1. obey--stronger than the expression as to wives, "submitting," or
Obedience is more unreasoning and implicit; submission is
the willing subjection of an inferior in point of order to one
who has a right to command.
in the Lord--Both parents and children being Christians "in the Lord,"
expresses the element in which the obedience is to take place, and
the motive to obedience. In
it is, "Children, obey your parents in all things." This clause,
"in the Lord," would suggest the due limitation of the obedience
compare on the other hand, the abuse,
right--Even by natural law we should render obedience to them from
whom we have derived life.
2. Here the authority of revealed law is added to that of natural
which is . . . promise--The "promise" is not made the main motive to
obedience, but an incidental one. The main motive is, because it is
"Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath COMMANDED thee"); and that it is so peculiarly,
is shown by His accompanying it "with a promise."
first--in the decalogue with a special promise. The promise in
the second commandment is a general one. Their duty is more
expressly prescribed to children than to parents; for love descends
rather than ascends [BENGEL]. This verse proves the law in the Old
Testament is not abolished.
3. long on the earth--In
"long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," which
Paul adapts to Gospel times, by taking away the local and limited
reference peculiar to the Jews in Canaan. The godly are equally blessed
in every land, as the Jews were in the land which God gave them. This
promise is always fulfilled, either literally, or by the substitution
of a higher blessing, namely, one spiritual and eternal
The substance and essence of the law are eternally in force: its
accidents alone (applying to Israel of old) are abolished
4. fathers--including mothers; the fathers are specified
as being the fountains of domestic authority. Fathers are more prone to
passion in relation to their children than mothers, whose fault is
provoke not--irritate not, by vexatious commands, unreasonable blame,
and uncertain temper [ALFORD].
"lest they be discouraged."
nurture--Greek, "discipline," namely, training by chastening
in act where needed
admonition--training by words
Margin), whether of encouragement, or remonstrance, or reproof,
according as is required [TRENCH]. Contrast
of the Lord--such as the Lord approves, and by His Spirit dictates.
5. Servants--literally, "slaves."
masters according to the flesh--in contrast to your true and heavenly
A consolatory him that the mastership to which they were subject, was
but for a time [CHRYSOSTOM]; and that their real
liberty was still their own
fear and trembling--not slavish terror, but (See on
an anxious eagerness to do your duty, and a fear of displeasing, as
great as is produced in the ordinary slave by "threatenings"
singleness--without double-mindedness, or "eye service"
which seeks to please outwardly, without the sincere desire to make the
master's interest at all times the first consideration
Mt 6:22, 23;
Seeking to please their masters only so long as these have their eyes
on them: as Gehazi was a very different man in his master's presence
from what he was in his absence
men-pleasers--not Christ-pleasers (compare
doing the will of God--the unseen but ever present Master: the best
guarantee for your serving faithfully your earthly master alike when
present and when absent.
from the heart--literally, soul
7. good will--expressing his feeling towards his master; as "doing
the will of God from the heart" expresses the source of that feeling
"Good will" is stated by XENOPHON
[Economics] to be the principal virtue of a slave towards his
master: a real regard to his master's interest as if his own, a good
will which not even a master's severity can extinguish.
8. any man doeth--Greek, "any man shall have done," that is, shall
be found at the Lord's coming to have done.
the same--in full payment, in heaven's currency.
shall . . . receive--
but all of grace,
bond or free--
(1Co 7:22; 12:13;
Christ does not regard such distinctions in His present dealings of
grace, or in His future judgment. The slave that has acted faithfully
for the Lord's sake to his master, though the latter may not repay his
faithfulness, shall have the Lord for his Paymaster. So the freeman who
has done good for the Lord's sake, though man may not pay him, has the
Lord for his Debtor
9. the same things--Mutatis mutandis. Show the same regard to God's
will, and to your servants' well-being, in your relation to them, as
they ought to have in their relation to you. Love regulates the duties
both of servants and masters, as one and the same light attempers
various colors. Equality of nature and faith is superior to distinctions
of rank [BENGEL]. Christianity makes all men brothers: compare
Le 25:42, 43;
as to how the Hebrews were bound to treat their brethren in service;
much more ought Christians to act with love.
threatening--Greek, "the threatening" which masters commonly
use. "Masters" in the Greek, is not so strong a term as "despots":
it implies authority, but not absolute domination.
your Master also--The oldest manuscripts read, "the Master both of
them and you": "their Master and yours." This more forcibly brings out
the equality of slaves and masters in the sight of God.
