Children obey your parents in the Lord

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Exo 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deu 5:16 Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Eph 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

I was reading these passages this morning, and I just thought it was interesting that Paul used the phrase in the Lord, but the phrase isn't used in the OT passages. Any thoughts why Paul used the phrase and/or why it wasn't used when the 10 commandments were given? Does the phrase refer to the parents who are in the Lord, the children, or both?

Thinking through the OT passages...

The 10 commandments were given to God's covenant people, the nation of Israel. In a sense, it was also given to all mankind (to bring them to Christ). Since in some ways it was given to those not yet in the covenant, would it have made sense to have added the phrase in the OT passage:

Exo 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother in the Lord: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deu 5:16 Honor thy father and thy mother in the Lord, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Cmon Bob,
Tell us whats on your mind.........:D

Alright, the kids are driving me crazy, they don't listen to a word I tell them - I tell them to turn the TV down, they turn it up, I tell them to come here, they walk away, I tell them its time to go to bed, they sit there and laugh at me. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY [email protected]!!

...I feel much better now. Thanks for the outlet.
 

bob

Puritan Board Freshman
There are generally two explanations that commentators use to define the phrase "in the Lord."

The first definition, and by far the one most commonly adopted, take the phrase to refer to a limitation of obedience, meaning that this obedience must not be in opposition to any command of God. Thus children are to be obedient in all matters lawful and indifferent.

The second definitions considers the phrase to be a sort of an abbreviated form of " in the fear of the Lord", in which Paul would be designing to use an argument as to why children should obey, namely in that it is the command of God and is as such a right thing to do.

While I would not argue against the principle of either view, I think grammatically the first definition seems the most plausible.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by bob
There are generally two explanations that commentators use to define the phrase "in the Lord."

The first definition, and by far the one most commonly adopted, take the phrase to refer to a limitation of obedience, meaning that this obedience must not be in opposition to any command of God. Thus children are to be obedient in all matters lawful and indifferent.
This is the definition I've always heard. "Obey your parents, unless they tell you to do something contrary to God's word"

That would seem, though, to put quite a burden on children to be able to discern when its ok to disobey their parents. Sometimes its obvious, but sometimes its not so obvious.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Jos 22:18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.
Jos 22:19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD'S tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God.
Jos 22:20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.
Jos 22:21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,
Jos 22:22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day,)
Jos 22:23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD himself require it;
Jos 22:24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the LORD God of Israel?
Jos 22:25 For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD.

What part did Israels children have 'in the Lord' that Gad did not?

How does one reconcile this passage contrasting it to the passage about our children?

1Co 11:11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;

or

Phi 4:2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.

How could our children, if not by covenant do anything in the Lord if they are not in the Lord?

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by Scott Bushey]
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I have heard that "in the Lord" is the same as obeying for HIS sake (i.e. not necessarily because you want to, or because it is the action they are commanding is the best thing to do).
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
From William Gouge\'s \"Of Domestical Duties\"

Ephesians 6:1. Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

The first word [children] is in the original as proper a word as could be used, for according to the notation of it, it signifieth such as are begotten and born. Answerable is the other word [parents] which signifieth such as beget and bring forth children. Yet are they not so strictly to be taken as if none but such as begat and brought forth, or such as are begotten and brought forth of them were meant: for under the title parents, he includeth all such as are in the place of natural parents, as grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers in law and mothers in law, foster-fathers and foster-mothers, guardians, tutors, and such like governours: and under the title children he compriseth grandchildren, sons and daughters in law, wards, pupils, and such like. For there is an honour and subjection due by all who are in place of children, to all such as are in place of parents, though in a different kind, as we shall after shew (see Treatise 5, Sections 56 and 57). This word children which in the original is of the neuter gender, doth further include both sexes, males and females, sons and daughters: so as either of them are as carefully to apply the duties here set forth to themselves as if in particular both kinds had been expressed.

He expresseth parents in the plural number, to shew that he meaneth here also both sexes father and mother, as the Law expresseth both: and addeth this relative particle your, as by way of restraint, to shew that every child is not bound to every parent, so by way of extent to shew that whatsoever the estate of parents be, honourable or mean, rich or poor, learned or unearned, &c. their own children must not be ashamed of them, but yield all bounden duty to them: if they be parents to children, they must be honoured by children.

The word [obey] under which all duties of children are comprised, according to the Greek notation, signifieth with an humble submission to hearken, that is, to attend and give heed to the commandments, reproofs, directions, and exhortations which are given to them, and that with such a reverend respect of the parties who deliver them, as they make themselves conformable thereto.

A duty proper to inferiours, and implieth both reverence and obedience: the verb noteth out obedience; the preposition, reverence.

Under this word [obey] the Apostle comprehendeth all those duties which throughout the Scripture are required of children: as is manifest by his own exemplification thereof in the second verse by the word honour which the Law useth: so as this word [obey] is to be taken in as large an extent as that word [honour].

Quest. Why is obedience put for all the rest?

Answ. 1. Because it is the hardest of all the rest, and that which children are loathest to perform: they who willingly yield to this, will stick at no duty.

2. Because it is the surest evidence of that honour which a child oweth to his parent: and so of performing the fifth commandment.

3. Because children are bound to their parents: the duties which they perform are not of courtesy, but necessity. Their parents have power to command, and exact them.

