Ephesians 4:29 Let no * unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Let there be no more foul language, but good words instead - words suitable for the occasion, which God can use to help other people. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Every word that is rotten and unfit for use, out of your mouth let it not be proceeding, but whatever is good, suitable for edification with respect to the need, in order that it may impart grace to the hearers.. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Let no unwholesome words ever pass your lips, but let all your words be good for benefiting others according to the need of the moment, so that they may be a means of blessing to the hearers.
LET NO UNWHOLESOME WORD PROCEED FROM YOUR MOUTH: pas logos sapros ek tou stomatos humon me ekporeuestho, (3SPMM): (Ep 5:3,4; Psalms 5:9; 52:2; 73:7, 8, 9; Matthew 12:34, 35, 36, 37; Ro 3:13,14; 1Co 15:32,33; Col 3:8,9; 4:6; Jas 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Pe 2:18; Jude 1:13, 14, 15, 16; Re 13:5,6)
The Greek order is,
Steven Cole introduces his message on this passage with the following words worth pondering...
John Eadie notes that
These are strong words but good advice echoed in the OT wisdom literature...
Born again believers need to reflect their new nature and reclaim the original virtue God intended for speech between men and God and men (especially husbands and wives! fathers and children!)
Above all live in God's Word and you will always have a word from God. Your "spiritual blood" will be "Bibline" as Spurgeon said of Bunyan and his writings...remember what comes out is related to what goes in -- G.I.G.O. ~ garbage in, garbage out OR "God's word IN, God's word OUT".
Let no unwholesome words ever pass your lips (Literal rendering) -
Unwholesome (4550) (sapros from sepo = cause to decay, to putrefy, to rot away, be corrupted) describes that which is rotten, putrefying, corrupt, disgusting, perishing, rank, foul, putrid, worthless (e.g., in Mt 7:17,18 = fruit, in Mt 13:48 = fish). In secular writings sapros was used to describe spoiled fish, rotten grapes on the ground, crumbling stones. The basic meaning relates to the process of decay. Sapros is used of things unusable, unfit, bad. It describes that which is harmful due to the fact that it is corrupt and corrupting or defiling.
Paul presents a picture of the repugnant (and non-edifying) nature of our old self's "old garment" of rotten speech, which like rotten fruit or fish (now that's a smell you really want to avoid), will not nourish anyone. Instead the rotten fare contaminates, sickens, smells foul and creates an unpleasant atmosphere for all who come near. Using this vivid metaphor Paul commands believers to put off speech like one would toss out rotten fruit or fish!
Charles Hodge says sapros...
literally means “putrid,” and then figuratively “offensive and injurious.” (Ephesians 4:17-32, 5:1-2 Commentary Online)
Sapros - 8x in 6v - Matt 7:17, 18; 12:33; 13:48; Luke 6:43; Eph 4:29
Matthew 7:17 -note "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad (sapros) tree bears bad (poneros) fruit. 18 (note) "A good tree cannot produce bad (poneros) fruit, nor can a bad (sapros) tree produce good fruit.
Matthew 12:33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
Matthew 13:48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.
Luke 6:43 "For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Graham in the Exegetical Summary of Ephesians...
John Piper comments that...
The KJV Bible Commentary....
The TDNT adds that
From the context a "sapros" word is any word that is not good for edifying where that effect is needed. Hence in that sense a "sapros word" is an unprofitable word (as for example "idle gossip"). Our words do not have to be “dirty” to be worthless! For one thing, rotten or corrupt speech can contaminate the thoughts of others.
Someone once said (but I'm not sure how scientific it is) that 90% of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.
Someone has written
The Preacher's Commentary...
KJV Bible Commentary...
Mouth (4750) (stoma) mouth or opening, chiefly as an instrument of speech. It has been well said that nothing is so opened more by mistake than the mouth!
In a parallel passage Paul writes...
John Piper reminds us...
MacDonald writes that Paul is commanding us to...
