18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
Three things may be said about the wife’s submission to her husband. First, the context indicates that the wife’s attitude is prompted by and warranted by the husband’s unselfish love.
Second, the form of the verb (middle voice) shows that the submission is to be voluntary. That is to say, the wife’s submission is not something forced upon her by a demanding husband; it is the deference that a loving wife, consciouis that home (just as any other institution) must have a head, gladly shows to a worthy husband.
Third, such submission is said to be “fitting in the Lord”. The verb has in it the thought of what is becoming and proper. The phrase “in the Lord,” to be construed with “is fitting,” indicates taht wifely submission is proper not only in the natural order (as pagans would teach) but also in the Christian order. — Colossians and Philemon, by Curtis Vaughan, page105.
love (v.19) = agape — seeking her best interest in all circumstances
bitter (v.19) — anger, severity
children (v.20) — Ephesians 6:1-3 — in contrast with Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2
obey (v.20) — tense indicates ongoing, habitual action
unto the Lord (v.20) — should be “in the Lord”
Verse 21 is stating that parents should not make obedience a difficulty — not be fault-finding or nagging.
discouraged (v.21) = lost heart, become sullen, moody
servants (v.22) = slaves — In the real sense, as those who are property, without rights. But in that culture, they were considered family members
masters according to the flesh (v.22) — in contrast with the Lord, who is Master in all spiritual matters
eyeservice (v.22) — when the master’s eye is on you, but with an improper attitude
sincerity (v.22) = singleness, lit. “without foldings” — not having double motives
fearing God (v.22) = should be “fearing the Lord” — Christ
All these verses are in the context of a Christian home where obedience and submission would not involve sinning.