Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 5

The relationship between husbands and wives

Ephesians 5:22

Many people today disagree with what the Bible teaches about the duties of husbands and wives. Some of those people want to be free to do whatever they desire. Such ideas existed among the first Christians too, because of their strong ideas about personal freedom (1 Corinthians 11:2-16).

Paul, however, saw a direct relationship between a woman’s duties to her husband, and her duties to Christ. So, for example, a Christian woman is loyal to her husband because she is loyal to Christ. That is, she should be loyal to her husband in the way that she deals with other men. That is one of God’s commands (Exodus 20:14).

Also, a Christian woman respects her husband because she respects Christ. The description of a noble wife in Proverbs 31:10-31 interests us. This wife is a skilled and capable person, who deeply respects her husband.

Lastly, a Christian woman is eager to obey her husband, because she obeys Christ. She will often have to pray for wisdom in this matter (James 1:5). Christians should obey Christ in all things - but they cannot always obey other people’s instructions. A woman’s husband might order her to do something that is evil, foolish, dangerous, or clearly wrong. He might order her to do something without proper knowledge of the matter. So, we think that Paul is teaching the wives about their attitudes towards their husbands. A wife should not just want to please herself; instead, she should have a genuine desire, wherever possible, to obey her husband.

At the time of Paul, husbands often controlled their wives by cruel punishments. Paul never approved of that. Instead, he taught husbands to be kind to their wives (5:25). He urged husbands and wives to show genuine love to each other (1 Corinthians chapter 13). That is the kind of relationship that God wants husbands and wives to have.

Next part: Husbands and wives should learn from Christ's love for his people (Ephesians 5:23-24)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.