Proceed (1607) (ekporeuomai from ek = out + poreúomai = go) means to depart, be discharged, proceed out of, project, come forth, come out of, go forth. This is a very picturesque verb, giving the sense that once the word (with the thought) has taken wing from our tongues, we cannot capture it. It's too late. We need to shut the cage door before the word flies out like a deadly projectile!
The fastest horse cannot catch a word spoken in anger. - Chinese Proverb
Paul uses the present imperative with a negative saying in essence "Stop letting these rotten words project, fly out of your mouth" Note the associated admonition in the next verse - Clearly grieving the Spirit is related to rotten language ejecting from our mouths and ultimately reflecting what is in our hearts (see Lu 6:45, Mt 12:34,35) because the mouth and heart are connected.
Wiersbe writes that...
BUT ONLY SUCH A WORD AS IS GOOD FOR EDIFICATION ACCORDING TO THE NEED OF THE MOMENT: alla ei tis agathon pros oikodomen tes chreias: (Dt 6:6, 7, 8, 9; Ps 37:30,31; 45:2; 71:17,18,24; 78:4,5; Pr 10:31,32; 12:13; 15:2, 3, 4,7,23; 16:21; 25:11,12; Is 50:4; Mal 3:16, 17, 18; Lk 4:22; 1Co 14:19; Col 3:16,17; 4:6; 1Th 5:11) (Ep 4:12,16)
But (235) (alla) highlights a dramatic contrasting thought. The words that should proceed from my mouth should edify, build up, encourage, not tear down, not discourage! To even make this point even more emphatically see how our Lord Himself defines "CARELESS" WORDS
The section continues Paul's practical application of laying aside the old garment of the old self (unwholesome speech) and (by contrast) putting on the new garment of the new self (gracious, edifying speech that is sensitive to the needs of others, not focused solely on self - cp Php 2:3, 4-note). This is simply another way of saying that now we as believers are to let Jesus live His supernatural life through us (think "rivers of living water" Jn 7:38, or "Christ, your life", Col 3:4-note, cp Jn 20:31, 2Co 4:10, 11, 1Jn 4:9, 5:11, 12, 2Ti 1:1-note - Our new life is not only "with" Christ, it "is" Christ!). Remember that we cannot imitate Jesus (by simply relying on our natural strength), but we can daily (Ro 12:1-note) and moment by moment present ourselves to Him, surrendering our whole being to Him as living sacrifices and allowing Him live His life in and through us (Gal 5:16-note). This is simply another description of the our new life of progressive sanctification, of learning to walk in holiness, of daily becoming more like Jesus. As we practice (which we will need to do the remainder of our short stay on earth) these things (Php 4:9-note), we will be taking off the old garment of self and putting on the new garment of Christ and as we do the God of peace will be with us.
J. Sidlow Baxter wrote that...
Careless Word- In 1980, Lee Atwater, a political campaign manager, inflicted terrible pain with his words. His staff learned that an opposing congressional candidate from South Carolina had once experienced severe depression and undergone electric shock therapy. When Atwater released the information to the press, it humiliated the candidate and cast doubt on his ability. In anguish, the man questioned Atwater's campaign ethics. Atwater responded by saying that he had no intention of responding to a man "hooked up to a jumper cable." Ten years later, Atwater was afflicted with an incurable brain tumor. He was confined to bed, attached to machines and tubes and wires. Before he died, he wrote the candidate a letter and asked to be forgiven (Ep 4:32-note; Ed: It strikes me that so many [too many] people wait until they are about to die to seek forgiveness for wrongs they have carried around their entire life and which have "gnawed" away at their conscience and their very soul. Dear reader I must ask you - Is their someone from whom you need to seek forgiveness? Or is there someone to whom you need to grant forgiveness, "canceling their debt" against you and thereby releasing yourself from the unyielding prison of resentment and bitterness, feelings that you have willfully chosen to keep "bottled" up inside your heart and mind for days, months or perhaps even years? If the Spirit prompts you, I pray you do not delay, for your sake and the sake of His Name. Amen). He saw how cruel and heartless his words had been.
