6:1 Children [indicates that children must have been present in the congregation when this letter was read; Gr. “tekna” refers to young children living at home], obey [listen attentively and respond positively; this command assumes the instruction of parents is in keeping with God’s Word] your parents in the Lord [or as a Christian should], for this is right [because it is in line with God’s will; cf. Col. 3:20].
6:2 [the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12)] “Honor [to give weight or consideration to; to count as valuable; children must honor parents for life] your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
Note: Is it possible to obey parents without honoring them?
6:3 [note two benefits of honoring parents] “[the first benefit relates to quality of life] that it may go well with you and [the second benefit relates to quantity of life] that you may enjoy long life on the earth [the general principle is that children who listen to their parents can avoid the sins and dangers that can easily shorten their lives].”
6:4 [a prohibition (cf. Col. 3:21)] Fathers, do not exasperate [to provoke or irritate to the point of anger] your children; instead, [a command] bring them up [to nourish or feed] in the training [discipline; includes punishment for wrongdoing] and instruction [educate rather than exasperate] of the Lord [reminder to parents to offer training and instruction that is in keeping with God’s Word].
Note: Some parents exasperate their children by always saying one thing and doing another. Inconsistent and unfair discipline can also exasperate children. Showing favoritism is another common way of provoking children to anger. Humiliation, cruelty, and verbal and physical abuse can exasperate children and cause them to lose heart (see Col. 3:21).
Note: Martin Luther wisely wrote: “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.” Parents must try to encourage and praise and not just scold or correct.
6:5 Slaves [there were several million slaves in the Roman empire in Paul’s day], obey [listen attentively and respond positively] your earthly [distinguished slave owners from God, our ultimate Master] masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity [uprightness; without pretense or evil motivation] of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
6:6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you [eyeservice: refers to working only when master is watching; cf. Col. 3:22], but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart [in such a manner as to pass God’s inspection].
Note: How should you as a Christian employee or employer seek to demonstrate your relationship to Christ?
6:7 [cf. Col. 3:23] Serve wholeheartedly [with enthusiasm], as if you were serving the Lord [work should be an expression of commitment to the Lord], not men,
6:8 [cf. Col. 3:24] because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
6:9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way [that is, out of concern for God’s will and the well-being of their slaves]. Do not threaten them, since [reason for not threatening them] you know that he who is both their Master and yours [earthly masters will one day have to answer to their heavenly Master] is in heaven, and there is no favoritism [no one is more important than anyone else] with him.
6:10 Finally [signals Paul’s concluding remarks], be strong in the Lord [we must derive our strength from God] and in his [not our] mighty power.
6:11 Put on [this is a command to dress and prepare for battle; it is the responsibility of the Christian to take the armor God provides and put it on] the full [complete] armor [cf. Isa. 59:17; Rom. 12:13] of God so that you can take your stand [cf. Ps. 18:30-39] against [“stand against” means to resist the enemy; no surrender] the devil’s schemes [a reminder that the devil does not fight fair; cf. 2 Cor. 2:11].
Note: Satan’s schemes and methods of operation include the following:
• slander Gen. 3:4-5
• sowing tares Matt. 13:38-39
• lies John 8:44
• temptation Acts 5:3
• trickery 2 Cor. 2:11
• blinding minds 2 Cor. 4:4
• masquerading 2 Cor. 11:14-15
• Inciting persecution Rev. 2:10
• accusation Rev. 12:10
• deception Rev. 20:3
6:12 For our struggle [indicates hand-to-hand combat] is not against flesh and blood, but against [note descriptive terms for demons that illustrate the extent of Satan’s warfare…] the rulers [cf. Eph. 1:21], against the authorities [cf. Eph. 1:21], against the powers of this dark world [powers who aspire to control the world] and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms [the dwelling place of demons].
6:13 Therefore [in response to the reality of “our struggle”] put on [believers must put on the armor that God has made available them] the full [in order to leave no area vulnerable to attack] armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand [cannot stand against the great opposition of Satan without God’s armor; cf. Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9] your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth [the truth of God’s Word, the gospel, personal character of believer; enables us to stand against Satan’s lies (Jn. 8:44) and false doctrine; important to know the truth, speak the truth, and insist on the truth; cf. Jn. 17:17] buckled around your waist [belt or girdle made of leather, about six inches wide, held other pieces of armor in place (breastplate, sheath for sword)], with the breastplate [protected body from neck to thighs; protected vital organs; protects the heart (seat of emotions, self-worth, and trust); often had a back piece to protect from blows from behind] of righteousness [evidence that we have been made right with God; Satan will attack and seek to frustrate all committed to righteous living] in place,
6:15 and with your feet [Roman soldiers wore shoes with studded soles (cleats) to help them hold their ground in hand-to-hand combat; Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:15] fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield [Roman shield approximately four feet high by two feet wide] of faith [complete reliance on God and willingness to do His will; cf. 1 Jn. 5:4], with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
6:17 Take the helmet [protects head; cf. 1 Thess. 5:8] of salvation [helmet protects our minds from doubting our salvation] and the sword [the only offensive weapon mentioned] of the Spirit, which is the word of God [cf. Isa. 11:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:8; Heb. 4:12].
6:18 And pray [a sign of our need for and dependence on God] in the Spirit [Spirit helps us when we pray (Rom. 8:26)] on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert [pray with your eyes open; cf. 1 Pet. 5:8] and always [don’t stop] keep on praying for all [no believer is exempt from Satan’s attacks] the saints.
6:19 Pray also for me, that [note that Paul did not ask for prayers for his release from prison] whenever I open my mouth, words may be given [Paul depended on the Spirit for inspiration and wisdom to speak] me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery [God’s plan to make Jews and Gentiles into a new people in Christ] of the gospel,
6:20 for which I am an ambassador [a government’s legal representative, in this case, of God’s kingdom] in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
6:21 Tychicus [carried Paul’s letters to Ephesians, Colossians (and probably to Philemon); also mentioned in Acts 20:4; Col. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12], the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything [news about Paul and his welfare], so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing.
6:22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage [perhaps Ephesians were discouraged by Paul’s imprisonment; Paul and the Ephesian believers were very close because Paul had lived in Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:17-38)] you.
6:23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from [point to source of peace, love, faith] God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
6:24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.