What does Ephesians 4:2 mean?
ESV: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
NIV: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
NASB: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
CSB: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
NLT: Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
KJV: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Verse Commentary:
Living in a manner worthy of Christ's calling (Ephesians 4:1) includes four traits described in this verse. First, the Ephesians—and all Christians—are to live in humility. Christ called others to live with the humility of a child (Matthew 18:4) and taught, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12). Jesus was born in a humble manger, grew up in humble surroundings, lived a humble life, yet had a tremendous impact. Christ's followers are to likewise operate in humility.

Second, believers are to live with gentleness. Being gentle is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and important in the life of every believer. This trait not only helps to avoid unnecessary conflict, it demonstrates the love we are meant to display at all times (John 13:34–35).

Third, believers are to exhibit patience. Patience is another part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and also a necessity if we are to show love to others. Elsewhere, Paul reminds believers that "love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Fourth, believers are to live with love toward one another. Paul has mentioned this in Ephesians and other letters, especially in 1 Corinthians 13 where the "greatest of [God's gifts] is love." Particularly as it is used in the New Testament, "love" is not merely a feeling or an emotion. It means taking actions which benefit others. A feeling which doesn't result in action is not biblical "love."
Verse Context:
Ephesians 4:1–10 is Paul's compelling description of Christian unity. Every saved believer, regardless of talent or skill, Jew or Gentile, male or female, is saved by the same faith in the same God. Each Christian, therefore, is part of a single, universal family of believers in Jesus Christ. At the same time, God gives different gifts to different people, so that they can serve the many roles needed to accomplish His purposes here on earth. Rather than being concerned about what gifts we might lack, each Christian can rejoice in our unity, and focus on serving God to the best of our ability.
Chapter Summary:
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.
Chapter Context:
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.
Book Summary:
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.
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