7/01/18 Ephesians 5:22-33 “The example set is of Christ and His body, the Church”


Much of this passage is concerned more with the comparisons that assist in defining the relationships between people. The marriage relationship between husband and wife is used as an example of the relationship between Christ and the Church. This is the emphasis of this passage, rather than set of rules on how to run a marriage. And, when being subject is discussed, it must not be inconsistent with the major theme of Ephesians, that of the unity of all those who are the body of Christ, the Church. Christ is one with His Church; husbands are one with their wives.


Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.


submithypotasso (to be arranged under; subject one’s self; obey; yield to admonition or advice. A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader".) It was more to do with your position in the troop (that is, the part you played) than whether or not you were in charge or not. It means to be put into a certain place.

unto your own –one’s own; belonging to one’s self. Not someone else’s husband! This passage today emphasises this “own”-ness of husband and wife, not one belonging to another!


This passage is one which many militant feminists say is wrong with the traditional church. They cannot see that everyone must be subject to everyone else within the church, anyway – see Ephesians 5:21. And they also cannot see that in order to have unity there must of needs be those who lead and those who follow. For if all led, there would be anarchy, while if all followed, there would be chaos. Every good organisation (even those who claim to be feminist!) have lines of authority that require some to be subject to others. And women are not necessarily better than the men they claim to be “chauvinist pigs” in that their idea of a properly run organisation is usually to have women bossing the men around. Nothing really changes! That is, while it’s unacceptable to have people you despise in charge, it’s OK to have acceptable people in charge, especially if they allow you to run things your way! Most minority groups consider their own people as the most able to run an organisation. To be sure, most organisations have incompetent people in authority somewhere (both male and female), according to the saying that a person is promoted to the level of his or her incompetence!


So, we’ll leave that matter of subjection there as it is written here in Ephesians: that the proper place of wives in marriage authority is not necessarily lesser but with different responsibilities!

Wives are to submit to their own husbands as to the Lord (as it is fitting in the Lord). That is, because it is the right thing to do.

Colossians 3:18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.


Ephesians 5:23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

(or “: He being the Saviour of the body – that is, of the Church”)


1 Corinthians 11:3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

Because the lines of authority (without which there would be chaos) are that Christ is the head of the church, and that the same pattern applies to husband and wife. The Church is the bride of Christ and the wife is the bride of the husband. Ultimately someone must make the final decision or else no-one ever decides anything!

Another point to note is that 1 Corinthians 11:3 gives us a pattern of this authority, seen in the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. If the head of Christ (the Son) is God (the Father), then we’re talking about lines of authority, not superiority of one over the other. So, according to this pattern, man has authority over the woman, yet is not superior to the woman.


I don’t entirely agree with everything Barnes says here, but his points are worth considering: In everything, except that which relates to "conscience and religion," he (the husband) has authority. But there his authority ceases. He has no right to require her to commit an act of dishonesty, to connive at wrong-doing, to visit a place of amusement which her conscience tells her is wrong, nor has he a right to interfere with the proper discharge of her religious duties. He has no right to forbid her to go to church at the proper and usual time, or to make a profession of religion when she pleases. He has no right to forbid her endeavoring to exercise a religious influence over her children, or to endeavor to lead them to God. She is bound to obey God, rather than any man (Acts 5:29); and when even a husband interferes in such cases, and attempts to control her, he steps beyond his proper bounds, and invades the prerogative of God, and his authority ceases to be binding.


1 Timothy 2:13For Adam was first formed, then Eve. Also note Genesis 2:18.


Ephesians 5:24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.


Therefore, in the same way that the church is subject unto Christ (clearly this means in all things – Colossians 3:23), so likewise should the wives be subject to their husbands in all things. Note though that this assumes that the husband is completely scriptural in all things (as Christ would be for the Church), for if the husband were to require that the wife run over the next person to cross the road, then she would be quite correct in refusing to obey! The assumption is that the husband is acting toward the wife in the marriage relationship, as would Christ toward the Church. This assumes that perfect subjection is based upon perfect authority!


their own husbands – this line of authority lies within the marriage, not outside it!


Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;


gave - paradidomi (to give into the hands [or power or usage] of another; to deliver up to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death; to deliver up treacherously; by betrayal cause to be taken)


loveagapao (Used 7 times in today’s passage, contrasting with the other forms of “love” in the New Testament. The most used form of “love” in the New Testament.)

agape – the love of God for man. Eg John 3:16

phileo – to treat affectionately or kindly, to be fond of.  Eg. John 21:17

storgos – a natural affection, something you feel good about. Used with phileo in Romans 12:10 (philostorgos) to mean the mutual love of parents and children and wives and husbands. (Used as astorgos in Romans 1:31 to mean “unloving”)

eros – erotic love, passionate love, for self-satisfaction. Not used in the New Testament.


There is also a strong implication of the sacrificial love of Christ for His Church being applied by the husband for his wife. It’s hard to imagine some of those minority group leaders (feminist or otherwise) being sacrificially loving toward the members of their particular minority group!


Ephesians 5:26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,


sanctifyhagiazo (dedicate, set apart for God; make holy; consecrate; sanctify; a sense of ceremonial or Levitical purification)

washing – bathing; bath; the act of bathing.

word rhema (that which is uttered by the voice; thing spoken; word) Not logos, thus not referring specifically to the word of God (usually represented by logos). Note John 17:17 where “word” is “logos” – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.


“That He (Christ) might sanctify it (make it holy), and cleanse it with the washing (bathing) of water by (means of) the uttered word.”


Some say that this refers to the baptismal font, but the meaning, according to the context, is clearly a spiritual washing or cleansing, and cannot be used to justify the washing away of sins via a physical baptism (or christening).

Titus 3:5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;


That Christ might achieve this by giving Himself sacrificially for the body (the Church) – see previous verse. If the parallel between Christ & the Church, and husband & wife is to be followed here, then husbands are to love their wives in the same way, that they might present their wives to God glorious, not having spot nor wrinkle, holy and without blemish (see following verse) for so should men love their wives (see Vs 28). The comparison between Christ & Church and husband & wife must be applied to the end of this passage, with the assumption that what Christ does perfectly, the husband will in all probability do imperfectly.


Ephesians 5:27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.


gloriousendoxos (held in good esteem; of high repute; honourable; glorious; splendid; figuratively: free from sins)

without blemish – see its use in the following:

Hebrews 9:14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Ephesians 1:4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Jude 24Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,


“That He (Christ) might present it to Himself (make it ready for Himself) as a glorious church (a church arrayed in glory) not having spot (fault; moral blemish) or wrinkle (implying the breakdown of age) or any other such thing (any other imperfection of mortality that might oppose the glory of the Church in any way) but that it should be holy (separated for service to God; set apart for God) and without blemish (as a sacrifice without blemish; faultless; unblameable).”


Ephesians 5:28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.


ought - to owe; to owe money; be in debt; metaphorically: the goodwill due.

In many ways this is the same as doing to others (in particular, your wife) as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6:31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

from Leviticus 19:18Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the Lord.


Christ loves the Church as His own body (the body of Christ, the Church!); thus, we should follow His example. He that loves his (“own”) wife loves himself (his “own” self); He (Christ) that loves His body, the Church, loves Himself.

There is emphasis on “his own wife” and “his own self”. (“their own”, “his” and “himself” are basically the same Greek word.)


Ephesians 5:29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh (body); but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:


hatedmiseo (hate; pursue with hatred; detested) cf “hate” as a comparative term.

Note Romans 9:13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Compare Luke 14:26If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

with Matthew 10:37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

where “hate not” is the equivalent of “loveth more”.

In Ephesians 5:29 above, miseo clearly means hate or detest, yet may still include allowance for being a comparative term. The sense may be to show at least as much love and care for the wife as he would show to himself.


nourish – nourish or bring to maturity; nurture; bring up from childhood.

cherish – to keep warm; cherish with tender (warm) love, with tender care.

Note the comparison once again between the husband & wife, and Christ & His body, the Church, where the latter example (Christ) should be followed by the former (the husband).


