Ephesians Pt 15 Submissive Wife

Ephesians 5:22-32(ESV)22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

Paul teaches how ‘submitting to one another’ applies at home and at work. All relationships—between husbands and wives, children and parents, masters and slaves—are to be transformed by Christ.

Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 620.

Wives are to submit to their husbands—honoring them and putting them first after God. This is something many Jewish, Greek and Roman wives are forced to do anyway. For many women, being a wife is no different from being a slave. But Paul is describing something far more wonderful. A Christian wife is not submitting to her husband because he owns her, or because she is afraid of him. She is submitting to her husband because he is the head of their relationship. The husband is the head of a marriage just as Christ is the head of the church.

Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 620.

As God pronounces judgment on Eve for her part of the transgression in Eden, He says, Genesis 3:16(ESV)16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

The most basic and straightforward understanding of this verse is that woman and man would now have ongoing conflict. In contrast to the ideal conditions in the Garden of Eden and the harmony between Adam and Eve, their relationship, from that point on, would include a power struggle. The NLT translation makes it more evident: Genesis 3:16(NLT)“You will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

God is saying that Eve would desire to rule over her husband, but her husband would instead rule over her. Replacing the mutually interdependent relationship the Lord had created was a desire for one spouse to lead the other. Sin had created discord. The battle of the sexes had begun. Both man and woman would now seek control in marriage. The man who was to lovingly care for and nurture his wife would now seek to rule her, and the wife would desire to seize control from her husband.

It is important to note that this judgment only states what will take place. God says that man and woman will live in conflict and their relationship will become problematic. The statement “he shall rule over you” is not a biblical command for men to dominate women. In the New Testament, God affirms His ideal relationship between man and woman in marriage. Christ-like qualities are emphasized. What the curse of sin created, believers in Christ are called to correct by living according to God’s Spirit.

It is interesting to note that the only part of God’s creation declared to be “not good” concerns Adam’s solitary state. God stated that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). A man is, by nature, a social creature; God created us to need companionship. And, of course, a man alone cannot propagate. Adam by himself was incomplete. This is why God created Eve as a “help meet”: to complete Adam, to provide society for him, and to enable him to produce children. Eve was exactly what Adam needed—a helper suitable for him.

So what exactly does it mean to be a suitable helper? The key is the word suitable. A suitable wife is compatible with her husband in many respects—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This doesn’t mean the man and woman are the same in everything, only that they fit together in harmony. They complement each other. The B-flat key on the piano is not the same as the G, but together they make a harmonious chord. Similarly, a suitable helper for a husband is a wife who is different from him, but well-suited to him, one who completes him in every way and who brings harmony, not discord, to the relationship.

Complementarianism is the teaching that masculinity and femininity are ordained by God and that men and women are created to complement, or complete, each other. Complementarians believe that the gender roles found in the Bible are purposeful and meaningful distinctions that, when applied in the home and church, promote the spiritual health of both men and women. Embracing the divinely ordained roles of men and woman furthers the ministry of God’s people and allows men and women to reach their God-given potential. The husband has the role of headship in the family. He is to nurture his wife and lead his family lovingly, humbly, and sacrificially. The wife has the role of nurturing her children and intentionally, willingly submitting to her husband’s leadership. When both husband and wife are complementing each other in this way, Christ is honored. In fact, the marriage itself becomes what it was designed to be: a living picture of Christ and the church (verse 32).

In the church, complementarianism follows 1 Timothy and Titus as the model. 1 Timothy 2:11(ESV)11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. and Titus 2:3–5(ESV)3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Biblically, the men in the church bear the responsibility to provide spiritual leadership and training. The women are to exercise their spiritual gifts in any way that Scripture allows—the only prohibition is 1 Timothy 2:12(ESV)12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. When men and women are fulfilling their God-given roles within a church, Christ is honored. In fact, the church itself becomes what it was designed to be: a living picture of Christ’s body.With everyone fulling their roles.

The opposing view is egalitarianism, which teaches that, in Christ, there are no gender distinctions anymore. This idea comes from Galatians 3:26-29(ESV)26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Because all believers are one in Christ, egalitarians say, men’s and women’s roles are interchangeable in church leadership and in the household. It is taught as the most spiritual is the “priest” of the home. Women can be church leaders and pastors. Egalitarianism sees gender distinctions as a result of the Fall and Christ’s redemption as removing those distinctions, bringing unity. Complementarianism sees gender distinctions as a result of Creation and Christ’s redemption as a return to those distinctions, avoiding confusion. Paul sides with the complementarians, citing the order of creation as the basis for his teaching: 1 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)“For Adam was formed first, then Eve”.

A difference in role does not equate to a difference in quality, importance, or value. Men and women are equally valued in God’s sight and in His plan. Complementarianism seeks to preserve the biblical differences between men’s and women’s roles while valuing the quality and importance of both genders. The result of true complementarianism is honor to Christ and harmony in the church and in the home.

