Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 29 (Ephesians 4:29)

Let no corrupt communication - Πας λογος σαπρος . Kypke observes that λογος σαπρος signifies a useless, putrid, unsavory, and obscene word or conversation.

  1. Useless, particularly that which has been rendered so by old age and corruption.
  • Putrid, impure; so Aristophanes in Lysistrat., p. 859, calls a bad woman σαπρα : εμοι συ λουτρον, ω σαπρα· Tune, Spurca! balneum mihi parabis?
  • Calumnious, or reproachful; whatever has a tendency to injure the name, fame, or interest of another.
  • In short, it appears to mean any word or thing obscene, any thing that injures virtue, countenances vice, or scoffs at religion. In the parallel place, Colossians 4:6 , the apostle exhorts that our speech may be seasoned with salt, to preserve it from putrefaction. See Kypke and Macknight.

    But that which is good to the use of edifying - To be good for a thing is a Graecism, as well as an Anglicism, for, to be fit, proper, suitable, etc.; so Achilles Tatius, lib. iv. p. 231: Αγαθον εις φιλιαν οιδα σε· I know thee to be good (formed) for friendship. And Appian, de Bell. Hisp., p. 439, terms both the Scipios, Ανδρας ες παντα αγαθους γενομενους , men who were good (suitable) for all things. And also Lucian, in Toxari, p. 53: Ου μονον αρα τοξευειν αγαθοι ησαν Σκυθαι· The Scythians were not good (expert) in archery only. See Kypke, from whom I quote.

    That it may minister grace - Ἱνα δῳ χαριν . This may be understood thus:

    1. Let your conversation be pure, wise, and holy, that it may he the means of conveying grace, or Divine influences, to them that hear.
    2. Let it be such as to be grateful or acceptable to the hearers. This is the meaning of Ἱνα δῳ χαριν in some of the most correct Greek writers. Never wound modesty, truth, or religion with your discourse; endeavor to edify those with whom you converse; and if possible, speak so as to please them.

    - Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible