The Spiritual Order of the Home

God has a plan for the home that will work if we will listen and trust his wisdom. His plan will require humble thought and careful study. In doing so we will undoubtedly encounter concepts and ideas that contrast with what we find in our culture. Once we get past these reactions and judge the merits of the ideas, we will see that God’s plan is correct.
When we study God’s word, we must always understand the context of the passage. Without doing so, we cannot grasp the writer’s intention. We can approach a passage and frame it with our society in mind and completely miss the original intent.
Ephesians 5:22,23 says, “wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (NKJV). This passage has provoked a fire storm of controversy. We must step back from our own cultural context and discern Paul’s actual meaning.
The word “submit” means to “place under.” The wife is to “subject” herself to her husband. Notice Paul does not say “put” her in submission. It is voluntary, but we must never confuse this with “optional.” This is God’s will, and wives are expected to obey (John 14:15).
This is a very emotional topic, because many women see this as demeaning. God never intended it to be, as the larger context shows. Alan Highers said, “Wifely submission does not mean slavish obedience.” To illustrate this, Paul has given us unmistakable evidence.
First, the context tells us that wives are to be submissive (5:22), in subjection (5:24) and to respect their husbands (5:33). The neglected aspect of this passage is that husbands bear the greater responsibility. Husbands are to be the head of the wife (5:23), to love actively as Christ does the church (5:25), to give his life for her (5:25), to care for her (5:26-28) and love her as he does his own body (5:28).
God’s plan here is to assign roles, not worth. God loves everyone, and in salvation and worth we are all the same (Galatians 3:28; John 3:16). This is about the spiritual order of the home.
God intends for the husband to love his wife passionately as if she were his own body. That will require him to give her all the care, concern, and love that he will give his own flesh. He is to be the type man she will want to submit to because he showers her with love and respect. When a man is truly living as God prescribes, a wife will be very comfortable in her role.
Husbands are to submit to God and be the spiritual leader in the home. When he carries out this role, he will be the type man she can respect and follow because he will be leading her and their children to God.
Second, the submission prescribed for wives is to be seen in the submission the church gives to Christ and Christ gives to God. Husbands take these lessons and apply them. Likewise, wives are to use them as she submits to her husband.
No one would say that the Christ is inferior because he submits to God. No one would say that God abuses Christ or that Christ is oppressive to the church. Either the concept is the same throughout or it is meaningless. Abuse and degradation are not inherent in the concept of submission. The sinful acts of men never negate the commands of God (Psalm 119:89).
Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands, be the man of her dreams, who loves and cares for her tenderly as the precious creation she is. Remember, God gave women to men as a glorious gift (Genesis 2:18-22). She should be treated accordingly.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

2 thoughts on “The Spiritual Order of the Home

  1. The Spiritual Order of the Home –a much needed teaching. Some men are so low down that it is difficult for their wives to crawl under that rock. The man who treats his wife like a queen will usually find that she will treat her husband as a king.

  2. Thanks, Paul. Ephesians 5:22ff speaks more to men than it does to women. They have a great responsibility to treat their wives as wonderful blessings of God. Husbands who treat their wives as you mentioned are playing power games and are often insecure. They sow what they reaped. Thanks for your thoughts.
    Richard Mansel

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