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Ephesians Six

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Honour thy father and mother. Paul here implicitly endorses all ten of God's commandments to Israel, applying them to Christians as well as Jews. The fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) is actually the only commandment accompanied by a specific earthly promise. Obedience and honor to those who gave them birth and life is regarded as a virtue among all nations and religions; how much more should this be true in the case of children whose parents have led them into spiritual birth and life as well!

Ephesians 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

nurture and admonition. “Nurture” (Greek paideia) is the same as “chastening” in Hebrews 12:5, 7, and “instruction” in 2 Timothy 3:16. It has particular reference to child-training, carried out with both firmness and gentleness as needed in each particular case. “Admonition” (Greek nouthesia) means literally “putting in mind”; thus “admonition of the Lord” implies teaching the Lord's ways through His Word. Note that both—instruction through actions and instruction through verbal teaching—are primarily the responsibility of the father, although others (especially the mother—note, e.g., Proverbs 1:8) may be called upon by him to participate in the child-training activities. It is significant that the first reference in the Bible to teaching has to do with Abraham's responsibility to bring up his own son in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Genesis 18:19).

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Servants. See also the similar passage in Colossians 3:22-25. The “servants” here are actually “bond-servants” or “slaves.” Although the institution of slavery seems repugnant to us today, and certainly inconsistent with Christian ideals, it was a basic part of social order in the ancient world, impossible to eliminate without a revolutionary overturning of the entire society. Consequently, neither Paul nor the other apostles nor even Jesus Himself ever argued against it. Rather they urged true Christian behavior on the part of both master and slave, and eventually these principles would change society itself, as an indirect effect.

trembling. This is an idiomatic expression indicating serious recognition of the importance of a given responsibility, used by Paul of his own attitude in preaching the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:3).

Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Ephesians 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Ephesians 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

whatsoever good thing. One's lot in this life, whether high or low, is merely a preparation for eternity. “Neither is there respect of persons” with God (Ephesians 6:9), and our position then is determined by faithfulness now, not eminence. Paul himself could say: “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

wiles. The word “wiles” is equivalent to “strategy.” The devil is “the god of this world,” the one that “deceiveth the whole world” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). He can appear as “an angel of light” and yet is “a roaring lion ... seeking whom he may devour” (2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Peter 5:8). In our own strength, we are no match for him at all. Not even the archangel Michael could rebuke him on his own (Jude 9). We can only stand against him if we are “strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10) and wear “the whole armour of God.” We need not be “ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11), the very first of which (and still the most effective) is to cause us to doubt God's Word (Genesis 3:1, 4) and then to disobey it (Genesis 3:5-6). That he has been extremely successful with this device is evident, considering especially the modern widespread distortion of its foundation in the Genesis record of creation and earth history, followed by wholesale rebellion against all God's commandments and finally by the rejection of His great love in the sacrifice of His Son.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

darkness of this world. The curtain of the invisible is slightly opened here to give us a brief glimpse of the tremendous spiritual forces arrayed against the people of God. God created “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), and apparently at least a third of this host of created spirits have followed Satan in his long war against God and His people (Revelation 12:4, 7). These are organized into a great hierarchy of principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world. We dare not be without God's whole armor when wrestling against such powers. Nevertheless, “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” and “they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (xTerm 4:4; 2 Kings 6:16). If we, using God's armor, “resist the devil,” then he and all his minions “will flee from” us (James 4:7).

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

truth. The “whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11, 13) involves seven units, all of which are vital if we are to prevail lastingly in the spiritual conflict with the great enemy of our souls. We must, first of all, be strongly girded about with truth—that is, the Word of God, and all its counsel (John 17:17; Acts 20:27)—if we hope to stand against the father of lies (John 8:44).

righteousness. The “breastplate of righteousness,” protecting the heart and lungs which provide life and breath to carry on the fight does not refer to personal righteous behavior (always imperfect at best) but His righteousness, imputed to us and in us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21) through faith by grace and thus eternally impregnable.

Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

peace. The feet also must be prepared, shod with footgear able to move quickly and as far as the gospel requires. “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15). Satan would bring doubt and rebellion and death, but the whole gospel, from creation to redemption to consummation, brings assurance and peace and life.

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

shield of faith. The Roman shield was metallic and thus invulnerable to the ignited missiles often fired by opponents, especially when the entire phalanx mounted shield adjacent to shield, giving a solid wall of advancing metal. The shield is faith, and faith in God's promises is “the victory that overcometh the world,” especially that promise that the Creator, the Son of God, has also become, in Jesus Christ, our eternal Savior and Lord (xTerm 5:4-5).

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

helmet of salvation. This helmet is called “the hope of salvation” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, and such a hope is, indeed, a hope involving “full assurance ... unto the end” (Hebrews 6:11). Salvation involves an eternal future salvation as well as a past acceptance and present assurance thereof. It is that certain hope that protects the believer's mind as he would, in this spiritual warfare, seek continually to be “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

word of God. The “sword of the Spirit” (note Hebrews 4:12) is not the logos (that is, the Word as a whole) but the rhema (that is, the individual text, or “saying,” of the Word) that is applicable in each particular situation and Satanic attack. Thus Jesus defeated Satan at each temptation merely by citing the appropriate Scripture (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Praying always. Persevering prayer, not just for personal deliverance, but also in supplication for others, is the invisible, but powerful, weapon that assures that God Himself, with His angels, is also fighting for us.

Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

mystery. Once again (see also Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-4, 9; 5:32), as he closes the epistle, Paul speaks of that past mystery hidden in God since creation, which he now wants boldly to make fully known.

Ephesians 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

Ephesians 6:22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.