The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:24-25 ~ The Role of Wives and Husbands Inside the Marriage

Vol. 16 No 27 – June 25, 2017

Wives be subject to husbands husbands love your wives

Eph 5:24, “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

This verse completes the discourse on the wife’s subjectivity towards her own husband. In vs. 24, she was commanded to be subject to her own husband, just as she would to the Lord Jesus Christ. This tells of her motivation for respecting her husband’s Divine given authority over her; Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now we have an analogy or object lesson for her subjection to her husband; the Church and Christ. This verse begins by continuing the emphasis on the husband’s authority established in vs. 23, which is in the likeness of Christ’s authority over the Church. Therefore, vs. 24 notes that just as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be subject to their husbands.

It begins with the strong adversative Conjunction ALLA, “but, yet, or rather,” that transitions the conversation from husbands to wives, and sets the concept of authority between them in contrast to one another. It establishes the difference between the husband’s authority in vs. 23 with the wife’s subjectivity in vs. 22, 24.

Then we have the object lesson, which begins with the Adverb/Conjunction HOSPER, ὥσπερ, “as, just as, or exactly like.” This Adverb of manner appears frequently in the N.T. in the protasis, (i.e., that to which the main idea is being compared), of a comparison. We could say this introduces a first class “if” statement, (if and it is true), where the “then” statement will follow, even though the Greek does not use “if” in this passage.

The Church,” is once again HO EKKLESIA in the Nominative Singular.

Is subject,” is HUPOTASSO once again for, “to subject to, put in submission to, to be or make subject, or to submit oneself.” There is no verb for “is” here. It comes from HUPOTASSO, which is in the Present, Middle, Indicative for the dogmatic fact of the ongoing status that has a result back to the Church Age believer. This is the Church’s role and responsibility as the Body of Jesus Christ, and the analogy for the wife’s role in relation to her own husband. As we noted above, this submission must be voluntary or it will not work, and it requires genuine humility from the application of Bible Doctrine from the soul. Otherwise, enforced humility may be the result and unpleasant.

To Christ,” is the Dative of indirect object, Singular of HO CHRISTOS, speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Christ,” emphasizes His Deity, as the head and authority over the Church, His body. The Dative of indirect object indicates that Jesus Christ is the One for whom the act of subordination is performed. The definite article sets Him apart as the unique person of the universe, it emphasizes the hypostatic union.

So once again, we are reminded of the Head and body analogy of Christ and the Church, and the other 6 Figures of Christ and the Church. These are given so that the wife understands her role inside Divine Institution #2, Marriage. As the Church is under the authority of Christ, so is the wife under her husband, as noted in the second half of this passage.

This is the apodosis statement or “then” statement that completes the comparison.

So also,” is the Adverb HOUTOS, οὕτως that can mean, “in this manner, thus, so, just as, in this way, as follows, without further ado, or simply,” and the Conjunction KAI. This indicates that the comparison is to follow. Therefore, this is the wives’ responsibility toward her husband, in comparison to the Church’s responsibility toward Jesus Christ.

The wives,” is HO GUNE once again in the Nominative plural.

Ought to be,” is in italics and not in the original language, but is implied.

To their husbands,” is the Dative of Possession, Plural of HO ANER once again. The Dative of Possession versus the Genitive of Possession emphasizes the object possessed, which in this case is the husband possessed by the wife. If the Genitive were used, the emphasis would be on the wife. Therefore, this Dative continues the emphasis of the Husband’s authority over his wife, even though we are currently talking about the wife’s role and responsibility. We could say this is a double emphasis.

In everything,” is the Preposition EN with the Adjective PAS, in the Dative of Rule Case. This sets the boundaries by which the wife is subject to her husband’s authority, which is “in all things.” It emphasizes the subject matter, but also alludes to time frame, i.e., “in all things, at all the times.” In other words, in all matters pertaining to their marriage and relationship, she is to respect and submit to her husband’s authority. As long as they are legally married, she is to be in subjection to him. The only exception is in her subjection to a higher authority than her husband, e.g., God and His Word.

Vs. 25

Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

We now turn back to the commands for husbands. The rest of the chapter describes the husband’s responsibility.

As we have noted, the Letter to the Ephesians unfolds the high place to which the Church, the Body of Christ, has been brought and the corresponding responsibility in daily life which rests upon each member of that Body. At this point, Paul reverts to the order of truth which characterized the opening portion of this Epistle. Even though Christ died for the sins of the entire world, John 3:16, the Church alone is in view here as the one for whom Christ gave Himself to die upon the Cross. Just as the husband has husbandly responsibilities toward his wife and only his wife.

