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Wives and Husbands May 24, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , , ,

Here are my thoughts on Ephesians 5:22-33.

Summary: Paul begins by exhorting wives to obey their husbands – as part of their obedience to Christ. Wives should obey their husbands – as the husband leads the wife, which is analogous to Christ leading His church; indeed, He is her savior. Nevertheless, just as the church is obedient to Christ, wives should obey their husbands in all things – according to God’s will.

Paul then exhorts husbands to love their wives – as Christ loved His church enough to die for her in order to sanctify her, having already removed her guilt via the rite of baptism, which is the sign of His promise of the forgiveness of her sins. Moreover, the ultimate objective of Christ in this regard is to display His church as His glorious bride – without any faults, but fully sanctified. Similarly, husbands should love their wives because their wives are their bodies; a man and his wife are one. This is based on the fact that a man will always nourish and cherish his own body – just as Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, which is His body. He illustrates the oneness between Christ and the church by quoting from Genesis 2:24, which states that a man and his wife are one. Indeed, the oneness between Christ and the church is beyond human understanding. Paul concludes by exhorting the Ephesians – although they cannot fully understand the oneness between Christ and the church – to apply what they do understand of that relationship to their marriages and:

  • love their wives as being themselves (in the case of the husbands)
  • acknowledge the superiority of their husbands (in the case of the wives).

Thoughts: In verse 23, we see that husbands are meant to lead their wives just as Christ leads His church. Hodge offers some interesting thoughts on this point:

The ground of the obligation, therefore, as it exists in nature, is the eminency of the husband – his superiority in those attributes which enable and entitle him to command. He is larger, stronger, bolder – he has more of those mental and moral qualities which are required in a leader. This is just as plain from history as that iron is heavier than water…The superiority of the man, however, is not only consistent with the mutual dependence of the sexes and their essential equality of nature and in the kingdom of God, but also with the inferiority of men to women in other qualities than those which entitle to authority.

I assume that men and women can agree on the point that “He is larger, stronger, bolder.” One can see this reality playing out in the loss of another women’s soccer league and the financial troubles of the WNBA. Clearly athleticism and viewer ratings have some positive correlation. As for Hodge’s note regarding “the inferiority of men to women in other qualities than those which entitle to authority,” he did not go on to list these qualities, though; providing such a list would have given his readers a better sense of his views on the equality of the sexes. On a related note, I am curious as to whether any women have written commentaries on Ephesians; if so, how did they interpret this passage?

In verse 26, we see that Christ has removed the guilt of the members of His church via the ceremony of baptism. Hodge offers some insights on this point:

Whatever he may have experienced or enjoyed before, this is the public conveyance to him of the benefits of the covenant and his inauguration into the number of the redeemed. If he is sincere in his part of the service, baptism really applies to him the blessings of which it is the symbol.

This caused me to ponder the significance of the baptism ceremony, as several high schoolers at our church were recently baptized. Now I have always believed that the day that one “prays the sinner’s prayer” is, in some sense, more important than the day that they publicly confirm it via baptism. Yet it is apparent from Hodge’s quote that the baptism ceremony itself conveys some important blessings. Perhaps God is always pleased when His people publicly glorify Him – by declaring Him to be their Lord and Savior in this case – and thus He rewards them for that declaration. Also, public baptism is based on Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, where God the Father publicly declared His approval of His Son and visibly empowered Him with His Spirit. Perhaps God approves of His sons who are being baptized, and He gives them more grace to fulfill His will in their lives. So, in some sense, public baptism is a more momentous occasion than I had realized.



1. Rules for Christian Households « Ringing In - October 21, 2012

[…] The analogous passage in Ephesians is Ephesians 5:22-6:9, which I’ve blogged about. Now this passage is relatively brief, yet it does delve into the nature of the […]

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