Main point summary
While children and slaves are called to obey parents and masters, parents are called to nurture and masters are called to respect their slaves —"in the Lord".
s Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right.
t “Honor your father and mother”
(this is the first commandment with a promise),
“that it may go well with you
and that you may live long in the land.”
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
u but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
v Bondservants, 1 obey your earthly masters 2
with fear and trembling, w with a sincere heart,
x as you would Christ,
not by the way of eye-service,
as y people-pleasers,
but as bondservants of Christ,
doing the will of God from the heart,
rendering service with a good will
as to the Lord
and not to man,
z knowing that whatever good anyone does,
this he will receive back from the Lord,
a whether he is a bondservant 1
or is free.
Masters, do the same to them,
b and stopping your threatening,
knowing that c he who is both their Master 1 and yours is in heaven,
and that d there is no partiality with him.
Prov. 1:8–9 Prov. 3:11–12 Prov. 17:25 Deut. 21:18–19 Lk 2:51 Col 3:20
Exod. 20:12 Deut. 5:16 NT References: Matt. 15:4, 19:19 Mark 7:10; 10:19 Luke 18:20).
Most Proverbs consider both parents in their scope, and obedience is demanded toward both parents. By extension, perhaps both parents are in view here as well, with a 'nod' to the head of the home. See ver 2; cf. Prov. 1:8–9; 17:25; 19:26; 20:20)
"in the Lord" ties to the verb "obey". In other words, obedience is called for because it is the Lord who has given the children their parents.
Almost a primal idea —God has made it plain to them and written it on human hearts. Disobedience to parents is symptomatic of a depraved society. See Rom 1:30
Lev. 19:3; Deut. 21:18–21; 27:16; Prov. 10:1; 11:29; 21:20
Peace and longevity are linked to one's treatment of parents. Peace within the home, and a life of flourishing were promised, keeping in mind that obedience to this command wasn't the only contributing factor. This was the general pattern.
This idea includes reproof, but goes beyond that into a lifestyle of consistency. Prov. 3:11–12; 13:24; 29:15; Heb. 12:5–6
It is about teaching wisdom with an eye to God. This all means that although parents possess authority over their children, it is not to be used without sensitivity, self-awareness or restraint. Parents shape children, and the raising up of a child should be intentional in what is modelled and moulded. On the other hand, direction is to be given, so there is not to be a kind of passive withdrawal from a child’s life, where the parents are so preoccupied with their own affairs that the children are left to their own devices (a play on words is intended here). Bock, Darrell L.. Ephesians (p. 159). IVP. Kindle Edition.
1 Cor. 2:3 2 Cor. 7:15 Phil. 2:12).
1 Chr. 29:17 Rom. 12:8 2 Cor. 1:12
Based on the judgement of good works: 1 Corinthians 3:10–17 Matt. 16:27; 25:14–46 Luke 6:35 2 Cor. 5:10 Gal. 6:8 1 Pet. 1:17 Rev. 22:12
Rom. 2:11 1 Cor. 12:13 Gal. 3:28 Col. 3:11
Matt 7:12 cf. Col 4:1
Walking in Love at Home: Parents and Children (6:1-4 ) 6:1-3 Paul moves to another relationship in the home: parents and children. Paul again begins with the perceived "weaker" relationship. Children are called to obey their parents considering: a. Their parents have been given to them by the Lord b. It is a 'naturally' right thing to do —a law of nature (cf. Rom 1:30) c. It has precedent in its importance within the Mosaic Law d. The command in the Law also has a positive promise attached, which Paul expands to "the earth" for the sake of the Gentiles. 6:4 Despite having "perceived" power, Fathers (mothers too, by extension) are called not to exercise clout and becoming a source of frustration and discouragement to their children. Instead of petty severity, they are called to nurture their children to live a God-glorifying life in: a. the instruction of the Lord b. the discipline (including, yet not limited to reproof) of the Lord 1. How seriously do we take honouring our parents, as children? How does this show? 2. In what ways does our “nurture” revolve around God’s instruction and discipline? In what ways is our parenting a power-play? Walking in Love at Home: Masters and Slaves (6:5-9 ) 6:5-7 Paul addresses slaves next, pointing them to Jesus, and so calling them to obey their earthly masters in faithfulness and integrity just as they would obey their heavenly master, Christ. He then makes his point by way of contrast: not people pleasing and pretentious labour, but as bond-slaves of Christ, showing their heart-devotion to him by their hands. Their work involves doing the will of God from their heart —by serving eagerly, working for the Lord and not for man. 6:8 Paul then gives the basis for this kind of good work: the slaves know that their reward is from the Lord, and this is true irrespective of social class. They really do work for him, and not 'as if' for him. 6:9 Again, d espite having "perceived" power, Masters also are called not to exercise clout. They are to instead "do the same" to the slaves —respect and serve their slaves instead of threatening them, knowing that they too are bond-slaves of Christ, the great king in the heavenly places (Eph 1:19-21). And he is a great equaliser. 1. In what ways do our lives showcase that we work under the all-powerful King? 2. In what areas of our lives do people-pleasing and “eye-service” need to be eradicated? How can we practice a life of sincerity and integrity in those areas?