Ephesians 2:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 2:2, NIV: "in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."

Ephesians 2:2, ESV: "in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—"

Ephesians 2:2, KJV: "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

Ephesians 2:2, NASB: "in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."

Ephesians 2:2, NLT: "You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God."

Ephesians 2:2, CSB: "in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient."

What does Ephesians 2:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul refers to the sin-centered lives of his readers in the past tense. Those who live in sin follow two wrong things. First, they follow the way, or the "course," of the world. Proverbs 14:12 notes, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." What seems right from a human perspective leads to death apart from the wisdom of God.

The second problem of those who live in sin is that they follow "the prince of the power of the air." This is clearly a reference to Satan. He deceived Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and continues to deceive many today. Paul specifically refers to Satan's influence in the lives of those who are "sons of disobedience," rather than the sons of God. Satan is a spirit, not a human, who works in the lives of those who disobey God. In this context, the sons of disobedience are clearly unbelievers.

In this context, Paul speaks about living in sin as a prior way of life for those who become believers in Christ. In the next verse, he'll discuss how this is the way "we all once lived." Believers, however, are called to live differently, in a way that pleases the Lord. Other parts of the New Testament, including Paul's own writings, make it clear that believers can still sin. That sin will not cause us to lose our salvation. But those who trust in Christ can, and should, live lives clearly different from those who live for the world.