Let’s get started in this study by acknowledging that families are important to God. He created the first human family! He loves the family. The Bible is filled with stories about families.
As we read Ephesians 5, let’s remember a few things. First of all, this was a circular letter. Look back at Ephesians 1:1 and find the phrase “in Ephesus.” We have some ancient manuscripts that do not include that phrase. This leads most scholars to conclude that the letter was intended to be read in numerous churches in the area. Ephesus was the most prominent church and Paul had deep connections at this church. Consequently, the letter was addressed to the church in Ephesus, but Paul may have intended for it to be read in various other churches.
Second – Paul is addressing a situation in the first century. Namely – people in the first century knew how to live as Jewish families, Greek families and Roman families. The question was – how do they live as Christian families? Husbands and wives had real questions for Paul and the other Apostles. How was their newfound faith in Christ supposed to affect their family relationships? What was the role of a Christian husband? A Christian wife? Christian parents?
Third – the conversation Paul has with the Ephesian church concerning family relationships is placed in the context of a broader, spiritual conversation. Paul is using the family as one example of how a Spirit-filled person could live as a family member.