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Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible Dunagan's Commentary
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ dun/ ephesians-6.html. 1999-2014.
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
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I. The duty of children: 6:1-3
II. The duty of parents: 6:4
III. The duty of servants: 6:5-8
IV. The duty of masters: 6:9
I. Walking worthily in reference to evil: 6:10-20
A. Make use of the armor God has provided: 6:10-11
B. The strength of the enemy: 6:12-13
A detailed description of the armor: 6:14-17
D. The need for prayer: 6:18-20
II. The coming of Tychicus and final exhortations: 6:21-24
These verses continue the previously stated themes of walking in a manner worthy of your calling and the mutual submission that is to exist in the church (5:21). Again we find that the teachings delivered by the Apostles were at variance with the culture in which they lived. Barclay points out that the instruction given to fathers (6:4) and the high value that this section places upon children presents a much higher ethical standard than the standard then present in Roman society. “If the Christian faith did much for women, it did even more for children. In Roman civilization contemporary with Paul there existed certain features which made life perilous for the child. There was the Roman patria potestas the father's absolute power over his family. He could sell them as slaves, he could make them work in his fields even in chains, he could punish as he liked and could even inflict the death penalty. Further, the power of the Roman father extended over the child's whole life, so long as the father lived. A Roman son never came of age. There was the custom of child exposure. When a child was born, it was placed before its father's feet, and, if the father stooped and lifted the child that meant that he acknowledged it and wished it to be kept. If he turned and walked away, it meant that he refused to acknowledge it and the child could quite literally be thrown out. Unwanted children were commonly left in the Roman forum. There they became the property of anyone who cared to pick them up. Ancient civilization was merciless to the sickly or deformed child. Seneca writes, ‘We slaughter a fierce ox; we strangle a mad dog; we plunge the knife into sickly cattle lest they taint the herd; children who are born weakly and deformed we drown. It was against this situation that Paul wrote. If ever we are asked what good Christianity has done to the world, we need but point to the change effected in the status of women and of children’” (pp. 175-177).
“It was a radical change from the callous cruelty which prevailed in the Roman Empire, in which unwanted babies were abandoned, weak and deformed ones killed, and even healthy children were regarded by many as a partial nuisance because they inhibited sexual promiscuity and complicated easy divorce” (Stott p. 238). A modern application needs to be made from the above quotations. Our society considers itself “enlightened” and educated. We hear people talking about the "rights of children” and the “year of the child". But many of these same people advocate abortion and place their own careers far ahead of their children. We cannot depend upon society to lead us in the right way when it comes to even the most basic of human relationships. People outside of Christ are blind ( Act_26:18 ). Mere human wisdom does fail, even in the most basic areas ( Jer_10:23 ; Pro_16:25 ; 1Co_1:21 ), and secular education can never be a substitute for the instruction that comes from the Word of God.
Eph_6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”
“Children”: Since Paul addresses children as well as parents, we infer that the first century church was also composed of whole families. The word here children obviously refers to children who are old enough to understand the concept of obey . We should remind young people that they are accountable to God also. God in His word has spoken specifically to children ( Ecc_12:1 ; Psa_148:12 ). “The family is the nucleus of all society. You can have no prosperous state unless the family is healthy. You can have no effective church unless the family is sound. The family is the organic cell from which all human societies are constructed” (Coffman p. 215). In these first four verses we find the "cure" to many of the ills of society. Poverty, crime, certain diseases, and so on, can all be linked with a breakdown of the family unit. “Obey”: To listen attentively, to heed or conform. “Lit., the word means ‘to hear under authority’” (Caldwell pp. 286-287). “Readiness to hearken to one” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 375). It “describes a ‘readiness to hear’; the ‘listening ear of unhesitating attention’; not only obedience in action, but a willingness to heed counsel, to weigh words of advice, and then gladly to shape one's course under the accepted guidance of more mature minds” (Erdman p. 125).
Yet grudging obedience does not even count before God (6:6-7). We need to remind young people that they need to obey their parents in the right spirit and attitude, because God reads the heart and not merely outward actions ( Heb_4:12-13 ; 1Sa_16:7 ). “His teaching is always rationally argued. As with the wife's submission, so with the child's obedience, He builds His instruction on a carefully laid foundation” (Stott p. 238). Of course, this command would also apply to children who have non-Christian parents. Because "disobedience to parents" is a sin committed among non-Christians as well ( Rom_1:30 ). Disobedience to parents is not a mark of "enlightenment" or personal growth rather God considers such a mark of moral failure and selfish arrogance. Seriously consider the "sins" placed in the same company with this sin ( Rom_1:30 ; 2Ti_3:2 ). The argument offered by the feminists that the husband is no longer the "head" of his wife finds itself forced to conclude that children are no longer required to obey or honor their parents. The sad fact is, that in many families this has happened and is even accepted by the parents. When the husband is removed from his position of "headship", it is difficult for the wife to hold on to her "authority" over the children. Listen ladies, in undermining the authority of your husband, you are inherently undermining your own authority in the home.
“In the Lord”: “Paul's emphasis is that when children give obedience to their parents, they are acting in the will of the Lord” (Boles p. 324).
“Paul does not mean that they should obey only if their parents are Christian” (Boles p. 323). As with husbands, wives, servants and masters, children are told that such obedience to parents is simply an extension of their obedience to the Lord. The person they are really obeying is the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is why God takes so seriously disobedience to parents. In essence, rebellious children are defying the God of heaven (5:22 “as to the Lord”; 5:25 “just as Christ”; '6:5 “as to Christ”; 6:9.) As with all other human relationships, God does not expect obedience, if such obedience would result in sin ( Act_5:29 ). Young people often ask, “But what can I do for God?” “How can I help the church or the cause of Christ?” God says, “You can assist Me greatly by being obedient and respectful to your parents”. Accountable children often fail to realize that their bad example can turn people off from the truth. I stand amazed that some young people will invite their friends to Bible study and yet they themselves are unprepared for class and even do things that undermine the success of the class and the efforts of the teacher. What are such young people thinking? “Let's invite our best friend to church, so we can show them how disrespectful we are?”
“For this is right”: “The right thing for you to do” (Phi). Paul first appeals to what some might call that sense of "right" or "justice" that is common to all mankind. “It is not confined to Christian ethics; it is standard behavior in every society. Pagan moralists, both Greek and Roman, taught it. Stoic philosophers saw a son's obedience as self-evident , plainly required by reason. Much earlier,in oriental culture, one of the greatest emphases of Confucius was on filial respect, so that still today, though centuries later, Chinese, Korean and Japanese customs continue to reflect his influence. Indeed, virtually all civilizations have regarded the recognition of parental authority as indispensable to a stable society. We experience no sense of surprise , therefore, when Paul includes ‘disobedient to parents’ as a mark both of a decadent society which God has given up to its own godlessness” ( Rom_1:28-30 ) (Stott p. 239).
“There will never be a time when it is right for children to disregard, dishonor, and disobey their parents” (Coffman p. 215). Yet such is only "right" because God exists. "Right" and "wrong" only have meaning in a universe that God created. Rebellion to parents is the violation of the obvious facts. Caldwell points out, “Nature should call for gratitude and attachment from children, not rebellion and impatience. Most parents have sacrificed so much for their children and given much. Even the instruction and restraint which are so often resented by children represent time, effort, and thoughtful concern . Most of the time, the easy way out would be to allow the children to do as they wish with parents going on their way without having to be bothered” (pp. 287-288). Thus, rebellion to parents is a huge manifestation of complete ingratitude on the part of the child, because for a child to turn on the two individuals who have sacrificed and selflessly tried to give that child everything they need to mature in all areas, is plain and simple arrogance and ingratitude. Yes, such a youth deserved to be killed ( Exo_20:15 ; Exo_20:17 ), and such a sin is deserving of an eternal hell ( Rom_1:30 ).
Eph_6:2 “Honor thy father and mother which is the first commandment with promise”
“Honor”: To revere, value, and prize. In the New Testament God always informs Christians which moral and ethical laws found in the Old Testament remain unchanged, including this one ( Rom_13:8-10 ). This quotation is from Exo_20:12 and Deu_5:16 . In the context, "honor" is demonstrated by obedience (6:1). “The way to honor parents is to obey them” (Barclay p. 177). “Obedience properly springs from reverence and respect. It is thus to be the honor, not of weak emotion, but of practical loyalty” (Erdman p. 126). “The Lord does not desire reluctant obedience or grudging submission” (Caldwell p. 288). Such honor includes taking care of the material needs of our parents ( Mat_15:3-9 ; Mar_7:1-13 ). The vast majority of children eventually leave the "nest" and cleave to another (5:31), but Jesus pointed out that the obligation to "honor" one's parents never ends. While I am no longer under my parents "authority", I will never be released from the obligation to treat them with respect. Unfortunately, some young people try to convince us that while they are in rebellion to their parents, “they still do love them”. Such is a lie. Rebellious children are manifesting disrespect and contempt for their parents. Rebellious children during times of rebellion do not really care how much their parents are being hurt by their own foolishness. In the end, the most important person to the rebellious child, is him or herself ( 2Ti_3:2 “For men will be lovers of self---disobedient to parents”).
“Thy father and mother”: Honor, respect and obedience are to be rendered to both parents . “Which is the first commandment with promise”: “This is an important commandment with a promise” (Beck).
