What does Ephesians 4:19 mean?
ESV: They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
NIV: Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
NASB: and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
CSB: They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
NLT: They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
KJV: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Three additional drawbacks to the life of unbelievers are provided in this verse, in addition to the two given in verse 18. First, "They have become callous." Used only here in the Bible, the meaning of "calloused" is that of becoming numb and desensitized to sin. Unbelievers can do what is wrong and have little or no conviction of wrongdoing.
Second, unbelievers have put themselves under the control of their sexual urges. This reference to sexual immorality is general and could include a variety of practices. Paul uses the Greek term paredōkan, which implies someone handed over to the power of another, betrayed, or captured. Sin is not only destructive, it is addictive. Saddest of all, the brutal oppression of sin is something we inflict on ourselves: we "give ourselves up" to it.
Third, unbelievers seem eager to push the limits of human depravity. Paul uses this phrase as a general description, rather than making a longer, more specific list of sins. This is evident due to the transition he makes in the next verse, "but," in order to remind believers that this is not how they are to live. Paul often spoke of impurity as displeasing to God (Romans 1:24; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 4:7).
Ephesians 4:17–32 is a valuable, highly practical explanation of how to live out a Christian life. Paul notes the difference between a life wallowing under the power of sin, as opposed to a life thriving in the power of Christ. Christians are called on to ''put away'' the things which entangle unbelievers. This includes sins such as malice, slander, commotion, and bitterness. Instead, we should demonstrate a Christ-like attitude of love and forgiveness.
Truly understanding saving grace, as Paul explained in prior chapters, is the Christian's first motivation for living a godly life. Here, Paul encourages believers to live in way which honors that gift. All saved Christians are part of a single, unified family, part of the ''body'' of Christ. At the same time, different believers are given different talents. Some are called to positions of leadership and authority. All Christians should turn away from the ''old self'' we were prior to being saved. Paul's explanation of the ''new self'' includes some basic, practical steps.
The first half of Ephesians focuses mostly on doctrine, setting up ideas related to the Christian faith. The last half, beginning in chapter 4, puts those theories into practice. Paul begins by emphasizing the ultimate unity of all Christians, regardless of individual spiritual gifts. Paul also begins to explain how knowledge of the truths should translate into action. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 feature specific, real-world applications of Christianity to daily life.
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:26:47 AM
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