[Thyestes, 607], says, "Whatever an inferior dreads from you, this a
superior Master threatens yourselves with: every authority here is under
a higher above." As you treat your servants, so will He treat you.
neither . . . respect of persons--He will not, in judging, acquit thee
because thou art a master, or condemn him because he is a servant
10. my brethren--Some of the oldest manuscripts omit these words. Some
with Vulgate retain them. The phrase occurs nowhere else in the
Epistle (see, however,
if genuine, it is appropriate here in the close of the Epistle, where
he is urging his fellow soldiers to the good fight in the Christian
armor. Most of the oldest manuscripts for "finally," read,
"henceforward," or "from henceforth"
be strong--Greek, "be strengthened."
in the power of his might--Christ's might: as in
it is the Father's might.
11. the whole armour--the armor of light
on the right hand and left
The panoply offensive and defensive. An image readily suggested by the
Roman armory, Paul being now in Rome. Repeated emphatically,
it is, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ"; in putting on Him, and
the new man in Him, we put on "the whole armor of God." No opening at
the head, the feet, the heart, the belly, the eye, the ear, or the
tongue, is to be given to Satan. Believers have once for all overcome
him; but on the ground of this fundamental victory gained over him,
they are ever again to fight against and overcome him, even as they who
once die with Christ have continually to mortify their members upon
Col 3:3, 5).
of God--furnished by God; not our own, else it would not stand
Spiritual, therefore, and mighty through God, not carnal
wiles--literally, "schemes sought out" for deceiving (compare
the devil--the ruling chief of the foes
organized into a kingdom of darkness
opposed to the kingdom of light.
12. Greek, "For our wrestling ('the wrestling' in which we are
engaged) is not against flesh," &c. Flesh and blood foes are Satan's
mere tools, the real foe lurking behind them is Satan himself, with whom
our conflict is. "Wrestling" implies that it is a hand-to-hand and
foot-to-foot struggle for the mastery: to wrestle successfully with
Satan, we must wrestle with
GOD in irresistible prayer like Jacob
Translate, "The principalities . . . the
The same grades of powers are specified in the case of the demons here,
as in that of angels there (compare
The Ephesians had practiced sorcery
so that he appropriately treats of evil spirits in addressing them. The
more clearly any book of Scripture, as this, treats of the economy of
the kingdom of light, the more clearly does it set forth the kingdom of
darkness. Hence, nowhere does the satanic kingdom come more clearly
into view than in the Gospels which treat of Christ, the true Light.
rulers of the darkness of this world--Greek, "age" or "course of
the world." But the oldest manuscripts omit "of world." Translate,
"Against the world rulers of this (present) darkness"
(Eph 2:2; 5:8;
On Satan and his demons being "world rulers," compare
Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11;
Greek, "lieth in the wicked one." Though they be "world rulers,"
they are not the ruler of the universe; and their usurped rule of the
world is soon to cease, when He shall "come whose right it is"
Two cases prove Satan not to be a mere subjective fancy: (1) Christ's
temptation; (2) the entrance of demons into the swine (for these are
incapable of such fancies). Satan tries to parody, or imitate in a
perverted way, God's working
(2Co 11:13, 14).
So when God became incarnate, Satan, by his demons, took forcible
possession of human bodies. Thus the demoniacally possessed were not
peculiarly wicked, but miserable, and so fit subjects for Jesus' pity.
Paul makes no mention of demoniacal possession, so that in the time he
wrote, it seems to have ceased; it probably was restricted to the
period of the Lord's incarnation, and of the foundation of His Church.
spiritual wickedness--rather as Greek, "The
spiritual hosts of wickedness." As three of the clauses describe
the power, so this fourth, the wickedness of our
in high places--Greek, "heavenly places": in
"the air," see on
The alteration of expression to "in heavenly places," is in order to
mark the higher range of their powers than ours, they having been, up
to the ascension
(Re 12:5, 9, 10),
dwellers "in the heavenly places"
and being now in the regions of the air which are called the heavens.