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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Ephesians 6



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Verse 4


‘Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’

Ephesians 6:4

In the struggles which take place over what is to be the character of the training our children receive in the school, we are apt to overlook the character of the training they ought to receive in the home. Remember that if the definite religious training in the home be wanting, nothing—absolutely nothing—can really take its place. It is our duty to guard our schools, and—please God—we will never surrender our right in our own Church schools to teach our own children the Church’s own faith; but it is no less our duty to preserve the religious influence of the home.

The Apostle lays down the root principle for Christian parents: they are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This may be carried out in different ways. Let us name three—

I. Parental example.—First and foremost, it is the parent’s own example which tells in the religious education of the young. The father who would bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord must see to it that he is himself walking in the ways of the Lord.

II. Parental teaching.—It is the father’s place to teach his children religion. Nothing is clearer in the Old Testament than the strength and weight of this obligation. But how does it stand with us to-day? Do fathers gather their children round them on Sundays, if on no other day, and instruct them in the ways of the Lord? Do they encourage their children to open out the thoughts of their hearts to them on religious questions? We fear that religion does not hold the place in the home that it once did, and, too often, it is the father who is at fault. In addition to gathering the children together for family worship, the father should take care that he gathers them together for definite religious teaching.

III. Parental discipline.—It is the father’s duty to reprove and chasten. The case of Eli should remind us of the terrible responsibility a man incurs who, knowing of the wrong-doing of his children, reproves them not.

Verse 13


‘Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’

Ephesians 6:13

Let me give you two watchwords

I. Put your armour onall of it! It is not enough to know that God provides the armour—we must use it. We dare not go forth one single hour without it. There is a story of a Spartan soldier who went into battle without his armour and who was fined by the senate though he had been victorious. There are people who hope to go out and fight Satan and his angels who have not ‘proved’ their armour. Take, for example, the Sword—God’s Word. They cannot wield it; they use it clumsily; of course they do, they are not accustomed to handle it. They have Bibles, but they seldom or never look into them. Yet it is madness to dream of fighting without a sword. Imagine a soldier going into action who had not learned how to draw his sword from the scabbard.

II. Pray that you may have grace to stand firm!—‘Having done all, to stand!’ Standing firm is the beginning and end of every successful contest. It is the beginning. In the old Greek training-grounds, the first words of the trainer used to be ‘Stand firm!’ It is the attitude of readiness, of watchfulness, of resolution. A sloucher cannot fight. And it is the end. It is comparatively easy to drive back an enemy in the first rush; but the crucial test comes when soldiers are required to stand firm, and to hold their ground against an ever-returning, ever-increasing foe.

Rev. J. B. C. Murphy.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ephesians 6:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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