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 Inductive Bible Study


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 the social drinking taking place in China? What should we do when invited?


Ecclesiastes 9:10, Galatians 6:10, Colossians 4:5 – Redeeming the time, making the most of every opportunity.

James 4:14,17 – Life is short.

1 Peter 4:2 – Live for the will of God.

Proverbs 20:1, 23:20-21, 23:29-35 – Verses about drunkenness and joining those who drink.

Key Points:

1. Wisdom. Moral wisdom not intellectual.

2. Life is very short. Make use of every chance. Candle illustration again. Ephesians 2:10.

3. Drunk. Discuss wine. Preferences as opposed to doctrines. Social drinking in China.

4. Positive is to be filled with the Spirit. How? Read MacArthur notes.

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

Speak with who?
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 – Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.

Colossians 3:16 – Teach and admonish one another and sing, psalms, hymns, with gratitude in your hearts.

James 5:13 – Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Happy? He should sing.

Colossians 1:11-12 – Giving thanks to the Father.

1 Peter 5:5, Philippians 2:3-4 – Humility towards one another. Cross referencing submissiveness.

Key Points:

1. Edifying conversations 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. Public and private. Praise is often linked with music/songs in the Bible.

2. Always giving thanks. All of these things show the attitudes we are supposed to have. Our speech comes from our heart. We need to have a heart that is rejoicing in the Lord and His goodness to us.

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 if it is an outright sin?
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 3:1-6 – Wives must submit section, includes unbelievers.

Titus 2:5 – Subject to their own husbands.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 – Submissive in the church.

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

Genesis 3:16 – Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.

1 Corinthians 11:3 – The head of woman is man.

Key Points:

1. The historical abuse of women has given it a bad rap. But the biblical way is not dishonoring to women, it is actually very honoring and lifting up because it follows God’s perfect model for marriage and there is nothing better than being in the middle of God’s plan and design. Galatians 3:28.

2. Root in the Garden of Eden.

3. Complementary roles.

4. What submission is NOT. Manipulation. Complaining. Upset inside. Nagging.

5. What submission IS.

6. Degree of submissiveness women are supposed to have. As to the Lord. Complete.

7. Excuses for not submitting.

8. What you can do now to prepare. A. Commit yourself to following God’s way, not your own. B. Practice submission to your boss and other authorities. C. Practice submission in the church by being a follower. D. Practice submission to the Lord by following His will in your lives.

IV. Husbands love your wives (25-30)

Discussion Questions

What is the husband’s responsibility?
With what kind of love? How did Christ love the church?
How is this different than the world’s standard? What kind of love do most worldly husbands have?
What other job to the husbands have (helping to edify/cleanse their wives)?
What other degree are we to love our wives (as much as our own body)?
Why does it say “he who loves his own wife, loves himself”?
When must a husband love the wife? What if she is being unsubmissive? What if she is doing wrong?
How can a husband nourish and cherish the wife?
How successful do you think a marriage following this pattern would be?


Colossians 3:19 – Husbands love your wives.

1 Peter 3:7 – Husbands be considerate, treat them with respect, etc.

Key Points:

1. Complementary roles. Husband is to be the leader. Discuss the difficulties of this and how a husband can do it biblically. Discuss a leader is not a dictator. Servant leadership.

2. What love is NOT. Feelings. Romantic attraction.

3. What love IS.

4. Degree of love husbands are to have.

5. Excuses for not loving.

6. Ways to practice loving now. Love your mothers, sisters, female relatives. Practice Christian love to members of the body. Practice unselfishness and being a servant.

V. Marriage in general (31-33)

Where does verse 31 come from?
What does this tell us about God’s design for marriage?
What does it mean to leave parents?
Who are the husband/wife first responsible to?

Application questions:
What can married couples do to make their marriage better?
What can you do NOW to prepare for having a godly marriage?

Study Ephesians 6:1-9