The above was not the first commandment to contain a promise ( Exo_20:5-6 ). In addition, all the commandments given had promises attached to them ( Deu_4:40 ; Deu_5:33 ). Neither is the above the "foremost" or most important commandment ever given ( Mat_22:36-38 ). “Instead it seems that Paul is affirming strongly that the command to honor father and mother is ‘a’ first, foremost, or primary commandment with promise attached. Children need to be impressed with the strong feelings of God related to this instruction” (Caldwell p. 290). God has no tolerance for youthful rebellion ( Pro_30:17 ; Exo_21:15-17 ; Lev_20:9 ; Deu_21:18-21 ; Rom_1:30 ). God does not view rebellion as, “They are just going through a stage”. “They cannot help themselves”. Or, “they are obviously not accountable for their actions and words because they are at the mercy of their hormones”. “With promise”: The promise is mentioned in 6:3.
God is more than fair. Not only does He forgive sin, but He also blesses the former sinner who then chooses to obey. Every command of God has the same general type of promises attached to it such as obeying this command is in your best spiritual interest. This command is an expression of God's goodness and concern for your well being. This command isn't meaningless. This command makes sense. Or, this command is not too hard ( 1Jn_5:3 ). God's true concern for our ultimate well being is found behind every command that He has ever given ( Deu_4:40 ; Deu_6:24 ; 1Pe_3:9-12 ). “If God's commands should be obeyed simply because God is sovereign, how much more should they be obeyed when there is personal reward to be realized?” (Boles p. 325).
Eph_6:3 “that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”
“May”: The promise is generally the rule, yet some godly young men and women do die early in life (like Jesus and John the Baptist) and some very wicked people end up living long and prosperous lives ( Psa_73:1-14 ). Although God is not mocked, every unrepentant sinner will be punished ( Gal_6:7-8 ). “Be well with thee”: God is not insensitive or cruel. He is really concerned for our well being. God desires that His people live long and enjoy all the wholesome pleasures that this earth can provide. “Respectful, obedient children will normally become productive, successful adults” (Boles p. 325). "That it may be well with thee", is the intended purpose and aim of all our parenting efforts. We desire to see our children in heaven and enjoying the favor of God. The desire of all godly parents is to see their children grow up to be well adjusted, mature, responsible and happy adults. We want them to have happy marriages and good families. Years ago I read the following:
"An inevitable struggle between the individual and the several powers that go to make his individuality, begins in every child at his very birth, and continues so long as his life in the flesh continues. On the outcome of this struggle depends the ultimate character of him who struggles , it is to him bondage or mastery, defeat or triumph, failure or success , as a result of battling that cannot be evaded. A man who was not trained, in childhood, to self-control, is hopelessly a child in his combat with himself, hence it is that it rests with the parent to decide, while the child is still a child, whether the child shall be a slave to himself, or a master of himself. To leave a child to himself in these earliest struggles with himself , is to put him at a sad disadvantage in all the future combats of his life's warfare; while to give him wise help in these earliest struggles, is to give him help for all the following struggles”. [Note: _ "Hints on Child Training". H. Clay Trumbull. Great Expectations Book Company, Eugene, Oregon 97402. pp. 53-54.]
Therefore I must teach my child self-control, because the lack of it will make him miserable. I must teach my child to share, to be grateful and thankful, to forgive, to consider the feelings and needs of others, because the selfish, self-centered, bitter and resentful adult is an unhappy camper. I must teach my child the value of hard work, of work before play, of commitment and responsibility, because adults that lack these qualities end up frustrated. Learning such things in youth is hard, but I have found that the adult who must learn them for the first time has even a harder task.
“Mayest live long on the earth”: In the passage cited, God had said "that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you" ( Exo_20:12 ; Deu_5:16 ). God has Paul change the last part of the quotation, from "in the land", to "on the earth". This is significant, for it infers that no land promise remains for God's people. The people of God today are a universal kingdom of believers rather than a people confined to a specific land ( Mat_28:19 ). “The promised land fades from view. God's people are now an international community” (Stott p. 241). Living long on the earth is vain, if it is not "well with thee". First century Christians did face persecution ( 1Pe_4:12 ; Rev_2:10 ). Thus we realize that this promise was not just confined to that day and age. Short-lives for Christians is the exception, not the rule, and long-lives for the rebellious is the exception, not the rule. This promise still holds true and we see it demonstrated on a daily basis.
Eph_6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord”
“And”: “On the other hand, parents must show themselves worthy to be obeyed. ‘Children, obey your parents’ was not designed as a weapon to be placed in the hands of godless tyrants. The duty of children toward parents is not more real than that of parents toward children. Submission on the one side is no more necessary than gentleness and sympathetic guidance on the other” (Erdman p. 127). “Fathers”: “All this is for the father's sake as well as for the children. He needs to be involved with his children. Some abandon their children through divorce and others through neglect. Both are damning” (Caldwell p. 293).
Mothers do not have a right to provoke their children to wrath any more than fathers, yet fathers are specifically mentioned because God views them as the head of the household and the spiritual leader of the home ( Gen_18:19 ; Jos_24:15 ) This demands that the father must spend time with the children. Too many fathers simply want to provide the entertainment or recreation for their children. The father must also provide spiritual leadership and wise counsel. Mothers must be included in the following process of encouragement and godly instruction. God is letting all fathers know, that they are responsible for making sure that their child is properly disciplined, instructed, and encouraged. This means that the husband is divinely commanded to intervene when his wife is breaking the spirit of their children or becoming cruel in the discipline given. “The picture he paints of fathers as self-controlled, gentle, patient educators of their children is in stark contrast to the norm of his own day” (Stott p. 245). “Even though Roman law and social custom might give them virtually unlimited authority over their children, God sets limits” (Boles p. 326). We need to be impressed that what some might call "strict teaching" (obey your parents), is intended to ensure that your "rights" are protected. Some are under the naive impression that without God, or in a "godless" society, they would have more rights. Not true! The very same section of Scripture that places children in subjection to their parents equally protects children from ungodly parents.
“Provoke not”: To enrage and provoke to wrath. “Don't overcorrect” (Phi). “Stop exasperating your children” (Wms). “Do not rouse your children to resentment” (Knox). “To anger with irritation because of injustice or needless severity. Unjust, improper, or unreasonable treatment breaks down the respect of children for their parents” (Caldwell p. 293). “The word implies being so heavy-handed and unreasonable with children that they are driven to a helpless state of frustration and anger. Paul's similar command in Col_3:21 warns that in such a situation the children will ‘become discouraged’” (Boles p. 326). We can break of the spirit of our children by offering them a continual stream of criticism. “Luther used to say: ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child--that is true; but beside the rod keep an apple to give him when he has done well’” (Erdman p. 178). “Parents can easily misuse their authority either by making irritating or unreasonable demands or by harshness and cruelty at one extreme or by favoritism and over-indulgence at the other, or by humiliating or suppressing them. How many ‘angry young men’, hostile to society at large, have learned their hostility as children in an unsympathetic home? There is a place for discipline but it must never be arbitrary (for children have a built-in sense of justice) or unkind” (Stott p. 246).
Parents, especially fathers, must be very careful that the "rules" they enforce are fair, are important to God, and are the result of sound reasoning and application based on clear Scriptures. Because to enforce some "rule" upon my child that is unreasonable and the result of unsound biblical application, is to destroy my credibility as a parent. The Father should be seen as someone who "knows" Scripture, who "wisely" applies it, and who can be depended upon for sound interpretation ( Pro_2:1-4 ; Pro_3:1-4 ; Pro_4:1-2 ). As a parent I don't want my child to grow into an adult who is in bondage to human religious traditions, mis-interpretation and who is proclaiming perverted and twisted texts of Scripture that I gave them, because I was not careful in my own study. It is hard enough to live the Christian life, without having a mind filled with improper applications of Scripture ( 2Pe_3:16 ). So before you make a "rule", put yourself in the shoes of your child. Listen to the arguments that you are going to offer in defense of this rule. Do they make sense? Are they weak? Can you see holes or inconsistencies in your own reasoning? Remember, children can "see" through weak arguments as well.
“Wrath”: “Modern parents, however, often go to the other extreme. They discipline timidity and reluctantly, fearful of incurring the wrath of their spoiled children. They are constantly seeking the approval of their children and avoid any discipline that might displease them” (Boles p. 326). “But”: For every wrong action, God has a good, useful and productive alternative. “Nurture them”: To cherish or train and to rear up to maturity. “But raise them” (Beck). “Children are a blessing and should not be viewed as a burden” (Caldwell p. 292). See Psa_127:3-5 . As in all other areas, God has provided helpful instruction for parents. We are told to rear our children up to maturity, but God also tells us how. The Christian parent must be convinced that God has given them every essential "tool" for this good work ( 2Ti_3:16-17 ). Too many parents are intimidated by their children or they feel helpless against the evils and temptations that their children are facing in the world. It should not be that way.