Our words can be just as devastating. And it seems that it's our children or family or fellow believers whom we hurt the most. As believers in Christ, we have an obligation before God to evaluate the impact of our words. Idle, angry, hateful words can inflict great harm, for which we will be held accountable (Mt 12:36, 37).
Ask God for help. Before hurtful words come pouring out of your mouth, think first—then leave them unsaid. —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Good (18) (agathos [word study]) means suitable, rather serviceable, profitable, benefiting others, whereas the related word kalos means constitutionally good, but not necessarily benefiting others. Agathos words would include those adapted to instruct, counsel, and comfort. These words are based on one's assessment of the hearer's need and are spoken accordingly so as to meet that need, building them up rather than tearing them down.
How do we cultivate a heart yields the fruit of beneficial, gracious, edifying speech? It is interesting that the first "fruit" (or effect) Paul mentions in his command to be filled the Spirit has to do with the words that proceed from our mouth!
We see a similar pattern in the parallel passage in Colossians (which helps us understand what being filled with the Spirit entails - fill yourself with His Word, respond to the revelation, and His Spirit will revive your spirit, cp Ps 119:25-note)...
Solomon records that...
Winston Churchill once said that...
As noted in the next verse one of the ways that we may grieve the Holy Spirit is by frivolous, worthless conversation. Life is too short and valuable to be wasted. It needs to be spent in giving forth edifying words and works. (Ep 5:16- note, Col 4:5, 6-note).
John Eadie agrees adding that...
Edification (3619) (oikodome [word study] from oikos = dwelling, house + doma = building or demo = to build) is literally the building of a house and came to refer to any building process. Oikodome can refer to the actual process of building or construction. Another literal meaning is as a reference to a building or edifice which is the result of a construction process (Mt 24:1, Mk 13:1, 2 are the only literal uses of oikodome in the NT). (See sermon by Alexander Maclaren entitled "Edification")
Most of the NT uses of oikodome are metaphorical or figurative, obviously an architectural metaphor. As used here in Eph 2:21, oikodome refers to the church as the building for God's indwelling (cp 1Co 3:9). Figuratively the idea is the process of edification or building up spiritually or spiritual strengthening.
Figuratively, as used in this verse, oikodome refers to the process in which one speaks words that build up, instruct or improve spiritually.
Note that Webster says that "edify" is from Latin word meaning to erect a house. Believers are to speak good to others to instruct, improve, inform, enlighten and uplift them, especially in the moral and ethical sphere. Sapros words have the opposite effect.
Other figurative meanings include our physical bodies (2Co 5:1), as a reference to the process of spiritual growth, edification or building up (some contexts speak primarily to the individual, some to the corporate body of Christ) (Ro 14:19, 15:2, 1Co 3:9, 14:3, 5, 12, 26, 2Co 10:8),
A T Robertson...
Steven Cole illustrates the word which is not needed!
SO THAT IT WILL GIVE GRACE TO THOSE WHO HEAR: hina do (3SAAS) charin tois akouousin. (PAPMPD): (Matthew 5:16; 1Peter 2:12; 3:1)
So that (2443) (hina) expresses purpose of one's non-rotting, beneficial (good), edifying words.
Give (1325)(didomi) means to give something (usually implying what is given has value).
The New Man's speech should be edifying (building up not tearing down), appropriate (suited to the occasion) and gracious (imparting grace to the hearer's ear and heart).
R Kent Hughes...
We are to converse in such a way that our words become a vehicle and demonstration of the grace of God. We are to be like Alexander Whyte, of whom it was said, “All of his geese became swans.” We should speak constructive talk, talk that builds others up. As Eliphaz said of Job, “Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees” (Job 4:4). (Ephesians The Mystery of the Body Preview)
Augustine in recognition of the principle that speech must give grace, hung this motto on his dining room wall
He who speaks evil of an absent man or woman is not welcome at this table.
