Ephesians 6 以弗所书 第六章

EPHESIANS 6



I.    Counsel to Children (vv. 1-3)


    A.    “Obey your parents” (v. 1)

  1. Children are to obey the instruction of their parents.  Paul added a reason: “For this is right.”  This phrase could have more than one meaning.  It could mean that a child’s obedience is recognized as right by all people.
  2. The phrase also could mean that a child cannot always understand the reasons for a parent’s instructions and must obey because it is the right thing to do.

    B.    “Honor your father and mother” (v. 2)

  1. To honor something is to value it or even revere it.  Here Paul cited the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12).
  2. “Honor” is a broader word than “obey.”  In the case of younger children, it calls for obedience.  In the case of older children, it calls for respect and care for the parents.

II.    Counsel to Parents (v. 4)


    A.    “Do not provoke your children” (v. 4)

  1. Paul probably used the word “fathers” in a general sense that would include both parents.  He delivered his counsel in the form of one negative command and one positive command.
  2. Parents are not to provoke their children to anger.  Their exercise of authority is not to be harsh. Rather, parental authority is to be exercised with due regard for the child, recognizing the child’s rights and feelings.

    B.    “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (v. b)

  1. To “bring up” a child is to nourish and care for that child.  Parents are to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  2. The word “discipline” speaks of actions used to correct transgressions of laws.  The word “instruction” literally means “a putting in mind.”  It is often translated “admonition” and refers to verbal instruction.  It speaks of training, whether by encouragement of, if necessary, by correction.

III.     Slaves and Masters (6:5-9)


    A.    Counsel to Slaves (vv. 6-8)

  1. The Roman world lived with slavery.  From the earliest times, the government accepted and promoted the practice.  In the Roman world, treatment of slaves varied considerably. By the first century, however, the institution of slavery was changing.  Public sentiment was against harsh treatment of slaves, and many leading orators spoke against slavery.  This caused many masters to free their slaves.
  2. Christianity arose in a real-life, tension-filled setting.  The slaves’ insurrections had already failed, causing significant injury, sorrow, and loss of life.  Working within these tensions, however, the seeds of abolition were sown.
  3. In the Roman Empire of Paul’s day, nearly all work was done by slaves.  A large portion of the population consisted of those in forced servitude either as captives of the Romans or as debtors unable to pay their obligations.  It is likely that many early Christians were slaves.  Therefore, Paul included Christian instruction for those in slave-master relationships.  His approach to the slavery problem of his day was to urge both slaves and masters to acknowledge Christ as their Lord.
  4. Paul’s words “whether slave or free” remind us today that Paul’s instruction is just as applicable to the modern-day employer as to the first-century slave.  He urged workers to:
    1. Obey with respect and sincerity (v. 5) – Servants are to obey their masters in the same way they obey Christ.  Paul mentioned qualities of this obedience:
      1. Fear and trembling – This is the kind of fear we are taught to have toward God.
      2. Sincerity – This word conveys the ideas of simplicity, uprightness, and “singleness of heart.”
    2. Serve “from the heart” – Paul instructed that service to masters should be done wholeheartedly, as if the servants were serving the Lord directly.  Christians are serving Christ, even in their daily duties.  This word suggests a good will that does not want to be compelled to action.

    B.    Counsel to Masters (v. 9)

  1. There was much cruelty and abuse of slaves in the Roman Empire, but Christian masters were to be different.  They were to do good to their slaves.  Their relationship with their slaves was to be governed by the awareness of their accountability to God for what they did.
  2. In situations where both slave and master were Christians, they were in a master-slave relationship at one level.  But at a more important level, they were equals as brothers in Christ.

IV.    The Whole Armor of God (6:10-20)


    A.    The Believer’s Fight Against Evil (vv. 10-13)

  1. Paul concluded his letter to the Ephesians by preparing his readers for the spiritual conflict of life.  He made them aware of the enemy, Satan, and exhorted them to put on the “armor” that God supplies so they may be equipped for the battle.
  2. Paul’s use of the word “Finally” indicated to his readers that he was beginning to draw his letter to a conclusion.  It drew together several themes from throughout the letter but particularly pointed to 5:3-18, where Paul described evil deeds and evil days as enemies of God’s people.  Paul began his instruction with three commands: “Be strong in the Lord,” “Put on the full armor of God,” and “stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
  3. “Be strong in the Lord” (v. 10) – Paul exhorted believers to be strengthened or empowered for the battle.  Human effort is not enough; the strength and power for the fight must come from God, “His might.”  The Christian draws strength from:
    1. Realizing that believers are seated with Christ “in the heavenly realms” (1:19-23), a much higher position than Satan and his principalities; and
    2. The fact that the power of God is available to every believer through the power of the indwelling Spirit (3:14-21).
  4. “Put on the full armor of God” (v. 11) – To put on the armor of God is to clothe oneself with the necessary equipment for battle.  It is important to include all the parts of the armor to protect oneself completely from the attacks of the enemy.
  5. “Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (v. 11) – Just as an enemy will come up with a variety of schemes to try to gain victory in combat, so it is with Satan against God’s people.