“Chastening”: Education or training, and disciplinary correction. “In classical usage, that which is applied to train and educate a child. The term here covers all the agencies which contribute to moral and spiritual training” (Vincent p. 404). “Signifying education by means of discipline, and instruction by means of correction” (Erdman p. 128). “All that makes the education of children” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 377). “This includes the inter-related ideas of education and discipline (see Heb_12:5-11 ), and ‘punishment for the purpose of improved behavior’” (Boles p. 326). “The whole training and education of children (Thayer p. 473). “ Christian parents should jealously guard their responsibility , delegating some of it indeed to both church and school, but never entirely surrendering it. It is their own God-given task; nobody can adequately or completely replace them” (Stott p. 248).
What a wonderful observation. As a father I can delegate certain aspects of my child's education to their bible class teacher, a public or private school, their mother, a tutor, a university, a music teacher, and so on. But I never surrender the fact that I am still the one who is responsible for raising them. We may need to remind any education institution that our children belong to us and not to them, and that we are simply contracting with them to provide us with a service. If the service is bad, we have the divine right to find someone else who can do a better job.
Stott is right. Nothing on the face of this earth can adequately replace a mom and a dad. No human institution can give your children what you can give them. Parents, with the father as the head of the parenting-team, are responsible for the "whole" training and education of their child. It is their divine task to see that their child matures physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The word "chastening" includes the idea of physical discipline. The New Testament authorizes parents to exercise physical punishment when such is needed. The Bible clearly teaches that the parents have the divine right and obligation to exercise corporeal punishment ( Pro_13:24 ; Pro_22:15 ; Pro_23:13-14 ; Pro_29:15 ).
Yet discipline does not mean that the parent has the right to abuse their child. Stott makes the following comment, “Parents must be clear about their motives. It is always dangerous for them to discipline their children when they are annoyed, when their pride has been injured, or when they have lost their temper. When you are disciplining a child, you should have first controlled yourself. What right have you to say to your child that he needs discipline when you obviously need it yourself? Self-control, the control of temper, is an essential prerequisite in the control of others” (pp. 248-249). “The opposite of wrong discipline is not the absence of discipline, but right discipline , true discipline. To the other extreme we need to say: ‘The opposite of no discipline at all is not cruelty, it is balanced discipline, it is controlled discipline’” (Stott p. 248).
Years ago I ran across the following hints for effective discipline: Listen to explanations before making final conclusions. Punish on the basis of motive . A lie is different from a spilled bowl of cereal. Do not threaten the child. Keep rules to a minimum but enforce consistently those that are most important. Do not punish children by making them do things they should enjoy, like reading. Avoid ridicule, sarcasm, and irony. Mother and Father must stand united behind their decisions. Never discipline when angry (or when you lack self-control).
“Admonition”: “Instruction or warning, seems to refer primarily to verbal education” (Stott p. 248). “Putting in mind of right. It involves encouragement to good conduct” (Caldwell p. 295). “Whatever is needed to cause the monition to be laid to heart” (Vincent p. 404). Admonition includes all verbal instruction that is intended to put the child in the proper frame of mind. Parents must warn, they must rebuke and they must encourage and exhort. God does not forget about the "older children". One may be "too big" for a spanking, but children never outgrow the need for encouragement and stern words if necessary. God has provided many "admonitions" in the Scriptures to share with our children ( Deu_6:1-9 ; 2Ti_3:15 ).
“One popular contemporary fashion is to urge parents to be totally ‘non-directive’ and to leave their children to find their own way. Paul is of a different mind” (Stott p. 249). The idea that we should not instruct our children with what we believe is naive and foolish. As if nobody else will? The atheist does not raise his children by such a naive standard! He makes sure that his children know exactly what he believes and why. The local school does not treat our children in this manner and neither does the media. Listen, if our children should not hold to the same convictions that we have, then our convictions are worthless.
“Of the Lord”: “In such training and correction as befits the servants of the Lord” (Con). “With the sort of education and counsel the Lord approves” (Wms). “Such discipline as is prescribed by the Lord” (Vincent p. 404). This last phrase modifies everything just said. The Bible does not teach nor does it endorse child abuse. Everything that the parent does for the child, is to be done in a way that the Lord approves. This means that as parents we only have a right to teach our children those concepts and truths that are scriptural. Remember, a parent can be guilty of being a false teacher. We are responsible for sharing the gospel with our children, and we need to make sure that what we teach them is not tarnished with our own human opinions and prejudices, but is the pure word of God. “Certainly the overriding concern of Christian parents is not just that their children will submit to their authority, but that through this they will come to know and obey the Lord. There is always much rejoicing and thanksgiving whenever the teaching and discipline of a Christian home leads, not artificially but naturally, to a child's acceptance of the teaching and discipline of the Lord Jesus Himself” (Stott p. 250).
Servants and Masters
“Slavery seems to have been universal in the ancient world. A high percentage of the population were slaves. It has been computed that in the Roman Empire there were 60,000,000 slaves. They constituted the work force, and included not only domestic servants and manual laborers but educated people as well, like doctors, teachers and administrators. Nobody queried or challenged the arrangement. The institution of slavery was a fact of Mediterranean economic life” (Stott p. 250). The "enlightened" Greek and Roman world had a very low view of slaves. “For all his intellect and culture Aristotle could not contemplate any friendship between slave and slave-owner, for, he said, ‘A slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave’” (Stott p. 251). “Cato gives advice to a man taking over a farm. He must go over it and throw out everything that is past its work; and old slaves too must be thrown out on the scrap heap to starve. When a slave is ill it is sheer extravagance to issue him with normal rations” (Barclay pp. 179-180). The Bible sees it differently ( Phm_1:16 ).
Not all masters were cruel, but some were ( 1Pe_2:18 ). “A Roman writer lays it down: ‘Whatever a master does to a slave, undeservedly, in anger, willingly, unwillingly, in forgetfulness, after careful thought, knowingly, unknowingly, is judgment, justice and law’” (Barclay p. 180). We must carefully note that God expects the Christian slave, even the slave in harsh conditions, to live by the same moral standard required of all other Christians. Hardship and abuse never gives anyone the right to sin ( Tit_2:9-10 ). “He does not tell them to rebel. The great message of Christianity to every man is that it is where God has set us that we must live out the Christian life . The circumstances may be all against us, but only makes the challenge greater. Christianity does not offer us escape from circumstances; it offers us conquest of circumstances” (Barclay p. 181). The Bible treats even the lowest classes of society with respect and dignity. God does not view the slave as a "tool", but as a human being who is capable of outstanding moral and ethical behavior even in the most difficult situations ( 1Pe_2:18-19 ). We learn then that anyone can live the Christian life.
Eph_6:5 “Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ”
“Be obedient”: Becoming a Christian does not erase our status in society. The very fact that God enjoys upon the slave such moral obligations is proof positive that the Christian slave was an accepted member of the Church and they were viewed as people responsible for their own actions. “According to the flesh are your masters”: “Your human masters”. This should remind the slave that such masters have only an earthly authority over their lives. “With fear and trembling”: “With anxious care” (TCNT). “With respect for the rightful authority of the master and keen anxiety to leave no duty undone” (Erdman p. 130). “They imply careful dedication and zeal not to fall short in the discharge of duty” (Caldwell p. 298). “A slave's allegiance to Christ does not authorize him to be rude and disrespectful--just the opposite is true” (Boles p. 328). Some Christians erroneously think that since Christ is now the Lord of their life, they do not have to obey anyone else. Such is false. The Lord Himself commands us to be in subjection to many human authorities ( Rom_13:1 f; Eph_5:22 ; Eph_6:1-2 ; Heb_13:17 ).
“In singleness of your heart”: “With simplicity of motive” (Wey). “We therefore do our duty without hypocrisy, pretense, or simple formality. Our work is done with sincerity, not with ill-will” (Caldwell p. 298). “With integrity or wholeheartedness, without hypocrisy or ulterior motives” (Stott p. 253). What is expected of the slave is not mere "tolerance" of his position. God expects the slave to make a sincere effort to please his earthly master. Unfortunately, some professed Christians today feel that if the boss is not treating them right, they have the right to slack off on their own work performance. I as a Christian must always remember that another's sin does not give me the right to sin, remembering that God expects the Christian to make a sincere effort regardless of the type of job they have. Minimum wage jobs still require maximum effort by the Christian.
“As unto Christ”: Proper perspective is everything. The earthly master might not deserve such "sincere efforts", but the Christ that commands such of us is always deserving. “Exactly the same principle can be applied by contemporary Christians to their work and employment. Our great need is the clear-sightedness to see Jesus Christ and to set Him before us. It is possible for the housewife to cook a meal as if Jesus Christ were going to eat it, or to spring-clean the house as if Jesus Christ were to be the honored guest. It is possible for teachers to educate children, for doctors to treat patients and nurses to care for them, for solicitors to help clients, shop assistants to serve customers, accountants to audit books, and secretaries to type letters as if in each case they were serving Jesus Christ” (Stott p. 252). Regardless of the attitude of the boss, the conditions of the job or the amount of the pay, the Christian can always work as if he were serving Christ directly.
