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 5:15-33 Bible Study Commentary – Husband and Wife Marriage Roles


I. Walk as wise men (15-18)
II. Have deep fellowship with one another (19-21)
III. Wives be subject to your husbands (22-24)
IV. Husbands love your wives (25-30)
V. Marriage in general (31-33)

I. Walk as wise men (15-18)

Discussion Questions

• What is the “therefore” there for?
• What does the term “be careful” tell us?
• What is the difference in how unwise men and wise men live?
• How can we make the most of our time?
• What kind of activities redeem the time?
• What is the reason given for why we should make use of our time?
• What kind of activities do many people engage in that are not redeeming the time?
• How can we understand what the will of the Lord is?
• Is a believer allowed to drink?
• What is forbidden here?
• How can we be filled with the Spirit?
• What do you think about social drinking?
• What should we do when invited?


Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

James 4:14 – Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

1 Peter 4:2 – As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Proverbs 23:20-21 – Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Walk not as unwise but as wise – Wisdom in the Bible is not about IQ. Instead wisdom refers to moral discernment, the God given ability to apply His principles to our daily lives. It is actually much more closely related to obedience than it is to intelligence. A wise person obeys God’s instructions. Paul goes on to talk in verse 16 about one way God expects believers to be wise, that is in our use of time.

2. Making the best use of time – Life is short. In James 4:14 our lives are compared to a vapor which appears for a little while and then vanishes. One need only turn on the news to see how many people’s lives are snuffed out unexpectedly. You may have even been surprised one morning to wake up to unexpected news, such as when Kobe Bryant and several others had passed away in a sudden helicopter crash. They were going to his basketball center to play hoops, never imagining that their lives here on earth were almost at the end.

A person once compared people to candles. Two candles represented two people’s lives. One candle was tall, almost new, having only burned for a short time. The other candle short, almost spent. The tall candle represents a young person who likely has most of their life in front of them while the short candle represents an older person. Both candles have something in common. Each day they keep burning. And each day they are one day closer to finally burning out.

Our lives are the same. God has put us onto this earth for a reason. He has prepared certain good deeds, missions if you will, which He wants us to accomplish for Him (Ephesians 2:10). Every day is an opportunity to fulfill the missions God has for us that day. But if we do not do them, they are gone and will never come back again.

Application: Do you make a habit of redeeming the time? When you have completely free time what will your normally do? Is there anything in your life which you feel wastes your time or distracts you from using your time well?

3. Do not get drunk with wine – Drinking some alcohol is not sin. Getting drunk, and thereby losing self-control, is. Another factor to consider is if drinking will cause the people around you to stumble. Most importantly, you should ask if it is giving glory to God.

4. But be filled with the Spirit – How? A person is filled with the Spirit when he is sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and obedient to the Spirit’s conviction and promptings. The one filled with the Spirit will have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in abundance.

Galatians 5:22-23 Bible Verse

The opposite of filling is quenching. When a person quenches the Spirit, he does not follow the Spirit’s leading. Saying “no” to God, he becomes less and less sensitive to sin, guilt, conviction, and any other promptings from the Spirit.

II. Have deep fellowship with one another (19-21)

Discussion Questions

• Speak with whom?
• What is first required before we can speak with one another?
• How can we speak to one another in psalms? Hymns? Spiritual songs?
• What is the main point of this section?
• What is the most important ingredient in this? (Our heart)
• What does it mean to be subject to one another?


Acts 16:25 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Colossians 1:11-12 – Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

1 Peter 5:5 – In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Speak to one another in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs – Paul himself made a habit of this. He often shared what God was doing in his life with the people he ministered to. Instead of spending our conversations focused on casual or unimportant trivia, we should take initiative to steer conversations, making them edifying and beneficial, focused on God. This is the result of being filled with the Spirit. Our conversation will be like singing songs of praise, hymns of thanksgiving, music of personal testimony.

One way to have edifying conversation is to share our testimonies. As we do this, is it reminds us to be continually grateful. We often consider that sharing our testimony is a witnessing tool and is beneficial to others. That is certainly true. But we often don’t realize that one of the most important benefits is to ourselves. When we share our testimony, we first remember it. We remember what God has done in our lives and articulate our thoughts on it. These things will generally stir in us a heart of thanksgiving like it did for Paul.

When couples have marriage trouble, counselors will often ask them to share how they first met or their first date or how they felt on their honeymoon or similar testimonies. One reason they do this is to try to help both sides remember the good things they have experienced and in remembering to grow in or renew their love for the other side.

Application: Make a habit of telling others what God is doing in your life. It can include your salvation testimony, but is not limited to that. When you have the habit to be sharing what God is doing in your life you will be more alert to the work that He is doing in you. And you will be more grateful for it.

Ask each person in the study to share a testimony of how God has worked in their life within the past month.

2. Always giving thanks – Our speech comes from the heart. We need to have a heart that is rejoicing in the Lord and His goodness to us.

Application: In what kind of situations is it easy for you to complain? How can you shift your attitude to be more thankful? What is something you are thankful for this week?

III. Wives be subject to your husbands (22-24)

Discussion Questions

• What does it mean that wives should be subject to their own husbands?
• What is the significance of “own”?
• To what degree should they subject themselves?
• What if they disagree?
• What if they have a better idea?
• What if the husband is an unbeliever?
• What does it mean that the husband is head?
• Can there be two heads?
• Some say that the husband is the head, but the wife is the neck who turns the head.
• Do you think this approach is right?
• What is the difference between the Bible’s approach and the worlds?
• In what areas should the wife be subject to her husband?


1 Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.

Titus 2:5 – Subject to their own husbands.

Colossians 3:18 – Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Genesis 3:16 – To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

1 Corinthians 11:3 – But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Wives submit to your own husbands – God has designed authority structures in every area of life. He has put authorities into place in the political sphere (governments), the social sphere (bosses and masters), the spiritual sphere (elders over the church), and the family sphere (parents over children and wife submit to husband.) This should not be a surprise to us. God is an orderly God.

He doesn’t want confusion and chaos. He doesn’t want there to be multiple people or groups striving to lead and bickering about who is in charge. A hom