Ephesians 4:1-6

Bear with Others (1-2): Given Gentile inclusion in the one body,[1] Paul urges[2] the church to now live up to their new identity in Christ (walk worthy of it).[3] Paul here addresses our corporate identity.[4] God has made us one (2:14) and we all belong to the household of God (2:19). As one spiritual entity, we are now to live as a community where we bear with[5] one another “in love.” In practice, this means a lowliness of mind (“all humility”) where others come first and we last. This also means “all gentleness,” where there is no room for ungodly aggressiveness. This also means “patience,” because love suffers long.

Preserve Unity (3-6): The Holy Spirit indwells each of us, which ties all of us inextricably to one another.[6] Furthermore, we have the bond of peace, the love which we inherently have for the children of God.[7] God has given us the unity and the means to preserve it! He now calls us to make every effort[8] to guard it. We are the one body. We have the one Spirit. We share the one hope of glory. We serve the one Lord. We hold fast to the one faith. We underwent the one baptism. We worship the one God and Father. No inter-personal issue should ever confuse, distort or overshadow the unity of the Spirit He’s given us.

Scripture Passages

Eph. 4:1-6 [1] Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, [3] being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; [5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Eph. 2:14 [14] For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one

Eph. 2:15 [15] by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments so that in Himself He might make the two into one new manthus establishing peace,

Eph. 3:6 [6] to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

Eph. 4:13 [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Eph. 4:17-19 [17] So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind [18] being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; [19] and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Eph. 5:1-2 [1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; [2] and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Eph. 5:7-8 [7] Therefore do not be partakers with them; [8] for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

Eph. 2:2-3 [2] in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air… [3] Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath…

Eph. 2:10 [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Eph. 2:19 [19] … but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household.

Eph. 1:13-14 [13] In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation— having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, [14] who is given as a pledge of our inheritance…

John 14:17 [17] that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Rom. 8:9 [9] However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Col. 3:14 [14] Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

1 Thess. 4:9 [9] Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 John 4:7-8 [7] Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God[8] The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


[1] “Therefore” marks this section on unity as the implication of the prior ecclesiological section (cf. 2:11-3:21).

[2] “Implore” has the sense of asking, but the verb parakaleō (παρακαλέω) in a hortative context (as is here) is better rendered as “exhort” or “urge” (NET, ESV). With apostolic authority, Paul directs us to walk worthy.

[3] Walking worthy is to live up to something. In this passage, we are exhorted to live up to our calling as the united people of God (2:14, 15; 3:6). Hence, the wider section of 4:1-16 focuses on our unity (cf. 4:13).

[4] Other aspects are addressed later (4:17-19; 5:1-2, 7-8), esp. overtaking the former with the new (2:2-3, 10).

[5] “Showing tolerance” is anechō (ἀνέχω). The Greek verb carries the sense of endurance. “Bear with” (ESV, NKJV, NET) better captures this idea and avoids the misleading sense of minimally tolerating others.

[6] Unity exists because the same Holy Spirit indwells every saint (1:13-14; John 14:17; Rom. 8:9).

[7] “In love” (4:2) and “in the bond of peace” (4:3) are parallel (cf. Col. 3:14). Cf. also 1 Thess. 4:9; 1 John 4:7-8.

[8] “Be diligent” is spoudazō (σπουδάζω), which speaks of eagerness/haste, hence, “make every effort” (NET).