In this exposition of Ephesians 6:1-9, I will share the meaning and application of this scripture. These instructions from God through the Apostle Paul are some general rules for a Christian. They discuss what to do and why you are to obey them. This passage has the theme concerning obedience to God, which is profoundly important and provides rewards. I’ll proceed with one or a few verses at a time and expound upon them. So, let’s get into our scripture.
Ephesians 6:1-9 Without Verse Numbers
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 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; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Exposition of Ephesians 6:1-9
“6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Children are to obey their parents. That is self-explanatory, but the verse goes on to express “in the Lord.” This passage means they are to obey them as they would obey the Lord or supreme authority. It is the Greek word kurios, meaning supreme authority or controller. We should raise children to know and understand that God and their parents are in control, and they are to respect that control by obeying their parents. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And because it’s according to God’s will.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Verses two and three are an exposition by Paul of the 5th commandment from Exodus 20:12. God commands children to honor their father and mother. Paul states this commandment has a promise: that these obedient children, obeying their parents, will live long on the earth. But this does not guarantee that any obedient child will live to be 90 or 100 years old. It promises that God will not prematurely remove the child from the earth. God knows everything, including the future, so He knows when each person will be called home (heaven) or get cast into hell. God is saying those who honor their father and mother will be granted longer lives than those who are disobedient or disrespectful. So, it’s comparative, not absolute. A long life might be two months or 100 years for a child who honors their parents, but that life would be shortened for a disobedient, disrespectful child. It’s a matter of God’s all-knowing perspective and will.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Fathers are not to provoke their children to the point that they are enraged. You will often make decisions for your children that are unpopular with them and might even make them upset. This passage says not to push them to the point of wrath or rage. That’s the point when the child stops talking to you, bursts out in inconsolable tears, or starts screaming that they hate you. God says don’t push them to that point.
Instead, nurture them with admonition prescribed by God, which means instructing or educating them in proper behavior with love but not platitudes or unwarranted acceptance of the child’s wrongdoings. Love often includes chastisement or firm instruction in righteousness based on Biblical principles. Every good father or mother chastises in a manner that shows they care and will always love the child. The child must see that love through the chastisement yet also learn the lesson.
Servants or Employees
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;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Servants or employees must do what their employers ask of them if what they request is not illegal, immoral, or in direct violation of scripture. They are to obey with respect and, in some cases, fear their employer. The Greek word tromos translates into English as trembling with fear. This fear would be applicable if you did something horribly wrong at work and your employer reprimanded you. Don’t fabricate excuses; just take the reprimand, apologize, and return to work.
You humble yourself and proceed back to work in a manner that serves Christ by doing everything you do in a manner that would please the Lord. Not in a way that falsely honors your boss to curry favor. You are to do everything you do in a manner that serves and honors the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, you will almost certainly honor your boss.
Masters or Employers
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.
Masters or employers are to also serve the Lord by acting and reacting with righteous chastisement, humility, and kindness. God doesn’t think of the boss being more important than the employee or the employee being more important than the boss. Everyone is equal at the foot of the cross. Masters or employers are also to do everything they do in a manner that serves and honors the Lord Jesus Christ.
Exposition of Ephesians 6:1-9 Conclusion
Imagine how wonderful the world would be if only these few commandments were obeyed. You would see good, well-behaved children who are respectful and living in a way that honors their parents and God. You would see fathers chastising their children in a way that instructs and edifies them. You would see employees coming in on time, respecting the equipment they use, being careful not to waste, and respecting their employers. You would witness employers respecting their employees even when chastisement is necessary. Everyone would do everything they do in a manner that praises, honors, and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. Just imagine what the world would be like. It would be fantastic, but it would require a Christian world and worldview!
Well, we can hope, pray, and lead people to Christ. It’s an uphill battle – who’s in it with me?!!