Ephesians 6:1
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
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(4 b.) In Ephesians 6:1-4. St. Paul passes from the detailed exposition of the true relation of husbands and wives, to deal with the relation of parents and children, far more cursorily and simply, but under the light of the same idea. It is to be thought of as existing “in the Lord,” i.e., within the unity binding all to Christ, in virtue of which the parental authority and the right freedom of the child are both hallowed.

(1) In the Lord.—The phrase itself, though familiar in St. Paul’s writings generally, is specially frequent in the Epistles of the Captivity, where it occurs in various connections no less than twenty-one times. (See, for example, Ephesians 2:21; Ephesians 3:11; Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 6:10; Ephesians 6:21.) It is, in fact, a brief indication of their great subject—unity with and in Christ. Here to “obey in the Lord” is to obey under the light and grace of that unity, as already belonging both to parents and children, and transfiguring all natural relations to a diviner glory.

This is right.—Right, i.e., by fundamental laws of humanity, recognised in all races and all ages, declared and sanctioned in God’s commandments (Ephesians 6:2-3), which are at once both old and new “in the Lord.”

(1) In Ephesians 6:10-17. St. Paul sums up his practical exhortation in that magnificent description which has ever since laid hold of Christian imagination, both in metaphor and in allegory. He paints the Christian life as a battle against spiritual powers of evil, waged in the strength of the Lord, and in the panoply of God. We trace the germ of this great passage first in St. Paul’s earliest Epistle (1Thessalonians 5:8-9), and then in the later Epistle to the Romans (Romans 13:12). In both these cases the image is of soldiers starting from sleep at day-break to arm for the fray in the morning light. But it is characteristic of the more elaborate and thoughtful style of this Epistle, and of the circumstances under which it was written (in the watchful presence of the full-armed Roman “soldiers that kept” St. Paul), that the image there briefly touched is here worked out in full beauty of detail.

Ephesians 6:1-4. The apostle, having explained the duties of wives and husbands, proceeds to the duties of children and parents, and then to those of servants, or slaves rather, and masters, with which he finishes his account of relative duties. Children, obey your parents — Even your unbelieving parents, in every thing consistent with your duty to the Lord. In all things lawful, the will of the parent is a law to the child: for this is right — Manifestly just and reasonable. Honour — That is, love, reverence, obey, assist in all things; thy father and mother — The mother is particularly mentioned, as being more liable to be slighted than the father. Which is the first commandment with promise — For the promise implied in the second commandment does not belong to the keeping that command in particular, but the whole law. Whereas the fifth is the first commandment which hath a promise annexed to it in particular. This observation concerning the promise in the law, to those who honoured their parents, was made by the apostle, to show that the honouring of parents is a matter of the greatest importance to the well-being of society, and highly acceptable to God. That it may be well with thee — In temporal as well as spiritual things; and thou mayest live long on the earth — A promise that is usually fulfilled to eminently dutiful children; and he who lives long and well, has a long seed-time for an eternal harvest. But this promise in the Christian dispensation is to be understood chiefly in a more exalted and spiritual sense. And ye fathers — On the other hand, (whom he names rather than mothers, as being more apt to be stern and severe; mothers, however, are also included;) provoke not your children to wrath — By any harsh usage, or rigorous treatment of them. Do not needlessly fret or exasperate them; but bring them up — With all tenderness and mildness, and yet with steadiness; in the nurture and admonition Εν παιδεια και νουθεσια, in the discipline and instruction; of the Lord — As these expressions stand connected with the word Lord, it seems reasonable to explain them of such a course of discipline and instruction as properly belongs to a religious education, which ought to be employed by those that believe in the Lord, in forming their children for him, by laying a restraint on the first appearance of every vicious passion, and nourishing them up in the words of faith and sound doctrine.

6:1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts, and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for obedience to parents. The duty of parents. Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason. Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction; and in the knowledge of the duty God requires. Often is this duty neglected, even among professors of the gospel. Many set their children against religion; but this does not excuse the children's disobedience, though it may be awfully occasion it. God alone can change the heart, yet he gives his blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers. But those, whose chief anxiety is that their children should be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.Children - τέκνα tekna This word usually signifies those who are young; but it is used here, evidently, to denote those who were under the care and government of their parents, or those who were not of age.

Obey your parents - This is the first great duty which God has enjoined on children. It is, to do what their parents command them to do. The God of nature indicates that this is duty; for he has impressed it on the minds of all in every age; and the Author of revelation confirms it. It is particularly important:

(1) Because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it; no community or family being prosperous where there is not due subordination in the household.

