What does Ephesians 4:32 mean?
ESV: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
NIV: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
NASB: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
CSB: And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
NLT: Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
KJV: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Verse Commentary:
Paul's final verse of this section offers three brief commands. First, he explicitly tells his readers to exhibit kindness. The focus is not merely on generic helpfulness. Paul is specifically thinking of compassion for other believers in the congregation.

Second, Paul uses the Greek word eusplanchnoi, which means to be "tenderhearted," or "compassionate." It is sometimes taken to mean "strong-hearted," as well. Paul's use of it here focuses on the idea of showing sympathy. Believers are not to be known for a harsh attitude, but rather for compassion. The account of the Good Samaritan offers Christ's picture of living with compassion toward others (Luke 10:25–37).

Third, Paul commands readers to forgive one another. This instruction comes with an explanation, referring to the forgiveness believers have received from Christ (Matthew 18:21–35). Forgiveness is a unique characteristic of the Christian faith. Scripture often includes reminders of God's forgiveness toward us. For example, Matthew 6:12, part of the "Lord's Prayer," asks God to "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 26:28 reminds us that the blood of Jesus was specifically "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Verse Context:
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.
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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