About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Chapter 3:18 - 4:1
For Christian Households (ch. 3:18 Ė 4:1)
in Ephesians 5:22 to 33, where Paul goes into a little more detail, he
addresses how Christian families should live.
There, and here, he tells wives to submit to their husbands.
The Greek word "hupotasso" is the word translated as
"submit" in this passage.
It is a military word and means to "rank under".
This may not sound all that great to the modern wife, but this is
what Paul is saying. He is
telling wives to rank under, or to fall in line under the leadership of
their husbands. Off the top
of your head, you might not like the idea, but you canít change what
Paul is saying to fit into our modern societyís way of thinking.
that being said, we must understand how the Bible uses the Greek word
many Greek words, the Bible often puts a different slant on their
meaning, and hupotasso is one such word.
Without going into great detail, the Bible doesn't really
interpret hopotasso in a harsh, dictatorial, military fashion.
The context of the word is used in the since that one submits to
another out of a loving and respectful relationship with the one he or
she is submitting to. The
Bible uses the word "hupotasso" in a much softer way than how
it was used in Roman and Greek culture.
verb submit here is a present passive indicative Greek verb.
That means wives are to submit in present time.
Passive means that the wives fall under the authority of her
husband. He has authority
over her. Indicative means
that this is not a suggestion but the way it is to be.
19 gives the husbands their job and that is to love their wives.
Paul doesnít say it here, but in Ephesians 5:25 Paul tells
husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Remember, Jesus gave His life for the church.
To the degree the husband loves his wife in a Biblical sense,
will be the degree that a wife will find it easier to submit to her
husband. That being said,
even if the husband is as loving as he can be, people, including wives
are human. A husband can
love his wife and the wife may still not submit to him.
Paul tells husbands "to love' their wives, the verb "love"
is a present active indicative Greek verb.
This means that the husband must love his wife right now in the
present moment. He himself
must do the loving and this is not a suggestion but a command.
verse 19 Paul tells husbands not to be harsh towards their wives.
This is a logical command that make sense because as I've noted
the Greek word "hupotasso" in its normal Greek military usage
is a harsh word. What Paul
is saying here is that men should not expect their wives to submit to
them as a general in an army expects a subordinate to submit to him.
verse 20 Paul tells the children to obey their parents.
Why? It's because
this pleases the Lord. In
our day when there are so many broken families, the notion that children
should obey parents is becoming outdated.
For one reason, it's hard to obey father and mother when father
and mother live in separate places and don't speak to one another and
may well have different goals for their children.
2 Timothy 3:2 we note that Paul predicts that in the last days children
will become disobedient to their parents.
It's just a sign of the end.
verse 21 Paul goes on to say that fathers should not embitter their
children. In Ephesians 6:4
Paul tells fathers not to exasperate their children.
I like the word "exasperate". Too often fathers, and
mothers too, exasperate their children by nagging over things that
arenít worth nagging over. If
a parent is going to have a major conflict with their children, then
have it over an important issue, not over issues that are unimportant.
can and do get discouraged and even depressed over too much heavy handed
discipline as Paul says here.
that Paul doesn't tell both father and mother not to exasperate their
children. It seems in Paul's
mind that they disciplining was to be done by the father.
verse 22 Paul goes on to address slaves by telling them to obey their
masters as if they are obeying the Lord Himself.
People often wonder why Paul did not speak out against slavery.
This is a big topic and I won't discuss it all here.
I've done so on my web site.
you read Paul's letters in light of the slavery issue you will note that
if a slave has a chance to become free he should take it.
Masters, as we will see, should treat their slaves with great
respect. I would suggest
that Paul did speak out against the poor use of slaves.
We should know that not all slaves in the empire were slaves as
we knew it to be in the south of the United States in days past. Many slaves in Paul's day
were educated men, like lawyers. Another thing we should know is that
verse 23 Paul says "whatever you do, work at it with all of your
heart." In context this
statement was directed towards slaves but it is an admonition that could
easily be to all of us. When
we do anything; when we work hard; we put Jesus in a good light because
we are His representatives.
24 speaks of rewards that the believers receive from Jesus when they
work hard for Jesus. 1
Corinthians 3 speaks about the believers works being burned on the day
Jesus judges their works. Works
that are done by pure human effort and for selfish reasons will not be
rewarded for. Works done for
Jesus from pure motives, out of love and respect for Jesus will indeed
be rewarded for.
verse 25 Paul goes on to say that if you do wrong, you will be repaid by
the Lord. I think this is in
reference to what I've just said. You
will lose a reward due to your wrong, either in this life or the next
life. Paul is talking to and
about Christians here. Clearly,
Christians can do wrong.
chapter 4, verse 1, the NIV links this section with chapter 3.
Paul doesnít leave the issue of slavery without speaking to the
masters. He tells them to
treat their slaves fairly and right, for they have a Master in Heaven.
I interpret this sentence to be speaking to Christian slave
owners since Paul tells them that they have a Master in Heaven.
When treating a slave properly in the Lord, you might say that
they are not slaves in the worldly sense of the word.
They become more of an employee that you look after with great
respect. They cannot be
considered as private property.
believe I could say, as Paul told husbands to love their wives as Christ
loves the church in Ephesians 5:5, masters should love their slaves as
Christ loved the church. This
puts a whole new outlook to Paul's view of slavery.
Slave owners are in fact slaves themselves.
How they are treated by Jesus is how they should treat their
in New Testament Christian terms, slaves were considered part of a
family household. So in that
sense, slaves were family.