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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ephesians 6

 

 

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Verses 1-4

Ephesians 6:1-4. Children must obey their parents as a matter of Christian duty—"Honour thy father and thy mother, etc.," is both a dictate of righteousness and an injunction of primary importance; and moreover it carries with it a promise. Fathers are to refrain from exasperating their children, and to bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

[Ephesians 6:4. the first commandment with promise: the writer is thinking of other commandments (not in the Decalogue) to which promises are attached.—A. J. G.]


Verses 1-9

Ephesians 5:22 to Ephesians 6:9. Subordination in the Fear of Christ.—The principle is illustrated by the relation (a) of wives to husbands, (b) of children to parents, (c) of slaves to masters. The writer does not attack existing social institutions—slavery, the patria potestas, the dependent position of women. He accepts the relationships as they exist in the world he knows, and seeks to interpret them in the light of the gospel (p. 649). If he enforces upon wives, children, and slaves, the duty of subordination, he insists also upon the corresponding obligations of conjugal love and protection, parental nurture and admonition, kind treatment and forbearance towards slaves. All these relationships are now relationships "in the Lord." That of husband and wife in particular is grounded in Christ's relation to His Church.


Verses 5-9

Ephesians 6:5-9. Slaves must render obedience to their earthly masters as unto Christ, in a spirit of fear and reverence, and with undivided allegiance; not trying merely to do such work as may pass muster before the eye of a human taskmaster (cf. Exp., July 1915), but doing heartily the will of God as the slaves of Christ; with cheerfulness fulfilling the slave's task, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that the slave, like the free man, shall receive the reward of his work at the Lord's hands. Masters are to exhibit a corresponding temper towards their slaves, avoiding threats; knowing that the common Master is in heaven, and that His judgment is independent of human disparities of status.


Verses 10-20

Ephesians 6:10-20. The Spiritual Warrior and the Armour of God.—For the rest, the Christian must be strong in the Lord, equipped with God's armour, in face of the devil's wiles. He wrestles, not against mere human foes, but against the dæmonic powers and principalities who are the rulers of this dark and wicked world; against the evil spiritual agencies in the heavenly sphere. Against such, if he is to stand in the day of evil, his armour must indeed be the armour of God—his girdle truth, his breastplate righteousness, his sandals the preparedness begotten of the peace the gospel brings; in all circumstances he must take trust in God as shield—so shall he be able to quench all the Evil One's flaming darts; he must take the helmet which consists of salvation, and the Spirit's sword, i.e. the utterance of God; with constancy, moreover, of ceaseless prayer and intercession in the Spirit at every moment, keeping vigil thereunto with perseverance. Let him pray for all God's people; and in particular, let him pray for the writer, that he may have utterance—free speech and fearless—to make known the revealed secret of that gospel, on whose behalf he is an ambassador—in chains!

Ephesians 6:11. whole armour: an unfortunate attempt to render literally the Gr. panoplia ("panoply"). Not the completeness of the armour but its Divine character is the writer's point.

Ephesians 6:12. Cf. Ephesians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 2:6*, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 2:15. The idea that the "powers" occupying the "heavens" are in some cases evil finds several parallels in Jewish apocalyptic literature; cf. also Revelation 12:7, 1 Corinthians 6:3. [In his Early Zoroastrianism, pp. 392f., J. H. Moulton says, "A conflict in the upper air between the powers of light and darkness is a thoroughly Iranian notion. It may even have contributed to popular beliefs outside Iran, for when Paul uses it (Ephesians 6:12) as an idea familiar to the people of the Lycus valley, it will probably be as a native folklore which he could apply, without doing harm, when the infinite transcendence of Christ was held fast. There is a further parallel in Revelation 12:9 supposed to be adapted from Jewish apocalyptic. Both passages may be fairly added to the tale of possible Iranian contacts with Judaism."—A. S. P.]

Ephesians 6:14-17. This is based on the descriptions of the Divine Warrior in OT (cf. Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 11:4, Wisdom of Solomon 5:17 ff.), rather than on the armour of the Roman legionary.

Ephesians 6:15. preparation (hetoimasia): the word possibly denotes "footgear," but more probably "preparedness"—either the readiness of the messenger who conveys the "good news of peace," or the preparedness which results from being at peace with God.

Ephesians 6:16. In ancient warfare arrows were sometimes tipped with inflammable material and set on fire before being discharged.

Ephesians 6:17. word of God: either the gospel as preached, or OT Scriptures.


Verses 21-24

Ephesians 6:21-24. Closing Words.—The bearer, Tychicus, will give full information as to the writer's present condition. Peace to the brethren and grace be with all who in incorruptibility love the Lord Jesus.

Ephesians 6:21. The emphasis of the wording in the original suggests that the writer is answering inquiries contained in a letter in which his correspondents had given similar information about themselves.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ephesians 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ephesians-6.html. 1919.

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