Ephesians Online: Chapter 5
Updated: May 28
for individual, one-on-one discipleship, or community groups)
Let's Dive In
Last week we took a big view picture (got an aerial view) but this week we are right back at it, looking at Chapter 5 and the first nine verses of Chapter 6.
This week just open up your Bible and start reading. But only read until something stops you, grabs you, makes you pause and wonder or question or convict.
Do not read past that point. At least not immediately.
Stop and pray over what you've read. Write down any thoughts glaring out at you. Write down any questions you have? Just sit and think on these things.
Depending on how much time this takes or how far you got you may or may not keep reading.
If you keep going, repeat the same process, stopping when something touches your heart, mind or spirit. Or raises a question. Or convicts you. Or encourages you. This may be the Holy Spirit speaking to you.
Take time to talk with God about, to jot down thoughts and questions.
The goal of a slow reading isn't about finishing in one setting or so many verses/chapters in a week but about letting the Scripture settle into your heart and make a difference.
Think quality over quantity.
Let's do a little verse-by-verse/section-by-section look at this chapter. The way to do this is to read a few verses at time, following where there seems to be a natural flow or break (or using where your Bible has breaks) and then just asking questions about what you just read.
Here are some questions but what other questions would you add as you read and discuss together.
Verses 1-2: Depending on the version you are reading, Paul may be instructing you to follow or imitate God. The Greek word here is mimetes (pronounced mim-ay-tace) and means "an imitator." Here are a few other places Paul uses this word: 1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6, 2:4; Heb. 6:12; 1 Pet. 3:13
Do you think there is a difference between an imitator (one who imitates) and a follower (one who follows)? What are they? Who is to be our example? How do you know when you are imitating Christ?
Verses 3-5: What do you think of Paul listing greed alongside sexual immorality and impurity, pointing out that one who is greedy is also an idolater? Would you have placed it on the same level? Why or why not? Why do you think Paul does?
The word (akatharsia) for impurity often refers to lustful thinking and living, but it can also refer to impure motives (see Matthew 23:16-28). Does that change how you read this verse? Have you ever been guilty of impurity (lust or the impure motives)?
Verses 6-9: When are you most tempted to justify or excuse your sins? Why do we do this? How have you moved from "darkness to light" as a result of knowing Christ? If you feel like you don't have the ability to do good, right, and true, what does Paul say lives inside you? Who is the source of that light?
Verses 10-14: Do you ever worry about what is "being done in secret"? Read Psalm 94. This is not the first time in the history of followers of God that His people have wondered and worried about that which is done in secret and wickedness. What comfort can you take from the Psalm and Paul's words here?
Verses 15-20: Do you think think the ability to sing songs, make music your hearts and give thanks to God is connected to being filled with the Holy Spirit? If so, how? We know that when we come to Jesus, all of God (Father, Son, & Spirit) live in us, because God cannot be separated. Yet Paul encourages them to be filled ... so how do we fill ourselves with God's Spirit that is both already in us, but who can clearly fill us up more?
5:21 - 6:19: Welcome to a hard reading and controversial reading! What do you think of when you hear the words "submit?" Why does it matter that we read all that follows in the context over verse 21 of chapter 5? What does honoring parents look like? Does this command have an end date (once you're 18 or 21)? What about if your parents are not good parents; what does honoring them look like then? How might a parent provoke their child to anger? Why does Paul caution against that and instead say to instruct them? Do you tend to go to anger or instruction first? What do you think about Paul's writing regarding slaves and masters? Is this permission to have slaves or approval to have slaves? Masters are told to behave just like the slaves as well and that they have the same master as the slave. Do you think if slave owners had followed these words, slavery would have continued? Why or why not?
Feel free to share what you're learning in the comments below.
More Important than You Know
Summarize what you've read in a couple words or sentences.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
What do you need to do about it?
How can others help you follow through?