Love and respect

Wives, show respect to your husbands as you would to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the Saviour of his body, the church, and as the church shows respect to Christ, so wives should show respect to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave up his life for her, to make her pure and clean, washed by the power of God’s word, in order to gain for himself a glorious church, without wrinkle, spot or blemish, but rather pure and without any fault.

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. For the Scriptures say, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one.” This is a profound mystery that clearly refers to Christ and his church. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honour your father and mother” is the first commandment with a promise, which is: “so that it may go well for you, and that you may enjoy a long life upon earth.”

Fathers, don’t provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Servants, obey your earthly masters with honour and respect. Serve them with sincerity just as you would do Christ. Try to please them at all times, not just when they’re watching you. As servants of Christ, do the will of God from your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one for the good that he does, whether he’s a slave or a free man.

And masters, treat your servants in the same way. Don’t threaten them, because you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favourites.

One final word: be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armour so that you can stand up to all the strategies of the devil. We are not fighting against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the mighty powers in this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you can resist the enemy in the day of evil. Then, after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, therefore, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in position. For shoes, be prepared by wearing the peace that brings the good news. In addition, take hold of the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Put on the helmet of salvation, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and with every kind of prayer. Stay alert and keep on praying for all believers everywhere.

And please pray for me, too, that whenever I speak I might be given the right words to clearly explain the mystery of the good news, for which I am now an ambassador in chains. Please pray that I will declare the message fearlessly, as I should.

To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you full details about what I’m doing and how I’m getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.

Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul

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