Ephesians 6:1-9

These small group studies of Ephesians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Ephesians 6:1-9 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

I. Children-Parents’ relationship (1-4)
II. Slave-Master relationship (5-9)

I. Children-Parents’ relationship (1-4)

Discussion Questions

How is the first part of chapter 6 related to what we have been learning in chapter five?
What is the authority structure outlined here?
What does it mean to obey your parents in the Lord?
What is the difference between obedience and honor?
How long is it necessary for kids to obey their parents?
What does it mean first command with a promise? What is the promise attached? Does this mean every obedient child will live longer than every disobedient child? Then what does it mean? Why might an obedient child live longer than a disobedient one? Is this authority structure being practiced in China?
Some parents might say, “I want my child to obey me, but they just won’t.” What would you tell them?
What is a father’s responsibility? How might some fathers provoke their children to anger? Why do you think the discipline and instruction responsibility is directed towards fathers instead of mothers? What does this tell us?

Cross-References

Colossians 3:20 – Children obey your parents in the Lord.
Exodus 20:12, Deut 5:16 – Part of the ten commandments on children obeying their parents.
Matthew 15:3-6 – Korban.
Proverbs 1:8, 3:1-2 – Listen to the instruction of a Father.
Proverbs 22:6, 23:13 – Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Use the rod. He will not die.
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a heart. The rod will drive it out.
Hebrews 12:5-11 – Fatherly discipline.

Teaching Points

1. Go over child’s responsibilities. Discuss problems in China’s (or whatever culture you live in) culture. God is once again showing us that He is orderly by establishing a strict chain of command and authority structure within the family.

2. Go over the promise associated with the command.

3. Discuss the limitations of children obeying their parents. This for sure no longer applies after marriage since the Bible says that the kids leave their father and mother and cling to one another. A new family unit is created with a new head (husband) so the kids no longer need to obey their parents.

4. Discuss parental and specifically a father’s responsibility towards his kids. He is to instruct his kids and also discipline them when necessary. When going over Judges we saw the failure of many godly men to train up their children well after them. As a result it often only took one generation for a nation serving God to fall away from Him. There is no doubt both parents are obligated in this area, but God places the burden of responsibility on the father. Parents must take responsibility for the raising of their own kids. It is not the school’s job and it is not grandparents’ job and it is not the government’s job or the ayi’s (babysitter) job. It is parents. This requires spending time with the kids, being involved in their lives. It requires the parents being a good testimony to the kids and regular giving them spiritual input. How? It can come through devotions together with the kids, teaching them various topics, using daily life situations to teach, having father/son talks, etc. Although the father is the authority, God also warns about using this too excessively or in the wrong way, which might drive the children to anger, bitterness, and resentment. There is a right way and a wrong way to discipline. Parents need to do it with love and kindness and show that they are interested in their children’s lives. Jesus was the authority to the disciples, but He was also a friend. Parents need to exercise their authority not just for its own sake, but for the good of their child while also being a friend. Don’t outsource your job. If you do, don’t be surprised when it is done badly and you have a rebellious worldly child on your hands.

II. Slave-Master relationship (5-9)

Why was it necessary for Paul to cover this issue of slaves and masters?

What stance does the Bible take on slavery? Is there any division in the church between slaves and masters? What does this tell you about God’s heart on slavery?
What command did Paul give to slaves? What does it mean masters according to the flesh?
What does in fear and trembling mean?
What should their motivations be?
What command is given to the masters?
How might this section of Scripture apply to us today in a world where slavery is more and more rare?

Colossians 3:22-4:1 – Parallel Scripture.

Teaching Points

I. The Bible doesn’t speak out against slavery. It was routinely practiced in the culture of that day. But it does speak out regularly against the abuses of slavery and holds masters and slaves to a much higher standard. Basically the point here is that slaves, you are in this position. You can’t get out of it. Serve Christ in it. Unfortunately because sin entered into the world there are a lot of unfair things in society. The Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal is not true. Some are born slaves or poor and some are born rich or into royal families. We can’t control the circumstances around us, but we can control our actions and how we respond to the circumstances around us.

2. In the church, their was to be no slave/master division and no partiality (James, Galatians). I think that this shows us God’s heart. In a perfect world there is no slavery. In God’s mind, every believer is equal regardless of their economic level. But the Bible is a real world book and teaches us how to face problems in the real world. It was a very real question for Christan slaves of that day wondering how they treat their masters. Should they run away? Should they refuse to work? No. They should obey. They should be diligent. They were under their master’s authority and should follow their master as if it was Christ.

3. Discuss the importance of proper motivation. This mentions the heart.  Doing the will of God from the heart. This is very important. Slaves weren’t to do their jobs well just to please their masters and hope to improve their position somehow. They were to do it because it was right and because God wanted them to. Even if their masters never noticed and never rewarded them, God saw their obedience and would reward them for it.

4. Cover how this applies to employees/employers.

5. Cover the masters. They weren’t to threaten their slaves, which to me also implies the action that followed the threat (abuse). They were treat their slaves well, with honor and respect. They should recognize that the top Master was watching them. He was not partial and would not be impressed with their wealth or position. He would judge them for their treatment of their slaves.

Study Ephesians 6:10-23

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