Ephesians 4:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 4:22, NIV: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

Ephesians 4:22, ESV: to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

Ephesians 4:22, KJV: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Ephesians 4:22, NASB: that, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

Ephesians 4:22, NLT: throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.

Ephesians 4:22, CSB: to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires,

What does Ephesians 4:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul next calls believers to consciously strive towards a more Christ-like life. Paul speaks elsewhere regarding the "old self" in Romans 6:6 and Colossians 3:9. The "old self" is the old way of life practiced by Christians prior to their conversion. According to Paul, this "old self" has two characteristics. First, it "belongs" to that previous state, not the current status as a child of God. A believer is not to be associated with the same sinful practices he or she lived for prior to knowing Christ.

Second, the "old self" is marked by evil brought on by misplaced, deceptive urges. As prior verses indicated, unbelievers not only "[give] themselves up" to sin, they seem eager to go deeper and further into sin. This is not only damaging to their relationship with God, it's damaging to their lives and physical bodies (Romans 1:27). Sin is deceptive, making us think that what's actually harmful is what's best for us. The word for "corruption" here is phtheiromenon, which carries the idea of rotting, wasting, rusting, or being defiled. Such things are ruined and useless, with no value to themselves or others. In contrast, believers are called to serve others as useful servants of Christ.

These themes are repeated often in the New Testament, both by Paul and others. Believers are instructed to let "no corrupting talk" leave their mouths (Ephesians 4:29). False teachers are described as corrupted (2 Timothy 3:8). Believers have escaped the "corruption that is in the world" (2 Peter 1:4). Instead, believers are called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling of God (Ephesians 4:1), being salt and light which attracts others to glorify God (Matthew 5:13–16).