What does wife's submission to her husband mean according to Eph. 5:21-33 and other related scriptural passages?
Should a wife submit to her husband at all times? What if he is unreasonable? What if he beats her? These are crucial questions that need to find their answers in God’s Word, which is the authority in our lives. We will refer to above-mentioned Bible text to find our answers.
v. 22-24 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
“Aha”, some men may say, “my wife has to obey me in everything I ask from her! The Bible tells me so.”
Is this correct?
If it were, it would contradict what the apostle Paul wrote in verse 21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” A mutual submission is encouraged from both husband and wife!
Submission (Greek hupotasso) refers here to respect (see verse 33, which uses the Greek phobeo “The wife must respect her husband.” NIV).
The term does not connote obedience. The term “obey” (Greek hupakouo) is used in Ephesians 6:1 and refers to children/parents relationship in sharp contrast with the term “submit” referring to wife/husband relationships. In fact the term “obey” never occurs in the Scriptures with respect to wives, though it does with respect to children and slaves. There is greater equality between wives and husbands than between children and parents, which our society seems to confuse sometimes.
In other words, the submission of wives towards their husbands does not place the husband in the place of Jesus Christ, but rather shows that a wife submits to her husband (meaning she respects her husband) as an act of submission to Jesus Christ.
The marriage relationship was designed to be a mirror of what the church relationship is supposed to be towards Jesus Christ.
Does Jesus order us to do unreasonable things? Never! Does Jesus abase us whenever He wants? Never! Does Jesus beat us up if He feels like it! Never!
In fact, husbands, if you want total submission from your wives because of this Jesus/church reference, you better be ready to die for your wife, as this is what Jesus did for the church! Jesus loved us so much that He carried our sins and died in our stead. So husbands you have to love your wives the same unselfish and self-denying way as Jesus loved His church!
Isn’t this what verse 21 is talking about? “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
This is confirmed in v. 25-33 of Ephesians 5 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” NIV
This is confirmed in Col 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” NIV
Husbands, have you abused or neglected your wife from time to time? Wives, have you disrespected your husbands from time to time? Have you both neglected to submit to one another? It is still not too late. Today is a new day. Don’t wait until tomorrow, as tomorrow never comes. You can make a difference, especially if you accept Jesus’ help with this. Don’t reject this precious relationship. It can be restored with the power of our Lord. Accept Him in your life right now by answering His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html and accept His help to make your marriage make a difference in this world. Don’t be another casualty. You can be victorious in this, if you make the right choice.
Illustration: A long time ago, a girl named Li-Li got married
and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a
very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along
with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very
different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her
mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li
Submission does not mean that the wife is inferior to her spouse. In God's eyes the man and woman are equal. (Gal. 3:28). It also does not mean that the wife is a slave to her husband.
It is an act of obedience to Christ. A submissive woman is showing love for Christ and for her husband. Christ said: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15), and one of His commandments to the wives is: "Wives, submit to your husbands..." (Eph. 5:22)
It is a lifestyle that the wife should fulfill in every place, at all times, and in every aspect. The only exception would be a situation in which her spouse asks her to do things that are against the will of God.
Submission is an act of respect towards one's husband and the Lord. It is following the law of the Lord. With all the women's lib and equality rubbish, too many have gotten away from the correct instruction the Lord has laid out for us.
By submitting to one's husband, it doesn't mean that you are lower than he, or that you can't think for yourself or that you are second rate. It's simply the way the Lord made it. He created woman FOR man, not the other way around. Woman is man's helper! The man is not to treat the woman as a slave by any means. He is to respect her and praise her as well.
But YES, whether it is liked or not in this day and age, woman is to yield to the instruction or decisions of her husband, UNLESS it is against the word of the Lord.
The question about the wives submitting to their husbands is a good one. Prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will bring forth revelation knowledge to us about this matter.
Ephesians 5:22-24 says: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For 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. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
I Peter 3:1-2 says: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Colossians 3:18 says: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
These scriptures mean that the wife is to be submissive to her own husband as unto the Lord. A wife cannot say that she is submitted to God if she is mean and disrespectful to her husband. The way a wife submits to her own husband is a strong indication of how she submits to God. If she treats her husband mean and disrespectful, chances are that she is treating God the same way.
Someone may ask: "Should I still submit to my husband if I am saved and he is not"? Again, this is a very good question.
I Corinthians 7:13-14 says: And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
I know that this scripture reference is talking about divorce. However, This scripture does say that the unbelieving (unsaved) husband is sanctified by the believing (saved) wife. The husband is watching the lifestyle of the wife who says that she is a Christian. It could be in everyday affairs such as: having a positive attitude, preparing dinner, getting the children off to school, etc. I am not saying that the husband should not be involved in the daily affairs of the house. However, if the unsaved husband sees his wife serving God and effectively managing her home, then he will be won over by her lifestyle.
Submitting to the husband does not mean that the wife is a slave. Neither does it give the husband the right or the power to dominate his wife. The truth of the matter is that the husband must submit himself to God. This is why the Bible teaches the husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Submitting to the husband means to follow his leadership as he follows the leadership of Christ. The opinions, thoughts and feeling of the wife are equally important as the husband's. The husband and wife should share, discuss and pray about everything, leaving the final decision to husband as he is led by the Holy Spirit.
Hopefully, this has shed some light on the subject of the wives submitting to her husband.
The other day me wife was bemoaning the fact that we have
never clearly divided up the house chores. We have been
married 9 years and she thinks I do not do enough. There's
more to the story, but in order to keep my marriage going I
will stick to the point.
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