The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:22-23 ~ The Submissive Wife Pt. 2 ~ The Headship of the Husband as that Like Christ Over the Church

Vol. 16 No 26 – June 18, 2017

eph 5 vs 22-23 for the WordVs. 22

Eph 5:22, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”

The proper motivation for the wife’s submissiveness is, “as to the Lord,” HOS HO KURIOS, the Dative of Direct Object, indicating the one, Jesus Christ, for whom the act of submission is performed. This reiterates vs. 21’s motivating factor, “in the fear of Christ.” Therefore, the motivation for the wife’s submissiveness to her own husband is not based on who and what her husband is, but is based on who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is. She is to subject herself to her own husband out of awe and respect for Jesus Christ, as also noted in Col 3:18. This is the definition of AGAPE love.

Col 3:18, “Wives, be subject, (Present, Middle, Imperative), to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

Every woman is to submit to her right man, once she finds him, just as she would the Lord. And just like any other form of submission, it takes capacity to be able to submit which is developed and built through the intake and application of Bible doctrine. This gives the woman capacity to submit to her right man, to appreciate her right man, and to fulfill her right man. This can only be obeyed by the Filling of the Spirit and a positive attitude toward Bible doctrine.

This is a very important point and accompanying principle. For the woman to build capacity to submit to her husband, she must go to Bible class and learn consistently. But sometimes men get jealous of their wives going to Bible class, and do not want them to or let them go. This is detrimental to the husband, as she will not learn capacity to submit to his authority otherwise. So, when a husband does not let his wife go to church, he is only hurting himself. Better a little absence, than to have a perpetual contentious wife.

As she is able to respond in loving the Lord, Category #1 Love, she builds greater capacity to love her husband, Category #2 Love. Category #1 and Category #2 Love are inseparable in the Christian life. As goes Category #1 Love, so goes Category #2.

In addition, “As to the Lord,” does not mean that a wife is to submit to her husband in the same way she submits to the Lord, but rather that her submission to her husband is her service rendered, “to the Lord.” The reason for this submission is that the husband is the head of the wife, 1 Cor 11:3, and this is compared to Christ’s headship over the church, cf. Eph 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18.

1 Cor 11:3, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

As the Church is in submission to Christ, so also a wife should be to her husband. It would be foolish to think of the Church being head over Christ. Yet, submission does not mean inferiority. It means that she recognizes that her husband is the head of the home and responds to him accordingly without usurping his authority to herself.

Unfortunately, there are some women who make a mistake in marriage, or even make a right marriage, and have no concept of submission. They get in the saddle as soon as the marriage takes place, and then from then on, they run their husbands completely and totally. There is nothing worse than a female dictator, nothing worse than a woman who controls a man by nagging, by making life uncomfortable for him. So, the man who ought to be a lord in her life, really finds himself to be the servant.

There are two reasons given for the command to wives to submit to their own husbands:

1) The Lordship of Christ, Eph 5:22.

2) The headship of the husband in Christ, Eph 5:23.

When the Christian wife submits herself to Christ and lets Him be the Lord of her life, she will have no difficulty submitting to her husband.

Jer 31:22, “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth— A woman will encompass a man.”

1 Cor 11:7, “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”

As the super-grace believer is glory to God who provides for him, so the woman is the glory for her right man who provides for her. Submission takes capacity to be able to submit, which is developed and built through the intake and application of Bible doctrine.

Submission has nothing to do with the order of authority, but rather governs the operation of authority, how it is given and how it is received. Being part of the body of Christ, men and woman are equal members of Christ’s body in God’s eyes, Gal; 3:28. They have equal privilege and equal opportunity to fulfil God’s plan for their lives. Yet, there remain physical, positional, and functional differences, as each has been given different functions and responsibilities, with differences in regard to authority. Therefore, within the Church, where we are all members of the body of Christ, yet have differing spiritual gifts, ministries, and impact, we are to support one another in humility to achieve God’s Plan for our generation, including wives, children, and workers, who are to support the husband, parents, and bosses, respectfully, through submissive obedience.

If we accept certain functions under the authority of a fellow human, we must then subject ourselves to that individual to accomplish the desired goal. So, it is with a wife placing herself in the proper and Divinely-fitted position under her husband. The functions are equally important, although different in scope and responsibility. They are different, not because we want them to be, but because God made them to be so.

In the Christian family, the wife has a supportive role, something like soldiers under the leadership of an officer. Yet, to be successful, they need each other. Therefore, the wife should voluntarily submit to the leadership role of her husband as head of the family. He is responsible for the spiritual and physical welfare of the family. He should not force his wife to submit to him, nor should she take a passive approach in submitting. For the woman who actively, voluntarily submits to the leadership role of her husband, she will be the main recipient of blessings derived from her action.

Jesus tried to teach His disciples to actively, voluntarily submit to one another, and not abuse their authority or seek to become great at somebody else’s expense. Unfortunately, they failed to learn this lesson at first and even at the Last Supper, they were arguing over who was the greatest, Luke 22:24-27. When Jesus washed their feet, John 13, He taught them that the greatest is the one who uses his authority to serve others in subjection in order to build them up. In the same way, wives should use their authority over their own souls, to build up their husbands in subjection to the husband’s God given authority.