Grace (5485) (charis [word study]) in context is quality that adds delight or pleasure or a winning quality or attractiveness that invites a favorable reaction (graciousness, attractiveness, charm, winsomeness). In short, our gracious words spoken to others can be used by God's Spirit to transform trial into triumph and sorrow into joy. God of course is the ultimate source of all grace (God of all grace 1Pe 5:10-note) but Paul is implying that we as His ambassadors, can function as channels of His grace even in our everyday conversation. To repeat an aphorism may God give us grace givers the desire and power to think before we act and to think twice before we speak!
The dying words of one ancient saint were,
Grace is the only thing that can make us like God. I might be dragged through heaven, earth, and hell and I would still be the same sinful, polluted wretch unless God Himself should cleanse me by His grace.
And I would add the only way we can speak gracious words is by continually basking in the glow of and continual reliance upon God's transforming grace.
Steven Cole notes that
Hear (191) (akouo) means to hear with attention, with the ear of the mind or effectually so as to respond appropriately to what has been spoken or taught.
Wayne Barber explains our Brand New Way of Life in the context of "Rotten Speech" writing...
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A young lady once said to John Wesley “I think I know what my talent is. It’s to speak my mind.”
Wesley quipped “I don’t think God would mind if you bury that talent.”
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An unknown poet wrote...
A careless word may kindle strife.
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Weighty Words - Experts tell us that people often hide what they are trying to say behind a wall of words. This is a kind of double talk in which their words do not coincide with their feelings. Gerald Nierenberg, a New York lawyer, wrote a book about this problem called Meta-Talk: Guide to Hidden Meanings in Conversation. In it he gives 350 examples of verbal distortion. Another communications consultant says many people are afraid that honesty in speech will cost them friendships, love, or respect. So they either keep their lips zippered or say something other than what they mean. Additional factors that may impede straight talk are shyness, lack of self-worth, fear of displaying ignorance, fear of criticism, and fear of hurting someone's feelings.
Christians are not immune to this problem. Trying to be both loving and truthful is often extremely difficult. The Bible, however, provides a balanced and optimistic approach to this dilemma. Being honest with people may hurt, but if we speak kindly and with compassion we give them the support they need to face reality. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
GENTLE WORDS FALL LIGHTLY,
Well Chosen Words - Marion F. Ash and an elderly gentleman were painting a farmhouse on a hot summer day They had just refreshed themselves with a cold drink of water and were returning to their ladders when a small boy with only one arm came riding toward them on his bike. He stopped and said, "I live down the road a ways. Ma sent me to see if you needed some drinking water. If you do, I can go back and fetch it in a glass canning jar." Mr. Ash was about to decline the offer, but his older companion said, "You sure came in the nick of time, Sonny. A good drink of water would do wonders for both of us." The youngster grinned and called out, "I'll be right back. I bet you think you're lucky that I came along!" The elderly man replied, "You can say that again! Now our worries are over. We've got another man on the job." Commenting on this incident, Mr. Ash wrote, "With a few well-chosen words my friend had transformed a young, handicapped lad into a confident human being."
The world needs people who affirm the worth of others by acts of kindness and words of encouragement. This poor old world needs the wealth of positive attitudes and hopeful persuasion. —H. V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
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Small Thing, Big Impact - Are most people truth-tellers? Can what they say be taken at face value? Or are they like the ancient Cretans, whose reputation was that they were "always liars"? (Titus 1:12-note).
Lies, of course, are communicated by the tongue. That small part of the human body can make a powerful impact. It can ruin a reputation. It can destroy a friendship. It can cause lasting heartache.
On the other hand, the tongue can give comfort and hope in time of bereavement. It can shine the light of saving truth into the mind of someone wandering in spiritual darkness. It can praise and glorify God.
We shouldn't be surprised, then, that Scripture repeatedly urges us to exercise great wisdom and care in how we use this small part of the body. Pr 18:21 is not exaggerating when it warns us that "death and life are in the power of the tongue." David was not indulging in pointless poetry when he denounced "men . . . whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword" (Psalm 57:4). And the apostle James said that the tongue can be as destructive as a fire (Jas 3:1-12).
