Christian Marriage: Ephesians 5 – Simple Bible Study (Part 2)
For part two of Ephesians 5, as you can tell right off the bat, it is centered and focused on marriage. Compared to Part 1 of Ephesians 5, there were three main themes which were love, light, and wisdom.
Go read over part 1 of Ephesians 5 here!
But, for this one, its main theme is the Christian marriage. This is not just an ordinary marriage – this is THE marriage that God created and is modeled for us through Jesus Christ, being the groom, and the church, being the bride, in a perfect union.
The problem in this world is that we are human, flawed and imperfect. We will fall short, break up, cheat on one another, divorce, sin, and let be honest, we are typically and naturally selfish. So, what is the point of getting married if we are going to mess up and not end up being each other’s ultimate happiness? Is there such a thing as “happily ever after”?
Paul presented the perfect model of what a godly marriage is, defines the roles, unveiled what unconditional love truly looks like and how Christ set the example of what love is (and is not).
Part One included:
Go to the BLOG POST for Part 1.
Part Two (this post) includes:
Like in the first half of Ephesians 5, we used a reference/commentary to help to guide us in Part 2 of Ephesians 5. We are not experts or Bible teachers- we are simply people that are chasing God of the Word and want to learn more about Him and what He says about us and how we are called to serve Him.
Here is the further commentary on Ephesians 5 if you are interested!
A Christian Wife
Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
As you see at the end of Part 1, in v. 21, submission was brought up as a whole, to submit to one another in reverence to Christ. Here, submission is carried over and this time, it’s within the context of marriage. Hold on – before we get any further or get offended on the idea of submitting to someone in this day and age, let’s define submission
Submitting means to recognize that someone had legitimate authority over you.
In the context of our relationship with God, we are to submit to God and His will because He is the Almighty God and has the truest right to rule over us because He is perfect and we are not.
There is an order of authority that brings order and balance in God’s eyes. God does not call wives to submit to their husbands because wives are not important or don’t have value. Rather, it is the opposite. In the commentary, it breaks down the word, “sub-mission” as you are under a mission in a Christian marriage, which is to obey and glorify God.
And as to the Lord, this is important because it clarifies that the husband is not God and this thought process is dangerous because it will lead to idolatry.
And, the Christian marriage model: we submit to our husbands because the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the church. So, to submit is to be doing so in the name of Jesus, to bring glory and serve Him; it is done as for God. It is a part of being a Christian wife and being a follower of Christ.
In this passage, among the other passages in the Bible that are commands, this one is probably the least talked about. This passage goes right up against the world’s view of a cultural mindset.
God is not just a male activist who only wants men in the role of authority, control and power. God is not punishing all women because they are women. Rather, all women reflect His loving care and wisdom as we follow this command.
(We will go over when a husband abuses his authority and when a wife should not submit to her husband in the next section.)
A Christian Husband
Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
When you accept Jesus into your heart and follow Him, you are also choosing to be under His authority, to be humble before Him. In saying this, the husbands in marriage are not an authority to themselves because they are not God.
A Christian husband must submit to Christ and to His authority. God originated marriage so He can share how He designed it from the inside out and how as a couple you can reap many blessings from the Lord.
Of course, the husband is called as the Savior of the body, like Christ saved the church body. What does this picture mean? The husband is called to preserve his wife.
Preserve also means to protect, take care of, maintain, and look after.
The husband is called to look after his wife, as she submits to him. The leader in the family and the head is always the husband but the husband and wife are called to coordinate and plan together, to be in agreement.
In all of this, the wife does not have to submit to abuse, insanity, to sin, or to adultery (although he or she can work it out to stay together but it is also okay to divorce on that basis).
That is not a part of the Christian marriage model, that the wife submits to the husband no matter what happens to her. God cares for every individual, for we are all made in His image, so He does not want for us to be hurt just for the sake of submitting to the husband because we are called to “obey” God.
Guess what, Paul does not stop there. Like we hinted at earlier, the husband is called to love their wives, like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
That is the key and the balance to a wife submitting to the husband, for him to truly love his wife. And for the wife to truly respect her husband (which will be talked about more further in this post)
It is not the kind of love that is only a feeling or conditional; it is agape, a love that is unconditional, a choice made daily to love.
This is also represented in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV):
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Roles of Each Spouse
God calls the husband and wife onto different roles, which was designed since the beginning.
The husband being the head of the wife means that he is called to lead his marriage and his family, just like Christ leads us.
The wife complements the husband and is called to be the helper, the very reason that God created Eve for Adam (and Eve was created out of the man by God).
As the duty of the husband’s role, the principle of which consists in loving them, without abusing their power. The apostle Paul talks about the way to love is a love that is sincere, intentional, authentic, constant, and meaningful. This means to not hold out against the imperfections and failures the wife might bring in from the past, in the present and the future.
The Beautiful Mystery of Marriage
Ephesians 5:29-33 (ESV) “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
During the time of courtship and dating, a man gets to know the woman and her family and the woman gets to know him and his family. Together, they go through trials to test the relationship and whether marriage is an adventure to take on.
At the wedding stage, the woman (the bride) is handed off from her father (or whoever gives her away) to her husband, and the husband (the groom) is supposed to take full responsibility.
As it is stated in verse 31, the man is to leave his mother and father and stick close to his wife. After the marriage ceremony, before God, the husband and the wife consummate the marriage and become one. One in the flesh and one with God.
The last several verses are so profound and clear. God is ultimately showing us the way to a Godly marriage that he ordained it to be. It is such a beautiful thing to witness couples that follow God’s plan for marriage.
In this day and age, we feel that it is a rare thing to follow God’s purpose of pursuing their future or now spouse during dating, engagement, wedding day, and marriage with purity and holiness. But for those of us who went off the narrow path and instead, chose the world’s path, it is not too late to make things right before God and your future (or now) spouse.
You do not just get married and think you do not have to do anything else to pursue your spouse. The work of love and the gift of pursuing your spouse should never stop. It is just as Paul states, you are called to not hate your own flesh. Of course, you do not hate yourself in reality, but you are one flesh with your spouse.
If you do not cherish and nourish your spouse, then in turn, you starve the love that you have together and eventually, the both of you.
How do we keep cherishing and nourishing each other? Keep dating them. Surprise them with something they truly love every once in a while. Go on trips. Talk to them and listen to their dreams, their fears, and pray with and for them all the time.
Verse 33 wraps up Ephesians 5 Part 2 and emphasizes and re-defines the role of the husband, wife, and the church. God created marriage and sex within the context of marriage as a beautiful gift for us to have with one another, with who He appointed us to be.
Just as Paul states, marriage is a profound and beautiful mystery that is unique and only experienced for two people living as one flesh in marriage.
Maybe one day, we will come out with a new blog post on the view of Godly sex, how God created for us to enjoy within the context, and how the world’s version of sex will never be good, make you happy, or satisfy you. Let us know if you would like that!
You might be interested in these posts & episodes on marriage & purity,
- Preparing for Marriage For Singles, Dating, & Engaged
- Our Struggle With Purity During Dating & Engagement
But for now, we pray and hope this Simple Bible Study on Ephesians 5 Part 1 and Part 2 has blessed you & fan the flame in your heart to get to know God more!
Thank you for reading,