Likewise, we all, including wives, are to esteem others as “more important than ourselves,” Rom 12:10; Phil 2:1-4.

Rom 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.”

By nature, we want to promote ourselves, but the filling of the Holy Spirit enables us to submit ourselves to one another, especially wives to their own husbands. Therefore, in whatever relationships exist in life, especially the marriage unit, in order for it to be successful, wonderful, and have great content, it demands self-discipline on the part of one person, the wife, to submit herself to the authority of another, her husband, as a result of having fear and respect for the Lord, (i.e., authority orientation to the Person of Jesus Christ), which also means Occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ. This also means you stand in awe of Christ, who is the King and Judge, not only of His holiness, but also of His forgiveness, Psa 130:4. We belong to Christ’s kingdom. He is the King. Out of reverence for Him, we gladly submit to His rule and serve others with compassion.

Vs. 23

Eph 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

We now turn to the role of the husband inside the marriage unit, (Divine Institution #2). This verse begins with the Conjunction HOTI that can mean, “that, because, since, or for.” Here the latter is applied. From the article HO, “the,” and the indefinite pronoun TI, “what,” HOTI draws specific attention to the object or idea under consideration, which is the “husband as the head of the wife.” Here, it also indicates the nature and extent of the influence of the thing said in the subordinate clause, (i.e., “husbands as heads”), on the statement in the main clause, (i.e., “be in subjection to one another”), in reference to the wife’s responsibility given in vs. 22, toward her husband.

Husband,” is ANER once again, in the subject Nominative, Masculine, Singular. There is one husband for one wife, and vice versa.

Is the head,” is the Verb EIMI in the Present, Active, Indicative. With the Nominative Noun KEPHALE, that means, “head or authority.” It is used over 70 times in the N.T. for both the literal head of a body, and also metaphorically for authority, strength, and leadership. In this metaphorical sense, we have noted the verse above that tells us God is the head of Christ; Christ is the head of man; and the man is the head of his wife, 1 Cor 11:3, in leadership and authority in all things.

1 Cor 11:3, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

The headship of the husband is in regard to Divine Institution # 2, Marriage, as he is the head, leader, or authority, “of the wife,” the possessive Genitive, Singular, Feminine of HO GUNE.

Even though men and women are equal members of the body of Christ, the role of husband has been given Divine authority in regard to his wife inside the marriage unit. So, though they are equal in one respect, the body of Christ, they are unequal in another respect, the marriage unit, as the husband has authority over his wife and the wife must submit to his authority. This is the Divine order of things.

Then we have the analogy of the husband’s headship, which is in relation to Christ’s headship over the Church, HOS KAI HO CHRISTOS KEPHALE HO EKKLESIA, which translated is, “just as the Christ is head of the Church.”

Frequently, Christ is stated to be the head of the Church in Scripture, Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18; 2:19. He is also in charge of angelic powers and authorities, Col 2:10.

Col 1:18, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

Then we are given one example, a very important example, of the responsibility of the head, as it states, “He Himself being the Savior of the body,” AUTOS SOTER HO SOMATOS.

SOTER means, “savior, redeemer, deliverer, or preserver.” It was used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew term YESHUAH, (in various forms), that is the basis for the Greek name IESOUS or Jesus. SOTER occurs 24 times in the Greek N.T. On 8 occasions, it is applied to God, and 16 times to Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Savior sent from God. He is the Savior proclaimed by the prophets. Accordingly, the angel of the Lord announced to Mary that the baby she carried was the promised Savior. The shepherds outside Bethlehem were told of the birth of the Savior, Luke 2:11.

Luke 2:11, “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus himself bore witness to His calling as Savior, Luke 19:10.

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

His apostles declared Him to be Savior, 1 Tim 1:15; cf. Acts 4:12.

1 Tim 1:15, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus, as Savior, delivers from the guilt of sin, as well as from sin’s power; He is the Redeemer. Everyone having been justified through the blood of Christ, cf. Rom 5:1, is delivered from the guilt of sin. Being made holy in Christ, believers are freed from sin’s power. The first is an act, the second a process that culminates at Jesus’ return when believers will be transformed into His likeness and their bodies will be redeemed by the Savior, Phil 3:20-21.

Phil 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

In our verse, Jesus is the Savior of the “body,” SOMATOS, which is analogues to EKKLESIA, “the church or assembly,” whom Christ is the head of. Therefore, headship authority means, “to provide saving grace to the body,” which is what the husband must do for His wife as head. This saving grace of the husband toward his wife is not for eternal salvation; that is what Jesus accomplished once and for all upon the Cross. This saving grace is in regards to temporal life here on earth as a caretaker, provider, healer, lover, decision maker, etc.

As the human head governs the body to which it belongs, so authority is vested in the headship relation wherever it exists.

Below we will note that headship is one of the seven figures of Jesus Christ related to the Church, and then we will note the significance of Jesus’ headship over the Church as examples of the husband’s headship over his own wife.

