The Fifth “Therefore Walk” Section of Ephesians 4-6 is Ephesians 5:15-6:9. It is all about The Great Mystery Revealed! But most people have missed this great truth because they haven’t paid attention to the literary pattern of the jump, jump, high jump.

by Bruce C. E. Fleming, author of Beyond Eden and Speaker on The Eden Podcast 

This passage is built out using the “prophetic rhetorical template” also known as the “jump, jump, high jump pattern.”

In JUMP number one, verses 15-18, Paul leads up to verse 18b. Here he presents the first key idea of the passage which is “Be being filled with the Spirit.” What difference does being filled make as we walk carefully (5:15)? Paul explains how to walk in the Spirit in the next JUMP.

In JUMP number two, verses 19a-21, Paul leads up to verse 21. Here he presents the second key idea of the passage which is “reciprocally submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” He does this using four parallel lines. The first and last lines go together and the middle two go together. A and A prime, “to one another,” 19a and 21, go together. Their speaking to one another (cf. Col 3:16. teaching and admonishing) Is received with submission to what they receive from one another. THIS IS NOT ABOUT SUBMISSION IN GENERAL. B and B prime, “to the Lord,” 19b and 20, go together. Their worship and thanksgiving is to the Lord. This reciprocating submission is explained in the following HIGH JUMP.

In the HIGH JUMP Paul focuses on the one-flesh unity of believers and Christ in v. 32. This Great Mystery now revealed is presented in a major chiasm.

The main idea is in the center in 5:32. Three examples are lined up on either side which point to and illustrate the center idea. These are the “as Christ” examples in 22-31 and the “as the family” examples in 5:33-6:9.

The “as Christ” side is linked by two ideas built out in a linchpin. These two key ideas of the linchpin are “as Christ loved and gave himself” 25b. In a linchpin like Genesis 3:15-17 the first key word links down and the second links up. Thus, we have two key ideas found in three “as Christ” sections.

  1. Verses 22-24. Gave of Himself as Savior in 23b is the link with the second key idea of 25b, gave Himself. This is paired with the illustration of a Christian couple in reciprocal submission (22, 24).
  2. Verses 25-27. Loved and gave of Himself in 25 is developed further in 26-27.
  3. Verses 28-31. Loved in 29b is linked with the first key idea in 25b, as Christ loved. This is paired with the illustration of care for one’s own body.

The “as the family” side has three reciprocally submitting pairs illustrating verse 21 and also pointing to the high point of verse 32.

  1. According to verse 33, husband and wife “love” and “fear.” These refer to 5:25 and 5:21.
  2. According to 6:1-4, believing children and parents build up one another in Christ.
  3. According to 6:5-8, believing servants and masters reciprocally build up one another.

Recognizing these patterns keeps the focus on the main points of Paul’s message. Many who have not had the discipline of following these points in their places have mistakenly focused on subpoints in the passage. These include taking out of context the following issues:

  • What are wives alone to submit to in verse 22?
  • What does head mean in verse 23?
  • Are wives supposed to obey their husbands in verse 33?

These three verses are all in subpoints in the pattern. Their meaning is directed by their place and function in the larger discussions in the passage. The entire passage and these subpoints are treated in more detail in the book Beyond Eden, Ephesians 5:15-6:9 by Bruce C. E. Fleming.

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