Ephesians 6 Study Notes


6:1-3 Paul’s initial concerns were for children to be responsible to their parents. He called for children to be obedient as taught in natural law, in the Mosaic law, and in the gospel. The word for obey is different from the term for “submission”. Obedience involves recognition of authority.

6:4 Parents have responsibility both to discipline and to instruct their children. Paul indicated that fathers are to take the lead in this responsibility. Parents are not to stir up anger in their children. Discipline is not to be arbitrary or something done out of anger.

6:5-9 The NT, as well as the OT, includes guidelines for slaves and slavery. These guidelines do not condone slavery but provided ethical guidance for times and places where slavery existed. Paul’s claim that slaves and masters are equal before God no doubt shocked his contemporaries. Where the Roman law unfairly discriminated between master and slave, heavenly law does not. Paul’s words in this context provided groundwork for a new sense of brotherhood between races, and were later used to help inspire the anti-slavery movement. Paul’s words don’t work only while being watched are good instruction for all Christians employees.


Greek pronunciation [HRAY mah]
CSB translation word
Uses in Ephesians 2
Uses in the NT 68
Focus passage Ephesians 6:17

Rhēma most frequently appears in the narrative literature of the four Gospels and Acts (a total of 52x). In the NT, rhēma (word) is used with two different senses. The term is first used with the sense of that which is said or expressed. Here the word focuses on what has been communicated. For example, Jesus speaks of men having to give account for every careless word they speak (Mt 12:36). In this sense, rhēma may also refer to any one of many different types of communication. For example, rhēma can refer to a prophecy or prediction (e.g., Mk 9:32), to a speech or sermon (e.g., Rm 10:18), to the gospel or a confessional statement (e.g., 1Pt 1:25), or to a commandment or order (e.g., Heb 11:3). However, rhēma does not always focus on what has been communicated. It may refer simply to a thing, object, matter, or event. For example, both Jesus (Mt 18:16) and Paul (2Co 13:1) quote Deuteronomy to the effect that every fact must be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

6:10-13 Three times Paul called for believers to stand against the devil’s schemes, the spiritual battle that takes place against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.

6:14-16 The defensive armor that Paul describes in these verses includes five components. Paul called for believers to put on the “full armor” (v. 13), which points to its divine nature more than its completeness.

6:17 The offensive armor included only one weapon, a short sword used in close combat. The “sword” symbolized God’s word. Because of its design, content, and origin, Scripture (the word of God) “endures forever” (1Pt 1:24-25).

6:18-20 Each piece of armor must be carefully put on with prayer, drawing upon divine resources. This prayer is Spirit-energized, Spirit-enabled, and Spirit-directed. Praying in the Spirit is an admission of a believer’s ignorance and dependence on God.

6:21-24 Paul concluded with greetings that lack the personal references usually present in his letters. Such omissions are hard to explain if the letter was intended only for the church at Ephesus, the place where Paul stayed longer than anywhere else in his ministry (Ac 18:19-21; 19; 20:13-31) and presumably had numerous personal relationships. For this reason many conclude that the letter was intended to circulate more broadly, addressing not just the church at Ephesus but other churches of the region also. Most likely Tychicus carried the letter, along with the letter to the Colossian church and the personal letter to Philemon.