Ephesians 5:21

From: David Couric (DXC6482@dcccd.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 03 1998 - 16:30:44 EST

I have heard it said that in the famous Ephesians 5 passage on "submission," 5:21 can either go with the preceding or following verse, as if not with both. However, when I began to look closely at the Greek, it became increasingly clear, to me at least, that there doesn't seem to be any break at all, grammatically, in the entire section. Trying to imagine the passage with no punctuation leads me to think that the "submitting yourselves" participle in 5:21 is simply the fifth in a series of parallel adverbial (instrumental or modal, perhaps temporal) participles modifying the main (imperative) verb in the clause "but be filled with the Spirit" in 5:18. If so, then "speaking," "singing," "making melody," "giving thanks," and "submitting yourselves" to one another are five ways to be filled with the Spirit. If this analysis is grammatically correct, then 5:22 continues by pointing out how wives specifically can be filled with the Spirit, i.e., "the wives (by submitting themselves) to their own husbands," in whi
ch case the pres. mid. part. nom. fem. pl. must be implicitly understood. In addition, a passage in I Peter 2 and 3 looks very much similar, grammatically. In that case the main (imperative) verb(s) would be in 2:17, ending with "honor the king," and the way slaves would honor the king, or perhaps "fear God," would be "by submitting yourselves." Then 3:1 would continue the same idea for wives, who would honor the king or fear God "by submitting themselves" where the pres. mid. part. nom. fem. pl. is here explicit. Is this it, or would there be some other ways of understanding the grammar (syntax) of these passages?

D.R. Couric Mountain View College Dallas, Texas

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