6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline]. 2 Honor [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise— 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.(A)
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 [a]Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with respect for authority, and with a sincere heart [seeking to please them], as [service] to Christ— 6 not in the way of eye-service [working only when someone is watching you and only] to please men, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart; 7 rendering service with goodwill, as to the Lord, and not [only] to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive this back from the Lord, whether [he is] slave or free.
9 You masters, do the same [showing goodwill] toward them, and give up threatening and abusive words, knowing that [He who is] both their true Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him [regardless of one’s earthly status].
The Armor of God
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [b]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart),(B) 15 and having [c]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].(C) 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [d]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.(D)
18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [e]God’s people. 19 And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.
21 Now, so that you may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are, and that he may comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts.
23 Peace be to the [f]brothers and sisters, and love joined with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and incorruptible love.
- Ephesians 6:5 Slavery was common in New Testament times (as well as in ancient Israel). One might become a slave through conquest, the commission of a crime, or destitution. Slaves were required to do their masters’ bidding and work without compensation (cf Luke 17:7-10). Elsewhere Paul advises slaves not to dwell on their circumstances, and to earn their freedom if they can (1 Cor 7:21). The admonitions here accurately reflect the slave/master relationship in the Roman Empire; since they were not compensated, slaves sometimes did only what they had to do to avoid punishment, and masters could be cruel disciplinarians.
- Ephesians 6:14 Lit girded your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action or a coming event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. Before any vigorous activity the loose ends of clothing (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the wide band worn around the midsection of the body. The band (usually about six inches wide) also served as a kind of pocket or pouch to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
- Ephesians 6:15 A reference to the Roman soldiers’ shoes which were studded with hobnails to give them stability on the battlefield.
- Ephesians 6:16 Here the Greek word refers to the large Roman soldiers’ shield designed to protect the entire body. It had an iron frame and was covered in several layers of leather. When soaked in water before a battle the shield could put out the fiery missiles thrown at them by the enemy.
- Ephesians 6:18 Lit the saints.
- Ephesians 6:23 Lit brethren.