Paul explains God’s vision for Jews and Gentiles together in the Body of Messiah
A literal translation from the Greek by Jeffrey J. Harrison. You can also print out this translation as a booklet
6 1 Children, listen to your# parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2
Honor your* father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: 3
that it may be well with you* and you* may have a long life on the earth [Deuteronomy 5:16]. 4 And fathers, don’t make your# children angry, but nourish them with [raise them in] the discipline [training] and instruction of the Lord.
5 Servants [slaves], listen to your# lords [masters] according to the flesh with fear [respect] and trembling in the sincerity of your# heart as to the Messiah,
6 not according to eye-service [service performed only to attract attention or impress others] as men-pleasers,
but as servants [slaves] of Messiah,
doing the will of God from your# soul [sincerely],
7 serving with eagerness as to the Lord and not to men,
8 knowing that each one, if he does any good thing, will be paid this back by the Lord whether he is a servant [slave] or a free man.
9 And lords [masters], do the same to them, and stop threatening, knowing that both their Lord and yours# is in the heavens, and there is no partiality [favoritism] with him.
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord and in the intensity of his might. 11 Put on the complete outfit of the armor of God, that you# may be able to stand against the scheming of the devil:
12 for our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers,
against the principalities,
against the world-class powers of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies.
13 Therefore, take up the complete outfit of the armor of God, that you# may be able to resist [hold your# ground] in the evil day,
14 Stand, therefore,
having first girded your# loins with truth [Isaiah 11:5] and
having put on the breastplate of righteousness [Isaiah 59:17] 15 and
having taken up the shield of faith [Psalm 91:4-5], with which you# will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one [Psalm 76:3];
17 and receive the helmet of salvation [Isaiah 59:17]
and the sword of the Spirit, which is a word from God [Isaiah 49:2],
18 while praying together in every appointed time, throughout every prayer and earnest request, in the Spirit, and being alert to it [the Spirit] in all your# perseverance in prayer and in every earnest request concerning all of the holy ones,
19 praying also for me,
that a word [a message] may be given to me when I open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the good news, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains,
that in it [that word (or message)] I may speak boldly, as it is necessary for me to speak.
21-22 But so that you# may also know what my circumstances are and how I’m doing, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant [deacon] in the Lord, whom I have sent to you# for this same purpose, will make everything known to you,# so that you# will know these things about us and it will comfort your# heart.
23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and Lord Jesus the Messiah. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus the Messiah with an incorruptible love.
6:1 Listen to your parents in the Lord: Implying both to hear and to obey. The expression
parents in the Lord may refer either to parents who are believers or to spiritual parents, that is, those responsible for leading someone to Messiah. ⏎
6:5 Listen: Implying both to hear and obey. ⏎
6:12 Rulers: In Greek,
archons (ἀρχάς), as in archangels. Angelic archons have authority over nations, as with Michael over Israel (Daniel 10:13,20-21 and 12:1 LXX). Satan himself is also referred to as an archon (Matt. 9:34, Eph. 2:2). ⏎
6:12 Principalities: This can refer either to the spiritual beings who control certain domains or to the domains themselves. In the temptation of Jesus, Satan offers him his principality if he will worship him (Luke 4:6). Colossians 1:13 says that God has delivered us from the principality of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his son. ⏎
6:12 World-class powers: In Greek,
cosmocrats (κοσμοκράτορας, cosmo meaning world; crator a ruler or one holding power). These were identified in contemporary literature with the pagan gods, who were associated with the planets and therefore with astrology by the Greeks and Romans. They are demonic beings whose realm of influence extends over the entire inhabited earth. ⏎
6:12 The heavenlies: A general term that can refer to the sky or atmosphere and outer space as well as to the spiritual heavens in which God dwells (Psa. 2:4, 19:1, 89:11). Paul clearly identifies the realm of evil with the air (Eph. 2:2), that is, the lowest of the heavenly regions, within arm’s reach of the believer. This accounts for his use of the term
wrestling and the imagery of a soldier’s armor that appears in the verses that follow. The
spiritual forces mentioned here are all personal spiritual beings arrayed against the Lord and against his people. ⏎
6:13 Accomplished all: As a soldier who has successfully carried out his orders in battle. ⏎
6:13 Stand: As opposed to those who fall in the fighting. ⏎
6:14 Girded your loins with truth: This is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:5, which Paul applies to believers as the body of Messiah. In this section (Eph. 6:13-17), Paul describes the ideal spiritual warrior by using as an analogy the full battle gear of a Roman soldier. The first element, girding the loins, doesn’t refer to a belt, as is usually supposed, but to the leather, breech-like apron of a Roman soldier. This protected the lower abdomen, as does the protective equipment of modern athletes. Isaiah, who speaks of a
girdle (aizor) encircling both waist and loins, has in mind an earlier version of this same type of gear. While
girding the loins often simply meant preparing oneself for something difficult, Paul may also have had in mind his earlier teaching against immorality (see Eph. 4:22, 5:3-6). ⏎
6:14 Breastplate of righteousness: This is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 59:17, which Paul applies to believers as the body of Messiah. A breastplate covered the heart, which was thought to be the center not only of the emotions, but also of the intellect and the will. Spiritually, our hearts are protected by doing what is right (righteousness), that is, by our obedience to God’s will. ⏎
6:15 Having tied something on your feet: This is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 52:7, which Paul applies to believers as the body of Messiah. In Paul’s analogy, this corresponds to Roman military boots. ⏎
6:16 In all circumstances: In all our wrestling and resisting. ⏎
6:17 Helmet of salvation: This is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 59:17, which Paul applies to believers as the body of Messiah. In Isaiah, this is the helmet of yeshuah, the noun form of the Hebrew name of Jesus: Yeshua. In modern times, we associate our heads with our minds and thinking abilities. But in the Bible, the head (headship) is associated with the leading and guidance provided by those in authority (probably because of the location of the senses in the head; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16). Putting on the helmet of Yeshua (Jesus/Salvation) means submitting ourselves to the leading and guidance of Messiah, as well as to gaining the protection that comes through obedience and salvation. ⏎
6:17 The sword of the Spirit, which is a word from God: This is an allusion to the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 49:2:
He made my mouth like a sharp sword. It refers to a word received from God and then spoken out. This is an illustration of the exercise of spiritual gifts by the body of Messiah. ⏎
6:19 A word may be given to me when I open my mouth: Another reference to the exercise of spiritual gifts. ⏎
6:21-22 Tychicus: This letter was delivered to Ephesus by Tychicus, a companion of Paul from the province of Asia. During the same journey, he also delivered Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. 4:7). ⏎
6:24 With an incorruptible love: Literally,
in incorruptibility. ⏎