Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother
"I [have] thought a lot about the word honor. In every scripture I checked concerning the commandment to honor fathers and mothers, honor was used as a verb-a word expressing an act. One scripture I found especially meaningful was in Ephesians: (quotes Eph. 6:1-3.) The issue at hand was not my father's honor; it was how I honored my father. I was left with the nagging feeling that although I had certainly done my share of judging, I had done little honoring, little loving.
"The prophets have said that our greatest tests often take place within our own homes. How we behave toward one another as children, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and roommates under the stress of everyday life is the real indicator of our Christianity. And although the gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses the highest ideals and standards, we must never forget its underlying principle-love. And that is what honoring implies-loving. Not judging, not resenting, but loving in its highest form." (Kelly Clark Hinton, "I Just Don't Have That Kind of Dad," Ensign, June 1988, 52)
Ephesians 6:4 provoke not your children to wrath
How many ways can you provoke your children to wrath? You can tease them incessantly. You can punish them harshly. You can belittle them condescendingly. Whatever our stresses or frustrations, we can't afford to take them out on the children. Nurture and admonish are much softer words than punish and provoke, reminding us that "a soft answer turneth away wrath" even with our own children (Prov. 15:1).
"As parents we must guard against the tendency to actually provoke in our children the very behaviors that disturb us. (See Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 13:5; Col. 3:21.) Our reactions to our children, when we are not motivated by love for them, will nearly always trigger annoying behaviors and attitudes." ("Coping with Disturbing Behavior," Ensign, Aug. 1986, 34)
Ephesians 6:4 but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
L. Tom Perry
"At the time I was a new parent, President David O. McKay presided over the Church. His counsel was clear and direct regarding our responsibilities to our children. He taught us the most precious gift a man and woman can receive is a child of God, and that the raising of a child is basically, fundamentally, and most exclusively a spiritual process.
"He directed us to basic principles we need to teach our children. The first and most important inner quality you can instill in a child is faith in God. The first and most important action a child can learn is obedience. And the most powerful tool you have with which to teach a child is love. (See Instructor, Vol. 84, Dec. 1949, p. 620.)" ("Train Up a Child," Ensign, May 1983, 78)
Ephesians 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient...And, ye masters do the same things unto them
Bruce R. McConkie
"These servants were slaves. The social structure which kept them in bondage was outside the power of the Ephesian Saints to change or overthrow. Paul thus has no alternative but to recognize their state and counsel them how to live under it. Slavery as such is in fact abhorrent to gospel standards. 'It is not right,' the Lord says, 'that any man should be in bondage one to another.' (D. & C. 101:79.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2:522)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Paul speaks of 'unholy masters' and surely has reference to those who would defraud servants or employees and would not properly compensate for labors done or goods furnished. He likely has in mind men who are unkind, demanding and inconsiderate of their subordinates.
'And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.' (Eph. 6:9.)
"In short, the employer should treat his employees according to the golden rule, remembering that there is a Master in heaven who judges both employer and employee. Paul likewise enjoined a lofty standard upon employees:
'Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ,
... With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men...' (Eph. 6:5-6.)
"We may take this to mean, in modern terms, that the servant and employee should consistently give honest service, full and complete, and do for his employer what he would want an employee to do for him if he himself were the employer. Any other course calls for repentance." (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 51)
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God
N. Eldon Tanner
"The great unrest in the world today and the wars and rumors of wars are affecting us greatly; but as Paul says, our greatest and most deadly struggle will be 'not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, [and] against spiritual wickedness in high places.'...
"Do we fight against the evils around us-pornography, abortion, tobacco, alcohol, drugs? Do we have the courage to stand up for our convictions? Can we truly say we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ? Do we live peaceably with our neighbors and avoid gossip and backbiting and spreading unfounded rumors? Do we truly love our neighbors as ourselves?
"If we can answer yes to these questions, then we will have on the whole armor of God, which will protect us from harm and preserve us from our enemies. If we must answer no to these questions, then our armor is weak, there is an unshielded place which can be found, a vulnerable area for attack, and we will be subject to injury or destruction by Satan, who will search until he finds our weaknesses, if we have them.
"Examine your armor. Is there an unguarded or unprotected place? Determine now to add whatever part is missing. No matter how antiquated or lacking in parts your armor may be, always remember that it is within your power to make the necessary adjustments to complete your armor.
"Through the great principle of repentance you can turn your life about and begin now clothing yourself with the armor of God through study, prayer, and a determination to serve God and keep his commandments." ("Put on the Whole Armour of God," Ensign, May 1979, 44-46)
Carlos E. Asay
"There is, however, another piece of armor worthy of our consideration. It is the special underclothing known as the temple garment, or garment of the holy priesthood, worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have received their temple endowment. This garment, worn day and night, serves three important purposes: it is a reminder of the sacred covenants made with the Lord in His holy house, a protective covering for the body, and a symbol of the modesty of dress and living that should characterize the lives of all the humble followers of Christ.
