Mar
06
2008

Discovery in Ephesians 5

My pastor preached a message from Ephesians 5 last week. Isn’t it interesting how God sometimes speaks through His servant and sometimes quite apart from His servant, but if you are expecting to hear from God, you will? The Psalmist writes, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). I hope you prayer that prayer when approaching a sermon or preparing to read your Bible.
Well anyway, I was following along in my Biblia Sacra (Greek & Hebrew Bible) and suddenly noticed something I’d never observed before:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25, emphasis added).
Well, sure, I’ve seen that verse before. I’ve taught through it in a book study of Ephesians. I’ve emphasized how that is really the more difficult of the commands to husbands and wives. Wives are to submit to their husbands (which is a tall order, to be sure, especially since husbands are imperfect and often selfish). But, husbands are to love their wives, “even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Now that’s an even taller order, I think. To love like Christ loves? To give like He gave? My point, of course, is that verse 22 (“wives, submit to your own husbands…”) would not be such a burden if husbands obeyed verse 25. And, verse 22 doesn’t leave any room for the kind of attitudes that some men display: “Woman, be quiet and do what I say! You have to submit!” No, no, no — how antithetical to verse 25 and much other Scripture that talks about living with your wife in an understanding way, showing honor, etc. (1 Peter 3:7).
Well, that was all extraneous to the main point of my post, I’m afraid.

You notice the bolded “gave.” when I cited verse 25, above. That was my discovery. I knew it said “gave,” of course, but I never noticed the full import of that word. I don’t think I can use a Greek font here very well, but transliterated, the word comes from paradidomi. It’s not quite the normal, basic word for “give” (didomi, without the para on the front). I don’t have my lexicon with me as I write this, but here’s what Thayer says about the paradidomi:

1) to give into the hands (of another)
2) to give over into (one’s) power or use
2a) to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage
2b) to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death
2c) to deliver up treacherously
2c1) by betrayal to cause one to be taken
2c2) to deliver one to be taught, moulded
3) to commit, to commend
4) to deliver verbally
4a) commands, rites
4b) to deliver by narrating, to report
5) to permit allow
5a) when the fruit will allow that is when its ripeness permits
5b) gives itself up, presents itself

Doesn’t that add a new richness to the idea? Notice that it doesn’t say Christ was given. Neither does it say that Christ gave (some one else). That’s usually how this word would be used. In Mathew 27:2, they “delivered Him (Christ) to Pontius Pilate.” Any guess as to which word “delivered” is? Yep, you got it. Paradidomi. They “delivered up treacherously.” They “by betrayal… cause[d] one to be taken.”
But Ephesians 5 says Christ gave Himself. He delivered Himself over. He delivered Himself up to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death. For you. For me. For us.
Indeed, what amazing love. And what an amazing standard for us to emulate.

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