in confession (1 Corinthians 12:3); in the consciousness of sonship (Romans 8:16); in the knowledge of the love of God (Romans 5:5); in the peace and joy of faith (Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6); in hope (Romans 5:5; Romans 15:13). It leads believers (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18): they serve in newness of the Spirit (Romans 7:6) They walk after the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25 Romans 8:5; Romans 8:4,). Through the Spirit they are sanctified (2 Thessalonians 2:13). It manifests itself in the diversity of forms and operations, appearing under two main aspects: a difference of gifts, and a difference of functions. See Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 4:4, Ephesians 4:30; Philemon 2:1; [source]
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye [γίνεσθε]
Become, as Ephesians 4:32. [source]
Ephesians 1:13 In whom [εν ωι]
Repeated third time (once in Ephesians 1:11, twice in Ephesians 1:13), and note ο — ho or ος — hos in Ephesians 1:14. Ye were sealed (εσπραγιστητε — esphragisthēte). First aorist passive indicative of σπραγιζω — sphragizō old verb, to set a seal on one as a mark or stamp, sometimes the marks of ownership or of worship of deities like στιγματα — stigmata (Galatians 6:17). Marked and authenticated as God‘s heritage as in Ephesians 4:30. See note on 2 Corinthians 1:22 for the very use of the metaphor here applied to the Holy Spirit even with the word αρραβων — arrabōn (earnest). Spirit In the instrumental case. [source]
Ephesians 1:13 Ye were sealed [εσπραγιστητε]
First aorist passive indicative of σπραγιζω — sphragizō old verb, to set a seal on one as a mark or stamp, sometimes the marks of ownership or of worship of deities like στιγματα — stigmata (Galatians 6:17). Marked and authenticated as God‘s heritage as in Ephesians 4:30. See note on 2 Corinthians 1:22 for the very use of the metaphor here applied to the Holy Spirit even with the word αρραβων — arrabōn (earnest). [source]
Ephesians 4:13 Unto the unity of the faith [εις την ενοτητα της πιστεως]
“Unto oneness of faith” (of trust) in Christ (Ephesians 4:3) which the Gnostics were disturbing. And of the knowledge of the Son of God (και της επιγνωσεως του υιου του τεου — kai tēs epignōseōs tou huiou tou theou). Three genitives in a chain dependent also on την ενοτητα — tēn henotēta “the oneness of full (επι — epi̇) knowledge of the Son of God,” in opposition to the Gnostic vagaries. Unto a full-grown man Same figure as in Ephesians 2:15 and τελειος — teleios in sense of adult as opposed to νηπιοι — nēpioi (infants) in Ephesians 4:14. Unto the measure of the stature (εις μετρον ηλικιας — eis metron hēlikias). So apparently ηλικια — hēlikia here as in Luke 2:52, not age (John 9:21). Boys rejoice in gaining the height of a man. But Paul adds to this idea “the fulness of Christ” (του πληρωματος του Χριστου — tou plērōmatos tou Christou), like “the fulness of God” in Ephesians 3:19. And yet some actually profess to be “perfect” with a standard like this to measure by! No pastor has finished his work when the sheep fall so far short of the goal. [source]
Colossians 3:8 Blasphemy [βλασφημίαν]
See on Mark 7:22. Compare Romans 3:8; Romans 14:16; 1 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 4:31. Rev. railing. [source]
Colossians 3:19 Be not bitter [μὴ πικραίνεσθε]
Lit., be not embittered. Used only here by Paul. Elsewhere only in Revelation. The compounds παραπικραίνω toexasperate, and παραπικρασμός provocationoccur only in Hebrews 3:16; Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:15. Compare Ephesians 4:31. [source]
Colossians 3:16 Admonishing []
See on Colossians 1:28. The participles teaching and admonishing are used as imperatives, as Romans 12:9-13, Romans 12:16-19; Ephesians 4:2, Ephesians 4:3; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Peter 3:16. [source]
Colossians 3:13 One another - one another [ἀλλήλων - ἑαυτοῖς]
Lit., one another - yourselves. For a similar variation of the pronoun see Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 4:8-10. The latter pronoun emphasizes the fact that they are all members of Christ's body - everyone members one of another - so that, in forgiving each other they forgive themselves. [source]
Colossians 2:13 Having forgiven us [χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν]
Freely ( χάρις gracefree gift ), as Luke 7:42; 2 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 3:13. Note the change of pronoun from you to us, believers generally, embracing himself. This change from the second to the first person, or, vice versa, is common in Paul's writings. See Colossians 1:10-13; Colossians 3:3, Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 2:3, Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 4:31, Ephesians 4:32. [source]
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit []
Since he is the inspirer of prayer, and the bestower of all gifts of grace on the Church. Comp. Ephesians 4:30. The operation of the Spirit is set forth under the image of fire in Matthew 3:11; Luke 12:49; Acts 2:3, Acts 2:4. The reference here is to the work of the Spirit generally, and not specially to his inspiration of prayer or prophecy. [source]
1 Thessalonians 4:8 His Holy Spirit [τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ τὸ ἅγιον]
Solemn and emphatic: His Spirit, the holy. Similarly, Acts 15:8, Acts 15:28; Acts 19:6; Acts 20:23; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30. [source]
1 Timothy 2:8 Without wrath and doubting [χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμῶν]
