LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, April 27, 2007


Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord"

Paul writes, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Remembering what we said about Christian submission, we apply it to this statement. Christian submission is voluntarily choosing to give up one’s will and rights for the benefit of another. In this case, Paul is telling the Christian wife that her submission is voluntary. Submission is something she offers willingly to her husband. Obviously, submission is not something that can be demanded or required so a husband does not have the right to demand or require his wife to submit to him!

Second, submission to her husband is an act of worship and submission to God on the part of the Christian wife. Paul says, “Submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Often this has been misinterpreted to mean that the wife is to submit to her husband just like she would submit to the Lord! Paul does not mean that. He means that when a woman desires to submit herself to the Lord then she will offer her submission to her husband. It is an act of worship and reverence for God.

Third, the Christian wife’s submission is conditional. What do we mean by that? Do we mean that she just picks and chooses the situations in which she wants to offer her submission? No. It means that a Christian woman does not offer unthinking submission to her husband. If the husband were to ask the wife to do something that went against the word of God she would not do it. She cannot disobey God and blame it on her husband. The Christian woman first submits to God and then submits to her husband. Her submission is conditional because she must offer her first submission to God.

Fourth, the Christian wife’s submission is exclusive. In other words, the only man she offers her submission to is her husband. In some churches the leadership tries to put the women beneath all the men by using this verse. This verse cannot be interpreted to mean that all Christian women are to submit to all Christian men. Paul’s clear intent is to address Christian marriage, not gender roles in the church.


Blogger Shiloh Guy said...


Referring to your question a week ago today on this site...

I happen to agree with you about Paul. I believe he was married at one time. He may have been widowed. His wife may have refused to follow Christ. Maybe both. We can't be certain.

It was certainly the norm in Paul's culture for people to marry. Singleness was extremely rare unlike in our culture. It would have been extraordinary for Saul (Paul) to have been single, though not impossible.

The fact that he was a fast-rising young star in the Jerusalem religio-political skies would also indicate that he was completely accepted by the Sanhedrin as a "good old boy" as it were.

I won't fight over this any more than I'll fight over eschatology but that's what I think.


April 27, 2007 9:25 AM

Blogger Bluecollar said...

"Second, submission to her husband is an act of worship and submission to God on the part of the Christian wife."

Excellent! An act of worship, a way of worshipping in spirit and truth.

April 27, 2007 11:14 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

I really like the way you explained this verse. I am in full agreement that some place a much to overbearing view of wife submission to husbands. Last summer, at another site, I contended that, absent any valid reason, a wife should not submit to her husbands demand that she not attend a Bible study at her church. I said she should obey God and attend after thoroughly explaining her thinking. I was a minority of one in the debate which included some Pastors that I respected and still do. Your view here would seem to give my thinking support.

I do believe Paul is stating the principle a bit stronger than just a voluntary act. I believe you are right that it is the wife's responsibility to submit on her own. However, I believe he is calling them to do it in those legal and conditional circumstances. That may be your meaning as well. That being said, your view here is the best I have ever heard. It is faithful to the text and makes perfect sense.


April 27, 2007 4:11 PM

Blogger Gayla said...

Is Bible study attendance a command from God?

April 27, 2007 5:24 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

That was a point in the debate I had last summer. I see Bible study as helpful in the command to be sanctified, to not give up meeting together, to prepare for the command of the great commission.

I think if I understand Dave's view correctly, there is certainly Biblical justification for a wife to attend a Bible study when her husband disapproves IF there is no valid reason (child care, missing work, necessary duties) for him to tell her not to do it.

This is my view even though I firmly believe in male headship of the family unit. I guess the rubber does meet the road when we start applying Scripture..... I was alone in a group of one last summer, and I may be here. But, I just thought we may want to unpackage this principle a bit.

April 27, 2007 5:54 PM

Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

We find no verb in 5:22. It is supplied by our translators.

It seems obvious that "submit" is carried over from verse 21.

Literally, it reads, "Women, to their own husbands as to the Lord"

In fact, there is NO IMPERATIVE anywhere in verses 22-24!

Wayne, yes, I think Paul does expect Christian wives to offer their submission to their husbands but he does NOT put it into a command form! Of course he expects them to do this because he also expects them to be filled with the Holy Spirit which will cause them to WANT to honor and support their God-given partners! I wanted to emphasize that wives OFFER their submission to their husbands and husbands have no grounds for DEMANDING it!

You want imperatives? I've got your imperatives right here! They start in verse 25 when Paul begins to tell HUSBANDS what THEY are supposed to do!

How in the world did we ever get this so balled up? We have husbands all over the place making all sorts of demands on their wives and pastors commanding women to submit to their husbands and this text won't support that kind of stuff!

RE: the infamous Bible Study (and Wayne's outstanding gift of bringing up the toughies) As I said somewhere else, pastorally, I have to take every one of these situations individually and I am very careful to encourage a woman to wait until she hears God's personal direction before she either offers her submission to an unsaved husband or decides to go to church anyway.

I have a real problem with some of the more authoritarian denominations where the elders get into everyone's personal lives and start telling them how they are supposed to live. I don't see that as my responsibility as a shepherd.

A shepherd can't control where a sheep goes. He goes and finds the lost ones, he heals the injured ones, he disciplines the wandering ones, but he doesn't control their decisions! I'll be there for my folks after they have made their decisions (in these grey areas) and live with them and love them through the ramifications.

So, yes, there is biblical support for a woman who feels led to go to her Bible study and there is biblical support for the one who decides to stay at home. Both must do what they do for the glory of God and as an act of worship.

At least that's what I think...


April 27, 2007 7:01 PM


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