The last post dealt with wives submitting to husbands in Ephesians 5:22 and this post will be concerned with Paul’s follow up explanation and grounds for making such a statement. In Ephesians 5:23-24 we read, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
Paul inserts the grounds for his argument in verse 22 by beginning with the preposition, “for” which introduces a reason. He actually gives two reasons, one form creation and one from the story of salvation. The reason from creation is that the husband is the head of the wife. This is so in the creation narrative in Genesis 1 and 2. The man is to lead, govern, and rule as instituted by God. When the serpent came to tempt Adam and Eve he went directly to Eve, not the authority, or the head of the relationship, but to Eve. Why did Eve fall prey to the wiles of the serpent? Where was Adam? Scripture tells us he was with her, and she shared the fruit with him. Adam failed in his headship, it is like the times a door-to-door salesman comes to the house and the wife looks out the window or the peephole and looks to the husband and says, “you deal with it”. Or when both husband and wife are sleeping and there is a noise down the hall in the kitchen. What happens? The wife tells the husband to go first and check it out. Now, for those who espouse egalitarianism, that is promoting equal roles for men and women, I suggest you let the woman go check on the noise and see how well that works. I bet she won’t go, and what man would want her to go first? Anyway, Adam failed and thus sin entered the world.
His second argument comes from the story of salvation, as Christ is the head of the Church, the very thing he came to earth for, so the husband is the head of the wife. The church, in Scripture, is called the Bride of Christ for this very reason. Revelation 21:9-10.
Paul is saying that the men are the head as Christ is the head of the church. Who does the church submit to? Christ. Therefore husbands lead in Christ and wives submit in Christ as though her husband were Christ. Do you see the center of all of this? Christ.
What does submission to Christ entail? All of God’s works and decrees and Law are for our benefit. Everything God does is for the good of His people, Romans 8:28. This means that the husband should strive for the same in his marriage to his wife. All things work for her good. Wives, would you not want to submit to such a thing? Husbands, would not doing such a thing be entirely satisfying? God’s ways are good ways and we need to live in them.
This post is shorter because it is an extrapolation from the last post. The next few verses Paul focuses on the husband and his call and duty in the marriage. If you are still reading I encourage you to join in on the next discussion.