    B.    The Believer’s Equipment for Battle (vv. 14-17a)

  1. In this graphic passage, Paul pictured the Christian soldier being outfitted for a battle.  To wage this battle with human effort is foolish.  The believer must put on God’s full armor in order to be strong in His mighty power.  Human effort is inadequate in spiritual warfare, but God’s power is invincible.
  2. Armor is essentially a shield worn directly on the body.  Since the body is most vulnerable in the head and chest regions, it was especially there where armor was worn.  Saul and Goliath wore helmets (1 Sam. 17:5, 38), as did the entire army of Judah, at least in the time of Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:14).  The helmet was usually made of leather or metal.  It was designed in various shapes depending on the army and even on the unit within the army so the commander could distinguish one unit from another while viewing from a higher vantage point.  The different helmets helped the soldier tell whether he was near an enemy or comrade in the confusion of tight hand-to-hand combat.
  3. Arms and armor surfaced on only a few occasions in the New Testament. In New Testament times Roman imperial soldiers were equipped with metal helmets, protective leather and metal vests, leg armor, shields, swords, and spears.  The armor of God is both the armor He supplies and the armor He Himself uses in the battle.  Paul listed the items in the order in which they would be put on.  He identified each one by the spiritual quality each represents.  Because Paul emphasized the “full armor of God,” the details of the individual pieces should not be pressed too far.
  4. Truth – The first step in preparing for battle was to gird the loins.  Because me in ancient times wore long robes, their movement in battle or work could be hindered.  To eliminate this hindrance, they would pull up the robe and tie it about the waist and hips with a girdle or belt.  Paul says this belt is truth, which means sincerity of character.
  5. Righteousness – In battle, the breastplate was vital, for it protected the heart and lungs.  This is what righteousness does for the believer.
  6. Peace – Shoes are important to the foot soldier.  For the Christian, it is the gospel of peace that makes his feet spring lightly across the field or makes it possible for him to stand firmly in position when such a stance is required.  Just as shoes provide foundation to our standing or moving, so the gospel is the foundation on which we stand.
  7. Faith – A shield was indispensable for battle.  The kind of shield Paul spoke of was large enough to cover the whole body, about two-and-one-half feet by four feet in size.  These shields were made of leather and were often soaked in water to ensure protection from flaming arrows.  The Christian’s shield is faith, which is a complete confidence is God’s power.  It is important to note that to “take up” the shield (v. 16) does not mean to grab with one’s own strength; rather, it is a receiving of what is given by  God.
  8. Salvation – The helmet protects the most vital and vulnerable part of the body – the head. Therefore, the helmet of salvation is the Christian’s most basic protection.  Armed with God’s grace and the guarantee of eternal life, the Christian soldier can remain fearless.  Nothing the enemy will do can break the bond that holds the believer to God.  Although, believers may experience setbacks during the battle, they will be able to hold their heads up when the battle is over.

    C.    The Believer’s Preparation Through Prayer (vv. 17b-20)

  1. Two offensive weapons are included with the armor of God: (1) the “sword of the Spirit,” which is the Word of God, and (2) prayer.
  2. “The Sword of the Spirit” (v. 17) – The kind of sword Paul described is the short, straight sword the Roman soldier used.  It was used as a close-range weapon.  The sword given by the Spirit to be wielded as an offensive weapon is the Word of God.  God’s sword has life and power, and we learn from Heb. 4:12 that it never grows dull.  Indeed, it is a very effective weapon, “piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).  Christians learn to conquer the enemy on the spiritual battlefield when they understand Scripture, apply its life-changing truths to themselves, and obey its commands.
  3. Prayer – Prayer is what energizes the Christian.  Paul set forth several guidelines for this prayer. The Christian is to pray:
    1. in the spirit
    2. at all times
    3. with all prayer and petition
  4. The attitude of the prayer warrior should be one of alertness and persistence.  It is to be constant and intense.  Like a guard keeping watch over the camp, the Christian is to be vigilant without a letdown.
  5. Paul concluded this section by describing himself as “an ambassador in chains” (v. 20).  He was in prison, wearing iron prison chains.  In Paul’s time, Rome housed many ambassadors in fine embassies.  Paul, an ambassador of Christ, found himself imprisoned.  Because ambassadors normally would not be arrested, Paul indicated the wrong he was suffering.

V.    Paul’s Final Words to His Readers (6:21-24)


    A.    Acknowledgments (vv. 21-22)

  1. At the end of his letter, Paul acknowledged the personal ties between himself and some of his readers.  He would send a special messenger, Tychicus, to hand deliver the letter.
  2. Verses 21-22 are nearly identical to Col. 4:7-9, indicating that Tychicus carried both letters.

    B.    Benediction (vv. 23-24)

  1. The book closed with a rich benediction.  Familiar themes of peace, brotherhood, love, faith, and grace are the blessings Paul pronounced on God’s people.
  2. He spoke eloquently of Christ’s love for His church.  At the end he graced them with the title, “all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”  By “incorruptible” Paul speaks not only of the character of that love, but also of its endurance.
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