Eph_6:6 “not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”
“Not”: Indicating that such is a common temptation for slaves and employees. “In the way of eyeservice”: “Not only when their eyes are on you” (TCNT). “Not with mere external service” (Gspd). Nothing has really changed has it? People still act the same way. “As men-pleasers”: “That show of service which tries to win human favor” (Knox). “The idea of currying favor with men” (Phi). “A motive far higher than winning approval of inspectors or superiors marks the work of Christians” (Coffman p. 219). “But as servants of Christ”: Servants of the Christ who is always watching our behavior. Jesus is not fooled by shoddy workmanship, neither is He impressed by the goldbricking employee. “Doing the will of God”: The slave must remember that sincerely working hard for his earthly master is the will of God. “From the heart”: “With all your heart” (Nor). Of course this is the only approved way of doing God's will ( Mat_22:37 ). “Giving full-hearted devotion to his task” (Boles p. 329) ( Col_3:23 ). “Clockwatchers are not the light of the world. Christians do not cut corners or punch out ahead of time. The Christian cannot do a sloppy job with a clear conscience” (Caldwell p. 300). Other passages inform us that we are not to be argumentative with our employers ( 1Ti_6:1-2 ; Tit_2:9 ). Barclay reminds us that bettering conditions, heightening rewards, increasing oversight, or multiplying punishments can never accomplish what the gospel can. “The secret of good workmanship is to do it for God” (p. 181).
Eph_6:7 “with good will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men”
“With good will”: “Do good work with good will” (Nor). “Do your duties heartily and willingly” (Gspd). “Lit., ‘serving with a good mind’, the ready good will, which does not wait to be compelled” (Boles p. 330). It is easy to get into the habit of grumbling about ones job, but that is the way of the world, not the Christian. Instead of offering reluctant and grudging work, the Christian is to offer his services with good will. Being a Christian is all about "doing service", that is, serving ( Mat_20:28 ; Php_2:3-5 ; Eph_5:21 ).
“As unto the Lord, and not unto men”: “Not just for men” (Nor). “It has rightly been said that when one freely and willingly does service, with good will, he is no longer a slave. When I understand that how I go about my job makes a difference to God, whether I please men or not becomes only a secondary consideration. My question should not be whether the master is doing me right, but am I doing right by him?” (Caldwell p. 302). “The slave's perspective has changed. His horizons have broadened. He has been liberated from the slavery of ‘men-pleasing’ into the freedom of serving Christ. His mundane tasks have been absorbed into a higher preoccupation, namely the will of God and the good pleasure of Christ” (Stott p. 252).
Eph_6:8 “knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free”
“Knowing”: “Seeing ye know, knowing as ye do” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 379). A tremendous amount of peace of mind and happiness comes when one "knows" the truth ( Joh_8:32 ). “Whatever good thing each one doeth”: “Will be repaid by the Lord for every task well done” (Knox). “Will be rewarded by the Master for any honest work” (TCNT). “Whether slave or free, a man ought to look beyond his paycheck in considering whether he is being adequately paid. The Lord is keeping books too. The slave can simply trust the Lord that the reward will make it all worthwhile” (Boles p. 330). In fact, the Lord will make it more than worthwhile ( Rom_8:18 ) . “The same shall he receive again”: We tend to worry too much about what others are supposedly "getting away with" ( Psa_73:1-28 ). The Christian is content to rest in the mercy and justice of God. The righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished. Judgment day will leave no unfinished business or moral lose ends ( Ecc_12:13-14 ; 2Co_5:10 ). “Whether he be bond or free”:
The slave and the freeman will be judged by the same standard. When one stands before God ones social-economic condition is meaningless.
Eph_6:9 “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, and forbear threatening: knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons with Him”
“Masters”: Christian masters did exist (Philemon). “Do the same things unto them”: “Treat your slaves in the same spirit” (TCNT). “Act toward your slaves on the same principles” (Wey) . Goodwill and sincerity is also demanded of the master. “The obligation of right conduct and fair dealing rests upon the employer as well as upon the employee” (Erdman p. 132). The "boss" must act in "good faith". “Give them the same good will, love and loyalty that you hope to receive from them” (Coffman p. 220). The master was morally obligated to practice neighbor love, even to his slaves ( Mat_7:12 ; Mat_22:39 ). “That is, if you hope to receive respect, show it; if you hope to receive service, give it. It is an application of the golden rule” (Stott p. 254). This was an earth-shattering concept for the first century world (and for many other generations too). “In the early part of the twentieth century, American and European managers were taught that workers were tools or machines” (Caldwell pp. 303-304).
“Behind a commandment like this lay the infinite dimensions of those tremendous new value-judgments which were brought to mankind from above by Jesus Christ the Lord. The infinite value of human life!” (Coffman p. 220).
“Forbear threatening”: Stop using the world's methods. “The Christian will not adopt a management by intimidation philosophy” (Caldwell p. 304). “It is a common fault of human nature for people in authority to take out their frustration on those who are under them” (Boles p. 331). “Punishment was accepted in the Empire as the only way to keep slaves under control” (Stott p. 254). “Paul is not afraid of capital nor of labor” (Robertson p. 549). Unfortunately some "religious" leaders always side with "labor" or "management". God views the situation differently. In addition, some religious leaders argue that God is always on the side of the oppressed. Such is not true. The slave that steals is condemned ( Tit_2:9-10 ). “Even at the present time it is possible for employers to keep employees in fear--by threats of lower wages or loss of employment, by the dread of hunger and of want” (Erdman p. 132).
“And there is no respect of persons with Him”: “No distinction of rank” (TCNT). “He has no favorites” (NEB). See Act_10:34-35 ; Rom_2:11 . “This sobering thought made Christian masters take a whole new outlook toward their slaves” (Boles p. 332). “Slave owners were used to being flattered and fawned upon, but they should not expect (for they will not receive) such discriminatory favoritism from the Lord Christ. Thus all three principles were designed to lesson the cultural and social gap between slave and slave-owner” (Stott p. 254). “Employers and employees alike have duties--the employee to give good work and the employer to pay a just wage. The major human problem in management-labor disputes is that each side concentrates on securing its own rights, and on inducing the other side to do its duty. Paul, however, reverses the emphasis. He urges each side to concentrate on its responsibilities, not on its rights” (Stott p. 258). “The problem of work would be solved if men and masters alike would take their orders from God” (Barclay p. 181).
The issue of Slavery
“It has seemed to many critics in inadequate Christian response to an unmitigated evil. Did the gospel offer no more radical solution to slavery than an adjustment of personal relationships? Even if Paul held back from inciting slaves to rise up against their owners and seize their freedom (as some hotheads wish he had), why did he not at least command slave-owners to emancipate their slaves?” (Stott pp. 254-255). The criticism is first hypocritical. If there is no God, then there is nothing wrong with even the most cruel forms of slavery. Thus the critic who does not believe in God or absolute truth, does not have a moral leg to stand on. Secondly, many so-called advocates of human "rights" are not really interested in human rights as much as they are interested in the "rights" which benefit them, such as abortion and so on.
Paul does give the "radical solution". Contrary to the thinking of some, man's worst problem is not economic oppression. It is sin! Boles rightly pointed out, “Paul does not call for the outright abolition of slavery. Had he done so, Christianity would have been diminished to a radical (and temporary) social movement to which slaves would come for their own selfish purposes” (p. 328). Paul directs the slave how to live acceptably before God, and principles that would apply whether he ever gained his freedom or not ( 1Co_7:20-21 ). Social status is useless, if one is still lost! Slavery never prevents anyone from living a life that is pleasing to God.
Such an argument fails to appreciate the economic standing of the "freeman". Life for the non-slave in the first century was not always a piece of cake either. Stott reminds us, “Even if Christians had liberated their slaves, they would have condemned most of them to unemployment and penury” (p. 255). The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia has an excellent article on slavery. Here is just a sample:
“The living conditions of many slaves were better than those of free men who often slept in the streets of the city or lived in very cheap rooms. The free laborer in New Testament times was seldom in better circumstances than his slave counter-part. In fact, in time of economic hardship it was the slave and not the free man who was guaranteed the necessities of life for himself and his family”. [Note: _ The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. "Slavery" Volume Q-Z p. 460. ]
Abuses will exist in every form of economic agreements which with mankind invents and experiments. The abolition of slavery did not stop all abuses of labor. Since the days of slavery we have seen child-labor, sweat-shops, next to nothing pay, firing people right before they are fully vested in some retirement program, getting rid of the old managers to bring in younger ones who will work for a cheaper salary, and so on. Our modern "enlightened" society does not have any moral right to elevate itself as morally superior to past "slave-owning" generations. The credibility of such critics is seriously lacking. It is amazing that some famous person can give a speech about human rights, while at the same time employing "legals" and "illegals" to cook their meals, "nanny" their children, and take care of the yard at a salary below minimum wage, and with no social security benefits. In the end, Christianity did abolish slavery. People did not abandon slavery because of the teachings of atheism, evolution, humanism, or some Eastern religion! The doctrine of reincarnation did not move anyone to free their slaves. The only doctrine that teaches us that the slave is a human being, made in the image of God and therefore deserves fair treatment of their fellow-men, is the doctrine of Christ. The only doctrine that taught masters that they are eternally accountable for how they treat their slaves, is the doctrine of Christ.
