Questions to Consider
1. Examine verses 1-2, putting yourself in the sandals of a first century house servant who is a Christian. Explain God’s instruction that you’re to obey in each of these verses. What are the reasons God gives for these instructions in each verse? (Hint: after “so that” (1), after “since” (2)).
We often talk about how Ephesians 5 explains that the wife portrays to the world how the church is to relate to Christ, and how the husband portrays how Christ relates to the church. Explain what the Christian servant, by obeying the instructions in verses 1-2, portrays to the world about how a Christian relates to her master, Christ. How can these principles apply to the Christian employee’s behavior and attitude toward her boss in today’s world?
2. Read verses 3-10 from a “helicopter view” (big picture, main ideas). What are the two main concepts this passage deals with in 3-5a and 5b-10? How does this passage connect false doctrine and greed?
3. Carefully read verse 3. In the church today, many will say that as long as someone agrees to the most fundamental doctrines of soteriology (the things you must believe at the most basic level in order to be saved), that person should not be labeled a false teacher (even if they persist in teaching other unbiblical things despite correction, ex: homosexuality is OK, women preachers are OK, etc.). Does verse 3 seem to agree with that idea? Explain the terms “sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and “teaching that accords with godliness.” Compare and contrast “different doctrine” with “different gospel” in Galatians 1:6-10. Are there different “levels” of unbiblical teaching?
4. How does 4a describe the false teacher? What is the fruit of teaching false doctrine? (4b-5) Compare this fruit to the fruit of false teachers described in Matthew 7:15-20. What kind of fruit does doctrinally sound teaching produce? Compare the fruit of false teaching with the fruit of doctrinally sound teaching. Matthew 7:20 says we will recognize false teachers by the fruit their ministry produces. You are the fruit of the pastors and teachers you sit under. If someone were examining your life, would she conclude that you sit under false teachers or doctrinally sound teachers?
5. Carefully examine verses 6-10. What do these verses teach us about contentment? How is godliness with contentment a great gain? How do greed and coveting rob us? How can we find our contentment and satisfaction in Christ?
6. Ephesians 4:21-32 explains the concept of “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new self. We “put off,” or stop doing, something that is sinful (ex: lying, 4:25a), and “put on,” or proactively seek ways to do, the opposite, biblical thing (ex: proactively tell the truth 4:25b). Examine verses 11-21 in light of the Ephesians passage. What does “these things” in verse 11 refer to (the two major concepts in question #2)?
Make a list of the ways verses 11-16 and 20-21 instruct us to “put off” false doctrine and “put on” sound doctrine. Notice the imperatives (flee, pursue, fight, etc.) Paul uses. How does this wording convey the idea that these instructions are commands that require intentional action on our part?
Make a list of the ways verses 17-19 instruct us to “put off” greed and coveting and “put on” giving, generosity, and contentment in Christ, again noting the imperatives.
How can corporately putting off greed and false teaching, and putting on contentment and sound doctrine benefit and protect the structure and spirit of the local church?
7. Two of our recurring motifs in the book of 1 Timothy are back, and kind of overlap in verses 13-16. Can you identify these two motifs (Hint: If your memory needs jogging, see lesson 6, question 7 and lesson 5, question 9) and explain their significance? How are they similar or different to the previous instances of these motifs?
As we’ve studied 1 Timothy, one of the themes we’ve seen is the hierarchical structure of authority in the church (and even in the world), where each of us fits in that hierarchy, and how we’re to submit to those in authority over us. Can you think of other biblical passages that deal with these themes? Why do you think God made authority one of the major themes of this book and of the Bible?
Suggested Memory Verse