Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:15-16

Βλέπετε οὖν ἀκριβῶς πῶς περιπατεῖτε μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι ἀλλ᾽ ὡς σοφοί, ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρόν, ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσιν. Therefore, look carefully how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

Paul enters a new section at this point. As children of light, Christians are to look carefully how they walk. Paul’s readers and listeners are commanded to examine themselves. They are told to look carefully. This word, ἀκριβῶς, denotes paying close attention to something in order to conform to a standard. In what manner are they to look at themselves carefully? They are to look at themselves carefully how they walk. This word, πῶς, is used of questions, both direct and indirect. When being used to form an indirect question, it is followed by an indicative verb. Paul clarifies in what sense they are to walk in two statements. First, they are not to walk as unwise people. Second, they are to walk as wise people. “Walk,” περιπατεῖτε, is being used metaphorically for “live.” Christians should live wise lives. They should pay close attention to the way they are living to make sure that they are living wisely. But what does it mean to live wisely? Paul used a participle of means, ἐξαγοραζόμενοι, “by making the most of,” which answers how Christians are to live wisely. Christians are to make the most of the time, for the simple reason that “the days are evil.”

Therefore, pay close attention to how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise by making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

Are you careful with how you live? Are you living a wise life? Those who live careless lives not only hurt themselves but also others whom they love. It is a good thing to live wisely. In this instance, Paul exhorted us to make the most of the time. These days are evil, so we should do all the good we can, while we can, when we can. Let us not lose an opportunity. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today. If you have the opportunity right now to come to someone’s aid, do it. The next time you walk by a beggar, do not hesitate to buy that person a meal if you can afford it. Make the most of your time while you are hear on earth. Do not waste away spending all your time on computers, playing video games, watching television, going to parties, or working. Instead, spend time with your family, volunteer at your church or non-profit organization, be generous with your money and give to those who need it, exercise, or read. Are all of these things what Paul meant when he talked about unwise living? Probably not. The next verse (v. 17) talks about foolish living, like habitually getting drunk. Wise living, non-foolishness, in contrast to getting drunk, entails self-control and moderation. These same two concepts can be applied to a variety of situations. Workaholics should practice some self-control and moderation. Over-eaters likewise. But to be wise is also linked with God’s wisdom. Human wisdom is folly compared to God’s wisdom. It was God’s wisdom that brought about the church to spread the good news. Therefore, to live wisely also includes community service, caring not only for those in the church, but also those outside of the church, especially those in need and those who are sick. Take a moment to examine yourself closely. Are you living a wise life?

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  1. Pingback: Post and Verse Indices for Ephesians Sentence by Sentence « The Letter to the Ephesians

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