Ephesians 4:20-24

20 But you have not so learned Christ,

21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

you (v.20) — emphatic — you, in contrast to those Paul had been writing about in vs. 17-19

It is, “As for you, in contradistinction to the Gentiles yet unsaved.” The Greek order of words is, “But as for you, not thus did you learn the Christ.” The aorist tense marks a specific time. It was at their conversion. The phrase “learn Christ” occurs nowhere else. “Christ” does not stand for the doctrine of Christ; but Christ is the subject of His own message. Nor can it be taken to mean “learned to know Christ.” Christ must be taken as the object of the learning, and the form “the Christ,” especially looking to the following “Jesus” (v.21), probably indicates that the official sense is in view here … the Christ, the Messiah. He personally — that was the contents of the preaching which they heard, the sum of the instruction they received and the knowledge they gained then. — Wuest, page 108.


learned (v.20) — To “learn by inquiry or observation.” “You have no so learned Christ,” that is, our knowledge of Him will never lead us to live as the Gentiles in the previous passages. We preach Christ and Him crucified. In other words, we preach a Person! Thus, when we came into a personal relationship with Christ, His life and everything He stands for gave us an understanding of what is acceptable behavior. — Sadler, page 198.

if indeed (v.21) = ei = if as is the case — implies the truth of the supposition

The point is this — “if, as I take it to be the fact, it was He, the Christ, that was the subject and the sum of the preaching which you heard then. — Wuest, page 109.

by Him (v.21) = in Him — in fellowship with Christ

As the truth is in Jesus (v.21) — “As” corresponds with “not so.” Ye did not in such a manner learn Christ if ye were taught in such a manner as is truth, etc. Taught in the lines of eternal fact and spiritual reality which meet in Him. Jesus is used rather than Christ; the historical rather than the official name. The life of Christianity consists in believing fellowship with the historic Jesus, who is the Christ of prophecy. — Wuest, page 109.

that you put off (v.22) = put off as a garment (Romans 6:6) — connects with “have been taught” — “have been taught that ye put off.”

old (v.22) = worn out, decrepit, useless

man (v.22) — in individual self — here, the unsaved self dominated by the totally depraved nature

grows corrupt (v.22) = is being corrupted — a continuous process of corruption

lusts (v.22) = cravings, passionate desires

renewed (v.23) = renovated by inward reformation

spirit (v.23) = the human spirit — the part that is conscious of God

The change is not in the mind psychologically, either in its essence or in its operation; and neither is it in the mind as if it were a superficial change of opinion on points of doctrine or practice: but it is in the spirit of the mind; in that which gives mind both its bent and its material of thought. It is not simply in the spirit as if it lay there in dim and mystic quietude; but it is in the spirit of the mind; in the power which, when changed itself, radically alters the entire sphere and business of the inner mechanism. — Wuest, page 111.

new (v.24) = new in quality, as opposed to worn, marred

new man (v.24) — The “new man” is the regenerate man as distinguished from the old man (Romans 6:6), and is a new man as having become a partaker of the divine nature and life (Colossians 3:3-4), and in no sense the old man made over, or improved (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:10). The new man is Christ “formed” in the Christian (Galatians 2:20; 4:19; Colossians 1:27). — Schofield, notes on Ephesians 4:24

according to God (v.24) = according to what God is in Himself

holiness (v.24) = holiness of truth as opposed to deceit (v.22)

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