New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:1 prisoner. See note on Ephesians 3:1.
4:1 walk worthy. A Christian’s “walk” should both match and balance his doctrine.
4:1 vocation. “Vocation” is “calling,” and we are “called” to be separated unto Christ and to walk in Him (Colossians 2:6).
4:3 unity. It is noteworthy that the only references to Christian “unity” in the New Testament—in so far as the word itself is concerned—are here in this chapter. “The unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13) is vital, but so is “the unity of the Spirit.” There can be no real spiritual unity without doctrinal unity, and vice versa. In one sense, the two are synonymous, because sound doctrine includes the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His “fruit” produced in the lives of true believers. Note also I Corinthians 1:10.
4:4 one body. The doctrine of Christian unity, including both doctrinal and spiritual unity, incorporates seven units: one body, composed of all the individual members that make up a body, as stressed by Paul (I Corinthians 12:12); one Spirit who indwells each believer and has baptized them into that body (I Corinthians 12:13); one hope, centered on Christ’s return to complete His work of redemption (Ephesians 1:14; Titus 2:13); one Lord, Jesus Christ, who has purchased each believer with His own blood (Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18-19); one faith, that body of truth which has been “once [for all] delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); one baptism, by which we have all been identified with and united with Christ; and one God and Father of us all.
4:5 one faith. All people, even atheists, have faith in something. The Christian faith, however, is the only saving faith (Ephesians 2:8). It is an understanding faith (Hebrews 11:3), a justifying faith (Romans 5:1), a purifying faith (Acts 15:9), a living faith (Galatians 3:11), a stable faith (II Corinthians 1:24), and a triumphant faith (I John 5:4). But this true faith may be rare on earth when Christ returns (see note on Luke 18:8).
4:5 one baptism. Whether this “one baptism” refers to Spirit baptism or water baptism has been extensively argued. Since both aspects of baptism are taught in the Bible, with water baptism being the visible sign and testimony to the Spirit’s baptism, and since no modifying words or phrases are attached to the word here to identify it as one or the other, it is probable that both aspects are in view, it being implicit that both go together in one unifying reality. See notes on I Corinthians 12:13 and Romans 6:3-5.
4:6 One God and Father. Note another reference to the three Persons of the Godhead in these verses (compare Ephesians 1:17; 2:18; 3:14-19)—the Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), the Lord (Ephesians 4:5), the Father (Ephesians 4:6). The Father is above all things; the Son manifests God through all things; and the Spirit is in all believing Christians.
4:7 every one of us. In spite of the seven-fold unity just described (Ephesians 4:4-6), each individual has received his or her own distinct gift(s) from Christ.
4:8 Wherefore he saith. This quotation is from Psalm 68:18, the context of which is apparently describing the Lord among His heavenly hosts of angels, riding as a mighty conqueror returning home with the spoils of battle, the spoils consisting of “captivity” led forth “captive.” Evidently this prize of battle had consisted of a band of prisoners that had been held captive in an alien land, but now had in turn been captured from the enemy by the returning king. The latter—none other than the Lord Himself (Psalm 68:17)—as he returned to His “holy place,” “ascended up on high” to do this, evidently returning from somewhere below.