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I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book.  NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.

Ephesians 6:1-9 – Study Prompts #2

  1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
  2. Read Ephesians 6:1-9
  3. STUDY NOTE:  One of the most surprising things for 21st century Americans is the way the New Testament speaks about slavery.  The Roman Empire (which dominated the New Testament world) was full of slaves.  It has been estimated that 60 million slaves existed in the Roman Empire, some 33% of the entire population!  Though slavery was obviously a major problem at the time letters like Ephesians were written, the New Testament authors do not condemn its practice.  Instead, they give ethical commands for how to be a good slave or how to be a good master.  At first glance, this is confusing to our modern ears.  Before we indict this pattern, however, we must take time to see the effect that Christianity had on ending slavery at different points in history.  The Christian worldview erodes the slavery mindset and has led to many different abolition movements.  As Warren Wiersbe commented, “Just as the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield resulted in the abolition of slavery and child labor, the elevation of women, and the care of the needy, so Paul’s ministry contributed to the death of slavery and the encouragement of freedom.  However he was careful not to confuse the social system with the spiritual order of the church . . . The Christian faith does not bring about harmony by erasing social or cultural distinctions.  Servants are still servants when they trust Christ, and masters are still masters.  Rather, the Christian faith brings harmony by working in the heart.  Christ gives us a new motivation, not a new organization.”
  4. In Ephesians 6:5-9, Paul speaks directly to slaves AND masters.  What does this tell you about the membership of the Ephesian church?
  5. Do you think it is appropriate to apply the principles of Ephesians 6:5-9 to employer/employee relationships today (as most commentators do)?  Why or why not?
  6. In Ephesians 6:5, slaves are called to have respect for their master (obey with reverence).  Again, as with husband/wife and parent/child relationships, the obedience that the slave (or employee) has for the master is an act of obedience to the Lord.  This means that the slave is not required to obey his master if he is being asked to do something God condemns as sinful.  If you were to apply this to an employee/employer relationship today, what are some examples you can imagine where an employer is asking his employees to do something that would force the employee to sin if they were to follow their employer’s direction?
  7. Ephesians 6:6 admonishes the slave to not just be a “people pleaser” who offers “eye service.”  What do you think Paul is referring to when he says this and what application does it have for you in your job today?
  8. Slaves are called to have “good will” as they serve (6:7).  What does it look like to have “good will” as you serve in your job today?
  9. Paul implies that there is reward from Jesus for those who obey their master’s in this life.  The emphasis in this encouragement from 6:8 is that though we may not receive from our employers a reward for all we do in this life, it is still worth it to obey, since Jesus can reward us in eternity for our unacknowledged faithfulness in this life.  How does this motivate you in your workplace relationships today?

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:


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