By the Holy Spirit's power, may we use our tongues to bless our hearers, build up one another, and glorify our Creator in prayer and praise. — Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, set a watch upon my lips,
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One of the greatest honors ever offered to me came during one of life's saddest times.
I was heartbroken last year when my good friend and co-worker Kurt De Haan died suddenly while out on his regular lunchtime run. Kurt was managing editor of Our Daily Bread from 1989 until the time of his death. Losing him was a huge blow to each of us at RBC Ministries, but his wife Mary and their four children were suffering the worst pain.
A couple of days before the funeral, I got a call from Mary, who asked if I would share a eulogy of Kurt. I was overwhelmed with this bittersweet privilege.
As I reflected on Kurt's life, one trait continued to surface. It was a remarkable characteristic, and it was something that I focused on in my eulogy. In the 22 years I had known him, worked with him, and talked with him, I never once heard Kurt say a negative word about any other person.
What a remarkable legacy of a true Christian heart! Kurt lived up to the standard of Ephesians 4:29, 30, 31, 32. He sought to build up others, showing kindness and tenderheartedness instead of bitterness and malice.
Will others be able to say the same about us?—Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Instead of hurling angry words
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The Power of Words - One major area of breakdown in marriages and families today is communication. The apostle Paul used the word corrupt to describe speech that has the power to tear people down, adults and children alike (Eph. 4:29). He also stated that good communication is "necessary edification," for it has the power to build people up.
Here are examples of corrupt communication we often aim at our children: "Can't you do anything right?" "What's wrong with you?" "You'll never learn." "You're always breaking something." "Oh, let me do it." The list is endless. But so are examples of edifying communication. A list called "99 Ways To Say 'Very Good'" offers these encouraging words: "That's it!" "You're really working hard today." "I'm very proud of you." "Now you've figured it out." "You are very good at that." "That's the way!" "Now that's what I call a fine job." "Good thinking."
Paul said that when we edify others through our speech, we impart grace, or spiritual benefit, to their lives (v.29). Let's examine our speech habits for careless words, and then resolve to build up every person we meet, especially children. Remember, people need encouragers more than they need critics. Which one are you? — Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Button up your lip securely
A word of encouragement
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Clean Up the Environment - What a frustrating problem pollution is! Everybody suffers from it, yet everybody contributes to it.
Pollution takes many forms, but one type is often overlooked. Charles Swindoll calls it "verbal pollution," passed around by grumblers, complainers, and criticizers. "The poison of pessimism," Swindoll writes, "creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativism where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized."
A group of Christian friends became concerned about this form of pollution and their personal part in it. So they made a pact to avoid critical words for a whole week. They were surprised to find how little they spoke! As they continued the experiment, they actually had to relearn conversation skills.
In Ephesians 4, Paul called believers to that sort of decisive action. He said we are to "put off" the old self and its conduct that grieves the Holy Spirit (vv.22,30) and "put on" the new self that builds up others (v.24). As we rely on the help of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), we can make those changes in our conduct, our thinking, and our speaking.
If we want to be rid of verbal pollution, we must choose to change and ask for God's help. It's a great way to start cleaning up our spiritual environment. — Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
What! Never speak one evil word,
Amplified: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Never hurt the Holy Spirit. He is, remember, the personal pledge of your eventual full redemption. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And stop grieving the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed with a view to the day of redemption. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And beware of grieving the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you have been sealed in preparation for the day of Redemption.
DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD: kai me lupeite (2PPAM) to pneuma to hagion tou theou: (Genesis 6:3,6; Judges 10:16; Psalms 78:40; 95:10; Isaiah 7:13; 43:24; 63:10; Ezekiel 16:43; Mark 3:5; Acts 7:51; 1Th 5:19 - note; He 3:10,17)
Note that the first word in the Greek is "kai" (and) which unfortunately is not translated by the usually relatively literal NASB. "And" in this context is important because it clearly links the grieving of the Holy Spirit with the previous passage regarding unwholesome speech. The implication is that "rotten" speech will grieve the Holy Spirit. Of course this verse may also be linked to Ep 4:25, 26, 27, 28 to indicate that lying, unrighteous anger, and stealing also hurt Him. In a more general sense is an exhortation to abstain from anything and everything that grieves the Holy Spirit.