The fact of Christ’s death for the Church is here given the place of supreme importance. Thus, the death of Christ is introduced as the pattern of devotion, which the believing husband should maintain toward his wife. This is an ideal belonging not to the paganism of Paul’s day, but to the Christian home. The high and holy love of Christ for the Church, His Bride, is not degraded by this comparison; rather, the demands upon the husband are exalted to the measure of heavenly responsibilities. The message of this passage, which is constantly asserted in the N.T. is; it was Divine compassion which took Christ to the Cross; therefore, with Divine compassion, a husband is to lead his marriage.

The Greek begins with, HO ANER in the Vocative Nominative Plural for, “the husbands.”

Then we have the command, “love your wives,” AGAPAO in the Present, Active, Imperative with the Direct Object Accusative Plural of HO GUNE.

As you know, all principles of doctrine related to marriage are based on the concept that God has designed one right man for one right woman, just as there is one right Lord, (head), and one right

Church, (body). God has done a great job in the field of marriage, and therefore the ideal system of leadership in marriage should be one right man, one right woman.

The words that are not used here include EROS, which means to have sex, and PHILEO, which is total soul love. We have here AGAPAO which means a mental attitude love. Therefore, it is not physical attraction or a give and take love that the husband is commanded to have for his wife. Instead it is a mental attitude love, where he loves her unconditionally.

This means, as Gal 5:22-23 tells us, his love for his wife (right woman), must have “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

In addition, as 1 Cor 13:4-8, tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails…

And remember husbands, 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.” In other words, because God loved us, His Church, first, we are able to love him back. Therefore, if husbands love their wives first, the wives will love them back.

Then we have the object lesson for teaching husbands how to love their wives. The command here given to husbands calls for a response on their part that will make it easy for wives to submit; that is, husbands are to love their wives as, “Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Just as,” this time, is the Conjunction of Comparison KATHOS that means, “as, just as, to the degree that, since, when, according as.” This establishes the way husbands should love their wives, which is given in two forms, love and sacrifice.

Christ also,” is the Nominative Singular of CHRISTOS KAI. With this is “loved” and the simple past tense Aorist, Active, Indicative of AGAPAO once again. This is Christ’s AGAPE love in action. The object of Christ’s love is “the church,” the Accusative Singular of HO EKKLESIA once again. This is the Royal Family of God, the Body of Jesus Christ.

The Church here refers to all believers of the Church Age, the Royal Family of God, a kingdom of priests. The Church is analogous to and compared to the right woman. Because of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the believer of this dispensation has a very perfect and very intimate relationship with Christ. This is called Positional Sanctification. Therefore, the Church, the Royal Family, occupies a very unique place in the Angelic Conflict. There was no Royal Family until Christ was glorified at the right hand of the Father. The Royal Family is directly related to the strategic victory of Christ on the Cross, and all the way from the Cross to His session; seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Then we have the second object lesson, “and gave Himself up for her,” which is the coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” with the Personal Pronoun HEAUTOU in the Accusative Singular for, “Himself,” and the Aorist, Active, Indicative of PARADIDOMI that means, “handed over or delivered up.” It is from PARA meaning, “over” and DIDOMI meaning, “to give.”  So combined, it means, “to give up, give over, hand over, etc.” It is also used with regard to handing someone over to the court, Mat 10:17. Jesus “gave himself,” means that He handed over and delivered up himself to be scorned, tortured, and crucified, Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2.

The Constative Aorist contemplates the past action of the verb in its entirety, namely: reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, etc., everything that was accomplished on the Cross.

In our verse, Jesus gave Himself up, “for her,” the Preposition HUPER with the Genitive, Singular, Feminine of AUTOS meaning, “her,” that represents the Church.

Therefore, just as the submission of the Church to Christ serves as the wife’s model, the love of Christ for the Church reflects the husband’s attitude toward his wife. Just as the wife’s primary responsibility can be summarized in “voluntary submission,” so the husband’s special duty is to “love” his wife.

Christ instinctively from His own free will delivered Himself over, the highest possible sacrifice, the efficacious sacrifice; whereby, we have eternal life. Therefore, much is required from any male the moment he becomes a husband, Luke 12:48. The principle here is sacrifice. When you love someone more than you love yourself, then you are willing to sacrifice, and that is a mental attitude AGAPE love.

We will see in vs. 28, 33, that husbands are to love their wives “as their own bodies,” even as they would love themselves.

Christ loved His church enough to die for it. Therefore, the husband is to also have self-sacrificial love for his wife. Real love will not take advantage of the partner. If a man truly loves his wife, he will want to share with her in every possible way. The arrangement God established between a wife and a husband gives him the authority to make all decisions for the marriage, but it also implies that he should share that responsibility with her. If he truly loves her, he will share the decision-making responsibilities with her, as long as he does not abdicate his position as the spiritual leader of the family.

If the genuine love of the husband, (like that of Christ for the Church), balances the loving, voluntary submission of the wife, they both will find it easy to fulfill their role. Cf. Eph 5:28; Col 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7.