Eph_6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might”
Paul has discussed the "quality" of the relationships that Christians are to have with their brethren (4:2-4:32), with their spouses (5:22-33), with their children and parents (6:1-4), and with masters or servants (6:6-9). Now he discusses the type of relationship we are to have with evil. Every Christian is expected to be a warrior in the fight against evil ( 2Co_10:3-4 ; 1Ti_1:18 ; 1Pe_2:11 ; 2Ti_2:3 ; 1Ti_6:12 ; 2Ti_4:7 ). We can never make "peace" with what is contrary to the will of God ( 1Jn_2:15-17 ). These verses also infer that the devil is our sworn enemy ( 1Pe_5:8-9 ; Jam_4:7 ). He will never completely leave us alone. We cannot naively say, “But I don't want to fight anyone”. “The abrupt transition from the ‘peaceful homes and healthful days’ of the previous paragraphs to the hideous malice of devilish plots in this section causes us a painful shock, but an essential one. We all wish we could spend our lives in undisturbed tranquillity among our loved-ones at home. But the way of the escapist has been effectively blocked. Christians have to face the prospect of conflict with God's enemy and theirs. Moreover, there will be no cessation of hostilities, not even a temporary truce or cease-fire, until the end of life” (Stott p. 262).
“He supplies us with no biography of the devil, and no account of the origin of the forces of darkness. In any case, his purpose is not to satisfy our curiosity, but to warn us of their hostility and teach us how to overcome them. Is God's plan to create a new society? Then they will do their utmost to destroy it. Does God intend His reconciled and redeemed people to live together in harmony and purity? Then the powers of hell will scatter among them the seeds of discord and sin” (Stott pp. 261-262).
“Finally”: “I have no more to say except this” (Knox). Paul is now giving us the "key" to the peace, unity and purity previously described in this letter (4:1ff). “The peace which God has made through Christ's cross is to be experienced only in the midst of a relentless struggle against evil” (Stott pp. 262-263). "Peace" in the home (5:22-6:4) does not happen by accident and neither does peace and unity in the church. Christians do not accidentally fall into moral purity (5:1ff). Peace, unity, and purity are only achieved by a determined effort to stand opposed to evil. Peace in the home only happens when both spouses are determined to fight against the various temptations to allow "evil" into their personal lives, marriage, and home. “Be strong in the Lord”: “Find strength in your union with the Lord” (TCNT). “Draw your strength from the Lord” (Knox). “Strengthen yourselves in the Lord” (Bruce p. 403). Compare with 1Sa_30:6 ; Jos_1:7 ; 1Co_16:13 . “And in the strength of His might”: “Lit., ‘in the power of his strength’” (Boles p. 333).
Outside of Christ, and apart from God, man is completely unprepared to do battle with the devil. "If we rely merely upon our own ingenuity or if we try to press the battle with only the strategies and plans of men, we shall most certainly fail" (Spiritual Sword Lectureship p. 229). The "proof" of this reality is seen in the fact that everyone outside of Christ is a sinner ( Rom_3:23 ), and has fallen for the devil's lies ( Pro_16:25 ; Jer_10:23 ; Rom_1:18 ff; 1Jn_5:19 ). This "strength" available to the Christian is not mystical or miraculous, rather, to "strengthen" oneself in the Lord, to avail oneself to the "strength of His might", is described in the very next verse, that is, "Put on the whole armor of God". Compare with Php_4:13 ; 2Ti_2:1 . Not only has God saved us, but God has also given us every "weapon", both defensive and offensive to overcome evil and to ensure that we make it to heaven.
Eph_6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”
“Put on”: “You must wear” (Knox). “Some seem to think that God's strength somehow mysteriously envelopes the believer; that all we need to do is sit back and depend on the Lord to deliver us from Satan without any struggle on our part at all” (Caldwell p. 306). The phrase "put on" demands our active participation in this struggle against evil ( Rom_13:12 ). “The whole armor”: Full armor. “The emphasis here is upon the necessary completeness of his equipment. It is not only the armor, but ‘the whole armor’ that must be taken . That is to say, victory depends upon the faithfulness of the Christian in accepting every instrument and implement which God offers to aid in this mortal combat” (Erdman p. 135). In other words, none of the armor described is "optional" equipment . Boles observes, “It must be remembered that the verses which follow depict the Christian not as a gladiator, but as a soldier in an army. The Christian is not intended to defeat the enemy single-handedly, but as a part of a united, marching army. This army is the church” (p. 333). “The imagery is that of a Roman heavy-armed legionary, not the light-armed fighter of the auxiliary contingent. This is a picture of a soldier of the line” (Lenski p. 657). “It is important to observe that God does not force his armor on his soldiers. In fact, he does not even put it on them. Rather, ‘we’ are to ‘put on’. The Lord does not draft or conscript anyone into his service. All who enter do so by voluntary enlistment” (Spiritual Sword Lectureship pp. 232-233).
“That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”: “Against the strategies of the adversary” (Rhm). “The schemes of the devil” (NASV). “So that you can successfully resist all the devil's methods” (Phi). “Able to stand”: Please note that God wants us saved ( 2Pe_3:9 ). God takes no pleasure in the moral failure of anyone ( Eze_18:23 ). God has given the Christian everything they need to succeed against the devil ( 2Pe_1:3 ). Yes, God is indeed on our side ( Rom_8:31-32 ). Hence, to end up lost, the Christian must ignore, forsake, or turn their back on what God has graciously provided. “This means to stand firm, not surrendering or giving ground to the enemy” (Boles p. 334). “Wiles”: Trickery, to lie in wait. “The armor is a defense against strategy as well as assault” (Vincent p. 406). “Which brings out the fundamental idea of method or plan in the deceit” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 382). “Referring to ‘a deliberate planning or system’. The ‘wiles of the devil’ therefore refers to his crafty, subtle, deliberate strategy in seeking out our most vulnerable point” (Spiritual Sword Lectureship p. 231). The devil is real. “Unlike many religionists today, Paul thought of the Devil as a personal being. So did the Lord ( Mat_4:1-11 ; Joh_8:44 )” (Caldwell p. 307). The Devil is intelligent. There is a "method to his madness". He knows exactly what people like to hear ( 2Ti_4:3 ; Gen_3:4-5 ). He knows what type of temptations the human race is more likely to embrace ( 1Jn_2:15-17 ). The Devil stands ready to exploit any opportunity that our selfishness and stubbornness may give him. “One of the devil's wiles has already been mentioned in this letter: it is his readiness to exploit strained relations and angry feelings ( Eph_4:27 ). To be forewarned about the nature of his wiles is to be forearmed against them” (Bruce p. 404).
The Devil is also prepared to exploit any "problems" between husbands and wives ( 1Co_7:5 ). In addition, he has a "lie" for virtually every conceivable situation ( Joh_8:44 ). If one does not have a love for the truth, then the Devil stands ready to give one something that "sounds good", justifies some sin and yet still allows one to feel good about oneself ( 2 Corinthians 11:113-15 ; 2Th_2:10-12 ). The Devil is pictured as "restless" and "relentless". He never gives up ( 1Pe_5:8 ). “It is because the devil seldom attacks openly , preferring darkness to light we are caught unsuspecting. He is a dangerous wolf. We must not imagine, therefore, that open persecution and open temptation to sin are his only or even his commonest weapons; he prefers to seduce us into compromise and deceive us into error” (Stott p. 265). Consider the following passages ( Luk_8:14 ; Gal_3:1 ; Gal_1:6-9 ; Col_2:8 ; Rev_2:14-15 ; Rev_3:1-3 ; Rev_15:1-8 ; Rev_16:1-21 ).
“Devil”: False accuser, slanderer. Being successful against temptation demands that one "accept" certain fundamental truths. The Devil hates us. We are his sworn enemy. He has absolutely nothing good to say about us. Whatever "flattery" he gives is completely insincere. He will never give one credit for anything ( Job_1:1-22 ; Job_2:1-13 ) He cannot be appeased and he will never accept a truce. He is bent on our eternal destruction.
Eph_6:12 “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”
“For”: “A thorough knowledge of the enemy and a healthy respect for his prowess are a necessary preliminary to victory in war. Similarly, if we underestimate our spiritual enemy, we shall see no need for God's armor, we shall go out to the battle unarmed, with no weapons but our own puny strength, and we shall be quickly and ignominiously defeated” (Stott p. 263). “Our”: Every Christian is in this fight. “Wrestling”: “Our struggle” (Rhm). “Fight” (Phi). “The word for our ‘struggle’ originally meant a wrestling match. It is appropriate in this context because of its connotation of a close-in, hand-to-hand combat” (Boles p. 334). “Is not against flesh and blood”: “The wiles of the devil, I say, for it is not mere men we have to face” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 383). “No mere wrestling match with an unarmed, human opponent” (Lenski p. 659). The word "wrestling" suggests that each Christian is involved in a personal struggle with evil. No one is above temptation ( 1Co_10:13 ). How important then the need to encourage each other and take advantage of such encouragement ( Heb_3:13 ; 1Th_5:11 ; 1Th_5:14 ; Heb_10:24 ).
Physical weapons are powerless in this struggle ( 2Co_10:2-5 ). Such things as money, fame, or possessions, cannot protect or insulate one from the devil's wiles. And there is no place on this planet or in this universe that is "neutral ground", no spiritual Switzerland exists. One can get physically hurt in wrestling matches with other men, ye t much more is at stake in this battle than even physical death . You lose this struggle and you lose eternal happiness!
