The first part of Ephesians 4:26 has always been a puzzle to me. I compared five different translations–two were identical. Click on them to see a parallel display of the verses.
Most people seem to take it to mean simply that we are not to sin when we get angry, but I am unsure about that. All but one of those translations appears to be almost as a command: be angry. That’s what bothers me.
Why would a God who has told us other places NOT to be angry seem to give license for it here in Ephesians? It has just never rung true to me that God would encourage us to be angry, but then just to control ourselves so that we don’t sin. He always cares about our hearts, not just our actions. If we cannot act on our anger, how can it be okay to feel it? If we have lust in our hearts, He calls it sin, whether or not we take action on it.
One theory that I have come up with (certainly not scholarly–simply a guess, since I know absolutely no Greek) is that the original language would have applied the “not” to both clauses, as in, Do not be angry and sin! It makes more sense to me that the author is saying, Don’t get angry–it leads to sin! Or even, Don’t get angry–that is sin! I know that the “yet” in the NASB was added by the translators, since it appears in italics. I have been told that the original manuscripts had no punctuation, so the commas are irrelevant. And without the comma in the KJV you could simply change your inflection for a whole new meaning. Be angry and sin…NOT!
And yes, I realize that Scripture talks about God’s wrath, and yes, Jesus drove out the money changers in the temple, which could be interpreted as anger, but I don’t believe it ever says that He was angry. Even if He was, though, He is God, and God can have a perfectly righteous anger, which I don’t believe we can. When I am angry, I tend to wish all kinds of bad things to the person who is the object of my anger. How can that glorify God?
Anyone have thoughts on this?