June 16, 2020 – Tuesday
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 even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
If your Bible has chapter and section titles or headings, this section verses 22 to 33, has a heading in many Bibles such as Wives and Husbands (ESV), The Christian Household (NRSV), Instructions for Christian Households (NIV), Loving Relationships (TPT), and Orderly Relationships: Marriage (TLV). Remember always the titles or heading are not scriptural, placed there to help as if they are notes.
Of even greater interest to this writer is some include verse twenty-one in this section and some do not. Either way this verse is the introduction and key to the entire section and it reads Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. From the section heading and this verse one thing should be absolutely clear, the instructions that follow are for Christian homes and more specifically Christian marriages.
In the Christian marriage the writer of Ephesians first addresses both the husband and the wife when he writes Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (NIV). Then he provides instructions for the wife first and the husband second. Notice none of the instructions relieve the wife or the husband of their responsibilities if the spouse does not follow his or her directions correctly all the time.
I know of one marriage that ended in divorce when one member of the marriage said they did not have to follow their assigned directions because they felt their spouse was not following theirs. I have looked high and low and could find no such escape clause in the directions for both spouses. Instead verse twenty-one would seem to call them together out of reverence for Christ to find a way to submit to each other and follow the directions given as best as they could.
With that being said let us take a close look at verse twenty-two Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Seems pretty clear, the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord. But this follows the direction to Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. The wife is to submit to the husband who is to submit to the wife, both out of reverence for Christ and then the wife is submit to her husband as to the Lord. The apostle Paul writing to the Colossians in 3:18 provided some more clarity Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Putting the two together, a wife would never, in submission to her husband, do something unfitting in the Lord or improper as to the Lord.
This brings this writer to the conclusion the husband is meant to be the spiritual head of the family and lead the family spiritually. This is God’s design. It is not a design either the husband or the wife initially desires. Many men do not want the leadership position, but find themselves growing in it when the wife submits to her husband’s Godly leadership. In his leadership role he would know 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 as told in Galatians 3:28.
Nonetheless, there is a ranking in the Christian marriage. The Greek word translated submit or submit yourself is according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary is primarily a military term meaning to rank under. I have often compared the family to a ship and the captain is the husband and the wife is the first mate – the primary and most trusted advisor to the captain. While this is only an analogy, a family may have only one head, captain and the captain may have only one first mate.
I will close by stating the following, when wives do submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord and make it known to their husbands they have recognized the awesome responsibility their husbands have. Then as first mates, it is their job to help their captain to navigate the ship (marriage/family) as best as he can. In our culture today, it can be difficult for both members of the marriage to do this, but if they do so out of reverence for Christ the rewards are great.