(2) because the welfare of the child depends on it; it being of the highest importance that a child should be early taught obedience to "law," as no one can be prosperous or happy who is not thus obedient.

(3) because the child is not competent as yet; to "reason" on what is right, or qualified to direct himself; and, while that is the case, he must be subject to the will of some other person.

(4) because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child. The love which God has implanted in the heart of a parent for a child secures, in general, the administration of this domestic government in such a way as not to injure the child. A father will not, unless under strong passion or the excitement of intoxication, abuse his authority. He loves the child too much. He desires his welfare; and the placing of the child under the authority of the parent is about the same thing in regard to the welfare of the child, as it would be to endow the child at once with all the wisdom and experience of the parent himself.

(5) it is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God. The government of God is what a perfect family government would be; and to accustom a child to be obedient to a parent, is designed to be one method of leading him to be obedient to God. No child that is disobedient to a parent will be obedient to God; and that child that is most obedient to a father and mother will be most likely to become a Christian, and an heir of heaven. And it may be observed, in general, that no disobedient child is virtuous, prosperous, or happy. Everyone foresees the ruin of such a child; and most of the cases of crime that lead to the penitentiary, or the gallows, commence by disobedience to parents.

In the Lord - That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no further. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion. The duties and rights of children in such cases are similar to those of wives (see the notes on Ephesians 5:22); and in all cases, God is to be obeyed rather than man. When a parent, however, is opposed to a child; when he expresses an unwillingness that a child should attend a particular church, or make a profession of religion, such opposition should in all cases be a sufficient reason for the child to pause and re-examine the subject. he should pray much, and think much, and inquire much, before, in any case, he acts contrary to the will of a father or mother; and, when he does do it, he should state to them, with great gentleness and kindness, that he believes he ought to love and serve God.

For this is right - It is right:

(1) because it is so appointed by God as a duty;

(2) because children owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for what they have done for them;

(3) because it will be for the good of the children themselves, and for the welfare of society.


Eph 6:1-24. Mutual Duties of Parents and Children: Masters and Servants: Our Life a Warfare: The Spiritual Armour Needed against Spiritual Foes. Conclusion.

1. obey—stronger than the expression as to wives, "submitting," or "being subject" (Eph 5:21). Obedience is more unreasoning and implicit; submission is the willing subjection of an inferior in point of order to one who has a right to command.

in the Lord—Both parents and children being Christians "in the Lord," expresses the element in which the obedience is to take place, and the motive to obedience. In Col 3:20, it is, "Children, obey your parents in all things." This clause, "in the Lord," would suggest the due limitation of the obedience required (Ac 5:29; compare on the other hand, the abuse, Mr 7:11-13).

right—Even by natural law we should render obedience to them from whom we have derived life.Ephesians 6:1-3 The relative duties of children,

Ephesians 6:4 and parents,

Ephesians 6:5-8 of servants,

Ephesians 6:9 and masters.

Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul exhorteth the brethren to resist spiritual

enemies by putting on the whole armour of God,

Ephesians 6:18-20 and by perseverance in prayer, which he requireth for

all saints, and particularly for himself, that he

might preach the gospel with due boldness.

Ephesians 6:21,22 He commendeth Tychicus,

Ephesians 6:23,24 and concludeth with good wishes to all sincere Christians.

Obey your parents; with inward reverence and promptness, as well as in the outward act.

In the Lord; either, because the Lord commands it; or, in all things agreeable to his will: see Ephesians 5:21 Acts 5:29.

For this is right, or just, every way so, by the law of nature, of nations, and of God.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord,.... The persons whose duty this is, "children", are such of every sex, male and female, and of every age, and of every state and condition; and though the true, legitimate, and immediate offspring of men may be chiefly respected, yet not exclusive of spurious children, and adopted ones, and of children-in-law; and the persons to whom obedience from them is due, are not only real and immediate parents, both father and mother, but such who are in the room of parents, as step-fathers, step-mothers, guardians, nurses, &c. and all who are in the ascending line, as grandfathers, grandmothers, &c. to these, children should be subject and obedient in all things lawful, just, and good; in everything that is not sinful and unlawful, by the word of God; and in things indifferent, as much as in them lies, and even in things which are difficult to perform: and this obedience should be hearty and sincere, and not merely verbal, and in show and appearance, nor mercenary; and should be joined with gratitude and thankfulness for past favours: and it should be "in the Lord"; which may be considered either as a limitation of the obedience, that it should be in things that are agreeable to the mind and will of the Lord; or as an argument to it, because it is the command of the Lord, and is wellpleasing in his sight, and makes for his glory, and therefore should be done for his sake:

for this is right; it appears to be right by the light of nature, by which the very Heathens have taught it; and it is equitable from reason that so it should be; and it is just by the law of God, which commands nothing but what is holy, just, and good.