‘Principalities”: Compare with Eph_3:10 ; Col_1:16 ; Col_2:14-15 ; Rom_8:38-39 . “Powers”: Authorities. “The forces arrayed against us have three main characteristics. First, they are powerful” (Stott p. 263). “World-rulers”:”World forces” (NASV). “Not in a corner but in the whole world these have their vast domain” (Lenski p. 660). “Powers dominating the world as such and working everywhere” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 383). “The cosmic dimensions of the power of the enemy are also shown when Satan is called the ‘god of this age’ ( 2Co_4:4 ) and the ‘ruler of this world’ ( Joh_12:31 ; Joh_14:30 ; Joh_16:11 ). Satan and his hosts do not actually rule this world, but what power they do have is concentrated here” (Boles p. 335).
Satan is active everywhere on the face of this planet ( 1Jn_5:19 ). You cannot run from temptation. Even to this day certain individuals think that they can escape the temptations of the world by dwelling in isolation or in some remote part of the country. “These texts do not deny our Lord's decisive conquest of the principalities and powers, but indicate that as usurpers they have not conceded defeat or been destroyed” (Stott p. 264).
“Of this darkness”: “That hold sway in the Darkness around us” (TCNT). Christians have been rescued from the "domain of darkness" ( Col_1:13-14 ), but our foe will continually try to lure us back. “Power itself is neutral; it can be well used or misused. But our spiritual enemies use their power destructively . They hate the light, and shrink from it. Darkness is their natural habitat, the darkness of falsehood and sin” (Stott p. 264). “Darkness is not the mere absence of light; it is the absolute antagonism to light” (Lenski p. 660). This provides us with incentive to "expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness" ( Eph_5:11 ), because ignorance of the will of God or misinterpretation only provide the Devil with more opportunities to deceive ( Act_26:18 ; 2Ti_2:25-26 ). “Spiritual hosts”: They are called "spiritual" because they are not flesh and blood. “The spirit-forces whose essential character is wickedness” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 384). “Wickedness”: “Wickedness is active evil . Hence Satan is called the wicked one ( Luk_3:19 ; Luk_7:21 ; 1Jn_2:13 )” (Vincent p. 406). “If we hope to overcome them, we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honor, no higher feelings . They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs” (Stott p. 264). “In the heavenly places”: Compare with 1:3; 2:6; 3:10. This fight is fought in the spiritual realm. The real battle does not rage in our physical body. Sometimes people blame their natural desires for the reason why they cannot live the Christian life, yet Jesus pointed out that the "real problem" is when people allow themselves to "believe" the wrong things ( Mar_7:20-23 ). The real battle is for the mind. The Devil operates by trying to convince us that God will change His mind about sin, God will save "good" people who are not Christians, the hypocrites in the church are a valid reason why I do not have to serve God, God would not want me to be unhappy, I deserve better, and 1000 other lies. Please note that Eve was not physically or genetically predisposed to crave the forbidden fruit. Instead she wanted the fruit because she had accepted a false concept ( Gen_3:1-6 ).
Eph_6:13 “Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand”
“Wherefore”: “Because Paul's readers must fight a foe that is scheming, inhuman, powerful, and evil, they need to be armed and protected with the equipment God supplies. They do not need to invent or manufacture their armaments ; they just need to ‘put on’ the resources God has already made available” (Boles p. 336). “Take up”: Or put on (6:11). “Is the accepted term for taking up arms” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 384) Again, I must stress that the Devil "will" take up the battle against us ( 2Ti_3:12 ; Jam_1:2-4 ; Jam_1:12-13 ). Being born into this world automatically places one in the midst of this spiritual battle for the souls of men, that is reality. “The whole armor of God”: The second time this is emphasized (6:11). This seems to suggest that God's people have the problem of only wanting to take up a few pieces of this armor, but not the whole. “Paul's repetition of the ‘full armor’ of God is a reminder that we need the whole package; every piece is necessary” (Boles p. 336). “Yet many--if not most--of our failures and defeats are due to our foolish self-confidence when we either disbelieve or forget how formidable our spiritual enemies are. Some Christians are so self-confident that they think they can manage by themselves without the Lord's strength and armor. Others are so self-distrustful that they imagine they have nothing to contribute to their victory in spiritual warfare. Both are mistaken. Paul expresses the proper combination” (Stott p. 266).
“That”: The purpose why such armor is to be put on. “Ye”: Every Christian can succeed. Such armor is available for every child of God. Thus Christians who fall away, who fail to grow, or who are perpetually weak, can only blame themselves for such failures. God gives every Christian an equal chance to succeed ( 1Co_10:13 ; Rom_2:11 ). “May be able to withstand”: Overcoming is a real possibility. God is not demanding the impossible of His people ( 1Jn_5:3 ; Rev_21:7 ). “Withstand”: Stand against, oppose, resist ( Jam_4:7 ). “In the evil day”: “The day of violent temptation and assault” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 385). “In the hour of temptation, in the moment of moral peril” (Erdman p. 136). “The time of temptation or peril. It is the time of assault. He may come at any moment. He may come, retreat, and come again. Satan left Christ but only ‘for a season’. Then he returned ( Luk_4:13 )” (Caldwell p. 311) The armor that God has given, is not designed to make our lives miserable, rather, true happiness will be found by the Christian who takes up the armor that God has forged. After all, how does a person feel when they have not resisted temptation?
“And having done all”: Does this sound like God accepts "bare minimum service"? “Having accomplished all that your duty requires” (Bruce p. 407). “Having fought to the end” (TCNT). “By using it to the full” (Lenski p. 663). “To finish the job” (Boles p. 337). “To stand”: When the dust has settled, only one army can be left standing in any battle. God expects Christians to be victorious over evil, and God has confidence in us, if we have confidence in Him ( 2Ti_2:11-12 ).
Eph_6:14 “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness”
“Stand therefore”: “Stand your ground” (TCNT). God often emphasizes the need for Christians to "stand" (6:11,13; 1Co_16:13 ; Php_1:27-28 ; Rom_5:2 ; 1Pe_5:12 ). In addition, God has a very low view of those who give up ( 2Pe_2:20-22 ). This is a refreshing statement in a day and age when many modern religious bodies are affirming that the Bible has been corrupted, or that it is "thought" inspired, the commands of the Bible applied to the people of that culture, no absolute truth exists, or ethics are situational. How can anyone "stand" in those views? How can you take a stand on ground that is always shifting? Seeing that the Christian is commanded to "stand", such infers that truth is absolute, the Bible is infallible, and that such truth is truth for all time, all cultures and all nations ( Mat_28:19 ; Mar_16:15 ). “Paul was very familiar with Roman soldiers. He met many in his travels, and as he dictated Ephesians he was chained to one by the wrist (6:20)” (Stott p. 276). “A Roman centurion, according to Polybius, had to be the kind of man who could be relied upon to stand fast and not give way, even when hard-pressed. Likewise, it is the aim of the Christian soldiers to do their part to hold the battle line” (Boles p. 337). “Suetonius, the Roman historian, relates that Julius Caesar; in doubtful dangerous confrontations, would have all the horses sent away, making sure that his was the first to go. This would assure that all means of flight would be eliminated and each soldier would be forced to stand forth and fight” (Spiritual Sword Lectureship p. 237).
“Having girded your lions”: “With your waist encircled” (Wms). “Usually made of leather, the soldier's belt belonged rather to his underwear than his armor. Yet it was essential. It gathered his tunic together and also held his sword. It ensured that he was unimpeded when marching. To ‘tighten one's belt’ can mean to prepare oneself for action which the ancients would have called ‘girding up their loins’” (Stott p. 277). Compare with 1Pe_1:13 which says “gird your minds for action”. “The soldier's ‘belt’ was a leather apron worn beneath the other armor like breeches. Fastening this tough garment tight around the waist both protected vital inner organs and made rapid movement easier” (Boles p. 338). “It was used to hold other pieces of armor in place” (Erdman p. 136). “With truth”: Basically two views exist concerning "truth" here. It may refer to the objective truth of the gospel ( Joh_17:17 ), or "truthfulness", that is, sincerity and integrity of character. “The guileless honor and integrity of the Christian” (Boles p. 338). In the end, one is dependent upon the other. Integrity is formed by bringing your life into conformity with the word of God ( 1Pe_1:14-15 ).
This is “truthfulness, sincerity--downright frankness and honestly with ourselves, with one another, and with God . In our dealing with God, there must be no disguise and no deceit if we are to win in the spiritual conflict in which all are engaged. Any conscious insincerity or attempt to excuse a known fault produces moral weakness and invites defeat” (Erdman pp. 136-137). Caldwell makes a good point when he says “Truth is effective only when it is sincerely received. Character is not developed by hypocrisy, guilt, deceit, or subtlety. It is developed by candor, openness, and faithfulness” (p. 312).
Since the Devil operates in "darkness", it is essential that the Christian operate in the "light". Thus, “walking in the Light” ( 1Jn_1:5-7 ) demands that we be completely honest about what God requires of us, how we are treating others, and what we are believing as "gospel". The Devil stands ready to exploit any falsehood that we are refusing to give up ( 2Ti_4:4 ; 2Ti_2:18 ; 2Ti_3:8 ; Rom_1:18 ). “To be deceitful, to lapse into hypocrisy, to resort to intrigue and scheming, this is to play the devil's game, and we shall not be able to beat him at his own game. What he abominates is transparent truth” (Stott pp. 277-278). “The mind that will practice no deceits and attempt no disguises in our intercourse with God, is indeed vital to Christian safety” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 386). “Others may guess and grope; the Christian moves freely and quickly because he knows the truth” (Barclay p. 183). Believing the truth has liberated the Christian from superstition and ignorance ( Joh_8:32 ; 1Pe_1:18 ).
