Table of Duties
CERTAIN PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE FOR VARIOUS HOLY ORDERS AND POSITIONS, ADMONISHING THEM ABOUT THEIR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [Eph. 6:4]
Dr. Luther puts the admonition to parents ahead of the one for children. More than likely, this is because he has sees a logical order: Husband and wife come together and become parents. That is their God given duty, and the intended result of their marital one-flesh union. Be fruitful and multiply. Therefore, Luther dares to turn around the order of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6, where children are told to submit to their parents in the Lord first (6.1), then he admonishes parents.
“As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household,” Luther entitles each of the six chief parts of the Small Catechism. The head of the family is to be the father, who is to lead his family not by force and wielding power, but, as Christ leads the Church, through sacrificial service and giving to the family, providing for the family, patiently teaching the family. What he provides and teaches is not just anything, either: the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” – the very life-giving and life-sustaining Word of God.