31For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, pray to God. 2Surely you have heard that God in his grace has given me this work to do for your good. 3God revealed his secret plan and made it known to me. (I have written briefly about this, 4
and if you will read what I have written, you can learn about my understanding of the secret of Christ.) 5In past times human beings were not told this secret, but God has revealed it now by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. 6The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings; they are members of the same body and share in the promise that God made through Christ Jesus.
7I was made a servant of the gospel by God's special gift, which he gave me through the working of his power. 8I am less than the least of all God's people; yet God gave me this privilege of taking to the Gentiles the Good News about the infinite riches of Christ, 9and of making all people see how God's secret plan is to be put into effect. God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages, 10in order that at the present time, by means of the church, the angelic rulers and powers in the heavenly world might learn of his wisdom in all its different forms. 11God did this according to his eternal purpose, which he achieved through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God's presence with all confidence. 13I beg you, then, not to be discouraged because I am suffering for you; it is all for your benefit.
14For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name. 16I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, 17and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, 18so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. 19Yes, may you come to know his love — although it can never be fully known — and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
20To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: 21to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, for ever and ever! Amen.
41I urge you, then — I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2
Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6there is one God and Father of all, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8
As the scripture says:
“When he went up to the very heights,
he took many captives with him;
he gave gifts to people.”9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth.4.9 the lowest depths of the earth; or the lower depths, the earth itself. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. 14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16
17In the Lord's name, then, I warn you: do not continue to live like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless 18and whose minds are in the dark. They have no part in the life that God gives, for they are completely ignorant and stubborn. 19They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint.
20That was not what you learnt about Christ! 21You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. 22
So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24
and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.
No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to one another, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27Don't give the Devil a chance. 28Those who used to rob must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for themselves and to be able to help the poor. 29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32
Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.
51Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him. 2
Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.
3Since you are God's people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. 4Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God. 5You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
6Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words; it is because of these very things that God's anger will come upon those who do not obey him. 7So have nothing at all to do with such people. 8You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord's people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, 9for it is the light5.9 the light; some manuscripts have the Spirit. that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. 12(It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.) 13And when all things are brought out to the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed; 14for anything that is clearly revealed becomes light.5.14 anything that is clearly revealed becomes light; or it is light that clearly reveals everything. That is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
and rise from death,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15So be careful how you live. Don't live like ignorant people, but like wise people. 16
Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. 17Don't be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.
18Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19
Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. 20In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.
21Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Saviour of the church, his body. 24And so wives must submit completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ.
Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. 26He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, 27in order to present the church to himself in all its beauty — pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection. 28Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. 29(People never hate their own bodies. Instead, they feed them and take care of them, just as Christ does the church; 30for we are members of his body.) 31
As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.” 32There is a deep secret truth revealed in this scripture, which I understand as applying to Christ and the church. 33But it also applies to you: every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband.