New English Translation
6 Children,[a] obey your parents in the Lord,[b] for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,”[c] which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 3 “that it will go[d] well with you and that you will live[e] a long time on the earth.”[f]
5 Slaves,[i] obey your human masters[j] with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ, 6 not like those who do their work only when someone is watching[k]—as people-pleasers—but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart.[l] 7 Obey[m] with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord[n] and not people, 8 because you know that each person, whether slave or free, if he does something good, this[o] will be rewarded by the Lord.
Exhortations for Spiritual Warfare
10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand against the schemes[u] of the devil. 12 For our struggle[v] is not against flesh and blood,[w] but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness,[x] against the spiritual forces[y] of evil in the heavens.[z] 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground[aa] on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening[ab] the belt of truth around your waist,[ac] by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your[ad] feet with the preparation that comes from the good news[ae] of peace,[af] 16 and in all of this,[ag] by taking up the shield[ah] of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation[ai] and the sword[aj] of the Spirit (which is the word of God). 18 With every prayer and petition, pray[ak] at all times in the Spirit, and to this end[al] be alert, with all perseverance and petitions for all the saints. 19 Pray[am] for me also, that I may be given the right words when I begin to speak[an]—that I may confidently make known[ao] the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.
21 Tychicus, my[ap] dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances,[aq] how I am doing. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know our circumstances[ar] and that he may encourage your hearts.
- Ephesians 6:1 tn The use of the article τά (ta) with τέκνα (tekna) functions in a generic way to distinguish this group from husbands, wives, fathers and slaves and is left, therefore, untranslated. The generic article is used with γύναῖκες (gunaikes) in 5:22, ἄνδρες (andres) in 5:25, δοῦλοι (douloi) in 6:5, and κύριοι (kurioi) in 6:9.
- Ephesians 6:1 tc B D* F G as well as a few versional and patristic representatives lack “in the Lord” (ἐν κυρίῳ, en kuriō), while the phrase is well represented in P46 א A D1 Ivid Ψ 0278 0285 33 1175 1505 1739 1881 2464 M sy co. Scribes may have thought that the phrase could be regarded a qualifier on the kind of parents a child should obey (viz., only Christian parents), and would thus be tempted to delete the phrase to counter such an interpretation. It is unlikely that the phrase would have been added later, since the form used to express such sentiment in this Haustafel is ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ/Χριστῷ (hōs tō kuriō/Christō, “as to the Lord/Christ”; see 5:22; 6:5). Even though the witnesses for the omission are impressive, it is more likely that the phrase was deleted than added by scribal activity.
- Ephesians 6:2 sn A quotation from Exod 20:12 and Deut 5:16.
- Ephesians 6:3 tn Grk “be.”
- Ephesians 6:3 tn Grk “will be.”
- Ephesians 6:3 sn A quotation from Deut 5:16.
- Ephesians 6:4 tn Or perhaps “Parents” (so TEV, CEV). The plural οἱ πατέρες (hoi pateres, “fathers”) can be used to refer to both the male and female parent (BDAG 786 s.v. πατήρ 1.b).
- Ephesians 6:4 tn Or “do not make your children angry.” BDAG 780 s.v. παροργίζω states “make angry.” The Greek verb in Col 3:21 is a different one with a slightly different nuance.
- Ephesians 6:5 tn Traditionally, “Servants” (KJV). Though δοῦλος (doulos) is often translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households.
- Ephesians 6:5 tn Grk “the masters according to the flesh.” In the translation above, the article τοῖς (tois) governing κυρίοις (kuriois) is rendered in English as a possessive pronoun (i.e., “your”) and the prepositional phrase κατὰ σάρκα (kata sarka) is taken as modifying κυρίοις (indicating that the author is referring to human masters) and not modifying the imperative ὑπακούετε (hupakouete, which would indicate that obedience was according to a human standard or limitation).
- Ephesians 6:6 tn Grk “not according to eye-service.”
- Ephesians 6:6 tn Grk “from the soul.”
- Ephesians 6:7 tn Though the verb does not appear again at this point in the passage, it is nonetheless implied and supplied in the English translation for the sake of clarity.
- Ephesians 6:7 tn Grk “serving as to the Lord.”
- Ephesians 6:8 sn The pronoun “this” (τοῦτο, touto) stands first in its clause for emphasis, and stresses the fact that God will reward those, who in seeking him, do good.
- Ephesians 6:9 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Ephesians 6:9 tn Though the Greek text only has αὐτούς (autous, “them”), the antecedent is the slaves of the masters. Therefore, it was translated this way to make it explicit in English.
- Ephesians 6:9 tn Grk “do the same things to them.”
- Ephesians 6:9 tn Grk “giving up the threat.”
- Ephesians 6:9 tn Grk “because of both they and you, the Lord is, in heaven…”
- Ephesians 6:11 tn Or “craftiness.” See BDAG 625 s.v. μεθοδεία.
- Ephesians 6:12 tn BDAG 752 s.v. πάλη says, “struggle against…the opponent is introduced by πρός w. the acc.”
- Ephesians 6:12 tn Grk “blood and flesh.”
- Ephesians 6:12 tn BDAG 561 s.v. κοσμοκράτωρ suggests “the rulers of this sinful world” as a gloss. sn The phrase world-rulers of this darkness does not refer to human rulers but the evil spirits that rule over the world. The phrase thus stands in apposition to what follows (the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens); see note on heavens at the end of this verse.
- Ephesians 6:12 tn BDAG 837 s.v. πνευματικός 3 suggests “the spirit-forces of evil” in Ephesians 6:12.