The loving husband must have freedom from mental attitude sins. In Colossians, the husband is specifically commanded not to be bitter toward his wife, but that includes also jealousy, vindictiveness, implacability. Leaders cannot afford mental attitude sins, and the husband is the leader.

It takes more to be a husband than anything else in life, yet this is addressed to husbands as though it is the simplest, instead of the most complex of all leadership responsibilities. Any idiotic kid can get married, but to fulfill what is spoken here in a brief phrase requires more than any idiotic kid or any male can really fulfill apart from the grace of God.

There is a sense in which a leader is a protector. The husband is the protector of his wife. He protects her form gossip and maligning, from all the dangers of life, from the insecurities of life, from any physical harm of any kind. He never makes his wife’s failures known to others. In addition, He provides in the physical area for his wife, sex.

Leadership means sacrifice, and there is a sense in which the husband must sacrifice for the blessing and pleasure of the wife. That is a part of “love your wives.”

A husband must be a gentleman; the instincts of thinking about someone else rather than being self-occupied. No man can be a husband and fulfill this principle if he is selfish. Therefore, the principle of sacrifice, honor, integrity, and instinctive thoughtfulness for his wife is in view.

As a result of all of these things, this kind of a husband is the source of respect and even awe, but he should never be a source of discomfort or belittling to his right woman.

In regard to the husband loving his own wife, we are reminded of the initial command given in Chapter 5, verse 2, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

This is the high standard by which husbands are to love their wives. The command given here to husbands, call for a response on their part that will make it easy for wives to submit to their authority; that is, husbands are to love their wives as, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” Furthermore, they are to love their wives, “as their own bodies,” vs. 28, even as they would love themselves, vs. 33. Therefore, in order for husbands to fulfill their high calling, they must intimately understand AGAPE love inside of Divine Institution # 2, marriage.

The Doctrine of Category #2 Love

There are three categories of love in the human race:

Category #1 Love, is toward God, Deut 6:5; Rom 8:35; 1 John 4:19. Only the believer is capable of this kind of love.

Category #2 Love, is between one right man and one right woman in marriage, Song of Solomon 8:6-7; Eph 5:25-33; Col 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7.

Category #3 Love, is towards mankind, Mat 5:43; 19:19; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.

James 2:8, “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.”

The Greek language has six different words for love, four most applied, AGAPAO, PHILEO, (a rapport love), ERAO, (sexual or erotic love), and STERGO, (the special love of parents for their children). Of these four only two made their way into the N.T., AGAPAO and PHILEO.

A comparison between AGAPAO and PHILEO is inevitable because both are common to the NT, while neither ERAO nor STERGO can be found. Differences that can be discerned between the two are that PHILEO represents a deep affection in rapport for one another, while AGAPAO expresses a love that does not require a comparable response. As such, AGAPAO is a fitting description of the kind of love God has shown to man in sending His Son to save all who will believe, John 3:16, that is the high standard by which husbands are to love their wives. As such, the husbands love is not dependent on the love or affection that the wife expresses towards him. He is to love her regardless.

The strength of Category #2 Love is declared in Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) 8:6-7. It cannot be quenched by any pressure of life.

Song of Songs 8:6-7, “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. 7Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised.”

The exclusiveness of Category #2 Love extends to one person of the opposite sex, all others are excluded. Therefore, happiness in sexual love can only be found in one person, Prov 5:18-19.

Prov 5:18-19, “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.”

This excludes the following as a basis for such happiness: autoerotism or masturbation, homosexuality, or lesbianism, promiscuity, or adultery, etc.

This love produces an exclusive and perfect happiness which is self-sustaining, as well as partner-sustaining, Prov 15:17.

Prov 15:17, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, Than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

This love is protective, when the right one is absent, Song of Sol 1:13; 4:6, and when he or she is present, Song of Sol 2:4.

Song of Sol 1:13, “My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh Which lies all night between my breasts.”

Song of Sol 4:6, “Until the cool of the day When the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh And to the hill of frankincense”

Song of Sol 2:4, “He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.”

It illustrates the relationship with the Lord. The relationship between Israel and the Lord, Jer 2 & 3; Ezek 16 & 23. The relationship between the Lord and the Church, Eph 5:23-33.

Mental attitude sins attack all forms of true love, 1 John 5:18. Jealousy is one of the greatest enemies in this field, Song of Sol 8:6.

Song of Sol 8:6, “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.”

This love is the provision of God’s grace, Prov 18:22.

Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.”

Divine Institution #2 is designed for Category #2 love, Eph 5:25, 28, 33.

God has set aside time in each life for category #2 love, Ecc 3:8, “A time of love.” However, certain functions in life can destroy this time, i.e. not waiting for the right man or the right woman, adultery, drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental attitude sins which destroy right lobe capacity.

Older women are to teach younger women how to love under Category #2, Titus 2:4-5, “so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 17-067 through 17-069

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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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