Children, {1} obey your parents {2} in the {a} Lord: {3} for this is right.

(1) He comes to another part of a family, and shows that the duty of the children toward their parents consists in obedience to them.

(2) The first argument: because God has so appointed. And upon this it follows also that children are obligated to obey their parents, that they may not swerve from the true worship of God.

(a) For the Lord is author of all fatherhood, and therefore we must yield such obedience as he will have us.

(3) The second argument: because this obedience is most just.

Ephesians 6:1. Ἐν κυρίῳ] characterizes the obedience as Christian, the activity of which moves in Christ, with whom the Christian withal stands in communion of life. The reference to God (“praeter naturae legem … Dei quoque auctoritate sancitum docent,” Calvin; comp. Wolf) is already refuted by the very ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ, Ephesians 4:21, placed at the head of all these precepts, as also by the standing formula itself (comp. Colossians 3:20).

δίκαιον] right, i.e. κατὰ τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ νόμον, Theodoret. Comp. Colossians 4:1; Php 1:7; Php 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Luke 12:57.

In favour of infant baptism, i.e. in favour of the view that the children of Christians were as early as that time baptized, nothing at all follows from the exhortation of the apostle to the children (in opposition to Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 192). The children of Christians were, through their fellowship of life with their Christian parents, even without baptism ἅγιοι (see on 1 Corinthians 7:14; Acts 16:15), and had to render to their parents obedience ἐν κυρίῳ.

Ephesians 6:1-4. Other relative duties—those of parents and children. With this the concise paragraph in Colossians 3:20-21 is specially to be compared.

Ch. Ephesians 6:1-4. The Christian Home: Children and Parents

1. Children] Cp. Colossians 3:20.

obey] The Gr. word differs from that rendered “submit yourselves” (Ephesians 6:22). It is the same as that below, Ephesians 6:5, rendered “be obedient.” The child, and the bondservant, are to render an obedience (so the words seem to indicate) different in kind from that of the wife, which is so largely tempered by equality in other respects.

“Disobedience to parents” (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2) appears in Scripture as a symptom of a state of the gravest evil. The example of the Lord stands in sacred contrast to it, for all ages of the Church (Luke 2:51). It is in the school of the well-ordered Christian home that the true idea of the Christian’s position, divinely filial in its freedom, yet (1 Corinthians 9:21) “law-abiding unto Christ,” should be first illustrated as well as taught.

parents] Mothers as well as fathers (see next verse). Scripture uniformly upholds the authority of the mother. Cp. Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 6:20.

in the Lord] I.e., let your obedience be in Him; rendered as by those whose action gets its reason and secret from union with Him. No doubt the Apostle assumes here a family in which the parents are Christians; but he certainly would not limit the precept to such a case, as it would be limited if “your parents in the Lord” was the verbal connexion.

In the case of Christian parentage, the children, as such, would certainly be reckoned as within the covenant, and, in this sense, “in the Lord.” Cp. 1 Corinthians 7:14 (“now are the children holy”). It would be for their own consciences before God, none the less, to ask whether they were also “in Christ” in that inner and ultimate sense which is, spiritually, “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

There is some evidence, but quite inadequate, for the omission of the words “in the Lord.”

right] Just; not merely beautiful, or better, but according to the Law of God, both in Nature and in Revelation.

The Apostle does not deal here with the limits of filial obedience in cases where the Divine Will crosses the parental will. He has the great rule and principle wholly in view.

Ephesians 6:1. Ὑπακούετε, obey) This expresses even more than be subject, be subordinate (ch. Ephesians 5:21, ὑποτασσόμενοι), [comp. Ephesians 6:5.] To obey is the part of one who is less experienced; to be subject or subordinate, of an inferior.—δίκαιον, right) even by nature.

Verse 1. - Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. The first duty of children is obedience, and "in the Lord," i.e. in Christ, this duty is confirmed. The ἐν Κυρίῳ qualifies, not "parents," but "obey," and indicates that the element or life which even children lead in fellowship with Christ makes such obedience more easy and more graceful. The duty itself rests on the first principles of morality - "for this is right." It is an obligation that rests on the very nature of things, and cannot change with the spirit of the age; it is in no degree modified by what is called the spirit of independence in children. Ephesians 6:1In the Lord

The children being with their parents in the Lord, are to be influenced by religious duty as well as by natural affection.

Right (δίκαιον)

Belonging essentially to the very nature of the relation.

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