The impure, profane speech of the Ephesians had woven itself into the life of the church to the point where Paul addressed the issue specifically. Ephesians 5:4 describes the importance of gratitude.
"Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving" (Ephesians 5:4).
In the first part of the verse Paul directs that there should be no obscene, foolish talk or any coarse jesting. The Linguistic Key to the New Testament provides the definitions for these terms:
- Obscene talk: shameful, filthy or obscene speech.
- Foolish talk: laughing at something without wit.
- Coarse jesting: the word implies dexterity of turning a discourse to wit or humor, and deceptive speech, that allowed the speaker to wriggle of out its meaning. In other words, the Ephesians were masters of the double entendre.