Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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EPHESIANS - Chapter 6

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Ephesians 6

Supplemental Commentary:

II.  MORAL  4, 1 -- 6, 20 (continued)

2.  The Christian Hope  5, 21 -- 6, 9 (continued)

6, 1-4:  Children and Parents.  Children must obey their parents in the Lord, i.e., in a Christian manner, in accordance with the directions of Christ.  First commandment with a promise: this promise was at first a temporal one, it promised temporal happiness in Palestine.  It came later to signify chiefly spiritual blessings.  Some, however, see in St. Paul's words an indication that God will reward filial devotion with blessings even in this world; but the promise must not be taken too absolutely.  God may have other plans for us, and blessings greater than long life.

6, 5-9:  Slaves and Masters.  Without discussing the legitimacy of slavery, here or elsewhere, the Apostle urges slaves to do well what their condition requires, serving Christ by the elevation of their motives.    9.  Mindfulness of the equality of master and slave would in time do away with slavery.

3.  The Christian Warfare  6, 10-20

6, 10-17:  The Armor of God.  Strengthened in the Lord, made powerful by our fellowship with Him, we share already in what is His.    10.  Armor represents divine help in the warfare of the Christian.    11.  Armor of God: i.e., supplied by God.    12.  Our warfare is not only against our own nature and other men, but against the hierarchies of the evil spirits and their wickedness.  The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.  In Isa. 11, 4 the Messias overcomes His enemies by the "breath of his lips," i.e., by His word.  The sword is provided by the Spirit.

6, 18-20:  Assiduous Prayer.  The thought of the Spirit given utterance leads to the thought of another kind of utterance, viz., intercessory prayer.  The Apostle asks that we pray at all times under the influence of the Spirit, for all Christians and especially for St. Paul himself, who needs supernatural strength to keep on preaching the gospel.  Of that gospel he is an ambassador in chains.

Conclusion  6, 21-24

May St. Paul's readers have peace, love and faith!  He is about to send them Tychicus, who will acquaint them with the circumstances in which the Apostle finds himself at Rome.  He hopes that the faithful may be comforted by this fellow-worker of St. Paul.

Wendell S. Reilly, S.S.

Confraternity Bible:

Children and Parents  1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for that is right.  2 "Honor thy father and thy mother"---such is the first commandment with a promise--- 3 "that it may be will with thee, and that thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth."

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but rear them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

Slaves and Masters  5* Slaves, obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in the sincerity of your heart, as you would Christ: 6 not serving to the eye as pleasers of men, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart, 7 giving your service with good will as to the Lord and not to men, 8 in the knowledge that whatever good each does, the same he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is slave or freeman.

9 And you, masters, do the same towards them, and give up threatening, knowing that their Lord who is also your Lord is in heaven and that with him there is no respect of persons.

The Armor of God  10 For the rest, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power.  11 Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high.  13 Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect.  14 Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of justice, 15 and having your feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace, 16 in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.  17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is, the word of God.

Assiduous Prayer  18 With all prayer and supplication pray at all times in the Spirit, and therein be vigilant in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints---19 and for me, that when I open my mouth, utterance may be granted to me fearlessly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; so that therein I may dare to speak as I ought.

21 But that you too may know my circumstances and what I am doing, Tychicus, our dearest brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will tell you everything.  22 Him have I sent to you for this very purpose, that you may learn our circumstances, and that he may comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  24 Grace be with all those who have a love unfailing for our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.


5: Masters according to the flesh: temporal masters in the things of this world, as distinct from Christ who is Master according to the spirit, i.e., in what pertains to the supernatural and eternal.