Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
Today’s verse is Paul’s second illustration of what submitting “to one another out of reverence for Christ” looks like, and this illustration is that of children to parents. Although “children” does not necessarily indicate small children still under their parents supervision, the context suggests children who are still in the process of being trained by their parents. “Obey” is stronger than the command given to wives, who are to “submit” (5:22). “For this is right” provides the reason for the previous exhortation and refers to behavior that is consistent with God’s commands to bolster his induction that children obey their parents (Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16). Obeying parents is one way children honor them. In the Decalogue, the fifth commandment it “the first commandment with a promise.” In Ephesians 6:3, the omission of the additional phrase from Exodus 20:12 (“the Lord your God is giving you”) universalizes the promise to mean the earth in general rather than the land of Canaan in particular.
So to clarify all of this and make it a little easier to understand here is what I am saying. Normally, children of Christian parents remain under parental guidance until they become part of other family unit through marriage. What this means is that Paul is essentially telling us three things in these three verses about a child’s relationship with his or her parent.
- Small children must be taught to obey and honor parents through Godly training and instruction (Proverbs 13:24 and 22:6).
- Older children, even after marriage, should continue to show respect for their parents’ counsel (v. 2) and honor them in old age through care and finical support, if needed (Matthew 15:1-6).
- Children who honor their parents will be blessed by God, here on Earth and in eternity (v. 3).
Today’s Bible Readings:
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21, John 5:1-23, Psalm 105:37-45 and Proverbs 14:28-29