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EPHESIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 1





THIS chapter comprises the following subjects:

(1.) An exhortation to children to obey their parents, with a promise of the blessing that would follow from obedience, Eph 6:1-3.

(2.) An exhortation to fathers to manifest such a character that children could properly obey them, and to train them up in a proper manner, Eph 6:4.

(3.) The duty of servants, Eph 6:6-8.

(4.) The duty of masters towards their servants, Eph 6:9.

(5.) An exhortation to put on the whole armour of God, with a description of the Christian soldier, and of the Christian panoply, Eph 6:10-17.

(6.) The duty of prayer, and especially of prayer for the apostle himself, that he might be enabled to speak with boldness in the cause of his Master, Eph 6:18-20.

(7.) In the conclusion, Eph 6:21-24, he informs them that if they wished to make any inquiries about his condition, Tychicus, who conveyed this letter, could acquaint them with his circumstances; and then closes the epistle with the usual benedictions.

Verse 1. Children. tekna. This word usually signifies those who are young; but it is here used, evidently, to denote those who were under the care and government of their parents, or those who were not of age.

Obey your parents. This is the first great duty which God has enjoined on children. It is to do what their parents command them to do. The God of nature indicates that this is duty, for he has impressed it on the minds of all in every age; and the Author of revelation confines it. It is particularly important,

(1.) because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it; no community or family being prosperous where there is not due subordination in the household.

(2.) Because the welfare of the child depends on it; it being of the highest importance that a child should be early taught obedience to law, as no one can be prosperous or happy who is not thus obedient.

(3.) Because the child is not competent, as yet, to reasons on what is right, or qualified to direct himself; and, while that is the case, he must be subject to the will of some other person.

(4.) Because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child. The love which God has implanted in the heart of a parent for a child secures, in general, the administration of this domestic government in such a way as not to injure the child. A father will not, unless under strong passion or the excitement of intoxication, abuse his authority. He loves the child too much. He desires his welfare; and the placing of the child under the authority of the parent is about the same thing, in regard to the welfare of the child, as it would be to endow the child at once with all the wisdom and experience of the parent himself.

(5.) It is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God. The government of God is what a perfect family government would be; and to accustom a child to be obedient to a parent is designed to be one method of leading him to be obedient to God. No child that is disobedient to a parent will be obedient to God; and that child that is most obedient to a father and mother will be most likely to become a Christian, and an heir of heaven. And it may be observed, in general, that no disobedient child is virtuous, prosperous, or happy. Every one foresees the ruin of such a child; and most of the cases of crime that lead to the penitentiary, or the gallows, commence by disobedience to parents.

In the Lord. That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no farther. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion. The duties and rights of children, in such cases, are similar to those of wives, See Barnes "Eph 5:22"; and, in all cases, God is to be obeyed rather than man. When a parent, however, is opposed to a child; when he expresses an unwillingness that a child should attend a particular church, or make a profession of religion, such opposition should, in all cases, be a sufficient reason for the child to pause and re-examine the subject. He should pray much, and think much, and inquire much, before, in any case, he acts contrary to the will of a father or mother; and, when he does do it, he should state to them, with great gentleness and kindness, that he believes he ought to love and serve God.

For this is right. It is right,

(1.) because it is so appointed by God as a duty;

(2.) because children owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for what they have done for them;

(3.) because it will be for the good of the children themselves, and for the welfare of society.

{a} "obey your parents" Pr 23:22; col 3:20

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