The clause added [in the Lord] is in effect the same which was used before [as unto the Lord] and it noteth forth a limitation, direction, and instigation: a limitation shewing that children's obedience to their parents is to be restrained to the obedience which they owe to Christ, and may not go beyond the limits thereof: a direction shewing that in obeying their parents, they must have an eye to Christ, and so obey them as Christ may approve thereof: an instigation shewing that parents bear the image of Christ, and in that respect children must the rather obey their parents.

The last clause of this verse [for this is right] is an express reason to enforce the forenamed point of obedience: and it is drawn from equity: and sheweth that it is a point agreeable to all law: yea that in way of recompence it is due: and if children be not obedient to parents they do that which is most unjust, they defraud their parents of their right.

The former phrase [in the Lord] implying one reason, this plainly noteth out another, as the first particle [for] declareth.
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've heard Scott's idea before (or something similar) . . .

It's interesting to look at how Paul uses "in the Lord" elsewhere in Ephesians - for example 2:21, where he's talking about the unity of the church in the Lord.

On comparing it to the OT command . . . in Exodus, right before the 10 commandments, God reminds the people of who He is and what He has done for them (v. 1&2). Which in a way, is what Paul is doing, especially when you think about the first three chapters of Ephesians, and how he goes into great detail of all that God has done and the benefits of being in Christ.

So I don't think that the OT and the NT commands are all that different - both seem to be God coming to His people, reminding them of what He has done and that they are His people and then telling them to live out of that.

I'm not so sure how that fits with a Baptist perspective though (still thinking there!) . . . :candle:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Scott, your question...
The portion of Joshua 22 you quote is insufficient. The accusation was that the tribes over the Jordan were being unfaithful, for which the other tribes were ready to make war on them. But this fear was assuaged, and the armies went home. The accusation of departure from the Lord meant that, if it were true, then they surely weren't "in the Lord."



1 Thes. 5:12 "And we urge you brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you."

These laborers are over the believers "in the Lord", that is, according to the church's connection to Jesus Christ and according to his rule over the church. "In the Lord" expresses both union and communion with Christ, and acquiescence to his sole government. Both superiors and inferiors are all gathered together in one ordered relation with Jesus Christ the Lord.

Children in the church are obligated to obey their parents, not merely in the natural moral sense, but according to a sacred obligation intimately connected to this divine relationship that envelops and dictates to all lesser relations.

And you can easily see, how this overruling dictate then governs how those parents, no less than leaders in the church, can command unlawful things of their subordinates. Such command is a violation of being "in the Lord", it is overruled by the necessity of obeying the Lord.

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
How could our children, if not by covenant do anything in the Lord if they are not in the Lord?
Good question. They couldn't.

I wonder, in the Greek, which would be closer to being correct:

1. Children obey your parents who are in the Lord...
2. Children obey your parents because you are in the Lord...

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by blhowes]
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
The clause added [in the Lord] is in effect the same which was used before [as unto the Lord] and it noteth forth a limitation, direction, and instigation: a limitation shewing that children's obedience to their parents is to be restrained to the obedience which they owe to Christ, and may not go beyond the limits thereof: a direction shewing that in obeying their parents, they must have an eye to Christ, and so obey them as Christ may approve thereof: an instigation shewing that parents bear the image of Christ, and in that respect children must the rather obey their parents.
Thanks, Jeff. Interesting
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
1 Thes. 5:12 "And we urge you brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you."

These laborers are over the believers "in the Lord", that is, according to the church's connection to Jesus Christ and according to his rule over the church. "In the Lord" expresses both union and communion with Christ, and acquiescence to his sole government. Both superiors and inferiors are all gathered together in one ordered relation with Jesus Christ the Lord.

Children in the church are obligated to obey their parents, not merely in the natural moral sense, but according to a sacred obligation intimately connected to this divine relationship that envelops and dictates to all lesser relations.

And you can easily see, how this overruling dictate then governs how those parents, no less than leaders in the church, can command unlawful things of their subordinates. Such command is a violation of being "in the Lord", it is overruled by the necessity of obeying the Lord.
Its pretty clear why you're a teaching elder in your church. Excellent post, much food for thought. Thanks.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Puddleglum
On comparing it to the OT command . . . in Exodus, right before the 10 commandments, God reminds the people of who He is and what He has done for them (v. 1&2). Which in a way, is what Paul is doing, especially when you think about the first three chapters of Ephesians, and how he goes into great detail of all that God has done and the benefits of being in Christ.

So I don't think that the OT and the NT commands are all that different - both seem to be God coming to His people, reminding them of what He has done and that they are His people and then telling them to live out of that.
Tonight, our family read through Ephesians 1, and I was reminded of the very thing you mentioned. I'll have to go back, maybe tomorrow, and reread Ephesians with all these insights that everybody's sharing.
Originally posted by Puddleglum
I'm not so sure how that fits with a Baptist perspective though (still thinking there!) . . . :candle:
What'll I do if I can't get it to fit into a Baptist perspective? If it doesn't fit, get a bigger hammer?
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by blhowes
Originally posted by Puddleglum
I'm not so sure how that fits with a Baptist perspective though (still thinking there!) . . . :candle:
What'll I do if I can't get it to fit into a Baptist perspective? If it doesn't fit, get a bigger hammer?

I don't know . . . let me know if you come up with a nice, easy answer - I'd like to find one!
 
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