I am trying to prepare a talk on Ephesians and as part of my preparation/exegesis, I was attempting a grammatical diagram of Ephesians 6:10-6:20 using the UBS5 text. I am doing this in order to understand the argument of the author and am focussed on tracing the argument using subjects, verbs and objects used.

Two verbs that form a part of the core argument are:

  1. The present imperative of στῆτε (v14) - Ephesians 6:14 (UBS5): “…στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι…”;
  2. The present imperative of δέξασθε (v17) - Ephesians 6:17 (UBS5): “…καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε καὶ…”; or

I am trying to understand the to which, both, or something else the ‘qualifying’ the following participles relate:

  • προσευχόμενοι (v18) - Ephesians 6:18 (UBS5): “…διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι…”
  • ἀγρυπνοῦντες (v18) - Ephesians 6:18 (UBS5): “…καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ…”; and
  • [προσευχόμενοι] (v19 - Ephesians 6:19 (UBS5): “…καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι…” implied in “…καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ…”)

Any ideas which is it and on what basis?

Thanks a lot for any pointers.

  • 1
    first quote the verse in english and greek for clarity of your que. Use stepbible org link.
    – Michael16
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 12:38
  • Thanks for the advice have edited question
    – user7289
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 20:50
  • I don't know how to make diagram but this simple structure is clear for me. Maybe it helps you. opentext.org/texts/NT/Eph/view/wordgroup-ch6.v0.html
    – Michael16
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 5:01

2 Answers 2


As I understand it, your question is what verb the participles in vss. 18-19 fit with.

One option would be to connect them with δέξασθε. But that is an awkward fit, in that you have an aorist followed by a present participle. So, would that be "put on your armor (factitive) ...by [insert participles here-ing (circumstantial manner.)]". Further, it is complicated by the asyndetic structure. If the participles are connected to δέξασθε then one might expect some sort of connective words/particles clueing you in that they are connected.

A better solution is to take the participles in the greater context with Στῆτε. One stands with the many defensive weapons and the one offensive weapon (the word). But there's another whole set of tools/weapons: prayer. So those participles would be circumstantial manner, or attendant circumstance. So, while you are standing, you also are praying and keeping watch.

Wallace gives some interesting insight:

II. Verbal Participles

B. Independent Verbal Participles

† 1. As an Imperative (Imperatival)

c. Illustrations

Other passages often cited as having imperatival participles that should be seriously questioned include: Eph 3:17; 6:18; Col 2:2; 3:13, 16; 1 Pet 5:7; et al.

Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), paragraph 8.

I'm with Wallace on this one. I'm having trouble concluding (as Smyth) does, that these participles stand on their own. They seem to be subordinated under Στῆτε.


The passage in Eph 6:10-20 naturally falls into three [paragraphs, the first two are full of imperative verbs, highlighted below. So let us consider V10-17 -

10 Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances having taken up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

This instruction by Paul to the younger Timothy appears reminiscent of God's instruction to Joshua when he succeeded Moses as found in Josh 1:5-9 which contains a triple injunction to be brave/courageous.

The following instruction to "pray continually" in Eph 6:18-20 does not contain imperative verbs but appears to be the means by which one puts on the whole armor of God and continues to wear that armor.

The passage in Eph 6:10-17 is clearly an allusion to a battle/war metaphor where the soldier stands his ground to fight (one does does not fight by running away). To do this, one must be protected with full armor and have courage which is precisely what the passage is about - being empowered by the God through His Spirit as per Josh 1:5-9.

The "watching and praying" (V18) is another allusion to the words of Christ and others in Matt 26:41, Mark 13:33, 14:38, Luke 21:36, Col 4:2, 1 Peter 4:7. It is always presented as the means by which the Christian remains alert, just as the soldier must do.

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