1 I urge you, therefore, as a prisoner of the Lord, to live in a way that measures up to [the standard required by] God when He called you. 2 Live in a humble, gentle and patient way, showing tolerance [for the weaknesses] of one another out of love [for them]. 3 Eagerly try to maintain the unity produced by the Holy Spirit by being bound together in peace. 4 There is [only] one body [i.e., church] and one Holy Spirit, just as God also gave you one hope when He called you [See Titus 3:7]. 5 [There is] one Lord [i.e., Jesus], one faith [i.e., one body of teaching], one immersion [i.e., in water for the forgiveness of sins], 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all and [works] through all and is in all [obedient believers].
7 But [God's] unearned favor was given to each one of us, according to the gift allotted [to us] by Christ. 8 Therefore, it says [Psa. 68:18], "When He ascended on high [i.e., to heaven], He led a procession of captured prisoners [behind Him] [Note: This originally referred to God leading His people in triumph over Israel's enemies, but here is applied to Christ], and gave gifts to [various] people."
9 (But what does "He ascended" mean if not that He also [first] descended to the lower parts of the earth [i.e., to the earth below]? [Note: Of the three principal interpretations given to this verse: a) Christ descended to earth, b) Christ descended to the grave, c) Christ descended to Mary's womb. The first is to be preferred. See John 3:13; 6:38, 62]. 10 The One who descended [i.e., from heaven to earth] is the same One [i.e., Christ] who also ascended high above the all the heavens, so that He could fill the entire universe [with His presence]). 11 And He gave some people [the gift of being] apostles; and some people prophets; and some people evangelists; and some people pastors [i.e., elders] and teachers, 12 for the purpose of equipping the saints [i.e., God's holy people] for the work of serving [others], in order to build up the [spiritual] body of Christ [i.e., the church]. 13 [This is to be done] until we all [eventually] arrive at unity of the faith and full knowledge of the Son of God; at complete [spiritual] maturity; at the [full] height of Christ's [spiritual] stature. 14 Then we will no longer be [spiritual] babies, tossed back and forth [by waves], and blown around by every wind of [false] teaching, [deceived] by the clever trickery of people using deceptive schemes. 15 But [instead], we should speak [and practice] truth in a loving way, so that we can, in all respects, grow up [spiritually] into [union with] Christ, who is the head [i.e., of His body, the church]. 16 From Him all [members of] the body are properly joined together by every supporting ligament, as each part contributes to the growth of the body and builds itself up through [mutual] love.
17 So, I tell you this, and insist [on it] by [the authority of] the Lord: Do not continue to live with worthless thoughts as [unconverted] Gentiles do. 18 Their understanding [of spiritual things] is darkened and excluded from the [spiritual] life that God gives, because of the ignorance in their minds and the stubbornness in their hearts. 19 They have stopped caring [i.e., about morality], so God has abandoned them to lives of unrestrained indecency and to engage in all kinds of [moral] impurity, with a constant desire for more.
20 But you people did not learn Christ that way [i.e., the above described life is not compatible with a commitment to Christ]. 21 [I am] assuming that you have heard Him [i.e., through the Gospel message] and were taught the truth that is in [harmony with] Jesus. 22 You were [taught] to put away [the conduct of] your former lifestyle, your old person who is being corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in your inner person. 24 And you should put on the new person who has been [re-] created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 So then, put away lying and [Zech 8:16], "Each one should speak truthfully with his neighbor," because we are parts of one another [i.e., in the one body]. 26 [Psa. 4:4 says], "Be angry [i.e., at wrongdoing. See Mark 3:5], but do not sin" [i.e., by harboring bitterness or retaliation]. Do not allow the sun to go down while you are still provoked. 27 And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin]. 28 The person who has stolen must stop doing it; instead, he should work hard, doing something worthwhile with his own hands, so that he can have [money] to share with the person who needs it. 29 Do not allow unwholesome [Note: The Greek word for "unwholesome" is "rotten, diseased"] language to come from your mouth, but only what is helpful for building up those who need it, so that you can impart favor [i.e., benefit] to those who listen [to you]. 30 And do not grieve God's Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed [i.e., given evidence of God's ownership] until the day of redemption [i.e., until you receive your new body in heaven. See 1:14]. 31 So, put away from you all [kinds of] bitterness and anger and wrath and brawling and slander, along with all [kinds of] malice [i.e., bad attitudes], 32 and be kind and compassionate toward one another, forgiving each other, just as God also forgave you [because of your fellowship] in Christ.