What does Ephesians 5:20 really mean?

20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Setting the Scene for Ephesians 5:20

In Ephesians chapter 5, the scene is set in a humble yet beautifully adorned room within a Roman house church. The room is softly lit by oil lamps, casting a warm glow on the faces of the diverse group of believers gathered there. The air is filled with the faint scent of incense, creating a peaceful and reverent atmosphere.

Among those present are Lydia, a wealthy merchant woman from Thyatira who had been converted by Paul’s preaching, and Onesimus, a former slave who had recently found freedom in Christ. Also in attendance are Priscilla and Aquila, a devoted couple who had opened their home to the believers for fellowship and worship. The group is a mix of men and women, slaves and free, all coming together as one body in Christ.

As they sit in a circle, sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness and singing hymns of praise, the room resonates with joy and gratitude. The believers are encouraged by Paul’s words in Ephesians 5, reminding them to give thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this intimate setting, surrounded by fellow believers who have become like family, they are reminded of the power of unity and the importance of gratitude in their walk with Christ.

What is Ephesians 5:20 about?

This verse from Ephesians 5:20 reminds us of the importance of gratitude in our relationship with God. It teaches us to maintain an attitude of thankfulness towards Him, not just in times of joy and blessings, but in every situation we face. We acknowledge God’s sovereignty over our lives and demonstrate our trust in His plans for us by offering thanks always.

Have you ever considered the power of gratitude in strengthening your faith? It can shift our focus from our circumstances to the goodness of God, fostering a deeper connection with Him. Through gratitude, we learn to see the hand of God in every aspect of our lives, even in challenges and hardships. It is a way of surrendering our worries and fears to Him, knowing that He is in control and always working for our good. Let’s reflect on the countless blessings we often take for granted as we follow this verse. Let’s make it a habit to thank God not only for the obvious gifts but also for the lessons learned through trials and the opportunities for growth. We cultivate a heart of gratitude that shapes our perspective and draws us closer to the source of all blessings, God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ by giving thanks always and in everything.

Understanding what Ephesians 5:20 really means

1. Introduction and Context

Ephesians 5:20 encourages believers to “always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse sits within a broader passage where Paul is instructing the Ephesians on living a Spirit-filled life. The context is crucial to understand, as Paul emphasizes a lifestyle of gratitude, which contrasts sharply with the grumbling and negativity that pervaded both ancient and modern societies.

2. The Command to Give Thanks

The phrase “always give thanks” is not a suggestion but a command. This implies that gratitude should be a constant state, not dependent on circumstances. Paul reiterates this by urging believers in Philippians 4:6 to present their requests to God with thanksgiving. The idea is that gratitude aligns our hearts with God’s will and acknowledges His sovereignty over all situations. How often do we find ourselves only thanking God when things go well? This verse challenges that mindset by calling us to a perpetual attitude of gratitude.

3. To God the Father

Paul specifies that our thanks should be directed to “God the Father.” This relationship dynamic is significant because it emphasizes a familial bond, one of love and care. Paul speaks of believers receiving the Spirit of sonship in Romans 8:15, through which they cry, “Abba, Father.”” This intimate relationship should make our thanksgiving more personal and heartfelt. When you consider God as a caring Father, it becomes easier to thank Him, even in difficult times.

4. For Everything

The instruction to give thanks “for everything” can be particularly challenging. It calls us to find reasons for gratitude in all circumstances, good or bad. James 1:2-4 advises believers to consider it pure joy when they face trials because testing of faith develops perseverance. This perspective shifts our focus from temporary discomfort to long-term spiritual growth. Can you think of a time when a challenging situation eventually led to personal growth or a deeper relationship with God?

**5. Paul specifies that we should offer this gratitude “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”” This phrase underscores the mediatory role of Jesus, who reconciles us to God. John 14:13-14 promises that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name will be done, so that the Father may be glorified. Offering thanks in Jesus’ name acknowledges His work on the cross, which is the ultimate reason for gratitude. It reminds us that our relationship with God is only possible through Jesus.

**6. It’s easy to overlook the importance of gratitude in today’s fast-paced world. Yet, studies show that practicing gratitude can significantly improve mental health and well-being. The woman who lost her job chose to thank God for the opportunity to find a new path. Her gratitude opened doors she never imagined, leading to a fulfilling career she loves. This real-life example demonstrates how an attitude of thanksgiving can transform our outlook and opportunities.

7. Conclusion

Ephesians 5:20 calls us to a lifestyle of gratitude, directed to God the Father, for everything, and in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s a comprehensive, challenging, yet profoundly rewarding command. Reflect on how you can incorporate more thanksgiving into your daily life. What small steps can you take today to align your heart with this biblical mandate?

How can we always give thanks to God?

We can always give thanks to God by acknowledging His goodness and provision in our lives. When we cultivate a heart of gratitude, we demonstrate our trust in God’s sovereignty and His ability to work all things together for our good. We shift our focus from our circumstances to the character of God by maintaining a posture of thankfulness, reminding ourselves of His faithfulness and love towards us.

Furthermore, giving thanks to God is a form of worship that aligns our hearts with His will and brings glory to His name. It is a way for us to show our appreciation for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in our lives. We acknowledge that God is in control and that His plans are perfect and good as we practice gratitude in all situations, both in times of abundance and in times of trials. We can live a life that continually honors and magnifies the Lord.


In the hustle of daily life, taking a moment to be grateful can be your saving grace. Imagine each “thank you” as a small but powerful engine that propels you forward. Reflecting on Ephesians 5:20, let’s inject more moments of thankfulness into our busy schedules, whether at work or with family. Every expression of gratitude honors the big picture and enriches our own journeys. How will you fuel your day with gratitude?