Ephesians 4-6: Characteristics of a Disciple

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 136–137


If a person believed and lived the doctrines Paul described in Ephesians 1–3, what difference would it make in his or her life? Would that person look or act differently from other people? Read Ephesians 4–6, look for how Paul described a true disciple of Christ. (Be sure to read the Joseph Smith Translation of Ephesians 4:26.)

Understanding the Scriptures

Ephesians 4

Ascended (vv. 8–10)Went up 
Descended (vv. 9–10)Went down 
Edifying (vv. 12, 29)Building up 
The stature of the fulness of Christ (v. 13)The level of glory that Jesus Christ enjoys 
Sleight (v. 14)Lying, deception 
Vanity (v. 17)Emptiness, weakness, without truth 
Alienated (v. 18)Cut off, made a stranger 
Lasciviousness (v. 19)Unbridled lust 
Former conversation (v. 22)Earlier behavior 
Malice (v. 31)Evil thoughts and actions 

Ephesians 4:8—“He Led Captivity Captive, and Gave Gifts unto Men”

Death holds all men captive. Jesus Christ “led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8), meaning He conquered death and gave all men the gift of immortality.

Ephesians 4:15–16—“Grow Up into Him in All Things”

In Ephesians 4:15–16, as in 1 Corinthians 12:12–18, Paul taught that the Church is like a physical body with Jesus Christ as the head. When every member does his or her part, the whole Church can grow together in love.

Ephesians 5

Sweetsmelling savour (v. 2)Sweet scent or fragrance, meaning a sacrifice that pleased God 
Covetousness (v. 3)Greed, envy 
Jesting (v. 4)Obscene, disgusting 
Whoremonger (v. 5)Man guilty of sexual sin 
Reprove, reproved (vv. 11, 13)Speak out against, chastise 
Made manifest (v. 13)Made to appear, shown 
Circumspectly (v. 15)Wisely, exactly 
Redeeming the time (v. 16)Making good use of your time 
Submitting, submit (vv. 21–22)Yielding to, cooperating with 
Reverence (v. 33)Respect, honor 

Ephesians 5:22–33—Paul’s Advice to Husbands and Wives

Some people today object to Paul’s admonition that the husband be the head of the home. Such objections come from a misunderstanding of the divinely assigned roles of husband and wife. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles have declared:

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. …

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. … By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

Ephesians 6

Wrath (v. 4)Anger 
Nurture and admonition (v. 4)Teaching and training 
Eyeservice (v. 6)Only obedient when someone is watching 
Respect of persons (v. 9)Favoritism, discrimination 
Supplication (v. 18)Pleading prayer 

Ephesians 6:14—“Having Your Loins Girt About with Truth”

The “loins” refers to the area of the hips and waist. To be “girt” means to be clothed or wrapped. To have your “loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14) is to be clothed, wrapped, covered, and protected by truth, chastity, and virtue.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Ephesians 4–6.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Ephesians 4:11–14

  1. 1.

    Does it matter how the Church is organized? Copy the following diagram into your notebook and fill in the missing parts as you study Ephesians 4:11–14.

  1. 2.

    In your own words explain why the Church must be organized as the Lord directed.

Activity B iconWhat Is a Disciple of Christ?

Search Ephesians 4:21–5:4. List all of the characteristics you can find in those verses that describe a follower of Jesus Christ. (For example: “put off … the old man” of sin [v. 22] and “be renewed in the spirit” [v. 23].) Ponder which of those characteristics you might need to work on.

Activity C iconWhat Is the Lord’s Plan for Husbands, Wives, and Children?

Review Ephesians 5:22–6:4.

  1. 1.

    If you are a young man, write a paragraph describing what your duty will be as a husband and father. If you are a young woman, write a paragraph describing what your duty will be as a wife and mother. (Use the information in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section to help you.)

  2. 2.

    Write another paragraph describing your duty as a child to your parents. Explain what you think it means to “obey your parents in the Lord.”

Activity D icon“The Whole Armour of God”

  1. 1.

    Draw the accompanying illustration of a soldier in your notebook. Then, as you study Ephesians 6:11–17, add to your drawing the pieces of armor and weapons that are described in these verses but are missing from the picture. Be sure to label the armor.

  2. 2.

    List each piece of armor and explain what it represents and why it is important. (See the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Ephesians 6:14 for an example of what it means to have “your loins girt about with truth.”)