Paul uses the present imperative with a negative particle (in Greek "me") saying in essence "Stop grieving the Spirit" (or "Don't start grieving the Spirit"), which conveys the implication that some may have been grieving Him. A T Robertson “Cease grieving” or “do not have the habit of grieving.”
The Holy Spirit is grieved or pained by sin, in context, especially the sins of the tongue! The Spirit Who makes men attest to the truth is put to shame when the saints lie to one another and utter rotten words to each other.
Sorrow = distress of mind especially implying a sense of loss - deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved; resultant unhappy or unpleasant state. One dictionary says sorrow is derived from the German sorge = care, concern, uneasiness which is in turn from the same root as sore, heavy. Interesting word picture of this word! The 1828 Webster's Dictionary has this entry for sorrow - The uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced by the loss of any good, real or supposed, or by disappointment in the expectation of good; grief; regret. The loss of a friend we love occasions sorrow; the loss of property, of health or any source of happiness, causes sorrow. We feel sorrow for ourselves in misfortunes; we feel sorrow for the calamities of our friends and our country.
Grief = deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. 1828 Webster = The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others. The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief.
Anguish (Interesting etymology - from Latin angustiae, plural, straits, distress, from angustus narrow) = Extreme pain, either of body or mind. As bodily pain, it may differ from agony, which is such distress of the whole body as to cause contortion, whereas anguish may be a local pain as of an ulcer, or gout. But anguish and agony are nearly synonymous. As pain of the mind, it signifies any keen distress from sorrow, remorse, despair and the kindred passions. ANGUISH suggests torturing grief or dread, such as the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child (Lindbergh's child in 1932 - the "crime of the century")
C H Spurgeon on grieving the Holy Spirit...
I think I now see the Spirit of God grieving, when you are sitting down to read a novel and there is your Bible unread. Perhaps you take down some book of travels, and you forget that you have got a more precious book of travels in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the story of your blessed Lord and Master. You have no time for prayer, but the Spirit sees you very active about worldly things, and having many hours to spare for relaxation and amusement. And then he is grieved because he sees that you love worldly things better than you love him.
Although the word ‘grieve’ is a painful one, yet there is honey in the rock; for it is an inexpressibly delightful thought, that he who rules heaven and earth, and is the creator of all things, and the infinite and ever blessed God, condescends to enter into such infinite relationships with his people that his divine mind may be affected by their actions. What a marvel that Deity should be said to grieve over the faults of beings so utterly insignificant as we are!
Sin everywhere must be displeasing to the Spirit of holiness, but sin in his own people is grievous to him in the highest degree. He will not hate his people, but he does hate their sins, and hates them all the more because they nestle in his children’s bosoms. The Spirit would not be the Spirit of truth if he could approve of that which is false in us: he would not be pure if that which is impure in us did not grieve him.
The Holy Spirit’s grief is not of a petty, oversensitive nature. “He is grieved with us mainly for our own sakes, for he knows what misery sin will cost us; he reads our sorrows in our sins . . . He grieves over us because he sees how much chastisement we incur, and how much communion we lose.
Guzik - There are many ways to grieve the Holy Spirit. We can neglect holiness and grieve the Holy Spirit. We can think in purely materialistic terms and grieve the Holy Spirit. The Spirit exalts Jesus (John 15:26); when we fail to do the same, we grieve the Spirit.
MacDonald observes as do many commentators that...
