Family and job relationship (3:18-4:1)

(family and job)

-- wives
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
(3:18) In Ephesians, Paul gives instruction to wives, children and servants as an example of submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (E 5:21). E 5:22-24 says, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” In Colossians, the instruction for wife is as short as one sentence. In Ephesians, Paul uses the relationship of Christ to church to explain the concept that “the husband is the head of the wife”.

-- husbands
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against (苦待) them.”
(3:19) In Ephesians, a long passage is given for instruction to husbands. E 5:25-30 says, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church, for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” In Ephesians, Paul previously uses the analogy of Christ as the head of the church in the instruction for wife. Now he uses the analogy of the church as the body of Christ in the instruction for husband. He also uses the analogy of wife as the husband’s own body to explain his love toward his wife, for “they two shall be one flesh” (E 5:31). Then he concludes the instruction for husband and wife: “let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (E 5:33)

-- children
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.”
(3:20) E 6:1-3 says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” This is actually the fifth of the Ten Commandments, which says, “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exo 20:12) The children’s obedience is certainly an honour of their parents. When we obey the Lord, we are actually honouring Him.

-- parents
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
(3:21) E 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” In Ephesians, Paul adds one more responsibility for the father, which is the chief responsibility for a Christian father: “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (「只要照著主的教訓和警戒養育他們」)”. We are not only to bring them up, but to mold them to be the obedient children of God.

-- servants
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily , as to the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance , for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons (「主並不偏待人」, NRSV—‘there is no partiality’).”
(3:22-25) E 6:5-8 says, Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Both epistles have much the same content regarding the instruction for the servants, except that in Colossians, Paul adds the warning that if the servant does wrong against the will of the Lord and not from the heart, he shall receive penalty instead of reward.

-- masters
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”
  (4:1) E 6:9 says, “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening (「不要威嚇他們」), knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him (「他並不偏待人」, NRSV—‘with him there is no partiality’).” That the Lord has no partiality is said to the servants in Colossians and to the masters here in Ephesians.