Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
Chapter 10, “Avoiding and Transforming the Deeds of Darkness (5:3-14)” pp. 325-352.
In Ephesians 5:3-14 Paul moves to specific ethical concerns. He focuses on immorality and greed, first warning (3-7) then giving reasons (8-14) (Thielman 2010, 325). Thielman observes the groups of three as he lists vices (Ibid., 328). He goes on to discuss the words and their connotations in some detail. The reasons Paul gives are tantamount to apostasy. These sins are condemned because they are incompatible with life as a Christian (Ibid., 332). The overriding reason to avoid immorality and greed is that the Ephesians are now light in the Lord (Ibid., 338). “They were not merely in darkness but were darkness, and so their entire existence was defined by it” (Ibid., 338). This walk in the light brings forth fruit. Like the sins, the fruit of virtue is listed in a set of three (Ibid., 340). Rather than living in the darkness, then, the Ephesians bring to light evil deeds so as to cast them out (Ibid., 343). This light, in verses 13-14, is none other than Christ (Ibid., 346). Thielman analyzes the apparent quote in verse 14, concluding that it may be a bit of early liturgy. It has an unusual word order and cannot be identified as an actual text from Scripture (Ibid., 350). It serves to sum up the imagery of light found earlier in the chapter.