The fact that He can be grieved shows that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a mere influence. It also means He loves us, because only a person who loves can be grieved. The favorite ministry of God’s Spirit is to glorify Christ and to change the believer into His likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). When a Christian sins, He has to turn from this ministry to one of restoration. It grieves Him to see the believer’s spiritual progress interrupted by sin. He must then lead the Christian to the place of repentance and confession of sin. (Ibid)
Charles Hodge - To grieve Him is to wound Him on Whom our salvation depends. Though He will not finally withdraw from those in whom He dwells, yet when grieved, He withholds the manifestations of His presence. (Ephesians 4:17-32, 5:1-2 Commentary Online)
Lupeo - 26x in 21v - Matt 14:9; 17:23; 18:31; 19:22; 26:22, 37; Mark 10:22; 14:19; John 16:20; 21:17; Rom 14:15; 2 Cor 2:2, 4, 5; 6:10; 7:8f, 11; Eph 4:30; 1Th 4:13; 1 Pet 1:6. NAS = cause...sorrow(1), caused...sorrow(2), caused sorrow(2), distressed(1), grieve(3), grieved(7), grieving(2), hurt(1), made sorrowful(5), sorrow(1), sorrowful(1).
Expositor's Greek Testament - The Spirit is here regarded as capable of feeling, and so as personal. In Isa 63:10 (But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.) we have a similar idea, following the statement that Jehovah was afflicted in all His people's affliction. These terms, no doubt, are anthropopathic (anthropopathy = the assignment of human feelings or passions to something not human, as a deity, in this context Jehovah), as all terms which we can use of God are anthropomorphic or anthropopathic. But they have reality behind them, and that as regards God's nature and not merely His acts. Otherwise we should have an unknown God and One who might be essentially different from what we are under the mental necessity of thinking Him to be. What love is in us points truly, though tremulously, to what love is in God. But in us love, in proportion as it is true and sovereign, has both its wrath-side and its grief-side ; and so must it be with God, however difficult for us to think it out. (Ephesians 4:30 Commentary )
Rick Renner has this note on the word group lupe/lupeo
Holy (40) (hagios [word study]) is literally holy one and refers to one set apart for a special purpose. Hagios was used throughout the NT to speak of anyone or anything that represents God’s holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on. Paul could have just written "Spirit" but he appends "Holy", which serves to give an added motivation to the exhortations previously mentioned, and most immediately that our speech be holy speech.
I love how the silver tongued orator Alexander Maclaren exposits Ephesians 4:30 (below are excerpts, consider reading the entire message Grieving the Spirit)...
F B Meyer has the following thoughts on the Holy Spirit...
R Kent Hughes...
Do we have the frown or smile of the Holy Spirit upon us? To gain His smile, I would like to suggest a spiritual exercise which can be done alone, but may be enhanced in tandem. If you are married, ask your spouse to participate. If you are single, invite a Christian friend to go through this exercise with you. Take each of the four categories in succession — truth (Ep 4:25), anger (Ep 4:26, 27), theft (Ep 4:28), and speech (Ep 4:29) — and reflect out loud to your partner as to whether this area of your life has the smile or frown of the Holy Spirit. If you fall short, confess your sins to God and each other, and invite your partner to pray for you. Be assured that the Holy Spirit will attend your conversation with great joy. (Ephesians The Mystery of the Body Preview)
S Lewis Johnson has this comment on grieving the Holy Spirit...
BY WHOM YOU WERE SEALED FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION : en o esphragisethete (2PAPI) eis hemeran apolutroseos: (Eph 1:13) (Eph 1:14; Hosea 13:14; Luke 21:28; Romans 8:11,23; 1Corinthians 1:30; 15:54)
Sealed (4972) (sphragizo [word study] from sphragis = seal, engraved object used to make a mark - denoting ownership, approval, or closure of something normally done by pressing into heated wax usually attached to a document or letter) means to set a seal upon, mark with a seal. In the secular Greek use of sphragizo, the sealing signified at least four results --
Sphragizo - 15x in 14v - Mt 27:66; John 3:33; 6:27; Rom 15:28; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; Rev 7:3ff, 8; 10:4; 20:3; 22:10. NAS = put...seal on(1), seal(2), sealed(9), set a seal on(1), set...seal to(2).
