Obey Your Parents: What Does Ephesians 6:1 Mean?

Ephesians 6:1 reads, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationEphesians 6:1
ESVChildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
NASBChildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
NIVChildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
NLTChildren, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

Obey Your Parents: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

6:1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts, and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for obedience to parents. The duty of parents.

Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason. Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction; and in the knowledge of the duty God requires.

Often is this duty neglected, even among professors of the gospel. Many set their children against religion; but this does not excuse the children’s disobedience, though it may be awfully occasion it.

God alone can change the heart, yet he gives his blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers.

But those, whose chief anxiety is that their children should be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.

Ephesians 6:1 | Pulpit Bible Commentary

Verse 1. – Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. The first duty of children is obedience, and “in the Lord,” i.e. in Christ, this duty is confirmed.

The ἐν Κυρίῳ qualifies, not “parents,” but “obey,” and indicates that the element or life which even children lead in fellowship with Christ makes such obedience more easy and more graceful.

The duty itself rests on the first principles of morality – “for this is right.” It is an obligation that rests on the very nature of things, and cannot change with the spirit of the age; it is in no degree modified by what is called the spirit of independence in children.

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