- Ephesians 6:12 sn The phrase spiritual forces of evil in the heavens serves to emphasize the nature of the forces which oppose believers as well as to indicate the locality from which they originate.
- Ephesians 6:13 tn The term ἀνθίστημι (anthistēmi) carries the idea of resisting or opposing something or someone (BDAG 80 s.v.). In Eph 6:13, when used in combination with στῆναι (stēnai; cf. also στῆτε [stēte] in v. 14) and in a context of battle imagery, it seems to have the idea of resisting, standing firm, and being able to stand your ground.
- Ephesians 6:14 sn The four participles fastening…putting on…fitting…taking up… indicate the means by which believers can take their stand against the devil and his schemes. The imperative take in v. 17 communicates another means by which to accomplish the standing, i.e., by the word of God.
- Ephesians 6:14 tn Grk “girding your waist with truth.” In this entire section the author is painting a metaphor for his readers based on the attire of a Roman soldier prepared for battle and its similarity to the Christian prepared to do battle against spiritually evil forces. Behind the expression “with truth” is probably the genitive idea “belt of truth.” Since this is an appositional genitive (i.e., belt which is truth), the author simply left unsaid the idea of the belt and mentioned only his real focus, namely, the truth. (The analogy would have been completely understandable to his 1st century readers.) The idea of the belt is supplied in the translation to clarify the sense in English.
- Ephesians 6:15 tn The definite article τοῖς (tois) was taken as a possessive pronoun, i.e., “your,” since it refers to a part of the physical body.
- Ephesians 6:15 tn Grk “gospel.” However, this is not a technical term here.
- Ephesians 6:15 tn Grk “in preparation of the gospel of peace.” The genitive τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (tou euangeliou) was taken as a genitive of source, i.e., “that comes from….”
- Ephesians 6:16 tn Grk “in everything.”
- Ephesians 6:16 sn The Greek word translated shield (θυρεός, thureos) refers to the Roman soldier’s large rectangular wooden shield, called in Latin scutum, about 4 ft (1.2 m) high, covered with leather on the outside. Before a battle in which flaming arrows might be shot at them, the soldiers wet the leather covering with water to extinguish the arrows. The Roman legionaries could close ranks with these shields, the first row holding theirs edge to edge in front, and the rows behind holding the shields above their heads. In this formation they were practically invulnerable to arrows, rocks, and even spears.
- Ephesians 6:17 sn An allusion to Isa 59:17.
- Ephesians 6:17 sn The Greek term translated sword (μάχαιρα, machaira) refers to the Roman gladius, a short sword about 2 ft (60 cm) long, used for close hand-to-hand combat. This is the only clearly offensive weapon in the list of armor mentioned by the author (he does not, for example, mention the lance [Latin pilum]).
- Ephesians 6:18 tn Both “pray” and “be alert” are participles in the Greek text (“praying…being alert”). Both are probably instrumental, loosely connected with all of the preceding instructions. As such, they are not additional commands to do but instead are the means through which the prior instructions are accomplished.
- Ephesians 6:18 tn Grk “and toward it.”
- Ephesians 6:19 tn To avoid a lengthy, convoluted sentence in English, the Greek sentence was broken up at this point and the verb “pray” was inserted in the English translation to pick up the participle προσευχόμενοι (proseuxomenoi, “praying”) in v. 18.
- Ephesians 6:19 tn Grk “that a word may be given to me in the opening of my mouth.” Here “word” (λόγος, logos) is used in the sense of “message,” but more specifically in this context, “the right words.”
- Ephesians 6:19 tn The infinitive γνωρίσαι (gnōrisai, “to make known”) is functioning epexegetically to further explain what the author means by the preceding phrase “that I may be given the right words when I begin to speak.”
- Ephesians 6:21 tn Grk “the.” The Greek article ὁ (ho) was translated with the possessive pronoun, “my.” See ExSyn 215.
- Ephesians 6:21 tn Grk “the things according to me.”
- Ephesians 6:22 tn Grk “the things concerning us.”
- Ephesians 6:23 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).
- Ephesians 6:24 tn Or “is.”
- Ephesians 6:24 tc Most witnesses (א2 D Ψ M al it sy) have ἀμήν (amēn, “amen”) at the end of the letter. Such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Rom 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. The earliest and best witnesses (P46 א* A B F G 0278 6 33 81 1175 1739* 1881 sa) lack the particle, giving firm evidence that Ephesians did not originally conclude with ἀμήν.tn Grk “without corruption.” The term “love” is not found at the end of the sentence, but is supplied to clarify the sense in English. The term “undying” which modifies it captures the sense of the kind of love the author is referring to here. He is saying that God’s grace will be with those whose love for Jesus never ceases.
New International Version
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.(A) 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a](B)
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect(E) and fear, and with sincerity of heart,(F) just as you would obey Christ.(G) 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ,(H) doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,(I) 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do,(J) whether they are slave or free.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord(M) and in his mighty power.(N) 11 Put on the full armor of God,(O) so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,(P) but against the rulers, against the authorities,(Q) against the powers(R) of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.(S) 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,(T) so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,(U) with the breastplate of righteousness in place,(V) 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.(W) 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,(X) with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.(Y) 17 Take the helmet of salvation(Z) and the sword of the Spirit,(AA) which is the word of God.(AB)
18 And pray in the Spirit(AC) on all occasions(AD) with all kinds of prayers and requests.(AE) With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying(AF) for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me,(AG) that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly(AH) make known the mystery(AI) of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador(AJ) in chains.(AK) Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
21 Tychicus,(AL) the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are,(AM) and that he may encourage you.(AN)
King James Version
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
5 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;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.