Charles Wesley wrote in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”...
God places the Holy Spirit in us permanently as His "signet" (signet = a seal used to stamp or authenticate documents)
Sealed is in the aorist tense which is a past completed action. The passive voice signifies that subject, believers, are acted upon by an outside force or power, God. The indicative mood is the mood of certainty which states a thing as being a fact -- the point is that every believer receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes.
The good news then is that the "sealed work" (see note Ephesians 1:13) of the Spirit is final and cannot be "unsealed," even though we may "grieve" the Spirit! Amazing grace and mercy!
In antiquity people used seals to authenticate documents (Jer. 32:10), and archaeologists have discovered more than 1,200 seals from Old Testament times.
S Lewis Johnson has an interesting discussion of sealing...
Day (2250) (hemera) can describe a literal day, but in this context more likely is used figuratively to describe the period of time appointed for the final redemption.
Paul emphasizes the great hope (absolute certainty of future good) of this future and final aspect of our redemption...
Paul alludes to this day in his letter to the Philippians...
Redemption (629) (apolutrosis [word study] from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lutroo = to redeem in turn from lúo = loosen what is bound, loose any person tied or fastened) describes the payment of a price to ransom (lutron = money for a ransom = ransom or price paid for a slave who is then set free by the one who bought him), to release (of someone from the power of someone else), to buy back or to deliver one from a situation from in which one is powerless to liberate themselves from or for which the penalty was so costly that they could never hope to pay the ransom price. In other words, the idea of redemption is deliverance or release by payment of a ransom.
Related Resources: Word Studies on other words related to redemption...
Barclay writes that apolutrosis conveys
Apolutrosis was used was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate (= to liberate a person from subjection or domination, to free from restraint, control, or the power of another) slaves from their masters.
Apolutrosis would have been a very meaningful term to the first century reader as there were by some accounts up to 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire! Many of these slaves became Christians and fellowshipped in the local assemblies. A slave could purchase his own freedom, if he could collect sufficient funds or his master could sell him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. Redemption was a precious thing in Paul's day.
Jesus answering the unbelieving Jews who claimed never to have been enslaved to anyone (which of course was incorrect historically)
Believers have been ransomed, bought out of slavery to Sin (Ro 6:16), even as was foreshadowed in the OT by the redemption of a bondservant by the kinsman-redeemer (Lev 25:49). (See Kinsman-Redeemer = Goel; Goel = Kinsman Redeemer = in Ruth)
Before redemption we were held captive by Satan to do his will (1Jn 5:19, Ep 2:2) and were enslaved to our old sin nature inherited from Adam (1Co 15:22, Ro 5:12). As noted above a Roman or Grecian slave could be freed with the payment of money, but no amount of money can set an enslaved sinner free. We owed a debt we could never pay, while Christ paid a debt He did not owe.
The redemption of a sinner is only possible by payment of the ransom price, the blood of Christ. Peter writes that believers
Jesus explained to His disciples that
I Gave My Life for Thee
I gave My life for thee,
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Sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, even in little things that seem harmless, marks the mature Christian. While preaching in a small church in Florida, a young evangelist noticed that his gold wristwatch sparkled in the light. He wrote,
It's not always easy to know when God is speaking, because inner urgings may arise from fear, selfish desire, or Satan. Yet if we learn biblical principles through reading the Word, and if we daily yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we will gradually come to recognize His gentle prompting. The writer of Hebrews said that mature believers have had their senses "exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14-note). Whatever exalts Christ over self comes from God, and we can obey with confidence. But whatever is unkind, unloving, and self-seeking grieves the Spirit. When we do something like this, we must confess our disobedience to God at once to restore our fellowship with Him.
"Lord, make me sensitive" is a prayer that should always be on our hearts. —D. J. DeHaan. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
When we yield ourselves to the Spirit's control,
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THE WORK OF THE
In Morning and Evening Spurgeon wrote...
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G Campbell Morgan adds that...