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Ephesians 5:4

    Ephesians 5:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And let there be no low behaviour, or foolish talk, or words said in sport, which are not right, but in place of them the giving of praise.

    Webster's Revision

    nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks.

    World English Bible

    nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks.

    Definitions for Ephesians 5:4

    Convenient - Proper; appropriate.

    Clarke's Commentary on Ephesians 5:4

    Neither filthiness - Αισχροτης· Any thing base or vile in words or acts.

    Foolish talking - Μωρολογια· Scurrility, buffoonery, ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt.

    Nor jesting - Ευτραπελια· Artfully turned discourses or words, from ευ, well or easily, and τρεπω, I turn; words that can be easily turned to other meanings; double entendres; chaste words which, from their connection, and the manner in which they are used, convey an obscene or offensive meaning. It also means jests, puns, witty sayings, and mountebank repartees of all kinds.

    Which are not convenient - Ουκ ανηκοντα· They do not come up to the proper standard; they are utterly improper in themselves, and highly unbecoming in those who profess Christianity.

    But rather giving of thanks - Ευχαριστια· Decent and edifying discourse or thanksgiving to God. Prayer or praise is the most suitable language for man; and he who is of a trifling, light disposition, is ill fitted for either. How can a man, who has been talking foolishly or jestingly in company, go in private to magnify God for the use of his tongue which he has abused, or his rational faculties which he has degraded?

    Barnes' Notes on Ephesians 5:4

    Neither filthiness - That is, obscene, or indecent conversation. Literally, that which is shameful, or deformed - αἰσχρότης aischrotēs. The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament.

    Nor foolish talking - This word - μωρολογία mōrologia - does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means that kind of talk which is insipid, senseless, stupid, foolish; which is not suited to instruct, edify, profit - the idle "chitchat" which is so common in the world. The meaning is, that Christians should aim to have their conversation sensible, serious, sincere - remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment;" Matthew 12:36.

    Nor jesting - εὐτραπελία eutrapelia. This word occurs also nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, that which is "well-turned" εὐ eu - well, and τρεπω trepō - to turn); and then that which is sportive, refined, courteous; and then "urbanity, humor, wit; and then jesting, levity" - which is evidently the meaning here. The apostle would not forbid courteousness, or refinement of manners (compare 1 Peter 3:8), and the reference, therefore, must be to that which is light and trifling in conversation; to that which is known among us as jesting. It may be observed:

    (1) that "courteousness" is not forbidden in the Scriptures, but is positively required; 1 Peter 3:8.

    (2) "Cheerfulness" is not forbidden - for if anything can make cheerful, it is the hope of heaven.

    (3) "Pleasantry" cannot be forbidden. I mean that quiet and gentle humor that arises from good-nature, and that makes one good-natured in spite of himself.

    Such are many of the poems of Cowper, and many of the essays of Addison in the "Spectator" - a benevolent humor which disposes us to smile, but not to be malignant; to be good-natured, but not to inspire levity. But levity and jesting, though often manifested by ministers and other Christians, are as inconsistent with true dignity as with the gospel. Where were they seen in the conversation of the Redeemer? Where in the writings of Paul?

    Which are not convenient - That is, which are not fit or proper; which do not become the character of Christians; notes, Romans 1:28. Christians should be grave and serious - though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake, and that the world has too. They are redeemed - not to make sport; purchased with precious blood - for other purposes than to make people laugh. They are soon to be in heaven - and a man who has any impressive sense of that will habitually feel that he has much else to do than to make people laugh. The true course of life is midway between moroseness and levity; sourness and lightness; harshness and jesting. Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, bland, courteous, but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things, but pleasant, affable, and benignant. Think not a smile sinful; but think not levity and jesting harmless.

    But rather giving of thanks - Thanks to God, or praises are more becoming Christians than jesting. The idea here seems to be, that such employment would be far more appropriate to the character of Christians, than idle, trifling, and indelicate conversation. Instead, therefore, of meeting together for low wit and jesting; for singing songs, and for the common discourse which often attends such "gatherings" of friends, Paul would have them come together for the purpose of praising God, and engaging in his service. Human beings are social in their nature; and it they do not assemble for good purposes, they will for bad ones. It is much more appropriate to the character of Christians to come together to sing praises to God, than to sing songs; to pray than to jest; to converse of the things of redemption than to tell anecdotes, and to devote the time to a contemplation of the world to come, than to trifles and nonsense.

    Wesley's Notes on Ephesians 5:4

    5:4 Nor foolish talking - Tittle tattle, talking of nothing, the weather, fashions, meat and drink. Or jesting - The word properly means, wittiness, facetiousness, esteemed by the heathens an half - virtue. But how frequently even this quenches the Spirit, those who are tender of conscience know. Which are not convenient - For a Christian; as neither increasing his faith nor holiness.