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The apostle Paul had a clear theology around the family, as presented by Ephesians 5:21–6:9 and similar Household Codes in his epistles, demonstrating his understanding of how families function as an outflow of the Gospel and how they play into the formation of local churches. His letters unfold vital teachings about how relationships in the family are to function, and that these functions are integral to the health of local churches and their mission to spread the Gospel. However, these teachings are only evident when read within their proper context, a task that the modern Western Church generally has failed to do for some time.

This thesis will examine Ephesians 5:21–6:4 to discover if Paul’s instructions are isolated commands to the Ephesians, or if he intended to extend his teachings to all Christian families, and if so, how this teaching functions as part of his overall mission. The passage will be exegeted in light of its Greco-Roman background and by examining the rhetorical structure of the Greek text. This thesis then will use the Ephesians Household Code as a hermeneutical lens for reading Paul’s instructions to Timothy concerning local church leadership in the Ephesian area (1 Tim 3:1–16) in order to see how families shape Pauline churches. Before addressing this subject matter, or why the study is significant, it is best to define “Household Codes.”