Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 6

‘Obey your parents in the Lord’

Ephesians 6:1

We need to be Christians not just as church, but at all times. In other words, our Christian attitudes should direct our actions constantly, but especially at home and work. In such places we spend most of our time - but there, we may also have serious responsibilities and difficult relationships.

God’s command is that people should respect their parents (Exodus 20:12). That includes a duty both to obey parents and to look after them (Mark 7:9-13). At the time of the Bible, families often lived together even after the children became adults with their own families. However, God’s command does not end when a person no longer wishes to obey it. Therefore, a child’s duties to his parents continue for their whole lives, even after the child leaves home.

Paul urges his readers to obey their parents ‘in the Lord’. That phrase might mean ‘because of God’s command’. However, the purpose of the phrase might be to teach the readers when they should obey their parents. It is wrong to imitate our parents’ wrong and evil behaviour (Psalm 78:8). A parent might want his child to do all kinds of wrong and evil acts. However, Christians have a duty always to obey God (Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29). Therefore, a Christian can only obey his parents if their instructions are good, right and proper.

In some societies, a father has great authority over his family, but a mother has little or no authority. However, God’s command is that people should respect and obey both their parents. Similarly, people should respect and obey those other members of their family who have that kind of responsibility for them.

Next part: The command with a promise (Ephesians 6:2-3)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.