Now that we have looked in a general way at Paul’s instructions to children, fathers, servants, and masters, let’s take a closer look at each of those commands. Word studies, cross-references, commentaries, and looking at other translations can all help us gain a better understanding of a verse or passage of Scripture, and free Bible study websites help us do this kind of studying in a fraction of the time it used to take!
Assignment: Pray, asking God to give you understanding as you study.
Then go to www.blueletterbible.org and search on Eph. 6:1. (Be sure you have selected KJV for the translation, since the study helps are keyed to that translation.) We’re going to look more closely at God’s commands to children.
Note: If you have limited or no Internet access, Blue Letter Bible offers a CD that includes many of the great features that are available on their website, and it’s free (but they welcome donations)!
- To the left of the verse text for Ephesians 6:1, hover over the blue “Tools” button and then click the blue “Interlinear” button in the drop-down menu. This will open a wealth of information about every word in verse 1.
(If you are using a Blue Letter Bible app on a hand-held device, use this link to get general instructions for using the Interlinear tool on the different apps.)
- We see at the top of the screen the entire verse in Greek, as it was originally written.
- Then we see a chart that lists (1) each English word as it is translated in the King James Version, (2) the Strong’s number which is assigned to the original Greek word, and (3) the original Greek word in its root form.
- Go to the word obey on this chart and click its Strong’s number (B5219). This opens the lexicon or dictionary for this word, where we find more exciting and helpful information for understanding this word better!
In the “Transliteration” section of the lexicon, we can see the Greek word written with English letters.
In the “Punctuation” section, we can click to hear the Greek word pronounced correctly.
- We will be using the different sections of the lexicon throughout our study. For today, we’re going to focus on two sections. Go first to the section labeled “Strong’s Definitions.”
- Copy this definition into your notebook. Notice that the Greek word is actually made up of two other Greek words (you can click on the links to see more about them) which combine to mean hear under. How do children “hear under”?
- Now scroll down until you see the section labeled “Concordance Results Using KJV.” In this section, we can read every other verse in the Bible that uses the same Greek word for obey that is used in Ephesians 6:1. Reading these verses will give us a much better understanding of what obey means.
- Skim these verses, noting new insights in your notebook. Who (or what) is obeying in these verses? What did their obedience look like? If you have children, does their obedience look like the obedience we see described in these verses?
- Do some of these verses look familiar? Pay special attention to verses from Colossians 3, a passage of Scripture that closely parallels portions of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Colossians 3:20 gives another reason for children obeying their parents. Add this reason to the chart you made yesterday, and note its reference.
- Pray about what you have studied today. Are you teaching your children to please God by obeying you? Are you living a life of obedience to God and to the authorities He has placed over you?
We’ll look at verses 2 and 3 tomorrow.
For your children:
Verses that we read in our lexicon study today offer some dramatic potential for the children! Here are two possibilities:
- Read Matthew 8:23-27 to your children and let them act out the story (maybe in the bathtub or wading pool?). Let your children tell you whether they obey you as well as the winds and the sea obeyed Jesus.
- Read Hebrews 11:8 and Genesis 12:1-4 aloud. Imagine together what it must have been like for Abraham (and Sarah) to pick up and move, not even knowing where they were going. Let the children “pack” to move, load up their bikes and wagons, and head for the park (or the back yard?) together. Talk about obedience on the way! Are they willing to obey you like Abraham obeyed God — without questions or arguments?
- With older children, read and discuss the above passages together, or talk about the Greek word for obey — hypakouo — and the two words that form it — hypo (under) and akouo (to hear). How does obey mean to hear under? How can they hear under the authorities God has placed over them? How can they hear under God?