“And having put on”: Human cooperation is required. “Breastplate”: “The next piece donned by the Roman soldier was his metal breastplate. Both strong and light (17 kg), it was said that an arrow shot from 20 paces left only a light scratch on it. This piece of frontal armor was vital for protection of the chest, lungs, and heart” (Boles p. 338). “The breastplate, made of hard leather, bronze, or iron, and a corresponding plate covering the back. They were connected by leathern straps or metal bands passing over the shoulders and fastened in front, and by hinges on the right side” (Vincent p. 408). “Righteousness”: “Moral rectitude ( Rom_6:13 )” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 386).
Against the slanderous attacks of the Devil ( Job_1:9-10 ), the faithful Christian knows that he or she stands innocent in the sight of God ( Rom_8:1 ). In addition, the faithful Christian realizes that God does not demand flawless living. Forgiveness is always available for the Christian who slips and is willing to honestly admit such in repentance and prayer ( 1Jn_1:8-10 ). Therefore, the Christian has powerful incentive to never give up. The Devil always tries to convince us that living the Christian life is "hopeless". "Righteousness" here also probably includes ‘uprightness, or moral integrity. A man who is conscious of being in the wrong is usually a coward” (Erdman p. 137). David is a good example of the above. David's own moral failures prevented him at times from being decisive when it came to the sins of others ( 2Sa_13:21 ). The Devil tries to convince us that we should not try to help another person out of their sins, especially another Christian, for we "aren't perfect ourselves". “Commitment to the good life of doing right serves to protect the heart from danger ( Rom_6:13 ; Rom_14:17 ; Rom_8:1-11 ; 1Jn_3:7 ; 1Jn_2:29 ; 2Co_6:7 ; 1Th_5:8 .)” (Caldwell p. 313).
Eph_6:15 “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”
“Shod your feet”: “The strong military sandals not only protected the feet of the warrior but enabled him to stand in slippery places and to move with quick and certain step” (Erdman p. 137). “It was studded with sharp nails to ensure a firm grip. His footwear was also designed for mobility, and Roman armies were renowned for their ability to march great distances in a short time” (Boles p. 339). “Quite unlike the unprepared enemy, they were not caught bare-footed or unaware. The Romans could, therefore, move quickly and effectively to any strategic position” (Caldwell p. 314). “Preparation”: Or readiness. “Here the preparedness which makes us fully ready to plunge into the fight a readiness inspired by the gospel” (Lenski p. 667). “In readiness to publish the gospel” (Knox). “With the readiness to serve the Good News as shoes for your feet” (TCNT). “But in Hellenistic Greek it was sometimes used in the sense of establishment or firm foundation firm-footing” (Vincent p. 409). “Without the sandal or boots he is relaxing; with them he is ready for combat” (Boles p. 339). Thus the Christian who does not have a "firm-footing" in the gospel message is totally unprepared ( Heb_5:12-14 ). The gospel message makes one "prepared" and "ready" to encounter the foe (2 Timohty 3:16-17; 2Pe_1:3 ). “Not just any preparation defends against Satan” (Caldwell p. 314). “The sign of the Christian is that he is eager to be on the way to share the gospel with others who have not heard it” (Barclay p. 182). Success against evil comes when the Christian is well acquainted with the gospel message ( Heb_5:12-14 ; Col_1:23 ). Ready to defend and proclaim it ( 1Pe_3:15 ; Php_1:16 ; Col_4:5-6 ). “To give gracious though ‘salty’ answers to the questions which ‘outsiders’ put to us. Such tip-toe readiness has a very stabilizing influence on our own lives” (Stott p. 280). Such "readiness" is also necessary because the "opportunity" to share the gospel with someone or help another Christian out of sin, can pass by so quickly ( Gal_6:1-2 ; Eph_5:16 ).
“Gospel of peace”: “Our peace with God makes us avid for the battle with Satan! Who, save we of peace, dares to fight him? Occasionally, when these ‘world tyrants’ perpetrate exceptional outrages (gangster rule, crimes that cry to high heaven), a protest is voiced by worldly men; but these tyrants are not thereby scattered, the protests soon subside” (Lenski p. 668). “ While so many are engaged in militant struggles to spread division and discord, we are to fight in the interest of peace” (Spiritual Sword Lectureship p. 242). Here is tremendous incentive "in the evil day". We bring a message of reconciliation to lost and dying souls. To the bitter, resentful, angry, and miserable ( Tit_3:3 ) we bring peace with themselves and others. To those who are enslaved to their own lusts, we bring a message of liberation, and peace with God.
Eph_6:16 “withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one”
“Withal”: “Above all” (KJV). “Besides all these” (Wms). “Above all be sure to take” (Phi). “In addition to all” (NASV) “A s an indispensable addition” (Stott p. 281). “Taking up”: Human accountability. The idea that the Holy Spirit will miraculously protect the child of God against all temptation is false ( 1Co_10:13 ). “Shield”: A large shield, a door-shaped shield. “While some armies used a small, round shield, the Romans used a large, rectangular one which covered the ‘whole man like a door’. The shield was as wide as a man's body and up to four feet in length” (Boles p. 339). “It consisted of two layers of wood glued together and covered first with linen and then with hide. It was specially designed to put out the dangerous incendiary missiles” (Stott p. 281). “It was solid, sometimes with a metal liner reinforcing its ability to repel the artillery of the enemy including its fiery darts, lances and spears” (Caldwell pp. 314-315). “Of faith”: “Which is, or consists of, faith” (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 387). 1Pe_5:9 “But resist him, firm in your faith” ( 1Pe_1:7 ). Unresolved doubts mean trouble for the Christian ( Jam_1:6-8 ). “That committed conviction (trust) knocks off temptations, doubts, fears, human reasoning ( Col_2:8 ), worry ( Mat_6:24-34 ), greed, envy, and all those other pernicious, wicked attempts by Satan to drag us down” (Caldwell p. 315). The same method that Jesus used to disarm Satan ( Mat_4:4-10 "It is written") is available to every Christian. “The devil tempted Eve by hurling at her the doubt regarding God's word: ‘Did God really say?’ Eve's answer could have been : ‘Most certainly God did say!’” (Lenski p. 670). Faith in rooted in the conviction that God is good, and that every command ever given reflects God's goodness ( 1Pe_3:10-11 ). Faith says that God always has my best interest at heart ( Rom_8:32 ). That God is always right ( Rom_3:4 ).
“Wherewith”: Using the above shield. “Ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one”: “These arrows dipped in pitch and set ablaze, could strike terror and destruction to an army without such shields. Satan would have us throw down our shields and flee in panic” (Boles p. 340). “Even when such a missile was caught by the shield and did not penetrate to the body, says Livy, it caused panic , because it was thrown when well alight and its motion through the air made it blaze more fiercely, so that the soldier was tempted to get rid of his burning shield and expose himself to the enemy's spear-thrusts” (Bruce p. 408). This infers that many of the temptations or wiles used by the Devil can cause panic in the unprepared Christian ( Luk_8:13 ). Various accusations of the Devil have caused some professed believers to depart from the faith, and to give up and quit. The defense against such dangerous and "intimidating" darts, is book, chapter, and verse ( Mat_4:4-10 ). Carefully note, even the Devil knows Scripture and seeks to twist it toward his own ends. This tells us something about how the Devil works. Anytime you hear some professed believer using Scripture against Scripture to discredit God's revelation, you know that they are doing the Devil's work.
Eph_6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
“And take”: Here is another reference to human cooperation. God has never "failed" anyone ( Heb_13:5-6 ). People fail spiritually because they fail to make good use of the free gifts that God has provided for everyone. “Helmet”: “The Roman soldier's helmet was usually made of a tough-metal like bronze or iron. An inside lining of felt or sponge made the weight bearable. Nothing short of an axe or hammer could pierce a heavy helmet, and in some cases a hinged vizor added frontal protection” (Stott p. 281). “Of salvation”: This could refer to the forgiveness of our sins (past salvation) or the hope of future glory ( 1Th_5:8 “as a helmet, the hope of salvation”). It “is that measure of salvation which we have already received (forgiveness, deliverance from Satan's bondage, and adoption into God's family) or the confident expectation of full salvation on the last day (including resurrection glory)” (Stott p. 282). This letter has discussed both (1:3-18).
A clear remembrance of one's deliverance ( 2Pe_1:9-11 ; 1Ti_1:13-15 ) is a powerful weapon and defense against evil. The Christian who has "heaven" on their mind, will not trade such eternal wealth for some short-lived earthly pleasure ( Heb_11:25-26 ). The Christian realizes that Satan is fighting a lost cause ( Mat_25:41 ; Rev_20:10 ). The faithful Christian also realizes that the Devil is desperate. In addition, he is also very foolish. Everyone who sides with the Satan will lose everything, and that for all eternity. This demands that the Christian must be well aware of what is at stake. Take the time to find out how wonderful heaven is! Realize what is at stake in this battle and what Satan is trying to keep you from ( Rev_21:4 ).
“Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”: “The Roman sword, unlike the large Thracian sword, was short enough to be effective in close-quarter, hand-to-hand combat” (Boles p. 340). “Moreover, the kind of attack envisaged will involve close personal encounter, for the word used is ‘machaira’, the short sword” (Stott p. 282). The revelation given by the Spirit ( Joh_16:13 ; 1Co_2:13 ; Eph_3:3-5 ), is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to convict ( Joh_16:8 ) mankind of their sins and to persuade them to come to Christ ( Act_17:2-3 ). Various modern views of the Bible crumble when they encounter this verse. In the Bible the written word of God is extolled for it's ability to enlighten, guide, and cut ( Psa_19:7 ff; Psa_119:97-105 ; Heb_4:12 ; 2Ti_3:16-17 ). Obviously, such terms cannot be applied to a "corrupted" revelation. “The gospel message placed in the hands of the Christian warrior must be firmly grasped and used with skill” (Erdman p. 138). See 2Ti_2:15 )
Thus we see the importance of Bible study, for God expects Christians to take the offensive in the fight against Satan ( Eph_5:11 ; Mar_16:15 ). But a soldier who is ignorant concerning the use of the weapon given him, stands at a great disadvantage. Carefully note that the Bible is ineffective for the person who has not learned how to handle it accurately. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, when it is preached correctly and coherently ( Rom_1:16 ). “A sword is dangerous in the hands of the unskilled. The word of God cannot be effectively used by just any charlatan who can stand on a box and yell” (Spiritual Sword Lectureship p. 243). Years ago I ran across the following:
“It is the firm conviction of this writer that the Bible does not need to be ‘made relevant’ to twentieth-century man, any more than it needed to be made relevant to fifth-or seventeenth-century man. Holy Scripture, as the utterance of the living God, is by its very nature the most relevant Word ever spoken. When Charles Spurgeon was asked by a feverish young man, ‘Dr. Spurgeon, how can I defend the Bible?’ the great expositor replied: ‘How would you defend a loin? Let it out of its cage and it will defend itself!’ A common failing of men in every era is their naive belief that their own time constitutes a qualitatively different situation from all others, thereby rendering the Biblical Word somehow irrelevant for them”. [Note: _ The Bible The Living Word of Revelation. Edited by Merril C. Tenney. pp. 202-203]
Eph_6:18 “with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
“With all prayer”: Prayer is an oft forgotten defense and weapon in this armor. “The soldier must maintain contact with his commanding officer” (Boles p. 341). “Thus Scripture and prayer belong together as the two chief weapons” (Stott p. 283). See Act_2:42 . “Praying at all seasons”: 1Th_5:17 ; Rom_12:12 ; Luk_18:1 . “Habitually, on all kinds of occasions” (Lenski p. 675). “Our tendency is so often to pray only in the great crises of life” (Barclay p. 184). This is essential for a constant dependence upon God must be maintained ( Mat_4:4 ), because we never know when temptation and trial will strike. “In the Spirit”: This would include praying in harmony with the Holy Spirit's wishes, that is according to the will of God ( 1Jn_5:14 ). “Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit's wishes” (Tay). Spirit here could be our spirit. “With inward devoutness or with heart-felt pleading”. “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees” (Robertson p. 552). “Watching thereunto”: “And be always on the alert to seize opportunities for doing so” (Wey). “Satan loves to lull the new man to sleep, at least not to be wide awake conveys the idea of never being off guard with respect to these enemies who would like to find us heedless and secure” (Lenski p. 676). Col_4:2 . “Is from a word which originally meant ‘to stretch out the neck to see’. One was watching if he was alert, vigilant, on guard, and attentive” (Caldwell p. 318). “One must watch before prayer, in prayer, after prayer” (Vincent p. 411).
“In all perseverance”: “With unwearied persistence, suggesting steadfastness, persistence, and constant attention to task. The man of perseverance is not easily discouraged or disheartened ( Rom_12:12 ). He will continue to pray even when it may seem from the human point of view that the prayers are not being heard or attended to as he wishes” (Caldwell p. 318). In any battle the tide of momentum or victory can turn quickly. The Christian cannot be one who is discouraged easily. Out of what may be looking like a very discouraging situation, can come great results, only if we hang in there ( Act_18:10-17 ; Php_1:12-14 ).
“For all the saints”: “The Christian's prayer is unselfish. He does not think only of himself but he prays also for the welfare of others. His fellow-soldiers need help too . We are all fighting together in one army against one common enemy” (Caldwell p. 318).
Eph_6:19 “And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel”
“And on my behalf”: Pray for me too! “He was wise enough to know his own need of strength if he was to stand against the enemy, and humble enough to ask his friends to pray with him and for him” (Stott p. 284). Christians need to be impressed with the fact that an apostle requested the prayers of "ordinary" members. God hears the prayers of the Christian, just as He heard the prayers of the prophets ( Jam_5:16-17 ). “That”: The specific request. “Utterance may be given unto me”: “So that I may fearlessly make known” (TCNT). “So that, outspoken and fearless” (Wey). Paul realized that he was not immune from the temptation to "tone down" the message or remain silent ( 1Co_9:24-27 ). “He had not left the battlefield now that he was under house arrest and unable to continue his missionary expeditions” (Stott p. 285) ( Act_28:17 ; Act_28:23-24 ; Act_28:30-31 ). Often some Christians think that they cannot do anything productive for God, because they are in "hard" circumstances or their physical health is poor, but look at Paul. He continued to influence people, even though his "access" to people was limited. Consider what prayers Paul did not request. “Paul is not so much asking for prayer concerning his personal welfare. He is not asking for God to release him from jail or even that God protect him from sin” (Caldwell p. 320). “Freedom is what he longs for--not freedom from confinement, but freedom to preach the gospel” (Stott p. 285).
Eph_6:20 “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak”
“For which”: Paul was in prison because he had been preaching the gospel with boldness (3:1; 4:1). “I am an ambassador in chains”: “To put an ambassador in chains was not only persecution to him personally but it was also the greatest insult to his nation. Is it any wonder that Paul prayed for the opportunity to speak boldly to the foreign king who refused to accord any relationship to the government of heaven? Even in chains Paul would not speak as a timid prisoner but as a confident ambassador of the most powerful government ever known” (Caldwell p. 321). “An ambassador can be snubbed or expelled by the nation to which he is sent, but it is quite abnormal for him to be thrown in chains. Even the most hostile nations normally expect the freedom and safety of an ambassador. Even so, Paul does not lament his present state” (Boles p. 343).
“That in it I may speak boldly”: Boldness is often linked with the apostles preaching ( Act_9:27 ; Act_9:29 ; Act_13:46 ; Act_14:3 ; Act_18:8-9 ). “He is anxious to obscure nothing by muddled speech and to hide nothing by cowardly compromise. Clarity and courage remain two of the most crucial characteristics of authentic Christian preaching. For ‘imprisonment brings its own special temptation to bow to the fear of man’” (Stott pp. 285-286). Even though the Lord had promised the apostles "inspiration" during such times ( Mat_10:19-20 ). It also seems clear that inspiration did not override personal freewill, through fear one could fail to use such a spiritual gift ( 2Ti_1:6-7 ). The Christian soldier can fight from any set of circumstances. “His imprisonment in Rome only served to advance the gospel ( Php_1:12 ; Php_4:22 )” (Boles p. 344). “F.F. Bruce has asked the penetrating question concerning the soldiers to whom Paul was bound constantly, ‘Who was the real prisoner?’ Those guards who probably took four to six hour shifts attached to the other end of the apostle's bonds may have been the real prisoners. Paul always spoke as a free man when he was delivering the message of Christ. What would it have been like to have been chained to an ambassador like Paul? He was the one who enjoyed the ‘captive audience’” (Caldwell p. 321).
The coming of Tychicus
Eph_6:21 “But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things”
“Known my affairs, how I do”: “Know about my circumstances, how I am doing” (NASV). Obviously a congregation that Paul had spent three years with, and who in turn dearly loved him ( Act_20:37-38 ), would be very concerned and eager to hear any news about his welfare. “Tychicus”: (TIKE ih kuhs). A Christian from the province of Asia ( Act_20:4 ). Apparently he would serve as a frequent messenger for Paul ( Tit_3:12 ; 2Ti_4:12 ). It appears that he will deliver this letter to the church in Ephesus, the letter to the Colossians ( Col_4:7-9 ), and that possibility all at the same time he is accompanying Onesimus and bringing Paul's personal letter to Philemon ( Col_4:9 ).
Eph_6:22 “whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts”
See Col_4:8 . Up to date and recent information concerning Paul's condition would alleviate many of the worries and concerns which the Ephesians had for Paul. Possibly, the Ephesians had also heard some misinformation or rumors concerning Paul's condition.
Eph_6:23 “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
Concerning the expression love with faith consider Gal_5:6 and 1Co_13:6-7 .
Eph_6:24 “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible”
Observe that grace is conditional. “Love incorruptible”: “With an undying love” (TCNT). “Unfailing love” (Gspd). “A never diminishing love” (Robertson p. 552). “May such love as ‘knows neither change, diminution, nor decay’” (Erdman p. 143).