Read Ephesians 2:1-10
v.1 says that "you were dead …" It's one of the many verses that Lutherans point to when we say that a person cannot "decide to believe in Jesus". Why might that be?
v.3 what does this verse indicate about "original sin"?
v.5 says that God "made us alive…" Share with the group how God made you alive, whether that be by baptism or by hearing His Word and the Spirit quickening faith in your heart.
v.6 what is the meaning of this verse?
v.8 says that even the faith that we have does not come from inside of ourselves - where does it come from?
v.10 - What good works, specifically, has God prepared for you to do? Another way of asking this question: what situations has God placed you in where you can join Jesus on His mission?
Read Ephesians 5:21-6:9
How does Paul describe the ideal marriage? What is the picture of how a husband / wife act and treat one another?
Look carefully - does Paul say to husbands, "Make sure your wife submits to you."? Does Paul say to wives, "Make sure your husband loves you."? If not, then what is the implication of Paul saying what he does say, rather than saying these things?
How does Paul describe "love" here - what does that word mean, exactly?
"Submit" doesn't mean "doormat" - so what does it mean, exactly?
What is the purpose of marriage, as Paul states it in v. 32?
Parents / Children
List the reasons Paul gives for children obeying their parents.
How do you, if you are now grown, fulfill this commandment, "Honor your father and mother."?
What is the command given to fathers … and why is it given to fathers rather than mothers? Or did Paul really mean to say "fathers and mothers"?
Masters / Slaves
This is a crucial passage to understand. Here's a brief insight from one source:
The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.
Paul here is not condoning slavery. He's not saying, "this is the ideal situation". Rather he is giving people who live in as Master / Slave some practical commands on how to live if you find yourself in this situation.
So what is his command to slaves? What is his command to masters?
How can we apply these things to our situation today?
For further reading on Paul and slavery, see his letter to Philemon, in which he respects Philemon's rights as master over Onesimus … but asks Philemon, in no uncertain terms, to free Onesimus from slavery and to receive him as an equal brother in Christ.
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