The combination only here. Ὁργὴ is used by Paul mostly of the righteous anger and the accompanying judgment of God against sin. As here, only in Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8. Διαλογισμός in N.T. habitually in the plural, as here. The only exception is Luke 9:46, Luke 9:47. By Paul usually in the sense of disputatious reasoning. It may also mean sceptical questionings or criticisms as Philemon 2:14. So probably here. Prayer, according to our writer, is to be without the element of sceptical criticism, whether of God's character and dealings, or of the character and behavior of those for whom prayer is offered. [source]
2 Timothy 2:15 Study [σπούδασον]
Originally, make haste. In Paul, Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 4:3(note); 1 Thessalonians 2:17. [source]
2 Timothy 1:12 That day [ἐκείνην τὴν ἡμέραν]
The day of Christ's second appearing. See on 1 Thessalonians 5:2. In this sense the phrase occurs in the N.T. Epistles only 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; but often in the Gospels, as Matthew 7:22; Matthew 26:29; Mark 13:32, etc. The day of the Lord's appearing is designated by Paul as ἡ ἡμέρα , absolutely, the day, Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:4: ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου theday of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2: the day of Jesus Christ or Christ, Philemon 1:6, Philemon 1:10; Philemon 2:16day when God shall judge, Romans 2:16: the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Romans 2:5: the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30. [source]
Titus 3:3 Malice [κακίᾳ]
Only here in Pastorals. See on James 1:21. In N.T. κακία is a special form of vice, not viciousness in general, as Cicero, Tusc. iv. 15, who explains by “vitiositas, a viciousness which includes all vices.” Calvin, on Ephesians 4:32, defines as “ a viciousness of mind opposed to humanity and fairness, and commonly styled malignity.” The homily ascribed to Clement of Rome, describes κακία as the forerunner ( προοδοίπορον ) of our sins (x). Malice is a correct translation. [source]
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labor therefore [σπουδάσωμεν οὖν]
For the verb, see on Ephesians 4:3. Give diligence, not hasten, which is the primary meaning. [source]
James 5:11 Very pitiful and of tender mercy [πολυσπλαγχνός καὶ οἰκτίρμων]
The former adjective only here in New Testament; the latter here and Luke 6:36. Rev., full of pity and merciful. Πολυσπλαγχνός is from πολύς , much, and σπλάγχνα , the nobler entrails, used like our heart, as the seat of the emotions Hence the term bowels in the A. V. (Philemon 1:8; Colossians 3:12, etc.). Compare εὔσπλαγχνοι , tender-hearted, Ephesians 4:32. The distinction between this and οἰκτίρμων , merciful, seems to be that the former denotes the general quality of compassion, while the latter emphasizes the sympathy called out by special cases, being the feeling which is moved to pain at another's suffering. [source]
James 3:14 Bitter jealousy [ζηλον πικρον]
ηλος — Zēlos occurs in N.T. in good sense (John 2:17) and bad sense (Acts 5:17). Pride of knowledge is evil (1 Corinthians 8:1) and leaves a bitter taste. See “root of bitterness” in Hebrews 12:14 (cf. Ephesians 4:31). This is a condition of the first class. [source]
1 Peter 3:8 Pitiful [εὔσπλαγχνοι]
Only here and Ephesians 4:32. Rev., better, tender-hearted. From εὖ , well, and σπλάγχνα , the nobler entrails, which are regarded as the seat of the affections, and hence equivalent to our popular use of heart. The original sense has given rise to the unfortunate translation bowels in the A. V., which occurs in its literal meaning only at Acts 1:18. [source]
1 Peter 3:8 Likeminded [ομοπρονες]
Old compound Old adjective (πιλαδελποι — sunπιλοσ αδελπος — paschō), in N.T. only here and Romans 12:15. Our “sympathetic” in original sense.Loving as brethren Old compound Late and rare compound (ταπεινοσ πρην — eu and splagchnon), in Hippocrates, Apocrypha, in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:32.Humble minded Late compound (tapeinosphrēn), in Plutarch, Proverbs 29:23, here only in N.T. [source]
1 Peter 3:8 Loving as brethren [ευσπλαγχνοι]
Old compound Late and rare compound (ταπεινοσ πρην — eu and splagchnon), in Hippocrates, Apocrypha, in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:32.Humble minded Late compound (tapeinosphrēn), in Plutarch, Proverbs 29:23, here only in N.T. [source]
1 Peter 3:8 Tender-hearted [ταπεινοπρονες]
Late and rare compound (ταπεινοσ πρην — eu and splagchnon), in Hippocrates, Apocrypha, in N.T. only here and Ephesians 4:32. [source]
Revelation 22:10 Seal [σφραγίσῃς]
Rev., seal up. This word occurs eighteen times in Revelation and twice in the Gospel, and only five times elsewhere in the New Testament. It means to confirm or attest (John 3:33); to close up for security (Matthew 27:66; Revelation 20:3); to hide or keep secret (Revelation 10:4; Revelation 22:10); to mark a person or thing (Revelation 7:3; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30) [source]

What do the individual words in Ephesians 4:3 mean?

being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond - of peace
σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ Πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης

σπουδάζοντες  being  diligent 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: σπουδάζω  
Sense: to hasten, make haste.
τηρεῖν  to  keep 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: τηρέω  
Sense: to attend to carefully, take care of.
ἑνότητα  unity 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἑνότης  
Sense: unity.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Πνεύματος  Spirit 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
συνδέσμῳ  bond 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: σύνδεσμος  
Sense: that which binds together, a band, bond.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
εἰρήνης  of  peace 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.