Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 26th April 2024: Ephesians: 8

Ephesians 6 Wives Jesus Christ Slaves Husbands Love one another

Reading : Verses from Ephesians, Chapter 6


Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’—this is the first commandment with a promise: ‘so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.

And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Attitudes to people change over the centuries, and some of the greatest changes occurred in the early Church, particularly as they affected women, children and slaves. The changing attitudes didn't always last, but nevertheless changes did occur as the new Christians tried to obey Jesus' command to "love one another".

In Roman times a 'child' was under the authority of their father, and this extended for their whole life, no matter their age or position, as long as the father lived. He had complete control over them, and could banish them or even have them killed. Similarly a slave also could be beaten, killed or sold. Most people who actually worked were slaves, (including doctors, secretaries, and teachers) but at least they were a valuable financial asset. As for women the authority of their husband (or father) was similarly draconian.

We might find Paul's teaching difficult sometimes but he was making a marked difference to current thinking. In Chapter 5.25, for instance he teaches that husbands should love their wives "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." In Roman times the husband might be the head of the household but he should treat his wife in a Christ-like manner. Paul's message in Ephesians is that we are to be satisfied in the position where God has placed us and to serve others with enthusiasm as though serving Jesus himself. We are to honour and respect one another, treating each in a Christ-like manner. Ultimately in a harmonious Christian society there are balances and checks, and we are to love others before we love ourselves.


Lord Jesus Christ,
teach us not to judge others
by their appearance,
or by our warped instincts,
or because of past experiences.
May we treat all people,
whatever their age, sex, race or creed,
in a Christ-like manner.

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