Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ephesians 6

Children and Parents (v.1-4)

Children, obey your parent. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but instead bring them up in the lord.

This is good, kids should obey their parents for the most part. Typically kids don't know what the hell is going on and parents can help them. The more they grow and learn and can think for themselves and protect themselves the less it seems important that they obey. It's also interesting to see what is deemed important enough to write down as a rule. What does it say about a society where you need to tell fathers not to provoke their children to anger? Finally, it is interesting that they don't address the mothers, just another sign that this was written by/for a misogynistic society.

I want to put something of this in the good part of the overview, but I am not completely sure what to write. I have been thinking of this project from the perspective of an adult, so the fact that it instructs the child to obey their parents doesn't really fit into the box I'm using here, but in general it is a good thing. Also, telling the father not to provoke their children is good, but just saying it implies it is not completely obvious and it makes me feel dirty considering it a good thing. I think I'll just put a blanket thing for both ideas.

Slaves and Masters (v. 5-9)

Slaves should obey their masters as they would obey Christ. Don't just give lip service, instead obey from your heart. Know that whether slave or free you will receive back what you give from the lord. Masters, stop threatening your slaves, know that he who is master to both of you is in heaven.

Well, here is slavery in the new testament. Does it say that slavery is bad and people shouldn't own each other? Nope! It says that slaves should obey their masters with all their hearts and that masters should stop threatening their slaves. If this was a book written by God, the perfect moral authority on everything, then why is the mention of slavery just that you should stop threatening your slaves? You might say that at the time slaves were treated badly and this was a step up. Perhaps this is true, however, just like yesterday with husbands and wives, even if this is true it makes for an interesting historical study, but it is not a moral authority for modern times.

The Whole Armor of God (v. 10-20)

There is much evil in this day, so put on your armor of God so you can fight back. The armor consists of

  • belt of truth
  • breastplate of righteousness
  • gospel of peace for your shoes?
  • shield of faith
  • helmet of salvation
  • sword of the spirit
Pray at all times so that when necessary, the words will come to you so you can boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel.

I remember this stuff from Sunday school, they would talk about these things and they had props and everything. I was too young to really understand what a metaphor was and I remember this confusing the hell out of me.

Final Greetings (v.21-24)

I have sent Tychicus the beloved brother to you to encourage you in the lord.

Nothing to see here.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation) 


6:1-4 Encourage families to get along


6:5-9 slavery is fine as long as masters stop threatening their slaves


  1. I remember reading a comment to the effect of how different would things be if the bible encourage people to respect their kids instead of all the comments of solely respecting parents. I think that is an interesting notion.

    The slavery thing kills me and is just another example of how the bible can be cherry picked to support basically anything.

    1. I agree, kids are often smarter than they are given credit for, and they can tell when they are being talked down to.


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