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Ephesians 5:22-23, probably the most misinterpreted verse in the bible gives direct commands to couples in matrimony. In this article, I will try to dissolve this misconception of submission in marriage and ultimately highlight some of its benefits; that if it’s still of any relevance especially considering our modern western culture.
Uncovering the facts about this subject is quite large, and usually, a single article isn’t enough. However, we will try to bring to light as much as we can in this piece. First off let’s look at the bible verse itself;
Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and He is the Saviour of the Body. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
If not anything, one thing that is clear throughout these verses is Apostle Paul likening the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Christ and the Church. This comparison helps us understand that the relationship that should exist in matrimony.
Dictionary Meaning of Submission
While this I already established, let’s look at a simple dictionary meaning of the word
Submission is when a person or group allows someone or something to have power over them.
Now it’s quite obvious that with the meaning of this word in the modern dictionary, we’re back to that slave master tone. However, we see clearly from Ephesians 5 that what the dictionary says takes the biblical meaning out of context.
Now let’s go a little deeper and shed more light on the biblical meaning of submission in marriage
What is Biblical Submission in Marriage
The word submission as used in the Bible comes from ”hupotassó” a Greek word used as a military term to mean “rank under”, or “to subject”.
However, it is important to bring to our understanding that the Bible doesn’t use it as a rank of importance, but a rank of responsibility and accountability. We see this in Ephesians 5:25-33 where instructions are giving to the husband in marriage as well.
The whole marriage instructions given in Ephesians 5 are likened to the relationship of Christ and the church and it is important we treat it as such. Given what we know from the Bible, the church submits and obeys every command of Christ. Hence, Christian Wives should understand that submission to husbands should be voluntary as it is with the church.
The long and short of Biblical submission in marriage implies voluntary submission in marriage. This act places a Christian wife under the protection of Christ, just as the church is placed under the protection of Christ.
Submission in Christian marriage is ordained by God, and it is all part of God’s plans for Christian living among all believers. Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, the idea of submission in Christian marriage is often misconstrued as a word promoting gender inequality.
Now that the true meaning of Biblical submission has been clarified, to grasp the benefits of submission in Christian marriage, I will briefly use the story of Abraham and Sarah which is a good example to show Biblical submission in play.
Practical Example of Biblical Submission
We see their introduction as couples in Genesis 11:29. However, it was until in chapter 12 where God began to give Abraham instruction that we saw the submissive acts of Sarah to her husband Abraham and God. All through chapter 12, we see Sarah being a godly wife, obeying all her husband instructed. Yes, she was primarily obeying God because Abraham was acting on the instructions of God. However, God didn’t directly speak to Sarah, so she was acting first on the words of her husband.
Again, we see in chapters 12:11-13 even when Abraham showed cowardice, Sarah obeyed regardless, and God protected her and her husband in the house of Pharaoh. And on returning to Canaan, God indirectly blessed Abraham, as he was now rich with the gifts from Pharaoh because his wife was obedient.
Now with this crude example out of the way, let’s look at the benefits of submission in Christian marriage.
The Benefits of Submission in Christian Marriage
Coming up can seem like an oversimplification looking at the example of Sarah and her husband Abraham. Well, I will highlight them regardless.
There is peace in the home when a wife is submissive to the husband. We see although the life of Abraham and Sarah, that there was peace in the home because Abraham obeyed God, and Sarah obeyed Abraham. Even after the issue of Sarah and Hagar, there was still peace in the home.
God steps in to help you in times of need when you are submissive to your husband because obeying your husband is also obeying God.
Your marital status is secured, and you keep your marital home when you are a submissive wife. In the incident between Sarah and Hagar, we didn’t see Abraham leave Sarah because he now has a child with Hagar because Abraham feared God, and his wife Sarah was submissive,
Positive changes are seen in the home of a submissive wife. We see this in the story of Sarah as she eventually had a child at ninety.
The love of God is made manifest in the home of a submissive wife. This is in the form of love from the husband, and gifts from God.
The house grows when there’s a submissive wife at home. We see all this in the covenant between Abraham and God.
God always protects a submissive wife even when the husband makes foolish decisions that can put her in danger. We see this as Sarah was kept in the house of Pharaoh and was untouched.
God provides for the needs of the home of a submissive wife no matter the circumstances the couples find themselves.
Men get closer to God when their wives are submissive. Ever wondered why God was very close to Abraham aside the fact that he too obeyed God?
There is satisfaction in fulfilling the commands of God. Even when things are not right at the moment, you know your blessings is moments away because you’ve been obedient to God through submission to your husband.