Paul’s teaching is not that husbands should dominate their wives. He is saying that husbands are responsible for the well-being, security and happiness of their wives. Christ’s headship of his church is shown by being her Savior, not her tyrant.

And husbands are to love their wives. They are to love their wives, not because they are attractive or useful. They are to love their wives, because they are to be to them like Christ. A husband is to love, care for and serve his wife. Just as Christ brings his church to purity, perfection and glory—so a husband is to give himself so that his wife may know that she is accepted, liberated and fulfilled.

Being practical, Paul says that if a husband loves his wife as much as he loves himself he will do well. After all, this is the great commandment: to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And who is a closer neighbor than a wife? A husband and wife are ‘one flesh’ or ‘one self’—so a husband, in caring for his wife, is caring for himself.

Paul is showing how all relationships are mended and integrated in Christ. Jews and Gentiles have become ‘one new humanity’ Ephesians 2:15(ESV)15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Husbands and wives are ‘one flesh’ (5:31). And both these transformed relationships give a glimpse of the unity between Christ and his people.

Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 620.

Paul is saying here that husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church. And so he’s saying that a husband and wife, in loving union, communion, and covenant are kind of like the relationship that Jesus has with the church; that as Jesus leads the church lovingly, and humbly, and sacrificially, so men are to lovingly, humbly, sacrificially lead their families. And as wives respect their husbands, they are showing something of the respect that the church has, or at least should have, for the Lord Jesus Christ, as the head of the church.

To counter the world’s misinformation concerning a wife’s submission to her husband, we should carefully note the following in Ephesians 5:22–24(ESV)22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. A wife is to submit to one man (her husband), not to every man. The rule to submit does not extend to a woman’s place in society at large. 2) A wife is to willingly submit to her husband in personal obedience to the Lord Jesus. She submits to her husband because she loves Jesus. 3) The example of a wife’s submission is that of the church to Christ. 4) There is nothing said of the wife’s abilities, talents, or worth; the fact that she submits to her own husband does not imply that she is inferior or less worthy in any way. Also notice that there are no qualifiers to the command to submit, except “in everything.” So, the husband does not have to pass an aptitude test or an intelligence test before his wife submits. It may be a fact that she is better qualified than he to lead in many ways, but she chooses to follow the Lord’s instruction by submitting to her husband’s leadership. In so doing, a godly wife can even win her unbelieving husband to the Lord “without words” simply by her holy behavior. 1 Peter 3:1-2(ESV)Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Women are called to be submissive to their husbands
Colossians 3:18-19(HCSB)18 Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.

Men we are called to Love our wives and women you are called to obey and respect your husbands there is no variable in this. There is no what if I don’t like him?, what if he is a jerk? Nope, no variables respect your husband.

Even before sin entered the world, there was still the principle of the headship of the husband. 1 Timothy 2:13(ESV)13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. Adam was created first, and Eve was created to be a “helper” for Adam. Genesis 2:18–20(ESV)18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man[a] to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. God has established several types of authority in the world: governments to enforce justice in society and provide protection; pastors to lead and feed the sheep of God; husbands to love and nurture their wives; and fathers to admonish their children. In each case, submission is required: citizen to government, flock to shepherd, wife to husband, child to father.

The Greek word translated “submit,” hupotasso, is the continuing form of the verb. This means that submitting to God, the government, a pastor, or a husband is not a one-time act. It is a continual attitude, which becomes a pattern of behavior.

First, of course, we are responsible to submit to God, which is the only way we can truly obey Him and each Christian should live in humble, ready submission to others (Ephesians 5:21). In regards to submission within the family unit, 1 Corinthians 11:2–3(ESV)2 I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. 3 But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God., says that the husband is to submit to Christ (as Christ did to God the Father) and the wife is to submit to her husband.

Submit is not a bad word. Submission is not a reflection of inferiority or lesser worth. Christ constantly submitted Himself to the will of the Father without giving up an iota of His worth.
Luke 22:42(ESV)42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
John 5:30(ESV)30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.

There is much misunderstanding in our world today about the roles of husband and wife within a marriage. Even when the biblical roles are properly understood, many choose to reject them in favor of a supposed “liberation” of women, with the result that the family unit is torn apart. It’s no surprise that the world rejects God’s design, but God’s people should be joyfully celebrating that design.

Submission should be a natural response to loving leadership. When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25-33(ESV), 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. then submission is a natural response from a wife to her husband. But, regardless of the husband’s love or lack thereof, the wife is commanded to submit “as to the Lord” (verse 22). This means that her obedience to God—her acceptance of His plan—will result in her submission to her husband. The “as to the Lord” comparison also reminds the wife that there is a higher authority to whom she is responsible. Thus, she is under no obligation to disobey civil law or God’s law in the name of “submission” to her husband. She submits in things that are right and lawful and God-honoring. Of course, she does not “submit” to abuse—that is not right or lawful or God-honoring. To try to use the principle of “submission” to justify abuse is to twist Scripture and promote evil.

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