"It is written that 'the white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty, respect for the attributes of God, and, to the degree it is honored, a token of what Paul regarded as taking upon one the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13; cf. D&C 27:15)'" ("The Temple Garment: 'An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment,' " Ensign, Aug. 1997, 20)
Ephesians 6:11 that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
"The men and women who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom will find that they must battle with the enemy of all righteousness every day [quotes Eph. 6:14-18.]. Thus let every saint protect and guard his little castle against every effort of the enemy to assail and secure a foothold therein. Let us see to it that we are ready for the enemy to baffle him at every point, contending bravely against him until he is successfully repulsed. (JD, December 11, 1864, 11:14.)" (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 291 - 292.)
Richard C. Edgley
"The Apostle Paul warned, 'We wrestle not against flesh and blood [which is not the real test of manhood], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness' (Eph. 6:12). Real courage includes standing against the evil one, even when we stand alone, often feeling the disdain and the ridicule of others. This is courage. This is strength. This is manhood, and it can be tough.
"I know a young man who was thrilled to be selected for an all-star basketball team to play in a tournament in another state. The first evening at the hotel, the other roommates decided to watch pornographic movies. This boy left the room and walked the city by himself well into the night until the movies were over. I am sure it was embarrassing, lonely, and challenging. But that is courage; that is manhood in its truest sense. And I say, 'Behold a man!'-an 18-year-old boy turned man. I know hundreds of young men who have withstood ridicule and embarrassment to turn down drugs, alcohol, and sex in order to turn to serve one another, provide a righteous example, or defend the principles of righteousness. All young men must face the wiles of Satan. It is impossible to escape this fight. But it is always possible to come out victorious. Yes, a true man is strong enough to withstand the wiles of Satan." ("Behold the Man," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 42-43)
Ephesians 6:12 we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but...against spiritual wickedness in high places
Harold B. Lee
"Note carefully that the Apostle Paul's declaration implies that our most deadly contest in life is not with human enemies which may come with guns, with army tanks, or bombing planes to destroy us, but that our eternal struggle is with enemies which strike out of darkness and may not be perceived by human senses." (Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 330.)
Hugh B. Brown
"Even more than in Paul's day you will wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness in this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. The enemy is well organized, numerous and militant and has fiendish and cunning leadership; of this you should BE AWARE and of this you must BEWARE." (The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965], 47.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"The tide of evil flows. It has become a veritable flood. Most of us, living somewhat sheltered lives, have little idea of the vast dimensions of it. Billions of dollars are involved for those who pour out pornography, for those who peddle lasciviousness, for those who deal in bestiality, in perversion, in sex and violence. God give us the strength, the wisdom, the faith, the courage as citizens to stand in opposition to these and to let our voices be heard in defense of those virtues which, when practiced in the past, made men and nations strong, and which, when neglected, brought them to decay." (Be Thou an Example [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 58.)
Ephesians 6:13 having done all, [that ye may be able] to stand
Joseph F. Smith
"There are people who are courageous in doing all they can to bring about certain results. They will combat evils and resist the wrongs that are inflicted upon them and upon others; but when they have been defeated, when they see a just cause suffer, and evilly disposed men triumphant, they give up. What is the use? That is the question uppermost in their minds...They have the courage of men who are brave at heart, but they have not the courage of faith.
"How different it was with Paul! He had labored fearlessly, he had delivered a divine message, he had resisted the enemy, and they apparently triumphed over him. He was taken prisoner and subjected to humiliating treatment by the administrators of the law. He was in bonds, and death awaited him, but he was still courageous. His was the courage of faith. Read these stirring words of his sent to the Ephesians, recorded in Ephesians 6:13, sent when most men would have thought their cause lost: 'Wherefore 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.'
"After we have done all we could do for the cause of truth, and withstood the evil that men have brought upon us, and we have been overwhelmed by their wrongs, it is still our duty to stand. We cannot give up; we must not lie down. Great causes are not won in a single generation. To stand firm in the face of overwhelming opposition, when you have done all you can, is the courage of faith. The courage of faith is the courage of progress. Men who possess that divine quality go on; they are not permitted to stand still if they would. They are not simply the creatures of their own power and wisdom; they are instrumentalities of a higher law and a divine purpose." (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 119.)
Ephesians 6:14 having your loins girt about with truth
Harold B. Lee
"Truth is to be the substance of which the girdle about your loins is to be formed, if your virtue and vital strength are to be safeguarded. You should all strive to keep yourselves worthy to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity." ("Message from the First Presidency," Ensign, Jan. 1971, 2)
Ephesians 6:14 having on the breastplate of righteousness
A breastplate protects the most vital organs. Similarly, righteousness protects us from Satan's fatal blows. Hereby, our hearts are protected from the heartbreak of sin, and our lungs are shielded from Lucifer's poison arrows. His goal is to puncture one or both of our lungs, leaving us spiritually spent and dangerously out of breath. So we are to 'put on righteousness as a breastplate' (Isa 59:17) that we might survive even when Satan has us in his crosshairs.