In this analogy, regarding the authority of the husband over his wife, we remember Luke 12:48b, that tells us, From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

Seven Figures of Christ and the Church, His Body; in analogy to the headship of husbands over wives.

  • Christ is the shepherd and Christians are the sheep of His pasture. This speaks to His care for us and the helplessness of His sheep, John 10:11, 1 Peter 2:25, Heb 13:20-21.

John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

1 Peter 2:25, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

When believers do not take in the Word of God, through their right Pastor-Teacher, they are like lost sheep, Mark 6:34, Zech 10:2.

Mark 6:34, “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.”

Zech 10:2, “Therefore the people wander like sheep, they are afflicted, because there is no shepherd.”

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, is to care for her, provide for her, and tend to her needs like one would do for a helpless lamb. This tending means both in the physical realm of providing for her materialistically and making sure she is supplied with good Bible teaching to feed her soul. As head, he is to provide both financially and spiritually.

  • Christ is the vine and believers are the branches, John 15:1-8.

In this analogy, we see that the Church, the body of Christ, feeds off of what He, the Head Vine, supplies. The branches are nourished from the vine, so that they can produce fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, i.e., “Divine Good Production.”

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, is to provide her everything necessary, physically and spiritually, so that she can be a productive believer inside the plan of God, in the execution of her spiritual gift. Like the above, this means to provide for her excellent Bible teaching so that she learns, grows, and applies the Word, especially in the execution of her spiritual gift.

Secondly, in the analogy, as the unproductive branches are pruned, so that the productive ones can produce more, the husband is to remove obstacles in the life of his wife, (e.g., sin temptations, harassment from others, the gossip of others, etc.), so that she is able to produce maximum Divine Good Production. This analogy has a protective tone to it as well.

  • Christ is the chief cornerstone and Christians, are the Building, Zech 10:3-4, Psa 118:22; Mat 21:42, 1 Peter 2;6-10, Eph 2:20-21.

Psa 118:22, “The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief corner stone.”

Another way of saying this, is that Jesus Christ is the lynch pin regarding the family of God, bringing together both true Israel and the Church.

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, is to be the head of the family to provide peace and harmony inside the home, providing a sound structure. Both parents have a teaching and disciplinary role to play, but the husband is to be the final authority in all things, with the goal of peace and harmony within the marriage and family.

  • Christ is the High Priest and New Testament believers are a kingdom of Priests, Heb 2:17-18; 1 Peter 2:9.

Heb 2:17, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

And as our High Priest, in like form as man, he is qualified to be our advocate, Heb 2:18.

Heb 2:18, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, who is also an equal member in the body of Christ, is to be merciful and faithful to his wife in all things, covering her sins, so that they are not exposed to the world or allowed to fester within her soul, being her advocate, so that she can advance in the spiritual life, and suffering for her as necessary, for her well-being, as also noted in Eph 5:25-27.

  • Christ is the Head of the Church, which is the Body, Eph 4:15.

Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”

This speaks to Jesus’ authority over His body the Church, which we will note below in more detail.

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, has authority over his wife in regard to all marital and family issues. (We will note this analogy below in more detail).

  • Christ is the Head of a New Creation, 2 Cor 5:17.

2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in (union with) Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Cf. Gal 6:15.

When someone believes in Christ as their Savior, they are born again and receive a regenerated human spirit, giving them a new spiritual life in Christ. They are placed in a new union with Jesus Christ. With the new life they have been given, they can function and experience the spiritual things and spiritual phenomenon of God, and are no longer held back by the “old things,” the Old Sin Nature and Satan’s cosmic system. They are free to live in their new life.

This analogy relates to the husband and wife, as the two have become one new life at the moment of their marriage, Gen 2:24; Mat 19:5-; Mark 10:7-9; Eph 5:31. They have a new union and a new life to live. And just like our new life in union with Christ speaks to our eternal security, which means we cannot be separated from Christ, God desires our new union with our husband or wife to be inseparable too.

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, is the head of this new life, and he should lead, guide, provide for, and protect it, just as Jesus does for His body, providing security that should be inseparable. Therefore, in addition, the husband has the responsibility to make sure the marriage stays intact.

  • Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride, 2 Cor 11:2, Rev 19:7.

2 Cor 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”

Rev 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”

And as His bride, we will be displayed in our perfection and glory.

Rev 21:9, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Therefore, the husband, as head of the wife, is to protect his wife’s soul from sin and Satan’s cosmic system, so that she is able to walk in glory without spot, blemish, or wrinkle and remain holy and blameless in experiential sanctification. Eph 5:25-27 also speak to this analogy. In other words, help her to overcome her own personal sins, and secondly, protect her from the temptations of the world or the attacks of others from the world that could harm her soul, i.e., her spiritual walk.

So, as you can see, from the analogy of the Seven Figures of Christ and the Church, one of them being, “Christ as the head and the Church as the body,” the husband has tremendous responsibility to nurture, care for, and protect his wife during their time here on planet earth.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 17-065 through 17-066

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

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