Introduction: Would you like to succeed in life and love? Christians
have many advantages in life. One of the most important advantage is
the Bible’s practical teaching on increasing our emotional
intelligence. Our lesson this week, if taken seriously, will give us
an emotional “I.Q.” boost for dealing with our job, our marriage, our
children and our friends. Let’s plunge right in!

  1. Mutual Submission

    1. Read Ephesians 5:21. What does it mean to “submit” to
      other Christians? (Wuest’s Word Studies tells us this has
      a military meaning: as in lining up the troops for battle.
      The troops would submit to the organization.)

      1. How would mutual submission logically work? In a
        military you have individuals of different rank.
        Would those of higher rank have to submit to those of
        lower rank? How could generals submit to privates?
        Officers to enlisted men? (Mutual submission is like
        nothing I have ever heard of in connection with a
        military. Paul is giving us a new concept.)

      2. What would “reverence for Jesus” have to do with
        submitting to one another? (Since I am having trouble
        getting my mind around the idea of “mutual
        submission,” this must mean that our mutual Master
        causes us to have a special deference for one

      3. If Jesus is the basis for mutual submission, what
        would that suggest about the nature of the
        submission? (First, it would mean that we are only
        speaking of submission that is within the proper code
        of conduct for Christians. Second, it seems that
        absolute, mutual submission would never allow for any
        type of organization. Therefore, it must mean
        submission within the order of authority created by
        God. Paul continues to explain God’s order of
        authority, so let’s continue.)

  2. Husband and Wife

    1. Read Ephesians 5:22-24. What does it mean for a wife to
      “submit” to her husband? (It would at least have the same
      restrictions that we found in Ephesians 5:21 – that it
      would be within the proper conduct code for Christians.)

      1. Think again about Ephesians 5:21. Should a husband
        submit to his wife? Is his wife the only person to
        whom he should not submit?

      2. Since Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to one
        another, isn’t an instruction to wives to submit to
        their husbands redundant? (We concluded that the
        verses following Ephesians 5:21 were an explanation
        of the difficult idea of absolute mutual submission.
        Thus, Ephesians 5:22 must have some additional

      3. Paul tells us that the submission of wives to
        husbands is like the submission of the church to
        Jesus. In what way does the church submit to Jesus?
        (It submits to His loving direction and His example
        for life.)

      4. Is this instruction about wives submitting limited to
        the culture in which Paul lived? (Paul says nothing
        about the culture. All of his benchmarks, all of his
        references are to Jesus and His relationship to the
        church. This is a timeless point of reference.)

    2. Read Ephesians 5:25-27. In what way did Jesus give Himself
      up for the church? (Jesus entire life on earth was an
      example of self-denial. He had virtually no possessions.
      He even gave up His life for others.)

      1. Are husbands to love their wives in this same self-denying way? (Yes.)

      2. What is the goal of the obligation of the husband to
        deny himself for his wife? (To help her to be holy.)

        1. How would that work? (Read Romans 12:20-21. This
          is a theme of Christianity. By giving up our
          self for others, we win them to Jesus. A husband
          who gives up himself for his wife, wins her to

    3. Read Ephesians 5:28. This is one of my favorite texts in
      the entire Bible. If you want to have a good marriage, pay
      attention to this instruction: “He who loves his wife,
      loves himself.” Much of what Paul writes is complex. This
      instruction is not.

    4. Read Ephesians 5:29-30. Men, do you love your wife as much
      as you love yourself? Do you care for her as well as you
      care for yourself?

    5. After looking at these instructions to husbands and wives,
      can you imagine a situation in which a husband demands
      that his wife submit to him? (The instruction for wives to
      submit is there. But, husbands are instructed to give up
      themselves for their wives, to love their wife as much as
      they love themself. This attitude on the part of the
      husband is what causes a wife to willingly submit.
      Verbally beating your wife with the instruction to submit
      is hardly effective. Submission to the husband’s self-denial is like no submission the world understands.)

    6. Read Ephesians 5:31-33. What does it mean for a man to
      leave his father and mother?

      1. Should a married man live with his parents when he is
        first married?

      2. Should a married man spend more time talking to his
        parents than his wife?

      3. Should a married man take his disputes with his wife
        to his parents? Should a wife take disputes with her
        husband to her parents? Is this consistent with the
        directive that they become “united?” (When one spouse
        goes to his/her parents to get them to agree against
        the other spouse, then a resolution of the problem is
        almost impossible. The spouse with the support of the
        parents has no reason to compromise. The spouse who
        stands alone will become angry and frustrated. The
        best thing for those “united” in marriage is to work
        out problems between the two of them or with an
        unbiased professional. Biased family members make
        things worse.)

      4. Have you heard wives get together and say
        uncomplimentary things about their husbands? Is this
        consistent with the instruction to respect your

      5. Have you heard husbands say uncomplimentary things
        about their wives? Is this consistent with the
        instruction to love your wife?

  3. Parents and Children

    1. Read Ephesians 6:1-3. What logical link can you see
      between a long and pleasant life and honoring your
      parents? (If you were hiking a trail, you would take
      instruction from someone who had hiked the trail before.
      That is just common sense. Parents have been down the path
      of life. They might not have taken the best route, but
      they likely know the best route. Godly parents have the
      added benefit of having the insight of the Creator of
      Life. Following the instructions of godly parents improves
      the quality and length of life.)

    2. Read Ephesians 6:4. Paul contrasts frustrating your child
      with bringing him up in the training and instruction of
      the Lord. Explain how those are opposites? (Parents
      sometimes get confused between their rules and God’s
      rules. Deuteronomy 4:2 tells us not to add or subtract
      from God’s commands. Making up your own annoying rules (as
      the Jewish leaders did in Jesus’ time) or failing to
      impose God’s rules (as the Jewish leaders did before the
      Babylonian captivity) are both wrong. Erring on either
      side will frustrate your children.)

  4. Employers and Employees

    1. Read Ephesians 6:5-7. Is this advice applicable to
      employees? (Yes.)

      1. Should the nature of your employer change how you
        work? (No. You are to work as if you were working for

      2. When is God observing your work? (All the time.)

        1. How much of the time should you be a diligent

      3. What role should labor unions play in this
        relationship? (Would you strike against God? Would
        you bully Him and demand your rights?)

    2. Read Ephesians 6:8. Who, ultimately, pays us for our work?
      (God will give us the ultimate reward for our work.)

    3. Read Ephesians 6:9. What obligation do employers have
      towards their employees? What does Paul mean when he says
      “treat your slaves in the same way?” (I think he is
      referring back to employees working as if they were
      working for God. Employers should make godly decisions in
      the treatment of employees. They should not abuse

      1. Would this obligation extend to supervisors? Are they
        also required by God not to threaten those within
        their control?

      2. What should an employee do who has an unjust
        employer, but who understands that he should work for
        his employer as if he were working for God? (Unlike
        slaves, we can change employers. If we have a God-honoring employer, that makes our work that much

    4. Friend, do you regret relationship decisions you have made
      in the past? The way to avoid regrets, the way to improve
      your emotional intelligence is to follow God’s advice.
      Will you commit to do that today?

  5. Next week: The Christian Warfare.