Ephesians 5:3-6:24

  1. 5:3-20. What are the positive motives and guiding principles of worthy Christian action, which the apostle emphasizes here? Add further items to your list (from study 5) of actions words and thoughts which ought: (a) to be abandoned, and (b) to be expressed. Test your own life in this light. Why is constant watchfulness so necessary? What help does God give to make such living possible?
  2. 5:21-6:9. The opening verse states a governing principle. Consider how it is applied here to the common personal relations of everyday life – particularly those of wives, children and servants. What are the distinctive complementary responsibilities of husbands, parents and masters? Particularly notice in each case how the person concerned is in his (or herself) to Christ.

3.5:23-32. Study in detail what we are told here concerning the relationship between Christ and his church. What is the goal in view? How is it reached and realized?

Notes.

  1. 5:14. Paul is here possibly quoting from a Christian hymn, addressed to those who have not yet believed in Christ. Cf. Is. 60:1.
  2. 5:26. ‘The washing with water through the word’: here some simply compare John 15:3; 17:17, but the majority recognize reference to baptism. ‘The word’ may then refer to: (a) the gospel preached, cf Luke 24:27; (b) the formula used in Christian, cf. Matt. 28:19; or (c) the answering confession of the person being baptized, cf. 1 Pet. 3:21, AV; Rom. 10:9.
  3. 5:32. ‘A profound mystery’: the word ‘profound’ (‘great’ RSV) here does not indicate that this truth is something ‘very mysterious’, but that this ‘mystery’ or ‘divinely-revealed truth’ is one ‘of great importance’.

 

The same apostle and epistle that show us how heavenly, complete and free is redemption in Christ, now indicate how certain, fierce and protracted is the conflict to be faced and protracted is the conflict to be faced by those who belong to Christ.

  1. Why is conflict inevitable for all who belong to Christ? What is its character? What dangers that beset us are particularly in mind here? Cf. 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 11:3. By what achievement is victory repeatedly described here?? How alone may it be achieved?
  2. Some interpreters take ‘truth’ on mean inward sincerity and ‘righteousness’ to mean integrity and fidelity. Others think ‘truth’ here means the truth of the gospel, as in 4:21, and take ‘righteousness’ to mean ‘the righteousness of God’ given to us in Christ (see Rom. 3:22). Can you find a decisive answer? How alone can we make our standing sure before God, men and the devil? Cf. Rom 5:1, 2; 8:33, 34; Ps. 15 24:3-6; 51:6.
  3. Verses 18-20. Consider what is implied here about Christian praying – concerning its place, its character, its demands, its scope, and its particular interests and requests. Measure your praying by these standards.

Notes.

  1. Verse 10. ‘Be strong’: Literally ‘be strengthened’. ‘People cannot strengthen themselves; they must be empowered’ (Ephesians [TNTC], p. 177). Our strength is to be continually maintained (present tense) by the outworked vigour of God’s inherent power.
  2. Verses 11, 13. ‘The full armour of God’: the complete outfit is thought of as one whole. What is most emphasized is its divine source.
  3. Verses 12. The word for ‘struggle’, literally ‘to wrestle’ (see AV, RV), implies personal hand-to hand conflict.
  4. For such fighting one needs to have a sure foothold.
  5. Verse 16. ‘Flaming arrows’: devil-inspired thoughts or desires, evil in their in their nature, and tending to inflame the passions.

 

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