Share about a time that you judged a book by its cover (or a movie by its title, or a
person by your first impression of them) but, upon further inquiry, later realized that
your initial judgment was far too negative.
We tend to judge quickly and miss the beauty and power of what actually is. This
week, we will try to understand how the original hearers would have heard what Paul
says to the church about household relationships. This passage would have been met
with such great rejoicing a first century wife, child, or servant, but not all of the men
would have liked it!
The first century household was comprised of three relationships: husband/wife,
parent/child, and master/servant. The enemy’s strategy is to hurt and divide household
relationships so that the foundation of the church (and even the culture) begins to
crumble. As you think about your family of origin or your immediate family, how do
you see the enemy trying to divide?
Read 5:22,25. 6:1,4. 6:5,9. Paul addresses all of the household relationships. Now look
closely again at 5:25, 6:4, 6:9. The men in the community had never heard this before!
Men tended to think that they could do whatever they wanted in their household. The
challenge in this passage is clearly to the man. Considering this perspective, talk about
how wives, children, and servants would feel as this passage was read aloud in the
church in Ephesus.
Read 5:25-30. Paul says that masculinity has lost its way and that looking at the life of
Jesus is the only way to reset and renew true masculinity. As you look at these verses
(and the life of Jesus), how would you describe true masculinity?
Read 5:25 & 32. What model does Paul use to describe how men are to treat their wives?
According to this model, how are men to behave toward their wives?
According to this model, how are boyfriends to be toward their girlfriends?
According to this model, what should women look for in a boyfriend or husband?
According to this model, how are single men to behave toward all women?
Read 5:21-25. Notice the call to submit to “one another” under Christ. Talk for a moment
about submission and what it truly means. Now talk for a moment about what selfgiving
love actually means. Are these two radically different ideas or two different ways
of saying something very similar? Is it possible that the call for men and women is
essentially the same – come and die so that you can live?
Share what surfaced in you during this dialogue. Ask for prayer about it. Remember
that we don’t change ourselves but simply put ourselves in a place where God can and
will bring change.
Many great saints have talked about the practice of “letting go.” We can hold on to our life and demand our rights and privileges, or we can let go of our life for others so we can discover a life that is truly life. Submission and self-giving love are two ways of expressing a life of “letting go”–of trusting that God will give back to us the life we were meant to live. Ponder this image of “letting go” and see what that might look like practically for you this week.
Matthew 6 Psalm 108
Philippians 4 Psalm 109
Isaiah 58 Psalm 110
Luke 3:1-20 Psalm 111
2 Kings 4 Psalm 112
1 Timothy 6 Psalm 113