Ephesians 5:30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.


Genesis 2:23And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.


members – limbs; parts of the body

2 Corinthians 12:27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

If we are members of Christ’s body, the Church, then we should walk (conduct our lives) accordingly. Paul warned the Corinthians that they, as members of Christ’s body, should not then pervert themselves to become the members of a harlot.

1 Corinthians 6:15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.


“For we (the saints) are members of Christ’s body (the Church) and spiritually of His flesh and His bones.”


This then leads into the next verse where Genesis 2:24 is quoted almost word for word.


Ephesians 5:31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.


Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


leave – leave behind (including dying and leaving behind those who yet live); depart from; forsake; abandon; leave in the lurch.

joined – to glue upon; glue to; join one’s self to closely; cleave to; stick to.

two shall be one – literally “two shall be into only one”


This clearly defines the relationship between the members of the church and Christ as a spiritual marriage, the Bride and the Bridegroom, the spiritual form of the more physically oriented marriage between Adam and Eve, and so on. Thus, the members of the body of Christ, the Church, join themselves to Christ, and the two shall be made into only one spiritually, something that all Christians should strive for.

John 17:21-2321 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


To be one spiritually is one of the major themes of Ephesians, using so many of the syn (together) words that we’ve come across to demonstrate “many into one”.

Note Ephesians 4:3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


Which then leads into the following passage emphasising that unity:

Ephesians 4:4-64 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.


Ephesians 5:32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.


greatmegas Thus, a mega-mystery! This on its own might make the calvinists happy; it appears to say that we shouldn’t know everything. However, Paul has already shown that such mysteries can be known. Eg Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-4.


Such a mystery may only be made known to those initiated into the group, that is, the members of the body. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be known, nor understood, but that only those who need to know will know. (Maybe calvinists don’t need to know?) Ellicott says that mysterion (= mystery) was translated “sacramentum” (= oath) in the Vulgate which is why we call it the marriage sacrament today.

but – the emphasis has effectively been changed from the human marriage of man and wife to a focus upon the spiritual marriage between Christ as the Bridegroom, and the Church as the Bride of Christ. In other words, Paul is saying that the mystery can best be understood from the point of view of Christ and the Church.


“This is a great mystery (This mystery is a great one) but I am speaking concerning (with reference to) Christ and the Church.”


Ephesians 5:33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.


Nevertheless – Moreover; nevertheless; although. While the main emphasis in this passage is on Christ and the Church, here we look at the practical application of the spiritual example set by Christ to the Church.

in particular so – according to this manner or example

reverencephobeo (put to flight by terrifying, to scare away; put to flight; flee; to fear; be afraid; struck with fear; seized with alarm; struck with amazement; to reverence; venerate; treat with deference or reverential obedience) Appears to have the sense of extreme emotion, either fear, amazement or reverence. A holy respect?

This verse is the conclusion (or summary?) of today’s passage.


“Nevertheless, let every one of you (spoken to the husbands here) according to this manner or example (that is, the example set by Christ toward the Church) love his (own) wife even as (like; the same as) he loves himself; and that the wife see that she reverence (have a holy respect for) her husband.”


We are still heading toward that classic passage on taking up the whole armour of God in order to fight the spiritual battle that should be upon all those who desire to be godly Christians (2 Timothy 3:12). It is important for Christians to know that they are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). However, this must assume that such a Christian is walking reasonably according to God’s will, and hasn’t given place to the devil in his life (Ephesians 4:27), for to give place to the devil would be to put aside the above promises for godly Christians.


Today’s passage emphasises the necessity of the husband being like Christ in the home, and the wife being like the Church in the home. Our daily walk will determine whether we are going to have the resources in order to effectively oppose the enemy, or instead to give place to the enemy’s planning in our lives, which could lead to our destruction.

Ephesians 5:15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise

where “circumspectly” means dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. There are no short cuts to a victorious Christian life, and never will be any. It is hard going, tough going, and, as the saying goes, When the going gets tough, the tough (here the godly Christians) get going.

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