David B. Haight
"If you and your loved ones keep and live the commandments of God, following the counsel of his living prophet to strengthen your homes, this protecting armor of God that Paul referred to will fit comfortably; the shield of righteousness will be sufficient to withstand the evil darts; and your loved ones will find great joy and salvation." ("Power of Evil," Ensign, July 1973, 56)
Ephesians 6:15 feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
One of the first things we do in the morning is put on our shoes. Before retiring to bed, they come off, but for the rest of the day they are with us wherever we go. Similarly, we have the opportunity to share the gospel of peace with whomever we meet throughout the day. Peter taught that this takes some preparation so that we are 'ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you' (1 Pet. 3:15).
Indeed, proclaiming the gospel is the footwork of the kingdom, and the missionaries are the foot soldiers. We can anticipate that 'feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace' will continue to walk every dusty road, visit every clime, and sweep every country, "till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (History of The Church, 4: 540.)
Ephesians 6:16 taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked
L. Tom Perry
"We were dressed in our home each morning, not only with hats and raincoats and boots to protect us from physical storm, but even more carefully our parents dressed us each day in the armor of God. As we would kneel in family prayer and listen to our father, a bearer of the priesthood, pour out his soul to the Lord for the protection of his family against the fiery darts of the wicked, one more layer was added to our shield of faith. While our shield was being made strong, theirs was always available, for they were available and we knew it.
"What a protection it was to travel through the journey of life knowing that a shield of faith is being carefully constructed for you by loving parents from our first moments on earth.
"Let me just give you a small example of how that shield would work. One day I was made an attractive offer by a group of marines, buddies of mine, as we were about to go on liberty. It wasn't until after we were on our way that I discovered this was not the best of company to be in. It was then that I found out the reason they had invited me. It was because they knew of my [page 99] standards. They knew that I would be sober when it was time to return to the base, and I could guide them back.
"We found ourselves in Los Angeles on a streetcar headed toward a dance hall. They had already started to drink a little, and I was ready to part their company. It was here that that protective shield took over and I knew of the prayers of my parents for my welfare. The streetcar stopped and allowed new passengers to come aboard. The new passengers separated me from my buddies and pushed me to the back of the car. It was there that I discovered a nice group of young people standing and seated. Immediately upon finding me in their company, one spoke up and said, 'Hi, Marine! We're Mormons. What do you know about our Church?'
"I answered, 'Plenty,' and got off the streetcar with them and went to a ward social.
"You see, the shield of faith was there. It was protecting me from the fiery darts of the wicked in order that in a proper time in my life I would be worthy to take an angel into the temple of the Lord and there at its altar be sealed together for time and all eternity.
"I know by personal experience the value of having noble parents to build around their children a protective shield of faith of our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ. I give you my witness that it works. Should not every child of God be given that opportunity in their lives-to start each day having their fathers blessing their home and giving them that protective shield of faith as they depart from the home to go about their every activity." ("Build Your Shield of Faith," Ensign, May 1974, 98-99)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Real disciples absorb the fiery darts of the adversary by holding aloft the quenching shield of faith with one hand, while holding to the iron rod with the other (see Eph. 6:16; 1 Ne. 15:24; D&C 27:17). There should be no mistaking; it will take both hands!" ("Overcome ... Even As I Also Overcame," Ensign, May 1987, 70)
Ephesians 6:17 take the helmet of salvation
Harold B. Lee
"We will put 'the helmet of salvation' upon our head. Our head or intellect is the controlling member of the body. It must be well protected against the enemy, for 'as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.' Salvation means the attainment of the eternal light to live in the presence of God the Father and the Son as a reward for a good life in mortality. With the goal of salvation ever in our mind's eye, as the ultimate to be achieved, our thinking and our decisions, which determine action, will always challenge all that would jeopardize that glorious future state." ("Message from the First Presidency," Ensign, Jan. 1971, 2)
Ephesians 6:17 the sword of the Spirit...is the word of God
The word of God is a sword, a spiritual sword, which is sharper than any man-made weapon, 'For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of body and spirit, and of the joints and marrow' (JST Heb 4:12). Historically, it has been the main weapon of the prophets. Nephi fought with this sword continually, 'I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center' (1 Ne. 16:2). Enos declared that his people were so stiffnecked that 'there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things-stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction.' (Enos 1:23)
Mormon was no stranger to war. His life was fought with both the physical sword and the spiritual sword. Of the latter, he declared: 'And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just-yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of he people than the sword, or anything else which had happened unto them-therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God' (Alma 31:5). He continued to use this great weapon until his people became so wicked that it no longer had any effect, 'when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them' (Moroni 9:4).
Harold B. Lee
"...the sword was the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. I can't think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures, in which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy that is more to be feared than the enemies that strike in the darkness of the night, that we can't see with our eyes. (BYU Speeches of the Year, November 9, 1954.)
Ephesians 6:20 I am an ambassador in bonds
"...in Ephesians [Paul] asks supporting prayers to help him speak boldly, for he is a gospel 'ambassador in bonds' (Eph. 6:19-20). Paul must have been in Rome (circa 61 AD)... He was under close guard and chained at least part of the time, for the Greek word for 'chain' is used in the above passage. Yet Paul regards his circumstances as a great opportunity to teach; he is providentially 'the prisoner of the Lord' (Eph. 4:1; also 13:1)." (Richard L. Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 260 - 261.)