How was the culture of the Ephesians like ours today? How was it different?
What does it mean to submit to one another? Notice that while Paul admonishes a wife to submit to her husband, he also says that the two are one flesh (5:31-32).
Ladies: How do you feel about verses 22-24? Guys: How do you feel about the standards in 25-33? Both: Which role is more difficult-the one prescribed for men or women? What experiences or parts of our culture make it hard to understand/obey these verses? How do these roles demonstrate our need to live filled with the Spirit (18)? Do these verses make marriage easier or harder?
From what we understand from these verses, what advice would you give a young Christian about marrying someone who is not a believer? How should these verses change the way people in our culture date? What should a man/woman be looking for as they pursue a spouse?
Notice how Paul wraps everything up in 5:33. Does a wife submitting to a husband make him feel respected? Does a husband loving a wife make her feel secure? Some psychologists say there are primary needs in men in women. Do you think that’s true?
How do TV shows today depict the relationship between parents and children? Does this reflect general cultural values?
What is expected of children here? What two motivations does Paul list? What is the significance of the phrase “in the Lord” (1)? As a child, is verse 3 more of a threat or a promise?
Cultural Notes: In ancient Greco-Roman society, the father had complete control of the family–including the right to kill a child even when the child was an adult (although this was rarely invoked). If a father sold a child into slavery and the child earned or was granted their freedom, the father could sell them back into slavery if he wanted. In the case of divorce, the children stayed in the father’s household. In Jewish culture, the Hebrew Scriptures allowed for execution of a disobedient child (cf. Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
What two motivations does Paul give Fathers?
If you have children (or plan to have kids), how will you apply verse 4? If your children are grown, how have you grown in your understanding of this verse? As an adult, how should we apply this to our parents now? Doewas it still apply? How does it change with age?
Does Paul’s view uphold or contradict the thoughts of his culture?
Excurses: Do you think Christianity elevated or demeaned the status of women and children in ancient Roman Society?